New Release Round Up – June 1, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everybody! It’s new release day again! As always, I rounded up the titles I am most excited about to share with y’all today, and there are a LOT to talk about this week.

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

You Are My Sparkly Mermaid by Joyce Wan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A magical ode to believing in yourself and shining bright — with a dazzling mermaid twist — from bestselling creator Joyce Wan.
Wild and free in the big blue sea.Day and night, baby shine bright!Get ready to make some waves with this magical mermaid board book, complete with a sparkly glitter cover! Dive under the sea to meet a delightful array of mermaids and other underwater friends, from jellyfish to dolphins, with an encouraging message of love, joy, and confidence along the way. Snuggle up with your own little mermaid and remind them: “Baby, shine bright!”A wondrous celebration of the sparkly magic in every child from today’s preeminent board and picture book creator!”

Soccer Baby by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Reggie Brown (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Baby goes to her first soccer game in this adorable board book that’s a must-have for soccer fans of all ages!

Baby loves soccer, the black and white ball
The field and the goal posts—she loves it all!

Baby is at her first soccer game! From watching the players run downfield, to cheering for a goal, baby loves it all. So when the game is over and the day is done, baby can’t wait to have more fun—by learning how to play soccer, too!”

Little Archeologist by Smithsonian, Illustrated by Dan Taylor (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Teach your baby all about archaeologists with this new board book published in partnership with Smithsonian.

Fossils. Shovels. Sieves. Brushes. These are all the important tools archaeologists use. In this new board book series published in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute, young babies and toddlers will learn what an archaeologist does while enjoying playful art by Dan Taylor.”

Picture Books

Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder (Bookshop | Amazon)

This cheerful love-your-body picture book for preschoolers is an exuberant read-aloud with bright and friendly illustrations to pore over.
 
From the acclaimed creator of Dancing at the Pity Party and Roaring Softly, this picture book is a pure celebration of all the different human bodies that exist in the world. Highlighting the various skin tones, body shapes, and hair types is just the beginning in this truly inclusive book. With its joyful illustrations and encouraging refrain, it will instill body acceptance and confidence in the youngest of readers. “My body, your body, every different kind of body! All of them are good bodies! BODIES ARE COOL!””

The Rice in The Pot Goes Round and Round by Wendy Wan-Long Shang, Illustrated by Lorian Tu (Bookshop | Amazon)

Sing along to this delicious twist on “The Wheels on the Bus” and celebrate the food, laughter, and love of a multigenerational family meal!

* “Artfully brings an authentic expression of family love…an utterly charming [twist] to a familiar tune.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

The rice in the pot goes round and round,

Round and round, round and round,

The rice in the pot goes round and round

At the table where my family gathers round…

At the table where this family gathers, they share food, laughter, and, most of all, love. Readers of all ages are sure to delight in this joyful, expressive sing-along, slurping noodles, squishing tofu, and tapping chopsticks as they sing along to this familiar tune.

Rhythmic text from The Great Wall of Lucy Wu author and Asian/Pacific American Library Association Award winner Wendy Wan-Long Shang, and vibrant, playful illustrations from artist Lorian Tu bring this heartwarming, mouth-watering story to life. Informative back matter includes a food glossary and etiquette guidelines that are sure to delight and engage young readers.”

Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress by Alicia D. Williams, Illustrated by April Harrison (Bookshop | Amazon)

Discover the inspiring story of the first black woman elected to Congress and to run for president in this picture book biography from a Newbery Honor-winning author and a Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning illustrator.

Meet Shirley, a little girl who asks way too many questions! After spending her early years on her grandparents’ farm in Barbados, she returns home to Brooklyn and immediately makes herself known. Shirley kicks butt in school; she breaks her mother’s curfew; she plays jazz piano instead of classical. And as a young adult, she fights against the injustice she sees around her, against women and black people. Soon she is running for state assembly…and winning in a landslide. Three years later, she is on the campaign trail again, as the first black woman to run for Congress. Her slogan? “Fighting Shirley Chisholm–Unbought and Unbossed!” Does she win? You bet she does.”

Paletero Man by Lucky Diaz, Illustrated by Micah Player (Bookshop | Amazon)

A vibrant picture book celebrating the strength of community and the tastes of summer from Latin Grammy-winning musician Lucky Diaz and celebrated artist Micah Player.

Ring! Ring! Ring! Can you hear his call? Paletas for one! Paletas for all!

What’s the best way to cool off on a hot summer day? Run quick and find Paletero José!

Follow along with our narrator as he passes through his busy neighborhood in search of the Paletero Man. But when he finally catches up with him, our narrator’s pockets are empty. Oh no! What happened to his dinero? It will take the help of the entire community to get the tasty treat now.

Full of musicality, generosity, kindness, and ice pops, this book is sure to satisfy fans of Thank You, Omu! and Carmela Full of Wishes.

Includes Spanish words and phrases throughout, an author’s note from Lucky Diaz, and a link to a live version of the Lucky Band’s popular song that inspired the book.”

Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman by Sharice Davids and Nancy K. Mays, Illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley (Bookshop | Amazon)

This picture book autobiography tells the triumphant story of Sharice Davids, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, and the first LGBTQ congressperson to represent Kansas.

When Sharice Davids was young, she never thought she’d be in Congress. And she never thought she’d be one of the first Native American women in Congress. During her campaign, she heard from a lot of doubters. They said she couldn’t win because of how she looked, who she loved, and where she came from. But here’s the thing: Everyone’s path looks different and everyone’s path has obstacles. And this is the remarkable story of Sharice Davids’ path to Congress.

Beautifully illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley, an Ojibwe Woodland artist, this powerful autobiographical picture book teaches readers to use their big voice and that everyone deserves to be seen—and heard!

The back matter includes information about the Ho-Chunk written by former Ho-Chunk President Jon Greendeer, an artist note, and an inspiring letter to children from Sharice Davids.”

Dumplings for Lili by Melissa Iwai (Bookshop | Amazon)

A heartfelt picture book celebration of food, community, and family―and little dumpling treasures from around the world.

Lili loves to cook baos, and Nai Nai has taught her all the secrets to making them, from kneading the dough lovingly and firmly to being thankful for the strong and healthy ingredients in the filling. But when Nai Nai realizes that they are out of cabbage (Secret #8: line the basket with cabbage leaves!), she sends Lili up to Babcia’s apartment on the sixth floor to get some. Babcia is happy to share her cabbage, but she needs some potatoes for her pierogi. . . .

What follows is a race up and down the stairs as Lili helps all the grandmothers in her building borrow ingredients for different dumplings: Jamaican beef patties, Italian ravioli, Lebanese fatayer, and more. Energized by Melissa Iwai’s engaging artwork and kinetic storytelling, Dumplings for Lili is a joyful story of sharing food, friendship, and love in all their forms.”

Llama Glamarama by Simon James Green, Illustrated by Garry Parsons (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Meet a dazzlin’ dancin’ llama who learns to march to the beat of his own drum by strutting his stuff with Pride (and a funky feather boa)!Larry the llama loves to move and groove! But will his friends all disapprove?Larry lives a slow and quiet life at the barn with all the other llamas, just the way they like it. But at night when everyone has gone to bed, Larry loves to dress up in bright costumes and DANCE! He has to hide this from the others, for fear that they won’t approve of his raucous ways. One day, he stumbles upon the Llama Glamarama, a carnival full of music, laughter, and yes-dancing!Will this vibrant celebration give Larry the pride he needs to bring his dance back home? A bright and colorful rhyming story with a powerful message about celebrating differences, Llama Glamarama is the perfect Pride picture book for everyone!”

Pheobe Dupree is Coming To Tea by Linda Ashman, Illustrated by Alea Marley (Bookshop | Amazon)

Abby is anxious to host the perfect tea party for a friend she idolizes, but life serves up a sweet taste of the fun to be had when perfection is off the table.

Have you met Phoebe—Miss Phoebe Dupree?
Phoebe’s as perfect as perfect can be.

To Abby, her friend Phoebe can do no wrong. Phoebe is speedy. Phoebe is smart. She’s equally brilliant at science and art. So when the budding hostess invites Phoebe over for a tea party, everything from the sugary treats on the menu to Abby’s dog, Louie, must be, well . . . perfect. But when life—and possibly Louie—send a clear message to let loose, the girls indulge in a perfectly imperfect playdate. Linda Ashman’s vivacious rhyme and Alea Marley’s inviting illustrations serve up a classic tale of enduring friendship at a tea party that will leave readers wanting to pull up a chair.”

My America by Karen Katz (Bookshop | Amazon)

From author and illustrator Karen Katz, My America is a picture book celebration of immigration to the United States told through the experiences of children who have come from around the world.

Children come to live in America from many different countries, and for many different reasons . . .

In this beautiful celebration of immigration, children from around the world tell their stories, sharing their love of where they’re from and where they live now―homes old and new. As they describe the foods they eat, the languages they’ve learned, the sports they play, and more, the differences and similarities that link us all are revealed.”

The Little Blue Bridge by Brenda Maier, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Ruby’s mind is always full of ideas.

One day, she spies some blueberries across the creek and invites her brothers to pick some. Unfortunately, the bridge is blocked by scary Santiago. “I’m the boss, and you can’t cross… unless you give me a snack,” he demands.

One by one, the brothers scamper across, promising Santiago that the next sibling has a better snack. When at last it’s Ruby’s turn, she refuses to be bullied and creates her own way to cross the creek.

This modern spin on a classic tale weaves folklore, feminism, STEM, and a Latinx cast into a delightful read-aloud that celebrates creativity and building bridges of friendship and community.”

The Cot In The Living Room by Hilda Eunice Burgos, Illustrated by Gaby D’Alessandro (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A young Dominican American girl in New York City moves from jealousy to empathy as her parents babysit children whose families work overnight shifts in this honest and warm picture book debut.

Night after night, a young girl watches her mami set up a cot in the living room for guests in their Washington Heights apartment, like Raquel (who’s boring) and Edgardo (who gets crumbs everywhere). She resents that they get the entire living room with a view of the George Washington Bridge, while all she gets is a tiny bedroom with a view of her sister (who snores). Until one night when no one comes, and it’s finally her chance! But as it turns out, sleeping on the cot in the living room isn’t all she thought it would be.

With charming text by Hilda Eunice Burgos and whimsical illustrations by Gaby D’Alessandro, The Cot in the Living Room is a celebration of the ways a Dominican American community takes care of one another while showing young readers that sometimes the best way to be a better neighbor is by imagining how it feels to spend a night sleeping on someone else’s pillow.”

Let’s Go For A Walk with Ranger Hamza, Illustrated by Kate Kronreif (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Walking in the country, by the sea, or in the town, so many wonderful things to see if you stop and look around! Go on your very own walk guided by Ranger Hamza with this book that can be used again and again.

Take this book with you on any walk, wherever you live, with suggestions from Ranger Hamza for things to look out for. Can you see a red thing? A tall thing? Can you find something smooth, and something rough? What can you smell, and what can you hear? As well as things to spot on the walk, each spread contains fascinating Hamza facts.
Turn every walk, long or short, into an interactive, playful, learning adventure.
Can be used on any kind of walk, in any location, and any duration, over and over again.
Will help young hikers look at the world around them in a new way.
Can also be read at home, with readers spotting the details in the beautiful illustrations.
Perfect for families looking to make their regular outings more fun, whether in the city or the country: Let’s Go For a Walk!”

RuPaul (Little People, Big Dreams #61) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Illustrated by Wednesday Holmes (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of RuPaul, the shape-shifter, performer, supermodel, and host of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Even before little Ru was born, a fortune teller told his mom that he would one day be famous… It was only a matter of time before he figured out how. Playing dress-up was his favorite game, and that’s where he felt most comfortable. Ru went on to study performing arts and then moved to New York to mix things up in a punk band. Later, drag was a way to express himself as an artist. He found success for himself, then wanted to help others find theirs. He inspires us to do what feels right and love ourselves. This witty and wise 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 inspiring performer’s life.”

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Sonia Sotomayor by Meg Medina, Illustrated by Gillian Flint (Bookshop | Amazon)

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

In this chapter book biography by Meg Medina, the award-winning author of Merci Suarez Changes Gears and Mango, Abuela, and Me, readers learn about the amazing life of Sonia Sotomayor–and how she persisted.

Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in the history of the United States, but her road there wasn’t easy. She overcame many challenges along the way, including a diagnosis of diabetes at age seven. But she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her dream and inspiring children all over the world to work hard and believe in themselves.”

Magical Rescue Vets: Jade the Gem Dragon by Melody Lockhart, Illustrated by Morgan Huff (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Most people think that dragons and unicorns don’t exist outside of story books – but Kat and Rosie know better! The best friends have been helping out at Calico Comfrey’s Veterinary Surgery ever since they stumbled across its secret door one summer holiday. Join them as they rescue and care for the incredible, enchanted creatures of Starfall Forest. Along the way, they might learn some valuable lessons about bravery, friendship, and loyalty!

When Kat needs something to distract her from her new baby sister, it’s the perfect time to go exploring in the forest. She and Rosie find a baby gem dragon coughing and spluttering in the Crystal Caves. What has made her whole colony so sick, and could it have something to do with the gnomes’ new mining machines? It’s time to start an anti-pollution campaign – with just a little help from Dr. Hart!

The second in the brand-new Magical Rescue Vets series, Jade the Gem Dragon features beautiful illustrations by Morgan Huff and is ideal for readers aged 7+.”

Wednesday Wilson Gets Down to Business by Bree Galbraith, Illustrated by Morgan Goble (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In the first entertaining installment in a new early chapter book series, one unfortunate kale incident isn’t enough to stop the unbeatable Wednesday Wilson from pursuing her entrepreneurial dreams — or is it?The most important thing to know about Wednesday Wilson is that she’s an entrepreneur. She hasn’t started any businesses yet, but she’s pretty sure today is the day. She and her best friend, Charlie (Wednesday’s future Vice President of Operations), with some help from her little brother, Mister, have made a list of potential businesses. But before they get to move forward on one, there’s an unfortunate incident in class with the Emmas (whose last initials happen to spell M.E.A.N.) involving a bearded dragon named Morten and a piece of kale . . . it’s a long story. It figures that Wednesday’s archnemeses would be the ones to mess up her plans! But maybe all is not lost. Maybe this is just the opportunity Wednesday and her friends needed to come up with a brilliant business idea that will save the day and make them millionaires. Or . . . not?With its fresh voice, diverse cast of lovable and relatable characters and delightfully determined heroine, Bree Galbraith’s illustrated early chapter book series hits the spot for beginning readers (and their grown-ups!). Endearing black-and-white drawings by Morgan Goble add nuance and clarity and help guide the story forward for early readers. Definitions of vocabulary words, all related to business, appear as footnotes throughout the text.”

Middle Grade

The Wayside School 4-Book Box Set: Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Wayside School Is Falling Down, Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar (Bookshop | Amazon)

“All four books in the beloved Wayside School series by bestselling and Newbery Medal–winning author Louis Sachar are now available in this collectible set!

This paperback box set features all four books, each with new cover and interior art and full of hilarious stories, zany art, and a quadruple serving of absurdity.

More than fifteen million readers have laughed at the stories of Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, Wayside School Is Falling Down, and the newly released Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom.

So what are you waiting for? Come visit Wayside School!”

Force of Fire by Sayantani DasGupta (Bookshop | Amazon)

“From New York Times bestselling author Sayantani DasGupta comes the story of a demon who must embrace her bad to serve the greater good.
Pinki hails from a long line of rakkhosh resisters, demons who have spent years building interspecies relationships, working together to achieve their goal of overthrowing the snakey oppressors and taking back their rights. But she has more important things to worry about, like maintaining her status as fiercest rakkhosh in her class and looking after her little cousins. There is also the teeny tiny detail of not yet being able to control her fire breathing and accidentally burning up school property.Then Sesha, the charming son of the Serpentine Governor, calls on Pinki for help in defeating the resistance, promising to give her what she most desires in return — the ability to control her fire. First she’ll have to protect the Moon Maiden, pretend to be a human (ick), and survive a family reunion. But it’s all worth it for the control of her powers . . . right?”

Marcus Makes a Movie by Kevin Hart and Geoff Rodkey, Illustrated by David Cooper (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Stand-up comedian and Hollywood box-office hit Kevin Hart keeps the laughs coming in an illustrated middle-grade novel about a boy who has big dreams of making a blockbuster superhero film. Perfect for readers of James Patterson’s Middle School series and Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate series.

Marcus is NOT happy to be stuck in after-school film class…until he realizes he can turn the story of the cartoon superhero he’s been drawing for years into an actual MOVIE! There’s just one problem: he has no idea what he’s doing. So he’ll need help, from his friends, his teachers, Sierra, the strong-willed classmate with creative dreams of her own, even Tyrell, the local bully who’d be a perfect movie villain if he weren’t too terrifying to talk to.

Making this movie won’t be easy. But as Marcus discovers, nothing great ever is—and if you want your dream to come true, you’ve got to put in the hustle to make it happen.

Comedy superstar Kevin Hart teams up with award-winning author Geoff Rodkey and lauded illustrator David Cooper for a hilarious, illustrated, and inspiring story about bringing your creative goals to life and never giving up, even when nothing’s going your way.”

The Talk: Conversations about Race, Love & Truth by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson (Bookshop | Amazon)

Thirty diverse, award-winning authors and illustrators invite you into their homes to witness the conversations they have with their children about race in America today in this powerful call-to-action that invites all families to be anti-racists and advocates for change.

As long as racist ideas persist, families will continue to have the difficult and necessary conversations with their young ones on the subject. In this inspiring collection, literary all-stars such as Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together), Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon), Meg Medina (Merci Suárez Changes Gears), Adam Gidwitz (The Inquisitor’s Tale), and many more engage young people in frank conversations about race, identity, and self-esteem. Featuring text and images filled with love, acceptance, truth, peace, and an assurance that there can be hope for a better tomorrow, The Talk is a stirring anthology and must-have resource published in partnership with Just Us Books, a Black-owned children’s publishing company that’s been in operation for over thirty years. Just Us Books continues its mission grounded in the same belief that helped launch the company: Good books make a difference.
 
So, let’s talk.”

Sisters of The Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In this beautifully reimagined story by NSK Neustadt Laureate and New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek), Native American Lily and English Wendy embark on a high-flying journey of magic, adventure, and courage to a fairy-tale island known as Neverland…

Lily and Wendy have been best friends since they became stepsisters. But with their feuding parents planning to spend the summer apart, what will become of their family—and their friendship?

Little do they know that a mysterious boy has been watching them from the oak tree outside their window. A boy who intends to take them away from home for good, to an island of wild animals, Merfolk, Fairies, and kidnapped children, to a sea of merfolk, pirates, and a giant crocodile.

A boy who calls himself Peter Pan.”

Graphic Novels

The Tea Dragon Tapestry (The Tea Dragon Society) by K. O’Neill (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Join Greta and Minette once more for the heartwarming conclusion of the award-winning Tea Dragon series!

Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng’s care, Greta still can’t chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.

Told with the same care and charm as the previous installments of the Tea Dragon series, The Tea Dragon Tapestry welcomes old friends and new into a heartfelt story of purpose, love, and growth.”

Miles Morales: Shock Waves by Justin A. Reynolds, Illustrated by Pablo Leon (Bookshop | Amazon)

“An original middle-grade graphic novel from Graphix starring Brooklyn’s Spider-Man, Miles Morales, by bestselling author Justin A. Reynolds and Eisner nominee Pablo Leon!
Miles Morales is a normal kid who happens to juggle school at Brooklyn Visions Academy while swinging through the streets of Brooklyn as Spider-Man. After a disastrous earthquake strikes his mother’s birthplace of Puerto Rico, Miles springs into action to help set up a fundraiser for the devastated island. But when a new student’s father goes missing, Miles begins to make connections between the disappearance and a giant corporation sponsoring Miles’ fundraiser. Who is behind the disappearance, and how does that relate to Spider-Man?A true middle grade graphic novel starring one of Marvel’s most popular characters, bestselling author Justin A. Reynolds (Opposite of Always) and Eisner award-nominated artist Pablo Leon (Refugees) create a riveting story that will connect with new and well-versed comics readers alike.”

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!

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

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New Release Round Up – April 13, 2021

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

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

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

Board Books

Count On Me 1, 2, 3 by J.B. Frank, Illustrated by Ela Smietanka (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Though many things in the world are uncertain, there are some people we can always count on—so let’s count them! In this colorful board book filled with adorable, diverse characters, children count the everyday heroes around them from 10 crossing guards and 9 firefighters down to 2 parents, and of course, 1 you!”

Baby Loves Political Science: Congress by Ruth Spiro, Illustrated by Greg Paprocki (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A new addition to the beloved and bestselling Baby Loves Political Science series! This cute and clever introduction to political science and the US government is accurate and simple enough for baby.

Baby learns that just as there are rules in daycare, there are rules in our society. And who makes the rules–or laws? Congress! A fun and easy introduction to the three branches of the US government and the legislative branch in particular. Representatives and senators may pass laws, but anyone in our democracy can have ideas for new ones!”

Baby Loves Political Science: The Presidency by Ruth Spiro, Illustrated by Greg Paprocki (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A new addition to the beloved and bestselling Baby Loves Political Science series! This cute and clever introduction to political science and the US government is accurate and simple enough for baby.

A fun and easy introduction for baby to the three branches of the US government and the executive branch in particular. The president signs laws into effect, but it takes an entire cabinet and group of people to carry out the laws!”

Picture Books

Amira’s Picture Day by Reem Faruqi, Illustrated by Fahmida Azim (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Ramadan has come to an end, and Amira can’t wait to stay home from school to celebrate Eid. There’s just one hiccup: it’s also school picture day. How can Amira be in two places at once?

Just the thought of Eid makes Amira warm and tingly inside. From wearing new clothes to handing out goody bags at the mosque, Amira can’t wait for the festivities to begin. But when a flier on the fridge catches her eye, Amira’s stomach goes cold. Not only is it Eid, it’s also school picture day. If she’s not in her class picture, how will her classmates remember her? Won’t her teacher wonder where she is?

Though the day’s celebrations at the mosque are everything Amira was dreaming of, her absence at picture day weighs on her. A last-minute idea on the car ride home might just provide the solution to everything in this delightful story from acclaimed author Reem Faruqi, illustrated with vibrant color by Fahmida Azim.”

Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz: The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States by Warren Binford (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Every day, children in migration are detained at the US-Mexico border. They are scared, alone, and their lives are in limbo. Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz shares the stories of 61 these children, from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Mexico, ranging in age from five to seventeen—in their own words from actual sworn testimonies. Befitting the spirit of the project, the book is in English on one side; then flip it over, and there’s a complete Spanish version.

Illustrated by 17 Latinx artists, including Caldecott Medalist and multiple Pura Belpré Illustrator Award-winning Yuyi Morales and Pura Belpré Illustrator Award-winning Raὺl the Third. Includes information, questions, and action points. Buying this book benefits Project Amplify, an organization that supports children in migration.”

Born Ready: The True Story of A Boy Named Penelope by Jodie Patterson, Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Jodie Patterson, activist and Chair of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Board, shares her transgender son’s experience in this important picture book about identity and acceptance.

Penelope knows that he’s a boy. (And a ninja.) The problem is getting everyone else to realize it.

In this exuberant companion to Jodie Patterson’s adult memoir, The Bold World, Patterson shares her son Penelope’s frustrations and triumphs on his journey to share himself with the world. Penelope’s experiences show children that it always makes you stronger when you are true to yourself and who you really are.”

Hello Rain by Kyo Maclear, Illustrated by Chris Turnham (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A picture book celebrating all the reasons to love the rain! Flowers bloom in the garden. Umbrellas bloom on the streets. There are puddles for jumping and, later, a cozy home for hot chocolate and books.

• The ultimate rainy day read!
• Full of bright, eye-catching illustrations
• From international acclaimed writer Kyo Maclear and printmaker Chris Turnham

The air is full of waiting. The sky is full of breeze. The trees gust and billow. All before it rains.
Rumble, rumble. Distant thunder. Rain is coming, rain is coming.

No matter what kind of weather you prefer, Hello, Rain! is a great reminder of the natural beauty all around us.”

Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch by Heidi Tyline King, Illustrated by Ekua Holmes (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This heartfelt picture book biography illustrated by the Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes, tells the story of MaVynee Betsch, an African American opera singer turned environmentalist and the legacy she preserved.

MaVynee loved going to the beach. But in the days of Jim Crow, she couldn’t just go to any beach–most of the beaches in Jacksonville were for whites only. Knowing something must be done, her grandfather bought a beach that African American families could enjoy without being reminded they were second class citizens; he called it American Beach. Artists like Zora Neale Hurston and Ray Charles vacationed on its sunny shores. It’s here that MaVynee was first inspired to sing, propelling her to later become a widely acclaimed opera singer who routinely performed on an international stage. But her first love would always be American Beach.

After the Civil Rights Act desegregated public places, there was no longer a need for a place like American Beach and it slowly fell into disrepair. MaVynee remembered the importance of American Beach to her family and so many others, so determined to preserve this integral piece of American history, she began her second act as an activist and conservationist, ultimately saving the place that had always felt most like home.”

If I Had An Octopus by Gabby Dawnay, Illustrated by Alex Barrow (Bookshop | Amazon)

“From the duo behind the bestselling If I Had series, a humorous and entertaining tale celebrating octopuses.

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 DinosaurIf 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.”

Your Future Is Bright by Corey Finkle, Illustrated by Shelley Couvillion (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Celebrate the boundless possibilities of the future with this uplifting picture book about the potential in every child, perfect for fans of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and The Wonderful Things You Will Be.

Today is a triumph! It’s awesome! You’re great!
The things you’ve accomplished are truly first rate.
Your efforts have made you stand out from the crowd,
So, puff out your chest―you deserve to feel proud.

Follow a group of children as they dream about what the future might hold. As they spin their passions into opportunities, they learn that adventure awaits any and all who put their hearts and minds into something.

Told in Corey Finkle’s touching rhyming verse and paired with gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Shelley Couvillion, Your Future Is Bright is an inspiring ode to self-confidence, kindness, and dedication, and makes for the perfect gift for any occasion, including graduations, baby showers, birthdays, and more.”

Monsters Like Us by Amy Huntington (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Monsters may look and act scary, but deep down they’re not so different from you and me. They talk and giggle, they read and clean their rooms, and they have ENORMOUS chompers for…eating ice cream!

This humorous book will have kids giggling and turning the pages as they discover that monsters aren’t so scary after all–and discover their own inner monster!”

Chapter Books

Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusti Bowling (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Third-grader Aven Green has been solving mysteries for a whole month—cracking such cases as The Mystery of the Cranky Mom. But can this perceptive detective solve two cases at the same time? First her teacher’s lunch bag disappears. Then Aven’s great-grandma’s dog goes missing. Fortunately, since Aven was born without arms, all the “arm” cells went to her super-powered brain instead. (That’s her theory.) This hilarious chapter book showcases a new side to Dusti Bowling’s unforgettable protagonist.”

Middle Grade

Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Readers will cheer on Pippa Park in this wonderful middle school book about friendships, bullying, crushes, and family. In this relatable story, Pippa reinvents herself and discovers who she really is on and off the basketball court.

Life is full of great expectations for Korean American Pippa Park. It seems like everyone, from her family to the other kids at school, has a plan for how her life should look.

When Pippa gets a mysterious basketball scholarship to Lakeview Private, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself. At school, Pippa juggles old and new friends, a crush, and the pressure to get As and score points while keeping her past and family’s laundromat a secret from her elite new classmates.

But when Pippa begins to receive a string of hateful, anonymous messages via social media, her carefully built persona is threatened. As things spiral out of control, Pippa wonders if she can keep her old and new lives separate, or if she should even try.”

Cece Rios and The Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When a powerful desert spirit kidnaps her sister, Cece Rios must learn forbidden magic to get her back, in this own voices middle grade fantasy perfect for fans of The Storm Runner and Aru Shah and the End of Time

Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas—humans who capture and control criaturas—consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime.”

The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A heartfelt middle-grade novel about a theater-loving girl who uses a wheelchair for mobility and her quest to defy expectations—and gravity—from Tony award–winning actress Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz

Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon loves a lot of things: her dog Warbucks, her best friend Chloe, and competing on her wheelchair racing team, the Zoomers, to name a few. But there’s one thing she’s absolutely OBSESSED with: MUSICALS! From Hamilton to Les Mis, there’s not a cast album she hasn’t memorized and belted along to. She’s never actually been in a musical though, or even seen an actor who uses a wheelchair for mobility on stage. Would someone like Nat ever get cast?
But when Nat’s family moves from California to New Jersey, Nat stumbles upon auditions for a kids’ production of Wicked, one of her favorite musicals ever! And she gets into the ensemble! The other cast members are super cool and inclusive (well, most of them)— especially Malik, the male lead and cutest boy Nat’s ever seen. But when things go awry a week before opening night, will Nat be able to cast her fears and insecurities aside and “Defy Gravity” in every sense of the song title?”

The Prettiest by Brigit Young (Bookshop Amazon)

The Prettiest is an incisive, empowering novel by Brigit Young about standing up for yourself and those around you.

“All middle school girls AND boys (especially boys!) should read this book.” ―Alan Gratz, New York Times–bestselling author of Refugee

THE PRETTIEST: It’s the last thing Eve Hoffmann expected to be, the only thing Sophie Kane wants to be, and something Nessa Flores-Brady knows she’ll never be . . . until a list appears online, ranking the top fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade.

Eve, ranked number one, can’t ignore how everyone is suddenly talking about her looks―and her body.
Sophie, always popular and put together, feels lower than ever when she’s bullied for being number two.
Nessa isn’t on the list at all, but she doesn’t care. Or does she?

Eve, Nessa, and Sophie are determined to get justice―or at least revenge. But as these unlikely vigilantes become fiercely loyal friends, they discover that the real triumph isn’t the takedown. It’s the power that comes from lifting one another up.”

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

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

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