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Ann Cannon: Hey kids, your elder Utahns are writing just for you

Published October 22, 2011 1:01 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Publishers know it, and you should, too. Utah has a crazy high number of award-winning, New York Times-bestselling authors who write for young readers, which is awesome. Yay, Utah!

Anyway. There's a bumper crop of titles by local writers this fall, so why not share the harvest? (Yes! I know! I'm generous like that!) Following is a list of brand new releases for kids of all ages.

On the young adult front (ages 12 and up), National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr has written a gorgeous novel called How to Save a Life, a contemporary realistic story about (among other things) how families fracture and heal. And after scoring a critical hit with her first book Wolves, Boys and Other Things that Might Kill Me, Kristen Chandler offers us Girls Don't Fly, the charming story of a young woman who steps way, way out of her comfort zone.



Meanwhile, James Dashner's many fans are clamoring for The Death Cure, the conclusion to his widely acclaimed Maze Runner trilogy, while Ally Condie (author of Matched) takes us back to the dystopian future where people have no say about whom they will marry with Crossed.

Speaking of things dystopian, newcomer Robison Wells hits a home run with Variant, the story of boy who wins a scholarship to a school, only to discover it's not really a school, and Mette Harrison updates the Tristan and Isolde legend with Tris and Izzie.

There are plenty of good middle-grade titles (ages 9 to 12) to choose from, as well. Jessica Day George's princess stories never fail to enchant, and her latest novel, Tuesdays at the Castle, about a castle that spontaneously sprouts new rooms once a week, is great fun. Matthew Kirby's gripping new novel Icefall, set in an ancient Scandanavian fortress, has been singled out for praise by no less than the legendary fantasy writer Ursula K. LeGuin.

Also receiving a lot of buzz is Randall Wright's The Cheshire Cheese Cat, which follows the unlikely friendship of a cat and a mouse in Dickens' London. Tess Hilmo earned a starred review in Kirkus for With a Name Like Love, the story of a preacher's daughter who wants to help a new friend clear his mother of a murder charge. And fans of Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortuante Events will enjoy the sly humor of Jennifer Nielsen's Elliott and the Pixie Plot, which begins with this warning: "An entire floor of St. Phobics Hospital for Really Scared Children has been set aside just for readers of this book."

But wait, there are more! If you love picture books (and I love, love, love them), then you should definitely check out Jane and Mizmow, an appealing friendship story about a little girl and a fluffy yellow monster by illustrator and author Matthew Armstrong.

And then there's Mark Pett's The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, a funny story about a girl who, well, never makes mistakes ... until one day she does. OK. Pett no longer lives in Utah, but hey. We still claim him. (We still claim Janette Rallison and her new Slayers series, too, even though she lives in Arizona.)

For dessert, try Cutie Pies for Kids, a cookbook by Jennifer Adams loaded with recipes parents will savor as much as their children do.

Phew! That'a big old mouthful of titles ... and we're just talking October here.

See what I mean? It's a full-on Renaissance, people, right here in Utah.

Ann Cannon can be reached at acannon@sltrib.com or facebook.com/columnistcannon.

 

 

 

 

 

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