RHCB Celebrates Our 2021 Stars!

Picture Books

Areli Is a Dreamer

Areli Is a Dreamer By Areli Morales; illustrated by Luisa Uribe

In the first picture book written by a DACA Dreamer, Areli Morales tells her own powerful and vibrant immigration story.

When Areli was just a baby, her mama and papa moved from Mexico to New York with her brother, Alex, to make a better life for the family--and when she was in kindergarten, they sent for her, too.
 
Everything in New York was different. Gone were the Saturdays at Abuela’s house, filled with cousins and sunshine. Instead, things were busy and fast and noisy. Areli’s limited English came out wrong, and schoolmates accused her of being illegal. But with time, America became her home. And she saw it as a land of opportunity, where millions of immigrants who came before her paved their own paths. She knew she would, too.
 
This is a moving story--one that resonates with millions of immigrants who make up the fabric of our country--about one girl living in two worlds, a girl whose DACA application was eventually approved and who is now living her American dream.
 
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration policy that has provided relief to thousands of undocumented children, referred to as “Dreamers,” who came to the United States as children and call this country home.
 

The Big Bath House

The Big Bath House By Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Gracey Zhang

A joyful celebration of Japanese cultural traditions and body positivity as a young girl visits a bath house with her grandmother and aunties

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY New York Public LibraryNPRPublishers WeeklyKirkus ReviewsHorn BookThe American Library Association • ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project


You'll walk down the street / Your aunties sounding like clip-clopping horses / geta-geta-geta / in their wooden sandals / Until you arrive... / At the bath house / The big bath house.

In this celebration of Japanese culture and family and naked bodies of all shapes and sizes, join a little girl--along with her aunties and grandmother--at a traditional bath house. Once there, the rituals leading up to the baths begin: hair washing, back scrubbing, and, finally, the wood barrel drumroll. Until, at last, it's time, and they ease their bodies--their creased bodies, newly sprouting bodies, saggy, jiggly bodies--into the bath. Ahhhhhh!
 
With a lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations, this picture book is based on Kyo Maclear's loving memories of childhood visits to Japan, and is an ode to the ties that bind generations of women together.

Brave as a Mouse

Brave as a Mouse By Nicolo Carozzi

The friendship of a goldfish and a mouse is in jeopardy when three not-so-friendly felines want to play too. This gorgeously illustrated picture book reminds us of the importance of bravery and friendship.

A goldfish and a mouse become fast friends as they play in and around the goldfish's bowl.

But when three cats crash the party and terrify the poor goldfish, the brave little mouse gets an idea. She leads the three black cats on a wild and epic chase up and down and over and around until they find themselves surrounded by absolutely irresistible food in the pantry. The cats gorge themselves so much that they fall into a deep sleep, but the mouse knows they won't sleep forever. So the brave little mouse gets another idea to keep the goldfish out of harm's way for good!

This is a heartwarming story with a simple text and gorgeous illustrations about the lengths one brave mouse will go to in order to save her friend.

Charlotte and the Nutcracker

Charlotte and the Nutcracker By Charlotte Nebres; illustrated by Alea Marley

A reimagined and modern take on the holiday favorite, this picture book weaves together the classic Christmas tale of The Nutcracker and the true-life story of 12-year-old ballerina Charlotte Nebres, the first Black girl to play Marie in the New York City Ballet’s production.

The only thing Charlotte loves as much as ballet is Christmas. So, when she gets the opportunity to play Marie in the New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker, she leaps at the chance.

Dancing takes practice-hours of adjusting her arms and perfecting her jumps. With the help of her Trinidadian and Filipino families, encouragement from her sister, and a view of her mom and dad in the audience, Charlotte finds the strength to never give up.

In this spectacular debut full of fluid, dynamic illustrations, Charlotte provides youngsters with a multicultural tale of family, dance, and holiday cheer.

Dream Street

Dream Street By Tricia Elam Walker; illustrated by Ekua Holmes

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMESFIVE STARRED REVIEWS
 
Visit a truly special street bursting with joy, hope, and dreams. Inspired by the neighborhood where they grew up as cousins, this gorgeous picture book from an award-winning illustrator and critically acclaimed author is the perfect gift or keepsake for every generation.
 
Welcome to Dream Street--the best street in the world!  Jump rope with Azaria--can you Double Dutch one leg at a time?  Dream big with Ede and Tari, who wish to create a picture book together one day. Say hello with Mr. Sidney, a retired mail carrier who greets everyone with the words, "Don't wait to have a great day. Create one!" On Dream Street, love between generations rules, everyone is special, and the warmth of the neighborhood shines.
 
A magical story from the critically acclaimed author of Nana Akua Goes to School and a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award winning illustrator. Illuminating this vivid cast of characters are vibrant, joyful illustrations that make this neighborhood--based on the Roxbury neighborhood in Boston where the author and illustrator grew up together as cousins--truly sing. This book is a perfect way for parents to share with their children the importance of community.

The Faith of Elijah Cummings

The Faith of Elijah Cummings By Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Laura Freeman

Congressman and civil rights advocate Elijah Cummings dedicated his life to public service. This comprehensive and visually stunning biography details his humble beginnings and unwavering faith as he waged an endless battle for truth, justice, and equality.

We can do better.

When Elijah Cummings was a little boy, he struggled in school. His teachers thought he talked too much and asked too many questions. They said he'd never be able to read or write well.

Despite his difficulties, Elijah never gave up. He persevered, having faith that with hard work, he'd be able to achieve his goals.
 
Best known as a voice for people of color and an advocate for equal opportunity, Elijah Cummings was a man of faith and dignity, a beacon of justice, and an unrelenting warrior for equality and change.

Carole Boston Weatherford and Laura Freeman marry words and images beautifully in this picture book biography of politician and civil rights champion Elijah Cummings, detailing his inspiring journey--from his humble beginnings as the son of former sharecroppers to his unwavering faith as he became a lawyer, state legislator, and leading congressman. Best known as a voice for people of color and an advocate for equal opportunity, Elijah Cummings was a man of faith and dignity, a beacon of justice, and an unrelenting warrior for equality and change.

Mornings with Monet

Mornings with Monet By Barb Rosenstock; illustrated by Mary GrandPre

A new picture book about the iconic artist Claude Monet, from the Caldecott-Award winning team that created The Noisy Paint Box.

Claude Monet is one of the world's most beloved artists--and he became famous during his own lifetime. He rejected a traditional life laid out clean and smooth before him. Instead he chose a life of art. But not just any art: a new way of seeing that came to be called impressionism.

Monet loved to paint what he saw around him, particularly the Seine River. He was initially rejected for using bright colors, tangled brushstrokes--condemned for his impressions. But soon art dealers and collectors were lining up each morning to see as Monet saw. Monet, however, waited only for the light. The changing light...each morning he had a dozen canvases on hand to paint a dozen different moments. His brush moved back and forth, chasing sunlight--putting in the arduous work to create an image that seemed to contain no effort at all.

The stellar team that brought you the Caldecott Honor book The Noisy Paint Box explores another influential painter, in a moving tribute to creativity, commitment, and new ways of seeing the world around you.

My First Day

My First Day By Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Thi Kim Lien

A visually stunning story of resilience and determination by an award-winning new author-illustrator team, perfect for back to school.

This is no ordinary first journey. The rainy season has come to the Mekong Delta, and An, a young Vietnamese boy, sets out alone in a wooden boat wearing a little backpack and armed only with a single oar. On the way, he is confronted by giant crested waves, heavy rainfall and eerie forests where fear takes hold of him. Although daunted by the dark unknown, An realizes that he is not alone and continues to paddle. He knows it will all be worth it when he reaches his destination--one familiar to children all over the world.
 



 

The Real Santa

The Real Santa By Nancy Redd; illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

Join one Black family on their journey to discover what the real Santa looks like in this joyous tale celebrating identity, family and holiday cheer, from the New York Times bestselling author of Bedtime Bonnet.

It’s not Christmas without Santa! But what does Santa truly look like? Does he match the figurines on the mantel, or the faces on our favorite
holiday sweaters? Does he look like you or like me?
 
Find out in this joyous and cozy celebration of family, representation, and holiday spirit! Destined to be a new classic, and perfect for any child looking to see some of themself in Santa Claus.
 
 

Snow Angel, Sand Angel

Snow Angel, Sand Angel By Lois-Ann Yamanaka; illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

A celebration of home, family, and finding beauty in your heritage, beautifully illustrated by the artist behind Anti-Racist Baby.

Claire has been surrounded by the deep blue waves of Hapuna Beach and the magnificent mountains of Hawai'i all her life, but has never, ever seen snow. When her father drives her and her family to the top of the Mauna Kea, she can't help but to be disappointed...it's not the winter wonderland she's always dreamed of. And that's what she wants, more than anything.
 
But as Claire edges ever closer to the new year, she wonders if maybe-- just maybe--she can delight in the special joys of winter in her own way--right there, on her Big Island of Hawaii.

Includes backmatter that captures the environmental culture of Hawaii, and will teach children not only about the local flora and fauna, but also the value of being environmentally friendly.

The Water Lady

The Water Lady By Alice B. McGinty; illustrated by Shonto Begay

This inspiring picture book tells the true story of a woman who brings desperately needed water to families on the Navajo reservation every day.

Underneath the New Mexico sky, a Navajo boy named Cody finds that his family's barrels of water are empty. He checks the chicken coop-- nothing. He walks down the road to the horses' watering hole. Dry. Meanwhile, a few miles away, Darlene Arviso drives a school bus and picks up students for school. After dropping them off, she heads to another job: she drives her big yellow tanker truck to the water tower, fills it with three thousand gallons of water, and returns to the reservation, bringing water to Cody's family, and many, many others. Here is the incredible and inspiring true story of a Native American woman who continuously gives back to her community and celebrates her people.

Middle Grade

Black Boy Joy

Black Boy Joy By Edited by Kwame Mbalia

THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • FIVE STARRED REVIEWS

Celebrate the joys of Black boyhood with stories from seventeen bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors—including Jason Reynolds, Jerry Craft, and Kwame Mbalia.

★ "Pick up Black Boy Joy for a heavy dose of happiness." —Booklist, starred review


Black boy joy is…
 
Picking out a fresh first-day-of-school outfit.
Saving the universe in an epic intergalactic race.
Finding your voice—and your rhymes—during tough times.
Flying on your skateboard like nobody’s watching.
 
And more! From seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors comes a vibrant collection of stories, comics, and poems about the power of joy and the wonders of Black boyhood.

Contributors include: B. B. Alston, Dean Atta, P. Djèlí Clark, Jay Coles, Jerry Craft, Lamar Giles, Don P. Hooper, George M. Johnson, Varian Johnson, Kwame Mbalia, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Tochi Onyebuchi, Julian Randall, Jason Reynolds, Justin Reynolds, DaVaun Sanders, and Julian Winters

Breaking Badlands

Breaking Badlands By Scott Reintgen

Video game fans and book lovers alike will be swept into an undercover mission that might destroy the balance between good and evil forever in the last Talespinners adventure, perfect for readers of The Land of Stories.

"Literally and literarily hilarious." -Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review!
 
"Reintgen is a masterly storyteller." -School Library Journal, Starred Review!
 
Having saved Imagination twice now, Indira is on a well-earned vacation when she is kidnapped by the Anti-Heroes. The covert group has one goal: overthrow the tyrannical leader of Fester and Antagonist Academy. After they plead their case, Indira agrees to join their secret mission and go undercover as a student at the legendary school for villains-in-training—where she gets drawn into a virtual warfare competition known as the Badlands.

Facing monster teachers, plotting classmates, distracting love interests, and combative old foes is all second nature to a hero like Indira. But what happens when that heroic nature is turned against her like a weapon? Can Indira get to the bottom of what's going on in Fester before this virtual battlescape spills over into a real war for ultimate control of Imagination?

Dead Wednesday

Dead Wednesday By Jerry Spinelli

Can playing dead bring you back to life? Maybe on Dead Wednesday… On this day the worlds of a shy boy and a gone girl collide, and the connection they make will change them both forever. A brilliant new novel from the Newbery Medal winner and author of the New York Times bestseller Stargirl.
 
"Jerry Spinelli has created another middle grade masterpiece."
BookPage, starred review
 
On Dead Wednesday, every eighth grader in Amber Springs is assigned the name and identity of a teenager who died a preventable death in the past year. The kids don black shirts and for the whole day everyone in town pretends they're invisible—as if they weren't even there. The adults think it will make them contemplate their mortality. The kids know it's a free pass to get away with anything.
 
Worm Tarnauer feels invisible every day. He's perfectly happy being the unnoticed sidekick of his friend Eddie. So he's not expecting Dead Wednesday to feel that different. But he didn't count on being assigned Becca Finch (17, car crash). And he certainly didn't count on Becca showing up to boss him around! Letting this girl into his head is about to change everything.
 
This is the story of the unexpected, heartbreaking, hilarious, truly epic day when Worm Tarnauer discovers his own life.

Defiant

Defiant By Wade Hudson

As the fight for equal rights continues, Defiant takes a critical look at the strides and struggles of the past in this revelatory and moving memoir about a young Black man growing up in the South during the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. For fans of It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime, Stamped, and Brown Girl Dreaming.

"With his compelling memoir, Hudson will inspire young readers to
emulate his ideals and accomplishments.” –Booklist, Starred Review
 
Born in 1946 in Mansfield, Louisiana, Wade Hudson came of age against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement. From their home on Mary Street, his close-knit family watched as the country grappled with desegregation, as the Klan targeted the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and as systemic racism struck across the nation and in their hometown.

Amidst it all, Wade was growing up. Getting into scuffles, playing baseball, immersing himself in his church community, and starting to write. Most important, Wade learned how to find his voice and use it. From his family, his community, and his college classmates, Wade learned the importance of fighting for change by confronting the laws and customs that marginalized and demeaned people.

This powerful memoir reveals the struggles, joys, love, and ongoing resilience that it took to grow up Black in segregated America, and the lessons that carry over to our fight for a better future.

Fast Pitch

Fast Pitch By Nic Stone

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone comes a challenging and heartwarming coming-of-age story about a softball player looking to prove herself on and off the field.

Shenice Lockwood, captain of the Fulton Firebirds, is hyper-focused when she steps up to the plate. Nothing can stop her from leading her team to the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship. But life has thrown some curveballs her way.
 
Strike one: As the sole team of all-brown faces, Shenice and the Firebirds have to work twice as hard to prove that Black girls belong at bat.
 
Strike two: Shenice’s focus gets shaken when her great-uncle Jack reveals that a career-ending—and family-name-ruining—crime may have been a setup.
 
Strike three: Broken focus means mistakes on the field. And Shenice’s teammates are beginning to wonder if she’s captain-qualified.
 
It's up to Shenice to discover the truth about her family’s past—and fast—before secrets take the Firebirds out of the game forever.

Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School

Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School By Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Pete Oswald

An acclaimed author and a #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator team up to bring us a funny, warm, and utterly winning chapter book that follows, day by day, the first hundred days in one first grader's classroom.

In just one hundred days, Harry will learn how to overcome first-day jitters, what a "family circle" is, why guinea pigs aren't scary after all, what a silent "e" is about, how to count to 100 in tons of different ways, and much more. He'll make great friends, celebrate lots of holidays, and learn how to use his words. In other words, he will become an expert first grader.

Made up of one hundred short chapters and accompanied by tons of energetic illustrations from bestselling illustrator of The Good Egg and The Bad Seed, this is a chapter book all first graders will relate to--one that captures all the joys and sorrows of the first hundred days of school.

"Funny, original, and completely captivating." --R. J. Palacio, bestselling author of Wonder

Killers of the Flower Moon: Adapted for Young Readers

Killers of the Flower Moon: Adapted for Young Readers By David Grann

The New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist about one of history's most ruthless and shocking crimes--the Reign of Terror against the Osage people--has now been adapted for young readers.

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, thanks to the oil that was discovered beneath their land. Then, one by one, the Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances, and anyone who tried to investigate met the same end.

As the death toll surpassed more than twenty-four Osage, the newly created F.B.I. took up the case, in what became one of the organization's first major homicide investigations. An undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau, infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection to bring an end to the deadly crime spree. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

In this youngification of the adult bestseller, David Grann revisits the gripping investigation into the shocking crimes against the Osage people. It is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward Native Americans that allowed the murderers to continue for so long and provides essential information for young readers about a shameful period in our history.

The Lion of Mars

The Lion of Mars By Jennifer L. Holm

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Life on Mars is pretty standard…. until a mysterious virus hits.  Don’t miss this timely and unputdownable novel from the bestselling author of The Fourteenth Goldfish.

Bell is just like any other kid. He loves cats, eats all kinds of cake, and is curious about everything. Oh, and he lives on another planet!  Living on Mars comes with a ton of rules. Like don’t go outside without a buddy. Always keep a glow stick in your pocket. And no contact with the kids in the other settlements. Ever. Then a virus breaks out among the grown-ups, and the children are the only ones who can help. Suddenly it's up to Bell - a regular kid in a very different world - to uncover the truth and save his family ... and possibly unite an entire planet.

Lotería

Lotería By Karla Arenas Valenti; illustrated by Dana Sanmar

The turn of a card could change your destiny in this captivating middle grade adventure based on the Lotería card game and perfect for fans of Coco. While searching for her missing cousin, a young girl is transported to a mythical kingdom, becoming entangled in a perilous game of chance.

“A magical, philosophical tale rooted in Mexican lore.” —School Library Journal, starred review


In the hottest hour of the hottest day of the year, a fateful wind blows into Oaxaca City. It whistles down cobbled streets and rustles the jacaranda trees before slipping into the window of an eleven-year-old girl named Clara. Unbeknownst to her, Clara has been marked for la Lotería.
 
Life and Death deal the Lotería cards but once a year, and the stakes could not be higher. Every card reveals a new twist in Clara’s fate—a scorpion, an arrow, a blood-red rose. If Life wins, Clara will live to a ripe old age. If Death prevails, she’ll flicker out like a candle. 
 
But Clara knows none of this. All she knows is that her young cousin Esteban has vanished, and she’ll do whatever it takes to save him, traveling to the mythical Kingdom of Las Pozas, where every action has a price, and every choice has consequences. And though it seems her fate is sealed, Clara just might have what it takes to shatter the game and choose a new path.
 
Karla Arenas Valenti weaves an adventure steeped in magic and mythology—gorgeously illustrated by Dana Sanmar—exploring the notion of free will in a world where fate holds all the cards.

Monster Friends

Monster Friends By Kaeti Vandorn

Two friends: one big, one little. One old, one young. One grumpy, one cheerful. Both: MONSTERS! From the author of Crabapple Trouble comes a sweet and fun-filled chapter-book graphic novel, with a charming cast of adorable monsters.

Reggie's plan is to spend the whole summer brooding over his latest adventure gone wrong. But his friendly and curious neighbor, Emily, won't let him sit alone and unhappy in his house forever! Despite their differences, these two monsters make the perfect pair of explorers. And with a map to make, a beach party to plan, and a sea monster to find, Reggie will have to learn to talk about his feelings and let new friends in!

With bright, gorgeous art by Kaeti Vandorn, Monster Friends features the cutest, fuzziest monsters you've ever seen.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother)

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother) By David Levithan

New York Times bestselling author David Levithan takes young readers on twisting journey through truth, reality, and fantasy and belief.

Aidan disappeared for six days. And just as suddenly as he vanished, Aidan reappears. Where has he been? The story he tells is simply. . . impossible. But it's the story Aidan is sticking to.
     His brother, Lucas, wants to believe him. But Lucas is aware of what other people, including their parents, are saying: that Aidan is making it all up to disguise the fact that he ran away.
     The kids in school taunt him, but still Aidan clings to his story as Lucas becomes more concerned. Being on Aidan's side would mean believing in the impossible. But how can you believe in the impossible when everything and everybody is telling you not to?

The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne

The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne By Jonathan Stroud

Action! Humor! Fantasy! "Kicking off a new series with a bang (several bangs, in fact), Stroud sends two young fugitives with murky pasts fleeing murderous pursuers across a fractured future Britain." —Kirkus Reviews, starred

**Soon to be a motion picture starring Phoebe Dynevor of Bridgerton!**

Scarlett McCain is a shoot-first ask-questions-later kind of outlaw. She scrapes by on bank heists, her wits—and never looking back.
 
She’s on the run from her latest crime when she comes across Albert Browne. He is the sole survivor of a horrific accident, and against her better judgement, Scarlett agrees to guide him to safety.
 
This is a mistake. Soon there are men with dogs and guns and explosives hot on their heels. Scarlett’s used to being chased by the law, but this is extreme. It was only a little bank she’d robbed . . .
 
As they flee together across the wilds, fighting off monstrous beasts, and dodging their pursuers, Scarlett comes to realize that Albert Browne is hiding a terrible secret. And that he may be the most dangerous threat of all.
 
In this fast-paced, quick-witted whirlwind of a story, Jonathan Stroud introduces two unlikely allies—the outlaws Scarlett and Browne—who are about to become the most notorious renegades in all that’s left of Britain.

Pony

Pony By R. J. Palacio

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“Perfection.” –The Wall Street Journal

The bestselling author of Wonder returns with an enthralling adventure about a boy on a quest to rescue his father, with only a ghost as his companion and a mysterious pony as his guide.  

Twelve-year-old Silas is awoken in the dead of night by three menacing horsemen who take his father away. Silas is left shaken, scared, and alone, except for the presence of his companion, Mittenwool . . . who happens to be a ghost. When a pony shows up at his door, Silas makes the courageous decision to leave his home and embark on a perilous journey to find his father. Along the way, he will face his fears to unlock the secrets of his past and explore the unfathomable mysteries of the world around him.
 
R. J. Palacio spins a harrowing yet distinctly beautiful coming-of-age story about the power of love and the ties that bind us across distance and time. With the poignant depth of War Horse and the singular voice of True Grit, this is one of those rare books poised to become an instant classic for readers of all ages.

“A wonderful story of courage. ... It's got the feeling of a modern classic.” —as recommended on NPR by Jorge Lacera

Recognize!

Recognize! By Edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

In the stunning follow-up to The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth, award-winning Black authors and artists come together to create a moving anthology collection celebrating Black love, Black creativity, Black resistance, and Black life.

"A multifaceted, sometimes disheartening, yet consistently enriching primer on the unyielding necessity of those three words: Black Lives Matter." -Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
 
BLACK LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED.
 
Prominent Black creators lend their voice, their insight, and their talent to an inspiring anthology that celebrates Black culture and Black life. Essays, poems, short stories, and historical excerpts blend with a full-color eight-page insert of spellbinding art to capture the pride, prestige, and jubilation that is being Black in America. In these pages, find the stories of the past, the journeys of the present, and the light guiding the future.
 
BLACK LIVES WILL ALWAYS MATTER.

The Swag Is in the Socks

The Swag Is in the Socks By Kelly J. Baptist

Xavier Moon is stepping out of the shadows when his great-uncle gives him some outlandish socks and some even stranger requests. A story about heart, confidence, and standing on your own two feet that is perfect for fans of The Season of Styx Malone and The Parker Inheritance.

"An excellent read-alike to Jacqueline Woodson’s Harbor Me or Janae Marks’ From the Desk of Zoe Washington.–Booklist, Starred Review
 
"A warm but authentic picture of a middle schooler figuring out who he is and who he wants to be." –The Bulletin
 
Xavier Moon is not one to steal the show. He’s perfectly content to play video games and sit at his bedroom window watching the neighborhood talk outside.
 
But for Xavier’s twelfth birthday, he receives a pair of funky socks and a challenge from his great-uncle, Frankie Bell, saying it’s time to swag out and speak up. First on the list: get into the legendary Scepter League. Xavier’s grandfather, great-uncle, and father were all invited to join the elite boys’ after-school club that admits only the most suave and confident young men. Xavier has never had the courage to apply before, but his wild socks are getting him some big attention, so maybe it’s time to come out of the shadows and follow in his family's footsteps. Or maybe Xavier will march down a new path altogether.

Take Back the Block

Take Back the Block By Chrystal D. Giles

"This book made me want to step aside, hand over the mic, and listen to Wes. A must-read." --Mariama J. Lockington, author of For Black Girls Like Me

Brand-new kicks, ripped denim shorts, Supreme tee--

Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That--and hanging out with his crew (his best friends since little-kid days) and playing video games--is what he wants to be thinking about at the start of the school year, not the protests his parents are always dragging him to.

But when a real estate developer makes an offer to buy Kensington Oaks, the neighborhood Wes has lived his whole life, everything changes. The grownups are supposed to have all the answers, but all they're doing is arguing. Even Wes's best friends are fighting. And some of them may be moving. Wes isn't about to give up the only home he's ever known. Wes has always been good at puzzles, and he knows there has to be a missing piece that will solve this puzzle and save the Oaks. But can he find it . . . before it's too late?

Exploring community, gentrification, justice, and friendship, Take Back the Block introduces an irresistible 6th grader and asks what it means to belong--to a place and a movement--and to fight for what you believe in.
 
* "Outstanding."—School Library Journal, Starred Review
 
* “Transformative.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"Filled with hope, friendship, and grit." --Stacy McAnulty, best-selling author of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

"Timely and penetrating." --Kelly Starling Lyons, author of Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations

"Chrystal Giles's sparkling debut will have you standing up and cheering." --Lisa Yee, award winning author of Millicent Min, Girl Genius

"Chrystal Giles really nailed it. I loved this book." --Linda Williams Jackson, award winning author of Midnight Without a Moon

"Necessary and inspiring. An empowering read." --Ashley Herring Blake, author of the Stonewall Honor Book Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

"Wes will welcome middle grade readers into his delightful circle of friends, his strong and loving family, and his powerful community." --Barbara Dee, author of the ALA Notable Children's Book Maybe He Just Likes You

Thornwood

Thornwood By Leah Cypess

The first book in the Sisters Ever After series of fairy tale retellings from the point of view of the siblings in the background, this is Sleeping Beauty like you've never seen it before.

For years, Briony has lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Rosalin, and the curse that has haunted her from birth--that on the day of her sixteenth birthday she would prick her finger on a spindle and cause everyone in the castle to fall into a 100-year sleep. When the day the curse is set to fall over the kingdom finally arrives, nothing--not even Briony--can stop its evil magic.

You know the story.

But here's something you don't know. When Briony finally wakes up, it's up to her to find out what's really going on, and to save her family and friends from the murderous Thornwood. But who is going to listen to her? This is a story of sisterhood, of friendship, and of the ability of even little sisters to forge their own destiny. The first in a three-book series of fairy tale retellings, these are the stories of the siblings who never made it into the storybook.

Young Adult

Bad Witch Burning

Bad Witch Burning By Jessica Lewis

For fans of Lovecraft Country and Candyman comes a witchy story full of Black girl magic as one girl's dark ability to summon the dead offers her a chance at a new life, while revealing to her an even darker future.

Katrell can talk to the dead. And she wishes it made more money. She’s been able to support her unemployed mother—and Mom’s deadbeat-boyfriend-of-the-week—so far, but it isn’t enough. Money’s still tight, and to complicate things, Katrell has started to draw attention. Not from this world—from beyond. And it comes with a warning: STOP or there will be consequences. 

Katrell is willing to call the ghosts on their bluff; she has no choice. What do ghosts know of having sleep for dinner? But when her next summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, Katrell realizes that a live body is worth a lot more than a dead apparition. And, warning or not, she has no intention of letting this lucrative new business go.

Only magic isn’t free, and dark forces are coming to collect. Now Katrell faces a choice: resign herself to poverty, or confront the darkness before it’s too late.
 

Disability Visibility (Adapted for Young Adults)

Disability Visibility (Adapted for Young Adults) By Edited by Alice Wong

Disabled young people will be proud to see themselves reflected in this hopeful, compelling, and insightful essay collection, adapted for young adults from the critically acclaimed adult book, Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century that "sheds light on the experience of life as an individual with disabilities, as told by none other than authors with these life experiences." --Chicago Tribune, "Best books published in summer 2020" (Vintage/Knopf Doubleday edition).

The seventeen eye-opening essays in Disability Visibility, all written by disabled people, offer keen insight into the complex and rich disability experience, examining life's ableism and inequality, its challenges and losses, and celebrating its wisdom, passion, and joy.
 
The accounts in this collection ask readers to think about disabled people not as individuals who need to be “fixed,” but as members of a community with its own history, culture, and movements. They offer diverse perspectives that speak to past, present, and future generations. It is essential reading for all.

Home Is Not a Country

Home Is Not a Country By Safia Elhillo

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
 
“Nothing short of magic.” —Elizabeth Acevedo, New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X
 
From the  acclaimed poet featured on Forbes Africa’s “30 Under 30” list, this powerful novel-in-verse captures one girl, caught between cultures, on an unexpected journey to face the ephemeral girl she might have been. Woven through with moments of lyrical beauty, this is a tender meditation on family, belonging, and home.
 

my mother meant to name me     for her favorite flower
its sweetness     garlands made     for pretty girls
i imagine her    yasmeen     bright & alive
& i ache to have been born her     instead


Nima wishes she were someone else. She doesn’t feel understood by her mother, who grew up in a different land. She doesn’t feel accepted in her suburban town; yet somehow, she isn't different enough to belong elsewhere. Her best friend, Haitham, is the only person with whom she can truly be herself. Until she can't, and suddenly her only refuge is gone.
 
As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen—the name her parents meant to give her at birth—Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might be more real than Nima knows.  And the life Nima wishes were someone else's. . . is one she will need to fight for with a fierceness she never knew she possessed.
 

In the Wild Light

In the Wild Light By Jeff Zentner

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times • Buzzfeed • Kirkus Reviews Publishers Weekly Chicago Public Library

“Redefines friendship as something that must be protected, sacrificed for, and tended to with wisdom, patience, and love.” —Ocean Vuong, New York Times bestselling author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

A poignant coming-of-age novel about two best friends whose friendship is tested when they get the opportunity to leave their impoverished small town for an elite prep school. For fans of Looking for Alaska.

Life in a small Appalachian town is not easy. Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. He's been spending his summer mowing lawns while she works at Dairy Queen. But when Delaney manages to secure both of them full rides to an elite prep school in Connecticut, Cash will have to grapple with his need to protect and love Delaney, and his love for the grandparents who saved him and the town he has to leave behind. Jeff Zentner's new novel is a beautiful examination of grief, found family, and young love.

Instructions for Dancing

Instructions for Dancing By Nicola Yoon

AN INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A charming, wholehearted love story that's sure to make readers swoon."—Entertainment Weekly

"Nicola Yoon writes from the heart in this beautiful love story."—Good Morning America

“It’s like an emotional gut punch—so beautiful and also heart-wrenching."—US Weekly

In this romantic page-turner from the author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star, Evie has the power to see other people’s romantic fateswhat will happen when she finally sees her own?

Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.

As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything--including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met.

Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?

A Lesson in Vengeance

A Lesson in Vengeance By Victoria Lee

A dark, twisty thriller about a centuries-old, ivy-covered boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past. The dangerous romance and atmospheric setting makes it a perfect read for fans of dark academia.

Felicity Morrow is back at the Dalloway School. Perched in the Catskill Mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she's returned to finish high school. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds. 
 
Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway's past. The school doesn't talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She's determined to leave that behind now, but it's hard when Dalloway's occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won't let her forget. 
 
It's Ellis Haley's first year at Dalloway, and she has already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called method writer. She's eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can't shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity to help her research the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can't say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource. 
 
And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway—and herself. 
 

Let's Talk About It

Let's Talk About It By Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan

Is what I'm feeling normal? Is what my body is doing normal? Am I normal? How do I know what are the right choices to make? How do I know how to behave? How do I fix it when I make a mistake?

Let's talk about it.


Growing up is complicated.

How do you find the answers to all the questions you have about yourself, about your identity, and about your body? Let's Talk About It provides a comprehensive, thoughtful, well-researched graphic novel guide to everything you need to know.

Covering relationships, friendships, gender, sexuality, anatomy, body image, safe sex, sexting, jealousy, rejection, sex education, and more, Let's Talk About It is the go-to handbook for every teen, and the first in graphic novel form.

Like Home

Like Home By Louisa Onomé

Fans of Netflix's On My Block and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Angie Thomas will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws both her relationships and neighborhood into turmoil.

Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and the memories she has growing up there with her friends. Ginger East isn't what it used to be though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, most of her friends' families moved away. Kate, whose family owns the local corner store, is still there and as long as that stays constant, Nelo's good.

When Kate's parent's store is vandalized and the vandal still at large, Nelo is shaken to her core. And then the police and the media get involved and more of the outside world descends upon Ginger East with promises to "fix the neighborhood." Suddenly, Nelo finds herself in the middle of a drama unfolding on a national scale.

Worse yet, Kate is acting strange. She's pushing Nelo away at the exact moment they need each other most. Now Nelo's entire world is morphing into something she hates and she must figure out how to get things back on track or risk losing everything--and everyone--she loves.

Off the Record

Off the Record By Camryn Garrett

The behind-the-scenes access of Almost Famous meets the searing revelations of metoo in this story of a teen journalist who uncovers the scandal of the decade.

Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she's equal parts excited and scared, but also ready. She's got this.

Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie's world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn't know whether she's flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she's in over her head.

One woman's account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she's reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn't step up, who will?

From the author of Full Disclosure, this is a moving testament to the MeToo movement, and all the ways women stand up for each other.

"Brave, necessary, and unflinchingly real, Off the Record is an instant classic." --Marieke Nijkamp, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends
 
"A vulnerable and powerful pursuit of radical truth from a brave bold voice of this generation." —Kim Johnson, acclaimed author of This Is My America

RBG's Brave & Brilliant Women

RBG's Brave & Brilliant Women By Nadine Epstein; Introduction and Selection by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This collection of biographies of brave and brilliant Jewish female role models--selected in collaboration with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and including an introduction written by the iconic Supreme Court justice herself-- provides young people with a roster of inspirational role models, all of whom are Jewish women, who will appeal not only to young people but to people of all ages, and all faiths.

The fascinating lives detailed in this collection--more than thirty exemplary female role models--were chosen by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or RBG, as she was lovingly known to her many admirers. Working with her friend, journalist Nadine Epstein, RBG selected these trailblazers, all of whom are women and Jewish, who chose not to settle for the rules and beliefs of their time. They did not accept what the world told them they should be. Like RBG, they dreamed big, worked hard, and forged their own paths to become who they deserved to be.

Future generations will benefit from each and every one of the courageous actions and triumphs of the women profiled here. RBG's Brave & Brilliant Women, the passion project of Justice Ginsburg in the last year of her life, will inspire readers to think about who they want to become and to make it happen, just like RBG.

Six Crimson Cranes

Six Crimson Cranes By Elizabeth Lim

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A princess in exile, a shapeshifting dragon, six enchanted cranes, and an unspeakable curse... Drawing from fairy tales and East Asian folklore, this original fantasy from the author of Spin the Dawn is perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone.

"A dazzling fairytale full of breathtaking storytelling." --Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

Shiori'anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted. But it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she's been taught all her life to forswear--no matter what the cost.
 
Weaving together elements of The Wild Swans, Cinderella, the legend of Chang E, and the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Elizabeth Lim has crafted a fantasy like no other, and one that will stay with readers long after they've turned the last page.
 
"A stunning remake of a fairytale. Six Crimson Cranes is the perfect blend of whimsy and ferociousness, with twists and turns that will tug at your heartstrings." —Chloe Gong, New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights
 
"Fast-paced excitement is balanced with a satisfyingly intricate plot that weaves in elements from Western fairy tales and East Asian folklore." —SLJ, starred review


“A richly imagined landscape . . . vibrant, fast-paced.
Publishers Weekly, starred review
 

Skin of the Sea

Skin of the Sea By Natasha Bowen

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The must-read Black mermaid fantasy series that #1 NYT bestselling author Nicola Yoon calls “epic and original,” in which one mermaid takes on the gods themselves. Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and anyone who can't wait for the live-action The Little Mermaid.

“Riveting.” —NPR
“Evocative.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Remarkable.” —Buzzfeed


A way to survive.
A way to serve.
A way to save.

Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata—a mermaid—collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home.

But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi does the unthinkable—she saves his life, going against an ancient decree. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy it.

To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But all is not as it seems. There's the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail. . . .

Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she doesn't, then she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.

Take Me With You When You Go

Take Me With You When You Go By David Levithan and Jennifer Niven

From the New York Times bestselling authors of All the Bright Places and Every Day comes a story of hope, siblinghood, and finding your home in the people who matter the most.

Subject: You. Missing.

Ezra Ahern wakes up one day to find his older sister, Bea, gone. No note, no sign, nothing but an email address hidden somewhere only he would find it. Ezra never expected to be left behind with their abusive stepfather and their neglectful mother—how is he supposed to navigate life without Bea?
 
Bea Ahern already knew she needed to get as far away from home as possible But a message in her inbox changes everything, and she finds herself alone in a new city—without Ez, without a real plan—chasing someone who might not even want to be found.

As things unravel at home for Ezra, Bea will confront secrets about their past that will forever change the way they think about their family. Together and apart, broken by abuse but connected by love, this brother and sister must learn to trust themselves before they can find a way back to each other.

The Story of More (Adapted for Young Adults)

The Story of More (Adapted for Young Adults) By Hope Jahren

This young adult adaptation of acclaimed geochemist and geobiologist Hope Jahren's highly respected nonfiction work is the perfect book for those interested in learning about climate change and how they can contribute to creating a more sustainable future.

Hope Jahren illuminates the science behind key inventions, clarifying how electricity, large-scale farming, and automobiles have both helped and harmed our world. She explains the current and projected consequences of unchecked global warming, from superstorms to rising sea levels, resulting from the unprecedented amounts of greenhouse gases being released into our atmosphere.
 
The links between human consumption habits and our endangered existence are very real. Still, Jahren maintains that our ever-broadening science-based knowledge can help us counter these effects. The eye-opening information in The Story of More will help readers understand the path needed. If we collectively make informed choices now, Jahren reassures, our future can be as bright as we imagine it can be.

The Woman All Spies Fear

The Woman All Spies Fear By Amy Butler Greenfield

An inspiring true story, perfect for fans of Hidden Figures, about an American woman who pioneered codebreaking in WWI and WWII but was only recently recognized for her extraordinary contributions.

A YALSA EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION FINALIST • A KIRKUS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR


Elizebeth Smith Friedman had a rare talent for spotting patterns and solving puzzles. These skills led her to become one of the top cryptanalysts in America during both World War I and World War II.
 
She originally came to code breaking through her love for Shakespeare when she was hired by an eccentric millionaire to prove that Shakespeare's plays had secret messages in them. Within a year, she had learned so much about code breaking that she was a star in the making. She went on to play a major role decoding messages during WWI and WWII and also for the Coast Guard's war against smugglers.
 
Elizebeth and her husband, William, became the top code-breaking team in the US, and she did it all at a time when most women weren't welcome in the workforce.

Amy Butler Greenfield is an award-winning historian and novelist who aims to shed light on this female pioneer of the STEM community.

You'd Be Home Now

You'd Be Home Now By Kathleen Glasgow

From the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces comes a stunning novel that Vanity Fair calls “impossibly moving” and “suffused with light”. In this raw, deeply personal story, a teenaged girl struggles to find herself amidst the fallout of her brother's addiction in a town ravaged by the opioid crisis.

For all of Emory's life she's been told who she is. In town she's the rich one--the great-great-granddaughter of the mill's founder. At school she's hot Maddie Ward's younger sister. And at home, she's the good one, her stoner older brother Joey's babysitter. Everything was turned on its head, though, when she and Joey were in the car accident that killed Candy MontClaire. The car accident that revealed just how bad Joey's drug habit was. 

Four months later, Emmy's junior year is starting, Joey is home from rehab, and the entire town of Mill Haven is still reeling from the accident. Everyone's telling Emmy who she is, but so much has changed, how can she be the same person? Or was she ever that person at all? 

Mill Haven wants everyone to live one story, but Emmy's beginning to see that people are more than they appear. Her brother, who might not be "cured," the popular guy who lives next door, and most of all, many "ghostie" addicts who haunt the edges of the town. People spend so much time telling her who she is--it might be time to decide for herself.

A journey of one sister, one brother, one family, to finally recognize and love each other for who they are, not who they are supposed to be, You'd Be Home Now is Kathleen Glasgow's glorious and heartbreaking story about the opioid crisis, and how it touches all of us.

Random House Teachers and Librarians