New Release Round-Up: September 20, 2022

It’s time to talk about new releases again, and we’ve got plenty this week, so let’s 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

Hello, Beautiful You! (A Bright Brown Baby Board Book) by Andrea Pinkney, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Get ready for sweet togetherness as you snuggle up with your little one and show them how truly extraordinary and beautiful they are. With bouncing, rhythmic text from New York Times bestselling author Andrea Davis Pinkney and tender, charming illustrations from Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Brian Pinkney, this joyful celebration is the perfect way to rejoice and teach your child that they too, can spread their light!

The Silly Sounds of Christmas: Lift-the-Flap Riddles Inside! by Mike Petrik

Celebrate Christmas with a funny lift-the-flap board book full of silly sounds, riddles, and rhymes!

In this delightful funny twist on Christmas, silly sound words (such as Jingle, jingle, smash!) appear in bold, graphic lettering on the left page. Then on the right, lift the flap to answer the question, “What’s making that sound?”

Imagine the silly sounds of a bumble bee in the Christmas tree! Or Santa getting stuck in the fireplace!

You Are Getting Sleepy by Lori Alexander, Illustrated by Monika Mikai

Lull your little one to sleep with this adorable bedtime board book, about a wide-awake baby who does not want to go to sleep!

A calming bedtime tune for all those wide-awake babies, this board book is about to become a favorite step of your sleepytime routine. Take your little one through the motions of bedtime, from bathtime to jammies and kisses galore. Featuring gentle text from author Lori Alexander, and joyful, colorful, tender illustrations from illustrator Monica Mikai, this board book is just-right for bedtime, everytime!

Picture Books

Bubbie & Rivka’s Best-Ever Challah (So Far!) by Sarah Lynne Reul

Practice makes progress in this multigenerational story about family traditions and the pursuit of the perfect challah

Bubbie and Rivka are not the best bakers . . . yet. But they are starting a new tradition. Every Friday they will bake a challah together!

Week after week, Bubbie and Rivka pull a challah out of the oven that’s not quite right. Once, it’s a little lumpy. Another time, it’s totally burnt!  But no matter what has gone wrong, each challah is the best one they’ve ever made (. . . so far!)

As Bubbie and Rivka put their heads together to solve each week’s baking disaster, they learn something new about how to approach their next challah, fine-tuning their skills and ensuring next week’s bread will be even tastier. They learn that practice makes progress and persistence makes for some very special together time . . . and some very yummy challah!

Dazzlin’ Dolly: The Songwriting, Hit-Singing, Guitar-Picking Dolly Parton by Suzanne Slade, Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

This inspirational and dazzlin’ story of Dolly Parton—noted singer, songwriter, and humanitarian—follows her rise to fame, from her beginnings in East Tennessee to performing to thousands at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Dolly is a little girl with a BIG voice. Music fills Dolly’s heart so plumb full she has to let it out! She’ll even sing to her cornhusk dolls or a pen full of pigs. She makes her own drum from a pot and her own guitar from a broken mandolin. But what Dolly dreams of is performing for a real audience—people who would hear her sing, and applaud!

And when she gets her big break at age ten, the soul-singin’ and big-dreamin’ Dolly discovers she’s scared to sing on stage in front of all those people. Will she summon up all of her courage and make it to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville? Young readers will learn about Dolly’s early history, her endless creativity, and her plucky perseverance in this entertaining picture book that’s perfect for fans of all ages.

Harvest Days (World of Celebrations) by Kate DePalma, Illustrated by Martina Peluso

Explore harvest festivals from around the globe! Lyrical, rhyming text and lush, detailed artwork from Italian artist Martina Peluso immerse young readers in some of the most ancient traditions in the world. Nine pages of rich, educational endnotes dive deep with more information about the 12 cultures explored in the book and invite young readers to ask questions about food and the labor that produces it.

Hana’s Hundred of Hijabs by Razeena Omar Gutta, Illustrated by Manal Mirza

Hana has a humongous collection of hijabs and accessories – and her hijab is always styled superbly. But when her overflowing collection gets a little out of hand, Hana knows something needs to be done . . . and comes up with a clever plan for sharing her talents and possessions with her community! Young makers will chuckle along with this humorous tale of creative problem-solving and learning to help others.

Making Happy by Sheetal Sheth, Illustrated by Khoa Le

When Leila’s mother gets sick, lots of things change for her family. But one important thing stays the same: they still have each other, and they know how to find joy and laughter when they need it most! The poetic, uplifting story and hopeful ending are based on the author’s own experience battling cancer as the parent of young children.

Count On Us! by Gabi Snyder, Illustrated by Sarah Walsh

Learn how a movement builds from one person to a billion in this A to Z environmental activism book. Readers count from 1 to 10 – and then in larger increments to a billion – as they learn new terms from “conservation” to “activism.” Inset boxes provide easy-to-understand definitions of additional new vocabulary words.

Like by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Leo Espinosa

From bestselling author Annie Barrows and Pura Belpré Honor award recipient Leo Espinosa, this funny yet thought-provoking picture book offers a sequence of outlandishly fun compare-and-contrasts that show how humans are much more like each other than we are different.

Maya’s Song by Renée Watson, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

This unforgettable picture book introduces young readers to the life and work of Maya Angelou, whose words have uplifted and inspired generations of readers. The author of the celebrated autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya was the first Black person and first woman to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration, and her influence echoes through culture and history. She was also the first Black woman to appear on the United States quarter.

Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Renée Watson uses Angelou’s beloved medium of poetry to lyrically chronicle her rich life in a deeply moving narrative. Vivid and striking collage art by Caldecott Honor recipient and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Bryan Collier completes this unforgettable portrait of one of the most important American artists in history.

Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head by Jeanne Walker Harvey, Illustrated by Diana Toledano


Discover the true story of how a shy miner’s daughter became one of the most legendary costume designers in Hollywood in this inspiring nonfiction picture book biography.

As a child in the small mining town of Searchlight, Nevada, Edith Head had few friends and spent most of her time dressing up her toys and pets and even wild animals using fabric scraps. She always knew she wanted to move somewhere full of people and excitement. She set her sights on Hollywood and talked her way into a job sketching costumes for a movie studio.

Did she know how to draw or sew costumes? No. But that didn’t stop her!

Tacko Fall: To New Heights by Tacko Fall and Justin Hayes, Illustrated by Reggie Brown

Tacko Fall was always tall, even as a child, but he wasn’t always a slam-dunk star. On his first official day of training as a boy in Senegal, running up and down the basketball court was exhausting. The first time he tried weight-lifting, he could barely lift the bar, even with no weights on it! The game had many rules that he didn’t understand, but Tacko set aside frustration and found the courage to keep working. The more he practiced, the more his skills grew, and the more reachable his goals became. Touching on immigration, determination, hard work, and the long road to success, this picture-book biography of one rising basketball star will delight his many fans and introduce him to new ones. Coauthored with his sports agent and paired with engaging illustrations, Tacko Fall’s relatable story will motivate readers to overcome obstacles and aim high—and higher still.

My Diwali Light by Raakhee Mirchandani

A charming holiday story following one girl’s family as they celebrate their Diwali traditions with the ones they love.

Devi loves the Diwali season. It’s a time to wear her favorite red bindi and eat samosas until she bursts! Makemithai and design rangoli with her Papa. And paint diyas with her nani—a reminder to shine her light brightly all year long.

This joyful story, with vibrant collage illustrations, follows one girl’s Diwali traditions as her family celebrates their favorite holiday with the ones they love.

Mama in Congress: Rashida Tlaib’s Journey to Washington by Rashida Tlaib, Adam Tlaib, and Miranda Paul, Illustrated by Olivia Aserr

When Yousif Tlaib asks about his mom’s new job in Congress, his older brother, Adam, fills him in—with some help from Rashida Tlaib herself. As he tells his mom’s story, Adam reveals information about how elections and our government work, what it means to break barriers, what motivates their mama to work for justice for all, and how love and family have guided them through this historic time in our country.

From growing up in Detroit—the eldest of fourteen siblings and the first in her immigrant family to graduate from high school—through her journey into community activism and then local politics, to eventually becoming one of the first Muslim Congresswomen and an influential national figure, Rashida Tlaib’s inspiring story shows kids that they, too, can do great things and make a difference.

Jo Bright and the Seven Bots by Deborah Underwood, Illustrated by Meg Hunt

A bot-building princess engineers her own happy ending in this futuristic fairytale, a follow-up to the acclaimed Interstellar Cinderella.

Snow White gets a stellar upgrade in this clever retelling with a truly inventive heroine. With wit, bravery, and some spare circuit boards, Jo will foil the queen, befriend a dragon, and build herself a celestially happy ending of her own. From the team that created the acclaimed Interstellar Cinderella and Reading Beauty comes another funny and empowering fairytale that’s out of this world.

Bessie the Motorcycle Queen by Charles R. Smith Jr., Illustrated by Charlot Kristensen

In 1929, 18-year-old Bessie Stringfield hopped on her motorcycle and headed out on an adventure, an unusual choice for a young Black woman at the time. Paying her way by winning motorcycle races, she criss-crossed the country through small towns, big cities, and wide open spaces.

But not everyone was happy to see Bessie’s brown face peeking out from underneath her helmet. And more than once, Bessie found herself making some quick exits on the back of her bike to escape Jim Crow. A trailblazer in the world of women’s racing and motorcycling, Bessie Stringfield was a figure who will inspire all children to pursue their dreams.

Obioma Plays Football by Chika Unigwe, Illustrated by Chinyere Okoroafor

9 year-old Obioma is a football star. She uses a special stick to score goals and never loses a race in her wheelchair! But when she moves to a new city, she has to go to a new school where she has no friends, and everyone calls her “the girl with the wheelchair”. Obioma misses playing football most of all, until one day a girl named Ayana asks her to race. Once they start playing football, everyone joins in and Obioma finds a new team to play with!

Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated Frank Morrison

This inspirational book encapsulates African American history and invites conversations at all levels. Carole Boston Weatherford’s riveting text and Frank Morrison’s evocative and detailed paintings are informative reminders of yesterday, hopeful images for today, and aspirational dreams of tomorrow.

Starting from 1619 and stretching more than four hundred years, this book features such pivotal moments in history as the arrival of enslaved people in Jamestown, Virginia; Nat Turner’s rebellion; the integration of the US military; the Selma to Montgomery marches; and peaceful present-day protests. It also celebrates the feats of African American musicians and athletes, such as Duke Ellington and Florence Griffith Joyner.

At the end of the book, readers will find descriptions of the people, places, and events that are featured, along with a note from Carole Boston Weatherford.

Where in the World Are You? by Marie G. Rohde

A colorful, joyful, and playful exploration of our world, and our place within it.

Where are you in the world? Can you imagine what your home would look like if you saw it from above and zoomed out further, and further, and further…? Join the mischievous pet cat on a journey of discovery that encourages young readers to think about their place in the world. Inspired by the feeling of being trapped inside and imagining the world beyond during the worldwide lockdowns, this enjoyable picture book reminds us that even when we are apart, we are all connected. The world keeps turning, a cat keeps purring, and children will find their happy place in the world.

Middle Grade

Black Bird, Blue Road by Sofiya Pasternack

In this historical fantasy novel from Sydney Taylor Honor winner and National Jewish Book Award finalist Sofiya Pasternack, Ziva will do anything to save her twin brother Pesah from his illness—even facing the Angel of Death himself.

Pesah has lived with leprosy for years, and the twins have spent most of that time working on a cure. Then Pesah has a vision: The Angel of Death will come for him on Rosh Hashanah, just one month away.

So Ziva takes her brother and runs away to find doctors who can cure him. But when they meet and accidentally free a half-demon boy, he suggests paying his debt by leading them to the fabled city of Luz, where no one ever dies—the one place Pesah will be safe.

They just need to run faster than The Angel of Death can fly…

You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro

Middle school is the worst, especially for David Bravo. He doesn’t have a single class with his best (okay, only) friend, Antoine. He has to give a class presentation about his heritage, but he’s not sure how—or even if—he wants to explain to his new classmates that he’s adopted. After he injures Antoine in an accident at cross-country practice, he just wishes he could do it all over.

He doesn’t expect his wish to summon a talking, shapeshifting, annoying dog, Fea, who claims that a choice in David’s past actually did put him on the wrong timeline… and she can take him back to fix it.

But when their first try (and the second, and the third) is a total disaster, David and Fea are left scrambling through timeline after timeline—on a quest that may lead them to answers in the most unexpected places.

Anisa’s International Day by Reem Faruqi

From the award-winning author of Unsettled, meet Anisa, the adorable Pakistani American heroine of this irresistible younger middle grade novel about a girl who introduces her class to the art of mehndi for International Day. Filled with fun black-and-white interior art, recipes, and activities in the back matter and perfect for fans of Meet Yasmin!

Anisa is super-excited about International Day and can’t wait to share her mother’s samosas with her class. But when someone else has the exact same idea, Anisa is crushed.

Going to her aunt’s dholki party gives her an idea for the perfect activity instead—mehndi! There’s only one problem: Anisa’s best friend doesn’t seem to like the idea. She doesn’t even seem to like Anisa anymore.

Will Anisa ever get to enjoy International Day? 

The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron

In the world of the Vanquishers, vampires were history . . . until now.

Malika “Boog” Wilson and her best friends have grown up idolizing The Vanquishers, a group of heroic vampire hunters who wiped out the last horde of the undead decades ago. Nowadays, most people don’t take even the most basic vampire precautions–the days of garlic wreaths and early curfews long gone–but Boog’s parents still follow the old rules, much to her embarrassment.

When a friend goes missing, Boog isn’t sure what to think. Could it be the school counselor, Mr. Rupert, who definitely seems to be hiding something? Or could it be something more dangerous? Boog is determined to save her friend, but is she ready to admit vampires might not be vanquished after all?

No one ever expected the Vanquishers to return, but if their town needs protection from the undead, Boog knows who to call.

Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter by Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long

An enthralling, eye-opening portrayal of this barrier-breaking American hero as a lifelong, relentlessly proud fighter for Black justice and civil rights.

According to Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Robinson was “a sit-inner before the sit-ins, a freedom rider before the Freedom Rides.” According to Hank Aaron, Robinson was a leader of the Black Power movement before there was a Black Power movement. According to his wife, Rachel Robinson, he was always Jack, not Jackie―the diminutive form of his name bestowed on him in college by white sports writers. And throughout his whole life, Jack Robinson was a fighter for justice, an advocate for equality, and an inspiration beyond just baseball.

The Replay: 25 Greatest Moments in Sports by Adam Skinner, Illustrated by Mai Ly Degnan

Relive iconic moments from Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson, Simone Biles, Team USA Hockey, and more through illustrated replays of 25 of the greatest moments in sports

This richly illustrated book highlights the achievements and stories of notable athletes—male, female, able-bodied and Paralympians—from the 1800s to today, including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than 20 sports, making it a treasure trove for all the family to share. So sit back and enjoy sport’s greatest moments as a read-aloud story from the comfort of your armchair.

Graphic Novels

Other Ever Afters: New Queer Fairy Tales by Melanie Gillman

Once upon a time . . . happily ever after turned out differently than expected. In this new, feminist, queer fairy-tale collection, you’ll find the princesses, mermaids, knights, barmaids, children, and wise old women who have been forced to sit on the sidelines in classic stories taking center stage. A gorgeous all-new collection in graphic novel format from a Stonewall Honor-winning author and artist.

What if the giant who abducted you was actually thoughtful and kind? What if you didn’t want to marry your handsome, popular, but cold-inside suitor? What if your one true love has all the responsibilities that come with running a kingdom?

Award-winning author Melanie Gillman’s phenomenal colored-pencil art creates another “ever after” for the characters who are most worthy of it.

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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