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

My Rainbow by DeShanna Neal, Trinity Neal & Art Twink
Preschool-Grade 2
Street Date: 10/20/20
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“In their #OwnVoices picture book debut, mother-daughter duo and transgender rights advocates DeShanna and Trinity Neal center a Black transgender girl looking for hair that suits her gender expression. Inspired by the younger coauthor, protagonist Trinity’s gender ‘was part of what made her a masterpiece, just like her autism and her Black skin.’ Trinity feels a keen desire for long hair like that on the dolls she shares with nonbinary sibling Hyperion, despite hating ‘how it made her itchy when it was growing out.’ With inspiration from sibling Lucien, their mom sets out to create the perfect multicolored wig for Trinity—one that doesn’t trigger the girl’s sensitivities and that aligns with her ‘already perfect’ natural curls. Artist Twink’s inviting use of color highlights the family’s warm home and the bright rainbow wig—an object that makes Trinity feel like a more authentic version of herself: ‘It’s me, Mom. My hair has finally come!’ A joyful family story that emphasizes the importance of listening and loving people for who they are.” –Publisher’s Weekly

The Most Beautiful Thing by Kao Kalia Yang & Khoa Le
Grades K-3
Street Date: 10/6/20
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“A deep and moving reflection on enduring hardship and generational love. Kalia's grandmother holds a revered place among her Hmong family. Her origins feel almost mythic in stature as Kalia recounts how no one knows Grandma's true age and how, as a young girl, she escaped a tiger in the jungle. Grandma is a survivor; the struggles of raising her orphaned siblings and immigrating across the world have only made her stronger. Despite a life of adversity, Grandma continues to smile through challenges. As Kalia grows older, she struggles with her family's poverty until Grandma offers a powerful reminder of what matters most. This picture-book memoir for older readers explores perseverance, financial hardship, and the richness of family connection. Gorgeously illustrated with lush florals and foliage, these images capture both the magic and constancy of Grandma's love. Nods to the importance of fabric in Hmong culture are represented with beautiful paj ntaub–style endpapers symbolizing family and the embroidered designs on Grandma's clothing. She is the only character pictured in these traditional fabrics, representing her honored matriarch status and the legacy she passes along: an ability to bloom even in the toughest conditions.” –Kirkus Reviews

Starcrossed by Julia Denos
Grades K-3
Street Date: 10/27/20
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“Stars and wishes intertwine in this celestial friendship tale. Eridani, a human girl, loves to look up at the night sky to see and talk to her best friend, Acamar, a constellation of a boy. During the day, Eridani pores over sky maps and star plots as she works on celestial school projects. But studying the stars will never be the same as being up in the stars like Acamar. Eridani silently wishes she could trade her blood and bones for space and stars. At the same time, Acamar quietly yearns to feel his feet on the sand. The expertly paced, lyrical third-person narration creates an otherworldly atmosphere for this long-form picture book. The texts of the first and second halves of the story mirror each other, further highlighting the special connection between the friends. Illustrations are awash in textures, some splattered, some brushed, some drawn, visually expanding the ethereal world created by the text…Readers will be thrilled to learn from the author's note that Acamar really is a star within the constellation Eridanus, and Denos provides some resources for those who want to learn more. Get lost in the stars in this gorgeous tale of friendship and astronomy.” –Kirkus Reviews

The Last Mirror on the Left by Lamar Giles & Dapo Adeola
Grades 3-5
Street Date: 10/20/20
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“The Legendary Alston Boys of Logan County are back! This time their adventure will take them far from the Fry they know, as they test their wits in the Warped World and beyond. When Missus Nedraw, Warden of the The Rorrim Mirror Emporium, calls on the deductive duo to recapture an escapee from the Multiverse Justice System, Otto and Sheed must travel into a parallel dimension where all they know is turned on its head. But finding their target is only half the battle; the cousins must then use all their skills to determine who is truly the villain in their story. Giles's The Last Last-Day-of-Summer sequel is a complex and exciting fantasy adventure that encourages readers to question what they know about incarceration, justice, laws, and the people who enforce them.” –School Library Journal

The Girl Giant and the Monkey King by Van Hoang
Grades 3-6
Street Date: 11/30/20
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“Ever since moving from California to Georgia with her mother, 11-year-old Thom Ngho has felt out of place. She’s painfully aware of her Vietnamese ethnicity at her nearly all-white school, and she’s also hiding barely controlled superhuman strength. When she accidentally frees the legendary Monkey King from his prison, the trickster god takes Thom into his confidence, encouraging her to embrace her power through training. Instead, Thom makes a deal: she’ll help the Monkey King retrieve his magical cudgel if he’ll take her strength in return…In this heartwarming #OwnVoices debut, Hoang captures the confusion and frustration of a girl caught between multiple worlds, uncomfortable with her own identity. As Thom copes with bullies at school and an overbearing mother at home, she tries to distance herself from her family’s cultural identity until it becomes impossible to ignore. This entertaining blend of the mundane and fantastical is packed with emotion and sure to strike a chord with readers—Thom’s desire for acceptance and normality is universally relatable, and her resilience makes her an ideal, if reluctant, hero.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Trowbridge Road by Marcella Pixley
Grades 5 & Up
Street Date: 10/6/20
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“Narrator June Bug Jordan watches “beanpole” Ziggy Karlo, with his “unruly mop of red hair,” arrive at his grandmother's house on idyllic Trowbridge Road in the summer of 1983. The two loners quickly become friends, finding solace in the imagined magical “ninth dimension” they explore behind Ziggy's house. In reality, their lives are complicated, unhappy, and full of secrets. Ziggy is bullied for his appearance, extensive vocabulary, and active imagination; and he's staying with Nana Jean because of his mother's struggles with parenting and an abusive boyfriend. June Bug is hiding the fact that her mother suffers from mental illness and debilitating grief over her (closeted gay) husband's death from a misunderstood new disease called AIDS; Mother never leaves the house, rarely eats, and obsessively cleans everything with bleach — including June Bug — because ‘clean meant safe.’ As Ziggy and June Bug painfully learn, sometimes mothers haven't ‘figured out the right way to love,’ or they ‘don't know how to make it stick.’ Pixley tackles difficult topics from the heartrending perspective of a girl slowly realizing that her family badly needs help”. –Horn Book

This is Your Time by Ruby Bridges
Grades 4-6
Street Date: 11/10/20
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“Ruby Bridges displayed courage and resilience when chosen to integrate New Orleans's all-white public school system in 1960 at the age of six. Bridges pens a ‘letter of peace’ addressed to Congressman John Lewis and ‘the young peacemakers of the world.’ She briefly describes her experience. She also explains what it was like for her father to witness his young daughter battle adversity and his own struggles…The text then recalls the children that Bridges has met in the last 25 years that she has spent traveling and speaking. She hopes that young people can break the cycle of racism and continue to rally against injustice in its many forms. Finally, Bridges speaks to the events of today. She addresses the pain and frustration that has led to a summer of protests after the murder of George Floyd by white Minneapolis police officers. She points out the echoes from the past that still reverberate today (there are several historical and contemporary photos that strike a powerful chord), and she shares her own suffering from having lost one of her sons, who was murdered. Ultimately, she advises readers to have ‘a heart full of grace’… Bridges's message is timely, powerful, and full of hope. This missive of truth, spoken by a true American hero, deserves a place in all libraries.” –School Library Journal

How We Got to the Moon by John Rocco
Grades 4-6
Street Date: 10/6/20
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“In seven parts arranged chronologically, Rocco delivers a strikingly beautiful and highly informative account of the United States's audacious effort to send human beings to the moon. Tackling both historical and scientific concepts, the book examines everything from the space race to the mechanics of an F-1 rocket engine, with equal clarity. A plethora of full-color pencil, watercolor, and digital illustrations supports the conversational (and mostly present-tense) text. Frequent side panels feature biographical information about historical figures (often emphasizing the contributions of women, people of color, and production workers) as well as instructions for straightforward experiments for readers to try. Through skillful scaffolding, scientific concepts build in complexity throughout the book (e.g., Newton's Laws of Motion lead to Draper's Inertial Guidance System). Many formidable engineering challenges are presented through a clearly defined problem/solution format. From delicate portraits to intricate schematics to fiery liftoffs, Rocco creates a strong visual continuity throughout. The final chapter is a thrilling minute-by-minute account of the Apollo 11 mission, greatly enhanced by the previous information. A thoughtful epilogue praises the collaborative spirit of the Apollo missions and challenges readers with the following: ‘What new grand idea will bring together hundreds of thousands of individuals to achieve a common goal?’” –Horn Book

Chance: Escape From the Holocaust by Uri Shulevitz
Grades 4-6
Street Date: 10/13/20
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“The award-winning author and illustrator recounts his harrowing childhood as a Polish Jew during World War II. When the Germans invade Poland in 1939, 4-year-old Uri and his parents flee from Warsaw to Soviet-occupied Bialystok, where they are considered enemies of Soviet Russia and denied citizenship. First sent to the Archangel region, after the Germans invade Russia they travel to Turkestan in the Central Asian Kazakh Republic, where, as a 7-year-old, Uri wonders at a way of life that is completely unfamiliar. Shulevitz shares experiences of hunger, deprivation, and anti-Semitism while living in makeshift abodes and tiny apartments and enduring endless train rides. What sustains him are his mother's storytelling, which instills in him an enduring passion for stories, and drawing to pass the endless hours. Drawing allows him to escape into his imagination and ward off loneliness. The first-person narrative, which continues through his teen years in Paris, is inviting and filled with absorbing details of everyday life, from playing games to facing bullies and fearsome dogs. The many illustrations—scary, imaginative, and humorous—are a brilliant accompaniment to the text, bringing into sharp focus stark images of civilians caught up in war. Despite the horrors, however, there is a strong sense of intimacy between the author and his readers.” –Kirkus Reviews

The Edge

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon
Grades 7 and up
Street Date: 11/17/2020
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“Most of the time, Sunny Dae is OK with being a nerd, despite the bullying and casual racism he experiences at school for being Korean American in a mostly white community. He has two close friends, and together they run a successful DIY cosplay video channel. But Sunny is jealous of his older brother, Gray, a musician living in Hollywood. When his parents' colleagues bring their teenage daughter, Cirrus (also Korean American), to Sunny's house, Sunny makes a split-second decision to pretend that Gray's bedroom is his own and that he is the one in a rock band. And something amazing happens: Cirrus thinks Sunny is cool.” –School Library Journal

The Cousins by Karen McManus
Grades 9 and up
Street Date: 12/01/2020
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“The Story family is full of secrets—and three cousins will unearth them. Once inconsequential Gull Cove Island off the coast of Massachusetts was transformed into a luxurious getaway by Abraham Story. In the late 1990s, his widow, Mildred, suddenly disinherited her four young adult offspring—Adam, Anders, Allison, and, Archer—without explanation except for a mysterious letter, sent by her lawyer to each sibling, that read: ‘You know what you did.’ A couple of decades later, the three Story grandchildren—Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah—receive letters from the grandmother they've never met, inviting them to spend the summer working at her island resort.” –Kirkus Reviews

A Cuban Girls’ Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
Grades 7 and up
Street Date: 11/10/2020
Library Catalog
“Lila has led her life following every instruction, much like she does with her beloved family recipes. Nestled in Miami, Lila has been surrounded by her Cuban family and has her life planned out after high school—take over her abuela's bakery, move in with her best friend, and keep seeing her boyfriend Andrés. But even recipes that are tried and true can sometimes fall apart. Lila's best friend Stef wants to do missionary work in a rural village in Africa, Andrés breaks up with her, then the worst thing happens—her abuela passes away.” –School Library Journal

Master of One by Jaida Jones and Dani Bennett
Grades 8 and up
Street Date: 11/10/2020
OverDrive
Library Catalog
“Rags is a skilled thief chosen to break into an elaborately guarded fae ruin. Inside, he awakens a handsome, tattooed fae warrior who vows to protect him, and Rags is thrust unwittingly into adventure. Soon the cast expands to an ensemble of six heroes and a diverse supporting cast of friends and foes. The team seeks to assemble the pieces of an ancient fae weapon that look like giant silver animals. They also have to outsmart the evil sorcerer Morien, aid the Resistance against the queen, and discover the terrible secret at the heart of the court.” –Kirkus Reviews

It Only Happens in Movies by Holly Bourne
Grades 9 and up
Street Date: 12/01/2020
Library Catalog
“Reeling from her parents' traumatic divorce and her own recent breakup, English teen Audrey vows not to let incorrigible romantic Harry woo her. Audrey Winters needs an escape from both home and high school. Two years ago, her father left to be with his pregnant girlfriend, and her mother remains shattered and unstable. Audrey quit drama, her favorite class, after her actor boyfriend abruptly dumped her. Enter Flicker Cinema: Audrey takes a job at the upscale theater, and soon her nights are filled with difficult customers, a demanding manager, and unrepentant flirt Harry Lipton.” –Kirkus Reviews

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

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