New Release Round Up: June 7, 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 First Learn-to-Talk Book: Written by an Early Speech Expert! by Stephanie Cohen

Created by an early speech expert, this interactive first words book filled with fun-to-read rhymes helps little ones learn to talk!

Each page features:

  • Simple, exciting sounds that are easy for little ones to imitate, and can be used to build bigger words
  • Rhythm and rhyme to encourage repetition and help keep babies engaged, even before they can understand the text
  • Real photographs that model correct mouth positions and support social emotional learning

Written by a speech-language pathologist, My First Learn-to-Talk Book is designed to help babies and toddlers master the skills they need as they learn to talk. Reading the book aloud helps caregivers easily model important aspects of communication for little ones―not only through sounds and words, but also with gestures, facial expressions and more!”

Splash! by Leslie Patricelli

Yippee! Towel, hat, sunglasses, sand toys . . . everyone’s favorite baby is off and running for a day at the beach—with a new friend.

Pack a beach bag and join Baby for that quintessential summer activity: a day at the seashore. With a new buddy in tow to join in the fun, it’s time to put on sunscreen (rubby, rubby), set up the umbrella (ouch, this sand is hot!), splash in the waves (run away from the big ones!), and build a sandcastle (extra hands help!). And don’t forget ice cream! Thankfully, there’s a shower for rinsing off that sandy, sticky stuff. There’s so much to do and see that it might be a challenge to get these babies back home! Little ones off on a summer vacation will soak up this fun adventure, and fans of the beloved Baby will be tickled to meet an adorable new character.”

Picture Books

Music Is a Rainbow in the United States  by Bryan Collier

The music turned into color and light and filled the room.

A young boy remembers quietly watching his father read the paper and sip a cup of coffee. He remembers his sweet momma, who lovingly pressed away the wrinkles on his clothes. Then one day, his father is gone and his momma falls ill. But through his love of music he feels his father’s warm hugs and his mother’s kisses. He learns to relax, shine, and dream as the music fills his soul.

From four-time Caldecott honoree Bryan Collier comes a moving and gorgeously illustrated exploration of healing the soul through music.”

A New Friend by Lucy Menzies, Illustrated by Maddy Vian

“It’s Joe’s first day at a new school. It’s big, scary and different. He misses his school, his old friends and his old life. Can’t he just go back to the way things were? 

When Mae hears that there’s a new kid starting school, she can’t wait to meet him. Is this her chance to make a true friend? 

A New Friend is the next book in the One Book, Two Stories format. With this innovative format,two books, telling two different stories, are bound together.

One book follows Joe on his first day at school, and the other shows Mae on her quest to make friends with the new kid. The stories can also be read side-by-side, as spreads from each book complement each other and are linked with corresponding page numbers. The final spread at the back of the book reveals a shared ending, in which Joe and Mae are united in the playground! “

Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson, Illustrated by Daniel Sousa

An Indigenous legend about how four extraordinary individuals of dual male and female spirit, or Mahu, brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii, based on the Academy Award–contending short film.

In the 15th century, four Mahu sail from Tahiti to Hawaii and share their gifts of science and healing with the people of Waikiki. The islanders return this gift with a monument of four boulders in their honor, which the Mahu imbue with healing powers before disappearing.
 
As time passes, foreigners inhabit the island and the once-sacred stones are forgotten until the 1960s. Though the true story of these stones was not fully recovered, the power of the Mahu still calls out to those who pass by them at Waikiki Beach today.

With illuminating words and stunning illustrations by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, and Daniel Sousa, KAPAEMAHU is a monument to an Indigenous Hawaiian legend and a classic in the making.”

Frances in the Country by Liz Garton Scanlon, Illustrated by Sean Qualls

A spirited girl visits her cousins in the country for a chance to break free from the clamor and crowd of life in the city.
 

Frances is a city kid, but it’s hard for her to fit in. City walls aren’t for climbing, city rooms aren’t for running, city shops and city yards are too crowded, and there are so many rules that Frances can’t seem to follow.

She takes a trip to visit her cousins in the country, where she finds cats for chasing, roads for racing down, ladders for leaping, and fields full of animals. When it’s time to go home, it’s not easy to leave her cousins, but she invites them to visit and see the sights and sounds, lights, thumps, beeps and shines of the city where she returns to her loving mom and sisters.”

Tomorrow is a Brand-New Day by Davina Bell, Illustrated by Allison Colpoys

The follow-up to bestselling All the Ways to be Smart by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys.

Good or bad, the things you do
are all a part of being you ―
of learning how to take your boat
on stormy seas and stay afloat.

From the creators of All the Ways To Be Smart comes a message of hope: hard days come and go, but love is with us always. A healing and uplifting tribute to learning and growing ― to making mistakes and making amends.

  • The perfect gift for children embarking on new challenges
  • A wonderful educational tool for teachers and librarians helping children process big changes and big emotions
  • Just right for fans of I am Human by Susan Verde & Peter H. Reynolds and The Bad Seed by Jory John and Pete Oswald.”

Thundermaestro by Annemarie Riley Guertin, Illustrated by Maria Brzozowska

Rumble, grumble, groan, growl, whoosh, swoosh, 
creak, squeak, tip tap, pitter-patter, splitter, splatter.
The crescendo builds.

With baton in hand, a little girl conducts a majestic symphony with the sounds of a summer rainstorm. The whoosh of wind and the toccata of raindrops make a grand concert. With gorgeous mixed-media illustrations that juxtapose the gathering storm outside with the music inside the girl’s imagination, this celebration of the music of nature will leave readers breathless until the final bow.”

You Are My Favorite Color by Gillian Sze, Illustrated by Nina Mata

A lyrical story of parental love that celebrates and takes pride in the many shades of brown skin. Perfect for fans of I Am EnoughHey Black ChildHair Love, and Our Skin.


When you ask me why your skin is brown, I will tell you that you are my favorite color. I will say that your skin was decided long, long ago. Time was just waiting for you.   

So begins a mother’s celebration of her children’s brown skin, told through warm and vivid poetry. With sweeping descriptions of what brown skin means—it is the brawny bear whose paws know the ground of its home, the sequoia tree that reaches up and touches the sun, the glossy shell of roasted chestnuts—this is a book that empowers as it embraces, and that reminds young readers that they have shades of color that only they can discover and express.”

Gaudi – Architect of Imagination by Susan B. Katz Illustrated by Linda Schwalbe

Your dreams can change the world! 

Colorful mosaics, playful flowing forms, imaginative facades—Barcelona shines with the buildings of Antoni Gaudí. How did the son of a Catalan blacksmith become a world-famous architect? The first years of Gaudí’s life were challenging. Because of an illness, young Gaudí couldn’t attend school and was often alone. Many of his days were spent out in nature, which he would later call his great teacher. Even during his training as an architect in Barcelona, his teachers were puzzled, wondering: is he a “genius or a fool?” Many considered his unusual ideas eccentric, sometimes even crazy. But Gaudí was simply ahead of his time. His buildings are now a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site.  

With an insightful eye into the world of an inspired genius, award-winning author Susan B. Katz tells of Gaudí’s life and work. Linda Schwalbe’s dazzling and powerful illustrations reflect the inventive, daring, and flamboyant style of Gaudí’s work.”

The Sublime Ms. Stacks by Robb Pearlman, Illustrated by Dani Jones

Miss Nelson is Missing meets Drag Race in this vibrant picture book about a drag queen librarian from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robb Pearlman.

Librarian Mr. Stephen is great at helping people find their books. But when it comes to crafts and storytime . . . well, he tries his best. Luckily, there’s a substitute librarian to liven up things-the sublime Ms. Stacks!

Ms. Stacks makes everything fun! And with a penchant for performing and a flair for the fabulous, she reminds everyone to be themselves and unleash their creativity. When Ms. Stacks is around, time in the library is never a drag! The kids only wish that Mr. Stephen could see this legendary librarian in action for himself . . . but maybe he did?

Bestselling author Robb Pearlman and illustrator Dani Jones offer a joyful celebration of reading, creating, and expressing your truest self.”

When the Wind Came by Jan Andrews, Illustrated by Dorothy Leung

“In this timely, poetic story of hope amid loss, acclaimed writer and storyteller Jan Andrews’s touching picture book reminds us how, even on the darkest days, light can always be found.

It’s a normal day, at first, for a girl on her family farm. But soon, the wind picks up. It blows harder and harder and harder. Her mother grabs her baby brother. Her father opens the door to the root cellar. The family piles in and sits in darkness. When they are finally able to emerge, their home is gone. Through a series of short sentences, many beginning with “I remember … ,” readers share with the girl her experience of shock, terror, sadness and, finally, hope.”

The Fossil Whisperer: How Wendy Sloboda Discovered a Dinosaur by Helaine Becker, Illustrated by Sandra Dumais

A captivating look at the life of a modern-day fossil hunter who makes the find of a lifetime told by award-winning author Helaine Becker.

Wendy has an eye for the unusual and is skilled at finding things that others don’t see. While on a school field trip at age 12, she spots one of those unusual things poking out of the ground, and it turns out to be a piece of fossilized coral that’s 100 million years old. Wendy’s thrilled! And soon, she gets hooked on finding fossils. When she grows up, Wendy turns her passion into her career and becomes a preeminent fossil hunter, known as the “fossil whisperer” around the world. But it’s on a dig close to home where Wendy makes her most important discovery: Wendiceratops!”

Saving the Butterfly: A Story About Refugees by Helen Cooper, Illustrated by Gill Smith

Two resourceful siblings begin a new life as refugees in a poetic picture book about thriving—in your own time—after great loss.

From an award-winning author and a talented debut illustrator comes a profound story about child refugees healing and building new lives. When rescuers meet the boat, there are only two people left—a big child and a little one. The big one, remembering the trip across the dark sea, hides indoors. The little one ventures out, making friends, laughing, growing strong. When he brings the outside in, in the form of a butterfly, will his sister find the courage to guide the winged creature back into the world where it belongs? Powerful illustrations dance between dark and light in a moving tale of empathy, resilience, and the universal need for home and safety.”

Itzel and the Ocelot by Rachel Katstaller

“A gorgeous picture book inspired by a traditional Central American Indigenous story about a snake with the power to bring the rain, told in lyrical language and evocative art, and subtly conveying an environmental theme.

Itzel listens as her nana tells the story of when the giant snake would be awakened from its sleep: “And first with a whisper that would rustle the leaves, and then with a deep thunderous cry, the giant snake would bring the arrival of the rainy season.” But now, since many no longer believe in the snake, her nana says, “It has returned to the place where the water is born.” Now, Itzel and her nana are desperate for rain to water their bone-dry crops. So Itzel decides she must find and awaken the snake herself. She sets out in the night alone, but soon she is joined by an ocelot, and a bevy of other jungle creatures in need of the rain. And Itzel worries, is she leading them on a fruitless journey?”

Zack and Ike Are Exactly Alike by Suzanne Bloom

Friendship is about far more than being alike in this simple yet satisfying story.

Zack and Ike are best friends who like to think they’re exactly alike.

They have the same backpack, the same bike, and the same kind hearts. But what happens when these best friends disagree? And what happens when they meet a new friend who is exactly different–or is she?

In this classic friendship story written by award-winning author Suzanne Bloom, readers will see that Zack and Ike are alike in some ways, but different in others–and that’s okay! Because you don’t have to be exactly alike to be friends.”

Sunflower Sisters by Monika Singh Gangotra, Illustrated by Michaela Dias-Hayes

A heartwarming celebration of all skin shades, from sun-browned to autumn-leaf-gold!

Amitra and Kiki are best friends and sunflower sisters. Amitra’s older sister is getting married, but when the elder relatives arrive, they start dispensing some old-fashioned and dubious advice. Luckily, Amitra’s mother has a lesson or two to teach about that! With the support and empowerment of their moms, the sunflower sisters are two strong, confident girls―one South Asian the other Nigerian―finding joy in their own skin.”

Up Your Nose by Seth Fishman, Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg

“Did you know that there are quadrillions of germs in the world? And that hundreds of billions of germs may be in the room around you—and inside you as well?

Acclaimed creators Seth Fishman and Isabel Greenberg explore the five main types of germs—bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, and helminths—and the human immune system that protects us from them. Seth Fishman expertly breaks down this complex topic with humor—and with a large dose of wonder at the human body and the world around us. Isabel Greenberg’s signature bright, comic-style illustrations bring life to this microscopic landscape so that young readers can pore over each page.

Full of fascinating facts, Up Your Nose is perfect for curious children and classroom learning.”

Punky Aloha by Shar Tuiasoa

Meet Punky Aloha: a girl who uses the power of saying “aloha” to experience exciting and unexpected adventures!

Punky loves to do a lot of things—except meeting new friends. She doesn’t feel brave enough.

So when her grandmother asks her to go out and grab butter for her famous banana bread, Punky hesitates. But with the help of her grandmother’s magical sunglasses, and with a lot of aloha in her heart, Punky sets off on a BIG adventure for the very first time.

Will she be able to get the butter for grandma?

Punky Aloha is a Polynesian girl who carries her culture in her heart and in everything she does. Kids will love to follow this fun character all over the island of O’ahu.”

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Marian Anderson by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Illustrated by Gillian Flint

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 Marian Anderson!

When renowned classical singer Marian Anderson wasn’t allowed to sing at a theater in Washington, DC, because she was Black, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial, at a concert attended by thousands of people. Marian went on to sing around the world on behalf of the UN and the US State Department, and as a part of the Civil Rights Movement, she also performed at the March on Washington. She went on to win many awards, including the first ever Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award–and she inspired countless people along the way.

In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Katheryn Russell-Brown, readers learn about the amazing life of Marian Anderson–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 Marian Anderson’s footsteps and make a difference!”

Wednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems by Bree Galbraith, Illustrated by Morgan Goble

“In this second title in the early chapter book series about everyone’s favorite young entrepreneur, Wednesday Wilson is only trying to help her brother when her latest business idea strikes!

Sometimes the best business ideas pop up when you least expect them. Or that’s what happens to Wednesday Wilson, anyway, the morning her brother, Mister, locks himself in the bathroom because he’s nervous about a school presentation. When classmate Emmet convinces Mister that a worry stone will calm his nerves, Wednesday offers Mister her marble — with the promise that a Worry Marble will fix all his problems! But then Wednesday starts thinking about just how many things kids get nervous about. And, hmm, she does happen to have a whole collection of marbles. Has Wednesday just hit entrepreneurial gold?”

Middle Grade

Can You Believe It?: How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts by Joyce Grant, Illustrated by Kathleen Marcotte

“For today’s tech-savvy kids, here’s the go-to resource for navigating what they read on the internet.

Should we believe everything we read online? Definitely not! And this book will tell you why. This fascinating book explores in depth how real journalism is made, what “fake news” is and, most importantly, how to spot the difference. It’s chock-full of practical advice, thought-provoking examples and tons of relevant information on subjects that range from bylines and credible sources to influencers and clickbait. It gives readers context they can use, such as how bias can creep into news reporting, why celebrity posts may not be truthful and why they should be suspicious of anything that makes them feel supersmart. Young people get most of their information online. This must-read guide helps them decide which information they can trust — and which they can’t.”

The Secret Battle of Evan Pao by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

“A fresh start. That’s all Evan Pao wants as he, along with his mother and sister, flee from California to Haddington, Virginia, hoping to keep his father’s notoriety a secret.

But Haddington is a southern town steeped in tradition, and moving to a town immersed in the past has its own price. Although Evan quickly makes friends, one boy, Brady Griggs, seems determined to make sure that as a Chinese American, Evan feels that he does not belong. When Evan finds a unique way to make himself part of the school’s annual Civil War celebration, the reaction is swift and violent. As all of his choices at home and at school collide, Evan must decide whether he will react with the same cruelty shown to him, or choose a different path.

Wendy Wan-Long Shang, the critically acclaimed author of Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award for Children’s Literature winner The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, weaves a timely and deeply moving portrait of all the secret battles Evan Pao must fight as he struggles to figure out how he fits into this country’s past and how he will shape its future.”

The Wonders We Seek: Thirty Incredible Muslims Who Helped Shape the World by Saadia Faruqi and Aneesa Mumtaz, Illustrated by Saffa Khan

In this biographical collection, with stunning portraits and illustrations by Saffa Khan, authors Saadia Faruqi and Aneesa Mumtaz highlight some of the talented Muslim physicians, musicians, athletes, poets, and more who helped make the world we know today.

A brilliant surgeon heals patients in the first millennium.

A female king rules the Indian subcontinent.

A poet pours his joy and grief into the world’s best-selling verses.

An iconic leader fights for civil rights.

And many, many more.

Throughout history—from the golden age of the empires of Arabia, Iraq, Persia, and India, up to modern day—Muslims have shaped our world in essential ways, with achievements in music, medicine, politics, human rights, literature, sports, technology, and more. Give this book to readers who are excited to learn about the great figures and thinkers in history!

The authors introduce their book with a personal letter to the reader, setting out their motivations and hopes for the stories they are telling. The backmatter includes a glossary and bibliography for readers’ further research and learning.”

The Do-Over by Jennifer Torres

“The Mendoza sisters need a do-over!

Raquel and Lucinda used to be inseparable. But ever since their parents split, Raquel has been acting like editor-in-chief of their lives. To avoid her overbearing sister, Lucinda spends most of her time with her headphones on, practicing her skating routine.

Then a pandemic hits, and the sisters are forced to spend the lockdown at their dad’s ranch house. Suddenly Raquel sees a chance to get back everything they’ve lost. If they can convince their mom to come along, maybe they can get their parents to fall in love again and give their family a second chance, a do-over.

But at the ranch, they get a not-so-welcome surprise: their dad’s new girlfriend and her daughter are already living there! Lucinda finds she actually likes them, which only makes Raquel more desperate to get rid of them. And as her Raquel’s schemes get more and more out of hand, Lucinda starts to wonder what they are really fighting for. Is trying to bring the Mendoza family back together really just tearing them further apart?”

The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali

A heartfelt debut novel about a boy’s attempt to find himself in the history he loves—perfect for fans of Dear Sweet Pea and From the Desk of Zoe Washington.

Amos Abernathy lives for history. Literally. He’s been a historical reenactor nearly all his life. But when a cute new volunteer arrives at his Living History Park, Amos finds himself wondering if there’s something missing from history: someone like the two of them.

Amos is sure there must have been LGBTQ+ people in nineteenth-century Illinois. His search turns up Albert D. J. Cashier, a Civil War soldier who might have identified as a trans man if he’d lived today. Soon Amos starts confiding in his newfound friend by writing letters in his journal—and hatches a plan to share Albert’s story with his divided twenty-first century town. It may be an uphill battle, but it’s one that Amos is ready to fight.

Told in an earnest, hilarious voice, this love letter to history, first crushes, and LGBTQ+ community will delight readers of Ashley Herring Blake, Alex Gino, or Maulik Pancholy. “

Alice Austen Lived Here  by Alex Gino

From the award-winning author of George, a phenomenal novel about queerness past, present, and future.

Sam is very in touch with their own queer identity. They’re nonbinary, and their best friend, TJ, is nonbinary as well. Sam’s family is very cool with it… as long as Sam remembers that nonbinary kids are also required to clean their rooms, do their homework, and try not to antagonize their teachers too much.

The teacher-respect thing is hard when it comes to Sam’s history class, because their teacher seems to believe that only Dead Straight Cis White Men are responsible for history. When Sam’s home borough of Staten Island opens up a contest for a new statue, Sam finds the perfect non-DSCWM subject: photographer Alice Austen, whose house has been turned into a museum, and who lived with a female partner for decades.

Soon, Sam’s project isn’t just about winning the contest. It’s about discovering a rich queer history that Sam’s a part of — a queer history that no longer needs to be quiet, as long as there are kids like Sam and TJ to stand up for it.”

Graphic Novels

Fibbed by Elizabeth Agyemang

“Everyone says that the wild stories Nana tells are big fibs. But she always tells the truth, as ridiculous as it sounds to hear about the troupe of circus squirrels stealing her teacher’s toupee. When another outlandish explanation lands her in hot water again, her parents announce that Nana will be spending the summer with her grandmother in Ghana.

She isn’t happy to be missing the summer camp she’s looked forward to all year, or to be living with family that she barely knows, in a country where she can’t really speak the native language. But all her worries get a whole lot bigger—literally—when she comes face-to-face with Ananse, the trickster spider of legend.

Nana soon discovers that the forest around the village is a place of magic watched over by Ananse. But a group of greedy contractors are draining the magic from the land, intent on selling the wishes for their own gain. Nana must join forces with her cousin Tiwaa, new friend Akwesi, and Ananse himself to save the magic from those who are out to steal it before the magic—and the forest—are gone for good.”

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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