New Release Round Up: May 3, 2022

It’s Tuesday, so that means we are looking at the new releases this week. We have a TON to look at so I will get right to it!

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

My Forest Is Green by Darren Lebeuf, Illustrated by Ashley Barron

“With art supplies in tow, a young boy explores the urban forest near his home, then interprets what he sees with his art. The boy is a keen observer who uses poetic, rhythmic language to describe the diversity he finds through all four seasons. His forest is both “fluffy” and “prickly,” “dense” and “sparse,” “crispy” and “soft.” It’s also “scattered and soggy, and spotted and foggy.” His forest is made up of many colors — but he decides that “mostly it’s green.” Each aspect of the forest inspires the boy to create a different kind of art: charcoal rubbing, rock art, photography, sponge painting, snow sculpture, cut-paper collage. To this artist, there’s always something new to discover, and to capture!

In this delightful picture book, Darren Lebeuf, an award-winning photographer, encourages small children to look closer at and appreciate the nature that surrounds them. And by providing such a broad range of ideas for artistic expression, it’s sure to awaken the nature artist in every child. Bright, deeply textured illustrations by Ashley Barron bring the forest and the boy’s artworks to vivid life. This story provides an excellent depiction of nature-based education in an outdoor classroom. The specificity of the concrete and abstract adjectives used in the text works as a perfect complement to primary science lessons on investigating, comparing and identifying the physical characteristics of plants and animals. This book also makes for an enjoyable, lyrical read-aloud.”

Picture Books

The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States  by Alliah H. Agostini, Illustrated by Sawyer Cloud

With colorful illustrations and a timeline, this introductory history of Juneteenth for kids details the evolution of the holiday commemorating the date the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom​.

On June 19, 1865—more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation—the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom. That day became a day of remembrance and celebration that changed and grew from year to year.

Learn about the events that led to emancipation and why it took so long for the enslaved people in Texas to hear the news. The first Juneteenth began as “Jubilee Day,” where families celebrated and learned of their new rights as citizens. As Black Texans moved to other parts of the country, they brought their traditions along with them, and Juneteenth continued to grow and develop.

Today, Juneteenth’s powerful spirit has endured through the centuries to become an official holiday in the United States in 2021The Juneteenth Story provides an accessible introduction for kids to learn about this important American holiday.”

Uncle John’s City Garden by Bernette Ford, Illustrated by Frank Morrison

How does this city garden grow? With help from L’il Sissy and her siblings–and love, love, love! A celebration of nature, family, and food.

Visiting the city  from her home in the suburbs, an African American girl sees how a few packets of seeds, some helping hands, and hard work transform an empty lot in a housing project into a magical place where vegetables grow and family gathers. It’s the magic of nature in the heart of the city!

Bernette Ford’s autobiographical story is a loving glimpse at a girl, her siblings, and her uncle, and  their shared passion for farming. L’l Sissy’s fascination with measurement, comparison, and estimation introduces children to STEM concepts. And the progress of Uncle John’s garden introduces readers to the life cycle of plants.

Frank Morrison, winner of multiple Coretta Scott King awards and an NAACP Image Award, depicts dramatic cityscapes as well as the luscious colors and textures of Nature.”

Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country by Kelly Yang, Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali, Fahmida Azim, Marcos Chin, Sally Deng, Shereya Gupta, Julia Kuo, Julie Kwon, Nhung Le, Kitkat Pecson, Dow Phumiruk, Sujean Rim, Dan Santat, Yuko Shimizu, Yuewei She, and Yao Xiao

From #1 NYT bestselling author Kelly Yang comes a gorgeously illustrated picture book about Asian American changemakers doing everything they dreamed of and inspiring all of us to reach for new heights!

From creating beautiful music like Yo-Yo Ma to flying to outer space like Franklin Chang-Díaz; from standing up to injustice like Fred Korematsu to becoming the first Asian American, Black and female vice president of the United States like Kamala Harris, this book illuminates the power of Asian Americans all over the country, in all sorts of fields.
 
Each spread is illustrated by a different renowned Asian American or Asian artist. Alongside the poetic main text, Yes We Will includes one-line biographies of the person or historical moment featured on the page, with extended biographies at the end. Readers of different ages and needs can use the book in different ways, from classroom discussions to bedtime readalouds and more.
 
Yes We Will answers the question, can we accomplish whatever we dream? With love, courage, determination, and lots of imagination, we can—and we will!”

Juna and Appa by Jane Park, Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino

“From the creators of the award-winning picture book Juna’s Jar, comes a new magical tale where Juna embarks on a journey to help her biggest hero–her Appa!

Juna enjoys helping her father in their dry-cleaning shop on Saturdays. It’s their special time together.

One day Juna sees a customer yelling at Appa about a lost jacket. Juna has never seen her father look so worried and becomes determined to help. She sets off on a magical journey in search of the jacket, and along the way meets remarkable animals that show her the different ways that fathers care for their young.

Juna and Appa is a tender ode to fathers and to the many families working behind shop counters.”

Angry Me by Sandra V. Feder, Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell

“A young child tells us what makes her angry and how she tries to let the anger come and go. An artful starting point for conversations about strong feelings.

“I get angry,” says a little girl, looking fiercely in the mirror. Sometimes she gets angry when someone is mean and tries to take her toy away, when it feels unfair that there’s not enough time to go swimming, when she’s tired and just wants to go home, or when the kids at school leave her out, hurting her feelings.

When she’s angry, she tries to remember to use her words — even though that doesn’t always work. Sometimes she can’t find the right words, or the words don’t come out the way she intends. But sometimes words do help, and when her anger melts away a new feeling can blossom.

Sandra Feder’s cleverly constructed text presents different situations in which a child might feel angry, creating a nuanced look at anger and its many underlying emotions. Rahele Jomepour Bell’s illustrations show a loveable, angry little girl, brimming with personality, who learns how to express herself as she moves through her feelings.”

City Streets Are For People by Andrea Curtis, Illustrated by Emma Fitzgerald

Congested city streets are noisy and thick with cars and trucks, while pedestrians and cyclists are squeezed to the dangerous edges—but does it have to be this way? 

Imagine a city where we aren’t stuck in cars, where clean air makes it easier to breathe, and where transit is easy to access—and on time. Imagine a city where streets are for people! 

This fun, accessible and ultimately hopeful book explores sustainable transportation around the globe, including electric vehicles, public transit, bicycles, walking and more. It invites us to conjure up a city of the future, where these modes are all used together to create a place that is sustainable, healthy, accessible and safe. 

Includes a list of ideas for children to promote green transportation in their communities, along with a glossary and sources for further reading. 

The ThinkCities series is inspired by the urgency for new approaches to city life as a result of climate change, population growth and increased density. It highlights the challenges and risks cities face, but also offers hope for building resilience, sustainability and quality of life as young people advocate for themselves and their communities.”

The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything by Laura Alary, Illustrated by Ellen Rooney

“Perfect for fans of STEM, this inspiring picture book biography tells the extraordinary story of pioneering astronomer Maria Mitchell. Maria longed to travel beyond her small island of Nantucket. But she wasn’t sure how. Her father taught her to look to the stars for guidance. If you knew how to read them, he said, the stars could tell you where you were, and where you needed to go. They spent hours scanning the night sky together through a telescope on the roof. Maria learned how to use astronomers’ tools to measure and track time by the stars. But what could she do with her skills? Then, one day, she heard that a prize was being offered to the first person to find a new comet. Could this be the opportunity she was waiting for?

This absorbing picture book biography by Laura Alary tells the fascinating, though not well-known, story of a remarkable nineteenth-century woman scientist and women’s rights advocate. After winning that prize for discovering a comet, Maria Mitchell would go on to become the first professional female astronomer in the United States, first female member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one of the first female college professors. Beautifully illustrated with lovely textured artwork by Ellen Rooney, this is a well-told story with a teachable STEM component, supporting both science and social studies curriculums, that supports a growth mindset. It’s also a wonderful guide sure to inspire readers to find their own way in the world. It includes backmatter that further describes Maria’s impressive life and achievements.”

Up and Adam by Debbie Zapata Illustrated by Yong Ling Kang

A winning, uplifting story about a boy with Down syndrome who helps his neighbors in the aftermath of a storm in a way only he can.

It’s the morning after the big storm. Adam and his dog, Up, are finishing breakfast when Adam sees the mayor on TV asking everyone to pitch in with the cleanup. She says, “Now, it’s time to get to work. Up and at ’em!” When Adam hears the mayor tell him and Up to get to work, he’s on it! “We can help!” he says. All day, the pair do what they can — clearing the sidewalk, fixing a birdhouse, passing out cookies. But it turns out, Adam’s most important contribution to his community is one he doesn’t even think about — his smile. Because when anyone sees Adam smile, they smile, too. And as Adam says, “A pair of smiles can make a difference.”

Debbie Zapata’s sweet story scores on two fronts: it features an endearing and authentic representation of a child with Down syndrome, focused on his abilities, not disabilities, and it offers an inspiring model of how everyone can make a difference in their community. Adam’s Down syndrome is not referenced in the story but is addressed in an author’s note, which also includes information about Down syndrome, and resources. Adam’s open-hearted and infectious smile lights the pages as he lifts spirits all over town in Yong Ling Kang’s illustrations, which thoughtfully feature details in Adam’s clothing and belongings that are sensitive to his needs. The book is full of positive examples of community, contributing and inclusion, and beautifully captures the character education themes of kindness, teamwork, initiative and citizenship.”

Francis Discovers Possible by Ashlee Latimer, Illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani

This lyrical picture book from Tony award–winning producer Ashlee Latimer models joyful self-acceptance


Francis loves learning new words. At school, when her class is reviewing words that begin with the letter “F,” someone sneers “Fat, like Francis.” Francis always thought “fat” was a warm word—like snuggling with Mama or belly rubs for her puppy. But now “fat” feels cold, and Francis feels very small.

After school, Baba takes Francis to the park. She chooses the bench instead of the swing set, and gets very quiet. But when Baba uses the word “possible,” Francis wants to know what it means. They explore the park together, discovering what’s “possible” around them. Is it like airplanes, hovering in the sky? Or does it look like planting and how some things take a long time to grow?

“Possible” makes Francis feel warm and big—like “fat,” before someone else made her feel small. This ode to self-acceptance will model for child readers what “possible” might mean in their own lives.”

Twas the Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick, Illustrated by Juana Medina

A glittering celebration of queer families puts Pride gently in perspective—honoring those in the LGBTQ+ community who fought against injustice and inequality.

Pride’s . . . a day that means “Together, we are strong!”

This joyful picture-book homage to a day of community and inclusion—and to the joys of anticipation—is also a comprehensive history. With bright, buoyant illustrations and lyrical, age-appropriate rhyme modeled on “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” it tackles difficult content such as the Stonewall Riots and the AIDS marches. On the night before Pride, families everywhere are preparing to partake. As one family packs snacks and makes signs, an older sibling shares the importance of the march with the newest member of the family. Reflecting on the day, the siblings agree that the best thing about Pride is getting to be yourself. Debut author Joanna McClintick and Pura Belpré Award–winning author-illustrator Juana Medina create a new classic that pays homage to the beauty of families of all compositions—and of all-inclusive love.”

Not So Small by Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrated by Paola Escobar

All Are Welcome meets Sometimes People March in this uplifting picture book with an empowering message: No matter your size, you can do big things.

This joyful book celebrates the many ways people can join together to become something bigger—an unstoppable force. Each and every one of us can use our voices to make a difference!

The lyrical text by New York Times bestselling author Pat Zietlow Miller is brought to life with vibrant illustrations by Paola Escobar. This stirring book will inspire readers of all ages.

A small voice can travel for miles.

Showing kindness.

Hope.

And love.

Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome by Kat Zhang, Illustrated by Charlene Chua

Amy Wu does her best to make her new classmate feel welcome in this warmhearted and playfully illustrated follow-up picture book to Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao and Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon.

Amy’s class has a new student from China! Amy tries hard to make Lin feel included, but she can’t draw him out of his shell. Then she sees Lin chattering happily in Chinese with his family. The gears in her head start to turn, and a plan blossoms. Step one: invite Lin to her dumpling party…

​With a little help from her grandma and a shiny new banner, can Amy give Lin the warmest welcome?”

Sato the Rabbit, A Sea of Tea (Sato the Rabbit #3) by Yuki Ainoya, Translated by Michael Blaskowsky

The winsome Sato continues his magical adventures, traversing snowy landscapes and crossing a sea made of tea. Yet, no matter where he ventures, his participation in the natural world, and the magic that he finds within the ordinary, infuse each new day with possibility.

In this third installment of the whimsical series originally published in Japan, the titular Sato continues his adventures, exploring both expansive landscapes—snowy fields, forests, oceans made of tea—and tiny microcosms of worlds, found in unlikely places—like within a freshly-baked pie! In Sato’s reality, which is in many ways similar to our own, seemingly commonplace occurrences are portals to new and fantastical experiences, and every object possesses an intrinsic magic and aliveness.  Like all of the installments in the trilogy, this collection of vignettes reminds us to to look closely at what is small and often overlooked, and to open ourselves to wonder.”

The Global Ocean by Rochelle Strauss, Illustrated by Natasha Donovan

The global ocean is in trouble. This beautiful and important book explores the issues — and what we can do to help.

Though we think of Earth’s five oceans as separate and distinct, they are actually a linked system of circulating water that is one single ocean — the global ocean. This comprehensive and accessible overview explores the global ocean’s enormous influence on the planet, as well as humans’ often-detrimental influence on the ocean. But it also highlights some of the many ways people are working to restore and heal the global ocean — from everyday actions to large institutional projects — making the message of urgency as hopeful as it is accurate. Filled with fascinating information, stunning visuals and plenty of calls to action, readers will be inspired to discover what they can do to help heal Earth’s most important feature and, ultimately, our planet.”

Another Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen, Illustrated by Mike Lowery

In the inspirational sequel to Andrew Larsen’s A Squiggly Story, a boy meets a blank page in this fun exploration of the writing process, celebrating self-expression, self-discovery and letting your imagination roam. The young boy listens as Mr. Lopez tells his class about next week’s assignment: write a story about yourself. “You can write about ANYTHING,” he says, “as long as you write about YOU.” Marcus is going to write about his hat collection. Alia is going to write about the vampires she talks about all the time. But all the boy can come up with is a title: “The Story of Me by Me.” He can’t figure out what it should be about. His sister suggests starting with lists — Things I Like, Things I Know. Only, the things all seem disconnected. Is there some way to connect them, and make them into a story?

The kindergartener who learned to use squiggles to write a story in award-winning Andrew Larsen’s A Squiggly Story is now in second grade and learning to write an autobiography. Told in the same authentic child’s voice, this playful book encourages readers to just start, even if they don’t know how their story will go. It offers an accessible early language arts lesson on the writing process, exploring important basics (brainstorming, first draft, revising) and key terms (autobiography, editing, title, cover). Mike Lowery’s bold illustrations incorporate story panels and dialogue bubbles, keeping the energy high and giving a fresh and modern feel to the pages. A strong tie-in with early literacy curricula, this book also works well for supplementary or at-home learning. It’s a perfect choice to inspire the storyteller in every child!

Our Green City by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Illustrated by Colleen Larmour

A charming, child-friendly tour around an ideal sustainable city — with a uniquely positive environmental message from award-winning author Tanya Lloyd Kyi.

In this green city, neighbors take care of all living things: people, plants and animals, too! Many people choose a bicycle, scooter or their own two feet to get where they need to go. A family collects the rain to water their garden, while solar panels capture the energy from the sun; pipes gather heat from underground, and a windmill turns to power the community. Residents keep hens and hives in their yards, and care for flower beds that feed bees, birds and butterflies. Here, people all work together to make the city green. Can we do the same where we live?

Tanya Lloyd Kyi and Colleen Larmour have conjured a delightfully utopian sustainable community of the future, and they invite readers on an interactive journey to explore it. Unlike many children’s books about the environment, this is a hopeful and uplifting book that encourages children to imagine what’s possible, with neighbors from diverse backgrounds coming together to care for their surroundings and one another. Green technology and concepts are presented in an accessible way, covering topics from transportation to classrooms to food. Each spread includes a question that asks readers to search for something small in the illustration, and the abundant details in the rich and colorful art make the pages perfect for poring over. Backmatter shares environmentally friendly suggestions to try at home. Strong curriculum links to social studies and to physical, environmental and life sciences.”

Again, Essie? by Jenny Lacika, Illustrated by Teresa Martinez

Celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling!

Rafael wants to protect his toys from his little sister, Essie. Gathering materials from around the house, he builds a wall tall enough and wide enough to keep her out. But will it be strong enough? And what does Essie really want? A playful exploration of physical space and geometry, featuring Chicanx (Mexican American) characters and a glossary of Spanish words.

Storytelling Math celebrates children using math in their daily adventures as they play, build, and discover the world around them. Joyful stories and hands-on activities make it easy for kids and their grown-ups to explore everyday math together. Developed in collaboration with math experts at STEM education nonprofit TERC, under a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.”

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Patsy Mink by Tae Keller, Illustrated by Gillian Flint

“When Patsy Mink won her seat the House of Representatives as a Democrat from Hawaii, she became the first woman of color and the first Asian American woman elected to Congress. A co-author of the Title XI amendment of the Higher Education Act, she was a champion of rights for women, children, immigrants, and minorities throughout her twenty-four years in Congress. She helped paved the way for many other women to succeed.

In this chapter book biography by bestselling and Newbery award-winning author Tae Keller, readers learn about the amazing life of Patsy Mink–and how she persisted.

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

And don’t miss out on the rest of the books in the She Persisted series, featuring so many more women who persisted, including Sonia Sotomayor, Margaret Chase Smith, and more!”

Alina in a Pinch by Shenaaz Nanji

“Moving to a new city means Alina has to make new friends, and nothing is worse than lunch at a new school. When her grandmother visits, Alina is inspired to help her cook the delicious Afro-Indian meals she’s always loved, but a cruel note from a mysterious lunchtime bully leaves a bitter taste that even Nani’s excellent cooking can’t erase.

With an audition for Junior Chef fast approaching and Nani’s wise lessons helping her, can Alina embrace her heritage and convince her classmates that being different is a good thing?”

Middle Grade

The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton, Illustrated by Khadijah Khayib

“Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts, like brewing Indian spice elixirs and bartering with pesky Irish pixies.

Despite her excitement, Ella discovers that being the first isn’t easy―some Marvellers mistrust her magic, which they deem “bad and unnatural.” But eventually, she finds friends in elixirs teacher, Masterji Thakur, and fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, a boy with a fondness for magical creatures.

When a dangerous criminal known as the Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror’s aid, tensions grow in the Marvellian world and Ella becomes the target of suspicion. Worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her mentor before it’s too late.”

Shine On, Luz Véliz!  by Rebecca Balcarcel

“Have you ever been the best at something . . . only to lose it all?

Luz Véliz is a soccer star-or rather, she was a soccer star. With her serious knee injury, it’s unlikely she’ll be back on the field anytime soon. But without soccer, who is she? Even her dad treats her differently now—like he doesn’t know her or, worse, like he doesn’t even like her. When Luz discovers she has a knack for coding, it feels like a lifeline to a better self. If she can just ace the May Showcase, she’ll not only skip a level in her coding courses and impress Ms. Freeman and intriguing, brilliant Trevor—she’ll have her parents cheering her on from the sidelines, just the way she likes it.

But something—someone—is about to enter the Vélizes’ life. And when Solana arrives, nothing will be the same, ever again.

Unforgettable characters, family drama, and dauntless determination illuminate Luz’s journey as she summons her inner strength and learns to accept others and embrace the enduring connection of family. Through it all, Luz’s light is a constant—a guide for others, a path forward through the dark, and an ineffable celebration of her own eternal self.”

Graphic Novels

Miss Quinces: A Graphic Novel by Kat Fajardo

“Rising star Kat Fajardo’s debut middle-grade graphic novel about a girl who would rather do anything other than celebrate her quinceañera! A funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about navigating the expectations of family and cultural tradition.

Sue just wants to spend the summer reading and making comics at sleepaway camp with her friends, but instead she gets stuck going to Honduras to visit relatives with her parents and two sisters. They live way out in the country, which means no texting, no cable, and no Internet! The trip takes a turn for the worse when Sue’s mother announces that they’ll be having a surprise quinceañera for Sue, which is the last thing she wants. She can’t imagine wearing a big, floofy, colorful dress! What is Sue going to do? And how will she survive all this “quality” time with her rambunctious family?

Miss Quinces/Srta. Quinces is the first graphic novel published by Scholastic/Graphix to be simultaneously released in English and Spanish editions!”

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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