This inspiring picture book by Sonia Manzano (aka Maria from SESAME STREET) is just what we need right now! The awesome National Geographic photos of kids from all parts of the globe complement her message of worldwide solidarity and friendship. Here's hoping we all will hang out together again soon—and without masks! — Barb (RBB Staff)
A beautifully illustrated catalog of many of the tiny, quotidian firsts that happen during a year. First waffles, first green in the gray, first sunburn, and so many more. Following a little girl and her brother as they make their way through the seasons, A Year of Everyday Wonders is as wonderful as the title suggests it might be—a little funny, a little poignant, and entirely charming.
—Lily (RBB Staff)
Chicken Little tells her own story in this hilarious and oh-so-real version of the classic tale of mass hysteria! Find out what really happened that day: Did Chicken Little start a mass panic? Was it a scientific investigation gone terribly awry? Did the sky actually fall?! A fantastic read aloud, especially for those feeling a touch dramatic! — Angela (RBB Staff)
A beautiful book from two Native creators about a new mother telling her brand new baby all the ways she prepared for their arrival. Written by a poet and illustrated by the 2021 Caldecott winner, this is a gorgeous book about motherhood, hope, and wishes for a new child's future. — Lily (RBB Staff)
This is the sweetest, silliest, cutest "I love you" sort of read aloud! The rhymes are skilled, funny, and charming and so are the lovely illustrations. Recommending for everyone! — Angela (RBB Staff)
Little Blue Truck is bringing Valentine's to all the animals, and each one is *just right,* making the animals so happy! A delightfully sweet book for Valentine's Day and for Little Blue Truck fans! Perfect to read aloud with ages 0-5. — Jaya (RBB Staff)
Oona is an incredibly and beautifully illustrated picture book about a mermaid treasure hunter (and her sea otter best friend) who learns to never give up. A delight from beginning to end, this book is fun to read aloud with the whole family. — Jaya (RBB Staff)
This beautifully illustrated picture book features a plump orange kitty that takes the reader through a bookstore from A to Z. A very fun read for lovers of books, cats, and alphabets! — Cami (RBB Staff)
Winner of the Caldecott Medal, the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, and a Newbery Honor.
Originally performed for ESPN's The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.
This beautifully illustrated book is a celebration of the people, animals, and plants that call the Peruvian Amazon rainforest home, and a great story to share with any young animal lover. Zonia explores the forest, greeting a new animal friend on nearly every page and discovering that the forest needs her help. The book also includes fantastic backmatter with the species names of all of Zonia's animal friends, information about the rainforest, and a translation of the story into Asháninka, the language of Zonia's people. — Angela (RBB Staff)
Callie can't wait to move from California to a castle in Scotland, but when her family arrives, everything isn't quite what she expected. She doesn't really fit in at the local school, the castle is nearly falling down, and they're kind of in the middle of nowhere. The solution? Homeschooling! Her parents reluctantly agree on the condition that she finds some sort of social activity to join. Callie ends up in a birding club—at first, it's all fun and game hens, but things get complicated fast. Without her fellow twitchers (birdwatchers), can Callie find a way to to make this new habitat a home? A fun, smart middle grade novel about finding your birds-of-a-feather—great for fans of The First Rule of Punk and Amina's Voice. — Lily (RBB Staff)
Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest of all time—but what was his life like before he became a professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist? Kwame Alexander and James Patterson give us a fun and fascinating story that shows this larger-than-life figure just being a kid. We see the challenges he faced at a young age, including struggling in school, being bullied, and dealing with racism in 1950s Louisville. We also see how the love and support of his friends and family along with his own focus and determination set 12-year-old Cassius Clay on his incredible path. Each chapter (called "rounds" in this book) alternates between Patterson’s prose and Alexander’s verse. A fast read and an uplifting story. — Holly (RBB Staff)
Stone takes on the ugly realities of the Jim Crow laws, family stories untold, and love so deep and powerful it’ll make you cry through your smile. Mind you, this is also a hilarious book. William ‘Scoob’ Lamar is on lockdown at home by a dad who refuses to hear his side of why he hit that kid at school, so when his G’ma invites him to her brand new mobile home, he’s all in, even leaving his phone behind so he doesn’t have to hear his dad yell. But when G’ma pulls out her ‘treasure box’ and the Traveler’s Green Book, Scoob realizes this trip may be more than he bargained for. Brilliant weaving of historical realities into a funny, heartbreaking coming-of-age. Welcome to middle grade, Nic! — Linda Sherman-Nurick, Cellar Door Books, Riverside, CA
Katie loves kitties! But is she ready for 217 cats, especially when some have special skills like knitting, creating mad beats, or computer hacking (used for ordering pizza—or jet engines—online)? And when the cats' person disappears, can they work together to find her, rescue her, and answer Katie's sneaking suspicion that she just might be the notorious super-villain, Mousetress (or even possibly the super-hero, Eastern Screech?) Great reading for middle school kids—and be sure to check out the cool end-pages! — Joan (RBB Staff)
I loved this very thoughtful new book by Sharon Creech, which explores questions of identity: "Who am I?" and "Who do I want to become?" These questions are top of mind for Gina, who is blessed with a very creative teacher, an intriguing new neighbor, and generous, accepting parents. The narrative is gentle and at times, humorous. Perfect for dinner table and classroom discussions. — Susan (RBB Staff)
Foster kids Morgan and Eli are not settling in well to their new living situation: they struggle in school, they don't get along very well, and their white foster parents don't understand the complexities of their Indigenous background. After a disastrous dinner, they discover a doorway in the attic of their foster home that leads to a world that's been suffering from a never-ending winter, inhabited by bipedal and talking animals that need Morgan and Eli's help to bring back the seasons. Funny, thrilling, and thought-provoking, this book is great for those who loved Narnia and would like to explore a new and diverse fantasy series.
—Gigi (RBB Staff)
Noa Marchena lives in exile with her siblings on a magical, ever-moving island. They're safe there, protected by a not-very-loyal sea serpent and by big brother Julian's unmatched magical powers from the rebellious courtiers who chased them out of their kingdom after their mother, the queen, died. But rumors from their homeland suggest that those same courtiers are on a quest for something that could defeat even Julian—at least if the Marchena siblings don't find it first. A story about family, about the bad things good people sometimes do, and about different kinds of strength. A delightful, clever middle grade adventure. — Lily (RBB Staff)
Lucas's brother Aidan goes missing for six days and returns in an impossible way with an impossible tale about traveling through an old wardrobe to a magical world he calls Aveinieu. When no one believes your brother's fantastical story, do you? A book perfect for fans of When You Reach Me and The Chronicles of Narnia. — Sarah (RBB Staff)
In this very sweet, often funny, and sometimes heartbreaking story, ten-year old Gabrielle has just moved to Brooklyn from Haiti and so desperately wants to fit in. When she meets a witch who promises to grant her three wishes, Gabrielle sees this as the way to make her new life easier and better. Or will it? Filled with elements of magic, wonderful glimpses into Haitian culture, and delightful characters, this story of immigration and identity will give readers much to think about and much to enjoy. — Holly (RBB Staff)
For new kids Jack and Jules, starting at a new school is the least of their worries. Jack is new to LA and still reeling from the loss of his best friend—she's not dead, just gone, and the only one who was there with him from the start of his transition. And Jules is struggling to fit in with his friends from the past, while also maintaining his strict mother's high expectations. After multiple chance encounters, Jack and Jules find that while they don't have much in common, they get along super well, despite the fact that their mutual interests, friends, family, distance, and internal struggles threaten to keep them apart. This is a character-driven coming of age story with a lot of heart. Great for fans of Adam Silvera and Tobly McSmith. TW: transphobia, homophobia. — Kelsie (RBB Staff)
Yadriel is tired of waiting for his family to let him become a brujo (NOT a bruja, like they think), so he completes the ritual himself. Armed with his new powers, Yadriel accidentally summons the ghost of chatty, slightly-delinquent Julian Diaz, his former classmate. Julian has unfinished business, and he won't go to his ghostly rest until it's dealt with. Stuck helping his new supernatural sidekick, Yadriel goes on a quest for answers, but the longer he spends with Julian the more he wishes could stay forever. Richly romantic, beautifully-written, and magical, Yadriel's story is one of family (found and biological) and of belonging. — Lily (RBB Staff)
Wow! This book DID NOT stop! The pacing was excellent. I loved every second of it! This is a King Arthur reimagining for the 21st century with a Black girl front and center. The story kept me guessing and I was delightfully surprised by the direction some plot points went. I cheered for Bree, I cried with her, and I hoped for her—she's a wonderful main character, flawed and determined. To say I need book two now is a complete understatement. — Jaya (RBB Staff)
Lore draws you in, chews you up, and spits you out along with the Titans of old. I was immediately pulled into Lore's world, the harsh reality that she's faced with, and the tough decisions she needs to make for herself and her friends. Add together endless action peppered with flashbacks, venturing through NYC (which was like a character on its own), and a twist I didn't see coming and it equals a thrilling must-read for Greek mythology fans!
—Jaya (RBB Staff)
CW: sexual assault of a minor, violence involving children
It’s the summer before senior year of high school and Nala has many things to figure out. Where does she fit in? How does she navigate the changing relationships in her life? Who does she want to be in the world? Nala’s story includes a sweet romance, evolving friendships, wisdom from her elder family members, and many wonderful lists. All together they help Nala realize that the most revolutionary love of all is loving herself. Delightful, joyful, and inspiring. — Holly (RBB Staff)
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.
Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas--and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
Equal parts whimsical adventure, dark fantasy, and journey of self-discovery, Sweet and Bitter Magic tells the story of two girls: Tamsin, the most powerful witch of the Coven, banished and cursed to never feel love, and Wren, whose love for her ailing father leads her on a quest to save not only her father but the whole queendom itself. With Tamsin, begrudgingly in tow, the two girls uncover more than the source of this plague that causes people to forget everything. Filled with storybook magic, charming banter, and twists, Sweet and Bitter Magic is a great book to get lost in. — Gigi (RBB Staff)
The Enigma Game is told from three different perspectives: Jamie Beaufort-Stuart, a RAF flight leader who is dealing the loss of many soldiers, Louisa Adair, a Jamaican-English orphan who lands a job taking care of a strong German woman, and Ellen McEwen, a volunteer and Traveller. They come together around the first Enigma decoding machine and a shared desire to help in a war that feels so hopeless. Weir does a great job relaying the horrors of war and the racial and sexist discrimination of the time period while simultaneously bringing in hope through the unlikely friendships. — Shannon (RBB Staff)
Charlie Jane Anders's eagerly awaited young adult debut is full of heart and adventure, but is also considerate and inclusive. Characters of different races and sexualities and species (aliens!) introduce themselves with their names and pronouns, which felt refreshing but not forced. Friendship and found family fill this fantastic story...and maybe first loves, too. A delightful space romp perfect for fans of Star Wars! — Jaya (RBB Staff)
On the surface this is a story of an elderly couple and how their lives happen to intersect with a young mother and her son. That intersection leads to so many more stories from each of the character’s lives—stories I couldn’t stop thinking about. Taken all together, this book becomes a moving and atmospheric reflection on memory and the role it plays in shaping the current experiences in our day to day lives. — Holly (RBB Staff)
In a year when cookbooks hogged the spotlight, this wonderful collection of homegrown recipes has been overlooked--until now! Need a new tater-tot hot dish recipe, or want to indulge a craving for hot fudge pudding cake? Dive into this entertaining cookbook for some yummy dishes and wonderful stories about life in this neck of the woods. Think of it as comfort-food therapy!
— Barb (RBB Staff)
So wonderful! A folktale that feels like coming home and going on an adventure all at the same time. A dash of The Wizard of Oz and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but told with A. Deborah Baker's (pseudonym for Seanan McGuire, author of The Wayward Children series) love of language. A fantasy book for grownups, but children (and the young at heart) as young as nine years old could read and enjoy. — Jaya (RBB Staff)
A fabulously funny and sugar-sweet Great British Baking Show-inspired romcom from the author of the wonderful Boyfriend Material! When single mum Rosaline Palmer wins a spot on a baking competition show, it feels like this might be her once chance to figure out her life—get out of her unfulfilling job, stop relying on her uptight, conservative parents for financial assistance—but only if she can win the ten thousand dollar first prize. Distractions in the form of charming guys are NOT part of the recipe for success, but with two very different men showing interest, Rosaline will have to figure out where (and if) romance plays a part in her dreamed-of future. — Lily (RBB Staff)
Holbrook’s easy, conversational tone belies the difficulties and challenges she has faced as a black woman in Minneapolis, establishing herself as a writer, arts activist, and teacher, while also being a single mother raising five children. Incarcerated as a pregnant 16 year-old, she went on to become a major voice in the Twin Cities literary community, providing opportunities and support for marginalized writers as she struggled with depression, the aftermath of an abusive relationship, and the racism of off-hand comments and closed doors. Through her story, we see what can be accomplished with passion, determination, and a deep, caring heart. — Joan (RBB Staff)
This is a fantastic account of women-in-the workplace during the 20th century. Historian Paulina Bren writes in detail about the the most famous women-only hotel in New York City, a city where young girls came to seek their fortunes. There are many well known icons covered in-depth, including Sylvia Plath, Princess Grace, and Joan Didion. Despite the fact that society expected most women to give up working once they married, they nevertheless were committed to their dreams of independence and real jobs. And then there were the women who came to stay and never left, living at the hotel for decades... There were all kinds of obstacles and yet the young women still came, with hope and determination. — Susan (RBB Staff)
The Proposal is a smile in book form. When I realized it was about Carlos, the best friend from Guillory’sThe Wedding Date, I smiled. Carlos is fun, smart, and loves to cook — he’s also not perfect, not horrible, just the normal quirks. Nikole has some issues too. The two meet, enjoy each other’s company, and try to make their quirks fit together.Guillory writes these wonderful, engaging romance stories that are totally realistic and charming — think of the best cocktail party story you’ve heard about how a couple met, and this book will be better. Funny, uplifting, and lighthearted, The Proposal is a perfect Friday night date. — Julie Karaganis, Cabot Street Books & Cards, Beverly, MA
When her father died, Rosalie Iron Wing was taken from her extended family and placed into foster care, as so many Indigenous children were. She was twelve. Now, after her husband’s death, she returns to the cabin where she’d spent her childhood, seeking to understand her past. Her story is interwoven with those of others, giving us historical context and multiple points of view, and it is seeds that connect them all. Beautifully and evocatively written, The Seed Keeper challenges us to think about our relationship to the land and to the plants that sustain us. — Joan (RBB Staff)