New Release Round Up – June 15, 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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Picture Books

Becoming Vanessa by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Bookshop | Amazon)

“On Vanessa’s first day of school, her parents tell her it will be easy to make friends. Vanessa isn’t so sure. She wears her fanciest outfit so her new classmates will notice her right away. They notice, but the attention isn’t what she’d hoped for. As the day goes on, she feels more self-conscious. Her clothes are too bright, her feather boa has way too many feathers, and even her name is too hard to write.

The next day, she picks out a plain outfit, and tells her mom that her name is too long. She just wants to blend in, with a simple name like the other girls–why couldn’t her parents have named her Megan or Bella? But when her mother tells her the meaning behind her name, it gives her the confidence she needs to introduce her classmates to the real Vanessa.”

A Boy Named Isamu: A Story of Isamu Noguchi by James Yang (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Winner of the Theordor Seuss Geisel Award in 2020 for Stop! Bot!, James Yang imagines a day in the boyhood of Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi. Wandering through an outdoor market, through the forest, and then by the ocean, Isamu sees things through the eyes of a young artist . . .but also in a way that many children will relate. Stones look like birds. And birds look like stones.

Through colorful artwork and exquisite text, Yang translates the essence of Noguchi so that we can all begin to see as an artist sees.”

Jenny Mei Is Sad by Tracy Subisak (Bookshop | Amazon)

“With this educational and entertaining picture book, learn how to approach difficult emotions with compassion and understanding—and be the best friend you can be.

My friend Jenny Mei is sad. But you might not be able to tell.

Jenny Mei still smiles a lot. She makes everyone laugh. And she still likes blue Popsicles the best. But, her friend knows that Jenny Mei is sad, and does her best to be there to support her.

This beautifully illustrated book is perfect for introducing kids to the complexity of sadness, and to show them that the best way to be a good friend, especially to someone sad, is by being there for the fun, the not-fun, and everything in between.”

You can also read my full review of Jenny Mei is Sad.

I Is For Immigrant by Selina Alko (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This alphabet picture book companion to the popular B Is for Brooklyn weaves together a multitude of immigrant experiences in a concise, joyful package. For readers of Dreamers by Yuyi Morales.

What do African dance, samosas, and Japanese gardens have in common? They are all gifts the United States received from immigrants: the vibrant, multifaceted people who share their heritage and traditions to enrich the fabric of our daily lives. From Jewish delis to bagpipes, bodegas and Zen Buddhism, this joyful ABC journey is a celebration of immigrants: our neighbors, our friends.”

We Are All Under One Wide Sky by Deborah Wiles, Illustrated by Andrea Stegmaier (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Children will learn to both celebrate diversity and embrace how much we all have in common.

In We Are All Under One Wide Sky, Deborah Wiles beautifully weaves together images from the natural world in a lovely, lyrical poem. Andrea Stegmaier’s fresh and captivating illustrations feature children from around the globe and celebrate different architecture, landscapes, and activities.

By the end of the book, children will have internalized the message that although we are from different places, we are the same in so many ways. What we have in common is what is most important―family, laughter, love, nature, and friendship. We all share the same wide sky.

We Are All Under One Wide Sky is a peace anthem with a timely and important message for children: to both celebrate diversity and embrace how much we all have in common.”

Chapter Books

Not-So-Happy Camper (Jeanie and Genie #4) by Trish Granted, Illustrated by Manuela Lopez (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In the fourth book of the Jeanie & Genie series, Jeanie and Willow’s camping adventure puts their friendship to the test!

Jeanie is so excited to take her best friend, Willow, camping for the very first time. And Willow’s so excited she even promises Jeanie she won’t grant any wishes during the trip! Willow is a genie, after all. But then Willow meets Jeanie’s camping friends, Becca and Bonnie Berriman. The twins aren’t very nice to Willow, and they hog all Jeanie’s attention, so Willow finds herself wishing that the twins would just go away. But the problem is…the Berrimans do go away. Has Willow accidentally made the twins disappear?!

With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Jeanie & Genie chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.”

Middle Grade

Rolling Warrior: The Incredible, Sometimes Awkward, True Story of a Rebel Girl on Wheels Who Helped Spark a Revolution by Judith Heumann and Kristen Joiner (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Judy Heumann was only 5 years old when she was first denied her right to attend school. Paralyzed from polio and raised by her Holocaust-surviving parents in New York City, Judy had a drive for equality that was instilled early in life.

In this young readers’ edition of her acclaimed memoir, Being Heumann, Judy shares her journey of battling for equal access in an unequal world—from fighting to attend grade school after being described as a “fire hazard” because of her wheelchair, to suing the New York City school system for denying her a teacher’s license because of her disability. Judy went on to lead 150 disabled people in the longest sit-in protest in US history at the San Francisco Federal Building. Cut off from the outside world, the group slept on office floors, faced down bomb threats, and risked their lives to win the world’s attention and the first civil rights legislation for disabled people.

Judy’s bravery, persistence, and signature rebellious streak will speak to every person fighting to belong and fighting for social justice.”

Much Ado About Baseball by Rajani LaRocca (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Twelve-year-old Trish can solve tough math problems and throw a mean fastball. But because of her mom’s new job, she’s now facing a summer trying to make friends all over again in a new town. That isn’t an easy thing to do, and her mom is too busy to notice how miserable she is.

But at her first baseball practice, Trish realizes one of her teammates is Ben, the sixth-grade math prodigy she beat in the spring Math Puzzler Championships. Everyone around them seems to think that with their math talent and love of baseball, it’s only logical that Trish and Ben become friends, but Ben makes it clear he still hasn’t gotten over that loss and can’t stand her. To make matters worse, their team can’t win a single game. But then they meet Rob, an older kid who smacks home runs without breaking a sweat. Rob tells them about his family’s store, which sells unusual snacks that will make them better ballplayers. Trish is dubious, but she’s willing to try almost anything to help the team.

When a mysterious booklet of math puzzles claiming to reveal the “ultimate answer” arrives in her mailbox, Trish and Ben start to get closer and solve the puzzles together. Ben starts getting hits, and their team becomes unstoppable. Trish is happy to keep riding the wave of good luck . . . until they get to a puzzle they can’t solve, with tragic consequences. Can they find the answer to this ultimate puzzle, or will they strike out when it counts the most?”

Graphic Novels

The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Part historical fiction, part magical realism, and 100 percent adventure. Thirteen-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine while she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885.

Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman’s daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan–reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch.

Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the difficulty and politics of lumber camp work and her growing romantic feelings for her friend Bee. The Legend of Auntie Po is about who gets to own a myth, and about immigrant families and communities holding on to rituals and traditions while staking out their own place in America.”

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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