Five Picture Books to Celebrate Lunar New Year

Today is Lunar New Year, and I want to celebrate with books, of course!

I have put together a list of five picture books that are perfect to read to your little ones today. I tried to specifically focus on multicultural titles, because though this holiday is often portrayed as a Chinese holiday, it is actually celebrated among many Asian cultures in many different countries across the globe.

I will say, finding Lunar New Year titles that weren’t specifically dedicated to Chinese culture was not the easiest task, and I know this list is still lacking true representation of every culture celebrating this holiday. I do hope we continue to see more diverse titles in children’s publishing, so every child can see themselves and their holidays represented in their books.

That being said, lets take a look at five picture books to celebrate Lunar New Year.

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

A New Year’s Reunion by Li Qiong Yu, Illustrated by Zhu Chen Liang (Bookshop | Amazon)

In this beautifully illustrated book, we follow a young girl whose father works far away and only comes home to visit once a year at New Year’s. In his few days with his family, Papa gets a haircut, makes repairs to the house, and makes memories with his daughter. This book is both a heartwarming look into the lives of migrant workers and a great introduction to Chinese New Year’s traditions.

This Next New Year by Janet S. Wong, Illustrated by Yangsook Choi (Amazon)

This Next New Year introduces us to a young Chinese Korean boy, who relates the different ways he, his family, and his friends all celebrate Lunar New Year. I love that this book specifically mentions children from different racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrating Lunar New Year, while still keeping the focus on our main character’s family.

Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan, Illustrated by Lillian Hsu-Flanders (Bookshop | Amazon)

Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan has so much representation! Set in Hawaii, this book follows the celebrations of a family of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, and white relatives on Lunar New Year. Narrated by a seven-year-old girl who gets make dumplings for the first time this year, this book captures the joy of childhood.

Ten Mice For Tet by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill, Illustrated by To Ngoc Trang (Amazon)

As most of you may know, I generally don’t like a book with only animal characters, but I had to include Ten Mice For Tet, because it is definitely an exception to that rule. One of the only titles I could find dedicated to the Vietnamese celebration of Tet, this is a counting picture book. The illustrations are so fun, portraying mice taking part in all the holiday traditions from gift giving to firework displays.

Our Lunar New Year by Yobe Qiu (Bookshop | Amazon)

Our Lunar New Year is a great pick to introduce young readers to the diversity of Lunar New Year. This book follows five different children from five different countries and highlights the traditions and celebrations unique to each culture. Covering China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and India, this book gives young readers an idea of the many way Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world.

I hope you all enjoyed this list, and found some new titles to introduce your young reader’s to Lunar New Year.

If you are celebrating Lunar New Year this year, what are your favorite books to read? Be sure to share them in the comments below!

You Might Also Like:

We Wait For The Sun – A Story Of A Grandmother’s Love

We Wait For The Sun by Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe has to be one the most beautiful picture book biographies I have ever read.

Civil Rights Trailblazer Dovey Johnson Roundtree was a lawyer, minister, and one of the first women to be commissioned by The United States Army, but this story isn’t directly related to any of these accomplishments. This story is about the most important relationship in Dovey’s life, the one she had with her grandmother Rachel Millis Bryant Graham.

In We Wait For The Sun, we visit one of Dovey’s most cherished memories of her Grandma Rachel, picking blackberries before sunrise as a child. Her Grandma Rachel taught her that the darkness of the early morning was nothing to be afraid of, and she carried that lesson of bravery with her through her lifelong fight for justice and equality.

The lush, vivid text combined with the beautiful illustrations by Raissa Figueroa give the memory a peaceful, dreamy atmosphere. I also love the progression of light entering the pages through blues, purples, pinks, and finally golds. The memory starts out in the darkness, but as Grandma Rachel said, “If you just wait a while, your eyes will learn to see, and you can find your way.”

We Wait For The Sun is a stunning tribute to both Dovey Johnson Roundtree and her grandmother. You can truly feel the love Dovey had for Grandma Rachel, and the respect Katie had for Dovey in every single page.

The back of the book also has quite a bit of information about both women, for those who are looking to learn a bit more.

We Wait For The Sun is available next week (February 9, 2021), but you can preorder it today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Katie McCabe is an award-winning author who has dedicated her writing career to bringing stories of unsung heroes to light. To learn more about Katie and her work, please visit her website at www.katiemccabeauthor.com.

Raissa Figueroa is a children’s book illustrator based in San Diego, CA. She is also the illustrator of Oona, by Kelly DiPucchio. To learn more about Raissa and her work, please visit her website at rizzyfig.com.

Thank you so much to Roaring Brook Press and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for providing me with a review copy of We Wait For The Sun. It is an honor to be able to share Dovey’s beautiful story.

You Might Also Like:

Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer The Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators

Are you looking for a picture book biography about an inspiring woman serving her country during wartime?

Might I suggest Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer The Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators by Claudia Fridell?

I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of Grace Banker before I read this book, but I can’t wait to share her story with you now!

In 1917, a 25-year-old Grace Banker answered an ad seeking French-speaking telephone operators to join the Signal Corps of the United States Army. Though she couldn’t vote yet, Grace was selected as a chief operator and led a team of thirty-three operators who translated commands and transferred secret codes on the front lines during World War I.

These women were some of America’s first female soldiers and they kept communications open despite the explosions, fires, and poor weather conditions they faced. Their skill and dedication to their work played a vital role in the victory of World War I, though they remain unsung heroes today.

Working closely with Grace Banker’s family, Claudia Friedel and Elizabeth Baddeley have created a biography that feels personal. Quotes from Grace’s diaries are used throughout the book to truly highlight her voice.

The backmatter offers plenty of additional information about Grace and The Service Corps to inform young readers of the historical significance of their achievements, as well as their fight to receive veteran recognition.

Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer The Call is available wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Claudia Friddell is a former elementary school teacher and the author of several non-fiction children’s books. She is passionate about sharing true stories from history, and currently lives in Baltimore with her husband. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at claudiafriddell.com.

Elizabeth Baddeley is the illustrator of many biographies and non-fiction books for children, including the New York Times bestselling I DISSENT: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes her Mark. She currently lives in in Kansas City with her husband and son. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at ebaddeley.com.

Thank you so much to Calkins Creek and Boyds Mills & Kane for providing me with a review copy of Grace Banker And Her Hello Girls Answer The Call. I’m so glad to be able to share such an amazing story.

You Might Also Like:

New Release Round Up – February 2, 2021

You all know the drill by now. It’s Tuesday, so we are talking about new releases!

As always, these titles will have inclusive characters (such as 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.

There are quite a few titles I’ve had my eye on that are publishing today. I will be also reviewing a few of these throughout the week, so keep your eyes peeled!

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

Brilliant Baby Does Math by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Jean Claude (Bookshop | Amazon)

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

Your Brilliant Baby will love exploring all the applications of math and where they can find it in their daily lives, like learning what’s hotter or colder, checking the score of the game, and seeing math in skyscrapers, rocket ships, and more!”

Brilliant Baby Plays Music by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Jean Claude (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Your Brilliant Baby will love learning about all the different types of music they can groove, dance, and boogie along to, as well as being introduced to instruments such as cellos, pianos, trumpets, saxophones, and more!”

Picture Books

Milo Imagines The World by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Christian Robinson (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Milo is on a long subway ride with his older sister. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. There’s the whiskered man with the crossword puzzle; Milo imagines him playing solitaire in a cluttered apartment full of pets. There’s the wedding-dressed woman with a little dog peeking out of her handbag; Milo imagines her in a grand cathedral ceremony. And then there’s the boy in the suit with the bright white sneakers; Milo imagines him arriving home to a castle with a drawbridge and a butler. But when the boy in the suit gets off on the same stop as Milo–walking the same path, going to the exact same place–Milo realizes that you can’t really know anyone just by looking at them.”

You can also read my full review of Milo Imagines The World for more detail.

Meesha Makes Friends by Tom Percival (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Meesha doesn’t know quite what to do, what to say, or when to say it, and she struggles reading and responding to social cues. But one day, she discovers that she has a special talent that will help her navigate challenging social situations and make friends.

A warm and affectionate look at the joys and difficulties of making and keeping friends, relating to others, and finding your place in the world, Meesha Makes Friends is an empowering and resonant new title in the Big Bright Feelings series.

The Big Bright Feelings picture books provide kid-friendly entry points into emotional intelligence topics–from being true to yourself, to worrying, to anger management, to making friends. These topics can be difficult to talk about. But these books act as sensitive and reassuring springboards for conversations about mental and emotional health, positive self-image, building self-confidence, and managing feelings.”

Standing On Her Shoulders by Monica Clark-Robinson, Illustrated by Laura Freeman (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Standing on Her Shoulders is a celebration of the strong women who influence us — from our mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers to the women who fought for equality and acceptance in the United States.

Monica Clark-Robinson’s lyrical text encourages young girls to learn about the powerful and trailblazing women who laid the path for their own lives and empowers them to become role models themselves. Acclaimed illustrator Laura Freeman’s remarkable art showcases a loving intergenerational family and encourages girls to find female heroes in their own lives.

Standing on Her Shoulders will inspire girls of all ages to follow in the footsteps of these amazing women.”

You can also read my full review of Standing on Her Shoulders for more detail.

Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World’s First Female Rabbi by Sigal Samuel, Illustrated by Vali Mintzi (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Osnat was born five hundred years ago – at a time when almost everyone believed in miracles. But very few believed that girls should learn to read.

Yet Osnat’s father was a great scholar whose house was filled with books. And she convinced him to teach her. Then she in turn grew up to teach others, becoming a wise scholar in her own right, the world’s first female rabbi!

Some say Osnat performed miracles – like healing a dove who had been shot by a hunter! Or saving a congregation from fire!

But perhaps her greatest feat was to be a light of inspiration for other girls and boys; to show that any person who can learn might find a path that none have walked before.”

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung, Illustrated by Julie Kwon (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Discover an inspiring picture book biography about Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to fly for the US military.

Hazel Ying Lee was born fearless—she was not afraid of anything, and the moment she took her first airplane ride, she knew where she belonged. When people scoffed at her dreams of becoming a pilot, Hazel wouldn’t take no for an answer. She joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II. It was a dangerous job, but Hazel flew with joy and boldness.

This moving, true story about a groundbreaking figure will inspire young readers to challenge barriers and reach for the sky.”

I Am A Bird by Hope Lim, Illustrated by Hyewon Yum (Bookshop | Amazon)

“On her daily bike ride with her dad, a bird-loving little girl passes a woman who frightens her—until she discovers what they have in common.

I am a bird. Ca-Caw! Ca-Caw!

Every day, a little girl rides to school on the back of her father’s bike. As they twist and turn through the streets, the little girl spreads her arms like wings and sings her birdsong for all to hear. But when they pass a strange woman in blue who carries a mysterious bag, the girl goes quiet until the woman is out of sight. One day, when they’re running late, the little girl discovers what the woman does with her bag each morning—a surprise that transforms her wariness into a feeling of kinship to be celebrated. Hope Lim’s simple text and Hyewon Yum’s delicate, expressive illustrations create a touching story that encourages readers to embrace our similarities rather than focus on our differences.”

Opal’s Greenwood Oasis by Quraysh Ali Lansana and Najah-Amatullah Hylton, Illustrated by Skip Hill (Bookshop Amazon)

“The year is 1921, and Opal Brown would like to show you around her beautiful neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Filled with busy stores and happy families, Opal also wants you to know that “everyone looks like me.”

In both words and illustrations, this carefully researched and historically accurate book allows children to experience the joys and success of Greenwood, one of the most prosperous Black communities of the early 20th Century, an area Booker T. Washington dubbed America’s Black Wall Street.

Soon after the day narrated by Opal, Greenwood would be lost in the Tulsa Race Massacre, the worst act of racial violence in American history. As we approach the centennial of that tragic event, children have the opportunity through this book to learn and celebrate all that was built in Greenwood.”

You can also read my full review of Opal’s Greenwood Oasis for more detail.

Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators by Claudia Friddell, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Led by twenty-five-year-old Grace Banker, thirty-two telephone operators — affectionately called “Hello Girls” back in the US — became the first female combatants in World War I.

Follow Grace Banker’s journey from her busy life as a telephone switchboard trainer in New York to her pioneering role as the Chief Operator of the 1st Unit of World War I telephone operators in the battlefields of France. With expert skill, steady nerves, and steadfast loyalty, the Signal Corps operators transferred orders from commanders to battlefields and communicated top-secret messages between American and French headquarters. After faithfully serving her country–undaunted by freezing weather and fires; long hours and little sleep, and nearby shellings and far off explosions–Grace was the first and only woman operator in the Signal Corps to be awarded the Army’s Distinguished Service Medal.”

You can also read my full review of Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call for more detail.

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.

News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.”

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Claudette Colvin by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by Gillian Flint (Bookshop | Amazon)

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

Before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin made the same choice. She insisted on standing up–or in her case, sitting down–for what was right, and in doing so, fought for equality, fairness, and justice.”

Middle Grade

The Year I Flew Away by Marie Arnold (Bookshop | Amazon)

“It’s 1985 and ten-year-old Gabrielle is excited to be moving from Haiti to America. Unfortunately, her parents won’t be able to join her yet and she’ll be living in a place called Brooklyn, New York, with relatives she has never met. She promises her parents that she will behave, but life proves to be difficult in the United States, from learning the language to always feeling like she doesn’t fit in to being bullied. So when a witch offers her a chance to speak English perfectly and be “American,” she makes the deal. But soon she realizes how much she has given up by trying to fit in and, along with her two new friends (one of them a talking rat), takes on the witch in an epic battle to try to reverse the spell.

Gabrielle is a funny and engaging heroine you won’t soon forget in this sweet and lyrical novel that’s perfect for fans of Hurricane Child and Front Desk.”

Red, White, And Whole by Rajani LaRocca (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A heartbreakingly hopeful #ownvoices novel in verse about an Indian American girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia.

Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted—they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked—Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”—but they are a universe apart.

Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick.

Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma’s life.”

The Magical Reality of Nadia by Bassem Youssef and Catherine R. Daly, Illustrated by Douglas Holgate (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Inspired by the author’s real life experiences, this rollicking, charming novel follows sixth grade Egyptian immigrant Nadia as she navigates the ups and downs of friendships, racism, and some magic, too!

Nadia loves fun facts. Here are a few about her:

• She collects bobbleheads — she has 77 so far.

• She moved from Egypt to America when she was six years old.

• The hippo amulet she wears is ancient… as in it’s literally from ancient Egypt.

• She’s going to win the contest to design a new exhibit at the local museum. Because how cool would that be?!

(Okay, so that last one isn’t a fact just yet, but Nadia has plans to make it one.)

But then a new kid shows up and teases Nadia about her Egyptian heritage. It’s totally unexpected, and totally throws her off her game.

And something else happens that Nadia can’t explain: Her amulet starts glowing! She soon discovers that the hippo is holding a hilarious — and helpful — secret. Can she use it to confront the new kid and win the contest?

From political satirist and comedian Bassem Youssef, aka The Jon Stewart of the Arab World, and author Catherine R. Daly comes a humorous and heartfelt story about prejudice, friendship, empathy, and courage.

Includes sections of black-and-white comics as well as lively black-and-white illustrations throughout.”

That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World by Rochelle Riley and Cristi Smith-Jones (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In February 2017, Rochelle Riley was reading Twitter posts and came across a series of black-and-white photos of four-year-old Lola dressed up as different African American women who had made history. Rochelle was immediately smitten. She was so proud to see this little girl so powerfully honor the struggle and achievement of women several decades her senior. Rochelle reached out to Lola’s mom, Cristi Smith-Jones, and asked to pair her writing with Smith-Jones’s incredible photographs for a book. The goal? To teach children on the cusp of puberty that they could be anything they aspired to be, that every famous person was once a child who, in some cases, overcame great obstacles to achieve.

That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World features Riley’s grandson, Caleb, and Lola photographed in timeless black and white, dressed as important individuals such as business owners, educators, civil rights leaders, and artists, alongside detailed biographies that begin with the figures as young children who had the same ambitions, fears, strengths, and obstacles facing them that readers today may still experience. Muhammad Ali’s bike was stolen when he was twelve years old and the police officer he reported the crime to suggested he learn how to fight before he caught up with the thief. Bessie Coleman, the first African American female aviator, collected and washed her neighbors’ dirty laundry so she could raise enough money for college. When Duke Ellington was seven years old, he preferred playing baseball to attending the piano lessons his mom had arranged.”

Flood City by Daniel José Older (Bookshop | Amazon)

“The battle for Earth begins now.

Welcome to Flood City, the last inhabitable place left above the waters that cover Earth. It’s also the last battleground between the Chemical Barons, who once ruled the planet and now circle overhead in spaceships, desperate to return, and the Star Guard, who have controlled the city for decades.”

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!

You Might Also Like:

New Release Round Up – January 26, 2021

Tuesday tried to sneak up on me this week, but I’m ready with all the new releases today!

As always, these titles will have inclusive characters (such as 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

Don’t Hug Doug: (He Doesn’t Like It) by Carrie Finison, Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Meet Doug, an ordinary kid who doesn’t like hugs, in this fun and exuberant story which aims to spark discussions about bodily autonomy and consent–from author Carrie Finison and the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of The World Needs More Purple People, Daniel Wiseman.

Doug doesn’t like hugs. He thinks hugs are too squeezy, too squashy, too squooshy, too smooshy. He doesn’t like hello hugs or goodbye hugs, game-winning home run hugs or dropped ice cream cone hugs, and he definitely doesn’t like birthday hugs. He’d much rather give a high five–or a low five, a side five, a double five, or a spinny five. Yup, some people love hugs; other people don’t. So how can you tell if someone likes hugs or not? There’s only one way to find out: Ask! Because everybody gets to decide for themselves whether they want a hug or not.”

Marsha Is Magnetic by Beth Ferry, Illustrated by Lorena Alvarez (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped.

Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method.

With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to attract as many friends as she can—what could possibly go wrong?

In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.”

Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book by Keila Dawson, Illustrated by Alleanna Harris (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In the late 1930s when segregation was legal and Black Americans couldn’t visit every establishment or travel everywhere they wanted to safely, a New Yorker named Victor Hugo Green decided to do something about it. Green wrote and published a guide that listed places where his fellow Black Americans could be safe in New York City. The guide sold like hot cakes! Soon customers started asking Green to make a guide to help them travel and vacation safely across the nation too. With the help of his mail carrier co-workers and the African American business community, Green’s guide allowed millions of African Americans to travel safely and enjoy traveling across the nation.

In the first picture book about the creation and distribution of The Green Book, author Keila Dawson and illustrator Alleanna Harris tell the story of the man behind it and how this travel guide opened the road for a safer, more equitable America.”

The Librarian’s Stories by Lucy Falcone, Illustrated by Anna Wilson (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In a war-torn town, a courageous librarian keeps hope alive through the power of stories.

A village is left in ruins after the bombs fall. The beloved library is burned to ash. Food is scarce. Danger is abundant. Every aspect of daily life is changed. How will home ever feel as it once did?

But then one day, the Librarian emerges in the town square. Seated on a bench in front of the library’s remains, she opens a book and begins to read aloud. The village children stop to listen. “Foolish woman,” Papa says. “Too dangerous,” Mama agrees, hurrying the children away. But day after day the librarian returns to her post, her voice carrying stories above the thunder of tanks and to the broken hearts of the people. Little by little, the persistent Librarian’s stories seed hope in the people, and their village begins to mend.

Inspired by the bombing of the National Library of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War, and bombing of the library at the University of Mosul in Iraq, The Librarian’s Stories is a testament to the enduring connection between stories and hope.”

Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sís (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In 1938, twenty-nine-year-old Nicholas Winton saved the lives of almost 700 children trapped in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia―a story he never told and that remained unknown until an unforgettable TV appearance in the 1980s reunited him with some of the children he saved.

Czech-American artist, MacArthur Fellow, and Andersen Award winner Peter Sís dramatizes Winton’s story in this distinctive and deeply personal picture book. He intertwines Nicky’s efforts with the story of one of the children he saved―a young girl named Vera, whose family enlisted Nicky’s aid when the Germans occupied their country. As the war passes and Vera grows up, she must find balance in her dual identities―one her birthright, the other her choice.

Nicky & Vera is a masterful tribute to a humble man’s courageous efforts to protect Europe’s most vulnerable, and a timely portrayal of the hopes and fears of those forced to leave their homes and create new lives.”

I Am A Kindness Hero by Jennifer Adams, Illustrated by Carme Lemniscates (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Follow the adventures of a young boy as he practices kindness throughout his day, from rescuing a puppy to standing up to bullies to helping his young sister tie her shoe. I Am a Kindness Hero celebrates gentleness and vulnerability in boys, and shows that true strength and leadership come from treating those around you with love and respect.

I Am a Kindness Hero provides parents, teachers, and childcare providers with a beautiful picture book that offers a new kind of role model for young boys. A standalone title, it also serves as a companion to I Am a Warrior Goddess, by the same author and illustrator, which inspires strength, leadership, and empowerment in young girls.”

You acll also read my full review of I Am A Kindness Hero for more detail!

Chapter Books

Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Reach for new heights with Vice President Kamala Harris. Organize voter registration with Stacey Abrams. Spread messages of kindness with Lady Gaga. And captain a team of Olympic gymnasts with Aly Raisman.

This collection of 25 stories includes the most beloved stories of leadership from the first three volumes of the New York Times best-selling series, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. And also features 11 brand new tales of women’s activism, bravery, and vision.

Rebel Girls Lead celebrates the leadership of women from Michelle Obama to Malala Yousafzai. It is illustrated by female artists from around the world.”

Middle Grade

Bump by Matt Wallace (Bookshop | Amazon)

“MJ knows what it means to hurt. Bruises from gymnastics heal, but big hurts—like her dad not being around anymore—don’t go away. Now her mom needs to work two jobs, and MJ doesn’t have friends at school to lean on.

There is only one thing MJ loves: the world of professional wrestling. She especially idolizes the luchadores and the stories they tell in the ring. When MJ learns that her neighbor, Mr. Arellano, runs a wrestling school, she has a new mission in life: join the school, train hard, and become a wrestler.

But trouble lies ahead. After wrestling in a showcase event, MJ attracts the attention of Mr. Arellano’s enemy at the State Athletic Commission. There are threats to shut the school down, putting MJ’s new home—and the community that welcomed her—at risk. What can MJ do to save her new family?”

While I Was Away by Waka Brown (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When twelve-year-old Waka’s parents suspect she can’t understand the basic Japanese they speak to her, they make a drastic decision to send her to Tokyo to live for several months with her strict grandmother. Forced to say goodbye to her friends and what would have been her summer vacation, Waka is plucked from her straight-A-student life in rural Kansas and flown across the globe, where she faces the culture shock of a lifetime.

In Japan, Waka struggles with reading and writing in kanji, doesn’t quite mesh with her complicated and distant Obaasama, and gets made fun of by the students in her Japanese public-school classes. Even though this is the country her parents came from, Waka has never felt more like an outsider.

If she’s always been the “smart Japanese girl” in America but is now the “dumb foreigner” in Japan, where is home…and who will Waka be when she finds it?”

Take Back The Block by Chrystal Giles (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That–and hanging out with his crew (his best friends since little-kid days) and playing video games–is what he wants to be thinking about at the start of the school year, not the protests his parents are always dragging him to.

But when a real estate developer makes an offer to buy Kensington Oaks, the neighborhood Wes has lived his whole life, everything changes. The grownups are supposed to have all the answers, but all they’re doing is arguing. Even Wes’s best friends are fighting. And some of them may be moving. Wes isn’t about to give up the only home he’s ever known. Wes has always been good at puzzles, and he knows there has to be a missing piece that will solve this puzzle and save the Oaks. But can he find it . . . before it’s too late?

Exploring community, gentrification, justice, and friendship, Take Back the Block introduces an irresistible 6th grader and asks what it means to belong–to a place and a movement–and to fight for what you believe in.”

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!

You Might Also Like:

Festival Of Colors – A Children’s Book About Holi

Originally published back in 2018, Festival of Colors is now available in a board book format.

This book, written by mother-son duo Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal teaches young readers all about the Indian festival of colors, Holi.

In Festival of Colors, we follow siblings Chintoo and Mintoo as they choose flowers, lay them out to dry, and press the petals into beautifully colored powders. Now they are ready to celebrate Holi with their whole neighborhood!

Holi is a festival celebrating many things, including the end of winter, inclusion, and the triumph of good over evil. It is celebrated in the spring when nature is putting on a vibrant show, and the illustrations by Vashti Harrison capture all of those colors beautifully!

If you are looking to add diversity to your shelves through a book featuring non-Christian holidays, I would highly recommend this one. It is equal parts informative and entertaining.

Festival of Colors is out now and can be purchased wherever you normally buy books, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Kabir Sehgal is a bestselling author, a jazz bassist, and a Grammy Award–winning producer. You can find out more about him and his work by visiting his website at kabir.cc.

Vashti Harrison is an author, illustrator, and filmmaker with a passion for storytelling. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at vashtiharrison.com.

Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing me with a review copy of Festival of Colors.

You Might Also Like:

Six Snowy Stories For The First Day of Winter

Today officially marks the beginning of winter here in the northern hemisphere. This is hard for me to believe, because I live in Mobile, Alabama, where the weather feels quite summery for 9 or 10 months out of the year.

I used to live in Colorado, and I have to admit, I miss the snow! There’s nothing quite as magical as waking up to the silence of a fresh snow. Those peaceful mornings watching the snow come down and knowing I was in for a cozy day were some of my favorites, so sometimes I have to turn to a book to relive them, since I now live in a tropical environment. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

A Winter Walk In The City by Cathy Goldberg Fishman, Illustrated by Melanie Hall

A Winter Walk In the City is the perfect board book for the first day of winter. This is a counting book for babies and toddlers, where a young boy counts objects during his walk thorough the city. He counts objects from winter and different holidays that take place once the snow starts falling. I love the illustrations, and the fact that so many holidays are included. This is a great introduction to winter for the youngest little readers.

Ten Ways To Hear Snow by Cathy Camper, Illustrated by Kenard Pak

In Ten Ways to Hear Snow, we meet Lina, a young girl who wakes up to find it snowed while she was sleeping. She decides to go check on her Sitti (Grandma) who is visually impaired. Walking to her Sitti’s home, she thinks about the ways her grandmother might hear the snow, even if she can’t see it. She learns a few more from Sitti herself while they make grape leaves. I loved this modern portrayal of an Arab American family!

Snow Globe Wishes by Erin Dealey, Illustrated by Claire Shorrock

Snow Globe Wishes is one of those pure and wholesome picture books that you can’t get enough of. In this book, we follow a family as they hunker down for the worst snow storm of the season. That night, the daughter makes a sweet wish on a snow globe that everyone will go out in the snow together. This is a beautiful, lyrical story of peace and community, perfect for a cozy winter read-aloud.

Sky Sisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose, Illustrated by Brian Deines

In Sky Sisters, we follow two Ojibway as they travel to see the SkySpirits’ midnight dance. Alex, the younger sister, has trouble staying quiet because she is so excited. After a few missteps, she learns to control herself and embraces the tranquility of a silent wintery night, just in time for the SkySpirits arrival. I have never seen the Northern Lights, but I could practically feel the crisp winter wind while reading this one.

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter is a fantastic book to explain the passing of seasons with our little ones. From leaves and chrysanthemums to robins and deer, we learn about how nature prepares for the transition to winter weather. I can’t think of a more appropriate read for the first day of winter, as this one walks us right out of autumn day and into a snowy winter morning.

A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin

In A Big Bed For Little Snow, we are introduced to a little boy named Snow, who’s just a bit mischievous. You see, Snow keeps jumping on his bed when his mother isn’t looking. As the feathers fly out, they make it snow down on earth! I absolutely adore the illustrations of Snow’s facial expressions. This is the perfect winter story to inspire imagination.

I hope you all enjoyed this list! If you’re like me and in a snowless location, I hope these books bring the magic of a quiet winter morning to you and your little ones.

What are some of your favorite snowy stories to read? Be sure to share in the comments below!

You Might Also Like:

Bookshop.org – Supporting Independently Owned Bookstores During the Holidays

Holiday shopping has looked very different this year for a lot of families thanks to COVID-19. I know many of us are relying solely on online shopping this year, but I believe it’s important to remember that buying online doesn’t have to mean giving all our money to big box stores. Small businesses that already faced so much uncertainty due to the competition of massive corporations are now suffering from the impacts of a global pandemic. So, today I want to highlight a website that supports independently owned bookstores: Bookshop.org.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t know much about bookshop.org until I started my blog. I had used it to purchase from independent bookstores that weren’t local to me, and I knew I could use the site to find local independently owned stores, but I was unclear on exactly how they supported bookstores nationwide.

So I did some digging and there are a few ways bookshop.org helps independently-owned bookstores. They add bookstores to their map, allowing customers to find local stores to shop at, but they also provide a sales platform for those stores. Stores who set up a storefront on bookshop.com receive a 30% commission from sales made. (Which sounds small, but bookstores generally only make up to 40% of the price they charge for a book.) On top of that, Bookshop has a profit sharing program that ensures 10% of all sales on their site go back to independently-owned bookstores, even if they don’t sell on the site. You can feel confident that any purchases made on bookshop.org are helping bookstores across the country during a time when they need our support.

If you aren’t sure where to start, I would personally recommend some of the booklists in my shop. (Of course, I’m not biased or anything.) I always add books I review here on the blog to my Recent Reviews list. Books featured on my Instagram are always added to the Featured on Instagram list. I also have some more curated lists for my book recommendation posts, like this one for my World Kindness Day post, this one for Nonfiction November, and this one for International Men’s Day.

I don’t know about you, but my local bookstore is my happy place, and I can’t wait to finally show it to my son after we have been vaccinated. Bookshop gives me a great way to support all my favorite indies across the country, even if I can’t physically visit them right now, so they will still be around when I can.

What are your favorite independently-owned bookstores? Have you found any creative ways to support local businesses during the pandemic? Please share in the comments below!

Little Feminist – A Diverse Book Subscription Box For Young Readers

I am so excited to tell you all about an amazing subscription box today! Started by Brittany Murlas in 2017, Little Feminist is a subscription box focusing on intersectional feminism, designed to bring diverse and inclusive books to your kid’s bookshelves.

We are big fans of subscription boxes in our home. From snacks, to plants, to clothing, we have tried LOTS. So many in fact that we have a tradition where my husband and I always open them for one another, revealing the surprise inside with a bit of dramatic game show flair. I was kindly provided a sample box to review, and I have to tell you all, I literally squealed when my husband revealed it to me.

Not only did the box contain a title I’ve been wanting to add to our little one’s shelves, but there was an awesome parent’s letter explaining why the title was selected, as well as some really great discussion questions for young readers. Granted, the question are over Sully’s head, since he’s still working on talking, BUT I will be keeping the bookmark in the book for when I read it to nieces or nephews. (You know, when this global pandemic is over and we all actually see our extended families on a regular basis again.)

The title I received was The Maiden and The Princess by Daniel Haack and Isabel Galupo, illustrated by Becca Human. This is a stunning queer fairy tale where all the main characters are people of color. This sweet picture book tells the story of a maiden who attends a ball thrown by the royal family intended to find a bride for the prince. Our maiden does find love at the ball…just not with the prince. (Available at Bookshop and Amazon)

I love that this box has more than the “white feminism” option and doesn’t erase the experience or existence of children of color, LGBTQ folks, disabled people, or other marginalized communities while promoting feminism. Intersectional feminism for the win!

Starting at $23/month, Little Feminist offers four different boxes for different age ranges. Each box contains 1-2 books, an age-appropriate activity, discussion questions by age group, and a parent’s letter giving lots of additional information on the title.

Little Feminist would make a perfect holiday gift for the young readers in your life! As of today (12/11/2020), there are still 3 days left to order for Christmas delivery, so be sure to order yours at littlefeminist.com today!

You Might Also Like:

Adventure Stories For Daring Girls – A Fresh Spin on Female Roles in Fairy Tales

Are you and your kiddos tired of hearing the same tired fairy tales over and over? You know the ones I mean. The ones where some young girl is always looking for a knight in shining armor to save her from distress, and then they fall madly in love and live happily ever after. If your little reader is tired of the average fairy tale, I have just the book for you!

Please note: This article contains affiliate links, from which I will receive a small commission.

Adventure Stories For Daring Girls by Samantha Newman is a fantastic collection of fifteen adaptations of different tales about girls who love adventures. This is a great book to challenge the female role in fairy tales and folklore in a kid-friendly format. This collection contains a few stories from familiar characters (like Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz), but several stories were new to me altogether. Each adaptation is about 8 pages, counting both the text and the stunning illustrations by Khoa Le, making this a perfect bedtime storybook.

I wanted to highlight my favorite story, but as I read, each story was better than the next, and I’m not sure I could choose just one. I loved Chimidyue and The Butterfly (a traditional Ticuna story from South America) and it’s message of respecting our earth and the animals upon it. I was delighted with the surprise ending of Lykke The Little Mermaid (adapted from The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson). I also thought the book ended strong with Princess Kayuga’s Great Adventure (adapted from The Tale of The Bamboo Cutter) about a moon princess who comes to earth for an adventure.

This book has some of the most lovely illustrations I’ve ever seen. I absolutely adored Khoa Le’s work, and will be looking for more immediately.

I do feel the need to point out that this book does contain the story of Heidi, which can be problematic because it has some extremely Victorian ideas about disability. Spoiler alert: It’s nearly impossible to tell the story of Heidi without the miraculous recovery ending. While I personally haven’t invested my time in reading Heidi in its entirety, I am a strong believer that problematic classics are a great starting point for conversations about why dated viewpoints are…well, dated. This quick summation of the story creates a great opportunity to discuss the fact that our bodies do not determine our worth, and that disabled people are perfectly fulfilled and valid people without miraculous recoveries.

Adventure Stories for Daring Girls is available in the US today and it would make a fantastic holiday gift for any little one who loves fairy tales, folklore, or fantasy stories. This would also be a great gift for parents looking to add something unique to the bedtime story rotation. You can pick it up wherever books are sold, including at my Bookshop page. (Free shipping on all orders ends 11/30, so be sure to take advantage of the sale!)

I would like to thank Arcturus for providing me with a review copy of this book. I can’t wait to share this with my nieces and nephews!

You Might Also Like: