New Release Round-Up: September 6, 2022

It’s Tuesday, so you know what that means….new releases! We have a TON of titles to talk about today, 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

The Thank You Book by Danna Smith, Illustrated by Juliana Perdomo

This joyous board book celebrates the different ways we can say thank you to those around us—from hugging a friend to thanking a teacher, to showing gratitude in even bigger ways!

Thanking is easy. Thanking is fun.
It shows you are grateful when kind things are done.

From thanking your teacher for teaching, to thanking your vet for caring, from sharing a hug, to giving a card, this sweet book shows all the ways we can express gratitude. And as the book builds, so does the scale of the thanks, showing young readers that even if they start small, they can have a big impact.”

One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me! by John Micklos, Illustrated by Clive McFarland

“This playful counting book shares the colorful highlights of the four seasons in charming illustrations.

Count your way through the seasons! In spring, the tree’s leaves appear, one by one. By summer, there’s a glorious canopy. And when autumn winds blow, leaves fly from the tree, one after another, leading us into winter. There’s a world of activity to spy in and around this beautiful tree as the wild creatures, and one little boy, celebrate the cycles of nature. As little ones count leaves, look for animals, and enjoy the changing seasonal landscape, bouncy rhymes and bold illustrations make learning to count easy–corresponding numerals reinforcing the learning fun.”

Picture Books

Our World of Dumplings by Francie Dekker, Illustrated by Sarah Jung

This delicious story celebrates the many different types of dumplings that exist in our world and how food brings people and cultures together!

An apartment complex is having a dumpling festival, and all the kids are excited to watch and help each family cook up different versions of the delicious treats. From kreplach to khinkali and Johnny cakes to jiao zi, each household has its own way of making dumplings, uniquely hand-crafted and based upon their culture. As the children wrap, cook, and eat all the different types of dumplings, they learn how dumplings are the ultimate labor of love!”

The Big Leaf Leap by Molly Beth Griffin, Illustrated by Meleck Davis

The leaves are down. The rakes are out. But one girl can’t do it alone. Neighborhood kids join forces to build a big, huge, enormously enormous mountain of leaves. Ready, set . . . leap!

The girl wants a leaf pile to leap in. A big leaf pile, a huge leaf pile, an enormously enormous leaf pile! She rakes and rakes and rakes, but there are not enough leaves in her yard to make the leaf pile of her dreams. And she can’t do it alone. She will need some help.”

The Mother of a Movement: Jeanne Manford–Ally, Activist, and Co-Founder of PFLAG by Rob Sanders, Illustrated by Sam Kalda

“The Mother of a Movement is a true story of parental support and unconditional love. It tells the story of Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG. When her son Morty was beaten by New York City officials for handing out pro-gay leaflets, Manford wrote a powerful letter to the New York Post to complain about how Morty was treated. In the letter she came out as the mother of a gay son. The letter was published. Morty invited his mother to march with him in the June 1972 Christopher Street Parade. While marching, she had the idea to form a group to help parents and families of LGBTQ+ people. That was the beginning of PFLAG.”

One Thursday Afternoon by Barbara Dilorenzo

When Granddad picks Ava up from school one Thursday afternoon, she’s quiet. She doesn’t want to talk about the lockdown drill that has stirred up her worries.

How can she be so afraid in a place that has always felt so safe?

Granddad doesn’t talk much either; he just offers creativity and companionship. And with his gentle encouragement, Ava begins to sense that although the world can be scary, it is still a beautiful place.

With tender insight, One Thursday Afternoon sheds light on how an unpredictable world can make a child feel, reminding us that big fears can become smaller when we take time together to look, listen, and create. An author’s note about the story’s real-life inspiration and recommendations for how adults can help children overcome fear is included.”

Playtime for Restless Rascals by Nikki Grimes, Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Nikki Grimes, Coretta Scott King Award winning author, and acclaimed illustrator Elizabeth Zunon’s latest children’s masterpiece is a whimsical adventure and rollicking celebration of playtime fun.

Mom needs to wake up her child whose job is to play. From dancing in puddles to jumping in leaves, and swinging high enough to almost reach the sun, there’s so much to do in a fun-filled day.

For those seeking children’s books about diversity, this loving depiction of everyday shenanigans is sure to become a story time favorite. Playtime for Restless Rascals is an African American children’s book that celebrates imagination, playful moments, and the love between parents and child.”

The Story of a Butterfly by Margaret Rose Reed, Illustrated by Manu Montoya

Follow two friends on a class field trip as they visit a butterfly sanctuary and discover the Painted Lady. Learn all about the habitat and life cycle of the Painted Lady from egg to chrysalis to butterfly. There really does seem to be some magic involved!

Chances are you have heard of the Painted Lady or maybe even raised one at home or in school. This topic is covered in schools in Kindergarten and First grade, and this book will offer a beautiful study on this lovely and popular butterfly.”

Phenomenal AOC: The Roots and Rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by Anika Aldamuy Denise, Illustrated by Loris Lora

An inspiring biography of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from Pura Belpré Honor-winning creators Anika Aldamuy Denise and Loris Lora!

In 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest congresswoman in America. How did this young Puertoriqueña become an unstoppable force in politics? Find out in this accessible and engaging book for young readers.

AOC’s remarkable story begins in her childhood Bronx home and comes full circle the moment AOC became America’s youngest Congresswoman. Ocasio-Cortez’s empowering journey reminds us that everyone, regardless of their age, race, creed, wealth, or zip code, is capable of being a voice for change.”

Magnolia Flower by Zora Neale Hurston and Ibram X. Kendi, Illustrated Loveis Wise

From beloved African American folklorist Zora Neale Hurston comes a moving adaptation by National Book Award winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi. Magnolia Flower follows a young Afro Indigenous girl who longs for freedom and is gorgeously illustrated by Loveis Wise (The People RememberAblaze with Color).

Born to parents who fled slavery and the Trail of Tears, Magnolia Flower is a girl with a vibrant spirit. Not to be deterred by rigid ways of the world, she longs to connect with others, who too long for freedom. She finds this in a young man of letters who her father disapproves of. In her quest to be free, Magnolia must make a choice and set off on a journey that will prove just how brave one can be when leading with one’s heart.”

Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement by Angela Joy, Illustrated by Janelle Washington

A picture book biography of the mother of Emmett Till, and how she channeled grief over her son’s death into a call to action for the civil rights movement.

Mamie Till-Mobley is the mother of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy who was brutally murdered while visiting the South in 1955. His death became a rallying point for the civil rights movement, but few know that it was his mother who was the catalyst for bringing his name to the forefront of history.

In Choosing Brave, Angela Joy and Janelle Washington offer a testament to the power of love, the bond of motherhood, and one woman’s unwavering advocacy for justice. It is a poised, moving work about a woman who refocused her unimaginable grief into action for the greater good. Mamie fearlessly refused to allow America to turn away from what happened to her only child. She turned pain into change that ensured her son’s life mattered.”

Magic: Once Upon a Faraway Land by Mirelle Ortega

In her debut as author and illustrator, Mirelle Ortega shares her own story of growing up near her family’s pineapple farm in Mexico, where she learned the true meaning of magic

I learned that magic isn’t good or bad, it just is. Sometimes it gives, sometimes it takes. Sometimes life blossoms, sometimes it wilts.

Growing up on a pineapple farm in Mexico, a girl discovers the true meaning of the word magic in this truly magical picture book about change and transformation of all kinds—what we can’t control, such as natural disasters and loss, and what we can. Magic can transform dirt into pineapples, seeds into trees, wool into blankets, words into stories, blank pages into pictures—a story into a picture book. “

Friends by Daniela Sosa

Celebrate the wonder of new friends, old friends, and everything-in-between friends in this joyful, resonant picture book.

There are many kinds of friends—old friends, new friends, friends that last a lifetime—and the day to make new friends is always near, if you look. This story celebrates all of them: who they are, where we find them, and what we count on them for.”

Mary Had a Little Plan by Tammi Sauer, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

“Fashion-forward Mary is known for adding flair everywhere she goes. When she spots an abandoned lot in her neighborhood, Mary knows she can use her stylish talent to spruce it up. Soon she’s rallying neighborhood shops and calling on her friends to help. With Mary leading the way, this group carries out her little plan that has a big impact on her community!”

It’s Diwali! by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal, Illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan

Count along in celebration of Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, in this luminous picture book from bestselling mother-son duo Surishtha and Kabir Sehgal.

Count up to ten and back down again to the tune of “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” while learning about the traditions that make Diwali a fun-filled festival! Celebrated during autumn harvest, Diwali symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. From sweet treats to intricate henna designs to exciting firework displays, kids will delight in this vibrant glimpse into the Festival of Lights.”

Me Gusta by Angela Dominguez

A stunning bilingual picture book that celebrates Latinx families by highlighting moments of connection and delight and feelings of safety and home, even through challenges and difficult times.

In the affirmative and encouraging Me Gusta, acclaimed author and illustrator Angela Dominguez combines Spanish and English in a poetic and touching story of family, reminding us that through the adventures and the heartbreak, love conquers all and transcends language.”

I Am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges, Illustrated by Nikkolas Smith

Ruby Bridges tells her story as never before and shares the events of the momentous day in 1960 when Ruby became the first Black child to integrate the all-white William Franz Elementary as a six year old little girl — a personal and intimate look through a child’s lens at a landmark moment in our Civil Rights history.

When Ruby Bridges was six years old, she became the first Black child to integrate the all-white William Frantz Elementary in Louisiana. Based on the pivotal events that happened in 1960 and told from her point of view, this is a poetic reflection on her experience that changed the face of history and the trajectory of the Civil Rights movement.

A Costume for Charly by C.K. Malone, Illustrated by Alejandra Barajas

“Halloween is always tricky for Charly, and this year they are determined to find a costume that showcases both the feminine and masculine halves of their identity. Digging through their costume box, they explore many fun costumes. Some are masc. Some are femme. Some are neither. But all are lacking. As trick-or-treating looms, they must think outside the box to find the perfect costume–something that will allow them to present as one hundred percent Charly.”

Song in the City by Daniel Bernstrom, Illustrated by Jenin Mohammed

From Daniel Bernstrom, the acclaimed author of One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree, comes a charming and irresistibly fun picture book about a young blind girl and her grandmother who experience the vibrant everyday music of their busy city.

A young girl, filled with the sounds of her beloved city, shares a song with her grandmother that changes the two forever. After helping Grandma realize that the city makes music as beautiful as the sounds they hear in church on Sunday morning, the two sit down and take in all the sounds of the city…together.

Song in the City bridges the gap between generations of music and family, while centering love, understanding, and joy.”

Zuri Ray and the Backyard Bash by Tami Charles, Illustrated by Sharon Sordo

From New York Times bestselling author Tami Charles and rising star illustrator Sharon Sordo comes the second book in a charming picture book series about a fun, spunky girl with strong opinions, big ideas, and a huge heart!

Zuri Ray is back! And this time, she’s got a party to plan. With summer coming to an end, a backyard bash is an absolute must, and Zuri’s not letting her parents’ questionable tastes anywhere near the details. The food, the decorations, the entertainment—everything has to be perfect. Good thing her friends are ready to help!

But when the party doesn’t go exactly according to plan, will Zuri be able to let loose and improvise? Or will the chaos be too much to handle?”

Black-Eyed Peas and Hoghead Cheese: A Story of Food, Family, and Freedom by Glenda Armand, Illustrated by Steffi Walthall

A little girl helping her grandmother prepare a holiday meal learns about the origins of soul food in this powerful picture book that celebrates African American cuisine and identity from an award-winning author.

While visiting her grandma in Louisiana, nine-year-old Frances is excited to help prepare the New Year’s Day meal. She listens as Grandma tells stories—dating back to the Atlantic Slave Trade—about the food for their feast. Through these stories, Frances learns not only about the ingredients and the dishes they are making but about her ancestors and their history as well. “

Yossel’s Journey by Kathryn Lasky, Illustrated by Johnson Yazzie

When Yossel’s family flees anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia and immigrates to the American Southwest, he worries about making a new home and new friends.

In his family’s new store next to the Navajo reservation, Yossel watches neighbors pass through. He learns lots of Navajo (Diné) words, but he’s still too afraid and lonely to try talking to anyone. Finally he meets Thomas, a Navajo boy just his age. Making new friends can be hard, especially when you’re learning a new language to tell your jokes.

A historical picture book about the power of cross-cultural friendships and the joy of finding out the true meaning of home.”

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Diana Taurasi by Monica Brown, Illustrated by Gillian Flint

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

When Diana Taurasi was a girl, professional women’s basketball didn’t exist in the US. But she worked hard to create opportunities for herself, winning championships throughout college and eventually going on to play for the WNBA with the Phoenix Mercury and winning multiple Olympic gold medals.

In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Monica Brown, readers learn about the amazing life of Diana Taurasi–and how she persisted. “

The World of Emily Windsnap: Shona Finds Her Voice by Liz Kessler, Illustrated by Joanie Stone

With her best friend’s help, can mermaid Shona get up the nerve to share her singing talents at school? A new reader for younger fans based on the New York Times best-selling Emily Windsnap novels.

Emily Windsnap’s best friend, Shona Silkfin, is a mermaid who loves to sing . . . but only when she is by herself. So when Shiprock School announces a talent show whose winner will have the honor of meeting King Neptune, everyone is excited to perform—except Shona, who is too nervous to sign up. But when Emily overhears her friend singing, she’s amazed by Shona’s beautiful voice. With Emily’s encouragement, Shona decides to enter the talent show—and when she anxiously takes the stage, Shona knows that her best friend is cheering her on, giving her the courage to sing loud and proud in front of everyone, even the King of the Oceans. Based on the New York Times best-selling series by Liz Kessler, this underwater adventure offers a sweet story about a confidence-bolstering friendship to new readers.”

Middle Grade

Attack of The Black Rectangles by A. S. King

“Award-winning author Amy Sarig King takes on censorship and intolerance in a novel she was born to write.

When Mac first opens his classroom copy of Jane Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic and finds some words blacked out, he thinks it must be a mistake. But then when he and his friends discover what the missing words are, he’s outraged.

Someone in his school is trying to prevent kids from reading the full story.

But who?

Even though his unreliable dad tells him to not get so emotional about a book (or anything else), Mac has been raised by his mom and grandad to call out things that are wrong. He and his friends head to the principal’s office to protest the censorship… but her response doesn’t take them seriously.

So many adults want Mac to keep his words to himself.

Mac’s about to see the power of letting them out.

In Attack of the Black Rectangles, acclaimed author Amy Sarig King shows all the ways truth can be hard… but still worth fighting for.”

Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution by Sherri Winston

“Lotus Bloom just wants to express herself–with her violin, her retro style, and her peaceful vibe, not to mention her fabulous hair.

This school year, Lotus is taking her talent and spirit to the seventh grade at a new school of the arts. The one where she just might get to play under the famous maestro, a violin virtuoso and conductor of the orchestra. But Lotus’s best friend, Rebel, thinks Lotus should stay at their school. Why should this fancy new school get all the funding and pull the brightest kids out? Rebel wants Lotus to help her protest, but Lotus isn’t sure. If she’s going to be in the spotlight, she’d rather it be for her music.

Then, when boys throw paper wads and airplanes into Lotus’s afro, Lotus finds herself in trouble for a dress code violation. Lotus must choose–should she stay quiet and risk her beloved hair, or put aside her peaceful vibe and risk everything to fight back?”

Learning to Fall by Sally Engelfried

“Daphne doesn’t want to be stuck in Oakland with her dad. She wants to get on the first plane to Prague, where her mom is shooting a movie. Armed with her grandparents’ phone number and strict instructions from her mom to call them if her dad starts drinking again, Daphne has no problem being cold to him. But there’s one thing Daphne can’t keep herself from doing: joining her dad and her new friend Arlo at a weekly skate session. 

When her dad promises to teach her how to ollie and she lands the trick, Daphne starts to believe in him again. He starts to show up for her, and Daphne learns things are not as black and white with her dad as she used to think. The way Daphne’s dad tells it, skating is all about accepting failure and moving on. But can Daphne really let go of her dad’s past mistakes? Either way life is a lot like skating: it’s all about getting back up after you fall. “

Shot Clock by Caron Butler and Justin A. Reynolds

“Tony loves basketball. But the game changed recently when his best friend, Dante, a hoops phenom, was killed by a police officer. Tony hopes he can carry on Dante’s legacy by making the Sabres, the AAU basketball team Dante took to two national championships.

Tony doesn’t make the team, but Coach James likes what he sees from Tony at tryouts and offers him another chance: join the team as the statistician. With his community reeling and the team just finding its footing on the court, can Tony find a path to healing while helping to bring the Sabres a championship?”

Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne Brown

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling YA author Roseanne A. Brown’s middle grade debut about a pre-teen vampire slayer with a strong helping of Ghanaian folklore.

For most kids, catching fireflies is a fun summer activity. For twelve-year-old Serwa Boateng, it’s a matter of life and death.

That’s because Serwa knows that some fireflies are really adze, shapeshifting vampires from the forests of Southeastern Ghana. Adze prey on the blood of innocents, possessing their minds and turning them into hulking monsters, and for generations, slayers like Serwa and her parents have protected an unknowing public from their threats.”

The Other Side of the River by Alda P. Dobbs

“Petra Luna is in America, having escaped the Mexican Revolution and the terror of the Federales. Now that they are safe, Petra and her family can begin again, in this country that promises so much. Still, twelve-year-old Petra knows that her abuelita, little sister, and baby brother depend on her to survive. She leads her family from a smallpox-stricken refugee camp on the Texas border to the buzzing city of San Antonio, where they work hard to build a new life. And for the first time ever, Petra has a chance to learn to read and write.

Yet Petra also sees in America attitudes she thought she’d left behind on the other side of the Río Grande―people who look down on her mestizo skin and bare feet, who think someone like her doesn’t deserve more from life. Petra wants more. Isn’t that what the revolution is about? Her strength and courage will be tested like never before as she fights for herself, her family, and her dreams.”

Sweet and Sour by Debbi Michiko Florence

“A heartfelt middle-grade novel about ex-best friends, betrayals, and revenge that is best served sour.
Revenge is sweet!

For as long as she can remember, Mai has spent every summer in Mystic, Connecticut visiting family friends. And hanging out with her best-friend-since-birth, Zach Koyama, was always the best part.

Then two summers ago everything changed. Zach humiliated Mai, proving he wasn’t a friend at all. So when Zach’s family moved to Japan, Mai felt relieved. No more summers together. No more heartache.

But this year, the Koyamas have returned and the family vacation is back on. And if Mai has to spend the summer around Zach, the least she can do is wipe away the memory of his betrayal… by coming up with the perfect plan for revenge!

Only Zach isn’t the boy he used to be, and Mai’s memories of their last fateful summer aren’t the whole truth of what happened between them. Now she’ll have to decide if she can forgive Zach, even if she can never forget.”

The Mythics #1: Marina and the Kraken by Lauren Magaziner, Illustrated by Mirelle Ortega

From Case Closed author Lauren Magaziner and artist Mirelle Ortega comes the first book in a new highly illustrated middle grade fantasy series. Full of action, adventure, and friendship, a team of five girls must stop a powerful villain by finding their mythical familiars.

It’s Pairing Day in Terrafamiliar! Marina has been waiting for this moment—anxiously—for as long as she can remember. Because today’s the day she gets to bond with her animal familiar for life, like every other ten-year-old in the land.

Except after the ceremony ends, Marina doesn’t have one. And she’s not alone . . . four other girls also didn’t get their animal companions. The leaders of Terrafamiliar realize something special is happening: Marina and the other four girls—Kit, Ember, Pippa, and Hailey—are called Mythics

In times of unrest, the Mythics must earn their Mythies—mythical beasts—in quests of courage. But danger lurks everywhere as there are others seeking this mysterious power. And only the Mythics can save Terrafamiliar! “

Key Player by Kelly Yang

“Mia Tang is going for the goal in the fourth Front Desk novel by New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang!

The Women’s World Cup coming to Southern California, everyone is soccer-crazy — especially Mia Tang! The U.S. is playing China in the finals, and Mia feels like her two identities are finally coming together. Less exciting, though? The fact that her P.E. teacher wants Mia to get out of the soccer field, too — or fall short of the grade she needs to earn a spot at journalism camp. But as always, Mia Tang is ready with a plan: she’ll track down the two women’s teams, interview them, and write an A-grade article for P.E. instead!

It’s not so easy, though, finding professional athletes in Pasadena — or bringing two identities together, even during a game. As Mia aims for her goals, she’ll have to face prejudice, discrimination, and her own fears. But if anyone can find a way to win, it’s Mia Tang!”

Hispanic Star: Celia Cruz by Claudia Romo Edelman and William Alexander, Illustrated by Alexandra Beguez

Read about “La Reina de la Salsa” in Hispanic Star: Celia Cruz, and learn the most groundbreaking, iconic Hispanic and Latinx heroes that have shaped our culture and the world in this gripping biography series for young readers, perfect for fans of the Who Was series.

If you can see it, you can be it.

Meet the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz―once just a girl from Havana, Cuba, who loved to sing. Her soulful voice, compelling charm, and unstoppable determination led to her meteoric rise to fame, opening the door for Latinx performers everywhere. Her booming career took her from the Sonora Matancera to the Fania All-Stars, with the rising popularity of salsa, a genre born of Afro-Cuban musical stylings. Six decades and more than seventy albums later, Celia’s influence still has an undeniable hold on today’s music.”

Hispanic Star: Roberto Clemente by Claudia Romo Edelman and Sara E. Echenique, Illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez

Read about Puerto Rican Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente in Hispanic Star: Roberto Clemente, and learn the most groundbreaking, iconic Hispanic and Latinx heroes that have shaped our culture and the world in this gripping biography series for young readers, perfect for fans of the Who Was series.

If you can see it, you can be it.


Meet Puerto Rican Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, once just a kid from Carolina, Puerto Rico, who loved to play baseball on the streets of his hometown with friends and family. As a right fielder, Roberto played eighteen seasons with Major League Baseball, but his life was tragically cut short when a plane he chartered to bring earthquake relief supplies to Nicaragua crashed. The first Latin American player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Clemente paved the way for generations of Latinx athletes.”

Severn Speaks Out by Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Illustrated by Ana Suárez, Translated by Susan Ouriou

Before Greta Thunberg there was Severn Cullis-Suzuki, whose 1992 Earth Summit speech made her known as “the girl who silenced the world for five minutes.”

Severn Cullis-Suzuki was only twelve years old when she addressed the whole world and asked: What are you doing to the Earth, our home? How far can human greed go? Young Severn looked at the world leaders in attendance and said, “I’m only a child, and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realize, neither do you!” She entreated those world leaders to make their actions reflect their words and to protect the Earth for generations to come.

Severn’s speech is even more urgent today than it was thirty years ago. Beautiful illustrations accompany her words in this first book in the Speak Out series, followed by an analysis written by Alex Nogués that gives readers more detail about Severn’s life and the context of her speech, while highlighting the most powerful and persuasive points of her address.”

They Call Her Fregona: A Border Kid’s Poems by David Bowles

A companion to the Pura Belpré Honor book They Call Me Güero

“You can be my boyfriend.” It only takes five words to change Güero’s life at the end of seventh grade. The summer becomes extra busy as he learns to balance new band practice with his old crew, Los Bobbys, and being Joanna Padilla’s boyfriend. They call her “fregona” because she’s tough, always sticking up for her family and keeping the school bully in check. But Güero sees her softness. Together they cook dollar-store spaghetti and hold hands in the orange grove, learning more about themselves and each other than they could have imagined. But when they start eighth grade, Joanna faces a tragedy that requires Güero to reconsider what it means to show up for someone you love.”

We Were the Fire: Birmingham 1963 by Shelia P. Moses

“Rufus Jackson Jones is from Birmingham, the place Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the most segregated place in the country. A place that in 1963 is full of civil rights activists including Dr. King. The adults are trying to get more attention to their cause–to show that separate is not equal. Rufus’s dad works at the local steel factory, and his mom is a cook at the mill. If they participate in marches, their bosses will fire them. So that’s where the kids decide they will come in. Nobody can fire them. So on a bright May morning in 1963, Rufus and his buddies join thousands of other students to peacefully protest in a local park. There they are met with policemen and firemen who turn their powerful hoses on them, and that’s where Rufus realizes that they are the fire. And they will not be put out. Shelia Moses gives readers a deeply personal account of one boy’s heroism during what came to be known as the Children’s Crusade in this important novel that highlights a key turning point in the civil rights movement.”

The Bluest Sky by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

A boy and his family must decide whether to remain in Cuba under a repressive government or risk everything for the chance of a new beginning in this gripping story from the award-winning author of The Red Umbrella.

There are two versions of Héctor: the public and the private. It’s the only way to survive in communist Cuba—especially when your father was exiled to the U.S. and labeled an enemy of the people. Héctor must always be seen as a fierce supporter of the regime, even if that means loudly rejecting the father he still loves.

But in the summer of 1980, those two versions are hard to keep separate. No longer able to suppress a public uprising, the Cuban government says it will open the port of Mariel to all who wish to leave the country—if they can find a boat. But choosing to leave comes with a price. Those who want to flee are denounced as traitors by family and friends. There are violent acts of repudiation, and no one knows if they will truly be allowed to leave the country or not.”

DK Life Stories Barack Obama: Amazing People Who Have Shaped Our World by Stephen Krensky

Discover the incredible life story of Barack Obama, who became the first African American president of the USA.

This popular biography series from DK goes beyond the basic facts, to share with children the true life stories of history’s most interesting and inspiring people. Young readers can enjoy learning all about Barack Obama, famous for his meteoric rise to the presidency of the most powerful country in the world – the USA. 

Follow the story of how Obama realized his dreams – a story of success, resilience, and perseverance, to become one of the most admired leaders the world has ever seen. Discover Barack’s fight against racial and social injustices, hardships and setbacks in his early career, and his personal happiness when marrying Michelle. “

Graphic Novels

The Tryout: A Graphic Novel by Christina Soontornvat and Joanna Cacao

When cheerleading tryouts are announced, Christina and her best friend, Megan, literally jump at the chance to join the squad. As two of the only kids of color in the school, they have always yearned to fit in―and the middle school cheerleaders are popular and accepted by everyone. But will the girls survive the terrifying tryouts, with their whole grade watching? And will their friendship withstand the pressures of competition?

Hilarious and highly relatable, The Tryout by two-time Newbery Honoree Christina Soontornvat and shining new talent Joanna Cacao will make you laugh, cry, and cheer!

Witches of Brooklyn: S’More Magic by Sophie Escabasse

You can take a witch out of Brooklyn . . . and put her in the woods? As if learning magic wasn’t hard enough, now Effie has to go to SUMMER CAMP! The hit middle-grade graphic novel series continues with this new adventure that’s filled to the brim with magic and mayhem!

School’s out, and Effie is ready for SUMMER! Too bad she’s being sent off to the wilderness for boring old summer camp. Nothing says “exciting new adventure” like being stuck in nature with mosquitoes. Sure, other witches might be there. And maybe she’ll learn some cool new magic.

But Effie would rather spend time with the friends she already has. She’s always relied on them for help. . . . What will happen when she heads off to camp all by herself?”

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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