New Release Spotlight: April 2, 2019

Spring Break! It’s been a beautiful week in Shanghai, complete with pink and white flowering trees and low pollution levels (for Shanghai anyway). You can check out my photos of spring in Shanghai today on my Instagram.

A huge congratulations to Barbara M. in Kansas City for winning last week’s New Release giveaway! Barbara selected Tin by Pádraig Kenny as her book. This week brings lots to choose from, so I have added a new giveaway this week. Scroll to the bottom to enter!

NOTE: Titles start with YA and go down in age to picture books at the end. Scroll to the bottom for sequels. Titles highlighted in purple are those that received two or more starred professional reviews.

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White Rose (Kip Wilson)

Debut author! Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators.

PAGES: 358
GENRES: historical fiction, free verse
THEMES: WWII, Holocaust, biographical fiction
READALIKES: Code Name Verity (Wein), The Boys Who Challenged Hitler (Hoose)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred, SLJ starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “This difficult, inspiring story is told effectively in verse; the language is spare but powerful. Many pieces of this narrative-demonizing a population, standing silently as people are mistreated, fighting against harmful policies-are timely and relevant.” (SLJ, 1 Mar 2019)

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We Rule the Night (Claire Eliza Bartlett)

Seventeen-year-old Revna is a factory worker, manufacturing war machines for the Union of the North. When she’s caught using illegal magic, she fears being branded a traitor and imprisoned. Meanwhile, on the front lines, Linne defied her father, a Union general, and disguised herself as a boy to join the army. They’re both offered a reprieve from punishment if they use their magic in a special women’s military flight unit and undertake terrifying, deadly missions under cover of darkness. Revna and Linne can hardly stand to be in the same cockpit, but if they can’t fly together, and if they can’t find a way to fly well, the enemy’s superior firepower will destroy them–if they don’t destroy each other first.

PAGES: 393
GENRES: fantasy
THEMES: war, aviation, strong women
READALIKES: Eon (Goodman), Witchlanders (Coakley)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred, SLJ starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: ” Revna and Linné’s relationship evolves via an alternating third-person narrative, compounding the depth and heft of an already sophisticated plot.” (Publishers Weekly, 4 Mar 2019)

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Since We Last Spoke (Brenda Rufener)

When Aggi Frank and Max Granger finally admitted their feelings for each other last December, it felt like love was beautiful and endless…until it wasn’t. A fatal car accident involving their older siblings throws their lives into sudden chaos. And with a restraining order now in place between the two bitter households, Aggi and Max’s love runs cold. Being together again seems like a distant fantasy, even though they share the same driveway. Still, Plum Lake is a small town, and staying apart can’t last forever. Aggi and Max eventually reunite at a lake-house party and break the ice after a year of silence. But just as they begin to rebuild their relationship, the unthinkable happens, leading them to confront each other and their families in the hope of mending the broken pieces.

PAGES: 297
GENRES: romance
THEMES: forbidden love, feuding families
READALIKES: Ten Tiny Breaths (Tucker)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “A compelling story about grief told through the voices of two expertly drawn protagonists.” (Kirkus, 1 Feb 2019)

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Girl Mogul: How to Create Success in All Areas of Your Life
(Tiffany Pham)

No matter who you are or where you come from, this book can help you define success, envision it, and make it happen—in school, in your personal life, and at work. Get ready to awaken all the awesomeness that is already inside of you.

You are fierce.
You are bold.
You are unique.
You are driven.
You are inspiring.

PAGES: 214
GENRES: nonfiction, personal growth
THEMES: health, wellness, business
READALIKES: The 7 Habits of Highly-Effective Teens (Covey), The Success Principles for Teens: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (Canfield)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “While some advice veers far into the realm of business, overall readers are empowered to strive and succeed no matter their passion. An empowering guide to hustling before you’re out of high school.” (Kirkus, 1 Mar 2019)

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Forward Me Back to You (Mitali Perkins)

Katina King is the reigning teen jiu-jitsu champion of Northern California, but she’s having trouble fighting off the secrets in her past. Robin Thornton was adopted from an orphanage in Kolkata, India and is reluctant to take on his future. Since he knows nothing about his past, how is he supposed to figure out what comes next? Robin and Kat meet in the most unlikely of places–a summer service trip to India to work with survivors of human trafficking. As bonds blossom between the travel-mates, Robin and Kat discover the healing superpowers of friendship.

PAGES: 432
GENRES: realistic fiction
THEMES: adoption, martial arts, India, friendship
READALIKES: You Bring the Distant Near (Perkins), American Street (Zoboi)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “In fast-moving prose that is layered with emotion-rage, grief, dismay, hope, vulnerability, love-Perkins’s novel pulses with heart and questions of identity as well as talk of faith, prayer, God, and social justice.” (Publishers Weekly, 11 Feb 2019)

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Operatic (Kyo Maclear and Byron Eggenschwiler)

It’s almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. The class learns about a different style of music each day, from hip-hop to metal to disco, but it’s hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can’t stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn’t been to school in weeks. On top of everything, she has been talked into participating in an end-of-year performance with her best friends. Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas.

PAGES: 160
GENRES: graphic novel, realistic fiction
THEMES: music, friendship, opera
READALIKES: Bloom (Panetta), The Music of What Happens (Konigsberg)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Opera is an unusual but pitch-perfect match for that swell of overwhelming feeling, and Maclear and Eggenschwiler fold it into the story perfectly. A poignant, pithy, and arrestingly illustrated story.” (Booklist starred, 15 Mar 2019)

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Last of the Name (Rosanne Parry)

Twelve-year-old Danny O’Carolan and his sister, Kathleen, arrive in New York City in 1863. Kathleen refuses to be parted from her only remaining relative, so she finds a job in domestic service for herself and her younger…sister. Danny reluctantly pretends to be a girl to avoid being sent to the children’s workhouse or recruited as a drummer boy for the Union army. When he occasionally sneaks off to spend a few hours as a boy and share his rich talent for Irish dancing, he discovers the vast variety of New York’s neighborhoods.

PAGES: 354
GENRES: historical fiction
THEMES: US Civil War, Irish immigrants, child labor, siblings
READALIKES: The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming (Coats), Crossing the Deadline: Stephen’s Journey Through the Civil War (Shoulders)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Familiar historical events are given new life through Danny’s wide-eyed optimism and Kathleen’s determination. And while the principals are Irish, their neighborhood boasts as diverse a population as modern Manhattan.” (Kirkus starred review, 1 Feb 2019)

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The Runaways (Ulf Stark and Kitty Crowther)

Grandpa hates being in hospital. He thinks only of the place he was happiest–the island where he used to live. He wants to go back, but they won’t let him out of the hospital. So Gottfried Junior, his namesake, helps Grandpa make a plan to run away. They think of everything. Their deception is so complete that when Gottfried Junior finally decides to tell the truth, no one believes him. Illustrated.

PAGES: 144
GENRES: realistic fiction, humor
THEMES: grandparents
READALIKES: Holes (Sachar)
STARS AND AWARDS: Publishers Weekly starred, Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “A touching, realistic, gently humorous story of how a sensitive boy copes with his treasured grandfather’s decline.” (Kirkus starred review, 15 Feb 2019)

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Her Fearless Run Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon
(Kim Chaffee and Ellen Rooney)

Kathrine Switzer changed the world of running. This narrative biography follows Kathrine from running laps as a girl in her backyard to becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with official race numbers in 1967. Her inspirational true story is for anyone willing to challenge the rules. The compelling collage art adds to the kinetic action of the story. With tension and heart, this biography has the influential power to get readers into running.

GENRES: picture book biography
THEMES: sports, running, Boston Marathon
READALIKES: The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, The First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon (Yee), Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman (Krull), The Quickest Kid in Clarksville (Miller)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Readers can practically see the wind rushing through her hair, and the resolve on her face is evident.” (SLJ, 1 Feb 2019)

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The Undefeated (Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson)

This love letter to black history in the US 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.

GENRES: picture book, poetry, collected biography
THEMES: Black Lives Matter, activism,
READALIKES: Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge (Dunbar), The Life of Frederick Douglass (Walker)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred, Horn Book starred, Kirkus starred, Publishers Weekly starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “While the content references several tragic events (slavery and police brutality, among others), the poem closes with a hopeful nod to the rising generation.” (Booklist starred review, 15 Feb 2019)

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Carl and the Meaning of Life (Deborah Freedman)

Carl the Earthworm spends his days happily tunneling in the soil until a field mouse asks him a simple question that stops him short–“Why?” Carl’s quest takes him on an adventure to meet all the animals of the forest, each of whom seems to know exactly what they were put on this earth to do, unlike the curious Carl. But it’s not until the world around him has changed that Carl begins to realize everyone, no matter how small, makes a big difference just by being themselves.

GENRES: picture book
THEMES: Earth Day, conservation, philosophy
READALIKES: My Heart (Luyken), Follow the Moon Home (Cousteau)
STARS AND AWARDS: SLJ starred, Booklist starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “This book is a poignant example of the important contributions of even the smallest creature, but it’s better than that-it’s a science lesson as well. Freedman subtly explains the delicate balance of nature and each creature’s role in maintaining it.” (SLJ starred review, 1 Mar 2019)

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Tomorrow Most Likely (Dave Eggers and Lane Smith)

Rather than focusing on going to bed–and what kid wants to think about going to bed?–this book explores all of the dreamy, wonderful, strange things the next day might bring.

GENRES: picture book
THEMES: bedtime
READALIKES: What If (Berger)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Novelist Eggers has been making a splash in kidlit; paired here with Caldecott honoree Smith, he’ll make waves.” (Booklist, 1 Mar 2019)

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The Lost Forest (Phyllis Root and Betsy Bowen)

A forest doesn’t need a map to know where to grow. But people need a map to find it. And in 1882 when surveyors set out to map a part of Minnesota, they got confused, or tired and cold (it was November), and somehow mapped a great swath of ancient trees as a lake. For more than seventy-five years, the mistake stayed on the map, and the forest remained safe from logging—no lumber baron expects to find timber in a lake, after all. The Lost Forest tells the story of this lucky error and of the 144 acres of old-growth red and white pine it preserved.

GENRES: picture book
THEMES: nature, forests, surveying and map-making
READALIKES: Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa (Winter), One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia (Paul)
STARS AND AWARDS: Publishers Weekly starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Bowen’s moody, saturated illustrations of layered landscapes and historical journals add heft to the text’s implicit message that the natural world is something more than a measurable commodity.” (Publishers Weekly starred review, 11 Feb 2019)

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Maiden & Princess
(Daniel Haack, Isabel Galupo, and Becca Human)

Once in a faraway kingdom, a strong, brave maiden is invited to attend the prince’s royal ball, but she’s not as excited to go as everyone else. After her mother convinces her to make an appearance, she makes a huge impression on everyone present, from the villagers to the king and queen, but she ends up finding true love in a most surprising place.

GENRES: picture book
THEMES: princesses, LGBT+
READALIKES: Prince & Knight (Haack), Julián Is a Mermaid (Love)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “The ultimate conflict here is about staying true to yourself despite outside influences, and it’s a welcome message for all. Share widely this sweet, openhearted fairy tale that gently affirms all kinds of love.” (Booklist starred review, 15 Mar 2019)

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Stubby: A True Story of Friendship (Michael Foreman)

Stubby was a brave soldier, a loyal friend…and a dog. From an army training camp to the trenches in France, this is the incredible true story of Sergeant Stubby, the dog who served bravely in World War I—sniffing out gas attacks, catching spies, and winning the hearts of his fellow soldiers.

GENRES: picture book, historical fiction
THEMES: WWI, soldiers, dogs, war
READALIKES: Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear (Mattick), Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog (Montalván)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Although the centennial observances of World War I are complete, this compelling story of a brave dog and his soldier companion is a timeless tale of friendship worth considering for most collections.” (SLJ, 1 Feb 2019)

This week’s sequels (YA):

This week’s sequels (Middle Grades):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This list also appears on my New Releases–Weekly Board on Pinterest:


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