New Release Round Up: February 1, 2022

It’s Tuesday again, so you know what that means! More new releases!! We have a bunch to talk about today, so I will dive right in.

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

“Developed by experts in the fields of early childhood development and activism against injustice, this topic-driven book offers clear, concrete language and imagery to introduce the concept of consent. This book serves to normalize and celebrate the experience of asking for and being asked for permission to do something involving one’s body. It centers on respect for bodily autonomy, and reviews the many ways that one can say or indicate “No.”


While young children are avid observers and questioners of their world, adults often shut down or postpone conversations on complicated topics because it’s hard to know where to begin. Research shows that talking about issues like race, gender, and our bodies from the age of two not only helps children understand what they see, but also increases self-awareness, self-esteem, and allows them to recognize and confront things that are unfair, like discrimination and prejudice.


These books offer a supportive approach that considers both the child and the adult. Illustrative art accompanies the simple and interactive text, and the backmatter offers additional resources and ideas for extending this discussion.”

Picture Books

Amanda Gorman (Little People, Big Dreams #75) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Illustrated by Queenbe Monyei

“In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Amanda Gorman, America’s astounding young poet and activist.

From an early age, Little Amanda read everything she could get her hands on, from books to cereal boxes. Growing up with an auditory processing disorder and a speech impediment, Amanda had to work hard, but ultimately she took great strength from her experiences. After hearing her teacher read aloud to the class, she knew that she wanted to become a poet, and nothing would stand in her way. At the age of 19, she became America’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate. And, after performing her inspiring poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ at the Presidential Inauguration in January 2021, she became an icon across the world. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the incredible young poet and activist’s life so far.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a bestselling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.”

Gloria Steinem (Little People, Big Dreams #76) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Illustrated by Lucilia Perini

“In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Gloria Steinem, the world’s most famous feminist.

Gloria Steinem realised from a young age that the general attitude towards women was different to the way people behaved towards men. After spending some time abroad, she became passionate about grassroot activism. This manifested into her work with the women’s liberation movement and even the articles she wrote as a journalist. Gloria dedicated her life to women’s rights and became one of the most iconic feminists in the world. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of this amazing feminist’s life.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a bestselling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.”

It’s Up to Us: Building a Brighter Future for Nature, People & Planet (The Children’s Terra Carta) by Christopher Lloyd

“Join His Royal Highness, author Christopher Lloyd, and 33 amazing award-winning artists from around the world, including Peter Sís, Harmony Becker, Wesley Bedrosian, Sally Deng, and Stuart Armstrong from the United States, on a beautiful, lyrical, and thought-provoking voyage through Nature, the threats we face, and an action plan for the future.

It’s Up to Us is based on the Terra Carta, a roadmap to sustainability issued by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and his Sustainable Markets Initiative. The story explains in lyrical text how Nature operates in a world without humans. It then shows the damaging impact People have had on the Planet. It finishes by proposing a series of new pledges that we can all make – a Terra Carta – to help solve the problems.

This book has been developed in partnership with The Prince’s Foundation, a charity established by HRH The Prince of Wales to demonstrate how Nature can be put at the heart of human activities. Half of all the proceeds from sales will go directly to the work of the charity, based at Dumfries House in Scotland, UK.”

Revolutionary Prudence Wright by Beth Anderson, Illustrated by Susan Reagan

Here is the first-ever picture book about female Revolutionary War activist Prudence Wright, who rallied the first and only group of “minute women” to fight the British, changing history in the process.

Prudence Wright had a spark of independence.

Annoyed when the British king held back freedoms in colonial Massachusetts, feisty and fearless Prudence had enough. She said no! to British goods, determined to rely on her resourcefulness and ingenuity to get by. And when British troops continued to threaten the lives of her family and community, she assembled and led the “minute women” of Pepperell to break free of tradition.

This untold story of a courageous and brave woman from the Revolutionary War continues to inspire today.”

When The Sakura Bloom by Narisa Togo

“When the Sakura Bloom by Narisa Togo sheds light on the cultural significance of cherry blossom season in Japan, and an insight into the unique mindset of its people. Through subtle text and gentle imagery readers will see the importance of slowing down to appreciate the moment. That comfort, not despair, can be found in the inevitable cycles of the seasons. How change can usher in opportunities and rejuvenation.

Moreover, When the Sakura Bloom is an understated illustration of the importance of celebrating the fleeting, delicate beauty of nature and the metaphor this represents for life itself.”

Not That Pet by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, Illustrated by Rasolind Beardshaw

Some are too scary, some are too smelly, some are too wiggly, and some are too giggly. Can Mabel find the perfect pet for her family?

Not noisy or scary or covered in spikes.
She’d choose something friendly that EVERYONE likes.

Mabel’s family is letting her pick what kind of pet to get, and she is determined to find the very BEST one. “Any pet you like delivered to your door,” promises the sign. But what if the ants are too tiny, the hyenas too giggly, the owl too loud? What if the snake almost strangles Granddad and the skunk wants to spray the baby? None of the pets she tries out seems like the right fit. Readers will love following through several comical reveals until Mabel meets her furry match (not what you might guess!). Best-selling author Smriti Prasadam-Halls’s hilarious rhyming read-aloud and Rosalind Beardshaw’s charming illustrations will have kids laughing—and dreaming of their own quirky pets.”

Why? A Conversation About Race by Taye Diggs, Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Why? is a question asked by children daily, and in this striking and timely story, it begins a straightforward and challenging conversation between children of color and the adults in their lives.

Why are the buildings burning? Why are people marching? Why are they crying? Taye Diggs has written a beautiful, powerful, and poignant story that peers through the eyes of a child as they struggle to understand why these events are happening.

Why? distills the conversations many children and adults are having about race, injustice, and anger in communities throughout our country, and gives them context that young readers can connect with. Heartfelt and deeply piercing illustrations from Shane W. Evans will leave a lasting impact on readers of any age. One that will hopefully lead to more conversations, change, and peace within our own communities and the world.”

Because Claudette by Tracey Baptiste, Illustrated by Tonya Engel

From NYT bestselling author Tracey Baptiste comes a singular picture book that is both a biography about Claudette Colvin, the teen whose activism launched the Montgomery bus boycott, and a celebration of collective action.

When fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin boarded a segregated bus on March 2, 1955, she had no idea she was about to make history. At school she was learning about abolitionists like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, which helped inspire her decision to refuse to give up her seat to a white woman, which led to her arrest, which began a crucial chain of events: Rosa Park’s sit-in nine months later, the organization of the Montgomery bus boycott by activists like Professor Jo Ann Robinson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Supreme Court decision that Alabama’s bus segregation was unconstitutional—a major triumph for the civil rights movement.”

Chapter Books

King and Kayla by Dori Hillestad Butler, Illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Kayla needs to return her library books, but she can’t find one of them. Can King and Jillian help solve the crime? From the Geisel Honor-winning early reader series.

Kayla needs to return her library books so that she can check out new ones. But she can’t find one of them. Where could it be? Can King and Kayla’s friend Jillian help?

With simple, straightforward language and great verbal and visual humor, the King & Kayla series from Geisel Honor Award-winning team Dori Hillestad Butler and Nancy Meyers is perfect for newly independent readers transitioning from easy readers to beginning chapter books. Great for introducing mysteries and the important concepts of fact gathering, list making, clues, and analytical thinking. Also ideal for diverse book collections.”

She Persisted: Wingari Maathai by Eucabeth Odhiambo

Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger comes a chapter book series about women who spoke up and rose up against the odds–including Wangari Maathai!

In this chapter book biography by critically acclaimed author Eucabeth Odhiambo, readers learn about the amazing life of Wangari Maathai–and how she persisted

When Wangari Maathai learned about how many trees had been cut down in Kenya, where she was from, she was horrified. So she founded the Green Belt Movement and got friends, family, and even strangers to help her plant trees and respect the environment–and she received a Nobel Peace Prize for her work.

Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton, black-and-white illustrations throughout, and a list of ways that readers can follow in Wangari Maathai’s footsteps and make a difference!”

Middle Grade

Me and White Supremacy: Young Readers’ Edition by Layla F. Saad

How do we give young people the tools they need to actively dismantle racism and create a better world for everyone?

From the author of the groundbreaking NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, Me and White Supremacy, Layla Saad’s young readers’ edition is a timely, crucial, and empowering guide for today’s youth on how to be antiracist change makers.

Me and White Supremacy has reached so many adults in their journeys to become better ancestors. This edition aims to teach readers how to explore and understand racism and white supremacy and how young readers can do their part to help change the world. Covering topics such as white privilege, white fragility, racist stereotypes, cultural appropriation, and more, Layla Saad has developed a brilliant introduction and deep dive that is sure to become a standard in antiracist education.”

Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. Perry

“Cameron Battle grew up reading The Book of Chidani, cherishing stories about the fabled kingdom that cut itself off from the world to save the Igbo people from danger. Passed down over generations, the Book is Cameron’s only connection to his parents who disappeared one fateful night, two years ago.
Ever since, his grandmother has kept the Book locked away, but it calls to Cameron. When he and his best friends Zion and Aliyah decide to open it again, they are magically transported to Chidani. Instead of a land of beauty and wonder, they find a kingdom in extreme danger, as the Queen’s sister seeks to destroy the barrier between worlds. The people of Chidani have been waiting for the last Descendant to return and save them . . . is Cameron ready to be the hero they need?

Inspired by West African and Igbo history and mythology, this adventurous middle-grade fantasy debut perfect for fans of Aru Shah and Tristan Strong celebrates the triumphs and challenges of a boy finding his truth path to greatness.”

Omar Rising by Aisha Saeed

In this compelling companion to New York Times bestseller Amal Unbound, Amal’s friend Omar must contend with being treated like a second-class citizen when he gets a scholarship to an elite boarding school.

Omar knows his scholarship to Ghalib Academy Boarding School is a game changer, providing him—the son of a servant—with an opportunity to improve his station in life. He can’t wait to experience all the school has to offer, especially science club and hopefully the soccer team; but when he arrives, his hopes are dashed. First-year scholarship students aren’t allowed to join clubs or teams—and not only that, they have to earn their keep doing menial chores. At first Omar is dejected—but then he gets angry when he learns something even worse—the school deliberately “weeds out” kids like him by requiring them to get significantly higher grades than kids who can pay tuition, making it nearly impossible for scholarship students to graduate. It’s a good thing that in his favorite class, he’s learned the importance of being stubbornly optimistic. So with the help of his tightknit new group of friends—and with the threat of expulsion looming over him—he sets out to do what seems impossible: change a rigged system.”

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Debut author Amina Luqman-Dawson pens a lyrical, accessible historical middle-grade novel about two enslaved children’s escape from a plantation and the many ways they find freedom.

Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he adores her and fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp.

In this society created by formerly enslaved people and some freeborn children, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home.

Deeply inspiring and loosely based on the history of maroon communities in the South, this is a striking tale of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage. “

City Spies: Forbidden City by James Ponti

In this third installment in the New York Times bestselling series from Edgar Award winner James Ponti, the young group of spies help a fellow agent in another international adventure perfect for fans of Spy School and Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls.

After taking down a mole within their organization, the City Spies are ready for their next mission—once again using their unique skills and ability to infiltrate places adults can’t. The sinister Umbra has their sights set on recruiting a North Korean nuclear physicist by any means necessary, and the City Spies plan to keep an eye on his son by sending Paris to the chess prodigy’s tournaments in Moscow and Beijing.

Meanwhile, Sydney’s embedded as a junior reporter for a teen lifestyle site as she follows the daughter of a British billionaire on tour with the biggest act on her father’s music label to uncover what links both the band and the billionaire have to a recent threat from an old Soviet missile base.

From a daring break-in at one of London’s most exclusive homes to a dangerous undercover mission to a desperate search and rescue operation on the streets of Beijing, the City Spies have their work cut out for them on their most dangerous mission yet.”

Wishing Upon The Same Stars by Jacquetta Nammar Feldman

This powerful and poignant coming-of-age middle grade debut novel follows an Arab American girl named Yasmeen as she moves to San Antonio with her family and navigates finding friendship—and herself. Perfect for fans of Other Words for Home, Front Desk, and American as Paneer Pie.

When twelve-year-old Yasmeen Khoury moves with her family to San Antonio, all she wants to do is fit in. But her classmates in Texas are nothing like her friends in the predominantly Arab neighborhood back in Detroit where she grew up. Almost immediately, Yasmeen feels like the odd girl out, and as she faces middle school mean girls and tries to make new friends, she feels more alone than ever before.

Then Yasmeen meets her neighbor, Ayelet Cohen, a first-generation Israeli American. As the two girls grow closer, Yasmeen is grateful to know someone who understands what it feels like when your parents’ idea of home is half a world away.

But when Yasmeen’s grandmother moves in after her home in Jerusalem is destroyed, Yasmeen and Ayelet must grapple with how much closer the events of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are than they’d realized. As Yasmeen begins to develop her own understandings of home, heritage, and most importantly, herself, can the two girls learn there’s more that brings them together than might tear them apart . . . and that peace begins with them?”

Each Of Us A Universe by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo

“Ever since the day when everything changed, Cal Scott’s answer has been to run―run from her mother who’s fighting cancer, run from her father whom she can’t forgive, and run from classmates who’ve never seemed to “get” her anyway. The only thing Cal runs toward is nearby Mt. Meteorite, named for the magical meteorite some say crashed there fifty years ago. Cal spends her afternoons plotting to summit the mountain, so she can find the magic she believes will make the impossible possible and heal her mother. But no one has successfully reached its peak―no one who’s lived to tell about it, anyway.

Then Cal meets Rosine Kanambe, a girl who’s faced more impossibles than anyone should have to. Rosine has her own secret plan for the mountain and its magic, and convinces Cal they can summit its peak if they work together. As the girls climb high and dig deep to face the mountain’s challenges, Cal learns from Rosine what real courage looks like, and begins to wonder if the magic she’s been looking for is really the kind she needs.

Each of Us a Universe by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo is a glowing story of friendship, inner strength, and what happens when the impossible becomes possible.”

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

Princess In Black by Shannon and Dean Hale, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

There’s trouble under the sea! Can the Princess in Black and her new mermaid friend put a stop to a big blue kraken’s shenanigans?

The Princess in Black and her friends are enjoying a day of sun and sea on Princess Sneezewort’s royal boat when a real, live mermaid princess emerges from the waves! Eeeeeee! Princess Posy needs their help protecting her very cute sea goats from being eaten by a very greedy kraken. But the princesses and the Goat Avenger quickly realize that fighting underwater can be tough for land dwellers, and only the mermaid Princess Posy can save the day. Can the masked heroes help her learn that being a princess means more than just being nice—it means speaking up? An ode to using your voice (along with a kelp-tree swing or two), this newest installment in the New York Times best-selling series is a splish-splashing good time.”

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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