New Release Spotlight: July 2, 2019

Currently Reading...
Just finished...

School is FINALLY out for the summer! For me, it’s out for even longer than that as I do not plan to return in August. I am taking some time off to homeschool my beautiful boys and grow my MrsReaderPants store and blog. This is a dream I’ve had for many, many years, and my heart swells with joy to think I’ve actually made it happen!

Happy 71st birthday to my adventure-loving Dad today! Don’t let his age fool you–he’ll still jump off the high dive and body-surf all the waves!

*Wanderers: A Novel by Chuck Wendig

I’m including this adult novel because a.) I think high schoolers will love it; and b.) It’s been compared to The Stand, which is one of my all-time favorite novels.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead. For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it.

PAGES: 775
RECOMMENDED FOR: Adults, but I think this will be popular with high schoolers, too
GENRE: post-apocalypse, horror, thriller
THEMES: sleepwalking, fear, family
READALIKES: The Stand (King), Gone (Grant)
STARS AND AWARDS: Library Journal starred, Publishers Weekly starred, Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Comparisons to Stephen King’s The Stand are warranted, as Wendig shatters the boundaries of speculative and literary fiction in a saga that will touch every reader.” (Library Journal starred review, 1 June 2019)

Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra

Most 16-year-olds cause at least some damage on their path to adulthood. But Saira Sehgal has vowed to first do no harm. A girl genius, she’s the youngest MD in America–and she hasn’t picked an easy specialty: She’s working on the cancer ward. Saira’s always been good at getting what she wants, but she’s new to adult challenges–like getting out from under the thumb of her doting mother, who works at the same hospital; like proving herself to coworkers who don’t take her seriously; and crushing on a cute boy who happens to have stage-two leukemia. Turns out “heartbreak” is one ailment Saira still doesn’t know how to treat.

PAGES: 321
GENRE: romance
THEMES: cancer, child prodigies, doctors, hospitals
READALIKES: The Fault in Our Stars (Green), Everything, Everything (Yoon)

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Charaipotra does not shy away from including Hindi and Punjabi dialogue (without translation) and dropping Bollywood references, yet she skillfully offers readers who are not cultural insiders ample context to decode everything without compromising the narrative or characters’ integrity.” (Kirkus, 15 May 2019)

*Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro (Author), Cornelia Funke (Author), Allen Williams (Illustrator)

Inspired by the motion picture Laberinto del fauno. Interconnected short stories flesh out the folklore of the world of Pan’s Labyrinth and takes readers to a sinister, magical, and war-torn world filled with richly drawn characters like trickster fauns, murderous soldiers, child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess hoping to be reunited with her family.

PAGES: 256
GENRE: short stories, dark fantasy
THEMES: labyrinths, monsters
READALIKES: Through the Woods (Carroll), Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions (del Toro)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred, SLJ starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Fans of the film will enjoy this in-depth exploration and reimagining of the source material, while newcomers will have no trouble getting into the story, though its dark themes and occasional gruesome scenes aren’t for the faint-hearted.” (Publishers Weekly, 24 Jun 2019)

Destroy All Monsters by Sam J. Miller

Solomon and Ash both experienced a traumatic event when they were twelve. Ash lost all memory of that event when she fell from Solomon’s treehouse. Since then, Solomon has retreated further and further into a world he seems to have created in his own mind. One that insulates him from reality, but crawls with foes and monsters . . . in both animal and human form. As Solomon slips further into the place he calls Darkside, Ash realizes her only chance to free her best friend from his pain is to recall exactly what happened that day in his backyard and face the truth–together

PAGES: 394
GENRE: fantasy
THEMES: mental health, trauma, sexual abuse
READALIKES: The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Ness), Challenger Deep (Shusterman)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Readers will be drawn into this not only because of the inventiveness of Solomon’s imaginary refuge but also because of the desire to know what happened that led each of them to their present circumstances.” (Booklist starred review, 1 May 2019)

*The Beckoning Shadow by Katharyn Blair

Debut author! Vesper Montgomery can summon your worst fear and turn it into a reality–but she’s learned the hard way that it’s an addicting and dangerous power. One wrong move and you could hurt someone you love. But when she earns a spot in the Tournament of the Unraveling, where competitors battle it out for a chance to rewrite the past, Vesper finally has a shot to reverse the mistakes that have changed her forever. She turns to Sam Hardy, a former MMA fighter who’s also carrying a tragedy he desperately wants to undo. However, helping heal Sam’s heart will mean breaking her own, and the competition forces her to master her powers–powers she has been terrified of since they destroyed her life

PAGES: 463
RECOMMENDED FOR: Grades 9-adult
GENRE: fantasy
THEMES: magical abilities, runaways, tournaments
READALIKES: Throne of Glass (Maas), Wicked Fox (Cho)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred, Publishers Weekly starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Interweaving excellent worldbuilding with the uncertainties of discipline, friendship, and taking ownership of one’s decisions, Blair’s debut will entrance and delight in equal measure.” (Publishers Weekly starred review, 27 May 2019)

*Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson by Katherine Johnson

As a young girl, Katherine Johnson showed an exceptional aptitude for math. In school she quickly skipped ahead several grades and was soon studying complex equations with the support of a professor who saw great promise in her. But ability and opportunity did not always go hand in hand. As an African American and a girl growing up in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges. Still, she lived her life with her father’s words in mind: “You are no better than anyone else, and nobody else is better than you.”

In the early 1950s, Katherine was thrilled to join the organization that would become NASA. She worked on many of NASA’s biggest projects including the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon.

PAGES: 248
GENRE: biography, narrative nonfiction, memoir
THEMES: sexism, prejudice and racism, space exploration, Apollo 11
READALIKES: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (Shetterly), Women in Space: 23 Stories of First Flights, Scientific Missions, and Gravity-Breaking Adventures (Gibson)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred, SLJ starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Her writing style is comfortable and conversational, making the book feel like a visit over tea that you wish would never end. From a long-lived American legend, this rich volume is a national treasure.” (Kirkus starred review, 15 May 2019)

*Vroom! by Barbara McClintock

Join a little girl as she zooms—
past fields and forests,
up mountains,
over rivers,
through deserts,
home again,
and into bed in this playful picture book about the power of imagination

GENRE: picture book
THEMES: imagination, things that go
READALIKES: Alphabet Trains (Vamos), Fly (Clement)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred, Kirkus starred, Publishers Weekly starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “A captivating picture book for the many young children who are fascinated by cars and driven by the need for speed.” (Booklist starred, 15 May 2019)

So Big! by Mike Wohnoutka

Bear is so big, and he’s ready to start school!

But even if you’re SO BIG, you might feel a little nervous at times.

Can Bear brave his first day and find a way to make it feel just right?

GENRE: picture book
THEMES: early readers, emotions, first day of school
READALIKES: We Don’t Eat Our Classmates! (Higgins), The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! (Willems)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Wohnoutka’s animal cast is beautifully expressive, and his use of relative size within compositions is masterful, easily getting across to readers how the world feels to Bear and Squirrel.” (Kirkus starred review, 1 June 2019)

*The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems

Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! And what if he doesn’t like it? What if the teacher doesn’t like him? What if he learns TOO MUCH!?!

GENRE: picture book, humor
THEMES: first day of school
READALIKES: Click, Clack, Quack to School (Cronin)
STARS AND AWARDS: Booklist starred, Kirkus starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “Pigeon’s been winning hearts since he first appeared with that bus, and best-selling, multi-multi-award-winning Willems is irresistible to kids and grown-ups alike.” (Booklist starred review, 1 May 2019)

*The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes (Author) and Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Illustrator)

Starting kindergarten is a big milestone–and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements–and then wake up to start another day.

GENRE: picture book
THEMES: starting school, kindergarten
READALIKES: Wemberly Worried (Henkes)
STARS AND AWARDS: Kirkus starred, BCCB starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “The playful illustrations use texture and shadow to great effect, with vibrant colors and dynamic shapes and lines sustaining readers’ interest on every page. Text and visuals work together beautifully to generate excitement and confidence in children getting ready to enter kindergarten.” (Kirkus starred review, 1 June 2019)

Look Again: Secrets of Animal Camouflage by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Why do some animals blend in to their surroundings? Why do certain creatures have fur, feathers, and features designed to look like the plants and rocks they live near? In Look Again!, the most well-disguised animals on the planet are gathered together to showcase the range of ways animals try to avoid each other’s attention, and why. This eye-catching book invites readers to seek out the astonishingly camouflaged animals hiding in plain sight–then reveals them on the next page! From lying in wait to avoiding predators, protecting themselves or sneaking up on a foe, each animal in Look Again! has a remarkable skill for evading detection.

GENRE: nonfiction picture book
THEMES: animals, camouflage, adaptations
READALIKES: Where in the Wild (Lambert), Neon Leon (Clarke)
STARS AND AWARDS: School Library Connection starred

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY: “The presentation’s seek-and-find element will be particularly appealing to younger children. The artwork, collages of cut and torn papers, is beautifully textured and often striking, particularly on pages with fewer but larger images.” (Booklist, 1 May 2019)





Product categories


  • Hi Leigh,

    I love everything that you do from your great suggestions for new books that have been released to everything that you have either free or for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers.

    I have purchased a few items from your store, and I am struggling to figure out how to edit things to fit my library such as the bookmarks and PPT presentations. If you have any pointers or suggestions I would appreciate them so that I can get things edited before the fall:)


    • Hi, Amy,
      Many of my products are editable in PowerPoint (open the PPT and click on “enable editing” at the top). Posters are not editable because I am required to secure the graphics to protect the artists’ copyright. If you are still having trouble, please email me at so I can see which products you are referring to.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

  • Sign up
Lost your password? Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.