New Release Round-Up: January 10, 2022

It’s Tuesday, so you know what that means! I’ve got all the best new releases today!

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

My First Brain Quest First Words: Science Around Us: A Question-and-Answer Book by Workman Publishing

From the rain in the sky to the grass at their feet, help your child understand the world around them with the guidance of this fun and exciting introduction to science!

My First Brain Quest: First Words: Science Around Us introduces babies and toddlers to more than 100 STEM-related vocabulary words in their world—in the backyard, at the doctor’s office, at the beach. Each scene features labeled illustrated objects as well as brief captions that help to introduce STEM concepts and help put into context, alongside questions that encourage conversation between reader and child. Children have fun naming, counting, and comparing.

My First Brain Quest First Words: Around the Home: A Question-and-Answer Book by Workman Publishing

Introduce foundational vocabulary into your child’s life for items found all around your home using bright and colorful pictures in Brain Quest’s signature question and answer format.​

My First Brain Quest: First Words: Around the Home introduces babies and toddlers to more than 100 foundational vocabulary words from scenes in and around a cozy, colorful family home—from the kitchen to the bathroom to the garden. In addition to labeled illustrated objects, each scene has questions that help reader and child talk about what they see on the page. There’s counting, colors, comparison and more!

She Persisted in Science: Brilliant Women Who Made a Difference by Chelsea Clinton, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

Throughout history, women have been told that science isn’t for them. They’ve been told that they’re not smart enough, or that their brains just aren’t able to handle it. In this book, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to women scientists who didn’t listen to those who told them “no” and who used their smarts, their skills and their persistence to discover, invent, create and explain.

She Persisted in Science is for everyone who’s ever had questions about the world around them or the way things work, and who won’t give up until they find their answers.

With engaging artwork by Alexandra Boiger accompanying the inspiring text, this is a book that shows readers that everyone has the potential to make a difference, and that women in science change our world.

No Matter What . . . We All Belong by Becky Davies, Illustrated by Fernando Martìn

This fresh and friendly book about diversity presents the message that every person on Earth belongs, no matter what our differences may be, and features padded, shiny fabric; peek-through pages; die cuts throughout; and a shiny cloth rainbow at the end that shows through the front cover.

Feeling accepted and included is incredibly important in a child’s social emotional development. This touching, accessible board book about diversity presents the message that we ALL belong, no matter what our differences are. Rhyming text, peek-through pages, die cuts throughout, and a shiny cloth rainbow at the end that shows through the front cover make this the perfect book to celebrate individuality in an uplifting and accessible way for the youngest readers.

Picture Books

Love Is Loud: How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement by Sandra Neil Wallace, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Diane grew up in the southside of Chicago in the 1940s. As a university student, she visited the Tennessee State Fair in 1959. Shocked to see a bathroom sign that read For Colored Women, Diane learned that segregation in the South went beyond schools—it was part of daily life. She decided to fight back, not with anger or violence, but with strong words of truth and action.

Finding a group of like-minded students, including student preacher John Lewis, Diane took command of the Nashville Movement. They sat at the lunch counters where only white people were allowed and got arrested, day after day. Leading thousands of marchers to the courthouse, Diane convinced the mayor to integrate lunch counters. Then, she took on the Freedom Rides to integrate bus travel, garnering support from Martin Luther King Jr. and then the president himself—John F. Kennedy.

Put Your Shoes On & Get Ready! by Raphael G. Warnack, Illustrated by TeMika Grooms

Before Raphael Warnock became a pastor and the first Black senator from Georgia, he was a little boy whose father told him to get up, get dressed, put on his shoes, and get ready! So that’s what he did, along every step of his journey. From his work boots to his marching band shoes to his shiny lace-ups, Senator Reverend Warnock found the right shoes to fit his feet and to carry him toward his dreams.

This inspirational story, with bold, brilliant art by TeMika Grooms, follows Raphael Warnock’s journey from Savannah, Georgia, to the United States Senate and shows young readers that they, too, can find the power to be themselves and make a difference when they have the shoes that fit their feet.

My Strange Shrinking Parents by Zeno Sworder

One boy’s parents travel from far-off lands to improve their son’s life. But what happens next is unexpected. What does it mean when your parents are different? What shape does love take? And what happens when your parents sacrifice a part of themselves for you?

In this heartbreaking and heartwarming story, Zeno Sworder reflects on his own migrant parents’ sacrifices to create a universal story about what it means to give to those you love. Drawing from the sacrifices his Chinese mother made to raise her young family in a small country town, Sworder’s drawings are full of beautiful detail and fairytale settings that explore his own journey from child to parent.

Very Good Hats by Emma Straub, Illustrated by Blanca Gomez

The first picture book by bestselling novelist Emma Straub, author of This Time Tomorrow, this is a joyous, inventive, adorably illustrated read-aloud that will inspire kids to see ordinary objects in a whole new way.

Some people think hats are fancy things you can buy at a dressy store, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In this book, acorns and raspberries are snug hats for your fingers, and an empty pudding cup is a good hat for a stuffed bear. Pajama pants make dangly hats, books can be dramatic hats, and bubbles make very fine hats as well (if temporary). Readers will be delighted to discover that anything can be a hat if you believe it is. Hats are everywhere you look!

The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music by Roberta Flack and Tonya Bolden, Illustrated by Hayden Goodman

Growing up in a Blue Ridge mountain town, little Roberta didn’t have fancy clothes or expensive toys…but she did have music. And she dreamed of having her own piano.

When her daddy spies an old, beat-up upright piano in a junkyard, he knows he can make his daughter’s dream come true. He brings it home, cleans and tunes it, and paints it a grassy green. And soon the little girl has an instrument to practice on, and a new dream to reach for–one that will make her become a legend in the music industry.

Here is a lyrical picture book–perfect for aspiring piano players and singers–that shares an intimate look at Roberta Flack’s family and her special connection to music.

Justice Rising: 12 Amazing Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Illustrated by Kim Holt

A celebration of twelve Black women who were pivotal to the civil rights movement and the fight for justice and equal rights in America.

You’ve heard the names Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, but what about the many other women who were crucial to the civil rights movement?

Told through twelve short biographies, this book celebrates just some of the many Black women–each of whom has been largely underrepresented until now–who were instrumental to the nation’s fight for civil rights and the contributions they made in driving the Movement forward.

An empowering, eye-opening look at how one person can impact greater change, this book is both a conversation starter and much-needed history lesson for our modern world.

You So Black by Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D., Illustrated by London Ladd

Based on Theresa Wilson’s (a.k.a. Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.’s) beautiful, viral spoken word poem of the same name, You So Black is a picture book celebration of the richness, the nuance, and the joy of Blackness.

Black is everywhere, and in everything, and in everyone—in the night sky and the fertile soil below. It’s in familial connections and invention, in hands lifted in praise and voices lifted in protest, and in hearts wide open and filled with love. Black is good.

Accompanied by powerful yet tender illustrations by award-winning illustrator London Ladd, Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. has adapted her poem, full of gorgeous lyricism and imagery, to show readers the love, joy, resilience, and universality in the beauty of Blackness.

The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name by by Sandhya Parappukkaran, Illustrated by Michelle Pereira

Perfect for fans of Alma and How She Got Her Name and Your Name is a Song, this picture book encourages readers to take up space and support each other with respect and kindness

When Zimdalamashkermishkada starts at a new school, he knows he’ll have to introduce himself to lots of new people. He trips over his long name and decides to shrink it down to the shorter, simpler Zim. The nickname works fine for introductions, but deep down, it doesn’t feel right. It’s not until a new friend sees him for who he truly is that Zimdalamashkermishkada finds the confidence to step proudly into his long name.
    
The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name is a warm and uplifting story that encourages young readers to celebrate their authentic selves, and proclaims that no one should ever have to shrink themselves to fit in.

Lift Every Voice and Change: A Sound Book: A Celebration of Black Leaders and the Words that Inspire Generations by Charnaie Gordon, Illustrated by Aeron Cargill

Powerful sound clips from twelve Black leaders amplified by bold illustrations and background facts illuminate pivotal moments of Black history in America.

With the touch of the button, hear impactful quotes spoken by inspiring Black Americans in primary source audio files. Aimed at children ages 7–12, a succinct profile of the speaker alongside an explanation of the significance of the quote and moment provide the context for each audio clip. A vibrant illustration of the speaker completes the picture.

Through the included quotes, kids gain an age-appropriate understanding of the strides made in the ongoing journey for equality, from the early days of sound recording to modern day.

Chapter Books

Vivi Loves Science: Wind and Water by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes, Illustrated by Joelle Murray

Vivi loves science—and experimenting! In this Level 3 I Can Read! title, Vivi volunteers to help with the clean-up efforts at the beach after a big storm hits her town. But why does the beach look so different than before? Vivi and her friends will have to ask a lot of questions, learn about erosion, and conduct experiments to find out!

The Loves Science books introduce readers to girls who love science, as well as basic concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math. This Level 3 I Can Read! explores how wind and water impact different landscapes, and includes an experiment about erosion to try at home or school, as well as a glossary. A great pick for newly independent readers and an ideal companion to Cece Loves Science: Push and PullLibby Loves Science: Mix and Measure; and Vivi Loves Science: Sink or Float. 

Middle Grade

What Happened to Rachel Riley? by Claire Swinarski

In this engrossing and inventive contemporary middle grade novel that’s Where’d You Go Bernadette? with a #MeToo message, an eighth grader uses social media posts, passed notes, and other clues to find out why a formerly popular girl is now the pariah of her new school. 

Anna Hunt may be the new girl at East Middle School, but she can already tell there’s something off about her eighth-grade class. Rachel Riley, who just last year was one of the most popular girls in school, has become a social outcast. But no one, including Rachel Riley herself, will tell Anna why.

As a die-hard podcast enthusiast, Anna knows there’s always more to a story than meets the eye. So she decides to put her fact-seeking skills to the test and create her own podcast around the question that won’t stop running through her head: What happened to Rachel Riley?

We Are Your Children Too: Black Students, White Supremacists, and the Battle for America’s Schools in Prince Edward County, Virginia by P. O’Connell Pearson

In 1954, after the passing of Brown v. the Board of Education, the all-White school board of one county in south central Virginia made the decision to close its public schools rather than integrate. Those schools stayed closed for five years.

While the affluent White population of Prince Edward County built a private school—for White children only—Black children and their families had to find other ways to learn. Some Black children were home schooled by unemployed Black teachers. Some traveled thousands of miles away to live with relatives, friends, or even strangers. Some didn’t go to school at all.

But many stood up and became young activists, fighting for one of the rights America claims belongs to all: the right to learn.

Which new releases have you been looking forward to? Be sure to share in the comments below!

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