New Release Round Up – January 19, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everybody! It’s time to talk about new releases again!

I’m so excited to share the all the new releases I am most looking forward to this week with you all. As always, these titles will have inclusive characters (think racial and cultural diversity, LGBTQ+ representation, diverse family structures, disability representation, and more), and fall into a range of genres in both fiction and nonfiction categories.

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Picture Books

A Thousand White Butterflies by Jessica Betancourt-Perez and Karen Lynn Williams, Illustrated by Gina Maldonado (Bookshop | Amazon)

“As if being new to the United States wasn’t hard enough, Isabella’s first day of school is canceled due to snow!

Isabella has recently arrived from Colombia with her mother and abuela. She misses Papa, who is still in South America. It’s her first day of school, her make-new-friends day, but when classes are canceled because of too much snow, Isabella misses warm, green, Colombia more than ever. Then Isabella meets Katie and finds out that making friends in the cold is easier than she thought!”

Don’t miss my full review of A Thousand White Butterflies here.

The Passover Guest by Susan Kusel, Illustrated by Sean Rubin (Bookshop | Amazon)

“It’s the Spring of 1933 in Washington D.C., and the Great Depression is hitting young Muriel’s family hard. Her father has lost his job, and her family barely has enough food most days, let alone for a Passover Seder. They don’t even have any wine to leave out for the prophet Elijah’s ceremonial cup.

With no feast to rush home to, Muriel wanders by the Lincoln Memorial, where she encounters a mysterious magician in whose hands juggled eggs become lit candles. After she makes a kind gesture, he encourages her to run home for her Seder, and when she does, she encounters a holiday miracle, a bountiful feast of brisket, soup, and matzah. But who was this mysterious benefactor? When Muriel sees Elijah’s ceremonial cup is empty, she has a good idea.”

She Caught The Light by Kathryn Lasky, Illustrated by Julianna Swaney (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Ever since Williamina Fleming was little she was curious, and her childhood fascination with light inspired her life’s work. Mina became an astronomer in a time when women were discouraged from even looking through telescopes. Yet Mina believed that the universe, with its billions of stars, was a riddle—and she wanted to help solve it.

Mina ultimately helped to create a map of the universe that paved the way for astronomers. Newbery Honor–winning Kathryn Lasky shares her incredible true story.”

Alabama Spitfire: The Story Of Harper Lee and To Kill A Mockingbird by Bethany Hegedus, Illustrated by Erin McGuire (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Nelle Harper Lee grew up in the rocky red soil of Monroeville, Alabama. From the get-go she was a spitfire.

Unlike most girls at that time and place, Nelle preferred overalls to dresses and climbing trees to tea parties. Nelle loved to watch her daddy try cases in the courtroom. And she and her best friend, Tru, devoured books and wrote stories of their own. More than anything Nelle loved words.

This love eventually took her all the way to New York City, where she dreamed of becoming a writer. Any chance she had, Nelle sat at her typewriter, writing, revising, and chasing her dream. Nelle wouldn’t give up—not until she discovered the right story, the one she was born to tell.”

Maryam’s Magic: The Story of Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani by Megan Reid, Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel (Bookshop | Amazon)

“As a little girl, Maryam Mirzakhani was spellbound by stories. She loved reading in Tehran’s crowded bookstores, and at home she’d spend hours crafting her own tales on giant rolls of paper.

Maryam loved school, especially her classes in reading and writing. But she did not like math. Numbers were nowhere near as interesting as the bold, adventurous characters she found in books. Until Maryam unexpectedly discovered a new genre of storytelling: In geometry, numbers became shapes, each with its own fascinating personality—making every equation a brilliant story waiting to be told.

As an adult, Maryam became a professor, inventing new formulas to solve some of math’s most complicated puzzles. And she made history by becoming the first woman—and the first Iranian—to win the Fields Medal, mathematics’ highest award.”

Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris, Illustrated by Marissa Valdez (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Anyone who’s ever been underestimated or overshadowed will find inspiration in this empowering new picture book from Meena Harris, New York Times-bestselling author of Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, which is based on a true story about her aunt, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and her mother, Maya Harris.

When a young girl sees a strong woman on TV labeled as “too assertive” and “too ambitious,” it sends her on a journey of discovery through past, present, and future about the challenges faced by women and girls and the ways in which they can reframe, redefine, and reclaim words meant to knock them down.”

The Aquanaut by Jill Heinerth, Illustrated by Jaime Kim (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Through beautiful, spare text, Jill Heinerth tells her story about a girl who feels too young, too little and too far away from her dreams. But you don’t need to wait to grow up. It doesn’t take much to imagine all the things you can do and be. What if your bedroom were a space station? What would it be like to have flippers or tusks? In your own home you can explore new worlds and meet new friends.

Jaime Kim’s luminous art transports readers back and forth through time to see how Jill’s imagination as a young girl laid the pathway to her accomplishments and experiences as an underwater explorer.”

You can also read my full review of The Aquanaut here.

Rainbow Boy by Taylor Rouanzion, Illustrated by Stacey Chomiak (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A story about a boy with a heart too big for one color alone.

A little boy attempts to answer one of grown-ups’ all-time favorite questions: “What’s your favorite color?” But with so many wonderful colors to choose from, he doesn’t know how to answer. He loves his pink sparkly tutu, bright red roses, soft yellow baby doll pajamas, and big, orange basketball. How will he ever pick?”

You can also read my full review of Rainbow Boy for more detail.

Together We March by Leah Henderson, Illustrated by Tyler Feder (Bookshop | Amazon)

“March through history and discover twenty-five groundbreaking protest movements that have shaped the way we fight for equality and justice today in this stunningly illustrated and sweeping book!

For generations, marches have been an invaluable tool for bringing about social change. People have used their voices, the words on their signs, and the strength in their numbers to combat inequality, oppression, and discrimination. They march to call attention to these wrongs and demand change and action, from a local to a global scale.

Whether demanding protective laws or advocating for equal access to things like voting rights, public spaces, and jobs, the twenty-five marches in this book show us that even when a fight seems impossible, marching can be the push needed to tip the scales and create a movement. This gorgeous collection celebrates this rich and diverse history, the often-overlooked stories, and the courageous people who continue to teach us the importance of coming together to march today.”

Chapter Books

Mr. Summerling’s Secret Code (The Treasure Troop #1) by Dori Hillestad Butler, Illustrated by Tim Budgen (Bookshop | Amazon)

“From Edgar Award Winner Dori Hillestad Butler comes a new chapter book mystery series, The Treasure Troop! Join Marly, Isla, and Sai, three code-cracking kids on the hunt for an old neighbor’s hidden treasure.

Marly always knew Mr. Summerling as her friendly neighbor living in the big, old house next-door. Sure, he walked around with a metal detector and talked about being a “treasure hunter,” but she didn’t think much of it. But when news of Mr. Summerling’s death arrives at her doorstep, Marly is brought into a treasure hunt of her own. In Mr. Summerling’s will, he’s left a treasure for Marly and her two classmates, Isla and Sai. The catch? They have to solve a series of riddles, puzzles, and clues to find its location. And not only that, they have to work together on it — which Marly is not looking forward to. But with no other choice, she, Isla, and Sai set off on the hunt. Can the three kids come together to crack the code? And even if they do solve the clues… what could Mr. Summerling possibly have left them?”

Middle Grade

The Comeback by E. L. Shen (Bookshop | Amazon)

“E. L. Shen’s The Comeback is a heartfelt, #OwnVoices middle-grade debut about a young girl trying to be a champ―in figure skating and in life.

Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen is just trying to nail that perfect landing: on the ice, in middle school, and at home, where her parents worry that competitive skating is too much pressure for a budding tween. Maxine isn’t concerned, however―she’s determined to glide to victory. But then a bully at school starts teasing Maxine for her Chinese heritage, leaving her stunned and speechless. And at the rink, she finds herself up against a stellar new skater named Hollie, whose grace and skill threaten to edge Maxine out of the competition. With everything she knows on uneven ice, will Maxine crash under the pressure? Or can she power her way to a comeback?”

Amari & The Night Brothers by B. B. Alston (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.

So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.

Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.”

Ghosted by Michael Fry (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Larry’s got a few problems. In school, he’s one of those kids who easily gets lost in the crowd. And Grimm, Larry’s best friend in the whole world, has ghosted him. Literally. One minute Grimm was saving a cat in a tree during a lightning storm, and the next, he’s pulling pranks on Larry in his new ghostly form.

When the two best friends realize that there’s something keeping Grimm tethered to their world, they decide that finishing their Totally To-Do bucket list is the perfect way to help Grimm with his unfinished business. Pulling hilarious pranks and shenanigans may be easier with a ghostly best friend, but as Larry and Grimm brave the scares of seventh grade, they realize that saying goodbye might just be the scariest part of middle school.”

Magic’s Most Wanted by Tyler Whitesides (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Magic is closer than you ever thought possible in this madcap middle grade adventure perfect for fans of James Riley and Chris Grabenstein.

For Mason Mortimer Morrison, life isn’t so magical.

His dad was just sent to jail, his grades have been plummeting from meh to yikes, and, oh yeah, two officers from some organization called Magix just showed up to arrest him in the middle of fourth period.

Talk about bad luck.

Mason knows he’s innocent. But in order to clear his name, he’s going to need the help of a plucky Magix junior detective and a cantankerous talking bunny—and a little bit of magic.”

I hope you all enjoyed reading about these new releases, and hopefully you found one or two to add to your young reader’s shelves!

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

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