New Release Round Up – January 5, 2021

This year, I want to try to something a little different when it comes to sharing new books I’m excited about.

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The number of children’s books being published can be overwhelming, and I know it can be difficult to stay on top of new titles coming out and when they are released. If you are also looking to sift through those new releases to find inclusive titles, it can be extremely daunting. But don’t worry! I’ve already done the work for you.

Every Tuesday I will be sharing the new releases I am most excited about. These titles will always have inclusive characters (think racial and cultural diversity, LGBTQ+ representation, diverse family structures, disability representation, and more), but will have a variety of themes in both fiction and nonfiction.

I hope this feature will save you all a bit of time researching new titles and allow you to spend more quality time reading those books with your little ones!

So let’s get into today’s new releases, shall we?

Board Books

The Cuddle Book by Mifflin Lowe, Illustrated by Delia Ciccarelli (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Everyone knows cuddling can reduce stress levels and release endorphins, but kids know that, most importantly, cuddling is FUN! With adorable, hand-painted illustrations and Dr. Seuss-like rhymes and humor, The Cuddle Book is sure to be a bedtime favorite. So snuggle up with this padded board book and let the cuddling commence!”

Festival of Colors by Kabir by Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal, Illustrated Vashti Harrison (Bookshop | Amazon)

“It’s time for the Indian festival of Holi, a celebration of the start of spring, of new beginnings, and of good over evil. Friends, families, and neighbors wear white clothing and toss handfuls of brightly colored powders at one another until they’re all completely covered from head to toe!

Young readers will love following the young siblings gathering flowers to make the colorful powders for the big day until—poof!—it’s time for the fun to begin.”

Picture Books

Most Days by by Michael Leannah, Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth Baratta (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Good things happen in the ordinary minutes of an ordinary day.”

“This is a book about mindfulness. About relishing the magic of the here and now. About enjoying the extraordinary unfoldings of an ordinary day. Moving from morning to night, the narrator becomes, by turns, boy or girl, of ever-changing ethnicity and ability, inhabiting city, country, or suburb. They are all children everywhere, opening themselves to the gift of time.”

And don’t miss my full review of Most Days.

Kate’s Light by Elizabeth Spires, Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Illustrated by a Caldecott Medalist, Kate’s Light shares the exciting true story of Katherine Walker and her long, heroic career as one of the first woman lighthouse keepers on the Eastern Seaboard.

With watercolor and ink illustrations which perfectly capture the salty spray of the sea, Kate’s Light brings the turn of the century New York Harbor to life, with a focus on one of its little known but most crucial attendants.”

Eyes That Kiss In The Corners by Joanna Ho, Illustrated by Dung Ho (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages.”

The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy by Kekla Magoon, Illustrated by Laura Freeman (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A brilliant picture book biography about Thurgood Marshall, who fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement and served as the first Black justice on the Supreme Court, from Coretta Scott King Honor winners Kekla Magoon and Laura Freeman.

Readers will be inspired by Kekla Magoon’s concise text and Laura Freeman’s luminous illustrations, which bring Thurgood Marshall’s incredible legacy and achievements to life.”

Ten Little Dumplings by Larissa Fan, Illustrated by Cindy Wume (Bookshop | Amazon)

“If one son is lucky, then ten must be great luck indeed! But where does that leave an only daughter? Based on a true family story, this inspiring picture book about a different perspective tells the tale of a girl determined to be seen, who finds her own voice and makes her own luck.

Based on a short film made by the author, inspired by her father’s family in Taiwan, Ten Little Dumplings looks at some unhappy truths about the place of girls in our world in an accessible, inspiring and hopeful way.”

You can also read my full review of Ten Little Dumplings.

A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy, Illustrated by Ana Ramírez González (Bookshop | Amazon)

“The Snowy Day meets Last Stop on Market Street in this heartwarming classic in the making about a young boy who is in a new town and doesn’t have much, but with the help of a loving community discovers the joys of his first snowy day.

On the day it snows, Gabo sees kids tugging sleds up the hill, then coasting down, whooping all the while. Gabo wishes he could join them, but his hat is too small, and he doesn’t have boots or a sled.

But he does have warm and welcoming neighbors in his new town who help him solve the problem in the sweetest way possible!”

Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham (Bookshop | Amazon)

“From Caldecott honoree LeUyen Pham, Outside, Inside is a moving picture book celebrating essential workers and the community coming together to face the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Something strange happened on an unremarkable day just before the season changed.

Everybody who was outside . . .

. . . went inside.”

Over The Shop by JonArno Lawson, Illustrated by Qin Leng (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space—until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.”

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Harriet Tubman by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger comes a chapter book series about women who stood up, spoke up and rose up against the odds!

Born enslaved, Harriet Tubman rose up to become one of the most successful, determined and well-known conductors of the Underground Railroad. With her family’s love planted firmly in her heart, Harriet looked to the North Star for guidance–and its light helped guide her way out of slavery. Her courage made it possible for her to help others reach freedom too.”

And don’t miss my full review of She Persisted: Harriet Tubman.

The First Wish: Jeanie and Genie, Vol. 1 by Trish Granted, Illustrated by Manuela Lopez (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In the first book of the Jeanie and Genie series, new student Willow Davis turns fellow second grader Jeanie Bell’s life upside down with her unbelievable, magical secret!

For Jeanie Bell, things at Rivertown Elementary are nice, normal, and totally average—just the way she likes it. But when a new girl, Willow Davis, joins the school, all of a sudden strange things start happening. Will Willow’s big secret ruin the girls’ friendship—and change life in Rivertown forever?

With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Jeanie & Genie chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.”

Stars of the Show: The Adventures of Allie and Amy 3 by Stephanie Calmenson and Joanna Cole, Illustrated by James Burks (Bookshop | Amazon)

“From Stephanie Calmenson and Magic School Bus author Joanna Cole comes the third story about the adventures of Allie and Amy, two friends who have to save their favorite playground in this silly, fun-to-read Aladdin QUIX chapter book that’s perfect for emerging readers!

Best, best friends Amy and Allie do absolutely everything together. But when Allie gets sick, she can’t perform their duet at a fundraiser to save the local playground! Will Amy have to sing alone?”

Middle Grade

Shaking up The House by Yamile Saied Méndez (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Ingrid and Winnie López have lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for eight years, but their friends Skylar and Zora Williams—the new first daughters—are about to move into the White House with their mom, the president-elect. What the Williamses don’t know is that incoming presidents’ families are often pranked by the folks they’re replacing, and Ingrid and Winnie take that tradition very seriously.

But when the four girls get wrapped up in an ever-escalating exchange of practical jokes and things spiral out of control, can they avoid an international incident? Or will their battle go down in American history and ruin their friendship forever?”

Root Magic by Eden Royce (Bookshop | Amazon)

“It’s 1963, and things are changing for Jezebel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. The local police deputy won’t stop harassing her family. With school integration arriving in South Carolina, Jez and her twin brother, Jay, are about to begin the school year with a bunch of new kids. But the biggest change comes when Jez and Jay turn eleven— and their uncle, Doc, tells them he’s going to train them in rootwork.

Jez and Jay have always been fascinated by the African American folk magic that has been the legacy of their family for generations—especially the curious potions and powders Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out that her family’s true power goes far beyond small charms and elixirs…and not a moment too soon. Because when evil both natural and supernatural comes to show itself in town, it’s going to take every bit of the magic she has inside her to see her through.”

Goldie Vance: The Hocus-Pocus Hoax by Lilliam Rivera (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Marigold “Goldie” Vance lives and works at the Crossed Palms Resort Hotel in Florida with a whole slew of characters: her dad, Art, the manager of the joint; Cheryl Lebeaux, the concierge and Goldie’s best friend; and Walter Tooey, the hired hotel detective. Her mom, Sylvie, works nearby at the Mermaid Club.

Prepare to be amazed by Goldie’s second middle-grade adventure! The Crossed Palms is hosting the first ever League of Magical Arts Convention, bringing the world’s most renowned and emerging magicians to the resort, including an overeager part-time magician and detective named Derek Von Thurston. When some of the magic starts to go awry, Goldie — and Derek — are on the case! Can Goldie uncover the saboteur before the final act goes live?

Based on Hope Larson and Brittney Williams’s critically acclaimed Goldie Vance comic, this thrilling novel explores a never-before-seen caper and features 8 full-color comic pages essential to unraveling the mystery.”

The Sea In Winter by Christine Day (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In this evocative and heartwarming novel for readers who loved The Thing About Jellyfish, the author of I Can Make This Promise tells the story of a Native American girl struggling to find her joy again.

It’s been a hard year for Maisie Cannon, ever since she hurt her leg and could not keep up with her ballet training and auditions.

Her blended family is loving and supportive, but Maisie knows that they just can’t understand how hopeless she feels. With everything she’s dealing with, Maisie is not excited for their family midwinter road trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up.

But soon, Maisie’s anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as the pain in her knee. How can she keep pretending to be strong when on the inside she feels as roiling and cold as the ocean?”

Unleashed by Amy McCullough (Bookshop | Amazon)

“The Golden Compass for the digital age in this action-packed sequel to Jinxed.

When Lacey Chu wakes up in a hospital room with no memory of how she got there, she knows something went really wrong. And with her cat baku, Jinx, missing in action and MONCHA, the company behind the invention of the robot pet, threatening her family, she isn’t sure who to turn to for answers.

When Lacey is expelled and her mom starts acting strangely after the latest update from MONCHA, Lacey and her friends work together to get to the bottom of it and discover a sinister plot at the heart of the corporation.

Lacey must use all her skills if she has a chance of stopping MONCHA from carrying out their plans. But can she take on the biggest tech company in North America armed with only a level 1 robot beetle and her friends at her side?”

Legacy by Nikki Grimes, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Cozbi A. Cabrera, Nina Crews, Pat Cummings, Laura Freeman, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, April Harrison, Vashti Harrison, Ekua Holmes, Cathy Ann Johnson, Keisha Morris, Daria Peoples-Riley, Andrea Pippins, Erin Robinson, Shadra Strickland, Nicole Tadgell, and Elizabeth Zunon (Bookshop | Amazon)

“For centuries, accomplished women–of all races–have fallen out of the historical records. The same is true for gifted, prolific, women poets of the Harlem Renaissance who are little known, especially as compared to their male counterparts.

In this poetry collection, bestselling author Nikki Grimes uses “The Golden Shovel” poetic method to create wholly original poems based on the works of these groundbreaking women-and to introduce readers to their work.

Each poem is paired with one-of-a-kind art from today’s most exciting female African-American illustrators.”

Graphic Novels

Oh My Gods by Stephanie Cooke and Insha Fitzpatrick, Illustrated by Juliana Moon (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Oh My Gods!, the first in a new middle grade graphic novel series, reads as if Raina Telgemeier and Rick Riordan teamed up to write a comic, and offers a fresh and funny spin on Greek mythology. When an average girl moves to Mt. Olympus, she discovers her new classmates are gods and mythological creatures are actually real—as if junior high isn’t hard enough!

Karen is just an average thirteen-year-old from New Jersey who loves to play video games with her friends and watch movies with her mom. But when she moves to Greece to live with her eccentric, mysterious father, Zed, suddenly everything she thought about herself—about life—is up in the air.”

After The Rain by Nnedi Okorafor, Adapted by John Jennings, Illustrated by David Brame (Bookshop | Amazon)

“During a furious storm a young woman’s destiny is revealed . . . and her life is changed forever

After the Rain is a graphic novel adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s short story “On the Road.” The drama takes place in a small Nigerian town during a violent and unexpected storm. A Nigerian-American woman named Chioma answers a knock at her door and is horrified to see a boy with a severe head wound standing at her doorstep. He reaches for her, and his touch burns like fire. Something is very wrong. Haunted and hunted, Chioma must embrace her heritage in order to survive. John Jennings and David Brame’s graphic novel collaboration uses bold art and colors to powerfully tell this tale of identity and destiny.”

My Weird School Graphic Novel: Mr. Corbett Is in Orbit! by Dan Gutman, Illustrated by Jim Paillot (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Graphic novel fans, prepare for liftoff! New York Times bestselling author Dan Gutman and illustrator Jim Paillot have brought you an all-new series of My Weird School graphic novels!

In this first book, A.J. and his friends at Ella Mentry School are headed on a field trip to NASA headquarters. But their tour guide, Mr. Corbett, is a total space cadet! And what happens when A.J. accidentally launches the whole class into outer space?!

Full of visual gags, space aliens, and hilarious full-color illustrations, this is the weirdest graphic novel in the history of the world!

With more than 27 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!”

I hope you all enjoyed reading about these new releases, and hopefully you found one or two for your young readers.

Did I miss any releases you’re excited for? Be sure to share in the comments below!

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