Flashback Friday: No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History

For today’s Flashback Friday, I am highlighting an inspiring picture book perfect for young readers looking to make change in their communities. No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley profiles fourteen young activists, pairing a short biography with poems inspired by those activist.

Title: No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History
Authors: Lindsay Metcalf, Keila Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley
Illustrator: Jeanette Bradley
Published: September 20, 2020
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Format: Picture Book

Featuring poems from legends like Nikki Grimes, Leslea Newman, and Carole Boston Weatherford, No Voice Too Small provides young readers with powerful examples of activism by sharing the stories of children working to change history in a variety of ways. From Mari Copeny, who demands clean water in Flint, Michigan, to Zach Wahls, who fights for LGBTQ+ rights, each activist covered stands up to injustices impacting their communities.

I love the variety of issues this book touches on, because young readers are sure to find an issue that speaks to them directly, but it also highlights the fact that we can make change by working together on these issues. Jeanette Bradley’s illustrations are absolutely lovely. She captures the spirit of each young activist on every page, bringing their story and their fight to life.

No Voice Too Small 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 Charlesbridge for providing me with a review copy of this beautiful book!

About The Authors:

Lindsay H. Metcalf grew up on a Kansas farm and is the author of Farmers Unite! Planting a Protest for Fair Prices. An experienced journalist, Lindsay has covered a variety of change-makers as a reporter, editor, and columnist for the Kansas City Star and other news outlets. www.lindsayhmetcalf.com

Keila V. Dawson was born and raised in New Orleans. She has been a community organizer and an early childhood special education teacher. She has lived in the Phillipines, Japan, and Egypt. She is the author of The King Cake Babywww.keiladawson.com

Jeanette Bradley has been an urban planner, an apprentice pastry chef, and the artist-in-residence for a traveling art museum on a train. She is the author and illustrator of Love, Mama. Jeanette lives in Rhode Island with her wife and kids. www.jeanettebradley.com

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Review: The Proudest Color

Written by a pediatric psychologist and a family and marriage therapist, The Proudest Color by Sheila Modir, Jeff Kashou, and Monica Mikai is a gorgeous picture book that uses positivity to teach children about racial identity.

Title: The Proudest Color
Author: Sheila Modir and Jeff Kashou
Illustrator: Monica Mikai
Publisher: Familius
Published: September 7, 2021
Format: Picture Book

The Proudest Color opens with a young girl named Zahra who relates all of her favorite colors, drawing parallels between color and emotions. But one day at school, Zahra experiences discrimination when a fellow student tells her she doesn’t like her brown skin. Zahra is suddenly no longer proud of her brown skin, until her parents remind her of the wonderful things brown means.

The Proudest Color provides an excellent example for parents and caregivers on how to have healthy conversations about discrimination with children. More importantly, this example focuses on how to address the shame children may feel when they experience discrimination and replace it with pride.

I also really appreciated the way The Proudest Color is not directed specifically at any “target reader”. Every family can benefit from Zahra’s story and young readers can learn the impact of their words, as well as all the reasons they should be proud of their skin.

The illustrations by Monica Mikai are wonderful. I especially appreciated the crayon theme throughout, and the way Zahra’s drawings show us what she’s feeling.

With an amazing note for parents and caregivers in the backmatter, The Proudest Color is an excellent resource for anyone who is looking to introduce young readers to cultural socialization.

The Proudest Color is available wherever you normally purchase books, 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 Familius for providing me with a review copy of such a wonderful book! I am so grateful to be able to share it with you all today.

About The Authors:

Sheila Modir is a pediatric psychologist, and Jeffrey Kashou is a marriage and family therapist. As Middle Eastern Americans (Iranian and Palestinian) and as clinicians, they advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and work toward promoting resilience in children.

About The Illustrator:

Monica Mikai is an illustrator and former educator. She has an MFA from the New York Studio School where she studied painting and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and her two sons.

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Flashback Friday: A Year of Everyday Wonders

As we begin a new year, I want to share A Year of Everyday Wonders by Cheryl B. Klein and Qin Leng with you all for Flashback Friday. This clever picture book follows one child through a calendar year, perfectly capturing the small moments that make a childhood memorable.

Title: A Year of Everyday Wonders
Author: Cheryl B. Klein
Illustrator: Qin Leng
Publisher: Abrams
Published: December 8, 2021
Format: Picture Book

A Year of Everyday Wonders is a wonderful read for any season, but its focus on the “firsts” of the year give me all the hopeful feelings a new year brings. Following a young girl through the year, we see each “first” of every season; from the first snowfall to the first beach trip. Ending where it begins, back at another new year, this cyclical book makes for a great bedtime read.

Qin Leng’s illustrations fill every page with all the nostalgia of childhood and the passing of time. With both full page and vignette illustrations throughout, every image captures the simple yet relatable moments that build all of our years.

You can order your own copy of A Year of Everyday Wonders wherever books are sold, including Bookshop, Amazon, and your local bookstore. (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 Abrams for providing me with a review copy of A Year of Everyday Wonders. I’m so happy to share it with everyone today, and I know I will be reading it to my little one many times throughout the new year.

About The Author:

Cheryl B. Klein loves celebrating firsts year-round, especially her first day without a jacket in spring, her first ice-cream cone of summer, and the first blanket on her bed in fall. Wings, her debut picture book, illustrated by Tomie dePaola, received two starred reviews. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

About The Illustrator:

Qin Leng is a children’s author and illustrator whose Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, written by Chieri Uegaki, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and received the APALA Picture Book Award. Leng made her authorial debut with I Am Small. She lives in Toronto.

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Winter Break Announcement

Today, I have to announce something I’ve been putting off for a while. Mutually Inclusive will be on hiatus until January 2022.

As most of you know, this blog has been a huge part of my life for the past year, and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to share so many amazing books with you all. But I am only one person, and I have been going at full speed for the last year with very few breaks.

Last week, I was officially diagnosed with ADHD (which explains a lot of the challenges I have been facing in the last year) and I have decided to take some time off and focus on my own mental health. As sad as I am to step away, I know that focusing on my treatment is the right choice and that I will be back and better than ever in 2022.

I want to thank you all for the support you’ve shown my little corner of the internet over the past year. I am so grateful for every single one of you! Just know this is not goodbye, but more like “see you later”. I will still be working on my content for next year as well as a couple of manuscripts that need polishing. I will also be monitoring email and social media, so feel free to reach out there. I hope you all enjoy your winter holidays and I look forward to catching you up on my winter break soon!

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Review: Rock Legends Who Changed The World

If you’re looking for a board book for a music loving baby, I have the perfect pick for you today! Rock Legends Who Changed the World by Ashley Mireles and Giovana Medeiros is a fantastic board book that introduces young readers to ten legends of Rock Music.

Title: Rock Legends Who Changed the World
Author: Ashley Mireles
Illustrator: Giovana Medeiros
Publisher: Familius
Published: October 26, 2021
Format: Board Book

From Elvis to Queen, Rock Legends Who Changed the World introduces the smallest readers to the lives and accomplishments of these legends. While the text by Ashley Mireles highlights the specific ways each rock star impacted the genre, the illustrations capture the rock star’s unique personalities.

Rock Legends Who Changed the World is available now 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 Familius for sending a copy of this wonderful book my way. I know my music obsessed toddler will be reading this one for years to come.

About The Author:

Ashley Marie Mireles was born and raised in the heart of California’s Central Valley, where her time visiting the library blossomed into a career in publishing. She currently lives in Fresno, California, with her boyfriend of seven years and their terrier.

About The Illustrator:

Giovana is a freelance illustrator, born in Brazil, and based in Lisbon whose work is inspired by nature, women, kids, fantastical stories, and day-to-day life. She enjoys working with flat shapes, bold colours, and heavily patented textures and her illustrations have been applied to a series of different mediums such as books, advertising, magazines, textiles, games, and greeting cards.

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Mutually Inclusive’s First Anniversary (Giveaway!)

I can’t even believe I am typing this right now, but today is Mutually Inclusive’s one year anniversary! 2020 was a weird year for us all, and I’m so glad it inspired me to follow my passions and start writing about children’s books. In the last year, I have written over 200 blog posts, interviewed authors, connected with people from around the world, and even wrote a few books of my own.

I don’t know how I can possibly begin to thank you all for your support over the last year, but I’ve decided to do a giveaway to show my appreciation. In honor of my new home in St. Louis, I will be giving away a $50 gift card to my new local bookstore, Left Bank Books!

This amazing independent bookstore has been serving St. Louis for over 50 years now, and I can only dream of the day I can say the same for Mutually Inclusive. The gift card can be redeemed at the store in the Central West End neighborhood or online at left-bank.com for new and used books, games, puzzles, apparel and more. To enter to win, check out out my post on Instagram today with all the details.

Thank you all so much for the love and support you have shown this little blog. I had no idea what I was getting into last year, but I’m so grateful that I followed my heart and found this amazing community.

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New Release Round Up: October 26, 2021

Publishing dates seems to be constantly moving with the supply chain issues these day, but I’ve got you covered with this weeks new releases!

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

VÁMONOS: Santo Domingo by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein, Illustrated by Ana Godinez

Introduce little ones to the lovely city of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, in both English and Spanish!

Introduce your little readers to Santo Domingo, the stunning capital of the Dominican Republic. Children will start their journey on the Teleférico; afterward, they will learn to tell time using the Reloj del Sol at the plazoleta, study the lush gardens of the Santo Domingo Greenbelt, dance to the beat at the Merengue Festival, and taste the delicious platters of cangrejo guisado and sancocho.

Parents will want to get their hands on these travel books to engage their little ones in the beauty of exploring new cultures and countries without ever necessarily leaving the comfort of their homes and just using their imagination!”

VÁMONOS: Tegucigalpa by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein, Illustrated by Ana Godinez

Introduce little ones to the lovely city of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, in both English and Spanish!

Introduce your little readers to Tegucigalpa, the ever-growing capital of Honduras. Your little ones will discover the hidden gems – secret parks, hilly terrains, and stone steps – and feel like they’re on top of the world at El Picacho. They will bear witness to the natural phenomenon of the lluvia de peces, visit the national park of La Tigra, and dig into the country’s beloved platter of anafre!

Parents will want to get their hands on these travel books to engage their little ones in the beauty of exploring new cultures and countries without ever necessarily leaving the comfort of their homes and just using their imagination!”

Picture Books

Little Seeds of Promise by Sana Rafi, Illustrated by Renia Metallinou

“When Maya moves to a different country, she feels lonely and lost. Everything―and everyone―seems so unfamiliar here, and she wonders if she will ever find a way to fit in. Longing for her home, she holds tightly to the special seeds her grandmother gave her, afraid to plant them. Can she take the risk that they―and she―might grow and bloom in this new place?”

A Bear To Share by Jessica Alba, Kelly Sawyer Patricof, and Norah Weinstein, Illustrated Alicia Más

Business leader, actor, and Baby2Baby ambassador Jessica Alba and Baby2Baby co-CEOs Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein deliver the important message of giving back from an early age through this tender and delightful story.

Tiana loves her teddy bear, Bach. She doesn’t mind that he’s a little worn and somewhat torn. So when her mother suggests she make room for a new bear, Tiana can’t believe her ears!

Will Tiana have to lose the one bear she really loves? Or will she find room in her heart for two?

Find out in this endearing tale—brought to life by Alicia Más’s imaginative illustrations—about a young girl who learns the importance of letting go and giving back.

A girl with a big heart who loves her teddy bear, her family, and her best friend, Tiana will appeal to any child trying to understand what it means to give back to others.”

Violet Velvet Mitten With Everything by Deborah Blumenthal, Illustrated by Rachel Katstaller

This wonderful true story of iconic fashion editor Diana Vreeland teaches young readers that individuality is to be celebrated, and that even extraordinary dreams can come true.

Violet Velvet Mittens with Everything captures the dramatic, spectacular world of fashion icon Diana Vreeland, whose legacy at Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art continues to influence the fashion world today. As a little girl in Paris, Vreeland loved to read and dance, and most of all dress up. Her love of originality persisted through her career in fashion, where her work was colorful, zany, and never, ever boring. Violet Velvet Mittens with Everything captures Vreeland’s larger-than-life personality with an infectiously extravagant tone and style, showing young readers that above dazzling and daring, being yourself makes the most lasting impact of all.”

Circle Round by Anne Sibley O’Brien, Illustrated by Hanna Cha

A circle of children ask others to join in their play and soon find out that inclusion is irresistible!

From the author of I’m New Here and Someone New comes an inspiring new story of inclusion. One child in a park waves over a second child. Two children then wave over a third. Counting from one to ten, a growing circle of children see new faces outside the group and invite them over. Children of different abilities, ages, genders, and races demonstrate how easy it can be to expand your group, extend yourself, and welcome new friends.”

The Real Santa by Nancy Redd, Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

Join one Black family on their journey to discover what the real Santa looks like in this joyous tale celebrating identity, family and holiday cheer, from the New York Times bestselling author of Bedtime Bonnet.

It’s not Christmas without Santa! But what does Santa truly look like? Does he match the figurines on the mantel, or the faces on our favorite
holiday sweaters? Does he look like you or like me?

Find out in this joyous and cozy celebration of family, representation, and holiday spirit! Destined to be a new classic, and perfect for any child looking to see some of themself in Santa Claus.

Chapter Books

I Want to Be an Engineer by Laura Driscoll, Illustrated by Cataline Echeverri

For the child who says, “I want to be an engineer when I grow up!” And for any child who wants a gentle behind-the-scenes look at being an engineer.

I never knew that there were so many different ways to be an engineer. When my big brother goes to school for engineering, I learn that there are engineers who build buildings and design big rockets. Did you know that there are other kinds of engineers too? There are environmental engineers, plumbing engineers, robotic engineers—and many more! Maybe I’ll be an engineer, too?

With this story blending narrative with nonfiction elements, readers meet the wide variety of engineers who do so much to support our communities.

Middle Grade

Neverforgotten by Alejandra Algorta, Illustrated by Iván Rickenmann, Translated by Aida Salazar

“Fabio flies through the streets of Bogotá on his bicycle, the children of his neighborhood trailing behind him. It is there that life feels right—where the world of adults, and their lies, fades away. But then one day, he simply forgets. Forgets how to ride his bicycle. And Fabio will never be the same again.

From Colombia comes a special debut talent, Alejandra Algorta, and a first novel of discovery and heartbreak. Algorta’s distinct and poetic prose has been translated by award-winning author Aida Salazar, and presented in English and Spanish.”

I’m a Global Citizen: We Are All Equal by Georgia Amson-Bradshaw

“How can you be a good global citizen? By understanding the world we live in and how we can effect change. This book explore inequality around the world, from how resources are unfairly shared to why race and gender matter and more. It looks at ways we can challenge inequality and features case studies such as the votes for women campaign and the work of Malala Yousafzai.

The I’m a Global Citizen series explores the concept of ‘Global Citizenship’: recognising that the world we live in is unfair and unequal, but promoting individual and collective action to challenge and change this. Each book has information, fun activities, challenges, case studies and ideas for group and individual action presented with fun illustrations. The books promote the idea that we have power as individuals: each of us can change things, and each of us has choices about how we behave. They encourage children aged 8+ to counter ignorance and intolerance.”

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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Flashback Friday: Runaway Pumpkins

We’re back! I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus while my family moved cross country to our new home in St Louis. I thought I would be up and running with content last week, but I’ve learned that moving with a toddler is chaos. So here we are, back in business, and better late than never!

My favorite thing about our new city has to be the weather so far. It’s officially fall and there is a wonderful crisp in the air. So to celebrate my favorite season, I wanted to share an adorable picture book for Flashback Friday. Runaway Pumpkins by Teresa Bateman and Stephanie Fizer Coleman is a delightful rhyming picture book that celebrates resilience, community, and — of course — all things fall.

Title: Runaway Pumpkins
Author: Teresa Bateman
Illustrator: Stephanie Fizer Coleman
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Published: August 4, 2020
Format: Picture Book

Originally Published in August of 2020, Runaway Pumpkins tells the story of a class field trip to the pumpkin patch that takes an unexpected turn. We follow along as the class visits the pumpkin patch and picks their favorite pumpkins, but they unfortunately lose all but one pumpkin on the way back to the school. Luckily, their neighbors who find pumpkins strewn about their lawns come up with a creative way to bring the pumpkins back to the class.

The illustrations by Stephanie Fizer Coleman are so whimsical and warm, perfectly capturing an autumn afternoon. Complete with a recipe for caramel frosted pumpkin cookies in the back matter, Runaway Pumpkins is a great pick to celebrate fall with young readers.

You can pick up a copy of Runaway Pumpkins 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!)

About the Author:

Teresa Bateman has written many popular books for children, including Fiona’s Luck and Fluffy: Scourge of the Sea. She works as a children’s librarian and based Runaway Pumpkins on an actual pumpkin disaster at her school.

About The Illustrator:

Stephanie Fizer Coleman is an illustrator and designer of whimsical art and stationery. She has illustrated several adult coloring books as well as the picture book Five Flying Penguins. She lives in West Virginia.

You can find Stephanie online at stephaniefizercoleman.com, on Twitter @StephanieFizer, and Instagram @stephfizercoleman.

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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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