I am beyond thrilled to share Rainbow Boy by Taylor Rouanzion with you all today, because it’s the perfect pick to discuss something that has been weighing on my heart a bit lately.
Last week, I was speaking to someone I love very much, and she told me that her son (who is expecting a child) “would not let” the child have a yellow blanket if it is a boy. Yellow. The color of taxis, bananas, ducklings, and lemons. Not appropriate for a boy? I was floored. I couldn’t help but hope his child arrives and challenges every notion this man has about gender.
This is, of course, just one example of the ways we put our children into boxes before they are even born. If we offer or refuse things like books, toys, clothes, and colors according to our child’s assigned gender, we are not only limiting their horizons, but reinforcing harmful stereotypes that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Books like Rainbow Boy are the perfect way to challenge these stereotypes at a young age.
This lovely picture book introduces us to a young boy who is often asked “What’s your favorite color?” As a former child who also hated this question, I love our young narrator’s answer. He tells us how much he loves every color in the rainbow, and how he has a new favorite for every day of the week.
Rainbow Boy was one of my most anticipated titles of 2021, and it did not disappoint. This is a great book to teach the youngest readers about colors and the days of the week, but it also presents an opportunity to have deeper conversations about gender. Rainbow Boy provides the perfect example of a young boy who loves pink or blue, and dolls or basketball. His interest are his own and are not based on society’s expectations for him.
The gorgeous illustrations from Stacey Chomiak capture our Rainbow Boy’s personality and imagination in such a fun way. And of course, the colors are stunning.
You can grab your own copy of Rainbow Boy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)
Taylor Rouanzion is a children’s book author who was inspired to write to ensure children like her gender non-conforming child can see themselves in the books they read. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at taylorrouanzion.com.
Stacey Chomiak is an artist and illustrator who identifies as a gay Christian and loves to advocate to the LGBTQ community. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at staceychomiak.wixsite.com.
I would like to thank Beaming Books for providing me with a review copy of this amazing book. I can’t wait to add it to my arsenal of supportive books to teach my son to unapologetically love the things he loves, even when the world tells them they are not for him.
Happy Tuesday, everybody! It’s time to talk about new releases again!
I’m so excited to share the all the new releases I am most looking forward to this week with you all. 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.
Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.
A Thousand White Butterflies by Jessica Betancourt-Perez and Karen Lynn Williams, Illustrated by Gina Maldonado (Bookshop | Amazon)
“As if being new to the United States wasn’t hard enough, Isabella’s first day of school is canceled due to snow!
Isabella has recently arrived from Colombia with her mother and abuela. She misses Papa, who is still in South America. It’s her first day of school, her make-new-friends day, but when classes are canceled because of too much snow, Isabella misses warm, green, Colombia more than ever. Then Isabella meets Katie and finds out that making friends in the cold is easier than she thought!”
Don’t miss my full review of A Thousand White Butterflieshere.
The Passover Guest by Susan Kusel, Illustrated by Sean Rubin (Bookshop | Amazon)
“It’s the Spring of 1933 in Washington D.C., and the Great Depression is hitting young Muriel’s family hard. Her father has lost his job, and her family barely has enough food most days, let alone for a Passover Seder. They don’t even have any wine to leave out for the prophet Elijah’s ceremonial cup.
With no feast to rush home to, Muriel wanders by the Lincoln Memorial, where she encounters a mysterious magician in whose hands juggled eggs become lit candles. After she makes a kind gesture, he encourages her to run home for her Seder, and when she does, she encounters a holiday miracle, a bountiful feast of brisket, soup, and matzah. But who was this mysterious benefactor? When Muriel sees Elijah’s ceremonial cup is empty, she has a good idea.”
She Caught The Light by Kathryn Lasky, Illustrated by Julianna Swaney (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Ever since Williamina Fleming was little she was curious, and her childhood fascination with light inspired her life’s work. Mina became an astronomer in a time when women were discouraged from even looking through telescopes. Yet Mina believed that the universe, with its billions of stars, was a riddle—and she wanted to help solve it.
Mina ultimately helped to create a map of the universe that paved the way for astronomers. Newbery Honor–winning Kathryn Lasky shares her incredible true story.”
Alabama Spitfire: The Story Of Harper Lee and To Kill A Mockingbird by Bethany Hegedus, Illustrated by Erin McGuire (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Nelle Harper Lee grew up in the rocky red soil of Monroeville, Alabama. From the get-go she was a spitfire.
Unlike most girls at that time and place, Nelle preferred overalls to dresses and climbing trees to tea parties. Nelle loved to watch her daddy try cases in the courtroom. And she and her best friend, Tru, devoured books and wrote stories of their own. More than anything Nelle loved words.
This love eventually took her all the way to New York City, where she dreamed of becoming a writer. Any chance she had, Nelle sat at her typewriter, writing, revising, and chasing her dream. Nelle wouldn’t give up—not until she discovered the right story, the one she was born to tell.”
Maryam’s Magic: The Story of Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani by Megan Reid, Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel (Bookshop | Amazon)
“As a little girl, Maryam Mirzakhani was spellbound by stories. She loved reading in Tehran’s crowded bookstores, and at home she’d spend hours crafting her own tales on giant rolls of paper.
Maryam loved school, especially her classes in reading and writing. But she did not like math. Numbers were nowhere near as interesting as the bold, adventurous characters she found in books. Until Maryam unexpectedly discovered a new genre of storytelling: In geometry, numbers became shapes, each with its own fascinating personality—making every equation a brilliant story waiting to be told.
As an adult, Maryam became a professor, inventing new formulas to solve some of math’s most complicated puzzles. And she made history by becoming the first woman—and the first Iranian—to win the Fields Medal, mathematics’ highest award.”
Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris, Illustrated by Marissa Valdez (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Anyone who’s ever been underestimated or overshadowed will find inspiration in this empowering new picture book from Meena Harris, New York Times-bestselling author of Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, which is based on a true story about her aunt, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and her mother, Maya Harris.
When a young girl sees a strong woman on TV labeled as “too assertive” and “too ambitious,” it sends her on a journey of discovery through past, present, and future about the challenges faced by women and girls and the ways in which they can reframe, redefine, and reclaim words meant to knock them down.”
The Aquanaut by Jill Heinerth, Illustrated by Jaime Kim (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Through beautiful, spare text, Jill Heinerth tells her story about a girl who feels too young, too little and too far away from her dreams. But you don’t need to wait to grow up. It doesn’t take much to imagine all the things you can do and be. What if your bedroom were a space station? What would it be like to have flippers or tusks? In your own home you can explore new worlds and meet new friends.
Jaime Kim’s luminous art transports readers back and forth through time to see how Jill’s imagination as a young girl laid the pathway to her accomplishments and experiences as an underwater explorer.”
You can also read my full review of The Aquanauthere.
Rainbow Boy by Taylor Rouanzion, Illustrated by Stacey Chomiak (Bookshop | Amazon)
“A story about a boy with a heart too big for one color alone.
A little boy attempts to answer one of grown-ups’ all-time favorite questions: “What’s your favorite color?” But with so many wonderful colors to choose from, he doesn’t know how to answer. He loves his pink sparkly tutu, bright red roses, soft yellow baby doll pajamas, and big, orange basketball. How will he ever pick?”
You can also read my full review of Rainbow Boy for more detail.
Together We March by Leah Henderson, Illustrated by Tyler Feder (Bookshop | Amazon)
“March through history and discover twenty-five groundbreaking protest movements that have shaped the way we fight for equality and justice today in this stunningly illustrated and sweeping book!
For generations, marches have been an invaluable tool for bringing about social change. People have used their voices, the words on their signs, and the strength in their numbers to combat inequality, oppression, and discrimination. They march to call attention to these wrongs and demand change and action, from a local to a global scale.
Whether demanding protective laws or advocating for equal access to things like voting rights, public spaces, and jobs, the twenty-five marches in this book show us that even when a fight seems impossible, marching can be the push needed to tip the scales and create a movement. This gorgeous collection celebrates this rich and diverse history, the often-overlooked stories, and the courageous people who continue to teach us the importance of coming together to march today.”
Mr. Summerling’s Secret Code (The Treasure Troop #1) by Dori Hillestad Butler, Illustrated by Tim Budgen (Bookshop | Amazon)
“From Edgar Award Winner Dori Hillestad Butler comes a new chapter book mystery series, The Treasure Troop! Join Marly, Isla, and Sai, three code-cracking kids on the hunt for an old neighbor’s hidden treasure.
Marly always knew Mr. Summerling as her friendly neighbor living in the big, old house next-door. Sure, he walked around with a metal detector and talked about being a “treasure hunter,” but she didn’t think much of it. But when news of Mr. Summerling’s death arrives at her doorstep, Marly is brought into a treasure hunt of her own. In Mr. Summerling’s will, he’s left a treasure for Marly and her two classmates, Isla and Sai. The catch? They have to solve a series of riddles, puzzles, and clues to find its location. And not only that, they have to work together on it — which Marly is not looking forward to. But with no other choice, she, Isla, and Sai set off on the hunt. Can the three kids come together to crack the code? And even if they do solve the clues… what could Mr. Summerling possibly have left them?”
“E. L. Shen’s The Comeback is a heartfelt, #OwnVoices middle-grade debut about a young girl trying to be a champ―in figure skating and in life.
Twelve-year-old Maxine Chen is just trying to nail that perfect landing: on the ice, in middle school, and at home, where her parents worry that competitive skating is too much pressure for a budding tween. Maxine isn’t concerned, however―she’s determined to glide to victory. But then a bully at school starts teasing Maxine for her Chinese heritage, leaving her stunned and speechless. And at the rink, she finds herself up against a stellar new skater named Hollie, whose grace and skill threaten to edge Maxine out of the competition. With everything she knows on uneven ice, will Maxine crash under the pressure? Or can she power her way to a comeback?”
“Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.
So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.
Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.”
“Larry’s got a few problems. In school, he’s one of those kids who easily gets lost in the crowd. And Grimm, Larry’s best friend in the whole world, has ghosted him. Literally. One minute Grimm was saving a cat in a tree during a lightning storm, and the next, he’s pulling pranks on Larry in his new ghostly form.
When the two best friends realize that there’s something keeping Grimm tethered to their world, they decide that finishing their Totally To-Do bucket list is the perfect way to help Grimm with his unfinished business. Pulling hilarious pranks and shenanigans may be easier with a ghostly best friend, but as Larry and Grimm brave the scares of seventh grade, they realize that saying goodbye might just be the scariest part of middle school.”
“Magic is closer than you ever thought possible in this madcap middle grade adventure perfect for fans of James Riley and Chris Grabenstein.
For Mason Mortimer Morrison, life isn’t so magical.
His dad was just sent to jail, his grades have been plummeting from meh to yikes, and, oh yeah, two officers from some organization called Magix just showed up to arrest him in the middle of fourth period.
Talk about bad luck.
Mason knows he’s innocent. But in order to clear his name, he’s going to need the help of a plucky Magix junior detective and a cantankerous talking bunny—and a little bit of magic.”
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!
Did I miss any releases you’re excited for? Be sure to share in the comments below!
It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that I’m one of those people who love the New Year. I really enjoy the opportunity this holiday gives us to look back at our accomplishments and challenges from last year, while we also look forward and make plans for the year we are moving into.
Like many of you, I’ve been doing a lot of looking forward this year. 2020 has been particularly challenging for so many of us, and I know we are ready to put it behind us, so today I want to look forward. I want to share the 21 titles I am most excited about in 2021!
The best part is you can already preorder these titles, so you don’t have to remember to buy them when they come out later this year. I’m not the only one who preorders books to be “surprised” when the release date sneaks up on me later, am I?
Please note: This list will contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from purchases made using these links at no additional cost to you. This commission allows me to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.
So without further ado, here are my most anticipated titles of 2021, in no particular order!
Rainbow Boy by Taylor Rouanzion, Illustrated by Stacey Chomiak – January 26, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“A story about a boy with a heart too big for one color alone.”
“A little boy attempts to answer one of grown-ups’ all-time favorite questions: “What’s your favorite color?” But with so many wonderful colors to choose from, he doesn’t know how to answer. He loves his pink sparkly tutu, bright red roses, soft yellow baby doll pajamas, and big, orange basketball. How will he ever pick?”
Anita and The Dragons by Hannah Carmona, Illustrated by Anna Cunha – April 6, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Anita watches the dragons high above her as she hops from one cement roof to another in her village in the Dominican Republic. But being the valiant princesa she is, she never lets them scare her. Will she be brave enough to enter the belly of the beast and take flight to new adventures?”
The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey – March 2, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Off a small island, a boy and his grandmother set sail in their beloved fishing boat. They ride the waves, dreaming, catching fish, and seeing the wonders of the ocean. But soon the boy is sailing the boat himself, venturing further from shore as the waters grow dirty and polluted. When a storm washes him ashore and wrecks the old boat, he sees home in a new light. He decides to turn the tides of his fortune, cleaning the island’s waters and creating a new life with a family to call his own. With an eye-catching design and masterfully detailed illustrations, The Old Boat is an exquisite story about caring for the places we call home.”
Fatima’s Great Outdoors by Ambreen Tariq, Illustrated by Stevie Lewis March 30, 2021 – (Bookshop | Amazon)
“An immigrant family embarks on their first camping trip in the Midwest in this lively picture book by Ambreen Tariq, outdoors activist and founder of @BrownPeopleCamping.
Ambreen Tariq’s picture book debut, with cheerful illustrations by Stevie Lewis, is a rollicking family adventure, a love letter to the outdoors, and a reminder that public land belongs to all of us.”
Kindness Is A Kite String by Michelle Schaub, Illustrated by Claire LaForte – April 1, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Watch empathy ripple through the community… spreading happiness like sunshine, connecting diverse groups like a footbridge, and lifting hope like a kite string. How can YOU lift others with kindness?”
We Are Still Here by Traci Sorell, Illustrated by Frane Lessac – April 20, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Twelve Native American kids present historical and contemporary laws, policies, struggles, and victories in Native life, each with a powerful refrain: We are still here!
Too often, Native American history is treated as a finished chapter instead of relevant and ongoing. This companion book to the award-winning We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga offers readers everything they never learned in school about Native American people’s past, present, and future.”
My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, Illustrated by Erika Meza – August 24, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“A picture book debut by an award-winning author about a boy’s life on the U.S.-Mexico border, visiting his favorite places on The Other Side with his father, spending time with family and friends, and sharing in the responsibility of community care.
My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, with illustrations by Erika Meza, is the loving story of a father and son’s weekend ritual, a demonstration of community care, and a tribute to the fluidity, complexity, and vibrancy of life on the U.S.-Mexico border.”
Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz: The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States – April 13, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“A moving picture book for older children and families that introduces a difficult topic, amplifying the voices and experiences of immigrant children detained at the border between Mexico and the US. The children’s actual words (from publicly available court documents) are assembled to tell one heartbreaking story, in both English and Spanish (back to back). Each spread is illustrated in striking full-color by a different Latinx artist. A portion of sales will be donated to human rights organizations that work with children on the border.”
The Tea Dragon Tapestry by K. O’Neill – June 1, 2021 (Amazon)
“Join Greta and Minette once more for the heartwarming conclusion of the award-winning Tea Dragon series!
Told with the same care and charm as the previous installments of the Tea Dragon series, The Tea Dragon Tapestry welcomes old friends and new into a heartfelt story of purpose, love, and growth.”
In My Mosque by M. O. Yuksel, Illustrated by Hatem Aly – March 23, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“No matter who you are or where you’re from, everyone is welcome here. From grandmothers reading lines of the Qur’an and the imam telling stories of living as one, to meeting new friends and learning to help others, mosques are centers for friendship, community, and love.”
Send a Girl!: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY by Jessica M. Rinker, Illustrated by Meg Hunt – March 9, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Brenda Berkman was often told that she couldn’t do certain things because she was a girl. When she grew up, she longed for a job that was challenging, different every day, and required physical and mental strength. In 1977 when the New York City Fire Department finally complied with the Civil Rights Act (from 1964) by allowing women to take the FDNY exam, Brenda jumped at the chance.
But the FDNY changed the rules of the exam so women wouldn’t be able to pass it. Even a lot of men couldn’t pass this new exam.
So Brenda Berkman took the FDNY to court. “
When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling, Illustrated by Aaron Asis – May 18, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“In an evocative picture book brimming with the scents, tastes, and traditions that define summer for one young girl, debut author Michelle Sterling and illustrator Aaron Asis come together to celebrate the gentle bonds of familial love that span oceans and generations.”
“From the way a body jiggles to the scars a body bears, this picture book is a pure celebration of all the different human bodies that exist in the world. Highlighting the various skin tones, body shapes, and hair types is just the beginning in this truly inclusive book. With its cheerful illustrations and exuberant refrain, this book will instill body positivity and confidence in the youngest of readers.”
Bindu’s Bindis by Supriya Kelkar, Illustrated by Parvati Pillai – March 2, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“This charming picture book is about a little girl who loves her bindis (and the many creative shapes they come in!). The bindis are also a connection to her Nani who lives in India. When Nani comes to visit Bindu and brings the bindis to her, it is just in time to wear something new to the school talent show. Bindu and Nani work together to shine their brightest and embrace their sparkle, even when they stand out from the crowd.”
Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli, Illustrated by Isabel Roxas – March 16, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Based on the research that race, gender, consent, and body positivity should be discussed with toddlers on up, this read-aloud board book series offers adults the opportunity to begin important conversations with young children in an informed, safe, and supported way.
Developed by experts in the fields of early childhood and activism against injustice, this topic-driven board book offers clear, concrete language and beautiful imagery that young children can grasp and adults can leverage for further discussion.”
All of Us by Kathryn Erskine, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger – May 18, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“ME can be WE. YOU can come, too. In a lyrical text that travels the globe, National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine shows young readers how the whole world is a community made up of people who are more similar than we are different. With stunning, cinematic art by Alexandra Boiger, the illustrator of the She Persisted series, this is the perfect read-aloud at bedtime or for story time. Perfect for fans of All Are Welcome and Be Kind.”
Families Grow by Dan Saks, Illustrated by Brooke Smart – August 3, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“This warm appreciation of love invites the youngest readers to share in the joy and excitement of expecting families. The lyrical, rhyming text subtly references pregnancy, surrogacy, and adoption, gently touching on the different ways a family can grow. The book’s celebratory yet comforting tone incites both appreciation and understanding, leaving readers with a lasting message of unconditional familial love. Includes a simple glossary at the end.”
I Am The Subway by Kim Hyo-eun, Translated by Deborah Smith – August 3, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“A cinematic journey through the Seoul subway that masterfully portrays the many unique lives we travel alongside whenever we take the train. A poetic translation of the bestselling Korean picture book.
Originally published in Korean and brought to English-speaking audiences with the help of renowned translator Deborah Smith (The Vegetarian), I Am the Subway vividly reflects the shared humanity that can be found in crowded metropolitan cities.”
“This wonderful book celebrates diversity and the interconnectedness of nature through an Indigenous perspective, complete with a glossary of Cree words for wild animals at the back of the book, and children repeating a Cree phrase throughout the book. Readers will encounter birds who chase and chirp, bears who wiggle and wobble, whales who swim and squirt, owls who peek and peep, and a diverse group of kids who love to do the same, shouting:
We play too! / kimêtawânaw mîna
A beautiful ode to the animals and humans we share our world with, We All Play belongs on every bookshelf.”
Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins, Illustrated by Nicole Wong – March 9, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Where do poems come from? This beautiful picture book about a young aspiring poet and his grandfather shows that the answer lies all around us–if we take the time to look.”
Prince & Knight: Tale of the Shadow King by Daniel Haack, Illustrated by Stevie Lewis – April 27, 2021 (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Our brave and dashing heroes, the prince and the knight, are happily married and their kingdom is prospering, but soon, a fog of darkness that blocks the sun spreads across their land. They get word that the cause of this is a dark and mysterious Shadow King, and they rush off to find and stop him, but encounter many obstacles along the way. Will they be able to restore the light to their kingdom?”
I hope you all enjoyed this list and found a book (or a few, if you lack self control like me) to add to your little one’s shelves in the next year.
What books do you have your eye on in 2021? Make sure to share in the comments below!
Happy Tuesday, everybody! It’s new release day again! As always, I rounded up the titles I am most excited about to share with y’all today. There are a TON to talk about this week, so sit back, grab a snack, and let’s look at some new books.
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.
Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.
I Am Love: A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde, Illustrated Peter H. Reynolds
“Celebrate kindness, compassion, self-care, and love in all its forms with the board book edition of the instant New York Times bestseller!
I put my hands on my heart and listen. And that is where I find the answer:
I have compassion. I act with tenderness.
I am love.
Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds continue their collaboration with the fourth book in their wellness series. A celebration of love in all its forms, I Am Love asks readers to look inward when they feel afraid. Love allows us to act with compassion and kindness, to live with gratitude, and to take care of ourselves by practicing self-love.”
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, Illustrated by Frane Lessac
“The Cherokee community is grateful for blessings and challenges that each season brings. This is modern Native American life as told by an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.”
Over and Under The Canyon by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
“In this latest book in the acclaimed Over and Under series, a spectacular hike reveals the hidden wonders, rich colors, and layers of wildlife living within a thriving desert slot-canyon.
Over and Under the Canyon takes young readers on a thrilling tour of a desert canyon ecosystem. Over the canyon, the sun scalds the air, baking desert mud to stone. But under the shade of the cliffs hides another world, where bighorn sheep bound from rock to rock on the hillside, roadrunners make their nests in sturdy cacti, and banded geckos tuck themselves into the shelter of the sand. Discover the wonders concealed in the curves of the canyon, the magic of a desert wildflower bloom, and all the unexpected creatures that bring the desert to life.”
I Am Courage: A Book of Resilience by Susan Verde, Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
“Encourage kids to find their inner strength with this companion to the New York Times bestsellers I Am Human and I Am Love!
I move ahead one breath at a time. I act with bravery. I am courage.
When we picture someone brave, we might think they’re fearless; but real courage comes from feeling scared and facing what challenges us anyway. When our minds tell us “I can’t,” we can look inside ourselves and find the strength to say, “Yes, I CAN!”
From the New York Times bestselling team behind the I Am series comes a triumphant celebration of everyday courage: believing in ourselves, speaking out, trying new things, asking for help, and getting back up no matter how many times we may fall. Grounded in mindfulness and awareness, I Am Courage is an empowering reminder that we can conquer anything. Inside, you’ll also find exercises to inspire confidence.”
The Wall and the Wild by Christina Dendy, Illustrated by Katie Rewse
“When Ana tries to take control by creating a perfect garden, she comes to realize that nature is inherently wild.
In a plot of land at the edge of town, Ana grows only perfectly sized plants and perfect-looking flowers; she throws all the irregular shoots and uneven seeds over the wall into the disorderly Wild. But as her garden gets tidier, neater and more constrained, the Wild begins to grow…”
Before We Stood Tall: From Small Seed to Mighty Tree by Jessica Kulekjian, Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
“Expressive text and art tell the story of the life cycle of trees as it has never been told before — in reverse.Here’s a lyrical depiction of the life cycle of trees, told one step at a time, based on newly researched information. The steps are described in simple but evocative text, each starting with “Before . . .” for a rhythmic telling. For example, “Before we stood tall, we clothed ourselves in bark and crowned ourselves in leaves, waving eagerly at the sun.” Particular attention is paid throughout to what’s happening underground and how that links all life in the forest. Beginning with mature giants, “mighty in the kingdom of trees,” and ending with the promise of new life on the branches that are “hoping to be mighty in the kingdom of trees,” it’s a beautiful and loving celebration of the circle of life.Jessica Kulekjian’s skill at seamlessly blending nonfiction information with a poetic narrative sets this informational picture book apart. She also uniquely incorporates intriguing new research on how trees communicate with each other using an underground network of roots and fungus that connects the forest and helps the trees to thrive. Madeline Kloepper’s rich artwork with its deep earth tone palette brings the forest and all its inhabitants alive on the page. The material has been vetted by several scientists, including experts on trees, insects and mushrooms. Supported by well-researched backmatter, the book has strong curriculum links to early elementary earth and life science topics, including plants, ecosystems and soil.”
A Seat at the Table: The Nancy Pelosi Story by Elisa Boxer, Illustrated by Laura Freeman
“This inspiring picture-book biography about Nancy Pelosi shows her journey from the child of Baltimore’s mayor to her marble-ceiling-shattering four terms as Speaker of the House, including the historic events of January 6th, 2021.
Nancy Pelosi grew up watching her father, the mayor of Baltimore, welcome in people of all different backgrounds to sit at their table and make their voices heard. Nancy’s mother always stood beside him, working behind the scenes to help her husband and the people he served. When Nancy grew up, she continued working behind the scenes in politics until a friend asked her to run for Congress herself–jump-starting a 33 year career as a political representative and taking her higher than she could have once imagined.
Young girls, especially, will be inspired by Nancy’s journey and her commitment to using her voice to help others and to make sure women are heard in government. The backmatter also includes an exclusive interview with Nancy Pelosi herself.”
Let Me Fix You A Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens by Elizabeth Lilly
“Whether you’re settling in for a heaping plate of banana pudding or arepas and tostones, a good meal can always bring families together.
Once a year, on a Friday night, My family leaves the city And drives hours and hours . . .
First my family drives through the mountains to stop at Mamaw and Papaw’s house in rural West Virginia. We share blueberry jam and toast for breakfast the next morning, then munch cookies and cut bananas to make banana pudding with Mamaw. After the last bite of pudding, we get ready for the next part of the journey, down to Florida to visit Abuela and Abuelo for crispy tostones, fresh squeezed juice, and arepas with queso blanco.
Elizabeth Lilly’s tale of a joyous road trip, drawn from her own experience, is illustrated with quirky charm that captures all the warmth and love of her family’s two distinct cultures.”
Magic Like That by Samara Cole Doyon, Illustrated by Geneva Bowers
“In this celebration of Black Girl Magic, a young girl finds confidence and excitement in the versatility of her natural hair and the way her different hairstyles reflect the natural world.
Natural hair is magical, but magic isn’t easy. As a young Black girl patiently waits for her mother to finish her newest hairstyle, she wonders what stunning, majestic, awe-inspiring form her hair will take next!
With radiant illustrations by Geneva Bowers and beautiful, poetic text written by Samara Cole Doyon, Magic Like That will inspire young readers of all textures to believe in the beauty of their natural selves.”
Right Now!: Real Kids Speaking Up for Change by Miranda Paul, Illustrated by Bea Jackson
“A joyful, inspiring picture book that introduces readers to eleven young people from around the world who didn’t wait until they were grown to speak up about things that matter to them and change the world for the better, from an award-winning author and New York Times best-selling illustrator.
From climate activist Greta Thunberg to anti-bullying advocate Jaylen Arnold to peace activist Bana Alabed and more, these short profiles of young people and their causes will inspire readers to think about what matters most to them. An author’s note, Actions to Make a Difference, and additional resources are also included, providing a roadmap for any kid who wants to make change and help others too.”
When Langston Dances by Kaija Langley, Illustrated by Keith Mallett
“A young Black boy dreams of dancing in this exuberant, buoyant picture book celebrating the beauty of dance, and the wonder of Black Boy Joy—perfect for fans of Firebird and Crown!
Langston likes basketball okay, but what he loves is to dance—ever since he saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform. He longs to twirl into a pirouette, whirl into a piqué. He wants to arabesque and attitude, grand battement and grand jeté. When he walks, the whole street is his stage.
With his neighborhood cheering him on, will Langston achieve his dream?”
Ada and the Galaxies by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv, Illustrated by Susanna Chapman
“Stargazers rejoice! In his first book for children, renowned physicist Alan Lightman and collaborators, with help from the Hubble telescope, light up the night sky.
New York Times best-selling author Alan Lightman, in collaboration with Olga Pastuchiv, brings galaxies close in a stunning picture-book tribute to the interconnectedness of the natural world. Layering photographs taken from the Hubble telescope into charming and expressive art, illustrator Susanna Chapman zooms in on one child’s experiences: Ada knows that the best place for star-gazing is on the island in Maine where she vacations with her grandparents. By day, she tracks osprey in the trees, paddles a kayak, and hunts for shells. But she’s most in her element when the sun goes down and the stars blink to life. Will the fog this year foil her plans, or will her grandfather find a way to shine a spotlight on the vast puzzle of the universe . . . until the weather turns?”
This Magical, Musical Night by Rhonda Gowler Greene, Illustrated by James Rey Sanchez
“Music! Music! Oh, how grand! A language we all understand. Get swept away by the musical performance of a lifetime as, one by one, each instrument of the symphony orchestra shows off their skills!
Follow along as the symphony orchestra’s various instruments are introduced. From violin to trumpet, flute to trombone, each plays its part, contributing to a grand and mystifying performance. These magical instruments will transport you in a way only music can. Soar with the strings, float away with the woodwinds, and play in a percussion thunderstorm! Music can take us anywhere, so celebrate and learn about all the instruments of the orchestra and the music that unites us.”
Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories by Annette Bay Pimentel, Illustrated by Magaly Morales
“A lyrical, vibrant tribute to the amazing life and legacy of Pura Belpré, a lauded storyteller, librarian, and pioneer of bilingual storytimes
Pura’s abuela always has a cuento to share. She crows ¡Qui-qui-ri-quí! for Señor Gallo, booms Borom, Borom for Señor Zapo, and tells of a beautiful cockroach who loves a mouse. Pura clings to these stories like coquíes cling to green leaves.
When Pura grows up and moves from Puerto Rico to Harlem, she gets a job at the library, where she is surrounded by stories—but they’re only in English. Where is Señor Gallo? Where is Pérez the mouse? Where is Puerto Rico on these shelves? She decides to tell children the tales of her homeland in English and in Spanish.
Lyrically written, with lively illustrations, Pura’s Cuentos captures the exuberant spirit and passion of Pura Belpré: celebrated storyteller, author, folklorist, and the first Latina librarian in New York City. A pioneer of bilingual storytimes, she welcomed countless new families to the library, formed cultural bridges in her community, and broke the rules by telling stories that weren’t printed in books—at least, not yet.”
Thankful by Elaine Vickers, Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
“Stunning, diorama illustrations bring to life this lullaby of a picture book about celebrating everyday things that make life wonderful.
I am thankful for a home where I am safe and warm. Thankful for parents who read me stories and comb my hair gently, gently. Who whisper the same poem every night when they tuck me in.
When the first snow falls, a little girl writes down the things she’s thankful for on strips of paper and links them together. As one idea leads to another, her chain grows longer. There’s so much good in her life: a friend, things that are warm, things that are cold, color, things that can be fixed. This beautiful story is a much-needed reminder to observe and honor life’s small joys.”
Jazz For Lunch by Jarrett Dapier, Illustrated by Eugenia Mello
“Last Stop on Market Street gets a jazzy twist in this finger-licking good celebration of music, food, and family.
Struttin’ with Auntie Nina down to a club, We’re gonna hear some music and then eat some grub. Wanna get up close, but we’re stuck in the back, We can’t see the drums and we can’t get a snack! But Auntie Nina’s got a plan, don’t you fret, She’s taking us to her place where we can get JAZZ FOR LUNCH!
Come on in, sit right down! Cuz Auntie Nina and her nephew are cooking up a symphony of food and sounds. The lip-smacking smells and be-bopping tunes might just get the whole neighborhood shimmying over to join in. From Nat King Cole Slaw to Art Tatum Tots to Billie Hollandaise Sauce, get ready for some foot-stomping, finger-licking, booty-shaking, mouth-watering fun!”
Superjoe Does NOT Do Cuddles by Michael Catchpool, Illustrated by Emma Proctor
“Even the mightiest of superheroes sometimes need a cuddle from their mom…
SuperJoe is convinced he doesn’t need cuddles from his mom. He flies around the neighborhood rescuing people from escaped tigers, runaway trains and raging rivers, all while battling his nemesis the Gray Shadow. Naturally, he refuses all cuddles. Until, one night, when he can’t sleep…”
“In this charming simple story, things are lost, things are found and, somehow, it’s all just as it should be.Sometimes things are lost. A hair ribbon. A pencil. A dog on a leash. But when someone loses a thing, another person may find it, sometimes with surprising results. In this thoughtful and deceptively simple story, several things are lost, and then each is found — not always by the person who lost it, but always by someone who can use it.Though for most young children — and their grownups! — losing something is a cause for stress, Carey Sookocheff’s delightful picture book presents the experience in a calm, matter-of-fact tone and invites readers to consider things from a different perspective. The subtle message is one we can all learn from — while you can’t always control what happens, you can manage how you respond. With very spare text and easy-to-follow visual storytelling, the book has a this-then-that rhythm that is reassuring and pleasant. It also begins and ends with the same girl walking her dog in the park, making for a cohesive and satisfying story. The illustrations use a limited, cool palette with the color orange signifying each of the lost items, perfect for enhancing observational skills and visual literacy. This book would work well as a jumping off point for children to create stories of their own, imagining what might have happened to something they’ve lost, who might have found it, and what might happen to it next.”
Snoozefest: The Surprising Science of Sleep by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Illustrated by Valéry Goulet
“From award-winning author Tanya Lloyd Kyi, an eye-opening look at the science of sleep — covering everything adolescents could possibly want to know about a subject that’s suddenly keeping them up at night!For something that all humans do for hours every night, sleep is not that well understood. One thing we do know, though, is that sleep is crucial for our health and happiness. Here’s a highly readable and fascinating look at why sleep is so important, what’s happening in our bodies while we’re sleeping (it’s a lot more than you think!), and how the science of sleep research has evolved. It probes some of the mysteries about sleep, like why we need sleep, why we dream, and even how long we can go without sleep! It also explains why teens and tweens aren’t getting enough sleep — and what school principals can do about it! It’s a deep dive into an intriguing topic that’s anything but a snore!Bestselling author Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s engaging yet comprehensive text covers everything a middle schooler (or an adult!) could want to know about the science of sleep — and then some. Sleep is a topic that most adolescents are interested in, since their sleep patterns have recently begun to change, and getting enough sleep is now more important to them than ever before. Sidebars and boxes full of fun facts break the text into readable chunks. There are terrific curriculum links here to life science and the human body as well as to health. Fully illustrated with a light touch by Valéry Goulet, this unique and appealing book makes scientific content accessible and fun.”
“From the creator of the New York Times bestseller Dreamers comes a heartbreakingly beautiful story about growth, empowerment, and finding one’s own voice.
Child, you are awake! You are alive! You are a bright star, Inside our hearts.
Told with a combination of powerful, spare language and sumptuous and complex imagery that is typical of Yuyi Morales’s work, this is the story of a fawn making her way through a border landscape teaming with flora and fauna native to the region. A gentle but empowering voice encourages her to face her fears when she comes across an obstacle in the form of an insurmountable barrier.”
“Kabir has been in jail since the day he was born, because his mom is serving time for a crime she didn’t commit. He’s never met his dad, so the only family he’s got are their cellmates, and the only place he feels the least bit free is in the classroom, where his kind teacher regales him with stories of the wonders of the outside world. Then one day a new warden arrives and announces Kabir is too old to stay. He gets handed over to a long-lost “uncle” who unfortunately turns out to be a fraud, and intends to sell Kabir. So Kabir does the only thing he can–run away as fast as his legs will take him. How does a boy with nowhere to go and no connections make his way? Fortunately, he befriends Rani, another street kid, and she takes him under her wing. But plotting their next move is hard–and fraught with danger–in a world that cares little for homeless, low caste children. This is not the world Kabir dreamed of–but he’s discovered he’s not the type to give up. Kabir is ready to show the world that he–and his mother–deserve a place in it.”
“A coming-of-age story about transgender tween Obie, who didn’t think being himself would cause such a splash. For fans of Alex Gino’s George and Lisa Bunker’s Felix Yz.
Obie knew his transition would have ripple effects. He has to leave his swim coach, his pool, and his best friends. But it’s time for Obie to find where he truly belongs.
As Obie dives into a new team, though, things are strange. Obie always felt at home in the water, but now he can’t get his old coach out of his head. Even worse are the bullies that wait in the locker room and on the pool deck. Luckily, Obie has family behind him. And maybe some new friends too, including Charlie, his first crush. Obie is ready to prove he can be one of the fastest boys in the water—to his coach, his critics, and his biggest competition: himself.”
Danny Chung Sums It Up by Maisie Chan, Illustrated by Natelle Quek
“A touching and funny middle-grade story about a boy whose life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother moves in
Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English—and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. Filled with heart and humor, Danny Chung Sums It Up shows that traversing two cultures is possible and worth the effort, even if it’s not always easy.”
Lotería by Karla Arenas Valenti, Illustrated by Dana SanMar
“In the hottest hour of the hottest day of the year, a fateful wind blows into Oaxaca City. It whistles down cobbled streets and rustles the jacaranda trees before slipping into the window of an eleven-year-old girl named Clara. Unbeknownst to her, Clara has been marked for la Lotería.
Life and Death deal the Lotería cards but once a year, and the stakes could not be higher. Every card reveals a new twist in Clara’s fate—a scorpion, an arrow, a blood-red rose. If Life wins, Clara will live to a ripe old age. If Death prevails, she’ll flicker out like a candle.
But Clara knows none of this. All she knows is that her young cousin Esteban has vanished, and she’ll do whatever it takes to save him, traveling to the mythical Kingdom of Las Pozas, where every action has a price, and every choice has consequences. And though it seems her fate is sealed, Clara just might have what it takes to shatter the game and choose a new path.
Karla Arenas Valenti weaves an adventure steeped in magic and mythology—gorgeously illustrated by Dana Sanmar—exploring the notion of free will in a world where fate holds all the cards.”
“Lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it? After a terrible year, Madalyn needs clear skies desperately. Moving in with her great-uncle, Papa Lobo, and switching to a new school is just the first step.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, though. Madalyn discovers she’s the only Black girl in her class, and while most of her classmates are friendly, assumptions lead to some serious storms.
Papa Lobo’s long-running feud with neighbor Mrs. Baylor brings wild weather of its own, and Madalyn wonders just how far things will go. But when fire threatens the community, Madalyn discovers that truly being neighborly means more than just staying on your side of the street— it means weathering tough conversations—and finding that together a family can pull through anything.
Award-winning author Tanita S. Davis shows us that life isn’t always clear, and that partly cloudy days still contain a bit of blue worth celebrating.”
Witches of Brooklyn: What The Hex?! by Sophie Escabasse
“Effie returns in this spellbinding sequel: a middle-grade graphic novel about found family, friendship, and learning to embrace who you are!
Could there be even MORE witches in Brooklyn?!
Effie is EXCITED to meet so many witches, but what is going on with her friends? Suddenly Effie is no longer the newest kid in school, and it seems like her friends are happy to grow their little group, but Effie isn’t so sure. On top of that, learning magic is HARD WORK!
Effie just wants to have fun being a witch, but her life in Brooklyn is about to get weird(er).
The bewitching second book in the Witches of Brooklyn series captures what it means to be a friend, and how growing up can be a little less scary if you throw some magic in the mix.”
Borders by Thomas King, Illustrated by Natasha Donovan
“From celebrated Indigenous author Thomas King and award-winning Métis artist Natasha Donovan comes a powerful graphic novel about a family caught between nations.
Borders is a masterfully told story of a boy and his mother whose road trip is thwarted at the border when they identify their citizenship as Blackfoot. Refusing to identify as either American or Canadian first bars their entry into the US, and then their return into Canada. In the limbo between countries, they find power in their connection to their identity and to each other.
Borders explores nationhood from an Indigenous perspective and resonates deeply with themes of identity, justice, and belonging.”
Today I want to share a beautiful picture book all about a song that perfectly captures the bittersweet moment of summer ending. The Good Song by Alexandria Giardino and Penelope Dullaghan is a fictional story inspired by the song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What a Wonderful world” recorded by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole.
Title: The Good Song Author: Alexandria Giardino Illustrator: Penelope Dullaghan Publisher: Cameron Kids Published: October 6, 2020 Format: Picture Book
Originally published in October 2020, this stunning picture book tells the story of a young Hawaiian boy named Iz, beginning with the day he was born, when the world sang him a lullaby. Iz’s grandfather lovingly teaches him to hear the beautiful music of love and life all around him. This essential life lesson helps Iz navigate the feelings of grief and darkness that he finds upon losing his grandfather. Much like the song that inspired it, The Good Song is filled with beauty, grief, sadness, and joy, creating a touching story for young readers.
The illustrations by Penelope Dullaghan are absolutely phenomenal! The lush colors create the perfect backdrop for Iz’s story. I particularly loved the way the rainbow is used to create a visual representation of the music in Iz’s life.
Complete with back matter that shares the history of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, “What a Wonderful World”, and Iz’s original version, The Good Song is a wonderful lesson in musical history, as well as a beautiful story.
You can pick up your own copy of The Good Song wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
Thank you so much to Cameron Kids for providing me with a review copy of this beautiful book. I am thrilled to share it with you all today!
About The Author:
Alexandria Giardino’s debut picture book, Ode to an Onion, published by Cameron Kids, was inspired by the poet Pablo Neruda and his muse, Matilde. It was a Junior Library Guild selection. She lives in Northern California. You can find Alexandria online at alexgiardino.com and on Twitter @Alex_Giardino.
About The Illustrator:
Penelope Dullaghan is an illustrator based in Indianapolis. This is her first picture book for Cameron Kids. You can find Penelope online at penelopedullaghan.com and on Instagram @penelope_dullaghan.
It’s almost June, and we all know what that means! It’s Pride, y’all!
Though the first Pride rally was celebrated over 50 years ago, the queer community is still one of the most underrepresented voices in children’s books today. So whether you’re a queer family or are raising active allies, I wanted to make your search for books to read to your little ones to celebrate Pride a little bit easier. I have gathered thirty of my favorite queer titles, including both fiction and nonfiction titles. With one book for every day in June, young readers will learn about the history of Pride itself and hear wonderful stories about families with queer kids, parents, grandparents, and more. There’s even a gay fairy tale!
So without further ado, here are my 30 picks for Pride Month!
Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.
Love Is Love: An Important LGBTQ Pride Book for Kids About Gay Parents and Diverse Families by Michael Genhart, Illustrated by Ken Min (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Open a dialogue with the children in your life about the importance of love and acceptance with this Silver Moonbeam Award Winner story celebrating open mindedness, diversity, and the LGBTQIA+ community. Perfect for your family library or a storytime read-aloud for any day of the year.
It’s love that makes a family.
When a boy confides in his friend about bullies saying he doesn’t have a real family, he discovers that his friend’s parents―a mom and a dad―and his two dads are actually very much alike.
Dr. Michael Genhart’s debut story is the perfect resource to gently discuss discrimination with kids. This sweet and straightforward story shows that gay families and straight families and everything in between are all different kinds of normal. What makes a family real is the love that is shared.”
When Aiden Became A Big Brother by Kyle Lukoff, Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita (Bookshop | Amazon)
“When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl’s room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing. After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of his life that didn’t fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life.
Then Mom and Dad announce that they’re going to have another baby, and Aidan wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning–from choosing the perfect name to creating a beautiful room to picking out the cutest onesie. But what does “making things right” actually mean? And what happens if he messes up? With a little help, Aidan comes to understand that mistakes can be fixed with honesty and communication, and that he already knows the most important thing about being a big brother: how to love with his whole self.
When Aidan Became a Brother is a heartwarming book that will resonate with transgender children, reassure any child concerned about becoming an older sibling, and celebrate the many transitions a family can experience.”
Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution by Rob Sanders, Illustrated by Jamey Christoph (Bookshop | Amazon)
“From Rob Sanders, author of the acclaimed Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, comes this powerful and timeless true story that will allow young readers to discover the rich and dynamic history of the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement–a movement that continues to this very day. In the early-morning hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police in New York City. Though the inn had been raided before, that night would be different. It would be the night when empowered members of the LGBTQ+ community–in and around the Stonewall Inn–began to protest and demand their equal rights as citizens of the United States. Movingly narrated by the Stonewall Inn itself, and featuring stirring and dynamic illustrations, Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution is an essential and empowering civil rights story that every child deserves to hear.”
My Rainbow by Trinity and Deshanna Neal, Illustrated by Art Twink (Bookshop | Amazon)
“A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal.
Warm morning sunlight and love fill the Neal home. And on one quiet day, playtime leads to an important realization:Trinity wants long hair like her dolls. She needs it to express who she truly is.
So her family decides to take a trip to the beauty supply store, but none of the wigs is the perfect fit. Determined, Mom leaves with bundles of hair in hand, ready to craft a wig as colorful and vibrant as her daughter is.
With powerful text by Trinity and DeShanna Neal and radiant art by Art Twink, My Rainbow is a celebration of showing up as our full selves with the people who have seen us fully all along.”
Stella Brings The Family by Miriam B. Schiffer, Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day celebration, but what’s a girl with two daddies to do? It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework, or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party. Fortunately, Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in this sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family.”
Pride Puppy by Robin Stevenson, Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin (Bookshop | Amazon)
“A young child and their family are having a wonderful time together celebrating Pride Day―meeting up with Grandma, making new friends and eating ice cream. But then something terrible happens: their dog gets lost in the parade! Luckily, there are lots of people around to help reunite the pup with his family.
This rhyming alphabet book tells a lively story, with rich, colorful illustrations that will have readers poring over every detail as they spot items starting with each of the letters of the alphabet. An affirming and inclusive book that offers a joyful glimpse of a Pride parade and the vibrant community that celebrates this day each year.”
Maiden and Princess by Daniel Haack and Isabel Galupo, Illustrated by Becca Human (Bookshop | Amazon)
“In this modern fairy tale, a strong, brave maiden is invited to attend the prince’s royal ball, but at the dance, she ends up finding true love in a most surprising place.
“The prince is smart and strong,”
she confided in her mother.
“But if I’m being honest,
I see him as a brother.”
Her mother said, “Just go!
And have a bit of fun.
The prince might not be right,
but you could meet the one.”
Once in a faraway kingdom, a strong, brave maiden is invited to attend the prince’s royal ball, but she’s not as excited to go as everyone else. After her mother convinces her to make an appearance, she makes a huge impression on everyone present, from the villagers to the king and queen, but she ends up finding true love in a most surprising place. This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.”
This Day in June by Gayle. E Pitman, Illustrated by Kristyna Litten (Bookshop | Amazon)
“In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, this title welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united. Also included is a reading guide chock-full of facts about LGBT history and culture, as well as a ‘Note to Parents and Caregivers’ with information on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways.”
A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary, Illustrated by Qin Leng (Bookshop | Amazon)
“When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all.
One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One is full of stepsiblings, and another has a new baby.
As one by one, her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them — family of every shape, size and every kind of relation — the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, her family is special.
A warm and whimsical look at many types of families written by award-winning author Sara O’Leary, A Family is a Family springs to life with quirky and sweet illustrations by Qin Leng.”
Auntie Uncle: Drag Queen Hero by Ellie Royce, Illustrated by Hannah Chambers (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Told from the perspective of their adoring nephew, Auntie Uncle: Drag Queen Hero is the story of a courageous drag queen who saves the day, and brings two communities together.
The young narrator thinks it’s awesome that his Uncle and his Auntie are the same person. Uncle Leo is an accountant, and is great at helping with math homework. Auntie Lotta is a fabulous performer, and loves to sing and dance with her nephew. One day Lotta’s family comes to watch her perform at the local Pride parade. Suddenly, a dog breaks free of its leash and nearly causes a float-crash, but Lotta springs into action just in time to save the dog and the parade. The mayor wants to give her a medal for courage and to throw a big party for her and all her friends, but Lotta worries that her friends who only know him as “Leo” won’t get along with her fellow drag performers who know her as “Lotta.” With the help of their nephew they put together a fierce look that is both Leo and Lotta, the perfect ensemble for an Auntie Uncle. A sweet, uplifting story about fearlessly letting your true self shine.”
What Are Your Words by Katherine Locke, Illustrated by Anne (Andy) Passchier (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Follow Ari through their neighborhood as they try to find their words in this sweet, accessible introduction to gender-inclusive pronouns that is perfect for readers of all ages.
Whenever Ari’s Uncle Lior comes to visit, they ask Ari one question: “What are your words?” Some days Ari uses she/her. Other days Ari uses he/him. But on the day of the neighborhood’s big summer bash, Ari doesn’t know what words to use. On the way to the party, Ari and Lior meet lots of neighbors and learn the words each of them use to describe themselves, including pronouns like she/her, he/him, they/them, ey/em, and ze/zir. As Ari tries on different pronouns, they discover that it’s okay to not know your words right away—sometimes you have to wait for your words to find you.”
For more on What are Your Words?, check out my full review.
Two Grooms on a Cake by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Robbie Cathro (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Long before marriage equality was the law of the land, two grooms stood on a wedding cake with their feet firmly planted in fluffy white frosting. That cake belonged to Jack Baker and Michael McConnell, who were wed on September 3, 1971, becoming the first same-sex couple in America to be legally married. Their struggle to obtain a marriage license in Minnesota and their subsequent appeals to the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States is an under-told story of LGBT history. This beautiful book celebrates the love story of two pioneers of marriage equality for all through the baking of their wedding cake!”
Daddy and Dada by Ryan Brockington and Isaac Webster, Illustrated by Lauren May (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Families can come in all shapes and sizes, and this heartwarming picture book affirms that no matter what your family looks like, love is the most important part!
Hi, I’m Rumi. Some of my friends have one mom and one dad. Some have one mom or one dad. I have two dads. Daddy and Dada. Daddy sings songs with me. Dada reads me stories. Every family is different. And that’s pretty cool.
This sweet, open-hearted book began as a love letter from authors Ryan Brockington and Isaac Webster to their daughter—and became a joyous celebration of love, family, and acceptance for all to read and share.”
A Church for All by Gayle E. Pitman, Illustrated by Laure Fournier (Bookshop | Amazon)
“On Sunday morning, we gather together. We are every color. Every age. Rich and poor. Our church is open, affirming, and accepting. We believe in love instead of hate. There’s room for everyone! This book celebrates a spiritual community that embraces all people―no matter their age, race, class, gender identity, or sexual orientation―in love and faith.”
Born Ready: The True Story of A Boy Named Penelope by Jodie Patterson, Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Jodie Patterson, activist and Chair of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Board, shares her transgender son’s experience in this important picture book about identity and acceptance.
Penelope knows that he’s a boy. (And a ninja.) The problem is getting everyone else to realize it.
In this exuberant companion to Jodie Patterson’s adult memoir, The Bold World, Patterson shares her son Penelope’s frustrations and triumphs on his journey to share himself with the world. Penelope’s experiences show children that it always makes you stronger when you are true to yourself and who you really are.”
Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman, Illustrated by Laura Cornell (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, two pets—and two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. This delightful edition for a new generation of young readers features fresh illustrations by Laura Cornell and an updated story by Lesléa Newman.”
“A joyful celebration of LGBTQ+ vocabulary for kids of all ages!
A playdate extravaganza transforms into a celebration of friendship, love, and identity as four friends sashay out of all the closets, dress up in a wardrobe fit for kings and queens, and discover the wonder of imagination. From A is for Ally to F is for Family to Q is for Queer, debut author/illustrator M. L. Webb’s bright illustrations and lively, inclusive poems delight in the beauty of embracing one’s truest self. A glossary in the back offers opportunity for further discussion of terms and identities. The GayBCs is perfect for fans of A Is for Activist and Feminist Baby—showing kids and adults alike that every identity is worthy of being celebrated.”
“Gramps and Grandad were adventurers. They would surf, climb mountains, and tour the country in their amazing camper. Gramps just made everything extra special. But after Gramps died, granddad hasn’t felt like traveling anymore. So, their amazing granddaughter comes up with a clever plan to fix up the old camper and get Grandad excited to explore again.
This beautiful picture book honors love and reminds us not only to remember those we have lost, but to celebrate them.”
For more on this book, check out the full review here.
Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale, Illustrated by Mika Song (Bookshop | Amazon)
“An empowering celebration of identity, acceptance and Hawaiian culture based on the true story of a young girl in Hawaiʻi who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe at her school.
Ho’onani feels in-between. She doesn’t see herself as wahine (girl) OR kane (boy). She’s happy to be in the middle. But not everyone sees it that way.
When Ho’onani finds out that there will be a school performance of a traditional kane hula chant, she wants to be part of it. But can a girl really lead the all-male troupe? Ho’onani has to try . . .
Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and an empowering story of a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is–and in doing so, gains the respect of all those around her.”
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and The Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders, Illustrated by Steven Salerno (Bookshop | Amazon)
“In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today’s world. Award-winning author Rob Sanders’s stirring text, and acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno’s evocative images, combine to tell this remarkable – and undertold – story. A story of love, hope, equality, and pride.”
Plenty Of Hugs by Fran Manushkin, Illustrated by Kate Alizadeh (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Two mommies spend a sunny day with their toddler in this cozy, rhyming picture book that is a loving celebration of family.
This cheerful book follows a family from morning to night in lively rhyme that rolls off the tongue. There’s a buzz for each bug, and a breeze for each tree, and plenty of hugs for you and me. The toddler and mommies take a morning bike ride to a farm stand, they visit a zoo in the afternoon, and in the evening there’s the bath and storybook routine before the child is tucked cozily into bed. There are seas for ships and kisses for lips, so we can whisper I love you! This is sure to become a preschool favorite, for bedtime and any time.”
The Hips On The Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish by Lil Miss Hot Mess, Illustrated by Olga de Dios Ruiz (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Playing off “The Wheels on the Bus,” this nursery rhyme book from a founder of Drag Queen Story Hour is a fun, freewheeling celebration of being your most fabulous self.
The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish encourages readers to boldly be exactly who they are. Written by a founding member of the nationally recognized Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), this playful picture book offers a quirky twist on a classic nursery rhyme by illustrating all of the ways to “work it”. The story plays off “The Wheels on the Bus” as it follows a drag queen who performs her routine in front of an awestruck audience. A fun frenzy of fierceness, this book will appeal to readers of all ages.”
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen, Illustrated by Lucia Soto (Bookshop | Amazon)
“When Chloe’s favorite uncle announces that he’s getting married, everyone is excited. Everyone except Chloe, that is. What if Uncle Bobby no longer has time for picnics, swimming, or flying kites? Chloe just wants to keep having fun with her favorite uncle, but she’s afraid everything is going to change. Can Uncle Bobby and his boyfriend Jamie show Chloe that, when it comes to family, the more the merrier? In this inspiring, love-filled story, Chloe learns just what family means.
Produced in coordination with GLAAD, this adorable picture book is a positive example of same-sex marriage and a celebration of family.”
“An unapologetic celebration of friendship and first crushes
“Archie loves Zack!” “Zack loves Archie!” Everyone said it was so. But Archie hasn’t told Zack yet. And Zack hasn’t told Archie. They spend just about every minute together: walking to and from school, doing science and art projects, practicing for marching band, learning to ride bikes, and so much more. Over the course of a few months, Archie tries to write a letter to Zack to tell him how he feels: “From A to Z.” None of his drafts sound quite right, so he hides them all away. One by one, Archie’s friends (Zelda, Zinnia, and Zuzella) find the letters . . . but they know exactly whom they’re meant for. This new picture book from Vincent X. Kirsch celebrates young, queer love in a whimsical, kid-friendly way.”
Be sure to check out the full review of From Archie to Zackhere.
Pride 1,2,3 by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Wednesday Holmes (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Celebrate and march along in the Pride Parade with this lively counting board book!
1 parade in the month of June 2 DJs spin fabulous tunes 3 families of all different types 4 activists fight the good fight
Teach your little ones about the Pride Parade with this colorful, energetic counting book! Featuring a diverse cast of characters and families, this board book highlights and celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community, love, and standing up for who you are while counting to ten. Perfect for all families, this counting board book should be shared and read with pride!”
Sylvia and Marsha Start A Revolution by Joy Michael Ellison, Illustrated by Teshika Silver (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Someday girls like us will be able to wear whatever we want. People will call us by the names we choose. They’ll respect that we are women. The cops will leave us alone and no one will go hungry.”
Sylvia and Marsha are closer than sisters. They are kind and brave and not afraid to speak their truth, even when it makes other people angry.
This illustrated book introduces children to the story of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, the two transgender women of colour who helped kickstart the Stonewall Riots and dedicated their lives to fighting for LGBTQ+ equality. It introduces children to issues surrounding gender identity and diversity, accompanied by a reading guide and teaching materials to further the conversation.”
Sam Is My Sister by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, Illustrated by MacKenzie Haley (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Evan loves being big brother to Sam and Finn. They do everything together―go fishing, climb trees, and play astronauts. But lately, Evan notices that he and Sam don’t look like brothers anymore. Sam wants to have long hair, and even asks to wear a dress on the first day of school. As time goes by, Evan comes to understand why Sam wants to look like a girl―because Sam is a girl. Sam is transgender. And just like always, Sam loves to dream with Evan and Finn about going to the moon together. Based on one family’s real-life experiences, this heartwarming story of a girl named Sam and the brothers who love and support her will resonate with readers everywhere.”
“Ayesha is excited to attend her cousin Ritu’s wedding. She can’t wait to dance at the baraat ceremony! But not everyone is happy that Ritu is marrying her girlfriend Chandni. Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin’s big day?”
A Plan For Pops by Heather Smith, Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Lou spends every Saturday with Grandad and Pops. They walk to the library hand in hand, like a chain of paper dolls. Grandad reads books about science and design, Pops listens to rock and roll, and Lou bounces from lap to lap. But everything changes one Saturday. Pops has a fall. That night there is terrible news: Pops will need to use a wheelchair, not just for now, but for always. Unable to cope with his new circumstances, he becomes withdrawn and shuts himself in his room. Hearing Grandad trying to cheer up Pops inspires Lou to make a plan. Using skills learned from Grandad, and with a little help from their neighbors, Lou comes up with a plan for Pops.”
“In this beautiful, bold board book, children will learn about the colors of the iconic pride flag!
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, and brown . . . These are the colors of our rainbow flag. Do you know what they stand for?
Every young child is enchanted by the beautiful colors of the rainbow. Now, Our Rainbow can teach toddlers all about the meaning of each color of the pride flag. Told in simple, engaging text and paired with bright illustrations, this board book teaches the youngest of readers all about the colors of this rainbow and the simple acts of kindness that can brighten up our world! This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.”
Did I miss any of your favorites? Be sure to share your favorite LGBTQ+ titles in the comments below. Y’all know I love to hear about the books you’re reading.
I hope you all enjoyed this list and found a few titles to add to your celebrations this month. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Pride!
I have to be honest with y’all, I didn’t plan on covering Llama Glamarama by Simon James Green and Garry Parsons due to my strict “no animals” rule. But my mind was changed when Alessandra at Read with River shared such a thoughtful #LibrarianFightClub post, arguing that animal books aren’t really the reason for the lack of diversity in children’s books.
It really got me thinking. Who am I to tell folks that they shouldn’t tell their stories with animals? Am I excluding books by or about marginalized communities? Should I perhaps adopt an “almost always no animals” rule? The post specifically made me think of an ARC I had read a few weeks prior called Llama Glamarama.
In this rhyming picture book, we meet Larry the Llama, who lives in a barn with lots of straight-laced, rule-following llamas. But Larry is keeping a secret – he loves to dance. When his friends suspect he might be dancing, Larry runs away from his barn. While he is away, he discovers a poster for a carnival called the Llama Glamarama. Larry is stunned to find a huge crowd, music, and llamas dancing. He realizes he is not alone, which gives him the courage to go back home and tell his friends his truth, who in return reveal a few secrets they’ve been keeping.
Llama Glamarama is a bit campy and flamboyant in all the right ways. Adults will catch references to LGBTQ+ themes, though they are never directly mentioned. While this book isn’t specifically about the queer experience, it absolutely encourages young readers to celebrate their differences. It also builds a firm foundation of both acceptance and confidence in your identity – two skills all children need. So while yes, there is an animal at the center of Llama Glamarama, it still provides us with an opportunity to have conversations with the youngest readers about being themselves unapologetically and celebrating others who do the same.
I am so thankful to Alessandra for challenging my stance on animal books, because I would have missed out on sharing this delightful story. At the end of the day, Llama Glamarama is an entertaining picture book with fun illustrations that I’m sure lots of children will enjoy. Who doesn’t love llamas and rainbow boas?
Llama Glamarama officially releases next week (June 1, 2021), but you can preorder your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
Simon James Green is an award-winning author of young adult titles based in the UK. LLama Glamarama is his picture book debut. Please visit his website at simonjamesgreen.com to learn more about him and his work.
Garry Parsons is a UK-based illustrator of many children’s books, including the bestselling series The Dinosaur That Pooped by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter. To learn more about Garry and his work, please visit his website at garryparsons.co.uk.
Thank you so much to Scholastic for providing me with a review copy of Llama Glamarama. It was such a fun read, and has a great message…even without human characters.
Happy Tuesday, everybody! Tuesdays are my favorite, because it’s new release day!
I’m so excited to share the new releases I am most looking forward to this week with you all. 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.
Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.
A is for Astronaut: An Out-of-This-World Alphabet Adventure by Dr. Jennifer Levasseur, Illustrated by Vanessa Port (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Blast off into space and learn the ABCs with the Smithsonian!
2021 NAPPA (National Parenting Product Awards) Winner Inside this board book, little space explorers will learn out-of-this-world words for each letter of the alphabet paired with colorful illustrations on each page. From astronaut to zero gravity, this simple introduction to outer space and the ABCs is sure to delight babies and their parents! Author Jennifer Levasseur serves as the as the responsible curator for the National Air and Space Museum’s astronaut cameras and chronographs, as well as the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs.”
Pink Is For Boys by Robb Pearlman, Illustrated by Eda Kaban (Bookshop | Amazon)
“An empowering and educational board book that proves colors are for everyone, regardless of gender.
Pink is for boys . . . and girls . . . and everyone! This timely and beautiful board book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids-and their grown-ups-to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. Featuring a diverse group of relatable characters, Pink Is for Boys invites and encourages children to enjoy what they love to do, whether it’s racing cars and playing baseball, or loving unicorns and dressing up. Vibrant illustrations help children learn and identify the myriad colors that surround them every day, from the orange of a popsicle, to the green of a grassy field, all the way up to the wonder of a multicolored rainbow.
Parents and kids will delight in Robb Pearlman’s sweet, simple script, as well as its powerful message: life is not color-coded.”
When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling, Illustrated by Aaron Asis (Bookshop | Amazon)
“In an evocative picture book brimming with the scents, tastes, and traditions that define a young girl’s summer with her grandmother, debut author Michelle Sterling and illustrator Aaron Asis come together to celebrate the gentle bonds of familial love that span oceans and generations.
For one young girl, summer is the season of no school, of days spent at the pool, and of picking golden limes off the trees. But summer doesn’t start until her lola—her grandmother from the Philippines—comes for her annual visit.
Summer is special. For her lola fills the house with the aroma of mango jam, funny stories of baking mishaps, and her quiet sweet singing in Tagalog. And in turn, her granddaughter brings Lola to the beach, to view fireworks at the park, and to catch fish at their lake.
When Lola visits, the whole family gathers to cook and eat and share in their happiness of another season spent together. Yet as summer transitions to fall, her lola must return home—but not without a surprise for her granddaughter to preserve their special summer a bit longer.”
And I Paint It by Beth Kephart, Illustrated by Amy June Bates (Bookshop | Amazon)
“A poetic picture-book biography about artist N.C. Wyeth’s daughter, Henriette, a talented painter in her own right
And I think of the girl I am and the girl I’ll be: A painter, like Pa. An actress (maybe). A fairy with wings. A father and daughter sneak away from their big, busy family to paint in the wild landscape. Together, they paint a lily, bright and white as a star; the green growing into the cap of a strawberry; the blue in the sky running pink. Henriette’s father is N.C. Wyeth, the famous artist, who encourages her to paint what she sees, to awaken into her dreams, and she does, in this poetic picture book inspired by a famous American family of artists.”
Ruby’s Reunion Day Dinner by Angela Dalton, Illustrated by Jestenia Southerland (Bookshop | Amazon)
“This joyful picture book taps into the rich African American tradition of family reunions, with delicious food at the heart of the celebration. Perfect for fans of the Caldecott Honor Book Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons.
Once a year, each of Ruby’s relatives prepares a special dish to share at their family reunion. Daddy calls it their “signature dish”—and Ruby wants one of her own. She wanders through the bustling kitchen looking for inspiration. As she watches Pop-Pop’s chicken sizzling in the skillet, Uncle G slicing onions, and Auntie Billie cooking corn on the hot grill, she wonders if she’s just too young to have a signature dish. That’s when she finds it— the perfect solution!
Angela Dalton’s warm text is perfectly paired with Jestenia Southerland’s beautiful art in this sweet picture book, filled with the tenderness and warmth of this multigenerational extended family and the food they share.”
All Of Us by Kathryn Erskine, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger (Bookshop | Amazon)
“A beautiful book about community and love by National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Alexandra Boiger.
ME can be WE. YOU can come, too. In a lyrical text that travels the globe, National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine shows young readers how the whole world is a community made up of people who are more similar than we are different. With stunning, cinematic art by Alexandra Boiger, the illustrator of the She Persisted series, this is the perfect read-aloud at bedtime or for story time. Perfect for fans of All Are Welcome and Be Kind.”
The Incredible Ship of Captain Skip by Alicia Acosta, Illustrated by Cecilia Moreno (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Join Skip and her crew on their amazing journey across the sea. As you read the story, you’ll make your own paper ship with easy-to-follow instructions! Through her adventure, Skip’s ship will be damaged. At the same time, you’ll be tearing off pieces of your paper ship discovering a funny surprise in the end… the treasure of Captain Skip!”
Ballerina Birthday (Ballet Bunnies #3) by Swapna Reddy, Illustrated by Binny Talib (Bookshop | Amazon)
“This new full-color chapter book series features the most darling dancers you will ever meet! For fans of the Magic Bunny, Isadora Moon, and Rainbow Magic series.
It’s Millie’s birthday and the Ballet Bunnies can’t wait to celebrate with her! The teeny dancer bunnies sneak into her bag and steal away to Millie’s house. When it’s time for Millie’s party, the bunnies secretly dash beneath tables and chairs to get a glimpse at all the festivities!
Spin and twirl with more Ballet Bunnies books! Ballet Bunnies #1: The New Class and Ballet Bunnies #2: Let’s Dance!”
Make New Friends, But Keep the Old (Twig and Turtle #4) by Jennifer Richard Jacobson (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Friendship woes and a visit from Grandma push Twig to find her voice in the fourth book in the Twig and Turtle chapter book series, perfect for fans of Ivy and Bean and Judy Moody.
Speaking up can be super hard.
Just when Twig thinks she’s finally found a new best friend, Angela’s former BFF, Effie, comes back to town. And to Twig, Effie is anything but friendly. With Effie hogging the spotlight and Angela’s time, Twig has never felt so alone. And while Twig’s little sister, Turtle, can be a lot of fun to hang out with, she doesn’t replace a best friend.
Then Grandma comes to visit, bringing with too much clutter and too many strong opinions for the tiny house, and it all becomes too much. Will Twig be able to find her voice without hurting anyone’s feelings?
The fourth book in the Twig and Turtle chapter book series, Make New Friends, But Keep the Old weaves themese of friendshipand finding your voice in a sweet package that fans of Ivy and Bean and Judy Moody will find hard to resist.”
“Bollywood takes over in this contemporary, magical middle grade novel about an Indian American girl whose world turns upside down when she involuntarily starts bursting into glamorous song-and-dance routines during everyday life.
You know how in Bollywood when people are in love, they sing and dance from the mountaintops? Eleven-year-old Sonali wonders if they do the same when they’re breaking up. The truth is, Sonali’s parents don’t get along, and it looks like they might be separating.
Sonali’s little brother, Ronak, is not taking the news well, constantly crying. Sonali would never do that. It’s embarrassing to let out so many feelings, to show the world how not okay you are. But then something strange happens, something magical, maybe. When Sonali gets upset during a field trip, she can’t bury her feelings like usual—instead, she suddenly bursts into a Bollywood song-and-dance routine about why she’s upset!
The next morning, much to her dismay, Sonali’s reality has shifted. Things seem brighter, almost too bright. Her parents have had Bollywood makeovers. Her friends are also breaking out into song and dance. And somehow, everyone is acting as if this is totally normal.
Sonali knows something has gone wrong, and she suspects it has something to do with her own mismanaged emotions. Can she figure it out before it’s too late?”
“Gordon Korman meets The Great Outdoors in this funny and moving debut about a boy who goes on a disastrous family vacation (sweltering heat! bear chases!) that ends with a terrible surprise: his dad’s new girlfriend.
There are zero reasons for Theo Ripley to look forward to his family vacation. Not only are he, sister Laura, and nature-obsessed Dad going to Big Bend, the least popular National Park, but once there, the family will be camping. And Theo is an indoor animal. It doesn’t help that this will be the first vacation they’re taking since Mom passed away.
Once there, the family contends with 110 degree days, wild bears, and an annoying amateur ornithologist and his awful teenage vlogger son. Then, Theo’s dad hits him with a whopper of a surprise: the whole trip is just a trick to introduce his secret new girlfriend.
Theo tries to squash down the pain in his chest. But when it becomes clear that this is an auditioning-to-be-his-stepmom girlfriend, Theo must find a way to face his grief and talk to his dad before his family is forever changed.”
“Even though her family moved across the country for a “fresh start” after her little brother’s death, eleven-year-old Zinnia Helinski still feels like she’s stuck waiting for her new life to begin. Then she spots her new neighbor, Kris, climbing down the fire escape of their apartment building. He’s wearing a black eye mask! And Spandex leggings. . . . And a blue body suit?
Soon Zinnia finds herself in a secret club for kids who want to be heroes. The Reality Shifters don’t have superpowers, but they do have the power to make positive change in their neighborhoods. And a change is just what Zinnia is looking for!
At first, she feels invincible. Zinnia finally has friends and is on the kind of real-life adventures her little brother, Wally, would have loved. But when her teammates lose sight of their goals, Zinnia must find the balance between bravery and recklessness, and learn to be a hero without her cape.”
It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, Gender, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris, Illustrated Michael Emberley (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Fully and fearlessly updated, this vital new edition of the acclaimed book on sex, sexuality, bodies, and puberty deserves a spot in every family’s library.
With more than 1.5 million copies in print, It’s Perfectly Normal has been a trusted resource on sexuality for more than twenty-five years. Rigorously vetted by experts, this is the most ambitiously updated editionyet, featuring to-the-minute information and language accompanied by new and refreshed art.
* A shift to gender-neutral vocabulary throughout
* An expansion on LGBTQIA topics, gender identity, sex, and sexuality—making this a sexual health book for all readers
* Coverage of recent advances in methods of sexual safety and contraception with corresponding illustrations
* A revised section on abortion, including developments in the shifting politics and legislation as well as an accurate, honest overview
* A sensitive and detailed expansion on the topics of sexual abuse, the importance of consent, and destigmatizing HIV/AIDS
* A modern understanding of social media and the internet that tackles rapidly changing technology to highlight its benefits and pitfalls and ways to stay safe online
Inclusive and accessible, this newest edition of It’s Perfectly Normal provides young people with the knowledge and vocabulary they need to understand their bodies, relationships, and identities in order to make responsible decisions and stay healthy.”
The Princess Who Saved Herself by Greg Pak, Illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Bookshop | Amazon)
“Welcome to The Princess Who Saved Herself, a children’s book written by comics writer Greg Pak, based on the beloved song by internet superstar musician Jonathan Coulton, and illustrated by artist Takeshi Miyazawa.
The Princess Who Saved Herself reinvents the princess myth for a new generation, telling the story of an awesome kid who lives with her pet snake and plays rock ‘n’ roll all day to the huge annoyance of the classical guitarist witch who lives down the road. Hijinks, conflicts, and a fun reconciliation ensues!
Based on the beloved song by internet superstar musician Jonathan Coulton, the new New York Times best-selling team of writer Greg Pak and artist Takeshi Miyazawa reunite for an unforgettable adventure full of determination, bravery, and compassion for everyone!”
“Fans of Real Friends and Be Prepared will love this energetic, affecting graphic memoir, in which a young girl uses her active imagination to navigate middle school as well as the fallout from her parents’ divorce.
Tori has never lived in just one world.
Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.
Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.
Author Tori Sharp takes us with her on a journey through the many commonplace but complex issues of fractured families, as well as the beautiful fantasy narrative that helps her cope, gorgeously illustrated and full of magic, fairies, witches and lost and found friendships.”
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!
Did I miss any releases you’re excited for? Be sure to share in the comments below!