New Release Round Up: January 11, 2022

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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Board Books

I Love You So by Marianna Richmond, Illustrated by Fiona Lee

Celebrate 20 years of I LOVE YOU SO! This adorable classic puts into words the indescribable quality of boundless, steady, and unconditional love, a sweet story that has touched hundreds of thousands of lives.

This comforting story embraces the reader like a warm hug and gently reassures a child that love is for always, despite the grouchy moods or physical separation. This is the perfect message of love to gift new mommies- anddaddies-to-be, grandparents, and your special little ones at baby showers or birthdays. Embrace your loved ones from afar with this heartwarming reminder of your unconditional love.”

Picture Books

Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth by Alice Faye Duncan, Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo



The true story of Black activist Opal Lee and her vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that many Americans had never heard of the holiday that represents the nation’s creed of “freedom for all.”

Every year, Opal looked forward to the Juneteenth picnic–a drumming, dancing, delicious party. She knew from Granddaddy Zak’s stories that Juneteenth celebrated the day the freedom news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation finally sailed into Texas in 1865–over two years after the president had declared it! But Opal didn’t always see freedom in her Texas town. Then one Juneteenth day when Opal was twelve years old, an angry crowd burned down her brand-new home. This wasn’t freedom at all. She had to do something! Opal Lee spent the rest of her life speaking up for equality and unity. She became a teacher, a charity worker, and a community leader. At the age of 89, she walked from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C., in an effort to gain national recognition for Juneteenth.”

Shahrzad and the Angry King by Nahid Kazemi

A rebel dreamer of a girl daydreams about her role in making the world a better place—and since dreams bleed into reality, maybe she really does.

Shahrzad and the Angry King is a contemporary reimagining of the Scheherazade tale, starring scooter-riding, story-loving Shahrzad. Shahrzad loves stories and looks for them everywhere. When she meets a boy and asks him to tell her his story, he recounts fleeing a country that was peaceful and happy, until its grieving king grew angry and cruel. Shahrzad can’t forget the boy and his story, and so, when she sees a toy airplane in a store, she imagines herself zooming off to the boy’s home country, where she confronts the king, to make him reflect on the kind of leader he really wants to be. Like Scheherazade, she tells the king story after story, but this time not to save her own life, but those of the king’s people and his own. 

Because Shahrzad knows the power of the creative imagination and that the stories we tell and the words we use shape our very existence. We live and die by the sword? Not exactly, says Shahrzad. We live or die by the stories we tell and how we see, frame, and word the world. Brought to life by Iranian artist Nahid Kazemi, this bold heroine reminds us of how powerfully intertwined reality is with the stories we tell.”

You Are Not Alone by Alphabet Rockers, Illustrated by Ashley Evans

This empathetic and inclusive picture book empowers kids to love themselves and their identities, stand up to hate, and have each others’ backs no matter what.

When I say something is unfair to me, but it’s fair for you, what does that make it?
When I meditate, it all gets clear.
And if you listen, you will really hear.
I am not alone. I am enough.

It can be scary to feel like you’re all on your own, especially in the face of prejudice. But always remember: you are not alone! Based on the Grammy award nominated hip-hop group Alphabet Rockers’ empowering song, “Not Alone,” this uplifting picture book reminds kids that they always belong. Encouraging words invite readers to love their beautiful selves, celebrate their identities, and use their voices against hate, You Are Not Alone asks us to step up for each other and have each others’ backs, no matter what.”

The Treasure Box by Dave Keane, Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell

A poignant, gorgeously-illustrated story about a girl’s bond with her grandfather and how it evolves after his death.

Searching for treasures with her grandpa is this young girl’s favorite thing to do. Every week they examine the items in her secret box and go on walks to find more—a broken robin’s egg, rusty spring, even a snakeskin that makes Grandpa squirm and make funny faces.

But then Grandpa is too sick to come. She leaves him a few treasures in the hospital, but when he dies, she can’t bring herself to even open the treasure box.

When Grammy brings her some treasures Grandpa wanted her to have, they open the box together and continue the tradition, showing that memories of time together are the greatest treasures of all.

This poignant, gorgeously-illustrated story celebrates the special bonds kids have with grandparents, even after they are gone.”

Millions of Maxes by Meg Wolitzer, Illustrated by Micah Player

Max discovers that uniqueness is more than just a name, in this funny, lively picture book debut by the bestselling author of The Interestings.

Max’s room has his name all over it–on his blanket and night light and wall. His parents call him The One and Only Max. And so, he is in for a big surprise at the playground one day, when he hears “Max, time to go home!” and two other kids come running. He’s not the one and only after all! How many Maxes are in the world?! Millions of Maxes?

But when he decides to help one of the other Maxes find her missing toy, he discovers that there are other ways to be special, and that he can appreciate the specialness of his new Max friends just as much as his own. That night he dreams of the future adventures he’ll have with all of the Maxes he has yet to meet.”

The Paper Bird by Lisa Anchin

A sumptuously illustrated exploration of the joy that comes with creating art for one’s own self

There once was a time when all the colors, from midsummer blue to sunrise orange, lived at the tips of Annie’s fingers…

But when her classmates’ sidelong glances cause Annie to notice all the tiny flaws in her art, her colorful creative spark fades–quite literally–to gray. With lyrical prose and eye-catching illustration author-artist Lisa Anchin shows readers how to find the beauty in imperfections and celebrate the joy of creation for creations’ sake.”

The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Laura Freeman

“When Elijah Cummings was a little boy, he struggled in school. His teachers thought he talked too much and asked too many questions. They said he’d never be able to read or write well.

Despite his difficulties, Elijah never gave up. He persevered, having faith that with hard work, he’d be able to achieve his goals.

Best known as a voice for people of color and an advocate for equal opportunity, Elijah Cummings was a man of faith and dignity, a beacon of justice, and an unrelenting warrior for equality and change.

Carole Boston Weatherford and Laura Freeman marry words and images beautifully in this picture book biography of politician and civil rights champion Elijah Cummings, detailing his inspiring journey–from his humble beginnings as the son of former sharecroppers to his unwavering faith as he became a lawyer, state legislator, and leading congressman. Best known as a voice for people of color and an advocate for equal opportunity, Elijah Cummings was a man of faith and dignity, a beacon of justice, and an unrelenting warrior for equality and change.”

Strong Mama by Robin Arzón, Illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda

Mama and baby make one incredible team in this new picture book from New York Times bestselling author and Peloton instructor extraordinaire Robin Arzón.

Before I met you, I dreamed of you. This is the story of how we first met. 

Ultramarathons. Bike sprints. Squats and deadlifts. Naps. Kitchen dance parties! All of it is in preparation for meeting Pequeno, the “Little One” growing in this strong mama’s belly. From first heartbeats and fluttery kicks to grinning grandparents and that first loud cry — pregnancy might just be the biggest workout yet! But there’s nothing this mom and new baby can’t tackle together as a team.

New York Times bestselling author and Peloton Head Instructor Robin Arzón takes readers on sweat-packed journey through motherhood in this affirming and heartwarming celebration of mothers and parents everywhere.”

Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Illustrated by Yas Imamura

Set in an incarceration camp where the United States cruelly detained Japanese Americans during WWII and based on true events, this moving love story finds hope in heartbreak.

To fall in love is already a gift. But to fall in love in a place like Minidoka, a place built to make people feel like they weren’t human—that was miraculous.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Tama is sent to live in a War Relocation Center in the desert. All Japanese Americans from the West Coast—elderly people, children, babies—now live in prison camps like Minidoka. To be who she is has become a crime, it seems, and Tama doesn’t know when or if she will ever leave. Trying not to think of the life she once had, she works in the camp’s tiny library, taking solace in pages bursting with color and light, love and fairness. And she isn’t the only one. George waits each morning by the door, his arms piled with books checked out the day before. As their friendship grows, Tama wonders: Can anyone possibly read so much? Is she the reason George comes to the library every day? Beautifully illustrated and complete with an afterword, back matter, and a photo of the real Tama and George—the author’s grandparents—Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s elegant love story for readers of all ages sheds light on a shameful chapter of American history.”

The Braniac’s Book of the Climate and Weather by Rosie Cooper, Illustrated by Harriet Russell

A fresh approach to science for young brainiacs, this book on climate and weather includes incredible but true stories, interactive activities, and quirky infographics.

What’s the difference between climate and weather? How do we know the climate is changing? The need-to-know answers to these and many other pressing questions are explained in this volume through incredible stories, infographics―including how many farts animals add to the atmosphere each year―and fun activities like engineering a solar oven from a pizza box. Budding brainiacs will love reading “Need- to- Know” stories, diving into interactive “Try This” activities, and building a trove of fascinating facts from a series of infographic “Data Dumps.”

Featuring the artwork of Harriet Russell, the illustrator of the bestselling This Book Thinks You’re a . . . series, The Brainiac’s Book of Climate and Weather demonstrates how fun and relevant science is to our everyday lives. This brainiac’s book makes the subject interactive, interesting, and easy to relate to for young readers.”

Middle Grade

When Winter Robeson Came by Brenda Woods

The whole world seems to transform during the summer of 1965, when Eden’s cousin from Mississippi comes to visit her in L.A. just as the Watts Riots erupt, in this stirring new novel by Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brenda Woods.

When Eden’s cousin Winter comes for a visit, it turns out he’s not just there to sightsee. He wants to figure out what happened to his dad, who disappeared ten years earlier from the Watts area of L.A. So the cousins set out to investigate together, and what they discover brings them joy—and heartache. It also opens up a whole new understanding of their world, just as the area they’ve got their sights on explodes in a clash between the police and the Black residents. For six days Watts is like a war zone, and Eden and Winter become heroes in their own part of the drama. Eden hopes to be a composer someday, and the only way she can describe that summer is a song with an unexpected ending, full of changes in tempo and mood–totally unforgettable.”

Graphic Novels

Who Sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott?: Rosa Parks by Insha Fitzpatrick, Illustrated by Abelle Hayford

Discover the story behind Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in this compelling graphic novel — written by Oh My Gods! author Insha Fitzpatrick and illustrated by #DrawingWhileBlack organizer Abelle Hayford.

Presenting Who HQ Graphic Novels: an exciting new addition to the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Who Was? series!

From refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger to sparking civil rights protests across America, explore how Rosa Parks’s powerful act earned her the title “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” A story of resistance, strength, and unwavering spirit, this graphic novel invites readers to immerse themselves in the life of the American Civil Rights leader — brought to life by gripping narrative and vivid full-color illustrations that jump off the page.”

Who Was the Voice of the People?: Cesar Chavez by Terry Blas, Illustrated by Mar Julia

Discover the story behind Cesar Chavez and the Delano Grape Strike in this moving graphic novel — written by award-winning author Terry Blas and illustrated by Ignatz-nominated cartoonist Mar Julia.

Presenting Who HQ Graphic Novels: an exciting new addition to the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Who Was? series!

Follow Cesar Chavez and the National Farmworkers Association as they set out on a difficult 300-mile protest march in support of farm workers’ rights. A story of hope, solidarity, and perseverance, this graphic novel invites readers to immerse themselves in the life of the famous Latino American Civil Rights leader — brought to life by gripping narrative and vivid full-color illustrations that jump off the page.”

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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