New Reads for Young Readers

When Alan Rabinowitz was promoting his adult non-fiction book, Life in the Valley of Death, he told Stephen Colbert about the stutter that plagued him throughout childhood. He could only speak to animals without stuttering and he promised to be a voice for animals should he ever find his own. Colbert asked him, “Are you trying to make me cry? This is the closest any guest has ever gotten.” A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Catia Chien is the book that tells his story. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, and they also published a Q & A with Rabinowitz last week. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.

Meet the Parents by Peter Bently and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie is recommended for ages 4 to 8. Bently’s website features plenty of information about his books as well as anecdotal stories, like when his mother threw out his favorite shapeless, holey sweater. “But now that I am a children’s author I naturally have a huge collection of much-loved, shapeless and even holey jumpers that no one else is going to chuck out, ever. So there.” Bently is active on both Twitter and Facebook.

Described as “an accomplished, graceful, and intelligent writer” by the Chicago Tribune, Gloria Whelan explores a forgotten snippet in history when Prince Albert created a bathing machine for Queen Victoria. An picture of the actual machine in included in Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review. Whelan has been a storyteller all her life. On her website, she says, “I began making up stories before I could write. I would tell a story to my baby sitter and she would type it out.”

Screenshot 2014-05-08 12.13.20Speaking of Instagram campaigns, this week SimonTeen started a #sinceyouvebeengone #bffchallenge celebrating Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. An Instagram challenged will be issued each week for 6 weeks and fans are encouraged to complete one challenge to enter once or more challenges for more entries. (Enter on Instagram or at

From the site:

This week’s #bffchallenge – post a picture of you & your BFF: 1. Trying on sunglasses 2. Eating ice cream 3. Under the night sky 4. Reading Since You’ve Been Gone Make sure you follow & mention in the caption for your photo: @morgamat @simonteen #bffchallenge! This week’s prize – 2 sets of: Since You’ve Been Gone, heart sunglasses & $20 @socialps #prinstagram gift cards! Open to US only. Week 1 #bffchallenge ends 5/11. See full rules at

Matson has a well-designed website and she says that Twitter is the best way to reach her. Since You’ve Been Gone is recommended for ages 12 and up.


Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay