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The Kids Are All Right

Hurricanes, Kittens, Litter, And More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! It is gorgeous outside here in Tennessee. My desk window looks out to a beautiful tree whose leaves are turning orange, and it’s such a lovely view. This past week has seen no new illnesses (yay!), and I made a huge donation of picture books to my daughter’s preschool. It’s been a nice week, and I’m looking forward to spending the weekend outside! However, while it’s been lovely here, I know many areas have been devastated by recent hurricanes. I hope everyone is safe and that cleanup and recovery happen swiftly!

Bookish Goods

Stamp Washi Tape Book Lovers by RobotDanceBattle

Stamp Washi Tape – Book Lovers by RobotDanceBattle

This washi tape is too cute. My daughter would manage to use it all up within ten minutes. $6

New Releases

Book cover of The Antiracist Kid by Jewell

The Antiracist Kid by Tiffany Jewell, illustrated by Nicole Miles (middle grade)

Written by a Black Montessori educator and anti-racist activist, this nonfiction for upper elementary and middle school ages is an engaging, accessible, and essential read. Jewell defines terms, provides real-life scenarios where anti-racist tactics are needed, shows kids how to spot racism in a variety of settings and forms, and more. The illustrations are so fun and engaging, and I love that it includes brief comic sections.

Cover of This Story is Not About a Kitten by Seve

This Story is Not About a Kitten by Randall de Sève, illustrated by Carson Ellis (picture book)

My daughter and I are suckers for cat books, and this picture book is one of my favorites of the year. When a girl, a mom, and their dog discover a kitten under a car, they unknowingly set off a chain of events that will not only help the kitten find a new home but will also bring a community together. It’s beautifully illustrated by Carson Ellis, and the repeated lines of the story make it a really engaging read aloud.

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

Riot Recommendations

After the recent hurricanes devastating parts of Florida, Puerto Rico, and Canada, I know many kids will have questions about hurricanes. These four books all address hurricanes in various ways.

Hurricane by John Rocco (picture book)

A young boy’s favorite place in the world is the dock near his house, where he fishes and enjoys watching nature. When a hurricane hits his town, the dock is decimated. He sets out to rebuild the dock by himself, but as neighbors notice his efforts, they lend a hand until a new dock is built. This beautifully illustrated picture book also includes backmatter about how hurricanes are formed.

Cover of Up and Adam by Zapata

Up and Adam by Debbie Zapata, illustrated by Yong Ling Kang (picture book)

After Adam, who has down syndrome, hears the mayor on TV ask everyone to pitch in on clean-up efforts around town after a major storm, Adam loads up his wheel barrel, calls for his dog, and sets out to pitch in and help. Everyone is so worried, and Adam finds many ways he can lend a hand. While this picture book doesn’t specify what kind of storm wrecks Adam’s town, the story definitely applies to the aftermath of a hurricane.

Cover of Hear the Wind Blow by Doyle

Hear the Wind Blow by Doe Boyle, illustrated by Emily Paik (picture book)

This lyrical nonfiction picture book describes the Beaufort wind scale, from a gentle wind to a tumultuous hurricane. After the hurricane, the community comes together to rebuild. Backmatter includes more information about the scale and wind speeds. It’s a lovely STEM picture book.

Cover of Ninth Ward by Rhodes

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes (middle grade)

This award-winning middle grade novel takes place during Hurricane Katrina. Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives with Mama Ya-Ya in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. Both have magical abilities despite being unrelated: Mama Ya-Ya can see into the future, and Lanesha can see ghosts. Days before Hurricane Katrina hits, Mama Ya-Ya predicts its arrival. Now it’s up to Lanesha to help her community.

A letter about littering for The Kids are All Right

I had a very proud mama moment today. Marian and I were discussing what the word “disgusted” meant, and after giving her a few examples and showing her people’s disgusted faces on Google images, she declared, “I’m disgusted by litter.” She then immediately demanded we write letters asking our neighbors not to litter, and to make it fun, she taped a valentine on top so it could be a lift-the-flap letter, lol! The handwriting pictured here is my own; her words and her illustration. We made 10 letters in all. This afternoon she wants to hand them out. I’m thinking we’ll head toward the library and hand them out there. Her first act of activism! The kids truly are all right.

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 kingsbury.margaret@gmail.com.

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury

Categories
The Kids Are All Right

Great New Chapter Books, a Bookish Tie, and More!

Hi Kid Lit Friends!

Welcome to October! This is probably one of my favorite months. In New York City, the leaves are beginning to change and that crisp air wakes me up after the hot weather sluggishness of summer. Also, it’s apple cider donut season!

Bookish Goods

Library Due Date Men's Tie

Library Due Date Tie by Cyberoptix

I love getting holiday shopping done early, and I already have an idea of who I’m giving this to! $40+

New Releases

Brown is Beautiful cover

Brown is Beautiful by Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Noor Sofi (picture book)

I love this picture book of a young Indian-American girl who celebrates the color brown as she goes on a nature walk.

A Library cover

A Library by Nikki Giovanni, illustrations by Erin K. Robinson

Check out this gorgeous cover! This lyrical picture book is an ode to the power of a library as a gateway to other worlds and as a place that celebrates the power of words. Each page turn is a thing of beauty!

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

Chapter books are a wonderful thing. The time when we first get introduced to chapter books is often the stage in a person’s life when they fall in love with books, and these new chapter books are a great addition to any library. These chapter books are the perfect read aloud books and are also great for newly independent readers.

Too Small Tola and the Three Fine Girls cover

Too Small Tola and the Three Fine Girls by Atinuke, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu

In the city of Lagos in the country of Nigeria, Too Small Tola and her two siblings and Grandmummy live together and have lots of adventures. In this set of three stories, Tola is given a great gift from her grandmother and finds joy in helping her family every day.

A Sliver of Moon and a Shard of Truth cover

A Sliver of Moon and a Shard of Truth: Stories from India by Chitra Soundar

In a follow up to Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship, these stories based on Indian folklore follow Prince Veera and his best friend Suku as they encounter secrets, tricksters and riddles. This is a fun book to read aloud or for newly independent readers! (The illustrations are so fun!)

Rica Baptista Llamas Iguanas and My Very Best Friend cover

Rica Baptista: Llamas, Iguanas, and My Very Best Friend by Janet Costa Bates, illustrated by Gladys Jose

This book is right up my alley because it’s about kids who want PETS! Rica really wants a pet— anything will do, she’s not picky!— but her parents are strongly opposed. Can Rica convince her parents that she has everything it takes to care for an animal?

Ways to Share Joy cover

Ways to Share Joy by Renee Watson

This is the third book in the Ryan Hart series, and I just love Ryan Hart and her imaginative mind and her positive attitude! In this book, Ryan finds herself in the middle with her family and her friends. She tries to make everyone happy, which strangely enough makes no one happy! Can Ryan find ways to share joy even when nothing seems to be going right?

Corgi puppy sleeping on his back

What are you reading these days?

Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.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

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 kingsbury.margaret@gmail.com.

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury

Categories
The Kids Are All Right

Middle Grade Novels in Verse, Book Earrings, and More!

Hi Kid Lit friends,

I write this from the middle of book tour, where I am hopping on planes, checking into hotels, and meeting thousands of kids and awesome librarians and teachers. It is so fun to celebrate a new book this way!

Bookish Goods

Book earrings

Book Earrings by ArtsyYellowRoom

I adore these book earrings! They are just what you need to show your love for books! $16

New Releases

Sweet and Sour book

Sweet and Sour by Debbi Michiko Florence (middle grade)

Debbi Michiko Florence is a master of tween lit, and her new novel is no exception! Sweet and Sour is all about the friendship turmoil that can happen in the pre-teen years. This is a story of Mai and her used-to-be-best-friend Zach. When they are thrown together again one summer, they both have to face the incident that caused their friendship to fall apart.

Berry Song book

Berry Song by Michaela Goade (picture book)

Michaela Goade is one of my favorite illustrators, and this is her first self-authored picture book. Berry Song is a love letter to life on an island and the seasons that bring gifts from the forest.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

Novels-in-verse are some of my favorite books. Check out these middle grade books and let me know what you think.

Planet Middle School cover

Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes

No one does novels-in-verse like Nikki Grimes! In this beautiful book set in middle school, 12-year-old Joylin Johnson finds her world in disarray. Her friends are suddenly flirting with each other, basketball isn’t the same, and a new kid arrives that gives Joy all sorts of feelings. Will Joy survive middle school?

Jordan J and the Truth About Jordan J cover

Jordan J and the Truth About Jordan J by K.A. Holt

In the third book in The Kids Under the Stairs series, Jordan J *might* have made enemies of the entire school dance team due to his honest reviews of their dances in the school paper. But with his goal of making it onto his favorite dance show, he needs help and appeals to the only dance team member who is still talking to him. Can Jordan make his dream come true?

Red, White, and Whole cover

Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca

Newbery Honoree Rajani LaRocca pens a beautiful novel-in-verse about Reha, the only Indian American student at her school. Reha is torn between her family, with their traditions and high expectations of her, and school, where she feels different and unable to share who she really is. But when her mom gets really sick, she knows she needs to do everything in her power to help her mom get better.

In the Beautiful Country by Jane Kuo

Anna leaves her home in Taiwan for the “beautiful country,” the Chinese word for America. But moving to a new place is so much harder than she ever dreamed, especially when her parents struggle with making enough money and Anna struggles with the language and encounters bullies at school. This is an honest book about the challenges of being an immigrant in America.

A Seed in the Sun cover

A Seed in the Sun by Aida Salazar (Dial, 10/25/22)

In this compelling story by Aida Salazar, a young girl named Lula Viramontes is a farm worker alongside her family in California in 1965. Her dreams include joining a Mexican traveling circus, but such dreams seem far away when she spends her days in dangerous working conditions. When she meets labor rights activists, she realizes that she might have bigger dreams than she ever realized.

Tri-color corgi wearing a bow tie looking up for a treat

What are you reading these days?

Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.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

Latine Heritage Month Picture Books, Underwear, And More!

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!

Bookish Goods

Stay Spooky Bookish Ghost Sticker by MileLongTBRBoutique

Stay Spooky Bookish Ghost Sticker by MileLongTBRboutique

Halloween-themed bookish goods are my favorite! $3+

New Releases

Cover of The Vanquishers by Bayron

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.

Cover of Killer Underwear Invasion by Gravel

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!

Riot Recommendations

September 15th through October 15th is Latine Heritage Month! Here are four picture books by Latine authors and illustrators that released this year.

Cover of The Little House of Hope by Jennings

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.

Cover of The Notebook Keeper by Briseno

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.

Cover of Beauty Woke by Ramos

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.

Cover of Something about Grandma by Regil

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.

Reading with my grandmother and sister, The Kids are All Right

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 kingsbury.margaret@gmail.com.

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury

Categories
The Kids Are All Right

The New Vanderbeekers Book, Book Art, and More!

Hi Kid Lit Friends,

As I write this, I am getting ready to go on book tour! For children’s book authors, a tour is put together by the publisher and consists of school visits and bookstore events. It’s very fun and a great way to celebrate the launch of a book!

Bookish Goods

Pages in a book folded to create a name

Book Spine Art by EmilysFoldedBooks

I’ve always loved folded spine art. This would be a wonderful gift for a book lover! $55

New Releases

My Diwali Light cover

My Diwali Light by Raakhee Mirchandani, illustrated by Supriya Kelkar

This beautiful picture book is a celebration of the Diwali season. Devi wears her favorite red bindi and feasts on delicious samosas. I love this story of family traditions and love.

The Last Kids on Earth and the Forbidden Fortress by Max Brallier cover

The Last Kids on Earth and the Forbidden Fortress by Max Brallier

The newest book in the Last Kids series is here! This time, the group is all together again to battle the evil Thrull and a new villain.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

There are always so many great new middle grade books that come out in the fall. Here are some that I’m excited about!

Merci Suarez Plays It Cool cover

Merci Suarez Plays It Cool by Meg Medina

In the third book in her Merci Suarez series, Newbery award-winning author Meg Medina continues the Suarez family story as Merci heads into eighth grade. There are changes at school and at home — can Merci handle the shifting tides?

Always, Clementine cover

Always, Clementine by Carlie Sorosiak

As you know, I love a good animal story. Here, Clementine is a certified mouse genius. She lives in a lab where scientists perform tests on her. Clementine’s only social interaction are with a chimpanzee named Rosie. But when Clementine is freed, she discovers a whole new world outside her cage.

Ways to Share Joy cover

Ways to Share Joy by Renee Watson

Renee Watson’s Ryan Hart series is so lovely, and I’m excited that the third book is coming out on September 27! In this book, Ryan is being pulled in different directions — by her family and by her friends. Can Ryan continue to find joy and share it with those she meets?

Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution cover

Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution by Sherri Winston

First of all, isn’t this cover fabulous? This is the story about wonderful Lotus Bloom, a seventh grader, a violinist, and a new student at a school for the arts where she has the opportunity to play the violin under a famous maestro. But the new school isn’t all she’s dreamed it to be, especially when boys throw paper planes and spit balls into her hair, and Lotus gets in trouble for a dress code violation. Can Lotus find the words to speak up for herself without endangering all that she’s worked for?

The Vanderbeekers on the Road cover

The Vanderbeekers on the Road by Karina Yan Glaser

One last note! The next book in the Vanderbeeker series, The Vanderbeekers on the Road, is on sale this Tuesday! In this installment, the Vanderbeekers squeeze into a van and head across the country to California. What could go wrong?

Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.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

Mermaids, Mental Health, Wrapping Paper, and More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my kid is once again sick for the third time in less than a month of part-time preschool. She’s attended school a total of 5 times. Thankfully, we still haven’t gotten C19, but wow are we making the rounds on every other virus! I hope everyone’s kids have a healthier school year than us.

Bookish Goods

two t-shirts, one pale orange and one dark read, with illustrations of cartoon ghosts reading books

Ghost Boooooks T-Shirt by StardustDesignUS

I really love all the ghostly books T-shirt designs there are. This one with an adult ghost reading to a child ghost is especially cute. $12+

New Releases

Cover of Annette Feels Free by Mazeika

Annette Feels Free by Katie Mazeika (picture book)

This picture book biography tells the story of how Australian Annette Kellerman came to be known as “The Original Mermaid” and how she challenged the laws about what women could wear while swimming, becoming the first woman to wear a one-piece bathing suit. At 6 years old, Kellerman developed a disability and needed to wear braces on her legs. For physical therapy and to help their daughter with mobility, Kellerman’s parents enrolled her in swim lessons, which she quickly took to. Kellerman took the world by storm, swimming the English Channel while drinking tea, daring to ditch her pantaloons while swimming so she could compete with men, and just being a really daring woman in general during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She also appeared in films. Written by a disabled author/illustrator, this biography challenges stereotypes of what it means to be disabled.

Cover of Iveliz Explains It All

Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango (middle grade)

This middle grade novel-in-verse will be one of my favorites of the year. It’s a gorgeous portrayal of mental health and grief that really resonated with me. When 7th-grader Iveliz’s Puerto Rican grandmother moves into her and her mother’s apartment, she hopes everything will get better. Iveliz’s father died in a car accident the year before, and she’s haunted by PTSD and her father’s ghost. But soon things spiral out of control, and her grandmother’s mockery of therapy and Iveliz’s medications isn’t helping anything.

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

Riot Recommendations

Several excellent mermaid-themed children’s books have released this year, including the picture book biography mentioned earlier, Annette Feels Free. I thought I’d recommend four more I enjoyed.

Cover of Cadence and Kittenfish by Roth

Cadence and Kittenfish by Judith L. Roth, illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett (picture book)

In this adorable picture book, mermaid Cadence longs for a kitten friend after watching kittens play by the shore. However, playing with a kitten is a bit difficult in the water. Can she find a furry friend to snuggle and play with? A nearby watching otter might be the perfect match for Cadence. This is an excellent read-aloud, and the colorful illustrations are lovely.

Cover of A Mermaid Girl by Rafi

A Mermaid Girl by Sana Rafi, illustrated by Olivia Aserr (picture book)

Heba, who is Pakistani American, is so excited to swim like a mermaid in the pool wearing her brand new yellow burkini, which matches her mama’s. However, when she arrives at the pool, the other kids don’t think she’ll be able to swim in her burkini. At first, she feels self-conscious, but Mama reminds her of all the mermaid girls before her, and Heba finds the confidence to enter the pool and show the other kids her swimming skills.

Cover of Mermaid Days: The Sunken Ship by Lukoff

Mermaid Days: The Sunken Ship by Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Kat Uno (early reader)

This cute early reader features three stories about mermaid Vera and her friend Octo-kid Beaker. With bright, colorful illustrations and funny and adventurous stories with simple, easy-to-follow prose, this new series is perfect for burgeoning readers. There are currently two books in the series, this one and Mermaid Days: The Sea Monster, with a third to release early next year, Mermaid Days: A New Friend.

Cover of A Natural History of Mermaids by Hawkins

A Natural History of Mermaids by Emily Hawkins, illustrated by Jessica Roux (children’s folklore)

This gorgeously illustrated guide to mermaids for kids ages 7+ follows a fictional, 19th-century explorer as she poses as a man and boards the HMS Challenger, which was a real ship. She takes detailed notes in her notebook as the ship encounters mermaids, including their history and lore. This is the latest book in the Folklore Field Guides series and all of them are so fascinating and accompanied by beautiful illustrations.

Marian decorating wrapping paper, the kids are all right

My husband celebrated his birthday recently, and instead of buying wrapping paper for presents, we decorated paper packaging publishers use when they send me book mail and wrapped his presents in that! It turned out great. All future presents will have homemade wrapping paper from now on.

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 kingsbury.margaret@gmail.com.

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury

Categories
The Kids Are All Right

New Graphic Novels, a Bookshelf to Display Picture Books, and More!

Hi Kid Lit Friends,

Happy September from rainy New York City. I don’t even remember the last time we got rain here, so this is a welcome weather pattern. My kids began school this week — my youngest began 7th grade and my oldest began high school! How time goes by so quickly!

Bookish Goods

Bookshelves mounted to wall displaying picture books

Bookshelf Display by BarnOwlWoodworkingCo

These handy, wall mounted shelves are perfect for a children’s bedroom, classroom, or library. I love how you can see the covers of the books! $55+

New Releases

My Town / Mi Pueblo cover

My Town / Mi Pueblo by Nicholas Solis and Luisa Uribe

Set in two border towns — one on the United States border and the other on the Mexico border — two cousins travel back and forth to see each other. They notice differences between their two homes and similarities. This is a beautiful book that celebrates border towns.

Spy School Project X cover

Spy School: Project X by Stuart Gibbs

Ben Ripley is back, and he’s in massive trouble! This time, his longtime nemesis Murray Hill has not only put a price on his head but also named him as the leader of an online conspiracy theory. As he is targeted from multiple sides, can Ben clear his name and be free from Murray Hill once and for all?

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

There are so many new graphic novels available these days! Here are some new ones to add to your list.

Twin Cities cover

Twin Cities by Jose Pimienta

This graphic novel is filled with gorgeous artwork depicting two border towns: one on the Mexico border and one on the United States border (like with My Town/Mi Pueblo!). Twins Luis Fernando and Luisa Teresa find themselves going to different schools for the first time in the lives. Their schools aren’t even in the same country! Luisa Teresa crosses the border everyday to go to a new private school while Luis Fernando stays in Mexicali and ends up befriending a boy he’s not so sure about. Can these twins make it through the school year even as they grow apart?

Invisible cover

Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Gabriela Epstein

Five kids are grouped together for their school’s community service project, and the only thing they have in common is that they speak Spanish. When a new kid arrives and needs their help, will they work together to do the right thing?

Ride On by Faith Erin Hicks cover

Ride On by Faith Erin Hicks

Victoria has loved horses her whole life, but the competitive spirit in the stables she trains with has gotten to be too much for her. After a massive fight with her best friend, Victoria decides it’s time for a new start… and a new stable.

Miss Quinces cover

Miss Quinces by Kat Fajardo

Sue wants a normal summer. She wants to go to camp and make comics with her friends. But when she has to go to Honduras instead — to a place with no internet! — and her mom says they are throwing her a quinceañera, Sue is certain that this is the worst summer ever.

Freestyle cover

Freestyle by Gale Galligan (Scholastic, 10/18)

As Cory enters his final year of middle school, his group of friends are ready to do whatever it takes to win the biggest dance competition. But then Cory’s grades fall and he needs a tutor, he’s upset to learn it’ll be Sunna, one of his classmates. They don’t like each other one bit!

Orange and white tabby cat sleeping

What are you reading these days?

Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Until next time,
Karina

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Categories
The Kids Are All Right

Kid’s Books about Divorce, Book Buddies, and More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! Last week I wrote about how sick our household was. I’m happy to report all fevers have now ceased, though my spouse is still feeling a bit under the weather. My kid is able to attend all two days of preschool this week, so I’m calling the week a win. Here’s hoping that September is healthier than August!

Bookish Goods

Book Lover Notepad by boygirlparty

Book Lovers Notepad by boygirlparty

Children’s book illustrator Susie Ghahremani (Stack the Cats) has designed this super cute animal bookish notepad perfect for back-to-school lists. $8

New Releases

Cover of One Thursday Afternoon by DiLorenzo

One Thursday Afternoon by Barbara Dilorenzo

This is a heartbreaking picture book about school shooting drills. Normally Ava and her Grandad have such fun after school together, but today, Ava’s quiet when Grandad picks her up. He made plans for the two to have a picnic and paint in the park, but Ava doesn’t want to participate in either. Eventually, nature helps Ava process her emotions, and she begins to cry and tells her Grandad about how they had a school shooting drill that day, and how much it scares her. With Grandad’s support and empathy, Ava is able to work through the anxiety, and the two paint together. It makes me so angry that books like these are necessary but necessary they are. It’s such a compassionate take on a heavy topic.

Cover of Magnolia Flower by Hurston

Magnolia Flower by Zora Neale Hurston, adapted by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Loveis Wise

Ibram X. Kendi, the author of How to be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, adapts this lovely folktale by Zora Neale Hurston for younger readers. Magnolia Flower’s father is Black and escaped enslavement, and her mother is Native American and survived The Trail of Tears. She grew up climbing three trees beside a river. When her father forbids her to marry a poor, formerly enslaved man, the two lovers escape down the river between the trees to live a life based on love. They return decades later, and Magnolia Flower is welcomed home by the trees. This is the kind of picture book adults will enjoy just as much as children. The illustrations are stunning.

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

Riot Recommendations

I’ve read several children’s books with divorced families lately, so I thought I’d share four of my favorites. I’m glad to see more children’s books present happy, well-adjusted divorced families.

Cover of Tuesday is Daddy's Day by Kreloff

Tuesday is Daddy’s Day by Elliot Kreloff

This little girl protagonist has two great families: her mom and her daddy and his partner Harry. She also has the perfect schedule worked out to split the time between the two, but when her mom picks her up from school on Tuesday — Daddy’s day — she feels thrown off. Things just aren’t right! However, her dads and mom have a surprise that will make everything better. This is a super fun, LGBTQ+ inclusive picture book.

Cover of Thursday by Bonwill

Thursday by Ann Bonwill, illustrated by Kayla Harren

While the other three books on this list present happy divorced families, this picture book deals with the initial sadness of finding out your parents are divorcing. Thursday is the protagonist’s favorite day of the week, but when her parents tell her they’re divorcing on a Thursday, it ruins the day for her. At first she feels stuck in sadness and frustration, but nature and the comfort of a unicorn lovey she found next to the trash help her to awaken to the world again slowly. This is a sensitively written, sad yet hopeful picture book about divorce.

Cover of The Critter Club: Amy Meets Her Stepsister by Barkley

The Critter Club: Amy Meets Her Stepsister by Callie Barkley, illustrated by Marsha Riti

My daughter and I have been slowly making our way through The Critter Club early chapter books, and while this book isn’t new, it’s new to us. Amy’s parents are divorced, and her Dad is remarrying a woman who has a child Amy’s age, Chloe. Amy is so excited to meet Chloe, but they immediately clash. To Amy, it feels like Chloe is being intentionally mean to her. Over the weekend, both girls are constantly at odds, until a wayward Dalmation helps them connect, and Amy realizes she and Chloe were just having one big misunderstanding.

Cover of Book Buddies: Ivy Lost and Found by Lord

Book Buddies: Ivy Lost and Found by Cynthia Lord, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

This new early chapter book series is adorable. When Anne the librarian was a child, she had a beloved doll, Ivy. When she finds Ivy in a box, she adds her to her library’s book buddy collection. Kids can check out a book buddy for two weeks and write their own little book about their adventures. Ivy is adopted by a girl who is staying with her dad for the weekend. She rarely gets to visit her dad, and she’s resentful of her younger step-siblings who are always there, and who monopolize her time. She loves staying with her mom, but she misses her dad too. She tells all this to Ivy, who calmly listens. Maybe Ivy and the other book buddy companions can help! Told from Ivy’s perspective, this is a delightful and imaginative book for early readers.

A Fawn lovey reading Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, The Kids are All Right

Speaking of book buddies, my daughter’s lovey, Fawn, simply had to read Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site the other evening.

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 kingsbury.margaret@gmail.com.

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury

Categories
The Kids Are All Right

New Graphic Novel from Christina Soontornvat, Personalized Pencils, and More!

Hi Kid Lit Friends,

I know a lot of kids have started school this past week, and I am sending a huge hug and cheer to all the teachers, librarians, school administrators, and everyone who helps keep schools running! I hope it’s been a smooth transition with lots of excitement and joy around a new school year!

Bookish Goods

Personalized Pencils

Personalized Pencils by 85thandPine

This is a great little back to school gift for teachers or students. The colors put me in such a good mood! $6+

New Releases

The Tryout cover

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat, illustrations by Joanna Cacao (Graphic Novel)

Based on personal experiences, Christina Soontornvat’s first graphic novel is about trying out for the middle school cheerleading squad. It is funny, relatable, and a perfect book for anyone who has tried to fit in. I am so excited about this book!

Best Wishes cover

Best Wishes by Sarah Mlynowski (Middle Grade)

From the creator of the Ever After and Upside Down Magic books comes a new series about a magic bracelet that grants a wish. When Becca Singer wishes to have friends, suddenly everyone wants to be her friend. Even her teachers! And her mom! Is this bracelet a wish come true or a curse?

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

You all know that I love animals, especially DOGS! Here are some books about rescue dogs that are sure to be a favorite with any young reader.

The Stray Dog cover

The Stray Dog by Marc Simont (Picture Book)

This book received a Caldecott Honor, and for good reason! The illustrations hold so much meaning and carry the story from start to finish. Readers will be cheering for a happy ending.

Stormy cover

Stormy by Guojing (Picture Book)

The gorgeous illustrations in this book remind me of a Pixar film. A young girl slowly develops a friendship with a stray dog and cannot stop thinking about him. Then one stormy night, both of their lives change forever.

Truman the Dog cover

Truman the Dog by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Melanie Demmer (Chapter Book)

Eight-year-old Kaita Taken and her family love fostering animals, but when they pick up Truman, they don’t know what they’re getting into! Even though Truman is an older rescue dog, he’s full of mischief. Can Kaita help Truman and find him a forever home?

When Friendship Followed Me Home cover

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin

This is one of my favorite middle grade books! (Spoiler alert: keep tissues handy.) When former foster kid Ben Coffin finds a stray dog outside the Coney Island Library, it leads him to befriend Halley. As the trio become fast friends, they support each other through tough trials and heartbreak.

Lalo the corgi

What are you reading these days?

Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.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!*