New Release Round Up – February 16, 2021

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

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

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

Picture Books

Seven Special Somethings by Adib Khorram, Illustrated by Zainab Faidhi (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A picture book celebrating Persian New Year by award-winning author Adib Khorram

Kian can’t wait for Persian New Year! His family has already made a haft-seen, and Kian’s baba and maman told him that all the things on it start with S and will bring them joy in the new year. Kian wonders if he could add just one more S, to make his family even happier. Hmm . . . Sonny the cat’s name starts with S–but Sonny knocks the whole table over! Can Kian find seven special somethings to make a new haft seen before his family arrives for their Nowruz celebration?”

Nathan’s Song by Leda Schubert, Illustrated by Maya Ish-Shalom (Bookshop | Amazon)

“The Jewish immigrant experience in the early 1900s is touchingly and joyfully portrayed in this picture book based on the author’s own grandfather.

Growing up in a shtetl in Russia, Nathan is always singing, and when he hears a famous opera soloist perform in a nearby town one day, he realizes that music could be his future. But he’ll need to travel far from his loved ones and poor village in order to pursue that cherished goal. With his family’s support he eventually journeys all the way to New York City, where hard work and much excitement await him. His dream is coming true, but how can he be fully happy when his family is all the way across the ocean?”

I See You See by Richard Jackson, Illustrated by Patrice Barton (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When a brother and sister go for a walk, their imaginations turn the ordinary into the extraordinary in this sweet and whimsical picture book.

Pup is pulling, Maisie is pushing, and Jonah is looking and listening as the three of them set off on their daily dog walk. But what begins as a chore becomes an unexpected celebration of imagination as their neighborhood transforms. Maisie sees butterfly; Jonah sees a popsicle garden! Maisie sees the postman; Jonah sees a sky slide! And…is that…a tree of cats?!

Differences are what brings richness to the everyday in gorgeous homage to the wonders of the world around us—and the worlds we can create—if only we stop to look and listen.”

Rectangle Time by Pamela Paul, Illustrated by Becky Cameron (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This spunky, self-assured cat has always loved Rectangle Time–when the boy and the man he lives with curl up with their rectangle and read aloud from it. The cat knows how helpful he is during Rectangle Time, of course–his presence is vital to the very ritual! But when the rectangle starts to get smaller, the stories start to get quieter, and worst of all, the boy no longer needs the cat’s “help,” the cat must find a way to reclaim his part in Rectangle Time, even if slightly different from before.

In this fun, funny, and ultimately sweet story about growing up, embracing change, and the ways we all can misread social cues, we see the power of stories to bring everyone together–there’s always room for everyone at story time.”

My First Day by Phung Nguyen Quang, Illustrated by Huynh Kim Lien (Bookshop Amazon)

“A visually stunning story of resilience and determination by an award-winning new author-illustrator team.

This is no ordinary first journey. The rainy season has come to the Mekong Delta, and An, a young Vietnamese boy, sets out alone in a wooden boat wearing a little backpack and armed only with a single oar. On the way, he is confronted by giant crested waves, heavy rainfall and eerie forests where fear takes hold of him. Although daunted by the dark unknown, An realizes that he is not alone and continues to paddle. He knows it will all be worth it when he reaches his destination.”

Little People Big Dreams Megan Rapinoe by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Illustrated by Paulina Morgan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Megan Rapinoe, the world record–breaking soccer player and activist.

Growing up in Redding, California, Megan discovered her calling chasing a ball on the school playground. Even if she didn’t always fit in at school, she was a star on the field—and her teammates thought so too. Her passion, skill and leadership took Team USA to Olympic Gold and a World Cup victory, while she continues to champion women’s and LGBTQ+ rights and representation in sports, in the US and across the world. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the US co-captain’s life.”

A House For Every Bird by Megan Maynor, Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A young artist’s drawings rebel against her when she tries to put her sketched birds in houses that match how they look, but not how they feel in this hilarious picture book perfect for readers of Julian is a Mermaid and The Big Orange Splot.

A young artist has drawn birds and bird houses in corresponding colors. Now it’s time to match them up. The blue bird goes in the blue house, the orange bird in the orange house, and so on. But wait! The birds don’t agree with the narrator’s choices and, much to her distress, are rebelling by swapping houses. Can the narrator make the birds see sense? Or is it possible that you just can’t tell a bird by its feathers?”

Middle Grade

Kingston and The Magician’s Lost and Found by Rucker Moses and Theo Gangi (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Twelve-year-old Kingston has just moved from the suburbs back to Echo City, Brooklyn—the last place his father was seen alive. Kingston’s father was King Preston, one of the world’s greatest magicians. Until one trick went wrong and he disappeared. Now that Kingston is back in Echo City, he’s determined to find his father.

Somehow, though, when his father disappeared, he took all of Echo City’s magic with him. Now Echo City—a ghost of its past—is living up to its name. With no magic left, the magicians have packed up and left town and those who’ve stayed behind don’t look too kindly on any who reminds them of what they once had.

When Kingston finds a magic box his father left behind as a clue, Kingston knows there’s more to his father’s disappearance than meets the eye. He’ll have to keep it a secret—that is, until he can restore magic to Echo City. With his cousin Veronica and childhood friend Too Tall Eddie, Kingston works to solve the clues, but one wrong move and his father might not be the only one who goes missing.”

Project Startup #1 (Eat Bugs) by Heather Alexander, Laura D’Asaro, and Rose Wang, Illustrated by Vanessa Flores (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Inspired by the true story of two friends who landed a deal on Shark Tank. Sixth-grade students-turned-entrepreneurs are on a mission to save the world, one bug at a time!

Hallie and Jaye are both sixth graders at Brookdale Middle School, but they couldn’t be more different. Jaye is one of the popular kids who’ll do almost anything to maintain her status. Hallie’s only friend has moved away, and she couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of her. So when the two girls are paired up as partners for a pitch competition held by their Business Education and Entrepreneurship class, it’s not exactly a perfect match. After all, Jaye doesn’t want to be seen with the kid who was dubbed “Bug Girl” after eating a fried cricket during a class trip to the zoo!

But the pair are stuck together, and soon enough Jaye is also stuck with Hallie’s idea: finding creative ways to sell bugs as food. Jaye’s not thrilled but is willing to give it a shot, since winners get to compete in the county competition, potentially followed by states and nationals. And Jaye wants to win.

As the competition heats up, can Hallie and Jaye make the judges say “Bug appétit!” or will they only hear crickets?
Based on the true story of a sustainable protein start-up company, this illustrated novel is a reimagining for a middle-grade reader. Chirps founders Rose Wang and Laura D’Asaro met as freshmen at Harvard University and cooked up the concept of selling chips made with cricket flour to help Americans feel more comfortable eating bugs. Together, Rose and Laura appeared on the TV show Shark Tank to pitch their idea and landed a deal with Mark Cuban. Chirps chips are now sold in stores across the nation.”

The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“11-year-old Stevie is an avid reader and she knows a lot of things about a lot of things. But these are the things she’d like to know the most:

  1. The ocean and all the things that live there and why it’s so scary
  2. The stars and all the constellations
  3. How phones work
  4. What happened to Princess Anastasia
  5. Knots

Knowing things makes Stevie feel safe, powerful, and in control should anything bad happen. And with the help of her mom, she is finding the tools to manage her anxiety.

But there’s one something Stevie doesn’t know, one thing she wants to understand above everything else, and one thing she isn’t quite ready to share with her mom: the fizzy feeling she gets in her chest when she looks at her friend, Chloe. What does it mean and why isn’t she ready to talk about it?

In this poetic exploration of identity and anxiety, Stevie must confront her fears to find inner freedom all while discovering it is our connections with others that make us stronger.”

Kid Innovators by Robin Stevenson, Illustrated by Allison Steinfeld (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Moving, funny, and totally true childhood biographies of Bill Gates, Madam C. J. Walker, Hedy Lamarr, Walt Disney, and 12 other international innovators.

Throughout history people have experimented, invented, and created new ways of doing things. Kid Innovators tells the stories of a diverse group of brilliant thinkers in fields like technology, education, business, science, art, and entertainment, reminding us that every innovator started out as a kid. Florence Nightingale rescued baby mice. Alan Turing was a daydreamer with terrible handwriting. And Alvin Ailey felt like a failure at sports. Featuring kid-friendly text and full-color illustrations, readers will learn about the young lives of people like Grace Hopper, Steve Jobs, Reshma Saujani, Jacques Cousteau, the Wright Brothers, William Kamkwamba, Elon Musk, Jonas Salk, and Maria Montessori.”

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

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

You Might Also Like: