Mutually Inclusive’s 22 Most Anticipated Picture Books of 2022

It’s that time of year again where we are all looking forward and wondering what the new year has in store for us. Personally, the future freaks me out these days, so I really just want to know what books I’m going to be reading. So I thought I would share the 22 books I am most looking forward to this year, as well as preorder links so those release dates don’t sneak up on you!

So here they are, my most anticipated titles of 2022, in order of publication date (but we all know those are moving targets these days).

Please note: This list will contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from purchases made using these links at no additional cost to you. This commission allows me to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.

Love , Violet by Charlotte Sullivan Wild, Illustrated by Charlene Chua

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, Love, Violet by Charlotte Sullivan Wild and Charlene Chua is a touching picture book about friendship and the courage it takes to share your feelings.

Of all the kids in Violet’s class, only one leaves her speechless: Mira, the girl with the cheery laugh who races like the wind. If only they could adventure together! But every time Violet tries to tell Mira how she feels, Violet goes shy. As Valentine’s Day approaches, Violet is determined to tell Mira just how special she is.”

Love In The Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Illustrated by Yas Imamura

“After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Tama is sent to live in a War Relocation Center in the desert. All Japanese Americans from the West Coast—elderly people, children, babies—now live in prison camps like Minidoka. To be who she is has become a crime, it seems, and Tama doesn’t know when or if she will ever leave. Trying not to think of the life she once had, she works in the camp’s tiny library, taking solace in pages bursting with color and light, love and fairness. And she isn’t the only one. George waits each morning by the door, his arms piled with books checked out the day before. As their friendship grows, Tama wonders: Can anyone possibly read so much? Is she the reason George comes to the library every day? Beautifully illustrated and complete with an afterword, back matter, and a photo of the real Tama and George—the author’s grandparents—Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s elegant love story for readers of all ages sheds light on a shameful chapter of American history.”

“Based on the research that race, gender, consent, and body positivity should be discussed with toddlers on up, this read-aloud board book series offers adults the opportunity to begin important conversations with young children in an informed, safe, and supported way.

Developed by experts in the fields of early childhood and activism against injustice, this topic-driven board book offers clear, concrete language and imagery to introduce the concept of CONSENT. This book serves to normalize and celebrate the experience of asking for and being asked for permission to do something involving one’s body. It centers on respect for bodily autonomy, and reviews the many ways that one can say or indicate ‘NO’.”

Powwow Day by Traci Sorell , Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight

“River wants so badly to dance at powwow day as she does every year. In this uplifting and contemporary picture book perfect for beginning readers, follow River’s journey from feeling isolated after an illness to learning the healing power of community.

Additional information explains the history and functions of powwows, which are commonplace across the United States and Canada and are open to both Native Americans and non-Native visitors. Author Traci Sorell is a member of the Cherokee Nation, and illustrator Madelyn Goodnight is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.”

I Am Thinking My Life by Allysun Atwater, Illustrated by Stevie Lewis

“I am thinking my life.
Every day.
I am creating a universe.
I am communicating with the world.
I think stars. I see stars.
I am stars.
I think myself smiling. I see myself smiling.
I am smiling.
I am sculpting my world. I am clay. I am motion. I am light.
I am what I think.

Follow along as a young girl discovers the relationship between her thoughts, actions, and her place in the world. This empowering story is all about dreaming, doing, and becoming, and how the power of positive thinking can transform our lives—and the lives of those around us—forever.”

Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers by Uma Mishra-Newbery and Lina AlHathloul, Illustrated by Rebecca Green

“Loujain watches her beloved baba attach his feather wings and fly each morning, but her own dreams of flying face a big obstacle: only boys, not girls, are allowed to fly in her country. Yet despite the taunts of her classmates, she is determined to do it—especially because Loujain loves colors, and only by flying can she see the color-filled field of sunflowers her baba has told her about. Eventually, he agrees to teach her, and Loujain’s impossible dream becomes reality—and soon other girls dare to learn to fly.

Based on the experiences of co-author Lina AlHathloul’s sister, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Loujain AlHathloul, who led the successful campaign to lift Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving, this moving and gorgeously illustrated story reminds us to strive for the changes we want to see—and to never take for granted women’s and girls’ freedoms.”

Dress-Up Day by Blanca Gómez

“When a little girl is home sick for dress-up day at school, she decides there’s no need to miss out entirely: She’ll just wear her rabbit costume the next day!

But when the next day arrives and she’s the only one in costume, it doesn’t feel like such a great idea, after all. Can a little bit of confidence and an unexpected new friend turn a self-conscious moment into a wonderful one?

Funny, endearing, and relatable to any kid who’s ever felt insecure, Dress-Up Day is an ode to friendship, embracing individuality, and putting yourself out there no matter the occasion.”

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour, Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

“A little girl stays home with Mama when Mommy goes off on a work trip in this tender, inviting story that will resonate with every child who has missed a parent.

For one little girl, there’s no place she’d rather be than sitting between Mama and Mommy. So when Mommy goes away on a work trip, it’s tricky to find a good place at the table. As the days go by, Mama brings her to the library, they watch movies, and all of them talk on the phone, but she still misses Mommy as deep as the ocean and as high as an astronaut up in the stars. As they pass by a beautiful garden, the girl gets an idea . . . but when Mommy finally comes home, it takes a minute to shake off the empty feeling she felt all week before leaning in for a kiss. Michael L. Printz Award winner Nina LaCour thoughtfully renders a familiar, touching story of a child who misses a parent, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita, whose distinctive style brings charm and playfulness to this delightful family of three.”

This is a School by John Schu, Illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison

“A moving celebration of school and all it may signify: work and play, creativity and trust, and a supportive community that extends beyond walls

A school isn’t just a building; it is all the people who work and learn together. It is a place for discovery and asking questions. A place for sharing, for helping, and for community. It is a place of hope and healing, even when that community can’t be together in the same room. John Schu, a librarian and former ambassador of school libraries for Scholastic, crafts a loving letter to schools and the people that make up the communities within in a picture book debut beautifully illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison.”

I’ll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca, Illustrated by Sara Palacios

“When Jyoti visits her grandmother halfway around the world, she is overwhelmed by the differences between India and home. At first she feels lonely and out of place, but soon, despite a language barrier, she and Sita Pati are able to understand each other. They form a bond—looking at books together, making designs with colored sand, shopping at the market, playing games, eating chapatis, and sipping warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. When it’s time to part, Jyoti doesn’t want to leave, but then she remembers that in Tamil, people don’t say goodbye, they say “I’ll go and come back.” Sure enough, the two reunite the next summer when Pati visits Jyoti in America, and it’s Jyoti’s turn to make her grandmother feel welcome. Can they create some special memories that will last until the next time they see each other?”

The Pronoun Book by Chris Ayala-Kronos, Illustrated by Melita Tirado

“They, she, he . . . all together, us! Join along in this vibrant board book’s joyful celebration of people and their pronouns.

How do you know what someone wants to be called? Ask! This lively board book features eye-catching illustrations of a diverse cast of people and simple text that introduces their pronouns, perfect for readers both young and old.”

How You Came to Be by Carole Gerber, Illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi

“This love letter written from mother to child invites readers to experience a baby’s month-by-month development in the womb as compared to familiar fruits and vegetables.

A mother lovingly describes the sizes and stages of her baby’s month-by-month development inside the womb, and the amazement of experiencing it from the outside.

Simple, age-appropriate facts are woven into a tender and lyrical text that celebrates the miracle of a baby. It demystifies and informs readers, while simultaneously appreciating the wonder of it all. A perfect read-aloud for mother and child, or for children whose mothers are pregnant with a younger sibling.”

One Million Trees: A True Story by Kristen Balouch

“When Kristen Balouch was 10 years old, her parents made a surprising announcement: their whole family was going on a trip to plant trees! Kristen, her sisters, and her mom and dad—and their pet, Wonder Dog!—flew from their California home to a logging site in British Columbia. There, they joined a crew working to replant the trees that had been cut down.

In One Million Trees, Kristen reflects on the forty days they spent living in a tent, covered in mud and bug bites, working hard every day to plant a new forest. Young readers will learn a little French, practice some math skills, and learn all about how to plant a tree the right way!”

Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion by Shannon Stocker, Illustrated by Devon Holzwarth

“From the moment Evelyn Glennie heard her first note, music held her heart. She could play the piano by ear at age eight, the clarinet by age ten. But soon the nerves in her ears began to degenerate, and Evelyn was told that, as a deaf girl, she could never be a musician. What sounds Evelyn couldn’t hear with her ears, though, she could feel resonate through her body, as if she were a drum, and the music she created as a result was extraordinary. All she had to do was listen in a way that others didn’t. And soon, the world was listening too.”

Hattie Hates Hugs by Sarah Hovorka, Illustrated by Heather Brockman Lee

“Hattie loves her family, but she hates hugs!

While at a family reunion, Hattie wants to play horseshoes with Uncle Jake and Aunt Celia, but her boisterous relatives keep hugging her. Hattie’s stomach squirms uncomfortably when she’s hugged, but dodging and hiding from the open arms isn’t working. Great-Grandma is the only relative who understands how Hattie feels. With Great-Grandma’s help, Hattie learns to use simple but clear body language with verbal reinforcement to set boundaries around her personal space and to assert her right to consent to physical touch. And she even wins a game of horseshoes!

This picture book will teach huggers and non-huggers alike the importance of respecting people’s personal boundaries and provides an example of how to advocate for yourself with confidence.”

The Hair Book by LaTonya Yvette, Illustrated by Amanda Jane Jones

“A bold, graphic picture book celebrating all types of hair.
With striking, colorful graphics and simple alliterative text, this paper-over-board book with thick interior stock features poufy hair, wavy hair, Afro hair, hair covered in a hijab, and more. The message is clear: no matter what you look like, you are beautiful, valued, and welcome everywhere.”

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

“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.”

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.”

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.”

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

“A classic in the making from the winner of The Great British Baking Show and star of Nadiya Bakes, about a young girl finding her strength in spite of a schoolyard bully.

I love to go to school. Well, most days I do.
There are some days when what I really want
is to stay at home with you.

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.”

That’s Not My Name! by Anoosha Syed

“A debut picture book about loving your name, finding your voice, and standing up for yourself from the critically acclaimed illustrator of Bilal Cooks Daal and I Am Perfectly Designed.

Mirha is so excited for her first day of school! She can’t wait to learn, play, and make new friends. But when her classmates mispronounce her name, she goes home wondering if she shound find a new one. Maybe then she’d be able to find a monogrammed keychain at the gas station or order a hot chocolate at the cafe more easily.

Mama helps Mirha to see how special her name is, and she returns to school the next day determined to help her classmates say it correctly–even if it takes a hundred tries.”

Sam’s Super Seats by Keah Brown, Illustrated by Sharee Miller

“A joyful picture book about a disabled girl with cerebral palsy who goes back-to-school shopping with her best friends, from #DisabledandCute creator and The Pretty One author Keah Brown.

Sam loves herself, learning, and making her family and friends laugh. She also loves comfortable seats, including a graceful couch named after Misty Copeland and Laney, the sassy backseat of Mom’s car.

After a busy morning of rest, Sam and her friends try on cute outfits at the mall and imagine what the new school year might bring. It’s not until Sam feels tired, and the new seat she meets isn’t so super, that she discovers what might be her best idea all day.

With hilarious, charming text by Keah Brown and exuberant illustrations by Sharee Miller, Sam’s Super Seats celebrates the beauty of self-love, the power of rest, and the necessity of accessible seating in public spaces. Includes narrative description of art for those with low/limited vision.”

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a few of these titles before I even finished writing this post, and let me tell you, they are living up to the hype so far.

What books do you have your eye on in 2022? Make sure to share in the comments below!

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Mutually Inclusive’s Top 21 Picture Books of 2021

It’s that time when we all look back on the year and examine everything: our accomplishments, our memories, and, of course, the books we read. Today, I want to share my favorite picture books of the year with you all. It was a tough call, but I managed to narrow it down to my top 21 for 2021. I’m only including books published in 2021 (versus all the books I read in 2021) to keep it simple. So without further ado, here they are in no particular order.

Standing On Her Shoulders by Monica Clark-Robinson, Illustrated by Laura Freeman

“A stunning love letter to the important women who shape us — from our own mothers and grandmothers to the legends who paved the way for girls and women everywhere.
Standing on Her Shoulders is a celebration of the strong women who influence us — from our mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers to the women who fought for equality and acceptance in the United States.

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

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

Over and Under The Canyon by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

“In this latest book in the acclaimed Over and Under series, a spectacular hike reveals the hidden wonders, rich colors, and layers of wildlife living within a thriving desert slot-canyon.

Over and Under the Canyon takes young readers on a thrilling tour of a desert canyon ecosystem. Over the canyon, the sun scalds the air, baking desert mud to stone. But under the shade of the cliffs hides another world, where bighorn sheep bound from rock to rock on the hillside, roadrunners make their nests in sturdy cacti, and banded geckos tuck themselves into the shelter of the sand. Discover the wonders concealed in the curves of the canyon, the magic of a desert wildflower bloom, and all the unexpected creatures that bring the desert to life.”

The Big Bath House by Kyo Maclear, Illustrated by Gracey Zhang

“In this celebration of Japanese culture and family and naked bodies of all shapes and sizes, join a little girl–along with her aunties and grandmother–at a traditional bath house. Once there, the rituals leading up to the baths begin: hair washing, back scrubbing, and, finally, the wood barrel drumroll. Until, at last, it’s time, and they ease their bodies–their creased bodies, newly sprouting bodies, saggy, jiggly bodies–into the bath. Ahhhhhh!

With a lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations, this picture book is based on Kyo Maclear’s loving memories of childhood visits to Japan, and is an ode to the ties that bind generations of women together.”

The Lost Package by Richard Ho, Illustrated by Jessica Lanan

“From author Richard Ho and illustrator Jessica Lanan, the heartwarming story of a package that gets lost, then found, and an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at what happens at the post office.

Like other packages, this one began as an empty box. It was packed with great care, sealed tight, and given a personal touch.

Like other packages, it left the post office with hope. But unlike most packages, before it got to its destination…

it

got

lost.

Follow one package that loses its way and discover a friendship tale that proves distance can’t always keep us apart.”

Peace by Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Illustrated by Estelí Meza

“Peace is on purpose. Peace is a choice. Peace lets the smallest of us have a voice.

From a hello and pronouncing your friend’s name correctly to giving more than you take and saying I’m sorry, this simple concept book explores definitions of peace and actions small and big that foster it.

Award-winning authors, Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul, have teamed up with illustrator Estelí Meza—winner of the ‘A la Orilla del Viento’ the premier Picture Book Contest Award in Mexico—to create an inspiring look at things we can all do to bring peace into our lives and world.”

A Girl’s Bill of Rights by Amy B. Mucha, Illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda

“In a world where little girls must learn to stand tall, A Girl’s Bill of Rights boldly declares the rights of every woman and girl: power, confidence, freedom, and consent. Author Amy B. Mucha and illustrator Addy Rivera Sonda present a diverse cast of characters standing up for themselves and proudly celebrating the joy and power of being a girl.”

We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell, Illustrated by Frané Lessac

“Twelve Native American kids present historical and contemporary laws, policies, struggles, and victories in Native life, each with a powerful refrain: We are still here!

Too often, Native American history is treated as a finished chapter instead of relevant and ongoing. This companion book to the award-winning We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga offers readers everything they never learned in school about Native American people’s past, present, and future. Precise, lyrical writing presents topics including: forced assimilation (such as boarding schools), land allotment and Native tribal reorganization, termination (the US government not recognizing tribes as nations), Native urban relocation (from reservations), self-determination (tribal self-empowerment), Native civil rights, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), religious freedom, economic development (including casino development), Native language revival efforts, cultural persistence, and nationhood.”

We Move Together by Kelly Fritsch, Anne McGuire, and Eduardo Trejos

“A bold and colorful exploration of all the ways that people navigate through the spaces around them and a celebration of the relationships we build along the way. We Move Together follows a mixed-ability group of kids as they creatively negotiate everyday barriers and find joy and connection in disability culture and community. A perfect tool for families, schools, and libraries to facilitate conversations about disability, accessibility, social justice and community building. Includes a kid-friendly glossary (for ages 3–10). This fully accessible ebook includes alt-text for image descriptions, a read aloud function, and a zoom-in function that allows readers to magnify the illustrations and be able to move around the page in zoom-in mode.”

Not Little by Maya Meyers, Illustrated by Hyewon Yum

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

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

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

If I Had an Octopus by Gabby Dawnay, Illustrated by Alex Barrow

“Have you ever thought about what the best aquatic pet would be? It’s an octopus, of course! When a little girl fantasizes about having a crazy smart octopus pet, she pictures jumping rope with its tentacles, practicing different ball games simultaneously, and playing hide-and-seek with her camouflaging friend (just look out for the ink!).

With vibrant illustrations and playful rhymes, If I Had an Octopus is a laugh-out-loud story celebrating friendship between a child and her octopus. From the duo behind If I Had a Dinosaur, If I Had a Sleepy Sloth, and If I Had a Unicorn, Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow’s latest is a charming and imaginative tale about our favorite eight-armed creature.”

What Are Your Words? A Book About Pronouns by Katherine Locke, Illustrated by Anne (Andy) Passchier

“Whenever Ari’s Uncle Lior comes to visit, they ask Ari one question: “What are your words?” Some days Ari uses she/her. Other days Ari uses he/him. But on the day of the neighborhood’s big summer bash, Ari doesn’t know what words to use. On the way to the party, Ari and Lior meet lots of neighbors and learn the words each of them use to describe themselves, including pronouns like she/her, he/him, they/them, ey/em, and ze/zir. As Ari tries on different pronouns, they discover that it’s okay to not know your words right away—sometimes you have to wait for your words to find you.

Filled with bright, graphic illustrations, this simple and poignant story about finding yourself is the perfect introduction to gender-inclusive pronouns for readers of all ages.”

The Bare Naked Book by Kathy Stinson, Illustrated by Melissa Cho

“The Bare Naked Book has been a beloved fixture in libraries, classrooms, and at-home story times since its original publication in 1986. Now, this revised edition is ready to meet a new generation of readers.

The text has been updated to reflect current understandings of gender and inclusion, which are also
showcased in the brand-new, vibrant illustrations by Melissa Cho.

Featuring a note from the author explaining the history of the book and the importance of this updated edition, readers will delight in this celebration of all kinds of bodies.”

Sakamoto’s Swim Club: How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory by Julie Abery, Illustrated by Chris Sasaki

“The inspirational and little-known story of a dedicated teacher who coached Hawaiian swimmers all the way to the Olympics, beautifully told in simple rhyme. When the children of workers on a 1930s Maui sugar plantation were chased away from playing in the nearby irrigation ditches, local science teacher Soichi Sakamoto had an idea. He offered to take responsibility for the children — and then he began training them how to swim. Using his science background, Sakamoto devised his own innovative coaching techniques: he developed a strict practice regime for the kids, building their strength and endurance by using the ditch water’s natural current. The children worked hard under the dedicated Sakamoto’s guidance, and their skills improved. They formed a swim club and began to dominate in swimming events around the world. And then one day, the proud Sakamoto saw an impossible dream come true — Olympic gold!”

Where Three Oceans Meet by Rajani LaRocca, Illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan

“Sejal, Mommy, and Pati travel together to the southern tip of India. Along the way, they share meals, visit markets, and catch up with old friends.
For Pati, the trip retraces spaces she knows well. For Mommy, it’s a return to the place she grew up. For Sejal, it’s a discovery of new sights and sounds. The family finds their way to Kanyakumari, where three oceans meet, and delight in making it to the end of the earth together.
This own voices picture book celebrates the beauty of India and the enduring love of family.”

Zonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal

“Zonia’s home is the Amazon rain forest, where it is always green and full of life. Every morning, the rain forest calls to Zonia, and every morning, she answers. She visits the sloth family, greets the giant anteater, and runs with the speedy jaguar. But one morning, the rain forest calls to her in a troubled voice. How will Zonia answer?
Acclaimed author-illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal explores the wonders of the rain forest with Zonia, an Asháninka girl, in her joyful outdoor adventures. The engaging text emphasizes Zonia’s empowering bond with her home, while the illustrations—created on paper made from banana bark—burst with luxuriant greens and delicate details. Illuminating back matter includes a translation of the story in Asháninka, information on the Asháninka community, and resources on the Amazon rain forest and its wildlife.”

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

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

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

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

The Aquanaut by Jill Heinerth, Illustrated by Jaime Kim

“Through beautiful, spare text, Jill Heinerth tells her story about a girl who feels too young, too little and too far away from her dreams. But you don’t need to wait to grow up. It doesn’t take much to imagine all the things you can do and be. What if your bedroom were a space station? What would it be like to have flippers or tusks? In your own home you can explore new worlds and meet new friends.

Jaime Kim’s luminous art transports readers back and forth through time to see how Jill’s imagination as a young girl laid the pathway to her accomplishments and experiences as an underwater explorer.”

Pride Puppy by Robin Stevenson, Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin

“A young child and their family are having a wonderful time together celebrating Pride Day―meeting up with Grandma, making new friends and eating ice cream. But then something terrible happens: their dog gets lost in the parade! Luckily, there are lots of people around to help reunite the pup with his family.

This rhyming alphabet book tells a lively story, with rich, colorful illustrations that will have readers poring over every detail as they spot items starting with each of the letters of the alphabet. An affirming and inclusive book that offers a joyful glimpse of a Pride parade and the vibrant community that celebrates this day each year.”

Bird House by Blanca Gómez

“On a snowy day, a grandmother and grandchild find an injured bird. They take it home and care for it until it can fly around the living room. It is fantastic—just like everything at Abuela’s house! But a fantastic moment is also bittersweet, for the little bird’s recovery means that it’s time to let it fly free. Drawing inspiration from a formative childhood experience, Blanca Gómez crafts a deceptively simple story that is morally and emotionally resonant and is brimming with love, wonder, and a deep respect for the natural world.”

Grandad’s Camper by Harry Woodgate

“Discover a wonderful grandfather-granddaughter relationship, as a little girl hatches the perfect plan to get her Grandad adventuring again.

Gramps and Grandad were adventurers. They would surf, climb mountains, and tour the country in their amazing camper. Gramps just made everything extra special. But after Gramps died, granddad hasn’t felt like traveling anymore. So, their amazing granddaughter comes up with a clever plan to fix up the old camper and get Grandad excited to explore again.

This beautiful picture book honors love and reminds us not only to remember those we have lost, but to celebrate them.”

My City Speaks by Darren Lebeuf, Illustrated by Ashley Barron

“A young girl, who is visually impaired, finds much to celebrate as she explores the city she loves. A young girl and her father spend a day in the city, her city, traveling to the places they go together: the playground, the community garden, the market, an outdoor concert. As they do, the girl describes what she senses in delightfully precise, poetic detail. Her city, she says, “rushes and stops, and waits and goes.” It “pitters and patters, and drips and drains.” It “echoes” and “trills,” and is both “smelly” and “sweet.” Her city also speaks, as it “dings and dongs, and rattles and roars.” And sometimes, maybe even some of the best times, it just listens.”

Despite its many challenges, 2021 was a huge year for Mutually Inclusive and myself, and I have even bigger things in store for 2022. I want to thank every single one of you; from readers and educators, to publishers and my fellow reviewers and authors for making this year so amazing. This continues to be my favorite corner of the internet and it wouldn’t be the same without you all.

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Author Spotlight: Susan Hughes

It’s been a while, but its time for another Author Spotlight! Today we are talking to Susan Hughes about her book Walking for Water: How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality, so let’s dive right in!

Susan, Thank you so much for joining me today! I am so excited to chat with you about Walking for Water, but I’d like to start with a little more about you. Would you mind introducing yourself to Mutually Inclusive’s readers?

It’s great to speak with you today, Devyn! I’m a Toronto-based writer of many traditionally published children’s books, from picture books to YA novels—and everything in between! I’m an editor, story coach, and consultant specializing in assisting clients and publishers with children’s stories and educational products. I also write commissioned pieces. 

Oh, and I like to run, hang out with my family and friends, and write and read books, lots of ‘em!

Walking for Water is one of your most recent releases, could you tell us a bit more about this book?

Sure! Here’s how Walking for Water: How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality is described on the publisher’s website: 

“In this inspiring story of individual activism, a boy recognizes gender inequality when his sister must stop attending school — and decides to do something about it. 

Victor is very close to his twin sister, Linesi. But now that they have turned eight years old, she no longer goes to school with him. Instead, Linesi, like the other older girls in their community, walks to the river to get water five times a day, to give their mother more time for farming. Victor knows this is the way it has always been. 

But he has begun learning about equality at school, and his teacher has asked the class to consider whether boys and girls are treated equally. Though he never thought about it before, Victor realizes they’re not. And it’s not fair to his sister. So Victor comes up with a plan to help.”

I’m especially pleased that the publisher, Kids Can, included Walking for Water in its  wonderful Citizen Kid series, for children ages 7 to 12. The books in the collection are aimed at making complex global issues accessible to kids and inspiring them to be better global citizens. 

Title: Walking for Water: How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality
Author: Susan Hughes
Illustrator: Nicole Miles
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Published: June 1, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Obviously Victor’s story is very inspiring, so I understand why you were inspired to write about him! Can you tell us about how you came to hear about Victor’s story, and how that inspiration struck you?

I was doing online research for another project when I happened across a powerful photo essay. The photos were by Esther Havens and the caption-like text was written by a journalist, Tyler Riewer. As soon as I read about this young boy in Malawi’s experience—the dawning understanding that it wasn’t fair his sister had to give up school and then his decision to take action—I knew kids would be affected by the story. The photo-essay would likely only be seen by adults. I wanted to write it as a picture book story so kids would have a chance to learn about this boy’s courage and commitment to change. 

What was the research process like for this book? Did you get to travel to Malawi or meet Victor in your research?

No, I wasn’t able to do either, however in order to ensure the story was as authentic as possible, I reached out for help to many people. For example, I connected with journalist Tyler Riewer who generously answered as many as my questions as he could about his experience meeting with, and talking to, “Victor” in his village.

Malawian-born journalist Victoria Maele read and authenticated several drafts of my manuscript and answered many questions about content details. Malawian professor Lucinda Manda-Taylor read the final manuscript and reviewed the illustrations, focusing on ensuring the visuals accurately reflected life in a village in this specific part of Malawi. Wherever they found mistakes or discrepancies in the story or illustrations, we changed these details. 

Professor Sam McChombo, an expert in the Malawian language Chichewa, checked to make sure my usage of Chichewa words in the story was accurate and helped create the book’s pronunciation guide.

You have written over 30 books, which is such an amazing accomplishment! Do you have a favorite amongst them all?

Oh, I’m giggling! This is a question kids often ask me when I do book talks and presentations—and I think I give a different answer every time.

It’s really difficult to choose but usually my favorite is my most recently published book! 

You write both fiction and nonfiction. Do you have a preference for one over the other?

No, I don’t. I very much like alternating between the two, even during the researching and writing process. After working on a story for a while, it can be refreshing to turn to a nonfiction project and, for example, do some research or editing of facts. Or to turn from a non-fiction project to a story, going from a more fact-based narrative to one which allows my imagination to fly freely in different spaces. 

What can we expect from you next? Do you have any new projects on the horizon?

Yes, I have two new books hitting the shelves next year, both with Owl Kids Books. 

Coming out in April is a 64-page informational picture book: Same Here: The Differences We Share, illustrated by Sophie Casson. The book explores how kids around the world live and the common needs that unit them.

And my fall book is a rhyming picture book Hooray for Trucks! which is being illustrated by Suharu Ogawa.

Is there anything else you’d like for Mutually Inclusive’s readers to know?

Oh, yes! Some exciting news! Walking for Water: How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality has been nominated for the 2022 Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Express Award. The best part is knowing kids across the province will be reading my book and the others on the list and then getting the chance to vote on their favorite ones in the spring. Here’s a link if you’re interested in learning more about these “Forest of Reading” awards: https://forestofreading.com/program-for-kids/.

Susan, thank you again for joining us today. It has been such a treat chatting with you!

To learn more about Susan and her work, please visit her online at susanhughes.ca.

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Book Tour Stop: A Sari for Ammi

I’m thrilled to be participating in the book tour for A Sari for Ammi by Mamta Nainy and Sandhya Prabhat today! This precious picture book is all about working hard and appreciating the people who mean the most to us.

Title: A Sari for Ammi
Author: Mamta Nainy
Illustrator: Sandhya Prabbhat
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids
Published: November 9, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Following a young girl as she hatches a plan to buy her mother a gift, A Sari for Ammi teaches young readers about the traditions and cultures of Kaithoon, a town in Rajisthan known for it’s traditional saris. The young narrator explains that her Abba (father) dyes thread, and her Ammi (mother) weaves it into beautiful saris, but she never wears one of her beautiful saris herself. She enlists her sister Sadaf in her plan to save up enough money to buy one of her Ammi’s saris for her. A Sari for Ammi is a heartwarming story about the ways we support our family

The illustrations by Sadhya Prabhat are fantastic. Every page is filled with bold colors, but I especially appreciated the patterns and texture in the saris themselves.

The backmatter also contains a lovely authors note with information about Kaithoon and the saris that are made there, as well as a glossary.

A Sari For Ammi is available 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 Amazon Crossing Kids for providing me with a review copy of this beautiful book!

About The Author:

Mamta Nainy is a children’s writer, editor, and translator based in New Delhi, India. She is the author of many children’s books, including A Brush with Indian Art, illustrated by Aniruddha Mukherjee, which won the Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award in 2019; and Bioscope, illustrated by Shanti Devi, which was named to the IBBY Honour List in 2012. Follow the author on Instagram @mamtanainy.

About The Illustrator:

Sandhya Prabhat is an independent animator and illustrator from Chennai, India, who resides in the United States. She has a master’s degree in animation and digital arts from New York University. She has illustrated nearly a dozen picture books, including her recent book I Am Brown, written by Ashok Banker. She animates for TV and movies and creates content for social media websites such as Facebook, Google, and Snapchat. Follow the artist on Instagram @sandhyaprabhat.

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Review: The Science of How Series

Today is the first day of Children’s Book Week and National STEM Day! In honor of both celebrations, I want to share two more picture books by Susan Hughes all about science. Illustrated by Ellen Rooney, The Science Of series teaches curious readers about the science of sounds and light with Lights Day and Night, and Sounds All Around.

Lights Day And Night: The Science of How Light Works is a delightful picture book that explains the mysteries of the science of light. From the natural light of the sun or a firefly, to artificial light of lighthouses and traffic lights, this book answers the questions curious readers might have about light. Following a young girl and her cat on a summer day, Lights Day and Night is both engaging and educational. Best of all, the backmatter contains instructions for a shadow puppet show, for further learning.

Originally published in May, Sounds All Around: The Science of How Sound Works is all about the science of sound. This education picture book discusses the way our ears process sounds, the way animals communicate with sounds, and even details the way pitch and sounds in general are measured. Following a young boy and his dog, Sounds All Around is as fun as it is informative. With instructions to make a bee buzzer in the back matter, this book brings a lot of fun to science.

I love the way both of these books use nature and animals to relate the scientific concepts. Each principal explained is easy for children to understand because the books use real world examples that perfectly highlight each lesson.

Ellen Rooney’s illustrations are fantastic! The characters on every page have so much personality (especially the pets), making both books an engaging read.

Sounds All Around and Lights Day and Night are both fantastic additions to libraries, classrooms, and bookshelves everywhere. You can pick up your own copy 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 Kids Can Press for providing me with a review copy of Lights Day and Night and Sounds All Around. I’m so thrilled to be sharing them with everyone today!

About The Author:

Susan Hughes an award-winning author, whose books for children include Case Closed?, No Girls Allowed, Earth to Audrey and Maggie McGillicuddy’s Eye for Trouble. Susan lives in Toronto, Ontario.

About The Illustrator:

Ellen Rooney is an illustrator, designer and artist. She’s originally from Massachusetts, but now lives in the southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. She loves graphic shapes, textured color, printmaking, drawing outdoors, painting — and her hidden art powers are released when cutting up paper!

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Flashback Friday: Carmen and the House That Gaudí Built

For Flashback Friday this week we are talking about Carmen and the House That Gaudi Built by Susan Hughes and Marianne Ferrer. Originally published back in March, this beautiful picture book tackles the difficulty of transitioning to a new city, celebrates the feeling of home, and teaches young readers about a remarkable architect’s work.

Title: Carmen and The House That Gaudí Built
Author: Susan Hughes
Illustrator: Marianne Ferrer
Published: March 15, 2021
Publisher: Owl Kids
Format: Picture Book

While this may seem like a lot to ask for one picture book, Susan Hughes effortlessly weaves a story of a young girl named Carmen Batlló and her family who are planning to move from the country home to a modern house in Barcelona. Carmen doesn’t want to leave her home, and she is hesitant to interact with Senor Gaudí, the architect her family has hired to build their new home. Carmen chooses to hide with Dragon, her invisible salamander, and observe from a distance. It’s not until Carmen visits Barcelona and sees the progress on her new home that she understands the potential of the house that Gaudí built.

As much as I love the story, I simply cannot get over these illustrations! Marianne Ferrer captures the essence of Casa Batlló (the house that inspired this story) all the way down to the amazing color pallet. Every page is absolutely brilliant.

Though this is a fictionalized origin story of Casa Batlló, Carmen and the House That Gaudi Built is complete with a wonderful Author’s note that provides young readers with more information about the Antoni Gaudí and the real Casa Batlló.

You can pick up your very own copy of Carmen and the House That Gaudí Built 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 Owl Kids for providing me with a review copy of such a wonderful book!

About The Author:

Susan Hughes has written more than 30 books for children of all ages, including Off to Class and What Happens Next. Susan is a freelance editor, writer, and story coach. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

About The Illustrator:

Marianne Ferrer is an illustrator living in Montreal, Quebec. She moved to Canada from Venezuela, trading mango trees for maple trees to inspire her lush, nature-filled, delicate watercolor illustrations.

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New Release Round Up: November 2, 2021

It’s Tuesday again, so y’all know what that means: It’s time to talk about new releases again!

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

Aaron Slater, Illustrator by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts

An uplifting story about the power of art, finding your voice, and telling your story even when you’re out of step with your peers from the #1 bestselling creators of Sofia Valdez, Future Prez and Ada Twist, Scientist!

Aaron Slater loves listening to stories and dreams of one day writing them himself. But when it comes to reading, the letters just look like squiggles to him, and it soon becomes clear he struggles more than his peers. When his teacher asks each child in the class to write a story, Aaron can’t get a single word down. He is sure his dream of being a storyteller is out of reach . . . until inspiration strikes, and Aaron finds a way to spin a tale in a way that is uniquely his.

Printed with a dyslexia-friendly font, Aaron Slater, Illustrator tells the empowering story of a boy with dyslexia who discovers that his learning disability may inform who he is, but it does not define who he is, and that there are many ways to be a gifted communicator.

Carla and The Christmas Cornbread by Carla Hall, Illustrated by Cherise Harris

In this heartwarming tale inspired by her childhood, superstar chef and TV host Carla Hall shares the story of young Carla, who eats a sugar cookie meant for Santa on the night before Christmas and tries to make things right.

Christmas is Carla’s favorite holiday of the year. She goes to her grandparents’ house and eats grandma’s special recipe—a perfectly delicious cornbread. She listens to her grandpa Doc’s marvelous stories about traveling the world. And, best of all, she spends lots of time with her family.

But when Carla accidentally takes a bite out of Santa’s sugar cookie, she thinks she’s ruined Christmas. How will Santa know to stop at their house if they don’t leave him a midnight snack? With her grandmother’s help, Carla comes up with a plan, but will it be enough to save Christmas?

Dear Little One by Nina Laden, Illustrated by Melissa castrillon

Celebrate the wonder of the world in this reassuring picture book about the joy, love, and beauty found in each and every day.

From the treasure of flowers to the mystery of insects, this lyrical book encourages children to explore the natural world around them and to be grateful for all that surrounds them. With jewel-like artwork, every page is a treasure for children just born or exploring the world full of possibilities we all share.

Bubbe & Bart’s Matzoh Ball Mayhem by Bonnie Grubman, Illustrated by Deborah Melmon

Getting ready for Shabbat is always a bit zany, but… flying matzoh balls?!?!?! Bubbe and her best buddy, Bart, make the perfect matzoh\-ball\-chasing team in this hilarious Jewish counting book!

Soomi’s Sweater by Susie Oh

Soomi’s new sweater arrives, but it doesn’t quite fit. Mom makes it just right and Soomi can’t wait to show her friends. Soon, Soomi’s brand new sweater isn’t so new anymore. Her friends try to patch it up, but nothing works. Thankfully, Mom knows just what to do. She creates something better than brand new!

The Dancing Trees by Masiana Kelly, Illustrated by Michelle Simpson

Thomas loves to tell stories. Big stories. Stories about how skilled he is on the land. But when one of his friends grows tired of his tall tales, Thomas has to prove how skilled he really is. Taking the challenge to spend a night alone in the forest, Thomas heads into the wilderness. The trees, who have heard his stories, watch him tear off their bark and litter as he goes. And so, while Thomas sleeps, they dance a dance that will leave Thomas with a very different kind of story to tell―if he can find his way home…

Our Table by Peter H. Reynolds

Celebrated, bestselling creator Peter H. Reynolds brings his signature touch of love and kindness to this special, timely picture book, as families now, more than ever, are rediscovering and reevaluating what means the most: time together with one another.

Violet longs for the time when her family was connected: before life, distractions, and technology pulled them all away from each other. They used to gather at the table, with food and love, to make memories, share their lives, and revel in time spent together. But now her family has been drifting apart, and with nobody to gather around it, the table grows smaller and smaller.

Can Violet remind her family of the warmth of time spent together, and gather around the table once more?

A mystical fable that feels at once timeless and utterly of the present moment, Our Table is renowned, bestselling creator Peter H. Reynolds at his best. Exquisite, expressive watercolor tells a tender story, growing from monochrome into luscious, joyful color as Violet’s family is reunited around the beloved table. An ode to traditions that unite families, Our Table brings readers together with a universal message of gratitude.

Parker Shines On by Parker and Jessica Curry, Illustrated by Brittany Jackson

The New York Times bestselling team behind Parker Looks Up returns with an uplifting story about Parker making a new friend and learning about self-expression, opening your heart, and helping others.

Parker Curry loves being a big sister. She gets to play dress-up with her little sister, Ava, and piano with her baby brother, Cash. And Parker loves to dance, twirling and leaping and spinning in joy.

But when a dancer joins her class and needs her help, Parker wonders if she has what it takes to be not only a real dancer, but a real friend.

This inspirational picture book has an afterword by prima ballerina and New York Times bestselling author Misty Copeland.

Middle Grade

The Swag Is in the Socks by Kelly J. Baptist

Xavier Moon is not one to steal the show. He’s perfectly content to play video games and sit at his bedroom window watching the neighborhood talk outside.
 
But for Xavier’s twelfth birthday, he receives a pair of funky socks and a challenge from his great-uncle, Frankie Bell, saying it’s time to swag out and speak up. First on the list: get into the legendary Scepter League. Xavier’s grandfather, great-uncle, and father were all invited to join the elite boys’ after-school club that admits only the most suave and confident young men. Xavier has never had the courage to apply before, but his wild socks are getting him some big attention, so maybe it’s time to come out of the shadows and follow in his family’s footsteps. Or maybe Xavier will march down a new path altogether.

Middle School Mischief (The Magical Reality of Nadia #2) By Bassem Youssef and Catherine R. Daly, Illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Inspired by the author’s real-life experiences, this second hilarious and sweet novel about sixth grade Egyptian immigrant Nadia has her battling school newspaper drama, controversy with the school mascot, and some magical mischief, too.
Nadia loves fun facts. Here are a few about her:

There was a magical―and hilarious―ancient Egyptian teacher named Titi trapped in her hippo amulet until she freed him last fall.
Her school is choosing a new mascot and her idea is totally going to win!
She’s going to kick butt writing for the school newspaper this term…
…Maybe. A couple of weeks in, the newspaper is a big mess. The mascot contest is mayhem, too. (Who knew choosing a costumed character could cause such controversy?!)

Then Nadia and Titi discover that the hippo amulet holds a second secret, one that’s super powerful―and super scary. Too bad they have no idea how to stop it.

But Nadia is on the case! If she can solve the mystery of an ancient amulet, winning the mascot contest and acing her reporter assignments should be easy…right?

From The Daily Show comedian Bassem Youssef and author Catherine R. Daly comes a humorous and heartfelt story about integrity, empathy, power, and friendship.

Includes sections of black-and-white comics as well as black-and-white illustrations throughout, brought to life by Last Kids on Earth illustrator, Douglas Holgate.

Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy by Misty Copeland, Illustrated by Selena Barnes

From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland comes an illustrated nonfiction collection celebrating dancers of color who have influenced her on and off the stage.

As a young girl living in a motel with her mother and her five siblings, Misty Copeland didn’t have a lot of exposure to ballet or prominent dancers. She was sixteen when she saw a black ballerina on a magazine cover for the first time. The experience emboldened Misty and told her that she wasn’t alone—and her dream wasn’t impossible.

In the years since, Misty has only learned more about the trailblazing women who made her own success possible by pushing back against repression and racism with their talent and tenacity. Misty brings these women’s stories to a new generation of readers and gives them the recognition they deserve.

With an introduction from Misty about the legacy these women have had on dance and on her career itself, this book delves into the lives and careers of women of color who fundamentally changed the landscape of American ballet from the early 20th century to today.

When the World Turned Upside Down by K Ibura

What do you do when the world shuts down? A heartwarming story of friendship and overcoming adversity in a time of COVID, When the World Turns Upside Down is about community, giving back, and understanding the world around us through the power of generosity from debut middle grade author K. Ibura.

Nobody expected a tiny little virus to change the whole world in such a big way, especially not Shayla, Liam, Ai, and Ben. But when school closes to keep everyone safe, their lives turn upside down. It is one thing to learn that the outside world isn’t safe, but why does it seem that the virus is causing trouble inside their homes too?

As they each struggle to adjust to life in quarantine, they discover they are not alone: their apartment building is full of people who need their help. Working together, they begin to see that there is power in numbers. When they cooperate, they can ease each other’s challenges and help their neighbors through tough times. It’s a lesson they’ll need when protests explode in the streets. Soon, each friend has to decide what it means to be part of a community―and how much they’re willing to do to make this world safer for everyone.

Set against the onset of COVID, When the World Turned Upside Down navigates issues of race and social justice in a heartwarming story of generosity, friendship, and the power of youth.

Graphic Novels

Manu by Kelly Fernandez

“A funny and heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel adventure about friendship, defying expectations, and finding your place.
Manu and her best friend, Josefina, live at a magical school for girls, and Manu is always getting into trouble. The headmistress believes that Manu has the potential to help people with her magic, but Manu would rather have fun than fall in line. One day, a prank goes seriously wrong, and Josefina gets angry and wishes for Manu’s magic to disappear… and it does. Manu uses a dangerous spell to restore it, but it makes her magic too powerful and nearly impossible to control. Great power comes at a cost, and it may be a price that Manu isn’t able to pay!”

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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Flashback Friday: Monsters Like Us

If you’re looking for a not-so-spooky book for Halloween weekend, I’ve got the perfect pick for you! Monsters Like Us by Amy Huntington is an adorable picture book about monsters with a fun twist.

Title: Monsters Like Us
Author/Illustrator: Amy Huntington
Publisher: Beaming Books
Published: April 13, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Originally published in April, Monsters Like Us teaches young readers that monsters aren’t so different from us humans, and that they aren’t always scary after all. Young readers will learn about all the things they might have in common with monsters, from reading books and cleaning their rooms to snoozing in the sun. The whimsical illustrations paired with the simple text are absolutely delightful. I especially love the anticipation in the page turns, which make Monsters Like Us a fantastic read aloud.

Be sure to grab your copy of Monsters Like Us this Halloween weekend. You can find it wherever wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Beaming Books for providing me with a review copy of this precious book! I can’t wait to share it with my own little monster on Halloween.

About The Author/Illustrator:

Amy Huntington began painting in kindergarten, using the ends of her pigtails for brushes. She drew castles, bicycles, sleds, cats, and her siblings with the chicken pox. In summer she wrote poems while tucked in the branches of her favorite tree.

After college she settled in Vermont, exhibiting her paintings in various New England galleries. As a new mother, she fell in love with picture books and has never looked back. She fills lots of sketchbooks and writes lots of words. Some turn into books.

Her first picture book, One Monday, had both Huntington’s words and her art. She has since illustrated numerous books, including Grandma Drove the Garbage TruckFresh-Picked Poetry: Poems from the Farmer’s Market; and NINE: A Book of Nonet Poems. Huntington lives with her husband, two wild cats, some hens, and two sheep in an old Vermont farmhouse that needs lots of care.

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Book Tour Stop: A Home Again

I’m thrilled to be participating in the book tour for A Home Again by Colleen Rowan Kosinski and Valeria Docampo today. This sweet picture book is all about how a house becomes a home, and it hit close to home for me (pun not intended) since our family is just settling into our new home in St. Louis.

Title: A Home Again
Author: Colleen Rowan Kosinski
Illustrator: Valeria Docampo
Publisher: Two Lions
Published: November 1, 2021
Format: Picture Book

A Home Again follows the journey of one house, from the last brick being laid and the joy of being a home to a family, to the unexpected day that family moves away. The house doesn’t quite understand why its family has left, but we continue to follow along as two men help the house find a way to become a home again.

I absolutely loved A Home Again, especially for families who are experiencing moves with little ones. I really appreciate how it highlights the ways a family makes a home, helping young children embrace their new surroundings and understand the joy and comfort their old home will bring to its new family. I also really enjoyed Valeria Docampo’s illustrations and how they captured the warmth found in a loving home.

A Home Again will be released next week (November 1, 2021), but I would highly recommend you preorder your copy today. You can find preorders 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 Amazon and Two Lions for providing me with a review copy of such a wonderful book. I can’t wait to share this with my little one as we continue to settle into our new home.

About The Author:

Colleen Rowan Kosinski is the author-illustrator of Lilla’s Sunflowers and A Promise Stitched in Time. She received her BA from Rutgers University in visual art, is an alumna of Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art, and spent many years as a successful freelance fine artist. Colleen calls New Jersey her home and resides there with her family. Learn more at www.colleenrowankosinski.com.

About The Illustrator:

Valeria Docampo has a background in fine arts and has also been a teacher. She is the illustrator of many books for publishers around the world, including La Grande Fabrique de Mots, which has been translated into thirty languages. Originally from Argentina, she now makes her home in France with her family. Learn more at www.valeriadocampo.com.

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Flashback Friday: The Every Body Book: The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids about Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families

If you’re looking for a book to help with “the talk”, I have an amazing resource for you today. The Every Body Book: The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids about Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families is a fantastic example of an inclusive book to answer children’s questions about topics parents often find difficult, like sex, gender, puberty, and pregnancy.

Title: The Every Body Book
Author: Rachel E. Simon
Illustrator: Noah Grigni
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Published: June 18, 2020
Format: Middle Grade

Recommended for ages 8-12, The Every Body Book provides a wealth of information on a wide range of topics with inclusive language throughout. Young readers will learn the difference between sex and gender, what our bodies look like and how puberty impacts them, what sexual attraction is and how this defines sexual orientations, what consensual sexual intercourse is, how pregnancy works, and the different ways families are created. This comprehensive, medically accurate resource is a wonderful tool to read with your child, or allow them to read on their own.

I personally appreciate the straightforward language used in The Every Body Book as well. There isn’t a ton of emotion behind the educational way the information is presented, creating the perfect tone for teaching. I feel like “the talk” is commonly discussed by parents in either a romanticized flowery way or a shameful way, and neither is very productive for children to learn the medical facts behind their changing bodies. The Every Body Book cuts straight through and presents the facts, providing young readers with the information they need.

The illustrations by Noah Grigni are fabulous, too. There are all sorts of bodies represented throughout the book with visuals that are equally as inclusive as the language used. All the way down to the smallest detail, there is representation for everyone. For example, I was especially pleased to see an illustration of a C-section scar, as this is a scar I possess, and it is often overlooked in imagery surrounding pregnancy and birth education.

Of course, because this is a book about bodies, there are illustrations of genitals and depictions of erections, menstruation, and even condoms and birth control. If these topics make you uncomfortable, I would encourage you to read the book by yourself before introducing it to your child. But please remember, these are accurate representations of body parts and bodily functions, and our children will learn about them one way or another. Personally I would rather create an open dialog with my son to teach him about these things than have him googling whatever questions he might have.

The Every Body Book was released in June of 2020, and it is available 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 Jessica Kingsley Publishers for bringing such an educational and inclusive resource into the world, and for providing me with a review copy.

About The Author:

Rachel E. Simon, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and educator who specialises in gender and sexuality and runs her private practice in Philadelphia, PA. She has worked in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic, Mazzoni Center, and Walnut Psychotherapy Center.

About The Illustrator:

Noah Grigni is a Boston-based illustrator and comic artist, whose work bridges themes of gender, sexuality, body positivity, and trans history. Through art, Noah hopes to uplift their community, make space for reflection, and create a source of comfort in and uncomftable world. You can see more of their work at noahgrigni.com.

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