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New Release Spotlight: April 5 and April 12, 2022

Welcome to beautiful, sunny April! I’ve got two Spotlights releasing together this week. The middle grade titles are my favorites, with YA in a close second. Definitely worth a look!

My top picks:

  • Very Bad People by Kat Frick
  • Button Pusher by Tyler Page
  • I’m Terrified of Bathtime by Simon Rich

This week’s Spotlight titles are #2402-#2426 on The Ginormous book list.

*High Spirits by Camille Gomera-Tavarez

Debut author! This book centers on one extended family–the Beléns–across multiple generations.

It is set in the fictional small town of Hidalpa–and Santo Domingo and Paterson and San Juan and Washington Heights too.

It is told in a style both utterly real and distinctly magical–and its stories explore machismo, mental health, family, and identity.

THREE starred reviews! That publisher’s summary doesn’t say much, does it? From what I can tell, this is 11 interconnected short stories about a large family. The stories span generations and countries, from the Caribbean to the US, and they may be autobiographical.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction, short stories
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-AD
  • Themes: family sagas, multiple generations, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, New York, patriarchy, toxic masculinity, strong setting descriptions
  • Protagonist description: each story has its own protagonist, and all of them are part of the same large Dominican American family

*Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk

Two girls. One wild and reckless day. Years of tumultuous history unspooling like a thin, fraying string in the hours after they set a fire.

They were best friends. Until they became more. Their affections grew. Until the blurry lines became dangerous.

Over the course of a single day, the depth of their past, the confusion of their present, and the unpredictability of their future is revealed. And the girls will learn that hearts, like flames, aren’t so easily tamed.

It starts with a fire. How will it end?

THREE starred reviews!

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction, romance, novels in verse, poetry
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: arson, wildfires, best friends, LGBTQIA+, self-love
  • Protagonist description: two females, both Black, one is queer, one is bisexual

*Scout’s Honor by Lily Anderson

Sixteen-year-old Prudence Perry is a legacy Ladybird Scout, born to a family of hunters sworn to protect humans from mulligrubs–interdimensional parasites who feast on human emotions like sadness and anger. Masquerading as a prim and proper ladies’ social organization, the Ladybirds brew poisons masked as teas and use knitting needles as daggers, at least until they graduate to axes and swords.

Three years ago, Prue’s best friend was killed during a hunt, so she kissed the Scouts goodbye, preferring the company of her punkish friends lovingly dubbed the Criminal Element much to her mother and Tía Lo’s disappointment. However, unable to move on from her guilt and trauma, Prue devises a risky plan to infiltrate the Ladybirds in order to swipe the Tea of Forgetting, a restricted tincture laced with a powerful amnesia spell.

But old monster-slaying habits die hard and Prue finds herself falling back into the fold, growing close with the junior scouts that she trains to fight the creatures she can’t face. When her town is hit with a mysterious wave of demons, Prue knows it’s time to confront the most powerful monster of all: her past.

Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred.

  • Genre(s): science fiction, fantasy, thriller
  • Recommended for: Grades 8-12
  • Themes: poison, alien parasites, secret assassins, potions, monster slayers, secrets, human emotions, PTSD, anxiety, martial arts
  • Protagonist description: female, age 16, biracial (Puerto Rican and white)

*This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke

Set in 1956, Budapest, Hungary. In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most–safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things about her father’s legacy that she wishes she could forget.

Now Csilla keeps her head down, planning her escape from this country that has never loved her the way she loves it. But her carefully laid plans fall to pieces when her parents are unexpectedly, publicly exonerated. As the protests in other countries spur talk of a larger revolution in Hungary, Csilla must decide if she believes in the promise and magic of her deeply flawed country enough to risk her life to help save it, or if she should let it burn to the ground.

BCCB and SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): historical fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: Budapest, Hungary, Holocaust, Cold War, communism, murder, police brutality, secret police, escape, revolution, LGBTQIA+, Danube River
  • Protagonist description: female, Jewish, Hungarian

*Very Bad People by Kit Frick

Six years ago, Calliope Bolan’s mother drove the family van into a lake with her three daughters inside. The girls escaped, but their mother drowned, and the truth behind the “accident” remains a mystery Calliope is determined to solve. Now sixteen, she transfers to Tipton Academy, the same elite boarding school her mother once attended. Tipton promises a peek into the past and a host of new opportunities–including a coveted invitation to join Haunt and Rail, an exclusive secret society that looms over campus like a legend.

Calliope accepts, stepping into the exhilarating world of the “ghosts,” a society of revolutionaries fighting for social justice. But when Haunt and Rail commits to exposing a dangerous person on campus, it becomes clear that some ghosts define justice differently than others.

As the society’s tactics escalate, Calliope uncovers a possible link between Haunt and Rail and her mother’s deadly crash. Now, she must question what lengths the society might go to in order to see a victory–and if the secret behind her mother’s death could be buried here at Tipton.

Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred.

  • Genre(s): mystery, thriller
  • Recommended for: Grades 8-12
  • Themes: elite boarding schools, secret societies, social justice, family secrets, sisters
  • Protagonist description: female, age 16, high school junior, white

The Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina

Poland, July 1944. Sixteen-year-old Maria is making her way home after years of forced labor in Nazi Germany, only to find her village destroyed and her parents killed in a war between the Polish Resistance and Ukrainian nationalists.

To Maria’s shock, the local Resistance unit is commanded by her older brother, Tomek–who she thought was dead. He is now a “Silent Unseen,” a special-operations agent with an audacious plan to resist a new and even more dangerous enemy sweeping in from the East.

When Tomek disappears, Maria is determined to find him, but the only person who might be able to help is a young Ukrainian prisoner and the last person Maria trusts–even as she feels a growing connection to him that she can’t resist.

SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): historical fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: WWII, Holocaust, Poland, forced labor camps, siblings, secret agents, communism, Ukraine, alternating voices, 1940s
  • Protagonist description: female, age 16, white, Polish; male, age 17, white, Ukranian

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Debut author! All her life, Jani has dreamed of Elsewhere. Just barely scraping by with her job at a tannery, she’s resigned to a dreary life in the port town of Durc, caring for her younger sister Zosa. That is, until the Hotel Magnifique comes to town.

The hotel is legendary not only for its whimsical enchantments, but also for its ability to travel–appearing in a different destination every morning. While Jani and Zosa can’t afford the exorbitant costs of a guest’s stay, they can interview to join the staff, and are soon whisked away on the greatest adventure of their lives. But once inside, Jani quickly discovers their contracts are unbreakable and that beneath the marvelous glamour, the hotel is hiding dangerous secrets.

With the vexingly handsome doorman Bel as her only ally, Jani embarks on a mission to unravel the mystery of the magic at the heart of the hotel and free Zosa–and the other staff–from the cruelty of the ruthless maître d’hôtel. To succeed, she’ll have to risk everything she loves, but failure would mean a fate far worse than never returning home.

Kirkus starred. This sounds like “Hotel California” by The Eagles meets Stephanie Garber’s Caraval.

  • Genre(s): fantasy, thriller
  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Themes: hotels, teens with jobs, sisters, magic, secrets, danger, unique worldbuilding, French culture
  • Protagonist description: female, age 17, olive-skinned with dark hair

Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate

The year is 2072. Soon a volcanic eruption will trigger catastrophic devastation, and the only way out is up.

While the world’s leaders, scientists, and engineers oversee the frantic production of a space fleet meant to save humankind, their children are brought in for a weekend of touring the Lazarus, a high-tech prototype spaceship.

But when the apocalypse arrives months ahead of schedule, First Daughter Leigh Chen and a handful of teens from the tour are the only ones to escape the planet. This is the new world: a starship loaded with a catalog of human artifacts, a frozen menagerie of animal DNA, and fifty-three terrified survivors.

From the panic arises a coalition of leaders, spearheaded by the pilot’s enigmatic daughter, Eli, who takes the wheel in their hunt for a habitable planet. But as isolation presses in, their uneasy peace begins to fracture. The struggle for control will mean the difference between survival and oblivion, and Leigh must decide whether to stand on the side of the mission or of her own humanity.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): science fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 9-12
  • Themes: near future, volcano, apocalypse, spaceships, escaping Earth, survival, finding a new planet, first family,
  • Protagonist description: female, age 18, Chinese American, daughter of the US president; cast is multi-cultural and from many countries

*Button Pusher by Tyler Page

Tyler’s brain is different. Unlike his friends, he has a hard time paying attention in class. He acts out in goofy, over-the-top ways. Sometimes, he even does dangerous things―like cut up a bus seat with a pocketknife or hang out of an attic window.

To the adults in his life, Tyler seems like a troublemaker. But he knows that he’s not. Tyler is curious and creative. He’s the best artist in his grade, and when he can focus, he gets great grades. He doesn’t want to cause trouble, but sometimes he just feels like he can’t control himself.

In Button Pusher, cartoonist Tyler Page uses his own childhood experiences to explore what it means to grow up with ADHD. From diagnosis to treatment and beyond, Tyler’s story is raw and enlightening, inviting you to see the world from a new perspective.

Booklist and Publishers Weekly starred. I think this is a hugely necessary addition to any middle school and high school library. Librarians will want to know that in high school, Tyler decides to stop taking prescription medication (Ritalin) without consulting his doctor. This would not make me hesitate to buy this book for my library; it’s just an FYI that was in the SLJ and Kirkus reviews.

  • Genre(s): memoir, graphic novel
  • Recommended for: Grades 5+
  • Themes: ADHD, learning disabilities, getting into trouble, artists, self-control, medication, body image, parental anger (father), Ritalin
  • Protagonist description: teen boy, white

The Woman Who Split the Atom by Marissa Moss

As a female Jewish physicist in Berlin during the early 20th century, Lise Meitner had to fight for an education, a job, and equal treatment in her field, like having her name listed on her own research papers.

Meitner made groundbreaking strides in the study of radiation, but when Hitler came to power in Germany, she suddenly had to face not only sexism, but also life-threatening anti-Semitism as well. Nevertheless, she persevered and one day made a discovery that rocked the world: the splitting of the atom. While her male lab partner was awarded a Nobel Prize for the achievement, the committee refused to give her any credit.

Suddenly, the race to build the atomic bomb was on—although Meitner was horrified to be associated with such a weapon. “A physicist who never lost her humanity,” Meitner wanted only to figure out how the world works, and advocated for pacifism while others called for war.

The book includes an afterword, author’s note, timeline, select terms of physics, glossary of scientists mentioned, endnotes, select bibliography, index, and Marissa Moss’s celebrated drawings throughout. The Woman Who Split the Atom is a fascinating look at Meitner’s fierce passion, integrity, and her lifelong struggle to have her contributions to physics recognized.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): biography
  • Recommended for: Grades 5-9
  • Themes: physics, Berlin, Germany, women’s rights, researchers, STEM, radiation, Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany, sexism, anti-Semitism, splitting the atom, atomic bomb, weapons of war, pacifism
  • Protagonist description: young woman, Jewish, Austrian, white

Sky Wolf’s Call: The Gift of Indigenous Knowledge by Eldon Yellowhorn

How do knowledge systems get passed down over generations? Through the knowledge inherited from their Elders and ancestors, Indigenous Peoples throughout North America have observed, practiced, experimented, and interacted with plants, animals, the sky, and the waters over millennia. Knowledge keepers have shared their wisdom with younger people through oral history, stories, ceremonies, and records that took many forms.

In Sky Wolf’s Call, award-winning author team of Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger reveal how Indigenous knowledge comes from centuries of practices, experiences, and ideas gathered by people who have a long history with the natural world. Indigenous knowledge is explored through the use of fire and water, the acquisition of food, the study of astronomy, and healing practices.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): nonfiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 5-AD
  • Themes: Indigenous Peoples, Native Americans, nature, wisdom, survival, healing, astronomy, interconnectedness of the universe, traditions, conservation

*Moonwalking by Zetta Elliott

Punk rock-loving JJ Pankowski can’t seem to fit in at his new school in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as one of the only white kids. Pie Velez, a math and history geek by day and graffiti artist by night is eager to follow in his idol, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s, footsteps. The boys stumble into an unlikely friendship, swapping notes on their love of music and art, which sees them through a difficult semester at school and at home. But a run-in with the cops threatens to unravel it all.

From authors Zetta Elliott and Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Moonwalking is a stunning exploration of class, cross-racial friendships, and two boys’ search for belonging in a city as tumultuous and beautiful as their hearts.

Kirkus and Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction, historical fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 5-9
  • Themes: Brooklyn, New York, 1980s, artists, graffiti, math, music, family problems, police discrimination, different outcomes for different races, cross-racial friendship
  • Protagonist description: two boys, middle school, one Black, one white, one may be on the autism spectrum (undiagnosed)

Healer and Witch by Nancy Werlin

Sylvie and her mother and grandmother are beloved, trusted healers in their medieval French village, though some whisper that fifteen-year-old Sylvie and her grand-mere deal in more than herbs and medicines. Perhaps they’re a bit . . . witchy?

After her grandmother dies, and an attempt to use magic to heal her mother’s grief brooks tragic consequences, Sylvie leaves her village in search of a teacher. The journey subjects her to strange alliances, powerful temptations, danger, and deceit.

In the end, there may be only one wise woman Sylvie can trust in a world that would define her limits: herself. Beautifully crafted, this quietly powerful work for younger readers assures a whole new audience for an established author.

Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): fantasy, historical fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 5-8
  • Themes: France, healers, journeys, magic, 16th Century, resilience, powers, trusting oneself
  • Protagonist description: female, age 15, French, white

*Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese

The grownups are out-of-town, and for Charley Decker that means one thing: a last epic weekend with her older brother Greg before he leaves for college. Bring on the burgers, milkshakes, and movie marathons!

So when Greg ditches Charley for a date night downtown, she’s kind of crushed. Worse, he gets their mom’s boyfriend’s super-expensive, super-rare Mustang towed and needs Charley’s help to get it back. What’s an unsupervised seventh grader to do? Grab her best friends, sneak into the city, pull off the ultimate car heist, and then make Greg pay, of course!

Only now the Mustang has a new feature in the trunk: a stowaway named Mitch who’s guarding a world-changing secret. And a pair of seriously big, seriously scary dudes are after him.

What follows is an all-night race around the clock as Charley and her friends try to dodge the twin terrors, save Mitch, fix a sibling squabble…and get the Mustang home before morning!

Publishers Weekly and Kirkus starred. This sounds a bit like Adventures in Babysitting or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to me!

  • Genre(s): humor, adventure
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-8
  • Themes: siblings, muscle cars (Mustang), crime, kidnapping, saving the world, rescues
  • Protagonist description: female, 7th grade, age 12, cued as white

*Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff

Annabelle Blake fully expects this school year to be the same as every other: same teachers, same classmates, same, same, same. So she’s elated to discover there’s a new kid in town.

To Annabelle, Bailey is a breath of fresh air. She loves hearing about their life in Seattle, meeting their loquacious (and kinda corny) parents, and hanging out at their massive house. And it doesn’t hurt that Bailey has a cute smile, nice hands (how can someone even have nice hands?) and smells really good.

Suddenly sixth grade is anything but the same. And when her irascible father shares that he and Bailey have something big–and surprising–in common, Annabelle begins to see herself, and her family, in a whole new light.

At the same time she starts to realize that her community, which she always thought of as home, might not be as welcoming as she had thought. Together Annabelle, Bailey, and their families discover how these categories that seem to mean so much—boy, girl, gay, straight, fruit, vegetable—aren’t so clear-cut after all.

Booklist and Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 4-8
  • Themes: school, new kid in town, community, LGBTQIA+, friendship, nonbinary, transgender, queer, fathers and daughters, inclusion, labels
  • Protagonist description: female, 6th grade, white

*A Duet For Home by Karina Yan Glaser

It’s June’s first day at Huey House, and as if losing her home weren’t enough, she also can’t bring her cherished viola inside. Before the accident last year, her dad saved tip money for a year to buy her viola, and she’s not about to give it up now.

Tyrell has been at Huey House for three years and gives June a glimpse of the good things about living there: friendship, hot meals, and a classical musician next door.

Can he and June work together to oppose the government, or will families be forced out of Huey House before they are ready?

Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred.

  • Genre(s): realistic fiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-8
  • Themes: musicians, musical instruments, violas, classical music, homelessness, homeless shelters, community, New York City, death of a parent (father), parental depression, child taking care of parent, sisters
  • Protagonist description: female, age 11, Chinese American; entire cast of characters is diverse

Packing for Mars for Kids by Mary Roach

What is it like to float weightlessly in the air? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a spacewalk? How do astronauts go to the bathroom? Is it true that they don’t shower? Can farts really be deadly in space?

Best-selling Mary Roach has the answers. In this whip-smart, funny, and informative young readers adaptation of her best-selling Packing for Mars, Roach guides us through the irresistibly strange, frequently gross, and awe-inspiring realm of space travel and life without gravity. From flying on NASA’s Weightless Wonder to eating space food, Packing for Mars for Kids is chock-full of first-hand experiences and thorough research.

Booklist starred. Includes black-and-white photographs.

  • Genre(s): nonfiction, fact book
  • Recommended for: Grades 4-7
  • Themes: STEM, science, space travel, exploration, gravity, spacewalks, gross-out, NASA, bodily functions

*The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

As assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker, twelve-year-old Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady with a glittering future.

In reality, her father is a conman—and in a kingdom where the status of one’s ancestors dictates their social position, the truth could ruin her. Sai seizes the chance to join an expedition to chart the southern seas, but she isn’t the only one aboard with secrets.

When Sai learns that the ship might be heading for the fabled Sunderlands—a land of dragons, dangers, and riches beyond imagining—she must weigh the cost of her dreams.

Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred.

  • Genre(s): fantasy, adventure
  • Recommended for: Grades 3-8
  • Themes: con artists, kingdoms, family secrets, dragons, mapmakers, apprentices, stowaways, social class, colonialism, greed, imperialism
  • Protagonist description: female, age 12, Thai

Once Upon Another Time by James Riley

Once Upon Another Time, book 1. Five and a half feet might seem pretty tall for a twelve-year-old, but it’s not when your parents are giants. Lena has kept the fact that she’s a tiny giant secret, using magic to grow when out in the giant village. But hiding who she is has always felt wrong, even though she knows the other giants might not accept her. Fortunately, Lena has friends down in the Cursed City who understand that looking different doesn’t make her less of a giant.

Someone who knows not to judge by appearances is Jin, a young genie currently serving one thousand and thirty-eight years of genie training that requires him to fulfill the wish of whoever holds his magical ring. In Jin’s case, it’s the power-hungry Golden King. At least the king only has two wishes left, one of which is for Jin to go to the Cursed City and capture its protector, the Last Knight–one of Lena’s closest friends.

What Lena and Jin don’t know is how close the Golden King’s plans are to coming together, between his dark magic and his horrible Faceless knights. If Jin does find the Last Knight and bring him to the Golden King, why, that could doom the entire fairy-tale world.

…This sounds like it’ll end badly, doesn’t it?

Between that gorgeous cover and the well-known author, this book is going to be easy to booktalk with upper-elementary and middle school students. Put this book where the cover can be seen, and watch it go!

  • Genre(s): fantasy, adventure
  • Recommended for: Grades 4-7
  • Themes: giants, social acceptance, being too small, looking different, genies, greed, kingdoms, knights, mythical creatures, fairy tale characters
  • Protagonist description: young female giant who is much smaller than a giant should be, cued as white

Dog Says, Cat Says by Marilyn Singer

From morning to night, a cat and dog who live together show their innate feline and canine natures.

The dog barks at the delivery man while the cat barely notices; the dog runs out to play when the children return from school, while the cat prefers to keep napping on the soft couch.

Neither gets the better of the other in their rhyming interchanges, and by day’s end they realize that, despite being opposites, they are happier when they’re together.

Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: cats, dogs, pet behavior, rhyming couplets, opposites attract, friendship, siblings
  • Protagonist description: black dog, orange cat; dark-haired girl, ginger-haired boy, both white

A Good Place by Lucy Cousins

Bee, Ladybug, Beetle, and Dragonfly are looking for somewhere to live. And each has a different want: Bee loves flowers, Ladybug prefers leaves, Beetle is fond of dead wood, and Dragonfly likes ponds.

But every time they find what seems like the perfect spot—with beautiful flowers, a tiny pond, some dead wood, or gorgeous green leaves—they discover it’s underfoot, near traffic, or otherwise not safe.

Will these four friends ever find a good place? Lucy Cousins brings her bold artwork and endearing characters to an inviting story that leads to a dazzling conclusion, showing children that even in an urban environment, encouraging wildlife and natural ecosystems can create a healthy and beautiful habitat for all of us.

School Library Journal starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: insects, nature, flowers, safety, habitats, spring, gardens, urban animals, home
  • Protagonist description: five insect friends — bee, ladybug, beetle, dragonfly, butterfly

The Great Zapfino by Mac Barnett

When The Great Zapfino climbs to the top of the circus platform, all eyes are on him, waiting for his incredible leap. But Zapfino is afraid of heights! He can’t take the pressure and flees, boards a plane, and runs away to start a new life.

In the city, Zapfino starts work as an elevator operator in a tall building but soon learns you can never really outrun your fears. When disaster strikes, can Zapfino find the strength to be great?

Publishers Weekly starred.

  • Genre(s): nearly-wordless picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: circuses, fear of heights, running away, confronting fears, inner strength, building fire, humor
  • Protagonist description: man, white

I’m Terrified of Bath Time by Simon Rich, Illustrated by Tom Toro

And so begins a hilarious dip into the choppy waters of a nightly ritual that parents and children alike often dread.

Filled with soapsuds, rubber duckies, and existential angst, Simon Rich’s debut picture book is a splashy tale of cleanliness–and survival. This irreverent read-aloud treat about facing fear and embracing adventure might just change the way you see bath time (and your bathroom) forever.

Booklist starred. The bathtub is the narrator–love that! It’s the bathtub that is afraid of bathtime every night, not a child. I seriously laughed out loud just from reading a few quotations from this book, so get ready for some hilarious read-alouds! This will also be a great segue into writing from the point of view of household objects. Very fun!

  • Genre(s): picture book, humor
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: bathtime, rubber duckies, survival, personal hygiene, bathroom fixtures, unique narrators
  • Protagonist description: white bathtub and other bathroom fixtures

A Perfect Fit : How Lena Lane Bryant Changed the Shape of Fashion by Mara Rockliff, Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Lena came to America with nothing but a dream–and an exceptional ability to drape and snip and stitch. She never used a pattern or a tape measure, but every dress she sewed turned out to be a perfect fit.

Then, one day, a customer presented her with a new challenge. Could she design a stylish, comfortable gown for a body shape that did not meet the current standards of fashion?

Lena took the challenge. Under the company name Lane Bryant, she became famous for flattering and modish clothing designed for all different shapes and sizes. The world of fashion would never be the same.

Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book biography
  • Recommended for: Grades K-2
  • Themes: fashion, design, sewing, entrepreneurs, immigrants, different body shapes, plus-size clothing, New York City, garment factory work
  • Protagonist description: female adult, Lithuanian-born immigrant, Jewish, white

The Tide Pool Waits by Candace Fleming, Illustrated by Amy Hevron

Twice a day when the tide goes out, an astonishing world is revealed in the tide pools that form along the Pacific Coast.

Some of the creatures that live here look like stone. Others look like plants. Some move so slowly it’s hard to tell if they’re moving at all, while others are so fast you’re not sure you really saw them. The biggest animals in the pool are smaller than your hand, while the smallest can’t be seen at all without a microscope.

During low tide, all these creatures – big, small, fast, slow – are exposed to air and the sun’s drying heat. And so they have developed ways to survive the wait until the ocean’s return.

Candace Fleming is the author of Honeybee, which received an Orbis Pictus Honor and 7 starred reviews. She brings her knack for making science and nature appealing to the very young in The Tidepool Waits with detailed accounts of dozens of species of sea life, culminating in a perfect primer for students and nature lovers taking their first trip to the shore. Her text is accompanied by effervescent artwork by Amy Hevron and substantial backmatter.

Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book, nonfiction
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: tide pools, Pacific Coast, animals, plants, nature, survival, adaptation, natural science, observation, biomes, ecosystems, oceans, onomatopoeia





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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