Review: My Mindful A to Zen

If you’re looking for a picture book to bring a little more Zen into your life, I have the perfect pick for you today. My Mindful A to Zen by Krina Patel-Sage is an alphabet picture book with a twist.

Title: My Mindful A to Zen
Author/Illustrator: Krina Patel-Sage
Publisher: Lantana Publishing
Published: October 5, 2021
Format: Picture Book

This gorgeous picture book is not just teaching young readers the alphabet, but it’s also a collection of 26 haikus about wellbeing. Highlighting the “Five Ways of Wellbeing”, each haiku teaches young readers how to connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, and give.

The illustrations capture many of the small moments that bring us great joy through the day. I also love the bright colors used throughout.

My Mindful A to Zen is a fantastic introduction to the concept of mindfulness and would be a great selection for anyone hoping to share positive mental health education with young readers. You can pick up a copy wherever you normally purchase books, 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 Lantana Publishing for sending me a review copy of this wonderful book.

About The Author:

Krina Patel-Sage is an illustrator, author, and designer. Beginning her design career at a children’s publishing house in 2012, she developed a passion for illustrated nonfiction. She was shortlisted for Penguin’s 2018 WriteNow illustration prize.

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New Release Round Up: January 18, 2021

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

Mermaid Kenzie: Protector of the Deeps by Charlotte Watson Sherman, Illustrated by Geneva Bowers

Kenzie turns her fierce love for the ocean into action, resourcefully cleaning up the beach after her mermaid-tail swimsuit tangles in floating plastic bags.

When Kenzie slips on her mermaid tail, she becomes Mermaid Kenzie, protector of the deeps. One day as Kenzie snorkels around a shipwreck, she discovers more plastic bags than fish. Grabbing her spear and mermaid net, she begins to clean up the water and the shore–inspiring other kids to help.

Beautifully written in African American Vernacular English, this poetic picture book includes back matter with information about how plastic winds up in our oceans and examples of people–some of them kids, like Kenzie–who have worked to protect the sea. Mermaid Kenzie celebrates the ways that all of us, no matter how small, can make a difference.”

A History of Me by Adrea Theodore, Illustrated by Erin Robinson

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? One mother’s account of her experience as the only Black child in school serves as an empowering message to her own daughter and children of color everywhere.
 

Life can be hard for the only brown girl in a classroom full of white students. When the teacher talks about slavery, she can feel all of her classmates staring at her. When they talk about civil rights, she is the one that other kids whisper about on the playground. In those moments, she wants to slip away or seep into the ground; and she wonders, is that all you see when you look at me?

What really matters is what she sees when she looks at herself.  She is a reflection of the courage, strength, intelligence and creativity that’s been passed down from generation to generation through her ancestors.

Inspired by her daughter’s experience in school as well as her own, Adrea Theodore’s debut picture book is a powerful testament to the past as well as a benediction for the future.”

Middle Grade

The Unforgetable Logan Foster by Shawn Peters

Packed with superheroes, supervillains, and epic showdowns between good and evil, The Unforgettable Logan Foster from debut author Shawn Peter shows that sometimes being a hero is just about being yourself.

Logan Foster has pretty much given up on the idea of ever being adopted. It could have something to with his awkward manner, his photographic memory, or his affection for reciting curious facts, but whatever the cause, Logan and his “PP’s” (prospective parents) have never clicked

Then everything changes when Gil and Margie arrive. Although they aren’t exactly perfect themselves—Gil has the punniest sense of humor and Margie’s cooking would have anyone running for the hills—they genuinely seem to care.

But it doesn’t take Logan long to notice some very odd things about them. They are out at all hours, they never seem to eat, and there’s a part of the house that is protected by some pretty elaborate security.

No matter what Logan could have imagined, nothing prepared him for the truth: His PP’s are actually superheroes, and they’re being hunted down by dastardly forces. Logan’s found himself caught in the middle in a massive battle and the very fate of the world may hang in the balance. Will Logan be able to find a way to save the day and his new family? “

Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner’s Call to Science by Jeannine Atkins

From the acclaimed author of Finding Wonders and Grasping Mysteries comes a gorgeously written biography in verse about the pioneering Jewish woman physicist whose scientific prowess changed the course of World War II.

At the turn of the 20th century, Lise Meitner dreamed of becoming a scientist. In her time, girls were not supposed to want careers, much less ones in science. But Lise was smart—and determined. She earned a PhD in physics, then became the first woman physics professor at the University of Berlin. The work was thrilling, but Nazi Germany was a dangerous place for a Jewish woman. When the risks grew too great, Lise escaped to Sweden, where she continued the experiments that she and her laboratory partner had worked on for years. Her efforts led to the discovery of nuclear fission and altered the course of history.

Only Lise’s partner, a man, received the Nobel Prize for their findings, but this moving and accessible biography shows how Lise’s legacy endures.”

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: January 25, 2021

Happy Tuesday, yall! We have another short list of new releases today, but that won’t stop me from shouting about them.

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

Fearless Heart: An Illustrated Biography of Surya Bonaly by Frank Murphy and Surya Bonaly, Illustrated by Anastasia Magloire Williams

A vibrant picture book biography of Surya Bonaly, the figure skating champion who backflipped her way into history

As a young girl in France, Surya Bonaly was constantly in motion, gifted in any sport she tried. But it was figure skating that had her heart. Surya knew she belonged on the ice.

Her colorful costumes, exuberant routines, powerful jumps, and daring combinations were all expressions of her love for skating and her ambition to push the boundaries of what a figure skating champion could look like.

Some people weren’t sure Surya belonged on top of the podium. “Is she graceful enough?” they asked. “Does she look like a skater?”

But Surya’s fearless heart propelled her to always stay true to herself while pursuing her boldest dreams.

Culminating in her iconic backflip performed at the 1998 Olympics, Fearless Heart is a lushly illustrated, lyrical story of self-expression and courage.

Just Help!: How to Build a Better World by Sonia Sotomayor, Illustrated by Angela Dominguez

From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Just Ask! comes a fun and meaningful story about making the world–and your community–better, one action at a time, that asks the question: Who will you help today?

Every night when Sonia goes to bed, Mami asks her the same question: How did you help today? And since Sonia wants to help her community, just like her Mami does, she always makes sure she has a good answer to Mami’s question.

In a story inspired by her own family’s desire to help others, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor takes young readers on a journey through a neighborhood where kids and adults, activists and bus drivers, friends and strangers all help one another to build a better world for themselves and their community.

With art by award-winning illustrator Angela Dominguez, this book shows how we can all help make the world a better place each and every day.”


 

Seeking Best Friend by Alison Marcotte, Illustrated by Diane Ewen

“When a child sends out an open call for a best friend, the most unlikely candidates apply for the job. But when each candidate disappoints, the child’s list of requirements grows longer and longer–and more and more ridiculous! Only when she discovers that the way to find a friend is through being a good friend does she finally find the right person for the position.

This humorous picture book is sure to make you laugh and will spur great conversations with children about what it means to be a good friend.”

Middle Grade

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi

From the New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist, a biography in verse and prose of science fiction visionary Octavia Butler, author of Parable of the Sower and Kindred.

Acclaimed novelist Ibi Zoboi illuminates the young life of the visionary storyteller Octavia E. Butler in poems and prose. Born into the Space Race, the Red Scare, and the dawning Civil Rights Movement, Butler experienced an American childhood that shaped her into the groundbreaking science-fiction storyteller whose novels continue to challenge and delight readers fifteen years after her death.”

The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid by Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace, author of Bump, presents a personal, humorous, and body-positive middle grade standalone about a fat kid who wants to stop his bullies . . . and enlists the help of the world’s most infamous supervillain. Perfect for fans of Holly Goldberg Sloan, Julie Murphy, and John David Anderson!

Max’s first year of middle school hasn’t been easy. Eighth-grade hotshot Johnny Pro torments Max constantly, for no other reason than Max is fat and an easy target. Max wishes he could fight back, but he doesn’t want to hurt Johnny . . . just make him feel the way Max feels.

In desperation, Max writes to the only person he thinks will understand: imprisoned supervillain Master Plan, a “gentleman of size.” To his surprise, Master Plan wants to help! He suggests a way for Max to get even with Johnny Pro, and change how the other kids at school see them both.

And it works! When Master Plan’s help pays off for Max in ways he couldn’t have imagined, he starts gaining confidence—enough to finally talk to Marina, the girl he likes in class who shares his passion for baking. With Master Plan in his corner, anything seems possible . . . but is there a price to pay for the supervillain’s help?”

Fossil Hunter: How Mary Anning Changed the Science of Prehistoric Life by Cheryl Blackford

A fascinating, highly visual biography of Mary Anning, the Victorian fossil hunter who changed scientific thinking about prehistoric life and would become one of the most celebrated paleontologists of all time. Perfect for children learning about woman scientists like Ada Lovelace, Jane Goodall, and Katherine Johnson.

Mary Anning grew up on the south coast of England in a region rich in fossils. As teenagers, she and her brother Joseph discovered England’s first complete ichthyosaur. Poor and uneducated, Anning would become one of the most celebrated paleontologists ever, though in her time she supported herself selling by fossils and received little formal recognition. Her findings helped shape scientific thinking about extinction and prehistoric life long before Darwin published his famous work on evolution.

With engaging text, photographs, and stunning paleoart, Fossil Hunter introduces this self-taught scientist, now recognized as one of the greatest fossilists the world has ever known. “

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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Author Spotlight: Candice Marley Conner

For today’s Author Spotlight I’m delighted to be chatting with my friend Candice Marley Conner about her latest picture book Chompsey Chomps Books.

Candice, thank you so much for joining us today! I am so excited to share Chompsey Chomps Books with everyone! Before we get started though, would you like to introduce yourself to Mutually Inclusive’s readers?

Hi, Devyn! Thanks so much for having me and Chompsey on Mutually Inclusive. I have learned SO MUCH about diversity and even my own privilege from your blog and am honored to be here. I am a children’s writer, mom of two (one is possibly feral and definitely a velociraptor), living in Alabama. We love being out in nature, especially around water and even better if it’s water in the woods. I’m the kidlit specialist at an indie bookstore, a Local Liaison for SCBWI (how we connected!), and an officer for the local writers’ guild. Pre-pandemic, I was also a Reading Buddy at a local elementary school which is how I found the inspiration for Chompsey.

Thank you! I’m thrilled to hear your a fan of the blog! I’m a pretty big fan of Chompsey Chomps Books, myself. This is your second picture book. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Chompsey is an emotional chomper. He chomps when he’s happy, hungry (yes, I feel this is an emotion AND it gave space for gator fun fact puns) and frustrated. What frustrates him? Reading. And as his friend Beaver points out, books are really hard to come by in a swamp. Chompsey doesn’t understand why book club is so much harder for him than it is for his swamp friends. The letters and words don’t stay on the page like they’re supposed to. Discouraged, Chompsey chomps at the letters as they fly by. He and his friends have to figure out how to make the words stay still and make sense for him. 

Chompsey is such a loveable character. I absolutely adored him, but I have to ask what inspired you to write about the dyslexic experience?

I’m so glad you adored him! He definitely has a soft spot in my heart too. At the time, I had recently read Annie Silvestro’s BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB and was charmed by the idea of a woodland animal book club and the lengths they go to get library access. I wanted to figure out how to put my own spin on a swamp friends’ book club featuring MY favorite animal, an alligator. But I couldn’t figure out a way to make the idea spark shine until one day when I was working with one of my Reading Buddy kids, a first grader whose mom was figuring out he had dyslexia. The mom is a friend of mine (and is also dyslexic herself) so helped me understand what exactly his brain was going through and armed me with many teaching methods to better help him. I was absolutely blown away by his hard work and dedication to learning to read, and by working with him, the idea of a dyslexic alligator who chomped at words was born. They’re who the book is dedicated to.

Title: Chompsey Chomps Books
Author: Candice Marley Conner
Illustrator: Alaina Luise
Publisher: Maclaren-Cochrane Publishing
Published: October 12, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Chompsey’s swamp friends definitely made me a little homesick. All of your work is heavily inspired by the swamp, with both of your picture books featuring Alabama Delta wildlife. What keeps you grounded in that inspiration? 

I grew up in a swamp and visiting nowadays whether through my stories or in real life gives me such a sense of peace and home. Swamps and other wild spaces can be misunderstood places but they’re so incredibly biodiverse. One thing my dyslexic friend pointed out to me while I wrote Chompsey’s manuscript was that you can’t fall in love with something you don’t understand and this has stayed with me. I feel like if I—in my own tiny way—can help people fall in love with swamps, they’ll want to help save natural spaces too. With my YA mystery, I set up a merch shop where proceeds go to the Alabama Rivers Alliance to help protect the state’s 132,000 miles of waterways.

Chompsey Chomps Books is printed in a dyslexic friendly font. Can you tell us a bit about the font and the decision to include an accessible font? Was this something you approached the publisher with, or did they choose that route?

Dyslexie is a weighted font that makes letters easier to distinguish from each other and in turn enables readers to read with less effort to make it more enjoyable and boost self-esteem. This goes for the dyslexic parents who are reading the picture books to their children too. Letter switching happens even in neurotypical children under the age of seven so this font is a win-win for all in my opinion, and the reason I went with MacLaren-Cochran Publishing. While they sadly closed their doors at the end of 2021, all their books were published in this font. I recently saw that Andrea Beaty’s AARON SLATER, ILLUSTRATOR in her Questioneer series is also printed in dyslexie and I’m so excited that more publishers are choosing this route. Honestly, I think all picture books should be accessibly inclusive and printed in dyslexie font.

I always ask this one, but it’s my favorite. If readers only walk away with one lesson from Chomsey Chomps Books, what would you want it to be?

There’s a page in the book that simply has the words “Chompsey didn’t give up” and that’s a lesson I’d love for readers to take away. Don’t give up. If it’s your dream to eat crawfish pie and snuggle up with a book with your swamp friends, don’t stop trying just because it’s hard. See it as a challenge. Approach it from a new perspective. There are so many ways to learn, don’t box yourself in.

You are also published in the young adult category, with your novel The Existence of Bea Pearl. Which do you find more challenging to write, picture books or novels?

Oof, this is a tough question! I’d say Bea Pearl was more challenging since the book is a mystery and because I originally wrote her as an unreliable narrator with a non-chronological timeline. I had to completely rewrite the manuscript which was daunting to say the least but I’m pretty determined and persistent like Chompsey. Though with a YA, I don’t have to agonize over the perfectly precise words like picture books demand and have room for setting which is my favorite literary element. Luckily, the publisher paired me with Alaina Luise as illustrator and she perfectly captured my swampish vision for Chompsey and his friends.

What a whirlwind 2021 must have been for you! You had a double debut year with your first picture book, and your first YA, and then you also published Chompsey Chomps Books! What would you say was the biggest lesson you learned as a debut author?

Yes! It was the best kind of bananas! Biggest lesson I learned as a debut author was to just do the things (promo- and marketing-wise) I was comfortable with and that I don’t have to do ALL THE THINGS, lol. At one point I said no to an event that was stressing me out and when I told my then ten-year-old about my decision, her immediate response was that she was proud of me. “Saying no was really hard for you.” My decision and her understanding of what I was experiencing and being in my corner was a balm to my mental health.

What’s next for you? Do you have any more releases on the horizon for 2022?

More swamp stuff, haha. My current work-in-progress is a spooky ecological middle grade set in the Delta that I’m having the best time writing. My agent has a Selkie-like manatee middle grade, a witchy STEAM picture book, and a STEAM chapter book series out on submission, so while I don’t currently have any releases on the horizon, I’m optimistic for that to change!

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

Mainly a thank you that there are readers and places like this blog making and demanding space for inclusive and diverse picture books. Books are so powerful. I’d love it if each and every child out there not only sees themselves on the bookshelf, but also that children (and their adult readers) learn to see things from a different perspective, and have compassion and understanding for those different from them.


To learn more about Candice and her work be sure to visit her website at candicemarleyconner.com.

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Review: The Proudest Color

Written by a pediatric psychologist and a family and marriage therapist, The Proudest Color by Sheila Modir, Jeff Kashou, and Monica Mikai is a gorgeous picture book that uses positivity to teach children about racial identity.

Title: The Proudest Color
Author: Sheila Modir and Jeff Kashou
Illustrator: Monica Mikai
Publisher: Familius
Published: September 7, 2021
Format: Picture Book

The Proudest Color opens with a young girl named Zahra who relates all of her favorite colors, drawing parallels between color and emotions. But one day at school, Zahra experiences discrimination when a fellow student tells her she doesn’t like her brown skin. Zahra is suddenly no longer proud of her brown skin, until her parents remind her of the wonderful things brown means.

The Proudest Color provides an excellent example for parents and caregivers on how to have healthy conversations about discrimination with children. More importantly, this example focuses on how to address the shame children may feel when they experience discrimination and replace it with pride.

I also really appreciated the way The Proudest Color is not directed specifically at any “target reader”. Every family can benefit from Zahra’s story and young readers can learn the impact of their words, as well as all the reasons they should be proud of their skin.

The illustrations by Monica Mikai are wonderful. I especially appreciated the crayon theme throughout, and the way Zahra’s drawings show us what she’s feeling.

With an amazing note for parents and caregivers in the backmatter, The Proudest Color is an excellent resource for anyone who is looking to introduce young readers to cultural socialization.

The Proudest Color is available wherever you normally purchase books, 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 Familius for providing me with a review copy of such a wonderful book! I am so grateful to be able to share it with you all today.

About The Authors:

Sheila Modir is a pediatric psychologist, and Jeffrey Kashou is a marriage and family therapist. As Middle Eastern Americans (Iranian and Palestinian) and as clinicians, they advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and work toward promoting resilience in children.

About The Illustrator:

Monica Mikai is an illustrator and former educator. She has an MFA from the New York Studio School where she studied painting and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and her two sons.

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New Release Round Up: January 11, 2022

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.

Board Books

I Love You So by Marianna Richmond, Illustrated by Fiona Lee

Celebrate 20 years of I LOVE YOU SO! This adorable classic puts into words the indescribable quality of boundless, steady, and unconditional love, a sweet story that has touched hundreds of thousands of lives.

This comforting story embraces the reader like a warm hug and gently reassures a child that love is for always, despite the grouchy moods or physical separation. This is the perfect message of love to gift new mommies- anddaddies-to-be, grandparents, and your special little ones at baby showers or birthdays. Embrace your loved ones from afar with this heartwarming reminder of your unconditional love.”

Picture Books

Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth by Alice Faye Duncan, Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo



The true story of Black activist Opal Lee and her vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that many Americans had never heard of the holiday that represents the nation’s creed of “freedom for all.”

Every year, Opal looked forward to the Juneteenth picnic–a drumming, dancing, delicious party. She knew from Granddaddy Zak’s stories that Juneteenth celebrated the day the freedom news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation finally sailed into Texas in 1865–over two years after the president had declared it! But Opal didn’t always see freedom in her Texas town. Then one Juneteenth day when Opal was twelve years old, an angry crowd burned down her brand-new home. This wasn’t freedom at all. She had to do something! Opal Lee spent the rest of her life speaking up for equality and unity. She became a teacher, a charity worker, and a community leader. At the age of 89, she walked from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C., in an effort to gain national recognition for Juneteenth.”

Shahrzad and the Angry King by Nahid Kazemi

A rebel dreamer of a girl daydreams about her role in making the world a better place—and since dreams bleed into reality, maybe she really does.

Shahrzad and the Angry King is a contemporary reimagining of the Scheherazade tale, starring scooter-riding, story-loving Shahrzad. Shahrzad loves stories and looks for them everywhere. When she meets a boy and asks him to tell her his story, he recounts fleeing a country that was peaceful and happy, until its grieving king grew angry and cruel. Shahrzad can’t forget the boy and his story, and so, when she sees a toy airplane in a store, she imagines herself zooming off to the boy’s home country, where she confronts the king, to make him reflect on the kind of leader he really wants to be. Like Scheherazade, she tells the king story after story, but this time not to save her own life, but those of the king’s people and his own. 

Because Shahrzad knows the power of the creative imagination and that the stories we tell and the words we use shape our very existence. We live and die by the sword? Not exactly, says Shahrzad. We live or die by the stories we tell and how we see, frame, and word the world. Brought to life by Iranian artist Nahid Kazemi, this bold heroine reminds us of how powerfully intertwined reality is with the stories we tell.”

You Are Not Alone by Alphabet Rockers, Illustrated by Ashley Evans

This empathetic and inclusive picture book empowers kids to love themselves and their identities, stand up to hate, and have each others’ backs no matter what.

When I say something is unfair to me, but it’s fair for you, what does that make it?
When I meditate, it all gets clear.
And if you listen, you will really hear.
I am not alone. I am enough.

It can be scary to feel like you’re all on your own, especially in the face of prejudice. But always remember: you are not alone! Based on the Grammy award nominated hip-hop group Alphabet Rockers’ empowering song, “Not Alone,” this uplifting picture book reminds kids that they always belong. Encouraging words invite readers to love their beautiful selves, celebrate their identities, and use their voices against hate, You Are Not Alone asks us to step up for each other and have each others’ backs, no matter what.”

The Treasure Box by Dave Keane, Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell

A poignant, gorgeously-illustrated story about a girl’s bond with her grandfather and how it evolves after his death.

Searching for treasures with her grandpa is this young girl’s favorite thing to do. Every week they examine the items in her secret box and go on walks to find more—a broken robin’s egg, rusty spring, even a snakeskin that makes Grandpa squirm and make funny faces.

But then Grandpa is too sick to come. She leaves him a few treasures in the hospital, but when he dies, she can’t bring herself to even open the treasure box.

When Grammy brings her some treasures Grandpa wanted her to have, they open the box together and continue the tradition, showing that memories of time together are the greatest treasures of all.

This poignant, gorgeously-illustrated story celebrates the special bonds kids have with grandparents, even after they are gone.”

Millions of Maxes by Meg Wolitzer, Illustrated by Micah Player

Max discovers that uniqueness is more than just a name, in this funny, lively picture book debut by the bestselling author of The Interestings.

Max’s room has his name all over it–on his blanket and night light and wall. His parents call him The One and Only Max. And so, he is in for a big surprise at the playground one day, when he hears “Max, time to go home!” and two other kids come running. He’s not the one and only after all! How many Maxes are in the world?! Millions of Maxes?

But when he decides to help one of the other Maxes find her missing toy, he discovers that there are other ways to be special, and that he can appreciate the specialness of his new Max friends just as much as his own. That night he dreams of the future adventures he’ll have with all of the Maxes he has yet to meet.”

The Paper Bird by Lisa Anchin

A sumptuously illustrated exploration of the joy that comes with creating art for one’s own self

There once was a time when all the colors, from midsummer blue to sunrise orange, lived at the tips of Annie’s fingers…

But when her classmates’ sidelong glances cause Annie to notice all the tiny flaws in her art, her colorful creative spark fades–quite literally–to gray. With lyrical prose and eye-catching illustration author-artist Lisa Anchin shows readers how to find the beauty in imperfections and celebrate the joy of creation for creations’ sake.”

The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Laura Freeman

“When Elijah Cummings was a little boy, he struggled in school. His teachers thought he talked too much and asked too many questions. They said he’d never be able to read or write well.

Despite his difficulties, Elijah never gave up. He persevered, having faith that with hard work, he’d be able to achieve his goals.

Best known as a voice for people of color and an advocate for equal opportunity, Elijah Cummings was a man of faith and dignity, a beacon of justice, and an unrelenting warrior for equality and change.

Carole Boston Weatherford and Laura Freeman marry words and images beautifully in this picture book biography of politician and civil rights champion Elijah Cummings, detailing his inspiring journey–from his humble beginnings as the son of former sharecroppers to his unwavering faith as he became a lawyer, state legislator, and leading congressman. Best known as a voice for people of color and an advocate for equal opportunity, Elijah Cummings was a man of faith and dignity, a beacon of justice, and an unrelenting warrior for equality and change.”

Strong Mama by Robin Arzón, Illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda

Mama and baby make one incredible team in this new picture book from New York Times bestselling author and Peloton instructor extraordinaire Robin Arzón.

Before I met you, I dreamed of you. This is the story of how we first met. 

Ultramarathons. Bike sprints. Squats and deadlifts. Naps. Kitchen dance parties! All of it is in preparation for meeting Pequeno, the “Little One” growing in this strong mama’s belly. From first heartbeats and fluttery kicks to grinning grandparents and that first loud cry — pregnancy might just be the biggest workout yet! But there’s nothing this mom and new baby can’t tackle together as a team.

New York Times bestselling author and Peloton Head Instructor Robin Arzón takes readers on sweat-packed journey through motherhood in this affirming and heartwarming celebration of mothers and parents everywhere.”

Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Illustrated by Yas Imamura

Set in an incarceration camp where the United States cruelly detained Japanese Americans during WWII and based on true events, this moving love story finds hope in heartbreak.

To fall in love is already a gift. But to fall in love in a place like Minidoka, a place built to make people feel like they weren’t human—that was miraculous.

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.”

The Braniac’s Book of the Climate and Weather by Rosie Cooper, Illustrated by Harriet Russell

A fresh approach to science for young brainiacs, this book on climate and weather includes incredible but true stories, interactive activities, and quirky infographics.

What’s the difference between climate and weather? How do we know the climate is changing? The need-to-know answers to these and many other pressing questions are explained in this volume through incredible stories, infographics―including how many farts animals add to the atmosphere each year―and fun activities like engineering a solar oven from a pizza box. Budding brainiacs will love reading “Need- to- Know” stories, diving into interactive “Try This” activities, and building a trove of fascinating facts from a series of infographic “Data Dumps.”

Featuring the artwork of Harriet Russell, the illustrator of the bestselling This Book Thinks You’re a . . . series, The Brainiac’s Book of Climate and Weather demonstrates how fun and relevant science is to our everyday lives. This brainiac’s book makes the subject interactive, interesting, and easy to relate to for young readers.”

Middle Grade

When Winter Robeson Came by Brenda Woods

The whole world seems to transform during the summer of 1965, when Eden’s cousin from Mississippi comes to visit her in L.A. just as the Watts Riots erupt, in this stirring new novel by Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brenda Woods.

When Eden’s cousin Winter comes for a visit, it turns out he’s not just there to sightsee. He wants to figure out what happened to his dad, who disappeared ten years earlier from the Watts area of L.A. So the cousins set out to investigate together, and what they discover brings them joy—and heartache. It also opens up a whole new understanding of their world, just as the area they’ve got their sights on explodes in a clash between the police and the Black residents. For six days Watts is like a war zone, and Eden and Winter become heroes in their own part of the drama. Eden hopes to be a composer someday, and the only way she can describe that summer is a song with an unexpected ending, full of changes in tempo and mood–totally unforgettable.”

Graphic Novels

Who Sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott?: Rosa Parks by Insha Fitzpatrick, Illustrated by Abelle Hayford

Discover the story behind Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in this compelling graphic novel — written by Oh My Gods! author Insha Fitzpatrick and illustrated by #DrawingWhileBlack organizer Abelle Hayford.

Presenting Who HQ Graphic Novels: an exciting new addition to the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Who Was? series!

From refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger to sparking civil rights protests across America, explore how Rosa Parks’s powerful act earned her the title “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.” A story of resistance, strength, and unwavering spirit, this graphic novel invites readers to immerse themselves in the life of the American Civil Rights leader — brought to life by gripping narrative and vivid full-color illustrations that jump off the page.”

Who Was the Voice of the People?: Cesar Chavez by Terry Blas, Illustrated by Mar Julia

Discover the story behind Cesar Chavez and the Delano Grape Strike in this moving graphic novel — written by award-winning author Terry Blas and illustrated by Ignatz-nominated cartoonist Mar Julia.

Presenting Who HQ Graphic Novels: an exciting new addition to the #1 New York Times Best-Selling Who Was? series!

Follow Cesar Chavez and the National Farmworkers Association as they set out on a difficult 300-mile protest march in support of farm workers’ rights. A story of hope, solidarity, and perseverance, this graphic novel invites readers to immerse themselves in the life of the famous Latino American Civil Rights leader — brought to life by gripping narrative and vivid full-color illustrations that jump off the page.”

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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Author Spotlight: Adria Karlsson

It’s time for another Author Spotlight! I’m thrilled to be chatting with Adria Karlsson today about her debut picture book, My Sister, Daisy.

Hi Adria, I want to thank you so much for joining me today! Before we dive in, would you like to introduce yourself to Mutually Inclusive’s Readers?

Hi Devyn! Thanks so much for creating such an inviting corner of the internet – I’m honored to be included here. I’m a picture book and middle grade author and live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I have five kids – ages 3, 5, 7, 9, and 10 – who read all kinds of books and keep me on my toes! Before writing My Sister, Daisy, I had many different jobs – I was a content editor for a journal, a tutor for dyslexic kids, a teacher, and a dog and cat behavior consultant.


Your debut, My Sister, Daisy, is such a beautiful story of understanding and acceptance. What inspired you to write this book?


This book was inspired by my own kids’ questions and responses when one of them let us know she was trans. Like Daisy’s parents, we were 100% supportive of our daughter, but unlike Daisy’s parents, we didn’t have all the right words to help our other kids understand.
When we went looking, the few books we found were from the trans-child’s perspective – a story that 100% needs to be told by trans-authors, centered, and celebrated! – but not exactly what we needed for the other kids. On top of that, so many siblings were portrayed as unsupportive and the trans-child almost always experienced bullying. We didn’t want those stories to become our story – we wanted a book that modeled support with curiosity and a child’s normal range of emotions when it comes to change.

Daisy and her family are such a delight! I love how much love and support Daisy’s family gives her, including her brother. Are the characters themselves based off of your family at all?


We have a trans child and she has an older brother who is close in age… but the relationship between Daisy and her brother, the immediate clarity with which the parents understand what Daisy is sharing, and the mixed-race portrayal of the family are all different than our story. The book is definitely semi-autobiographical, not fully so! Some words are directly taken from things my children said, but the timeline is all jumbled up. It’s funny, though… When the book came out, the teacher at my kids’ school who runs the Rainbow Kids lunch immediately texted me. She was so happy to be in the book! When I told her that I couldn’t claim credit for that one – the picture of her, and even her inclusion in the story, were Linus’s idea – she told me that didn’t really change anything, she knew it was her. :p

Title: My Sister, Daisy
Author: Adria Karlsson
Illustrator: Linus Curci
Publisher: Capstone
Published: September 1, 2020
Format: Picture Book

I know it can be extremely rewarding, but challenging to write something you’re so personally connected with. What was the biggest hurdle, and the biggest celebration, of writing My Sister, Daisy?


The biggest hurdle was probably deciding whether or not to publish it. I was worried my daughter or her siblings would feel like from now on they would have to maintain the genders that were portrayed in the book or feel outed by the story. We had a lot of conversations about both of those things and the reality is that the book is about acceptance. It’s about listening to our kids! Whether it’s gender or something else, so my kids are clear on the idea they can still change and grow. As for the second issue, she’s young to have made the decision to allow this story and my author’s note to go out into the world and I can only hope that she is still as proud of who she is and what this book is doing in the world when she’s older. Right now, she’s thrilled, and for all of us it feels like a risk we could take since we carry so many other privileges.
The biggest celebration? When my oldest two kids teared up when they first read this book. They are so stinkin’ proud of it and that, to me, is worth a lot when it is such a personal connection.

And how do your kids feel about inspiring My Sister, Daisy? I would imagine they are so proud of you for creating the book your family needed.


I think I’ve already answered this one, but to ensure the message isn’t lost – they are so, so proud. I got bookmarks made for handing out at events and when my kids spotted them, all five of them insisted on bringing them into school to give to alllll the kids in their classes. Definitely NOT my idea, but hey… I guess it was good publicity!

If young readers only learn one thing from My Sister, Daisy, what message would you most like them to take away?


This is what acceptance looks like. When we love someone and they feel safe enough to share something this big with us, it’s our privilege to accept that knowledge, love them for it, and listen.

As a parent of a transgender child, do you have any advice or resources you would offer to parents who want to support their own children through their own journey of gender identity and expression?


There are amazing books out there written by transgender authors that speak to their own experiences. In particular, I love the picture books My Rainbow by Trinity and DeShanna Neal, and When Aiden Became a Brother and Call Me Max (and its two sequels) by Kyle Lukoff. For those that are working to understand gender identity, expression, and assigned sex at birth the book It Feels Good to Be Yourself by Theresa Thorn is excellent. Greater Boston PFLAG has been an invaluable resource to us as well. I don’t consider this only a conversation for parents of gender non-conforming or transgender children, either – I hope every kid is exposed to this information early and often so they have the language to discuss and discover their own way forward.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?


Hopefully more picture books! I have some on submission, some I’m drafting and revising, and new ideas all the time. I also have a middle grade novel that’s going through its third revision – so hopefully that will eventually see the light of day. For now, I’ve been catching up and learning how to be a debut author and balance the rest of my life!

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


I’m a member of a group of new kidlit authors and they’ve come out with some amazing books this year! They can all be found at http://www.newbooksforkids.com. Finding a group of people to support me at each step of my new life as an author has been truly invaluable and I’m deeply appreciative of each and every person that has seen My Sister, Daisy along on its journey.

You can learn more about Adria and her work at her website https://www.adriakarlsson.com or by following her on Twitter @AdriaKarlsson and Instagram @adriakarlson.

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Review: Snow Angel, Sand Angel

As I impatiently wait for the first snow in my new city, I want to share a beautiful picture book with you all today that celebrates winter in Hawaii. Snow Angel, Sand Angel by Lois-Ann Yamanaka and Ashley Lukashevsky is a beautiful story about home, family, and heritage that touches on climate science.

Title: Snow Angel, Sand Angel
Author: Lois-Ann Yamanaka
Illustrator: Ashley Lukashevsky
Publisher: Make Me A World
Published: January 4, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Following a young Hawaiian girl named Claire who is disappointed with her winter experience, Snow Angel, Sand Angel is a story about blooming where you are planted. Because she lives on a beach, Claire feels disconnected from the way winter is often portrayed in the media, so her father brings their family to the top of Mauna Kea to see three day old snow. However, Claire is disappointed when it doesn’t align with her big expectations.

As the year comes to a close, Claire visits the beach with her family and tries all the activities from their trip on the mountain at the beach; building a snowman from sand, making sand angels, and throwing sandballs. Claire comes to realize she doesn’t need the traditional fluffy snow of a holiday card to enjoy her winter, because winter doesn’t look the same everywhere.

I have to admit, growing up on the Gulf Coast I am very familiar with Claire’s feelings of missing out on the “traditional” winter experience. And to be honest, I always assumed children in Hawaii had the same warm winter experience as I did. Not until I read this book did I realize that Hawaii is actually home to 10 of the world’s 14 climate zones, and that there is actually snow on the big island.

The illustrations are absolutely fantastic. Fans of Antiracist Baby will be pleased to find Ashley Lukashevsky’s signature style present on every single page. I especially appreciated the way she captures the beauty of Hawaii’s diverse climates, from the snow covered lava fields to the painted triggerfish in the sea.

You can order your own copy of Snow Angel, Sand Angel at Bookshop.org, Amazon, or wherever you purchase books. (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 Make Me A World and Blue Slip Media for providing me with a review copy of Snow Angel, Sand Angel.

About the Author:

Lois-Ann Yamanaka was born and raised in Hawai’i, where this story takes place. The author of many acclaimed novels including Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers and Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre, and the winner of a Pushcart Prize, Lois-Ann initially followed in parents’ footsteps and became a teacher—when she realized, as she was teaching children to write poetry, that she could learn to write creatively, too. Snow Angel, Sand Angel is based on some of the longings for snow she experienced as a kid.

About The Illustrator:

Ashley Lukashevsky is an illustrator and visual artist who uses illustration and art as a tool to strengthen social movements against systemic racism and sexism. Before moving to illustration full-time, she was the art director at KINDLAND and the social impact designer at LA2050, an initiative to create a positive shared future for all Angelenos. Learn more at her website www.ashleylukashevsky.com or follow her on Instagram @ASHLUKADRAWS.

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New Release Round Up: January 4, 2022

It’s the first Tuesday of 2022, 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.

Board Books

She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game by Chelsea Clinton, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

“Throughout history, women have been told that they couldn’t achieve their dreams, no matter how hard they tried. Woman athletes have faced their own unique set of challenges, across countless sports and levels of play. In this third She Persisted book, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to women who have excelled in their sports because of their persistence.

Now abridged as a board book for the earliest of readers, She Persisted in Sports is a book for everyone who has ever aimed for a goal and been told it wasn’t theirs to hit, for everyone who has ever raced for a finish line that seemed all too far away, and for everyone who has ever felt small or unimportant while out on the field.”

Picture Books

Nelson Mandela by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Illustrated by Alison Hawkins



In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first Black president and his fight for equality.

Little Nelson’s given name was Rolihlahla, which means ‘troublemaker’ in Xhosa, his native language. But his rebellious nature would lead him to become one of the world’s most inspirational civil right’s leaders and anti-apartheid revolutionaries. Despite the many years of imprisonment and adversity he faced, Nelson remained victorious and was voted to become South Africa’s first Black president. 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 activist turned president’s life.”

Love Grows Everywhere by Barry Timms, Illustrated by Tisha Lee

With lushly colored illustrations that tug at your heart, this lyrical picture book connects the love that nurtures plants with the love that nurtures our relationships.

Love grows everywhere…
From country farm to city square
From desert village, hot and dry,
to mountain home where eagles fly.

In Love Grows Everywhere, through gentle, rhyming text and vibrant illustrations, feel the love in a close-knit family who grows plants and sells them in their local market, and discover the types of love that exist in the many homes of their diverse community.”

Daddy Speaks Love by Leah Henderson, Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

A moving tribute to the joy and grounding that fathers bring to their children’s lives.

What does a daddy do? From day one, this daddy speaks love to his little one. And along with that love, his words and actions speak many other things, too: like truth, joy, comfort, and pride. Like many dads, he answers a million questions and tries to make sure that days are full of fun adventures, giggles, and hugs. Dads are good at scaring away imaginary monsters, and honest about how to confront the real ones too. They set an example for the future, speaking out for equality and justice, while sharing lessons from the past. But most of all, daddies encourage their young ones to fight for a better world, with the comfort of knowing their dads are right beside them. Daddy Speaks Love speaks to that everlasting bond between children and their fathers and is a perfect gift for special occasions including Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, baby showers, and more!”

All Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball by Audrey Vernick, Illustrated by Cannaday Chapman

The remarkable story of Larry Doby, the first Black baseball player in the American League. 

In 1947, Larry Doby signed with the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first Black player in the American leagues. He endured terrible racism, both from fans and his fellow teammates. Despite this, he became a unifying force on and off the field, and went on to become a seven-time All Star. Illustrated with Cannaday Chapman’s bold, stylized illustrations, this exceptional biography tells the story of an unsung hero who not only opened doors for those behind him, but set amazing records during his Hall of Fame career. More significantly, it examines the long fight to overcome racism in sports and our culture at large, a fight that is far from over. “

The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by Rafael López

Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López’s highly anticipated companion to their #1 New York Times bestseller The Day You Begin illuminates the power in each of us to face challenges with confidence.

On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.”

A is for Oboe: The Orchestra’s Alphabet by Lera Auerbach, Illustrated by Marilyn Nelson

“This deeply imaginative and entertaining poetry collection details the pleasures of the orchestra, from strong-willed A to satisfied Z.

Two widely acclaimed poets–one a composer and classical pianist as well–have come together to create this extraordinary portrait of the orchestra in all of its richness and fascination, using the structure of the alphabet in a way that’s entirely new and delightful. A is for the first note you hear as you take your seat in the concert hall, played by the headstrong oboe. B is for the bassoon, “the orchestra’s jester, complaining impatiently through his nose.” And C is for the conductor, “like the captain on the bridge of a great ship, navigating the composer’s musical charts.””

Snow Angel, Sand Angel by Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

A celebration of home, family, and finding beauty in your heritage, beautifully illustrated by the artist behind Anti-Racist Baby.

Claire has been surrounded by the deep blue waves of Hapuna Beach and the magnificent mountains of Hawai’i all her life, but has never, ever seen snow. When her father drives her and her family to the top of the Mauna Kea, she can’t help but to be disappointed…it’s not the winter wonderland she’s always dreamed of. And that’s what she wants, more than anything.

But as Claire edges ever closer to the new year, she wonders if maybe– just maybe–she can delight in the special joys of winter in her own way–right there, on her Big Island of Hawaii.”

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Coretta Scott King by Kelly Starling Lyons, Illustrated by Gillian Flint

“In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Kelly Starling Lyons, readers learn about the amazing life of Coretta Scott King–and how she persisted.

Coretta Scott King is known for being the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but she was a civil rights activist and leader in her own right! She was a singer and an author too, and her work made a difference for Black Americans and for all women for decades to come.

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

Middle Grade

Pizza My Heart by Rhiannon Richardson

“A slice-of-life rom-com about pizza and first crushes that readers will gobble up!
Maya Reynolds has practically grown up in her family’s Brooklyn pizza shop, Soul Slice, and is a true city girl. When her family moves to a small town in Pennsylvania to open another pizza place, everything changes.

Being the new girl is hard enough. At Soul Slice 2.0, Maya is assigned delivery duty. And her first delivery is a disaster. Can you make a worse impression than tripping… and falling face-first into a rude boy’s pizza order?

When that same rude — and, okay, cute — boy shows up at her school, Maya’s convinced nothing can go right. But she may be in for some surprises. Could good friends, secret crushes, and creative pizza toppings turn Maya’s new home into her own slice of heaven?”

Operation Sisterhood by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

“Fans of the Netflix reboot of The Babysitters Club will delight as four new sisters band together in the heart of New York City. Discover this jubilant novel about the difficulties of change, the loyalty of sisters, and the love of family from a prolific award-winning author.

Bo and her mom always had their own rhythm. But ever since they moved to Harlem, Bo’s world has fallen out of sync. She and Mum are now living with Mum’s boyfriend Bill, his daughter Sunday, the twins, Lili and Lee, the twins’ parents…along with a dog, two cats, a bearded dragon, a turtle, and chickens. All in one brownstone! With so many people squished together, Bo isn’t so sure there is room for her.

Set against the bursting energy of a New York City summer, award-winning author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich delivers a joyful novel about a new family that hits all the right notes!”

The Great Shine-a-Thon Showcase: Karma’s World #1 by Halcyon Person, Illustrated by Yesenia Moises

“This brand-new chapter book series follows aspiring rapper and hip-hop artist Karma from the Netflix animated series Karma’s World!

Meet Karma Grant! Karma and her friends are totally stoked for the MC Grillz concert in their neighborhood, Hansberry Heights! But when the famous rapper’s bus breaks down and the show is canceled, it’s up to Karma to make the best of some bad luck. Will Karma be able to put on her own concert, the Shine-a-Thon, with her friends or will the pressure prove to be way too much? Filled with heart, humor and Karma’s own rhymes, this original chapter book is sure to delight any fans of the show!”

Tiger Honor by Yoon Ha Lee

“Sebin, a young tiger spirit from the Juhwang Clan, wants nothing more than to join the Thousand World Space Forces and, like their Uncle Hwan, captain a battle cruiser someday. But when Sebin’s acceptance letter finally arrives, it’s accompanied by the shocking news that Hwan has been declared a traitor. Apparently the captain abandoned his duty to steal a magical artifact, the Dragon Pearl, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Sebin hopes to help clear their hero’s name and restore honor to the clan.

Nothing goes according to plan, however. As soon as Sebin arrives for orientation, they are met by a special investigator named Yi and Yi’s assistant, a girl named Min. Yi informs Sebin that they must immediately report to the ship Haetae and await further instructions. Sebin finds this highly unusual, but soon all protocol is forgotten when there’s an explosion on the ship, the crew is knocked out, and the communication system goes down. It’s up to Sebin, three other cadets, and Yi and Min to determine who is sabotaging the battle cruiser. When Sebin is suddenly accused of collaborating with the enemy, the cadet realizes that Min is the most dangerous foe of all…”

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round: My Story of the Making of Martin Luther King Day by Kathlyn J. Kirkwood, Illustrated by Steffi Walthall

“This brilliant memoir-in-verse tells the moving story of how a nation learned to celebrate a hero. Through years of protests and petition, Kathlyn’s story highlights the foot soldiers who fought to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday.

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round is a deeply moving middle grade memoir about what it means to be an everyday activist and foot solider for racial justice, as Kathlyn recounts how, drawn to activism from childhood, she went from attending protests as a teenager to fighting for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday to become a national holiday as an adult. A blueprint for kids starting down their own paths to civic awareness, it shows life beyond protests and details the sustained time, passion, and energy it takes to turn an idea into a law.

Deftly weaving together monumental historical events with a heartfelt coming-of-age story and in-depth information on law making, Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round is the perfect engaging example of how history can help inform the present.”

Signs of Survival: A Memoir of the Holocaust by Renee Hartman and Joshua M. Greene

“Meet Renee and Herta, two sisters who faced the unimaginable — together. This is their true story.

As Jews living in 1940s Czechoslovakia, Renee, Herta, and their parents were in immediate danger when the Holocaust came to their door. As the only hearing person in her family, Renee had to alert her parents and sister whenever the sound of Nazi boots approached their home so they could hide.

But soon their parents were tragically taken away, and the two sisters went on the run, desperate to find a safe place to hide. Eventually they, too, would be captured and taken to the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Communicating in sign language and relying on each other for strength in the midst of illness, death, and starvation, Renee and Herta would have to fight to survive the darkest of times.

This gripping memoir, told in a vivid “oral history” format, is a testament to the power of sisterhood and love, and now more than ever a reminder of how important it is to honor the past, and keep telling our own stories.”

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: All Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball

We all know that Jackie Robinson was the first Black major league baseball player, but how much do you know about the second? All Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball by Audrey Vernick and Cannaday Chapman introduces young readers to the man who joined the major leagues just eleven weeks after Jackie Robinson.

Title: All Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball
Author: Audrey Vernick
Illustrator: Cannaday Chapman
Publisher: Clarion Books
Published: January 4, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Beginning with his childhood in Camden, South Carolina, All Star follows Larry Doby all the way to the day he helped his team win the World Series with a game-winning home run in 1948. Highlighting the changes we’ve seen since Larry Doby’s career as well as the changes we fight for today, All Star doesn’t shy away from the racism found in America and it’s favorite pastime. From detailing Larry’s first day in the dugout to pointing out the racism of Cleveland’s team name and logo in the author’s note, All Star eloquently addresses progress with young readers, inspiring them to continue changing things for the better.

Cannaday Chapman’s powerful artwork pairs perfectly with Audrey Vernick’s text. The illustrations are filled with emotion and brings Larry Doby’s story to life on every single page.

The back matter contains an author’s note with more detail about Larry’s life, a bibliography, and the iconic photo of Larry Doby and pitcher Steve Gromek embracing after their World Series victory, making this a fantastic educational resource for classroom and school libraries.

All Star officially releases tomorrow (January 4, 2021), but you can preorder your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you.)

Thank you so much to Clarion Books for providing me with a review copy of All Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball. I am honored to share Larry’s story on Mutually Inclusive.

About The Author:

Audrey Vernick is author of several novels and many picture books, including Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team. She lives with her family near the ocean in New Jersey. Visit her online at audreyvernick.com and on Twitter @yourbuffalo.

About The Illustrator:

Cannaday Chapman is the illustrator of the picture book biographies All-Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball and Feed Your Mind: The Story of August Wilson, and his work has been featured in the New York Times and on the cover of The New Yorker. He was born in upstate New York and studied illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and he currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

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