New Kids’ and YA Books: Week of May 31, 2021

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Here we round up new and forthcoming children’s titles including stories of private school drama, a raccoon’s dumpster finds, a girl and her busy parents, a picture book biography of a pivotal painter, and many more.

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. Feiwel and Friends, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-250-80081-7. An anonymous texter known as Aces reveals secrets about an elite private school’s only two Black students in this bracing debut that explores systemic oppression in predominantly white institutions. The YA novel earned a starred review from PW.

Are You a Cheeseburger? by Monica Arnaldo. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-300394-1. In this picture book, while foraging in a garbage can, a raccoon named Grub meets glowing green Seed, who has bright black eyes and a knowing smile. Seed, who is hoping to get planted, isn’t in a hurry to dissuade Grub of the notion that Seed could eventually grow into his favorite food, a “very good and very special” cheeseburger.

The Cot in the Living Room by Hilda Eunice Burgos, illus. by Gaby D’Alessandro. Kokila, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-11047-8. In Burgos’s story about a tight-knit urban community, parents with small children and tough schedules know they can depend on their neighbors for help.

Breaking Waves: Winslow Homer Paints the Sea by Robert Burleigh, illus. by Wendell Minor. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99; ISBN 978-0-8234-4702-2. Burleigh cycles through the seasons and the sea’s changing moods as perceived by the artist Winslow Homer (1836–1910), punctuated by direct quotes from the artist in this lyrical picture book biography.

One Great Lie by Deb Caletti. Atheneum, $19.99; ISBN 978-1-5344-6317-2. In this YA novel, a teen gets to go to Venice, where she investigates Renaissance Venice gender politics amid her own #MeToo story, connecting past and present while searching for some measure of justice. The book earned a starred review from PW.

The Force of Fire by Sayantani DasGupta. Scholastic Press, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-338-63664-2. In this middle grade novel, DasGupta (the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series) brings to life concepts from Bengali folklore through Pinki, a rakkosh—demon—student at the Ghatatkach Academy of Murder and Mayhem, located in the fantastical Kingdom Beyond.

The Pack by Lisi Harrison. Delacorte, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-593-18070-9. Harrison (the Clique series) dives into girls’ boarding school dynamics in this playfully paranormal middle grade series starter.

Walking for Water: How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality by Susan Hughes, illus. by Nicole Miles. Kids Can, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5253-0249-7. In their small village in Malawi, while Victor attends school, his sister must drop out to collect water every day for their family’s needs. The book was inspired by a photo essay by journalist Tyler Riewer. Back matter includes an author’s note, resources, and a Chichewa-English glossary with pronunciations.

Dumplings for Lili by Melissa Iwai. Norton Young Readers, $17.95; ISBN 978-1-324-00342-7. Chinese youngster Lili is thrilled when her Nai Nai asks if she wants to help make bao. This picture book earned a starred review from PW.

Speak for Yourself by Lana Wood Johnson. Scholastic Press, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-338-66040-1. Johnson (Technically, You Started It) combines the old and the new, balancing familiar romance themes with up-to-date dialogue and text talk in a clever cyber-age novel about an ambitious teen who has everything planned out.

Darling Baby by Maira Kalman. Little, Brown, $18.99; ISBN 978-0-316-33062-6. This picture book by Kalman (Bold & Brave), based on journal entries, records moments of beauty and mystery for a new grandchild, the “darling baby” of the title.

The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon. Inkyard, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-33521-279-5. Technomagic, queer activism, and an online trans protagonist sparkle in this wisecracking, intimate #OwnVoices debut. They YA novel earned a starred review from PW.

Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder. Dial, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-11262-5. In an act of resistance against ubiquitous, homogenous images of human figures, artist Feder (Dancing at the Pity Party) offers up an inclusive celebration of endless variation in rousing verses and group settings. The picture book earned a starred review from PW.

We Are Inevitable by Gayle Forman. Viking, $18.99; ISBN 978-0-425-29080-4. Embittered in the wake of his older brother’s overdose and death as well as his mother’s abandonment, 19-year-old Aaron Stein feels like one of the doomed dinosaurs he obsessively reads about. The book earned a starred review from PW.

Marcus Makes a Movie by Kevin Hart, with Geoff Rodkey, illus. by David Cooper. Crown, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-593-17914-7. In this middle grade debut, comedian Hart and coauthor Rodkey (We’re Not from Here) navigate the complexities of filmmaking, channeling the craft through the misadventures of Marcus, whose inexperience with the medium and emotional connection to his material prove both creatively hindering and personally cathartic.

Summer Camp Critter Jitters by Jory John, illus. by Liz Climo. Dial, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-11098-0. In this endearing picture book companion to the collaborators’ First Day Critter Jitters, the critters are back, and they’re as worried as ever—this time, about attending sleepaway camp.

An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi. HarperCollins, $19.99; ISBN 978-0-06-297241-5. Mafi (A Very Large Expanse of Sea) follows Iranian American hijabi Shadi as she struggles to overcome mounting loss following the death of her brother, Mehdi, after 9/11.

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag. Graphix, $24.99; ISBN 978-1-338-54057-4. This endearing and often funny graphic novel combines queer teen romance, realism, and fantasy set in Canada.

Ship in a Bottle by Andrew Prahin. Putnam, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-984815-81-1. Prahin renders engaging characters and dreamlike backdrops in a palette of verdant fresh greens, pale blues, and touches of old rose in this picture book that follows a mouse escaping a housecat for a bottled-up adventure on a river.

Strollercoaster by Matt Ringler, illus. by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay. Little, Brown, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-316-49322-2. Ringler (School Surprise!) is full of insight about the travails of toddlerhood, while Raúl the Third and Bay’s visual invention powers a dream of an urban landscape that gives joy to its community.

Trouble Girls by Julia Lynn Rubin. Wednesday, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-250-75724-1. Rubin (Burro Hills) delivers a thought-provoking perspective on surviving rape culture in this queer #MeToo-era Thelma & Louise reboot.

The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-288828-0. Against a backdrop of speculative fiction tropes and Cold War–like identity politics, Schrefer’s YA sci-fi novel combines the build of mysteries and the tension of romance, slowly unfurling an iterative story about love and attraction, destiny, and connection.

Dear Librarian by Lydia M. Sigwarth, illus. by Romina Galotta. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99; ISBN 978-0-374-31390-6. Sigwarth addresses her picture book epistle to a specific librarian from her childhood in this debut, with an introduction by radio host Ira Glass.

A Night Twice as Long by Andrew Simonet. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99; ISBN 978-0-3743-0932-9. A mysterious three-week blackout has turned Alexandra, 16, and her neighbors into backyard survivalists in this YA novel.

Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Heartdrum, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-06-286997-5. Centering a mixed Creek and British family in this Peter Pan reboot, Muscogee (Creek) author Smith’s (Hearts Unbroken) smart novel follows two stepsisters on an adventure to Neverland. The middle grade novel earned a starred review from PW.

The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe by Tricia Springstubb. Holiday House/Ferguson, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-8234-4757-2. Eleven-year-old homebody Loah Londonderry, who enjoys knitting and loves the family’s rickety old home, is the opposite of her single mother, a dedicated ornithologist who’s away in the Arctic longer than planned, risking her life to save her daughter’s namesake, the nearly extinct loah bird.

The Ship of Stolen Words by Fran Wilde. Amulet, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-4197-4950-6. When a chance encounter with a word-stealing goblin renders 11-year-old Sam Culver incapable of apologizing, he begins to understand language’s power.

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon. Delacorte, $19.99; ISBN 978-1-5247-1896-1. A teen who has sworn off love falls for her dance partner, in Yoon’s (Everything, Everything) story of love’s unpredictability and the importance of perspective. The book earned a starred review from PW.

For more children’s and YA titles on sale throughout the month of June, check out PW’s full On-Sale Calendar.

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