Friday, August 29th, 2008 by

NewSouth Books’ Junebug Books imprint recently published two new titles by Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) members: In the Company of Owls by Peter Huggins, and Space by Roger Reid. These books join Reid’s 2005 title Longleaf and A Yellow Watermelon by Ted Dunagan as the latest works by Southern SCBWI chapter Southern Breeze authors to be released from NewSouth.

In the Company of Owls tells an exciting story of courage and the triumph of family loyalty in the face of danger. After Aaron Cash and his father discover their neighbor Morgan Blackburn’s illegal still, Blackburn resorts to increasingly violent acts to force the Cash family to sell their land. Aaron must ultimately use his wits–and his BB gun–to defend his family, an act that leaves both Aaron and the reader to consider its many implications. Of In the Company of Owls, poet Tony Crunk writes, “[Aaron’s] story, and Huggins’s graceful telling of it, sneak up as quietly as a spring shower, but startle as fiercely as a copperhead strike.”

In Space, fourteen-year-old Jason is recruited by his cantankerous friend Stephen to help find which of a group of gathered scientists killed Stephen’s father. Adding to the suspense is a mysterious Man in a Red Flannel Shirt who keeps appearing wherever Jason happens to be. In the climactic scene, Jason uses his scientific knowledge to escape a pursuing gunman in the woods surrounding the real-life Conrad Swanson Observatory. Graham Salisbury says of Space, “Another Roger Reid winner for young mystery lovers. Space is packed with fascinating science, action, compelling story questions, and an ending that rockets off the page. Loved it!”

Southern Breeze named author Ted Dunagan’s A Yellow Watermelon, published earlier this year, a “Soaring Success.” In the best Southern literary tradition, A Yellow Watermelon explores poverty and racial segregation through the eyes of an innocent boy; Ted Dillon wanders through the cotton fields, streams, churches, whiskey stills and his own heart and mind as he struggles with the hypocrisy and wonders of his small world, amid the lingering effects of the Great Depression. Yet with beguiling prose and an ear for the way people speak, the author brings to life a story so engaging and heartfelt that it will resonate with young and old. Kirkus Reviews calls A Yellow Watermelon “a memorable, generous-hearted tale.”

NewSouth Books is a general trade publisher based in Montgomery, Alabama, with a growing list of fine literary fiction–for adults and young adults–and non-fiction.