New Release Round Up – April 20, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everybody! It’s new release day again, and I want to start by apologizing for the delayed post today. My day started at 5AM with a very sick toddler, so I hope your Tuesday is off to a smoother start than mine. Let’s dive into some new releases to get us all on the right track to a good day!

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.

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

How Do You Dance? by Thyra Heder (Bookshop | Amazon)

Get ready to bop, bounce, and shake with this board book edition ofthe hit picture book from the acclaimed author of Alfie and Fraidyzoo
 
There are so many ways to dance! You can jiggle or wiggle or stomp. You can bop or bounce or go completely nuts. You can dance at the market or the bus stop, with your fingers or your face. You can dance because you’re happy or even because you’re sad.
 
But, what’s the best way to dance? Exactly how you want to!
 
In How Do You Dance?, award-wining author-illustrator Thyra Heder explores dance in all of its creativity, humor, and—most of all—joy, in a celebration of personal expression that will inspire young and old readers alike to get up and get moving.”

Picture Books

We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell, Illustrated by Frane Lessac (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Twelve Native American kids present historical and contemporary laws, policies, struggles, and victories in Native life, each with a powerful refrain: We are still here!

Too often, Native American history is treated as a finished chapter instead of relevant and ongoing. This companion book to the award-winning We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga offers readers everything they never learned in school about Native American people’s past, present, and future. Precise, lyrical writing presents topics including: forced assimilation (such as boarding schools), land allotment and Native tribal reorganization, termination (the US government not recognizing tribes as nations), Native urban relocation (from reservations), self-determination (tribal self-empowerment), Native civil rights, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), religious freedom, economic development (including casino development), Native language revival efforts, cultural persistence, and nationhood.”

You can also read my full review of We Are Still Here! for more detail.

Hannah And The Ramadan Gift by Qasim Rashid, Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel (Bookshop | Amazon)

The debut picture book by author and human rights activist Qasim Rashid that celebrates good deeds during the month of Ramadan.

It’s the first day of Ramadan and Hannah wants to be a part of this important month every way she can. But if she’s too young to fast, how can she observe Ramadan? By saving the world, Dada Jaan tells her. And so Hannah learns that by helping her friends and neighbors and by showing kindness and generosity, she can make the world a better place.

The debut picture book by human rights activist and attorney Qasim Rashid tells a timely story full of warmth and heart about the observance of Ramadan and the power of good deeds.”

The People’s Painter by Cynthia Levinson, Illustrated by Evan Turk (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A lyrically told, exquisitely illustrated biography of influential Jewish artist and activist Ben Shahn

“The first thing I can remember,” Ben said, “I drew.”
As an observant child growing up in Lithuania, Ben Shahn yearns to draw everything he sees—and, after seeing his father banished by the Czar for demanding workers’ rights, he develops a keen sense of justice, too.
So when Ben and the rest of his family make their way to America, Ben brings both his sharp artistic eye and his desire to fight for what’s right. As he grows, he speaks for justice through his art—by disarming classmates who bully him because he’s Jewish, by defying his teachers’ insistence that he paint beautiful landscapes rather than true stories, by urging the US government to pass Depression-era laws to help people find food and jobs.
In this moving and timely portrait, award-winning author Cynthia Levinson and illustrator Evan Turk honor an artist, immigrant, and activist whose work still resonates today: a true painter for the people.”

You can also read my full review of The People’s Painter for more detail.

The Doll by Nhung N. Tran-Davies, Illustrated by Ravy Puth (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A young girl and her family arrive in an airport in a new country. They are refugees, migrants who have travelled across the world to find safety. Strangers greet them, and one of them gives the little girl a doll. Decades later, that little girl is grown up and she has the chance to welcome a group of refugees who are newly arrived in her adopted country. To the youngest of them, a little girl, she gives a doll, knowing it will help make her feel welcome. Inspired by real events.”

Bird House by Blanca Gómez (Bookshop | Amazon)

A grandmother and grandchild nurse an injured bird together in this touching story about caring for all creatures, the wonder of nature, and letting go

On a snowy day, a grandmother and grandchild find an injured bird. They take it home and care for it until it can fly around the living room. It is fantastic—just like everything at Abuela’s house! But a fantastic moment is also bittersweet, for the little bird’s recovery means that it’s time to let it fly free. Drawing inspiration from a formative childhood experience, Blanca Gómez crafts a deceptively simple story that is morally and emotionally resonant and is brimming with love, wonder, and a deep respect for the natural world.”

You can also read my full review of Bird House for more detail.

Bracelets For Bina’s Brothers by Rajani LaRocca, Illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling!

For the Hindu holiday of Raksha Bandhan, Bina is determined to make beaded bracelets for her brothers all by herself. She finds out which colors her brothers like and dislike and sets to work. Working with her every-other-one beading pattern causes Bina to discover something new about patterns–and her brothers.

Storytelling Math celebrates children using math in their daily adventures as they play, build, and discover the world around them. Joyful stories and hands-on activities make it easy for kids and their grown-ups to explore everyday math together. Developed in collaboration with math experts at STEM education nonprofit TERC, under a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.”

A Pizza With Everything On It by Kyle Scheele, Illustrated by Andy J. Pizza (Bookshop | Amazon)

“One father-son duo make a pizza so delicious, and so over-the-top with toppings, that it destroys the universe—and will surely melt readers’ minds and hearts, like warm mozzarella.

It’s a tale as old as time: a kid wants to make a pizza with his dad, but not just any pizza . . . he wants a pizza with everything on it. That’s right, everything. But as the toppings pile on, this father-son duo accidentally create a pizza so delicious, so extravagant, so over-the-top, that it destroys the universe—and the cosmos go as dark as burnt crust. Will anyone enjoy pizza ever again? At turns heartwarming, hilarious, and completely out of this world, Kyle Scheele and Andy J. Pizza deliver a riotous adventure that will melt readers minds and hearts and leave them calling for a second helping.”

Chapter Books

The Kicks Complete Collection by Alex Morgan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“From FIFA World Cup Champion, Olympic gold medalist, and bestselling author Alex Morgan comes the empowering and fun-filled middle grade series about soccer and friendship—all twelve books are now available together in a collectible boxed set.

Twelve-year-old Devin loves to play soccer. Still, she expects stiff competition after moving to California. But when Devin shows up for tryouts, she discovers that the Kentville Kangaroos—otherwise known as the Kicks—are an absolute mess. Their coach couldn’t care less whether the girls win or lose. And Devin is easily one of the most talented players.

The good news is, Devin quickly makes friends with funny, outgoing Jessi; shy, but sweet, Zoe; and klutzy Emma. Can Devin and her newfound friends pull together and save the team from itself?

From new crushes to changing friendships to stiff competition on the field, the Kicks learn to believe in themselves and come together as a team.”

Middle Grade

Nightingale by Deva Fagan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A plucky orphan girl stumbles into a conflict centuries in the making in this thrilling middle grade fantasy about unexpected heroes, the power of friendship, and one boisterous enchanted sword.

Twelve-year-old Lark is determined to escape her squalid life at Miss Starvenger’s boarding house, but she needs to find the coin to do it. Her grand scheme? To steal her fortune from the Royal Museum.

Unfortunately, her heist goes off the rails, and Lark ends up stealing a magical sword right out from under the nose of Prince Jasper, who’s none too happy to have his plans thwarted. Lark soon discovers that the Sword has a mind of its own, and has chosen her to be the next Nightingale, a fabled hero who must vanquish an ancient evil that is waking after centuries of sleep.

Working alone has its limitations, but relying on others after a lifetime of disappointments feels impossible. Still, Lark will need the help of her boarding house roommates if she wants to defeat the villainous forces that threaten to dismantle everything she holds dear.”

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Can a bully be defeated by a magical love potion?
Jolina can’t take Claudine’s bullying any longer! The taunts and teasing are too much. Though Jolina knows she’s still in-training to use her grandfather’s arbularyo magic, she sneaks into his potions lab to get her revenge. Jolina brews a batch of gayuma, a powerful love potion.

And it works. The love potion conquers Claudine’s hateful nature. In fact, Claudine doesn’t just stop bullying Jolina — now she wants to be Jolina’s BFF, and does everything and anything Jolina asks.

But magic comes with a cost, and bad intentions beget bad returns. Controlling another person’s ability to love — or hate — will certainly have consequences. The magic demands payment, and it is about to come for Jolina in the form of a powerful storm…

Magic and reality mingle in this brilliant new middle-grade novel by Gail D. Villanueva that asks whether it’s ever okay to take away someone’s free will.”

Boy, Everywhere by A. M. Dasu (Bookshop | Amazon)

“What turns citizens into refugees and then immigrants? In this powerful middle-grade debut, Sami and his family embark on a harrowing journey to save themselves from the Syrian civil war.

Sami loves his life in Damascus, Syria. He hangs out with his best friend playing video games; he’s trying out for the football team; he adores his family and gets annoyed by them in equal measure. But his comfortable life gets sidetracked abruptly after a bombing in a nearby shopping mall. Knowing that the violence will only get worse, Sami’s parents decide they must flee their home for the safety of the UK.

Boy, Everywhere chronicles their harrowing journey and struggle to settle in a new land. Forced to sell all their belongings and leave their friends and beloved grandmother behind, Sami and his family travel across the Middle East to Turkey, where they end up in a smuggler’s den. From there, they cross the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean and manage to fly to England, only to be separated and detained in an immigration prison for the crime of seeking asylum. Yet the transition from refugee to immigrant in a new life will be the greatest challenge Sami has ever faced.

Based on the experiences of real Syrian refugees, this thoughtful middle-grade novel is the rare book to delve deeply into this years-long crisis. Portions of the proceeds of this book will be used to benefit Syrian refugees in the UK and to set up a grant to support an unpublished refugee or immigrant writer in the US. Sami’s story is one of survival, of family and friendship, of bravery and longing … Sami could be any one of us.”

Graphic Novels

Before They Were Artists: Famous Illustrators as Kids by Elizabeth Haidle (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This vibrantly illustrated graphic novel anthology brings to life the childhood experiences of beloved artists and illustrators such as Wanda Gág, Maurice Sendak, and Jerry Pinkney. Stylish illustrations paired with small vignettes and anecdotes from the artists’ early lives helps illuminate the hard work, triumphs, failures, and inspiration that helped forge their successful careers.

What makes an artist? What sparks their imagination? Where do their creativity and unique style come from? Striking illustrations and a graphic novel format bring to life this anthology of legendary artists and their childhoods. Featuring beloved artists such as Wanda Gág, Maurice Sendak, Tove Jansson, Jerry Pinkney, Yuyi Morales and Hayao Miyazaki, these stories capture the childhood triumphs, failures, and inspirations that predated their careers.

Children will see themselves in these portraits and wonder if they, too, might have it in them to make art. A celebration of creativity, this collective graphic biography is sprinkled throughout with writing wisdom and inspiring quotes.”

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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