New Release Round-Up: September 27, 2022

It’s Tuesday, and we’ve got a TON of new releases to talk about, 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

Dream with the/Sueña con las Latinitas by Juliet Menéndez

Meet the Latinitas, whose big dreams paved the way for your little feet! With gorgeous, hand-painted illustrations, Juliet Menéndez shines a spotlight on the power of childhood dreams.

¡Conoce a las Latinitas cuyos grandes sueños abrieron el camino para tus propios pasitos! Con hermosas ilustraciones, hechas a mano, Juliet Menéndez pone en relieve el poder que tienen los sueños de la infancia.

Whoever You Are: A Baby Book on Love & Gender by Josephine Wai Lin, Illustrated by Sandy Lopez

Quiet and loud, soft and strong. You being you, there’s no way to be wrong…

Every day, parents come home from the hospital with a brand-new human being. What if we made vows to our babies to love them no matter what? What if the world didn’t rush in to judge our little ones and instead made them feel truly seen and supported.

With bright, vibrant illustrations and exuberant rhythm and rhyme, Whoever You Are is the ultimate vow every baby will love to grow up hearing.

Sumo Colors by Sanae Ishida

Perfect for early learning, this fun board book in the Little Sumo series, from the creator of the Little Kunoichi series, features adorable sumo wrestlers that introduce children to colors and shares elements of Japanese culture that will enrich readers of all ages.

Take a peek into the lives of sumo wrestlers in this adorable book about colors! Simple, charming scenes with sumo wrestlers help young readers learn different colors, such as red, orange, blue, and black.  The Japanese word that corresponds to the English word for each color is included.

Sumo Shapes by Sanae Ishida

Perfect for early learning, this fun board book in the Little Sumo series, from the creator of the Little Kunoichi series, features sumo wrestlers that introduce children to different shapes, and shares elements of Japanese culture that will enrich readers of all ages.

Take a peek into the lives of sumo wrestlers in this adorable book about shapes! Simple, charming scenes with sumo wrestlers help young readers learn different shapes, such as square, circle, pentagon, and crescent.  The Japanese word that corresponds to the English word for each shape is included.

Picture Books

Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Illustrated by Julie Flett

From Cree-Métis artist Julie Flett and Academy Award-winning icon Buffy Sainte-Marie comes a celebration of Indigenous community, and the enduring love we hold for the people and places we are far away from. 

Based on Sainte-Marie’s song of the same name, Still This Love Goes On combines Flett’s breathtaking art with vivid lyrics to craft a stunning portrait of a Cree worldview. At the heart of this picture book is a gentle message about missing our loved ones, and the promise of seeing each other again. 

Latkes and Applesauce: A Hanukkah Story by Fran Manushkin, Illustrated by Kris Easler

A cat and dog create a Hanukkah miracle, just in the nick of time in this updated reissue of the beloved holiday classic.

The Menashes love latkes and applesauce during Hanukkah. But a blizzard begins and erases any hope that they’ll harvest potatoes and apples in time. When a stray cat and dog show up, there’s not a lot of food to offer them, but kindness prevails, and they’re invited in. It turns out that the dog—Latke—and the cat—Applesauce—save the day.

What Are Words, Really? by Alexi Lubomirski, Illustrated by Carlos Aponte

A renowned photographer and a Pura Belpré Honor–winning illustrator join forces for a playful and stylish picture book that’s destined to make the world a better place, one word at a time.

Perfectly pitched to the youngest child, Alexi Lubomirski’s whimsical text is a gentle reminder that words have power—the power to hurt or to heal, to make someone feel small or feel tall. Carlos Aponte’s buoyant illustrations, in dazzling primary colors and bold black line, pair with a dynamic text design to create a visual symphony. An eye-catching appeal to our better natures, this inspired meditation on the purpose and power of words encourages children to choose them well—and use them wisely—to spread kindness, joy, and love.

Our Day of the Dead Celebration by Ana Aranda

A family honors their living and dead relatives as they celebrate this holiday with shared food and stories.

The Day of the Dead is a happy day when Mar’s family gathers together. There are favorite dishes to enjoy, games to be played, and most importantly, stories to tell. No one in the family is forgotten because this is the day of the year when the dead come to visit the living—and for this holiday it is almost as if they’re alive again, as the family takes great joy in celebrating the things that made them special. Mar realizes she is just like her Grandpa Ramón, who kept a journal. And her sister, Paz, plays accordian, just like their great-grandfather. There are so many things that connect them all—and at dinner, Abuelita spins even more stories that make them feel close to the ones they will love forever. Ana Aranda’s tender text and vibrant art make the joy felt on this sweet day totally palpable.

A Library by Nikki Giovanni, Illustrated by Erin K. Robinson

In this lyrical picture book, world-renowned poet, New York Times bestselling author, and Coretta Scott King Honor winner Nikki Giovanni and fine artist Erin Robinson craft an ode to the magic of a library as a place not only for knowledge but also for imagination, exploration, and escape.

In what other place can a child “sail their dreams” and “surf the rainbow” without ever leaving the room? This ode to libraries is a celebration for everyone who loves stories, from seasoned readers to those just learning to love words, and it will have kids and parents alike imagining where their library can take them.

This inspiring read-aloud includes stunning illustrations and a note from Nikki Giovanni about the importance of libraries in her own childhood.

Dear Black Child by Rahma Rodaah, Illustrated by Lydia Mba

In the spirit of I Am Enough, this is a moving and lyrical tribute to and affirmation of Black children around the world—by an exciting new author and illustrator team.

Dear Black Child,

We are here to remind you of your glory…

An inspiring love letter to Black children from all cultures, this book is a celebration of their beauty, joy, and resilience.

Dear Black Child is a story of self-acceptance, love, and empowerment for Black immigrant children and families of the diaspora around the world and features joyful and vibrant illustrations.

I Am Me: A Book of Authenticity by Susan Verde, Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Sometimes we hide who we really are to conform to the way we think we are supposed to be in the world. Sometimes we compare ourselves to others and feel we don’t fit in. But when we realize we are something to be celebrated, and we proudly live out loud as our true selves, we can make our unique mark on the world—and share our joy!

From the New York Times bestselling team behind the I Am series comes a bighearted celebration of individuality, of being comfortable in our own skin, respecting others for who they are, living authentically, and loving ourselves. For anyone who’s ever felt like too much or not enough, I Am Me is an affirming reminder that difference is what makes life beautiful—and that each of us matters, just as we are.

The Adventures of Qai Qai by Serena Williams, Illustrated by Yesenia Moises

From superstar athlete, record breaker, entrepreneur, philanthropist (and mama) Serena Williams, comes a magical picture book in which a little girl learns to believe in herself with the help of her doll and best friend, Qai Qai.

Baby Girl has a dance recital coming up, and she can’t help but worry. She’s practiced and practiced, but what if something goes wrong? What if she forgets the steps or freezes up during her solo?

Luckily, her best friend Qai Qai the doll has her back! When Qai Qai comes to life, they go on a magical journey that shows Baby Girl that she’s ready for the stage.

The Adventures of Qai Qai, a heartwarming picture book from beloved athlete Serena Williams, shows readers the power of believing―in your best friend and in yourself.

The Moon from Dehradun: A Story of Partition by Shirin Shamsi, Illustrated by Aishwarya Tandon

Priya loves being with family and friends to watch fireworks and celebrate Diwali. But this year Priya and her parents are living in the United States, and no one seems to know about the holiday. Priya misses the traditions in India. But as she strings lights outside and creates rangoli art, Priya introduces the festival of lights to her neighbors. And even though the celebration is different this year, it’s still Diwali.

A heartwarming story of celebrating in a new place and sharing the Hindu festival of lights with those unfamiliar with the holiday.

Giving Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday by Denise Kiernan, Illustrated by Jamey Christoph

The beautifully illustrated true story of how Thanksgiving became a national holiday in America, of Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who made the holiday happen, and of the role of gratitude the world over. Marvelously brought to life by the New York Times bestselling author Denise Kiernan.

All across the world, among hundreds of cultures and across centuries, people have come together to give thanks. But Americans didn’t have an official Thanksgiving holiday until the 1800s. The holiday Americans know today exists because of a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale, a spirited letter-writing campaign, a sympathetic president, and a civil war.  

This beautifully illustrated picture book shares the true story of how Thanksgiving became a national American holiday and offers a look at the timeless and global power of gratitude.

Viva’s Voice by Raquel Donoso, Illustrated by Carlos Vélez Auiglera

Five-year-old Viva learns there is a need for girls with powerful voices everywhere when she helps Papi raise his voice on the picket line.

Viva’s Papi is a bus driver and Viva loves going to work with him. The sounds of the traffic and the voices of the passengers are music to Viva’s ears. When she finds out that Papi’s union is going on strike, she convinces Papi to take her along to the picket line. When quiet Papi is too nervous to give his speech, Viva uses her powerful voice to give him the confidence to find his own. A first introduction to labor unions, strikes, picket lines, and workers’ rights, this powerful picture book is both educational and endearing.

Shine Bright by Kheris Rogers, Illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe

Bursting with inspiration and affirmation, Kheris Rogers’ debut picture book encourages children everywhere to love the skin they are in.

When her confidence is shaken by peers who say they are scared of her because she’s “too dark,” Imani turns to her sister for a loving reminder that she’s smarthopebravebeautifulstrong, and just enough. After embracing what makes her truly special, Imani learns to be fearless!

Inspired by the real-life experiences of Kheris Rogers, the young CEO and designer of the Flexin’ in My Complexion clothing line, this ode to dark-skinned girls will empower many.

A perfect tool to teach children about appreciating both outer & inner beauty, embracing differences, being kind to oneself & others, and the power of reciting affirmations.

On Her Wings: The Story of Toni Morrison by Jerdine Nolen, Illustrated by James E. Ransome

Discover the early life and legacy of groundbreaking American writer Toni Morrison in this beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book biography.

Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford in Ohio, Toni Morrison grew up listening to her family tell myths, legends, and stories from the Bible. She loved hearing the music and power of the words. Toni also heard new stories from the students from other countries who went to her school. After an early childhood of soaking up tales from those around her, it was no surprise Toni grew into a voracious reader.

She worked at her town library as a teenager and was an editor for a New York publisher as an adult. When it came time for her to write her own stories, she knew she wanted to write about her people—Black people. Early in the morning and late at night after her children were asleep, Toni began work on what would become an acclaimed and trailblazing body of work.

Shu Lin’s Grandpa by Matt Goodfellow, Illustrated by Yu Rong

Art and family transcend differences in language and culture in this sensitively told, exquisitely illustrated story of a child starting a new school.

When Shu Lin starts at her new school, she wears yellow rain boots and a pink coat. At recess, she stands alone in the playground. At lunchtime, she eats by herself from little boxes of brightly colored food. Her classmates aren’t sure what to make of her. But one day, when Shu Lin’s grandpa comes to school to share his amazing artwork, everything changes. With a stunning double-gatefold spread revealing a beautiful Chinese painting, this uplifting story shows the transformative power of art and imagination in developing cultural understanding and empathy.

A Life of Service: The Story of Senator Tammy Duckworth by Christina Soontornvat, Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

Thai American creators portray the inspirational and barrier-breaking life of Senator Tammy Duckworth in a picture-book tribute to an extraordinary woman.

Senator Tammy Duckworth has logged a long list of “firsts” during her tenure as the first Thai American woman elected to Congress, including being the first woman with a disability to serve in the House and Senate. But while she dreamed of serving her country from a young age, Tammy’s path was not without its challenges. In this dramatic account, award-winning creators Christina Soontornvat and Dow Phumiruk chronicle Tammy’s journey. From her childhood fight to keep her family from homelessness, to her service in the US Army, to her recovery from grievous injuries sustained in the line of duty, Tammy never lost her determination to keep going against staggering odds.
Evoking Tammy Duckworth’s spirited nature with sensitivity and joy, this uplifting account of a groundbreaking military veteran and rising political star will inspire readers to dream and achieve. Includes a time line and suggestions for further reading.

Patti at the Music Shop by Vitezslav Mecner

Vibrant colors of tones and rhythms. A career starter for all musicians dreaming to become Carol Kaye. This picture book tells the charming story of little Patti, who dreams of being a bass guitarist.

Some children like to visit toy shops, others prefer candy shops, and there are some who like going to parks. But a little girl named Patti loves to visit music shops. One very special day, her dad took her to the greatest music shop in town . . .

Brave Mrs. Sato by Lori Matsukawa, Illustrated by Tammy Yee

In a little Hawaiian house with a mango tree, Cathy and her babysitter Mrs. Sato spend their afternoons arranging flowers, cooking, and having adventures. When Cathy has to move away, Mrs. Sato comforts her by sharing her own story of immigrating from Japan to Hawaii. Lori Matsukawa’s debut children’s book tells a heartwarming story of intergenerational friendship, immigration, and bravery. She shows readers how heritage, food, traditions, and stories can help them feel at home wherever they are.

Library Girl: How Nancy Pearl Became America’s Most Celebrated Librarian by Karen Henry Clark, Illustrated by Sheryl Murray

Library Girl is the inspiring childhood story of how beloved librarian, author, and Seattle icon, Nancy Pearl discovered her strengths and realized her passion.  It is a loving tribute to the power books and librarians have to transform children’s lives.

Nancy Pearl loved books and spent so much time in her school library that her grade school classmates teased her, calling her “library girl.”  When she discovers her neighborhood public library is open on Saturday, she begins the adventure of her lifetime. There, an inspiring librarian recognizes her abilities, recommends books that ignite her vivid imagination, and provides experiences to bolster her burgeoning self-confidence.  As she loses herself in the books she finds herself in their pages and comes to recognize her strengths. Her self-discovery brings a realization at a young age that she wants to become a librarian so she can help children discover their dreams. 

Chapter Books

Ways to Share Joy by Renée Watson, Illustrated by Nina Mata

Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Renée Watson continues her charming young middle grade series starring Ryan Hart, a girl who is pure spirit and sunshine.

Ryan Hart is caught in the middle. She has an older brother and a new baby sister, and she’s in a friendship tug-of-war with two friends who both want to be her best best friend. How can Ryan think about being kind to a classmate who is relentless with his teasing? Or be her signature sunny self when her brother, Ray, pulls the ultimate prank?

But even when it seems like nothing is going her way, Ryan still looks for a way to see the bright side of things, refusing to let anything steal her joy, and finding ways to share it with everyone she meets.

Middle Grade

Rain Rising by Courtne Comrie

An inspiring debut middle grade novel-in-verse about Rain, who must overcome sadness after her all-star brother is badly beaten up at a frat party. Genesis Begins Again meets Brown Girl Dreaming in this powerful story of perseverance, family, and hope.

Rain is keeping a big secret from everyone around her: She’s sad. All the time. Rain struggles with her image and feels inferior to her best friend, Nara. Not even her all-star student-athlete big brother (and personal superhero), Xander, can help Rain with her dark thoughts and low self-esteem.

And when Xander becomes the victim of violence at a predominantly white university, Rain’s life and mind take a turn for the worse. But when her favorite teacher, Miss Walia, invites her to an after-school circle group, Rain finds the courage to help herself and her family heal.

Like the rain, she is both gentle and a force, finding strength to rise again.

Cece Rios and the King of Fears by Kaela Rivera

In this thrilling sequel to the “spellbinding” (Booklist starred review) and “mesmerizing” (Publishers Weekly starred review) middle grade fantasy adventure Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls, Cece and her sister Juana must journey into the stronghold of Devil’s Alley to challenge the criatura king El Cucuy.

Cece Rios thought saving her sister would be the end of her adventures in the world of criaturas. But part of Juana’s soul is still trapped in Devil’s Alley. As Cece tries to find a way to get it back using her new curandera abilities, Juana takes her fate in her own hands and sets off alone, intent on restoring her soul and getting revenge on El Sombrerón.

But then they discover that El Cucuy, king of the criaturas, is hunting for Cece, craving her powers for his own dark purposes. Can the Rios sisters—along with Coyote, Little Lion, and their other criatura allies—uncover his secrets and reclaim Juana’s soul? Or will the sinister forces of Devil’s Alley overcome them all?

This award-winning series is perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and Amari and the Night Brothers.

Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion by K. Tempest Bradford

Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion is abackyard adventure-mystery by debut children’s author K. Tempest Bradford, perfect for fans of Clean GetawayThe Last Last Day of Summer, and Sideways School.

Eleven-year-old Ruby is a Black girl who loves studying insects and would do just about anything to be an entomologist, much to the grossed-out dismay of her Gramma. Ruby knows everything there is to know about insects so when she finds the weirdest bug she’s ever seen in her front yard, she makes sure no one is looking and captures it for further study.

But then Ruby realizes that the creature isn’t just a regular bug. And it has promptly burned a hole through her window and disappeared. Soon, random things around the neighborhood go missing, and no one’s heard from the old lady down the street for a week. Ruby and her friends will have to recover the strange bug before the feds do.

Ruby is the science hero we’ve all been waiting for!

Holler of the Fireflies by David Barclay Moore

A boy from the hood in Brooklyn travels to a STEM camp in an Appalachian holler for one epic, life-changing summer.
 
A brilliant new novel from the award-winning author of The Stars Beneath Our Feet.


Javari knew that West Virginia would be different from his home in Bushwick, Brooklyn. But his first day at STEM Camp in a little Appalachian town is still a shock. Though run-ins with the police are just the same here. Not good.
 
Javari will learn a lot about science, tech, engineering, and math at camp. And also about rich people, racism, and hidden agendas. But it’s Cricket, a local boy, budding activist, and occasional thief, who will show him a different side of the holler—and blow his mind wide open.
 
Javari is about to have that summer. Where everything gets messy and complicated and confusing . . . and you wouldn’t want it any other way.

Hidden on the High Wire by Kathy Kacer

Irene grew up traveling around Germany with her family’s circus, surrounded by her loved ones and thrilling the crowds with her performance on the high wire…until one day, the audience boos. The Lorch family is Jewish, and the increasing power of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis has put them all in grave danger.

When the circus is forced to shut down and Irene’s father is taken away, Irene and her mother must go into hiding with another circus. Every day is a frightening new kind of balancing act, caught between the desire to perform and the need to hide―even in plain sight.

Muhammad Najem, War Reporter: How One Boy Put the Spotlight on Syria by Muhammad Najem and Nora Neus, Illustrated by Julie Robine

Muhammad Najem was only eight years old when the war in Syria began. He was thirteen when his beloved Baba, his father, was killed in a bombing while praying. By fifteen, Muhammad didn’t want to hide anymore—he wanted to act. He was determined to reveal what families like his were enduring in Syria: bombings by their own government and days hiding in dark underground shelters.

Armed with the camera on his phone and the support of his family, he started reporting on the war using social media. He interviewed other kids like him to show what they hope for and dream about. More than anything, he did it to show that Syrian kids like his toddler brother and infant sister, are just like kids in any other country. Despite unimaginable loss, Muhammad was always determined to document the humanity of the Syrian people. Eventually, the world took notice.

Graphic Novels

Enemies by Svetlana Chmakova

Felicity’s sure she’s going to do something big. Exactly what is still a mystery, but she’ll figure it out. Her sister, Letty, teases Felicity that she never finishes stuff, but that’s just because Letty is so perfect. Still, life is good with plenty of friends―drawing with the art club and playing games with her buddies keep her busy. But when she decides to join a contest to show Letty that she CAN get things done, Felicity begins to wonder if friends becoming enemies is easier than she thought. Are they really enemies, though…? What does it even mean to be enemies? And…who is it that she needs the most on her side…?

Besties: Find Their Groove by Kayla Miller and Jeffrey Canino, Illustrated by Kristina Luu

A fun and fresh spin-off of the New York Times bestselling Click graphic novels. With the school dance around the corner, fashionistas Beth and Chanda are ready to dazzle!

With their first formal school dance around the corner, Beth and Chanda are on a mission to make it the best night ever. Step one? Secure the perfect dresses so they can dominate the dance floor! But when neither of them can find an outfit that lives up to their high expectations—and when they encounter unexpected pressure to find dates—these besties will need to lean on their friendship more than ever if they hope to find their groove and bust a move!

Play Like a Girl by Misty Wilson, Illustrated by David Wilson

Debut author Misty Wilson chronicles her seventh-grade experience as the only girl on her town’s football team in this empowering graphic memoir about teamwork, friendship, crushes, and touchdowns.

Mistynever shies away from a challenge, on or off the field. So when the boys tell her she can’t play football, there’s only one thing to do: join their team and show them what she’s got.

But the training is rougher than she thought—and so are the other guys, who aren’t thrilled about having a girl on their team.

Middle school isn’t so easy, either. Misty wants to fit in with the popular kids, but they think a girl playing football is “weird.” Even her best friend doesn’t get it.

Can Misty find a way to score points with her teammates, make new friends, and show everyone—including herself—what it means to play like a girl?

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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