12 Months of Books Challenge: Bringing Books to Kids All Year Long

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

request, and

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!


6) This is like a built-in gift for every holiday and birthday all year long. #Easy #Awesome


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!


Dive in.


Enjoy.


And give these creators some love by preordering their amazing books!


Word art for Month of January
Coloring credit Gabriella, age 5

Cover Image for A Father's Love.

A FATHER'S LOVE

By Hannah Holt, Illustrated by Yee Von Chan

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.

PREORDER IndieBound! Amazon!


Cover image of Don't Hug Doug

DON'T HUG DOUG

By Carrie Finison, Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

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.

PREORDER Bookshop!


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.

PREORDER Bookshop!


Cover image for First Day of Unicorn School

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.

PREORDER Barnes & Noble! Indiebound! Amazon!




Cover image for Seaside Stroll

SEASIDE STROLL

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.

PREORDER Amazon!


Cover image for Opening the Road

OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND HIS GREEN BOOK

By Keila V. Dawson, Illustrated by Alleanna Harris

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.

PREORDER Bookshop!





Cover image for Ten Beautiful Things

TEN BEAUTIFUL THINGS

By Molly Beth Griffin, Illustrated by Maribel Lechuga

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!


Cover image for Keep Dancing

KEEP DANCING

By Cristina Oxtra, Illustrated by Seb Burnett

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.

PREORDER Amazon!





Cover image for Take Back the Block

TAKE BACK THE BLOCK

By Chrystal D. Giles

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.

PREORDER Bookshop!






Cover image for Alone

ALONE

By Megan E. Freeman

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!

Cover image for Glimpsed

GLIMPSED

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?

PREORDER Bookshop! Changing Hands Bookstore! Barnes & Noble! Amazon!


Cover image for Girl on the Line

GIRL ON THE LINE

By Faith Gardner

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!

Colored word art for the month of February
Coloring Credit: Gabriella, age 5
Cover Image for I Miss Your Sunny Smile

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.

PREORDER IndieBound! Amazon! Bookshop! Bank Square Books!


Cover art for Squish Squash Squished

SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED

By Rebecca Kraft Rector, Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

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.

PREORDER Indiebound! Penguin Random House! Amazon! Barnes & Noble!


Cover image for A Girl's Bill of Rights.

A GIRL'S BILL OF RIGHTS

By Amy B. Mucha, Illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda

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!


Cover image for Home for a While

HOME FOR A WHILE

By Lauren H. Kerstein, Illustrated by Natalia Moore

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.

PREORDER Second Star to the Right Books! APA!



Cover image for It Will Be OK

IT WILL BE OK

By Lisa Katzenberger, Illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett

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.

PREORDER Bookshop!



Jayden's Impossible Garden

JAYDEN'S IMPOSSIBLE GARDEN

By Mélina Mangal, Illustrated by Ken Daley

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.

PREORDER Free Spirit! Bookshop! Amazon!




cover image for Headstrong Hallie

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!


Cover image for Just Being Dali

JUST BEING DALI: THE STORY OF ARTIST SALVADOR DALI

By Amy Guglielmo, Illustrated by Brett Helquist

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.

PREORDER Author Website! Amazon!


Cover art for Bartali's Bicycle

BARTALI'S BICYLCE

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.

PREORDER Amazon!




Cover image for A Place to Hang the Moon

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!


Cover art for Red, White, and Whole

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.

PREORDER Porter Square Books. Bookshop. IndieBound. Barnes & Noble. Amazon.


Cover art for The Afterlife of the Party

THE AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY

By Marlene Perez

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.

PREORDER Mystery Galaxy Bookstore. Bookshop. Amazon. Barnes & Noble. Target.


Cover image for Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA

By Crystal Maldonado

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!





Cover image for Hot British Boyfriend

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.

PREORDER Amazon! Barnes & Noble!



Cover image for We Are the Fire

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."

PREORDER River Bend Bookshop! Indiebound! Barnes & Noble! Amazon!


Cover art for Calculated

CALCULATED

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.

PREORDER Amazon!

Colored word art for month of March
Coloring credit: Clara, age 7
Cover art for Everyone's Sleepy But the Baby

EVERYONE'S SLEEPY BUT THE BABY

By Tracy Gold, Illustrated by Adele Dafflon

Board Book (ages 0-3), Familius

Sleepy Daddy,

Sleepy little dog.

Everyone’s sleepy

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.

PREORDER Indiebound! The Ivy Bookshop! Amazon! Barnes & Noble! Workman!


Cover image for Cow Says Meow

COW SAYS MEOW

By Kirsti Call, Illustrated by Brandon James Scott

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

Interrupting Chicken.

PREORDER Amazon!


Cover image for I'm a Hare, So There!

I'M A HARE, SO THERE!

By Julie Rowan-Zoch

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.

PREORDER Old Firehouse Books! Bookshop!


Cover image for Unicorn and Yeti: Fair and Square

UNICORN AND YETI: FAIR AND SQUARE

By Heather Ayris Burnell, Illustrated by Hazel Quintanilla

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!

PREORDER Bookshop! Amazon!



Cover art for The Big Beach Cleanup

THE BIG BEACH CLEANUP

By Charlotte Offsay, Illustrated by Katie Rewse

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.

PREORDER Bookshop!


Cover image Not So Fast, Max

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.

PREORDER Amazon!




Cover image for Watercress

WATERCRESS

By Andrea Wang, Illustrated by Jason Chin

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.

PREORDER Bookshop! Indiebound! Tattered Cover! Amazon! Barnes & Noble!




Cover image for Code Breaker, Spy Hunter

CODE BREAKER, SPY HUNTER: HOW ELIZEBETH FRIEDMAN CHANGED THE COURSE OF TWO WORLD WARS

By Laurie Wallmark, Illustrated by Brooke Smart

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!


Cover image for A Plan for the People

A PLAN FOR THE PEOPLE: NELSON MANDELA'S HOPE FOR HIS NATION

By Lindsey McDivitt, Illustrated by Charly Palmer

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.

PREORDER Eerdman's! Bookshop! Barnes & Noble! Amazon!



Cover image for Principal for a Day

PRINCIPAL FOR A DAY

By Christine Evans, Illustrated by Patrick Corrigan

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!





Cover image for Snow Day in May

SNOW DAY IN MAY

By Christine Evans, Illustrated by Patrick Corrigan

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.

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Cover image for Across the Pond

ACROSS THE POND

By Joy McCullough

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?

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Cover image for Sing Me Forgotten

SING ME FORGOTTEN

By Jessica S. Olson

Young Adult (ages 14+), Inkyard Press

A dark fantasy YA genderswapped retelling of Phantom of the Opera full of magic, betrayal, romance, and revenge.

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Word art for Month of April
Coloring credit: Frank, age 9
Cover image for Eat Up, Bear!

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.

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A HOME AGAIN

By Colleen Rowan Kosinski, Illustrated by Valeria DoCampo

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.

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Cover art for Bracelets for Bina's Brothers

BRACELETS FOR BINA'S BROTHERS

By Rajani LaRocca, Illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat

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.

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Cover image for Jet the Cat is Not a Cat

JET THE CAT (IS NOT A CAT)

By Phaea Crede, Illustrated by Terry Runyan

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.

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Cover image for The Stars Beckoned

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.

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Cover Image for a Brief History of Underpants

A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNDERPANTS

By Christine Van Zandt, Illustrated by Harry Briggs

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.

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DANCING IN THATHA'S FOOTSTEPS