New Release Round Up – September 14, 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

The Proudest Color by Sheila Modir and Jeffrey Kashou, Illustrated by Monica Mikai

“For me, brown is more than feeling proud.
It’s the color I see when I see me.

Zahra sees the world in vivid color. When she’s happy, she feels a razzle-dazzle pink in her hands. When she’s sad, she feels a deep blue behind her eyes. But she isn’t quite sure how to feel about the color of her skin. Kids at school tell her she is different, but her mother tells her to be proud! From a diverse team and based on extensive research, The Proudest Color is a timely, sensitive introduction to race, racism, and racial pride.”

The House That She Built by Mollie Elkman, Illustrated by Georgia Castellano

“The House that She Built educates young readers about the people and skills that go into building a home. One by one, we learn about the architect, framer, roofer and many more as they contribute their individual skills needed to complete the collective project — a new home. With illustrations that connect and empower and words that build upon each other with each page, this book will leave all kids (she, he, and they) excited about their own skills and interested in learning new ones. Based on a true story! The House that She Built was Inspired by the team of real women who came together from around the country to build a one-of-a-kind home.”

Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor, Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali

“From designer, creator, and self-love advocate Nabela Noor (@Nabela) comes a much-needed picture book about loving yourself just as you are.

Meet Zubi: a joyful Bangladeshi girl excited about her first day of school. But when Zubi sees her mother frowning in the mirror and talking about being “too big,” she starts to worry about her own body and how she looks. As her day goes on, she hears more and more people being critical of each other’s and their own bodies, until her outburst over dinner leads her family to see what they’ve been doing wrong—and to help Zubi see that we can all make the world a more beautiful place by being beautifully ourselves.”

King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin by Stephen Costanza

“A stunning, rhythmic picture book biography of African American composer Scott Joplin, whose ragtime music paved the way for jazz.

There was something special about Scott Joplin…
This quiet kid could make a piano laugh out loud.

Scott, the son of a man who had been enslaved,
became a king—the King of Ragtime.

This celebration of Scott Joplin, whose ragtime compositions paved the way for jazz, will captivate audiences and put a beat in their step, and the kaleidoscope-like illustrations will draw young readers in again and again.”

My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, Illustrated by Erika Meza

“A picture book debut by an award-winning author about a boy’s life on the U.S.-Mexico border, visiting his favorite places on The Other Side with his father, spending time with family and friends, and sharing in the responsibility of community care.

Early one Saturday morning, a boy prepares for a trip to The Other Side/El Otro Lado. It’s close–just down the street from his school–and it’s a twin of where he lives. To get there, his father drives their truck along the Rio Grande and over a bridge, where they’re greeted by a giant statue of an eagle. Their outings always include a meal at their favorite restaurant, a visit with Tío Mateo at his jewelry store, a cold treat from the paletero, and a pharmacy pickup. On their final and most important stop, they check in with friends seeking asylum and drop off much-needed supplies.

My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, with stunning watercolor illustrations by Erika Meza, is the loving story of a father and son’s weekend ritual, a demonstration of community care, and a tribute to the fluidity, complexity, and vibrancy of life on the U.S.-Mexico border.”

The Secret Code Inside You: All About Your DNA by Rajani LaRocca, Illustrated by Steven Salerno

“Learn about the secret code that is DNA in this vibrant and informative picture book!

There’s a secret code inside you, a code called DNA.
A code that tells your body’s cells what they should do each day.
It looks like twisted ladders, or tiny, twirling noodles.
It makes us into people, instead of into poodles.

Why can’t humans breathe underwater? Why are some people tall and others short? Why do we resemble our parents and grandparents? This book explores all this and more in flowing, rhyming text, explaining cells, DNA, and genetics in a way that is simple and easy for children to understand. Colorful and brilliantly illustrated, The Secret Code Inside You illustrates that while DNA may be the blueprint for how a person looks, what you choose to do with your body is entirely up to you!”

Chapter Books

Mindy Kim and the Big Pizza Challenge by Lyla Lee, Illustrated by Dung Ho

“Fresh off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in this adorable chapter book series following Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl—in this sixth novel, Mindy enters a delicious pizza competition!

Mindy Kim loves food—from her beloved Korean staples to pizza! When a local pizza place advertises a trivia competition, Mindy can’t believe that the big prize is unlimited pizza for a whole year!

Mindy is confident she and her dad can take the top spot. But Dad is worried he might not understand all the cultural references. And he wants Mindy to know that the most important thing is to always try your best, even if you don’t win. Can Mindy and her Dad have fun together, win or lose?”

Middle Grade

A Soft Place To Land by Janae Marks

“Joy Taylor has always believed home is the house she lived in her entire life. But then her dad lost his job, and suddenly, home becomes a tiny apartment with thin walls, shared bedrooms, and a place for tense arguments between Mom and Dad. Hardest of all, Joy doesn’t have her music to escape through anymore. Without enough funds, her dreams of becoming a great pianist—and one day, a film score composer—have been put on hold.

A friendly new neighbor her age lets Joy in on the complex’s best-kept secret: the Hideout, a cozy refuge that only the kids know about. And it’s in this little hideaway that Joy starts exchanging secret messages with another kid in the building who also seems to be struggling, until—abruptly, they stop writing back. What if they’re in trouble?

Joy is determined to find out who this mystery writer is, fast, but between trying to raise funds for her music lessons, keeping on a brave face for her little sister, and worrying about her parents’ marriage, Joy isn’t sure how to keep her own head above water.”

Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes

From award-winning and bestselling author Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age survival tale exploring issues of race, class, and climate change
 
Addy is haunted by the tragic fire that killed her parents, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother. Now, years later, Addy’s grandmother has enrolled her in a summer wilderness program. There, Addy joins five other Black city kids—each with their own troubles—to spend a summer out west.
 
Deep in the forest the kids learn new (and to them) strange skills: camping, hiking, rock climbing, and how to start and safely put out campfires. Most important, they learn to depend upon each other for companionship and survival. 
But then comes a devastating forest fire…
 
Addy is face-to-face with her destiny and haunting past. Developing her courage and resiliency against the raging fire, it’s up to Addy to lead her friends to safety. Not all are saved. But remembering her origins and grandmother’s teachings, she’s able to use street smarts, wilderness skills, and her spiritual intuition to survive.”

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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