New Release Round Up – August 3, 2021

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! I can’t wait to share the new releases I am most looking forward to this week with you all, so let’s dive right in!

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

Here We Are: Book of Numbers by Oliver Jeffers

From Oliver Jeffers, world-renowned picture book creator of the #1 New York Times bestseller Here We Are, comes a charming board book companion and counting book. Learning all about our planet is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Well, hello. And welcome to this planet. We call it Earth. There is much to see and do here on Earth, so let’s get started with a quick tour. Inspired by the bestselling picture book, Here We Are, comes this irresistible counting book to welcome babies and toddlers to our planet.”

Picture Books

Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America’s First Published Poet by Katie Munday Williams, Illustrated by Tania Rex

“The inspiring story of a Puritan woman whose passion for writing poetry broke barriers.

Late at night, with her children tucked into bed and her husband away on business, Anne Dudley Bradstreet composed poems by candlelight. She let her thoughts from the day tumble out, memorizing each poem line by line before daring to shape the words onto scraps of scarce parchment. Puritan women in the 1600s weren’t allowed to be writers. But when the world learned about Anne’s poetry, even she was astonished by what happened next.

This charmingly illustrated picture book tells the inspiring story of how a Puritan woman overcame the obstacles facing women of her era to become one of the most famous poets in history. A gifted writer of deep faith, Anne Bradstreet blazed a trail for the rights of women to study, write, and achieve.”

Usha and the Big Digger by Amitha Jagannath Knight, Illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat

“When sisters Usha and Aarti look up at the stars, they see different things. Aarti sees the Big Dipper, but Usha sees the Big DIGGER. And cousin Gloria sees the Big Kite! Could they all be right? A playful introduction to geometry and spatial relationships, featuring Indian American characters and a note about cultures and constellations.

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.”

Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi! by Art Coulson, Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight

“Bo wants to find the perfect container to show off his traditional marbles for the Cherokee national Holiday. It needs to be just the right size: big enough to fit all the marbles, but not too big to fit in his family’s booth at the festival for the Cherokee National Holiday. And it needs to look good! With his grandmother’s help, Bo tries many containers until he finds just the right one. A playful exploration of volume and capacity featuring Native characters and a glossary of Cherokee words.

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 Kid is a Kid is a Kid by Sara O’Leary, Illustrated by Qin Leng

In this companion to the enormously popular A Family Is a Family Is a Family, a group of kids share the silly questions they always hear, as well as the questions they would rather be asked about themselves.

Being the new kid is hard, a child in the school playground tells us. I can think of better things to ask than if I’m a boy or a girl. Another child comes along and says she gets asked why she always has her nose in a book. Someone else gets asked where they come from. 

One after another, children share the questions they’re tired of being asked again and again — as opposed to what they believe are the most important or interesting things about themselves. As they move around the playground, picking up new friends along the way, there is a feeling of understanding and acceptance among them. And in the end, the new kid comes up with the question they would definitely all like to hear: “Hey kid, want to play?”

Sara O’Leary’s thoughtful text and Qin Leng’s expressive illustrations tell a story about children who are all different, all themselves, all just kids.”

What I Am by Divya Srinivasan

The creator of Little Owl’s Night explores and celebrates the complexities of what makes us who we are in this comforting and thoughtful picture book.

A young narrator describes herself: a girl, a granddaughter, Indian, and American. Soon, we see the young girl as a plethora of things: selfish and generous, mean and kind, brave and mischievous. While many of these qualities oppose each other, the context and illustrations make it abundantly clear that she speaks the truth. She is a walking contradiction, and that is precisely what makes her both a unique individual and an essential piece of the greater world around her. Divya Srinivasan shows what makes us human and proud to be who we are”

Chapter Books

Kai and the Monkey King by Joe Todd-Stanton

When Kai grows tired of her bookish mum not being adventurous enough for a Brownstone, she decides to seek out the mischievous and rebellious Monkey King – who she’s always been told to stay away from. Will he bring her the adventure she craves, or will he cause her more trouble than he’s worth?

Read the latest story from the mythical Brownstone’s family vault where we venture to China and learn about the story of the Monkey King, meet magical gods, taste powerful peaches and see that maybe our heroes aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be.

Winner of the 2018 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, and most recently nominated for an Eisner for Arthur and the Golden Rope, Joe Todd-Stanton is a master at storytelling and illustration, and this time he takes his history loving adventurer deep into Chinese mythology.”

J.D. and the Family Business by J. Dillard, Illustrated by Akeem S. Roberts

Eight-year-old kid barber J.D. joins forces with his sister, who has beauty shop dreams, in this hilarious illustrated chapter book series.

J.D. is a barber battle champion. He’s graduated from home haircuts to having a regular chair at the neighborhood shop, Hart and Son, and he’s making enough money to keep his candy jar stocked and his comic book collection growing. And yet, J.D. knows it’s time for his next challenge. He doesn’t just want to be the best barber in Meridian, Mississippi—he wants to be the best barber in the state . . . and maybe the country! When his older sister, Vanessa, starts to gain a following online for her hair tutorials, the kids decide that to truly level up, they must join forces. How do two siblings with big personalities, big ambitions, and competitive spirits work together (or not) to take over the hair world?”

Middle Grade

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood Edited by Kwame Mbalia

Celebrate the joys of Black boyhood with stories from seventeen bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors–including Jason Reynolds (the Track series), Jerry Craft (New Kid), and Kwame Mbalia (the Tristan Strong series)!

Black boy joy is…

Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit.
Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic race.
Finding your voice—and your rhymes—during tough times.
Flying on your skateboard like nobody’s watching.

And more! From seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

Contributors include: B. B. Alston, Dean Atta, P. Djèlí Clark, Jay Coles, Jerry Craft, Lamar Giles, Don P. Hooper, George M. Johnson, Varian Johnson, Kwame Mbalia, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi, Julian Randall, Jason Reynolds, Justin Reynolds, DaVaun Sanders, and Julian Winters”

Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai by Debbi Michiko Florence

Fans of Lisa Greenwald and Wendy Mass are sure to fall head-over-heels for this funny, sweet story of crushes, competition, and the confusing reality of middle school.

“Heartbreak is for suckers.” — Jenna Sakai

When Jenna gets dumped over winter break, it confirms what she learned from her parents’ messy divorce: Relationships are risky and only lead to disappointment. So even though she still has to see her ex-boyfriend Elliott at newspaper club, Jenna is going to be totally heartless this semester — no boys, just books.

But keeping her cool isn’t always easy. Jenna’s chief competition for a big journalism scholarship is none other than Elliott. Her best friend Keiko always seems busy with her own boyfriend. And cute-but-incredibly-annoying Rin Watanabe keeps stealing her booth at the diner she’s been hiding at every day after school. Rin is every bit as stubborn and detached as Jenna. And the more Jenna gets to know him, the more intriguing a mystery he seems. Soon Jenna is starting to realize that being a loner is kind of, well, lonely. And letting people in might just be a risk worth taking.”

Psychology for Kids: The Science of the Mind and Behavior by Jacqueline B. Toner and Claire A. B. Freeland

“This exciting new book introduces kids to the science of psychology, with chapters on the brain, personality, intelligence, emotions, social relationships, and more. Accompanied by colorful illustrations of psychology’s big ideas, and lots of hands-on experiments to try at home, there’s no better way to dive into the fascinating science of the mind. Why do we sleep? What are feelings? How do we make decisions, and how do we learn from them? Psychology helps us ask and answer these big questions about ourselves, others, and the world around us.”

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter

“When life is funny, make some jokes about it.

Billy Plimpton has a big dream: to become a famous comedian when he grows up. He already knows a lot of jokes, but thinks he has one big problem standing in his way: his stutter.

At first, Billy thinks the best way to deal with this is to . . . never say a word. That way, the kids in his new school won’t hear him stammer. But soon he finds out this is NOT the best way to deal with things. (For one thing, it’s very hard to tell a joke without getting a word out.)

As Billy makes his way toward the spotlight, a lot of funny things (and some less funny things) happen to him. In the end, the whole school will know —

If you think you can hold Billy Plimpton back, be warned: The joke will soon be on you!”

Being Clem (The Finding Langston Trilogy) by Lesa Cline-Ransome

The final novel in the award-winning Finding Langston trilogy from Coretta Scott King Author Honoree and Scott O’Dell Award medalist Lesa Cline-Ransome.

Clem can make anybody, even his grumpy older sisters, smile with his jokes. But when his family receives news that his father has died in the infamous Port Chicago disaster, everything begins to fall apart. Clem’s mother is forced to work long, tough hours as a maid for a wealthy white family. Soon Clem can barely recognize his home–and himself. Can he live up to his father’s legacy?

In her award-winning trilogy, Lesa Cline-Ransome masterfully recreates mid-twentieth century America through the eyes of three boys: Langston, Lymon, and, now, Clem. Exploring the impact of the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, Jim Crow laws, and much more, Lesa’s work manages at once to be both an intimate portrait of each boy and his family as well as a landscape of American history.”

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents the sequel to Tehlor Kay Mejia’s critically acclaimed own-voices novel about science-obsessed Paola Santiago.
Six months after Paola Santiago confronted the legendary La Llorona, life is nothing like she’d expected it to be. She is barely speaking to her best friends, Dante and Emma, and what’s worse, her mom has a totally annoying boyfriend. Even with her chupacabra puppy, Bruto, around, Pao can’t escape the feeling that she’s all alone in the world.

Pao has no one to tell that she’s having nightmares again, this time set in a terrifying forest. Even more troubling? At their center is her estranged father, an enigma of a man she barely remembers. And when Dante’s abuela falls mysteriously ill, it seems that the dad Pao never knew just might be the key to healing the eccentric old woman.

Pao’s search for her father will send her far from home, where she will encounter new monsters and ghosts, a devastating betrayal, and finally, the forest of her nightmares. Will the truths her father has been hiding save the people Pao loves, or destroy them?”

Graphic Novels

Hicotea: A Nightlights Story by Lorena Alvarez

The mind-bending, psychedlic sequel to Lorena Alvarez’s best-selling graphic novel debut Nightlights is now available in a new paperback edition!

On a school field trip to the river, Sandy wanders away from her classmates and discovers an empty turtle shell. Peeking through the dark hole, she suddenly finds herself within a magical realm. Filled with sculptures, paintings and books, the turtle’s shell is a museum of the natural world. But one painting is incomplete, and the turtle needs Sandy’s help to finish it.”

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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