New Release Round Up: August 2, 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

Big Green Garage by Jen Arena and Mike Dutton

Car trouble? Little hands get to work and play in the Big Green Garage by pushing and pulling 15 satisfying novelty elements!

Lift flaps, pull tabs, and turn wheels to fix vehicles in the Big Green Garage!

With ten spreads of durable levers and gears, readers will tow a car, check the tires, fix the muffler, and more, side by side with the talented mechanics of the Big Green Garage. In the Big Green Garage, even cars have fun! With rollicking, rhyming text and 15 push-and-pull tabs throughout, young readers will delight in this satisfying and interactive read-aloud.”

Picture Books

Maya and the Beast by Maya Gabeira, Illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki

A fairy tale of big waves and even bigger courage, inspired by the personal story of professional surfer Maya Gabeira, who smashed records and gender stereotypes

Young Maya is shy and often feels fragile and scared because of her asthma, except when she’s in the water—it’s the one place where she feels strong. While everyone else in her town is scared of “the Beast,” the giant wave heard all around the world as it crashes into the shoreline, Maya finds the noise comforting, the curves of the wave soothing. If she could only tame it, then everyone could see all the beauty it has to offer. With a pink surfboard and a determined heart, Maya will be the first girl to meet the Beast head-on.”

Lion Lights: My Invention That Made Peace with Lions by Richard Turere and Shelly Pollock, Illustrated by Sonia Possentini

A story of ingenuity and perseverance.

Richard Turere’s own story: Richard grew up in Kenya as a Maasai boy, herding his family’s cattle, which represented their wealth and livelihood. Richard’s challenge was to protect their cattle from the lions who prowled the night just outside the barrier of acacia branches that surrounded the farm’s boma, or stockade. Though not well-educated, 12-year-old Richard loved tinkering with electronics. Using salvaged components, spending $10, he surrounded the boma with blinking lights, and the system works; it keeps lions away. His invention, Lion Lights, is now used in Africa, Asia, and South America to protect farm animals from predators.”

Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story by Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry, and Alexis Bunten, Illustrated by Gary Meeches Sr

In this Wampanoag story told in a Native tradition, two kids from the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe learn the story of Weeâchumun (corn) and the first Thanksgiving. 

The Thanksgiving story that most Americans know celebrates the Pilgrims. But without members of the Wampanoag tribe who already lived on the land where the Pilgrims settled, the Pilgrims would never have made it through their first winter. And without Weeâchumun (corn), the Native people wouldn’t have helped.

An important picture book honoring both the history and tradition that surrounds the story of the first Thanksgiving. “

How to Be a Rock Star by Lisa Tolin, Illustrated by Daniel Duncan

In this hilarious, tongue-in-cheek picture book debut, one little kid who really loves to rock and roll explains everything there is to know about starting a rock band.
 
Becoming a rock star isn’t easy—especially if you’re a kid. From finding the right instrument, to mastering the best dance moves, to taking your band on the road, there’s a lot to consider! And that’s not to mention dealing with critics, crazed fans, and a little brother with a chocolate milk problem . . . Luckily, this book has everything you need to know to make it big.
 
This giggle-inducing guide to aspiring rock and rollers, chock-full of laugh-out-loud illustrations, is sure to leave readers both young and young at heart shouting for an encore!”

Stand Up!: 10 Mighty Women Who Made a Change by Brittney Cooper, Illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson

Stand Up! tells the story of ten historic female figures who changed the world by standing up for what’s right, including legendary Civil Rights activists like Ruby Bridges and Rosa Parks and spanning to contemporary role models like Bree Newsome, who removed the confederate flag from the South Carolina state house grounds, and Mari Copeny, a youth activist who fought for clean water in Flint, Michigan. This inspirational biographical collection will live side by side with bestselling classics like Little Leaders and She Persisted yet offers a wholly original, powerful new voice and approach that make this story so singular, personal, and groundbreaking. Cooper’s enlightening text depicts both famous and unsung Black women who took a stand and made the world a better place for future generations. Each heroic figure is interconnected by a united quest for equity, and offers young readers a stirring, inspirational call to action, reminding them that they are mighty too, and can be forces for change when they stand up!

Kind Like Marsha: Learning from LGBTQ+ Leaders by Sarah Prager, Illustrated by Cheryl “Ras” Thuesday

For fans of Little Leaders and Pride comes a nonfiction picture book celebrating 14 incredible LGBTQ+ change makers and forward thinkers throughout history.

Kind Like Marsha celebrates 14 amazing and inspirational LGBTQ+ people throughout history. Fan favorites like Harvey Milk, Sylvia Rivera, and Audre Lorde are joined by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Frida Kahlo, and more in this striking collection. With a focus on a positive personality attribute of each of the historical figures, readers will be encouraged to be brave like the Ugandan activist fighting for LGBTQ+ rights against all odds and to be kind like Marsha P. Johnson who took care of her trans community on the New York City streets.”

Leo + Lea by Monica Wesolowska, Illustrated by Kenard Pak

This beautiful friendship story, inspired by the Fibonacci sequence and cleverly constructed using its mathematical pattern, celebrates our differences, as well as how math connects us to one another.

Young readers will love counting the number of words per page and discovering how they echo the Fibonacci Sequence, a mathematical series in which each number is the sum of the previous two: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and so on to infinity! Text and art are masterfully conceived and constructed to reflect Leo’s love of numbers. Even the color scheme in the striking illustrations follows a mathematical progression, bringing an underlying order and tranquility to the story. The mesmerizing symmetry of this fascinating and compulsively playable game of addition can also be found in the natural world and is an intriguing metaphor for the interconnectedness of all things.”

To Change a Planet by Christina Soontornvat, Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell

One person.

Small, quiet,

insignificant.

But when one person,

and one person,

and one person

become many,

they can change

a planet.

Spare, poetic text and breathtaking pictures invite readers on a stirring journey that gently illuminates the causes of climate change as well as how our individual and collective actions can make the world better.

Meticulously researched and brimming with beauty, hope, and hands-on solutions that will edify and empower even the youngest readers, this loving ode to our planet is vital for every child, classroom, and family.

Just Like Jesse Owens by Andrew Young, Illustrated by Gordon C. James

Civil rights icon, Ambassador Andrew Young and his daughter, Paula Young Shelton, deliver a powerful oral history about a special day in Andrew’s childhood that changed him forever. This story of race relations in the 1930s South is illustrated by bestselling Caldecott Honor winner Gordon C. James.

As a boy, Andrew Young learned a vital lesson from his parents when a local chapter of the Nazi party instigated racial unrest in their hometown of New Orleans in the 1930s. While Hitler’s teachings promoted White supremacy, Andrew’s father, told him that when dealing with the sickness of racism, “Don’t get mad, get smart.” To drive home this idea, Andrew Young Senior took his family to the local movie house to see a newsreel of track star Jesse Owens racing toward Olympic gold, showing the world that the best way to promote equality is to focus on the finish line. The teaching of his parents, and Jesse Owens’ example, would be the guiding principles that shaped Andrew’s beliefs in nonviolence and built his foundation as a civil rights leader and advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The story is vividly recalled by Paula Young Shelton, Andrew’s daughter.”

A History of Toilet Paper (and Other Potty Tools) by Sophia Gholz, Illustrated by Xiana Teimoy

In the beginning, potty time meant the great outdoors . . . 

People have been going potty since, well, since the beginning of people! Ever wonder what humans used before potties or paper? You might be surprised at the clever tools that humans came up with over the centuries. From the great outdoors to ceramic pots, bum brushes and bidets, prepare for an adventure as we explore the interesting and sometimes shocking history of human potty practices! Award-winning children’s author Sophia Gholz and illustrator Xiana Teimoy team up to put a humorous spin on the fun and fascinating facts surrounding the history of toilet paper (and other potty tools) in this delightful book. “

Middle Grade

This Book Will Save the Planet: A Climate-Justice Primer for Activists and Changemakers by Dany Sigwalt, Illustrated by Aurelia Durand

A rousing and radical investigation into the climate crisis, its causes, and how to fight for the most vulnerable people affected by it, This Book Will Save the Planet is a vibrantly illustrated study of one of humanity’s most significant threats.

With this third title in the New York Times #1 best-selling Empower the Future series, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of climate change and climate justice.

Our planet is in crisis. The ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, wildfires are raging… and those most affected by global warming are marginalized communities across the globe. 

But all is not lost—there’s still time for each and every one of us to make a difference.

Through the lens of intersectionality, author Dany Sigwalt lays out the framework for how we can come together to fight climate change, and how we can work to put people over profit. The planet is not protected if all its inhabitants are not; the people are not protected if the planet they inhabit is not.

Coming Up Cuban: Rising Past Castro’s Shadow by Sonia Manzano

From Pura Belpré Honoree and Emmy-award winning actor Sonia Manzano–best known as “Maria” from Sesame Street–comes the expansive and timeless story of four children who must carve out a path for themselves in the wake of Fidel Castro’s rise to power.

Fifteen-time Emmy Award winner and Pura Belpre honoree Sonia Manzano examines the impact of the 1959 Cuban Revolution on four children from very different walks of life. In the wake of a new regime in Cuba, Ana, Miguel, Zulema, and Juan learn to find a place for themselves in a world forever changed. In a tumultuous moment of history, we see the lasting effects of a revolution in Havana, the countryside, Miami, and New York. Through these snapshot stories, we are reminded that regardless of any tumultuous times, we are all forever connected in our humanity.”

Future Hero by Remi Blackwood

The start of a thrilling, highly illustrated series about a boy who finds a portal to a legendary world in his local barbershop . . . and learns he’s the hero they’ve been waiting for. For younger fans of Black Panther and Last Gate of the Emperor!


Jarell has never quite known where he belongs. He’s ignored at home and teased at school for wanting to draw instead of playing sports with the other boys. The only place he’s ever felt truly at ease is his local barbershop where the owner hangs Jarell’s art up on the walls.

When Jarell discovers a hidden portal in the barbershop, he’s transported to a magical world that’s unlike anything he’s seen before. But it’s not just the powerful gods and dangerous creatures that makes this world different―it’s that everyone believes Jarell is the hero they’ve been waiting for.”

Flipping Forward Twisting Backward by Alma Fullerton

A high-energy novel in verse starring a fifth grader who is almost as devoted to competitive gymnastics as she is to hiding her poor reading skills. What happens when Claire’s secret starts unraveling?

Claire is by far the best gymnast on her team, and she’s well on her way to qualifying for the state championships. The gym is where Claire shines. But at school, she’s known as a troublemaker. She seems to spend more time in the office than in class—which is fine with her since it enables her to hide the fact that she can’t read. She has never been able to make sense of the wobbling jumble of letters on a page. No one except her BFF knows.

But when a sympathetic principal wonders if Claire is acting out because she’s dyslexic, her mother balks. She’s afraid Claire will be labeled “stupid” and refuses testing. Claire has always assumed she’s dumb; she never imagined her reading problem could have a solution. Is she strong enough to take on both her reading challenges and her mother’s denial? Is it worth jeopardizing her spot in qualifiers?”

Graphic Novels

Invisible: A Graphic Novel by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Gabriela Epstein

For fans of Twins and Allergic, a must-have graphic novel about five very different students who are forced together by their school to complete community service… and may just have more in common than they thought.

Can five overlooked kids make one big difference?

There’s George: the brain

Sara: the loner

Dayara: the tough kid

Nico: the rich kid

And Miguel: the athlete

And they’re stuck together when they’re forced to complete their school’s community service hours. Although they’re sure they have nothing in common with one another, some people see them as all the same . . . just five Spanish-speaking kids.

Then they meet someone who truly needs their help, and they must decide whether they are each willing to expose their own secrets to help . . . or if remaining invisible is the only way to survive middle school.”

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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