Happy New Year, friends! Here's to a year of four young adult novels and one board book!
That's right. After fifteen years of writing creatively - and doing a few other things, too - I'm so excited that this year, I'm releasing FIVE books! Phew. It's true what they say, when it rains, it pours, but sometimes in good ways!
Four of the books are young adult contemporary sports novels with Wise Wolf Books. The first, Gridiron Girl, releases March 3! That is so soon :) If you're in the Pittsburgh area, join us to celebrate at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. If you're out of the area, but would like a signed copy, you can purchase through the bookstore's website!
Here's a brief look at Gridiron Girl:
Julia Medina, dubbed Jules by her closest friends, wants to be the new, starting quarterback of Iron Valley High School’s football team, and no one is going to stand in her way. That is—until her boyfriend, Owen Malone, steps up to the challenge. Wanting to maintain her relationship with her boyfriend, Jules is torn. But while Owen is in her heart, football is in her blood.
The book is being well-received! Kirkus Reviews noted, "Girardi offers a coming-of-age novel that will resonate with teens who remain committed to their goals even when life seems to throw every possible obstacle in their way. The author wastes no time by jumping right into the plot and keeping the story moving at a brisk but pleasing pace. Julia’s fears about disappointing her friends and family while still wanting to play the game she loves make her a highly sympathetic character. The cast of secondary players, including her brothers and grandmother, comes across as genuine and adds extra humor and just the right amount of nonsports drama."
Gridiron Girl sets off a four-book series about female athletes at Iron Valley High School. Book 2, Disorder on the Court, features a volleyball player and releases in June! Books 3 and 4 in the series will release in September and December.
Also, I'm so excited to share that my debut board book, Why, Daddy? Why?, releases from Familius Press in May! This book is so adorable and reminds me of when my now seven-year-old daughter was three and bookending all of her questions with two "whys" as if one isn't enough for parents! Sharing this book with audiences will be a treasure.
Here's what readers are saying about Why, Daddy? Why?:
"This book is a sweet story of unconditional love. Perfect for father's day, baby showers, or bedtime reading any day of the year."
- Hannah Holt, author of A Father's Love
"Why, Daddy? Why? encourages children to be curious and is also a beautiful reminder for the adults in their lives to take advantage of those wonderful learning (and loving) opportunities."
- Jayme Hadley, First Grade Teacher
"The repetitive use of words and masterfully coordinated illustrations invite even the youngest of readers to actively participate in the reading of this children’s book. With an overarching theme of love, and relatable text, this book is a must read for kids, families, and educators alike."
- Ron Spiering, Elementary Reading Specialist
You can preorder the book anywhere online! Keep it in mind for the friends in your life who are hosting baby showers or have newborns at home!
And make sure you're subscribed to my blog for news of the two books I didn't even mention here! You won't want to miss them :)
Updated: Aug 9, 2021
So what is the 12 Months of Books Challenge? It's me challenging you to PREORDER 12 books for a child (or someone else) in your life in the year 2021. That is the official challenge. Here are the specific "rules":
1) OPTION 1: Using the PREORDER links, order any books of your choice to be mailed to a child you love! Or children you love! Or a library you love! Or a preschool you love! You get the point - spread the love! (Keep your receipt in case you win the prize!)
2) OPTION 2: Contact a public library and request that they order titles from the list! This can be your local public library or the library closest to where the kiddos in your life live! Then, you (or they) can borrow the books when they arrive! (Keep your communications from the library in case you win the prize!)
3) Subscribe to this blog!
4) Complete the Google form at this link after the preorder is complete. (Your email address will not be shared. I ask for it, so I can contact you if you win!)
5) Repeat the steps above for the next month on the list!
That's it! Easy Peasy!
Here are a few other details that might be helpful to you. At the end of 2021, I will randomly select one person from the Google spreadsheet to win a $100 gift card! The winner:
1) will be required to present a receipt from their preorder purchase or a copy of their library
2) must also be subscribed to www.tamaragirardi.com!
*If you want to buy more than 12 books from the list or request a library buy more than 12, go ahead!
ISOBEL ADDS IT UP
Picture Book (ages 3-7), Random House Studio
Isobel is a problem solver . . . addition, subtraction, multiplication, division! But trying to figure out who is causing all the noise next door is one problem she can't quite work out. Is it a marching band? A basketball team in the middle of a practice? Could it be a family of elephants?
OBI'S MUD BATH
By Annette Schottenfeld, Illustrated by Folasade Adeshida
Picture Book (ages 3-8), Spork Imprint - Clear Fork Publishing
Zimbabwe is having a drought, and it's too hot for Obi, a little rhino. On the hunt for a cool, oooey. gooey mud bath, he gets his snout stuck in one mess after another. Finally, Obi realizes that teamwork and some fancy moves with his new friends - an ostrich, giraffe, and elephant - might just help beat the heat. This story is based on an actual event.
T. REXES CAN'T TIE THEIR SHOES
Picture Book (ages 3-8), Random House
Follow a hilarious alphabet of animals, and see all the things they can't do but kids can--from doing gymnastics to flipping pancakes to playing a xylophone. Along the way, young readers will learn that it's okay if they can't do everything; they can still have a LOT of fun trying.
HOW TO WEAR A SARI
Picture Book (ages 4-7), HMH Books/Versify
Being a little kid isn’t always fun and games. Sometimes, it’s downright annoying. When a little girl tires of being treated like she’s too little, she sets out to prove to her family that she can do ANYTHING she puts her mind to . . . including putting on a colorful twinkly sari. Sure, they’re long and unwieldy—but that only means her family will be even more impressed when she puts it on all by herself. This delightful story is sure to capture any kid’s obsession with growing up, dressing up, and learning new things – even if it means making a couple of mistakes along the way.
DANCING IN THATHA'S FOOTSTEPS
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Yali Books
Varun wants to learn Bharatanatyam, a classical dance from India. He's in a dilemma because, well, boys don't dance, do they? His grandfather, who was once a dancer, thinks otherwise. Does Varun sign up for dance lessons and follow in Thatha's footsteps?
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
In the tradition of Tomie dePaola’s Quiet and Scott Magoon’s Breathe comes this lyrical, meditative picture book about listening and mindfulness.
BEEP! WOOF! VROOM!
Isn’t the world a noisy place?
But what if you stop,
close your eyes,
Can you hear each sound?
Can you listen past the noise
and hear the quiet, too? PREORDER Simon & Schuster!
WHEN WATER MAKES MUD,: A STORY OF REFUGEE CHILDREN
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Blue Whale Press
When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children is dedicated to the refugee children in Uganda and celebrates their ingenuity in creating toys from found items. Publisher’s profits from When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children are being donated to UNICEF.
PREORDER Barnes & Noble!
By Vicky Fang
Chapter Book (ages 5-8), Scholastic
Blossom Valley is opening a new community center! But they need to generate buzz for the grand opening. Layla and the Bots know how to help: they will build a cupcake machine for the party! But will their invention be a piece of cake... or a recipe for disaster? With full-color artwork on every page, speech bubbles throughout, and a fun DIY activity that readers can try at home, this early chapter book series brings kid-friendly STEAM topics to young readers!
By Vicky Fang
Early Graphic Novel (ages 5-8), HarperAlley
In this new early graphic novel from the I Can Read Comics line, robots Blink and Block join forces to find treasure, and discover a friendship along the way.
THE SHIP OF STOLEN WORDS
By Fran Wilde
Middle Grade (ages 6-10), Abrams
A group of goblins steal a boy’s ability to apologize in this lively middle-grade fantasy from Nebula Award-winning author Fran Wilde No matter how much trouble Sam gets in, he knows that he can always rely on his magic word, “sorry,” to get him out of a pinch. Teasing his little sister too much? Sorry! Hurt someone’s feelings in class? Sorry! Forgot to do his chores? So sorry! But when goblins come and steal his “sorry,” he can’t apologize for anything anymore. To get his “sorry” back and stop the goblins from stealing anyone else’s words, Sam will have to enter the goblins’ world and try and find the depository of stolen words. There, he meets Tolver, a young goblin who’s always dreamed of adventure. Tolver longs to use the goblin technology—which can turn words into fuel to power ships—to set off and explore, but his grandma warns him that the goblin prospectors will only bring trouble. Together, Tolver and Sam will have to outsmart the cruel prospectors and save the day before Sam’s parents ground him forever!
WALKING FOR WATER: HOW ONE BOY STOOD UP FOR GENDER EQUALITY
By Susan Hughes, Illustrated by Nicole Miles
Picture Book (ages 7-10), Kids Can Press
In this inspiring story of individual activism (based on a true story of a Malawian boy), Victor recognizes gender inequality when his sister, Linesi, must stop attending school --- and decides to do something about it.
BOTH CAN BE TRUE
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), HarperCollins
Ash struggles to fit a fluid gender into a society that loves binaries. Daniel has a hard time keeping his huge emotions in check in a world that says boys should never cry. Together, they risk everything to save Chewbarka, an ancient Pomeranian who leaks pee and has a permanent blep and sneezes when she’s excited.
MUCH ADO ABOUT BASEBALL
Middle Grade (ages 8-13), Yellow Jacket/Little Bee Books
In this companion novel to Midsummer’s Mayhem, math and baseball combine with savory snacks to cause confusion and calamity in the town of Comity. Trish moves to the town of Comity, MA and finds herself on the same summer baseball team as her math competition rival, Ben. The two 12-year-olds have to set aside their dislike for each other in order to help their team win, but the team is terrible. When a booklet of math puzzles claiming to reveal the “ultimate answer” arrives, Trish and Ben start solving them, and the team’s luck seems to turn around…or is that because of the unusual snacks they’re getting from the new snack shop in town, the Salt Shaker? When excitement then leads to tragedy, can Trish and Ben find the answer to the ultimate puzzle, or will they strike out when it counts the most?
SISTERS OF THE SNAKE
Young Adult, (ages 13+), Harper Collins
A lost princess. A dark puppet master. And a race against time—before all is lost. Princess Rani longs for a chance to escape her gilded cage and prove herself. Ria is a street urchin, stealing just to keep herself alive. When these two lives collide, everything turns on its head: because Ria and Rani, orphan and royal, are unmistakably identical. A deal is struck to switch places—but danger lurks in both worlds, and to save their home, thief and princess must work together. Or watch it all fall into ruin. Deadly magic, hidden temples, and dark prophecies: Sisters of the Snake is an action-packed, immersive fantasy that will thrill fans of The Crown’s Game and The Tiger at Midnight.
PREORDER Harper Collins!
ANIMALS GO VROOM!
By Abi Cushman
Picture Book (ages 2-5), Viking/Penguin Random House
Hiss! Screech! Roar! It’s a noisy day in Bumperville! But are the sounds what you think they are? That Honk! must surely be a goose. But turn the page and it’s the taxi that a goose is driving! Using cleverly placed die-cuts, this inventive book hints at what is making the sound, but with each turn of the page, it’s an eye-opening surprise and part of an unfolding story that is part guessing game and part giggle-inducing caper.
PREORDER Author Website!
BELLA'S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
By Ana Siqueira, Illustrated by Geraldine Rodriguez
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Beaming Books
Bella wants to find out what she's good at. But she quits everything she (barely) tries because she's a desastre. Her somersaults are like jirafas rolling downhill, her piano playing like elephant feet. When she decides to learn how to bake with her abuela, her first attempt at dulce de leche frosting looks like cocodrilo skin. She must learn it's okay to try again or she won't be good at anything. #growthmindset
ISABEL AND HER COLORES GO TO SCHOOL
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Sleeping Bear Press
English, with its blustery blues and whites, just feels wrong to Isabel. She prefers the warm oranges and pinks of Spanish. As she prepares for class at a new school, she knows she's going to have to learn--and she would rather not! Her first day is uncomfortable, until she discovers there's more than one way to communicate with friends. This is a universal story about feeling new and making new friends. English/Spanish edition.
MY SCHOOL STINKS
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Philomel
A hilarious back-to-school story told through journal entries about a boy who accidentally winds up at a school for animals, but soon realizes friends can come in all shapes, sizes, and species! Perfect for fans of Ryan T. Higgins’s We Don’t Eat Our Classmates and Elise Parsley’s If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t!
MIMIC MAKERS: BIOMIMICRY INVENTORS INSPIRED BY NATURE
By Kristen Nordstrom, Illustrated by Paul Boston
Picture Book (ages 6-9 years), Charlesbridge
How did a bird help one of the fastest trains on the planet “fly” faster and quieter? How did a beetle that lives in the desert, teach humans how to collect water from the morning mist? Meet ten inventors from around the globe who have studied nature, made discoveries, and invented something useful that helps humans and our planet.
MARVIN'S MONSTER DIARY 4: NEIGHBORHOOD BULLY (BUT WE STAND UP, BIG TIME)
By Dr. Raun Melmed and Caroline Bliss Larsen, Illustrated by Arief Kriembonga
Chapter Book (ages 7-11), Familius
It’s the clawsomest time of year: summer vacation! All Marvin and his friends want is to enjoy their turf—the park across the street—and play superheroes to their hearts’ content. But when bullies arise, so does conflict. Suddenly a power struggle erupts over playground dibs. It’s Marvin and his band of Super Scarers versus Drake the Dreadful and his too-cool-for-school henchmen! But the monsters discover that bullying isn’t always black and white, good guys and bad guys. By using tools such as ST4 and a circular role-playing game, Marvin and his friends discover that defeating bullying doesn’t always mean defeating bullies. In fact, with a little help from your friends, anyone can rise to the occasion. Marvin's hilarious doodles and diary entries chronicle his delightful adventures, misadventures, and eventual triumph in a funny, relatable way. It's the one series on ADHD and associated issues that kids will actually want to read!
RHINOS IN NEBRASKA: THE AMAZING DISCOVERY OF THE ASHFALL FOSSIL BEDS
By Alison Pearce Stevens, Illustrated by Matt Huynh
Middle Grade Nonfiction (ages 8-12), Henry Holt
Twelve million years ago, rhinos, elephants, and giraffe-like camels roamed North America. They would gather at nearby watering holes—eating, drinking, and trying not to become someone else’s lunch. But one day, in what we now know as Nebraska, everything changed. The explosion of a supervolcano a thousand miles away sent a blanket of ash that buried these animals for millennia. Until 1953, when a seventeen-year-old farm worker made an unbelievable discovery. Rhinos in Nebraska tells the story of the Ashfall Fossil Beds, where more than two hundred perfectly preserved fossils have been found. Step into the past with author Alison Pearce Stevens and uncover the mysteries of Ashfall.
THE VERDIGRIS PAWN
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), HarperCollins
A Boy Who Doesn't Know His Power . . .
A Girl With A Gift Long Thought Lost . . .
A Land Ready For Revolution. . .
The heir to the Land should be strong. Fierce. Ruthless. Everything Beau is not, according to his father. Beau has spent his whole life locked away, useless, just another pawn in his father’s quest for ultimate power. Until Beau meets a girl who shows him the secrets his father has kept hidden and reveals just how brutal and merciless his reign has been. For the first time ever, Beau begins to question everything he’s been told and sets off in search of a rebel who might hold the answer to making things right. All the while, sinister forces are lurking in the shadows, and the future of the Land and its people hangs perilously in the balance. Beau soon realizes that the key may be within himself—but only if he can find the power to go from pawn to player and save the Land before it’s torn apart. Debut author Alysa Wishingrad weaves a poignant tale about how appearances aren’t always what they seem and how real power can come from the most unlikely places.
PREORDER Harper Collins!
BFF OR NRF (NOT REALLY FRIENDS)? A GIRLS GUIDE TO HAPPY FRIENDSHIPS
Middle Grade (ages 8-13), Familius
Friendships can be challenging! "BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)" tackles friendship struggles head-on, leaving readers (ages 8-13) informed and empowered as they navigate the tricky world of friendship. Through fun activities, quizzes, and real stories, BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends) helps girls decipher healthy vs. unhealthy relationship skills and how to navigate struggles. But more importantly, this book gives girls a new perspective on friendship and the role they play in creating positive change.
JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA
Middle Grade (ages 9-13), Scholastic
Meet Josephine, the most loveable mischief-maker in Barbados, in a magical, heartfelt adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology. Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That's why she makes a habit of scaring his new girlfriends away. She's desperate to make it onto her school's cricket team because she'll get to play her favorite sport AND use the cricket matches to distract Daddy from dating. But when Coach Broomes announces that girls can't try out for the team, the frustrated Josephine cuts into a powerful silk cotton tree and accidentally summons a bigger problem into her life . . . The next day, Daddy brings home a new catch, a beautiful woman named Mariss. And unlike the other girlfriends, this one doesn't scare easily. Josephine knows there's something fishy about Mariss but she never expected her to be a vengeful sea spirit eager to take her place as her father's first love! Can Josephine convince her friends to help her and use her cricket skills to save Daddy from Mariss's clutches before it's too late?
PREORDER Author website!
THE RIVER HAS TEETH
By Erica Waters
Young Adult (13+), HarperTeen
When her sister goes missing in a nature park, Natasha turns to Della, a local girl rumored to be a witch, for help finding her. But Della is hiding a secret: she believes her mother, who was turned into a monster by a spell gone wrong, is responsible for the girl's disappearance.
PREORDER Harper Collins!
YOU AND ME AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Young Adult (13+), Scholastic US
"An addictive, smart, and swoony YA love story - perfect for fans of Gayle Forman and Adam Silvera.” Hannah Ashton wakes up to silence. The city is empty, except for one other person: the infuriatingly charming Leo Sterling. Stuck with only each other, Hannah and Leo have to adjust to a world with no friends, no parents, and no school. They start to change each other in ways they never expected: 80’s-rock-obsessed Leo is a burst of honesty and fun who draws Hannah out, and perfect, obedient ballerina Hannah’s got Leo thinking about someone other than himself for the first time. Together, they search for answers amid crushing isolation. At first, their empty world appears harmless . . . but it’s not. Because nothing in the city is quite as it seems, and if Hannah and Leo don’t figure out what’s going on, they could be torn apart forever.
USHA AND THE BIG DIPPER
Picture Book (ages 3-6), Charlesbridge
When sisters Usha and Aarti look up at the stars, they see different things. Aarti sees the Big Dipper, but Usha sees the Big DIGGER. And cousin Gloria sees the Big Kite! Could they all be right? A playful introduction to geometry and spatial relationships, featuring Indian American characters and a note about cultures and constellations.
Picture Book (ages 3-8), Barefoot Books
A multicultural counting book in which ten different families prepare different dumplings for a neighborhood potluck.
Picture Book (ages 3-8), Philomel
GOODNIGHT GANESHA is a bedtime book set in India that follows two Indian-American kids and their grandparents' nighttime routine.
WHERE THREE OCEANS MEET
Picture Book (ages 3-8), Abrams
A picture book about a girl who travels with her mother and grandmother to the tip of India and learns about the strength and love that women pass down to their daughters across borders and oceans.
CLOVIS KEEPS HIS COOL
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Page Street Kids
Clovis is a bull, not a bully. But when some old rivals re-enter his life and begin to heckle him incessantly, can he keep from losing his temper?
THE GREAT STINK: HOW JOSEPH BAZALGETTE SOLVED LONDON'S POOP POLLUTION PROBLEM
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Margaret K. McElderry Books
It's the summer of 1858, and the city of London STINKS! What's creating that dastardly smell? The answer is gross: the river is full of poop. Engineer Joseph Bazalgette has a grand plan to clean the river by creating a new sewer system––if only the government will let him build it. With tips on preventing pollution today, this look at science, history, and what one person can do to create change will impress and astound readers who want to help make their planet a cleaner, happier place to live.
MOOSE AND GOOSE ON A BUS
By Grace Diane
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Friesen Press
A sarcastic Goose loves spring and defends all that goes with it. Bruce, the bus driver hates spring, and Moose just wants to make his friends happy. Moose and Goose On A Bus will be enjoyed by all ages and contains undercurrents of humour that will grab anyone.
TRICK OR TREAT, BUGS TO EAT
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Sourcebooks Explore
An adorable rhyming Halloween book with educational nonfiction elements woven in, perfect for classrooms and libraries! Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me lots of BUGS to eat! Follow along as a young bat takes flight on Halloween night and eats lots of delicious bugs along the way! Includes educational backmatter with lots of fun facts about bats and their favorite insects.
BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: THE ART & LIFE OF AMRITA SHER-GIL
By Meera Sriram, Illustrated by Ruchi Bakshi Sharma
Picture Book (ages 6-10), Penny Candy Books
A picture book biography of Amrita Sher-Gil, an Indian-Hungarian artist who broke several barriers at a time of few women artists to become a pioneer of modern Indian art.
Middle Grade (ages 7-12), Sourcebooks
In this illustrated, modern take on The Phantom Tollbooth meets Harold and the Purple Crayon, a 12-year-old artist named Zora finds herself transported to Pencilvania, a magical world where everything she's ever drawn has come to life. It's a strange, funny, and dangerous place!
BIG APPLE DIARIES
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), Roaring Brook Press
In Big Apple Diaries, a heartfelt diary-style graphic memoir by Alyssa Bermudez, a young New Yorker doodles her way through middle school—until the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack leaves her wondering if she can ever be a kid again.
CARRY ME HOME
By Janet Fox
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Two sisters struggle to keep their father’s disappearance a secret in this tender middle grade novel that’s perfect for fans of Katherine Applegate and Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Twelve-year-old Lulu and her younger sister, Serena, have a secret. As Daddy always says, “it’s best if we keep it to ourselves,” and so they have. But hiding your past is one thing. Hiding where you live—and that your Daddy has gone missing—is harder. At first Lulu isn’t worried. Daddy has gone away once before and he came back. But as the days add up, with no sign of Daddy, Lulu struggles to take care of all the responsibilities they used to manage as a family. Lulu knows that all it takes is one slip-up for their secret to come spilling out, for Lulu and Serena to be separated, and for all the good things that have been happening in school to be lost. But family is all around us, and Lulu must learn to trust her new friends and community to save those she loves and to finally find her true home.
KINGDOM OF SECRETS
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), Delacorte Press
In the kingdom of Oren, Prismena longs to fly hot-air balloons, but her father insists she keep her feet on the ground. When he's arrested for a crime he didn't commit--and one that Prismena did--she must decide between following the rules and following her heart. Her decision will catapult her on an adventure that challenges everything she knows about her identity, her kingdom, and even her beloved balloons.
HIDE AND DON'T SEEK: AND OTHER VERY SCARY STORIES
Middle Grade (ages 8-13), HarperCollins/Quill Tree
If you're feeling brave, turn the page. A game of hide-and-seek goes on far too long... A look-alike doll makes itself right at home… A school talent show act leaves the audience aghast… And a summer at camp takes a turn for the braaaains… This collection of all-new spooky stories is sure to keep readers up past their bedtimes, laughing, gasping, and looking over their shoulders to see what goes bump in the night.
YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN DELAYED
Young Adult (12+), Bloomsbury YA
When Jenny Waters boards her flight back from New York in 1995, the biggest things on her mind are applying to Columbia and reuniting with her new boyfriend. But when she and the other passengers disembark in St. Louis, they’re told that their plane disappeared — twenty-five years ago.
A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN
Young Adult (ages 14-18), Flux
When an assassin kills Princess Jiara's older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost torments their loved ones, and the violence won’t stop until the killer is brought to justice. For political reasons, a young, foreign king requests that Jiara take her sister's place as his betrothed. Jiara’s terrified: due to dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, she believes her chances of learning a new language are slim. But then she discovers evidence that her sister's assassin came from the king's country. Marrying him would allow Jiara to hunt the murderer and save her family from Scilla's bloodthirsty spirit. But it will also make Jiara the killer’s next target.
10 LITTLE TRACTORS
Board Book (ages 0-4), Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Ten busy little tractors go about their day, counting down from ten to one as each vehicle peels off and leaves the pack.
BEFORE WE STOOD TALL: FROM SMALL SEED TO MIGHTY TREE
Picture Book (ages 3-9), Kids Can Press
Before We Stood Tall: From Small Seed to Mighty Tree, traces a tree’s life cycle by moving backwards in time. Readers uncover the wonders that turn a tiny seed into a mature giant and learn about how the interconnected forest community helps nourish such giants along their journey.
THE SECRET CODE INSIDE YOU
Picture Book (ages 3-6), Little Bee Books
A rhyming picture book introduction to DNA that explains the idea of genetics, but also touches on the limits of genes and how our choices also determine who we become.
A SIMPLE CHRISTMAS ON THE FARM
By Phyllis Alsdurf, Illustrated by Lisa Hunt
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Augsburg Books
When a little girl finds out her family is planning a "simple" Christmas this year, she's not so sure about it. But soon she gets into the spirit of simplicity and generosity by making presents and Christmas decorations with her parents and grandparents on their family farm. She and her mama share Christmas cookies with friends they meet, inviting everyone to join them for Christmas in their little red barn.
CHICKEN FRANK, DINOSAUR!
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Albert Whitman
In this quirky tale with a STEM foundation, Chicken Frank wants to convince his doubting barnyard friends that he is a dinosaur. Cluckity-roar! But when results of a DNA test inspire Frank to hold a reunion with alligators, will Frank become a tasty chicken nugget?
FOR EVERY LITTLE THING
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Eerdmans Publishers
Arranged from waking up to falling asleep, For Every Little Thing is a warm exploration of the day and its delights. This inspirational anthology gathers classic selections, modern prayers, and new poems from multiple cultures and faiths. From Emily Dickinson to Amma, from Ken Nesbitt to Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro, fifty-one voices encourage children to be present and thankful at all hours. With accessible language and richly detailed illustrations, this book will awaken a sense of gratitude in readers of all ages.
GOOD NIGHT, OPPY!
By James McGowan, Illustrated by Graham Carter
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Boyds Mills & Kane
Learn all about the Mars Opportunity Rover “Oppy” in this fictionalized account of the space exploration robot’s time on the red planet. Mixing humor with solid space and rover facts, this picture book gives an inside look into the Opportunity’s time spent on Mars. An interplanetary detective, Oppy spent 15 years on the red planet taking thousands of pictures and making groundbreaking discoveries that she transmitted to scientists and engineers back on Earth. From joyriding on Olympus Mons, to racing away from a treacherous dust storm, Oppy’s adventure in space–combined with her grit and perseverance — will inspire and educate young readers of all ages.
PREORDER Penguin Random House!
SOUL FOOD SUNDAY
By Winsome Bingham, Illustrated by C.G. Esperanza
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Abrams Kids
A young boy’s first time helping prepare food for his family’s weekly gathering.
LIGHTS DAY AND NIGHT: THE SCIENCE OF HOW LIGHT WORKS
Nonfiction Picture Book (ages 5-8), Kids Can Press
The second book in the delightfully informative Science of How series, award-winning author Susan Hughes's engaging narrative gives young children an age-appropriate overview of the science of light.
WHEN LANGSTON DANCES
By Kaija Langley, Illustrated by Keith Mallett
Picture Book (ages 5-8), Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Young Readers Imprint
Langston likes basketball, but he loves ballet more! Langston navigates his first day of ballet class and cherishes the opportunity to dance.
THE SECOND LIFE OF TREES
By Aimée M. Bissonette, Illustrated by Nic Jones
Picture Book (ages 5-9), Albert Whitman
This book explores the “second life” of trees – what happens to them after they die, snap off, or are uprooted. Not everyone understands that trees do so much for forest flora and fauna after they die. They provide homes, food, and shelter for animals. They provide nutrients for the soil. Fallen logs are hotspots for all sorts of forest activity!
DEAR MR. DICKENS
By Nancy Churnin, Illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe
Picture Book (ages 5-10), Albert Whitman
The true story of Eliza Davis, a Jewish woman who wrote to Charles Dickens, criticizing his portrayal of Fagin in Oliver Twist and asking him to fight anti-Semitism by creating sympathetic Jewish characters.
A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE, THE STORY OF HENRIETTA SZOLD
Picture Book (ages 5-10), Creston/Lerner Books
The true story of the determined woman who created a solution for every social problem; Henrietta Szold founded the first night school in America, the first charity founded and run by women (Hadassah) and, in her 80s, rescued thousands of children from the Holocaust.
FAIRY TALE SCIENCE
By Sarah Albee, Illustrated by Bill Robinson
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), OddDot/Macmillan
Can a pair of glass slippers survive a night of ballroom dancing? Could Rapunzel's hair support the weight of a prince? Can straw really be turned to gold? The book includes 25 chapters that feature a fairy tale and that ask a scientific question about the tale, followed by fun, hands-on experiments kids can perform at home.
RECIPE FOR DISASTER
By Aimee Lucido
Middle Grade (ages 8-14), Houghton Mifflin/Versify
RECIPE FOR DISASTER is a hybrid of prose, verse, and recipes about a 12-year-old girl whose best friend's Bat Mitzvah inspires her to plan one for herself. But when she finds out that her Jewish and non-Jewish family is split on whether she is "Jewish enough" for one, she takes matters into her own hands to plan the rite of passage she craves, discovering her own Jewish identity along the way.
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THE CIRCUS AT THE END OF THE SEA
Middle Grade (ages 10-14), Harper Collins
Amidst murals that come to life and trampolines made of starlight, Madeline Adriana knows that she’s finally found the source of the magic she's seen her whole life. And once she meets Skeeter Chen (the Fastest Boy on Wheels) and Ophelia the mimic octopus...well, maybe she's even found a place where, for the first time ever, she can truly belong. So when she learns that Il Circo delle Strade, the street circus that houses the magic, is ill, of course she offers to help. The journey will take her to the end of the sea and back. Along the way, Maddy must find a way to face the frightening side of magic as well as her own deepest fears if she is to save the place she hopes to finally call home. Part love letter to Venice Beach, part an ode to the ocean, and part fantastical adventure, The Circus at the End of the Sea is perfect for anyone who loves a blend of grit and glitter.
THE WOLF'S CURSE
Middle Grade (ages 10-14), Greenwillow/HarperCollins
Twelve-year-old Gauge’s life has been cursed since the day he witnessed an invisible Great White Wolf steal his grandpapá’s soul, preventing it from reaching the Sea-in-the-Sky and sailing into eternity. When the superstitious residents of Bouge-by-the-Sea accuse the boy of crying wolf, he joins forces with another orphan to prove his innocence while navigating their shared grief in a journey that ultimately reveals life-changing truths about the wolf––and death. Narrated in a voice reminiscent of The Book Thief, this story is perfect for fans of Orphan Island and The Book of Boy.
MEENA'S MINDFUL MOMENT
By Tina Athaide
Picture Book (ages 2-7), Page Street Books
A picture book that follows a young girl whose endless energy helps her have fun...until her inability to sit still gets her in trouble. When her grandfather reveals he has his own "hurly-burly hullabaloo" too, they work together to help Sita slow down and find her balance.
Picture Book (ages 2-8), Little, Brown
Turkey woke up c-c-cold. He wheezed, “It’s ten degrees!” I need to b-b-bundle up, before I f-f-freeze!” Sheep is shivering, Chicken is chilly, and Cow is quivering! Lucky for them, bundled-up Turkey is generous and shares his warm clothes with each of his barnyard friends. But once he’s down to just his birthday suit, what’s a cold turkey to do? With rollicking rhythm and giggle-inducing illustrations, this heartwarming story of kindness is sure to be a hit with young readers at Thanksgiving, through snowy winter months, and all year-round!
LOVE MADE ME MORE
Picture Book (ages 2-8), Two Lions
This picture book follows the relationship of a boy and a paper crane over time.
KING SEJONG INVENTS AN ALPHABET
By Carol Kim, Illustrated by Cindy Kang
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Albert Whitman
In 1443, King Sejong is determined to invent a Korean alphabet to achieve his dream of bringing literacy to all Koreans. The long-held practice of using Chinese characters restricts reading and writing to only the educated elite. His ambitious plan tests his health and arouses fierce resistance from the upper classes. Learn how this compassionate king defies the odds in his quest to empower all of his subjects.
LITTLE LOON FINDS HIS VOICE
Picture Book (ages 4-8), The Collective Book Studio
Ooo aaa woo woo! Papa Loon’s voice calls out long and strong across the water. He warns of danger. He defends his family’s home. He even wards off predators. But Peep! Eep! Squeak! Little Loon’s voice is nothing like his Papa’s. When an eagle attacks, will Little Loon find his voice in time? A water bird found throughout much of North America, loons are famous for their echoing calls. Little Loon Finds His Voice is the endearing, coming-of-age tale of one little loon finding his voice, and with it, his place in the world. Breathtaking illustrations transport readers to misty lakes and towering pines, and informative loon facts at the end detail the life and habits of these enchanting birds.
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A VOTE FOR SUSANNA - THE FIRST FEMALE MAYOR
By Karen M. Greenwald, Illustrated Sian James
Picture Book (ages 5-9), Albert Whitman
A Vote for Susanna: The First Woman Mayor is about what happened in 1887 when a group of men in Kansas put a woman's name on their city's ballot as a joke to discourage women from voting--as told to a boy by his grandmother who remembered the incident.
TAD LINCOLN'S RESTLESS WRIGGLE: PANDEMONIUM AND PATIENCE IN THE PRESIDENT'S HOUSE
Picture Book (ages 6-10), Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills & Kane
TAD LINCOLN’S RESTLESS WRIGGLE just wouldn’t quit. Much to the delight of his father but not so much to anybody else. Abe guided Tad’s wriggle on visits to hospitals, to the telegraph office, and to army camps. Tad soon put his endless energy to good use. He helped his father through the tough times of the Civil War— greeting visitors, raising money for bandages, and keeping his father company late into the night. This special bond between father and son was plain to see, and people discovered that Tad had wriggled his way into their hearts as well.
By Alex Perry
Middle Grade (ages 8-13), Little Brown for Young Readers
After his heart attack, Jeremiah wants a heart transplant for his twelfth birthday. Instead, he gets a pig named J6. J6's siblings died in lab, and he hopes that Jeremiah can be his new brother. Neither of them know the real reason they were brought together, but when the secret comes out they'll protect each other at all costs. Their lives depend on it.
JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF THE ABYSS
By London Shah
Young Adult (ages 12+), Little, Brown for Young Readers
After breaking her innocent father out of the wretched prison the authorities had thrown him in, Leyla and Hashem McQueen are finally reunited—but at a terrible cost. Now separated from the boy who has her heart, and labeled the nation’s number one enemy, Leyla and her father must risk illegal travel through unchartered waters in their quest for answers. Across Britain, the fallout of Hashem McQueen’s escape has escalated tensions between Anthropoid and non-Anthropoid communities, bringing them to an all-time high. As Leyla and her friends fight to uncover the startling truths about their world, she discovers her own shocking past—and the real reason behind her father's abduction and arrest. But just as these long-buried truths finally see the light, the authorities' terrible future plans are also revealed. And if Leyla and the others fail to stop them in time, the abyss could stay in the dark forever.
Picture Book (ages 5-9), Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Of all the kids in her class, only Mira makes Violet's heart skip. If only they could adventure together! But every time Mira comes near, Violet goes shy. As Valentine's Day approaches Violet is determined to show Mira just how special she is. Charlene Chua's warm, luminous watercolors bring to life this sweet and gentle #ownvoices picture book about friendship, love, and the courage it takes to share your heart. PREORDER TBA
A TRUE WONDER: THE COMIC BOOK HERO WHO CHANGED EVERYTHING
Picture Book (ages 7+), HMH/Clarion
Wonder Woman became an instant hit when she started fighting crime eighty years ago. But where did she come from? And how did she become a such a powerful symbol for strong women and girls everywhere? Discover Wonder Woman’s fascinating, behind-the-scenes story and uncover the little-known facts about her role in the real fight for equality and justice in this exciting and gorgeously illustrated book about the creation and evolution of one of first and most beloved female comic book heroes.
THE ART OF RUNNING AWAY
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), Jolly Fish Press
The Art of Running Away is a family drama pitched as From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler set in London. When Maisie reconnects with her estranged 22-year-old brother abroad while trying to save her family's portrait studio from bankruptcy, she uncovers a truth about her parents that changes everything.
MIND LIKE A DIAMOND
Young Adult (ages 13+), Sword & Silk Books
A skeptical gymnast teetering on the brink of eviction enters a cursed competition to save her beloved French Quarter apartment. Only, you don’t have to believe in Magic for it to kill you.
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Updated: Aug 7, 2021
If you're looking for children's books by age, gift ideas for kids and teens, or upcoming book releases in 2021, this is the children's book list for you!