New Release Round Up: June 28, 2022 + GIVEAWAY

It’s Tuesday again, so we’re talking new release again, but this week we have a giveaway! Be sure to read to the end for details!

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

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

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

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

Mi Ciudad Sings by Cynthia Harmony, Illustrated by Teresa Martinez

“Summer is here and Heba is so excited to wear her new, yellow burkini to the community pool for the first time! She can’t wait to look like the other mermaid girls in her family and sparkle like the sun.
 
But when Heba arrives at the pool and her friends start asking her questions about her new special swimsuit, she feels like she’s standing out too much. Suddenly her burkini seems like a bad idea.
 
Luckily Mama helps Heba to find strength in the mermaid girls who came before her. Feeling more connected to the women of her family, Heba is ready to show her friends that she can do all the same things that they can do—handstands, summersaults, and dives off the diving board—even while wearing her yellow burkini.”

Over & Over: A Children’s Book to Soothe Children’s Worries by M. H. Clark, Illustrated by Beya Rebai

“Over and Over follows a young girl and her father as they enjoy life’s simple everyday pleasures–from sitting down for breakfast to gazing at the clouds to counting the stars before lying down to sleep. With gentle rhyming storytelling and captivating imagery, each page honors the daily routines that help a child feel safe within the world. This book is a beautiful bedtime read to soothe the anxious feelings of a child and strengthen a family bond.”

The Summer of Diving by Sara Stridsberg, Illustrated by Sara Lindberg, Translated by B.J. Woodstein

“Zoe’s dad isn’t home. She still sees him in photographs, laughing and playing tennis, but for now she can only visit him in a building where everyone looks sad and the walls are an ugly pink color. Some days Zoe’s dad is too sad to see her, but she goes to the hospital anyway. While waiting she meets Sabina who invites her to swim across the world. Zoe’s not sure it’s possible, but Sabina tells her, “A girl can do everything she wants.” Even though Sabina sometimes dives deep into her own thoughts, the two of them swim around the world many times that summer, until eventually Zoe’s dad is ready to come home.”

A Taste of Honey: Kamala Outsmarts the Seven Thieves; A Circle Round Book by Rebecca Sheir, Illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat

“In a village in the countryside lived a woman named Kamala who had the most delicious honey you’ve ever tasted. She collected honey from her hives to sell at the market, but business was slow, and she and her father were struggling to get by. Kamala knew she had to do something, so when she heard that the king’s son was getting married and all the villagers were invited to the party, she got an idea.

When Kamala’s first plan doesn’t exactly work out and seven tricky thieves try to steal from her, she has to rely on her own wits to outsmart them—and discovers a rather sweet reward.

The colorful illustrations of Chaaya Prabhat, who lives in Chennai, India complement Circle Round podcast host Rebecca Sheir’s original adaptation of this traditional Indian folktale. Specially designed to be read aloud and shared, the story is accompanied by questions and prompts for conversation, along with creative storytelling activities.”

The Tale of the Unwelcome Guest: Nasruddin Teaches the Town a Lesson; A Circle Round Book by Rebecca Sheir, Illustrated by Mert Tugen

“The town beside the sea was abuzz with the news. The governor was holding a grand banquet and everyone was invited—everyone! But no one was as excited as Nasruddin. 

On the day of the celebration, Nasruddin works hard in his vineyard picking and squishing grapes. He planned to wear his special long red silk coat, but at the end of the day it’s too late for him to go home and change! When he arrives at the banquet in his grape-juice-stained work clothes, he looks different from what the townspeople were expecting. But Nasruddin is a clever fellow—and he figures out a most delicious way to teach the town a lesson about judging people for the way they look.”

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

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

Before, the sun drenched the yard. Our neighbor’s laughter danced in the streets. Now, the streets are quiet. Papa is gone, and we are no longer safe here. We are leaving, too.

In this moving and stunningly-illustrated picture book, Noemi and Mama flee their home in Mexico, and head for the US border. There, they look for “The Notebook Keeper”– the person in charge of a ledger for those waiting to cross, and they add their names to the book. As the days turn into weeks, and hope dwindles,  the little girl looks for kindness around her– and inside herself. One day, when the Notebook Keeper’s own name is called to cross, Noemi and her Mama are chosen–for the generosity in their hearts– to take her place.”

Chapter Books

Build It! Jump It!: An Acorn Book (Racing Ace #2) by Larry Dane Brimner, Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

“Where do you come from? Where does your family come from? For many children, the answers to these questions can transform a conversation into a journey around the globe.

In her first picture book, author Patrice Gopo illuminates how family stories help shape children, help form their identity, and help connect them with the broader world. Her lyrical language, paired with Jenin Mohammed’s richly textured artwork, creates a beautiful, stirring portrait of a child’s deep ties to cultures and communities beyond where she lays her head to sleep.

Ultimately, this story speaks a truth that all children need to hear: The places we come from are part of us, even if we can’t always be near them. All the Places We Call Home is a quiet triumph that encourages an awakening to our own stories and to the stories of those around us.”

Middle Grade

Valentina Salazar is Not a Monster Hunter by Zoraida Córdova

“It takes a special person to end up in detention on the last day of school.

It takes a REALLY special person to accidentally burn down the school yard while chasing a fire-breathing chipmunk.

But nothing about Valentina Salazar has ever been “normal.” The Salazars are protectors, tasked with rescuing the magical creatures who sometimes wander into our world, from grumpy unicorns to chupacabras . . . to the occasional fire-breathing chipmunk.

When Val’s father is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong, her mother decides it’s time to retire from their life on the road. She moves the family to a boring little town in upstate New York and enrolls Val and her siblings in real school for the first time.

But Val is a protector at heart and she can’t give up her calling. So when a mythical egg surfaces in a viral video, Val convinces her reluctant siblings to help her find the egg before it hatches and wreaks havoc. But she has some competition: the dreaded monster hunters who’ll stop at nothing to destroy the creature . . . and the Salazar family.”

High Score by Destiny Howell

“My name’s Darius James―but everyone calls me DJ. At my old school, I was the go-to guy for all kinds of tricky problems that needed creative solutions. But at my new school, Ella Fitzgerald Middle, I’m just trying to blend in.

Well, I was, anyway, until my best friend, Conor, got himself transferred to the Fitz too. Now Conor owes 100,000 arcade tickets to the biggest bully around―and he only has two weeks to make it happen. Impossible? Not with my head in the game.”

In The Beautiful Country by Jane Kuo

For fans of Jasmine Warga and Thanhhà Lại, this is a stunning novel in verse about a young Taiwanese immigrant to America who is confronted by the stark difference between dreams and reality.

Anna can’t wait to move to the beautiful country—the Chinese name for America. Although she’s only ever known life in Taiwan, she can’t help but brag about the move to her family and friends.

But the beautiful country isn’t anything like Anna pictured. Her family can only afford a cramped apartment, she’s bullied at school, and she struggles to understand a new language. On top of that, the restaurant that her parents poured their savings into is barely staying afloat. The version of America that Anna is experiencing is nothing like she imagined. How will she be able to make the beautiful country her home?”

Graphic Novels

Ghosts of Science Past by Joseph Sieracki and Jesse Lonergan

A teenager desperate to pass his Biology final is visited in the night, Christmas Carol-style, by the spirits of some of the greatest scientists in history.

Trevor suffers from an ailment common among high schoolers: apathy. He snoozes through science class, distrusts his teachers, and would rather stay up all night playing video games than studying for his upcoming science quiz. With an “F” in Biology looming ominously in Trevor’s near future unless he finds motivation, Trevor’s parents take away his video games for a week in an effort to make him buckle down and study. When he opens up his book, however, an epic adventure begins, and the greatest scientists in history become his guides—literally!”

I’m giving away 1 copy of Lupe Lopez: Rock Star Rules! by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo and Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrated by Joe Cepeda to one lucky reader today! This giveaway will run until next Tuesday (July 5, 2022) and all you have to do is enter the RaffleCopter giveaway below by sharing your favorite release of 2022. There is also an extra entry for anyone who signs up for email notifications. (US entries only, please.) Good luck to you all! Can’t wait to see who wins!

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New Release Round Up: June 21, 2022

It’s Tuesday, so we are talking new releases again! What today’s round up lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. We have some wonderful titles debuting today!

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

Ally Baby Can: Be Feminist by Nyasha Williams, Illustrated by Jade Orlando

Ally Baby Can books introduce allyship to tiny change-makers! Perfect for shared reading with an adult.

Ally Baby Can: Be Feminist models how young kids can stand up for women and nonbinary people in the fight against sexism and gender inequality.

Extensive back matter includes important guidelines for allyship, a kid-friendly reading list, and other helpful resources for baby and you.

It is never too early to learn about ways to change our world.

BE SURE TO LOOK OUT FOR ALLY BABY CAN: BE ANTIRACIST!

The Big Book of Pride Flags by Jessica Kingsley, Illustrated by Jem Milton

“Celebrate and learn about the LGBTQIA+ community with this colourful book of Pride flags!

Featuring all the colours of the rainbow, this book teaches children about LGBTQIA+ identities through 17 different Pride flags. With fun facts, simple explanations and a short history of each flag accompanying beautiful illustrations, children will uncover the history of Pride and be introduced to different genders and sexual orientations. There’s also a blank Pride flag design at the back of the book so that children can create their very own Pride flag!

With a Reading Guide that provides a detailed History of the Pride Flag and questions for further discussion, this inspiring book is a must-have for every child’s bookshelf, library or classroom.”

Ice Cream Face by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

The Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning creator of Brick by Brick brings to delicious life the anxiety and elation involved in waiting in line to get ice cream.

As far as this ice-cream-loving kid is concerned, every meal should include ice cream. In any form, in every flavor, he loves it all. But what he doesn’t love is seeing other people with ice cream .  .  .  while he’s still waiting in line for his. That’s when he can get his mad, “no-ice-cream-yet, waiting-in-a-long-line face”–until he finally gets his cone, and his mad face melts into something sweet. Heidi Woodward Sheffield gently explores a range of emotions as they relate to this delicious, everyday experience.”

Twelve Days of Kindness by Irene Latham, Illustrated by Junghwa Park

Inspired by “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” this picture book illustrates the many different forms that kindness can take, from veteran picture book author Irene Latham.

On the first day of kindness,
I will give to you a hug that’s warm and true.

There are many ways to be kind. Follow one girl as she expresses gratitude through kind deeds all her own—a smile or encouraging word or even shared snacks—and discovers one act of kindness inspires another. In this heartwarming lyrical text, twelve acts of everyday kindness are set to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Along with vibrant and warm illustrations, this joyous read-aloud celebrates how small acts of kindness can be practiced at any age.”

American Desi by Jyoti Rajan Gopal, Illustrated by Supriya Kelkar

“A young girl longs to know where she fits in: Is she American? Or is she Indian? Does she have to pick or can she be both? With bright, joyful rhyme, and paired with an immersive art style using American and Indian fabrics, American Desi celebrates the experiences of young children growing up first and second generation Indian American: straddling the two cultural worlds they belong to, embracing all they love of both worlds and refusing to be limited by either.

This story is a powerful tribute to the joy of being South Asian and for every reader who aspires to bridge their worlds with grace, grit, and confidence.”

The Pet Potato by Josh Lacey, Illustrated by Momoko Abe

“Potatoes can’t do anything a pet should. They can’t learn tricks, or go for walks, or snuggle up with Albert.

But to Albert’s surprise, his potato begins to grow on him, and soon he can’t imagine having any other pet.

When the potato begins to rot, Albert is devastated. He buries it in his garden, and with a lot of care and a bit of patience, he discovers that his potato can do a great trick after all . . .

Josh Lacey and Momoko Abe have created a delightful, offbeat picture book about finding companionship in unlikely places.”

Tomatoes in My Lunchbox by Costantia Manoli, Illustrated by Magdalena Mora

“A child, newly arrived in another country, feels displaced, lonely, and a little scared on her first day of school. Her name doesn’t sound the way she’s used to hearing it. She knows she doesn’t fit in. And when she eats her whole tomato for lunch, she can feel her classmates observing her―and not quite understanding her.

But sometimes all it takes is one friend, one connection, to bring two worlds together, and gradually the girl, her tomato, and her full name, start to feel at home with her new friends and community.

This emotionally sweeping debut picture book by Costantia Manoli, with vibrant art by Magdalena Mora, artfully captures feelings of displacement and the joy that comes from forging new friendships.”

Middle Grade

Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation by Sylvia Liu

“Hana Hsu can’t wait to be meshed.

If she can beat out half her classmates at Start-Up, a tech school for the city’s most talented twelve-year-olds, she’ll be meshed to the multiweb through a neural implant like her mom and sister. But the competition is fierce, and when her passion for tinkering with bots gets her mixed up with dangerous junkyard rebels, she knows her future in the program is at risk.

Even scarier, she starts to notice that something’s not right at Start-Up—some of her friends are getting sick, and no matter what she does, her tech never seems to work right. With an ominous warning from her grandmother about being meshed, Hana begins to wonder if getting the implant early is really a good idea.”

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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New Release Round Up: June 14, 2022

It’s Tuesday again! Let’s dive into 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

Soccer Baby (A Sports Baby Book) by Diane Adams, Illustrated by Charlene Chua

The youngest of readers and the sports-loving grown-ups in their lives can now enjoy the world’s most popular sports–soccer–before going to bed a winner.

After putting on their gear and warming up, the Dolphins are ready for kick off! When the opposing team scores in the first half, a young girl and her teammates take an orange-slice break before getting back out there. This young girl scores the tying goal in the second half just before the final whistle and goes to sleep a winner.”

Picture Books

Today I’m Strong by Nadiya Hussain, Illustrated by Ella Bailey

“Most days, this little girl loves to go to school and play with her friends. But sometimes the schoolyard can feel like a battleground where she has to dodge mean words from a bully. Luckily, she always has her steadfast tiger by her side—even if she’s the only one who can see it. With the reminder that strength comes from within, she digs deep to believe in herself, no matter what anyone else says.
 
From the team behind My Monster and Me, Today I’m Strong is a tender story about finding the courage to hold your head high, with a powerful reminder to always be kind.”

Mi Ciudad Sings by Cynthia Harmony, Illustrated by Teresa Martinez

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

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

Arab Arab All Year Long! by Cathy Camper, Illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi

“Yallah! From January to December, join some busy kids as they partake in traditions old and new. There’s so much to do, whether it’s learning to write Arabic or looking at hijab fashion sites while planning costumes for a local comic convention. With details as vivid as the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle perfume (made to remind Mom of Morocco), children bond with friends, honor tradition, and spend loving timewith family. Accompanied by buoyant and charming illustrations, this portrait of Arab life and childhood zealis sure to bring joy all year round. Back matter includes an extensive glossary and notes to enrich the experience for readers of any culture.”

Ten Owies by Tony Johnston, Illustrated by Annabel Tempest

“From ice-cream induced brain freezes to bee stings to stubbed toes and bruises, ten children get ten owies that can only be cured by the following: a kiss, a hug, lots of love, and as many colorful Band-Aids as possible.

Full of rhythm, repetition, playful language, silliness, and love, Ten Owies introduces young readers to numbers from one to ten, as well as the notion that everyone gets a “boo-boo” every now and then. Tony Johnston’s silly text, combined with Annabel Tempest’s lively illustrations, captures all the drama of childhood while also offering plenty of humor, sympathy, and healing. The perfect book to share with a child needing a little tender love and care!”

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

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

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

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

All the Places We Call Home by Patrice Gopo, Illustrated by Jenin Mohammed

“Where do you come from? Where does your family come from? For many children, the answers to these questions can transform a conversation into a journey around the globe.

In her first picture book, author Patrice Gopo illuminates how family stories help shape children, help form their identity, and help connect them with the broader world. Her lyrical language, paired with Jenin Mohammed’s richly textured artwork, creates a beautiful, stirring portrait of a child’s deep ties to cultures and communities beyond where she lays her head to sleep.

Ultimately, this story speaks a truth that all children need to hear: The places we come from are part of us, even if we can’t always be near them. All the Places We Call Home is a quiet triumph that encourages an awakening to our own stories and to the stories of those around us.”

A Is for Bee: An Alphabet Book in Translation by Ellen Heck

“What letter does the word bee start with?
If you said “B” you’re right – in English!
But in many, many languages, it actually starts with A.
Bee is Anū in Igbo,
Aamoo in Ojibwe,
Abelha in Portugese.
And Ari in Turkish.

Come and explore the gorgeous variations in the ways we talk about familiar things, unified and illuminated through Ellen Heck’s eye-catching, graphic scratchboard details and hidden letterforms.”

Rosa’s Song by Helena Ku Rhee, Illustrated by Pascal Campion

In this diverse picture book, a young immigrant from South Korea finds community and friendship in an apartment house filled with other newly arrived kids.

When Jae looks out the window of his new home, he wishes he could still see his old village, his old house, and his old friends. But his new apartment feels empty and nothing outside is familiar. Jae just arrived from South Korea and doesn’t even speak the new language. 

Yet, making friends is the same wherever you go and he soon meets a girl with a colorful bird perched on her shoulder. Rosa knows just how Jae feels and the two become fast friends. Not only does Rosa show Jae his new neighborhood but she shows him how his imagination can bring back memories of his old home.  Then Rosa leaves unexpectedly one night but leaves her parrot for Jae. He thinks about the song that Rosa would sing: “When I fly away, my heart stays here.” And when Jae meets two other newly arrived kids, he teaches them Rosa’s song and becomes their guide to this new world.

From the creators of the highly acclaimed The Paper Kingdom, comes a new book about the importance of community and demonstrates how a simple act of kindness can be passed along to others.”

Middle Grade

Righting Wrongs: 20 Human Rights Heroes Around the World by Robin Kirk

Many young people aren’t aware that determined individuals created the rights we now take for granted.

The idea of human rights is relatively recent, coming out of a post–World War II effort to draw nations together and prevent or lessen suffering. Righting Wrongs introduces children to the true stories of 20 real people who invented and fought for these ideas. Without them, many of the rights we take for granted would not exist.

These heroes have promoted women’s, disabled, and civil rights; action on climate change; and the rights of refugees. These advocates are American, Sierra Leonean, Norwegian, and Argentinian. Eleven are women. Two identified as queer. Twelve are people of color. One campaigned for rights as a disabled person. Two identify as Indigenous. Two are Muslim and two are Hindu, and others range from atheist to devout Christian. There are two journalists, one general, three lawyers, one Episcopal priest, one torture victim, and one Holocaust survivor.”



Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun by Tolá Okogwu

Black Panther meets X-Men in this action-packed and empowering middle grade adventure about a British Nigerian girl who learns that her Afro hair has psychokinetic powers—perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers, The Marvellers, and Rick Riordan!

Onyeka has a lot of hair­—the kind that makes strangers stop in the street and her peers whisper behind her back. At least she has Cheyenne, her best friend, who couldn’t care less what other people think. Still, Onyeka has always felt insecure about her vibrant curls…until the day Cheyenne almost drowns and Onyeka’s hair takes on a life of its own, inexplicably pulling Cheyenne from the water.

At home, Onyeka’s mother tells her the shocking truth: Onyeka’s psycho-kinetic powers make her a Solari, one of a secret group of people with super powers unique to Nigeria. Her mother quickly whisks her off to the Academy of the Sun, a school in Nigeria where Solari are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends at the academy soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves embroiled in a momentous battle between truth and lies…ae led the way.”

The Sun Does Shine (Young Readers Edition): An Innocent Man, A Wrongful Conviction, and the Long Path to Justice by Anthony Ray Hinton, Lara Love Hardin, and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times, now adapted for younger readers.

In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only 29 years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.

But with a criminal justice system with the cards stacked against Black men, Hinton was sentenced to death . He spent his first three years on Death Row in despairing silence―angry and full of hatred for all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon―transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015.”

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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New Release Round Up: June 7, 2022

It’s Tuesday, so that means we are looking at the new releases this week. We have a TON to look at so I will get right to it!

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

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

Board Books

My First Learn-to-Talk Book: Written by an Early Speech Expert! by Stephanie Cohen

Created by an early speech expert, this interactive first words book filled with fun-to-read rhymes helps little ones learn to talk!

Each page features:

  • Simple, exciting sounds that are easy for little ones to imitate, and can be used to build bigger words
  • Rhythm and rhyme to encourage repetition and help keep babies engaged, even before they can understand the text
  • Real photographs that model correct mouth positions and support social emotional learning

Written by a speech-language pathologist, My First Learn-to-Talk Book is designed to help babies and toddlers master the skills they need as they learn to talk. Reading the book aloud helps caregivers easily model important aspects of communication for little ones―not only through sounds and words, but also with gestures, facial expressions and more!”

Splash! by Leslie Patricelli

Yippee! Towel, hat, sunglasses, sand toys . . . everyone’s favorite baby is off and running for a day at the beach—with a new friend.

Pack a beach bag and join Baby for that quintessential summer activity: a day at the seashore. With a new buddy in tow to join in the fun, it’s time to put on sunscreen (rubby, rubby), set up the umbrella (ouch, this sand is hot!), splash in the waves (run away from the big ones!), and build a sandcastle (extra hands help!). And don’t forget ice cream! Thankfully, there’s a shower for rinsing off that sandy, sticky stuff. There’s so much to do and see that it might be a challenge to get these babies back home! Little ones off on a summer vacation will soak up this fun adventure, and fans of the beloved Baby will be tickled to meet an adorable new character.”

Picture Books

Music Is a Rainbow in the United States  by Bryan Collier

The music turned into color and light and filled the room.

A young boy remembers quietly watching his father read the paper and sip a cup of coffee. He remembers his sweet momma, who lovingly pressed away the wrinkles on his clothes. Then one day, his father is gone and his momma falls ill. But through his love of music he feels his father’s warm hugs and his mother’s kisses. He learns to relax, shine, and dream as the music fills his soul.

From four-time Caldecott honoree Bryan Collier comes a moving and gorgeously illustrated exploration of healing the soul through music.”

A New Friend by Lucy Menzies, Illustrated by Maddy Vian

“It’s Joe’s first day at a new school. It’s big, scary and different. He misses his school, his old friends and his old life. Can’t he just go back to the way things were? 

When Mae hears that there’s a new kid starting school, she can’t wait to meet him. Is this her chance to make a true friend? 

A New Friend is the next book in the One Book, Two Stories format. With this innovative format,two books, telling two different stories, are bound together.

One book follows Joe on his first day at school, and the other shows Mae on her quest to make friends with the new kid. The stories can also be read side-by-side, as spreads from each book complement each other and are linked with corresponding page numbers. The final spread at the back of the book reveals a shared ending, in which Joe and Mae are united in the playground! “

Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson, Illustrated by Daniel Sousa

An Indigenous legend about how four extraordinary individuals of dual male and female spirit, or Mahu, brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii, based on the Academy Award–contending short film.

In the 15th century, four Mahu sail from Tahiti to Hawaii and share their gifts of science and healing with the people of Waikiki. The islanders return this gift with a monument of four boulders in their honor, which the Mahu imbue with healing powers before disappearing.
 
As time passes, foreigners inhabit the island and the once-sacred stones are forgotten until the 1960s. Though the true story of these stones was not fully recovered, the power of the Mahu still calls out to those who pass by them at Waikiki Beach today.

With illuminating words and stunning illustrations by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, and Daniel Sousa, KAPAEMAHU is a monument to an Indigenous Hawaiian legend and a classic in the making.”

Frances in the Country by Liz Garton Scanlon, Illustrated by Sean Qualls

A spirited girl visits her cousins in the country for a chance to break free from the clamor and crowd of life in the city.
 

Frances is a city kid, but it’s hard for her to fit in. City walls aren’t for climbing, city rooms aren’t for running, city shops and city yards are too crowded, and there are so many rules that Frances can’t seem to follow.

She takes a trip to visit her cousins in the country, where she finds cats for chasing, roads for racing down, ladders for leaping, and fields full of animals. When it’s time to go home, it’s not easy to leave her cousins, but she invites them to visit and see the sights and sounds, lights, thumps, beeps and shines of the city where she returns to her loving mom and sisters.”

Tomorrow is a Brand-New Day by Davina Bell, Illustrated by Allison Colpoys

The follow-up to bestselling All the Ways to be Smart by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys.

Good or bad, the things you do
are all a part of being you ―
of learning how to take your boat
on stormy seas and stay afloat.

From the creators of All the Ways To Be Smart comes a message of hope: hard days come and go, but love is with us always. A healing and uplifting tribute to learning and growing ― to making mistakes and making amends.

  • The perfect gift for children embarking on new challenges
  • A wonderful educational tool for teachers and librarians helping children process big changes and big emotions
  • Just right for fans of I am Human by Susan Verde & Peter H. Reynolds and The Bad Seed by Jory John and Pete Oswald.”

Thundermaestro by Annemarie Riley Guertin, Illustrated by Maria Brzozowska

Rumble, grumble, groan, growl, whoosh, swoosh, 
creak, squeak, tip tap, pitter-patter, splitter, splatter.
The crescendo builds.

With baton in hand, a little girl conducts a majestic symphony with the sounds of a summer rainstorm. The whoosh of wind and the toccata of raindrops make a grand concert. With gorgeous mixed-media illustrations that juxtapose the gathering storm outside with the music inside the girl’s imagination, this celebration of the music of nature will leave readers breathless until the final bow.”

You Are My Favorite Color by Gillian Sze, Illustrated by Nina Mata

A lyrical story of parental love that celebrates and takes pride in the many shades of brown skin. Perfect for fans of I Am EnoughHey Black ChildHair Love, and Our Skin.


When you ask me why your skin is brown, I will tell you that you are my favorite color. I will say that your skin was decided long, long ago. Time was just waiting for you.   

So begins a mother’s celebration of her children’s brown skin, told through warm and vivid poetry. With sweeping descriptions of what brown skin means—it is the brawny bear whose paws know the ground of its home, the sequoia tree that reaches up and touches the sun, the glossy shell of roasted chestnuts—this is a book that empowers as it embraces, and that reminds young readers that they have shades of color that only they can discover and express.”

Gaudi – Architect of Imagination by Susan B. Katz Illustrated by Linda Schwalbe

Your dreams can change the world! 

Colorful mosaics, playful flowing forms, imaginative facades—Barcelona shines with the buildings of Antoni Gaudí. How did the son of a Catalan blacksmith become a world-famous architect? The first years of Gaudí’s life were challenging. Because of an illness, young Gaudí couldn’t attend school and was often alone. Many of his days were spent out in nature, which he would later call his great teacher. Even during his training as an architect in Barcelona, his teachers were puzzled, wondering: is he a “genius or a fool?” Many considered his unusual ideas eccentric, sometimes even crazy. But Gaudí was simply ahead of his time. His buildings are now a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site.  

With an insightful eye into the world of an inspired genius, award-winning author Susan B. Katz tells of Gaudí’s life and work. Linda Schwalbe’s dazzling and powerful illustrations reflect the inventive, daring, and flamboyant style of Gaudí’s work.”

The Sublime Ms. Stacks by Robb Pearlman, Illustrated by Dani Jones

Miss Nelson is Missing meets Drag Race in this vibrant picture book about a drag queen librarian from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robb Pearlman.

Librarian Mr. Stephen is great at helping people find their books. But when it comes to crafts and storytime . . . well, he tries his best. Luckily, there’s a substitute librarian to liven up things-the sublime Ms. Stacks!

Ms. Stacks makes everything fun! And with a penchant for performing and a flair for the fabulous, she reminds everyone to be themselves and unleash their creativity. When Ms. Stacks is around, time in the library is never a drag! The kids only wish that Mr. Stephen could see this legendary librarian in action for himself . . . but maybe he did?

Bestselling author Robb Pearlman and illustrator Dani Jones offer a joyful celebration of reading, creating, and expressing your truest self.”

When the Wind Came by Jan Andrews, Illustrated by Dorothy Leung

“In this timely, poetic story of hope amid loss, acclaimed writer and storyteller Jan Andrews’s touching picture book reminds us how, even on the darkest days, light can always be found.

It’s a normal day, at first, for a girl on her family farm. But soon, the wind picks up. It blows harder and harder and harder. Her mother grabs her baby brother. Her father opens the door to the root cellar. The family piles in and sits in darkness. When they are finally able to emerge, their home is gone. Through a series of short sentences, many beginning with “I remember … ,” readers share with the girl her experience of shock, terror, sadness and, finally, hope.”

The Fossil Whisperer: How Wendy Sloboda Discovered a Dinosaur by Helaine Becker, Illustrated by Sandra Dumais

A captivating look at the life of a modern-day fossil hunter who makes the find of a lifetime told by award-winning author Helaine Becker.

Wendy has an eye for the unusual and is skilled at finding things that others don’t see. While on a school field trip at age 12, she spots one of those unusual things poking out of the ground, and it turns out to be a piece of fossilized coral that’s 100 million years old. Wendy’s thrilled! And soon, she gets hooked on finding fossils. When she grows up, Wendy turns her passion into her career and becomes a preeminent fossil hunter, known as the “fossil whisperer” around the world. But it’s on a dig close to home where Wendy makes her most important discovery: Wendiceratops!”

Saving the Butterfly: A Story About Refugees by Helen Cooper, Illustrated by Gill Smith

Two resourceful siblings begin a new life as refugees in a poetic picture book about thriving—in your own time—after great loss.

From an award-winning author and a talented debut illustrator comes a profound story about child refugees healing and building new lives. When rescuers meet the boat, there are only two people left—a big child and a little one. The big one, remembering the trip across the dark sea, hides indoors. The little one ventures out, making friends, laughing, growing strong. When he brings the outside in, in the form of a butterfly, will his sister find the courage to guide the winged creature back into the world where it belongs? Powerful illustrations dance between dark and light in a moving tale of empathy, resilience, and the universal need for home and safety.”

Itzel and the Ocelot by Rachel Katstaller

“A gorgeous picture book inspired by a traditional Central American Indigenous story about a snake with the power to bring the rain, told in lyrical language and evocative art, and subtly conveying an environmental theme.

Itzel listens as her nana tells the story of when the giant snake would be awakened from its sleep: “And first with a whisper that would rustle the leaves, and then with a deep thunderous cry, the giant snake would bring the arrival of the rainy season.” But now, since many no longer believe in the snake, her nana says, “It has returned to the place where the water is born.” Now, Itzel and her nana are desperate for rain to water their bone-dry crops. So Itzel decides she must find and awaken the snake herself. She sets out in the night alone, but soon she is joined by an ocelot, and a bevy of other jungle creatures in need of the rain. And Itzel worries, is she leading them on a fruitless journey?”

Zack and Ike Are Exactly Alike by Suzanne Bloom

Friendship is about far more than being alike in this simple yet satisfying story.

Zack and Ike are best friends who like to think they’re exactly alike.

They have the same backpack, the same bike, and the same kind hearts. But what happens when these best friends disagree? And what happens when they meet a new friend who is exactly different–or is she?

In this classic friendship story written by award-winning author Suzanne Bloom, readers will see that Zack and Ike are alike in some ways, but different in others–and that’s okay! Because you don’t have to be exactly alike to be friends.”

Sunflower Sisters by Monika Singh Gangotra, Illustrated by Michaela Dias-Hayes

A heartwarming celebration of all skin shades, from sun-browned to autumn-leaf-gold!

Amitra and Kiki are best friends and sunflower sisters. Amitra’s older sister is getting married, but when the elder relatives arrive, they start dispensing some old-fashioned and dubious advice. Luckily, Amitra’s mother has a lesson or two to teach about that! With the support and empowerment of their moms, the sunflower sisters are two strong, confident girls―one South Asian the other Nigerian―finding joy in their own skin.”

Up Your Nose by Seth Fishman, Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg

“Did you know that there are quadrillions of germs in the world? And that hundreds of billions of germs may be in the room around you—and inside you as well?

Acclaimed creators Seth Fishman and Isabel Greenberg explore the five main types of germs—bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, and helminths—and the human immune system that protects us from them. Seth Fishman expertly breaks down this complex topic with humor—and with a large dose of wonder at the human body and the world around us. Isabel Greenberg’s signature bright, comic-style illustrations bring life to this microscopic landscape so that young readers can pore over each page.

Full of fascinating facts, Up Your Nose is perfect for curious children and classroom learning.”

Punky Aloha by Shar Tuiasoa

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

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

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

Will she be able to get the butter for grandma?

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

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Marian Anderson by Katheryn Russell-Brown, Illustrated by Gillian Flint

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

When renowned classical singer Marian Anderson wasn’t allowed to sing at a theater in Washington, DC, because she was Black, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial, at a concert attended by thousands of people. Marian went on to sing around the world on behalf of the UN and the US State Department, and as a part of the Civil Rights Movement, she also performed at the March on Washington. She went on to win many awards, including the first ever Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award–and she inspired countless people along the way.

In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Katheryn Russell-Brown, readers learn about the amazing life of Marian Anderson–and how she persisted

Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton, black-and-white illustrations throughout, and a list of ways that readers can follow in Marian Anderson’s footsteps and make a difference!”

Wednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems by Bree Galbraith, Illustrated by Morgan Goble

“In this second title in the early chapter book series about everyone’s favorite young entrepreneur, Wednesday Wilson is only trying to help her brother when her latest business idea strikes!

Sometimes the best business ideas pop up when you least expect them. Or that’s what happens to Wednesday Wilson, anyway, the morning her brother, Mister, locks himself in the bathroom because he’s nervous about a school presentation. When classmate Emmet convinces Mister that a worry stone will calm his nerves, Wednesday offers Mister her marble — with the promise that a Worry Marble will fix all his problems! But then Wednesday starts thinking about just how many things kids get nervous about. And, hmm, she does happen to have a whole collection of marbles. Has Wednesday just hit entrepreneurial gold?”

Middle Grade

Can You Believe It?: How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts by Joyce Grant, Illustrated by Kathleen Marcotte

“For today’s tech-savvy kids, here’s the go-to resource for navigating what they read on the internet.

Should we believe everything we read online? Definitely not! And this book will tell you why. This fascinating book explores in depth how real journalism is made, what “fake news” is and, most importantly, how to spot the difference. It’s chock-full of practical advice, thought-provoking examples and tons of relevant information on subjects that range from bylines and credible sources to influencers and clickbait. It gives readers context they can use, such as how bias can creep into news reporting, why celebrity posts may not be truthful and why they should be suspicious of anything that makes them feel supersmart. Young people get most of their information online. This must-read guide helps them decide which information they can trust — and which they can’t.”

The Secret Battle of Evan Pao by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

“A fresh start. That’s all Evan Pao wants as he, along with his mother and sister, flee from California to Haddington, Virginia, hoping to keep his father’s notoriety a secret.

But Haddington is a southern town steeped in tradition, and moving to a town immersed in the past has its own price. Although Evan quickly makes friends, one boy, Brady Griggs, seems determined to make sure that as a Chinese American, Evan feels that he does not belong. When Evan finds a unique way to make himself part of the school’s annual Civil War celebration, the reaction is swift and violent. As all of his choices at home and at school collide, Evan must decide whether he will react with the same cruelty shown to him, or choose a different path.

Wendy Wan-Long Shang, the critically acclaimed author of Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award for Children’s Literature winner The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, weaves a timely and deeply moving portrait of all the secret battles Evan Pao must fight as he struggles to figure out how he fits into this country’s past and how he will shape its future.”

The Wonders We Seek: Thirty Incredible Muslims Who Helped Shape the World by Saadia Faruqi and Aneesa Mumtaz, Illustrated by Saffa Khan

In this biographical collection, with stunning portraits and illustrations by Saffa Khan, authors Saadia Faruqi and Aneesa Mumtaz highlight some of the talented Muslim physicians, musicians, athletes, poets, and more who helped make the world we know today.

A brilliant surgeon heals patients in the first millennium.

A female king rules the Indian subcontinent.

A poet pours his joy and grief into the world’s best-selling verses.

An iconic leader fights for civil rights.

And many, many more.

Throughout history—from the golden age of the empires of Arabia, Iraq, Persia, and India, up to modern day—Muslims have shaped our world in essential ways, with achievements in music, medicine, politics, human rights, literature, sports, technology, and more. Give this book to readers who are excited to learn about the great figures and thinkers in history!

The authors introduce their book with a personal letter to the reader, setting out their motivations and hopes for the stories they are telling. The backmatter includes a glossary and bibliography for readers’ further research and learning.”

The Do-Over by Jennifer Torres

“The Mendoza sisters need a do-over!

Raquel and Lucinda used to be inseparable. But ever since their parents split, Raquel has been acting like editor-in-chief of their lives. To avoid her overbearing sister, Lucinda spends most of her time with her headphones on, practicing her skating routine.

Then a pandemic hits, and the sisters are forced to spend the lockdown at their dad’s ranch house. Suddenly Raquel sees a chance to get back everything they’ve lost. If they can convince their mom to come along, maybe they can get their parents to fall in love again and give their family a second chance, a do-over.

But at the ranch, they get a not-so-welcome surprise: their dad’s new girlfriend and her daughter are already living there! Lucinda finds she actually likes them, which only makes Raquel more desperate to get rid of them. And as her Raquel’s schemes get more and more out of hand, Lucinda starts to wonder what they are really fighting for. Is trying to bring the Mendoza family back together really just tearing them further apart?”

The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali

A heartfelt debut novel about a boy’s attempt to find himself in the history he loves—perfect for fans of Dear Sweet Pea and From the Desk of Zoe Washington.

Amos Abernathy lives for history. Literally. He’s been a historical reenactor nearly all his life. But when a cute new volunteer arrives at his Living History Park, Amos finds himself wondering if there’s something missing from history: someone like the two of them.

Amos is sure there must have been LGBTQ+ people in nineteenth-century Illinois. His search turns up Albert D. J. Cashier, a Civil War soldier who might have identified as a trans man if he’d lived today. Soon Amos starts confiding in his newfound friend by writing letters in his journal—and hatches a plan to share Albert’s story with his divided twenty-first century town. It may be an uphill battle, but it’s one that Amos is ready to fight.

Told in an earnest, hilarious voice, this love letter to history, first crushes, and LGBTQ+ community will delight readers of Ashley Herring Blake, Alex Gino, or Maulik Pancholy. “

Alice Austen Lived Here  by Alex Gino

From the award-winning author of George, a phenomenal novel about queerness past, present, and future.

Sam is very in touch with their own queer identity. They’re nonbinary, and their best friend, TJ, is nonbinary as well. Sam’s family is very cool with it… as long as Sam remembers that nonbinary kids are also required to clean their rooms, do their homework, and try not to antagonize their teachers too much.

The teacher-respect thing is hard when it comes to Sam’s history class, because their teacher seems to believe that only Dead Straight Cis White Men are responsible for history. When Sam’s home borough of Staten Island opens up a contest for a new statue, Sam finds the perfect non-DSCWM subject: photographer Alice Austen, whose house has been turned into a museum, and who lived with a female partner for decades.

Soon, Sam’s project isn’t just about winning the contest. It’s about discovering a rich queer history that Sam’s a part of — a queer history that no longer needs to be quiet, as long as there are kids like Sam and TJ to stand up for it.”

Graphic Novels

Fibbed by Elizabeth Agyemang

“Everyone says that the wild stories Nana tells are big fibs. But she always tells the truth, as ridiculous as it sounds to hear about the troupe of circus squirrels stealing her teacher’s toupee. When another outlandish explanation lands her in hot water again, her parents announce that Nana will be spending the summer with her grandmother in Ghana.

She isn’t happy to be missing the summer camp she’s looked forward to all year, or to be living with family that she barely knows, in a country where she can’t really speak the native language. But all her worries get a whole lot bigger—literally—when she comes face-to-face with Ananse, the trickster spider of legend.

Nana soon discovers that the forest around the village is a place of magic watched over by Ananse. But a group of greedy contractors are draining the magic from the land, intent on selling the wishes for their own gain. Nana must join forces with her cousin Tiwaa, new friend Akwesi, and Ananse himself to save the magic from those who are out to steal it before the magic—and the forest—are gone for good.”

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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New Release Round Up: May 31, 2022

It’s Tuesday again! Let’s dive into 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

Baby’s Here! by Jessica Young, Illustrated by Genevieve Godbout

Tickle, rock, cuddle, and kiss the babies in this interactive board book! Rhyming text and sweet illustrations are perfect for toddlers and newly minted big brothers and sisters celebrating the arrival of a new baby.

Baby’s Here! is a sweet interactive board book with a unique shape that encourages toddlers and big siblings to be to cradle, rock, and play with the babies in the pages.

Gift this board book to little ones who love babies or baby dolls, or are expecting a new baby sister or brother themselves! Toddlers will delight in the brief, rhyming text and invitations to interact with the cuddly babies in the pages. Sure to inspire repeat reads and independent play, this book will capture the imagination of baby-loving “big kids.””

Picture Books

The Rainbow Parade by Emily Neilson

A sweet and celebratory story of a family’s first time at Pride

One day in June, Mommy, Mama, and Emily take the train into the city to watch the Rainbow Parade. The three of them love how all the people in the street are so loud, proud, and colorful, but when Mama suggests they join the parade, Emily feels nervous. Standing on the sidewalk is one thing, but walking in the parade? Surely that takes something special.

This joyful and affirming picture book about a family’s first Pride parade, reminds all readers that sometimes pride takes practice and there’s no “one way” to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community.”

To Make by Danielle Davis, Illustrated by Mags DeRoma

A stunning picture book ode to the joys of the creative process and the spirit of collaboration. This lyrical story from Danielle Davis and Mags DeRoma is perfect for fans of Kevin Henkes, Gyo Fujikawa, and Julie Fogliano. 

To make . . . a cake, a garden, a song, you first gather, then make—and wait. To make a story (like this one), you gather, make, wait.

To make anything—big or small—it will take some time.

You may have to gather more, make more, and wait a little more, but you can create wonderful things if you just gather, make, and wait.

This gorgeous, timeless book gently emphasizes patience as part of the making process and is a fitting book for all homes, classrooms, and makerspaces everywhere. 

The Mystery of the Monarchs: How Kids, Teachers, and Butterfly Fans Helped Fred and Norah Urquhart Track the Great Monarch Migration by Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Erika Meza

A gorgeous picture book based on the true story of a scientist who solvesthe mysteries of monarch butterfly migration—with the help of schoolchildren! A perfect story for nature lovers of all ages from the Caldecott Honor winning author of The Noisy Paint Box

Young Fred Urquhart was fascinated by insects, especially his favorite, the monarch butterfly. He wondered where monarchs spent the winter. No one knew. After he became an entomologist (bug scientist),Fred and his wife, Norah, tagged hundreds of butterflies, hoping to solve the mystery of the monarchs. But they soon discovered that they needed help. They started a “butterfly family,” a community of children, teachers, and nature enthusiasts from three countries––Canada, the United States, and Mexico––to answer the question: Where do the monarchs go?

Detailed materials in the back of the book include maps of monarch migration, the life cycle of the butterfly, and the cultural relevance of monarch butterflies in Mexico, as well as information on environmental efforts towards monarch conservation.”

Middle Grade

Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper

“Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school’s first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can’t be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio.

When Jake’s dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade.

Except Jake doesn’t think that’s a ridiculous idea. Why can’t they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he’ll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won’t be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor’s son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake.

But someone that cute couldn’t possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?”

The One Who Loves You the Most by medina

“Twelve-year-old Gabriela is trying to find their place in the world. In their body, which feels less and less right with each passing day. As an adoptee, in their all-white family. With their mom, whom they love fiercely and do anything they can to help with her depression. And at school, where they search for friends.

A new year will bring a school project, trans and queer friends, and a YouTube channel that help Gabriela find purpose in their journey. From debut author medina comes a beautifully told story of finding oneself and one’s community, at last.”

Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit by Jesse Q. Sutanto

“Theo Tan doesn’t want a spirit companion. He just wants to be a normal American kid, playing video games, going to conventions, and using cirth pendants to cast his spells like everyone else. But, when his older brother dies, Theo ends up inheriting Jamie’s fox spirit, Kai.

Kai isn’t happy about this either. Theo is nothing like Jamie, and the two of them have never gotten along. But, when they realize the mysterious journal Jamie left Theo is filled with clues and secret codes, it’s clear that something strange was going on with Jamie’s internship at Reapling Corp.

But the only way onto the campus is the highly competitive “Know Your Roots” summer camp program, a celebration of Chinese and Indian cultures designed to help connect students with their heritage. Theo and Kai will have to put aside their differences long enough to honor Jamie’s last wishes, or the mystery he died for will remain unsolved forever…”

Graphic Novels

Lowriders to the Rescue by Cathy Camper, Illustrated by Raul Gonzalez III

“Meet Lupe, a whip-smart impala with a flair for mechanics
Flapjack, a sweet young octopus who can shine up anything with his eight gleaming tentacles
and Elirio, a thoughtful mosquito who’s fascinated with words and determined to become an artist.

What do all three have in common? A love of lowriders—and a passion for solving problems!

Nothing is normal in the little town where the Lowriders live. To start, Flappy can’t see a thing! He keeps mistaking fire hydrants for sailors and laundry for love interests. Even more worrying, the Upscale Business Association is determined to make more money than ever by tearing down local shops in favor of a brand-new development for wealthy landowners. Most disconcerting of all, the monarchs who usually migrate through town at this time of year are nowhere to be found. But when Sokar, a beautiful young monarch, bikes into town with a broken wing, she has scary news to report: A dangerous wildfire is burning fast and hot and nonstop, leaving the monarchs stranded.”

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

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

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Review: ‘Twas the Night Before Pride

I can’t believe Pride Month is only two days away! While I was trying to figure out where the month of May went, I thought of the perfect book to share as Pride approaches. ‘Twas The Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick and Juana Medina is a beautiful picture book that honors the history of Pride.

Title: ‘Twas the Night Before Pride
Author: Joanna McClintick
Illustrator: Juana Medina
Published: May 10, 2022
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Picture Book

‘Twas the Night Before Pride was one of my most anticipated picture books of 2022, and it did not disappoint! Told with the familiar rhyme scheme of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, this wonderful book tells the story of a family preparing to celebrate Pride. Sitting on a couch with one mom on each side, the oldest sibling prepares the youngest sibling for their first pride by telling them the history of this celebration.

This joyous story combines a comprehensive history with honest representation, creating the perfect Pride celebration for young readers. Discussing topics like the Stonewall Riots and the AIDS March in simplified terms for young readers, Twas the Night Before Pride pays respect to those in the LGBTQ+ community who fought against injustice and inequality throughout history.

The illustrations by Juana Medina are an absolute treat! Each page perfectly captures the joy and belonging I feel every year at Pride, allowing me to share it with my little one any day of the year. He will be attending his third Pride this year, and I can’t wait to share this wonderful book with him because I know he’s just as excited to celebrate as I am.

You can pick up your very own copy of ‘Twas the Night Before Pride 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 Candlewick Press for sharing a review copy of ‘Twas the Night Before Pride. I already know this will become a beloved title in our home that we will read year after year, and I’m so grateful to be able to share it with everyone today.

About The Author:

Joanna McClintick is a debut children’s book author and a licensed social worker at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in Manhattan. When she was dreaming about building her family, she wrote this poem to honor Pride’s history of resistance and imagined sharing it with her future child one day. It has become a tradition to read it at their annual brunch the day before the Pride March with family and friends. Joanna McClintick lives with her wife and child in Brooklyn. You can learn more about Joanna and her work at her website, joannamcclintick.com.

About The Illustrator:

Juana Medina is the author-illustrator of Juana & Lucas, which won the 2017 Pura Belpré Author Award; Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas; Juana & Lucas: Muchos Changes; and many other titles and has illustrated numerous picture books, including Smick! by Doreen Cronin and I’m a Baked Potato! by Elise Primavera. Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Juana Medina now lives with her family in the Washington DC area. To learn more about Juana and her work, please visit her website at juanamedina.com.

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New Release Round Up: May 24, 2022

It’s Tuesday again! Let’s dive into 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

Bye Bye, Binary by Eric Geron, Illustrated by Charlene Chua

Fans of Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz will love this board book about gender expression and being true to oneself.

“Is it a boy? Or a girl?” 

“WHAT’S IT TO YA?!”

Our little bundle of joy has arrived—to dismantle gender norms!

A joyful baby refuses to conform to the gender binary and instead chooses toys, colors, and clothes that make them happy. This tongue-in-cheek board book is a perfect tool to encourage children to love what they love and is also a great baby shower gift for all soon-to-be-parents. “

Picture Books

Sarah Rising by Ty Chapman, Illustrated by DeAnn Wiley

“Sarah starts her day like any other day: she eats her toast and feeds her bugs. But today isn’t a day like any other day. Today, her dad brings her to a protest to speak out against police violence against Black people. The protesters are loud, and Sarah gets scared. When Sarah spots a beautiful monarch butterfly and follows it through the crowd, she finds herself inside the no-man’s land between the line of police and protesters. In the moments that follow, Sarah is confronted with the cruelty of those who are supposed to protect her and learns what it feels like to protect and be protected.

Inspired by the protests that happened during the Minneapolis Uprising after the police killing of George Floyd, Sarah Rising provides a child’s-eye view of a protest and offers an opportunity for children to talk about why people take to the streets to protest racial injustice. Readers will gain a new appreciation for how important it is to be part of a community of people who protect each other.

Backmatter includes a note from the author about his experience growing up as a Black boy in the Twin Cities, information about the Minneapolis Uprising, and practical ways kids can get involved in activism.”

Free at Last: A Juneteenth Poem by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, Illustrated by Alex Bostic

“This lyrical celebration of Juneteenth, deeply rooted in Black American history, spans centuries and reverberates loudly and proudly today.

After 300 years of forced bondage;
hands bound, descendants of Africa
picked up their souls—all that they owned—
leaving shackles where they fell on the ground,
headed for the nearest resting place to be found.


Deeply emotional, evocative free verse by poet and activist Sojourner Kincaid Rolle traces the solemnity and celebration of Juneteenth from its 1865 origins in Galveston, Texas to contemporary observances all over the United States. This is an ode to the strength of Black Americans and a call to remember and honor a holiday whose importance reverberates far beyond the borders of Texas.”

The Queen of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

A confident little Black girl has a fantastic first day of school in this companion to the New York Times bestseller The King of Kindergarten.

MJ is more than ready for her first day of kindergarten! With her hair freshly braided and her mom’s special tiara on her head, she knows she’s going to rock kindergarten. But the tiara isn’t just for show—it also reminds her of all the good things she brings to the classroom, stuff like her kindness, friendliness, and impressive soccer skills, too! Like The King of Kindergarten, this is the perfect book to reinforce back-to-school excitement and build confidence in the newest students.”

Everywhere with You by Carlie Sorosiak, Illustrated by Devon Holzwarth

The heartwarming friendship between a girl and the dog next door tenderly evokes the power of stories to bring—and keep—us together.

Two houses stand side by side: one is home to a dog, the other to a young girl. Though a fence divides them, girl and dog build a sweet and sturdy friendship rooted in make-believe . . . and are lonely no more. Paired with moving illustrations and based on a true story, this endearing tale from the author of I, Cosmo testifies to the transformative power of creativity and inter-species friendship.”

Luli and the Language of Tea by Andrea Wang, Illustrated by Hyewon Yum

“When five-year-old Luli joins her new English as a Second Language class, the playroom is quiet. Luli can’t speak English, neither can anyone else. That’s when she has a brilliant idea to host a tea party and bring them all together.
 
Luli removes her teapot, thermos, and teacups from her bag and calls out “Chá!” in her native Chinese. One by one, her classmates pipe up in recognition: in Russian, Hindi, Turkish, Persian, Arabic, and Spanish, Portuguese, and Swahili. Tea is a tasty language they all know well, and it gives them a chance to share and enjoy each other’s company. When all the tea is gone and it’s time for dessert, Luli gets to use her favorite English word, cookie! After that, the playroom isn’t so quiet.
 
Informed by her own experience as the child of Chinese immigrant parents, Andrea Wang makes the point that when you’re looking to communicate with people, you look for a common bond. The word for “tea” is similar in many languages, and tea becomes the unifying metaphor that brings a diverse group of children together. Additional material at the back of the book explores the rich and ancient history of tea drinking across cultures all around the world and contains maps, statistics, and fascinating details that will delight young readers.”

Mae Makes a Way: The True Story of Mae Reeves, Hat & History Maker by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Illustrated by Andrea Pippins

“Mae had a dream to make one-of-a-kind hats. But the path for a Black female designer was unclear, so Mae made a way, leaving her home in the segregated South to study at the Chicago School of Millinery.
 
Mae had the skills, but craved the independence to create her own styles. So Mae found a way. In Philadelphia, she became the first Black woman to own a business on South Street. Whether you were Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Marian Anderson or a lady from the neighborhood, Mae wanted you to look good and feel special in one of her original hats. 
 
A mother, a successful entrepreneur, and a community advocate, Mae led the way.
 
Published in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, acclaimed author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (Two Naomis) and award-winning illustrator Andrea Pippins (I Love My Hair) bring the life of fashion entrepreneur and civic organizer Mae Reeves to the page. And when you are done reading, explore Mae’s store and styles in person at her permanent exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.”

Middle Grade

Cookies and Milk by Shawn Amos

It’s a summer of family, friendship, and fun fiascos in this semi-autobiographical novel that’s as irresistible as a fresh-baked cookie.

Eleven-year-old Ellis Johnson has the summertime blues. He dreamed of spending the summer of 1976 hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing his harmonica. Instead, he’ll be sleeping on a lumpy pullout in Dad’s sad little post-divorce bungalow and helping bring Dad’s latest far-fetched, sure-to-fail idea to life: opening the world’s first chocolate chip cookie store. They have six weeks to perfect their recipe, get a ramshackle A-frame on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard into tip-top shape, and bring in customers.

But of course, nothing is as easy as Dad makes it sound, even with Grandma along for the ride. Like she says, they have to GIT—get it together—and make things work. Along the way, Ellis discovers a family mystery he is determined to solve, the power of community, and new faith in himself.

Partially based on Shawn Amos’s own experiences growing up the son of Wally “Famous” Amos in a mostly white area, and packed with humor, heart, and fun illustrations, this debut novel sings with the joy of self-discovery, unconditional love, and belonging.”

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

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

You Might Also Like:

New Release Round Up: May 17, 2022

It’s Tuesday again, and I’ve got you covered on 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.

Picture Books

Some Daddies by Carol Gordon Ekster, Illustrated by Javiera Maclean Alvarez

Every daddy is different–and that makes them even more special!

“Some daddies teach you about the world. Others attend tea parties. Some help turn blankets into forts. Others hold you steady while you pedal.”

This rollicking showcase of daddies celebrates the incredible diversity of modern fathers. The inclusive cast of characters–including a two-dad family, a single dad, and a stay-at-home dad–highlights the bond between daddy and child as they play, learn, comfort, and laugh their way through everyday life. This open-hearted ode to fatherhood will give readers new appreciation for how their own fathers and father-figures shine in their own unique ways.

Some Daddies is the perfect gift for a new dad, Father’s Day, or any occasion for parents and educators to read with their kids. Carol Gordon Ekster’s playful text is illustrated with the quirky, colorful artwork of Javiera Maclean Alvarez, making this picture book a wonderful read-aloud.”

Tisha and the Blossoms by Wendy Meddour, Illustrated by Daniel Egnéus

Tisha and Mommy are always having to hurry up. What would happen if they slowed down? A gentle, gorgeously illustrated story of mindfulness—and sharing the small moments.

Tisha was catching a blossom in her backyard.
“Hurry up,” cried Mommy. “You’ll be late for school.”

Tisha has spent the entire day rushing. She has to hustle for the bus in the morning, though she wants to stop and listen to the sounds around her. She has to quickly put her crayons away at school, though she’s not finished with her drawing. She even has to speed through recess so she doesn’t miss lunch. So when Mommy picks her up, Tisha asks if they can please “have a little slowdown.” What if they walked instead of taking the bus? What if they counted cars and seagulls, umbrellas and hats? What if they simply sat on a bench in the sunshine and gave names to the pigeons in the park? From the creators of Grandpa’s Top Threes comes a beautifully illustrated, tenderly told story about taking the time to experience the world around us, listen to one another, and enjoy the little things in life.”

A Rose Named Peace: How Francis Meilland Created a Flower of Hope for a World at War by Barbara Carroll Roberts, Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Beautifully illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, an inspirational biography of the Peace rose and its creator digs deep into world history, botany, and the rewards of perseverance.

From a young man’s experiments in cross-pollination to the rose that became an international symbol of hope, this gentle picture book biography, beautifully illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, is a quiet epic of war and peace. Francis Meilland was passionate about roses. He loved their rich perfume, their buds unfurling in the summer sun, and their petals, soft as lambs’ ears. Like his father and grandfather before him, Francis cultivated flowers on the family farm in France. In his teens, he set about grafting and experimenting, determined to create a rose no one had seen before, and as the world braced for World War II, he rushed cuttings to rose-growing friends around the globe. Six patient years later, word reached him: his rose had not only flourished; people were calling it the Peace Rose. An ideal gift for science and history buffs and for gardeners of all ages, this life story of a special flower is also a love song to living a dream from beginning to end, through sun and through storm.”

Ali and the Sea Stars by Ali Stroker, Illustrated by Gillian Reid

Tony Award-winning actress Ali Stroker captures the magic and community of theater in her debut picture book, about a spirited girl in a wheelchair who stages a show for her hometown. Based on the pivotal summer Ali performed in her first musical by the Jersey Shore!

Ali loves to dance, sing, and act. But she had never thought of putting on her own show until her neighbor asks, “Why wait?” Immediately energized, Ali gets to work.

There’s so much to do before showtime—choosing the right musical, auditions, rehearsal, costume and set design—but Ali can do anything with her family and friends. When a storm threatens to undo all their hard work, Ali must use her imagination and adapt so the show can go on!

Includes an inspiring letter from Ali to readers on how she developed confidence while on-stage and how theater encourages teamwork and creativity.”

Lettuce Get in Trouble (Sara Little Trouble Maker) by Linda Kuo, Cynthia Benjamin, and Paula Rees, Illustrated by Mariana Rio

Sara Little Turnbull was a designer, an observer, a mentor, and not afraid to cause a little trouble while making the world a better place. As a global traveler, she made connections between people and found wonder in the everyday objects they hold dear.

As a very petite female designer in the world of large men, Sara used her unique perspective and curiosity to design a wide range of revolutionary products–from facemasks to cookware to astronaut suits–and to encourage others to see the world through new eyes. Sara was a mentor to designers of all ages and in Lettuce Get in Trouble, she helps children understand the basics of design: observing the world around them, asking questions, and trying out new things. One day, the Ministry of Food asks Sara Little to convince the children to eat more vegetables. Instead of offering a stern lecture, however, Sara Little brings her young friends to her Little Lab in New York City to explore the colors and shapes of food and why we eat anything at all. Together they design a grand event, inviting children to gather, play, and design tasty new creations.”

Nature is an Artist by Jennifer Lavallee, Illustrated by Natalia Colombo

For kids who love to draw and create, this captivating picture book fosters an appreciation for nature and features craft ideas to inspire young artists.

Kids will be inspired to create: 

  • Fingerprint bumblebees
  • Sculptures made of sand
  • Rainbow colored jars
  • And more! 

Nature is an Artist explores different art forms that kids can find in the natural world. In the book, a group of children follow Nature—the most inspiring of teachers—as they discover the world’s greatest art show hidden in plain sight. As they witness beautiful landscapes, stunning vistas, and unusual creatures, each child is inspired to recreate their own fine work of art. 

With charming, rhythmic text from Jennifer Lavalee and vivid, eye-catching illustrations from Natalia Colombo, Nature is an Artist celebrates nature’s beauty and variety, and instills kids with:

  • The confidence to see themselves as artists! 
  • Respect and appreciation for nature. After reading, kids will appreciate the art in their own outdoor surroundings.”

Middle Grade

Pauli Murray: Shouting for the Rights of All People by Deborah Nelson Linck, Illustrated by Angela Corbin

The first introductory and illustrated biography of the civil rights icon.

The untold story of Pauli Murray, activist, lawyer, poet, and Episcopal priest, who broke records and barriers throughout her life. Friend to Eleanor Roosevelt, colleague to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and student of Thurgood Marshall, Pauli Murray’s life was nevertheless not always an easy one. Her commitment to fighting for the rights of women and all places her firmly in history. A celebration of her life and its significance, including the role of gender identity in her own journey. Deborah Nelson Linck’s book introduces Murray to children ages 6 to 12.”

Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse by Sangu Mandanna

This thrilling sequel to Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom reimagines classic mythology for today’s readers who love action and adventure! Perfect for fans of Aru Shah and The Serpent’s Secret.
 
With just a flick of her pencil, Kiki can bring her drawings of Indian legends to life…but when a mysterious curse threatens her newly created kingdom and friends, how can she use her powers to save them?

Fresh from the exciting discovery that the beautiful kingdom and band of rebel kids she drew in her sketchbook exists in another world, Kiki Kallira has an unexpected visitor. One of those rebel kids has come into the real world to ask for her help—the river Kaveri that is Mysore’s only source of water has suddenly vanished! With no water to drink or grow food, Kiki’s kingdom is doomed. 

Kiki returns to Mysore and quickly learns that drawing a new river doesn’t work. In her search for answers, she stumbles upon the origin of the Kaveri: it’s actually a princess from long ago who was transformed into water by a terrible curse! It’s up to Kiki and her friends to restore the river without sacrificing the princess again—easier said than done! And with her mounting anxiety, enemies seeking to stop her, and a city growing weaker by the minute, Kiki’s confidence falters. Will she be able to unravel the curse and save her kingdom before it’s too late?”

Twelfth by Janet Key

Better Nate Than Ever meets The Parker Inheritance in this heartwarming mystery about finding your people and accepting others as they are.

Twelve-year-old Maren is sure theater camp isn’t for her. Theater camp is for loud, confident, artsy people: people like her older sister, Hadley—the last person Maren wants to think about—and her cinema-obsessed, nonbinary bunkmate, Theo. But when a prank goes wrong, Maren gets drawn into the hunt for a diamond ring that, legend has it, is linked to the camp’s namesake, Charlotte “Charlie” Goodman, a promising director in Blacklist Era Hollywood.

When Maren connects the clues to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, she and her new friends are off searching through lighting booths, orchestra pits and costume storages, discovering the trail and dodging camp counselors. But they’re not the only ones searching for the ring, and with the growing threat of camp closing forever, they’re almost out of time.”

Caprice by Coe Booth

From the groundbreaking author of Tyrell, an astonishing middle-grade novel about a girl overcoming the secrets and abuse of her past.

This should be an exciting time for Caprice. She has been offered a place at the school of her dreams, where she’s just had a fantastic summer. But this great opportunity coincides with a lot of internal doubt and the disturbing news that her long-estranged grandmother has fallen ill and may be near death. As Caprice tries to figure out her future, she is pulled back toward her past, and the abuse she endured from her uncle when she was little — an abuse she’s never told anyone about.

With extreme sensitivity and honesty for middle-grade readers, Coe Booth has written a painful but ultimately healing novel about finding support from your parents and friends, articulating your truth, and choosing your own path.”

Join the Club, Maggie Diaz by Nina Moreno, Illustrated by Courtney Lovett

This humorous and heartfelt middle-grade debut by Nina Moreno with illustrations by Courtney Lovett is perfect for fans of Celia C. Pérez and Terri Libenson, and any reader still deciding what their passion in life is.

“MAYBE I’M GOOD AT SOMETHING I DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT YET.”

Everyone in Maggie Diaz’s life seems to be finding their true passion. The one thing that defines them as a person. Her best friends Zoey and Julian are too busy to hang out after school thanks to band and comics club. Mom is finishing her last semester in college. And Maggie’s perfect older sister Caro is perfectly-perfect at sports and tutoring.

So Maggie cooks up a plan to join every club she can! But trying to fit in with type-A future leaders, gardening whizzes, and the fearless kids in woodshop is intimidating, exhausting, and seriously confusing. And juggling homework, friends, and all of her after-school activities is way harder than it looks.

Seventh grade is all about figuring out who you are — good thing Maggie Diaz has the perfect plan!”

Graphic Novels

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

“A splashy, contemporary middle grade graphic novel from bestselling comics creator Johnnie Christmas!

Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees—until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she’s forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.

With Etta’s training and a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school’s failing team around. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake.

Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship, or have the Manatees swum their last lap—for good?”

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!

You Might Also Like:

New Release Round Up: May 10, 2022

It’s Tuesday again, and you know what that means…NEW BOOKS! Let’s dive into 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

ABC for Me: ABC The World & Me by Christiane Engel

With ABC The World & Me, take a journey to 26 amazing places all over the globe—from A to Z!

There are so many wondrous places to see and wonderful people to meet. From the long, winding Amazon River, to a bustling city like Baku, to the ancient pyramids of Chichen Itza, to thousands of other locations, people can live in and visit the most amazing places, from A to Z! 

ABC The World & Me presents a whole alphabet of places! This book shows that there are so many things to appreciate about our world, including natural wonders like the Grand Canyon and Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, as well as human-constructed marvels like the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal.”

Picture Books

You Are Here by Zach Manbeck

In the tradition of The Wonderful Things You Will Be and I Wish You More, this debut book reminds us that “all who wander are not lost.”

You are here, and from here there are so many places you can go. But how will you know how to get there? In this warm and wise debut, Zach Manbeck gives readers a poetic roadmap to help us find our way in the world, while also reminding us all that right now, we are here—exactly where we are meant to be.

Both sweet and uplifting, this is a perfect book for a new baby, a new graduate, or anyone who could use a reminder that “all who wander are not lost.””

Smile Out Loud: 25 Happy Poems by Joseph Coelho, Illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett

From the fantastic duo behind Poems Aloud comes another compendium of poetry to read out loud and make you smile!

Twenty five original poems from award winning poet Joseph Coelho designed to be read aloud to project confidence, conjure happiness, make you laugh or cheer others up. Some are odes, some can be said as personal mantras or just poems full of words that you can’t help but smile when you hear them.

This is a book for any child who wants to build confidence reading aloud, or wants a way to channel their speech and drama confidence. It is a book to foster a love of words and the power that comes with the spoken word. It will show children how speaking a poem aloud has a certain magic, almost like reading a spell.
 
Poems can be read aloud to an audience, muttered quietly to oneself or whispered in the ear of someone who needs to hear some cheerful words. “

Daddies and Daughters Stick Together by Aissatou Balde and Diariatou Sow, Illustrated by Nandi Fernandez

Diari doesn’t mind when Mommy goes into the city for work, because she and her little sister, Fatima, get to spend the whole day with Daddy

From when the moon trades places with the sun until the sun trades places with the moon, daddies and daughters do everything together. A day with Daddy means cooking, learning, dancing, and playing. After all, Daddy knows that with a little imagination, a sense of fun, and a lot of love, every part of a normal day can feel special!”

The World Belonged to Us by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by Leo Espinosa

Two children’s book superstars—#1 New York Times bestseller Jacqueline Woodson, the author of The Day You Begin, and Leo Espinosa, the illustrator of Islandborn­—join forces to celebrate the joy and freedom of summer in the city, which is gloriously captured in their rhythmic text and lively art.

It’s getting hot outside, hot enough to turn on the hydrants and run through the water–and that means it’s finally summer in the city! Released from school and reveling in their freedom, the kids on one Brooklyn block take advantage of everything summertime has to offer. Freedom from morning till night to go out to meet their friends and make the streets their playground–jumping double Dutch, playing tag and hide-and-seek, building forts, chasing ice cream trucks, and best of all, believing anything is possible. That is, till their moms call them home for dinner. But not to worry–they know there is always tomorrow to do it all over again–because the block belongs to them and they rule their world.”

The Youngest Sister by Suniyay Moreno, Illustrated by Mariana Chiesa, Translated by Elisa Amado

In the Andean foothills, a five-year-old Quechua girl is entrusted with a big job: to collect a marrow bone from the neighbor for the family soup. A stunning debut from Indigenous author Suniyay Moreno.

Picu’s family is very poor. In the dry Andean foothills, her mother must feed fourteen people—her kids, her relatives’ kids, and the hired hand’s kids—every day. One morning, Picu, the youngest sister, is sent to get a marrow bone from a neighbor. The bone will add flavor and nutrition to the lunchtime soup. Her mother warns her not to dawdle on the two-hour walk, each way, through the wild landscape.

But Picu can’t help it! She marvels at the butterflies, samples the cactus fruit, and daydreams about using the marrow bone as a football. Will the neighbor let her family keep the bone after the soup is made? Will her mother let her play with it? And will she be punished for being so late?

Picu is a child of joie de vivre and resourcefulness. This story, like Picu herself, is tough, hard, and honest. And moving. And fun.”

One Turtle’s Last Straw: The Real-Life Rescue That Sparked a Sea Change by Elisa Boxer, Illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns

The inspiring true story of how one small turtle and kids all over the country sparked an environmental movement. Based on the viral video that created awareness of the harm caused by plastic straws, this heart-wrenching story is a perfect tool for teaching children about sustainability.

Slurp! A boy finishes his drink and tosses it in the trash, straw and all. He moves on without another thought….
 
In the waters off of Costa Rica, scientists spot an endangered sea turtle and pull him aboard to study him. But he has something stuck in his nose. A barnacle? A stick? No…it’s a plastic straw!
 
This heroic story of one turtle’s rescue reminds us that even the smallest straw can hurt our ocean life–and that the smallest demand for change can grow into something big!”

Strong by Eric Rosswood and Rob Kearney, Illustrated by Nidhi Chanani

A fresh, charming picture book that shows there are lots of ways to be STRONG.

Rob dreams of becoming a champion strongman. He wants to flip huge tires, lug boulders, and haul trucks — and someday be the strongest man in the world! But he feels like he can’t fit in with his bright leggings, unicorn T-shirts, and rainbow-dyed hair. Will Rob find a way to step into his true self and be a champion?   

With bold illustrations and an engaging, informative text, Strong introduces readers to Rob Kearney and his journey from an athletic kid trying to find his place to the world’s first openly gay professional strongman.”

Chapter Books

Jo Jo Makoons: Fancy Pants by Dawn Quigley, Illustrated by Tara Audibert

Filled with lots of glitter, raised pinkies, and humorous misunderstandings, this second book in the Jo Jo Makoons series—written by Dawn Quigley and illustrated by Tara Audibert—is filled with the joy of a young Ojibwe girl discovering her very own special shine from the inside out.

First grader Jo Jo Makoons knows how to do a lot of things, like how to play jump rope, how to hide her peas in her milk, and how to be helpful in her classroom.

But there’s one thing Jo Jo doesn’t know how to do: be fancy. She has a lot to learn before her Aunt Annie’s wedding!

Favorite purple unicorn notebook in hand, Jo Jo starts exploring her Ojibwe community to find ways to be fancy.”

Middle Grade

Hope Wins: A Collection of Inspiring Stories for Young Readers  by Rose Brock, Tom Angleberger, Sarah Mlynowski, Max Brallier, Julie Buxbaum, Pablo Cartaya, J. C. Cervantes, Rex Ogle, Matt de la Peña, Stuart Gibbs, Adam Gidwitz, R.L. Stine, Veera Hiranandani, Hena Khan, and Gordon Korman

In a collection of personal stories and essays, award-winning and bestselling artists from Matt de la Peña and Veera Hiranandani to Max Brallier and R.L. Stine write about how hope always wins, even in the darkest of times.

Where does hope live?

In your family?

In your community?

In your school?

In your heart?

From a family restaurant to a hot-dog shaped car, from an empty road on a moonlight night to a classroom holiday celebration, this anthology of personal stories from award-winning and bestselling authors, shows that hope can live everywhere, even—or especially—during the darkest of times.

No matter what happens: Hope wins.”

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao

Percy Jackson meets Tristan Strong in this hilarious, action-packed middle grade contemporary fantasy that follows a young boy as he journeys across China to seal the underworld shut and save the mortal realm.

Zachary Ying never had many opportunities to learn about his Chinese heritage. His single mom was busy enough making sure they got by, and his schools never taught anything except Western history and myths. So Zack is woefully unprepared when he discovers he was born to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission: sealing the leaking portal to the Chinese underworld before the upcoming Ghost Month blows it wide open.

The mission takes an immediate wrong turn when the First Emperor botches his attempt to possess Zack’s body and binds to Zack’s AR gaming headset instead, leading to a battle where Zack’s mom’s soul gets taken by demons. Now, with one of history’s most infamous tyrants yapping in his headset, Zack must journey across China to heist magical artifacts and defeat figures from history and myth, all while learning to wield the emperor’s incredible water dragon powers.

And if Zack can’t finish the mission in time, the spirits of the underworld will flood into the mortal realm, and he could lose his mom forever.”

Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas

A fun middle-grade contemporary fantasy with an all-BIPOC cast, about a social-media-loving tween who gets sent to an ultra-private witch camp

Hasani’s post-seventh-grade summer to-do list is pretty simple: get a bigger following for her makeup YouTube channel and figure out how to get her parents back together. What she does NOT expect is that an emotional outburst will spark a latent magical ability in her. Or that the magic will be strong enough to attract the attention of witches. Or that before she can say #BlackGirlMagic, she’ll be shipped off on a scholarship to a fancy finishing school for talented young ladies.

Les Belles Demoiselles is a literal charm school. Here, generations of young ladies from old-money witch families have learned to harness their magic, and alumnae grow to become some of the most powerful women across industries, including politicians, philanthropists, CEOs, entrepreneurs—and yes, even social media influencers. Needless to say, admission to the school is highly coveted, very exclusive . . . and Hasani sticks out like a weed in a rose bouquet.

While the other girls have always known they were destined to be witches, Hasani is a Wildseed––a stray witch from a family of non-witches, with no background knowledge, no way to control her magic, and a lot to catch up on. “Wildseed” may be an insult that the other girls throw at her, but Wildseeds are more powerful than they know. And Hasani will learn that there are ways to use magic and thrive that can never be taught in a classroom.”

Unfadeable by Maurice Broaddus

Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Kelly Yang, readers will love this heartfelt and genuine story about building community, finding family, and the power of Black girl magic. 

Bella “Unfadeable” Fades is determined to stay out of trouble. A wiser-than-her-years graffiti artist known for tagging walls and bridges in her Indianapolis neighborhood, the Land, Bella plans to spend her summer break laying low and steering clear of anyone who might tip off to social services that she’s living on her own.

But keeping a low profile is all but impossible when Bella discovers people in high places are trying to defund the Land. She has to find a way to fight back.

Getting involved will mean putting herself out there—making connections with unlikely friends and attracting potential enemies. But if Bella doesn’t put her trust in her neighbors and learn how to bring her community together, her home—and her future—will never be the same.”

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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New Release Round Up: May 3, 2022

It’s Tuesday, so that means we are looking at the new releases this week. We have a TON to look at so I will get right to it!

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

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

Board Books

My Forest Is Green by Darren Lebeuf, Illustrated by Ashley Barron

“With art supplies in tow, a young boy explores the urban forest near his home, then interprets what he sees with his art. The boy is a keen observer who uses poetic, rhythmic language to describe the diversity he finds through all four seasons. His forest is both “fluffy” and “prickly,” “dense” and “sparse,” “crispy” and “soft.” It’s also “scattered and soggy, and spotted and foggy.” His forest is made up of many colors — but he decides that “mostly it’s green.” Each aspect of the forest inspires the boy to create a different kind of art: charcoal rubbing, rock art, photography, sponge painting, snow sculpture, cut-paper collage. To this artist, there’s always something new to discover, and to capture!

In this delightful picture book, Darren Lebeuf, an award-winning photographer, encourages small children to look closer at and appreciate the nature that surrounds them. And by providing such a broad range of ideas for artistic expression, it’s sure to awaken the nature artist in every child. Bright, deeply textured illustrations by Ashley Barron bring the forest and the boy’s artworks to vivid life. This story provides an excellent depiction of nature-based education in an outdoor classroom. The specificity of the concrete and abstract adjectives used in the text works as a perfect complement to primary science lessons on investigating, comparing and identifying the physical characteristics of plants and animals. This book also makes for an enjoyable, lyrical read-aloud.”

Picture Books

The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States  by Alliah H. Agostini, Illustrated by Sawyer Cloud

With colorful illustrations and a timeline, this introductory history of Juneteenth for kids details the evolution of the holiday commemorating the date the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom​.

On June 19, 1865—more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation—the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom. That day became a day of remembrance and celebration that changed and grew from year to year.

Learn about the events that led to emancipation and why it took so long for the enslaved people in Texas to hear the news. The first Juneteenth began as “Jubilee Day,” where families celebrated and learned of their new rights as citizens. As Black Texans moved to other parts of the country, they brought their traditions along with them, and Juneteenth continued to grow and develop.

Today, Juneteenth’s powerful spirit has endured through the centuries to become an official holiday in the United States in 2021The Juneteenth Story provides an accessible introduction for kids to learn about this important American holiday.”

Uncle John’s City Garden by Bernette Ford, Illustrated by Frank Morrison

How does this city garden grow? With help from L’il Sissy and her siblings–and love, love, love! A celebration of nature, family, and food.

Visiting the city  from her home in the suburbs, an African American girl sees how a few packets of seeds, some helping hands, and hard work transform an empty lot in a housing project into a magical place where vegetables grow and family gathers. It’s the magic of nature in the heart of the city!

Bernette Ford’s autobiographical story is a loving glimpse at a girl, her siblings, and her uncle, and  their shared passion for farming. L’l Sissy’s fascination with measurement, comparison, and estimation introduces children to STEM concepts. And the progress of Uncle John’s garden introduces readers to the life cycle of plants.

Frank Morrison, winner of multiple Coretta Scott King awards and an NAACP Image Award, depicts dramatic cityscapes as well as the luscious colors and textures of Nature.”

Yes We Will: Asian Americans Who Shaped This Country by Kelly Yang, Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali, Fahmida Azim, Marcos Chin, Sally Deng, Shereya Gupta, Julia Kuo, Julie Kwon, Nhung Le, Kitkat Pecson, Dow Phumiruk, Sujean Rim, Dan Santat, Yuko Shimizu, Yuewei She, and Yao Xiao

From #1 NYT bestselling author Kelly Yang comes a gorgeously illustrated picture book about Asian American changemakers doing everything they dreamed of and inspiring all of us to reach for new heights!

From creating beautiful music like Yo-Yo Ma to flying to outer space like Franklin Chang-Díaz; from standing up to injustice like Fred Korematsu to becoming the first Asian American, Black and female vice president of the United States like Kamala Harris, this book illuminates the power of Asian Americans all over the country, in all sorts of fields.
 
Each spread is illustrated by a different renowned Asian American or Asian artist. Alongside the poetic main text, Yes We Will includes one-line biographies of the person or historical moment featured on the page, with extended biographies at the end. Readers of different ages and needs can use the book in different ways, from classroom discussions to bedtime readalouds and more.
 
Yes We Will answers the question, can we accomplish whatever we dream? With love, courage, determination, and lots of imagination, we can—and we will!”

Juna and Appa by Jane Park, Illustrated by Felicia Hoshino

“From the creators of the award-winning picture book Juna’s Jar, comes a new magical tale where Juna embarks on a journey to help her biggest hero–her Appa!

Juna enjoys helping her father in their dry-cleaning shop on Saturdays. It’s their special time together.

One day Juna sees a customer yelling at Appa about a lost jacket. Juna has never seen her father look so worried and becomes determined to help. She sets off on a magical journey in search of the jacket, and along the way meets remarkable animals that show her the different ways that fathers care for their young.

Juna and Appa is a tender ode to fathers and to the many families working behind shop counters.”

Angry Me by Sandra V. Feder, Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell

“A young child tells us what makes her angry and how she tries to let the anger come and go. An artful starting point for conversations about strong feelings.

“I get angry,” says a little girl, looking fiercely in the mirror. Sometimes she gets angry when someone is mean and tries to take her toy away, when it feels unfair that there’s not enough time to go swimming, when she’s tired and just wants to go home, or when the kids at school leave her out, hurting her feelings.

When she’s angry, she tries to remember to use her words — even though that doesn’t always work. Sometimes she can’t find the right words, or the words don’t come out the way she intends. But sometimes words do help, and when her anger melts away a new feeling can blossom.

Sandra Feder’s cleverly constructed text presents different situations in which a child might feel angry, creating a nuanced look at anger and its many underlying emotions. Rahele Jomepour Bell’s illustrations show a loveable, angry little girl, brimming with personality, who learns how to express herself as she moves through her feelings.”

City Streets Are For People by Andrea Curtis, Illustrated by Emma Fitzgerald

Congested city streets are noisy and thick with cars and trucks, while pedestrians and cyclists are squeezed to the dangerous edges—but does it have to be this way? 

Imagine a city where we aren’t stuck in cars, where clean air makes it easier to breathe, and where transit is easy to access—and on time. Imagine a city where streets are for people! 

This fun, accessible and ultimately hopeful book explores sustainable transportation around the globe, including electric vehicles, public transit, bicycles, walking and more. It invites us to conjure up a city of the future, where these modes are all used together to create a place that is sustainable, healthy, accessible and safe. 

Includes a list of ideas for children to promote green transportation in their communities, along with a glossary and sources for further reading. 

The ThinkCities series is inspired by the urgency for new approaches to city life as a result of climate change, population growth and increased density. It highlights the challenges and risks cities face, but also offers hope for building resilience, sustainability and quality of life as young people advocate for themselves and their communities.”

The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything by Laura Alary, Illustrated by Ellen Rooney

“Perfect for fans of STEM, this inspiring picture book biography tells the extraordinary story of pioneering astronomer Maria Mitchell. Maria longed to travel beyond her small island of Nantucket. But she wasn’t sure how. Her father taught her to look to the stars for guidance. If you knew how to read them, he said, the stars could tell you where you were, and where you needed to go. They spent hours scanning the night sky together through a telescope on the roof. Maria learned how to use astronomers’ tools to measure and track time by the stars. But what could she do with her skills? Then, one day, she heard that a prize was being offered to the first person to find a new comet. Could this be the opportunity she was waiting for?

This absorbing picture book biography by Laura Alary tells the fascinating, though not well-known, story of a remarkable nineteenth-century woman scientist and women’s rights advocate. After winning that prize for discovering a comet, Maria Mitchell would go on to become the first professional female astronomer in the United States, first female member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one of the first female college professors. Beautifully illustrated with lovely textured artwork by Ellen Rooney, this is a well-told story with a teachable STEM component, supporting both science and social studies curriculums, that supports a growth mindset. It’s also a wonderful guide sure to inspire readers to find their own way in the world. It includes backmatter that further describes Maria’s impressive life and achievements.”

Up and Adam by Debbie Zapata Illustrated by Yong Ling Kang

A winning, uplifting story about a boy with Down syndrome who helps his neighbors in the aftermath of a storm in a way only he can.

It’s the morning after the big storm. Adam and his dog, Up, are finishing breakfast when Adam sees the mayor on TV asking everyone to pitch in with the cleanup. She says, “Now, it’s time to get to work. Up and at ’em!” When Adam hears the mayor tell him and Up to get to work, he’s on it! “We can help!” he says. All day, the pair do what they can — clearing the sidewalk, fixing a birdhouse, passing out cookies. But it turns out, Adam’s most important contribution to his community is one he doesn’t even think about — his smile. Because when anyone sees Adam smile, they smile, too. And as Adam says, “A pair of smiles can make a difference.”

Debbie Zapata’s sweet story scores on two fronts: it features an endearing and authentic representation of a child with Down syndrome, focused on his abilities, not disabilities, and it offers an inspiring model of how everyone can make a difference in their community. Adam’s Down syndrome is not referenced in the story but is addressed in an author’s note, which also includes information about Down syndrome, and resources. Adam’s open-hearted and infectious smile lights the pages as he lifts spirits all over town in Yong Ling Kang’s illustrations, which thoughtfully feature details in Adam’s clothing and belongings that are sensitive to his needs. The book is full of positive examples of community, contributing and inclusion, and beautifully captures the character education themes of kindness, teamwork, initiative and citizenship.”

Francis Discovers Possible by Ashlee Latimer, Illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani

This lyrical picture book from Tony award–winning producer Ashlee Latimer models joyful self-acceptance


Francis loves learning new words. At school, when her class is reviewing words that begin with the letter “F,” someone sneers “Fat, like Francis.” Francis always thought “fat” was a warm word—like snuggling with Mama or belly rubs for her puppy. But now “fat” feels cold, and Francis feels very small.

After school, Baba takes Francis to the park. She chooses the bench instead of the swing set, and gets very quiet. But when Baba uses the word “possible,” Francis wants to know what it means. They explore the park together, discovering what’s “possible” around them. Is it like airplanes, hovering in the sky? Or does it look like planting and how some things take a long time to grow?

“Possible” makes Francis feel warm and big—like “fat,” before someone else made her feel small. This ode to self-acceptance will model for child readers what “possible” might mean in their own lives.”

Twas the Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick, Illustrated by Juana Medina

A glittering celebration of queer families puts Pride gently in perspective—honoring those in the LGBTQ+ community who fought against injustice and inequality.

Pride’s . . . a day that means “Together, we are strong!”

This joyful picture-book homage to a day of community and inclusion—and to the joys of anticipation—is also a comprehensive history. With bright, buoyant illustrations and lyrical, age-appropriate rhyme modeled on “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” it tackles difficult content such as the Stonewall Riots and the AIDS marches. On the night before Pride, families everywhere are preparing to partake. As one family packs snacks and makes signs, an older sibling shares the importance of the march with the newest member of the family. Reflecting on the day, the siblings agree that the best thing about Pride is getting to be yourself. Debut author Joanna McClintick and Pura Belpré Award–winning author-illustrator Juana Medina create a new classic that pays homage to the beauty of families of all compositions—and of all-inclusive love.”

Not So Small by Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrated by Paola Escobar

All Are Welcome meets Sometimes People March in this uplifting picture book with an empowering message: No matter your size, you can do big things.

This joyful book celebrates the many ways people can join together to become something bigger—an unstoppable force. Each and every one of us can use our voices to make a difference!

The lyrical text by New York Times bestselling author Pat Zietlow Miller is brought to life with vibrant illustrations by Paola Escobar. This stirring book will inspire readers of all ages.

A small voice can travel for miles.

Showing kindness.

Hope.

And love.

Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome by Kat Zhang, Illustrated by Charlene Chua

Amy Wu does her best to make her new classmate feel welcome in this warmhearted and playfully illustrated follow-up picture book to Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao and Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon.

Amy’s class has a new student from China! Amy tries hard to make Lin feel included, but she can’t draw him out of his shell. Then she sees Lin chattering happily in Chinese with his family. The gears in her head start to turn, and a plan blossoms. Step one: invite Lin to her dumpling party…

​With a little help from her grandma and a shiny new banner, can Amy give Lin the warmest welcome?”

Sato the Rabbit, A Sea of Tea (Sato the Rabbit #3) by Yuki Ainoya, Translated by Michael Blaskowsky

The winsome Sato continues his magical adventures, traversing snowy landscapes and crossing a sea made of tea. Yet, no matter where he ventures, his participation in the natural world, and the magic that he finds within the ordinary, infuse each new day with possibility.

In this third installment of the whimsical series originally published in Japan, the titular Sato continues his adventures, exploring both expansive landscapes—snowy fields, forests, oceans made of tea—and tiny microcosms of worlds, found in unlikely places—like within a freshly-baked pie! In Sato’s reality, which is in many ways similar to our own, seemingly commonplace occurrences are portals to new and fantastical experiences, and every object possesses an intrinsic magic and aliveness.  Like all of the installments in the trilogy, this collection of vignettes reminds us to to look closely at what is small and often overlooked, and to open ourselves to wonder.”

The Global Ocean by Rochelle Strauss, Illustrated by Natasha Donovan

The global ocean is in trouble. This beautiful and important book explores the issues — and what we can do to help.

Though we think of Earth’s five oceans as separate and distinct, they are actually a linked system of circulating water that is one single ocean — the global ocean. This comprehensive and accessible overview explores the global ocean’s enormous influence on the planet, as well as humans’ often-detrimental influence on the ocean. But it also highlights some of the many ways people are working to restore and heal the global ocean — from everyday actions to large institutional projects — making the message of urgency as hopeful as it is accurate. Filled with fascinating information, stunning visuals and plenty of calls to action, readers will be inspired to discover what they can do to help heal Earth’s most important feature and, ultimately, our planet.”

Another Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen, Illustrated by Mike Lowery

In the inspirational sequel to Andrew Larsen’s A Squiggly Story, a boy meets a blank page in this fun exploration of the writing process, celebrating self-expression, self-discovery and letting your imagination roam. The young boy listens as Mr. Lopez tells his class about next week’s assignment: write a story about yourself. “You can write about ANYTHING,” he says, “as long as you write about YOU.” Marcus is going to write about his hat collection. Alia is going to write about the vampires she talks about all the time. But all the boy can come up with is a title: “The Story of Me by Me.” He can’t figure out what it should be about. His sister suggests starting with lists — Things I Like, Things I Know. Only, the things all seem disconnected. Is there some way to connect them, and make them into a story?

The kindergartener who learned to use squiggles to write a story in award-winning Andrew Larsen’s A Squiggly Story is now in second grade and learning to write an autobiography. Told in the same authentic child’s voice, this playful book encourages readers to just start, even if they don’t know how their story will go. It offers an accessible early language arts lesson on the writing process, exploring important basics (brainstorming, first draft, revising) and key terms (autobiography, editing, title, cover). Mike Lowery’s bold illustrations incorporate story panels and dialogue bubbles, keeping the energy high and giving a fresh and modern feel to the pages. A strong tie-in with early literacy curricula, this book also works well for supplementary or at-home learning. It’s a perfect choice to inspire the storyteller in every child!

Our Green City by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Illustrated by Colleen Larmour

A charming, child-friendly tour around an ideal sustainable city — with a uniquely positive environmental message from award-winning author Tanya Lloyd Kyi.

In this green city, neighbors take care of all living things: people, plants and animals, too! Many people choose a bicycle, scooter or their own two feet to get where they need to go. A family collects the rain to water their garden, while solar panels capture the energy from the sun; pipes gather heat from underground, and a windmill turns to power the community. Residents keep hens and hives in their yards, and care for flower beds that feed bees, birds and butterflies. Here, people all work together to make the city green. Can we do the same where we live?

Tanya Lloyd Kyi and Colleen Larmour have conjured a delightfully utopian sustainable community of the future, and they invite readers on an interactive journey to explore it. Unlike many children’s books about the environment, this is a hopeful and uplifting book that encourages children to imagine what’s possible, with neighbors from diverse backgrounds coming together to care for their surroundings and one another. Green technology and concepts are presented in an accessible way, covering topics from transportation to classrooms to food. Each spread includes a question that asks readers to search for something small in the illustration, and the abundant details in the rich and colorful art make the pages perfect for poring over. Backmatter shares environmentally friendly suggestions to try at home. Strong curriculum links to social studies and to physical, environmental and life sciences.”

Again, Essie? by Jenny Lacika, Illustrated by Teresa Martinez

Celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling!

Rafael wants to protect his toys from his little sister, Essie. Gathering materials from around the house, he builds a wall tall enough and wide enough to keep her out. But will it be strong enough? And what does Essie really want? A playful exploration of physical space and geometry, featuring Chicanx (Mexican American) characters and a glossary of Spanish 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.”

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Patsy Mink by Tae Keller, Illustrated by Gillian Flint

“When Patsy Mink won her seat the House of Representatives as a Democrat from Hawaii, she became the first woman of color and the first Asian American woman elected to Congress. A co-author of the Title XI amendment of the Higher Education Act, she was a champion of rights for women, children, immigrants, and minorities throughout her twenty-four years in Congress. She helped paved the way for many other women to succeed.

In this chapter book biography by bestselling and Newbery award-winning author Tae Keller, readers learn about the amazing life of Patsy Mink–and how she persisted.

Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton, black-and-white illustrations throughout, and a list of ways that readers can follow in Patsy Mink’s footsteps and make a difference!

And don’t miss out on the rest of the books in the She Persisted series, featuring so many more women who persisted, including Sonia Sotomayor, Margaret Chase Smith, and more!”

Alina in a Pinch by Shenaaz Nanji

“Moving to a new city means Alina has to make new friends, and nothing is worse than lunch at a new school. When her grandmother visits, Alina is inspired to help her cook the delicious Afro-Indian meals she’s always loved, but a cruel note from a mysterious lunchtime bully leaves a bitter taste that even Nani’s excellent cooking can’t erase.

With an audition for Junior Chef fast approaching and Nani’s wise lessons helping her, can Alina embrace her heritage and convince her classmates that being different is a good thing?”

Middle Grade

The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton, Illustrated by Khadijah Khayib

“Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts, like brewing Indian spice elixirs and bartering with pesky Irish pixies.

Despite her excitement, Ella discovers that being the first isn’t easy―some Marvellers mistrust her magic, which they deem “bad and unnatural.” But eventually, she finds friends in elixirs teacher, Masterji Thakur, and fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, a boy with a fondness for magical creatures.

When a dangerous criminal known as the Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror’s aid, tensions grow in the Marvellian world and Ella becomes the target of suspicion. Worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her mentor before it’s too late.”

Shine On, Luz Véliz!  by Rebecca Balcarcel

“Have you ever been the best at something . . . only to lose it all?

Luz Véliz is a soccer star-or rather, she was a soccer star. With her serious knee injury, it’s unlikely she’ll be back on the field anytime soon. But without soccer, who is she? Even her dad treats her differently now—like he doesn’t know her or, worse, like he doesn’t even like her. When Luz discovers she has a knack for coding, it feels like a lifeline to a better self. If she can just ace the May Showcase, she’ll not only skip a level in her coding courses and impress Ms. Freeman and intriguing, brilliant Trevor—she’ll have her parents cheering her on from the sidelines, just the way she likes it.

But something—someone—is about to enter the Vélizes’ life. And when Solana arrives, nothing will be the same, ever again.

Unforgettable characters, family drama, and dauntless determination illuminate Luz’s journey as she summons her inner strength and learns to accept others and embrace the enduring connection of family. Through it all, Luz’s light is a constant—a guide for others, a path forward through the dark, and an ineffable celebration of her own eternal self.”

Graphic Novels

Miss Quinces: A Graphic Novel by Kat Fajardo

“Rising star Kat Fajardo’s debut middle-grade graphic novel about a girl who would rather do anything other than celebrate her quinceañera! A funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about navigating the expectations of family and cultural tradition.

Sue just wants to spend the summer reading and making comics at sleepaway camp with her friends, but instead she gets stuck going to Honduras to visit relatives with her parents and two sisters. They live way out in the country, which means no texting, no cable, and no Internet! The trip takes a turn for the worse when Sue’s mother announces that they’ll be having a surprise quinceañera for Sue, which is the last thing she wants. She can’t imagine wearing a big, floofy, colorful dress! What is Sue going to do? And how will she survive all this “quality” time with her rambunctious family?

Miss Quinces/Srta. Quinces is the first graphic novel published by Scholastic/Graphix to be simultaneously released in English and Spanish editions!”

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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