The Kids Are All Right

Children’s Books about Art and Artists

Hey Kid Lit friends,

A couple of months ago, Bridgit, a newsletter subscriber, sent me a note asking for book recommendations about art and artists for middle grade readers. Her eleven-year-old niece is an artist, and she wanted to find books that would encourage her. There are so many great books for young artists, so I was very happy to compile some of the books I’ve come across! I’ve divided them into the following categories: picture books (good for all ages!), biographies, technique books, middle grade fiction with art themes, and just-for-fun art books.

Sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

It’s five days before Christmas, and the Vanderbeeker children should be dreaming about sugar plums and presents. But when their curmudgeonly landlord mysteriously refuses to renew their lease, the five siblings must find a way to change his mind before New Year’s. But as every well-intentioned plan goes comically awry, their shenanigans only exasperate their landlord more. What the Vanderbeekers need now is a Christmas miracle.

Funny, heartfelt, and as lively as any street in Harlem, this modern classic in the making is about the connections we make and the unexpected turns life can take.

Picture Books

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom
This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It’s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s just getting started.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw – she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. “There!” she says. That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds’s delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us.

Lines by Suzy Lee
It starts with a line. Whether made by the tip of a pencil
or the blade of a skate, the magic starts there.

And magic once again flows from the pencil and imagination of internationally acclaimed artist Suzy Lee. With the lightest of touches, this masterwork blurs the lines between real and imagined.

Ish by Peter Reynolds
Drawing is what Ramon does. It¹s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother, Leon, turns Ramon’s carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.” Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.


Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Dow Phumiruk
As a child, Maya Lin loved to study the spaces around her. She explored the forest in her backyard, observing woodland creatures, and used her house as a model to build tiny towns out of paper and scraps. The daughter of a clay artist and a poet, Maya grew up with art and learned to think with her hands as well as her mind. From her first experiments with light and lines to the height of her success nationwide, this is the story of an inspiring American artist: the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Drawing From Memory by Allen Say
This book is Allen Say’s own story of his path to becoming the renowned artist he is today. Shunned by his father, who didn’t understand his son’s artistic leanings, Allen was embraced by Noro Shinpei, Japan’s leading cartoonist and the man he came to love as his “spiritual father.” As WWII raged, Allen was further inspired to consider questions of his own heritage and the motivations of those around him. He worked hard in rigorous drawing classes, studied, trained–and ultimately came to understand who he really is.

Frida by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Ana Juan
When her mother was worn out from caring for her five sisters, her father gave her lessons in brushwork and color. When polio kept her bedridden for nine months, drawing saved her from boredom. When a bus accident left her in unimaginable agony, her paintings expressed her pain and depression – and eventually, her joys and her loves. Over and over again, Frida Kahlo turned the challenges of her life into art. Now Jonah Winter and Ana Juan have drawn on both the art and the life to create a playful, insightful tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most influential artists. Viva Frida!

My Name is Georgia: A Portrait by Jeanette Winter
From the time she was just a young girl, Georgia O’Keeffe viewed the world in her own way. While other girls played with toys and braided their hair, Georgia practiced her drawing and let her hair fly free. As an adult, Georgia followed her love of art from the steel canyons of New York City to the vast plains of New Mexico. There she painted all day, and slept beneath the stars at night. Throughout her life Georgia O’Keeffe followed her dreams–and so found her way to become a great American artist.

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales
Frida Kahlo, one of the world’s most famous and unusual artists is revered around the world. Her life was filled with laughter, love, and tragedy, all of which influenced what she painted on her canvases.


The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary GrandPre
Vasya Kandinsky was a proper little boy: he studied math and history, he practiced the piano, he sat up straight and was perfectly polite. And when his family sent him to art classes, they expected him to paint pretty houses and flowers—like a proper artist. But as Vasya opened his paint box and began mixing the reds, the yellows, the blues, he heard a strange sound—the swirling colors trilled like an orchestra tuning up for a symphony! And as he grew older, he continued to hear brilliant colors singing and see vibrant sounds dancing. But was Vasya brave enough to put aside his proper still lifes and portraits and paint . . . music?

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay Haring, illustrated by Robert Neubecker
This one-of-a-kind book explores the life and art of Keith Haring from his childhood through his meteoric rise to fame. It sheds light on this important artist’s great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world. Reproductions of Keith’s signature artwork appear in scenes boldly rendered by Robert Neubecker. This is a story to inspire, and a book for Keith Haring fans of all ages to treasure.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.


The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw by Mark Crilley
For the first time ever, drawing instructor and graphic novelist Mark Crilley brings his easy-to-follow artistic instruction to aspiring artists in the form of a comic book, providing you with a one-of-a-kind how-to experience. In The Drawing Lesson, you’ll meet David—a young boy who wants nothing more than to learn how to draw. Luckily for David, he’s just met Becky—his helpful drawing mentor. Page by page, Becky teaches David (and you!) about the essential fundamentals that artists need in order to master drawing, all in a unique visual format. In panel after panel, Crilley provides lessons on shading, negative space, creating compositions, and more, with accompanying exercises that you can try for yourself.

Art Lab For Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media – For Budding Artists of All Ages by Susan Schwake, photographed by Rainer Schwake
A refreshing source of ideas for creating fine art with children, Art Lab for Kids encourages the artist’s own voice, marks, and style. This fun and creative book features 52 fine art projects set into weekly lessons, beginning with drawing, moving through painting and printmaking, and then building to paper collage and mixed media. Each lesson features and relates to the work and style of a contemporary artist.

Draw 50 Book Series by Lee J. Ames
A terrific book series that guides artists to drawing all types of animals, flowers, plants, sea creatures, buildings, cars, and other things in topical books.



Middle Grade Fiction With Art Themes

The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks
As the stakes continue to rise, the boy must piece together the disjointed clues of his origins while using his limited knowledge to stop one of the greatest art frauds ever attempted. Digitally interactive, this breathtaking museum mystery offers QR codes woven throughout the book that bring renowned paintings to readers’ fingertips.

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.

Masterpiece by Elise Broach
Marvin lives with his family under the kitchen sink in the Pompadays’ apartment. He is very much a beetle. James Pompaday lives with his family in New York City. He is very much an eleven-year-old boy. After James gets a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin surprises him by creating an elaborate miniature drawing. James gets all the credit for the picture and before these unlikely friends know it they are caught up in a staged art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that could help recover a famous drawing by Albrecht Dürer. But James can’t go through with the plan without Marvin’s help. And that’s where things get really complicated (and interesting!). This fast-paced mystery will have young readers on the edge of their seats as they root for boy and beetle.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away…so she decided not to run FROM somewhere, but TO somewhere. And so, after some careful planning, she and her younger brother, Jamie, escaped — right into a mystery that made headlines!

Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt
Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that some people think him to be. He finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer, who gives him the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.

Just-For-Fun Art Books

If Found… Please Return to Elise Gravel by Elise Gravel
Filled to the brim with vibrant felt marker illustrations, If Found… is not just an exhibition of Gravel’s work, but a challenge to young artists to keep a daily sketchbook. She reveals her top tips to becoming a successful illustrator―practice! practice! practice!―while empowering young artists to face their fears of making “ugly drawings.” Stop worrying about what makes a drawing good or bad―Elise draws anything and everything and you can too!

Doodle Adventures by Mike Lowery
Doodle Adventures: The Search for the Slimy Space Slugs! is a lighthearted fantasy where the reader first draws him- or herself into the story, and then continues by following prompts and adding more illustrations and doodles. Set in space, the book invites the reader to join Carl, a duck and member of a super-secret international group of explorers, on a journey in search of a very important grail-like object. The book is sturdy paper over board with beautiful cream paper—perfect for defacing! And by the end, the reader will have co-written a tale to return to again and again, and show off to family and friends.

Okay, onto new releases!

Picture Book New Releases! (All coming out on October 17th)

Fallingwater: The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece by Marc Harshman and Anna Egan Smucker, art by LeUyen Pham (Roaring Brook Press)

Singing in the Rain, based on the Song by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, pictures by Tim Hopgood (Roaring Brook Press)

Book or Bell? by Chris Barton and Ashley Spires (Bloomsbury)

A World of Cookies for Santa by M.W. Furman, illustrated by Susan Gal (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Get Well, Curious George by H.A. Rey (HMH Books for Young Readers)

The Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrated by Emma Randall, illustrated by Emma Randall (Penguin Random House)

My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly (Random House)

Middle Grade New Releases! (All coming out on October 17th)

Paper Chains by Elaine Vickers (HarperCollins)

The Unbelievable FIB 2: Over the Underworld by Adam Shaughnessy (Algonquin Young Readers)

Applewhites Coast to Coast by Stephanie S. Tolan (HarperCollins)

The Legend of Shadow High by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale (Little, Brown)

HelloFlo The Guide, Period by Naama Bloom (Dutton Children’s Books)


Ebook Deals!

Hoodoo by Ronald Smith (it was in my spooky middle grade book recommendation list a couple of weeks ago) is only $2.99!

The beautiful picture book I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, is only $1.99!

Warriors: A Vision of Shadows #1: The Apprentice’s Quest by Erin Hunter is only $1.99!

I’ve been reading some wonderful books! Jasmine Toguchi: Super Sleuth by Debbi Michiko Florence, Mae Among the Stars by Stasia Burrington and Roda Ahmed (1/9/18, HarperCollins), and This is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummings (12/26/17, Chronicle).

A newsletter reader named Jonathan sent me a note this week telling me about his favorite Halloween picture books. He is a 25+ year teacher of Special Needs Preschoolers, and he said that his two Halloween favorites are The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey and The Spooky Old Tree by Jan and Stan Berenstain. Thank you for sharing, Jonathan!

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

Until next time,

So many good books! Izzy can hardly stand it!

*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!*


The Kids Are All Right

Halloween Books for Younger Readers

Hi Kid Lit friends!

After last week’s newsletter with spooky middle grade reads, I thought I’d put together a round-up of Halloween books for younger readers. My kids get scared easily, especially since we read a lot before bedtime, so they definitely need gentler Halloween stories. Here’s a list of Halloween-themed picture books, early readers, and chapter books.

Sponsored by Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experience as a wishtree is more important than ever.

Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, this is Newbery Medalist and New York Times–bestselling author Katherine Applegate at her very best—writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view.

Picture Books

Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara
At the edge of town lives a clever girl with a spooky problem: Her house is haunted! Luckily, she happens to be a witch and knows a little something about taking care of ghosts. She catches them, puts them in the washing machine, airs them out to dry, and gives them new lives as sofa covers, table cloths, and, of course, bed sheets to cozy up under. Fresh and charming illustrations in dynamic orange, black and white bring this resourceful heroine and these spooky ghosts to life.

How To Make Friends With A Ghost by Rebecca Green
What do you do when you meet a ghost? One: Provide the ghost with some of its favorite snacks, like mud tarts and earwax truffles. Two: Tell your ghost bedtime stories (ghosts love to be read to). Three: Make sure no one mistakes your ghost for whipped cream or a marshmallow when you aren’t looking! If you follow these few simple steps and the rest of the essential tips in How to Make Friends with a Ghost, you’ll see how a ghost friend will lovingly grow up and grow old with you.

Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon
When Penguin and Bootsy plan a field trip in search of Fall, Penguin’s little brother, Pumpkin, wants to come, too. But Pumpkin is heartbroken to find out he’s too little to go! How can Pumpkin still be a part of the fun? As they discover the magic of Fall at a farm, Penguin and his friends put together a very special surprise to bring back to Pumpkin at home.

Boo Who? by Ben Clanton
Boo is new. And even if the other kids are welcoming, it can be scary being new, especially for a shy ghost who can’t play any of their games. (“You tagged me? Oh, sorry. I couldn’t feel it.”) Can Boo find a way to fit in and make friends with the rest of the group? From the creator of Rex Wrecks It! comes a funny story about feeling invisible — and finding a way to be seen and appreciated for who you are.

Ten Creepy Monsters by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis
Ten creepy monsters met ’neath a gnarled pine.
One blew away,
And then there were nine.

And so the countdown begins . . . A mummy, a witch, a ghost, a werewolf, a vampire, and others all gather, but one by one their crowd diminishes. At last there is only one creepy monster left. But what kind of monster is it?

Zip! Zoom! On A Broom! by Teri Sloat, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
One goes zip,
two go zoom.
Three witches glide from room to room.
So begins this witchy counting story. Counting up from 1 to 10 and back down again, ten witches jump on a broom–and then fall off one by one! Written in pitch-perfect rhyme, and full of fun read-aloud energy that will have kids memorizing lines and clamoring to read the book again and again, this book hits the mash-up sweet spot between an important concept and Halloween fun!


Early Readers

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur: Perfect Pumpkin by Kallie George, illustrated by Oriol Vidal
Feather, Flap, and Spike are on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin to decorate in this sweet story about autumn fun. Spike thinks all the pumpkins they find are perfect, indeed: for juggling, leaping over, and bowling! But what will they do when Spike accidentally squishes all the perfect pumpkins that the ducklings find? These silly siblings learn one way a squished pumpkin can still be perfect—for making pumpkin pie!

Pete the Cat: Trick or Pete by James Dean
Pete loves Halloween and candy but not so much scary surprises. Follow Pete as he goes trick-or-treating from house to house and discover what is waiting behind each door. With over ten flaps that open to reveal fun spooky surprises, this book is spooktacular!

In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Victor Rivas
Newly reillustrated, this classic I Can Read full of spooky stories is perfect for beginning readers who love a bit of a scare. Victor Rivas’s silly and spooky art will introduce a new generation to stories inspired by traditional folktales like “The Teeth,” “In the Graveyard,” “The Green Ribbon,” “In A Dark, Dark Room,” “The Night It Rained,” “The Pirate,” and “The Ghost of John.”


Chapter Books

Lola Levine and the Halloween Scream by Monica Brown, illustrated by Angela Dominguez
It’s Halloween–Lola and Ben’s favorite holiday. She loves pumpkins, scary costumes, monsters, and ghosts–and she likes to scare people, too. But when Lola plays a scary joke on her super best friends, Josh Blot and Bella Benitez, it doesn’t go as planned. Can Lola learn from her mistake and still have a happy halloween?

The Dragonsitter: Trick or Treat by Josh Lacey
Halloween night is full of strange creatures: witches, vampires, ghosts – and dragons! Eddie and Emily take their uncle’s pet dragons trick-or-treating. But the dragons have quite the sweet tooth, and it’s not long before things go ghoulishly wrong! Told all in emails, the Dragonsitter chapter book series will have readers laughing out loud and begging for more!

Stick Dog Craves Candy by Tom Watson
Stick Dog and the gang are on their usual hunt for food, but there is something unusual going on. Little humans are dressed up as creepy witches and spooky ghosts, all carrying big orange buckets! Their search leads them to something unexpected and delicious and sweet—candy! Once they get a taste, they will stop at nothing to get more. The gang will have to avoid terrifying witches and even escape a creepy haunted house! Will Stick Dog’s smarts, courage, and patience be enough to lead his buddies to the best treats ever?


Okay, on to these fabulous new releases, all coming out on October 10th!

Picture Book New Releases

Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi (Roaring Brook Press)

Blue vs. Yellow by Tom Sullivan (Balzer + Bray)

Busy Days with Curious George by H.A. Rey (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Great Big Things by Kate Hoefler, illustrated by Noah Klocek (HMH Books for Young Readers)

When the Snow Falls by Linda Booth Sweeney, illustrated by Jana Christy (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)


Middle Grade New Releases

The Peculiar Incident On Shady Street by Lindsay Currie (Aladdin)

Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race by Chris Grabestein (Random House Books for Young Readers)

Unstoppable: True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals by Nancy Furstinger (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eager (Candlewick)

Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin (Random House Books for Young Readers)

Tentacle and Wing by Sarah Porter (HMH Books for Young Readers)

Spy School Secret Service by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Trickiest! 19 Sneaky Animals by Steve Jenkins (HMH Books for Young Readers)


As you might have heard, the National Book Awards released their finalists, and yay for Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia, the only middle grade title to be a Young People’s Literature book finalist!

Lots of great children’s book coverage on Book Riot this past week:


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

Until next time,

I had to fight Nala for the computer the entire time I was writing this newsletter.

*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!*


The Kids Are All Right

Spookiest Middle Grade Books and a Huge New Release List!

Hey Kid Lit friends,

Buckle in, because I have A LOT of books to talk about! Before I get to the huge list of new releases coming out this Tuesday, let’s talk about spooky middle grade books. I’ve been planning this list for months; there are so many new, super creepy, middle grade books that are perfect for young readers who love to be scared. (If you want gentler Halloween reads, I’ll have a Halloween picture book themed newsletter next Sunday!)

Sponsored by Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experience as a wishtree is more important than ever.

Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, this is Newbery Medalist and New York Times–bestselling author Katherine Applegate at her very best—writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view.

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely. The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?

The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith
Thirteen-year-old Jessamine Grace and her mother make a living as sham spiritualists—until they discover that Jess is a mesmerist and that she really can talk to the dead. Soon she is plunged into the dark world of Victorian London’s supernatural underbelly and learns that the city is under attack by ghouls, monsters, and spirit summoners. Can Jess fight these powerful forces?

Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne. To rescue the missing children and clear her own name, Corinne goes deep into the ocean to find Mama D’Leau, the dangerous jumbie who rules the sea.

Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi (11/14, Dutton Children’s Books)
Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way) and she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days scrubbing the skins and souls of the dead in preparation for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore not only her ever-increasing loneliness, but the way her overworked hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair. But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appear, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie (10/10, Aladdin)
Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones. When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. And it involves a secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.

Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: 20 Chilling Tales from the Wilderness by Hal Johnson
Meet the snoligoster, who feeds on the shadows of its victims. The whirling whimpus, who once laid low an entire Boy Scout troop. And the hoop snake, who can chase prey at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and then, with one sting of its venomous tail, cause it to turn purple, swell up, and—alas—die. These and 17 other fearsome creatures are among the most fantastical beasts in American folklore. Their stories, as narrated by one of the last surviving cryptozoologists, are best enjoyed while sitting around a campfire. If you dare.

Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller
Abandoned by her mother and neglected by her scientist father, timid Elizabeth Murmur has only her fearless friend, Zenobia, for company. And Zenobia’s company can be very trying! When Elizabeth’s father takes them to live in his family home, Witheringe House, Zenobia becomes obsessed with finding a ghost in the creepy old mansion and forces Elizabeth to hold séances and wander the rooms at night. With Zenobia’s constant pushing, Elizabeth investigates the history of the house and learns that it does hold a terrible secret: Her father’s younger sister disappeared from the grounds without a trace years ago.

Monsterland by James Crowley
It’s Halloween, and everyone in Charlie’s small town is excited for this year’s festivities. Charlie’s grandfather, Old Joe, is famous for his holiday haunts, and his pumpkin patch is the center of the town’s zealous celebrations. But when Charlie runs into some neighborhood bullies who are after his candy, he heads off into the woods to escape. He quickly gets lost, but spots a kid who he thinks is dead cousin Billy. As Charlie chases after him deeper and deeper into the woods, he finds himself entering Monsterland—a mysterious place where werewolves live amongst trolls and goblins.

Monsters Unleashed by John Kloepfer
Freddie Liddle has a big problem: Monsters. Giant, fire-breathing, electric-shocking, bone-crunching monsters are attacking his town. Even worse, it’s Freddie’s fault. After drawing monsters based on the meanest bullies in his class, Freddie used his school’s 3D printer to make models of them. But the last thing he expected was that the monsters would come to life and keep growing, and GROWING, and GROWING. 

Skeleton Tree by Kim Ventrella
Twelve-year-old Stanly knows the bone growing in his yard is a little weird, but that’s okay, because now he’ll have the perfect photo to submit to the Young Discoverer’s Competition. With such a unique find, he’s sure to win the grand prize. But, oddly, the bone doesn’t appear in any photos. Even stranger, it seems to be growing into a full skeleton . . . one that only children can see.

Death and Douglas by J.W. Ocker (11/26, Sky Pony Press)
Douglas has grown up around the business of death. Generations of his family have run the Mortimer Family Funeral Home. The mortician and gravediggers are all his buddies. And the display room of caskets is an awesome place for hide and seek. It’s business as usual in Douglas’s small New England town. Until one day an incredibly out of the ordinary murder victim is brought to the funeral home. And more startling: others follow. On the cusp of Halloween, a serial killer has arrived.

New Releases!
Okay, so this list is a doozy. So many awesome titles out this Tuesday, and these are my favorites!

Picture Book New Releases

Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably) by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim Miller (Penguin Random House)
Snappsy the alligator wants nothing more than a quiet evening to himself, but a pesky chicken who insists he’s Snappsy’s best friend won’t leave him alone.

A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman, illustrated by Isabel Greenberg (HarperCollins)
Did you know that the earth is covered in three trillion trees? And that seven billion people weigh about the same as ten quadrillion ants? Our world is full of constantly changing numbers, from a hundred billion trillion stars in space to thirty-seven billion rabbits on Earth. Can you imagine that many of anything?

That Is My Dream! by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Daniel Miyares (Random House)
Langston Hughes’s inspiring and timeless message of pride, joy, and the dream of a better life is brilliantly and beautifully interpreted in Daniel Miyares’s gorgeous artwork.

After the Fall by Dan Santat (Roaring Brook Press)
Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after?

The Bad Mood and the Stick by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe (Little, Brown)
Once there was a bad mood and a stick.
The stick appeared when a tree dropped it.
Where did the bad mood come from?
Who picked up the stick?
And where is the bad mood off to now?
You never know what is going to happen.

The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, illustrated by Chuck Groenink (Simon & Schuster)
What’s the best way to cure a gloomy day? A trip to the library!

Dough Knights and Dragons by Dee Leone, illustrated by George Ermos (Sterling)
A curious knight and an amiable dragon meet serendipitously, and instantly bond over their shared love of baking. But the friends are filled with sadness when, according to the law, the two must duel one another.

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoët (Little, Brown)
As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.


Chapter Book New Releases

Charlie and Mouse and Grumpy: Book 2 by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes (Chronicle Books)
In this heartwarming sequel to Laurel Snyder’s beginning chapter book Charlie & Mouse, the two brothers enjoy a special visit from their grandpa, Grumpy.

Freddie Ramos Rules New York (Zapato Power) by Jacqueline Jules (Albert Whitman)
Freddie and his mom are visiting Uncle Jorge in New York City! Just before they leave, Mr. Vaslov gives Freddie a new pair of zapatos to replace the ones that were getting too small. But Freddie worries if his new zapatos will work as well as his old ones.

Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet: Who Gives a Hoot by Jacqueline Kelly (Henry Holt & Co)
Out in their boat exploring the San Marcos River, Callie and Granddaddy see all kinds of nature―fish, mockingbirds, ammonites, and more. But when Callie spots an owl in the water, she knows it’s in trouble.



Middle Grade New Releases

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Penguin Random House)
In this sequel to Newbery Honor book The War That Saved My Life, Ada’s clubfoot is surgically fixed at last and she knows for certain that she’s not what her mother said she was—damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She’s not a daughter anymore, either. What is she?

AHIMSA by Supriya Kelkar (Tu Books)
In 1942, when Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle.

The Adventurer’s Guild by Zach Loren Clark and Nick Eliopulos (Disney-Hyperion)
In one of the last cities standing after the world fell to monsters, best friends Zed Kagari and Brock Dunderfel have high hopes for the future. Zed desperately wishes to join the ranks of the Mages Guild, where his status as Freestone’s only half elf might finally be an asset. Brock, the roguishly handsome son of merchants, is confident he’ll be welcomed into the ranks of the Merchants Guild.

Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Welcome back to the irresistible world of Greenglass House where thirteen-year-old Milo is, once again, spending the winter holidays stuck in a house full of strange guests who are not what they seem.

Marge in Charge by Isla Fisher (HarperCollins)
Siblings Jemima and Jake Button don’t know what to make of their new babysitter, Marge with her rainbow hair and adventurous spirit.

The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall (HarperCollins)
Josie Shilling’s family is too big, their cramped city house is too small, and she feels like no one’s ever on her side. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, her older brother, Tom, brings home a piglet he rescued from a nearby farm.

Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things by Simon Van Booy (Penguin Random House)
When twelve-year-old Gertie Milk washes up on the island of Skuldark, she finds that all of her memories are gone. Home to helpful Slug Lamps, delicious moonberries, and a ferocious Guard Worm, the island is full of oddities, including a cozy cottage containing artifacts from every corner of history.

Greetings from Witness Protection by Jake Burt (Macmillan)
The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need.

The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea (Random House)
No one likes or wants to take the statewide assessment tests. Not the students in Mrs. Woods’s sixth-grade class. Not even Mrs. Woods. It’s not as if the kids don’t already have things to worry about. . . .

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell (Little, Brown)
Once there were Wizards, who were Magic, and Warriors, who were not. But Xar, son of the King of Wizards, can’t cast a single spell. And Wish, daughter of the Warrior Queen, has a banned magical object of her own. When they collide in the wildwood, on the trail of a deadly witch, it’s the start of a grand adventure that just might change the fabric of their worlds.

Mice of the Round Table: Voyage to Avalon by Julie Leung (HarperCollins)
Young mouse Calib Christopher has nearly completed his training to become a squire to the Knights of the Round Table when news of a deadly plague comes to the castle.

Sled Dog School by Terry Lynn Johnson (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Eleven-year-old Matt is struggling in school and he has to set up his own business to save his failing math grade. But what is he even good at?


Graphic Novel New Releases

Secret Coders: Robots and Repeats by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes (Macmillan)
Dr. One-Zero has added a new class to Stately Academy’s curriculum. But in “Advanced Chemistry,” they only teach one lesson: how to make Green Pop! While their classmates are manufacturing this dangerous soda, the Coders uncover a clue that may lead them to Hopper’s missing dad. Is it time to use Professor Bee’s most powerful weapon: the Turtle of Light?

Ebook Deals!
If that’s enough reading for you, check out these great ebook deals:
Perfect Season (Football Genius Series Book 6) by Tim Green is $1.99
In Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson, illustrated by Patrice Barton, is $1.99.

This week I’m listening to the audiobook of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin and reading Lola Levine and the Halloween Scream by Monica Brown and Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter. 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

One last thing: some of you might know that I am a children’s book writer. My debut novel, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, is coming out this Tuesday with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers! It’s a middle grade book about a family of five kids living in Harlem who just find out that their curmudgeonly landlord and upstairs neighbor is not renewing their lease. They have eleven days to convince him to let them stay in their beloved home… can they do it?

Until next time,

So many amazing new releases this Tuesday! Izzy was so overwhelmed she fell asleep.

*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!*

The Kids Are All Right

The National Book Award Long List, New Releases, and More!

Hey Kid Lit fans!

Today, let’s talk about the National Book Awards. The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to, “to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.” Every September, the National Book Awards long list of ten titles are announced in the categories of Young People’s Literature, Poetry, Non-Fiction, and Fiction. This list is narrowed to five finalists, and the winner is announced at a swanky banquet in Manhattan. This year, the National Book Awards Benefit and Ceremony will be on November 15th.

Sponsored by Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone

Allie Navarro can’t wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. Click’d pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it’s a hit.

Watching her app go viral is amazing. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone’s secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with her archenemy Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt—all before she steps on stage to present Click’d to the judges?

For the Young People’s Literature category, books are chosen from both middle grade and young adult, in both fiction and non-fiction. For 2016, six of the ten titles in the longlist were middle grade: When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin, Ghost by Jason Reynolds, Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo, Booked by Kwame Alexander, Pax by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Jon Klassen, and Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson.

This year, there are two middle grade titles: Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Garcia-Williams and Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder.

First of all, I have to say that I loved both of these books. In Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, Clayton and his grandfather Cool Papa Byrd love playing the blues. Clayton cannot wait to join the Bluesmen, which his grandfather says he can do once he has a blues song of his own. But when his grandfather dies, Clayton finds that his mother’s anger over Cool Papa Byrd’s abandonment when she was a child lies very deep. She starts selling off all of his jazz possessions, instruments and memorabilia that Clayton wanted to keep for himself. Clayton decides to run away from home, hoping he can find the Bluesmen and join them on the road. This book was beautiful, filled with very honest, relatable emotions. It made me think about how past family hurts run deep, and the difficulties of growing up and desiring independence in a world where your parents call the shots. Check out Meg Medina’s New York Times review of this book; it’s worth reading.

Now onto Orphan Island – this book has gotten so much buzz, and I’m not surprised because it’s definitely not like anything I’ve ever read. On the island, everything is perfect. It is beautiful and predictable, and part of the predictability comes with an annual tradition: a boat arrives with a new child for the island, and the oldest child must leave. The nine children on the island are the only inhabitants, and the island provides all they need. The story begins with the annual Changing: a boat arrives with a little girl named Ess, and Jinny’s best friend Deen leaves. Now the oldest, Jinny is in charge of Ess and spends the year teaching her about the island while also thinking about her own Changing day and what lies ahead. There are so many interpretations of this book, and readers have had so many questions! After reading it, I suggest you check out this interview with Laurel Snyder on the Books Between podcast. Laurel talks about her writing process and answers some of the questions you might have had.

The finalists will be announced on October 4th, and I’ll be rooting for both of these books to make it! Want to know more about these awards? Read this.

New Releases!

SO MANY GOOD ONES!!! Two of the biggest, buzziest books of the fall season are coming out this Tuesday!

Wishtree (Feiwel & Friends), by Newbery Award winning author Katherine Applegate, is written from a very unique perspective: Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. He is the neighborhood “wish tree” where every year people gather to write their wishes on pieces of fabric and tie them to his branches. When a new family moves into the neighborhood, not everyone is so pleased. This is a story of love and compassion, empathy and forgiveness. It’s a book that reminds of the important role we all have in making this world a better place for everyone. For more about this book, read this gorgeous post by Katherine Applegate on the Nerdy Book Club website.

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine (Random House Children’s Books), written by Mark Twain and Philip Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead, is a brilliant piece of art. Here is the synopsis: “In a hotel in Paris one evening in the 1880s, Mark Twain sat with his young daughters, who begged their father for a story. Choosing a picture from a magazine to get started, Twain began telling them the tale of Johnny, a poor boy in possession of some magical seeds, who finds himself on a quest to rescue a stolen prince. Later, Twain jotted down some rough notes about the story, but the tale was left unfinished…until now… Philip and Erin Stead have completed the text and illustrated the book, framing the narrative as a story ‘told to me by my friend, Mr. Mark Twain.'” What I loved most about this book was the leisurely way it was laid out. At 160 pages, the Steads had the luxury of white space, to do spreads with only one small chicken in the lower right hand corner, to draw portraits and create gorgeous lettering. This book is a treasure, a perfect gift to give all the kids in your life.

Other releases I loved are coming out this Tuesday…

The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi (First Second)

Skeleton Tree by Kim Ventrella (Scholastic)

Frazzled #2: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes by Booki Vivat (HarperCollins)

The Wonderling by Mira Bartók (Candlewick)

I’m Just No Good At Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris, illustrated by Lane Smith (Little, Brown)

Ebook Deals!

Greenglass House by Kate Milford is $2.99 (The sequel, Ghosts of Greenglass House, will be out on October 3rd!)

Storybound by Marissa Burt is $1.99



Before I leave you, I wanted to let you know about a new Book Riot Podcast called Recommended, in which authors talk about books that matter to them. The second episode has authors Celeste Ng and Tara Clancy pitching their favorite book (which would make an excellent book club pick)! Go find out what it is.

This week I’m reading Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi (Dutton Books for Young Readers, November 14), The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, October 3), and Finding Perfect by Elly Schwartz. 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

Until next time,

Did you know there will be a sequel to Tru and Nelle? Izzy is very excited about it! Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale comes out on October 24th!

*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!*






The Kids Are All Right

Children’s Books with Biracial Characters!

Hello Kid Lit friends!

As a mother of biracial kids, I am always on the look out for biracial representation in children’s literature. According to a report by the Pew Center, the share of newlyweds married to a spouse of a different race or ethnicity has increased more than five times — from 3 percent in 1967, to 17 percent in 2015. It is hard to believe that before the Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia in 1967, interracial marriage was forbidden in most states.

I was asked recently for a list of children’s books with biracial characters in them, and there are so many excellent ones!

Sponsored by Thornhill by Pam Smy

Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as a girl unravels the mystery of the abandoned Thornhill Institute next door.

1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

2017: Ella has just moved to a new town. From her room, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.

Picture Books

The Case for Loving by Selina Alko, illustrations by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko
This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington, D.C. But when they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested (in dramatic fashion) for violating that state’s laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings fought the unfair law, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court – and won!

Mixed Me! by Taye Diggs, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Mom and Dad say I’m a blend of dark and light:
“We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right.”
Mike has awesome hair. He has LOTS of energy! And Mike is a PERFECT blend of the two of them. Still, Mike has to answer LOTS of questions about being mixed. And he does, with LOTS of energy and joy in this charming story about a day in the life of a mixed-race child.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown, illustrated by Sara Palacios
Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. To Marisol McDonald, these seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together. Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol—can’t she just be one or the other? Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box, Marisol McDonald doesn’t match. And that’s just fine with her.

The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say
Yuriko hates her name when the children make fun of it and call her “Eureka!” Though she is half Japanese, the teasing makes her want to hide, to retreat even from the art projects she used to love. Fortunately she has a patient, kind father who finds gentle ways of drawing her out and reminding Yuriko of the traditions they share that have always brought her joy.

Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan, illustrated by Lillian Hsu
Marisa gets to help make dumplings this year to celebrate the New Year. But she worries if anyone will eat her funny-looking dumplings. Set in the Hawaiian islands, this story celebrates the joyful mix of food, customs, and languages from many cultures.

Middle Grade

Cilla Lee-Jenkins, Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan
Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best―herself! Stories from her bestselling memoir, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire, include:
– How she dealt with being bald until she was five
– How she overcame her struggles with reading
– How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami
Nine-year-old Maria Singh longs to play softball in the first-ever girls’ team forming in Yuba City, California. It’s the spring of 1945, and World War II is dragging on. Miss Newman, Maria’s teacher, is inspired by Babe Ruth and the All-American Girls’ League to start a girls’ softball team at their school. Meanwhile, Maria’s parents–Papi from India and Mama from Mexico–can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land.

Ten: A Soccer Story by Shamini Flint
Maya is a passionate soccer fan eager to start playing soccer herself. This is extra challenging because soccer is considered a “boys’ game” in Malaysia in 1986. She teaches herself basic soccer skills with only her mother and a potted rosebush as training partners, then gradually persuades enough girls to join her to form a team, all the while trying to keep her unpredictable biracial family together.

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
It’s 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi’s appearance is all anyone notices. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing.

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donaghue
Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed “good girl” of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is suffering from dementia and will be coming to live with them.

Momotaro Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters by Margaret Dilloway
Xander Miyamoto would rather do almost anything than listen to his sixth grade teacher, Mr. Stedman, drone on about weather disasters happening around the globe. If Xander could do stuff he’s good at instead, like draw comics and create computer programs, and if Lovey would stop harassing him for being half Asian, he might not be counting the minutes until the dismissal bell.

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
The start of the school year is not going as the Fletcher brothers hoped. Each boy finds his plans for success veering off in unexpected and sometimes diastrous directions. And at home, their miserable new neighbor complains about everything. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.

Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything In It by Sundee T. Frazier
Ten-year-old Brendan Buckley is a self-declared scientist: asking questions and looking for answers, but most of all struggling against the overprotective behavior of his parents. Up until now, he has never even met his grandfather—the grandfather his mother won’t even speak of. A chance encounter brings Brendan and his grandfather together where Brendan initiates a relationship with estranged grandfather, Ed DeBose. While they share a passion for geology, they do not share the color of their skin; Brendan’s skin is brown, not pink like Ed DeBose’s.


New Releases!

So many out this Tuesday! Here are some of my favorites:

Picture Book New Releases!

How to Be An Elephant by Katherine Roy (David Macaulay Studio, 9/19)
An infant elephant has precious little time to learn the incredible array of skills that are necessary to keep up, from projecting her voice across a 10-octave range to using the 100,000 muscles in her trunk to stay hydrated. But this giant-to-be has the perfect classroom–a family herd made up of her mother, sisters, cousins, and aunts. With their help and protection, she’ll learn how to survive, how to thrive, and how to be an elephant.

Are We Pears Yet? by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Carin Berger (Roaring Brook Press, 9/19)
Written entirely in dialogue and staged as a play, Are We Pears Yet? is a clever and hilarious informational picture book that will make you look at growth cycles and fruit trees in a whole new way. Carin Berger’s artfully composed collaged stage sets will delight and amaze you.

The Lost Picnic by B.B. Cronin (Viking, 9/19)
From the award-winning author of “The Lost House.” Grandad and his grandchildren are on their way to a picnic out into the country in his jalopy. When they arrive at the picnic spot, they discover all their food has tumbled out along the way! It’s up to readers to find the missing food items.

Imagine by John Lennon (HMH, 9/21)
Join one little pigeon as she sets out on a journey to spread a message of tolerance around the world. Featuring the lyrics of John Lennon’s iconic song and illustrations by the award-winning artist Jean Jullien, this poignant and timely picture book dares to imagine a world at peace. Imagine will be published in partnership with human rights organization Amnesty International.

Chapter Book New Release!

Jada Jones: Rock Star and Jada Jones: Class Act by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
When Jada Jones’s best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She’d much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada’s teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she’s in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn’t seem to like any of Jada’s ideas.

Middle Grade New Releases!

The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh (Little, Brown, 9/19)
Everything in Bea’s world has changed. She’s starting seventh grade newly friendless and facing big changes at home, where she is about to go from only child to big sister. Feeling alone and adrift, and like her words don’t deserve to be seen, Bea takes solace in writing haiku in invisible ink and hiding them in a secret spot. But then something incredible happens–someone writes back.

Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (Algonquin, 9/19)
Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne.

Saving Marty by Paul Griffin (Penguin Random House, 9/19)
Eleven-year-old Lorenzo Ventura knows heroes are rare—like his father, who died in the war, or his friend Paloma Lee, who fearlessly pursues her dream of being a famous musician. Renzo would never describe himself as a hero, but his chance comes when he adopts Marty, a runt piglet. At first, the family farm seems like the perfect home for Marty, but as he approaches 350 pounds, it becomes harder for Renzo to convince his mom that a giant pig makes a good pet.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore (Random House, 9/19)
It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.

The School for Good and Evil: Quests for Glory by Soman Chainani (HarperCollins, 9/19)
The students at the School for Good and Evil thought they had found their final Ever After when they vanquished the malevolent School Master. Now, on their required fourth-year quests, the students face obstacles both dangerous and unpredictable, and the stakes are high: success brings eternal adoration, and failure means obscurity forever.

Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller (Abrams, 9/19)
Abandoned by her mother and neglected by her scientist father, timid Elizabeth Murmur has only her fearless friend, Zenobia, for company. And Zenobia’s company can be very trying! When Elizabeth’s father takes them to live in his family home, Witheringe House, Zenobia becomes obsessed with finding a ghost in the creepy old mansion and forces Elizabeth to hold séances and wander the rooms at night.


A few last things: The National Book Awards released their long list for Young People’s Literature! These are the top ten; five will be chosen on October 4th as finalists, and the winner will be announced on November 15th.

Thank you to everyone who bid on the KidLit Cares Auction. Over $93,000 was raised and sent to the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief fund!

If you’d like another book with biracial characters, my debut middle grade novel with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers features a large, biracial family. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street will be available on October 3rd!

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

Until next time,

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my pets. They agreed to pose together for a photo for you. (And yes, we live in a 750 sqft apartment.) (Yes, it’s crowded, but… cozy.)

*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!*




The Kids Are All Right

Children’s Books for Back-To-School

Hi Kid Lit friends!

I think most kids are back to school by now, adjusting to the rhythms of a new school year. My own kids went back this past Thursday, battling a little bit of school jitters but mostly super happy to be back with their friends and teachers. It’s been a lovely summer for them, filled with new experiences, new friendships, and lots of reading! We have a piece of easel paper taped to our wall where everyone in our family writes down the books we’ve read; my nine-year-old smoked us all. Check out the books she’s read from July and half of August.

Sponsored by Disney Hyperion

“I would say it’s a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness….”

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history—that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him.

From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a tale of betrayal and revenge, of old hurts passed down from generation to generation.  Can you ever fully right a wrong, ever truly escape your history? Or will Prosper and Alastor be doomed to repeat it?

To prepare for the school year, we’ve been reading lots of great new children’s books about school! Here’s a list:

Picture Books

The Teacher’s Pet by Anica Mrose Rissi, illustrated by Zachariah OHora
When their class tadpoles are big enough, Mr. Stricter tells his students they can keep just one. The class chooses Bruno, the smallest of the bunch. But Bruno doesn’t stay that way for long. Soon, he’s grown into a giant, classroom-wrecking creature. With Mr. Stricter blinded by love for the pet, the students must step up and take matters into their own heroic hands.

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson
It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.

Buddy and Earl Go to School by Maureen Fergus and Carey Sookocheff
Buddy and Earl know that with the right education they can become anything. Soon after they arrive, their teacher, Miss Meredith, is called away and Professor Earl takes charge of the classroom. When Professor Earl announces that one very special student is going to win a major award, Buddy cannot imagine who that lucky student might be…

Twindergarten by Nikki Ehrlich, illustrated by Zoey Abbott
It’s the night before the twins are starting kindergarten, and they have the just-about-to-start-school jitters. After all, they will be in different classrooms! What will kindergarten be like when they’re not together all day? But Dax and Zoe will learn that kindergarten is full of new surprises and adventures, and being apart for a short while isn’t so bad.

Middle Grade

Confessions from the Principal’s Kid by Robin Mellom
During the school day, fifth-grader Allie West is an outsider. Everyone knows the principal’s kid might tattle to her mom! But after school, Allie is an insider; she is friends with the janitor and the other kids of teachers. Although Allie secretly loves her insider life, she’s sick of being an outsider—so she vows to join the Pentagon, the popular math team led by her ex–best friend. But can Allie change her status without betraying where she really belongs?

Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen
After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost.

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez
There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school—you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

Sidetracked by Diana Harmon Asher
If middle school were a race, Joseph Friedman wouldn’t even be in last place—he’d be on the sidelines. With an overactive mind and phobias of everything from hard-boiled eggs to gargoyles, he struggles to understand his classes, let alone his fellow classmates. But then, on the first day of seventh grade, two important things happen. With a new friend and a new track team, Joseph finds himself off the sidelines and in the race (quite literally) for the first time.

Graphic Novels

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
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! What follows is an adventure even more bizarre than life at the Renaissance Faire.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.

Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm (Graphix, 9/12)
Summer’s over and it’s time for Sunny Lewin to enter the strange and unfriendly hallways of . . . middle school. When her Gramps calls her from Florida to ask how she’s doing, she always tells him she’s fine. But the truth? Sunny is NOT having the best time.


New Releases!
Some of my favorite new books, most of them coming out this Tuesday!

Picture Books

Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, Sean Qualls, and Selina Alko (Scholastic, 9/12)
A gorgeous book about what makes us the same and different. One of my favorite picture books of the year.

Muddy by Michael Mahin, illustrated by Evan Turk
The story of blues legend Muddy Waters and how his fierce and electric music laid the groundwork for what would become rock and roll.

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Candlewick, 9/12)
In luminous painting and arresting poems, two scholars track Arturo Schomburg’s quest to correct history from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages.

Hooray for Books! by Brian Won (HMH, 9/12)
A lovely homage to books, with bright and engaging illustrations.

La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
A book filled with color and darling illustrations, this story incorporates Spanish in a vibrant Peruvian setting.

It Takes A Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Simon & Schuster, 9/12)
Pair an incredible illustrator (one of my favorites!) with one of the most inspiring people in the world, and you get this new picture book. All kinds of people working together, playing together, and living together in harmony makes a better village and many villages coming together can make a better world.

Only In My Hometown by Angnakuluk Friesen, pictures by Ippiksaut Friesen (Groundwood Books, 9/12)
A gorgeous story about growing up in an Inuit community in Nunavut, where the Northern Lights shine.

Smoot by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Sydney Smith (Penguin Random House, 9/12)
A shadow that is frustrated with his boy who never laughs or leaps takes matters in his own hands and teaches his boy about living his life with joy and purpose.

Middle Grade

Giant Pumpkin Suite by Melanie Heuiser Hill (Candlewick, 9/12)
Twins take over the growing of a neighbor’s pumpkin seed, which changes their summer in unimaginable ways.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas (Penguin Random House, 9/12)
When eleven-year-old Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan’s Golden Record, something unexpected happens: a black hole follows her home.

The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner (Bloomsbury, 9/12)
Kirby “Zig” Zigonski tries to make sense of the world through simple circuits, buzzers, and lights, and he is certain that his absent father is communicating to him through his GPS. An honest portrayal of how poverty and homelessness affects kids.


EBook Deals

Curious George by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey is only $1.99!

Harold’s ABC by Crockett Johnson, is a steal at $1.99!

This week I’m reading The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9/19), The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Dial Books, 3/6/18), and The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid (Balzer & Bray, 10/24) by Colin Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis. I’d love to know what you’re reading! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at

Until next time,

Izzy caught in the act of chewing up my reading material. Busted!

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The Kids Are All Right

KidLit Cares Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort

Hi Kid Lit friends,

This has been a heartbreaking week for Houston, and I know everyone wants to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey in anyway they can.

In the children’s book community, author Kate Messner is coordinating a KidLit Cares Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort, an online talent auction to benefit the Red Cross relief effort for Hurricane Harvey & related flooding. Agents, editors, authors, and illustrators have donated various services to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. Bidding is open now until Tuesday, September 5th at 8pm EST. For a complete list of items up for auction and more details, please check out Kate’s website.

Sponsored by Thornhill by Pam Smy

Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as a girl unravels the mystery of the abandoned Thornhill Institute next door.

1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

2017: Ella has just moved to a new town. From her room, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.

Included below are some of the over two-hundred items up for auction. If there is nothing you can use personally, consider bidding for a teacher or librarian you know, an aspiring writer in your life, or original artwork for a new baby or a birthday gift. If the auction items are beyond your budget, consider donating directly to the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. For everyone who donates at least $10 to the Red Cross using this link today through Monday, September 4th will be entered in a drawing to win a signed class set of Kate Messner’s fantastic new novel for young readers, The Exact Location of Home (36 hardcover copies) and a 30-minute school Skype visit with her this fall.

Auction Items For Schools and Libraries

1. School Skype Gift Package From Author Linda Urban (Weekends with Max and His Dad, A Crooked Kind of Perfect)

2. Skype Visit and Signed Books from Author Josh Funk (The Case of the Stinky Stench)

3. Skype visit and “draw-along” and signed books from author-illustrator Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Ling and Ting: Not Exactly The Same!)

4. Skype visit & signed books from author Katherine Applegate (The One and Only Ivan, Wishtree)

5. Skype (or in person near Beloit, WI) visit with author-editor Kelly Jensen (Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World)

6. Classroom or library Skype visit from Chelsea Clinton (She Persisted)

7. Skype visit & signed books from author Erin Teagan (The Friendship Experiment)

8. 30-minute Skype visit & signed books from Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, Chains, Ashes, Forge)

9. Skype visit & signed books from author Kristin Gray (Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge)

Auctions Items For Writers

1. Full novel-in-verse manuscript critique with Laura Shovan (The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary)

2. Picture Book Critique by Agent Holly McGhee

3. One hour of editorial time from editor Cheryl Klein

4. One-hour manuscript review phone call with agent Molly O’Neill

5. Picture book manuscript critique from author Julie Falatko (Snappsy the Alligator)

6. Tuition for a 2017 or 2018 Highlights Foundation Workshop

7. Conference tuition for the SCBWI Mid-South Conference

8. 20-page MG or YA manuscript critique & ”skip-the-slush-pile” pass from editor Mary Kate Castellani

9. Picture book critique from author Liz Garton Scanlon (All The World)

Auction Items: Original Artwork
1. Original art from Debbie Ridpath Ohi (Sea Monkey and Bob, Sam and Eva)

2. Original animal paintings from illustrator Anna Raff (If I Were a Kangaroo, You are Not a Cat!)

3. Original watercolor from illustrator Mika Song (Tea With Oliver)

4. Original art from Leeza Hernandez (Cat Napped)

5. Star Wars Origami made by Tom Angleberger (The Strange Case of Origami Yoda)

6. Original watercolor sketch from Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Stars Wars: Jedi Academy, Lunch Lady)


For kids who are interested in reading books about hurricanes or with hurricane events in them, check these out:

A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Renee Watson, illustrated by Shadra Strickland (picture book)

Over in the Wetlands by Caroline Starr Rose, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey (picture book)

Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner, illustrated by Jon Parra (picture book)

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods (middle grade)

The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish (middle grade)

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (middle grade)

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly


Upcoming Picture Book Releases!

When’s My Birthday by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson (MacMillan, 9/5)
This book is filled with energetic rhythms that perfectly capture the excitement of a birthday. Paired with Christian Robinson’s amazing illustrations, this book vibrates with energy, humor, and love. I’m a big fan of the tall and skinny picture book format, which makes it feel like the best, oversized birthday card! A wonderful book to read on any day, birthday or not.

Come With Me by Holly McGhee, illustrated by Pascal Lemaître (Penguin Random House, 9/5)
A heartfelt story about a family finding courage after the events of September 11th, and how each one of us have the power to make the world a more beautiful place.


Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by John Rocco (HMH Books for Young Readers, 9/5)
I loved this amazing biography of Virginia Lee Burton, author of The Little House (a favorite in my household), Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and Maybelle the Cable Car, and Katy and the Big Snow. A wonderful and inspiring picture book addition to all kids who want to know about the author/illustrator behind those awesome books.

Upcoming Middle Grade Book Releases!

Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood (HMH Books for Young Readers, 9/5)
A charming tale about rabbit siblings who are forced to flee their warren in order to save their lives and protect a magic dagger. Full of danger and suspense and… rabbits! How could I not love this one?



Howard Wallace, P.I.: Shadow of a Pug by Casey Lyall (Sterling, 9/5)
This is my all-time favorite detective series, and this book is especially dear to my heart because it’s about a stolen PUG! Will Howard Wallace and Ivy Mason solve the case? Although this can be read alone, I suggest you also read the first book in the series, Howard Wallace, P.I.! You won’t regret it!

Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Won’t-Walk-the-Dog Cure by Ann M. Martin with Annie Parnell (MacMillan, 9/5)
The second in a series about Missy, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s niece, who is charged with maintaining the upside-down house while Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is off in search of her pirate husband.



Brave Red, Smart Frog by Emily Jenkins (Candlewick, 9/5)
A charming collection of retold fairy tales that are the perfect length for young readers. Fans of fairy tales won’t be disappointed, especially with the updated language, vivid imagery, plus hints of humor throughout.


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling (Sterling, 9/5)
A wonderful debut book by author Dusti Bowling about Aven, a girl born without arms, who moves with her family to operate the Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona.


All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (Penguin Random House, 9/5)
This highly anticipated graphic novel following author Victoria Jamieson’s Newbery Honor winning book Roller Girl is sure to please all fans and win over new ones. This book is filled with funny moments as Imogene goes from homeschool to middle school while also living and working with her family at the Renaissance Faire. I loved this book!

Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente (Simon & Schuster, 9/5)
A fictional tale about the Bronte sisters who have invented a game called Glass Town Game, where their toy soldiers fight Napoleon and no one ever dies. But when they go to the train station, the train takes them to a real Glass Town, but not the peaceful place they had envisioned in their imagination.


EBook Deals

Pete the Cat: Wheels on the Bus by James Dean is only 1.99!

Rooftoppers, a wonderful middle grade book by Katherine Rundell and illustrated by Terry Fan, is only $1.99!

This week I’m reading The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood, Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior by Ed Clayton and illustrated by Donald Bermudez (Candlewick, 12/12), and The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole (Dial Books, 9/12) by Michelle Cuevas. I’d love to know what you’re reading! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at

Until next time,

Even though Izzy was unsure about the whole rabbit warrior thing, I still loved this book.

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The Kids Are All Right

Kids Books About Coding!

Hello there, Kid Lit friends!

If there’s one big trend in STEM I’ve seen this summer, it’s been coding. There has been so much buzz for coding-themed books!

Reshma’s Girls Who Code book is packed with information about how to begin coding. Written in a relatable style with lots of graphics and illustrations, this book starts at the basics and gives clear definitions for coding terminology. What I liked most about this book was the clarity of how coding could be used for practical uses, like for apps or games.

We’ve got a $200 Powell’s gift card to give away! Go here to enter, or just click the image below:

Published in conjunction with Girls Who Code is The Friendship Code, a chapter book about four friends who start a coding club at school. Lucy is so excited about a new school year so she can do amazing things at coding club. But the club is moving so slowly; how can Lucy gain the skills she needs to make her app?


Secret Coders by Mike Holmes and Gene Luen Yang is a terrific graphic novel series for all coding enthusiasts. The series is set at Stately Academy, a school where the founder left plenty of mysteries for it’s enterprising students to solve. Each book dives deep into some aspect of coding. There are currently three books in the series with a fourth, Secret Coders: Robots and Repeats, coming out on October 3rd.

Click’d (Disney-Hyperion, 9/5) by Tamara Ireland Stone is a middle grade book set at CodeGirls summer camp. Allie Navarro builds an app called Click’d which pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun scavenger hunt to find each other. The app is a hit; it goes viral. But when Allie discovers that the app has the potential to reveal secrets of the users, Allie races to find the glitch in the coding before anyone finds out.

For parents who struggle to keep up with technology, Coding for Parents is a great primer, organized by grade and age, and clearly defines coding terminology and usage with instructional diagrams and illustrations.




New Releases!

All The Way To Havana (Henry Holt & Company, 8/29) by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Mike Curato, is a beautiful picture book about a boy and his family setting off to visit a new baby cousin for his “zero-year birthday”. However, the car is rickety old vehicle with parts that have been swapped out, rusted, or fixed with wire, tape, and metal scraps. Will they make it to Havana?

The Bad Seed (HarperCollins, 8/29) by Jory John, illustrated by Pete Oswald, is a picture book about a seed with a bad reputation. He lies. He cuts in line. He never washes his hands. Can he repair his reputation, or will he be a bad seed forever?



The Adventures of Caveboy and Caveboy Is Bored (Bloomsbury, 8/29) by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Eric Wight, is a perfect chapter book for emerging readers. In the first book, Caveboy wants to be the greatest baseball player ever, until his club breaks. While searching for a new one, he also makes a new friend and learns what it means to take care of each other. In Caveboy Is Bored, Caveboy can’t find anything to do. Everyone is busy… except for his annoying sister.

Patina by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum, 8/29) is the highly anticipated second book in Jason’s track series. His first book, Ghost, was a runaway hit and a National Book Award Finalist. Patina is struggling to keep up with the track team. Between trying to keep her grade point average up at the fancy new school she’s going to, watching over her little sister, and taking care of her mom who is diabetic and wheelchair bound, can Patty keep up with everything and still have energy to train?

Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories by Jack Gantos (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 8/29) is geared for middle grade students looking for writing inspiration. Who better to turn to than legendary storyteller Jack Gantos? The opening line is, “I’m a writer and I’m on your side.” What follows are a series of stories and tips to encourage young people to establish good writing habits as they create, revise, and perfect their stories.

The Van Gogh Deception (HMH, 8/29) by Deron Hicks is a spell binding mystery thriller about a young boy that has forgotten almost everything about himself. He was found sitting in the National Gallery in front of a Degas sculpture and knows oddly detailed facts about artists, but he can’t remember his own name. The book has QR codes sprinkled throughout so readers can look up the referenced paintings, and the end papers have beautiful images of color Van Gogh paintings.

Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: The Stone Cold Age (Random House) by Jeffrey Brown is the second in the Lucy and Andy Neatherthal graphic novel series. In this one, the protagonists have to deal with their greatest challenge yet: humans!



Ebook Deals!

Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan is only $1.99! A perfect time to get caught up with the Applewhites before the third book in the series, The Applewhites Coast to Coast, comes out on October 17th.

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace is $1.99. Never heard of it? Meg Ryan, portraying an indie bookstore owner, recommended this book to a little girl in the movie You’ve Got Mail. 

That’s it for this week! I just finished reading Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass, which is a great post-eclipse book for upper middle grade kids. I’m in the middle of Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford (HMH, 10/3/17), and The New Kid: The Carver Chronicles by Karen English (HMH, 12/5/17). What children’s books are you reading and enjoying this week? Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at

Until next time,

Izzy picking out what book I should read next.

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The Kids Are All Right

Children’s Books To Read After Charlottesville

Hi Kid Lit friends,

I know a lot of us are reeling after the events of Charlottesville. I have been reading news coverage and looking at the disturbing images of white supremacists, Nazis, and white nationalists marching and perpetuating violence and yelling hate, and my instinct is to shield my kids from seeing what’s happening. But I also believe that the more our kids know about the evil in the world, the better they will be able at seeing it and calling it out and fighting for justice when they witness it.

Annotated brings you the story of the world’s most glamorous librarian. Download it for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or your podcast player or choice.

Ashley Bryan is an author I turn to over and over again for the wisdom in his books and gorgeous paintings. His Caldecott Honor book Freedom Over Me is one of the most powerful stories I have ever read about the evils of slavery. The book is based on the Fairchilds Appraisement of the Estate document from July 5, 1828 where eleven slaves are listed for sale with the cows, hogs, and cotton. From that document, Ashley humanizes each slave listed, writing about their daily lives but also of their dreams.

A page from Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan

Ekua Holmes’ illustrations in Out of Wonder by Kwame Alexander are gorgeous and powerful. They are a celebration of life, and when paired with the poetry of Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth, the effect is stunning. Here are some of the interior pages:


I love Kwame’s exhortation to “Be brave, like a new seed bursting with extraordinary promise.”

When heartbreaking events happen, I always turn to All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee. The illustrations and words tell of an interconnected, diverse world that we all contribute to and engage in. When I read this book to my kids, I cannot help but believe that love and peace and justice will triumph over evil.

The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco was the first picture book that made my younger daughter aware of the discrimination and religious persecution of Jewish people. In the story, a young Russian girl living in the early 1900s live in fear of the Czar’s soldiers. Reading this book reminded me that we need to fight for religious and political freedoms every day.

Come With Me (Penguin Random House, 9/5), written by Holly M. McGhee and illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre, is about the immediate aftermath of 9/11. While the news tells over and over about anger and hatred, a little girl finds that her own voice and actions have the power to make the world a better place.

There are thousands of children’s books that speak to courage and love, tolerance and justice. Check out these links for more recommendations:

What else can we do? I’ve been filling up my Little Free Library with books every day so the kids in my neighborhood can have all the access to books they want. Over on Twitter, @veronikellymars is encouraging people to fund classroom literacy projects. Click the tweet below for links to the classrooms needing funding and ongoing updates.

New Releases

I’m so excited about Tuesday because one of my favorite books of the year is coming out! The First Rule of Punk (Viking, 8/22) by Celia C. Pérez is about twelve-year-old Malú, a Mexican-American girl who moves to a new state with her mom (who Malú calls “Super Mexican”). As Malú adjusts to her new school, she works on her zines (which are cleverly inserted into the book itself) and starts a punk band with other school misfits. I loved this book, and I guarantee you will too!

Another title I’ve been waiting to hit the shelves is Kat Greene Comes Clean (Charlesbridge, 8/22), a story about a fifth grader named Kat who lives in New York City and who (like all middle grade kids!) has a lot going on. Not only is she dealing with middle grade drama, but her mom starts getting more and more obsessive with cleaning. This was an honest portrayal of OCD, and a great middle grade title to add to your list.

Ebook Deals

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs is only $1.99 for Kindle! (The fifth book in the Spy School series, Spy School Secret Service, comes out on October 10th!)

Another awesome ebook deal: $2.99 for Mary Poppins!


Right now I’m reading Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds (a great upper middle grade/YA read after the Charlottesville events). Tell me what you’re reading! I’m on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or send me an email at Have a great week!

Until next time,

Izzy and our newest cat family member Nala wholeheartedly recommend The First Rule of Punk!

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The Kids Are All Right

Kids’ Books About Books!

Hello, friends!

It’s no surprise that authors and illustrators love creating books about characters who love books, so I thought I’d give a shout out to some of these stories that have come across my desk this year.

Sponsored by Elizabeth Singer Hunt, author of THE SECRET AGENT JACK AND MAX STALWART series.

For fans of the award-winning SECRET AGENT JACK STALWART comes a new chapter book series! Jack teams up with his older brother, Max, to solve international mysteries, using their special training as secret agents.

In THE BATTLE FOR THE EMERALD BUDDHA, Jack is temporarily retired from the Global Protection Force and on family vacation. However, Jack and Max are motivated to act when a band of thieves takes the Emerald Buddha from the Grand Palace in Bangkok. On their own, up against one of the smartest and wealthiest villains they’ve ever faced, can the brothers find Thailand’s treasure in time?

Schomburg: The Man Who Built A Library by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Eric Velasquez comes out September 12th (Candlewick), and it spoke to me in so many ways. First of all, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is just a few blocks away from my apartment in Harlem, and I’ve always wondered about the person the library was named after. Arturo Schomburg immigrated to New York from Puerto Rico in 1891 and taught Spanish lessons while learning English in night school. He could not pursue medicine or law because he had no educational records, and he eventually moved on to be a messenger and a law clerk. He pursued his love of books by collecting all books he could find about African history and the history of African-Americans, and in 1926 the Carnegie Corporation purchased his extensive collection and donated it to the New York Public Library. A fascinating portrait of an incredible man.

The Treasure Box by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Freya Blackwood, is a picture book that begins with an unnamed enemy bombing the library. Only one book remains, one that Peter and his father carry with them as they are ordered out of their homes and flee the city on foot. The story continues as we follow Peter and the book over the course of decades, and there is a lovely message about the resilience of books and ideas even in the face of war and destruction.

Hooray for Books! by Brian Won (HMH Books for Young Readers, 9/12/17) is a delightful picture book about Turtle who is on the search for his favorite book. Turtle questions all his friends about it’s whereabouts, and they each encourage him to try a different book and broaden his reading horizons. This story is sure to please young readers who share a love for books. I want to frame and hang up these adorable illustrations on my walls!

The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, illustrated by Church Groenink (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 10/3/17), is a picture book about a little girl extolling the love she has for her library. With repeating text, I am sure kids will be calling out phrases during read-alouds! I love the illustrations, which capture all the best parts of a library: cozy plush chairs, the date stamp, and, of course, wooden bookshelves packed with books!

The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is the sequel to the NYT bestselling book The Book Scavengers. This middle grade story begins when Emily and James suspect something fishy going on in San Francisco. A coded note is dropped by Mr. Quisling at a book event, and clues lead to a trail of encrypted messages in Mark Twain-penned books through the Book Scavenger game. Even more mysterious, each hidden book triggers an arsen fire. Can Emily and James figure out who is starting all the fires, and why before it causes too much damage?

The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Victoria Jamieson, is about a shiny green bug named Eddie who lives in a fourth grade classroom with his fifty-three brothers and sisters. When his favorite aunt goes missing during a trip to the library, Eddie knows he has to look for her. When he gets there, he not only finds his aunt but also a concerning development in the library. Can Eddie help save the library? This cute book with delightful illustrations would be perfect for younger middle grade readers.

New Releases
All of these books release this Tuesday!

Bear Make Den by Jane Godwin and Michael Wagner (Candlewick)
“Bear is sitting on the floor of his empty new den when he suddenly notices it’s not quite done. It needs . . . chairs! And a table! But stretched out on his table after a carpentry job well done, Bear realizes his den is still not quite right. . . . Cozy furniture, nice lamps, delicious food, an enticing game — is there anything Bear’s den still needs as he stands alone and surveys his handiwork? Vibrantly colored illustrations make kids feel right at home in this fun-to-read ode to friendship.” (Description from Goodreads)

Philomena’s New Glasses by Brenna Maloney (Penguin Random House)
I loved this sweet book starring three guinea pig sisters! I mean come on, look at this cover! The photos are adorable, and the story is so sweet and honest and funny. The first page begins like this: “Philomena was the oldest, by three seconds. Audrey was the largest, by half a pound. And then there was Nora Jane.” When Philomena needs glasses, Audrey and Nora Jane get glasses too… whether they need them or not. And so it continues, until all three sisters acquire so many things they don’t need just because the others have it. Oh my goodness, I couldn’t love this book enough!

Dino-mite and Sharktastic (Downtown Bookworks)
These books are fun gifts for the naturalists in your life. Each book comes with a real dinosaur fossil and a shark tooth, which my kids thought was super cool. The books are packed with information and bright photos, sure to interest any kid interested in the extreme facts!

Karma Khullar’s Mustache by Kristi Wientge (Simon & Schuster)
This is a book I wish I had when I was in middle school. Karma Khullar is starting middle school, and she’s just not sure about anything anymore because seventeen hairs have sprouted on her upper lip. As if that wasn’t enough, her best friend has found another (blonder) best friend and the boys in her class are relentless in their teasing about her “mustache”. A wonderful coming of age story about growing up and finding your identity. (And how much do I love that cover!)

The Wild Ones: Great Escape by C. Alexander London (Penguin Random House)
“The wild animals of Ankle Snap Alley have been disappearing, and Kit knows exactly why: The People are animal-napping them and taking them to the zoo! Not only that, but they are at the very same zoo where Kit’s mother is being held captive. So Kit decides to round up the Moonlight Brigade and lead the charge to set the Wild Ones free. But this rescue mission might be his most difficult one yet. The Flealess and some of the zoo animals have teamed up against Kit–and the Rat King brings warnings of coming danger! Will Kit be able to set his friends and family free?” -Description from Goodreads

That’s it for this week! Right now I’m reading The Wonderlings by Mira Bartók (Candlewick, 9/26/17), Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford (HMH Books for Young Readers, 10/3/17), and The New Kid: The Carver Chronicles by Karen English (HMH Books for Young Readers, 12/5/17). What children’s books are you reading and enjoying this week? Find me on social media and let me know! I’m on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or send me an email at Have a great week!

Until next time,

Izzy, my TBR list inspector.

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