1. Gary's Garden by Gary Northfield. I've watched Gary at the next desk over in the studio, putting together these comics for his regular strip in The Phoenix Comic and they're brilliant. His drawings have so much energy, his jokes are wonderfully zany, his colours are beautiful, and he creates such a funny and engaging little world down among the grass of his back garden. Get ready for lots of insect-based adventures. Gary's also brilliant at doing comics events with kids. His previous book The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs was my Summer Reading Challenge 'Pass It On' book recommendation. This will be a perfect gift for all ages. Gary's Garden launches with David Fickling Books on 7 Aug.
2. The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis. I adored Rob's beautiful and clever adaptation of Don Quixote and his drawings in the Horrible Histories books are nationally well-loved. This upcoming book sounds like something strange and wonderful, possibly not like anything at all that I've ever read. I travelled to the Hay Festival in Wales once in a van with Rob, and he told me stories from his childhood - running around with a pack of other near-feral boys - and gosh, has that guy seen a few things. It sounds like this book will be touching on some of them, and I'm fascinated to see how he'll do it. Here's a bit more information on the SelfMadeHero website. I suspect this book will be appropriate for teenagers and adults, not children. Launches on 16 Oct.
3. How to Make Awesome Comics by Neill Cameron. Neill does amazing comics workshops and knows that when kids start making comics, they run wild with drawing and writing. Librarians, teachers, parents, TAKE NOTE. There's no better way to get your kids reading than to get them making comics. Suddenly they see words as useful tools in telling their stories, grab them off the shelves and get to work with enthusiasm. Neill's book will have loads of comic-making tips, story starters and other jumping-off points to help in crafting good comics stories. This book really needed to happen; I recommend Scott McCloud's books about making comics to adults, but there hasn't really been a good book I could get behind that's accessible to kids as well as adults. And now there will be! An absolute MUST for every library. Launches with David Fickling Books on 7 Aug.