New Release Round Up – February 2, 2021

You all know the drill by now. It’s Tuesday, so we are talking about new releases!

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.

There are quite a few titles I’ve had my eye on that are publishing today. I will be also reviewing a few of these throughout the week, so keep your eyes peeled!

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.

Board Books

Brilliant Baby Does Math by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Jean Claude (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This brand-new series will introduce and explore all the different subjects your brilliant baby will soon master!

Your Brilliant Baby will love exploring all the applications of math and where they can find it in their daily lives, like learning what’s hotter or colder, checking the score of the game, and seeing math in skyscrapers, rocket ships, and more!”

Brilliant Baby Plays Music by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Jean Claude (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Your Brilliant Baby will love learning about all the different types of music they can groove, dance, and boogie along to, as well as being introduced to instruments such as cellos, pianos, trumpets, saxophones, and more!”

Picture Books

Milo Imagines The World by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Milo is on a long subway ride with his older sister. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. There’s the whiskered man with the crossword puzzle; Milo imagines him playing solitaire in a cluttered apartment full of pets. There’s the wedding-dressed woman with a little dog peeking out of her handbag; Milo imagines her in a grand cathedral ceremony. And then there’s the boy in the suit with the bright white sneakers; Milo imagines him arriving home to a castle with a drawbridge and a butler. But when the boy in the suit gets off on the same stop as Milo–walking the same path, going to the exact same place–Milo realizes that you can’t really know anyone just by looking at them.”

You can also read my full review of Milo Imagines The World for more detail.

Meesha Makes Friends by Tom Percival (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Meesha doesn’t know quite what to do, what to say, or when to say it, and she struggles reading and responding to social cues. But one day, she discovers that she has a special talent that will help her navigate challenging social situations and make friends.

A warm and affectionate look at the joys and difficulties of making and keeping friends, relating to others, and finding your place in the world, Meesha Makes Friends is an empowering and resonant new title in the Big Bright Feelings series.

The Big Bright Feelings picture books provide kid-friendly entry points into emotional intelligence topics–from being true to yourself, to worrying, to anger management, to making friends. These topics can be difficult to talk about. But these books act as sensitive and reassuring springboards for conversations about mental and emotional health, positive self-image, building self-confidence, and managing feelings.”

Standing On Her Shoulders by Monica Clark-Robinson, Illustrated by Laura Freeman (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Standing on Her Shoulders is a celebration of the strong women who influence us — from our mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers to the women who fought for equality and acceptance in the United States.

Monica Clark-Robinson’s lyrical text encourages young girls to learn about the powerful and trailblazing women who laid the path for their own lives and empowers them to become role models themselves. Acclaimed illustrator Laura Freeman’s remarkable art showcases a loving intergenerational family and encourages girls to find female heroes in their own lives.

Standing on Her Shoulders will inspire girls of all ages to follow in the footsteps of these amazing women.”

You can also read my full review of Standing on Her Shoulders for more detail.

Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World’s First Female Rabbi by Sigal Samuel, Illustrated by Vali Mintzi (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Osnat was born five hundred years ago – at a time when almost everyone believed in miracles. But very few believed that girls should learn to read.

Yet Osnat’s father was a great scholar whose house was filled with books. And she convinced him to teach her. Then she in turn grew up to teach others, becoming a wise scholar in her own right, the world’s first female rabbi!

Some say Osnat performed miracles – like healing a dove who had been shot by a hunter! Or saving a congregation from fire!

But perhaps her greatest feat was to be a light of inspiration for other girls and boys; to show that any person who can learn might find a path that none have walked before.”

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung, Illustrated by Julie Kwon (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Discover an inspiring picture book biography about Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to fly for the US military.

Hazel Ying Lee was born fearless—she was not afraid of anything, and the moment she took her first airplane ride, she knew where she belonged. When people scoffed at her dreams of becoming a pilot, Hazel wouldn’t take no for an answer. She joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II. It was a dangerous job, but Hazel flew with joy and boldness.

This moving, true story about a groundbreaking figure will inspire young readers to challenge barriers and reach for the sky.”

I Am A Bird by Hope Lim, Illustrated by Hyewon Yum (Bookshop | Amazon)

“On her daily bike ride with her dad, a bird-loving little girl passes a woman who frightens her—until she discovers what they have in common.

I am a bird. Ca-Caw! Ca-Caw!

Every day, a little girl rides to school on the back of her father’s bike. As they twist and turn through the streets, the little girl spreads her arms like wings and sings her birdsong for all to hear. But when they pass a strange woman in blue who carries a mysterious bag, the girl goes quiet until the woman is out of sight. One day, when they’re running late, the little girl discovers what the woman does with her bag each morning—a surprise that transforms her wariness into a feeling of kinship to be celebrated. Hope Lim’s simple text and Hyewon Yum’s delicate, expressive illustrations create a touching story that encourages readers to embrace our similarities rather than focus on our differences.”

Opal’s Greenwood Oasis by Quraysh Ali Lansana and Najah-Amatullah Hylton, Illustrated by Skip Hill (Bookshop Amazon)

“The year is 1921, and Opal Brown would like to show you around her beautiful neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Filled with busy stores and happy families, Opal also wants you to know that “everyone looks like me.”

In both words and illustrations, this carefully researched and historically accurate book allows children to experience the joys and success of Greenwood, one of the most prosperous Black communities of the early 20th Century, an area Booker T. Washington dubbed America’s Black Wall Street.

Soon after the day narrated by Opal, Greenwood would be lost in the Tulsa Race Massacre, the worst act of racial violence in American history. As we approach the centennial of that tragic event, children have the opportunity through this book to learn and celebrate all that was built in Greenwood.”

You can also read my full review of Opal’s Greenwood Oasis for more detail.

Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators by Claudia Friddell, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Led by twenty-five-year-old Grace Banker, thirty-two telephone operators — affectionately called “Hello Girls” back in the US — became the first female combatants in World War I.

Follow Grace Banker’s journey from her busy life as a telephone switchboard trainer in New York to her pioneering role as the Chief Operator of the 1st Unit of World War I telephone operators in the battlefields of France. With expert skill, steady nerves, and steadfast loyalty, the Signal Corps operators transferred orders from commanders to battlefields and communicated top-secret messages between American and French headquarters. After faithfully serving her country–undaunted by freezing weather and fires; long hours and little sleep, and nearby shellings and far off explosions–Grace was the first and only woman operator in the Signal Corps to be awarded the Army’s Distinguished Service Medal.”

You can also read my full review of Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call for more detail.

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.

News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.”

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Claudette Colvin by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by Gillian Flint (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!

Before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin made the same choice. She insisted on standing up–or in her case, sitting down–for what was right, and in doing so, fought for equality, fairness, and justice.”

Middle Grade

The Year I Flew Away by Marie Arnold (Bookshop | Amazon)

“It’s 1985 and ten-year-old Gabrielle is excited to be moving from Haiti to America. Unfortunately, her parents won’t be able to join her yet and she’ll be living in a place called Brooklyn, New York, with relatives she has never met. She promises her parents that she will behave, but life proves to be difficult in the United States, from learning the language to always feeling like she doesn’t fit in to being bullied. So when a witch offers her a chance to speak English perfectly and be “American,” she makes the deal. But soon she realizes how much she has given up by trying to fit in and, along with her two new friends (one of them a talking rat), takes on the witch in an epic battle to try to reverse the spell.

Gabrielle is a funny and engaging heroine you won’t soon forget in this sweet and lyrical novel that’s perfect for fans of Hurricane Child and Front Desk.”

Red, White, And Whole by Rajani LaRocca (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A heartbreakingly hopeful #ownvoices novel in verse about an Indian American girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia.

Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted—they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked—Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”—but they are a universe apart.

Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick.

Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma’s life.”

The Magical Reality of Nadia by Bassem Youssef and Catherine R. Daly, Illustrated by Douglas Holgate (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Inspired by the author’s real life experiences, this rollicking, charming novel follows sixth grade Egyptian immigrant Nadia as she navigates the ups and downs of friendships, racism, and some magic, too!

Nadia loves fun facts. Here are a few about her:

• She collects bobbleheads — she has 77 so far.

• She moved from Egypt to America when she was six years old.

• The hippo amulet she wears is ancient… as in it’s literally from ancient Egypt.

• She’s going to win the contest to design a new exhibit at the local museum. Because how cool would that be?!

(Okay, so that last one isn’t a fact just yet, but Nadia has plans to make it one.)

But then a new kid shows up and teases Nadia about her Egyptian heritage. It’s totally unexpected, and totally throws her off her game.

And something else happens that Nadia can’t explain: Her amulet starts glowing! She soon discovers that the hippo is holding a hilarious — and helpful — secret. Can she use it to confront the new kid and win the contest?

From political satirist and comedian Bassem Youssef, aka The Jon Stewart of the Arab World, and author Catherine R. Daly comes a humorous and heartfelt story about prejudice, friendship, empathy, and courage.

Includes sections of black-and-white comics as well as lively black-and-white illustrations throughout.”

That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World by Rochelle Riley and Cristi Smith-Jones (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In February 2017, Rochelle Riley was reading Twitter posts and came across a series of black-and-white photos of four-year-old Lola dressed up as different African American women who had made history. Rochelle was immediately smitten. She was so proud to see this little girl so powerfully honor the struggle and achievement of women several decades her senior. Rochelle reached out to Lola’s mom, Cristi Smith-Jones, and asked to pair her writing with Smith-Jones’s incredible photographs for a book. The goal? To teach children on the cusp of puberty that they could be anything they aspired to be, that every famous person was once a child who, in some cases, overcame great obstacles to achieve.

That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World features Riley’s grandson, Caleb, and Lola photographed in timeless black and white, dressed as important individuals such as business owners, educators, civil rights leaders, and artists, alongside detailed biographies that begin with the figures as young children who had the same ambitions, fears, strengths, and obstacles facing them that readers today may still experience. Muhammad Ali’s bike was stolen when he was twelve years old and the police officer he reported the crime to suggested he learn how to fight before he caught up with the thief. Bessie Coleman, the first African American female aviator, collected and washed her neighbors’ dirty laundry so she could raise enough money for college. When Duke Ellington was seven years old, he preferred playing baseball to attending the piano lessons his mom had arranged.”

Flood City by Daniel José Older (Bookshop | Amazon)

“The battle for Earth begins now.

Welcome to Flood City, the last inhabitable place left above the waters that cover Earth. It’s also the last battleground between the Chemical Barons, who once ruled the planet and now circle overhead in spaceships, desperate to return, and the Star Guard, who have controlled the city for decades.”

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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