New Release Round Up – June 8, 2021

I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday again. This week flew by, but I am so excited to share this week’s new releases 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.

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.

Picture Books

Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott by Joyce Scott, Brie Spangler, and Melissa Sweet (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A moving and powerful introduction to the life and art of renowned artist, Judith Scott, as told by her twin sister, Joyce Scott and illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist, Melissa Sweet.

Judith Scott was born with Down syndrome. She was deaf, and never learned to speak. She was also a talented artist. Judith was institutionalized until her sister Joyce reunited with her and enrolled her in an art class. Judith went on to become an artist of renown with her work displayed in museums and galleries around the world.

Poignantly told by Joyce Scott in collaboration with Brie Spangler and Melissa Sweet and beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist, Melissa Sweet, Unbound is inspiring and warm, showing us that we can soar beyond our perceived limitations and accomplish something extraordinary.”

Areli Is A Dreamer by Areli Morales, Illustrated by Luisa Uribe (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When Areli was just a baby, her mama and papa moved from Mexico to New York with her brother, Alex, to make a better life for the family–and when she was in kindergarten, they sent for her, too.

Everything in New York was different. Gone were the Saturdays at Abuela’s house, filled with cousins and sunshine. Instead, things were busy and fast and noisy. Areli’s limited English came out wrong, and schoolmates accused her of being illegal. But with time, America became her home. And she saw it as a land of opportunity, where millions of immigrants who came before her paved their own paths. She knew she would, too.

This is a moving story–one that resonates with millions of immigrants who make up the fabric of our country–about one girl living in two worlds, a girl whose DACA application was eventually approved and who is now living her American dream.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy that has provided relief to thousands of undocumented children, referred to as “Dreamers,” who came to the United States as children and call this country home.”

Pangolina by Jane Goodall, Illustrated by Daishu Ma (Bookshop | Amazon)

“After a blissful babyhood being cared for by her loving mother, Pangolina ventures out alone into the forest to become an independent adult, helped along by wise, older animal companions, including a civet and a bat. But one day cruel hunters trap Pangolina, putting her into a cage along with her friends, and bring them to a market to be sold as wild game. Pangolina is especially vulnerable, since her scales are prized by humans who believe they have curative powers. To the rescue comes a small girl who knows that pangolins are friendly fellow creatures who have feelings too, and who convinces her mother to buy Pangolina and set her free. Jane Goodall’s many followers and all animal-loving children and adult picture book fans will be riveted by this suspenseful and heartwarming fictional story set in China and including an authoritative informational page about pangolins and suggestions for how to help fight animal trafficking.”

Pillow Places by Joseph Kuefler (Bookshop | Amazon)

“An imaginative picture book about the joys of pillows and play—from the acclaimed author-illustrator of The Digger and the Flower and Beyond the Pond.

Pillows are not just for sleeping. They are for dreaming . . . of forts, ships, and alien worlds among the stars.

Pillow Places is a tender exploration of the power of friendship and imagination, especially on those first sleepover nights away from home.

This is a sweet, playful story to read before bed and prior to nights away from home. The journey through fantastical landscapes and make-believe adventures reveals the power of imagination, artfully conveying the importance of friendship and playtime, away from screens.”

Chapter Books

Mindy Kim and The Trip To Korea by Lyla Lee, Illustrated by Dung Ho (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Fresh off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in the adorable chapter book series following Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl—in this fifth novel, Mindy goes to South Korea!

Mindy is super excited to go to South Korea to visit her grandparents! She has never taken such a big trip before, and she can’t wait to see her family again. Plus, Dad’s girlfriend, Julie, is also going to meet the family for the first time.

Mindy and Julie decide to make a traditional Korean meal for the family as a thank-you for hosting. But after a few mishaps, Mindy fears they are cooking up a big disaster in the kitchen! Can Mindy and Julie make sure their meal passes the most important taste test of them all?”

McTavish Takes The Cake by Meg Rosoff (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Pa Peachey has gotten it in his head that he is going to be the baker in the family, and the Peacheys and their dog, McTavish, are more than a little surprised. Stunned, in fact. Ever since Ma Peachey declared herself free of the cooking responsibilities, Betty, Ava, and Ollie have taken turns making inventive and delicious meals. But Pa thinks he can do better, even though his cakes are as flat as manhole covers and his cookies turn to charcoal. When the town announces a baking competition with a big prize, Pa is convinced he will enter an absolute masterpiece. Now the Peacheys have to decide: should they be honest with Pa and tell him his confections are contemptible, or should they support his high-flying dreams? Or could McTavish have a last-minute option at the ready?”

Middle Grade

Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Would-be amusement park aficionado Dalia only has two items on her summer bucket list: (1) finally ride a roller coaster and (2) figure out how to make a new best friend. But when her dad suddenly announces that he’s engaged, Dalia’s schemes come to a screeching halt. With Dalia’s future stepsister Alexa heading back to college soon, the grown-ups want the girls to spend the last weeks of summer bonding–meaning Alexa has to cancel the amusement park road trip she’s been planning for months. Luckily Dalia comes up with a new plan: If she joins Alexa on her trip and brings Rani, the new girl from her swim team, along maybe she can have the perfect summer after all. But what starts out as a week of funnel cakes and Lazy River rides goes off the rails when Dalia discovers that Alexa’s girlfriend is joining the trip. And keeping Alexa’s secret makes Dalia realize one of her own: She might have more-than-friend feelings for Rani.”

Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Malian loves spending time with her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation. She’s there for a visit when, suddenly, all travel shuts down. There’s a new virus making people sick, and Malian will have to stay with her grandparents for the duration.

Everyone is worried about the pandemic, but Malian knows how to keep her family and community safe: She protects her grandparents, and they protect her. She doesn’t go outside to play with friends, she helps her grandparents use video chat, and she listens to and learns from their stories. And when Malsum, one of the dogs living on the rez, shows up at their door, Malian’s family knows that he’ll protect them too.

Told in verse inspired by oral storytelling, this novel about the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the ways Malian’s community has cared for one another through plagues of the past, and how they keep caring for one another today.”

Both Can Be True by Jules Machias (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Ash is no stranger to feeling like an outcast. For someone who cycles through genders, it’s a daily struggle to feel in control of how people perceive you. Some days Ash is undoubtedly girl, but other times, 100 percent guy. Daniel lacks control too—of his emotions. He’s been told he’s overly sensitive more times than he can count. He can’t help the way he is, and he sure wishes someone would accept him for it.

So when Daniel’s big heart leads him to rescue a dog that’s about to be euthanized, he’s relieved to find Ash willing to help. The two bond over their four-legged secret. When they start catching feelings for each other, however, things go from cute to complicated. Daniel thinks Ash is all girl . . . what happens when he finds out there’s more to Ash’s story?

With so much on the line—truth, identity, acceptance, and the life of an adorable pup named Chewbarka—will Ash and Daniel forever feel at war with themselves because they don’t fit into the world’s binaries? Or will their friendship help them embrace the beauty of living in between?”

Graphic Novels

The Adventures of Team Pom: Squid Happens (Book 1) by Isabel Roxas (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When oddballs Agnes, Roberta and Ruby discover a shared passion for synchronized swimming, the trio become Team Pom. But between snack time, their favorite TV show, and raising pigeons, it can be hard to find time to practice.

This crew of self-proclaimed weirdos are tired of their loser status in the pool. But on their way to gain the respect and free snacks they deserve, they stumble upon a lonely giant squid. Will he be the secret weapon they need for synchronized swimming stardom? Will they be able to outwit the sinister strangers in bowler hats, or will they end up with ink on their faces?

The first in this series and a debut comic book from award-winning Filipino illustrator Isabel Roxas, Squid Happens is a hilarious read that explores friendship, teamwork and what it means to be yourself.”

You can also read my full review of The Adventures of Team Pom: Squid Happens.

That’s all I have for today. 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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