New Release Round-Up: October 18, 2022

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time to talk about new releases again, so let’s get 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 Awesome! Box Set by Eva Chen, Illustrated by Derek Desierto

New York Times-bestselling author Eva Chen’s three feminist board books are now available in one AWESOME collection, a must-have for every little feminist’s library.

A Is for Awesome! provides an ABC of amazing women from throughout history, 3 2 1 Awesome! counts down some of their most amazing accomplishments, and Colors of Awesome! pairs groundbreaking feminist icons with all the colors of the rainbow and beyond, featuring 67 sheroes from throughout history, from Kamala Harris to Beyoncé, Megan Rapinoe to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Picture Books

If I Had A Vampire Bat by Gabby Dawnay, Illustrated by Alex Barrow

An unexpectedly charming bedtime story in which a little girl imagines what it would be like to have a vampire bat as her pet. 

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to have a vampire bat for a pet? Besides being less squishable than a spider and far more conveniently sized than a werewolf, vampire bats sleep all day and could scare your neighbors! Haunted houses are fun and all, but picture how much better they would be with a vampire bat in tow!

In this humorous, energetically rhyming tale, a little girl experiences exactly what life would be like with a wild creature for a pet. The latest in the bestselling If I Had A . . . series, If I Had a Vampire Bat celebrates the fun of having a spooky, scary, imaginary pet. 

Celebrate with Me!: Recipes, Crafts, and Holiday Fun from Around the World by Laura Gladwin, Illustrated by Dawn M. Cardona

Curated from the kitchen tables of people around the world, a joy-filled collection of recipes and crafts that celebrates festivals and special holidays throughout the year

Celebrate at the tables of artists, designers, and chefs with this book that offers families the chance to share in a world of parties, festivals, and holidays. Each spread features a different holiday and offers a step-by-step recipe, a craft activity, a personal story, and different ways to observe the holiday. With contributions from chefs such as Erin Gleeson and Joanne Chang; artists and authors including Dow Phumiruk and Queenie Chan; and designers such as Marta Veludo and Juliet Sargeant, Celebrate with Me! brings together personal stories and parties from around the world in a unique and engaging way that is sure to delight children and their families.

The Talk by Alicia D. Williams, Illustrated by Briana Mukodiri Uchendu

As a little boy grows into a bigger boy, ready to take on the world, he first must have that very difficult conversation far too familiar to so many Black and Brown Americans in this gentle and ultimately hopeful picture book.

Jay’s most favorite things are hanging out with his pals, getting kisses from Grandma, riding in his dad’s cool car, and getting measured by his mom with pencil marks on the wall. But as those height marks inch upward, Grandpa warns Jay about being in too big a group with his friends, Grandma worries others won’t see him as quite so cute now that he’s older, and Dad has to tell Jay how to act if the police ever pull them over.

The Magic of a Small Town Christmas by Megan Alexander, Illustrated by Hiroe Nakata

From Inside Edition’s national correspondent Megan Alexander comes a sweet picture book celebrating the joys, wonders, and traditions of a small-town Christmas in the spirit of her show, Small Town Christmas.

In the town of Heartbeat Falls, where skies are crystal clear, the magic of Christmas is celebrated in many different ways: from picking the perfect tree to decorating it with glittering ornaments; from ice skating to eating yummy gingerbread cookies; from hanging handmade stockings to sharing a homecooked meal. Here, the residents know the beauty of a small town doesn’t come from its size, but from the love shared by its people, shining brightly in their eyes.

Mama’s Home by Shay Youngblood, Illustrated by Lo Harris

A gorgeously illustrated picture book that is a powerful love letter to chosen families and the village that raises us. A young girls basks in the love of her community–which includes not only her mother but the many different women who make up her world.

Home can be a blue house with white trim you share with your mama. But it can be bigger than that, with lots of Big Mamas to take care of you when your mom works—different houses for every day of the week. Mondays mean Nurse Louella and bike riding. Tuesdays mean eating fufu with your fingers with Miss Zikora. And Wednesdays . . . well, no matter where you are, as long as you are with your Big Mamas, you are home.

A girl basks in the warmth of her community in this powerful love letter to chosen families and the villages that raise us, from Pushcart Prize-winning author Shay Youngblood and popular illustrator Lo Harris.

If You Were a Princess: True Stories of Brave Leaders from around the World by Hillary Homzie, Illustrated by Udayana Lugo

If you were a princess, what would you be?

Maybe you’d fight for the rights of young girls and women throughout the world. Or graduate from university and find work as a research scientist. Or you might be a musician, a songwriter, a rapper, or a poet.

Three best friends discover this and more as they learn what being a princess truly means. Through the facts and profiles of real-life princesses woven throughout, they become empowered to try and make a difference within their own communities—and discover that anyone can be a princess after all.

Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by JaNay Brown-Wood, Illustrated by Anastasia Magloire Williams

Celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling!

Tyson is the youngest-smaller than his four older brothers and always trying to keep up. But when the family’s pet gerbil, Swish, goes missing, it’s Tyson to the rescue! Tyson uses his knowledge of doubles, triples, and sizes to figure out a clever way to reach his beloved pet. A playful exploration of proportional thinking, featuring an author letter about the ubiquitous nature of math.

Beautiful You, Beautiful Me by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, Illustrated by Salini Perera

A child who looks different from her mother finds beauty and belonging in this new book from the creator of New York Times bestseller I Sang You Down from the Stars

Izzy’s favorite place to be is in Mama’s arms—skin to skin, safe and warm. One night, cuddled up on Mama’s lap, Izzy notices something she’s never noticed before: her skin is the color of chocolate, but Mama’s skin is the color of sand.

When Izzy realizes she’s different from Mama in other ways, too, she feels sad and confused. She wants to be beautiful like Mama! But Mama addresses Izzy’s disappointment with a gentle, loving refrain: You’re part of me, and I’m part of you. I’m beautiful like me, and you’re beautiful like you. Finding lessons from nature and repeating her affirming message, Mama encourages Izzy to see her own unique beauty.

Twelve Dinging Doorbells by Tameka Fryer Brown, Illustrated by Ebony Glenn

A cumulative all-holiday carol packed to the brim with family, food, love, and Black joy, especially perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, graduations, and all family celebrations.

Every holiday, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and neighbors come over to eat, sing, and celebrate life. But all our main character can think about is the sweet potato pie Granny makes just for her. As tables fill with baked macaroni and cheese, chitlins, and other sides a-steaming, she and Granny move the pie to keep it intact. The task becomes tricker as the room grows with dancing and card games and pie cravings. Just when all seems lost and there’s no more pie, Granny pulls out a sweet surprise. 

Chapter Books

Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party by Saadia Faruqi, Illustrated by Ani Bushry

Perfect for fans of Ivy & Bean and Dory Fantasmagory, this is the start of a charming new chapter book series about a third-grader whose plans may backfire but whose persistence and heart are inspiring.

Marya’s eighth birthday is coming up in a week, and all she wants is an over-the-top birthday party just like the ones Alexa, her rich neighbor, always throws. When Alexa parades into school with fancy invitations, Marya can’t help herself—she claims that she’s having the most epic henna party ever. Now she has to convince her family to make it happen. Enter Operation Help the Khans! Marya’s siblings clearly need help with their projects. Maybe she could cook dinner for her parents, or clean her grandmother’s room? Except everything Marya does seems to end in disaster. Will Marya and her family be able pull it together and throw the best party ever?!

Zara’s Rules for Finding Hidden Treasure by Hena Khan, Illustrated by Wastana Haikal

From the beloved author of Amina’s Voice comes the second book in the delightful Zara’s Rules middle grade series following Zara as she starts her own business!

Zara lives for bike rides with her friends—so when her shiny, brand-new bike goes missing from the park one day, she’s crushed. After her parents insist she earn the money for another one herself, Zara’s determined to start a business. But what kind? A lemonade stand? Not profitable enough. Selling painted rocks? Not enough customers.

Zara’s starting to get discouraged when she and her friend Naomi finally come up with the perfect idea: The Treasure Wagon, a roving garage sale that unloads knickknacks from the Saleem family basement and makes money all at once! But when a mix-up gets Zara in hot water again, will she have to give up everything she’s earned toward her new bike?

The Power of the Pearl Earrings by Linda Trinh, Illustrated by Clayton Nguyen

Spontaneous and energetic Liz, the middle Nguyen sibling, grew up hearing stories from her Grandma Nội about the fantastically fierce Trung Sisters, freedom fighters in ancient Vietnam. And with a new school year about to start, Liz is determined that her taekwondo classes will prove she is just as important and brave as the famous warriors. That is, until the new boy at school, Michael, threatens her plans by turning her best friend against her, telling her the things she can’t do because she’s a girl. Struggling with both her friendships and her place in her family, Liz finds help where she least expects it—in the pearl earrings her Grandma Nội left her as a gift, reminding her of her Vietnamese heritage. Armed with the earrings’ mysterious power, Liz decides to show Michael exactly what girls are capable of.

Middle Grade

April & Mae and the Tea Party: The Sunday Book by Megan Dowd Lambert, Illustrated by Briana Dengoue

Fans of King & Kayla and Charlie and Mouse will love this delightful beginning chapter book series that celebrates friendship every day of the week!

It’s Sunday, and April and Mae are having their weekly tea party. Mae usually bakes goodies, and April always sings and dances. But this Sunday, April decides to try a new activity. When April’s juggling causes her to break Mae’s favorite teacup, the two friends navigate their first disagreement and eventually apologize and forgive each other.

With imagination and humor, Every Day with April and Mae brings all there is to know and love about friendship to life in a way kids can both relate to and learn from making this a perfect fit for young readers ready to step up from picture books.

Marikit and the Ocean of Stars by Caris Avendaño Cruz

A magical middle grade debut, inspired by Filipino folklore, about a ten-year-old girl who embarks on a quest in the world of gods and spirits to save her and her family from a sinister shadow god. Perfect for fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon and When You Trap a Tiger.

Marikit is used to wearing recycled clothes. Her mother, the best seamstress in the barrio, has become an expert at making do ever since Marikit’s father and brother were lost at sea. But for her tenth birthday, all Marikit wants is something new. So when her mother gifts her a patchwork dress stitched together with leftover scraps from her workshop, Marikit vows to never wear it. That is, until the eve of her birthday, when shadow creatures creep into their home, attempt to take Marikit away, and upend the very life she knew.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee (Young Readers Adaptation): Life in Native America by David Treuer, Adapted by Sheila Keenan

The Heartbeat of Wounded Kneeis a story of Native American resilience and reinvention, adapted for young adults from the adult nonfiction book of the same name.

Since the late 1800s, it has been believed that Native American civilization has been wiped from the United States. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee argues that Native American culture is far from defeated—if anything, it is thriving as much today as it was one hundred years ago.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee looks at Native American culture as it exists today—and the fight to preserve language and traditions. 

Adapted for young readers, this important young adult nonfiction book is perfect educational material for children and adults alike.

Graphic Novel

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega, Illustrated by Rose Bousamra

A middle grade graphic novel about Marlene, a young girl who stops straightening her hair and embraces her natural curls.

Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and “growing up.” That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have “presentable”, “good hair”.

But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn’t understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby―she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.

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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