New Release Round Up: February 22, 2022

It’s Tuesday, 2/22/22, and what better way to celebrate than with new releases?!

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

We Ask Permission (We Say What’s Okay Series) by Lydia Bowers, Illustrated by Isabel Muñoz

A story that helps with teaching boundaries.

Asking for permission is a key foundation of consent. We Ask Permission builds children’s social and emotional skills and helps with teaching boundaries by encouraging children to look for body language cues and by asking before hugging or touching other
s.
 
The third book in the We Say What’s Okay series, We Ask Permission follows Jovan as he learns to ask permission and become a body language detective. Using the book as a read-aloud, educators and families can model the language Jovan’s teachers use to support children as they learn to look for body language cues and respect the personal boundaries of others. The author, who hosts workshops and trainings on teaching boundaries and consent for families and early childhood educators around the country, offers additional activities in the back of the book.”

How to Train Your Pet Brain by Nelly Buchet, Illustrated by Amy Jindra

Your brain is like a pet in need of training. By you.

How does it feel to smile, or to stick out your bottom lip? With heart and humor, How to Train Your Pet Brain invites kids to explore how their bodies and minds work together to process emotions. Told from the perspective of a child, this unexpectedly funny take on the tricky topic of mental health follows two characters learning to train their pet brains. Lighthearted illustrations paired with grounded language help kids understand why their brain does what it does, teaches that big feelings are okay, and guides kids through a simple practice to help them feel calm.”

How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside by Kari Percival

Say “hello” to worms, dirt, peas, and more in this gentle how-to guide for connecting with nature.

The beautiful simplicity of a garden is depicted through digital woodcut illustrations and engaging nonfiction text presented as a series of sweet questions and gentle replies. Less of a traditional how-to and more of a how-to-appreciate, this soothingly sparse text paints an inviting and accessible picture of what a garden offers. And with an all-child cast, the absence of an adult presence empowers readers to view the garden and its creatures through their own eyes, driven by curiosity and wonder.

This delightful book embodies the magic of gardening and encourages all readers, from those who LOVE the outdoors to those with hesitation, to interact with nature at their own, comfortable pace.”

Bare Tree and Little Wind: A Story for Holy Week by Mitali Perkins, Illustrated by Khoa Le

A lyrical, captivating retelling of the Palm Sunday and Easter story from National Book Award nominee Mitali Perkins, author of Rickshaw Girl, that is sure to become a beloved tradition for families of faith.

Little Wind and the trees of Jerusalem can’t wait for Real King to visit. But Little Wind is puzzled when the king doesn’t look how he expected. His wise friend Bare Tree helps him learn that sometimes strength is found in sacrifice, and new life can spring up even when all hope seems lost.
 
This story stands apart for its imagination, endearing characters, and how it weaves Old Testament imagery into Holy Week and the promise of Jesus’s triumphant return. While the youngest readers will connect to the curious Little Wind, older children and parents will appreciate the layers of meaning and Scriptural references in the story, making it a book families can enjoy together year after year.

Big Wig by Jonathan Hillman, Illustrated by Levi Hastings

In the spirit of Julián Is a Mermaid, this irrepressible picture book celebrates drag kids, individuality, and self-confidence from the perspective of a fabulous wig!

When a child dresses in drag to compete in a neighborhood costume competition, he becomes B. B. Bedazzle! A key part of B.B. Bedazzle’s ensemble is a wig called Wig. Together they are an unstoppable drag queen team! But Wig feels inadequate compared to the other, bigger wigs. When Wig flies off B. B.’s head, she goes from kid to kid instilling confidence and inspiring dreams in those who wear her.

This wonderful read aloud celebrates the universal childhood experience of dressing up and the confidence that comes with putting on a costume. And it goes further than that, acknowledging that sometimes dressing differently from what might be expected is how we become our truest and best selves.

Middle Grade

A Song Called Home by Sara Zarr

From award-winning author Sara Zarr comes a story of the small moments that show us who we are, and how family is not just something you’re part of, but something you make.

Lou and her family don’t have much, but for Lou it’s enough. Mom. Her sister, Casey. Their apartment in the city. Her best friend, Beth. It would be better if Dad could stop drinking and be there for her and Casey, and if they didn’t have to worry about money all the time. But Lou doesn’t need better—she only needs enough.

What’s enough for Lou, however, is not enough for Mom. Steve, Mom’s boyfriend, isn’t a bad guy, he’s just…not what Lou is used to. And now, he and Mom are getting married, and that means moving. Packing up life as they’ve known it and storing it in Steve’s garage. Lou will be separated from everything in her small but predictable life, farther from Dad than ever.

Their last night in the city, Lou receives a mysterious birthday gift: A guitar, left for her by their front door. There’s nothing saying who left it, but it must be from Dad. And as she leaves the only place she’s ever known, she starts to believe that if she can learn how to play it, maybe she can bring a piece of him, and of her old life, home.”



Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi

From the award-winning, ALA Notable author of Unsettled and Lailah’s Lunchbox, this is acaptivatingcoming-of-age middle grade novel in verse about seventh grader Aafiyah Qamar, a Pakistani American girl who hatches a special plan to help her family but finds that doing what’s right isn’t always easy. For fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and Clean Getaway, this is a heartfelt, soul-searching story with laughter, hope, and lessons learned.

Seventh grader Aafiyah loves playing tennis, reading Weird but True facts, and hanging out with her best friend, Zaina. However, Aafiyah has a bad habit that troubles her—she’s drawn to pretty things and can’t help but occasionally “borrow” them.

But when her father is falsely accused of a crime he hasn’t committed and gets taken in by authorities, Aafiyah knows she needs to do something to help. When she brainstorms a way to bring her father back, she turns to her Weird but True facts and devises the perfect plan.

But what if her plan means giving in to her bad habit, the one she’s been trying to stop? Aafiyah wants to reunite her family but finds that maybe her plan isn’t so perfect after all. . . “

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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