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The Kids Are All Right

10 Terrific Children’s Nonfiction Books about Animals

Hello, Kid Lit friends!

It’s no secret that I love animals. As I write this, I have a dog at my side, two cats at my feet, and a rabbit underneath the chair I’m sitting on. There have been some fantastic nonfiction books with animal themes lately, so I thought I would share them! These are all interesting, informative, and gorgeously illustrated books. Please note that all descriptions are from Goodreads.


Sponsored by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic

Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer. At first she thought Florida might be fun — it is the home of Disney World, after all. But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park. It’s full of . . . old people. Really old people. Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around. She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own. But the question remains — why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place? The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be a secret to Sunny much longer. . .


Picture Books

Coral Reefs: A Journey Through an Aquatic World Full of Wonder by Jason Chin

During an ordinary visit to the library, a girl pulls a not-so-ordinary book from the shelves. As she turns the pages in this book about coral reefs, the city around her slips away and she finds herself surrounded by the coral cities of the sea and the mysterious plants and animals that live, hunt, and hide there. Coral Reefs by Jason Chin plunges readers into the ocean with incredible facts about fish, coral reefs and marine life. Readers will experience the ocean like they never have before in this stunning picture book full of breathtaking illustrations.

Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses by Susan and James Patterson, illustrated by Hsinping Pan

From sloths to spoonbills and panda ants to pangolins, little geniuses will love learning about all of the unusual, adorable animals that live on this planet. More than 50 little-known flyers, swimmers, and crawlers are included in this book, whimsically illustrated by artist Hsinping Pan. Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses will remind you that nature contains many wonders–and these cute and curious creatures are no exception!

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Julie Paschkis

In the Middle Ages, people believed that insects were evil, born from mud in a process called spontaneous generation. Maria Merian was only a child, but she disagreed. She watched carefully as caterpillars spun themselves cocoons, which opened to reveal summer birds, or butterflies and moths. Maria studied the whole life cycle of the summer birds, and documented what she learned in vibrant paintings. This is the story of one young girl who took the time to observe and learn, and in so doing disproved a theory that went all the way back to ancient Greece.

Cute an an Axolotl: Discovering the World’s Most Adorable Animals by Jess Keating

The Internet pretty much runs on cute animal photos, but “cute” is so much more than clickbait kittens and insta-pups. Cute is for feathery-gilled axolotls (pronounced: ax-uh-LOT-ulz), shy pygmy hippos, poisonous blue dragons, and armored pangolins. All of these animals are cute, but they’ve also adapted remarkable ways to survive in their unique environments.

Animalium by Jenny Broom

Welcome to the Museum is a series of books set on the “walls” of the printed page, showcasing the world’s finest collections of objects — from natural history to art. Open 365 days a year and unrestricted by the constraints of physical space, each title in this series is organized into galleries that display more than 200 full-color specimens accompanied by lively, informative text. Offering hours of learning, this first title within the series — Animalium — presents the animal kingdom in glorious detail with illustrations from Katie Scott, an unparalleled new talent.

Middle Grade Books

Whales: An Illustrated Celebration by Kelsey Oseid

Some of the world’s most fascinating and beloved animals, cetaceans have captivated the human imagination for centuries. Whales: An Illustrated Celebration explores the most interesting and illuminating facts about these marine mammals, from the enormous blue whale (which has a heart the size of a car!) to the Amazon river dolphin (which is pink!). Gorgeously illustrated with full-color art on every page, this giftable guide delves into cetaceans’ mysterious evolution (from land to water mammals), their place in mythology, and their ecology, habitats, and behaviors (such as singing, fluking, beaching, bubble feeding, and more).

The Big Book of the Blue by Yuval Zommer

The book opens by explaining how different types of animals are able to breathe and survive underwater, and the different families to which they belong. Subsequent pages are dedicated to specific creatures, including sea turtles, whales, sharks, stingrays, and seahorses, and show varied life in specific habitats, such as a coral reef or deep sea bed. The Big Book of the Blue also explores the underwater world thematically, looking at animals in danger, learning how to spot creatures at the beach, and discovering how to do our part to save sea life. Beautiful and filled with fascinating facts, young, curious readers won’t be able to tear their eyes away from the page.

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman

One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In this visual nonfiction biography, richly illustrated throughout with full-color original paintings by Merian herself, the Newbery Honor–winning author Joyce Sidman paints her own picture of one of the first female entomologists and a woman who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects.

A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human by Kay Frydenborg

Fossils show we’ve shared our work and homes with dogs for tens of thousands of years. Now there’s growing evidence that we influenced dogs’ evolution—and they, in turn, changed ours. Even more than our closest relatives, the apes, dogs are the species with whom we communicate best. Combining history, paleontology, biology, and cutting-edge medical science, Kay Frydenborg paints a picture of how two different species became deeply entwined—and how we coevolved into the species we are today.

Back from the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction by Nancy Castaldo

How could capturing the last wild California condors help save them? Why are some states planning to cull populations of the gray wolf, despite this species only recently making it off the endangered list? How did a decision made during the Civil War to use alligator skin for cheap boots nearly drive the animal to extinction? Back from the Brink answers these questions and more as it delves into the threats to seven species, and the scientific and political efforts to coax them back from the brink of extinction.

The much anticipated Amulet #8: Supernova is coming out this Tuesday! Check out a terrific interview with Kazu Kibuishi on The Yarn podcast here.

Carl Hiaasen is back again with another hilarious middle grade read. Like his other books, Squirm has an environmental theme in addition to lots of laughs, hijinks, and super smart kids. When I got married thirteen years ago, my husband and I gave out copies of Hoot by Carl Hiaasen as wedding favors. ❤

Spirit Hunters #2: The Island of Monsters by Ellen Oh is the second book in the Spirit Hunters series, and it is seriously creepy. Perfect for middle grade readers who love being scared!

 

Around the web…

Noteworthy Middle Grade and YA Sequels for Fall 2018, via Publisher’s Weekly

Mary Poppins Returns with New Editions, Tie-Ins, via Publisher’s Weekly

Quiz: What Would Be Your Best Class at Hogwarts?, via Book Riot

9 Ways to Get Free or Cheap Kids’ Books, via Book Riot

 

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next time!
Karina

*If this e-mail was forwarded to you, follow this link to subscribe to “The Kids Are All Right” newsletter and other fabulous Book Riot newsletters for your own customized e-mail delivery. Thank you!*

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The Kids Are All Right

New Children’s Books Releases + Cover Reveal for Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug!

Hey Kid Lit friends,

New books are out into the world today! I’m so excited for all of these new releases, but before we get to that I have a cover reveal for you!


Sponsored by Zora & Me: The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon

When Zora Neale Hurston and her best friend, Carrie Brown, discover that the town mute can speak after all, they think they’ve uncovered a big secret. But Mr. Polk’s silence is just one piece of a larger puzzle that stretches back half a century to the tragic story of an enslaved girl named Lucia. As Zora’s curiosity leads a reluctant Carrie deeper into the mystery, the story unfolds through alternating narratives. Lucia’s struggle for freedom resonates through the years, threatening the future of America’s first incorporated black township — the hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960). In a riveting coming-of-age tale, award-winning author T. R. Simon champions the strength of a people to stand up for justice.


Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Jay Fleck is an adorable new picture book coming out with Chronicle Books on March 5, 2019.

Synopsis: Tiny T. Rex has a HUGE problem. His friend Pointy needs cheering up and only a hug will do. But with his short stature and teeny T. Rex arms, is a hug impossible? Not if Tiny has anything to say about it! Join this plucky little dinosaur in his very first adventure—a warm and funny tale that proves the best hugs come from the biggest hearts. An unforgettable new character on the picture book scene, look out for Tiny T. Rex stomping into the hearts of readers everywhere in this winning series.

Jonathan Stutzman is an award-winning filmmaker and writer. His short films have screened at film festivals all over the world and on television. He lives in Palmyra, Pennsylvania.

Jay Fleck is an Illinois-based designer and illustrator who has illustrated many books for children. He lives south of Chicago.

Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug comes out on March 5, 2019.

 

And now… new releases! As usual, the book descriptions are from Goodreads, but I’ll add a ❤ if I had a chance to read it and I loved it.

Picture Book New Releases

❤ Archie and the Bear by Zanni Louise, illustrated by David Mackintosh

A very small boy in a bear suit and a very large bear in a boy suit share the fun of pretending, adventuring in the woods, and a honey sandwich next to a warm fire on a cold day. Which is really the boy, and which is the bear? It doesn’t matter—you are who you say you are. With minimal text and bold, dramatic illustrations, this picture book offers a thought-provoking take on identity and brings a fresh vision to the theme of finding connections hidden behind visual differences.

❤ Operation Rescue Dog by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Luisa Uribe

Lulu’s ears flap in the wind
as the rescue truck rolls into the lot.
Lulu’s tail thumps—
Everything smells . . . new.

Lulu sleeps under the moon, drinking from mud puddles and is covered in ticks until she is rescued. She waits for the Operation Rescue Dog truck, scared and uncertain. Alma misses her Mami, who is far away in Iraq. Alma wears Mami’s scarf around her like a hug. She wonders: Can a dog feel like a hug?

The Christmas Tree Who Loved Trains by Annie Silvestro, illustrated by Paola Zakimi

A pine tree grew in the farthest corner of the tree farm on a small patch of land that bordered the train track. The tree loved trains. She loved to watch them ZOOM by on the tracks beside the tree farm. Her branches would ripple in the wind as the trains roared past. But one morning, when a little boy picks her to be his Christmas tree, she is uprooted and brought to a home far from the ZOOMING trains she loves…

Princesses Save the World by Savannah Guthrie and Allison Oppenheim, illustrated by Eva Byrne

Penny knows the power of teamwork, so she calls a meeting of the Fruit Nations! And princesses from around the land—from Princess Beatrice Blueberry to Princess Kira Kiwi—answer the call to help a friend in need. With a little creative thinking and a whole lot of girl power, the princesses work together for bee-utiful results. TODAY’s beloved coanchor Savannah Guthrie and educator Allison Oppenheim have crafted another irresistible tale that celebrates how nothing is sweeter than friendship.

❤ Boats on the Bay by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Grady McFerrin

A large-format picture book about a bunch of boats found on a busy bay, buoyed by simple, spare, and lyrical text. Inspired by the San Francisco Bay but with universal appeal, the book features a spectacular double-spread gatefold finale showing a boat parade and fireworks glowing against a city backdrop.

Chapter Book New Releases

❤ Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker: Incognito by Shelley Johannes

Beatrice Zinker’s top-secret plan, Operation Upside, is finally in full swing! And she’s REALLY EXCITED ABOUT IT! But when Beatrice impulsively awards her teacher, Mrs. Tamarack, an UPSIDE of her own-with the words Most Strict lettered in gold-the team has to put the entire mission on hold to avoid suspicion. Lying low isn’t exactly Beatrice’s strong suit . . . and her classmate Wes desperately needs to be recognized. When Wes’s certificate falls into the wrong hands, Beatrice and her best friend, Lenny, must find a way once again, to save Operation Upside-and themselves-from big trouble.

Princess Pulverizer 4: Quit Buggin’ Me! by Nancy Krulik, illustrated by Ben Balistreri

Princess Pulverizer and her friends, Lucas and Dribble the dragon, are on the hunt for another good deed to complete on her Quest of Kindness. So when they hear about a mysterious evil beast who’s been capturing townspeople, the trio sets out to find it and rescue the prisoners. But when Lucas and Dribble get caught themselves, it’s up to Princess Pulverizer to free her friends!

Enough! 20 Protesters Who Changed America by Emily Easton, illustrated by Ziyue Chen

America has been molded and shaped by those who have taken a stand and said they have had enough. In this dynamic picture book, stand alongside the nation’s most iconic civil and human rights leaders, whose brave actions rewrote history. Join Samuel Adams as he masterminds the Boston Tea Party, Ruby Bridges on her march to school, Colin Kaepernick as he takes a knee, and the multitude of other American activists whose peaceful protests have ushered in lasting change.

Middle Grade New Releases

❤ Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini, illustrated by Dan Williams

A short, powerful, illustrated book written by beloved novelist Khaled Hosseini in response to the current refugee crisis, Sea Prayer is composed in the form of a letter, from a father to his son, on the eve of their journey. Watching over his sleeping son, the father reflects on the dangerous sea-crossing that lies before them. It is also a vivid portrait of their life in Homs, Syria, before the war, and of that city’s swift transformation from a home into a deadly war zone.

❤ Winnie’s Great War by Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut, art by Sophie Blackall

Here is a heartwarming imagining of the real journey undertaken by the extraordinary bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. From her early days with her mama in the Canadian forest, to her remarkable travels with the Veterinary Corps across the country and overseas, and all the way to the London Zoo where she met Christopher Robin Milne and inspired the creation of the world’s most famous bear, Winnie is on a great war adventure.

Bobbie Mendoza Saves the World (Again) by Michael Fry and Bradley Jackson

Some nasty imaginary creatures have just escaped into the real world, and it’s an emergency! Bobbie and her friends must take on unicorns, farting spiders, a giant nightmare squid, and a scary Viking bounty hunter who is determined to land the whole gang in Trans-Dimensional prison. But Bobbie will learn that sometimes the things that scare us most aren’t actually so terrifying once you’ve faced them.

❤ Time Castaways: The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff

Mateo, Ruby, and Corey Hudson’s parents don’t have too many rules. It’s the usual stuff: Be good. Do your homework. And never ride the subway without an adult, EVER. But when the siblings wake up late for school, they have no choice but to break a rule. The Hudson siblings board the subway in Manhattan and end up on a frigate ship in Paris…in the year 1911. As time does tell, the Hudson family has a lot of secrets. The past, present, and future are intertwined—and a time-traveling ship called the Vermillion is at the center. Racing to untangle the truth, the kids find themselves in the middle of one of the greatest art heists of all time.

❤ The Colors of the Rain by R.L. Toalson

Ten-year-old Paulie Sanders hates his name because it also belonged to his daddy-his daddy who killed a fellow white man and then crashed his car. With his mama unable to cope, Paulie and his sister, Charlie, move in with their Aunt Bee and attend a new elementary school. But it’s 1972, and this new school puts them right in the middle of the Houston School District’s war on desegregation.

Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes

When twelve-year-old June Harper’s parents discover what they deem an inappropriate library book, they take strict parenting to a whole new level. And everything June loves about Dogwood Middle School unravels: librarian Ms. Bradshaw is suspended, an author appearance is canceled, the library is gutted, and all books on the premises must have administrative approval. But June can’t give up books . . . and she realizes she doesn’t have to when she spies a Little Free Library on her walk to school. As the rules become stricter at school and at home, June keeps turning the pages of the banned books that continue to appear in the little library. It’s a delicious secret . . . and one she can’t keep to herself.

The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

It’s the first winter after the Monster Apocalypse. For Jack and his buddies, that means sled catapults, epic snowball battles, and one monstrous Christmas celebration. But their winter wonderland turns dark when a villainess begins hunting them. And this villainess is different—she’s a human. When the villainess steals Jack’s prized monster-slaying tool, the Louisville Slicer, he vows to get it back. But it won’t be easy. Jack and his friends soon discover that the Louisville Slicer is the key to a dark plan that threatens the entire world—and beyond…

 

Graphic Nonfiction New Releases

❤ The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix

Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party is gaining strength and becoming more menacing every day. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor upset by the complacency of the German church toward the suffering around it, forms a breakaway church to speak out against the established political and religious authorities. When the Nazis outlaw the church, he escapes as a fugitive. Struggling to reconcile his faith and the teachings of the Bible with the Nazi Party’s evil agenda, Bonhoeffer decides that Hitler must be stopped by any means possible!

❤ The Unwanted: Stories of Syrian Refugees by Don Brown

Starting in 2011, refugees flood out of war-torn Syria in Exodus-like proportions. The surprising flood of victims overwhelms neighboring countries, and chaos follows. Resentment in host nations heightens as disruption and the cost of aid grows. By 2017, many want to turn their backs on the victims. The refugees are the unwanted. Don Brown depicts moments of both heartbreaking horror and hope in the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. Shining a light on the stories of the survivors, The Unwanted is a testament to the courage and resilience of the refugees and a call to action for all those who read.

 

Nonfiction New Releases

❤ Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream by Julissa Arce

Born in the picturesque town of Taxco, Mexico, Julissa Arce was left behind for months at a time with her two sisters, a nanny, and her grandma while her parents worked tirelessly in America in hopes of building a home and providing a better life for their children. That is, until her parents brought Julissa to Texas to live with them. From then on, Julissa secretly lived as an undocumented immigrant, went on to become a scholarship winner and an honors college graduate, and climbed the ladder to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs.

❤ Lovely Beasts by Kate Gardner, illustrated by Heidi Smith

Spiders are creepy. Porcupines are scary. Bats are ugly. Or are they…? This captivating book invites you to learn more about awe-inspiring animals in the wild. After all, it’s best not to judge a beast until you understand its full, lovely life.

❤ The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth by Rachel Ignotofsky

Making earth science accessible and entertaining through art, maps, and infographics, The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth explains how our planet works—and how we can protect it—from its diverse ecosystems and their inhabitants, to the levels of ecology, the importance of biodiversity, the cycles of nature, and more. Science- and nature-loving readers of all ages will delight in this utterly charming guide to our amazing home.

❤ The Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Dylan Thuras, Rosemary Mosco, illustrated by Joy Ang

Created by the same team behind Atlas Obscura, the #1 New York Times bestseller that has over 600,000 copies in print in its first year, The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventuruous Kid is a thrillingly imaginative expedition to 100 weird-but-true places on earth. And just as compelling is the way the book is structured—hopscotching from country to country not by location but by type of attraction. For example, visit the site of the Tunguska event in Siberia, where a meteor slammed into the earth in 1908—and then skip over to the Yucatan, ground zero for the ancient meteor crash that caused the mass extinction of dinosaurs. Then, while in Mexico, tour the fantastical Naica caves, home to crystals ten times larger than the average person—then, turn the page to Vietnam to a cave so vast you  could fly a 747 through it.

Soccer School by Alex Bellos and Ben Littleton, illustrated by Spike Gerrell

Coaches (and authors) Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton cleverly use the lens of soccer to immerse kids in math, geography, biology, and more. Loaded with awesome true stories and science, the first book in the Soccer School series is illustrated throughout with cartoons that will have young soccer fans laughing out loud. Quizzes at the end of each chapter keep readers on their toes as they learn some truly weird trivia, like the hidden meaning behind a team’s uniform colors, how you might play soccer on Mars, or even the most opportune time for players to go to the bathroom. Entertaining and informative, this book is sure to score a goal with soccer fanatics everywhere (when they’re not on the field, of course).

 

Backlist Book Recommendations

Picture Book Recommendation: Redwood by Jason Chin 

A ordinary subway trip is transformed when a young boy happens upon a book about redwood forests. As he reads the information unfolds, and with each new bit of knowledge, he travels―all the way to California to climb into the Redwood canopy.

 

Graphic Novel Recommendation: El Deafo by Cece Bell

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.

Activity Book Recommendation: Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects by Jack Challoner

Each step-by-step activity is appropriate for kids ages 8–12, and ranked easy, medium, or hard, with an estimated time frame for completion. Requiring only household materials, young makers can build an exploding volcano, race balloon rocket cars, construct a lemon battery, make sticky slime, and more. Photographs and facts carefully detail the “why” and “how” of each experiment using real-world examples to provide context so kids can gain a deeper understanding of the scientific principles applied.

 

I would love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next week!
Karina

*If this e-mail was forwarded to you, follow this link to subscribe to “The Kids Are All Right” newsletter and other fabulous Book Riot newsletters for your own customized e-mail delivery. Thank you!*

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An Interview with Meg Medina!

Hi Kid Lit fans,

I am so excited about today’s newsletter! Here at Book Riot, we are huge fans of Meg Medina and are so happy for her new middle grade book, Merci Suárez Changes Gears. This book was an Indie’s Next pick and has received multiple starred reviews. I was thrilled to interview her about her new book, writing, and what she’s reading.


Sponsored by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic

Mr. Wolf has just started teaching at Hazelwood Elementary. He wants the first day of school to go well, but he’s got his hands full with his new class. Some of his students include: Margot, who is new in town and is trying to make friends. Sampson, who brought something special to school for show-and-tell. Aziza, who just wants everyone to be quiet and do their work. And Penny, who is VERY sleepy because she has a new baby brother at home, goes missing! This delightful new series captures the everyday — and unexpected — ups and downs of a fourth-grade classroom.


Karina Yan Glaser: In Merci Suárez Changes Gears, you write about an intergenerational Latino family who lives in Las Casitas, a set of three pink flat-top houses on Sixth Street. Did you always know that you wanted to have that particular layout of houses, or did that evolve as you wrote the story?

Meg Medina: Las Casitas were definitely by design. I wanted to create an intergenerational living style that is fairly common for Latinx families. My mother’s cousins lived in Miami in three side-by-side houses that they figured out how to connect over the years. My mom considered it the ideal way to live. To her thinking, you were with your whole family and you were supported at every turn. I also went to John Cougar Mellencamp’s song Pink Houses, an ode to small town USA. I liked how both of those ideas merged because Merci is very much Latinx and she is very much an American kid.

KYG: This is your first middle grade novel since your debut, Milagros. What was it like to write for middle grade again after writing for teens?

MM: Really, it was such a pleasure and a relief. I love writing for every age, but YA requires you to sit inside the time in life when we’re at our most intense and our most unsettled. That’s exciting, but it’s also draining, since I typically write about kids facing really difficult personal situations. I found that inhabiting the mind of an 11-year-old allowed me to dial back my more sinister interpretations of the world. It let me laugh at silly things. It let me see the adult world with fresh eyes all over again.

KYG: Change is a big theme in Merci Suárez Changes Gears. Merci is in sixth grade, a time of great change both physically and emotionally. Her grandparents are getting older, and Merci’s parents are adjusting to new dynamics in the family. Her brother Roli is going through the college application process. Can you tell us how this theme came about?

MM: When I’m writing, I’m working out questions that I don’t even realize I have. It’s my personal bibliotherapy.

So, when I was first drafting Merci Suárez Changes Gears, I was working from a short story that featured Merci, but that focused mostly on how economic class and how it is for a kid to be the scholarship recipient at a school and what the costs really are to the kid and to the family of this “wonderful opportunity.” But at home, I was also working through being a caregiver for my mom, my mother in law, and my 86-year-old aunt. We were all coming to terms with many changes at the same time. The changes that teens go through and also the changes that happen to us in midlife and then at the end of life when illnesses reshape so much of who we are and how the world sees us. The fact that Lolo was ailing in the story happened organically, I think, because I was watching my own kids and their grandparents. I was wondering what would happen to their relationships.

KYG: I cried a few times while reading this book. One of those times was when Merci tells her Abuela and Lolo (her grandfather) about something that happened with a boy at school. Lolo says that she is too young for romance, and Abuela says, “Too young? Time passes for us all, viejo.” Were there any parts of this book that made you cry when you wrote it?

MM: I actually love when I have a strong emotional response to something as I write it. It tells me that I am telling the truth, whether I’m making myself laugh or cry. This time around, I think the hardest scenes for me were when Roli finally explains to Merci what is really happening to Lolo. It’s a private conversation between them. It’s an act, finally, of trust. There was something poignant to me about siblings helping each other in this way. Another hard scene was the conversation between Lolo and Merci, the one when she’s in full angry meltdown and he tells her that she’s frightened. Just that line, that simple statement of understanding, spoke volumes to me about how much he loves her.

KYG: One of my favorite characters was Roli, Merci’s seventeen year old brother who is a terrible driver and a brilliant science student. Was he inspired by anyone?

MM: I’m so glad you like him, too!  Roli is so dear to my heart. He is such an intellectual and a quirky guy who is at ease with himself. And, of course, he’s a good brother to Merci, guiding and protecting her even when she doesn’t realize he’s doing it. He is helping to raise her without being the oppressive older brother. I so wish I’d had Roli, but sadly, I didn’t grow up with brothers, so he’s entirely invented. He’s the brother I would have loved to have.

KYG: Have you read any middle grade books recently you would like to recommend?

MM: Oh, the list is endless these days. We’re in a golden age of middle grade lit, if you ask me. But if you’re pressing me…I have recently loved Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon and My Year in the Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver, both historical fiction that explores history and its intersection with race in a way that middle grade readers can digest. I really enjoyed Amal Unbound by my friend Aisha Saeed, too. And next on my to-be-read pile is Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya. I could go on, you know…

 

Many thanks to Meg for taking some time to chat with us!

 

 

 

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson, is an extraordinary collection of poems, letters, personal essays, art, and other works from such industry leaders as Jacqueline Woodson, Kwame Alexander, Jason Reynolds, Rita Williams-Garcia, Sharon Draper, Ekua Holmes, and many more.

I loved Jacqueline Woodson’s newest picture book, The Day You Begin, beautifully illustrated by Rafael Lopez. This is a perfect read-aloud for the beginning of the school year when all of us are confronted by that inevitable question: What did you do over the summer?

Mascot by Antony John is a middle grade book about twelve-year-old Noah Savino who has been stuck in a wheelchair for months. He hates the way people treat him like he’s helpless now. He’s sick of going to physical therapy, where he isn’t making any progress. This was a funny yet honest book. The writing reminded me of Richard Peck, Matthew Landis, and Gordon Korman.

 

Around the web…

2018 NBA Longlist for Young People’s Literature Announced, via Publisher’s Weekly

Four Questions for Sonia Sotomayor, via Publisher’s Weekly

Viola Davis Shines a New Spotlight on Corduroy, via Publisher’s Weekly

Children’s Illustrators Unite for Get Out the Vote Campaign, via Publisher’s Weekly

 

Giveaway!

Don’t forget we’re giving away a six-month subscription to OwlCrate Jr! Enter here!

 

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next time!
Karina

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New Children’s Book Releases for September 11, 2018!

Hey Kid Lit friends,

September is a big month for new books, and this week is no exception. There are some amazing books coming out today, and I can’t wait to hear what you think about them.

As usual, the book descriptions are from Goodreads. In the past I have added a ❤ if I particularly loved a title, but I pretty much loved all of the books releasing today, so just read them all, okay? They are all awesome! ❤ ❤ ❤


Sponsored by Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren’t going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.


Picture Book New Releases

Hungry Bunny by Claudia Rueda

It’s fall, which means it’s the perfect time for mama’s apple pie. The only problem? These apples are hard to reach! But Bunny has some ideas. Young readers will delight in using the red ribbon to help Bunny reach new heights and pick those tasty apples. But the fun doesn’t end there! Readers will also rock the book back and forth and turn it round and round for a one-of-a-kind roller-coaster adventure on Bunny’s way home.

The Dreamer by Il Sung Na

Once, there was a pig who admired birds. But he could never join them. Or could he? Thus begins the journey of a pig with big dreams, and the perseverance to make them come true. He develops flight plans, builds experimental contraptions, and has far-flung adventures, but at the end of the day, his favorite thing to do is still to sit and watch for those he loves best: the birds. Il Sung Na creates a world at once whimsical and aspirational, where anything is possible and, yes, even pigs can learn to fly.

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise by David Ezra Stein

It’s homework time for the little red chicken, who has just learned about something every good story should have: an elephant of surprise. Or could it be an element of surprise (as her amused papa explains)? As they dive in to story after story, looking for the part that makes a reader say “Whoa! I didn’t know that was going to happen,” Papa is sure he can convince Chicken he’s right. After all, there are definitely no elephants in “The Ugly Duckling,” “Rapunzel,” or “The Little Mermaid” — or are there? Elephant or element, something unexpected awaits Papa in every story, but a surprise may be in store for the little red chicken as well.

What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris

Across the course of several seemingly unrelated but ultimately connected actions by different children, we watch how kids turn a lonely island into a community—and watch a journey from what the world should be to what the world could be.

Holes in the Sky by Patricia Polacco

There will never be anyone like her grandmother, Patricia Polacco thinks, when her grandmother passes away. But when she and her family move to California–in the middle of a drought–she meets a new friend, the irrepressible Stewart, and his amazing grandmother, Miss Eula, who not only takes Trisha under her wing, but, with Trisha and Stewart, steps up to lead their entire extraordinarily diverse neighborhood to help a hurting neighbor–and her once lush garden–survive the drought.
Trisha’s grandmother’s old saying about the stars being Holes in the Sky turns out to be Miss Eula’s, too, convincing Trisha that she has miraculously discovered another unforgettable grandmother.

All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Acclaimed author Emily Jenkins and Caldecott Award-winning artist Paul O. Zelinsky bring the beloved All-of-a-Kind Family to life in a new format. Fans, along with those just meeting the five girls (“all of a kind,” as their parents say), will join them back in 1912, on the Lower East Side of NYC, and watch as preparations for Hanukkah are made. When Gertie, the youngest, is not allowed to help prepare latkes, she throws a tantrum. Banished to the girls’ bedroom, she can still hear the sounds and smell the smells of a family getting ready to celebrate. But then Papa comes home and she is allowed out–and given the best job of all: lighting the first candle on the menorah.

Night Job by Karen Hesse, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

When the sun sets, Dad’s job as a school custodian is just beginning. What is it like to work on a Friday night while the rest of the city is asleep? There’s the smell of lilacs in the night air, the dusky highway in the moonlight, and glimpses of shy nighttime animals to make the dark magical. Shooting baskets in the half-lit gym, sweeping the stage with the game on the radio, and reading out loud to his father in the library all help the boy’s time pass quickly. But what makes the night really special is being with Dad.

Lights, Camera, Carmen! by Anika Denise, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez Gómez

In the vein of Eloise, Olivia, and Fancy Nancy, Carmen is a little girl with a BIG personality. She loves the spotlight and fame that comes with being an actress, and she only grudgingly shares attention with her adoring little brother, Eduardo – especially when the prize is a starring role in a commercial.
Carmen and her family speak a mix of English and Spanish, inspired the author’s loving exchanges with her father as a little girl.

Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

One thing Bruce is not? Santa Claus. But that doesn’t stop the whole forest from lining up to give him their Christmas wishes when he becomes the victim of mistaken identity-again. Kids will howl with laughter as award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins delivers another hilarious story about this bear who just can’t catch a break.

 

Chapter Book New Releases

Upside Down Magic: Weather or Not by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins

When Willa’s upside-down magic rains, it pours. Clouds form under ceilings. Classrooms get flooded. Umbrellas must always be nearby, just in case Willa has an outburst. Willa hates being the source of such sogginess. Even worse, the more she rains, the badder she feels . . . and the badder she feels, the more she rains. All the storminess is threatening to drown her good grades and flood all her friendships. Is there any way to use magic to make the clouds disappear? Or is the storm of the century on its way?

Big Foot and Little Foot: The Monster Detector by Ellen Potter, illustrated by Felicita Sala

Hugo is a young Sasquatch. Boone is a young boy. After an unlikely encounter, they’ve become an even unlikelier pair of best friends. After saving up his Monster Card wrappers, Hugo sends away for a special prize in the mail—a Monster Detector! Using the watchlike device, Hugo quickly spots a monster right in his own cavern. Spooked, but still excited about his prize, Hugo heads to school and finds yet another surprise—his friend Boone! Boone announces he wants to go to Sasquatch school, but no human has ever gone before, and not everyone is as happy about it as Hugo.

Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Judy Moody is in a royal purple-mountain-majesties mood. Make that Majesty with a capital M! With Grandma Lou’s help, Judy has dug up proof that some old-timey Moodys (aka the brave Mudeyes) lived in merry olde England. In fact, if her grandpa’s notes are right, Judy might even be related to — royal fanfare, please — the Queen herself! Should Judy start packing her purple robe for a sleepover at Buckingham Palace? But then Judy’s family tree gets a few more shakes — thanks to her nemesis, Jessica “Fink” Finch — and some more surprises come tumbling out.

Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown

Fourth grader Sarai Gonzalez can do anything. She can bake, dance, and run her own cupcake business. But when Sarai’s grandparents are forced to move, even Sarai’s not sure what to do. So she hatches a super-awesome plan with her younger sisters and cousin to buy back the house. But houses are more expensive than she ever thought, her sisters won’t listen, and she’s running out of time. Will Sarai find a way to save the day?

 

Middle Grade New Releases

Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech

Louie doesn’t have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small creatures. So when his father brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey, he’s determined to save him. He names him Winslow. Taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is far, far away in the army. Everyone worries that Winslow won’t survive, especially Louie’s quirky new friend, Nora, who has experienced loss of her own. But as Louie’s bond with Winslow grows, surprising and life-altering events prove that this fragile donkey is stronger than anyone could have imagined.

Zora & Me: The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon

When Zora Neale Hurston and her best friend, Carrie Brown, discover that the town mute can speak after all, they think they’ve uncovered a big secret. But Mr. Polk’s silence is just one piece of a larger puzzle that stretches back half a century to the tragic story of an enslaved girl named Lucia. As Zora’s curiosity leads a reluctant Carrie deeper into the mystery, the story unfolds through alternating narratives. Lucia’s struggle for freedom resonates through the years, threatening the future of America’s first incorporated black township — the hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960). In a riveting coming-of-age tale, award-winning author T. R. Simon champions the strength of a people to stand up for justice.

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen

Twelve-and-three-quarter-year-old Felix Knutsson has a knack for trivia. His favorite game show is Who What Where When; he even named his gerbil after the host. Felix’s mom, Astrid, is loving but can’t seem to hold on to a job. So when they get evicted from their latest shabby apartment, they have to move into a van. Astrid swears him to secrecy; he can’t tell anyone about their living arrangement, not even Dylan and Winnie, his best friends at his new school. If he does, she warns him, he’ll be taken away from her and put in foster care.

Mascot by Antony John

Noah Savino has been stuck in a wheelchair for months. He hates the way people treat him like he’s helpless now. He’s sick of going to physical therapy, where he isn’t making any progress. He’s tired of not having control over his own body. And he misses playing baseball—but not as much as he misses his dad, who died in the car accident that paralyzed Noah. Noah is scared he’ll never feel like his old self again. He doesn’t want people to think of him as different for the rest of his life. With the help of family and friends, he’ll have to throw off the mask he’s been hiding behind and face the fears that have kept him on the sidelines if he ever wants to move forward.

Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan

On the night that Aunty dies, the raggedy witches come for Mup’s family. Pale, cold, and relentless, the witches will do anything for the tyrannical queen who has outlawed most magic and enforces her laws with terror and cruelty — and who happens to be Mup’s grandmother. When witches carry off her dad, Mup and her mam leave the mundane world to rescue him. But everything is odd in the strange, glittering Witches Borough, even Mam. Even Mup herself. In a world of rhyming crows, talking cats, and golden forests, it’s all Mup can do to keep her wits about her. And even if she can save her dad, Mup’s not sure if anything will ever be the same again.

Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older

It’s 1863 and dinosaurs roam the streets of New York as the Civil War rages between raptor-mounted armies down South. Magdalys Roca and her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum are on a field trip when the Draft Riots break out, and a number of their fellow orphans are kidnapped by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker. Magdalys and her friends flee to Brooklyn and settle in the Dactyl Hill neighborhood, where black and brown New Yorkers have set up an independent community–a safe haven from the threats of Manhattan. Together with the Vigilance Committee, they train to fly on dactylback, discover new friends and amazing dinosaurs, and plot to take down Riker. Can Magdalys and the squad rescue the rest of their friends before it’s too late?

The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage

Pirate fever sweeps through the town after an opportunistic treasure hunter shows up looking to lay claim to Blackbeard’s lost gold buried somewhere in Tupelo Landing. When the (probably) world-famous Desperado Detectives–Mo and Dale and Harm–are hired by Mayor Little’s mother to find the pirate loot for her, and the high-stakes race for riches is on! But that’s not the only treasure hunt in town. Mo LoBeau unearths shocking new clues that may lead to her long-lost Upstream Mother–in the riskiest, scariest, and possibly richest case of her life.

Game Changer by Tommy Greenwald

Thirteen-year-old Teddy Youngblood is in a coma fighting for his life after an unspecified football injury at training camp. His family and friends flock to his bedside to support his recovery—and to discuss the events leading up to the tragic accident. Was this an inevitable result of playing a violent sport, or was something more sinister happening on the field that day? Told in an innovative, multimedia format combining dialogue, texts, newspaper articles, transcripts, an online forum, and Teddy’s inner thoughts, Game Changer explores the joyous thrills and terrifying risks of America’s most popular sport.

Odds and Ends by Amy Ignatow

The ragtag Odds crew’s useless gifts have gotten out of control. Farshad’s thumbs are so strong that just trying to send a text will break his phone, and Cookie can now send mental directions instead of just listening in on them with her telepathy. To make matters worse, a bunch of their less-than-gifted classmates have become town celebrities thanks to their suspiciously good exam results. But Jay and Nick realize that all these whiz kids have parents who work for Auxano, so they race off to find out what’s really going on. Fans won’t want to miss the conclusion to the adventures of this motley group of heroes and their patchwork powers!

Mac B., Kid Spy: Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Mike Lowery

James Bond meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid with this groundbreaking new fully-illustrated chapter book series Mac B., Kid Spy. The precious Crown Jewels have been stolen, and there’s only one person who can help the Queen of England: her newest secret agent, Mac B. Mac travels around the globe in search of the stolen treasure…but will he find it in time? From secret identities to Karate hijinks, this fast-paced, witty and historically inspired chapter book will keep readers guessing until the very last page. With full-color illustrations and fascinating historical facts masterfully sprinkled throughout, this series offers adventure, intrigue, absurdity, history and humor. Discover this totally smart and side-splittingly funny new series, and experience what it’s really like to be a kid spy.

The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Greece by Jonathan W. Stokes

The Thrifty Guide to the Ancient Greece: A Handbook for Time Travelers is a snappy, informative travel guide containing information vital to the sensible time traveler:
*  How can I find a decent tunic that won’t break my bank account?
*  Where can I score cheap theater tickets in ancient Athens?
*  What do I do if I’m being attacked by an army of one million Persians?

Nonfiction New Releases

Art in Action: Make a Statement, Change Your World by Matthew “Levee” Chavez

In the days leading up to and following the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, artist Matthew “Levee” Chavez arrived at the Union Square subway station and passed out blank sticky notes, urging New Yorkers to express themselves. As the notes were posted to the wall, a colorful and moving collage emerged that reflected the city’s rich and diverse personal responses to a divisive moment in history. In that moment, art and activism united a community. In this DIY guide, Chavez shows young readers how to create their very own art projects with a purpose. Young artists will be inspired to share their own perspectives and make a difference in their own worlds-from their homes to schools to neighborhoods and the whole broader world.

 

Backlist Book Recommendations

Chapter Book Recommendation: Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minaret, illustrated by Maurice Sendak

Meet Little Bear, a friend to millions of children. And meet Mother Bear, who is there whenever Little Bear needs her. When it is cold and snowy outside, she finds just the right outfit for Little Bear to play in. When he goes to the moon, she has a hot lunch waiting for him on his return. And, of course, she never forgets his birthday.

Middle Grade Recommendation: Words With Wings by Nikki Grimes

Gaby daydreams to tune out her parents’ arguments, but when her parents divorce and she begins a new school, daydreaming gets her into trouble. Her mother scolds her for it, her teacher keeps telling her to pay attention, and the other kids tease her…until she finds a friend who also daydreams and her teacher decides to work a daydreaming-writing session into every school day. With a notebook “thick with daydreams,” Gaby grows more confident about herself and her future.

Nonfiction Book Recommendation: Charles Darwin’s Around-the-World Adventure by Jennifer Thermes

In 1831, Charles Darwin embarked on his first voyage. Though he was a scientist by profession, he was an explorer at heart. While journeying around South America for the first time aboard a ninety-foot-long ship named the Beagle, Charles collected insets, dug up bones, galloped with gauchos, encountered volcanoes and earthquakes, and even ate armadillo for breakfast! The discoveries he made during this adventure would later inspire ideas that changed how we see the world.

 

Giveaway!

Woohoo! Book Riot is giving away a six-month subscription to OwlCrate Jr! Enter here!

 

Next week!

Spoiler alert for next week… the wonderful Meg Medina will be interviewed on the newsletter! While you’re waiting, be sure to grab a copy of Merci Suárez Changes Gears, out today!

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next week!
Karina

Our foster kitties enjoying a nap surrounded by books.

*If this e-mail was forwarded to you, follow this link to subscribe to “The Kids Are All Right” newsletter and other fabulous Book Riot newsletters for your own customized e-mail delivery. Thank you!*

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Children’s Books About Mindfulness + Cover Reveal for THE GREAT JEFF!

Hi Kid Lit friends!

I started practicing yoga a little over a year ago. I was inspired to begin because of two Book Riot staff members, Associate Editor Kelly Jensen and Executive Director Rebecca Schinsky, who are both certified yoga instructors. Now I go to a yoga studio near my home twice a week, and I love it.

There has been an increased interest in mindfulness and yoga for kids lately. I’ve seen many yoga and mindfulness related books come across my desk, and I thought I would share them with you!


Sponsored by The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter

When Ruth arrives in Newfoundland for the summer to stay with family she’s never met, she has no idea what to expect. Luckily her cousin Ruby is there to help her navigate family secrets, a mysterious ghostly visitor, and a curse that binds the two girls together; if they can survive The Ghost Road. Brimming with suspense, The Ghost Road is a classic ghost story sure to delight fans of Coraline and Dollbones.


Picture Books

Listening to My Body by Gabi Garcia, illustrated by Ying Hui Tan

Listening to My Body is an engaging and interactive picture book that introduces children to the practice of paying attention to their bodies. Through a combination of story and simple experiential activities, it guides them through the process of noticing and naming their feelings and the physical sensations that accompany them, while helping them build on their capacity to engage mindfully, self-regulate, and develop a better sense of well-being.

A Handful of Quiet by Thich Nhat Hanh

A Handful of Quiet presents one of the best known and most innovative meditation practices developed by Thich Nhat Hanh as part of the Plum Village community’s practice with children. Pebble meditation is a playful and fun activity that parents and educators can do with their children to introduce them to meditation. It is designed to involve children in a hands-on and creative way that touches on their interconnection with nature. Practicing pebble meditation can help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude, and can help children deal with difficult emotions.

I Am Yoga by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

An eagle soaring among the clouds or a star twinkling in the night sky . . . a camel in the desert or a boat sailing across the sea—yoga has the power of transformation. Not only does it strengthen bodies and calm minds, but with a little imagination, it can show us that anything is possible.

I Am Peace by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

When the world feels chaotic, find peace within through an accessible mindfulness practice from the bestselling picture-book dream team that brought us I Am Yoga. Express emotions through direct speech. Find empathy through imagination. Connect with the earth. Wonder at the beauty of the natural world. Breathe, taste, smell, touch, and be present.

My Magic Breath by Nick Ortner and Alison Taylor

Do YOU have the magic breath?

Let’s see…Take a deeeeeep breath in…and BLOW it out…

…and like magic, you can feel better just by breathing! Sometimes it’s hard to feel happy. But with this interactive picture book, children breathe along as they learn how to make angry or sad thoughts disappear.

In a world that is sometimes too busy, with too many things going on, My Magic Breath will help steer children into a serene space of mindfulness, self-awareness, and balance.

Middle Grade Books

This Moment Is Your Life (and So Is This One): A Fun and Easy Guide to Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga by Mariam Gates and Libby VanderPloeg

This engaging guide, packed with simple exercises and endearing full-color artwork, provides a handy starting point for bringing mindfulness into your daily life. Chapters on meditation, yoga, and mindful breathing explain the benefits of these practices, and you are free to pick and choose what to try. There are quick exercises throughout, and a more extensive tool kit at the end of each chapter. The final chapter offers satisfying five-day challenges that map out ways to pull all of the book’s mindfulness techniques together in your day-to-day life.

Mindful Me by Whitney Stewart, illustrated by Stacy Peterson

Sometimes kids’ lives can get busy and out of control, and worries can take over. When that happens, knowing how to pause and regain composure with mindfulness can help! This easily digestible guide introduces kids to mindfulness as a way to find clarity, manage stress, handle difficult emotions, and navigate personal challenges. With step-by-step instructions to over thirty breathing, relaxation, and guided meditation exercises, readers will have an entire toolkit at their disposal and writing prompts will help them process their discoveries.

 

Cover Reveal!

The survey results from the previous cover reveal show that 94.4% of you enjoy seeing cover reveals on this newsletter, so here is the next one: The Great Jeff by Tony Abbott!

Synopsis: Life hasn’t been great for Jeff. He was forced to leave his school, St. Catherine’s, for public school, which he hates. He’s no longer speaking to his former best friend Tom Bender because of that girl Jessica. But worst of all, his family is changing, and it’s not for the better.

When his mom comes home announcing that she’s lost her job, Jeff begins to worry about things far beyond his years–how will they pay the rent? Will his absentee dad step up and save the day? Will his mom get the help she needs? And ultimately, where will they live?

Told from the point of view of the bully in the modern classic Firegirl, The Great Jeff is a powerful look at a troubled boy who finds his life spiraling out of control, and his world sliding into homelessness.

The Great Jeff will be released on March 19, 2019.

Tony Abbott is the author of over a hundred books for young readers, including the bestselling series the Secrets of Droon and the Copernicus Legacy and the novel Firegirl. Tony has worked in libraries, bookstores, and a publishing company, and has taught creative writing. He has two grown daughters and lives in Connecticut with his wife and two dogs.

Tight by Torrey Maldonado is a middle grade coming of age story about Bryan, a kid who tries to stay out of drama and focus on school and his family. When his parents encourages him to hang out with Mike, Bryan does. But then Mike starts doing some things that make Bryan feel uncomfortable. I thought this was an amazing book with so many elements that kids will relate to.

A Home in the Barn is a classic Margaret Wise Brown farm animal story, and I love how Jerry Pinkney brings the story to life with his incredible illustrations. Seriously, look at that cover! It’s so gorgeous!

Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen is a middle grade book about the Jewish resistance. Chaya Linder uses her fair features to pass for Polish, and she spends her days as a courier for the Jewish resistance. The story is compelling and tragic with lots of graphic details. I learned a lot about this time period and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

 

Around the web…

Check out the Scholastic Reads podcast celebrating the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Bonding With My Sons Over Audiobooks, via Book Riot

Movies for Middle Grade Readers, via Book Riot

 

Reader Survey!

Book Riot wants to know the ins-n-outs of your reading life. Will you take a quick minute to participate in our Fall Reader Survey?

 

I would love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next time!
Karina


What my living room looks like right now.

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New Children’s Book Releases for September 4, 2018!

Hey Kid Lit friends,

Yay, it’s the first Tuesday of the month, and you know what that means. SO MANY NEW BOOKS! As usual, the book descriptions are from Goodreads, but I’ll add a ❤ if I particularly loved a title.


Sponsored by Disney Publishing Worldwide

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were stripped of their powers and banished from the kingdom of Auradon to the Isle of the Lost. Mal learns from her mother, Maleficent, that the key to true darkness, the Dragon’s Eye, is located inside her scepter in the forbidden fortress on the far side of the island. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the Dragon’s Eye, these four kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.


Picture Book New Releases

❤ Business Pig by Andrea Zuill

Right from the start, everyone at the barnyard could tell Jasper wasn’t like his siblings: “I believe what we have here is a gen-u-WINE Business Pig!” No wallowing in the mud or rooting for grubs for Jasper; he’d rather help with the bookkeeping or conduct a meeting. Though everyone at the animal sanctuary loves him, Jasper longs for a forever home. But no matter how many business cards he hands out, no one wants to adopt him. Can this above-average pig find his special person to cut deals with?

❤ Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian by Jacob Sager Weinstein, illustrated by Vera Brosgol

When an evil genius has a diabolical plan to destroy every book on the planet, who has the tome-toting page power to thwart his dastardly scheme? Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian! She’s got the gadgets. She’s got the disguises. And she’s always got the right book at the right time. It’s a good thing, too, because Lyric McKerrigan is the world’s last hope!

❤ Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Lulu Delacre

As the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor has inspired young people around the world to reach for their dreams. But what inspired her? For young Sonia, the answer was books! They were her mirrors, her maps, her friends, and her teachers. They helped her to connect with her family in New York and in Puerto Rico, to deal with her diabetes diagnosis, to cope with her father’s death, to uncover the secrets of the world, and to dream of a future for herself in which anything was possible.

❤ The Thank You Book by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated Stephanie Graegin

Thank you isn’t just for learning manners.
It’s also for when something wakes a
little hum
a little happy huminside you
and you want to answer back.

The Thank You Book explores the many ways we can be thankful for the pleasures great and small that await us every day. Tender and poetic, it reflects on the role gratitude can play in our lives and celebrates the powerful impact it can have on us.

❤ Grandmother’s Visit by Betty Quan, illustrated by Carmen Mok

Grandmother lives with Grace’s family. She teaches her how to measure water for rice. She tells her stories about growing up in China and together they savor the flavors of her childhood. Grandmother says goodbye when she drops Grace off at school every morning and hello when she picks her up at the end of the day. Then, Grandmother stops walking Grace to and from school, and the door to her room stays closed. Father comes home early to make dinner, but the rice bowls stay full. One day, Grandmother’s room is empty. And one day, Grandmother is buried. After the funeral, Grace’s mom turns on all the outside lights so that Grandmother’s spirit can find its way home for one final goodbye.

Big Brother Peanut Butter by Ashley Spruill

Peanut Butter’s mom has a bun in the oven, and Peanut Butter is going to be a big brother! He’s pretty excited, but also a little bit scared. Just what does a big brother do? Luckily, Peanut Butter has just the right friends to ask. Apple Pie has two little brothers, Blueberry and Cherry, and she makes it look easy. Cucumber is definitely a cool older sibling to little Dill Pickle. And Big Cheese is clearly an important friend to ask. But do any of them know how to teach Peanut Butter what to do? Will any of them be able to help him crack this nut?

T-Rex Time Machine by Jared Chapman

When two hungry dinosaurs jump into a time machine, they’re transported to an unbelievable, magical, surreal future: RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! On the T. Rexes’ madcap voyage into the unknown, they encounter the many wonders of the modern world: Police cars! Phones! Microwaves! They don’t know how they’ll get home—but why would they want to? Acclaimed author and illustrator Jared Chapman combines two favorite kid topics—time travel and dinosaurs—with bold colors, big jokes, and a hilarious escapade. This raucous, laugh-out-loud adventure will delight the very young and keep older readers giggling long into the future.

So Many Sounds by Tim McCanna, illustrated by Andy J. Miller

Listen! Do you hear a sound? Noises come from all around.
Soft and gentle, loud and clear. Oh so many sounds to hear! So Many Sounds is a wonderful rhyming read-aloud featuring everyday sounds and a refrain that children will love repeating. The playful text and illustrations are sure to delight little ones while also inviting them to pay more attention to the world around them.

A Prayer for the Animals by Daniel Kirk

May all of the animals of the earth
And the animals of the sky
And the animals of the sea
Be at peace.

This lyrical picture book from bestselling author and illustrator Daniel Kirk encourages young children to be kind to all the animals of the world. Kirk’s loving and hopeful verse blesses and gives warm wishes to farm animals, house pets, wild animals, and other creatures.

❤ A Home in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Perfect for fans of Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and Big Red Barn, this never-before-published picture book from beloved children’s book author Margaret Wise Brown tells the comforting, snowy story of animals seeking shelter from the cold in a big warm barn. Brought to beautiful life by Caldecott Medalist and multiple award winner Jerry Pinkney, this is a must-have for every child’s library and is perfect for cozy wintertime readings.

❤ Africville by Shauntay Grant and Eva Campbell

When a young girl visits the site of Africville, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the stories she’s heard from her family come to mind. She imagines what the community was once like ―the brightly painted houses nestled into the hillside, the field where boys played football, the pond where all the kids went rafting, the bountiful fishing, the huge bonfires. Coming out of her reverie, she visits the present-day park and the sundial where her great- grandmother’s name is carved in stone, and celebrates a summer day at the annual Africville Reunion/Festival.

Three Grumpy Trucks by Todd Tarpley, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

Whirr! Whomp! Grind! Chomp! How long can three busy trucks keep it up before…MELTDOWN? Three toy trucks have big plans for their day at the playground: digging and lifting, building and shifting. But then they start to get tired…and hot…and hungry….They’re GRUMPY! When they throw a total truck tantrum, will anyone be able to calm them down?

The Goodnight Train Rolls On! by June Sobel, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith

When a herd of poky sheep slows the Goodnight Train to a crawl, the Engineer’s quick thinking (and counting!) has them rolling along in no time—until one tricky sheep sends the train and its sleepy passengers tossing and turning! The clickety-clack cadence of the poetic text is sure to lull listeners to sleep, but not before they take in the candy-colored landscapes full of delightful Dreamland details to discover. All aboard!

❤ Look at Me! Wild Animal Show-Offs by Jim Arnosky

Meet the show-offs! With their wacky eyebrows, beautiful patterns, and bright feathers and scales, many animals seem to be saying: “Look at ME!” That behavior certainly won’t protect them from predators, so why do they do it? Jim Arnosky explores a multitude of creatures from across the globe to reveal the reasons behind their attention-grabbing behavior. His spectacular art, including amazing gatefolds, presents brilliantly colored poison arrow frogs of the rainforest; the breeding plumage of egrets and peacocks; the impressive antlers of deer and elk; the threatening hoods of cobras; the balloon-like displays of African bullfrogs; and the dramatic color transformation of spawning fish.

Fangsgiving by Ethan Long

It’s the fourth Thursday of November, and the members of Fright Club are cooking up something spooky . . . a Thanksgiving feast! But when Vlad’s family arrives unexpectedly, they put their own spin on each of the dishes. Now, the rolls are as hard as headstones and the turkey has been cooked to death. Vlad loves his family, but they’ve made a mess of their meal! Can this monster-filled family come together to save their feast and celebrate what the holiday is truly about?

 

Chapter Book New Releases

The Oregon Trail: The Race to Chimney Rock by Jesse Wiley

In book one of this exciting choose-your-own-adventure series, it’s 1850 and your first goal is to get your family, covered wagon full of supplies, and oxen to Chimney Rock on time. But hurry—you’ll need to make it through the rugged mountains before winter snow hits. Plus, there are wild animals, natural disasters, unpredictable weather, fast-flowing rivers, strangers, and sickness that will be sure to stand between you and your destination! Which path will get you safely across the prairie? With twenty-two possible endings, choose wrong and you’ll never make it to Chimney Rock on time. Choose right and blaze a trail that gets you closer to Oregon City! This four book series continues with Danger at the Haunted Gate, The Search for Snake River, and The Road to Oregon City.

 

Middle Grade New Releases

❤ Tight by Torrey Maldonado

Bryan knows what’s tight for him–reading comics, drawing superheroes, and hanging out with no drama. But drama is every day where he’s from, and that gets him tight, wound up. And now Bryan’s friend Mike pressures him with ideas of fun that are crazy risky. At first, it’s a rush following Mike, hopping turnstiles, subway surfing, and getting into all kinds of trouble. But Bryan never really feels right acting so wrong, and drama really isn’t him. So which way will he go, especially when his dad tells him it’s better to be hard and feared than liked?

❤ The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor by Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, was a young girl when she dared to dream big. Her dream? To become a lawyer and a judge. As Justice Sotomayor explains, “When I was a child my family was poor and we knew no lawyers or judges and none lived in our neighborhood. I knew nothing about the Supreme Court and how much its work in reinterpreting the Constitution and the laws of the United States affected peoples’ lives. You cannot dream of becoming something you don’t even know about. That has been the most important lesson of my life. You have to learn to dream big dreams.”

The Splintered Light by Ginger Johnson

Ever since his brother Luc’s disappearance and his father’s tragic death, Ishmael has lived a monotonous existence helping his mother on their meager farm where everything is colorless. Until one morning a ray of light fragments Ishmael’s gray world into something extraordinary: a spectrum of color he never knew existed. Emboldened, Ishmael sets out to find answers hoping his long lost brother might hold the key.

The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn

A family moves into an old, abandoned house. Jules’s parents love the house, but Jules is frightened and feels a sense of foreboding. When she sees a pale face in an upstairs window, though, she can’t stop wondering about the eerie presence on the top floor—in a room with a locked door. Could it be someone who lived in the house a century earlier?

Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn

Lottie Pumpkin is an ordinary girl who has spent her life longing for the extraordinary. Ellie Wolf is the crown princess of Maradova, who wants nothing more than a chance at an ordinary life. When fate puts Lottie and Ellie in the same dorm room at the prestigious Rosewood Hall, there’s only one solution: for the girls to swap identities, and live the lives they’ve always dreamed of. But at Rosewood, a secret never stays secret for long. Someone in the school is on to them—and if the truth is revealed, the results may be more treacherous than they ever expected.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden

Seventh-grader Zoey has her hands full as she takes care of her much younger siblings after school every day while her mom works her shift at the pizza parlor. Not that her mom seems to appreciate it. At least there’s Lenny, her mom’s boyfriend—they all get to live in his nice, clean trailer. At school, Zoey tries to stay under the radar. Unfortunately, she’s not totally invisible, and one of her teachers forces her to join the debate club. Even though Zoey resists participating, debate ultimately leads her to see things in a new way: her mom’s relationship with Lenny, Fuchsia’s situation, and her own place in this town of people who think they’re better than her. Can Zoey find the courage to speak up, even if it means risking the most stable home she’s ever had?

Cats vs. Robots: This Is War by Margaret Stohl and Lewis Peterson

The Robot Federation and the Feline Empire have been at war for eons. And now that fight is coming to a tiny primitive planetoid…Earth. The mission for both cats and robots: retrieve the Singularity Chip. With it, cats can live past their nine lives, and robots are granted eternal battery life. Meanwhile, twin siblings Max and Min Wengrod are as different as can be. Min always gets good grades, and she loves to read and build robots. Max hates school, and prefers to play games and spend time online with friends. When Max rescues two kittens and is determined to keep them, Min is horrified that these furballs could ruin her chances at the Battle of the Bots competition.

❤ The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm

Ellie’s grandpa Melvin is a world-renowned scientist . . . in the body of a fourteen-year-old boy. His feet stink, and he eats everything in the refrigerator–and Ellie is so happy to have him around. Grandpa may not exactly fit in at middle school, but he certainly keeps things interesting. When he and Ellie team up for the county science fair, no one realizes just how groundbreaking their experiment will be. The formula for eternal youth may be within their reach! And when Ellie’s cat, Jonas Salk, gets sick, the stakes become even higher. But is the key to eternal life really the key to happiness? Sometimes even the most careful experiments yield unexpected–and wonderful–results.

Voyage of the Dogs by Greg Van Eekhout

Lopside is a Barkonaut—a specially trained dog who assists human astronauts on missions in space. He and the crew aboard the spaceship Laika are en route to set up an outpost on a distant planet. When the mission takes a disastrous turn, the Barkonauts on board suddenly find themselves completely alone on their severely damaged ship. Survival seems impossible. But these dogs are Barkonauts—and Barkonauts always complete their mission.

Dodger Boy by Sarah Ellis

In 1970 Vancouver, thirteen-year-old Charlotte and her best friend, Dawn, are keen to avoid the pitfalls of adolescence. But life becomes more complicated when the girls meet a Texan draft dodger who comes to live with Charlotte’s Quaker family. Tom Ed expands Charlotte’s horizons as they discuss everything from war to civil disobedience to women’s liberation. Grappling with exhilarating and disturbing new ideas, faced with a censorship challenge to her beloved English teacher and trying to decode the charismatic draft dodger himself, Charlotte finds it harder and harder to stick to her unteen philosophy, and to see eye to eye with Dawn.

❤ 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling

Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, the least livable town in the United States. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of getting out and going to college, life there is made even worse by Bo Taylor, Nowhere’s biggest, baddest bully. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a dangerously spiny cactus, Rossi Scott, one of the best racers in Nowhere, comes to his rescue—but in return she has to give Bo her prized dirt bike. Determined to buy it back, Gus agrees to go searching for gold in Dead Frenchman Mine, joined by his old friends Jessie Navarro and Matthew Dufort, and Rossi herself. As they hunt for treasure, narrowly surviving everything from cave-ins to mountain lions, they bond over shared stories of how hard life in Nowhere is—and they realize this adventure just may be their way out.

❤ Sabotage Stage Left by Casey Lyall

Spring (musical) fever has hit the Grantleyville Middle School Drama Club! Since Ivy Mason is busy with the production, she decides to take a break from sleuthing, while Howard Wallace keeps things running smoothly with their detective agency. Then, just a few weeks before showtime, suspicious things start happening backstage: missing costumes, damaged props, and too many other mishaps to be coincidental. Ivy calls in Howard and their crew to take on the case. Howard tries to lay low and quietly sniff out the perp, but he’s soon brought into the spotlight when he’s framed as the saboteur! Can the team of intrepid P.I.s clear Howard’s name and catch the culprit before the curtain falls on the big show?

After Zero by Christina Collins

Elise carries a notebook full of tallies, each page marking a day spent at her new public school, each stroke of her pencil marking a word spoken. A word that can’t be taken back. Five tally marks isn’t so bad. Two is pretty good. But zero? Zero is perfect. Zero means no wrong answers called out in class, no secrets accidentally spilled, no conversations to agonize over at night when sleep is far away. But now months have passed, and Elise isn’t sure she could speak even if she wanted to―not to keep her only friend, Mel, from drifting further away―or to ask if anyone else has seen her English teacher’s stuffed raven come to life. Then, the discovery of a shocking family secret helps Elise realize that her silence might just be the key to unlocking everything she’s ever hoped for…

The Great Shelby Holmes and the Coldest Case by Elizabeth Eulberg

Being friends with a super sleuth isn’t easy, especially when she’s nine years old, four feet tall, and full of attitude. But for eleven-year-old John Watson, being friends with Shelby Holmes is just the adventure he’s looking for. After Watson’s online journal chronicling his and Shelby’s case-closing abilities attracts the attention of a newspaper reporter, the pair becomes a small “media sensation” in their Harlem neighborhood. So it’s no surprise (at least, to Shelby!) when the article lands them a new client–a figure skating coach whose star athlete, Jordan Nelson, is receiving strange, threatening messages, written entirely in code. There’s no one better to crack the cipher than dynamic duo Shelby and Watson! But to gather information, Shelby decides that they’ll have to go undercover . . . as an award-winning pair skating team.

 

Nonfiction New Releases

Grandpa and the Library by C. Ian White

Every day, young Charles White’s mother takes him the Chicago Public Library, where the librarians look after him until she picks him up again after work, at six o’clock. At the library Charles looks carefully at the picture books the librarians give him and also at the people around him, later drawing what he sees on scraps of paper at home. He learns to be patient and observant—and, by watching art students painting in the park, how to mix and use oil paints. As he grows into an artist, he paints the people he sees and admires. Ultimately, Charles becomes a great artist whose works now hang in museums throughout the United States.

The Making of America: Abraham Lincoln by Teri Kanefield

The third installment of the Making of America series, Abraham Lincoln, tells of one of our most beloved presidents. Born in a cabin deep in the backwoods of Kentucky, growing up in a family considered “the poorest of the poor,” Lincoln rose to become the sixteenth president of the United States. As president, he guided the United States through the Civil War, helped end slavery in America, and strengthened the federal government. Unlike other biographies, the Making of America series goes beyond individual narratives linking influential figures to create an overarching story of America’s growth.

❤ Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scouts to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo

A meningitis outbreak in their underprivileged neighborhood left Sylvia Acevedo’s family forever altered. As she struggled in the aftermath of loss, young Sylvia’s life transformed when she joined the Brownies. The Girl Scouts taught her how to take control of her world and nourished her love of numbers and science. With new confidence, Sylvia navigated shifting cultural expectations at school and at home, forging her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master’s in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

❤ Never Too Young: 50 Unstoppable Kids Who Made a Difference by Aileen Weintraub, illustrated by Laura Horton

From Picasso, who changed the art world forever, to Malala Yousafzai, the brave teen who was shot for advocating education for girls, the 50 kids profiled in Never Too Young! will inspire and empower young readers. Some, like Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges, and Stevie Wonder, are prominent figures, while others are lesser known though their achievements are just as compelling. They come from a variety of historical periods and backgrounds, and have made an impact in politics, sports, the arts, science, and more.

❤ We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices by Edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

What do we tell our children when the world seems bleak, and prejudice and racism run rampant? With 96 lavishly designed pages of original art and prose, fifty diverse creators lend voice to young activists. Featuring poems, letters, personal essays, art, and other works from such industry leaders as Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming), Jason Reynolds (All American Boys), Kwame Alexander (The Crossover), Andrea Pippins (I Love My Hair), Sharon Draper (Out of My Mind), Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), Ellen Oh (cofounder of We Need Diverse Books), and artists Ekua Holmes, Rafael Lopez, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, and more, this anthology empowers the nation’s youth to listen, learn, and build a better tomorrow.

Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art by Hudson Talbott

Thomas Cole was always looking for something new to draw. Born in England during the Industrial Revolution, he was fascinated by tales of the American countryside, and was ecstatic to move there in 1818. The life of an artist was difficult at first, however Thomas kept his dream alive by drawing constantly and seeking out other artists. But everything changed for him when he was given a ticket for a boat trip up the Hudson River to see the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. The haunting beauty of the landscape sparked his imagination and would inspire him for the rest of his life. The majestic paintings that followed struck a chord with the public and drew other artists to follow in his footsteps, in the first art movement born in America. His landscape paintings also started a conversation on how to protect the country’s wild beauty.

 

Backlist Book Recommendations

Chapter Book Recommendation: Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill

In Greenwich Village an orphaned black cat lives happily with her master, a sea captain. Still, the gentle Jenny Linsky would like nothing more than to join the local Cat Club, whose members include Madame Butterfly, an elegant Persian, the high-stepping Macaroni, and stately, plump Mr. President. But can she overcome her fears and prove that she, too, has a special gift?

Note from Karina: I absolutely adore Jenny Linsky and her adventures. There is a whole series of books about her, so if you like this one definitely check out all the other ones. 

Middle Grade Recommendation: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining Glittering. That’s how Katie Takeshima’s sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people’s eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it’s Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare. And it’s Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering — kira-kira — in the future.

Note from Karina: This is such a lovely middle grade book (it also won the Newbery Medal). It is poetic and beautiful, and I love the writing. 

Nonfiction Book Recommendation: Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry

Harriet Tubman was born a slave and dreamed of being free. She was willing to risk everything—including her own life—to see that dream come true. After her daring escape, Harriet became a conductor on the secret Underground Railroad, helping others make the dangerous journey to freedom.

Note from Karina: I found this biography so gripping and interesting – I read it in one sitting and then passed it on to my ten-year-old who already read it in one sitting. This updated edition includes a foreward by Jason Reynolds and new art by Kadir Nelson.

 

We want your thoughts!

Book Riot is conducting a fall reader survey, and we want to know your thoughts! Please take a few minutes to answer a brief questionnaire.

 

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next week!
Karina

Izzy and the stack of new releases out today!

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Middle Grade Books About Visiting a New Country

Hi Kid Lit friends!

I just read a Young Adult book (geared for teenagers and older) called Darius the Great is Not Okay, which is about a teen going abroad to his mother’s home country of Iran for the very first time. I could relate to his struggles with language and cultural differences; I am Chinese but was born in the United States. Those visits back to the country where my parents grew up were strange; I didn’t know the language, and all of the sudden there were all of these relatives I had never met who were disappointed I didn’t know Chinese but who were eager to examine me, “the American.”


Sponsored by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic.

From the creator of the internationally bestselling and award-winning BONE series comes a charming and adorable picture book — the first to feature Smiley Bone in an adventure all his own!

On a beautiful sunny day, happy-go-lucky Smiley Bone is walking through the woods when he begins to count some friendly birds. The birds sing and climb so high that Smiley must find a fantastical way to keep up with them! With lively drawings and expressive word balloons, Jeff Smith has created a one-of-a-kind picture book that will delight the youngest readers.


I think books about this experience of visiting a new country are so interesting to read. They all capture universal feelings we have when we are outside of our comfort zone, and these five middle grade novels are all wonderful examples of experiences in a new country.

Dumpling Days, a chapter book by Grace Lin, is very accessible to younger middle grade readers. It is part of a series based on Grace’s own childhood which include The Year of the Dog and The Year of the Rat. Her charming spot illustrations break up the text and provide some wonderful visual context. In this book, Pacy and her sisters and parents travel to Taiwan where she meets family she never knew she had, eats food she never knew existed, and learns more about her Chinese heritage.

How Tía Lola Came to (Visit) Stay by Julia Alvarez is about Miguel and his sister who moves to Vermont from New York City with his mom after his parents divorce. When his Tía Lola arrives from the Dominican Republic to help out, Miguel has to get used to her unfamiliar ways and (sometimes embarrassing) ways of interacting. The series continues with How Tía Lola Saved the Summer and How Tia Lola Learned to Teach.

Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata is about Jaden, an 11-year-old who is traveling with his family to Kazakhstan to adopt a new child. Jaden is adopted himself, and he is convinced that his parents are adopting another child to replace him. When they arrive at the adoption center and find that the baby his parents had planned to adopt has already been given to another family, they have to make a quick decision whether to adopt one of the other six babies available.

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish is Pablo Cartaya’s second book after his Bulpre Honor book, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. Marcus Vega is six feet tall, 180 pounds, and the owner of a premature mustache. After a fight at school leaves Marcus facing suspension, Marcus’s mom decides it’s time for a change of environment. She takes Marcus and his younger brother to Puerto Rico to spend a week with relatives they don’t remember or have never met. But Marcus can’t focus knowing that his father–who walked out of their lives ten years ago–is somewhere on the island.

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead is a sweet book about memory. It’s been five years since Livy and her family have visited Livy’s grandmother in Australia. Now that she’s back, Livy has the feeling she’s forgotten something really, really important about Gran’s house. It turns out she’s right. Bob, a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit, didn’t forget Livy, or her promise. He’s been waiting five years for her to come back, hiding in a closet like she told him to. He can’t remember who―or what―he is, where he came from, or if he even has a family. But five years ago Livy promised she would help him find his way back home. Now it’s time to keep that promise.

 

I really loved All Summer Long by Hope Larson. It is a new graphic novel about friendships, music, and navigating the complicated stage of life called middle school. The illustrations are gorgeous (look at that cover!), and the story is both funny and relatable.

Africville by Shauntay Grant, pictures by Eva Campbell comes out this Tuesday. It is the story of Africville, a Black community located on the shores of the Bedford Basin in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its population peaked at around four hundred people, and the majority of its residents were landowners. For more than 150 years, Africville was a vibrant, self-sustaining community. In the 1960s, Halifax city officials decided to demolish Africville and residents were moved out in dump trucks. This book recreates Africville in it’s heyday.

The Colors of the Rain by R.L. Toalson is a historic middle grade verse novel, set against the backdrop of the desegregation battles that took place in Houston, Texas, in 1972. It is a heart wrenching book about broken families and new hope. (Yep, I cried.)

 

Around the web…

Fifty Must-Read Book Series, via Book Riot

12 Own Voices Middle Grade Audiobooks, via Book Riot

 

Reader Survey!

Book Riot wants to know the ins-n-outs of your reading life. Will you take a quick minute to participate in our Fall Reader Survey?

 

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next time!
Karina

Annabelle is very interested in Fangsgiving by Ethan Long, coming out this Tuesday!

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New Children’s Book Releases for August 28, 2018!

Hey Kid Lit friends,

Hooray, it’s Tuesday! Check out all of these new books hitting shelves today! As usual, the book descriptions are from Goodreads, but I’ll add a ❤ if I particularly loved a title.


We’re giving away 16 of the books featured on Recommended! Click here, or on the image below to enter:


Picture Book New Releases

❤ Polka Dot Parade: A Book About Bill Cunningham by Deborah Blumenthal, illustrated by Masha D’yans

Every day, Bill Cunningham pedaled his bike through New York City searching for beauty. As he took picture after picture, Bill found beauty not in people, but in their clothes. Drawn to bold and creative choices, Bill’s photos captured the attention of the New York Times. He traveled to Paris for Fashion Week, and admiration for his work grew. With his sense of creativity and daringness, his own personal style of photography came to be known as street art photography. His photos left a lasting impression on all those who came across his work and they continue to inspire creativity today. This is the story of the legend who created street fashion photography and left behind a legacy of glorious pictures. Bill Cunningham used his passion and talent to capture the beauty he saw in fashion and the ultimate freedom that it represents to each and every person.

❤ Good Night, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony

It is time for bed and Mr. Panda reminds his friends Hippopotamus, Skunk, Sheep, and Sloth that they each have forgotten to do something in this lovely book in Spanish. Skunk has forgotten to take a bath, Hippopotamus needs to brush his teeth, Sloth is too tired to move, and much more. Mr. Panda is there to remind them of the steps they’ve missed. As Lemur eventually finds out, however, even Mr. Panda can make a bedtime mistake!

❤ Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses by Susan and James Patterson, illustrated by Hspinping Pan

From sloths to spoonbills and panda ants to pangolins, little geniuses will love learning about all of the unusual, adorable animals that live on this planet. More than 50 little-known flyers, swimmers, and crawlers are included in this book, whimsically illustrated by artist Hsinping Pan. Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses will remind you that nature contains many wonders–and these cute and curious creatures are no exception!

If You’re Groovy and You Know It, Hug a Friend by Eric Litwin, illustrated Tom Lichtenheld

Signature rhyme, repetition, and musical writing style, combined with wild and witty illustrations, come together to create a character that will have you singing all day long. Groovy Joe is back, ready to get groovy!

Monster Academy by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by John McKinley

Come along with Principal Frank N. Stein into a bright, energetic classroom where the class pet is a big purple boa constrictor, recess is in a swamp, and class bats help build a Creepy Castle in the Monster Maker’s Lab. When Tornado Jo, a new student, roars into class, a storm is brewing. Who could ever guess that her new best friend will be a vampire, and she’ll help him find his missing fang?

 

Chapter Book New Releases

Ivy and Bean: One Happy Family by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Ivy’s worried. She’s read a lot of books about only children, so she knows that they are sometimes spoiled rotten. They don’t share their toys. They never do any work. They scream and cry when they don’t get their way. Spoiler alert! Ivy doesn’t have any brothers or sisters. That’s why she’s worried. How can she keep from getting spoiled? She could give away all her clothes, but she’d probably get in trouble. She could give away all her toys, but she likes her toys. There’s really only one solution: she needs a baby sister, on the double! Luckily, Ivy and Bean know just where to get one.

Ghoulia by Barbara Cantini

Ghoulia lives in Crumbling Manor with her Auntie Departed and spends most of her time playing with Tragedy, her beloved albino greyhound. But things aren’t as easy as they seem for this little zombie girl—all she wants is a real friend. She tries to venture past the manor’s walls, but she can’t hide her pale green skin or the deep purple circles under her eyes. The other children will be afraid of her, and no one will want to be her friend. But when Halloween rolls around, Ghoulia hatches a brilliant plan. All the other, ordinary children will be dressed up like monsters, so Ghoulia can go out into the town and be entirely herself.

❤ Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas by Dav Pilkey

When a new bunch of baddies bust up the town, Dog Man is called into action — and this time he isn’t alone. With a cute kitten and a remarkable robot by his side, our heroes must save the day by joining forces with an unlikely ally: Petey, the World’s Most Evil Cat. But can the villainous Petey avoid vengeance and venture into virtue?

 

Middle Grade New Releases

❤ Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat–by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them–everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

Elephant Secret by Eric Walters

Sam was born and raised in an elephant sanctuary. When a beloved elephant dies giving birth, Sam develops a connection with baby Woolly—who isn’t actually an elephant but was cloned from woolly mammoth DNA. And the billionaire genius behind the cloning experiment will stop at nothing to protect his investment. Smart, determined, and loving, Sam stands up to this powerful adversary to protect the sanctuary and her herd. In the best tradition of child-animal friendship stories, Elephant Secret explores the strong and complex bond between Sam and her elephants while offering a fascinating, authentic glimpse into elephant—and human—behavior.

Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home by Mark Lowery

Thirteen-year-old Martin and his younger brother Charlie are on a very special journey. They’re traveling 421 miles all the way from Preston in northern England to the very tip of Cornwall in the southwest. By train, bus, and taxi, they are determined to get there to catch a glimpse of the dolphin that regularly visits the harbor and made last year’s family vacation so special. But is that the only reason they are going? Mom stays in bed all day and Dad is always at work. Martin is doing his best to be a good big brother, but Martin must come to terms with why he and Charlie are making the journey to Cornwall in the first place.

❤ Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Chaya Lindner is a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Simply being Jewish places her in danger of being killed or sent to the camps. After her little sister is taken away, her younger brother disappears, and her parents all but give up hope, Chaya is determined to make a difference. Using forged papers and her fair features, Chaya becomes a courier and travels between the Jewish ghettos of Poland, smuggling food, papers, and even people.

Note from Karina: Due to violent content, I think this would be best for upper middle grade readers.

A Long Line of Cakes by Deborah Wiles

Emma Lane Cake has five brothers, four dogs, and a family that can’t stay put. The Cake family travels from place to place, setting up bakeries in communities that need them. Then, just when Emma feels settled in with new friends… they move again. Now the Cakes have come to Aurora County, and Emma has vowed that this time she is NOT going to get attached to ANYONE or ANYTHING. Why bother, if her father’s only going to uproot her again? But fate has different plans. As does Ruby Lavender, who is going to show Emma Lane Cake a thing or two about making friendship last.

Lucky Luna by Diana López

Luna Ramos has too many primas to count, but there’s one cousin that’s always getting her into trouble, Claudia. After locking her in the bathroom at their other cousin’s quinceañera, Luna is grounded for a month. Her punishment? Not being allowed to wear her signature hats, which she uses to hide her birthmark, a streak of white in her otherwise dark hair. The only thing that gives Luna the tiniest bit of satisfaction is knowing that Claudia is also being teased because she has a big nose. Eventually, Luna discovers that Claudia was not being teased after all. Every joke Luna heard was actually directed at her!

City of Ghosts by Victoria (V.E.) Schwab

When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift,” she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil — and herself. And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

 

Graphic Novel New Releases

❤ Kristy’s Big Day, a graphic novel by Gale Galligan based on the book by Ann M. Martin

Kristy’s mom is getting married, and Kristy is going to be a bridesmaid! The only problem? Fourteen kids are coming to town for the wedding. Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, Dawn, and Mallory think they can handle it, but that’s before they spend a week changing diapers, stopping arguments, solving mix-ups, and planning activities. It’s the biggest job the BSC has ever had, but they’ll work together to make sure Kristy’s big day is a success!

 

Backlist Book Recommendations


Picture Book Recommendation:
The Library by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small

Elizabeth Brown doesn’t like to play with dolls and she doesnt like to skate. What she does like to do is read books. Lots of books. The only problem is that her library has gotten so big she can’t even use her front door anymore. What should Elizabeth Brown do?

Note from Karina: I love this book so much. The illustrations are absolutely charming, and the story of Elizabeth the book lover is one I think all of us can relate to, am I right?


Middle Grade Recommendation
: Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan, drawings by Brian Selznick

In this fast-paced, courageous, and inspiring story, readers adventure with Charlotte Parkhurst as she first finds work as a stable hand, becomes a famous stage-coach driver (performing brave feats and outwitting bandits), finds love as a woman but later resumes her identity as a man after the loss of a baby and the tragic death of her husband, and ultimately settles out west on the farm she’d dreamed of having since childhood. It wasn’t until after her death that anyone discovered she was a woman.

Note from Karina: My ten-year-old daughter loves this book, so I picked it up the other day. I am a huge fan of Pam Munoz Ryan’s book Echo, and I am really enjoying Riding Freedom so far.


Nonfiction Book Recommendation:
What’s the Difference? 40+ Pairs of the Seemingly Similar by Emma Strack, illustrated by Guillaume Plantevin

What distinguishes a mandarin orange from a clementine, an iris from a pupil, a tornado from a cyclone, and a bee from a wasp? The difference is in the details! This content-rich illustrated extravaganza distills the distinctions between an impressive collection of pairs—from animals to food to geography and more—offering enlightening trivia, amusing tidbits, and unforgettable facts in a highly browsable format. Young readers can dip in quickly to feed their curiosity, or delve into the details and stay awhile.

Note from Karina: This is a delightful nonfiction book about seemingly familiar pairs and how to tell the difference. Discover what makes white and dark chocolate different, how to tell between a garter snake and a viper, and what distinguishes between a stetson and a borsalino.

 

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next week!
Karina

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Illustrator Videos on Facebook’s New York Times Books

Hi Kid Lit friends!

I wanted to share with you a really cool thing that the New York Times does with children’s illustrators on Facebook. Every couple of weeks, they have live videos featuring illustrators and authors with live drawing demonstrations. It’s generally a thirty-minute conversation, demo, and sometimes studio tour with the children’s book creator and Maria Russo, the New York Times children’s book editor. I love watching the creative process, and viewers are invited to type in questions for the creators to answer on the show.


Sponsored by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic.

Sometimes making (or creating) a friend is a lot easier than keeping one!

Sixth grade was SO much easier for Danny. Now that she’s in seventh grade, she’s in a new middle school, her friends are in different classes and new cliques, and she is totally lost. What Danny really needs is a new best friend! So when she inherits a magic sketchbook in which anything she sketches in it comes to life, she draws Madison, the perfect best friend ever. But even when you create a best friend, there’s no guarantee they’ll always be your best friend.


Here are some of my favorite videos:

Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi talk about their picture books, I’m Sad and I’m Bored. I particularly enjoyed hearing Debbie talk about how she came up with her illustration of the potato. Also, Michael Ian reveals the two other titles of his upcoming book collaborations with Debbie. Here is the link to the video, or you can click the image below.

Everyone feels sad sometimes—even flamingos. Sigh. When Flamingo announces he’s feeling down, the little girl and Potato try to cheer him up, but nothing seems to work. Not even dirt! (Which usually works for Potato.) Flamingo learns that he will not always feel this way. And his friends learn that sometimes being a friend means you don’t have to cheer someone up. You just have to stick by your pal no matter how they feel. Even if they’re a potato.

Just when a little girl thinks she couldn’t possibly be more bored, she stumbles upon a potato who turns the tables on her by declaring that children are boring. But this girl isn’t going to let a vegetable tell her what’s what, so she sets out to show the unimpressed potato all the amazing things kids can do. Too bad the potato is anything but interested….

Yuyi Morales talks about her upcoming picture book, Dreamers (Neal Porter Books, 9/4). Yuyi talks about how she did not begin drawing until she was an adult, and she demonstrates the ways she uses multimedia in her illustrations. Here is the link to the video, or you can click the image below.

In 1994, Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the US with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn’t come empty-handed. She brought her strength, her work, her passion, her hopes and dreams…and her stories. Caldecott Honor artist and five-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales’s gorgeous new picture book Dreamers is about making a home in a new place. Yuyi and her son Kelly’s passage was not easy, and Yuyi spoke no English whatsoever at the time. But together, they found an unexpected, unbelievable place: the public library. There, book by book, they untangled the language of this strange new land, and learned to make their home within it.

Victoria Jamieson talks about All’s Faire in Middle School, a middle grade graphic novel set at at Renaissance Faire.  I loved hearing about how Victoria found her drawing style in art school and how she transitioned from writing and illustrating picture books to graphic novels. Check out the video to hear about all the different types of strange jobs Victoria had. Here is the link to the video, or you can click the image below.

Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind—she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it’s not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don’t) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family’s unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.

Brian Pinkney talks about illustrating two picture books, In Your Hands written by Carole Boston Weatherford, and Martin Rising: A Requiem for a King written by Andrea Davis Pinkney. I loved hearing how he was inspired to illustrate In Your Hands. Here is the link to the video, or you can click the image below.

A black mother expresses the many hopes and dreams she has for her child in this powerful picture book masterpiece that’s perfect for gift-giving.

When you are a newborn,
I hold your hand and study your face.
I cradle you as you drift to sleep.
But I know that I will not always
hold your hand;
not the older you get.
Then, I will hold you in my heart
And hope that God holds you in his hands.

In a rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion, Andrea and Brian Pinkney convey the final months of Martin Luther King’s life — and of his assassination — through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning. Andrea’s stunning poetic requiem, illustrated with Brian’s lyrical and colorful artwork, brings a fresh perspective to Martin Luther King, the Gandhi-like, peace-loving activist whose dream of equality — and whose courage to make it happen — changed the course of American history. And even in his death, he continues to transform and inspire all of us who share his dream.

Brian Selznick talks about Baby Monkey, Private Eye, a new young reader. I particularly loved hearing about how Brian made a rubber Baby Monkey as well as a model of the detective agency room so he could move the elements inside the agency around. He also gives a tour of his studio, which is also fascinating. Here is the link to the video, or you can click the image below.

He is a baby.
He is a monkey.
He has a job.
He is Baby Monkey, Private Eye!
Lost jewels?
Missing pizza?
Stolen spaceship?
Baby Monkey can help…
if he can put on his pants!

Baby Monkey’s adventures come to life in an exciting blend of picture book, beginning reader, and graphic novel. Hooray for Baby Monkey!

 

There are so many videos up on the New York Times Book Facebook page, including talks with illustrators like Vashti Harrison, Corinna Luyken, Tim Miller, Bryan Collier, and many, many more! Check them out and let me know what you think.

The next live session is on Monday, August 27 at 3:30 pm EST. David Ezra Stein will be talking about his new book, Interrupting Chicken. Tune in and ask him a question!

 

Lucky Luna by Diana López (Scholastic, 8/28) is a middle grade book about mischievous Luna who gets in trouble when she locks her know-it-all cousin in the bathroom at her cousin’s quinceanera. This is a sweet, funny book about family and friendship.

I adored Good Night, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony (Scholastic, 9/28), a super sweet bedtime story about a panda and his friends. The sparse text and adorable illustrations really made this a winner of a picture book for me.

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier (Amulet Books, 9/25) is about eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow, the best climber in all of London. She was taught by her father how to clean chimneys until he mysteriously disappeared and she had to find work with a notorious chimney sweep. This is a beautifully written middle grade novel with both mystery and magic.

 

New Giveaway Alert!

Hey, we have a new giveaway for August! Get 16 awesome books featured on the Recommended podcast. Enter here by August 31!

 

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next time!
Karina


Perfect nap spot!

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New Children’s Book Releases for August 21, 2018!

Hey Kid Lit friends,

Woohoo, Tuesdays! The best day of the week! Check out all of these new books hitting shelves today! As usual, the book descriptions are from Goodreads, but I’ll add a ❤ if I particularly loved a title.


We’re giving away 16 of the books featured on Recommended! Click here, or on the image below to enter:


Board Book New Releases

❤ Little Boat by Taro Gomi

When you’re small and on the go, there’s a lot to watch out for: big boats, waves, rain clouds, and more! But Little Boat can handle whatever comes his way, braving the elements and the unexpected with his initiative, confidence, and positive attitude. This colorful follow-up to Little Truck by beloved author-illustrator Taro Gomi will entertain toddlers sailing toward big adventures!

 

Picture Book New Releases

Melia and Jo by Billy Aronson and Jennifer Oxley

Melia is scientific and loves to create things in her backyard laboratory, but something is missing. Her inventions just aren’t quite right. Enter Jo, her new friend with an artistic spirit. When you add the arts to sciences, something magical happens!

❤ The Crocodile and the Dentist by Taro Gomi

Oh, it’s time to go to the dentist! Crocodile has a toothache, but he’s afraid of the dentist. The dentist wants to help, but he’s afraid of Crocodile. Never fear! Bestselling author-illustrator Taro Gomi cleverly and humorously presents both sides of the story, as the crocodile and the dentist learn to be brave and face their fears—of what might happen in that dentist’s chair and of each other!

 

Middle Grade New Releases

❤ Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

After a fight at school leaves Marcus facing suspension, Marcus’s mom decides it’s time for a change of environment. She takes Marcus and his younger brother to Puerto Rico to spend a week with relatives they don’t remember or have never met. But Marcus can’t focus knowing that his father–who walked out of their lives ten years ago–is somewhere on the island. So begins Marcus’s incredible journey, a series of misadventures that take him all over Puerto Rico in search of his elusive namesake. Marcus doesn’t know if he’ll ever find his father, but what he ultimately discovers changes his life. And he even learns a bit of Spanish along the way.

From Sunset Till Sunrise: Devin Dexter 2 by Jonathan Rosen

Devin Dexter and his cousin Tommy just saved the city of Gravesend from the menace of magical, malicious Cuddle Bunnies brought to life by the warlock, Herb. But there’s no rest for the wicked, as a new mysterious neighbor moves in across the street. At night. With a coffin. Tommy immediately jumps to conclusions as he thinks this can only mean one thing: Vampires.

The Treasure of Mad Doc Magee by Elinor Teele

The small, run-down town of Eden is the only place Jenny Burns has ever called home. And that’s why, when her father loses his job and tells Jenny that they may have to move on from Eden, she knows she can’t let that happen. The fever of New Zealand’s gold rush still runs in the veins of Eden, and everyone knows the legend of Doc Magee: how he found the largest gold nugget anyone had ever seen and hid it somewhere in the hills before he disappeared. Jenny and her best friend, Pandora, know that if they can find the gold, it’ll solve all their problems. But the way is fraught with mysteries, riddles, and danger—and those are just the threats they know about.

Cavall in Camelot 1: A Dog in King Arthur’s Court by Audrey Mackaman

When Cavall and his older brother, Glessic, leave the comfort of their simple barn to join the lavish court of Camelot, Cavall wants nothing more than to prove he’s a good dog to the great knights and dogs of the castle—especially to King Arthur. But Gless says only the best dogs are worthy of greatness, and Cavall has never been as strong, brave, or fast as his brother. Meanwhile, malevolent forces lurk in Camelot, and Cavall must figure out how to protect his person. To make matters worse, Arthur’s mysterious nightmares are threatening to shake his grip on reality and undermine his authority as king.

The Phantom Tower by Keir Graff

Colm and Mal are twins so identical their own mom can’t tell them apart, but they’re different in just about every other way. Mal’s a pragmatist while Colm’s a dreamer, and they bicker and battle constantly. Neither brother is excited to be moving to Chicago for a fresh start with their mom just after their dad’s death. But nothing cures homesickness like intrigue–and their new home, Brunhild Tower, has plenty of it: mysterious elderly neighbors who warn against wandering the building at midday, strange sounds in the walls, and an elevator missing a button for the thirteenth floor.  One day, that button appears–and when the doors open on the missing floor, the boys are greeted by the strangest puzzle yet: a twin building that is stuck in time and bustling with activity.

Gods and Heroes: Mythology Around the World by Korwin Briggs

Before there was Batman, Wonder Woman, or Black Panther…there was Indra, Hindu king of gods, who battled a fearsome snake to save the world from drought. Athena, the powerful Greek goddess of wisdom who could decide the fate of battles before they even began. Okuninushi, the Japanese hero who defeated eighty brothers to become king and then traded it all for a chance at immortality.

Nonfiction New Releases

❤ Whales: An Illustrated Celebration by Kelsey Oseid

Some of the world’s most fascinating and beloved animals, cetaceans have captivated the human imagination for centuries. Whales: An Illustrated Celebrationexplores the most interesting and illuminating facts about these marine mammals, from the enormous blue whale (which has a heart the size of a car!) to the Amazon river dolphin (which is pink!). Gorgeously illustrated with full-color art on every page, this giftable guide delves into cetaceans’ mysterious evolution (from land to water mammals), their place in mythology, and their ecology, habitats, and behaviors (such as singing, fluking, beaching, bubble feeding, and more).

❤The Secrets of Tutankhamum: Egypt’s Boy King and His Incredible Tomb by Isabel Greenberg

Tutankhamun was born in a time of change. His father, Atakhenaten, instituted broad political and religious reform to Egypt, and his laws were controversial. By the time Tut turned nine, his whole family had died and he was named the youngest king Egypt had ever had. His rule was short and tumultuous, and around age nineteen, Tut died. More than three thousand years later, Howard Carter, a British archaeologist with a penchant for ancient history and a special skill for excavation in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, made a discovery that shocked the world: King Tut’s tomb, long ago assumed destroyed, not only survived but was fully intact. The treasures within gave a stunning and undisturbed perspective on ancient Egyptian culture and uncovered secrets that fascinated the world.

Just Like Us! Plants by Bridget Heos, illustrated by David Clark

While they might seem as different from humans as possible, we actually have a lot in common with our photosynthesizing friends. From drinking water to disguising themselves to communicating with one another, plants are a lot like us—though with fascinating twists all their own.

 

Backlist Book Recommendations

Picture Book Recommendation: Everett Anderson’s Goodbye by Lucille Clifton, illustrated by Ann Grifalconi

Everett Anderson’s Goodbye is a touching portrait of a little boy who is trying to come to grips with his father’s death. Lucille Clifton captures Everett’s conflicting emotions as he confronts this painful reality. We see him struggle through many stages, from denial and anger to depression and, finally, acceptance. In this spare and moving poem, the last in this acclaimed series, Lucille Clifton brings Everett Anderson’s life full circle.

Note from Karina: This is a beautiful book to share with young readers who are struggling with grief. I love the entire Everett Anderson series – I would suggest checking all of them out! 


Middle Grade Recommendation
: The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.

Note from Karina: This fabulously smart book series is for puzzle loving readers who enjoy mystery and intrigue. These books are addictive!

Nonfiction Book Recommendation: A Dog in the Cave: The Wolves Who Made Us Human by Kay Frydenborg

Fossils show we’ve shared our work and homes with dogs for tens of thousands of years. Now there’s growing evidence that we influenced dogs’ evolution—and they, in turn, changed ours. Even more than our closest relatives, the apes, dogs are the species with whom we communicate best. Combining history, paleontology, biology, and cutting-edge medical science, Kay Frydenborg paints a picture of how two different species became deeply entwined—and how we coevolved into the species we are today.

Note from Karina: Oh my goodness, when I first read this book last summer it absolutely blew my mind. The evolution of dogs from wolves is so fascinating, and this book is filled with so many interesting facts. Definitely check this out!

 

Giveaway!

This month’s giveaway opportunity is 16 awesome books featured on the Recommended podcast! Enter here by August 31.

I’d love to know what you are reading this week! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at karina@bookriot.com.

Until next week!
Karina


Wishing you all a reading spot as perfect as this one.

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