Updated: Jan 7
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!
I am so honored to share these amazing books with you, especially during a time when we want to connect more than ever with the people we love, and children are in need of books in their homes, since that's where they are spending so much of their time!
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) Review the list below of amazing books for children ages 0-18! Then choose one or both of the options below to earn entries in the challenge!
2) OPTION 1: Using the PREORDER links, preorder (which means to order a book before its release date) 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!)
3) 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!)
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!)
4) 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!
Some books later in the year do not currently have cover art or preorder links, so be sure to subscribe to www.tamaragirardi.com on the right side of the page to receive updates throughout the year (and of course, if you are selected as the winner, you must be subscribed to claim your prize).
Also, in addition to buying books for the kids in your life, please feel free to purchase books for yourself, your library, your local schools!
FINALLY, SHARE! SHARE! SHARE! It has been said that a rising tide in the book industry lifts all boats, so to speak. So let's boost that tide in 2021. We could all use a good year, don't you think?
Need some convincing? No problem. Here is a list of reasons you should participate! (If you are already on board and don't need convincing, feel free to skip ahead to the CHALLENGE BOOK LIST below!).
12 REASONS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
12 MONTHS OF BOOKS CHALLENGE!
1) Kids love getting mail. I mean LOVE!
2) Kids love getting new books.
3) (You see where I'm going with this). KIDS LOVE GETTING NEW BOOKS IN THE MAIL!
4) Preordering is one of the best ways to support your favorite creators! Did you know sales in the first week a book is released are crucial for authors and illustrators? Preorders count toward first week sales, so preorder books often!
5) The challenge keeps you connected with the kids you love, even if we have to social distance from them! Make it a tradition that when the new book arrives, you hop on video chat and read it together!
7) Now, for the serious stuff: reading regularly is a major indicator of future academic success.
8) Reading helps make kids more empathetic and understanding of others, and we could use a LOT more of that in our world!
9) Kids are limited in their school and some local libraries because of the pandemic. Having books at home right now is CRUCIAL.
10) The kids in your life will love you more, and, I mean, come on - #WINNING!
11) The challenge is yours to change however you see fit. Send a book once a month, once a quarter, or even once a year. Send 12 books to 1 child or 1 book each to 12 children. Do what works for you!
12) The publishing industry, like so many others, is facing many challenges right now. Your participation helps ensure creators on this list and even those not on this list can continue bringing wonderful books to children all around the world. THANK YOU!
*Creators, if you're just learning about the challenge now and would like to be included,
please complete the form here! THANK YOU!
THE CHALLENGE BOOK LIST FOR 2021
The list below is organized by month with all the details you need to fall in love with each selection - cover art, links to learn more about the creators, blurbs about the books, and of course, PREORDER LINKS!
And give these creators some love by preordering their amazing books!
A FATHER'S LOVE
Board Book (ages 0-4), Philomel
This heartwarming book celebrates the love that fathers and children share in the animal kingdom, while also teaching young readers about colors. Perfect for new babies, new fathers, baby shower gifts, Father's Day gifts, and for kids who love their dads on any old day.
DON'T HUG DOUG
Picture Book (ages 3-7), G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Meet Doug, an ordinary kid who doesn't like hugs, in this fun and exuberant story which aims to spark discussions about bodily autonomy and consent. Doug doesn't like hugs. He thinks hugs are too squeezy, too squashy, too squooshy, too smooshy. He doesn't like hello hugs or goodbye hugs, game-winning home run hugs or dropped ice cream cone hugs, and he definitely doesn't like birthday hugs. He'd much rather give a high five--or a low five, a side five, a double five, or a spinny five. Yup, some people love hugs; other people don't. So how can you tell if someone likes hugs or not? There's only one way to find out: Ask! Because everybody gets to decide for themselves whether they want a hug or not.
EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS
By Joanna Ho
Picture Book (ages 3-7), HarperCollins
EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS: a young Taiwanese American girl wishes for bigger eyes but through loving relationships with female family members, realizes her eyes are beautiful.
FIRST DAY OF UNICORN SCHOOL
By Jess Hernandez, Illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum
Picture Book (ages 4-7), Capstone
Milly, a donkey with dreams of attending the prestigious unicorn school. With a few creative photos in her application, she’s accepted and must make it through the school without anyone realizing what she really is: a donkey in a party hat.
By Charles Trevino, Illustrated by Maribel Lechuga
Picture Book (ages 4-7), Charlesbridge
A mom, daughter and doll take a wintertime trip to the beach. Scruffy shoes, socks, sweater... scratchy, silly scarf. Step, Step, Sidestep... snow.
OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND HIS GREEN BOOK
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Beaming Books
Victor Hugo Green opened the road for African Americans during segregation so they could enjoy vacations and travel when it was not easy or safe for them.
TEN BEAUTIFUL THINGS
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Charlesbridge
Lily and her grandmother search for ten beautiful things as they take a long car ride to Iowa and Lily’s new home with Gram. At first, Lily sees nothing beautiful in the April slush and cloudy sky. Soon though, Lily can see beauty in unexpected places, from the smell of spring mud to a cloud shaped like a swan to a dilapitated barn. A furious rainstorm mirrors Lily’s anxiety, but as it clears Lily discovers the tenth beautiful thing: Lily and Gram and their love for each other. Ten Beautiful Things leaves the exact cause of Lily’s move ambiguous, making it perfect for anyone helping a child navigate change, whether it be the loss of a parent, entering or leaving a foster home, or moving.
PREORDER Penguin Random House!
Chapter Book, (ages 5-8), Capstone
Lito is proud of his Filipino heritage, and he's one of the best dancers in his folk dance group. He and his sister, Nenita, plan to perform at their school's spring festival. When snickering classmates threaten to derail Lito's confidence, he needs to dig deep and keep dancing.
TAKE BACK THE BLOCK
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), Random House Children's
Eleven-year-old Wes makes activism personal when his neighborhood is targeted by a powerful developer. Readers will follow Wes on a journey of trying to save his home and navigate his changing friendships.
Middle Grade (ages 10+), Simon & Schuster/Aladdin
Perfect for fans of Hatchet and the I Survived series, this harrowing middle grade debut novel-in-verse from a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet tells the story of a young girl who wakes up one day to find herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town. When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone—left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned. With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten. As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie’s most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?
PREORDER Simon & Schuster!
By G.F. Miller
Young Adult (ages 12+), Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Charity is a Fairy Godmother. She doesn’t wear a poofy dress or go around waving a wand, but she does make sure the deepest desires of the student population at Jack London High School come true. And she knows what they want even better than they do because she can glimpse their perfect futures. But when Charity fulfills a glimpse that gets Vindhya crowned homecoming queen, it ends in disaster. Suddenly, every wish Charity has ever granted is called into question. Has she really been helping people? Where do these glimpses come from, anyway? What if she's not getting the whole picture? Making this existential crisis way worse, there's Noah—the adorkable and (in Charity's opinion) diabolical ex of one of her past clients—who blames her for sabotaging his Prom plans and claims her interventions are doing more harm than good. He demands that she stop granting wishes and help him get his girl back. At first, Charity has no choice but to play along. But soon, Noah becomes an unexpected ally in getting to the bottom of the glimpses. Before long, Charity dares to call him her friend…and even starts to wish he were something more. But can the Fairy Godmother ever get the Happily Ever After?
GIRL ON THE LINE
Young Adult (ages 13+), HarperTeen
A story that begins where too many others end, this stunningly written and unflinchingly authentic #ownvoices tale of love, loss, and hope will touch fans of All the Bright Places and Girl in Pieces. Life’s tough when you didn’t expect to be living it. But now that Journey has a future, she apparently also has to figure out what that future’s supposed to look like. Some days the pain feels as fresh as that day: the day she attempted suicide. Her parents don’t know how to speak to her. Her best friend cracks all the wrong jokes. Her bipolar II disorder feels like it swallows her completely. But other days—they feel like revelations. Like meeting the dazzling Etta, a city college student who is a world unto herself. Or walking into the office of the volunteer hotline, and discovering a community as simultaneously strong and broken as she is. Or uncovering the light within herself that she didn’t know existed.
PREORDER Harper Collins!
I MISS YOUR SUNNY SMILE
By Deb Adamson
Board Book (ages 0-3), Blue Manatee Press
"I miss your sunny smile. How'd you lose it? Where'd it go? Let's go searching for a while." Having a bad day is never fun, but it can be especially difficult for young children to understand that sad feelings are temporary. Through gentle rhymes and warm illustrations, we see a mother helping her son find his smile again.
SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED
Picture Book (ages 2-7), Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House
A pair of kids learn what it is really like to be squished together during one hilarious and eventful car ride! When Max and Molly can’t stop complaining about being squished in the back seat of the car, their clever mom knows exactly what to do–offer rides to their animal friends, who are happy to pile in and come along! As the back seat fills up with a wiggly piglet, two flitting ducklings, and three woofing puppies, soon Max and Molly are not only squished–they’re SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED! So when they notice Mom slowing down to wave at Scooter Mooter and his calves, Max and Molly don’t say a word–they hush-mush. Thankfully, Mom keeps driving–and after everyone’s dropped off and it’s time to hustle-bustle home, Max and Molly are happy to stretch out in the back seat of their suddenly gracious-spacious automobile.
A GIRL'S BILL OF RIGHTS
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Beaming Books
"I have the right to be bold, and mighty, and LOUD!" In a world where little girls must learn to stand tall, A Girl's Bill of Rights boldly declares the rights of every woman and girl: power, confidence, freedom, and consent. Author Amy B. Mucha and illustrator Addy Rivera Sonda present a diverse cast of characters standing up for themselves and proudly celebrating the joy and power of being a girl.
PREORDER Beaming Books!
HOME FOR A WHILE
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Magination Press
Calvin is in foster care, and he wants to trust someone, anyone, but is afraid to open his heart. He has lived in a lot of houses, but he still hasn’t found his home. When he moves in with Maggie, she shows him respect, offers him kindness, and makes him see things in himself that he’s never noticed before. Maybe this isn’t just another house, maybe this is a place Calvin can call home, for a while.
IT WILL BE OK
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Sourcebooks Kids
It Will Be OK is about an anxious, overwhelmed giraffe and his loyal zebra friend, whose patience and presence help him face his greatest fear head-on.
JAYDEN'S IMPOSSIBLE GARDEN
Picture Book (ages 4-9), Free Spirit
Jayden sees nature everywhere, but Mama doesn’t believe there’s nature in the city. With the help of his friend, Mr. Curtis, Jayden sets out to help Mama see what he sees.
HEADSTRONG HALLIE - THE STORY OF HALLIE MORSE DAGGETT, THE FIRST FEMALE "FIRE GUARD"
By Aimée M. Bissonette, Illustrated by David Hohn
Picture Book (ages 6-9), Sleeping Bear Press
Hallie Morse Daggett loved spending time outdoors, hiking among the tall trees of the forests in California's Siskiyou Mountains. She wasn't afraid of the bears, coyotes, and wildcats. But Hallie was afraid of fire and understood the threat it posed to the forests, wildlife, and people. And more than anything, she wanted to devote her life to protecting her beloved outdoors; she decided she would work for the US Forest Service. But in the 1880s the Forest Service didn't hire women, thinking they couldn't handle the physical challenges of the work or the isolation. But the Forest Service didn't know Hallie or how determined she could be. This picture-book biography tells the story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the first woman "fire guard" hired by the US Forest Service, whose hard work and dedication led the way for other women to join the Forest Service.
PREORDER Red Balloon Bookshop!
JUST BEING DALI: THE STORY OF ARTIST SALVADOR DALI
Picture Book (ages 5-10), Putnam
This kid-friendly picture book biography celebrates the irrepressible individuality of Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. Salvador Dalí just couldn't help being himself. When he was little, he wasn't like the other children; he was a daydreamer who liked to play pretend. When he grew up, he became an artist, but he didn't want to make art that looked like everyone else's. He became the most famous painter of his time after he made a picture of melting clocks. Here's the true story of the one and only Salvador Dalí, an artist who never stopped being himself.
By Megan Hoyt, Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
Picture Book (ages 6-10), Harper Collins' Quill Tree Press
To the entire world, Gino Bartali was merely a champion cyclist. But Gino’s greatest achievement was something he never told a soul—that he secretly worked with the Italian resistance to save hundreds of Jewish men, women, and children, and others, from certain death, using the one thing no authority would question: his bicycle.
A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON
By Kate Albus
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), Margaret Ferguson Books at Holiday House
Anna, Edmund, and William aren’t terribly upset by the death of their not-so-grandmotherly grandmother. But the children do need a guardian, and in the dark days of WWII London, those are in rather short supply. Could the mass wartime evacuation be the answer? It’s a preposterous plan, but off they go, keeping their predicament a secret, hoping to be placed in a temporary home that ends up being more… forever-ish. Moving from billet to billet, the children suffer cruel foster brothers, outdoor toilets, and empty tummies. They seek comfort in the village library, whose kind librarian, Nora Muller, would make an excellent guardian, except that the whereabouts of her German husband are currently unknown. But Nora’s cottage is a place of bedtime stories, fireplaces, and tea. Most important, it’s a place where someone thinks they all three hung the moon. Which is really all that matters.
PREORDER Holiday House!
RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE
By Rajani LaRocca
Middle Grade (ages 8-13), HarperCollins Quill Tree Books
A heartbreakingly hopeful #ownvoices novel in verse about an Indian American girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia. Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted—they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked—Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”—but they are a universe apart. Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick. Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma’s life. From Indies Introduce author Rajani LaRocca comes a radiant story about the ties that bind and how to go on in the face of unthinkable loss. This is the perfect next read for fans of Jasmine Warga and Thanhhà Lại.
THE AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY
Young Adult (ages 13+), Entangled Teen
I didn’t even want to go to the party. Seriously, I’d rather have stayed home with my librarian-witch grandmother and her mystical book club than go. But my best friend Skyler begged me. So I went. And it was the worst party of my life. Actually, it was the last party of my life. Not only was there something very strange about the band, but the lead singer bit me afterwards. And then took off with Skyler. Now I’m chasing down a band of dangerous vamps with my best guy friend Vaughn―the boy I’ve been secretly crushing on forever. But anything can happen on the road. I thought all I wanted was for things to change with Vaughn. For him to finally see the real me. But this wasn’t what I had in mind… Let the afterlife begin.
FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA
Young Adult (ages 13+), Holiday House
A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.
PREORDER Holiday House!
HOT BRITISH BOYFRIEND
By Kristy Boyce
Young Adult (ages 13-17), HarperTeen
Hot British Boyfriend centers on Ellie, a teen who is publicly rejected by her crush and joins a semester-long study abroad trip to England to escape the viral shame. Once there, she meets Willoughby, a gorgeous and charming British boy out of her dreams. But Ellie worries that she’s not interesting enough to keep his attention. As she devises new ways to connect with him, she has to decide whether she’s willing she lose herself to keep her new boyfriend.
WE ARE THE FIRE
By Sam Taylor
Young Adult (ages 13-18), Macmillan/Swoon Reads
Oksana and Pran weren't born fire-breathing demons... But then they were kidnapped, transformed to have power over flames, and forced to fight for the empire that conquered their homelands. Trapped in the heartless army, they have only each other to hold onto. Both yearn to reclaim their lives, but both have drastically different visions of what freedom looks like and what lines they will cross to obtain it. Worse, they discover that the only way to defeat the monsters who subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves. Perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes, We Are the Fire features fire magic, twisted alchemy, and ash-gray morals. Emily A. Duncan, the New York Times Bestselling author of Wicked Saints, calls it "bold and immersive... a strong new addition to the YA fantasy cannon."
By Nova McBee
Young Adult (ages 15-18+), Wise Wolf Books
She has many names – Octavia, Double 8, Phoenix, Josephine. She’s a math prodigy, a calculating genius and everyone wants her. In seventeen-year-old Jo River’s complicated world of numbers, there’s no such thing as coincidence. When she is betrayed by someone she loves, kidnapped by the world’s most wanted smuggler, and forced to use her talent to shore up a criminal empire, Jo deems her gift a curse—until she meets Red. Fellow captive and unlikely sage, Red teaches Jo to harness her true potential, so she can do more than just escape. Before he dies, Red reveals a secret about her enemies and makes her vow to right his wrongs. But Jo has a vow of her own. With help from Chan, a bitter billionaire, and Kai, his off-limits son, Jo rises into a new role, ready to take down those who ruined her life. Until a mathematical error comes back to haunt her with a threat much more dangerous than the criminals on the loose. To beat the odds, Jo must decide who she really is and if risking everything is worth it. After all, history is not made—it’s calculated.
EVERYONE'S SLEEPY BUT THE BABY
Board Book (ages 0-3), Familius
Sleepy little dog.
But the baby,
Yawn, yawn, yawn.
After a long day, the whole family is ready to hit the hay . . . except for the baby. Why is it so hard to get the baby to sleep? With hilarious illustrations that might hit a little too close to home for new parents, Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby is the perfect, true-to-life bedtime story that will help even the most reluctant sleeper wind down for bed.
COW SAYS MEOW
Novelty Picture Book (ages 2-8), HMH
Cow says . . .
Meow! Cat says . . .
Neigh! . . . or does it?
With bold graphic art and a punny narrator, this zany picture book is full of outrageously mixed-up animal sounds. Puns and wordplay will leave readers giggling through the roller-coaster of sounds all the way to the final pages featuring the correct animal noises. Cow Says Meow is a perfect read aloud for home, the classroom, or anywhere else, and will delight fans of Cece Bell’s I Yam a Donkey and David Ezra Stein's
I'M A HARE, SO THERE!
Picture Book (ages 3-8), HMHKids
When a chipmunk mistakes Hare for a rabbit, Hare puts him in his place. But actually, the chipmunk is a SQUIRREL. Or so he says. Ever wondered about the difference between a turtle and a tortoise? Or a sheep and goat? So have Rabbit and Chipmunk—er, I mean, Hare and Squirrel! This hilarious look at dynamic duos in the animal kingdom pokes fun at the lookalike animals we all love, while delivering a gentle lesson on appreciating differences and standing up for what you know to be true about yourself.
UNICORN AND YETI: FAIR AND SQUARE
Early Reader Graphic Novel (ages 4-6), Scholastic Acorn
Yeti thinks triangles are the best shape. But which shape is Unicorn's favorite? Unicorn paints a beautiful picture. Yeti worries his painting isn't as nice. Yeti baked a pie to share with his friend. What is the most-fair way to split the pie? Best friends Unicorn and Yeti have lots of fun in these three laugh-out-loud stories. With full-color artwork and easy-to-read text throughout, this adorable book is perfect for new readers!
THE BIG BEACH CLEANUP
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Albert Whitman
Cora plans to be a sandcastle-building champion, but when the contest is canceled due to litter at the beach, her plans come to a halt. Cora and Mama pull on gloves and get to work, but soon Cora realizes it will take more than two pairs of hands to solve a big problem. In a hopeful and relevant story, THE BIG BEACH CLEANUP introduces young readers to the impact of human trash on the environment. With practical solutions for tackling the plastic problem, this heartfelt story demonstrates that a person is never too young or too small to inspire big change.
NOT SO FAST, MAX: A ROSH HASHANAH VISIT WITH GRANDMA
By Annette Schottenfeld, Illustrated by Jennifer Kirkham
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Kalaniot Books - Endless Mountains Publishing
When Max and Emily's spunky Savta comes from Israel for a Rosh Hashanah visit, she's got some surprises up her sleeve. Max just wants to hurry up and get started, but he learns that sometimes new traditions can be worth the wait. Start your own Rosh Hashanah tradition using the delicious recipes included in the book.
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Neal Porter Books/Holiday House
Gathering watercress by the side of the road brings a girl closer to her family's Chinese heritage.
CODE BREAKER, SPY HUNTER: HOW ELIZEBETH FRIEDMAN CHANGED THE COURSE OF TWO WORLD WARS
Picture Book (ages 6-12), Abrams Kids
In this picture book biography, young readers will learn all about Elizebeth Friedman, a brilliant American code breaker who smashed Nazi spy rings, took down gangsters, and created the CIA's first cryptology unit. Her story came to light when her secret papers were finally declassified in 2015. From thwarting notorious rumrunners with only paper and pencil to counter-spying into the minds and activities of Nazis, Elizebeth held a pivotal role in the early days of US cryptology. No code was too challenging for her to crack, and Elizebeth's work undoubtedly saved thousands of lives. Extensive back matter includes explanations of codes and ciphers, further information on cryptology, a bibliography, a timeline of Elizebeth's life, plus secret messages for young readers to decode.
PREORDER Abrams Books!
A PLAN FOR THE PEOPLE: NELSON MANDELA'S HOPE FOR HIS NATION
Picture Book (ages 7+), Eerdman's Books for Young Readers
This stirring picture book biography explores Nelson Mandela’s long fight for equality in apartheid-era South Africa as a rallying force against injustice. His courage and determination propelled him through 27 years in prison and decades of struggle. Despite South Africa’s oppression of its non-white citizens, Mandela had hope—hope for a nation that belonged to everyone who lived in it.
PRINCIPAL FOR A DAY
Chapter Books (ages 7-10), Albert Whitman
When Raven leaves for vacation, Luca finds himself on his own again. As the new kid at Lincoln Elementary, he’s tired of getting told what to do by everyone around him. So despite his best friend’s warnings, Luca visits the Wish Library and asks to be the one in charge. But even rule makers need to compromise sometimes.
PREORDER Pinwheels and Stories!
SNOW DAY IN MAY
Chapter Books (ages 7-10), Albert Whitman
Raven is having the worst week ever. Her best friend Belle has just moved away, and tomorrow is Voices of History Day. Raven and Belle were working on their project together, and now Raven has to present alone―in front of the whole class. But when Raven stumbles upon the Wish Library and asks for school to be canceled, she faces a whole new challenge―and finds that just maybe she had the bravery she needed all along.
PREORDER Pinwheels and Stories!
ACROSS THE POND
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), Simon & Schuster/Atheneum
Callie can't wait for her new life to start. After a major friendship breakup in San Diego, moving overseas to Scotland gives her the perfect chance to reinvent herself. On top of that, she's going to live in a real-life castle! But as romantic as life in a castle sounds, the reality is a little less comfortable: it's run-down, freezing, and crawling with critters. Plus, starting off on the wrong foot with the gardener's granddaughter doesn't help her nerves about making new friends. So she comes up with the perfect solution: she'll be homeschooled. Her parents agree, on one condition: she has to participate in a social activity. Inspired by a journal that she finds hidden in her bedroom, Callie decides to join a birding club. Sure, it sounds unusual, but at least it's not sports or performing. But when she clashes with the club leader, she risks losing a set of friends all over again. Will she ever be able to find her flock and make this strange new place feel like home?
SING ME FORGOTTEN
Young Adult (ages 14+), Inkyard Press
A dark fantasy YA genderswapped retelling of Phantom of the Opera full of magic, betrayal, romance, and revenge.
PREORDER Author website!
EAT UP, BEAR!
By Terry Pierce, Illustrated by Nadja Sarell
Board Book (ages 0-3), The Yosemite Conservancy
A board book for the littlest campers about those curious, hungry bears. Black bears just want to eat! Juicy berries, crunchy nuts, tender grubs, and sticky honey―that’s good bear food. But if park visitors don’t watch out, their food will be bear food, too! Bouncy rhyming text and vibrant pictures share how families can do their part to keep bears safe and thriving.
A HOME AGAIN
Picture Book (ages 2-8), Two Lions
A Home Again, a picture book about a house that is devastated when its beloved family leaves and wonders if it can become a home once more.
BRACELETS FOR BINA'S BROTHERS
Picture Book (ages 3-6), Charlesbridge
Celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling! For the Hindu holiday of Raksha Bandhan, Bina is determined to make beaded bracelets for her brothers all by herself. She finds out which colors her brothers like and dislike and sets to work. Working with her every-other-one beading pattern causes Bina to discover something new about patterns--and her brothers. Storytelling Math celebrates children using math in their daily adventures as they play, build, and discover the world around them. Joyful stories and hands-on activities make it easy for kids and their grown-ups to explore everyday math together. Developed in collaboration with math experts at STEM education non-profit TERC, under a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.
JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT)
Picture Book (ages 3-8), Barefoot Books
Jet the cat likes to swim. When the other animals tell her that cats actually hate water, she goes in search of her true identity. After failing to fit the description of a variety of animals, Jet finally learns to embrace her unique brand of catness. A timely tale that humorously challenges labels and celebrates defining one’s own unique identity.
THE STARS BECKONED: EDWARD WHITE'S AMAZING WALK IN SPACE
By Candy Wellins, Illustrated by Courtney Dawson
Picture Book (ages 3-8), Philomel
A lyrical biography of the first American to walk in space. Edward White’s early love of the night sky led to a career at NASA and an opportunity to walk amongst the stars he loved. The stars beckoned him to space, but the love of his family is what brought him back to earth.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERPANTS
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Quarto Kids
From bloomers to boxers, everyone wears underwear! One part humor, one part history, A Brief History of Underpants explores the evolution of fashion's most unmentionable garment.
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?
SING WITH ME: THE STORY OF SELENA QUINTANILLA
By Diana Lopez, Illustrated by Teresa Martinez
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Penguin Random House
An exuberant picture book celebrating the life and legacy of Selena Quintanilla, beloved Queen of Tejano music.
PREORDER Penguin Random House!
THE STAR FESTIVAL
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Albert Whitman
Every summer in Japan, the Tanabata Matsuri celebrates the reunion of two stars, Orihime and Hikoboshi. This setting is the backdrop for Moni Ritchie Hadley's debut picture book, The Star Festival, where Keiko, a young girl helps mama find a lost Oba, Keiko's grandma.
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YOUR FUTURE IS BRIGHT
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Henry Holt and Co.
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.
BUCKINGHAM GETS A NEW SHELL
Picture Book (ages 4-9), Pigman Books
Buckingham, the hermit crab, gets a new shell, which leads to a new home, which leads to a new friend, Princess the cat, which leads to a a a ACHOO! A new problem. Buckingham is allergic to cats. Who knew? Buckingham Gets a New Shell is a story about new beginnings, new friendships and overcoming adversity. Buckingham Gets a New Shell, will undoubtedly make little one's (and big one's) laugh out loud. Available everywhere books are sold.
HOW TO BUILD AN INSECT
Picture Book (ages 5-9), Millbrook Press
Let’s build an insect! In the pages of this book, you’ll find a workshop filled with everything you need, including a head, a thorax, an abdomen, and much more. Written by entomologist Roberta Gibson and accompanied by delightfully detailed illustrations by Anne Lambelet, this wonderfully original take on insect anatomy will spark curiosity and engage even those who didn’t think they liked creepy, crawly things!
Picture Book (ages 6-9), West Margin Press
A multigenerational story about a young girl who learns from her grandmother about the enduring nature of love, the strength in rejecting labels, and the wisdom in standing with those who are different. The town’s annual flower contest is coming soon, and a young girl puts her heart into growing a lively bunch of flowers she finds in a meadow. As her grandmother guides her in nurturing a garden, the girl learns that winning isn’t the true reward—it’s the special love found in caring for something or someone. Lucy’s Blooms celebrates the joy and happiness that the world has to offer, through the beauty of nature, the kindness and love of family, and the unique specialness in the most unexpected places.
SEA OF KINGS
By Melissa Hope
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), Jolly Fish Press
When their island kingdom falls under siege, royal brothers Noa and Dagan must follow a magical map and confront the legendary one-eyed pirate before evil takes over their world.
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SUGAR AND SPITE
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), Scholastic
Set in a fictional island in the Philippines, an 11-year-old Filipina uses a love potion to seek retribution against her bully despite the magic’s dire consequences. Sugar And Spite is inspired by Filipino folk Catholicism and explores consent, socioeconomic privilege, and love in different forms.
LITTLE MEDUSA'S HAIR DO-LEMMA
By Jennifer Buchet, Illustrated by Cassie Chancy
Picture Book (ages 3-6) , Clear Fork Publishing/Spork
Little Medusa comes from a long line of snake-loving, serpentine-wearing Gorgons. When she receives her very first snake, Little Medusa discovers that having a snake slither and slide through her hair isn’t so great after all. And to make matters more difficult, she begins questioning if she really wants to scare her friends to stone with her new forever friend. Using her imagination and heart, Little Medusa tries her best to please her family, her best-pet snake, and herself. Based on Greek Mythology, Little Medusa features Common Core Connections and explores the universal themes of following family tradition and staying true to oneself.
PIGLETTE'S PERFECT SURPRISE
By Katelyn Aronson, Illustrated by Eva Byrne
Picture Book (ages 3-6), Penguin Random House
Ever in pursuit of perfection, Piglette sets out to make the most impressive cake Paris has ever seen, in honor of Madame Paradee’s birthday. But she may have bitten off more than she can chew...
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SLOTH & SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE
By Cathy Ballou Mealey, Illustrated by Kelly Collier
Picture Book (ages 3-7), Kids Can Press
A speedy squirrel and a sleepy sloth are unlikely friends who want to buy a snazzy tandem bicycle. But bikes are expensive! Will getting jobs at the pickle packing plant earn them the money they need to make their pedaling passion come true?
30,000 STITCHES: THE INSPIRING STORY OF THE NATIONAL 9/11 FLAG
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Worthy Kids/Hachette Book Group
Discover the inspiring story of the American flag that flew over Ground Zero, traveled across all fifty states as it was repaired, and returned to New York, a restored symbol of unity.
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BRANCHES OF HOPE: THE 9/11 SURVIVOR TREE
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Charlesbridge
Intertwined stories--one in words and one in pictures--show how the Survivor's Tree's strength echoed the hope of a nation after harrowing events in New York City in 2001.
FREAKY, FUNKY FISH
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Running Press Kids
From zapping, stinging, even singing, to playing dead and a see-through head, discover the funky, even freaky ways fish look or act to survive in the rivers, lakes, and oceans they live in.
RUN LITTLE CHASKI!: AN INKA TRAIL ADVENTURE
By Mariana Llanos, Illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Barefoot Books
In this tale set in the ancient Inka empire, Little Chaski has a big job: he is the Inka King's newest royal messenger. But on his first day things quickly start to go awry. Will Little Chaski be able to deliver the royal message on time?
SECRET, SECRET AGENT GUY
Picture Book (ages 4-8), Atheneum/Simon & Schuster
SECRET, SECRET AGENT GUY is a lullaby for little spies--a 007-twist on the classic, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
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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.
REA AND THE BLOOD OF THE NECTAR
By Payal Doshi
Middle Grade (ages 8-12), Mango and Marigold Press
It all begins on the night Rea turns twelve. After a big fight with her twin brother Rohan on their birthday, Rea's life in the small village of Darjeeling, India, gets turned on its head. It’s four in the morning and Rohan is nowhere to be found. It hasn’t even been a day and Amma acts like Rohan's gone forever. Her grandmother, too, is behaving strangely. Unwilling to give up on her brother, Rea and her friend Leela meet Mishti Daadi, a wrinkly old fortune-teller whose powers of divination set them off on a thrilling and secret quest. In the shade of night, they portal into an otherworldly realm and travel to Astranthia, a land full of magic and whimsy. There with the help of Xeranther, an Astranthian barrow boy, and Flula, a pari, Rea battles serpent-lilies and blood-sucking banshees, encounters a butterfly-faced woman and blue lizard-men, and learns that Rohan has been captured. Rea also discovers that she is a princess with magic. Only she has no idea how to use it. Struggling with the truth her Amma has kept hidden from her, Rea must solve clues that lead to Rohan, find a way to rescue him and save Astranthia from a potentially deadly fate. But the clock is ticking. Can she rescue Rohan, save Astranthia, and live to see it all? An #ownvoices middle-grade fantasy debut about understanding complex family dynamics, fighting for what is writing, discovering oneself, and learning to make friends. Perfect for fans of the Aru Shah books and The Chronicles of Narnia.
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AN OCCASIONALLY HAPPY FAMILY
By Cliff Burke
Middle Grade (ages 8-13), HMH Books for Young Readers
Gordon Korman meets The Great Outdoors in this funny and moving debut about a boy who goes on a disastrous family vacation (sweltering heat! bear chases!) that ends with a terrible surprise: his dad's new girlfriend.
HOW TO BECOME A PLANET
Middle Grade (ages 9-12), Algonquin Young Readers
For Pluto, summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium. It’s the launch to her favorite season, which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible. A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything. Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again. She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her.
SUNNY G'S SERIES OF RASH DECISIONS
Young Adult (ages 12+), Dial/Penguin Teen
For fans of Sandhya Menon and Adam Silvera, a prom-night romantic-comedy romp about a Sikh teen’s search for love and identity.
WORDS COMPOSED OF SEA AND SKY
By Erica George
Young Adult (ages 13-17), Running Press Kids/Hachette
Michaela Dunn, living on present day Cape Cod, dreams of getting into an art school, something her family just doesn't understand. When her stepfather refuses to fund a trip for a poetry workshop, Michaela finds the answer in a local contest searching for a poet to write the dedication plaque for a statue honoring Captain Benjamin Churchill, a whaler who died at sea 100 years ago. She struggles to understand why her town venerates Churchill, an almost mythical figure whose name adorns the school team and various tourist traps. When she discovers the 1862 diary of Leta Townsend, however, she gets a glimpse of Churchill that she didn't quite anticipate. In 1862, Leta Townsend writes poetry under the name Benjamin Churchill, a boy who left for sea to hunt whales. Leta is astonished when Captain Churchill returns after his rumored death. She quickly falls for him. But is she falling for the actual captain or the boy she constructed in her imagination?
THIS IS FOR TONIGHT
Young Adult (ages 14-18), Macmillian - Swoon Reads
When Andi attends a music festival with one goal in mind - capture an interview with a famous band so she can pay for college - she gets more than she bargained for in this YA novel about family ties and finding your own way.
By Jamie Pacton
Upper Young Adult (ages 17-19), Page Street
A hilarious and poignant reflection on what money can and cannot fix 58,643,129. That’s how many dollars seventeen-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather just won in the lotto jackpot. It’s also about how many reasons she has for not coming forward to claim her prize. Problem #1: Jane is still a minor, and if anyone discovers she bought the ticket underage, she’ll either have to forfeit the ticket, or worse… Problem #2: Let her hoarder mother cash it. The last thing Jane’s mom needs is millions of dollars to buy more junk. Then… Problem #3: Jane’s best friend, aspiring journalist Brandon Kim, declares on the news that he’s going to find the lucky winner. It’s one thing to keep her secret from the town, it’s another thing entirely to lie to her best friend. Especially when… Problem #4: Jane’s ex-boyfriend, Holden, is suddenly back in her life, and he has big ideas about what he’d do with the prize money. As suspicion and jealousy turn neighbor against neighbor, and no good options for cashing the ticket come forward, Jane begins to wonder: Could this much money actually be a bad thing?
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.
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!
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!
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.
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