New Release Round Up – April 13, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I’m so excited to share 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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Board Books

Count On Me 1, 2, 3 by J.B. Frank, Illustrated by Ela Smietanka (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Though many things in the world are uncertain, there are some people we can always count on—so let’s count them! In this colorful board book filled with adorable, diverse characters, children count the everyday heroes around them from 10 crossing guards and 9 firefighters down to 2 parents, and of course, 1 you!”

Baby Loves Political Science: Congress by Ruth Spiro, Illustrated by Greg Paprocki (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A new addition to the beloved and bestselling Baby Loves Political Science series! This cute and clever introduction to political science and the US government is accurate and simple enough for baby.

Baby learns that just as there are rules in daycare, there are rules in our society. And who makes the rules–or laws? Congress! A fun and easy introduction to the three branches of the US government and the legislative branch in particular. Representatives and senators may pass laws, but anyone in our democracy can have ideas for new ones!”

Baby Loves Political Science: The Presidency by Ruth Spiro, Illustrated by Greg Paprocki (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A new addition to the beloved and bestselling Baby Loves Political Science series! This cute and clever introduction to political science and the US government is accurate and simple enough for baby.

A fun and easy introduction for baby to the three branches of the US government and the executive branch in particular. The president signs laws into effect, but it takes an entire cabinet and group of people to carry out the laws!”

Picture Books

Amira’s Picture Day by Reem Faruqi, Illustrated by Fahmida Azim (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Ramadan has come to an end, and Amira can’t wait to stay home from school to celebrate Eid. There’s just one hiccup: it’s also school picture day. How can Amira be in two places at once?

Just the thought of Eid makes Amira warm and tingly inside. From wearing new clothes to handing out goody bags at the mosque, Amira can’t wait for the festivities to begin. But when a flier on the fridge catches her eye, Amira’s stomach goes cold. Not only is it Eid, it’s also school picture day. If she’s not in her class picture, how will her classmates remember her? Won’t her teacher wonder where she is?

Though the day’s celebrations at the mosque are everything Amira was dreaming of, her absence at picture day weighs on her. A last-minute idea on the car ride home might just provide the solution to everything in this delightful story from acclaimed author Reem Faruqi, illustrated with vibrant color by Fahmida Azim.”

Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz: The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States by Warren Binford (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Every day, children in migration are detained at the US-Mexico border. They are scared, alone, and their lives are in limbo. Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz shares the stories of 61 these children, from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Mexico, ranging in age from five to seventeen—in their own words from actual sworn testimonies. Befitting the spirit of the project, the book is in English on one side; then flip it over, and there’s a complete Spanish version.

Illustrated by 17 Latinx artists, including Caldecott Medalist and multiple Pura Belpré Illustrator Award-winning Yuyi Morales and Pura Belpré Illustrator Award-winning Raὺl the Third. Includes information, questions, and action points. Buying this book benefits Project Amplify, an organization that supports children in migration.”

Born Ready: The True Story of A Boy Named Penelope by Jodie Patterson, Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Jodie Patterson, activist and Chair of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Board, shares her transgender son’s experience in this important picture book about identity and acceptance.

Penelope knows that he’s a boy. (And a ninja.) The problem is getting everyone else to realize it.

In this exuberant companion to Jodie Patterson’s adult memoir, The Bold World, Patterson shares her son Penelope’s frustrations and triumphs on his journey to share himself with the world. Penelope’s experiences show children that it always makes you stronger when you are true to yourself and who you really are.”

Hello Rain by Kyo Maclear, Illustrated by Chris Turnham (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A picture book celebrating all the reasons to love the rain! Flowers bloom in the garden. Umbrellas bloom on the streets. There are puddles for jumping and, later, a cozy home for hot chocolate and books.

• The ultimate rainy day read!
• Full of bright, eye-catching illustrations
• From international acclaimed writer Kyo Maclear and printmaker Chris Turnham

The air is full of waiting. The sky is full of breeze. The trees gust and billow. All before it rains.
Rumble, rumble. Distant thunder. Rain is coming, rain is coming.

No matter what kind of weather you prefer, Hello, Rain! is a great reminder of the natural beauty all around us.”

Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch by Heidi Tyline King, Illustrated by Ekua Holmes (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This heartfelt picture book biography illustrated by the Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes, tells the story of MaVynee Betsch, an African American opera singer turned environmentalist and the legacy she preserved.

MaVynee loved going to the beach. But in the days of Jim Crow, she couldn’t just go to any beach–most of the beaches in Jacksonville were for whites only. Knowing something must be done, her grandfather bought a beach that African American families could enjoy without being reminded they were second class citizens; he called it American Beach. Artists like Zora Neale Hurston and Ray Charles vacationed on its sunny shores. It’s here that MaVynee was first inspired to sing, propelling her to later become a widely acclaimed opera singer who routinely performed on an international stage. But her first love would always be American Beach.

After the Civil Rights Act desegregated public places, there was no longer a need for a place like American Beach and it slowly fell into disrepair. MaVynee remembered the importance of American Beach to her family and so many others, so determined to preserve this integral piece of American history, she began her second act as an activist and conservationist, ultimately saving the place that had always felt most like home.”

If I Had An Octopus by Gabby Dawnay, Illustrated by Alex Barrow (Bookshop | Amazon)

“From the duo behind the bestselling If I Had series, a humorous and entertaining tale celebrating octopuses.

Have you ever thought about what the best aquatic pet would be? It’s an octopus, of course! When a little girl fantasizes about having a crazy smart octopus pet, she pictures jumping rope with its tentacles, practicing different ball games simultaneously, and playing hide-and-seek with her camouflaging friend (just look out for the ink!).

With vibrant illustrations and playful rhymes, If I Had an Octopus is a laugh-out-loud story celebrating friendship between a child and her octopus. From the duo behind If I Had a DinosaurIf I Had a Sleepy Sloth, and If I Had a Unicorn, Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow’s latest is a charming and imaginative tale about our favorite eight-armed creature.”

Your Future Is Bright by Corey Finkle, Illustrated by Shelley Couvillion (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Celebrate the boundless possibilities of the future with this uplifting picture book about the potential in every child, perfect for fans of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and The Wonderful Things You Will Be.

Today is a triumph! It’s awesome! You’re great!
The things you’ve accomplished are truly first rate.
Your efforts have made you stand out from the crowd,
So, puff out your chest―you deserve to feel proud.

Follow a group of children as they dream about what the future might hold. As they spin their passions into opportunities, they learn that adventure awaits any and all who put their hearts and minds into something.

Told in Corey Finkle’s touching rhyming verse and paired with gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Shelley Couvillion, Your Future Is Bright is an inspiring ode to self-confidence, kindness, and dedication, and makes for the perfect gift for any occasion, including graduations, baby showers, birthdays, and more.”

Monsters Like Us by Amy Huntington (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Monsters may look and act scary, but deep down they’re not so different from you and me. They talk and giggle, they read and clean their rooms, and they have ENORMOUS chompers for…eating ice cream!

This humorous book will have kids giggling and turning the pages as they discover that monsters aren’t so scary after all–and discover their own inner monster!”

Chapter Books

Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusti Bowling (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Third-grader Aven Green has been solving mysteries for a whole month—cracking such cases as The Mystery of the Cranky Mom. But can this perceptive detective solve two cases at the same time? First her teacher’s lunch bag disappears. Then Aven’s great-grandma’s dog goes missing. Fortunately, since Aven was born without arms, all the “arm” cells went to her super-powered brain instead. (That’s her theory.) This hilarious chapter book showcases a new side to Dusti Bowling’s unforgettable protagonist.”

Middle Grade

Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Readers will cheer on Pippa Park in this wonderful middle school book about friendships, bullying, crushes, and family. In this relatable story, Pippa reinvents herself and discovers who she really is on and off the basketball court.

Life is full of great expectations for Korean American Pippa Park. It seems like everyone, from her family to the other kids at school, has a plan for how her life should look.

When Pippa gets a mysterious basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself. At school, Pippa juggles old and new friends, a crush, and the pressure to get As and score points while keeping her past and family’s laundromat a secret from her elite new classmates.

But when Pippa begins to receive a string of hateful, anonymous messages via social media, her carefully built persona is threatened. As things spiral out of control, Pippa wonders if she can keep her old and new lives separate, or if she should even try.”

Cece Rios and The Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When a powerful desert spirit kidnaps her sister, Cece Rios must learn forbidden magic to get her back, in this own voices middle grade fantasy perfect for fans of The Storm Runner and Aru Shah and the End of Time

Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas—humans who capture and control criaturas—consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime.”

The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A heartfelt middle-grade novel about a theater-loving girl who uses a wheelchair for mobility and her quest to defy expectations—and gravity—from Tony award–winning actress Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz

Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon loves a lot of things: her dog Warbucks, her best friend Chloe, and competing on her wheelchair racing team, the Zoomers, to name a few. But there’s one thing she’s absolutely OBSESSED with: MUSICALS! From Hamilton to Les Mis, there’s not a cast album she hasn’t memorized and belted along to. She’s never actually been in a musical though, or even seen an actor who uses a wheelchair for mobility on stage. Would someone like Nat ever get cast?
But when Nat’s family moves from California to New Jersey, Nat stumbles upon auditions for a kids’ production of Wicked, one of her favorite musicals ever! And she gets into the ensemble! The other cast members are super cool and inclusive (well, most of them)— especially Malik, the male lead and cutest boy Nat’s ever seen. But when things go awry a week before opening night, will Nat be able to cast her fears and insecurities aside and “Defy Gravity” in every sense of the song title?”

The Prettiest by Brigit Young (Bookshop Amazon)

The Prettiest is an incisive, empowering novel by Brigit Young about standing up for yourself and those around you.

“All middle school girls AND boys (especially boys!) should read this book.” ―Alan Gratz, New York Times–bestselling author of Refugee

THE PRETTIEST: It’s the last thing Eve Hoffmann expected to be, the only thing Sophie Kane wants to be, and something Nessa Flores-Brady knows she’ll never be . . . until a list appears online, ranking the top fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade.

Eve, ranked number one, can’t ignore how everyone is suddenly talking about her looks―and her body.
Sophie, always popular and put together, feels lower than ever when she’s bullied for being number two.
Nessa isn’t on the list at all, but she doesn’t care. Or does she?

Eve, Nessa, and Sophie are determined to get justice―or at least revenge. But as these unlikely vigilantes become fiercely loyal friends, they discover that the real triumph isn’t the takedown. It’s the power that comes from lifting one another up.”

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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