New Release Round Up – September 7, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everybody! It’s new release day again! As always, I rounded up the titles I am most excited about to share with y’all today. There are a TON to talk about this week, so sit back, grab a snack, and let’s look at some new books.

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.

Board Books

I Am Love: A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde, Illustrated Peter H. Reynolds

“Celebrate kindness, compassion, self-care, and love in all its forms with the board book edition of the instant New York Times bestseller!

I put my hands on my heart and listen.
And that is where I find the answer:

I have compassion.
I act with tenderness.

I am love.

Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds continue their collaboration with the fourth book in their wellness series. A celebration of love in all its forms, I Am Love asks readers to look inward when they feel afraid. Love allows us to act with compassion and kindness, to live with gratitude, and to take care of ourselves by practicing self-love.”

Brilliant Baby Fights Germs by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Jean Claude

“This series will introduce and explore all the different subjects your brilliant baby will soon master!

Your Brilliant Baby will love learning what germs are and what we can do to prevent the spread of them, as well as about the scientists and doctors who help us fight them!”

Brilliant Baby Explores Science by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Jean Claude

“This series will introduce and explore all the different subjects your brilliant baby will soon master!

Your Brilliant Baby will love learning the basics of the scientific method and how they can find science all around them, such as in colors, nature, buildings, and more!”

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, Illustrated by Frane Lessac

“The Cherokee community is grateful for blessings and challenges that each season brings. This is modern Native American life as told by an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.”

Picture Books

Over and Under The Canyon by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

“In this latest book in the acclaimed Over and Under series, a spectacular hike reveals the hidden wonders, rich colors, and layers of wildlife living within a thriving desert slot-canyon.

Over and Under the Canyon takes young readers on a thrilling tour of a desert canyon ecosystem. Over the canyon, the sun scalds the air, baking desert mud to stone. But under the shade of the cliffs hides another world, where bighorn sheep bound from rock to rock on the hillside, roadrunners make their nests in sturdy cacti, and banded geckos tuck themselves into the shelter of the sand. Discover the wonders concealed in the curves of the canyon, the magic of a desert wildflower bloom, and all the unexpected creatures that bring the desert to life.”

I Am Courage: A Book of Resilience by Susan Verde, Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Encourage kids to find their inner strength with this companion to the New York Times bestsellers I Am Human and I Am Love!

I move ahead one breath at a time.
I act with bravery.
I am courage.
 

When we picture someone brave, we might think they’re fearless; but real courage comes from feeling scared and facing what challenges us anyway. When our minds tell us “I can’t,” we can look inside ourselves and find the strength to say, “Yes, I CAN!”

From the New York Times bestselling team behind the I Am series comes a triumphant celebration of everyday courage: believing in ourselves, speaking out, trying new things, asking for help, and getting back up no matter how many times we may fall. Grounded in mindfulness and awareness, I Am Courage is an empowering reminder that we can conquer anything.
Inside, you’ll also find exercises to inspire confidence.”

The Wall and the Wild by Christina Dendy, Illustrated by Katie Rewse

When Ana tries to take control by creating a perfect garden, she comes to realize that nature is inherently wild.

In a plot of land at the edge of town, Ana grows only perfectly sized plants and perfect-looking flowers; she throws all the irregular shoots and uneven seeds over the wall into the disorderly Wild. But as her garden gets tidier, neater and more constrained, the Wild begins to grow…”

Before We Stood Tall: From Small Seed to Mighty Tree by Jessica Kulekjian, Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper

“Expressive text and art tell the story of the life cycle of trees as it has never been told before — in reverse.Here’s a lyrical depiction of the life cycle of trees, told one step at a time, based on newly researched information. The steps are described in simple but evocative text, each starting with “Before . . .” for a rhythmic telling. For example, “Before we stood tall, we clothed ourselves in bark and crowned ourselves in leaves, waving eagerly at the sun.” Particular attention is paid throughout to what’s happening underground and how that links all life in the forest. Beginning with mature giants, “mighty in the kingdom of trees,” and ending with the promise of new life on the branches that are “hoping to be mighty in the kingdom of trees,” it’s a beautiful and loving celebration of the circle of life.Jessica Kulekjian’s skill at seamlessly blending nonfiction information with a poetic narrative sets this informational picture book apart. She also uniquely incorporates intriguing new research on how trees communicate with each other using an underground network of roots and fungus that connects the forest and helps the trees to thrive. Madeline Kloepper’s rich artwork with its deep earth tone palette brings the forest and all its inhabitants alive on the page. The material has been vetted by several scientists, including experts on trees, insects and mushrooms. Supported by well-researched backmatter, the book has strong curriculum links to early elementary earth and life science topics, including plants, ecosystems and soil.”

A Seat at the Table: The Nancy Pelosi Story by Elisa Boxer, Illustrated by Laura Freeman

This inspiring picture-book biography about Nancy Pelosi shows her journey from the child of Baltimore’s mayor to her marble-ceiling-shattering four terms as Speaker of the House, including the historic events of January 6th, 2021. 
 

Nancy Pelosi grew up watching her father, the mayor of Baltimore, welcome in people of all different backgrounds to sit at their table and make their voices heard. Nancy’s mother always stood beside him, working behind the scenes to help her husband and the people he served. When Nancy grew up, she continued working behind the scenes in politics until a friend asked her to run for Congress herself–jump-starting a 33 year career as a political representative and taking her higher than she could have once imagined.

Young girls, especially, will be inspired by Nancy’s journey and her commitment to using her voice to help others and to make sure women are heard in government. The backmatter also includes an exclusive interview with Nancy Pelosi herself.”

Let Me Fix You A Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens by Elizabeth Lilly

Whether you’re settling in for a heaping plate of banana pudding or arepas and tostones, a good meal can always bring families together.

Once a year, on a Friday night,
My family leaves the city
And drives hours and hours . . .

First my family drives through the mountains to stop at Mamaw and Papaw’s house in rural West Virginia. We share blueberry jam and toast for breakfast the next morning, then munch cookies and cut bananas to make banana pudding with Mamaw. After the last bite of pudding, we get ready for the next part of the journey, down to Florida to visit Abuela and Abuelo for crispy tostones, fresh squeezed juice, and arepas with queso blanco.

Elizabeth Lilly’s tale of a joyous road trip, drawn from her own experience, is illustrated with quirky charm that captures all the warmth and love of her family’s two distinct cultures.”

Magic Like That by Samara Cole Doyon, Illustrated by Geneva Bowers

“In this celebration of Black Girl Magic, a young girl finds confidence and excitement in the versatility of her natural hair and the way her different hairstyles reflect the natural world.

Natural hair is magical, but magic isn’t easy. As a young Black girl patiently waits for her mother to finish her newest hairstyle, she wonders what stunning, majestic, awe-inspiring form her hair will take next!

With radiant illustrations by Geneva Bowers and beautiful, poetic text written by Samara Cole Doyon, Magic Like That will inspire young readers of all textures to believe in the beauty of their natural selves.”

Right Now!: Real Kids Speaking Up for Change by Miranda Paul, Illustrated by Bea Jackson

A joyful, inspiring picture book that introduces readers to eleven young people from around the world who didn’t wait until they were grown to speak up about things that matter to them and change the world for the better, from an award-winning author and New York Times best-selling illustrator.

From climate activist Greta Thunberg to anti-bullying advocate Jaylen Arnold to peace activist Bana Alabed and more, these short profiles of young people and their causes will inspire readers to think about what matters most to them. An author’s note, Actions to Make a Difference, and additional resources are also included, providing a roadmap for any kid who wants to make change and help others too.”

When Langston Dances by Kaija Langley, Illustrated by Keith Mallett

A young Black boy dreams of dancing in this exuberant, buoyant picture book celebrating the beauty of dance, and the wonder of Black Boy Joy—perfect for fans of Firebird and Crown!

Langston likes basketball okay, but what he loves is to dance—ever since he saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform. He longs to twirl into a pirouette, whirl into a piqué. He wants to arabesque and attitude, grand battement and grand jeté. When he walks, the whole street is his stage.

With his neighborhood cheering him on, will Langston achieve his dream?”

Ada and the Galaxies by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv, Illustrated by Susanna Chapman

“Stargazers rejoice! In his first book for children, renowned physicist Alan Lightman and collaborators, with help from the Hubble telescope, light up the night sky.

New York Times best-selling author Alan Lightman, in collaboration with Olga Pastuchiv, brings galaxies close in a stunning picture-book tribute to the interconnectedness of the natural world. Layering photographs taken from the Hubble telescope into charming and expressive art, illustrator Susanna Chapman zooms in on one child’s experiences: Ada knows that the best place for star-gazing is on the island in Maine where she vacations with her grandparents. By day, she tracks osprey in the trees, paddles a kayak, and hunts for shells. But she’s most in her element when the sun goes down and the stars blink to life. Will the fog this year foil her plans, or will her grandfather find a way to shine a spotlight on the vast puzzle of the universe . . . until the weather turns?”

This Magical, Musical Night by Rhonda Gowler Greene, Illustrated by James Rey Sanchez

Music! Music! Oh, how grand! A language we all understand.
Get swept away by the musical performance of a lifetime as, one by one, each instrument of the symphony orchestra shows off their skills!

Follow along as the symphony orchestra’s various instruments are introduced. From violin to trumpet, flute to trombone, each plays its part, contributing to a grand and mystifying performance. These magical instruments will transport you in a way only music can. Soar with the strings, float away with the woodwinds, and play in a percussion thunderstorm! Music can take us anywhere, so celebrate and learn about all the instruments of the orchestra and the music that unites us.”

Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories by Annette Bay Pimentel, Illustrated by Magaly Morales

“A lyrical, vibrant tribute to the amazing life and legacy of Pura Belpré, a lauded storyteller, librarian, and pioneer of bilingual storytimes

Pura’s abuela always has a cuento to share. She crows ¡Qui-qui-ri-quí! for Señor Gallo, booms Borom, Borom for Señor Zapo, and tells of a beautiful cockroach who loves a mouse. Pura clings to these stories like coquíes cling to green leaves.

When Pura grows up and moves from Puerto Rico to Harlem, she gets a job at the library, where she is surrounded by stories—but they’re only in English. Where is Señor Gallo? Where is Pérez the mouse? Where is Puerto Rico on these shelves? She decides to tell children the tales of her homeland in English and in Spanish.

Lyrically written, with lively illustrations, Pura’s Cuentos captures the exuberant spirit and passion of Pura Belpré: celebrated storyteller, author, folklorist, and the first Latina librarian in New York City. A pioneer of bilingual storytimes, she welcomed countless new families to the library, formed cultural bridges in her community, and broke the rules by telling stories that weren’t printed in books—at least, not yet.”

Thankful by Elaine Vickers, Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill

Stunning, diorama illustrations bring to life this lullaby of a picture book about celebrating everyday things that make life wonderful.

I am thankful for a home where I am safe and warm.
Thankful for parents who read me stories and comb my hair gently, gently.
Who whisper the same poem every night when they tuck me in.

When the first snow falls, a little girl writes down the things she’s thankful for on strips of paper and links them together. As one idea leads to another, her chain grows longer. There’s so much good in her life: a friend, things that are warm, things that are cold, color, things that can be fixed. This beautiful story is a much-needed reminder to observe and honor life’s small joys.”

Jazz For Lunch by Jarrett Dapier, Illustrated by Eugenia Mello

“Last Stop on Market Street gets a jazzy twist in this finger-licking good celebration of music, food, and family.

Struttin’ with Auntie Nina down to a club,
We’re gonna hear some music and then eat some grub.
Wanna get up close, but we’re stuck in the back,
We can’t see the drums and we can’t get a snack!
But Auntie Nina’s got a plan, don’t you fret,
She’s taking us to her place where we can get
JAZZ FOR LUNCH!

Come on in, sit right down! Cuz Auntie Nina and her nephew are cooking up a symphony of food and sounds. The lip-smacking smells and be-bopping tunes might just get the whole neighborhood shimmying over to join in. From Nat King Cole Slaw to Art Tatum Tots to Billie Hollandaise Sauce, get ready for some foot-stomping, finger-licking, booty-shaking, mouth-watering fun!”

Superjoe Does NOT Do Cuddles by Michael Catchpool, Illustrated by Emma Proctor

“Even the mightiest of superheroes sometimes need a cuddle from their mom…

SuperJoe is convinced he doesn’t need cuddles from his mom. He flies around the neighborhood rescuing people from escaped tigers, runaway trains and raging rivers, all while battling his nemesis the Gray Shadow. Naturally, he refuses all cuddles. Until, one night, when he can’t sleep…”

Lost Things by Carey Sookocheff

“In this charming simple story, things are lost, things are found and, somehow, it’s all just as it should be.Sometimes things are lost. A hair ribbon. A pencil. A dog on a leash. But when someone loses a thing, another person may find it, sometimes with surprising results. In this thoughtful and deceptively simple story, several things are lost, and then each is found — not always by the person who lost it, but always by someone who can use it.Though for most young children — and their grownups! — losing something is a cause for stress, Carey Sookocheff’s delightful picture book presents the experience in a calm, matter-of-fact tone and invites readers to consider things from a different perspective. The subtle message is one we can all learn from — while you can’t always control what happens, you can manage how you respond. With very spare text and easy-to-follow visual storytelling, the book has a this-then-that rhythm that is reassuring and pleasant. It also begins and ends with the same girl walking her dog in the park, making for a cohesive and satisfying story. The illustrations use a limited, cool palette with the color orange signifying each of the lost items, perfect for enhancing observational skills and visual literacy. This book would work well as a jumping off point for children to create stories of their own, imagining what might have happened to something they’ve lost, who might have found it, and what might happen to it next.”

Snoozefest: The Surprising Science of Sleep by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Illustrated by Valéry Goulet

“From award-winning author Tanya Lloyd Kyi, an eye-opening look at the science of sleep — covering everything adolescents could possibly want to know about a subject that’s suddenly keeping them up at night!For something that all humans do for hours every night, sleep is not that well understood. One thing we do know, though, is that sleep is crucial for our health and happiness. Here’s a highly readable and fascinating look at why sleep is so important, what’s happening in our bodies while we’re sleeping (it’s a lot more than you think!), and how the science of sleep research has evolved. It probes some of the mysteries about sleep, like why we need sleep, why we dream, and even how long we can go without sleep! It also explains why teens and tweens aren’t getting enough sleep — and what school principals can do about it! It’s a deep dive into an intriguing topic that’s anything but a snore!Bestselling author Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s engaging yet comprehensive text covers everything a middle schooler (or an adult!) could want to know about the science of sleep — and then some. Sleep is a topic that most adolescents are interested in, since their sleep patterns have recently begun to change, and getting enough sleep is now more important to them than ever before. Sidebars and boxes full of fun facts break the text into readable chunks. There are terrific curriculum links here to life science and the human body as well as to health. Fully illustrated with a light touch by Valéry Goulet, this unique and appealing book makes scientific content accessible and fun.”

Bright Star by Yuyi Morales

“From the creator of the New York Times bestseller Dreamers comes a heartbreakingly beautiful story about growth, empowerment, and finding one’s own voice.

Child, you are awake!
You are alive!
You are a bright star,
Inside our hearts.

Told with a combination of powerful, spare language and sumptuous and complex imagery that is typical of Yuyi Morales’s work, this is the story of a fawn making her way through a border landscape teaming with flora and fauna native to the region. A gentle but empowering voice encourages her to face her fears when she comes across an obstacle in the form of an insurmountable barrier.”

Middle Grade

Born Behind Bars by Padma Venkatraman

“Kabir has been in jail since the day he was born, because his mom is serving time for a crime she didn’t commit. He’s never met his dad, so the only family he’s got are their cellmates, and the only place he feels the least bit free is in the classroom, where his kind teacher regales him with stories of the wonders of the outside world. Then one day a new warden arrives and announces Kabir is too old to stay. He gets handed over to a long-lost “uncle” who unfortunately turns out to be a fraud, and intends to sell Kabir. So Kabir does the only thing he can–run away as fast as his legs will take him. How does a boy with nowhere to go and no connections make his way? Fortunately, he befriends Rani, another street kid, and she takes him under her wing. But plotting their next move is hard–and fraught with danger–in a world that cares little for homeless, low caste children. This is not the world Kabir dreamed of–but he’s discovered he’s not the type to give up. Kabir is ready to show the world that he–and his mother–deserve a place in it.”

Obie Is Man Enough by Schuyler Bailar

“A coming-of-age story about transgender tween Obie, who didn’t think being himself would cause such a splash. For fans of Alex Gino’s George and Lisa Bunker’s Felix Yz.

Obie knew his transition would have ripple effects. He has to leave his swim coach, his pool, and his best friends. But it’s time for Obie to find where he truly belongs.

As Obie dives into a new team, though, things are strange. Obie always felt at home in the water, but now he can’t get his old coach out of his head. Even worse are the bullies that wait in the locker room and on the pool deck. Luckily, Obie has family behind him. And maybe some new friends too, including Charlie, his first crush. Obie is ready to prove he can be one of the fastest boys in the water—to his coach, his critics, and his biggest competition: himself.”

Danny Chung Sums It Up by Maisie Chan, Illustrated by Natelle Quek

“A touching and funny middle-grade story about a boy whose life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother moves in

Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English—and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. Filled with heart and humor, Danny Chung Sums It Up shows that traversing two cultures is possible and worth the effort, even if it’s not always easy.”

Lotería by Karla Arenas Valenti, Illustrated by Dana SanMar

“In the hottest hour of the hottest day of the year, a fateful wind blows into Oaxaca City. It whistles down cobbled streets and rustles the jacaranda trees before slipping into the window of an eleven-year-old girl named Clara. Unbeknownst to her, Clara has been marked for la Lotería.

Life and Death deal the Lotería cards but once a year, and the stakes could not be higher. Every card reveals a new twist in Clara’s fate—a scorpion, an arrow, a blood-red rose. If Life wins, Clara will live to a ripe old age. If Death prevails, she’ll flicker out like a candle.

But Clara knows none of this. All she knows is that her young cousin Esteban has vanished, and she’ll do whatever it takes to save him, traveling to the mythical Kingdom of Las Pozas, where every action has a price, and every choice has consequences. And though it seems her fate is sealed, Clara just might have what it takes to shatter the game and choose a new path.

Karla Arenas Valenti weaves an adventure steeped in magic and mythology—gorgeously illustrated by Dana Sanmar—exploring the notion of free will in a world where fate holds all the cards.”

Partly Cloudy by Tanita S. Davis

“Lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it? After a terrible year, Madalyn needs clear skies desperately. Moving in with her great-uncle, Papa Lobo, and switching to a new school is just the first step.

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, though. Madalyn discovers she’s the only Black girl in her class, and while most of her classmates are friendly, assumptions lead to some serious storms.

Papa Lobo’s long-running feud with neighbor Mrs. Baylor brings wild weather of its own, and Madalyn wonders just how far things will go. But when fire threatens the community, Madalyn discovers that truly being neighborly means more than just staying on your side of the street— it means weathering tough conversations—and finding that together a family can pull through anything.

Award-winning author Tanita S. Davis shows us that life isn’t always clear, and that partly cloudy days still contain a bit of blue worth celebrating.”

Graphic Novels

Witches of Brooklyn: What The Hex?! by Sophie Escabasse

Effie returns in this spellbinding sequel: a middle-grade graphic novel about found family, friendship, and learning to embrace who you are!

Could there be even MORE witches in Brooklyn?!

Effie is EXCITED to meet so many witches, but what is going on with her friends? Suddenly Effie is no longer the newest kid in school, and it seems like her friends are happy to grow their little group, but Effie isn’t so sure. On top of that, learning magic is HARD WORK!

Effie just wants to have fun being a witch, but her life in Brooklyn is about to get weird(er).

The bewitching second book in the Witches of Brooklyn series captures what it means to be a friend, and how growing up can be a little less scary if you throw some magic in the mix.”

Borders by Thomas King, Illustrated by Natasha Donovan

From celebrated Indigenous author Thomas King and award-winning Métis artist Natasha Donovan comes a powerful graphic novel about a family caught between nations.

Borders is a masterfully told story of a boy and his mother whose road trip is thwarted at the border when they identify their citizenship as Blackfoot. Refusing to identify as either American or Canadian first bars their entry into the US, and then their return into Canada. In the limbo between countries, they find power in their connection to their identity and to each other. 

Borders explores nationhood from an Indigenous perspective and resonates deeply with themes of identity, justice, and belonging.”

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!

You Might Also Like:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s