New Release Round Up: January 25, 2021

Happy Tuesday, yall! We have another short list of new releases today, but that won’t stop me from shouting about them.

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

Fearless Heart: An Illustrated Biography of Surya Bonaly by Frank Murphy and Surya Bonaly, Illustrated by Anastasia Magloire Williams

A vibrant picture book biography of Surya Bonaly, the figure skating champion who backflipped her way into history

As a young girl in France, Surya Bonaly was constantly in motion, gifted in any sport she tried. But it was figure skating that had her heart. Surya knew she belonged on the ice.

Her colorful costumes, exuberant routines, powerful jumps, and daring combinations were all expressions of her love for skating and her ambition to push the boundaries of what a figure skating champion could look like.

Some people weren’t sure Surya belonged on top of the podium. “Is she graceful enough?” they asked. “Does she look like a skater?”

But Surya’s fearless heart propelled her to always stay true to herself while pursuing her boldest dreams.

Culminating in her iconic backflip performed at the 1998 Olympics, Fearless Heart is a lushly illustrated, lyrical story of self-expression and courage.

Just Help!: How to Build a Better World by Sonia Sotomayor, Illustrated by Angela Dominguez

From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Just Ask! comes a fun and meaningful story about making the world–and your community–better, one action at a time, that asks the question: Who will you help today?

Every night when Sonia goes to bed, Mami asks her the same question: How did you help today? And since Sonia wants to help her community, just like her Mami does, she always makes sure she has a good answer to Mami’s question.

In a story inspired by her own family’s desire to help others, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor takes young readers on a journey through a neighborhood where kids and adults, activists and bus drivers, friends and strangers all help one another to build a better world for themselves and their community.

With art by award-winning illustrator Angela Dominguez, this book shows how we can all help make the world a better place each and every day.”


 

Seeking Best Friend by Alison Marcotte, Illustrated by Diane Ewen

“When a child sends out an open call for a best friend, the most unlikely candidates apply for the job. But when each candidate disappoints, the child’s list of requirements grows longer and longer–and more and more ridiculous! Only when she discovers that the way to find a friend is through being a good friend does she finally find the right person for the position.

This humorous picture book is sure to make you laugh and will spur great conversations with children about what it means to be a good friend.”

Middle Grade

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi

From the New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist, a biography in verse and prose of science fiction visionary Octavia Butler, author of Parable of the Sower and Kindred.

Acclaimed novelist Ibi Zoboi illuminates the young life of the visionary storyteller Octavia E. Butler in poems and prose. Born into the Space Race, the Red Scare, and the dawning Civil Rights Movement, Butler experienced an American childhood that shaped her into the groundbreaking science-fiction storyteller whose novels continue to challenge and delight readers fifteen years after her death.”

The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid by Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace, author of Bump, presents a personal, humorous, and body-positive middle grade standalone about a fat kid who wants to stop his bullies . . . and enlists the help of the world’s most infamous supervillain. Perfect for fans of Holly Goldberg Sloan, Julie Murphy, and John David Anderson!

Max’s first year of middle school hasn’t been easy. Eighth-grade hotshot Johnny Pro torments Max constantly, for no other reason than Max is fat and an easy target. Max wishes he could fight back, but he doesn’t want to hurt Johnny . . . just make him feel the way Max feels.

In desperation, Max writes to the only person he thinks will understand: imprisoned supervillain Master Plan, a “gentleman of size.” To his surprise, Master Plan wants to help! He suggests a way for Max to get even with Johnny Pro, and change how the other kids at school see them both.

And it works! When Master Plan’s help pays off for Max in ways he couldn’t have imagined, he starts gaining confidence—enough to finally talk to Marina, the girl he likes in class who shares his passion for baking. With Master Plan in his corner, anything seems possible . . . but is there a price to pay for the supervillain’s help?”

Fossil Hunter: How Mary Anning Changed the Science of Prehistoric Life by Cheryl Blackford

A fascinating, highly visual biography of Mary Anning, the Victorian fossil hunter who changed scientific thinking about prehistoric life and would become one of the most celebrated paleontologists of all time. Perfect for children learning about woman scientists like Ada Lovelace, Jane Goodall, and Katherine Johnson.

Mary Anning grew up on the south coast of England in a region rich in fossils. As teenagers, she and her brother Joseph discovered England’s first complete ichthyosaur. Poor and uneducated, Anning would become one of the most celebrated paleontologists ever, though in her time she supported herself selling by fossils and received little formal recognition. Her findings helped shape scientific thinking about extinction and prehistoric life long before Darwin published his famous work on evolution.

With engaging text, photographs, and stunning paleoart, Fossil Hunter introduces this self-taught scientist, now recognized as one of the greatest fossilists the world has ever known. “

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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