BookExpo 2013: Great Books for GeekKids

Coming Soon: Pokemon Visual Companion. Photo: Amy Kraft
DK Publishing’s Lego Chima awesomeness. Photo: Amy Kraft

BookExpo America took place earlier this month in New York City, and it’s always one of my favorite events. I always need to leave myself a few days to see the show because I’m constantly stopping to read in the booths and waiting in autograph lines. This year my autograph lines included many of my kidlit favorites, including Jon Scieszka, Oliver Jeffers, Bob Shea, Betsy Lewin, and Peter Reynolds, all of whom have new books out.

I fell in love with a ton of picture books, especially Bob Shea’s Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great, and saw Star Wars books aplenty. There were no shortage of books for your GeekKids. Here are some more to get excited about.

I was recently talking to a mom who was telling me how much time her son spends with the Lego encyclopedias from DK Publishing. Now, for kids who love Pokemon, there’s the Pokemon Visual Companion.

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Angry Birds, now with more learning! Photo: Amy Kraft

Kids who love Angry Birds can convince their parents that the games are educational with the new National Geographic books that use Angry Birds to teach about physics and space.

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Bob Der, Director of Time for Kids with the latest book collection. Photo: Amy Kraft

I had a lovely chat with Bob Der, Director of Time for Kids, about getting kids excited about reading (especially nonfiction) and how Time for Kids is finding a home in the classroom. Their books are about topics kids get excited about, like dinosaurs and sports and crazy, weird facts and information. They also have digital versions of many books to have a presence on interactive whiteboards in the classroom, “high-impact versions” made better with video. When I think about all the nonfiction requirements in the Common Core Standards, I’m glad for things like Time for Kids.

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The classics made cozier. Photo: Amy Kraft

Cozy Classics are an adorable line of board books that attempt to tell classic tales like Pride and Prejudice and Moby Dick through a handful of photographs of felted characters paired with single words. It helps to have read the original to be able to fill in some detail for your tot. I can imagine giving two copies of Pride and Prejudice to a new mom–the grownup one for her and the Cozy Classic version for baby.

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An interactive experience from Ripley’s. Photo: Amy Kraft

As a kid I was a fan of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not segments that appeared in my Sunday comics, and I’ve stayed intrigued all these years. Ripley’s had a great presence at BookExpo this year, including the gigantic Dare to Look! book. Scan pages with your smart phone to see more videos and images.

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One of the many great finds in the Chronicle booth. Photo: Amy Kraft

There was much to salivate over in the Chronicle book, including Carnivores, a hilarious book by Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat, a bunch of new Taro Gomi books, and this cool Make Your Own Robot kit that looks like a ready-made birthday gift. 

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Watch your fingers! Photo: Amy Kraft

I wish I could tell you this was a real Monster Book of Monsters, but alas it was just a box. What a great place to store your treasures, though. People would think twice before opening.

Other books that came home with me to fill my summer with reading are Octavia Spencer’s debut novel, Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective:The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit; the latest in Lemony Snicket’s All the Wrong Questions series, “When Did You See Her Last?”; the new Guys Read anthology Other Worlds; and Gordon Korman’s Hypnotize Me, book 1 of The Hypnotists. I’ve got a reading-filled summer ahead of me.