New Release Round Up: November 2, 2021

It’s Tuesday again, so y’all know what that means: It’s time to talk about new releases again!

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

Aaron Slater, Illustrator by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts

An uplifting story about the power of art, finding your voice, and telling your story even when you’re out of step with your peers from the #1 bestselling creators of Sofia Valdez, Future Prez and Ada Twist, Scientist!

Aaron Slater loves listening to stories and dreams of one day writing them himself. But when it comes to reading, the letters just look like squiggles to him, and it soon becomes clear he struggles more than his peers. When his teacher asks each child in the class to write a story, Aaron can’t get a single word down. He is sure his dream of being a storyteller is out of reach . . . until inspiration strikes, and Aaron finds a way to spin a tale in a way that is uniquely his.

Printed with a dyslexia-friendly font, Aaron Slater, Illustrator tells the empowering story of a boy with dyslexia who discovers that his learning disability may inform who he is, but it does not define who he is, and that there are many ways to be a gifted communicator.

Carla and The Christmas Cornbread by Carla Hall, Illustrated by Cherise Harris

In this heartwarming tale inspired by her childhood, superstar chef and TV host Carla Hall shares the story of young Carla, who eats a sugar cookie meant for Santa on the night before Christmas and tries to make things right.

Christmas is Carla’s favorite holiday of the year. She goes to her grandparents’ house and eats grandma’s special recipe—a perfectly delicious cornbread. She listens to her grandpa Doc’s marvelous stories about traveling the world. And, best of all, she spends lots of time with her family.

But when Carla accidentally takes a bite out of Santa’s sugar cookie, she thinks she’s ruined Christmas. How will Santa know to stop at their house if they don’t leave him a midnight snack? With her grandmother’s help, Carla comes up with a plan, but will it be enough to save Christmas?

Dear Little One by Nina Laden, Illustrated by Melissa castrillon

Celebrate the wonder of the world in this reassuring picture book about the joy, love, and beauty found in each and every day.

From the treasure of flowers to the mystery of insects, this lyrical book encourages children to explore the natural world around them and to be grateful for all that surrounds them. With jewel-like artwork, every page is a treasure for children just born or exploring the world full of possibilities we all share.

Bubbe & Bart’s Matzoh Ball Mayhem by Bonnie Grubman, Illustrated by Deborah Melmon

Getting ready for Shabbat is always a bit zany, but… flying matzoh balls?!?!?! Bubbe and her best buddy, Bart, make the perfect matzoh\-ball\-chasing team in this hilarious Jewish counting book!

Soomi’s Sweater by Susie Oh

Soomi’s new sweater arrives, but it doesn’t quite fit. Mom makes it just right and Soomi can’t wait to show her friends. Soon, Soomi’s brand new sweater isn’t so new anymore. Her friends try to patch it up, but nothing works. Thankfully, Mom knows just what to do. She creates something better than brand new!

The Dancing Trees by Masiana Kelly, Illustrated by Michelle Simpson

Thomas loves to tell stories. Big stories. Stories about how skilled he is on the land. But when one of his friends grows tired of his tall tales, Thomas has to prove how skilled he really is. Taking the challenge to spend a night alone in the forest, Thomas heads into the wilderness. The trees, who have heard his stories, watch him tear off their bark and litter as he goes. And so, while Thomas sleeps, they dance a dance that will leave Thomas with a very different kind of story to tell―if he can find his way home…

Our Table by Peter H. Reynolds

Celebrated, bestselling creator Peter H. Reynolds brings his signature touch of love and kindness to this special, timely picture book, as families now, more than ever, are rediscovering and reevaluating what means the most: time together with one another.

Violet longs for the time when her family was connected: before life, distractions, and technology pulled them all away from each other. They used to gather at the table, with food and love, to make memories, share their lives, and revel in time spent together. But now her family has been drifting apart, and with nobody to gather around it, the table grows smaller and smaller.

Can Violet remind her family of the warmth of time spent together, and gather around the table once more?

A mystical fable that feels at once timeless and utterly of the present moment, Our Table is renowned, bestselling creator Peter H. Reynolds at his best. Exquisite, expressive watercolor tells a tender story, growing from monochrome into luscious, joyful color as Violet’s family is reunited around the beloved table. An ode to traditions that unite families, Our Table brings readers together with a universal message of gratitude.

Parker Shines On by Parker and Jessica Curry, Illustrated by Brittany Jackson

The New York Times bestselling team behind Parker Looks Up returns with an uplifting story about Parker making a new friend and learning about self-expression, opening your heart, and helping others.

Parker Curry loves being a big sister. She gets to play dress-up with her little sister, Ava, and piano with her baby brother, Cash. And Parker loves to dance, twirling and leaping and spinning in joy.

But when a dancer joins her class and needs her help, Parker wonders if she has what it takes to be not only a real dancer, but a real friend.

This inspirational picture book has an afterword by prima ballerina and New York Times bestselling author Misty Copeland.

Middle Grade

The Swag Is in the Socks by Kelly J. Baptist

Xavier Moon is not one to steal the show. He’s perfectly content to play video games and sit at his bedroom window watching the neighborhood talk outside.
 
But for Xavier’s twelfth birthday, he receives a pair of funky socks and a challenge from his great-uncle, Frankie Bell, saying it’s time to swag out and speak up. First on the list: get into the legendary Scepter League. Xavier’s grandfather, great-uncle, and father were all invited to join the elite boys’ after-school club that admits only the most suave and confident young men. Xavier has never had the courage to apply before, but his wild socks are getting him some big attention, so maybe it’s time to come out of the shadows and follow in his family’s footsteps. Or maybe Xavier will march down a new path altogether.

Middle School Mischief (The Magical Reality of Nadia #2) By Bassem Youssef and Catherine R. Daly, Illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Inspired by the author’s real-life experiences, this second hilarious and sweet novel about sixth grade Egyptian immigrant Nadia has her battling school newspaper drama, controversy with the school mascot, and some magical mischief, too.
Nadia loves fun facts. Here are a few about her:

There was a magical―and hilarious―ancient Egyptian teacher named Titi trapped in her hippo amulet until she freed him last fall.
Her school is choosing a new mascot and her idea is totally going to win!
She’s going to kick butt writing for the school newspaper this term…
…Maybe. A couple of weeks in, the newspaper is a big mess. The mascot contest is mayhem, too. (Who knew choosing a costumed character could cause such controversy?!)

Then Nadia and Titi discover that the hippo amulet holds a second secret, one that’s super powerful―and super scary. Too bad they have no idea how to stop it.

But Nadia is on the case! If she can solve the mystery of an ancient amulet, winning the mascot contest and acing her reporter assignments should be easy…right?

From The Daily Show comedian Bassem Youssef and author Catherine R. Daly comes a humorous and heartfelt story about integrity, empathy, power, and friendship.

Includes sections of black-and-white comics as well as black-and-white illustrations throughout, brought to life by Last Kids on Earth illustrator, Douglas Holgate.

Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy by Misty Copeland, Illustrated by Selena Barnes

From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland comes an illustrated nonfiction collection celebrating dancers of color who have influenced her on and off the stage.

As a young girl living in a motel with her mother and her five siblings, Misty Copeland didn’t have a lot of exposure to ballet or prominent dancers. She was sixteen when she saw a black ballerina on a magazine cover for the first time. The experience emboldened Misty and told her that she wasn’t alone—and her dream wasn’t impossible.

In the years since, Misty has only learned more about the trailblazing women who made her own success possible by pushing back against repression and racism with their talent and tenacity. Misty brings these women’s stories to a new generation of readers and gives them the recognition they deserve.

With an introduction from Misty about the legacy these women have had on dance and on her career itself, this book delves into the lives and careers of women of color who fundamentally changed the landscape of American ballet from the early 20th century to today.

When the World Turned Upside Down by K Ibura

What do you do when the world shuts down? A heartwarming story of friendship and overcoming adversity in a time of COVID, When the World Turns Upside Down is about community, giving back, and understanding the world around us through the power of generosity from debut middle grade author K. Ibura.

Nobody expected a tiny little virus to change the whole world in such a big way, especially not Shayla, Liam, Ai, and Ben. But when school closes to keep everyone safe, their lives turn upside down. It is one thing to learn that the outside world isn’t safe, but why does it seem that the virus is causing trouble inside their homes too?

As they each struggle to adjust to life in quarantine, they discover they are not alone: their apartment building is full of people who need their help. Working together, they begin to see that there is power in numbers. When they cooperate, they can ease each other’s challenges and help their neighbors through tough times. It’s a lesson they’ll need when protests explode in the streets. Soon, each friend has to decide what it means to be part of a community―and how much they’re willing to do to make this world safer for everyone.

Set against the onset of COVID, When the World Turned Upside Down navigates issues of race and social justice in a heartwarming story of generosity, friendship, and the power of youth.

Graphic Novels

Manu by Kelly Fernandez

“A funny and heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel adventure about friendship, defying expectations, and finding your place.
Manu and her best friend, Josefina, live at a magical school for girls, and Manu is always getting into trouble. The headmistress believes that Manu has the potential to help people with her magic, but Manu would rather have fun than fall in line. One day, a prank goes seriously wrong, and Josefina gets angry and wishes for Manu’s magic to disappear… and it does. Manu uses a dangerous spell to restore it, but it makes her magic too powerful and nearly impossible to control. Great power comes at a cost, and it may be a price that Manu isn’t able to pay!”

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!

Which titles have you been looking forward to the most? Be sure to share in the comments below!

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