The Kids Are All Right

Witches, Climate Change, Fall Feelings, And More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! I believe this is the first week since school started that none of us have been sick! Though I did get my 5th Covid booster and a flu shot and had some mild side effects. I’m super excited about the updated booster and hope everyone gets boosted.

Bookish Goods

Amara's Farm Book Activity Pack by DramaMamaReads

Amara’s Farm Book Activity Pack by DramaMamaReads

Amara’s Farm is one of my favorite fall picture books (it’s one of my favorite posts I made for the gram), and this set of activities would be a perfect companion to the book. I follow Naima, the creator behind DramaMamaReads, on Instagram, and her account is a joy. $7

New Releases

Cover of Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet by Dee

Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet by Barbara Dee (middle grade)

This year has seen several great books focusing on climate change for children, but this new middle grade novel is one of my favorites. I so relate to protagonist Haven Jacobs’s eco-anxiety, and I love how she finds a way to be an active agent of change in her community. It’s a nuanced take on how individuals can help the environment, with excellent secondary characters.

Cover of Yellow Dog Blue by Duncan

Yellow Dog Blues by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by Chris Raschka (picture book)

This picture book makes the blues come alive with rhythmic lyrics and unique canvas embroidery illustrations. As a Southerner, I can’t help but put on my full Southern drawl when I read this one aloud. The story follows a young boy who’s searching for his missing yellow dog. As he searches, he encounters famous places from blues history, from Dockery Farms where Muddy Waters played all the way to Beale Street in Memphis. Backmatter includes a brief history of jazz and the places seen in the book.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Spooky season is upon us; my favorite time of year! Several excellent witchy picture books have released this year, so I thought I’d review a few of my favorites.

Cover of Leila the Perfect Witch by Drago

Leila, the Perfect Witch by Flavia Z. Drago

In this adorable picture book, Leila, who is usually perfect at all witchy pursuits, struggles to bake the most perfect cake for the Magnificent Witchy Cake-off. Baking is hard, even with the help of her froggy companion! Thankfully, with the help of three supportive sisters, she finally figures out the trick to baking. Does she win the contest? Nope. But winning isn’t everything.

Cover of If Your Babysitter is a Bruja by Siqueira

If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja by Ana Siqueira, illustrated by Irena Freitas

This super fun read-aloud has Spanish words scattered throughout the rhythmic prose. Told in the second person, this picture book gives advice about what to do if you realize your babysitter is a bruja. The colorful illustrations depict a little girl in just such a predicament. But in the end, it turns out that a bruja babysitter is an absolute blast.

Cover of Witch Hazel by Idle

Witch Hazel by Molly Idle (October 11)

Ah, this nostalgic, bittersweet picture book made me cry. It’s about a little girl named Hilda who helps the witch Hazel around the house. Witch Hazel tells stories from her past as she sweeps dust away, and the dust magically recreates her memories. When Witch Hazel dies, Hilda despairs, until a little sweep of dust recreates a memory of Hilda and Hazel together, and she knows Witch Hazel will never be truly gone as long as she remembers her. *wipes away tears*

cover of A Spoonful of Frogs by Casey Lyall, illustrated by Vera Brosgal

A Spoonful of Frogs by Casey Lyall, illustrated by Vera Brosgol

In this hilarious picture book, a witch on a cooking show attempts to demonstrate how to make frog soup to her viewers. However, these frogs aren’t about to congenially allow themselves to be spooned into a soup. No thanks. They take off every which way, and this cooking show witch is left to scramble after them. This picture book gets big belly laughs from my little witch.

Marian in the pool The Kids are All Right

Our condo’s pool has officially closed, and we made sure to get in a good swim on the last day it was open. Today is the first day it actually feels and looks like fall. Leaves are changing colors, and the temperature was brisk on my morning walk. I love it!

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

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury