One, Two, Grandma Loves You

If you’re looking for a picture book for Grandparents Day next month (September 12, 2021), I’ve got the perfect book for you, especially if those grandparents live elsewhere. Following a grandma and granddaughter who live far apart, One, Two, Grandma Loves You by Shelly Beck and Dan Yaccarino is a rhyming picture book done right!

Title: One, Two, Grandma Loves You
Author: Shelley Becker
Illustrator: Dan Yaccarino
Publisher: Abrams Appleseed
Published: August 10, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Using both counting and rhyme, One, Two, Grandma Loves You shares the story of a young girl visiting her grandma, beginning with the anticipation they both feel marking the date on the calendar. With the rhythm of “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe”, we follow along as the parents drop the young girl at her grandma’s and the pair spend their days baking, fishing, painting, and staying up too late. Of course, the visit must come to an end eventually, but the story has a reassuring finish when we learn another trip will be planned.

The illustrations by Dan Yaccarino pair perfectly with the rhyming text by Shelly Becker. The colors are so vivid and inviting! I especially appreciate grandma’s stylish home and chic outfits.

I would highly recommend One, Two, Grandma Loves You for young readers with long distance grandparents. I haven’t spoken much about this here yet, but our family is currently in the process of moving to St. Louis, and my little one will soon live far away from both of his grandmothers and I plan to read One, Two, Grandma Loves You to him frequently. It’s such a reassuring read for children, helping them understand that physical distance does not equal emotional distance. I especially appreciated the way leaving Grandma’s was handled with a bit of humor and a lot of love.

One, Two, Grandma Loves You officially releases next week, but you can preorder your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Abrams Appleseed for sending a review copy of One, Two, Grandma Loves You my way. I know this one will be appreciated by my family for years to come!

About The Author:

Shelly Becker is the author of Even Superheroes Make MistakesEven Superheroes Have Bad Days (a 2018 Blue Spruce Award Nominee that Kirkus Reviews called “an action-packed romp”), and Mine! Mine! Mine!, which has been included on many Top Five and Top Ten lists of books that teach the concept of sharing. Becker lives in Toronto, Canada, far away from her three wonderful grandchildren, who live in New Jersey. When they can’t be together in person, they keep in touch by speaking on the phone and sending plenty of pictures and videos. Visit her online at shellybeckerbooks.com.

About The Illustrator:

Dan Yaccarino is the internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of more than 50 books for children, most notably Doug UnpluggedUnlovableThe Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau, and Every Friday. Yaccarino’s work in children’s literature has garnered a host of prestigious awards, as well as adaptations into foreign editions, stage productions, and toys. Yaccarino created and produced the animated series Doug UnplugsOswald, and Willa’s Wild Life. He is also the designer behind the animated series The Backyardigans. Yaccarino’s work has been recognized by a host of prestigious awards, including the Bologna Ragazzi, the New York Times 10 Best Illustrated, ALA Notable, and the Parent’s Choice Award. More than 2.5 million of his books have been sold to date. Visit him online at danyaccarino.com.

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New Release Round Up – August 3, 2021

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

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

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

Board Books

Here We Are: Book of Numbers by Oliver Jeffers

From Oliver Jeffers, world-renowned picture book creator of the #1 New York Times bestseller Here We Are, comes a charming board book companion and counting book. Learning all about our planet is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Well, hello. And welcome to this planet. We call it Earth. There is much to see and do here on Earth, so let’s get started with a quick tour. Inspired by the bestselling picture book, Here We Are, comes this irresistible counting book to welcome babies and toddlers to our planet.”

Picture Books

Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America’s First Published Poet by Katie Munday Williams, Illustrated by Tania Rex

“The inspiring story of a Puritan woman whose passion for writing poetry broke barriers.

Late at night, with her children tucked into bed and her husband away on business, Anne Dudley Bradstreet composed poems by candlelight. She let her thoughts from the day tumble out, memorizing each poem line by line before daring to shape the words onto scraps of scarce parchment. Puritan women in the 1600s weren’t allowed to be writers. But when the world learned about Anne’s poetry, even she was astonished by what happened next.

This charmingly illustrated picture book tells the inspiring story of how a Puritan woman overcame the obstacles facing women of her era to become one of the most famous poets in history. A gifted writer of deep faith, Anne Bradstreet blazed a trail for the rights of women to study, write, and achieve.”

Usha and the Big Digger by Amitha Jagannath Knight, Illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat

“When sisters Usha and Aarti look up at the stars, they see different things. Aarti sees the Big Dipper, but Usha sees the Big DIGGER. And cousin Gloria sees the Big Kite! Could they all be right? A playful introduction to geometry and spatial relationships, featuring Indian American characters and a note about cultures and constellations.

Storytelling Math celebrates children using math in their daily adventures as they play, build, and discover the world around them. Joyful stories and hands-on activities make it easy for kids and their grown-ups to explore everyday math together. Developed in collaboration with math experts at STEM education nonprofit TERC, under a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.”

Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi! by Art Coulson, Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight

“Bo wants to find the perfect container to show off his traditional marbles for the Cherokee national Holiday. It needs to be just the right size: big enough to fit all the marbles, but not too big to fit in his family’s booth at the festival for the Cherokee National Holiday. And it needs to look good! With his grandmother’s help, Bo tries many containers until he finds just the right one. A playful exploration of volume and capacity featuring Native characters and a glossary of Cherokee words.

Storytelling Math celebrates children using math in their daily adventures as they play, build, and discover the world around them. Joyful stories and hands-on activities make it easy for kids and their grown-ups to explore everyday math together. Developed in collaboration with math experts at STEM education nonprofit TERC, under a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.”

A Kid is a Kid is a Kid by Sara O’Leary, Illustrated by Qin Leng

In this companion to the enormously popular A Family Is a Family Is a Family, a group of kids share the silly questions they always hear, as well as the questions they would rather be asked about themselves.

Being the new kid is hard, a child in the school playground tells us. I can think of better things to ask than if I’m a boy or a girl. Another child comes along and says she gets asked why she always has her nose in a book. Someone else gets asked where they come from. 

One after another, children share the questions they’re tired of being asked again and again — as opposed to what they believe are the most important or interesting things about themselves. As they move around the playground, picking up new friends along the way, there is a feeling of understanding and acceptance among them. And in the end, the new kid comes up with the question they would definitely all like to hear: “Hey kid, want to play?”

Sara O’Leary’s thoughtful text and Qin Leng’s expressive illustrations tell a story about children who are all different, all themselves, all just kids.”

What I Am by Divya Srinivasan

The creator of Little Owl’s Night explores and celebrates the complexities of what makes us who we are in this comforting and thoughtful picture book.

A young narrator describes herself: a girl, a granddaughter, Indian, and American. Soon, we see the young girl as a plethora of things: selfish and generous, mean and kind, brave and mischievous. While many of these qualities oppose each other, the context and illustrations make it abundantly clear that she speaks the truth. She is a walking contradiction, and that is precisely what makes her both a unique individual and an essential piece of the greater world around her. Divya Srinivasan shows what makes us human and proud to be who we are”

Chapter Books

Kai and the Monkey King by Joe Todd-Stanton

When Kai grows tired of her bookish mum not being adventurous enough for a Brownstone, she decides to seek out the mischievous and rebellious Monkey King – who she’s always been told to stay away from. Will he bring her the adventure she craves, or will he cause her more trouble than he’s worth?

Read the latest story from the mythical Brownstone’s family vault where we venture to China and learn about the story of the Monkey King, meet magical gods, taste powerful peaches and see that maybe our heroes aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be.

Winner of the 2018 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, and most recently nominated for an Eisner for Arthur and the Golden Rope, Joe Todd-Stanton is a master at storytelling and illustration, and this time he takes his history loving adventurer deep into Chinese mythology.”

J.D. and the Family Business by J. Dillard, Illustrated by Akeem S. Roberts

Eight-year-old kid barber J.D. joins forces with his sister, who has beauty shop dreams, in this hilarious illustrated chapter book series.

J.D. is a barber battle champion. He’s graduated from home haircuts to having a regular chair at the neighborhood shop, Hart and Son, and he’s making enough money to keep his candy jar stocked and his comic book collection growing. And yet, J.D. knows it’s time for his next challenge. He doesn’t just want to be the best barber in Meridian, Mississippi—he wants to be the best barber in the state . . . and maybe the country! When his older sister, Vanessa, starts to gain a following online for her hair tutorials, the kids decide that to truly level up, they must join forces. How do two siblings with big personalities, big ambitions, and competitive spirits work together (or not) to take over the hair world?”

Middle Grade

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood Edited by Kwame Mbalia

Celebrate the joys of Black boyhood with stories from seventeen bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors–including Jason Reynolds (the Track series), Jerry Craft (New Kid), and Kwame Mbalia (the Tristan Strong series)!

Black boy joy is…

Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit.
Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic race.
Finding your voice—and your rhymes—during tough times.
Flying on your skateboard like nobody’s watching.

And more! From seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

Contributors include: B. B. Alston, Dean Atta, P. Djèlí Clark, Jay Coles, Jerry Craft, Lamar Giles, Don P. Hooper, George M. Johnson, Varian Johnson, Kwame Mbalia, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi, Julian Randall, Jason Reynolds, Justin Reynolds, DaVaun Sanders, and Julian Winters”

Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai by Debbi Michiko Florence

Fans of Lisa Greenwald and Wendy Mass are sure to fall head-over-heels for this funny, sweet story of crushes, competition, and the confusing reality of middle school.

“Heartbreak is for suckers.” — Jenna Sakai

When Jenna gets dumped over winter break, it confirms what she learned from her parents’ messy divorce: Relationships are risky and only lead to disappointment. So even though she still has to see her ex-boyfriend Elliott at newspaper club, Jenna is going to be totally heartless this semester — no boys, just books.

But keeping her cool isn’t always easy. Jenna’s chief competition for a big journalism scholarship is none other than Elliott. Her best friend Keiko always seems busy with her own boyfriend. And cute-but-incredibly-annoying Rin Watanabe keeps stealing her booth at the diner she’s been hiding at every day after school. Rin is every bit as stubborn and detached as Jenna. And the more Jenna gets to know him, the more intriguing a mystery he seems. Soon Jenna is starting to realize that being a loner is kind of, well, lonely. And letting people in might just be a risk worth taking.”

Psychology for Kids: The Science of the Mind and Behavior by Jacqueline B. Toner and Claire A. B. Freeland

“This exciting new book introduces kids to the science of psychology, with chapters on the brain, personality, intelligence, emotions, social relationships, and more. Accompanied by colorful illustrations of psychology’s big ideas, and lots of hands-on experiments to try at home, there’s no better way to dive into the fascinating science of the mind. Why do we sleep? What are feelings? How do we make decisions, and how do we learn from them? Psychology helps us ask and answer these big questions about ourselves, others, and the world around us.”

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter

“When life is funny, make some jokes about it.

Billy Plimpton has a big dream: to become a famous comedian when he grows up. He already knows a lot of jokes, but thinks he has one big problem standing in his way: his stutter.

At first, Billy thinks the best way to deal with this is to . . . never say a word. That way, the kids in his new school won’t hear him stammer. But soon he finds out this is NOT the best way to deal with things. (For one thing, it’s very hard to tell a joke without getting a word out.)

As Billy makes his way toward the spotlight, a lot of funny things (and some less funny things) happen to him. In the end, the whole school will know —

If you think you can hold Billy Plimpton back, be warned: The joke will soon be on you!”

Being Clem (The Finding Langston Trilogy) by Lesa Cline-Ransome

The final novel in the award-winning Finding Langston trilogy from Coretta Scott King Author Honoree and Scott O’Dell Award medalist Lesa Cline-Ransome.

Clem can make anybody, even his grumpy older sisters, smile with his jokes. But when his family receives news that his father has died in the infamous Port Chicago disaster, everything begins to fall apart. Clem’s mother is forced to work long, tough hours as a maid for a wealthy white family. Soon Clem can barely recognize his home–and himself. Can he live up to his father’s legacy?

In her award-winning trilogy, Lesa Cline-Ransome masterfully recreates mid-twentieth century America through the eyes of three boys: Langston, Lymon, and, now, Clem. Exploring the impact of the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, Jim Crow laws, and much more, Lesa’s work manages at once to be both an intimate portrait of each boy and his family as well as a landscape of American history.”

Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents the sequel to Tehlor Kay Mejia’s critically acclaimed own-voices novel about science-obsessed Paola Santiago.
Six months after Paola Santiago confronted the legendary La Llorona, life is nothing like she’d expected it to be. She is barely speaking to her best friends, Dante and Emma, and what’s worse, her mom has a totally annoying boyfriend. Even with her chupacabra puppy, Bruto, around, Pao can’t escape the feeling that she’s all alone in the world.

Pao has no one to tell that she’s having nightmares again, this time set in a terrifying forest. Even more troubling? At their center is her estranged father, an enigma of a man she barely remembers. And when Dante’s abuela falls mysteriously ill, it seems that the dad Pao never knew just might be the key to healing the eccentric old woman.

Pao’s search for her father will send her far from home, where she will encounter new monsters and ghosts, a devastating betrayal, and finally, the forest of her nightmares. Will the truths her father has been hiding save the people Pao loves, or destroy them?”

Graphic Novels

Hicotea: A Nightlights Story by Lorena Alvarez

The mind-bending, psychedlic sequel to Lorena Alvarez’s best-selling graphic novel debut Nightlights is now available in a new paperback edition!

On a school field trip to the river, Sandy wanders away from her classmates and discovers an empty turtle shell. Peeking through the dark hole, she suddenly finds herself within a magical realm. Filled with sculptures, paintings and books, the turtle’s shell is a museum of the natural world. But one painting is incomplete, and the turtle needs Sandy’s help to finish it.”

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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A Kid is a Kid is a Kid

I am so thrilled to share A Kid is a Kid is a Kid by Sara O’Leary and Qin Leng with you all today! This much anticipated follow up to A Family is a Family is a Family follows the same theme of celebrating differences, but instead of diverse family structures, this time the duo highlights the many ways children themselves are unique.

Title: A Kid is a Kid is a Kid
Author: Sara O’Leary
Illustrator: Qin Leng
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Published: August 3, 2021
Genre: Picture Book
Format: Hardcover

It all begins with a young child on the playground sharing how difficult it is to be the new kid – they get asked such strange questions. Slowly, the other children on the playground all chime in and share the odd questions they get asked. All types of questions are covered, from “Why are you so small?” to “Why don’t you have any friends?”, and each child shares a bit about how those questions make them feel, as well as questions they would rather be asked. But before long, the playground is filled with children who can all agree on one question they all like to be asked.

A Kid is a Kid is a Kid has the same warmth and whimsy as A Family is a Family is a Family, and Sarah O’Leary’s thoughtful text combines perfectly with Qin Leng’s playful illustrations once again. The level of detail on each page demonstrates the amount of care that went into developing each individual character, which supports the book’s message in such a beautiful way.

A Kid is a Kid is a Kid officially releases tomorrow, but you can preorder today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Groundwood Books for providing me with a review copy of A Kid is a Kid is a Kid. It was absolutely lovely and I can’t wait to read it again and again!

About The Author:

Sara O’Leary is a writer of fiction for both adults and children. Her highly acclaimed picture books include Percy’s Museum, illustrated by Carmen Mok; Night Walk, illustrated by Ellie Arscott; A Family Is a Family Is a Family, illustrated by Qin Leng (USBBY Outstanding International Books); and Maud and Grand-Maud, illustrated by Kenard Pak. She has also written This Is Sadie (adapted for the stage for New York City Children’s Theater) and the award-winning series of Henry books, all illustrated by Julie Morstad. Sara writes for children’s animation and teaches at Concordia University in Montreal. Visit https://saraoleary.ca/.

About The Illustrator:

Qin Leng lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. She graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork. Her picture books include Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki (APALA Award, Governor General’s Literary Award finalist); Away by Emil Sher and A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary (both USBBY Outstanding International Books); When I Found Grandma by Saumiya Balasubramaniam (Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award finalist) and I Am Small, which Qin has written and illustrated. Visit www.qinillustrations.com.

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ABC of Gender Identity

If you’re looking to start a conversation with your young readers about gender identity, I have the perfect pick for you today. ABC of Gender Identity by Devika Dalal is an amazing educational resource for both children and adults about the diversity of gender identity.

Title: ABC of Gender Identity
Author/Illustrator: Devika Dalal
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Published: June 21, 2021
Format: Picture Book

ABC of Gender Identity introduces readers to 26 different gender identities and encourages young readers to embrace the many ways we all express ourselves. From agender to ze/zir, ABC of Gender Identity provides a straightforward definition of these gender identities and pronouns in a way that young readers will easily understand. Each identity and pronoun is paired with an adorable illustration, highlighting the broad range of ways we all present ourselves to the world.

There is a fantastic guide for adults in the back of the book written by Dr. Michelle Angelo with questions to ask while reading, as well as guidance on terminology.

ABC of Gender Identity is available wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon, so be sure to pick up your copy today. (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 Jessica Kingsley Publishers for providing me with a review copy of such an amazing book. I am so thrilled to be able to share it with you all today!

About The Author/Illustrator:

Devika Dalal is a Creative Art Director and the author, designer and illustrator of ABC of Gender Identity. She works in advertising and is an advocate of using creativity for social impact. She currently lives in New York City. You can find Devika online at her website devikadalal.com and on Twitter @devikadalal.

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New Release Round Up – July 27, 2021

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

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

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

Picture Books

My Dog Romeo by Ziggy Marley, Illustrated by Ag Jatkowska

Ziggy Marley’s ode to his four-legged friend Romeo becomes a picture book that is sure to touch the hearts of dog lovers everywhere.

“My Dog Romeo”–a single on More Family Time, the follow-up children’s album to the GRAMMY Award-winning Family Time–is a playful and endearing tribute to Ziggy Marley’s beloved pet dog Romeo. Opening with Romeo’s barking, Marley sings of his great love and friendship with his four-legged friend.

Now, with beautiful illustrations by Ag Jatkowska–illustrator of Marley’s debut picture book, I Love You TooMy Dog Romeo becomes a vibrant picture book that follows a child and a dog throughout their days, sharing their love of music and play. The perfect accompaniment to Marley’s charming children’s album, My Dog Romeo is sure to be a hit among young, old, and, of course, our furry friends.”

How to Make a Friend by Stephen W. Martin, Illustrated by Olivia Aserr

A girl’s efforts to build a robot friend go comically awry when the robot attempts world domination in this witty metaphor for the ups and downs of friendship.
 

Ever wish friendship came with an instruction manual? A resourceful youngster follows step-by-step directions for constructing a robot to be her friend. The instructions make it sound so simple! But they also caution that sometimes a friendship doesn’t turn out as hoped for, as the girl discovers when her new friend unexpectedly unleashes an evil robot army on the city. Now she has to stop the robot and seriously reevaluate their friendship! In the end, the resilient heroine of this comical and clever tale not only saves the city, she finds a real and lasting friend where least expected. “

Henry at Home by Megan Maynor, Illustrated by Alea Marley

The love between a brother and sister shines through in this reassuring picture book about a common childhood transition—an older sibling starting school and leaving the younger one behind.

Liza is Henry’s big sister, and Henry is Liza’s little brother. As long as there has been a Henry and Liza, they have always done everything together. Haircuts, birthday parties, tree climbing, even flu shots. Liza and Henry. Henry and Liza. But that all changes when Liza starts school for the first time, heading off to kindergarten and leaving her little brother behind. Henry is incredulous. How can Liza do this to him?

This true-to-life picture book, gorgeously illustrated, explores a sweet sibling relationship and carries an important and reassuring message about family and growing up.”

Middle Grade

Mightier Than the Sword by Rochelle Melander, Illustrated by Melina Ontiveros

“Throughout history, people have picked up their pens and wielded their words–transforming their lives, their communities, and beyond. Now it’s your turn! Representing a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, Mightier Than the Sword connects over forty inspiring biographies with life-changing writing activities and tips, showing readers just how much their own words can make a difference. Readers will explore nature with Rachel Carson, experience the beginning of the Reformation with Martin Luther, champion women’s rights with Sojourner Truth, and many more. These richly illustrated stories of inspiring speechmakers, scientists, explorers, authors, poets, activists, and even other kids and young adults will engage and encourage young people to pay attention to their world, to honor their own ideas and dreams, and to embrace the transformative power of words to bring good to the world.”

World in Between by Kenan Trebincevic and Susan Shapiro

Co-written by a New York Times best-selling author, this moving story of a Muslim boy’s exile from war-torn Bosnia to the United States offers a riveting refugee saga.​

Kenan loves drawing and playing soccer with his friends. He wants to be a famous athlete, hates it when his classmates trash his buck teeth by calling him “Bugs Bunny,” and fights with his big brother, who’s too busy and cool for him lately. Sometimes his parents drive him crazy, but he feels loved and protected—until the war ruins everything.

Soon, Kenan’s family is trapped in their home with little food or water, surrounded by enemies. Ten months later, with help from friends and strangers, they finally make it out of the country alive. But that’s only the beginning of their journey.

An action-packed page-turner with heart about a kid doing his best during difficult times, World in Between celebrates the power of community and resilience, hope and kindness.”

Weird Kid by Greg van Eekhout

From the author of Cog and Voyage of the DogsWeird Kid is a hilarious and heartfelt homage to everyone who feels like they don’t belong. Perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Stuart Gibb.

Jake Wind is trying to stay under the radar. Whose radar? Anyone who might be too interested in the fact that he has shapeshifting abilities he can’t control. Or that his parents found him as a ball of goo when he was a baby.

Keeping his powers in check is crucial, though, if he wants to live a normal life and go to middle school instead of being homeschooled (and if he wants to avoid being kidnapped and experimented on, of course).

Things feel like they’re going his way when he survives his first day of school without transforming and makes a new friend. But when mysterious sinkholes start popping up around town—sinkholes filled with the same extraterrestrial substance as Jake—and his neighbors, classmates, and even his family start acting a little, well, weird, Jake will have to learn to use his powers in order to save his town. “

Graphic Novels

The Accursed Vampire by Madeline McGrane

A spooky and funny graphic novel perfect for fans of The Witch Boy and Real Friends

Dragoslava is a vampire kid. It has its perks, but sometimes being stuck as a kid forever can be a pain in the neck. And that’s not even the worst part. A few centuries ago, Drago was cursed by a witch. If they don’t complete every task she sets, they will be turned into worms.

When the witch wants a spellbook from Baneberry Falls, Drago sets off with their immortal friends. But mysteries await in this sleepy Midwestern town, and Drago must figure out if the keepers of the spellbook have a hidden agenda, like everyone else they’ve ever known.

One thing’s for sure: after this accursed mission, Drago’s immortal life will never be the same again!   

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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Bird Boy

Today, I want to share a wonderful picture book sure to please all the young bird lovers in your life. Bird Boy by Matthew Burgess is a delightful story of inclusion, acceptance, and being yourself.

Title: Bird Boy
Author: Matthew Burgess
Illustrator: Shahrzad Maydani
Publisher: Random House Kids
Published: July 20, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Following a young boy named Nico as he finds his way at a new school, Bird Boy encourages young readers to embrace the things that make them unique. Nico doesn’t fit in right away, and soon earns himself the nickname Bird Boy when a bird approaches him on the playground. But Nico doesn’t mind, because Nico loves birds – from soaring eagles to green-winged macaws. Nico embraces his identity as Bird Boy, pretending to be a bird whenever he gets the chance, and he eventually finds friends in his classroom that appreciate his kindness and imagination.

The illustrations by Shahrzad Maydani are absolutely delightful. I love the colors and layers throughout each page, and of course all the birds.

Bird Boy is available today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon, so be sure to grab your copy today. (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 Random House Kids for proving me with a review copy of Bird Boy. I am thrilled to be able to share it with you all today.

About The Author:

Matthew Burgess is the author of Enormous Smallness: A Story of E. E. Cummings, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo, and The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon, illustrated by Fiona Woodcock. He has been a poet-in-residence in New York City elementary schools through the Teachers & Writers Collaborative since 2001, and he is currently completing his PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center. His work has appeared in various magazines and journals, and he recently received an award from the Fund for Poetry. He teaches creative writing and composition at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Follow him on Twitter at @MatthewBurgess.

About The Illustrator:

Shahrzad Maydani is an illustrator and storyteller living and working in Berkeley, CA. She was raised in Africa by an Iranian mother and English father and spent her childhood collecting and telling stories. She now spends her days frantically making up worlds to keep her toddler happy. Follow her on Twitter @shazmaydani and on Instagram @shahrzadmaydani.

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New Release Round Up – July 20, 2021

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

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

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

Picture Books

Kalamata’s Kitchen by Sarah Thomas, Illustrated by Jo Kosmides Edwards

“Grown-ups never seemed to notice, but Kalamata’s kitchen table was magical. Under her table, she and Al Dente could transport themselves anywhere….

Tomorrow is Kalamata’s first day at a new school, and she’s nervous! What if the kids aren’t friendly? Or worse, what if they don’t like alligators!? If only Kalamata and Al Dente could go to back to the Indian spice market they visited this summer, then maybe she’d remember how to feel brave when new experiences seem scary.

Luckily for Kalamata, all the magic required for her journey is right in her own kitchen! As Kalamata and her alligator friend, Al Dente, transport themselves to a magical land filled with tasty ingredients, she realizes being brave is exciting! And most importantly, she learns that when we’re nervous about trying new things, food can comfort us and remind us to stay curious, courageous, and compassionate.”

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

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

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

Bird Boy by Matthew Burgess, Illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani

“Take flight in this heartwarming story about a boy who learns to be true to himself at school while following his love of nature.

Nico was new, and nervous about going to school. Everyone knew what to do and where to go, but Nico felt a little lost.

So, he did what he loved to do:
Watched the insects
Sat in the grass
And most importantly… befriended the birds.

Before he knew it, Nico was known as BIRD BOY. But Nico didn’t mind. Soon, he made one friend, then two, as the other kids learned to appreciate Nico for who he was. Before long, Nico learned he could be completely, delighfully, himself. This dreamy story will encourage all readers to express who they are unapologetically.”

Mindy Kaling (Little People Big Dreams #63) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Illustrated by Roza Nozari

“In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Mindy Kaling, the actor, writer, producer, and director.

When Mindy was a little girl, she loved TV comedy sketches; in particular, Saturday Night Live. At college, she studied theater and met a friend with whom she created her first off-Broadway production. It was there she was spotted by the writer and producer of The Office (US) for the role of Kelly Kapoor. Mindy went on to write and executive produce hilarious episodes of The Office. She then went on to create The Mindy Project, and Never Have I Ever, the Netflix Original smash hit watched by 40 million people, fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a director and writer. This empowering book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with photos and a detailed profile of Mindy’s life.”

If the World Were 100 People: A Visual Guide to Our Global Village by Jackie McCann, Illustrated by Aaron Cushley

“Help your child become a global citizen with this accessible introduction to the people who live on our planet, with big ideas broken into bite-size chunks through clever graphic design. Perfect for home and classroom settings!

With almost 7.8 billion people sharing the earth, it can be a little hard to picture what the human race looks like all together. But if we could shrink the world down to just 100 people, what could we learn about the human race? What would we look like? Where and how would we all be living? This book answers all these questions and more!

Reliably sourced and deftly illustrated, If the World Were 100 People is the perfect starting point to understanding our world and becoming a global citizen. If we focus on just 100 people, it’s easier to see what we have in common and what makes us unique. Then we can begin to appreciate each other and also ask what things we want to change in our world.”

Chapter Books

Who Wants I Scream? (Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol #14) by Andres Miedoso, Illustrated by Victor Rivas

“A haunted ice cream truck is on the loose in this fourteenth chilling adventure in the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series!

Summer in Kersville is like summer in a lot of other places. The sun is bright and hot. School is closed and the pool is open. And kids know to run away as fast as they can when they hear the familiar song of the ice cream truck. Because that means the I Scream Man is here for dessert!

With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.”

The Story of Ruby Bridges: A Biography Book for New Readers by Arlisha Norwood Alston PhD

“Discover the life of Ruby Bridges―a story about bravery and breaking down barriers for kids ages 6 to 9

Ruby Bridges was the first Black student to attend an all-white public school in the southern United States. Before she helped desegregate schools and change the course of history, Ruby had a simple childhood. She was a happy girl who helped take care of her younger siblings and loved to play outside. Her life changed when she was chosen to attend William Frantz Elementary, where she became a civil rights leader at a very young age. Explore how Ruby went from being a thoughtful girl growing up in Mississippi to a national leader in the fight for equality.

The Story of Ruby Bridges includes:

Core curriculum―Learn the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of Ruby’s life, and take a quick quiz to test your knowledge.
Her lasting legacy―Explore how Ruby Bridges made the world a better place for future generations, including you!
Word definitions―Discover easy-to-understand explanations of some of the more advanced words and ideas inside the book.
How will Ruby’s courage inspire you?”

Middle Grade

Linked by Gordon Korman

“Link, Michael, and Dana live in a quiet town. But it’s woken up very quickly when someone sneaks into school and vandalizes it with a swastika.

Nobody can believe it. How could such a symbol of hate end up in the middle of their school? Who would do such a thing?

Because Michael was the first person to see it, he’s the first suspect. Because Link is one of the most popular guys in school, everyone’s looking to him to figure it out. And because Dana’s the only Jewish girl in the whole town, everyone’s treating her more like an outsider than ever.

The mystery deepens as more swastikas begin to appear. Some students decide to fight back and start a project to bring people together instead of dividing them further. The closer Link, Michael, and Dana get to the truth, the more there is to face-not just the crimes of the present, but the crimes of the past.

With Linked, Gordon Korman, the author of the acclaimed novel Restart, poses a mystery for all readers where the who did it? isn’t nearly as important as the why?”

Graphic Novels

Clash by Kayla Miller

“There’s a new kid in town! From the moment Natasha sets foot in class, it’s clear she’s one of the coolest kids in sixth grade. Everyone wants to be her friend, including Olive . . . but things might not be so easy.

Olive tries her best to befriend Nat, but it seems like the only thing they have in common is that they both want to hang out with Olive’s friends! Watching as Natasha gets closer with some of her best buds, Olive can’t help but worry that they’re starting to like Nat more than they like her . . . and who could blame them? Nat is just that cool . . . and Olive is, well, just Olive.

The New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Kayla Miller delivers a nuanced look at navigating middle school friendships and the importance of both empathy and respect.”

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

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

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Author Spotlight: Stephanie Wildman


For Today’s Author Spotlight, I’m thrilled to be chatting with Stephanie Wildman about her debut picture book Brave In The Water.

Stephanie M. Wildman served as John A. and Elizabeth H. Sutro Chair at Santa Clara Law and directed the school’s Center for Social Justice and Public Service before becoming Professor Emerita. Her books include: Brave in the Water (2021); Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America (2021) (with contributions by Armstrong, Davis, & Grillo); Race and Races: Cases and Resources for a Diverse America (with Delgado, Harris, Perea, & Stefancic) (2015); Social Justice: Professionals Communities and Law (with Mahoney & Calmore) (2013); Women and the Law Stories (with Schneider) (2011). She is a member of the Writers Grotto. She is a grandmother, mother, spouse, friend, good listener, and she is able to sit “criss-cross apple sauce” thanks to her yoga practice.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me about Brave in The Water. Do you want to start out by telling us a little about yourself and the book?

I have always wanted to be a writer. Some would say I have been a writer already because I’ve published many nonfiction books and articles in my life as a law professor. NYU Press recently published a “classic edition” of my book Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America (with contributions by Margalynne Armstrong, Adrienne Davis, and Trina Grillo) (updated with new material). But it is fiction, especially for children, that I want to write. Brave in the Water is my debut picture book.

In Brave in the Water the reader meets Diante, who is afraid to put his face in the water. He would like to play in the pool with other children. He’s not afraid to hang upside down though, and he is surprised to learn that his grandma is afraid to be upside down in an inverted yoga pose. Can Diante help Grandma and become brave in the water?

Spoiler alert: He can and he does. Grandma tells Diante about the feathered peacock yoga pose that she aspires to do. Diante wants to try it. Grandma explains that “Breathing is important for trying something new.” They practice slow, deep inhalations and exhalations together, before Diante returns to the pool.

What inspired you to write Brave in the Water?

I grew up with a deep fear of water, instilled by my parents who couldn’t swim. My grandfather took me to swimming lessons, but I couldn’t learn. It’s hard to learn anything when you are fearful. I hope this book can help children want to learn to swim and see how much fun they can have in the water.

Title: Brave In The Water
Author: Stephanie Wildman
Illustrator: Jenni Feidler-Aguilar
Publisher: Lawley Publishing
Published: April 27, 2021
Format: Picture Book

What advice would you give parents with children who are fearful of the water like Diante?

I do think that one important parental role is helping a child learn to swim and to be water safe. Good swim lessons are available in many places. Spending time in the water with a child, helping them to get a sense of buoyancy is a good step prior to lessons. For some children going to lessons with a buddy is helpful. For others, if they are very fearful, a private session or two might “break the ice.” Warm water helps, too.

Diante’s grandmother teaches him to find a calm sort of bravery through yoga. Was yoga helpful for you in facing your own fears of swimming?

I didn’t learn to swim until I was 26 years old, and I didn’t start yoga until my late fifties, so yoga didn’t help me with being fearful until later in life. But it has helped me face other fears and reprogram my neural pathways.

Though you have written other books previously, Brave in The Water is your picture book debut. How did the writing process differ from your other titles? How was your experience working with an illustrator for Brave in The Water?

The writing process was not so different. For both nonfiction and fiction, I needed lots of rewrites and editing. But having Jenni Feidler-Aguilar, the illustrator, bring the story to life was an amazing experience. I am not a very visual person and seeing the story through her drawings for the first time was a thrill I won’t forget. It really made my heart sing. Jenni has a YouTube channel where you can learn more about her work:

If you had to describe Brave in The Water in three words, what would they be?

Breathe . . . Breathe . . . Breathe . . .

Do you foresee any more picture books in your future? 

I hope so. I have several works in progress. I will keep you posted.

Are there any books that inspired you to write?

I made up a pen name in the 4th grade. I was in love with Beezus, Ramona, and Pippi Longstocking.

What book (or books) are you currently reading?

I am almost finished with Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi. It’s a tour de force. I have also been reading books by many of my Writers Grotto colleagues like Vanessa Hua, Bridget Quinn, A.H. Kim , Katherine Seligman, and many others.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with Mutually Inclusive readers?

My debut group NewBooksforKids.com is full of diverse books and creators. Please check out these stories. It has been a joy to go through this book launch process with this wonderful group and to learn about their books.

Thank you so much for chatting with me today and introducing yourself to Mutually Inclusive’s Readers.

You can also find Stephanie online at her website, stephaniewildman.com and on social media at Twitter and Instagram.

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Kalamata’s Kitchen

This review comes with a warning: do not read this one if you’re hungry. Today we’re talking about a wonderful picture book called Kalamata’s Kitchen that started out as a seed of an idea when Derek Wallace wanted to share his passion for food with his son. He reached out to his friend Sarah Thomas (who knew the food industry well as the Advanced Sommelier at Eric Ripert’s award-winning restaurant Le Bernardin) with the idea of a young girl named Kalamata – and the rest is history.

Title: Kalamata's Kitchen
Author: Sarah Thomas
Illustrator: Jo Kosmides Edwards
Publisher: Random House Kids
Published: July 20, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Kalamata’s Kitchen is the first book in a series following a young girl named Kalamata and her sidekick, an alligator name Al Dente. Kalamata is nervous about the first day of school when she remembers how brave she felt during her trip to India, where she and Al visited the spice market and fearlessly tried new foods and flavors.

Luckily, Kalamata has a “magical” kitchen table that she and Al can climb under and transport anywhere they want to be. Kalamata and Al travel back to the spice market in hopes of finding their bravery, as Kalamata’s mother cooks in the kitchen, filling the house with the delicious smell of dal. By journeying back to the market in India, Kalamata is inspired to connect with the children at her new school through food.

The illustrations by Jo Kosmides Edwards are wonderful. The bright colors are fun, but I was most impressed by the way she portrayed the spices on the page. Taste and smell can be such a tough concept to convey though text and illustration, but I could practically taste the cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric on the pages!

The back matter is also quite extensive for a fiction book. Readers will find a recipe for dal, a glossary of culinary terms, and a map of India highlighting the country’s unique regional dishes.

Kalamata’s Kitchen is set to launch as a full brand, including an upcoming animated TV show and themed toys and activities on their website. I’m personally a big fan of the Kal & Al Pals, a set of Kalamata and Al Dente plushies that young readers will certainly love.

Kalamata’s Kitchen officially releases next week (July 20, 2021), but you can preorder your copy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop, Amazon, and the Kalamata’s Kitchen website, where all sales will benefit No Kid Hungry. (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 Random House Kids for providing me with a review copy of Kalamata’s Kitchen. It was an absolute delight, and I can’t wait to see what other cuisines Kalamata and Al Dente explore throughout the series.

About The Creators:

Sarah Thomas is the co-creator and Chief Imaginator of Kalamata’s Kitchen, but she considers her title of Professional Try-Things-Twicer the most important of all. Sarah grew up surrounded by the delicious scents and flavors of her mother’s Indian Kerala cuisine. Her love of food and storytelling led Sarah to the hospitality industry, and though she was a sommelier for years, these days she’s focused on introducing Kalamata and her Taste Buds to as many new friends as possible.

Jo Kosmides Edwards is the Doodling Dynamo of Kalamata’s Kitchen. She thinks of herself as a maker with a love for creating in many mediums, including books, murals, and fine art. Her love of food started as child in her father’s restaurant, where she earned the reputation of “the kid who would try anything.”

Derek Wallace is the creator of Kalamata’s Kitchen. He spent sixteen years working in sales and marketing leadership, until in 2016, he realized how much he wanted to inspire his son, Henry, to experience the world through the lens of food. So, he came up with the idea of a little girl named Kalamata, and has devoted himself to introducing her to the world ever since.

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New Release Round Up – July 6, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everybody! My Tuesday is feeling a lot like a Monday with the long weekend, but I’ve got my coffee and I’m ready to tell you all about this week’s 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

What’s My Super Power? by Aviaq Johnston, Illustrated by Tim Mack

“Nalvana feels like all of her friends have some type of superpower. She has friends with super speed (who always beat her in races), friends who can fly (or at least jump from a swing and seem to fly across the playground), and friends who are better than her at a million other things. But when her mom shows Nalvana that she is unique and special, she realizes that her superpower was right in front of her all along.”

You’re So Nice, Baby: Teaching Positive Affirmations to Children by Molly Dresner, Illustrated by Valentina Jaskina

“You’re So Nice, Baby is a unique board book that teaches tots to use their body through positive affirmations. It is never too early to teach little ones the power that they hold. All babies and toddlers will test us, the boundaries, and their own capabilities; this book guides them in the right direction.

Look at those hands baby,

Ready to help and hold

You have NICE hands baby,

Hands that do as they’re told!

Your baby will learn about his or her body parts and their functions through sing-song rhythm and rhyme. Molly Dresner uses encouraging language and repetition to reinforce these big life lessons in a sweet and simple package that everyone will love!”

ABC: Everyday Heroes Like Me by Sugar Snap Studios

“For little kids with big dreams, ABC Everyday Heroes Like Me spotlights the heroes who are all around us—from A to Z.

There are heroes everywhere! With this fun approach to learning the alphabet, kids can learn how to spot the hidden superheroes all around us. This board book from Walter Foster Jr encourages young kids to see the hero in everyday people (and even themselves!) by presenting a colorful variety of heroic behaviors, talents, and career paths. Talented illustrator Jessie Ford of Sugar Snap Studio artfully pairs the letters of the alphabet with vibrant, eye-catching illustrations that paint an inspiring picture for budding heroes everywhere.”

Picture Books

Lala’s Words by Gracey Zhang

“From debut author-illustrator Gracey Zhang comes a timeless and timely picture book that celebrates the unassuming power of kind words.
Oh, there goes Lala! She carries a pot of water around the corner, down the block, and over the fence, to a patch of dirt and concrete where tiny weeds sprout. “Hello, hello, friends!” she whispers. Lala waters the plants every day, but it is her kind words that make them sway and nod.

Lala’s wild nature and quiet compassion enchant in this evergreen story about the power of kind words and the magic of being loved for who you are.”

Be sure to check out the full review here!

Not Little by Maya Myers, Illustrations by Hyewon Yum

“Dot is the smallest person in her family and at school; even her name is small! People often mistake her for being younger than she is, but not when she tells them the square root of sixty-four is eight, nor when she orders from the grown-up menu at restaurants or checks out the hard books at the library. She may be small, but she’s not little.

When a new boy named Sam joins Dot’s class, she wonders if he’s even smaller than she is. But when she sees him getting bullied by a mean kid twice his size, she knows she has to do the big thing and stand up for him.

Maya Myers’s debut picture book has a pitch-perfect voice that captures the inimitable Dot in all her fierceness, and Hyewon Yum’s delightful pastel-hued artwork is its perfect complement.”

Shhh! The Baby’s Asleep by JaNay Brown-Wood, Illustrated by Elissambura

“Celebrate the silliness that comes with a big family in this playful read aloud about a big brother, a sleeping baby, and a very noisy family.

Baby is finally asleep. But everyone is much too loud! Can Mom, Daddy, Grammy, Pop Pop, Shae, Dante, Rover the dog, and even the neighbor keep quiet? Just when they think they can rest—oh no. The baby’s awake. One savvy little narrator knows just the way to make his baby sister fall back asleep: by reading her a good book!

A hilarious cast of characters will keep readers laughing throughout this amusing celebration of early literacy and intergenerational family relationships.”

Chirri and Chirra: The Rainy Day by Kaya Doi, Translated by David Boyd

“As is each of their adventures, this one is completely magical and full of wonder. It is also set in a world where, as if by magic (though perhaps it’s the force of the creative imagination?), they always find what they need. Pedaling along, they discover a shop. What luck! The sign says it’s only open on rainy days. How perfect. Chirri & Chirra order tea. Each is served tea with a bowl of sweet ice rocks. It’s a shop for watching the rain while drinking tea! Later, when they feel as if they’re floating, they discover that the rain is falling up, from below. They are sailing along on nothing less than upside down rain. And what do they discover in the upside-down rain? A happy scene, of course. Because their world is one of harmony, peace, lightness, and discovery. It is a vision of what life on earth––if we gave love and respect to all humans, animals, and the natural world––might be.”

Chapter Books

The Secret Explorers and the Missing Scientist by SJ King

“Learn all about polar expeditions and the Arctic in this climate-related installment of DK Books’ new educational fiction series for children.

Meet the Secret Explorers – a band of brainiac kids from all around the world. Everyone in this diverse group of young experts has a speciality, from outer space to dinosaurs, and each story follows a character who gets chosen for a “secret exploration”.

In this fun, fact-filled children’s book, engineering expert Kiki and Connor the marine biologist are sent on a mission to the Arctic. There they discover a research vessel studying the effects of climate change that has become trapped in the sea ice.

To make matters worse, one of the ship’s scientists who went to find help at a nearby research station hasn’t returned. It’s up to the Secret Explorers to find the scientist, free the ship, and save the day! Kids will love turning the pages to find out if the Secret Explorers manage to succeed in their mission!”

The Kids of Cattywampus Street by Lisa Jahn-Clough, Illustrated by Natalie Andrewson

“In this delightful chapter book filled with black-and-white pictures, you’ll meet Jamal, Lindalee, Hans, Matteo, and others–the kids who live on Cattywampus Street, not far from the Waddlebee Toy Store.

Each of the eleven chapters in this magical, mysterious, silly, scary, happy, and sometimes sad chapter book tells an utterly unforgettable tale about one of the kids. Whether it’s about Jamal and his magic ball, which knows how to find him after its been stolen away; or Charlotta, who shrinks so small that she can fit inside her dollhouse; or Rodney, whose pet rock becomes the envy of all the kids on Cattywampus Street, here are stories sure to charm, captivate, and engage all readers of chapter books, even the most reluctant.”

Middle Grade

Josephine Against The Sea by Shakirah Bourne

“Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That’s why she makes a habit of scaring his new girlfriends away. She’s desperate to make it onto her school’s cricket team because she’ll get to play her favorite sport AND use the cricket matches to distract Daddy from dating.

But when Coach Broomes announces that girls can’t try out for the team, the frustrated Josephine cuts into a powerful silk cotton tree and accidentally summons a bigger problem into her life . . .

The next day, Daddy brings home a new catch, a beautiful woman named Mariss. And unlike the other girlfriends, this one doesn’t scare easily. Josephine knows there’s something fishy about Mariss but she never expected her to be a vengeful sea creature eager to take her place as her father’s first love! Can Josephine convince her friends to help her and use her cricket skills to save Daddy from Mariss’s clutches before it’s too late?”

Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom by Sangu Mandanna

“Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier. Did she lock the front door? Is there a terrible reason her mom is late? Recently her anxiety has been getting out of control, but one thing that has always soothed her is drawing. Kiki’s sketchbook is full of fanciful doodles of the rich Indian myths and legends her mother has told her over the years.

One day, her sketchbook’s calming effect is broken when her mythological characters begin springing to life right out of its pages. Kiki ends up falling into the mystical world she drew, which includes a lot of wonderful discoveries like the band of rebel kids who protect the kingdom, as well as not-so-great ones like the ancient deity bent on total destruction. As the one responsible for creating the evil god, Kiki must overcome her fear and anxiety to save both worlds–the real and the imagined–from his wrath. But how can a girl armed with only a pencil defeat something so powerful?”

Forever This Summer by Leslie C. Youngblood

“Georgie has no idea what to expect when she, Mama, and Peaches are plopped down in the middle of small town USA–aka Bogalusa, Louisiana–where Mama grew up and Great Aunt Vie needs constant care.

Georgie wants to help out at the once famous family diner that served celebrities like the Jackson 5 and the Supremes, but everyone is too busy to show her the ropes and Mama is treating her like a baby, not letting her leave her sight. When she finally gets permission to leave on her own, Georgie makes friends with Markie–a foster kid who’d been under Aunt Elvie’s care–who has a limb difference and a huge attitude.

Then Markie asks Georgie to help her find her mom, and suddenly summer has a real purpose. But as Georgie and Markie’s histories begin to entwine, Georgie becomes more desperate to find the truth. But words spoken cannot be taken back and once Georgie knows the truth, she may even find a way to right past wrongs and help Aunt Vie and Markie out after all.”

Comics

The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow by Emma Steinkellner

“In this hilarious and heartwarming sequel to the bestselling and critically acclaimed graphic novel, The Okay Witch, half-witch Moth Hush uses magic to boost her confidence with disastrous results—perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Molly Ostertag!

Moth Hush is starting to settle into her newfound witch heritage and powers, but life at school continues to be rough. Even her best friend, Charlie, doesn’t entirely understand what it’s like for her to always be the one who gets mocked, and things only get worse when Moth’s mom starts dating one of the dorkiest teachers in the school! Then Moth gets hold of a mysterious charm that can unleash another version of herself—one who is confident, cool, and extremely popular. What could possibly go wrong?”

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

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

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