"A graphic novel on the bookshelf of every child and YA reader." Sounds like a great achievement to try and unlock. That is the rallying cry of Random House Graphic, who plans to do exactly that with their upcoming releases. Their first four titles were announced at SDCC 2019. Now, at NYCC, the publisher finally gave us a look inside of those pages. In case you're unfamiliar with the titles, I'll go one by one with a look at the cover, a page and the synopsis from the Random House website.
The Runaway Princess by Johan Troïanowski (January 21, 2020)
Robin? Robin? Robin?! Where are you?
She couldn’t have gone far. . . .
Princesses don’t run away to have their own adventures. Right?
Princesses stay quietly and obediently at home. They would never want mermaids and swamps and pirates and getting kidnapped to be a part of their lives. Not this princess!
Adventures await when Robin (bored of princess-ing all the time) embarks on the best adventure of her life–meeting friends along the way as she travels through the magical landscape of her country. But her parents aren’t so pleased–and they’re coming to find her and bring her back to the castle, no matter how she feels about it!
Bug Boys by Laura Knetzger (February 11, 2020)
Rhino-B is a brash, but sweet guy. Stag-B is a calm and scholarly adventurer. Together these two young beetles make up the Bug Boys, best friends who spend their time exploring the world of Bug Village and beyond, as well as their own – sometimes confusing and complicated – thoughts and feelings.
In their first adventure, the Bug Boys travel through spooky caves, work with a spider to found a library, save their town’s popular honey supply from extinction, and even make friends with ferocious termites!
What challenges will these two earnest beetles face? Whatever it is, you can be sure that Rhino-B and Stag-B will face it together — with the power of friendship behind them.
Aster And The Accidental Magic by Thom Pico and Karensac (March 3, 2020)
Quiet . . . birds . . . nature. . . .
That’s what Aster expects when her parents move their whole family to the middle of nowhere. It’s just her (status: super-bored), her mom and dad (status: busy with science), her brother (status: has other plans), and . . .
. . . magic?
In her new home, Aster meets a mysterious old woman with a herd of dogs who gives her a canine companion of her own. But when she and her dog Buzz are adventuring in the forest, they run into a trickster spirit who gives Aster three wishes. After wishing for the ability to understand and talk to her dog, she becomes only able to talk in dog language . . . and the trouble she gets into is just starting.
Maybe the middle of nowhere will be more interesting than Aster thought.
Witchlight by Jessi Zabarsky (April 14, 2020)
Lelek is a witch.
That’s all Sanja knows when she meets Lelek in the marketplace. But Lelek is hiding secrets — and as her life begins to intersect with Sanja’s, all that she’s hiding starts to come to light.
Secrets, friendship, and magic all come together as Lelek gets closer and closer to uncovering the truth about her past. . . .
Witchlight is a wonderful adventure filled with friendship, family, falling in love, and dealing with the hardest bits of your past all along the way.
If that wasn't enough, this tweet sent out during the convention shows even more titles that are apparently on the way:
Thanks to everyone who joined our panels this year at #NYCC ! We had so much fun talking kids graphic novels with you 😊 so much more to come! Join us all weekend long at the booth! @randomhousekids @RHKidsGraphic pic.twitter.com/vL4nlm9pPl— Random House Graphic @ NYCC! #2205 (@RHKidsGraphic) October 4, 2019
I love the fact that there seems to be a bigger graphic novel push for young readers recently. It seemed, to me, that there was a gap in the market there. As a father of two, I need more things to help get my kids into reading. Not only that, more different and diverse stories that will get (and keep) their interest. Random House has been around for a long time, and has built up a reputation for storytelling over the years. The fact that they are bringing that attention to detail into graphic novels now gives me hope that initiative will be everything that I hope it will be.
Photo Credits: Random House Graphic