Many of us can remember a time when cinema’s “coming attractions” were announced in the newspapers. Some may even remember how the phrase – COMING ATTRACTIONS – would pop up on movie screens right before the previews (as movie trailers were once called). Today, the phrase occasionally appears on historic theater tents, but “Coming Soon” is entertainment’s new catchphrase and the book world has followed suit. Instant gratification is the draw these days, and yet… there’s something alluring about the momentary non-specificity of a “coming attraction.” Without further ado, here are 10 of 2022’s.
Early on the shelves is the picture book by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López, The year we learned to fly (Nancy Paulsen Books, Jan. 4). A hymn to the power of the imagination to lift us above petty struggles and valleys of life, the book is based on the myth of avian hominids that escaped slavery by flying back to Africa.
Sticking to the theme of height, readers can also expect the amal untied companion novel, Omar Rising (Nancy Paulsen Books, Feb. 1) by Aisha Saeed. Set in a Pakistani village, the story follows the protagonist of the same name, the son of a widowed servant, through his challenging first year at an exclusive boys’ academy.
Another early release we’re happy to welcome is Traci Sorell and Madelyn Goodnight’s powwow day (Charlesbridge, Feb. 18), which our reviewer describes as “a heartwarming picture book about the role of courage, culture and community in the journey of personal healing.” A young Native American girl recovering from an unspecified illness begins to turn a corner as she experiences a group jingle dress dance at a powwow gathering.
Start March with I Begin with Spring: The Life and Seasons of Henry David Thoreau (Tilbury, March 1) by Julia Dunlap. Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth Baratta with a deep nod to the mid-19th century nature magazine, it’s a compelling life story of the formidable philosopher, naturalist, and humanist, and it exemplifies narrative nonfiction for children at the height of can be.
My indispensable mother (Lantana, March 1) by Maudie Smith, with deceptively flimsy illustrations by Jen Khatun, deserves a mention. Brown-skinned boy Jake worries that his mother’s compulsion to upcycle discarded items means she may eventually want to upgrade it† The titular mother happens to use a wheelchair.
No annual reading is complete without a touch of speculation. Cue Kelly Barnhill’s Middle Class Novel, The Ogress and the Orphans (Algonquin, March 8), about a magnanimous monster and a family of white foundlings who rescue a beleaguered community that has lost its way…and its heart. It is a sequel to Barnhill’s 2016 Newbery Medal winner, The girl who drank the moon†
Travel back to a not-too-distant culturally distinctive era with Isla to island (Atheneum, March 15), Alexis Castellanos’ catchy, wordless graphic novel debut about a Cuban girl who flees the revolution from her island and has to forge a new sense of home in 1960s America.
As spring ripens, it’s the perfect time to read Thanhhà Lai’s picture book debut, One hundred years of happiness (HarperCollins, April 5), whose green digital paintings by Nguyen Quang are lush with a spring feel. With the help of her grandfather, a young Vietnamese American girl patiently cultivates gấc vines in an attempt to “untangle” the confused memories of her grandmother with Alzheimer’s.
Make the most of mid-class summer readings with Kereen Getten’s if you are reading this (Delacorte, Aug. 16). A black girl struggling in the wake of her mother’s death receives a special gift from her estranged father that takes her and her friends on a life-changing quest home across their entire Caribbean island.
Finally get into the Christmas spirit early with the new edition of Dawn Casey’s Babushka: a classic folktale for Christmas (Lion, Aug. 19). Luminously illustrated by Amanda Hall, it is a retelling of the (dubious Russian) legend of an old woman who met the three wise men on their way to Jesus.
Summer Edward is an editor for young readers.