New Books for Children and Teens

Ordering books for the children’s and teen collections is a rare part of our jobs that hasn’t changed too much over the past six months. While many other aspects of the workday look different now, it’s still a joy being able to select fantastic books and materials for patrons to enjoy. We’d like to take the opportunity to share some fresh new titles from our carts this month.

The Trove

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes & Gordon C. James
Age 5-6
Street Date: 9/1/20
OverDrive
“Barnes and James reunite, after the multi-award-winning success of Crown, for this beautiful and necessary book that affirms Black boys and their right to thrive. James's vibrant oil-paint illustrations harmoniously depict Black boys in motion, in contemplation, and in full vitality as they skateboard, swim, or stand contemplatively in the outdoors. Barnes's refrain throughout the book of “I am” (“I am a roaring flame of creativity. / I am a lightning round of questions, and / a star-filled sky of solutions”) is a powerful, present-tense reminder that normalizes the robust lives Black boys deserve to live, in stark contrast to the dedication page, which lists a number of murdered Black men and boys, many of whom were denied their own boyhoods. I Am Every Good Thing lets Black boys know they are loved and valued just as they are, with unlimited possibilities. Movingly, one boy affirms for himself and for the reader, “I am not what they might call me, / and I will not answer to any name that is not my own.” Fortunately, Barnes and James provide us with a range of powerful, positive names to call Black boys as they urge us to see them, to love them, and to let them live their lives as they deserve. –Horn Book

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki
Age 5-6
Street Date: 9/22/20
OverDrive
“We come together to feed our own in this upbeat picture book. Tamaki's latest is a delight for the senses, bursting with bright colors, enticing scents, and effervescent prose. There's not really a story here, nor much gastronomic wisdom—and that's precisely the point. Instead, readers shadow a diverse group of people who come together every Wednesday to prepare a meal for their neighbors using whatever materials are at hand. Their garden is far from perfect, but it yields plenty of produce; leftovers and community contributions fill in the gaps. Whether donated, grown, or saved from the fridge, all foodstuffs are welcome—this is no place for premium ingredients or brand names! The kitchen's warmth emanates not only from the oven, but from the cacophony of voices and cascade of culinary noises sustaining it. It's a place for gratitude and camaraderie, not gripes and complaints—a disposition evident in Tamaki's singsong, occasionally rhyming first-person plural prose. Onomatopoeic actions—”glug glug glug / CHOPCHOPCHOP / Sizzzzzzzzle”—and volunteers' hearty exclamations pop in spreads characterized by Tamaki's trademark fluidity and playfulness. Nib-and-ink linework swooshes across the pages, emulating the controlled frenzy and depicting a thoughtfully diverse cast of warmhearted people.” –Kirkus Reviews

The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl
Age 5-6
Street Date: 8/11/20
OverDrive
“Leo lived with his dad in an old blue house next to a tall fir tree” in a neighborhood that’s being redeveloped. One day Leo’s father comes to fetch him at school; they get ice cream and visit the beach. “I got a letter from the landlord today,” Leo’s dad says. “They’ve sold our house, and it’s going to be torn down.” When Leo gets home, he’s so angry he shuts himself in his room. But he gets hungry eventually, and, after dinner, his dad plays electric guitar, and Leo jumps on the couch: “They danced and stomped and raged, together.” …Toys on the floor, berries in the garden, the pattern of the couch fabric—she conjures up all the coziness that Leo and his father don’t want to let go. In their new place, though, Leo sees that it’s their presence that makes things cozy. Wahl portrays a father who’s supportive and honest (“I’m angry, too,” he says), and who helps his son ride a wave of emotions and land safely on the other side.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Emma Every Day Series by C. L. Reid
Age 6-7
Street Date: 8/1/20
OverDrive
“Eight-year-old Emma is worried that being Deaf will make it hard to enjoy her best friend's party. In this first entry of Reid's debut early-reader series, the author introduces Emma, who is white and Deaf, as she nervously gets ready for Izzie's birthday party. Emma has worries common to all children, like whether her black, hearing best friend will like her gift, as well as the uniquely d/Deaf concern that she won't understand what anyone says at the party. Izzie and her cousin Sarah, who is white, make sure Emma feels welcome, and she ultimately has a great time. Emma uses both a cochlear implant and American Sign Language. The author refreshingly presents this simply as Emma's reality, as it is for many Deaf children, and does not set up cochlear implants and signing as mutually exclusive. The cute, simple, big-eyed illustrations show off Emma's cochlear implant and support the text. The book includes a guide to ASL fingerspelling and a few basic signs as well as fingerspelled words sprinkled throughout the text… A fun, bubbly early reader featuring an endearing Deaf protagonist.” –Kirkus Reviews

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Grades 4-6
Street Date: 8/4/20
OverDrive
“A 12-year-old girl must leave behind her preconceived notions of what is real if she wants to save her missing friend. Paola Santiago looks forward to summer days filled with daydreaming and “ponder[ing] algae or other fuel experiments” with her best friends, Dante and Emma, down at the riverbanks. Her mother has forbidden Pao from hanging out down at the Gila River, but Pao disregards her advice, as most of her mom's warnings include folkloric elements, like the fabled La Llorona. Pao, a self-professed scientist, cannot fathom believing in things like ghosts that have “no scientific basis to them.” That is, until Pao and Dante wait in vain for Emma to show up at the river. …As the duo searches for Emma, they will encounter lands and creatures that Pao held to be fictitious, along with her mother's beliefs, which Pao has often pushed away along with the connection to her Mexican ancestry. Mejia's writing is fast-paced and engaging, as the colorful imagery places readers in Southwestern cacti fields and in the tumultuous mindset of an insecure 12-year-old.” –Kirkus Reviews

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
Grades 4-6
Street Date: 9/1/20
OverDrive
“National Book Award winner Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) provides a beautiful and heart-wrenching story in her latest middle grade novel. Twelve-year-old Zachariah “ZJ” Johnson Jr.'s pro-football player father has always been hailed as an American hero and a loving husband and father. Slowly, though, he begins to become forgetful and even shout “at people when/ you were never the kind of guy/ to yell before.” Starting in 1999, ZJ leads readers on a journey through memories of a time before his father's persistent headaches kept him from playing football, when he still loved music and wrote songs with ZJ, and into the “ever after,” when he sometimes forgets even ZJ's name. Eloquent prose poetry creates a moving narrative that reveals the grief of a child trying to understand why his father has changed and why nothing can be done. An ardent account of the multitudes of losses experienced by those who suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy and its effects on their families, ZJ's doleful tale unveils the intense nostalgia and hope one can feel despite realizing that sometimes what is lost can never be regained.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Three Keys by Kelly Yang
Grades 4-6
Street Date: 9/15/20
OverDrive
“Sixth grader Mia Tang returns to battle racism in this thrilling sequel to the Asian/Pacific American Award–winning Front Desk (2018). The Tangs, who emigrated from China when Mia was little, are now the proud owners of the Calivista Motel. Mia works the front desk along with her friends Lupe Garcia, who is Mexican, and Jason Yao, who is Chinese. Her world quickly becomes clouded by the upcoming election, in which California's Prop 187, which would ban undocumented immigrants from access to health care and public schooling, is on the ballot…The storyline expertly weaves together the progress and setbacks Mia experiences as her family continues to work, seemingly endlessly on the edge of poverty. Lupe reveals that her family is undocumented, creating a portrait of fear as her father is jailed. The impending vote has significant consequences for all immigrants, not just the Garcias, as racial threats increase. With the help of a cast of strong supporting characters, Mia bravely uses her voice and her pen to change opinions—with family, friends, teachers, and even voters. The lessons she learns helping her friends become the key to addressing racism, as one wise friend advises: “You gotta listen, you gotta care, and most importantly, you gotta keep trying. Don't miss this brave hero as she confronts anti-immigrant hatred in a timely historical novel.” –Kirkus Reviews

Dorothea’s Eyes by Barb Rosenstock & Gerard DuBois
Grades 3-4
Street Date: 9/29/20
OverDrive
“Rosenstock lyrically describes photographer Dorothea Lange’s creative development from a polio-stricken child from Hoboken to the photographer behind some of the nation’s most iconic images. As a child, Lange was teased and rejected by her peers for her limp, yet the very invisibility she feels becomes an asset as she learns to see “with her eyes and her heart.” As Lange grew older, she began taking photographs, eventually discovering her interest in capturing portraits of the impoverished and needy during the Great Depression: “Dorothea’s eyes won’t let the country look away.” DuBois gives his figures the pale skin and fixed postures of bisque dolls; a gauzy darkroom scene, lit in glaring red, reads like a moment of epiphany. Several of Lange’s photographs, including her famous “Migrant Mother” image, appear in a detailed closing section.” –Publisher’s Weekly

The Teacher’s March: How Selma’s Teachers Changed History by Sandra Neil Wallace
Grades 2-3
Street Date: 9/29/20
OverDrive
“In 1965, a group of 104 teachers led by the Rev. F.D. Reese peacefully marched to the Dallas County Courthouse in Selma, Alabama, demanding Black citizens' right to register to vote. Reese, a science teacher at R.B. Hudson High School as well as pastor at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, got the idea of a teachers march while walking the halls of his school. After a recent march at which he and several other participants were beaten and turned away from the county courthouse, he decided that the way to make people take notice was to have teachers, the “somebody somebodies of the community,” stand up and fight for their rights. After seeing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on television, Reese wrote a letter to Dr. King asking him to come to Selma to speak, and he did…This little-known march during the civil rights era is considered the catalyst for the other marches that shortly followed. This book does a masterful job of detailing the impetus for the “teachers march. It is clearly communicated that the march was not spontaneous but carefully thought out—down to the teachers' packing food and toothbrushes in case they were arrested. Palmer's brushy paintings are full of color, detail, and emotion…An alarmingly relevant book that mirrors current events.” –Kirkus Reviews

Poisoned Water: How the Citizens of Flint, Michigan Fought for Their Lives and Warned a Nation by Candy J. Cooper
Grades 4-6
Street Date: 9/25/20
OverDrive
“Imagine: a deadly health crisis hits and the government delays, makes light of the risks, and blames the citizens and doctors instead of taking action, making residents fear for their lives and mistrust their own government. Such was…the case in Flint, Michigan, in 2014, when a water crisis hit. But, as the authors carefully delineate, the disaster did not begin that year. Its roots lay in the city's history of racism, corporate greed, and environmental plunder. The immediate crisis, though, began when a new pipeline was being built from Lake Huron to Flint and, in the meantime, the residents had to drink water from the filthy Flint River, with assurances that it would be properly treated and perfectly potable. But people began to experience skin rashes, hair loss, and upper respiratory infections and to be diagnosed with anemia, lead poisoning, and Legionnaires' disease. The book wisely puts the citizens of Flint front and center, letting them tell their stories, while placing those stories into historical context with information about the town and river dating back to Flint's founding in 1819. It's a powerful tale of an “obscene failure of government,” but also democracy and a “commingling of racial, ethnic, religious, and income groups working together.” –Horn Book

The Edge

Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe
Grades 9 and up
Street Date: 09/08/2020
OverDrive; Library Catalog
“Henri Haltiwanger is a go-getter. He's created a dog-walking business disguised as a much larger corporation to lure rich New York clients into trusting him with their precious pooches. Henri hopes this hustle will help him achieve his, and his father's, dream of getting into Columbia University. When Corrine Troy, Henri's socially awkward neighbor and classmate, discovers his enterprise, she blackmails him into helping her improve her social standings so that she will look better on her application to Princeton. What happens will change the trajectory of their lives.” –School Library Journal

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
Grades 9 and up
Street Date: 08/04/2020
OverDrive; Library Catalog
“Ashley Bennett is almost done with her senior year of high school when the VERDICT in the Rodney King trial comes out, shaking up her halcyon life. In Los Angeles in 1992, Ashley is the lone Black girl among her group of white friends who don't understand that she has to behave better than them to be seen as just as good. Jo, her ‘troubled older sister,’ gets caught up in the injustice of the VERDICT and is drawn to the riots, perplexing and worrying Ashley and her family. Stuck between worlds, with her affluent Black family in their white neighborhood, and still being taken care of by Lucia, her Guatemalan nanny and second mother, Ashley isn't sure where she fits in.” –School Library Journal

K-Pop Confidential by Stephan Lee
Grades 9 and up
Street Date: 09/15/2020
Library Catalog
“Candace Park, 15, is a top student at New Jersey’s Fort Lee Magnet, a secret K-pop fan, and a terrible viola player who desperately wants to sing, like her older brother Tommy. But their Korean-born parents, who met at a prestigious music school in Korea but now run a convenience store, “won’t budge.” Encouraged by best friends Imani and Ethan, Candace secretly auditions for a new girl group being created by the entertainment company behind an internationally popular K-pop boy band.” –Publisher’s Weekly

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
Grades 7 and up
Street Date: 09/01/2020
OverDrive; Library Catalog
“Young Japanese Americans tell of life during World War II. In San Francisco's Japantown, a group of teens has grown up together and become like family. But life in America after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor is dangerous for them. They and their families are taken to the Topaz incarceration camp in Utah, where the harsh conditions and injustices they experience turn their worlds upside down.” –Kirkus Reviews

Into the Streets: A Young Person’s Visual History of Protest in the United States by Marke Bieschke
Grades 9 and up
Street Date: 07/07/2020
OverDrive; Hoopla; Library Catalog
“A visual primer covering some key U.S. protests from 1492 to 2018. An introduction offers readers definitions of what protest is and the many ways it can manifest. The protests covered center people of different races, classes, sexual orientations, and genders as well as including non–identity related protests, making this a thoroughly representative book.” –Kirkus Reviews

She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics… and the World by Caitlin Donohue
Grades 7 and up
Street Date: 09/01/2020
OverDrive; Hoopla; Library Catalog
“Presumably playing on the feminist motto ‘Nevertheless, she persisted,’ both with the title and in spirit, this looks at 44 influential female political leaders. From Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi to Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos, the book strikes a political balance while integrating diverse figures, such as Mia Love, the first Black Republican woman elected to Congress, and Danica Roem, the first elected openly transgender state representative. Although the majority of the women are from the U.S., others, like Ethiopian president Sahle-Work Zewde and German chancellor Angela Merkell, show female strength worldwide. With a few exceptions, most are still currently serving in office.” –Booklist

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Homepage Teens, Kids, Library News, and Teens.

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