Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! While I am mentally ready for fall, temperatures here are in the 90s (Fahrenheit). Nonetheless, I’m beginning to make a mental list of which pumpkin patches and kid-friendly Halloween places I want to visit. I’m not the only one ready for fall; our pool has closed for the season (despite it being perfect pool weather), and everyone I see is wearing cardigans and long-sleeved shirts. Except for me, I am a sweaty beast and plan to sport tank tops and shorts until it is truly cold outside. Y’all probably didn’t want to know that, but I have no filters. Anyway, let’s talk books!
Stay Spooky Bookish Ghost Sticker by MileLongTBRboutique
Halloween-themed bookish goods are my favorite! $3+
The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron (middle grade)
Kaylnn Bayron has several popular young adult books, but this is her middle grade debut. It’s perfect for the spooky season. The Vanquishers were former vampire hunters who, decades ago, ended a vampire uprising. There haven’t been vampires since, until, possibly, now. Boog and his friends begin noticing some strange things happening around their neighborhood, and they suspect vampires may have returned.
Killer Underwear Invasion!: How to Spot Fake News, Disinformation & Conspiracy Theories by Elise Gravel (upper elementary / middle school)
This illustrated nonfiction about identifying fake news and conspiracy theories is hilarious and so smartly written. I used to teach introductory college courses about writing research papers and rhetoric, and though this is definitely written for a younger audience, it would’ve been an excellent accompanying text! It’s perfect for classroom units on research and media. It’s very accessible, and I’m honestly tempted to gift it to some adults I know who have difficulties with this…
For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!
September 15th through October 15th is Latine Heritage Month! Here are four picture books by Latine authors and illustrators that released this year.
The Little House of Hope by Terry Catasús Jennings, illustrated by Raúl Colón
This heartwarming picture book is about how a home rented by Cuban refugees becomes a safe place in the community for other immigrant families to find refuge in. Esperanza at first thinks their new rental is small, but soon she sees how large it can become with her family’s generosity in sharing it with other immigrant families like them, who come to the U.S. with nothing. It’s based on the author’s childhood experience.
The Notebook Keeper by Stephen Briseño, illustrated by Magdalena Mora
Based on a true story, this picture book takes place on the Mexico-U.S. border. When Noemi and her mama arrive at the border, they’re told they need to add their names to a ledger, which keeps track of those wanting to cross. The Notebook Keeper is another refugee in charge of the ledger, and Noemi is impressed by her kindness. When the Notebook Keeper calls her own name from the list, she gives the ledger to Noemi and her mother to keep up with. This book includes backmatter that describes this process in more detail.
Beauty Woke by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Paola Escobar
In this lyrical, contemporary retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty, a young Puerto Rican girl, is raised to be proud of her lineage as a Boricua of Taíno and African descent. However, when she gets older, she picks up on how the media and other racist people she encounters view people like her as less. She loses her sense of identity and self-love. But with the help of her family and community’s love, she “wakes up” to the injustice and begins to love herself and her people once more. This is such an empowering retelling.
Something about Grandma by Tania de Regil
I am a sucker for a good intergenerational picture book, and this one is stunning. Julia’s grandmother lives just outside Mexico City in a beautiful cottage. During the last few months of her mother’s pregnancy, Julia stays with her grandmother for the first time without her parents. Somehow Grandma senses whenever Julia is homesick and knows just what to do to help her feel better. This picture book is beautifully illustrated and includes poems by Tania de Regil’s great-grandfather, handwritten by her grandmother.
Speaking of grandmothers, I recently made a reel about grandmother/granddaughter picture books for my Instagram account and came across this picture of my grandmother, who we called Gigi, reading to one of my sisters and me. I am the youngest and had a temper tantrum shortly after this was taken because I wanted Gigi all to myself. No sisters allowed!
If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next Tuesday!