New Release Round Up – May 11, 2021

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

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

City Baby by Laurie Elmquist, Illustrated by Ashley Barron (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Bustling streets, lively squares and busy restaurants are baby’s playground when they are in the big city. So much to see and do as baby’s stroller navigates the crowded avenues or baby takes a break in a quiet park to blow bubbles and chase pigeons. Ashley Barron’s paper-collage illustrations are a joy to behold, bringing energy and life to this delightful board book. Rhyming verse from Laurie Elmquist takes the reader on a journey through a festive big city.”

Hello From Here by Pamela Kennedy, Illustrated by Mackenzie Haley (Bookshop | Amazon)

“It’s difficult to be separated from those we love, and sometimes it’s hard to feel connected when we can’t be together in person. This board book helps fill that need to connect, with a simple message: I’m still here, even though I’m not right there beside you. A series of scenarios depicts a narrator employing various forms of communication—from video calls and letters to dolphin-messengers and skywriting—to say a simple “hello” to someone far away. Exploring the idea of connecting over distance, whether it’s through a pane of glass or across a continent, this book delivers its earnest message in a lighthearted way, engaging children’s imaginations in thinking of delightful new ways to say “hello.” The book will remind them that they are loved by those they can’t always see. Instead of emphasizing what we can’t do when we’re apart, this book takes a positive view and makes a game out of finding new ways we can communicate.”

Picture Books

Sarah And The Big Wave: The True Story of the First Woman to Surf Mavericks by Bonnie Tsui, Illustrated by Sophie Diao (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Have you ever seen a big wave? One that’s twenty, thirty, forty, even fifty feet tall? Here’s a better question: Would you ever surf a big wave? Sarah Gerhardt did―and this is her story.

This tale of perseverance and indomitable spirit is about the first woman to ride the waves at Mavericks, one of the biggest and most dangerous surf breaks in the world.”

Peace Train by Cat Stevens, Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Bookshop | Amazon)

Hop aboard the Peace Train in this picture book adaptation of Cat Stevens’s legendary anthem of unity and harmony in time for the song’s 50th anniversary! With illustrations by New York Times bestselling illustrator Peter H. Reynolds.

“Now I’ve been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun

Oh, I’ve been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Someday it’s going to come”

Readers are invited to hop on the PEACE TRAIN and join its growing group of passengers who are all ready to unite the world in peace and harmony.

Featuring the timeless lyrics of Cat Stevens’s legendary song and illustrations by New York Times bestselling artist Peter H. Reynolds, this hopeful picture book inspires tolerance and love for people of all cultures and identities.”

A Day For Rememberin’: Inspired by the True Events of the First Memorial Day by Leah Henderson, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Bookshop | Amazon)

A moving tribute to the little-known history behind the first Memorial Day, illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award winner Floyd Cooper

Today is a special day. Eli knows it’s important if he’s allowed to miss one second of school, his “hard-earned right.”
Inspired by true events and told through the eyes of a young boy, this is the deeply moving story about what is regarded as the first Memorial Day on May 1, 1865. Eli dresses up in his best clothes, Mama gathers the mayflowers, Papa straightens his hat, and together they join the crowds filling the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, with bouquets, crosses, and wreaths. Abolitionists, missionaries, teachers, military officers, and a sea of faces Black, Brown, and White, they march as one and sing for all those who gave their lives fighting for freedom during the Civil War.
With poignant prose and celebratory, powerful illustrations, A Day for Rememberin’ shines light on the little-known history of this important holiday and reminds us never to forget the people who put their lives on the line for their country. The book is illustrated by award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper and includes archival photos in the back matter, as well as an author’s note, bibliography, timeline, and index.”

Fearless World Traveler: Adventures of Marianne North, Botanical Artist by Laurie Lawlor, Illustrated by Becca Stadtlander (Bookshop | Amazon)

Scientist. Artist. Rule-breaker. The vibrant and daring life of Marianne North by the award-winning author of Super Women and Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World.

In 1882, Marianne North showed the gray city of London paintings of jaw-dropping greenery like they’d never seen before.

As a self-taught artist and scientist, Marianne North subverted Victorian gender roles and advanced the field of botanical illustration. Her technique of painting specimens in their natural environment was groundbreaking. The legendary Charles Darwin was among her many supporters.

Laurie Lawlor deftly chronicles North’s life, from her restrictive childhood to her wild world travels to the opening of the Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens to her death in 1890. The North gallery at Kew Gardens remains open to the public today.

Becca Stadtlander’s award-winning lush, verdant artwork pairs wonderfully with the natural themes.”

Nosotros Means Us: Un Cuento Bilingüe by Paloma Valdivia (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A moving bilingual ode to the unshakeable bond between a parent and child in the tradition of Runaway Bunny and The Wonderful Things You Will Be.

If I were a sheep, you would be a lamb.
If I were a bear, you would be a cub.
As a mother holds her toddler, they muse over the way their love would translate if they were different animals. But no matter how they change, they will always be “us.” This bilingual story is a timeless ode to the unshakable bond between parent and child.

Si yo fuera una oveja, tú serías un cordero.
Si yo fuera una osa, tú serías un osenzo.
Con su niño en brazos, una madre contempla cómo sería elamorentre ellos si fueran diferentes animales. Pero por mucho que cambien,no importa. Siempre serán“nosotros”. Este cuento bilingüe es una oda eterna al lazo irrompibleentre madre e hijo.”

Cranky Right Now by Julie Berry, Illustrated by Holly Hatam (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Sometimes we’re all cranky, and that’s okay! Cranky Right Now shows kids how to deal with those cranky days.

Cranky Right Now brings a much-needed message to kids: sometimes we’re all cranky. Maybe we’re tired, we’re hungry, or we’re just feeling grumpy. Dealing with emotions can be hard. Cranky Right Now is a fun and funny ride through the ups and downs of being cranky, helping kids process difficult feelings, frustrating relationships, and things that just make them mad.

Award-winning author Julie Berry talks about reasons kids can feel cranky and how to recognize those feelings and acknowledge them. She then gives simple practices for moving through crankiness. She shows that it’s okay to be in a bad mood sometimes―just not to take it out on others―and that cranky days will eventually give way to happy ones.

A companion volume to Happy Right Now, with Holly Hatam’s bright and playful illustrations, Cranky Right Now helps you embrace, understand, and move through cranky in a whole new way.”

Secret, Secret Agent Guy by Kira Bigwood, Illustrated by Celia Krampien (Bookshop | Amazon)

Send little spies to sleep with this hilarious, tongue-in-cheek lullaby set to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Dear Fellow Agents:

Your mission—should you choose to accept it—is to join Secret, Secret Agent Guy on his bedtime assignment, code name: Operation Lollipop. Equipped with night-vision goggles, a jetpack, and grappling hook, he is prepared for every eventuality…or is he?

Will this 007-year-old complete his covert quest, or will he be outsmarted by an adversary he never saw coming?”

No Pants by Jacob Grant (Bookshop | Amazon)

Laugh-out-loud father-son drama in which the dad learns an important and timely lesson–pants are NOT for everyone!

Pablo and his dad are ready for a great day. It’s party day! A cookout with the whole family. All they need to do is get ready. Eat breakfast. Brush teeth. Put on pants. And they’ll be ready to go!
Only Pablo has another idea: No Pants!
Suddenly it’s looking as if party time is a ways off after all.
Here’s a hilarious and warm-hearted look at a father-son relationship that shows there is more than one way of wearing–and thinking about–pants!”

Roots and Wings: How Shahzia Sikander Became an Artist by Shahzia Sikander, Illustrated by Hannah Barczyk (Bookshop | Amazon)

Pakistani-American artist Shahzia Sikander recounts how growing up as a tomboy in a multicultural home in Pakistan inspired her to become an artist

Growing up in a multigenerational, multicultural home in Lahore, Pakistan, where her family’s Muslim traditions are filled with food and rituals, Shahzia is surrounded by stories of all kinds. At the Catholic school she attends, she studies Western literature, and at home, her father regales her and her siblings with fantastical tales from a Russian storybook on animals. Shahzia’s love for books leads to a fascination with illustrations, like the ones she sees in illuminated manuscripts and South Asian miniature portraits, and she discovers a talent for drawing. Through art, Shahzia is able to create the different worlds she reads about, using her imagination to take her beyond the walls of the home she grows up in.
Written by artist Shahzia Sikander with award-winning author Amy Novesky, and featuring artwork, Roots and Wings is a colorful introduction to a multicultural perspective that will inspire young readers to use art and imagination to explore new worlds.”

Chapter Books

Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You by Sonja Cherry-Paul, Jason Reynolds, and Ibram X. Kendi, Illustrated by Rachelle Baker (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This chapter book edition of the #1 New York Times bestseller by luminaries Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds is an essential introduction to the history of racism and antiracism in America

RACE. Uh-oh. The R-word.
But actually talking about race is one of the most important things to learn how to do.

Adapted from the groundbreaking bestseller Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, this book takes readers on a journey from present to past and back again. Kids will discover where racist ideas came from, identify how they impact America today, and meet those who have fought racism with antiracism. Along the way, they’ll learn how to identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their own lives.

Ibram X. Kendi’s research, Jason Reynolds’s and Sonja Cherry-Paul’s writing, and Rachelle Baker’s art come together in this vital read, enhanced with a glossary, timeline, and more.”

Mission to Mars (Astronaut Girl #4) by Cathy Hapka and Ellen Vandenberg, Illustrated Gillian Reid (Bookshop | Amazon)

Can Astronaut Girl save the day with a little help from science? Find out as she and her space crew blast off on new adventures in this chapter book series!

When Val’s teacher gives her class a science assignment to build terrariums, Val can’t wait to get started! She’s picked Wallace and her two friends, Ling and Abby, to join her group, and she expects to be in charge…after all, she is Astronaut Girl! But Val soon discovers it’s impossible for them to agree on anything. And things don’t get much better when the group and the Astro Crew zoom off to Mars for an outer-space adventure. Can the group finally put their heads together in order to save themselves from a giant sandstorm, or will they be stranded on Mars forever?

Exciting, easy-to-read books are the stepping stone a young reader needs to bridge the gap between being a beginner and being fluent.”

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend (Jo Jo, 1) by Dawn Quigley, Illustrated by Tara Audibert (Bookshop | Amazon)

Hello/Boozhoo—meet Jo Jo Makoons! Full of pride, joy, and plenty of humor, this first book in an all-new chapter book series by Dawn Quigley celebrates a spunky young Ojibwe girl who loves who she is.

Jo Jo Makoons Azure is a spirited seven-year-old who moves through the world a little differently than anyone else on her Ojibwe reservation. It always seems like her mom, her kokum (grandma), and her teacher have a lot to learn—about how good Jo Jo is at cleaning up, what makes a good rhyme, and what it means to be friendly.

Even though Jo Jo loves her #1 best friend Mimi (who is a cat), she’s worried that she needs to figure out how to make more friends. Because Fern, her best friend at school, may not want to be friends anymore…

The Heartdrum imprint centers a wide range of intertribal voices, visions, and stories while welcoming all young readers, with an emphasis on the present and future of Indian Country and on the strength of young Native heroes. In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.

Middle Grade

Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas (Bookshop | Amazon)

A moving middle-grade debut for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t belong

Brian has always been anxious, whether at home, or in class, or on the basketball court. His dad tries to get him to stand up for himself and his mom helps as much as she can, but after he and his brother are placed in foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn’t know if things will ever be normal again . . . Ezra’s always been popular. He’s friends with most of the kids on his basketball team, even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. But now, some of his friends have been acting differently, and Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but he worries if he’s too nice to Brian, his friends will realize that he has a crush on him . . .
But when Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out. Both boys have to decide if they’re willing to risk sharing parts of themselves they’d rather hide. But if they can be brave, they might just find the best in themselves and each other.”

Unsettled by Reem Faruqi (Bookshop | Amazon)

“For fans of Other Words for Home and Front Desk, this powerful, charming own voices immigration story follows a girl who moves from Karachi, Pakistan to Peachtree City, Georgia, and must find her footing in a new world. Reem Faruqi is the ALA Notable author of award-winning Lailah’s Lunchbox.

When her family moves from Pakistan to Peachtree City, all Nurah wants is to blend in, yet she stands out for all the wrong reasons. Nurah’s accent, floral-print kurtas, and tea-colored skin make her feel excluded, until she meets Stahr at swimming tryouts.

And in the water Nurah doesn’t want to blend in. She wants to win medals like her star athlete brother, Owais—who is going through struggles of his own in the U.S. Yet when sibling rivalry gets in the way, she makes a split-second decision of betrayal that changes their fates.

Ultimately Nurah slowly gains confidence in the form of strong swimming arms, and also gains the courage to stand up to bullies, fight for what she believes in, and find her place.”

Planet Omar: Incredible Rescue Mission by Zanib Mian, Illusrated by Nasaya Mafaridik (Bookshop | Amazon)

Omar has to solve the mystery of his missing teacher in the third installment of this highly-illustrated middle-grade series starring a Muslim boy with a huge imagination.

Omar is going on his biggest adventure yet–a trip to Pakistan! But his excitement about the trip is interrupted by some shocking news: his amazing teacher is not coming back to school, and no one will say why.

When Omar and his friends start investigating, the hints they overhear and clues they find lead them to an alarming conclusion–it must be aliens!

Omar has a huge imagination, but saving his teacher from aliens seems far-fetched even to him. He’s going to need out-of-this-world creative thinking and a huge spirit of adventure to solve this mystery!”

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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