New Release Round Up – September 14, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I’m so excited to share the new releases I am most looking forward to this week with you all.

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

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.

Picture Books

The Proudest Color by Sheila Modir and Jeffrey Kashou, Illustrated by Monica Mikai

“For me, brown is more than feeling proud.
It’s the color I see when I see me.

Zahra sees the world in vivid color. When she’s happy, she feels a razzle-dazzle pink in her hands. When she’s sad, she feels a deep blue behind her eyes. But she isn’t quite sure how to feel about the color of her skin. Kids at school tell her she is different, but her mother tells her to be proud! From a diverse team and based on extensive research, The Proudest Color is a timely, sensitive introduction to race, racism, and racial pride.”

The House That She Built by Mollie Elkman, Illustrated by Georgia Castellano

“The House that She Built educates young readers about the people and skills that go into building a home. One by one, we learn about the architect, framer, roofer and many more as they contribute their individual skills needed to complete the collective project — a new home. With illustrations that connect and empower and words that build upon each other with each page, this book will leave all kids (she, he, and they) excited about their own skills and interested in learning new ones. Based on a true story! The House that She Built was Inspired by the team of real women who came together from around the country to build a one-of-a-kind home.”

Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor, Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali

“From designer, creator, and self-love advocate Nabela Noor (@Nabela) comes a much-needed picture book about loving yourself just as you are.

Meet Zubi: a joyful Bangladeshi girl excited about her first day of school. But when Zubi sees her mother frowning in the mirror and talking about being “too big,” she starts to worry about her own body and how she looks. As her day goes on, she hears more and more people being critical of each other’s and their own bodies, until her outburst over dinner leads her family to see what they’ve been doing wrong—and to help Zubi see that we can all make the world a more beautiful place by being beautifully ourselves.”

King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin by Stephen Costanza

“A stunning, rhythmic picture book biography of African American composer Scott Joplin, whose ragtime music paved the way for jazz.

There was something special about Scott Joplin…
This quiet kid could make a piano laugh out loud.

Scott, the son of a man who had been enslaved,
became a king—the King of Ragtime.

This celebration of Scott Joplin, whose ragtime compositions paved the way for jazz, will captivate audiences and put a beat in their step, and the kaleidoscope-like illustrations will draw young readers in again and again.”

My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, Illustrated by Erika Meza

“A picture book debut by an award-winning author about a boy’s life on the U.S.-Mexico border, visiting his favorite places on The Other Side with his father, spending time with family and friends, and sharing in the responsibility of community care.

Early one Saturday morning, a boy prepares for a trip to The Other Side/El Otro Lado. It’s close–just down the street from his school–and it’s a twin of where he lives. To get there, his father drives their truck along the Rio Grande and over a bridge, where they’re greeted by a giant statue of an eagle. Their outings always include a meal at their favorite restaurant, a visit with Tío Mateo at his jewelry store, a cold treat from the paletero, and a pharmacy pickup. On their final and most important stop, they check in with friends seeking asylum and drop off much-needed supplies.

My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, with stunning watercolor illustrations by Erika Meza, is the loving story of a father and son’s weekend ritual, a demonstration of community care, and a tribute to the fluidity, complexity, and vibrancy of life on the U.S.-Mexico border.”

The Secret Code Inside You: All About Your DNA by Rajani LaRocca, Illustrated by Steven Salerno

“Learn about the secret code that is DNA in this vibrant and informative picture book!

There’s a secret code inside you, a code called DNA.
A code that tells your body’s cells what they should do each day.
It looks like twisted ladders, or tiny, twirling noodles.
It makes us into people, instead of into poodles.

Why can’t humans breathe underwater? Why are some people tall and others short? Why do we resemble our parents and grandparents? This book explores all this and more in flowing, rhyming text, explaining cells, DNA, and genetics in a way that is simple and easy for children to understand. Colorful and brilliantly illustrated, The Secret Code Inside You illustrates that while DNA may be the blueprint for how a person looks, what you choose to do with your body is entirely up to you!”

Chapter Books

Mindy Kim and the Big Pizza Challenge by Lyla Lee, Illustrated by Dung Ho

“Fresh off the Boat meets Junie B. Jones in this adorable chapter book series following Mindy Kim, a young Asian American girl—in this sixth novel, Mindy enters a delicious pizza competition!

Mindy Kim loves food—from her beloved Korean staples to pizza! When a local pizza place advertises a trivia competition, Mindy can’t believe that the big prize is unlimited pizza for a whole year!

Mindy is confident she and her dad can take the top spot. But Dad is worried he might not understand all the cultural references. And he wants Mindy to know that the most important thing is to always try your best, even if you don’t win. Can Mindy and her Dad have fun together, win or lose?”

Middle Grade

A Soft Place To Land by Janae Marks

“Joy Taylor has always believed home is the house she lived in her entire life. But then her dad lost his job, and suddenly, home becomes a tiny apartment with thin walls, shared bedrooms, and a place for tense arguments between Mom and Dad. Hardest of all, Joy doesn’t have her music to escape through anymore. Without enough funds, her dreams of becoming a great pianist—and one day, a film score composer—have been put on hold.

A friendly new neighbor her age lets Joy in on the complex’s best-kept secret: the Hideout, a cozy refuge that only the kids know about. And it’s in this little hideaway that Joy starts exchanging secret messages with another kid in the building who also seems to be struggling, until—abruptly, they stop writing back. What if they’re in trouble?

Joy is determined to find out who this mystery writer is, fast, but between trying to raise funds for her music lessons, keeping on a brave face for her little sister, and worrying about her parents’ marriage, Joy isn’t sure how to keep her own head above water.”

Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes

From award-winning and bestselling author Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age survival tale exploring issues of race, class, and climate change
 
Addy is haunted by the tragic fire that killed her parents, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother. Now, years later, Addy’s grandmother has enrolled her in a summer wilderness program. There, Addy joins five other Black city kids—each with their own troubles—to spend a summer out west.
 
Deep in the forest the kids learn new (and to them) strange skills: camping, hiking, rock climbing, and how to start and safely put out campfires. Most important, they learn to depend upon each other for companionship and survival. 
But then comes a devastating forest fire…
 
Addy is face-to-face with her destiny and haunting past. Developing her courage and resiliency against the raging fire, it’s up to Addy to lead her friends to safety. Not all are saved. But remembering her origins and grandmother’s teachings, she’s able to use street smarts, wilderness skills, and her spiritual intuition to survive.”

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!

Did I miss any releases you’re excited for? Be sure to share in the comments below!

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Author Spotlight: Mollie Elkman

On Today’s Author Spotlight we are chatting with Mollie Elkman about her debut, The House That She Built – an empowering picture book that educates young readers about the people and skills that go into building a home.

Mollie, thank you so much for making this interview possible! I am thrilled to chat with you about The House That She Built, but before we dive in, would you like to introduce yourself?

Hi! I’m Mollie Elkman. Mom to Zachary (10) and Zoey (4). I own group two, a marketing company for home builders.

The House That She Built is your first picture book. What inspired you to write the book?

One of my favorite builders (Kristi Allen) who has become a close friend of mine asked us to help do the marketing for an ambitious project she was part of. An all-women-built home.

Being exposed to over 100 women in building throughout the project and learning about their different stories and paths into careers in construction was incredibly inspiring. These women are amazing and have great careers, yet most people don’t think of women when they think of construction jobs. 

Title: The House That She Built
Author: Mollie Elkman
Illustrator: Georgia Castellano
Publisher: Builder Books
Published: September 14, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Some people may wonder, “Why do we need a home built entirely by women?”. How do you answer those types of questions and help folks understand the importance of the project?

Right now there is a skilled labor shortage, which is only projected to get worse. With less than 3% of construction jobs being filled by women, it’s really important to show that women are completely capable of having very successful careers in construction. We want all underrepresented communities to know there are many different opportunities and paths to success. 

What was the research process like for The House That She Built? Did your experience as a second-generation business owner in housing help you along with the research?

So many women like myself were brought into the housing industry by a father or grandfather. We would love to help break that cycle by making more women aware of these career opportunities. One of the most moving experiences for me while working on the book was being in the garage of the project that inspired the book. The walls were filled with pictures of all the women who had worked on the home during all stages of the build. Most of these women are used to being the only woman on the average jobsite, so this project was really special because it emphasized that not only are they not alone, but there is room for so many more!

I love the way The House That She Built highlights the variety of skilled jobs needed to build a home. Even as an adult, I never really thought about how many people are involved in building a home. Are the 18 jobs found in the book the original lineup, or did you have to narrow down from a larger scope?

Ah I love this question! No one has asked this yet. We absolutely had to narrow it down and there are many additional careers that are important and necessary. We tried to focus on the logical order of jobs from the planning stage all the way to the final touches to show the progression. There are so many other roles happening at the same time, though like installing the windows and doors! The intent was to get kids thinking about the space around them and the different skills and people that went into creating that space. 

I know that Georgia Castellano, the illustrator, is the creative director at your company, Group Two. Did you two work closely throughout the illustration process?

We did! Not just through the illustration process but really the entire process of marketing and publishing. Georgia is extremely talented and we work really well together. Beyond that, we are friends which made this experience really fun. 

Do you have a favorite spread? If so, which one?

I would say my favorite is the General Contractor because she is based on Kristi Allen who I mentioned before. I feel like she gave me this amazing gift by bringing me into the project she was working on and it makes me happy to see the cartoon version of her represented in the book. 

Is there possibly another book in your future?

Next up, we will have an activity book to go along with the book. It’s incredible and I can’t wait to share it. From there, I really want to develop some curriculum for schools that highlight the different skills in the book. There has been a real emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) and this book fits really well into the conversation. 

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

Yes! This is a mission based initiative so all proceeds support workforce development initiatives in the homebuilding industry. 

I would love to offer your readers a coloring page to download and print! It’s really fun to see how different kids can take the same image and create a completely unique finished piece. 

That is so generous! Thank you so much for that surprise, and for joining us today to talk about The House That She Built.

You can learn more about Mollie and her work by visiting her website, grouptwo.com. For more information about The House That She Built please visit shebuiltbook.com or @shebuiltbook on Instagram.

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The Girl With Big, Big Questions

Today, I’m excited to share the follow up to one of my favorite books with you all! The Girl With Big, Big Questions by Britney Winn Lee is a title I’ve been looking forward to for months, and I’m happy to report it did NOT disappoint. In fact, I may just love it more than The Boy With Big, Big Feelings.

Title: The Girl With Big, Big Questions
Author: Britney Winn Lee
Illustrator: Jacob Souva
Publisher: Beaming Books
Published: August 10, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Following a young girl and her search for answers to questions big and small, The Girl With Big, Big Questions celebrates the spirit of curiosity and highlights the importance of asking questions. By following the persistent young girl as she asks questions like, “What makes a good person?” and, “What happens to stars when they fall?”, young readers will see examples of thinking outside the box and experience the joy of learning through questioning. When the young girl finds a bird’s nest built low to the ground on a fence, she can’t help but ask herself, “What is a bird’s nest doing down here?”, leading her to find a problem in her community and to lead the charge to solve it.

The illustrations by Jacob Souva are lovely, and fans of The Boy with Big, Big Feelings will be happy to see his familiar style on every page. I especially love the way Jacob captures concepts like questions and feelings in a colorful way, giving children a look into the thoughts and feelings of the characters in the series.

The Girl With Big, Big Questions is a wonderful addition to bookshelves everywhere and is available for purchase 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 Beaming Books for generously providing me with a review copy of this wonderful book. I can’t wait to see where this series goes!

About The Author:

Britney Winn Lee is an author, editor, and nonprofit director living in Shreveport, Louisiana with her creative husband and big-hearted son. Lee serves as the full-time director of Noel Community Arts Program, the part-time editor and content coordinator for Red Letter Christians, and is represented by Lisa Jackson at Alive Literary Agency for her writing.

Lee’s books include The Boy with Big, Big Feelings (Beaming Books), Rally: Communal Prayers for Lovers of Jesus and Justice (Upper Room),and Deconstructed Do-Gooder: A Memoir about Learning Mercy the Hard Way (Cascade Books). With a BA in religious studies and a master’s degree in nonprofit administration, Lee has worked for over a decade in faith- and justice-based, creative community-building.

You can find Britney online at britneywinnlee.com, on Twitter @britneywinnlee, and on Instagram @brittneywinnlee.

About The Illustrator:

Jacob Souva is an illustrator who lives in Upstate New York with his wife and two boys. He’s passionate about equipping kids with language to navigate their emotional well-being, laugh at silly things, and be inspired by big stories. Jacob works digitally and loves to experiment with texture and color.

You can find Jacob online at twofishillustration.com, on Twitter @TwoFish, and on Instagram @jacobsouva.

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New Release Round Up – September 7, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everybody! It’s new release day again! As always, I rounded up the titles I am most excited about to share with y’all today. There are a TON to talk about this week, so sit back, grab a snack, and let’s look at some new books.

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

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.

Board Books

I Am Love: A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde, Illustrated Peter H. Reynolds

“Celebrate kindness, compassion, self-care, and love in all its forms with the board book edition of the instant New York Times bestseller!

I put my hands on my heart and listen.
And that is where I find the answer:

I have compassion.
I act with tenderness.

I am love.

Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds continue their collaboration with the fourth book in their wellness series. A celebration of love in all its forms, I Am Love asks readers to look inward when they feel afraid. Love allows us to act with compassion and kindness, to live with gratitude, and to take care of ourselves by practicing self-love.”

Brilliant Baby Fights Germs by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Jean Claude

“This series will introduce and explore all the different subjects your brilliant baby will soon master!

Your Brilliant Baby will love learning what germs are and what we can do to prevent the spread of them, as well as about the scientists and doctors who help us fight them!”

Brilliant Baby Explores Science by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Jean Claude

“This series will introduce and explore all the different subjects your brilliant baby will soon master!

Your Brilliant Baby will love learning the basics of the scientific method and how they can find science all around them, such as in colors, nature, buildings, and more!”

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, Illustrated by Frane Lessac

“The Cherokee community is grateful for blessings and challenges that each season brings. This is modern Native American life as told by an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.”

Picture Books

Over and Under The Canyon by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

“In this latest book in the acclaimed Over and Under series, a spectacular hike reveals the hidden wonders, rich colors, and layers of wildlife living within a thriving desert slot-canyon.

Over and Under the Canyon takes young readers on a thrilling tour of a desert canyon ecosystem. Over the canyon, the sun scalds the air, baking desert mud to stone. But under the shade of the cliffs hides another world, where bighorn sheep bound from rock to rock on the hillside, roadrunners make their nests in sturdy cacti, and banded geckos tuck themselves into the shelter of the sand. Discover the wonders concealed in the curves of the canyon, the magic of a desert wildflower bloom, and all the unexpected creatures that bring the desert to life.”

I Am Courage: A Book of Resilience by Susan Verde, Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Encourage kids to find their inner strength with this companion to the New York Times bestsellers I Am Human and I Am Love!

I move ahead one breath at a time.
I act with bravery.
I am courage.
 

When we picture someone brave, we might think they’re fearless; but real courage comes from feeling scared and facing what challenges us anyway. When our minds tell us “I can’t,” we can look inside ourselves and find the strength to say, “Yes, I CAN!”

From the New York Times bestselling team behind the I Am series comes a triumphant celebration of everyday courage: believing in ourselves, speaking out, trying new things, asking for help, and getting back up no matter how many times we may fall. Grounded in mindfulness and awareness, I Am Courage is an empowering reminder that we can conquer anything.
Inside, you’ll also find exercises to inspire confidence.”

The Wall and the Wild by Christina Dendy, Illustrated by Katie Rewse

When Ana tries to take control by creating a perfect garden, she comes to realize that nature is inherently wild.

In a plot of land at the edge of town, Ana grows only perfectly sized plants and perfect-looking flowers; she throws all the irregular shoots and uneven seeds over the wall into the disorderly Wild. But as her garden gets tidier, neater and more constrained, the Wild begins to grow…”

Before We Stood Tall: From Small Seed to Mighty Tree by Jessica Kulekjian, Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper

“Expressive text and art tell the story of the life cycle of trees as it has never been told before — in reverse.Here’s a lyrical depiction of the life cycle of trees, told one step at a time, based on newly researched information. The steps are described in simple but evocative text, each starting with “Before . . .” for a rhythmic telling. For example, “Before we stood tall, we clothed ourselves in bark and crowned ourselves in leaves, waving eagerly at the sun.” Particular attention is paid throughout to what’s happening underground and how that links all life in the forest. Beginning with mature giants, “mighty in the kingdom of trees,” and ending with the promise of new life on the branches that are “hoping to be mighty in the kingdom of trees,” it’s a beautiful and loving celebration of the circle of life.Jessica Kulekjian’s skill at seamlessly blending nonfiction information with a poetic narrative sets this informational picture book apart. She also uniquely incorporates intriguing new research on how trees communicate with each other using an underground network of roots and fungus that connects the forest and helps the trees to thrive. Madeline Kloepper’s rich artwork with its deep earth tone palette brings the forest and all its inhabitants alive on the page. The material has been vetted by several scientists, including experts on trees, insects and mushrooms. Supported by well-researched backmatter, the book has strong curriculum links to early elementary earth and life science topics, including plants, ecosystems and soil.”

A Seat at the Table: The Nancy Pelosi Story by Elisa Boxer, Illustrated by Laura Freeman

This inspiring picture-book biography about Nancy Pelosi shows her journey from the child of Baltimore’s mayor to her marble-ceiling-shattering four terms as Speaker of the House, including the historic events of January 6th, 2021. 
 

Nancy Pelosi grew up watching her father, the mayor of Baltimore, welcome in people of all different backgrounds to sit at their table and make their voices heard. Nancy’s mother always stood beside him, working behind the scenes to help her husband and the people he served. When Nancy grew up, she continued working behind the scenes in politics until a friend asked her to run for Congress herself–jump-starting a 33 year career as a political representative and taking her higher than she could have once imagined.

Young girls, especially, will be inspired by Nancy’s journey and her commitment to using her voice to help others and to make sure women are heard in government. The backmatter also includes an exclusive interview with Nancy Pelosi herself.”

Let Me Fix You A Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens by Elizabeth Lilly

Whether you’re settling in for a heaping plate of banana pudding or arepas and tostones, a good meal can always bring families together.

Once a year, on a Friday night,
My family leaves the city
And drives hours and hours . . .

First my family drives through the mountains to stop at Mamaw and Papaw’s house in rural West Virginia. We share blueberry jam and toast for breakfast the next morning, then munch cookies and cut bananas to make banana pudding with Mamaw. After the last bite of pudding, we get ready for the next part of the journey, down to Florida to visit Abuela and Abuelo for crispy tostones, fresh squeezed juice, and arepas with queso blanco.

Elizabeth Lilly’s tale of a joyous road trip, drawn from her own experience, is illustrated with quirky charm that captures all the warmth and love of her family’s two distinct cultures.”

Magic Like That by Samara Cole Doyon, Illustrated by Geneva Bowers

“In this celebration of Black Girl Magic, a young girl finds confidence and excitement in the versatility of her natural hair and the way her different hairstyles reflect the natural world.

Natural hair is magical, but magic isn’t easy. As a young Black girl patiently waits for her mother to finish her newest hairstyle, she wonders what stunning, majestic, awe-inspiring form her hair will take next!

With radiant illustrations by Geneva Bowers and beautiful, poetic text written by Samara Cole Doyon, Magic Like That will inspire young readers of all textures to believe in the beauty of their natural selves.”

Right Now!: Real Kids Speaking Up for Change by Miranda Paul, Illustrated by Bea Jackson

A joyful, inspiring picture book that introduces readers to eleven young people from around the world who didn’t wait until they were grown to speak up about things that matter to them and change the world for the better, from an award-winning author and New York Times best-selling illustrator.

From climate activist Greta Thunberg to anti-bullying advocate Jaylen Arnold to peace activist Bana Alabed and more, these short profiles of young people and their causes will inspire readers to think about what matters most to them. An author’s note, Actions to Make a Difference, and additional resources are also included, providing a roadmap for any kid who wants to make change and help others too.”

When Langston Dances by Kaija Langley, Illustrated by Keith Mallett

A young Black boy dreams of dancing in this exuberant, buoyant picture book celebrating the beauty of dance, and the wonder of Black Boy Joy—perfect for fans of Firebird and Crown!

Langston likes basketball okay, but what he loves is to dance—ever since he saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Company perform. He longs to twirl into a pirouette, whirl into a piqué. He wants to arabesque and attitude, grand battement and grand jeté. When he walks, the whole street is his stage.

With his neighborhood cheering him on, will Langston achieve his dream?”

Ada and the Galaxies by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv, Illustrated by Susanna Chapman

“Stargazers rejoice! In his first book for children, renowned physicist Alan Lightman and collaborators, with help from the Hubble telescope, light up the night sky.

New York Times best-selling author Alan Lightman, in collaboration with Olga Pastuchiv, brings galaxies close in a stunning picture-book tribute to the interconnectedness of the natural world. Layering photographs taken from the Hubble telescope into charming and expressive art, illustrator Susanna Chapman zooms in on one child’s experiences: Ada knows that the best place for star-gazing is on the island in Maine where she vacations with her grandparents. By day, she tracks osprey in the trees, paddles a kayak, and hunts for shells. But she’s most in her element when the sun goes down and the stars blink to life. Will the fog this year foil her plans, or will her grandfather find a way to shine a spotlight on the vast puzzle of the universe . . . until the weather turns?”

This Magical, Musical Night by Rhonda Gowler Greene, Illustrated by James Rey Sanchez

Music! Music! Oh, how grand! A language we all understand.
Get swept away by the musical performance of a lifetime as, one by one, each instrument of the symphony orchestra shows off their skills!

Follow along as the symphony orchestra’s various instruments are introduced. From violin to trumpet, flute to trombone, each plays its part, contributing to a grand and mystifying performance. These magical instruments will transport you in a way only music can. Soar with the strings, float away with the woodwinds, and play in a percussion thunderstorm! Music can take us anywhere, so celebrate and learn about all the instruments of the orchestra and the music that unites us.”

Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories by Annette Bay Pimentel, Illustrated by Magaly Morales

“A lyrical, vibrant tribute to the amazing life and legacy of Pura Belpré, a lauded storyteller, librarian, and pioneer of bilingual storytimes

Pura’s abuela always has a cuento to share. She crows ¡Qui-qui-ri-quí! for Señor Gallo, booms Borom, Borom for Señor Zapo, and tells of a beautiful cockroach who loves a mouse. Pura clings to these stories like coquíes cling to green leaves.

When Pura grows up and moves from Puerto Rico to Harlem, she gets a job at the library, where she is surrounded by stories—but they’re only in English. Where is Señor Gallo? Where is Pérez the mouse? Where is Puerto Rico on these shelves? She decides to tell children the tales of her homeland in English and in Spanish.

Lyrically written, with lively illustrations, Pura’s Cuentos captures the exuberant spirit and passion of Pura Belpré: celebrated storyteller, author, folklorist, and the first Latina librarian in New York City. A pioneer of bilingual storytimes, she welcomed countless new families to the library, formed cultural bridges in her community, and broke the rules by telling stories that weren’t printed in books—at least, not yet.”

Thankful by Elaine Vickers, Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill

Stunning, diorama illustrations bring to life this lullaby of a picture book about celebrating everyday things that make life wonderful.

I am thankful for a home where I am safe and warm.
Thankful for parents who read me stories and comb my hair gently, gently.
Who whisper the same poem every night when they tuck me in.

When the first snow falls, a little girl writes down the things she’s thankful for on strips of paper and links them together. As one idea leads to another, her chain grows longer. There’s so much good in her life: a friend, things that are warm, things that are cold, color, things that can be fixed. This beautiful story is a much-needed reminder to observe and honor life’s small joys.”

Jazz For Lunch by Jarrett Dapier, Illustrated by Eugenia Mello

“Last Stop on Market Street gets a jazzy twist in this finger-licking good celebration of music, food, and family.

Struttin’ with Auntie Nina down to a club,
We’re gonna hear some music and then eat some grub.
Wanna get up close, but we’re stuck in the back,
We can’t see the drums and we can’t get a snack!
But Auntie Nina’s got a plan, don’t you fret,
She’s taking us to her place where we can get
JAZZ FOR LUNCH!

Come on in, sit right down! Cuz Auntie Nina and her nephew are cooking up a symphony of food and sounds. The lip-smacking smells and be-bopping tunes might just get the whole neighborhood shimmying over to join in. From Nat King Cole Slaw to Art Tatum Tots to Billie Hollandaise Sauce, get ready for some foot-stomping, finger-licking, booty-shaking, mouth-watering fun!”

Superjoe Does NOT Do Cuddles by Michael Catchpool, Illustrated by Emma Proctor

“Even the mightiest of superheroes sometimes need a cuddle from their mom…

SuperJoe is convinced he doesn’t need cuddles from his mom. He flies around the neighborhood rescuing people from escaped tigers, runaway trains and raging rivers, all while battling his nemesis the Gray Shadow. Naturally, he refuses all cuddles. Until, one night, when he can’t sleep…”

Lost Things by Carey Sookocheff

“In this charming simple story, things are lost, things are found and, somehow, it’s all just as it should be.Sometimes things are lost. A hair ribbon. A pencil. A dog on a leash. But when someone loses a thing, another person may find it, sometimes with surprising results. In this thoughtful and deceptively simple story, several things are lost, and then each is found — not always by the person who lost it, but always by someone who can use it.Though for most young children — and their grownups! — losing something is a cause for stress, Carey Sookocheff’s delightful picture book presents the experience in a calm, matter-of-fact tone and invites readers to consider things from a different perspective. The subtle message is one we can all learn from — while you can’t always control what happens, you can manage how you respond. With very spare text and easy-to-follow visual storytelling, the book has a this-then-that rhythm that is reassuring and pleasant. It also begins and ends with the same girl walking her dog in the park, making for a cohesive and satisfying story. The illustrations use a limited, cool palette with the color orange signifying each of the lost items, perfect for enhancing observational skills and visual literacy. This book would work well as a jumping off point for children to create stories of their own, imagining what might have happened to something they’ve lost, who might have found it, and what might happen to it next.”

Snoozefest: The Surprising Science of Sleep by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Illustrated by Valéry Goulet

“From award-winning author Tanya Lloyd Kyi, an eye-opening look at the science of sleep — covering everything adolescents could possibly want to know about a subject that’s suddenly keeping them up at night!For something that all humans do for hours every night, sleep is not that well understood. One thing we do know, though, is that sleep is crucial for our health and happiness. Here’s a highly readable and fascinating look at why sleep is so important, what’s happening in our bodies while we’re sleeping (it’s a lot more than you think!), and how the science of sleep research has evolved. It probes some of the mysteries about sleep, like why we need sleep, why we dream, and even how long we can go without sleep! It also explains why teens and tweens aren’t getting enough sleep — and what school principals can do about it! It’s a deep dive into an intriguing topic that’s anything but a snore!Bestselling author Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s engaging yet comprehensive text covers everything a middle schooler (or an adult!) could want to know about the science of sleep — and then some. Sleep is a topic that most adolescents are interested in, since their sleep patterns have recently begun to change, and getting enough sleep is now more important to them than ever before. Sidebars and boxes full of fun facts break the text into readable chunks. There are terrific curriculum links here to life science and the human body as well as to health. Fully illustrated with a light touch by Valéry Goulet, this unique and appealing book makes scientific content accessible and fun.”

Bright Star by Yuyi Morales

“From the creator of the New York Times bestseller Dreamers comes a heartbreakingly beautiful story about growth, empowerment, and finding one’s own voice.

Child, you are awake!
You are alive!
You are a bright star,
Inside our hearts.

Told with a combination of powerful, spare language and sumptuous and complex imagery that is typical of Yuyi Morales’s work, this is the story of a fawn making her way through a border landscape teaming with flora and fauna native to the region. A gentle but empowering voice encourages her to face her fears when she comes across an obstacle in the form of an insurmountable barrier.”

Middle Grade

Born Behind Bars by Padma Venkatraman

“Kabir has been in jail since the day he was born, because his mom is serving time for a crime she didn’t commit. He’s never met his dad, so the only family he’s got are their cellmates, and the only place he feels the least bit free is in the classroom, where his kind teacher regales him with stories of the wonders of the outside world. Then one day a new warden arrives and announces Kabir is too old to stay. He gets handed over to a long-lost “uncle” who unfortunately turns out to be a fraud, and intends to sell Kabir. So Kabir does the only thing he can–run away as fast as his legs will take him. How does a boy with nowhere to go and no connections make his way? Fortunately, he befriends Rani, another street kid, and she takes him under her wing. But plotting their next move is hard–and fraught with danger–in a world that cares little for homeless, low caste children. This is not the world Kabir dreamed of–but he’s discovered he’s not the type to give up. Kabir is ready to show the world that he–and his mother–deserve a place in it.”

Obie Is Man Enough by Schuyler Bailar

“A coming-of-age story about transgender tween Obie, who didn’t think being himself would cause such a splash. For fans of Alex Gino’s George and Lisa Bunker’s Felix Yz.

Obie knew his transition would have ripple effects. He has to leave his swim coach, his pool, and his best friends. But it’s time for Obie to find where he truly belongs.

As Obie dives into a new team, though, things are strange. Obie always felt at home in the water, but now he can’t get his old coach out of his head. Even worse are the bullies that wait in the locker room and on the pool deck. Luckily, Obie has family behind him. And maybe some new friends too, including Charlie, his first crush. Obie is ready to prove he can be one of the fastest boys in the water—to his coach, his critics, and his biggest competition: himself.”

Danny Chung Sums It Up by Maisie Chan, Illustrated by Natelle Quek

“A touching and funny middle-grade story about a boy whose life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother moves in

Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English—and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. Filled with heart and humor, Danny Chung Sums It Up shows that traversing two cultures is possible and worth the effort, even if it’s not always easy.”

Lotería by Karla Arenas Valenti, Illustrated by Dana SanMar

“In the hottest hour of the hottest day of the year, a fateful wind blows into Oaxaca City. It whistles down cobbled streets and rustles the jacaranda trees before slipping into the window of an eleven-year-old girl named Clara. Unbeknownst to her, Clara has been marked for la Lotería.

Life and Death deal the Lotería cards but once a year, and the stakes could not be higher. Every card reveals a new twist in Clara’s fate—a scorpion, an arrow, a blood-red rose. If Life wins, Clara will live to a ripe old age. If Death prevails, she’ll flicker out like a candle.

But Clara knows none of this. All she knows is that her young cousin Esteban has vanished, and she’ll do whatever it takes to save him, traveling to the mythical Kingdom of Las Pozas, where every action has a price, and every choice has consequences. And though it seems her fate is sealed, Clara just might have what it takes to shatter the game and choose a new path.

Karla Arenas Valenti weaves an adventure steeped in magic and mythology—gorgeously illustrated by Dana Sanmar—exploring the notion of free will in a world where fate holds all the cards.”

Partly Cloudy by Tanita S. Davis

“Lightning couldn’t strike twice, could it? After a terrible year, Madalyn needs clear skies desperately. Moving in with her great-uncle, Papa Lobo, and switching to a new school is just the first step.

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, though. Madalyn discovers she’s the only Black girl in her class, and while most of her classmates are friendly, assumptions lead to some serious storms.

Papa Lobo’s long-running feud with neighbor Mrs. Baylor brings wild weather of its own, and Madalyn wonders just how far things will go. But when fire threatens the community, Madalyn discovers that truly being neighborly means more than just staying on your side of the street— it means weathering tough conversations—and finding that together a family can pull through anything.

Award-winning author Tanita S. Davis shows us that life isn’t always clear, and that partly cloudy days still contain a bit of blue worth celebrating.”

Graphic Novels

Witches of Brooklyn: What The Hex?! by Sophie Escabasse

Effie returns in this spellbinding sequel: a middle-grade graphic novel about found family, friendship, and learning to embrace who you are!

Could there be even MORE witches in Brooklyn?!

Effie is EXCITED to meet so many witches, but what is going on with her friends? Suddenly Effie is no longer the newest kid in school, and it seems like her friends are happy to grow their little group, but Effie isn’t so sure. On top of that, learning magic is HARD WORK!

Effie just wants to have fun being a witch, but her life in Brooklyn is about to get weird(er).

The bewitching second book in the Witches of Brooklyn series captures what it means to be a friend, and how growing up can be a little less scary if you throw some magic in the mix.”

Borders by Thomas King, Illustrated by Natasha Donovan

From celebrated Indigenous author Thomas King and award-winning Métis artist Natasha Donovan comes a powerful graphic novel about a family caught between nations.

Borders is a masterfully told story of a boy and his mother whose road trip is thwarted at the border when they identify their citizenship as Blackfoot. Refusing to identify as either American or Canadian first bars their entry into the US, and then their return into Canada. In the limbo between countries, they find power in their connection to their identity and to each other. 

Borders explores nationhood from an Indigenous perspective and resonates deeply with themes of identity, justice, and belonging.”

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!

Did I miss any releases you’re excited for? Be sure to share in the comments below!

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Lost Things

Today, I have a deceptively simple picture book to share with you all! Lost Things by Carey Sookocheff is a lovely story about the things that can be lost and found. Beginning and ending with a young girl walking her dog in the park, Lost Things is a calm look at a topic that can often be stressful for young children.

Title: Lost Things
Author/Illustrator: Carey Sookocheff
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Published: September 7, 2021
Format: Picture Book

As we follow the girl and her dog on their walk, we notice the many objects that people lose throughout their day. The objects are usually found, even if it’s by someone who needed it more than the person who lost it. Told with sparse text and fantastic visual storytelling, Lost Things gives young readers a peek into the journey of each lost item with a beautiful full circle storyline.

I really love the artwork in Lost Things, as well. Not only is the visual storytelling wonderful, the color work is fantastic, too! From the muted cool pallette to the way orange is used to highlight each lost item, it’s just genius.

Lost Things is released tomorrow (September 7, 2021), but you can preorder it 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 Kids Can Press for sending me a review copy of such a wonderfully unique book!

About The Author/Illustrator:

Author and Illustrator Carey Sookocheff has more than ten books to her credit. They include the critically acclaimed Buddy and Earl series, I Do Not Like Stories, What Happens Next, as well as Wet and Solutions for Cold Feet, which she both wrote and illustrated. Her work has also appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including the Wall Street Journal and Real Simple magazine. Carey lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her family and their dog, Rosie.

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Mister Fairy

If you’re looking for a book that highlights themes of fitting in and self-discovery, I have the perfect book for you today! Mister Fairy by Morgane de Cadier and Florian Pigé is a delightful picture book all about finding one’s place in the world.

Title: Mister Fairy
Author: Morgane de Cadier
Illustrator: Florian Pigé
Publisher: Red Comet Press
Published: September 7, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Mister Fairy follows an adorable fairy who can’t seem to find his hidden talent. His friends around him all seem to be good at something, but he feels useless. He runs away from the forest to the human world and suddenly finds his purpose – to spread colorful joy to a drab city. He rushes back to the forest to tell his friends, only to realize they missed the joy and laughter he brought to the forest. This sweet picture book will teach young readers that we all have a gift to share with the world.

The illustrations by Florian Pigé are so fun! I love the way Mr. Fairy’s emotions are captured on every page, from his frustration during his self-doubt to the joy of finding his self-confidence. The color work is perfect, and I especially appreciate the way Mr. Fairy brings the colors back to life.

Mister Fairy officially releases next week (September 7, 2021), but you can preorder your copy today at Bookshop or 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 Red Comet Press and Blue Slip Media for providing me with a review copy of such a fun book. I can’t wait to share this with my little one!

About The Author:

Morgane de Cadier trained in technical drawing at the Emile Cohl School in Lyon, France. She decided to follow her passion for writing and telling stories and, in 2015, her first book, Tout La-Hout, was published. The illustrator was Florian Pigé. She has since written six more picture books including Mister Fairy. Florin Pigé has illustrated all but one of her books. She continues to enjoy writing and drawing. Morgane de Cadier lives in Lyon, France.

You can find Morgane online at morganedecadier.com and on Instagram @morganedecadier.

About The Illustrator:

Florian Pigé attended the Emile Cohl school in Lyon, France, where he studied illustration. His passion for children’s literature grew from his diploma studies where he learned to tell story with writing and illustration. In his creative approach he pays careful attention to small details and uses simplified forms . He derives inspiration from artists such as, Mary Blair, Eyvind Earle, Jon Klassen, Benjamin Flouw, Simone Read, Yvan Duqe, Philip Giordano. Marta Altès, Emily Hughes, and Benjamin Chaud.

You can find Florian online at florianpige.com and on Instagram @florian_pige.

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Flashback Friday: The Good Song

Today I want to share a beautiful picture book all about a song that perfectly captures the bittersweet moment of summer ending. The Good Song by Alexandria Giardino and Penelope Dullaghan is a fictional story inspired by the song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What a Wonderful world” recorded by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole.

Title: The Good Song
Author: Alexandria Giardino
Illustrator: Penelope Dullaghan
Publisher: Cameron Kids
Published: October 6, 2020
Format: Picture Book

Originally published in October 2020, this stunning picture book tells the story of a young Hawaiian boy named Iz, beginning with the day he was born, when the world sang him a lullaby. Iz’s grandfather lovingly teaches him to hear the beautiful music of love and life all around him. This essential life lesson helps Iz navigate the feelings of grief and darkness that he finds upon losing his grandfather. Much like the song that inspired it, The Good Song is filled with beauty, grief, sadness, and joy, creating a touching story for young readers.

The illustrations by Penelope Dullaghan are absolutely phenomenal! The lush colors create the perfect backdrop for Iz’s story. I particularly loved the way the rainbow is used to create a visual representation of the music in Iz’s life.

Complete with back matter that shares the history of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, “What a Wonderful World”, and Iz’s original version, The Good Song is a wonderful lesson in musical history, as well as a beautiful story.

You can pick up your own copy of The Good Song wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Cameron Kids for providing me with a review copy of this beautiful book. I am thrilled to share it with you all today!

About The Author:

Alexandria Giardino’s debut picture book, Ode to an Onion, published by Cameron Kids, was inspired by the poet Pablo Neruda and his muse, Matilde. It was a Junior Library Guild selection. She lives in Northern California. You can find Alexandria online at alexgiardino.com and on Twitter @Alex_Giardino.

About The Illustrator:

Penelope Dullaghan is an illustrator based in Indianapolis. This is her first picture book for Cameron Kids. You can find Penelope online at penelopedullaghan.com and on Instagram @penelope_dullaghan.

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Book Tour Stop: Magic Candies

Today I’m so excited to be taking part in Blue Slip Media’s book tour for Magic Candies by the award-winning Heena Baek today!

Title: Magic Candies
Author/Illustrator: Heena Baek
Translator: Sophie Bowman
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids
Published: September 1, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Magic Candies is a funny, touching, and delightfully odd picture book that follows a lonely young boy named Tong Tong who accidentally purchases magic candies when he’s shopping for marbles. These magic candies allow him to hear the voices of things and people he couldn’t speak to before, including his sofa, his dog, and even his dead grandmother. Through these interactions, Tong Tong learns valuable lessons like what it means to be loved and how to find his voice. With the perfect balance of humor and heart, Heena Baek and Sophie Bowman tell an unforgettable story.

Magic Candies reminded me of why I love picture books so much, because they can constantly surprise you. The illustrations are absolutely fascinating! Heena Baek uses an incredibly unique method of photographing small models, creating something I’ve never seen before.

Magic Candies officially released yesterday, so you can pick up 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 am also hosting a giveaway over on Instagram, so don’t miss your chance to win a free copy, courtesy of Amazon Crossing Kids. Thank you to both Amazon Crossing Kids and Blue Slip Media for allowing me to review Magic Candies and making a giveaway possible!

About the Author:

Heena Baek is an acclaimed picture book author and illustrator from South Korea. She won the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, a huge international award honoring the body of work of children’s book creators. She studied educational technology at Ewha Womans University and animation at the California Institute of the Arts. Utilizing her diverse animation production experience, Heena creates powerful and interesting picture books, often sculpting characters and building sets. She is the author and illustrator of a number of picture books, many of which have been translated and have received awards from South Korea and internationally. Follow her on Twitter @heenastory.

About The Translator:

Sophie Bowman studied social anthropology and Korean studies at SOAS University of London before going on to complete an MA in Korean literature at Ewha Womans University. She is now a PhD student at the University of Toronto, studying Korean literature. Sophie was a recipient of the ICF Literature Translation Fellowship during her studies at Ewha. She won the Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Award grand prize for poetry in 2015 with her translations of Jin Eun-young and co-translated Kim Bo-Young’s I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories. Follow her on Twitter @SophieOrbital.

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Over and Under The Canyon

With summer winding down, I’d like to share a beautiful picture book that has me wishing for one last summer vacation. Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal are back at it again with the third installation of the Over and Under series, Over and Under The Canyon—a stunning picture book that captures all the wonder the desert has to offer.

Title: Over and Under The Canyon
Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Published: September 7, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Like the previous books in the series, Over and Under The Pond and Over and Under the Snow, this new addition combines lyrical prose with incredible illustration, creating an engaging and highly visual narrative.

Inspired by Kate Messner’s experiences camping with her family at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California, Over and Under the Canyon takes young readers on a tour of a desert canyon ecosystem as they follow a mother and her child on a hike. On their hike, they see the variety of animals that call the desert home, from the hawks flying over the canyon to the harvester ants burrowing underground. The pair hikes on through the sweltering sun to find a field of wildflowers, then back to their campsite where the father waits for them. The family then spends the night under the stars, listening to the sounds of the desert canyon.

Those of you who know me well already know that I am not the outdoors type (well, not in the Gulf Coast humidity, anyway), but Over and Under the Canyon made me want to get up and go see the wonders of nature. I’ve forgotten the magic that can be found in an afternoon hike, and this lovely book illustrates it perfectly. The illustrations by Christopher Silas Neal are absolutely stunning. Seriously, they had me ready to pack a bag and find the nearest desert!

I also appreciate it when nonfiction doesn’t feel like work. The progression of the story introduces all the various aspects of the ecosystem so effortlessly, making this both an educational and entertaining read for children. The back matter contains further detail about the 24 animals found throughout the hike for young readers who would like to delve deeper. Over and Under the Canyon is perfect for parents, nature lovers, educators, and librarians looking to add engaging nonfiction to their collections, and of course fans of Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal’s previous work on the Over and Under Series.

Over and Under the Canyon officially releases next week (September 7, 2021), but I would highly recommend preordering your copy today. You can preorder anywhere 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 sending a review copy of Over and Under the Canyon. I cannot wait to read this one to my little one and nurture his love of the great outdoors.

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, The Brilliant Deep, Over and Under the Rainforest, and How to Read a Story, as well as more than a dozen other books for young readers. Kate lives on Lake Champlain with her family.

You can find Kate online at katemessner.com, on Instagram @KateMessner, and Twitter @katemessner.

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, and Over and Under the Rainforest. His work has been published in a variety of books and magazines and featured on television. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

You can find Christopher online at csneal.com, on Instagram @csilasneal, and on Twitter @csneahttps://twitter.com/csneall.

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New Release Round Up – August 31, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I can’t wait to share the new releases I am most looking forward to this week with you all, 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

You Are Home by Mackenzie Porter, Illustrated by Xin Li

“This lovely board book reassures young ones that wherever they go, they carry the love of a parent. So no matter where they roam, they’ll always be home.

So if you ride to the corner, to the mountains, the sea,
there’s not a place in this world that I won’t be.
Wherever you travel and wherever you roam,
just know, my sweet child, you will always be home.

Home begins as a parent’s arms, and as the child in this story grows up, home then has grass, and sky, and a street that doesn’t end. The parent in this story reassures their child that they can keep going, they can find new homes, because wherever they go, they’ll carry the parent’s love. After all, home is where the heart is.”

Courage Is… by Jason and True Kander, Illustrated by Alyssa Gonzalez

“Jason Kander knows what courage is. With help from his son, True, he introduces the concept to future leaders in this powerful board book.

A military veteran, voting rights activist, and rising democratic star, Kander elegantly illustrates everyday courage in a way that will resonate with the preschool set. It is not, he explains, about not feeling fear. Courage is about being scared—and doing the scary things anyway. Whether it’s going to the dentist, trying a strange new food, asking for help, or going to sleep all by yourself, this book addresses the many surprising ways that little ones can develop courage and character.”

Picture Books

Tomatoes For Neela by Padma Lakshmi, Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

“Neela loves cooking with her amma and writing down the recipes in her notebook. It makes her feel closer to her paati who lives far away in India. On Saturdays, Neela and Amma go to the green market and today they are buying tomatoes to make Paati’s famous sauce. But first, Neela needs to learn about all the different kinds of tomatoes they can pick from. And as Neela and Amma cook together, they find a way for Paati to share in both the love and the flavors of the day.

Bestselling author and host of Bravo’s Top Chef and Hulu’s Taste the Nation Padma Lakshmi takes young readers on an intergenerational journey full of delicious flavors and fun food facts that celebrates a family’s treasured recipes. And Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal brings this circle of women to life with vivid detail and warmth. Tomatoes for Neela lovingly affirms how we can connect to other cultures, as well as to our own, through food.”

My Little Golden Book About Kamala Harris by Rajani LaRocca, Illustrated by Ashley Evans

Help your little one dream big with a Little Golden Book biography all about the first female Vice President Kamala Harris! The perfect introduction to nonfiction for preschoolers!

This Little Golden Book about Kamala Harris–the first woman, first African American woman, and first Indian American woman to be elected Vice President of the United States–is an inspiring read-aloud for young girls and boys.

Read all the Little Golden Book biographies: My Little Golden Book About Kamala Harris, My Little Golden Book About Frida Kahlo, My Little Golden Book About Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Little Golden Book About Betty White, My Little Golden Book About Jackie Robinson, My Little Golden Book About Martin Luther King Jr., My Little Golden Book About George Washington, My Little Golden Book About Abraham Lincoln, My Little Golden Book About Balto, and My Little Golden Book About Johnny Appleseed.”

Goodnight Ganesha by Nadia Salomon, Illustrated by Poonam Mistry

“A gorgeously illustrated goodnight story that celebrates the nighttime rituals of two young children visiting their grandparents in India.

As nighttime falls over the city, two children visiting their grandparents in India find there’s so much fun to be had! Whether it’s listening to epic stories or observing rituals in the puja room, there are many moments that make this time together special.

In this beautiful, rhyming ode to bedtime, the only thing more universal than getting ready for bed and saying goodnight is the love between children and their grandparents.”

Three Lines in a Circle by Michael G. Long, Illustrated by Carlos Vélez

“One line straight down. One line to the right. One line to the left, then a circle. That was all–just three lines in a circle.

This bold picture book tells the story of the peace symbol–designed in 1958 by a London activist protesting nuclear weapons–and how it inspired people all over the world. Depicting the symbol’s travels from peace marches and liberation movements to the end of apartheid and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Three Lines in a Circle offers a message of inspiration to today’s children and adults who are working to create social change. An author’s note provides historical background and a time line of late twentieth-century peace movements.”

Middle Grade

Dovey Undaunted by Tonya Bolden

“Dovey Johnson Roundtree was most famous for her successful defense of an indigent Black man accused of the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer, a prominent white Washington, DC, socialite, in 1965. Despite her triumph in this high-profile case, Roundtree continued to represent the poor and the underserved. She was the first lawyer to bring a bus desegregation case before the Interstate Commerce Commission, clinching the ruling that enabled Robert F. Kennedy to enforce bus integration. She was also among the first Black women to enter the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, and was one of the first ordained female ministers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.Tracing Roundtree’s life from her childhood in Jim Crow North Carolina through her adulthood, Tonya Bolden illuminates a little-known figure in American history who believed the law should serve the people, and places her firmly in the context of twentieth-century civil rights and African American culture.”

The Flyers by Beth Turley

“With the arrival of a glossy, cream-colored envelope in the mail, Elena Martinez’s dreams come true: she’s been chosen for the Spread Your Wings Magazine’s Young Flyers program—a week-long summer internship where she’ll get to learn the ins and outs of working for the most popular teen magazine. She heads to New York City, anxious to get away from her best friend, Summer, who is suddenly spending so much time with another girl from school and being so secretive about it.

Once there Elena meets her fellow Young Flyers: Harlow, who can get to the bottom of any story, Whitney, who has spot-on fashion sense, and Cailin, a social media star with thousands of followers and an eye for photography.

As the four new friends explore the city that never sleeps, each girl brings a piece of home, and a few secrets, with them and learns that no one’s life is as glossy as it may appear. But with courage, teamwork, and lots of passion, there’s no stopping a Flyer.”

Fast Pitch by Nic Stone

“Shenice Lockwood, captain of the Fulton Firebirds, is hyper-focused when she steps up to the plate. Nothing can stop her from leading her team to the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship. But life has thrown some curveballs her way.

Strike one: As the sole team of all-brown faces, Shenice and the Firebirds have to work twice as hard to prove that Black girls belong at bat.

Strike two: Shenice’s focus gets shaken when her great-uncle Jack reveals that a career-ending—and family-name-ruining—crime may have been a setup.

Strike three: Broken focus means mistakes on the field. And Shenice’s teammates are beginning to wonder if she’s captain-qualified.

It’s up to Shenice to discover the truth about her family’s past—and fast—before secrets take the Firebirds out of the game forever.”

We Are Family by Lebron James and Andrea Williams

“Jayden Carr has been training all summer to be ready for Hoop Group—the free afterschool basketball program where his hero, NBA superstar Kendrick King, got his start. But when his beloved coach tells him there’s not going to be a Hoop Group this year, Jayden is heartbroken.

And he’s not the only one. Coach Beck’s daughter, Tamika, was planning to be the first girl ever to start for the squad. Chris King, Kendrick’s only nephew, spent the summer bragging that his uncle was coming home just to watch him play. For Anthony Pierson, Hoop Group was supposed to be his way out of trouble. And for Dexter Donyel, all 4’6” of him, Hoop Group was his chance to finally be part of a team, instead of just watching from the stands.

For each kid, Hoop Group was more than just a chance to ball; it was an escape, a dream, a family. Now their prospects seem all but impossible—but then the world hasn’t met Jayden, Tamika, Chris, Anthony, and Dex before. Determined to have their shot, the five new friends scrap, hustle, fight, and play hard to save their season to prove that sometimes a chance is all it takes.”

Stolen Science by Ella Schwartz, Illustrated by Gaby D’Alessandro

“A fresh approach to a timely topic, Stolen Science is a fascinating compendium of stories of uncredited scientists and inventors throughout the ages.

Over the centuries, women, people from underrepresented communities, and immigrants overcame prejudices and social obstacles to make remarkable discoveries in science–but they weren’t the ones to receive credit in history books. People with more power, money, and prestige were remembered as the inventor of the telephone, the scientists who decoded the structure of DNA, and the doctor who discovered the cause of yellow fever. This book aims to set the record straight and celebrate the nearly forgotten inventors and scientists who shaped our world today.”

Graphic Novels

Friends Forever by Shannon Hale, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

“Shannon is in eighth grade, and life is more complicated than ever. Everything keeps changing, her classmates are starting to date each other (but nobody wants to date her!), and no matter how hard she tries, Shannon can never seem to just be happy.

As she works through her insecurities and undiagnosed depression, she worries about disappointing all the people who care about her. Is something wrong with her? Can she be the person everyone expects her to be? And who does she actually want to be?

With their signature humor, warmth, and insight, Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham have crafted another incredible love letter to their younger selves and to readers everywhere, a reminder to us all that we are enough.”

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!

Did I miss any releases you’re excited for? Be sure to share in the comments below!

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