New Release Round-Up: September 20, 2022

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

As always, these titles will have inclusive characters (think racial and cultural diversity, LGBTQ+ representation, diverse family structures, disability representation, and more), and fall into a range of genres in both fiction and nonfiction categories.

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Board Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making Happy by Sheetal Sheth, Illustrated by Khoa Le

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

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

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

Like by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Leo Espinosa

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

My Diwali Light by Raakhee Mirchandani

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obioma Plays Football by Chika Unigwe, Illustrated by Chinyere Okoroafor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Middle Grade

Black Bird, Blue Road by Sofiya Pasternack

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

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

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

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

You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro

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

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

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

Anisa’s International Day by Reem Faruqi

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

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

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

Will Anisa ever get to enjoy International Day? 

The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graphic Novels

Other Ever Afters: New Queer Fairy Tales by Melanie Gillman

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

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

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

That’s all I have for today. I hope you all enjoyed reading about these new releases, and hopefully, you found one or two to add to your young reader’s shelves!

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

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Author Spotlight: An Interview with Jeanne Walker Harvey

It’s been a while, but it’s time for another Author Spotlight. Today I am chatting with the very talented Jeanne Walker Harvey about her latest picture book biography, Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head.


Jeanne Walker Harvey has had many jobs, ranging from working as a roller coaster ride operator to an attorney for high-tech companies to a writer of magazine articles to a teacher of Language Arts and writing workshops at a public middle school. She has also been a longtime docent at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She is the author of several books for young readers, including the picture book biographies Dressing up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head, Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas, Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines and My Hands Sing the BluesRomare Bearden’s Childhood Journey. Jeanne studied literature and psychology at Stanford University. She lives in Northern California. Visit her online at JeanneHarvey.com and on Twitter @JeanneWHarvey.

Jeanne, Welcome to Mutually Inclusive! I’m so excited to have you here today! I’m a big fan of your picture book biographies. In fact, I recently used Ablaze With Color as a mentor text in my own writing. But before I start rambling on about how amazing picture book biographies are, would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m really excited to be here too! I’m a big fan of your blog and look forward to reading your reviews of inclusive children’s books which are so important to highlight. And thanks ever so much for your kind words! I’m flattered that you used our Ablaze with Color book as a mentor text in your own writing.

As you said, I’m an author primarily of picture book biographies of creative people. I’ve worn many job hats ranging from roller coaster operator to software licensing attorney to middle school language arts teacher. But my favorite job is the one I’ve always dreamed to be and get to do now – a children’s book author.

I’m always fascinated by the way different subjects speak to different authors, especially when it comes to picture book biographies. What was it about Edith Head that made you want to write Dressing Up The Stars?

When I was growing up in Southern California, my mom and I always watched the Academy Awards presentation on TV and vied to see who could spot Edith Head first. She was so distinctive with her blunt haircut, dark round glasses and always a gorgeous dress that she had designed for herself. I’ve always been drawn to the wonderful costumes in those fabulous Hollywood movies. And often Edith Head’s name would be on the credits. When I began researching her, I was even more amazed to learn that she won eight Academy Awards, more than any other woman including actresses. And she was nominated for Oscars thirty-five times!  Not only was she talented and creative, but she was also quite the role model as she was the first woman to head a major Hollywood costume department at Paramount Studios.

Title: Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head
Author: Jeanne Walker Harvey
Illustrator: Diana Toledano
Published: September 20, 2022
Publisher: Beach Lane (Simon & Schuster)
Format: Picture Book

I’d love to hear about the research process! How long did your research take? Did it take you to any fun or unexpected locations? Did you get to see any of Edith’s designs in person?

What great questions! I think I would compare my research process to diving into the deep end of a pool full of whatever I can find about the person. I tend to splash around a lot not knowing yet how the story will call to me. As you know, the goal of writing a picture book biography is not to be an encyclopedia recap of their life. Instead, I’m always looking for that throughline, that essence of the person and their challenges and inspirations. I tend to circle back to my drafts over the years. And I actually did work on this book for quite a long time which was a pleasure because it meant I had to watch more of the classic movies. I loved reading Edith Head’s first person account in her autobiography, the Dress Doctor, and learning about her early years growing up in the desert near mining camps where her stepfather worked. Without siblings or friends nearby, Edith used her imagination as a companion and even dressed up her pets, desert animals and cactus. I was excited to read about her childhood recollections because that conjured up such different images than the lifestyle of the famous woman entrenched in a busy Hollywood life.

And yes, I’ve been lucky to see some of Edith Head’s wonderful designs in person. I frequent as many fashion exhibits at museums as I can find. I sewed a bit in high school and so I admire the details of the costumes that one can only see up close. I just learned that the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is hosting a retrospective of Edith Head’s costume from June to September of 2024 with costumes spanning six decades of her career. I hope to visit! It’s really quite amazing that Edith Head has over 400 films to her credit! And last year, I attended the grand opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles and saw some of Edith Head’s original sketches which are amazing.

I know for me, when I’m “finished” researching a subject, I feel like I’m just swimming in facts about their life, and my first draft is always a bit encyclopedic. But, you always bring so much life and imagery to the page with your prose. How do you go from research to “paper”?

Thanks so very much for saying that I bring life and imagery to the page with my prose!  That’s really lovely. Sometimes I feel I agonize about every word choice in a picture book. I feel that every word is so valuable and I want to be sure that whatever I write is not something that will be conveyed in the illustrations. As you know, the illustrations and text of a picture book are equally important and should together lift the story higher.

That’s so funny that you also used the term “swimming in facts.” You are spot on about the volume of research. And yes, my early drafts are much too wordy and too fact heavy.  One technique that helps me to winnow down a draft is to move such fact centric wording to the right of the text, surround it with brackets, and preface it with “Illus:”.  These illustrator’s notes often don’t stay in the manuscript, but somehow it helps me to not just delete these gems of research right off the bat.

You’re a docent for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, so you know a thing or two about art. So how much do you love the wonderful illustrations by Diana Toledano?

I absolutely love Diana’s illustrations for Dressing Up the Stars! As you said, they are truly wonderful – so much whimsy and creativity. It’s amazing how perfectly Diana captures Edith Head not only as a child in the desert, but also Edith head as a young struggling, yet persistent, costume designer who overcomes numerous challenges. I just want to step inside the book and join Edith in her adventures! I also enjoy looking at all the details in Diana’s illustrations. She’s incorporated such unique patterns and designs in everything which so aptly reflects Edith’s work with cloth fabrics and designs. And I think because I am such a huge fan of modern art, I so value the incredible work of the illustrators of my books, such as Diana.

I notice you have fantastic activity kits for not just Dressing Up The Stars, but all of your books, on your website. Does your past experience as a teacher influence your choice to provide these free resources to parents and teachers?

I appreciate your bringing up the activity kits connected to my books, and I’m so glad you like them. I want to credit the creative team at Blue Slip Media that designed these activity kits. Both when I taught Language Arts and volunteered as a school docent for the San Francisco Museum of Art, I loved activities and projects tied to books and artwork. Children are so incredibly creative, and I think that the topics of the books and art resonate more with them when they make their own personal connections.

You had two picture books published in 2022, so what’s next for you? Any exciting news for 2023?

It’s been very exciting to have Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas published at the beginning of the year, and now Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head published also in 2022. I just feel incredibly fortunate! And to work with such an incredible team, beginning with my editor Andrea Welch, at Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, and everyone else on the team has been so wonderful. And yes, I’m working on another picture book biography of another female artist which I hope will be announced soon. Stay tuned!

Is there anything else you’d like Mutually Inclusive’s readers to know?

I’ve been thinking about how Edith Head sought to design costumes to help the actors transform themselves into their roles. I remember when I worked as a roller coaster operator and all of us, female and male, wore mechanics’ overalls. I loved those overalls – comfortable thick cotton, lots of pockets, roomy, and with a snazzy stripe down the side. And somehow when I slipped on those overalls, I felt confident in my role as a ride operator. I wasn’t an actor, but I still was playing a role for the amusement park public and my uniform helped me. As Edith Head said, “What a costume designer does is a cross between magic and camouflage. We create the illusion of changing the actors into what they are not.” 

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions, Jeanne! I loved Dressing Up The Stars and I’m so grateful to have you on the blog.

Oh, thanks so much! I truly loved answering your thoughtful questions and having the opportunity to be part of your Mutually Inclusive blog. Thank you and good luck with your writing endeavors! I look forward to hearing more about them.


Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Diana Toledano will be officially released tomorrow, but here are a few ways to celebrate with Jeanne and Diana today!

  • Don’t miss my giveaway on Instagram for your chance to win a copy of Dressing Up The Stars.
  • Be sure to keep an eye on kidlit.tv today for the debut of the book trailer!
  • You can preorder your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon.
  • You can request copies of Dressing Up The Stars at your local library to ensure your community has access to this wonderful story.

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Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

In the United States, Hispanic Heritage Month is observed every year from September 15th to October 15th and gives us all a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the many ways Hispanic Americans have enriched the culture and society of our nation. So to celebrate, I want to share some of my favorite picture books about Hispanic history, heritage, and culture.

Please note: This article contains affiliate links, from which I will receive a small commission. This commission allows me to maintain this website and continue to bring new content to you.

Our Day of the Dead Celebration by Ana Aranda

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

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

Paletero Man by Lucky Diaz, Illustrated by Micah Player

A vibrant picture book celebrating the strength of community and the tastes of summer from Latin Grammy-winning musician Lucky Diaz and celebrated artist Micah Player.

Ring! Ring! Ring! Can you hear his call? Paletas for one! Paletas for all!

What’s the best way to cool off on a hot summer day? Run quick and find Paletero José!

Follow along with our narrator as he passes through his busy neighborhood in search of the Paletero Man. But when he finally catches up with him, our narrator’s pockets are empty. Oh no! What happened to his dinero? It will take the help of the entire community to get the tasty treat now.”

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise, Illustrated by Paola Escobar

“An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.

When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.

Brought to colorful life by Paola Escobar’s elegant and exuberant illustrations and Anika Aldamuy Denise’s lyrical text, this gorgeous book is perfect for the pioneers in your life.”

Lupe Lopez: Rock Star Rules! by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo and Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrated by Joe Cepeda

When a sassy drummer starts kindergarten, the rules of school cramp her style. What’s a young rock star to do?

When Lupe Lopez struts through the doors of Hector P. Garcia Elementary in sunglasses with two taped-up Number 2 pencils—drumsticks, of course—poking from her pocket, her confidence is off the charts. All day, Lupe drums on desks, tables, and chairs while Ms. Quintanilla reminds her of school rules. Lupe has her own rules: 1) Don’t listen to anyone. 2) Make lots of noise. ¡Rataplán! 3) Have fans, not friends. But with her new teacher less than starstruck, and fans hard to come by, Lupe wonders if having friends is such a bad idea after all. Can it be that true star power means knowing when to share the spotlight? With its spirited illustrations and a simple text threaded through with Spanish words, this picture book is proof positive that being a strong girl moving to her own beat doesn’t have to mean pushing others away.”

Areli Is a Dreamer: A True Story by Areli Morales, a DACA Recipient by Areli Morales, Illustrated by Luisa Uribe

In the first picture book written by a DACA Dreamer, Areli Morales tells her own powerful and vibrant immigration story.

When Areli was just a baby, her mama and papa moved from Mexico to New York with her brother, Alex, to make a better life for the family–and when she was in kindergarten, they sent for her, too.
 
Everything in New York was different. Gone were the Saturdays at Abuela’s house, filled with cousins and sunshine. Instead, things were busy and fast and noisy. Areli’s limited English came out wrong, and schoolmates accused her of being illegal. But with time, America became her home. And she saw it as a land of opportunity, where millions of immigrants who came before her paved their own paths. She knew she would, too.”

Nosotros Means Us: Un cuento bilingüe by Paloma Valdivia

A moving bilingual ode to the unshakeable bond between a parent and child in the tradition of Runaway Bunny and The Wonderful Things You Will Be, from a New York Times bestselling creator.

If I were a sheep, you would be a lamb.
If I were a bear, you would be a cub.
As a mother holds her toddler, they muse over the way their love would translate if they were different animals. But no matter how they change, they will always be “us.” This bilingual story is a timeless ode to the unshakable bond between parent and child.”

Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua by Gloria Amescua, Illustrated Duncan Tonatiuh

“As a young Nahua girl in Mexico during the early 1900s, Luz learned how to grind corn in a metate, to twist yarn with her toes, and to weave on a loom. By the fire at night, she listened to stories of her community’s joys, suffering, and survival, and wove them into her heart.

But when the Mexican Revolution came to her village, Luz and her family were forced to flee and start a new life. In Mexico City, Luz became a model for painters, sculptors, and photographers such as Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot, and Tina Modotti. These artists were interested in showing the true face of Mexico and not a European version. Through her work, Luz found a way to preserve her people’s culture by sharing her native language, stories, and traditions. Soon, scholars came to learn from her.”

The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border by Stephen Briseño, Illustrated by Magdalena Mora

Based on true events, this inspiring story follows a mama and her daughter who are denied entry at the U.S. border, and must find the refugee in charge of “the notebook,” an unofficial ledger of those waiting to cross into the U.S.

Before, the sun drenched the yard. Our neighbor’s laughter danced in the streets. Now, the streets are quiet. Papa is gone, and we are no longer safe here. We are leaving, too.
 
In this moving and stunningly-illustrated picture book, Noemi and Mama flee their home in Mexico, and head for the US border. There, they look for “The Notebook Keeper”– the person in charge of a ledger for those waiting to cross, and they add their names to the book. As the days turn into weeks, and hope dwindles,  the little girl looks for kindness around her– and inside herself. One day, when the Notebook Keeper’s own name is called to cross, Noemi and her Mama are chosen–for the generosity in their hearts– to take her place.”

Coquí in the City by Nomar Perez

A heartfelt picture book based on the author-illustrator’s own experiences, about a boy who moves to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico and realizes that New York City might have more in common with San Juan than he initially thought.

Miguel’s pet frog, Coquí, is always with him: as he greets his neighbors in San Juan, buys quesitos from the panadería, and listens to his abuelo’s story about meeting baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Then Miguel learns that he and his parents are moving to the U.S. mainland, which means leaving his beloved grandparents, home in Puerto Rico, and even Coquí behind. Life in New York City is overwhelming, with unfamiliar buildings, foods, and people. But when he and Mamá go exploring, they find a few familiar sights that remind them of home, and Miguel realizes there might be a way to keep a little bit of Puerto Rico with him–including the love he has for Coquí–wherever he goes.”

Me Gusta by Angela Dominguez

A stunning bilingual picture book that celebrates Latinx families by highlighting moments of connection and delight and feelings of safety and home, even through challenges and difficult times.

Me gusta your smile, tu sonrisa,
and your hugs, tus abrazos.

Me gusta when we explore this spectacular world, el mundo,
and gaze at all the stars, las estrellas.


But most of all, me gusta that no matter where we are, I feel at home, en casa, when I’m with you.

In the affirmative and encouraging Me Gusta, acclaimed author and illustrator Angela Dominguez combines Spanish and English in a poetic and touching story of family, reminding us that through the adventures and the heartbreak, love conquers all and transcends language.”

If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja by Ana Siqueira, Illustrated by Irena Freitas

This bouncy, bilingual picture book is an enchanting, rollicking read-aloud for small ones with big imaginations.

On the night before Halloween, a new babysitter might be more than she appears. If she wears a black sombrero and cackles like a crow, she might just be a bruja! One little girl is determined not to fall victim to an evil witch or her cats. She knows bath time is really the bruja’s way of putting her in a boiling cauldron, and the only way to keep her at bay is with a magic potion—or is it?

With a boundless imagination and plenty of tricks up her sleeve, the young protagonist may just have the best night ever!”

Phenomenal AOC: The Roots and Rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by Anika Aldamuy Denise, Illustrated by Loris Lora

An inspiring biography of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from Pura Belpré Honor-winning creators Anika Aldamuy Denise and Loris Lora!

In 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest congresswoman in America. How did this young Puertoriqueña become an unstoppable force in politics? Find out in this accessible and engaging book for young readers.

AOC’s remarkable story begins in her childhood Bronx home and comes full circle the moment AOC became America’s youngest Congresswoman. Ocasio-Cortez’s empowering journey reminds us that everyone, regardless of their age, race, creed, wealth, or zip code, is capable of being a voice for change.

A glossary and resources for changemakers are included at the end of the book. “

Magic: Once Upon a Faraway Land by Mirelle Ortega

In her debut as author and illustrator, Mirelle Ortega shares her own story of growing up near her family’s pineapple farm in Mexico, where she learned the true meaning of magic

I learned that magic isn’t good or bad, it just is. Sometimes it gives, sometimes it takes. Sometimes life blossoms, sometimes it wilts.

Growing up on a pineapple farm in Mexico, a girl discovers the true meaning of the word magic in this truly magical picture book about change and transformation of all kinds—what we can’t control, such as natural disasters and loss, and what we can. Magic can transform dirt into pineapples, seeds into trees, wool into blankets, words into stories, blank pages into pictures—a story into a picture book.”

May Your Life Be Deliciosa by Michael Genhart, Illustrated by Loris Lora

A delicious and fortifying picture book inspired by the author’s family, featuring the Mexican tradition of holiday tamale-making

A 2022 Pura Belpré Award Illustrator Honor Book


“What is the recipe?” I ask. Abuela laughs. “It is in my heart, Rosie. I use mis ojos, my eyes, to measure. Mis manos, my hands, to feel. Mi boca, my mouth, to taste. My abuela gave it to me, and I am giving it to you.” Each year on Christmas Eve, Rosie’s abuela, mamá, tía, sister, and cousins all gather together in Abuela’s kitchen to make tamales—cleaning corn husks, chopping onions and garlic, roasting chilis, kneading cornmeal dough, seasoning the filling, and folding it all—and tell stories. Rosie learns from her abuela not only how to make a delicious tamale, but how to make a delicious life, one filled with love, plenty of spice, and family.”

Mi Ciudad Sings by Cynthia Harmony, Illustrated by Teresa Martinez

After experiencing a devastating earthquake, the spirit of a charming and vibrant Mexican neighborhood might be shaken, but it cannot be broken.

As a little girl and her dog embark on their daily walk through the city, they skip and spin to the familiar sounds of revving cars, clanking bikes, friendly barks, and whistling camote carts. But what they aren’t expecting to hear is the terrifying sound of a rumbling earthquake…and then…silence.
 
With captivating text and lively, beautiful illustrations, this heartwarming story leaves readers with the message that they can choose to be strong and brave even when they are scared, and can still find joy and hope in the midst of sadness.”

My Town / Mi Pueblo by Nicholas Solis, Illustrated by Luisa Uribe

In this bilingual picture book, cousins from opposite sides of the border visit each other’s towns and delight in their similarities and differences.

Two cousins live in two towns, separated by a river. But there is also a bigger divide—the US-Mexico border—which means they live in different countries. On the girl’s side, English is the main language, and on the boy’s it’s Spanish. The cousins love their towns, and they love visiting each other’s, where they notice some things are the same and some are wonderfully different, adding up to a vibrant world full of even more possibilities.

Author Nicholas Solis shows how border towns are special places, beautiful and dynamic, because two cultures can be better than one—and both cultures should be equally treasured and respected.”

Lola Out Loud: Inspired by the Childhood of Activist Dolores Huerta by Jennifer Torres, Illustrated by Sara Palacios

A powerful and inspiring imagined story about real-life civil rights activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta that reminds us that even our biggest heroes started out small.

Her grandpa calls her “Lolita Siete Lenguas”—Little Lola, Seven Tongues, all fighting to be heard. Lola is trying not to make so much noise, but when she witnesses injustices in her own neighborhood, she knows she can’t keep quiet. Can Lola find a way to use her voice for change? ¡Sí, se puede!

Inspired by the real-life civil rights activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta, Lola Out Loud is a warm and rollicking picture book that reminds us that sometimes one strong voice is just what we need.”

The Little House of Hope by Terry Catasús Jennings, Illustrated by Raúl Colón

When Esperanza and her family arrive in the United States from Cuba, they rent a little house, una casita. It may be small, but they soon prove that there’s room enough to share with a whole community.

“It was a little house. Una casita . . .
It was small.
It smelled like old wet socks. . .
But even though they were far from home,
The family was together.”

As Esperanza and her family settle into their new house, they all do their part to make it a home. When other immigrant families need a place to stay, it seems only natural for the family in la casita to help. Together they turn the house into a place where other new immigrants can help one another. Esperanza is always the first to welcome them to la casita. It’s a safe place in a new land.”

Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla by Diana López, Illustrate by Teresa Martinez

An exuberant picture book celebrating the life and legacy of Selena Quintanilla, beloved Queen of Tejano music.

From a very early age, young Selena knew how to connect with people and bring them together with music. Sing with Me follows Selena’s rise to stardom, from front-lining her family’s band at rodeos and quinceañeras to performing in front of tens of thousands at the Houston Astrodome. Young readers will be empowered by Selena’s dedication–learning Spanish as a teenager, designing her own clothes, and traveling around the country with her family–sharing her pride in her Mexican-American roots and her love of music and fashion with the world.”

Isabel and her Colores Go to School by Alexandra Alessandri, Illustrated by Courtney Dawson

“English, with its blustery blues and whites, just feels wrong to Isabel. She prefers the warm oranges and pinks of Spanish. As she prepares for class at a new school, she knows she’s going to have to learn–and she would rather not! Her first day is uncomfortable, until she discovers there’s more than one way to communicate with friends. This is a universal story about feeling new and making new friends.”

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! by Donna Barba Higuera, Illustrated by Juliana Perdomo

A boy and his monster confront their mutual fears in this unlikely friendship story that’s rooted in Mexican folklore

Ramón is a little boy who can’t sleep. He is nervous for his first day at a new school.
And El Cucuy is the monster who lives in Ramón’s cactus pot. He can’t sleep, either.
It turns out that El Cucuy is scared, too!
This gentle, perceptive story explores the worries that can accompany moving to a new place and beginning a new journey—and reveals how comfort, bravery, and strength can be found through even the most unexpected of friendships.”

A Song of Frutas by Margarita Engle, Illustrated by Sara Palacios

From Pura Belpré Award–winning author Margarita Engle comes a lively, rhythmic picture book about a little girl visiting her grandfather who is a pregonero—a singing street vendor in Cuba—and helping him sell his frutas.

When we visit mi abuelo, I help him sell
frutas, singing the names of each fruit
as we walk, our footsteps like drumbeats,
our hands like maracas, shaking…


The little girl loves visiting her grandfather in Cuba and singing his special songs to sell all kinds of fruit: mangolimónnaranjapiña, and more! Even when they’re apart, grandfather and granddaughter can share rhymes between their countries like un abrazo—a hug—made of words carried on letters that soar across the distance like songbirds.”

With Lots of Love by Jenny Torres Sanchez, Illustrated by André Ceolin

A beautiful, lyrical story about a girl who moves from her home in Central America to the United States, and everything she leaves behind and longs for—especially her Abuela—as she makes a new life.

Rocio has grown up in Central America, but now she and her family are moving to the United States. Rocio does her best to adjust to a new way of living, but there are many things she misses from her old life—Abuela’s cooking, Abuela’s pinata creations, Abuela’s warm hugs, and of course, Abuela herself most of all. But Abuela finds a way to send Rocio something special just in time for her birthday—a gift wrapped with lots of love—and that fills Rocio to the brim.”

The Coquíes Still Sing: A Story of Home, Hope, and Rebuilding by Karina Nicole González, Illustrated by Krystal Quiles

A powerful story about home, community, and hope, inspired by the rebuilding of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017, written by debut author Karina González and illustrated by Krystal Quiles.

“This book is more than beautiful.” – Yuyi Morales
, Caldecott Honoree and New York Times bestselling creator of Dreamers

Co-quí, co-quí! The coquí frogs sing to Elena from her family’s beloved mango tree―their calls so familiar that they might as well be singing, “You are home, you are safe.” But home is suddenly not safe when a hurricane threatens to destroy everything that Elena knows.

As time passes, Elena, alongside her community, begins to rebuild their home, planting seeds of hope along the way. When the sounds of the coquíes gradually return, they reflect the resilience and strength of Elena, her family, and her fellow Puerto Ricans.”

Until Someone Listens: A Story About Borders, Family, and One Girl’s Mission by Estela Juarez, Illustrated by Teresa Martínez

When Estela Juarez’s mom is deported to Mexico, Estela knows she has to speak up for her family. Told in Estela’s own words,Until Someone Listens is a true story about a young girl finding her voice and using it to make change.

Estela’s family lives together in a happy home full of love. Or, at least, they used to… until their home was torn apart.

My mom had to go back,
to the other side of the river,
because she wasn’t born in this country.

For years her family fought and fought for permission for her to stay in the U.S. But no one listened. When Estela was eight, her mother was deported to Mexico.

Estela knew she had to do something. So she wrote letters: to local newspapers, Congress, the President, and anyone else who could help. She wrote and wrote and wrote until, finally… someone listened.”

Strollercoaster by Matt Ringler, Illustrated by Raul Gonzalez III and Elaine Bay

This joyous romp through the neighborhood celebrates the bond between a father and a child, illustrated by an award-winning artist team.
Buckle up as a toddler’s tantrum is cleverly averted when a loving dad transforms an everyday neighborhood stroll into an extraordinary adventure, reminding us that all you need to chase away a bad mood is love and a little bit of imagination.

Brought to brilliantly-colored, kinetic life by award-winning artists Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay, Strollercoaster sings with details of a diverse and vibrant urban neighborhood bursting with life, enhanced by Spanish words embedded in the art. It’s the best ride in town!”

Yefferson, Actually / En realidad, es Yefferson by Katherine Trejo and Scott Martin-Rowe, Illustrated by Karla Monterrosa

Introduce your little ones to standing up for themselves (and their roots) in both English and Spanish!

On his first day as the new kid in school, shy Yefferson’s name is consistently mispronounced to his discomfort and embarrassment. With his family’s support, Yefferson finds the courage to stand up for himself and his namesake.

Yefferson, Actually is wonderful new picture book to embrace in the pantheon of classic Back to School stories. Follow sweet and unassuming Yefferson – proudly pronounced with the sound the Y makes in Spanish, not the J in English – as learns to overcome what is a common, but often undiscussed hurdle for all shy kids entering a new school year: correctly teaching people how to say your name correctly.”

Leila, the Perfect Witch by Flavia Z. Drago

In this charming picture book from the author-illustrator of Gustavo, The Shy Ghost,a witch who is spellbindingly good at everything discovers that baking is no piece of cake.

Leila Wayward is a little witch who excels at everything she does. She’s the fastest flier, the most cunning conjuror, and the most superb shape-shifter. She has won trophies for potions, herbology, and alchemy—and now she dreams of winning the Magnificent Witchy Cake-off! As the youngest in a long line of masters of the Dark Arts of Patisserie, Leila wants her entry to be perfect. But even with the most bewitching of recipes, she realizes a terrible truth: she’s a disaster in the kitchen. Luckily, Leila has three magical sisters who are happy to share their culinary secrets with her. What’s more, Leila discovers that baking with them is fun! Win or lose, she has already tasted the sweetest thing of all: acceptance—with a pinch of nightshade and a bit of mandrake. Filled with expressive and fancifully offbeat illustrations, Flavia Z. Drago’s enchanting story of trying your hardest despite your imperfections is sure to delight little witches and novice bakers alike.”

Rafa Counts on Papá by Joe Cepeda

For fans of Guess How Much I Love You? and Just Me and My Dad comes a heartwarming story perfect for Father’s Day about a son and his papá who love to measure everything, including their love for each other.

Rafa and his papá love to count and measure together. They know how many branches they climb to their favorite spot, they know how high their dog Euclid can jump, and they know how far they can run. But there’s one thing Rafa can’t count or measure because it is infinite: the love that he and his papá share.

Pura Belpré Honor illustrator and author Joe Cepeda celebrates curiosity and shows the tender and playful relationship between father and son on every inch of the page. With a subtle nod to introducing concepts, from real objects to the abstract, readers feel the immeasurable love of this Latinx family as Papá delights in spending time with Rafa.”

Anita and the Dragons by Hannah Carmona, Illustrated by Anna Cunha

A beautifully tender story touching on the range of emotions immigrants may feel when leaving their home countries – excitement and sorrow, fear and courage.

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?

A Barnes & Noble Bookseller Favorite. A BookTrust Book of the Month. A Love Reading For Schools Book of the Month.”

Growing an Artist: The Story of a Landscaper and His Son by John Parra

From award-winning artist John Parra comes a touching and deceptively simple picture book based on his childhood experience that’s a “heartwarming family story that underscores the value of creativity, passion, and hard work” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and celebrates the bond between a father and son.

Today is a big day—the first time Juanito gets to help his papi on the job as a landscape architect! Throughout the day, Juanito sketches anything that catches his eye: a nest full of baby birds, a nursery with row upon row of plants and flowers, and more. Father and son travel from house to house, pruning, weeding, mowing, and turning overgrown and chaotic yards into beautiful spaces.

A few of the clients don’t appreciate Papi’s hard work, like Juanito’s classmate who pretends not to see him. But Papi always feels pride in owning his own business and in a job well done. And at the end of the day, Juanito may get the chance to turn his artistic eye toward landscape design—just like his papi.”

I hope this booklist gives you and your family lots of new stories to celebrate over the next month!

To learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month, be sure to check out hispanicheritagemonth.gov for more information.

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New Release Round-Up: September 13, 2022

It’s Tuesday, and I’ve got all the new releases for you, so let’s dive right in!

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.

Board Books

I Am One: A Book of Action by Susan Verde, Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Discover the power of activism in this board book companion to New York Times bestsellers I Am Human and I Am Love

One seed to start a garden, one note to start a melody, one brick to start breaking down walls: Every movement and moment of change starts with purpose, with intention, with one. With me. With you.
 
From the #1 New York Times bestselling team behind I Am Yoga, I Am Peace, I Am Human, and I Am Love comes a powerful call to action, encouraging each reader to raise their voice, extend a hand, and take that one first step to start something beautiful and move toward a better world.”

Happy All-idays! by Cindy Jin, Illustrated by Rob Sayegh Jr.

All Season’s Greetings and Happy ALL-idays! Learn how different families celebrate the winter season with this holiday card-inspired board book that captures the meaning of Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and more!

Whether it’s putting up the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, or getting ready for Kwanzaa, this story proves that the holiday season is a special time for everyone and a great way to learn about different winter holidays and send cheer to everyone you know!”

The Highlights Kindness Library by Highlights

An illustrated boxed set of books that highlight all the small but meaningful ways young children can show kindness every day. Includes an activity booklet and a kindness poster.

The perfect gift for new parents and children ages 2–5, this hardcover collection will help young readers understand empathy, cooperation, and gratitude by showing many examples of kindness at home and out in the world. Children can easily put these examples to practice in everyday moments that call for kindness.”

Picture Books

Finding My Dance by Ria Thundercloud, Illustrated by Kalila J. Fuller

In her debut picture book, professional Indigenous dancer Ria Thundercloud tells the true story of her path to dance and how it helped her take pride in her Native American heritage.

At four years old, Ria Thundercloud was brought into the powwow circle, ready to dance in the special jingle dress her mother made for her. As she grew up, she danced with her brothers all over Indian country. Then Ria learned more styles–tap, jazz, ballet–but still loved the expressiveness of Indigenous dance. And despite feeling different as one of the only Native American kids in her school, she always knew she could turn to dance to cheer herself up.”

Until Someone Listens: A Story About Borders, Family, and One Girl’s Mission by Estela Juarez and Lissette Norman, Illustrated by Teresa Martínez

“Estela’s family lives together in a happy home full of love. Or, at least, they used to… until their home was torn apart.

My mom had to go back,
to the other side of the river,
because she wasn’t born in this country.

For years her family fought and fought for permission for her to stay in the U.S. But no one listened. When Estela was eight, her mother was deported to Mexico.

Estela knew she had to do something. So she wrote letters: to local newspapers, Congress, the President, and anyone else who could help. She wrote and wrote and wrote until, finally… someone listened.”

Our Story Starts in Africa by Patrice Lawrence, Illustrated by Jeanetta Gonzales

A sensitively told and vibrantly illustrated story of Black history from its very ancient origins to its dynamic future

When Paloma goes to visit her family in Trinidad, she doesn’t feel that she fits in. But Tante Janet has a story to tell her: An ancient story of warrior queens and talking drums, of treasures and tales that span thousands of years . . . a story that Paloma shares in, because her story, too, starts in Africa.

Join Tante and her inquisitive niece as they share the story of how her family came to the Caribbean, through the dark days of colonization and enslavement, to the emergence of a thriving, contemporary community of many faces, places and successes.”

Over and Under the Waves by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Neal

Explore the wonders and beauties of the ocean’s kelp forests in this latest addition to the acclaimed Over and Under series.

Award-winning duo Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal return in this latest addition to the Over and Under picture book series, this time exploring the rich, interconnected ecosystem of the ocean!

Over the waves, the sea lions bark and seagulls wheel and call. The bay is smooth and bright in the sun. But under the waves, there’s a whole hidden forest, full of whales and wolf eels, sardines and sea bass, leopard sharks and luminous jellies, as well as the waving kelp that shelters them all. Discover the magical depths of the kelp forest, and all the fascinating creatures living just a paddle’s length away—over and under the waves.”

Season of Light: A Christmas Picture Book by Jess Redman, Illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki

A luminous picture book about Christmas traditions that make the season a time of joy, love, faith, and light.

Under star-filled winter skies, with homes and trees aglow, with candles lit and hearts so full, our love will shine and grow.

From paper snowflakes to silver bells, reindeer to wise men, Christmas is a season of faith and song, giving and serving, loved ones and light that can last the whole year through. With Jess Redman’s beautiful poetic text and Ramona Kaulitzki’s luminous illustrations, Season of Light is sure to be a holiday favorite for years to come.”

No Peeking at Presents by Alastair Heim, Illustrated by Sara Not

Holiday hijinks abound in this very merry Christmas story about three siblings who can’t resist sneaking a peek under the tree before it’s time, for fans of How to Catch Santa and 5 More Sleeps.

Everyone knows there’s no peeking at presents before Christmas morning. But what if there’s a very, very good reason to take a look?

It’s Christmas Eve and the three kids in this story are trying their best to go to sleep, but something keeps waking them up. And it’s not just their excitement for gifts. Or, at least, not only because they’re excited for gifts.

This irresistible Christmas story, equal parts hilarious and charming, captures all the delicious anticipation of the holiday, especially celebrating it with siblings.”

Annette Feels Free: The True Story of Annette Kellerman, World-Class Swimmer, Fashion Pioneer, and Real-Life Mermaid by Katie Mazeika

Discover the incredible true story of “The Original Mermaid,” Annette Kellerman, a girl who wanted to dance, swim, and feel free—and who grew into a woman who fought for the right to do just that!

Annette loved to dance and twirl and pirouette. But when she got sick and had to start wearing braces on her legs, Annette stopped dancing. Until, one day, her dad took her swimming. Annette could finally dance again—in the water! She water danced her way to England, where she performed water ballets, attempted daring dives, and competed in swim races. When she competed against men (and won!), she realized it wasn’t fair that women had to swim in full skirts, so she made her own swimsuit, and fought for the right to wear it.

Experience the journey of an independent and determined young woman, who swam, danced, dove, and designed so she could live her life feeling free.”

Who Will Kiss the Crocodile?: A Snappy Twist on Sleeping Beauty by Suzy Senior, Illustrated by Claire Powell

In this hilarious retelling of Sleeping Beauty, an angry fairy casts a spell that turns baby Princess Liss into a crocodile who will fall into a deep sleep, only to be woken by a kiss. But who will kiss the crocodile and break the spell?

In this hilarious spin on the traditional fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, a certain fairy is not invited to the party for baby Princess Liss. So the angry fairy shows up at the party and casts a spell on the baby. The spell turns her into a crocodile and sends her into a deep sleep when she’s 15, only to be woken by a kiss. But who would dare to kiss a crocodile? The talented team behind the popular book Octopants offers up a fun take on the traditional fairy tale with rhyming text and energetic illustrations.”

Kumom: The Bashful Cloud by Kyo Maclear, Illustrated by Nathalie Dion

The uplifting journey of a bashful cloud (“kumo” in Japanese) who discovers the rewards of feeling seen.

Kumo is a cloud whose only wish is to float unseen. When she’s assigned cloud duty for the day, she feels overwhelmed by self-doubt and her fear of being noticed. But after learning that closing your eyes isn’t a good solution to your troubles, Kumo pulls her fluff together and does her duties — drifting, releasing rain and providing shelter — meeting some new friends along the way and inspiring the imagination (and capturing the heart) of a small daydreamer like her. 

Kyo Maclear’s sweetly humorous and lyrical parable about shyness, vividly brought to life by Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations, is an affirmation of the pleasures of community and the confidence that can arise from friendship and visibility.”

The Moon from Dehradun: A Story of Partition by Shirin Shamsi, Illustrated by Tarun Lak

In time for the 75th anniversary of the Partition of British India, this picture book is a stirring account of the harrowing journey faced by millions of migrants in the aftermath of the division of India and Pakistan.

Azra knows that wherever she goes, her doll Gurya will follow. Even if it’s on a train that will take her far away from the house her family has lived in for generations. Even if there is a new flag flying in Dehradun, and no place left in it for Azra. At least she will be taking a piece of home with her.

But when Abba comes home and says they must leave right now, Gurya gets left behind in the scramble. Will Azra be strong enough to face the long journey alone? And what will happen to Gurya, now hundreds of miles behind them?”

Mae Jemison (Little People, BIG DREAMS #81) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Illustrated by Janna Morton

In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Mae Jemison, scientist, astronaut, and the first ever black woman in space.

When Mae Jemison was a little girl, she dreamed of blasting off into space on a rocket ship. She was so excited as she watched the Apollo Moon landings, but she wondered… why none of the astronauts were women?

Mae loved science and was so bright that she started college at just 16, and was training to be a doctor by the age of 20. She joined the Peace Corps, using her medical knowledge to help people in countries all around the world. Upon returning to the United States, she was accepted into NASA’s astronaut program.”

Middle Grade

Meet Me Halfway by Anika Fajardo

When new classmates Mattie and Mercedes meet and realize they have the same Colombian dad, the two team up in a Parent Trap–inspired misadventure to meet him for the first time in this sharp and poignant middle grade novel about the bonds that make a family.

Mattie Gomez feels directionless after being uprooted from her beloved Minnesota and forced to move in with her new stepfamily in California. So when she meets a girl at her new middle school who looks exactly like her, she’s not sure what to make of it.

But her doppelganger, the popular Mercedes Miller, doesn’t like it one bit.”

Maya and the Lord of Shadows by Rena Barron

In the thrilling third and final book in the acclaimed Maya and the Rising Dark trilogy that Kirkus calls “truly #BlackGirlMagic,” Maya must face off with the Lord of Shadows to save the human world from impending war with the Dark.

War is coming. Despite everything Maya and her father have done, the veil that protects the human world is failing. The Lord of Shadows has raised an army powerful enough to challenge the orishas. And it’s only a matter of time before he breaks through the veil and destroys Maya’s neighborhood and the rest of the world.”

Pippa Park Crush at First Sight by Erin Yun

“Korean American Pippa Park picks up right where she left off . . . trying to balance basketball, school, friends, working at the struggling family laundromat, and fitting in. Eliot, her math tutor—and the cutest boy at school—is finally paying attention to her. And Marvel—her childhood friend—is making her required volunteering much more interesting. But things with the Royals, her new friends and teammates who rule the school, still feel a bit rocky. Especially because Caroline, a head Royal, would like nothing more than to see Pippa fail.

So when Pippa is faced with hosting the annual Christmas Eve party that could make or break her social life, how can she say no? Will Pippa make enough money to cover the costs while juggling crushes and everything else? With courage and determination, Pippa sets out to host the party, find the perfect dress, pick the right boy, and stay true to her real self.”

Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango

“Seventh grade is going to be Iveliz’s year. She’s going to make a new friend, help her abuela Mimi get settled after moving from Puerto Rico, and she is not going to get into any more trouble at school. . . .

Except is that what happens? Of course not. Because no matter how hard Iveliz tries, sometimes people say things that just make her so mad. And worse, Mimi keeps saying Iveliz’s medicine is unnecessary—even though it helps Iveliz feel less sad. But how do you explain your feelings to others when you’re not even sure what’s going on yourself?”

That’s all I have for today. I hope you all enjoyed reading about these new releases, and hopefully, you found one or two to add to your young reader’s shelves!

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

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Review: Annette Feels Free

Annette Feels Free: The True Story of Annette Kellerman, World-Class Swimmer, Fashion Pioneer, and Real-Life Mermaid by Katherine Mazeika is an inspiring picture book biography of a woman who is often overlooked despite her trailblazing accomplishments in sports, dance, film, and design.

Author/Illustrator: Katie Mazeika
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster)
Published: September 13, 2022
Format: Picture Book

Following Annette Kellerman’s fascinating life, from her childhood in Australia to her many globe-trotting careers, Annette Feels Free provides young readers with a wonderful role model of an independent and determined young woman.

When Annette fell ill as a child, her legs became weak and she required braces to walk. Annette could no longer dance with her braces until she found swimming. In the water, Annette was free to kick, swim, and dance. She became a strong swimmer, and eventually, her legs were strong enough to walk without braces. But Annette would not stop swimming.

She competed across the globe, even racing against men. She performed dives and dances in the water in front of hundreds of people. She even swam in the English Channel!

Annette was free in the water, except that she couldn’t wear the same streamlined swimming suits as the men she raced against. The full skirt and pantaloons she swam in were restricting, so Annette made her own swimsuit. Everyone took notice, and Annette was even brought to court, but she won. Because of Annette, women and girls everywhere are allowed to swim in whatever makes them feel comfortable!

Annette Kellerman’s story is absolutely fascinating, and Katie Mazeika has paired it with wonderful illustrations. I love the way the water is captured on every page, allowing readers to feel the freedom it brought Annette.

Educators, don’t miss out on the free curriculum guide provided on Katie Mazeika’s website at katiemazeika.com. With discussion questions and multiple activities for students, this free resource makes this a fabulous addition to any classroom library.

Annette Feels Free officially releases tomorrow (September 13, 2022) 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!)

I’m so sorry to say that I had never heard of Annette Kellerman before reading Annette Feels Free, but I won’t be forgetting her story anytime soon. Thank you so much to Beach Lane Books and Blue Slip Media for sharing a review copy of Annette Feels Free with me. I’m so thrilled to be able to share Annette’s inspiring story with you all today!

About The Author/Illustrator:

Katherine Mazeika is an author, illustrator, and designer with a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design. When she isn’t in the studio, she likes to spend time at the theater, in her garden, or getting lost in a good book. She lives in Ohio with her husband, two kids (Lillian and Jack), and two dogs.

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Review: Over and Under the Waves

Today I want to share the latest addition to one of my favorite non-fiction series! Over and Under the Waves by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal is a stunning picture book that shares the biodiversity of California’s kelp forests through a story about one family’s day on the waves.

Title: Over and Under The Waves
Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal
Published: September 13, 2022
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Format: Picture Book

Following one family as they spend the afternoon kayaking in Monterey Bay, Over and Under The Waves introduces young readers to the wide range of animals that call the kelp forests home, from the smallest acorn barnacles to huge humpback whales.

Like the rest of the Over and Under series, Over and Under the Waves seamlessly transports readers into another environment. Kate Messner’s text pairs perfectly with Christopher Silas Neal’s illustrations, drawing the reader deeper into the story and the kelp forest. With the perfect combination of education and entertainment, I can’t recommend this one enough!

With backmatter including an Author’s Note, additional facts about the variety of species mentioned, and suggestions for further reading, Over and Under the Waves is a must-have for classroom and school libraries.

Over and Under the Waves officially releases next week (September 13, 2022) 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!)

Thank you so much to Chronicle Books for providing me with a review copy of Over and Under the Waves! I know my own little one will be fascinated with this book for years to come!

About The Author:

Kate Messner is the award-winning author of Over and Under the Snow, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Over and Under the Pond, Over and Under the Rainforest, Over and Under the Canyon, How to Read a Story, and The Brilliant Deep, as well as more than a dozen other books for young readers. Kate lives on Lake Champlain with her family. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time outside—cross-country skiing, hiking, swimming, and digging in her gardens.

About The Illustrator:

Christopher Silas Neal is the award-winning artist of Over and Under the Snow, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Over and Under the Pond, Over and Under the Rainforest, and Over and Under the Canyon. His work has been published in a variety of books and magazines and featured on television. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

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New Release Round-Up: September 6, 2022

It’s Tuesday, so you know what that means….new releases! We have a TON of titles to talk about today, so I will get right to it.

As always, these titles will have inclusive characters (think racial and cultural diversity, LGBTQ+ representation, diverse family structures, disability representation, and more), and fall into a range of genres in both fiction and nonfiction categories.

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.

Board Books

The Thank You Book by Danna Smith, Illustrated by Juliana Perdomo

This joyous board book celebrates the different ways we can say thank you to those around us—from hugging a friend to thanking a teacher, to showing gratitude in even bigger ways!

Thanking is easy. Thanking is fun.
It shows you are grateful when kind things are done.

From thanking your teacher for teaching, to thanking your vet for caring, from sharing a hug, to giving a card, this sweet book shows all the ways we can express gratitude. And as the book builds, so does the scale of the thanks, showing young readers that even if they start small, they can have a big impact.”

One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me! by John Micklos, Illustrated by Clive McFarland

“This playful counting book shares the colorful highlights of the four seasons in charming illustrations.

Count your way through the seasons! In spring, the tree’s leaves appear, one by one. By summer, there’s a glorious canopy. And when autumn winds blow, leaves fly from the tree, one after another, leading us into winter. There’s a world of activity to spy in and around this beautiful tree as the wild creatures, and one little boy, celebrate the cycles of nature. As little ones count leaves, look for animals, and enjoy the changing seasonal landscape, bouncy rhymes and bold illustrations make learning to count easy–corresponding numerals reinforcing the learning fun.”

Picture Books

Our World of Dumplings by Francie Dekker, Illustrated by Sarah Jung

This delicious story celebrates the many different types of dumplings that exist in our world and how food brings people and cultures together!

An apartment complex is having a dumpling festival, and all the kids are excited to watch and help each family cook up different versions of the delicious treats. From kreplach to khinkali and Johnny cakes to jiao zi, each household has its own way of making dumplings, uniquely hand-crafted and based upon their culture. As the children wrap, cook, and eat all the different types of dumplings, they learn how dumplings are the ultimate labor of love!”

The Big Leaf Leap by Molly Beth Griffin, Illustrated by Meleck Davis

The leaves are down. The rakes are out. But one girl can’t do it alone. Neighborhood kids join forces to build a big, huge, enormously enormous mountain of leaves. Ready, set . . . leap!

The girl wants a leaf pile to leap in. A big leaf pile, a huge leaf pile, an enormously enormous leaf pile! She rakes and rakes and rakes, but there are not enough leaves in her yard to make the leaf pile of her dreams. And she can’t do it alone. She will need some help.”

The Mother of a Movement: Jeanne Manford–Ally, Activist, and Co-Founder of PFLAG by Rob Sanders, Illustrated by Sam Kalda

“The Mother of a Movement is a true story of parental support and unconditional love. It tells the story of Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG. When her son Morty was beaten by New York City officials for handing out pro-gay leaflets, Manford wrote a powerful letter to the New York Post to complain about how Morty was treated. In the letter she came out as the mother of a gay son. The letter was published. Morty invited his mother to march with him in the June 1972 Christopher Street Parade. While marching, she had the idea to form a group to help parents and families of LGBTQ+ people. That was the beginning of PFLAG.”

One Thursday Afternoon by Barbara Dilorenzo

When Granddad picks Ava up from school one Thursday afternoon, she’s quiet. She doesn’t want to talk about the lockdown drill that has stirred up her worries.

How can she be so afraid in a place that has always felt so safe?

Granddad doesn’t talk much either; he just offers creativity and companionship. And with his gentle encouragement, Ava begins to sense that although the world can be scary, it is still a beautiful place.

With tender insight, One Thursday Afternoon sheds light on how an unpredictable world can make a child feel, reminding us that big fears can become smaller when we take time together to look, listen, and create. An author’s note about the story’s real-life inspiration and recommendations for how adults can help children overcome fear is included.”

Playtime for Restless Rascals by Nikki Grimes, Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Nikki Grimes, Coretta Scott King Award winning author, and acclaimed illustrator Elizabeth Zunon’s latest children’s masterpiece is a whimsical adventure and rollicking celebration of playtime fun.

Mom needs to wake up her child whose job is to play. From dancing in puddles to jumping in leaves, and swinging high enough to almost reach the sun, there’s so much to do in a fun-filled day.

For those seeking children’s books about diversity, this loving depiction of everyday shenanigans is sure to become a story time favorite. Playtime for Restless Rascals is an African American children’s book that celebrates imagination, playful moments, and the love between parents and child.”

The Story of a Butterfly by Margaret Rose Reed, Illustrated by Manu Montoya

Follow two friends on a class field trip as they visit a butterfly sanctuary and discover the Painted Lady. Learn all about the habitat and life cycle of the Painted Lady from egg to chrysalis to butterfly. There really does seem to be some magic involved!

Chances are you have heard of the Painted Lady or maybe even raised one at home or in school. This topic is covered in schools in Kindergarten and First grade, and this book will offer a beautiful study on this lovely and popular butterfly.”

Phenomenal AOC: The Roots and Rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by Anika Aldamuy Denise, Illustrated by Loris Lora

An inspiring biography of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from Pura Belpré Honor-winning creators Anika Aldamuy Denise and Loris Lora!

In 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest congresswoman in America. How did this young Puertoriqueña become an unstoppable force in politics? Find out in this accessible and engaging book for young readers.

AOC’s remarkable story begins in her childhood Bronx home and comes full circle the moment AOC became America’s youngest Congresswoman. Ocasio-Cortez’s empowering journey reminds us that everyone, regardless of their age, race, creed, wealth, or zip code, is capable of being a voice for change.”

Magnolia Flower by Zora Neale Hurston and Ibram X. Kendi, Illustrated Loveis Wise

From beloved African American folklorist Zora Neale Hurston comes a moving adaptation by National Book Award winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi. Magnolia Flower follows a young Afro Indigenous girl who longs for freedom and is gorgeously illustrated by Loveis Wise (The People RememberAblaze with Color).

Born to parents who fled slavery and the Trail of Tears, Magnolia Flower is a girl with a vibrant spirit. Not to be deterred by rigid ways of the world, she longs to connect with others, who too long for freedom. She finds this in a young man of letters who her father disapproves of. In her quest to be free, Magnolia must make a choice and set off on a journey that will prove just how brave one can be when leading with one’s heart.”

Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement by Angela Joy, Illustrated by Janelle Washington

A picture book biography of the mother of Emmett Till, and how she channeled grief over her son’s death into a call to action for the civil rights movement.

Mamie Till-Mobley is the mother of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy who was brutally murdered while visiting the South in 1955. His death became a rallying point for the civil rights movement, but few know that it was his mother who was the catalyst for bringing his name to the forefront of history.

In Choosing Brave, Angela Joy and Janelle Washington offer a testament to the power of love, the bond of motherhood, and one woman’s unwavering advocacy for justice. It is a poised, moving work about a woman who refocused her unimaginable grief into action for the greater good. Mamie fearlessly refused to allow America to turn away from what happened to her only child. She turned pain into change that ensured her son’s life mattered.”

Magic: Once Upon a Faraway Land by Mirelle Ortega

In her debut as author and illustrator, Mirelle Ortega shares her own story of growing up near her family’s pineapple farm in Mexico, where she learned the true meaning of magic

I learned that magic isn’t good or bad, it just is. Sometimes it gives, sometimes it takes. Sometimes life blossoms, sometimes it wilts.

Growing up on a pineapple farm in Mexico, a girl discovers the true meaning of the word magic in this truly magical picture book about change and transformation of all kinds—what we can’t control, such as natural disasters and loss, and what we can. Magic can transform dirt into pineapples, seeds into trees, wool into blankets, words into stories, blank pages into pictures—a story into a picture book. “

Friends by Daniela Sosa

Celebrate the wonder of new friends, old friends, and everything-in-between friends in this joyful, resonant picture book.

There are many kinds of friends—old friends, new friends, friends that last a lifetime—and the day to make new friends is always near, if you look. This story celebrates all of them: who they are, where we find them, and what we count on them for.”

Mary Had a Little Plan by Tammi Sauer, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

“Fashion-forward Mary is known for adding flair everywhere she goes. When she spots an abandoned lot in her neighborhood, Mary knows she can use her stylish talent to spruce it up. Soon she’s rallying neighborhood shops and calling on her friends to help. With Mary leading the way, this group carries out her little plan that has a big impact on her community!”

It’s Diwali! by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal, Illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan

Count along in celebration of Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, in this luminous picture book from bestselling mother-son duo Surishtha and Kabir Sehgal.

Count up to ten and back down again to the tune of “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” while learning about the traditions that make Diwali a fun-filled festival! Celebrated during autumn harvest, Diwali symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. From sweet treats to intricate henna designs to exciting firework displays, kids will delight in this vibrant glimpse into the Festival of Lights.”

Me Gusta by Angela Dominguez

A stunning bilingual picture book that celebrates Latinx families by highlighting moments of connection and delight and feelings of safety and home, even through challenges and difficult times.

In the affirmative and encouraging Me Gusta, acclaimed author and illustrator Angela Dominguez combines Spanish and English in a poetic and touching story of family, reminding us that through the adventures and the heartbreak, love conquers all and transcends language.”

I Am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges, Illustrated by Nikkolas Smith

Ruby Bridges tells her story as never before and shares the events of the momentous day in 1960 when Ruby became the first Black child to integrate the all-white William Franz Elementary as a six year old little girl — a personal and intimate look through a child’s lens at a landmark moment in our Civil Rights history.

When Ruby Bridges was six years old, she became the first Black child to integrate the all-white William Frantz Elementary in Louisiana. Based on the pivotal events that happened in 1960 and told from her point of view, this is a poetic reflection on her experience that changed the face of history and the trajectory of the Civil Rights movement.

A Costume for Charly by C.K. Malone, Illustrated by Alejandra Barajas

“Halloween is always tricky for Charly, and this year they are determined to find a costume that showcases both the feminine and masculine halves of their identity. Digging through their costume box, they explore many fun costumes. Some are masc. Some are femme. Some are neither. But all are lacking. As trick-or-treating looms, they must think outside the box to find the perfect costume–something that will allow them to present as one hundred percent Charly.”

Song in the City by Daniel Bernstrom, Illustrated by Jenin Mohammed

From Daniel Bernstrom, the acclaimed author of One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree, comes a charming and irresistibly fun picture book about a young blind girl and her grandmother who experience the vibrant everyday music of their busy city.

A young girl, filled with the sounds of her beloved city, shares a song with her grandmother that changes the two forever. After helping Grandma realize that the city makes music as beautiful as the sounds they hear in church on Sunday morning, the two sit down and take in all the sounds of the city…together.

Song in the City bridges the gap between generations of music and family, while centering love, understanding, and joy.”

Zuri Ray and the Backyard Bash by Tami Charles, Illustrated by Sharon Sordo

From New York Times bestselling author Tami Charles and rising star illustrator Sharon Sordo comes the second book in a charming picture book series about a fun, spunky girl with strong opinions, big ideas, and a huge heart!

Zuri Ray is back! And this time, she’s got a party to plan. With summer coming to an end, a backyard bash is an absolute must, and Zuri’s not letting her parents’ questionable tastes anywhere near the details. The food, the decorations, the entertainment—everything has to be perfect. Good thing her friends are ready to help!

But when the party doesn’t go exactly according to plan, will Zuri be able to let loose and improvise? Or will the chaos be too much to handle?”

Black-Eyed Peas and Hoghead Cheese: A Story of Food, Family, and Freedom by Glenda Armand, Illustrated by Steffi Walthall

A little girl helping her grandmother prepare a holiday meal learns about the origins of soul food in this powerful picture book that celebrates African American cuisine and identity from an award-winning author.

While visiting her grandma in Louisiana, nine-year-old Frances is excited to help prepare the New Year’s Day meal. She listens as Grandma tells stories—dating back to the Atlantic Slave Trade—about the food for their feast. Through these stories, Frances learns not only about the ingredients and the dishes they are making but about her ancestors and their history as well. “

Yossel’s Journey by Kathryn Lasky, Illustrated by Johnson Yazzie

When Yossel’s family flees anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia and immigrates to the American Southwest, he worries about making a new home and new friends.

In his family’s new store next to the Navajo reservation, Yossel watches neighbors pass through. He learns lots of Navajo (Diné) words, but he’s still too afraid and lonely to try talking to anyone. Finally he meets Thomas, a Navajo boy just his age. Making new friends can be hard, especially when you’re learning a new language to tell your jokes.

A historical picture book about the power of cross-cultural friendships and the joy of finding out the true meaning of home.”

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Diana Taurasi by Monica Brown, Illustrated by Gillian Flint

Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger, a chapter book series about women who spoke up and rose up against the odds–including Diana Taurasi!

When Diana Taurasi was a girl, professional women’s basketball didn’t exist in the US. But she worked hard to create opportunities for herself, winning championships throughout college and eventually going on to play for the WNBA with the Phoenix Mercury and winning multiple Olympic gold medals.

In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Monica Brown, readers learn about the amazing life of Diana Taurasi–and how she persisted. “

The World of Emily Windsnap: Shona Finds Her Voice by Liz Kessler, Illustrated by Joanie Stone

With her best friend’s help, can mermaid Shona get up the nerve to share her singing talents at school? A new reader for younger fans based on the New York Times best-selling Emily Windsnap novels.

Emily Windsnap’s best friend, Shona Silkfin, is a mermaid who loves to sing . . . but only when she is by herself. So when Shiprock School announces a talent show whose winner will have the honor of meeting King Neptune, everyone is excited to perform—except Shona, who is too nervous to sign up. But when Emily overhears her friend singing, she’s amazed by Shona’s beautiful voice. With Emily’s encouragement, Shona decides to enter the talent show—and when she anxiously takes the stage, Shona knows that her best friend is cheering her on, giving her the courage to sing loud and proud in front of everyone, even the King of the Oceans. Based on the New York Times best-selling series by Liz Kessler, this underwater adventure offers a sweet story about a confidence-bolstering friendship to new readers.”

Middle Grade

Attack of The Black Rectangles by A. S. King

“Award-winning author Amy Sarig King takes on censorship and intolerance in a novel she was born to write.

When Mac first opens his classroom copy of Jane Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic and finds some words blacked out, he thinks it must be a mistake. But then when he and his friends discover what the missing words are, he’s outraged.

Someone in his school is trying to prevent kids from reading the full story.

But who?

Even though his unreliable dad tells him to not get so emotional about a book (or anything else), Mac has been raised by his mom and grandad to call out things that are wrong. He and his friends head to the principal’s office to protest the censorship… but her response doesn’t take them seriously.

So many adults want Mac to keep his words to himself.

Mac’s about to see the power of letting them out.

In Attack of the Black Rectangles, acclaimed author Amy Sarig King shows all the ways truth can be hard… but still worth fighting for.”

Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution by Sherri Winston

“Lotus Bloom just wants to express herself–with her violin, her retro style, and her peaceful vibe, not to mention her fabulous hair.

This school year, Lotus is taking her talent and spirit to the seventh grade at a new school of the arts. The one where she just might get to play under the famous maestro, a violin virtuoso and conductor of the orchestra. But Lotus’s best friend, Rebel, thinks Lotus should stay at their school. Why should this fancy new school get all the funding and pull the brightest kids out? Rebel wants Lotus to help her protest, but Lotus isn’t sure. If she’s going to be in the spotlight, she’d rather it be for her music.

Then, when boys throw paper wads and airplanes into Lotus’s afro, Lotus finds herself in trouble for a dress code violation. Lotus must choose–should she stay quiet and risk her beloved hair, or put aside her peaceful vibe and risk everything to fight back?”

Learning to Fall by Sally Engelfried

“Daphne doesn’t want to be stuck in Oakland with her dad. She wants to get on the first plane to Prague, where her mom is shooting a movie. Armed with her grandparents’ phone number and strict instructions from her mom to call them if her dad starts drinking again, Daphne has no problem being cold to him. But there’s one thing Daphne can’t keep herself from doing: joining her dad and her new friend Arlo at a weekly skate session. 

When her dad promises to teach her how to ollie and she lands the trick, Daphne starts to believe in him again. He starts to show up for her, and Daphne learns things are not as black and white with her dad as she used to think. The way Daphne’s dad tells it, skating is all about accepting failure and moving on. But can Daphne really let go of her dad’s past mistakes? Either way life is a lot like skating: it’s all about getting back up after you fall. “

Shot Clock by Caron Butler and Justin A. Reynolds

“Tony loves basketball. But the game changed recently when his best friend, Dante, a hoops phenom, was killed by a police officer. Tony hopes he can carry on Dante’s legacy by making the Sabres, the AAU basketball team Dante took to two national championships.

Tony doesn’t make the team, but Coach James likes what he sees from Tony at tryouts and offers him another chance: join the team as the statistician. With his community reeling and the team just finding its footing on the court, can Tony find a path to healing while helping to bring the Sabres a championship?”

Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne Brown

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling YA author Roseanne A. Brown’s middle grade debut about a pre-teen vampire slayer with a strong helping of Ghanaian folklore.

For most kids, catching fireflies is a fun summer activity. For twelve-year-old Serwa Boateng, it’s a matter of life and death.

That’s because Serwa knows that some fireflies are really adze, shapeshifting vampires from the forests of Southeastern Ghana. Adze prey on the blood of innocents, possessing their minds and turning them into hulking monsters, and for generations, slayers like Serwa and her parents have protected an unknowing public from their threats.”

The Other Side of the River by Alda P. Dobbs

“Petra Luna is in America, having escaped the Mexican Revolution and the terror of the Federales. Now that they are safe, Petra and her family can begin again, in this country that promises so much. Still, twelve-year-old Petra knows that her abuelita, little sister, and baby brother depend on her to survive. She leads her family from a smallpox-stricken refugee camp on the Texas border to the buzzing city of San Antonio, where they work hard to build a new life. And for the first time ever, Petra has a chance to learn to read and write.

Yet Petra also sees in America attitudes she thought she’d left behind on the other side of the Río Grande―people who look down on her mestizo skin and bare feet, who think someone like her doesn’t deserve more from life. Petra wants more. Isn’t that what the revolution is about? Her strength and courage will be tested like never before as she fights for herself, her family, and her dreams.”

Sweet and Sour by Debbi Michiko Florence

“A heartfelt middle-grade novel about ex-best friends, betrayals, and revenge that is best served sour.
Revenge is sweet!

For as long as she can remember, Mai has spent every summer in Mystic, Connecticut visiting family friends. And hanging out with her best-friend-since-birth, Zach Koyama, was always the best part.

Then two summers ago everything changed. Zach humiliated Mai, proving he wasn’t a friend at all. So when Zach’s family moved to Japan, Mai felt relieved. No more summers together. No more heartache.

But this year, the Koyamas have returned and the family vacation is back on. And if Mai has to spend the summer around Zach, the least she can do is wipe away the memory of his betrayal… by coming up with the perfect plan for revenge!

Only Zach isn’t the boy he used to be, and Mai’s memories of their last fateful summer aren’t the whole truth of what happened between them. Now she’ll have to decide if she can forgive Zach, even if she can never forget.”

The Mythics #1: Marina and the Kraken by Lauren Magaziner, Illustrated by Mirelle Ortega

From Case Closed author Lauren Magaziner and artist Mirelle Ortega comes the first book in a new highly illustrated middle grade fantasy series. Full of action, adventure, and friendship, a team of five girls must stop a powerful villain by finding their mythical familiars.

It’s Pairing Day in Terrafamiliar! Marina has been waiting for this moment—anxiously—for as long as she can remember. Because today’s the day she gets to bond with her animal familiar for life, like every other ten-year-old in the land.

Except after the ceremony ends, Marina doesn’t have one. And she’s not alone . . . four other girls also didn’t get their animal companions. The leaders of Terrafamiliar realize something special is happening: Marina and the other four girls—Kit, Ember, Pippa, and Hailey—are called Mythics

In times of unrest, the Mythics must earn their Mythies—mythical beasts—in quests of courage. But danger lurks everywhere as there are others seeking this mysterious power. And only the Mythics can save Terrafamiliar! “

Key Player by Kelly Yang

“Mia Tang is going for the goal in the fourth Front Desk novel by New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang!

The Women’s World Cup coming to Southern California, everyone is soccer-crazy — especially Mia Tang! The U.S. is playing China in the finals, and Mia feels like her two identities are finally coming together. Less exciting, though? The fact that her P.E. teacher wants Mia to get out of the soccer field, too — or fall short of the grade she needs to earn a spot at journalism camp. But as always, Mia Tang is ready with a plan: she’ll track down the two women’s teams, interview them, and write an A-grade article for P.E. instead!

It’s not so easy, though, finding professional athletes in Pasadena — or bringing two identities together, even during a game. As Mia aims for her goals, she’ll have to face prejudice, discrimination, and her own fears. But if anyone can find a way to win, it’s Mia Tang!”

Hispanic Star: Celia Cruz by Claudia Romo Edelman and William Alexander, Illustrated by Alexandra Beguez

Read about “La Reina de la Salsa” in Hispanic Star: Celia Cruz, and learn the most groundbreaking, iconic Hispanic and Latinx heroes that have shaped our culture and the world in this gripping biography series for young readers, perfect for fans of the Who Was series.

If you can see it, you can be it.

Meet the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz―once just a girl from Havana, Cuba, who loved to sing. Her soulful voice, compelling charm, and unstoppable determination led to her meteoric rise to fame, opening the door for Latinx performers everywhere. Her booming career took her from the Sonora Matancera to the Fania All-Stars, with the rising popularity of salsa, a genre born of Afro-Cuban musical stylings. Six decades and more than seventy albums later, Celia’s influence still has an undeniable hold on today’s music.”

Hispanic Star: Roberto Clemente by Claudia Romo Edelman and Sara E. Echenique, Illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez

Read about Puerto Rican Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente in Hispanic Star: Roberto Clemente, and learn the most groundbreaking, iconic Hispanic and Latinx heroes that have shaped our culture and the world in this gripping biography series for young readers, perfect for fans of the Who Was series.

If you can see it, you can be it.


Meet Puerto Rican Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, once just a kid from Carolina, Puerto Rico, who loved to play baseball on the streets of his hometown with friends and family. As a right fielder, Roberto played eighteen seasons with Major League Baseball, but his life was tragically cut short when a plane he chartered to bring earthquake relief supplies to Nicaragua crashed. The first Latin American player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Clemente paved the way for generations of Latinx athletes.”

Severn Speaks Out by Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Illustrated by Ana Suárez, Translated by Susan Ouriou

Before Greta Thunberg there was Severn Cullis-Suzuki, whose 1992 Earth Summit speech made her known as “the girl who silenced the world for five minutes.”

Severn Cullis-Suzuki was only twelve years old when she addressed the whole world and asked: What are you doing to the Earth, our home? How far can human greed go? Young Severn looked at the world leaders in attendance and said, “I’m only a child, and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realize, neither do you!” She entreated those world leaders to make their actions reflect their words and to protect the Earth for generations to come.

Severn’s speech is even more urgent today than it was thirty years ago. Beautiful illustrations accompany her words in this first book in the Speak Out series, followed by an analysis written by Alex Nogués that gives readers more detail about Severn’s life and the context of her speech, while highlighting the most powerful and persuasive points of her address.”

They Call Her Fregona: A Border Kid’s Poems by David Bowles

A companion to the Pura Belpré Honor book They Call Me Güero

“You can be my boyfriend.” It only takes five words to change Güero’s life at the end of seventh grade. The summer becomes extra busy as he learns to balance new band practice with his old crew, Los Bobbys, and being Joanna Padilla’s boyfriend. They call her “fregona” because she’s tough, always sticking up for her family and keeping the school bully in check. But Güero sees her softness. Together they cook dollar-store spaghetti and hold hands in the orange grove, learning more about themselves and each other than they could have imagined. But when they start eighth grade, Joanna faces a tragedy that requires Güero to reconsider what it means to show up for someone you love.”

We Were the Fire: Birmingham 1963 by Shelia P. Moses

“Rufus Jackson Jones is from Birmingham, the place Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the most segregated place in the country. A place that in 1963 is full of civil rights activists including Dr. King. The adults are trying to get more attention to their cause–to show that separate is not equal. Rufus’s dad works at the local steel factory, and his mom is a cook at the mill. If they participate in marches, their bosses will fire them. So that’s where the kids decide they will come in. Nobody can fire them. So on a bright May morning in 1963, Rufus and his buddies join thousands of other students to peacefully protest in a local park. There they are met with policemen and firemen who turn their powerful hoses on them, and that’s where Rufus realizes that they are the fire. And they will not be put out. Shelia Moses gives readers a deeply personal account of one boy’s heroism during what came to be known as the Children’s Crusade in this important novel that highlights a key turning point in the civil rights movement.”

The Bluest Sky by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

A boy and his family must decide whether to remain in Cuba under a repressive government or risk everything for the chance of a new beginning in this gripping story from the award-winning author of The Red Umbrella.

There are two versions of Héctor: the public and the private. It’s the only way to survive in communist Cuba—especially when your father was exiled to the U.S. and labeled an enemy of the people. Héctor must always be seen as a fierce supporter of the regime, even if that means loudly rejecting the father he still loves.

But in the summer of 1980, those two versions are hard to keep separate. No longer able to suppress a public uprising, the Cuban government says it will open the port of Mariel to all who wish to leave the country—if they can find a boat. But choosing to leave comes with a price. Those who want to flee are denounced as traitors by family and friends. There are violent acts of repudiation, and no one knows if they will truly be allowed to leave the country or not.”

DK Life Stories Barack Obama: Amazing People Who Have Shaped Our World by Stephen Krensky

Discover the incredible life story of Barack Obama, who became the first African American president of the USA.

This popular biography series from DK goes beyond the basic facts, to share with children the true life stories of history’s most interesting and inspiring people. Young readers can enjoy learning all about Barack Obama, famous for his meteoric rise to the presidency of the most powerful country in the world – the USA. 

Follow the story of how Obama realized his dreams – a story of success, resilience, and perseverance, to become one of the most admired leaders the world has ever seen. Discover Barack’s fight against racial and social injustices, hardships and setbacks in his early career, and his personal happiness when marrying Michelle. “

Graphic Novels

The Tryout: A Graphic Novel by Christina Soontornvat and Joanna Cacao

When cheerleading tryouts are announced, Christina and her best friend, Megan, literally jump at the chance to join the squad. As two of the only kids of color in the school, they have always yearned to fit in―and the middle school cheerleaders are popular and accepted by everyone. But will the girls survive the terrifying tryouts, with their whole grade watching? And will their friendship withstand the pressures of competition?

Hilarious and highly relatable, The Tryout by two-time Newbery Honoree Christina Soontornvat and shining new talent Joanna Cacao will make you laugh, cry, and cheer!

Witches of Brooklyn: S’More Magic by Sophie Escabasse

You can take a witch out of Brooklyn . . . and put her in the woods? As if learning magic wasn’t hard enough, now Effie has to go to SUMMER CAMP! The hit middle-grade graphic novel series continues with this new adventure that’s filled to the brim with magic and mayhem!

School’s out, and Effie is ready for SUMMER! Too bad she’s being sent off to the wilderness for boring old summer camp. Nothing says “exciting new adventure” like being stuck in nature with mosquitoes. Sure, other witches might be there. And maybe she’ll learn some cool new magic.

But Effie would rather spend time with the friends she already has. She’s always relied on them for help. . . . What will happen when she heads off to camp all by herself?”

That’s all I have for today. I hope you all enjoyed reading about these new releases, and hopefully, you found one or two to add to your young reader’s shelves!

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

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Review: Choosing Brave : How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement

Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement by Angela Joy and Janelle Washington is a stunning picture book biography that captures a difficult lesson in American history for young readers in a remarkably age-appropriate way. Choosing Brave follows the life of Mamie Till-Mobley, who was the mother of Emmett Till. Emmett Till was a young Black boy who was murdered after he allegedly whistled at a white woman in Mississippi in 1955. Mamie Till-Mobley’s response to this tragedy ignited the Civil Rights Movement and caused her to become The Mother of The Movement.

Title: Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and
Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement

Author: Angela Joy
Illustrator: Janelle Washington
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan Kids)
Published: September 6, 2022
Format: Picture Book

Choosing Brave documents Mamie’s childhood in which her family moved from Mississippi to Illinois during the Great Migration and follows along as she excels at school and graduates at the top of her class. Mamie becomes what many considered an “old maid” when she is unmarried at 18, so she is pressured to marry Louis Till. They have a little boy named Emmett shortly before Louis joins the army and leaves Mamie a widow at the age of 23.

Emmett is raised by Mamie and her mother, who cares for him while Mamie works. When he contracted polio as a child, Emmett recovered but developed a stutter. Mamie taught him a trick to help – by whistling, Emmett could take a moment to stop and get the words out. When he was 14, Emmett Till traveled to visit family in Mississippi, where his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River a little over a week after he arrived.

Since 1955, there have been many versions of the events that lead to the murder of Emmett Till. As someone who writes non-fiction, I know the challenges this kind of historical ambiguity can create for authors, but Angela Joy handles it flawlessly. She addresses the shifting story, but holds fast to the facts.

Even more impressive to me is the way that Choosing Brave handles the murder of Emmett Till in an age-appropriate way. When I say age-appropriate, I don’t mean that it is skipped over or minimized in any way. Angela Joy does not shy away from the brutality and injustice of Emmett Till’s murder, but directly addresses horrible truths that are too often left out of history books with poetic text. The juxtaposition of the beautiful lyrical language with the horrible act of violence is absolutely haunting.

The illustrations by debut illustrator Janelle Washington are absolute perfection. The paper-cut illustrations are so unique and incredibly moving on every single spread.

Choosing Brave captures the bravery, resilience, and grace of Mamie Till-Mobley, who shared her unimaginable grief and pain with the world. She bared her soul to the country and turned a tragedy into a movement for change. I have a feeling this book is going to win a lot of awards this year, and I cannot recommend it enough.

With extensive backmatter, including an author’s note, illustrator’s note, soundtrack, glossary, and timeline of the events of Emmett Till’s death (including the passing of The Emmett Till Antilynching Act in 2022) Choosing Brave is an absolute must-have for classrooms. I believe this is especially true for the classrooms of white children whose ancestors’ brutality and hatred are so often hidden from them “for their own good”.

It will be officially released next week (September 6, 2022), but you can preorder 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!)

Thank you so much to Roaring Brooks Press and Macmillan Kids for sending me a review copy of Choosing Brave. I am honored to share Mamie Till-Mobley’s and Emmett Till’s stories today.

About The Author:

Before graduating from the University of Minnesota, Angela Joy attended NYU and Spelman College. Angela then traveled as a background vocalist, also working in television and movie soundtracks. She lives in southern California with her family. To learn more about Angela and her work please visit her website at angelajoyblog.com.

About The Illustrator:

Janelle Washington is a self-taught paper-cut artist from Virginia. She has permanent silhouettes housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC, and Downing-Gross Community Arts Center in Newport News, Virginia. Please visit Jannelle’s website washingtoncuts.com for more information about her and her work.

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25 Picture Books To Celebrate Grandparent’s Day

For all our U.S. readers, Grandparents Day is quickly approaching! So I thought I’d share some fantastic picture book titles for all the parents and grandparents looking for the perfect gift or story for the occasion.

As always, these titles all feature inclusive characters and themes (think racial and cultural diversity, LGBTQ+ representation, diverse family structures, disability representation, and more), falling 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.

Something About Grandma by Tania de Regil

On a first solo visit to her grandmother’s home outside Mexico City, a young girl discovers what makes Grandma so special in this enchanting and personal picture book.

At Grandma’s house, where Julia is staying without her parents for the first time, the breeze is sweet like jasmine. Mornings begin with sugared bread, and the most magnificent hot chocolate cures all homesickness. There’s something about this place . . . and about Grandma. Like how she can tell when Julia has been quietly picking limes from the garden. Or that she can see the future—and knows when Julia is about to fall off her bike. Or how she can journey back in time through the stories she tells. In the room where Julia’s mother grew up, her grandmother holds her in a warm embrace—an embrace that Julia will pass on to her family when her parents arrive with her new baby brother. With Tania de Regil’s heartfelt illustrations, incorporating poems by her great-grandfather that were handwritten by her grandmother, Something About Grandma offers a tender and playful exploration of the magic of intergenerational love and wisdom.”

All from a Walnut by Ammi-Joan Paquette, Illustrated by Felicita Sala

“A moving, multigenerational story about love, family roots, and the cycle of life
When Emilia finds a walnut one morning, Grandpa tells her the story behind it: of his journey across the ocean to a new home, with only one small bag and a nut in his pocket.

“I planted my little tree in good brown soil, so it would grow strong here forever.”
“In this house? In this yard?”
“Shall we go see?”

Step by step, Grandpa teaches Emilia how to cultivate her own seed. But as her little nut grows, Grandpa begins to slow down—until one sad day, Emilia has to say goodbye. Emilia’s sapling looks as droopy as she feels . . . but she knows just what to do.”

Tofu Takes Time by Helen H. Wu, Illustrated by Julie Jarema

Homemade tofu is good, and good things take time.

CLICK CLACK WHIRRRR . . . Lin and her grandma, NaiNai, are making tofu from scratch! When NaiNai goes through each step, from blending soybeans with water to molding curd into shape, Lin gradually becomes impatient. But she soon discovers that making tofu not only takes time, but also takes the whole universe! It takes the seed from soil and sunshine, the cloth from thread and fiber, weight and space, books of words and pictures. And most of all, it takes spending lovely time with her beloved grandmother.

In this charming tale by Helen H. Wu, readers will marvel at how patience brings a whole universe together in a simple dish made by a modern Chinese American family. Perfect for fans of Fry Bread, Drawn Together and Thank You, Omu.

One, Two Grandma Loves You by Shelly Becker, Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

From acclaimed creators Shelly Becker and Dan Yaccarino comes this joyful picture book about a girl and her grandmother as they plan the perfect visit together

One, two, Grandma loves you.
Three, four, visit more.
Five, six, precious pics.
Seven, eight, mark the date.

A young girl and her grandmother count up to their next visit and then do all of their favorite things together in this joyful rhyming picture book.”

Grandad’s Camper by Harry Woodgate

Discover a wonderful grandfather-granddaughter relationship, as a little girl hatches the perfect plan to get her Grandad adventuring again.

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.”

When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling, Illustrated Aaron Asis

“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.”

Brand-New Bubbe by Sarah Aronson, Illustrated Ariel Landy

Jillian isn’t so sure she needs a third grandma now that her stepdad is joining the family, but can her brand-new Bubbe win her over?

When Jillian joins Bubbe for some mom-mandated matzo ball soup making, she realizes she has room in her heart (and stomach!) for one more grandmother. But how can she convince Noni and Gram she still loves them just as much? A super soup celebration, of course! Chaos in the kitchen leads to matzo ball soup, spicy gazpacho, meatball soup, and a trio of grandmas united in their love for their family.

Complete with all three soup recipes, Brand-New Bubbe captures the warmth of blended family and honors the joys of cooking with the ones you love.”

Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins, Nicole Wong

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.

After Kiyoshi watches his grandfather, Eto, compose his delicate haiku, he wonders out loud: “Where do poems come from?” His grandfather answers by taking him on a walk through their city, where they see a cat perched on a hill of oranges; hear the fluttering of wings; imagine what’s behind a tall wall; and discuss their walk, with each incident inspiring a wonderful new haiku from Eto. As Kiyoshi discovers that poems come from the way the world outside of us meets the world within each of us, he also finds the courage to write a haiku of his own.

This lovely book will speak to any reader who treasures poetry, city life, grandparents, or the beauty of the everyday.”

I’ll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca, Illustrated Sara Palacios

A tender, beautifully illustrated story about a girl in America and her grandmother in India, whose love stretches between languages and cultures—and across the world.

When Jyoti visits her grandmother halfway around the world, she is overwhelmed by the differences between India and home. At first she feels lonely and out of place, but soon, despite a language barrier, she and Sita Pati are able to understand each other. They form a bond—looking at books together, making designs with colored sand, shopping at the market, playing games, eating chapatis, and sipping warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. When it’s time to part, Jyoti doesn’t want to leave, but then she remembers that in Tamil, people don’t say goodbye, they say “I’ll go and come back.” Sure enough, the two reunite the next summer when Pati visits Jyoti in America, and it’s Jyoti’s turn to make her grandmother feel welcome. Can they create some special memories that will last until the next time they see each other?”

Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham, Illustrated by C. G. Esperanza

Granny teaches her grandson to cook the family meal in this loving celebration of food, traditions, and gathering together at the table.

On Sundays, everyone gathers at Granny’s for Soul Food.
But today, I don’t go to the backyard or the great room.
I follow Granny instead.
“You’re a big boy now,” Granny says. “Time for you to learn.”
  
At Granny’s, Sunday isn’t Sunday without a big family gathering over a lovingly prepared meal. Old enough now, our narrator is finally invited to help cook the dishes for the first time: He joins Granny in grating the cheese, cleaning the greens, and priming the meat for Roscoe Ray’s grill. But just when Granny says they’re finished, her grandson makes his own contribution, sweetening this Sunday gathering—and the many more to come.
Evocatively written and vividly illustrated, this mouthwatering story is a warm celebration of tradition and coming together at a table filled with love and delicious food.”

Grandpa Grumps by Katrina Moore, Illustrated by Xindi Yan

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting from China, and try as she might, Daisy can’t get her grumpy grandpa to smile!

Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting for the first time from China, and Daisy is so excited to meet him! She has big plans for all the fun they’ll have together, like tea parties and snow angels, but when Yeh-Yeh arrives, Daisy finds him less jolly than she imagined. Throughout the week, she tries all sorts of things to get him past his grumpiness. Will she be able to make him smile before he goes home?

Kids will love this funny and heartwarming story about overcoming cultural differences and connecting across generations!”

Abuelita and I Make Flan by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom

Anita loves to bake with her abuela, especially when they are using her grandmother’s special recipes for Cuban desserts like flan!

Anita is making flan for Abuelo’s birthday, but when she accidentally breaks Abuelita’s treasured flan serving plate from Cuba, she struggles with what to do. Anita knows it’s right to tell the truth, but what if Abuelita gets upset? Worried that she has already ruined the day, Anita tries to be the best helper. After cooking the flan, they need a serving dish! Anita comes up with a wonderful solution.

Complete with a glossary of Spanish terms and a traditional recipe for flan, Abuelita and I Make Flan is a delicious celebration of food, culture, and family.”

Holding On by Sophia N. Lee, Illustrated by Isabel Roxas

A young girl in the Philippines uses music to connect with her grandmother as her memory fades in this warm and moving picture book perfect for fans of Pixar’s Coco.

There is always singing in Lola’s house. Sammy Davis Jr. in the morning, Dean Martin in the afternoon, and all throughout the evening, old Tagalog love songs from Nora Aunor, Basil Valdez, and more. Lola always says: “If you want to hold on, you gotta sing your songs.”

Her granddaughter tucks these sounds and Lola’s wisdom deep within her heart. And when Lola starts slipping into silence and stillness, she helps Lola hold on, piece by piece, with the joy and music that Lola taught her.”

A Plan For Pops by Heather Smith, Illustrated Brooke Kerrigan

“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.”

Amah Faraway by Margaret Chiu Greanias, Illustrated Tracy Subisak

A delightful story of a child’s visit to a grandmother and home far away, and of how families connect and love across distance, language, and cultures.

Kylie is nervous about visiting her grandmother-her Amah-who lives SO FAR AWAY.
When she and Mama finally go to Taipei, Kylie is shy with Amah. Even though they have spent time together in video chats, those aren’t the same as real life. And in Taiwan, Kylie is at first uncomfortable with the less-familiar language, customs, culture, and food. However, after she is invited by Amah-Lái kàn kàn! Come see!-to play and splash in the hot springs (which aren’t that different from the pools at home), Kylie begins to see this place through her grandmother’s eyes and sees a new side of the things that used to scare her. Soon, Kylie is leading her Amah-Come see! Lái kàn kàn!-back through all her favorite parts of this place and having SO MUCH FUN! And when it is time to go home, the video chats will be extra special until they can visit faraway again.”

Punky Aloha by Shar Tuiasoa

Meet Punky Aloha: a girl who uses the power of saying “aloha” to experience exciting and unexpected adventures!

Punky loves to do a lot of things—except meeting new friends. She doesn’t feel brave enough.

So when her grandmother asks her to go out and grab butter for her famous banana bread, Punky hesitates. But with the help of her grandmother’s magical sunglasses, and with a lot of aloha in her heart, Punky sets off on a BIG adventure for the very first time.

Will she be able to get the butter for grandma?

Punky Aloha is a Polynesian girl who carries her culture in her heart and in everything she does. Kids will love to follow this fun character all over the island of O’ahu.”

Over the Shop by Jonarno Lawson, Illustrated by Qin Leng

In a beautifully detailed wordless picture book, a tumbledown building becomes home sweet home for a found family.

A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space—until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.”

Nana, Nenek & Nina by Liza Ferneyhough

Nina loves visiting her two faraway grandmas—one in Malaysia and one in England. Spot the similarities and differences between their homes in this cozy and beautifully illustrated picture book!

Nina lives in San Francisco with her parents, and she loves visiting her two grandmas across the world. Follow Nina as her two trips unfold side by side: Young readers will love poring over the details of what is the same and what is different at Nana’s home in England and at Nenek’s home in Malaysia. In each place, Nina wears different clothes, plays different games, and eats different food. But so much about visiting Nana and Nenek is the same, from warm hugs at the airport to beach days and bedtime snuggles. Nina is equally at home across the world in Malaysia or England, and both of her grandmas love her to California and back.”

Bindu’s Bindis by Supriya Kelkar, Illustrated by Parvati Pillai

A companion to Kelkar’s The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, this picture book features a little girl named Bindu whose bindis connect her to family and help her find courage to compete in the school talent show.

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.”

Grandpa Across the Ocean by Hyewon Yum

Though separated by language, age, and an ocean, a child and grandparent find common ground in this warm, witty picture book

Grandpa lives on the other side of the ocean.
He takes naps all the time. He eats different foods. He speaks an unfamiliar language. His house is the most boring place on Earth!
Or is it? A little time together just might reveal that Grandpa is also a great singer, an energetic sandcastle builder, and a troublemaker . . . just like his grandson!
With her signature warmth and humor, award-winning author-illustrator Hyewon Yum shares the challenges and joys of having a relative who lives far away—proving that even from across the ocean, the grandparent-grandchild relationship is a very special one.”

I Dream of Popo by Livia Blackburne, Illustrated by Julia Kuo

From New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne and illustrator Julia Kuo, here is I Dream of Popo. This delicate, emotionally rich picture book celebrates a special connection that crosses time zones and oceans as Popo and her granddaughter hold each other in their hearts forever.

I dream with Popo as she rocks me in her arms.
I wave at Popo before I board my flight.
I talk to Popo from across the sea.
I tell Popo about my adventures.

When a young girl and her family emigrate from Taiwan to America, she leaves behind her beloved popo, her grandmother. She misses her popo every day, but even if their visits are fleeting, their love is ever true and strong.”

On The Trapline by David A. Robertson

A picture book celebrating Indigenous culture and traditions. The Governor General Award–winning team behind When We Were Alone shares a story that honors our connections to our past and our grandfathers and fathers.

A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, “Is this your trapline?” Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago — a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.”

Hundred Years of Happiness by Thanhhà Lai, Illustrated by Nguyen Quang and Kim Lien

On a first solo visit to her grandmother’s home outside Mexico City, a young girl discovers what makes Grandma so special in this enchanting and personal picture book.

“At Grandma’s house, where Julia is staying without her parents for the first time, the breeze is sweet like jasmine. Mornings begin with sugared bread, and the most magnificent hot chocolate cures all homesickness. There’s something about this place . . . and about Grandma. Like how she can tell when Julia has been quietly picking limes from the garden. Or that she can see the future—and knows when Julia is about to fall off her bike. Or how she can journey back in time through the stories she tells. In the room where Julia’s mother grew up, her grandmother holds her in a warm embrace—an embrace that Julia will pass on to her family when her parents arrive with her new baby brother. With Tania de Regil’s heartfelt illustrations, incorporating poems by her great-grandfather that were handwritten by her grandmother, Something About Grandma offers a tender and playful exploration of the magic of intergenerational love and wisdom.”

Bird House by Blanca Gómez

A grandmother and grandchild nurse an injured bird together in this touching story about caring for all creatures, the wonder of nature, and letting go.

On a snowy day, a grandmother and grandchild find an injured bird. They take it home and care for it until it can fly around the living room. It is fantastic—just like everything at Abuela’s house! But a fantastic moment is also bittersweet, for the little bird’s recovery means that it’s time to let it fly free. Drawing inspiration from a formative childhood experience, Blanca Gómez crafts a deceptively simple story that is morally and emotionally resonant and is brimming with love, wonder, and a deep respect for the natural world.”

We Wait for the Sun by Katie McCabe and Dovey Johnson Roundtree, Illustrated by Raissa Figueroa

A beautiful and uplifting non-fiction picture book from Katie McCabe and trailblazing civil rights lawyer and activist Dovey Johnson Roundtree, We Wait for the Sun.

In the hour before dawn, Dovey Mae and Grandma Rachel step into the cool, damp night on a secret mission: to find the sweetest, ripest blackberries that grow deep in the woods.

But the nighttime holds a thousand sounds―and a thousand shadows―and Dovey Mae is frightened of the dark. But with the fierce and fearless Grandma Rachel at her side, the woods turn magical, and berry picking becomes an enchanting adventure that ends with the beauty and power of the sunrise.”

What are your favorite picture books about grandparents? Be sure to share in the comments below!

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New Release Round-Up: August 30, 2022

It’s time for another New Release Round-Up!

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.

Board Books

Ours by Ruth Forman, Illustrated by Talia Skyles

From the bestselling author of Curls, Glow, and Bloom comes a board book that joyfully celebrates skin tone self-love with a mirror for little ones.

I love mine (mine)
she loves hers (hers)
he loves his (his)
I love theirs

Show young readers how to see themselves and others with confidence and love with this beautiful rhyming board book toddlers and parents alike will love.”

Picture Books

Stacey Abrams and the Fight to Vote by Traci N. Todd, Illustrated by Laura Freeman

Stacey Abrams, politician and Nobel peace prize nominee, is brought to life in this poetic picture book biography that follows Abrams’s fight for voters’ rights. Narrated by Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Septima Clark, and Fannie Lou Hamer, this powerful story tells how Abrams’s work was inspired by those luminaries before her.

“Sometimes she would light the way. Sometimes her way would be lit by others…”

Stacey Abrams was always destined for big things, because she always imagined more. Now she protects the least powerful, works toward making voting fair and easy, and demands better for Georgia and every other state in this nation. Stacey Abrams’s determination, perseverance, and courage will inspire younger generations to make meaningful change in the world.”

Rosalind Looked Closer: An Unsung Hero of Molecular Science by Lisa Gerin, Illustrated by Chiara Fedele

The story of a persistent woman whose research in molecular biology changed the world.

As a Jewish girl in England, Rosalind Franklin grew up against the backdrop of World War II. Fascinated with the natural world, as well as the invisible world that she could only see through her microscope, Rosalind developed a passion for science during a time when few women were recognized for their contributions to the field.

Despite her father’s discouragement, Rosalind studied chemistry at Cambridge University and went on to study the molecular structure of carbons and DNA molecules. As a scientist, she learned a new technique called X-ray diffraction to take photos of molecular structures. With this technique she captured an image of DNA that was unlike any other image that had been seen before. She saw an image of a helix made up of repeating strands of DNA. It was mesmerizing. This was what the DNA double helix looked like up-close–one of the most important findings of the 20th century.”

Set Sail for Pancakes! by Tim Kleyn

Hungry for adventure . . . and breakfast? Set sail with a grandpa and his intrepid granddaughter as they look far and wide for the perfect pancake ingredients!
 

Margot and her grandpa have tummies grumbly for pancakes. Only there’s a problem . . . there’s no flour, milk, or eggs! But Grandpa has the perfect solution; they’ll get on his boat the Beluga Blue and go to Chicken Island, Cow Island, and Flour Mill Island to get the ingredients. Set sail for pancakes!”

Patchwork by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Corinna Luyken

“From a Newbery Medal-winning author and a New York Times bestselling illustrator comes a deeply moving ode to the complexity and uniqueness of every child.

In profound, uplifting verse and sumptuous artwork, beloved creators Matt de la Peña and Corinna Luyken explore the endless possibilities each child contains: A young dancer may grow into a computer coder; a basketball player might become a poet; a class clown may one day serve as an inspiring teacher; and today’s quiet empath might be tomorrow’s great leader. Here’s a profound and uplifting new classic with an empowering message for readers of all ages: Your story is still being written.”

Lunch from Home by Joshua David Stein, Illustrated by Jing Li

What happens when a child’s favorite packed lunch is met with disparaging comments at the school lunch table?

In a classroom of sandwiches, four students stand out with their homemade, culturally-specific lunches. But before they can dig in and enjoy their favorite foods, their lunches are spoiled by scrunched noses and disgusted reactions from their sandwich-eating classmates.

Follow each of the four students as they learn to cope with their first “lunch box moments” in this picture book that encourages empathy and inspires all readers to stand up for their food! Inspired by the “lunch box moments” of four acclaimed chefs, Ray Garcia, Preeti Mistry, Mina Park, and Niki Russ Federman, this heartwarming story reminds us all that one’s food is a reflection of self and an authentic celebration of culture.”

Holding On by Sophia N. Lee, Illustrated by Isabel Roxas

A young girl in the Philippines uses music to connect with her grandmother as her memory fades in this warm and moving picture book perfect for fans of Pixar’s Coco.

There is always singing in Lola’s house. Sammy Davis Jr. in the morning, Dean Martin in the afternoon, and all throughout the evening, old Tagalog love songs from Nora Aunor, Basil Valdez, and more. Lola always says: “If you want to hold on, you gotta sing your songs.”

Her granddaughter tucks these sounds and Lola’s wisdom deep within her heart. And when Lola starts slipping into silence and stillness, she helps Lola hold on, piece by piece, with the joy and music that Lola taught her.”

Boobies by Nancy Vo

A cheeky celebration of boobies!

“You have just opened a book about boobies.” Meet the Blue-footed Booby, who does not have any boobies at all, since only mammals have boobies. We learn that mammals have boobies to feed babies ― even though milk can also come from plants. And did you know that boobies, or breasts, vary from person to person, that boobies change over time, and that different animals have different numbers of boobies? Witty and wide-ranging, this eye-opening picture book goes on to explore connections between boobies and mountains, boobies and ancient art and, of course, boobies and you!

Nancy Vo’s latest creation is fresh and funny, while serving up just the right amount of fact. Punchy prose is complemented by striking stencil art in a retro palette, making this the perfect gift for curious young children, older children getting to know their bodies, and anyone ready to boldly celebrate boobies!”

Wilma Mankiller (Little People, BIG DREAMS) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Illustrated by Alexandra Bowman

“Growing up, little Wilma was surrounded by her Cherokee heritage. Her parents taught her to be proud of who she was, and all that had come before her. But when the family moved from Oklahoma’s Rocky Mountains to the city of San Francisco, it was a big change, and Wilma fully realized how unfairly the world treated Native Americans.

As an adult, she became a leader in the fight for Native American rights, and rose to become the first woman ever to be elected as a Chief of a Cherokee Nation. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the pioneering Native American leader and activist.”

Chapter Books

Spooky Sleuths #1: The Ghost Tree by Natasha Deen, Illustrated by Lissy Marlin

Is it science…or strange and ghostly?

Asim’s new town is freaking him out! There are weird noises at night, eerie lights, and now an evil tree that is growing way faster than it should. he’s sure there’s something supernatural going on.
His friend Rokshar believes that everything can be explained by science. But even she’s worried when the tree takes control of their teacher! It’s starting to look like an evil spirit straight out of Guyanese folklore is to blame. Can Asim and his friends save their teacher–and the town–from the ghost tree?

Find out…if you dare! It’s a new spooky series based on ghost stories from Guyana.”

Spooky Sleuths #2: Beware the Moonlight! by Natasha Deen, Illustrated by Lissy Marlin

Is it science…or strange and ghostly?

There’s something very odd about Mr. Maan, the scientist who is helping teach Asim’s class about the moon. He spends a lot of time staring up at the night sky. Sometimes, he almost seems to glow. Asim is sure Mr. Maan is a supernatural being straight out of Guyanese folklore—and the whole town is in danger!
    His friend Rokshar thinks there’s a scientific explanation for everything Mr. Maan does. But she agrees that he’s up to no good. Can Asim and his friends find a way to stop Mr. Maan’s sinister plans?

Find out…if you dare! It’s a new spooky series based on ghost stories from Guyana.”

Middle Grade

Amari and the Great Game (Supernatural Investigations #2) by B.B. Alston

“After finding her brother and saving the entire supernatural world, Amari Peters is convinced her first full summer as a Junior Agent will be a breeze.

But between the fearsome new Head Minister’s strict anti-magician agenda, fierce Junior Agent rivalries, and her brother Quinton’s curse steadily worsening, Amari’s plate is full. So when the secretive League of Magicians offers her a chance to stand up for magiciankind as its new leader, she declines. She’s got enough to worry about!

But her refusal allows someone else to step forward, a magician with dangerous plans for the League. This challenge sparks the start of the Great Game, a competition to decide who will become the Night Brothers’ successor and determine the future of magiciankind.”

Once I Was You — Adapted for Young Readers: Finding My Voice and Passing the Mic by Maria Hinojosa

“There is no such thing as an illegal human being.”

“Maria ​Hinojosa is an Emmy Award–winning journalist, a bestselling author, and was the first Latina to found a national independent nonprofit newsroom in the United States. But before all that, she was a girl with big hair and even bigger dreams. Born in Mexico and raised in the vibrant neighborhood of Hyde Park, Chicago, Maria was always looking for ways to better understand the world around her—and where she fit into it.

Here, she combines stories from her life, beginning with her family’s harrowing experience of immigration, with truths about the United States’s long and complicated relationship with the people who cross its borders, by choice or by force. Funny, frank, and thought-provoking, Maria’s voice is one you will want to listen to again and again.”

ChupaCarter by George Lopez and Ryan Calejo, Illustrated by Santy Gutierrez

“In this illustrated contemporary fantasy, twelve-year-old Jorge is lonely and resentful after being sent to live with his grandparents. His first day at his new school doesn’t go well after catching the attention of his belligerent principal and the school bullies, so Jorge might be a little desperate for a friend.

But the only kid who shares his interest in junk food and games turns out to be a young chupacabra—a legendary monster whose kind is known for being bloodthirsty livestock killers. The truth is, Carter is anything but savage—he’s kind, a good listener, and has great taste in sneakers. Being friends with a mythical creature should be amazing, but when local cattle turn up dead and his principal suspects the truth, Jorge is torn. Should he trust that his friend is innocent and protect him from exposure, or reveal his dangerous existence and change the world forever?”

A Taste of Magic by J. Elle

“Kyana Turner has just found out the family secret–she’s a witch! This means mandatory lessons every Saturday at Park Row Magick Academy, the magic school hidden in the back of her local beauty shop. Learning spells, discovering charms and potion recipes, and getting a wand made to match her hair’s curl pattern, Kyana feels like she’s a part of something really special. The hardest part will be keeping her magic a secret from non-Magick folks, including her BFF, Nae.

But when the school loses funding, the students must either pay a hefty tuition at the academy across town or have their magic stripped . . . permanently. Determined not to let that happen, Kyana comes up with a plan to win a huge cash prize in a baking competition. After all, she’s learned how to make the best desserts from her memaw. But as Kyana struggles to keep up with magic and regular school, prepare for the competition, and keep her magic secret, she wonders if it’s possible to save her friendships, too. And what will she do when, in the first round of competition, a forbidden dollop of magic whisks into her cupcakes?”

Graphic Novels

Geraldine Pu and Her Lucky Pencil, Too!: Ready-to-Read Graphics Level 3 by Maggie P. Chang

Spunky, funny, and friendly Geraldine Pu writes a story for class in this third book in this Level 3 Ready-to-Read Graphics series!

Geraldine Pu loves to write stories with her lucky pencil, Chienbee. But when Geraldine’s teacher assigns a story for class and says everyone will read theirs out loud, Geraldine is nervous. She decides to write about her grandmother, Amah, who tells her bravery runs in the family. Will Geraldine be brave too, and share her tale? Find out in this book that includes instructions on how to make a scrapbook.”

That’s all I have for today. I hope you all enjoyed reading about these new releases, and hopefully, you found one or two to add to your young reader’s shelves!

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

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