New Release Round Up – January 26, 2021

Tuesday tried to sneak up on me this week, but I’m ready with all the new releases today!

As always, these titles will have inclusive characters (such as 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

Don’t Hug Doug: (He Doesn’t Like It) by Carrie Finison, Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Meet Doug, an ordinary kid who doesn’t like hugs, in this fun and exuberant story which aims to spark discussions about bodily autonomy and consent–from author Carrie Finison and the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of The World Needs More Purple People, Daniel Wiseman.

Doug doesn’t like hugs. He thinks hugs are too squeezy, too squashy, too squooshy, too smooshy. He doesn’t like hello hugs or goodbye hugs, game-winning home run hugs or dropped ice cream cone hugs, and he definitely doesn’t like birthday hugs. He’d much rather give a high five–or a low five, a side five, a double five, or a spinny five. Yup, some people love hugs; other people don’t. So how can you tell if someone likes hugs or not? There’s only one way to find out: Ask! Because everybody gets to decide for themselves whether they want a hug or not.”

Marsha Is Magnetic by Beth Ferry, Illustrated by Lorena Alvarez (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped.

Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method.

With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to attract as many friends as she can—what could possibly go wrong?

In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.”

Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book by Keila Dawson, Illustrated by Alleanna Harris (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In the late 1930s when segregation was legal and Black Americans couldn’t visit every establishment or travel everywhere they wanted to safely, a New Yorker named Victor Hugo Green decided to do something about it. Green wrote and published a guide that listed places where his fellow Black Americans could be safe in New York City. The guide sold like hot cakes! Soon customers started asking Green to make a guide to help them travel and vacation safely across the nation too. With the help of his mail carrier co-workers and the African American business community, Green’s guide allowed millions of African Americans to travel safely and enjoy traveling across the nation.

In the first picture book about the creation and distribution of The Green Book, author Keila Dawson and illustrator Alleanna Harris tell the story of the man behind it and how this travel guide opened the road for a safer, more equitable America.”

The Librarian’s Stories by Lucy Falcone, Illustrated by Anna Wilson (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In a war-torn town, a courageous librarian keeps hope alive through the power of stories.

A village is left in ruins after the bombs fall. The beloved library is burned to ash. Food is scarce. Danger is abundant. Every aspect of daily life is changed. How will home ever feel as it once did?

But then one day, the Librarian emerges in the town square. Seated on a bench in front of the library’s remains, she opens a book and begins to read aloud. The village children stop to listen. “Foolish woman,” Papa says. “Too dangerous,” Mama agrees, hurrying the children away. But day after day the librarian returns to her post, her voice carrying stories above the thunder of tanks and to the broken hearts of the people. Little by little, the persistent Librarian’s stories seed hope in the people, and their village begins to mend.

Inspired by the bombing of the National Library of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War, and bombing of the library at the University of Mosul in Iraq, The Librarian’s Stories is a testament to the enduring connection between stories and hope.”

Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sís (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In 1938, twenty-nine-year-old Nicholas Winton saved the lives of almost 700 children trapped in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia―a story he never told and that remained unknown until an unforgettable TV appearance in the 1980s reunited him with some of the children he saved.

Czech-American artist, MacArthur Fellow, and Andersen Award winner Peter Sís dramatizes Winton’s story in this distinctive and deeply personal picture book. He intertwines Nicky’s efforts with the story of one of the children he saved―a young girl named Vera, whose family enlisted Nicky’s aid when the Germans occupied their country. As the war passes and Vera grows up, she must find balance in her dual identities―one her birthright, the other her choice.

Nicky & Vera is a masterful tribute to a humble man’s courageous efforts to protect Europe’s most vulnerable, and a timely portrayal of the hopes and fears of those forced to leave their homes and create new lives.”

I Am A Kindness Hero by Jennifer Adams, Illustrated by Carme Lemniscates (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Follow the adventures of a young boy as he practices kindness throughout his day, from rescuing a puppy to standing up to bullies to helping his young sister tie her shoe. I Am a Kindness Hero celebrates gentleness and vulnerability in boys, and shows that true strength and leadership come from treating those around you with love and respect.

I Am a Kindness Hero provides parents, teachers, and childcare providers with a beautiful picture book that offers a new kind of role model for young boys. A standalone title, it also serves as a companion to I Am a Warrior Goddess, by the same author and illustrator, which inspires strength, leadership, and empowerment in young girls.”

You acll also read my full review of I Am A Kindness Hero for more detail!

Chapter Books

Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Reach for new heights with Vice President Kamala Harris. Organize voter registration with Stacey Abrams. Spread messages of kindness with Lady Gaga. And captain a team of Olympic gymnasts with Aly Raisman.

This collection of 25 stories includes the most beloved stories of leadership from the first three volumes of the New York Times best-selling series, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. And also features 11 brand new tales of women’s activism, bravery, and vision.

Rebel Girls Lead celebrates the leadership of women from Michelle Obama to Malala Yousafzai. It is illustrated by female artists from around the world.”

Middle Grade

Bump by Matt Wallace (Bookshop | Amazon)

“MJ knows what it means to hurt. Bruises from gymnastics heal, but big hurts—like her dad not being around anymore—don’t go away. Now her mom needs to work two jobs, and MJ doesn’t have friends at school to lean on.

There is only one thing MJ loves: the world of professional wrestling. She especially idolizes the luchadores and the stories they tell in the ring. When MJ learns that her neighbor, Mr. Arellano, runs a wrestling school, she has a new mission in life: join the school, train hard, and become a wrestler.

But trouble lies ahead. After wrestling in a showcase event, MJ attracts the attention of Mr. Arellano’s enemy at the State Athletic Commission. There are threats to shut the school down, putting MJ’s new home—and the community that welcomed her—at risk. What can MJ do to save her new family?”

While I Was Away by Waka Brown (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When twelve-year-old Waka’s parents suspect she can’t understand the basic Japanese they speak to her, they make a drastic decision to send her to Tokyo to live for several months with her strict grandmother. Forced to say goodbye to her friends and what would have been her summer vacation, Waka is plucked from her straight-A-student life in rural Kansas and flown across the globe, where she faces the culture shock of a lifetime.

In Japan, Waka struggles with reading and writing in kanji, doesn’t quite mesh with her complicated and distant Obaasama, and gets made fun of by the students in her Japanese public-school classes. Even though this is the country her parents came from, Waka has never felt more like an outsider.

If she’s always been the “smart Japanese girl” in America but is now the “dumb foreigner” in Japan, where is home…and who will Waka be when she finds it?”

Take Back The Block by Chrystal Giles (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That–and hanging out with his crew (his best friends since little-kid days) and playing video games–is what he wants to be thinking about at the start of the school year, not the protests his parents are always dragging him to.

But when a real estate developer makes an offer to buy Kensington Oaks, the neighborhood Wes has lived his whole life, everything changes. The grownups are supposed to have all the answers, but all they’re doing is arguing. Even Wes’s best friends are fighting. And some of them may be moving. Wes isn’t about to give up the only home he’s ever known. Wes has always been good at puzzles, and he knows there has to be a missing piece that will solve this puzzle and save the Oaks. But can he find it . . . before it’s too late?

Exploring community, gentrification, justice, and friendship, Take Back the Block introduces an irresistible 6th grader and asks what it means to belong–to a place and a movement–and to fight for what you believe in.”

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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