New Release Round Up – May 18, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everybody! Tuesdays are my favorite, because it’s new release day!

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

A is for Astronaut: An Out-of-This-World Alphabet Adventure by Dr. Jennifer Levasseur, Illustrated by Vanessa Port (Bookshop | Amazon)

Blast off into space and learn the ABCs with the Smithsonian!

2021 NAPPA (National Parenting Product Awards) Winner
Inside this board book, little space explorers will learn out-of-this-world words for each letter of the alphabet paired with colorful illustrations on each page. From astronaut to zero gravity, this simple introduction to outer space and the ABCs is sure to delight babies and their parents! Author Jennifer Levasseur serves as the as the responsible curator for the National Air and Space Museum’s astronaut cameras and chronographs, as well as the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs.”

Pink Is For Boys by Robb Pearlman, Illustrated by Eda Kaban (Bookshop | Amazon)

“An empowering and educational board book that proves colors are for everyone, regardless of gender.

Pink is for boys . . . and girls . . . and everyone! This timely and beautiful board book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids-and their grown-ups-to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. Featuring a diverse group of relatable characters, Pink Is for Boys invites and encourages children to enjoy what they love to do, whether it’s racing cars and playing baseball, or loving unicorns and dressing up. Vibrant illustrations help children learn and identify the myriad colors that surround them every day, from the orange of a popsicle, to the green of a grassy field, all the way up to the wonder of a multicolored rainbow.

Parents and kids will delight in Robb Pearlman’s sweet, simple script, as well as its powerful message: life is not color-coded.”

Picture Books

When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling, Illustrated by Aaron Asis (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In an evocative picture book brimming with the scents, tastes, and traditions that define a young girl’s summer with her grandmother, debut author Michelle Sterling and illustrator Aaron Asis come together to celebrate the gentle bonds of familial love that span oceans and generations.

For one young girl, summer is the season of no school, of days spent at the pool, and of picking golden limes off the trees. But summer doesn’t start until her lola—her grandmother from the Philippines—comes for her annual visit.

Summer is special. For her lola fills the house with the aroma of mango jam, funny stories of baking mishaps, and her quiet sweet singing in Tagalog. And in turn, her granddaughter brings Lola to the beach, to view fireworks at the park, and to catch fish at their lake.

When Lola visits, the whole family gathers to cook and eat and share in their happiness of another season spent together. Yet as summer transitions to fall, her lola must return home—but not without a surprise for her granddaughter to preserve their special summer a bit longer.”

And I Paint It by Beth Kephart, Illustrated by Amy June Bates (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A poetic picture-book biography about artist N.C. Wyeth’s daughter, Henriette, a talented painter in her own right

And I think of the girl I am and the girl I’ll be:
A painter, like Pa.
An actress (maybe).
A fairy with wings.
A father and daughter sneak away from their big, busy family to paint in the wild landscape. Together, they paint a lily, bright and white as a star; the green growing into the cap of a strawberry; the blue in the sky running pink. Henriette’s father is N.C. Wyeth, the famous artist, who encourages her to paint what she sees, to awaken into her dreams, and she does, in this poetic picture book inspired by a famous American family of artists.”

Ruby’s Reunion Day Dinner by Angela Dalton, Illustrated by Jestenia Southerland (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This joyful picture book taps into the rich African American tradition of family reunions, with delicious food at the heart of the celebration. Perfect for fans of the Caldecott Honor Book Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons.

Once a year, each of Ruby’s relatives prepares a special dish to share at their family reunion. Daddy calls it their “signature dish”—and Ruby wants one of her own. She wanders through the bustling kitchen looking for inspiration. As she watches Pop-Pop’s chicken sizzling in the skillet, Uncle G slicing onions, and Auntie Billie cooking corn on the hot grill, she wonders if she’s just too young to have a signature dish. That’s when she finds it— the perfect solution!

Angela Dalton’s warm text is perfectly paired with Jestenia Southerland’s beautiful art in this sweet picture book, filled with the tenderness and warmth of this multigenerational extended family and the food they share.”

All Of Us by Kathryn Erskine, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger (Bookshop | Amazon)

A beautiful book about community and love by National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Alexandra Boiger.

ME can be WE. YOU can come, too. In a lyrical text that travels the globe, National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine shows young readers how the whole world is a community made up of people who are more similar than we are different. With stunning, cinematic art by Alexandra Boiger, the illustrator of the She Persisted series, this is the perfect read-aloud at bedtime or for story time. Perfect for fans of All Are Welcome and Be Kind.”

The Incredible Ship of Captain Skip by Alicia Acosta, Illustrated by Cecilia Moreno (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Join Skip and her crew on their amazing journey across the sea. As you read the story, you’ll make your own paper ship with easy-to-follow instructions! Through her adventure, Skip’s ship will be damaged. At the same time, you’ll be tearing off pieces of your paper ship discovering a funny surprise in the end… the treasure of Captain Skip!”

Chapter Books

Ballerina Birthday (Ballet Bunnies #3) by Swapna Reddy, Illustrated by Binny Talib (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This new full-color chapter book series features the most darling dancers you will ever meet! For fans of the Magic Bunny, Isadora Moon, and Rainbow Magic series.

It’s Millie’s birthday and the Ballet Bunnies can’t wait to celebrate with her! The teeny dancer bunnies sneak into her bag and steal away to Millie’s house. When it’s time for Millie’s party, the bunnies secretly dash beneath tables and chairs to get a glimpse at all the festivities!

Spin and twirl with more Ballet Bunnies books! Ballet Bunnies #1: The New Class and Ballet Bunnies #2: Let’s Dance!”

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old (Twig and Turtle #4) by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Friendship woes and a visit from Grandma push Twig to find her voice in the fourth book in the Twig and Turtle chapter book series, perfect for fans of Ivy and Bean and Judy Moody.

Speaking up can be super hard.

Just when Twig thinks she’s finally found a new best friend, Angela’s former BFF, Effie, comes back to town. And to Twig, Effie is anything but friendly. With Effie hogging the spotlight and Angela’s time, Twig has never felt so alone. And while Twig’s little sister, Turtle, can be a lot of fun to hang out with, she doesn’t replace a best friend.

Then Grandma comes to visit, bringing with too much clutter and too many strong opinions for the tiny house, and it all becomes too much. Will Twig be able to find her voice without hurting anyone’s feelings?

The fourth book in the Twig and Turtle chapter book series, Make New Friends, But Keep the Old weaves themese of friendshipand finding your voice in a sweet package that fans of Ivy and Bean and Judy Moody will find hard to resist.”

Middle Grade

That Thing About Bollywood by Supriya Kelkar (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Bollywood takes over in this contemporary, magical middle grade novel about an Indian American girl whose world turns upside down when she involuntarily starts bursting into glamorous song-and-dance routines during everyday life.

You know how in Bollywood when people are in love, they sing and dance from the mountaintops? Eleven-year-old Sonali wonders if they do the same when they’re breaking up. The truth is, Sonali’s parents don’t get along, and it looks like they might be separating.

Sonali’s little brother, Ronak, is not taking the news well, constantly crying. Sonali would never do that. It’s embarrassing to let out so many feelings, to show the world how not okay you are. But then something strange happens, something magical, maybe. When Sonali gets upset during a field trip, she can’t bury her feelings like usual—instead, she suddenly bursts into a Bollywood song-and-dance routine about why she’s upset!

The next morning, much to her dismay, Sonali’s reality has shifted. Things seem brighter, almost too bright. Her parents have had Bollywood makeovers. Her friends are also breaking out into song and dance. And somehow, everyone is acting as if this is totally normal.

Sonali knows something has gone wrong, and she suspects it has something to do with her own mismanaged emotions. Can she figure it out before it’s too late?”

An Occasionally Happy Family by Cliff Burke (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Gordon Korman meets The Great Outdoors in this funny and moving debut about a boy who goes on a disastrous family vacation (sweltering heat! bear chases!) that ends with a terrible surprise: his dad’s new girlfriend.

There are zero reasons for Theo Ripley to look forward to his family vacation. Not only are he, sister Laura, and nature-obsessed Dad going to Big Bend, the least popular National Park, but once there, the family will be camping. And Theo is an indoor animal. It doesn’t help that this will be the first vacation they’re taking since Mom passed away.

Once there, the family contends with 110 degree days, wild bears, and an annoying amateur ornithologist and his awful teenage vlogger son. Then, Theo’s dad hits him with a whopper of a surprise: the whole trip is just a trick to introduce his secret new girlfriend.

Theo tries to squash down the pain in his chest. But when it becomes clear that this is an auditioning-to-be-his-stepmom girlfriend, Theo must find a way to face his grief and talk to his dad before his family is forever changed.”

Not All Heroes by Josephine Cameron (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Even though her family moved across the country for a “fresh start” after her little brother’s death, eleven-year-old Zinnia Helinski still feels like she’s stuck waiting for her new life to begin. Then she spots her new neighbor, Kris, climbing down the fire escape of their apartment building. He’s wearing a black eye mask! And Spandex leggings. . . . And a blue body suit?

Soon Zinnia finds herself in a secret club for kids who want to be heroes. The Reality Shifters don’t have superpowers, but they do have the power to make positive change in their neighborhoods. And a change is just what Zinnia is looking for!

At first, she feels invincible. Zinnia finally has friends and is on the kind of real-life adventures her little brother, Wally, would have loved. But when her teammates lose sight of their goals, Zinnia must find the balance between bravery and recklessness, and learn to be a hero without her cape.”

It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, Gender, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris, Illustrated Michael Emberley (Bookshop | Amazon)

Fully and fearlessly updated, this vital new edition of the acclaimed book on sex, sexuality, bodies, and puberty deserves a spot in every family’s library.

With more than 1.5 million copies in print, It’s Perfectly Normal has been a trusted resource on sexuality for more than twenty-five years. Rigorously vetted by experts, this is the most ambitiously updated editionyet, featuring to-the-minute information and language accompanied by new and refreshed art.

Updates include:

* A shift to gender-neutral vocabulary throughout

* An expansion on LGBTQIA topics, gender identity, sex, and sexuality—making this a sexual health book for all readers

* Coverage of recent advances in methods of sexual safety and contraception with corresponding illustrations

* A revised section on abortion, including developments in the shifting politics and legislation as well as an accurate, honest overview

* A sensitive and detailed expansion on the topics of sexual abuse, the importance of consent, and destigmatizing HIV/AIDS

* A modern understanding of social media and the internet that tackles rapidly changing technology to highlight its benefits and pitfalls and ways to stay safe online

Inclusive and accessible, this newest edition of It’s Perfectly Normal provides young people with the knowledge and vocabulary they need to understand their bodies, relationships, and identities in order to make responsible decisions and stay healthy.”

Graphic Novels

The Princess Who Saved Herself by Greg Pak, Illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Welcome to The Princess Who Saved Herself, a children’s book written by comics writer Greg Pak, based on the beloved song by internet superstar musician Jonathan Coulton, and illustrated by artist Takeshi Miyazawa.

The Princess Who Saved Herself reinvents the princess myth for a new generation, telling the story of an awesome kid who lives with her pet snake and plays rock ‘n’ roll all day to the huge annoyance of the classical guitarist witch who lives down the road. Hijinks, conflicts, and a fun reconciliation ensues!

Based on the beloved song by internet superstar musician Jonathan Coulton, the new New York Times best-selling team of writer Greg Pak and artist Takeshi Miyazawa reunite for an unforgettable adventure full of determination, bravery, and compassion for everyone!”

Just Pretend by Tori Sharp (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Fans of Real Friends and Be Prepared will love this energetic, affecting graphic memoir, in which a young girl uses her active imagination to navigate middle school as well as the fallout from her parents’ divorce.

Tori has never lived in just one world.

Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.

Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.

Author Tori Sharp takes us with her on a journey through the many commonplace but complex issues of fractured families, as well as the beautiful fantasy narrative that helps her cope, gorgeously illustrated and full of magic, fairies, witches and lost and found friendships.”

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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