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New Release Spotlight: November 10, 2020

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A big list this week! These are few and far-between at this time of year, so enjoy it while it lasts! I’ll be surprised if we have another large list like this in 2020.

My picks this week:

  • Rebel Rose by Emma Theriault (YA)
  • This is Your Time by Ruby Bridges (MG)
  • Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters by Suzanne Slade (Picture Book)

This week’s titles are #1156-#1175 on The Ginormous book list.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.

Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.

A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.

Publishers Weekly starred.

  • Genre(s): romance
  • Recommended for: Grades 7+
  • Themes: grandparents, grandmothers, Winchester, England, restaurant workers, Cuban Americans, grief, loss, tearooms, betrayal, coming of age

Zero to 60: A Teen’s Guide to Manage Frustration, Anger, and Everyday Irritations by Michael A. Tompkins PhD ABPP (Author) and Chloe Douglass (Illustrator)

High performance cars can go from zero to sixty in just a few seconds. Anger can feel a lot like that for teens. One minute they are calm, but the next, something sets them on a course to speed out of control.

Getting to anger’s edge too fast can get teens in trouble. Expert author Michael Tompkins offers tips and tricks to help stall anger and leave it by the side of the road. Teens will learn how to calm their body, derail thoughts that fuel anger and learn how to communicate and de-escalate situations.

Be advised that this is at least partly a workbook format and may not be appropriate for lending in school libraries. If a students writes something personal in the workbook, you likely will not know for awhile.

  • Genre(s): nonfiction, psychology
  • Recommended for: Grades 7+
  • Themes: anger management, frustration, cognitive behavior therapy, workbooks

Teen Killers Club by Lily Sparks

Debut author! Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she’s convicted of her best friend Rose’s brutal murder, she’s designated a Class A–the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile.

To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for 18-and-under Class As and is whisked off to an abandoned sleep-away camp, where she and seven bunkmates will train as assassins. Yet even in the Teen Killers Club, Signal doesn’t fit in. She’s squeamish around blood. She’s kind and empathetic. And her optimistic attitude is threatening to turn a group of ragtag maniacs into a team of close-knit friends.

Maybe that’s because Signal’s not really a killer. She was framed for Rose’s murder and only joined the program to escape, track down Rose’s real killer, and clear her name. But Signal never planned on the sinister technologies that keep the campers confined. She never planned on the mysterious man in the woods determined to pick them off one by one. And she certainly never planned on falling in love.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): mystery, thriller
  • Recommended for: Grades 9+
  • Themes: murder, crime, camp, assassins, fitting in, innocence, guilt, prisoners, Oregon, false accusations

Divided Fire by Jennifer San Filippo

Miren has never allowed jealousy of her sister’s magic keep her from taking care of Kesia, and Kesia has always depended on her big sister. When Kesia is kidnapped, Miren will do anything to get her back—even team up with her sister’s aristocratic and seemingly ineffectual boyfriend.

Neither sister had ever left their small fishing village before, and now they are plunged into the wider world, minor players in a war between nations. Each sister faces external and internal perils, and each finds surprising allies and unexpected strengths. How will the two find each other again? And what will become of them if they don’t succeed?

  • Genre(s): fantasy
  • Recommended for: Grade 7+
  • Themes: magic, sisters, kidnapping, jealousy, war, songs, music, elements, pirates, multiple perspectives

How to Pack for the End of the World by Michelle Falkoff

If you knew the world was going to end tomorrow, what would you do?

This is the question that haunts Amina as she watches new and horrible stories of discord and crisis flash across the news every day. But when she starts at prestigious Gardner Academy, Amina finds a group of like-minded peers to join forces with—fast friends who dedicate their year to learning survival skills from each other, before it’s too late.

Still, as their prepper knowledge multiplies, so do their regular high school problems, from relationship drama to family issues to friend blow-ups. Juggling the two parts of their lives forces Amina to ask another vital question: Is it worth living in the hypothetical future if it’s at the expense of your actual present?

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 7+
  • Themes: preppers, end of the world, private schools, survival, Jewish characters

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

Anna Chiu has her hands full. When she’s not looking after her brother and sister or helping out at her father’s restaurant, she’s taking care of her mother, whose debilitating mental illness keeps her in bed most days. Her father’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could be a normal teen.

But when her mother finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as her mother’s condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 9+
  • Themes: mental illness, siblings, restaurant work, Asian Americans, Chinese Americans, depression, migrant workers

Sasha Masha by Agnes Borinsky

Debut author! Alex feels like he is in the wrong body. His skin feels strange against his bones. And then comes Tracy, who thinks he’s adorably awkward, who wants to kiss him, who makes him feel like a Real Boy. But it is not quite enough. Something is missing.

As Alex grapples with his identity, he finds himself trying on dresses and swiping on lipstick in the quiet of his bedroom. He meets Andre, a gay boy who is beautiful and unafraid to be who he is. Slowly, Alex begins to realize: maybe his name isn’t Alex at all. Maybe it’s Sasha Masha.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: identity, transgender, LGBTQIA, coming out, #ownvoices, Jewish characters, coming of age

Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao

Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.

Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.

When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.

But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?

  • Genre(s): romance
  • Recommended for: Grades 7+
  • Themes: Chinese Americans, artists, fake relationships, Asian Americans, generational clashes, Thanksgiving, miscommunications

Rebel Rose by Emma Theriault

Queen’s Council, book 1. Happily ever after is only the beginning as Belle takes on the responsibility of becoming queen and learns to balance duty, love, and sacrifice, all while navigating dark political intrigue–and a touch of magic.

It’s 1789 and France is on the brink of revolution. Belle has finally broken the Enchantress’s curse, restoring the Beast to his human form as Prince Adam, and bringing life back to their castle in the province of Aveyon. But in Paris, the fires of change are burning, and it’s only a matter of time before the rebellion arrives on their doorstep.

Belle has always dreamed of leaving her provincial home for a life of adventure. But now she finds herself living in a palace, torn between her roots as a commoner, and her future as a royal. When she stumbles across a mysterious, ancient magic that brings with it a dire warning, she must question whether she is ready for the power being thrust on her, and if being Queen is more than just a title.

  • Genre(s): retellings, fantasy, historical fantasy
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: royalty, queens, 18th Century, France, French Revolution, Beauty and the Beast,

Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins (Author) and Larissa Helena (Translator)

What would you do if you had to spend the next 15 days with your lifelong crush?

Felipe gets it–he’s fat. Not chubby. Not big-boned. Fat. And he doesn’t need anyone to remind him, which is, of course, what everyone does. That’s why he’s been waiting for this moment ever since the school year began: school break. Finally, he’ll be able to spend some time far away from school and the classmates who tease him incessantly. His plans include catching up on his favorite TV shows, finishing his to-be-read pile, and watching YouTube tutorials on skills he’ll never actually put into practice.

But things get a little out of hand when Felipe’s mom informs him that Caio, the neighbor kid from apartment 57, will be spending the next 15 days with them while his parents are on vacation. Felipe is distraught because A) he’s had a crush on Caio since, well, forever, and B) Felipe has a list of body image insecurities and absolutely NO idea how he’s going to entertain his neighbor for two full weeks.

Suddenly, the days ahead of him that once promised rest and relaxation (not to mention some epic Netflix bingeing) end up bringing a whirlwind of feelings, forcing Felipe to dive head-first into every unresolved issue he has had with himself. But maybe, just maybe, he’ll manage to win over Caio, too.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction, romance
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: LGBTQIA, overweight teens, body image, insecurity, self-esteem, crushes

*This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges

Written as a letter from civil rights activist and icon Ruby Bridges to the reader, This Is Your Time is both a recounting of Ruby’s experience as a child who had no choice but to be escorted to class by federal marshals when she was chosen as one of the first black students to integrate New Orleans’ all-white public school system and an appeal to generations to come to effect change.

This beautifully designed volume features historical photographs from the 1960s and from today, as well as stunning jacket art from The Problem We All Live With, the 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell of Ruby’s walk to school.

Ruby’s honest and impassioned words, imbued with love and grace, serve as a moving reminder that “what can inspire tomorrow often lies in our past.” This Is Your Time will electrify people of all ages as the struggle for liberty and justice for all continues, and the powerful legacy of Ruby Bridges endures.

THREE starred reviews!

  • Genre(s): nonfiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 5-AD
  • Themes: civil rights, activism, racism, prejudice, discrimination, epistolary, liberty, justice

7 Good Reasons Not to Grow Up by Jimmy Gownley

To his friends at Greycliff Academy, Kirby seems to have it all: charm, brains, and a lucky streak that won’t quit. He’s also the notorious hero creating the snarky videos “7 Good Reasons Not to Grow Up,” which expose just how dumb adults can be. Why would any kid want to become one of them?

But there’s also a mystery about Kirby. And when his best friend, Raja, finds out his secret, Kirby, Raja, and their friends have to grow up fast and face the world head-on.

  • Genre(s): reaslitic fiction, graphic novel
  • Recommended for: Grades 4-7
  • Themes: video celebrities, more than meets the eye, underdogs, empowerment, bullying, secrets, family problems, heroes, friendship

A Long Road on a Short Day by Gary D. Schmidt (Author), Elizabeth Stickney (Author), and Eugene Yelchin (Illustrator)

In a story of perseverance and determination told with warmth and sparkling with humor, a short winter day finds Samuel and Papa walking a long road on Samuel’s first trading trip.

Meeting strangers, practicing good manners, and proud to be in Papa’s company, Samuel watches and learns as Papa trades up from almost nothing to the milk cow Mama is yearning for. Simple text combines with vivid illustrations for a satisfying tale that will resonate with readers who enjoy an adventure with dad.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): historical fiction, early chapter book
  • Recommended for: Grades 2-5
  • Themes: 19th Century, meeting new people, manners, fathers and sons, perseverance, determination, winter, trading

Dinosaurs: Fact and Fable by Seymour Simon

Scientists have dug up and uncovered many facts about dinosaurs—and in the process, they have come across many myths. This picture book digs deep into the Age of Dinosaurs, covering topics such as fossilization, plate tectonics, dinosaur diets, paleontology, extinction theories, dinosaur relatives, and more!

  • Genre(s): nonficton picture book
  • Recommended for: Grades 2-6
  • Themes: dinosaurs, fossils, plate tectonics, paleontology, extinct animals

*Two Many Birds by Cindy Derby

As birds line up to perch on a tree, a monitor shouts rules at them:

No fluffin’ feathers!
No pooping on the ground!
No nudity!

Eventually, the tree fills to capactiy (100 birds), but what happens when two more are accidentally born among the branches?

THREE starred reviews!

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: birds, rules, community, overcrowding, maximum capacity

Farmers Unite!: Planting a Protest for Fair Prices by Lindsay Metcalf

Author Lindsay H. Metcalf, a journalist who grew up on a family farm, shares this rarely told story of grassroots perseverance and economic justice. In 1979, US farmers traveled to Washington, DC to protest unfair prices for their products. Farmers wanted fair prices for their products and demanded action from Congress.

After police corralled the tractors on the National Mall, the farmers and their tractors stayed through a snowstorm and dug out the city. Americans were now convinced they needed farmers, but the law took longer.

  • Genre(s): nonfiction picture book
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-7
  • Themes: farming, US history, protests, activism, justice, economics, product pricing, community helpers, government

The Most Amazing Bird by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak (Author) and Andrew Qappik OC (Illustrator)

When Aggataa goes for a cold winter walk with her grandmother, she’s surprised by a sudden CRAH! All the birds have flown south for the winter except one kind—the tulugarguat, the ravens. They’re the ugliest birds that Aggataa has ever seen. They look like they slept in their coats—coats that don’t even fit! However, as the winter slowly moves towards spring, Aggataa connects with one small raven in particular.

As the seasons change in full, the ravens leave and are replaced by seagulls, cranes, geese, ducks, and swans—all of them far more elegant than the “Ugly Bird.” But where Aggataa once thought the ravens odd for visiting during the harshest part of the year, she now finds herself watching the horizon, waiting for the return of the most amazing bird.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: winter, grandparents, grandmothers, Inuk, Arctic, birds, #ownvoices

Mr. Brown’s Bad Day by Lou Peacock (Author) and Alison Friend (Illustrator)

Mr. Brown is a very important tiger who works in a very important office all day long. His briefcase contains some very important things, so he keeps it by his side at all times. When Mr. Brown’s briefcase goes missing, his world is turned upside down. He must get his briefcase back! Mr. Brown goes on a wild chase all over town. Will he find it–and what could possibly be inside?

  • Genre(s): picture book, humor
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: work, professionals, missing items, chases, animals, tigers

Wild Symphony by Dan Brown

Travel through the trees and across the seas with Maestro Mouse and his musical friends! Young readers will meet a big blue whale and speedy cheetahs, tiny beetles and graceful swans. Each has a special secret to share.

Along the way, you might spot the surprises Maestro Mouse has left for you–a hiding buzzy bee, jumbled letters that spell out clues, and even a coded message to solve!

SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: music, animals, clues, coded messages, puzzles

Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters by Suzanne Slade

The true story of the high-flying Harlem Globetrotters–the team that changed basketball forever.

In this book you will find one-finger ball-spinning, rapid-fire mini-dribbling, and a ricochet head shot!

You will find skilled athletes, expert players, and electrifying performers — all rolled into one!

You will find nonstop, give-it-all-you’ve-got, out-to-win-it, sky’s-the-limit BASKETBALL!

You will find The Harlem Globetrotters, who played the most groundbreaking, breathtaking ball the world had ever seen. With rhythmic writing and dynamic illustrations, Swish! is a celebration of the greatness, goodness, and grit of this remarkable team.

  • Genre(s): picture book biography
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 4
  • Themes: African Americans, sports, basketball, US history, discrimination, performers, civil rights

THIS WEEK’S SEQUELS (YA):

THIS WEEK’S SEQUELS (MIDDLE GRADES):

THIS WEEK’S SEQUELS & FAVORITE CHARACTERS (ELEMENTARY):

ABOUT THE SPOTLIGHT

The New Release Spotlight began in May 2016 as a way to help librarians keep up with the many new children’s and YA books that are released each week. Every Tuesday, school librarian Leigh Collazo compiles the New Release Spotlight using a combination of Follett’s Titlewave, Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble. As always, titles with a * by them received two or more starred professional reviews. Recommended grade levels represent the range of grade levels recommended by professional book reviewers.

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