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New Release Spotlight – June 18, 2024

I didn’t think this week’s Spotlight was a big one…until I got to the picture books! Lots of excellent picture book choices this week.

My top picks this week:

  • Where Wolves Don’t Die by Anton Treuer (YA)
  • Rachel Friedman Breaks the Rules by Sarah Kapit (chapter book)
  • Home in a Lunchbox by Cherry Mo (picture book)

PRESENTATION LINKS:

All three presentations are in Canva and editable! Just click below, then go to File-Make a Copy in your Canva account. If you do not have a Canva account, you can get a free educator account here (must be verified).

I will add titles to the Canva presentations throughout June 2024. By the end of the month, each presentation will have around 20 titles on it.

YA Presentation Link – Grades 7+

Middle Grades Presentation Link – Grades 3-8

Picture Book Presentation Link – PreS-Grade 5+

This week’s Spotlight titles are #4135 – #4150 on The Ginormous Booklist.

 

Romance
With Love, Miss Americanah

Author: Jane Igharo

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: romance

Recommended for: Grades 9-12

Setting: starts in Nigeria then moves to upstate New York, USA

Themes: death of a parent (father), grief, moving to a new country, fitting in, American culture, iconic teen movies, school theater

Protagonist: female, age 17, Nigerian; male love interest is Brazilian American

Starred reviews: Booklist and Kirkus

Pages: 320


See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

This looks like a fun romance about a teen immigrant from Nigeria to New York. Starting high school in a new country is NOT easy, but never fear! Enore has iconic teen movies like Mean Girls and Clueless to help her out!

Two starred reviews and very easy to booktalk! Teen movies, a strict parent, and a cute love interest. What’s not to love?

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

17-year-old Enore Adesuwa doesn’t dive into things, she walks in carefully. So when she, her mother, and her sister move from Nigeria to America shortly after her father’s death, she wants to be extremely prepared before attending an American high school.

Her cousin, Adrian, doesn’t have time to explain the ins and outs to her but, luckily, he recommends the perfect research tool: teen movies.

Still dealing with grief but armed with a set of rules of survival gathered from these movies (including the crucial rule of keeping a low profile), Enore is ready for her senior year.

But when she meets Davi Santiago, it may be much harder than she thought to keep to her rules. Because not only is he super thoughtful (and okay, very good looking), he constantly encourages her to share her incredible singing talent. Enore prefers the background but it just might be time for her to take center stage, even in spite of her mother’s strict expectations.

Maybe it would be easier to follow all the rules, the ones Enore set for herself and the ones her mom imposes, but as every teen movie has taught her, a coming-of-age is nothing without a little rebellion. And with help from her crush, her sister, and some new friends who don’t quite fit the roles she expects them to play, Enore’s senior year might indeed be cinematic.

Thriller
Where Wolves Don't Die

Author: Anton Treuer

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: thriller

Recommended for: Grades 7-12

Setting: starts in northeast Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; goes to Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation reservation in Ontario, Canada

Themes: bullying, arson, falsely-accused, criminal investigations, First Nations, Ojibwe culture, racism, death of a parent (mother), grief

Protagonist: male, age 15, member of the Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation (Canada), ninth grader

Starred reviews: Booklist

Pages: 320


See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

I love this cover and am so happy to see more books by First Nations people about First Nations people. I also like that the protagonist is a 9th grade boy, not something we see very often. The protagonists in YA tend to be a little older.

One starred review, but I haven’t seen an SLJ review yet.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Ezra Cloud hates living in Northeast Minneapolis. His father is a professor of their language, Ojibwe, at a local college, so they have to be there.

But Ezra hates the dirty, polluted snow around them. He hates being away from the rez at Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation. And he hates the local bully in his neighborhood, Matt Schroeder, who terrorizes Ezra and his friend Nora George.

Ezra gets into a terrible fight with Matt at school defending Nora, and that same night, Matt’s house burns down.

Instantly, Ezra becomes a prime suspect. Knowing he won’t get a fair deal, and knowing his innocence, Ezra’s family sends him away to run traplines with his grandfather in a remote part of Canada, while the investigation is ongoing. But the Schroeders are looking for him…

Realistic Fiction
Rules for Camouflage

Author: Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: realistic fiction

Recommended for: Grades 9-12

Setting: Minnesota, USA

Themes: neurodiversity, school projects, volunteer work, octopuses, zoos, bullying, standing up for oneself, school failing to make accommodations for neurodivergent students

Protagonist: female, white, neurodivergent, HS senior

Starred reviews: Booklist and Kirkus

Pages: 336


See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

Good gravy, the school in this book sounds really unsafe and terrible. A teacher who refuses accommodations, which is illegal, and forces any student to do a final senior project on foxes instead of octopuses? What teacher would care about something so trivial? Does she hate teenagers, or what?

The schools I’ve worked in were positive places that had caring teachers, staff, and administrators. Sadly, I’m sure many students can identify with an unfair teacher making life unnecessarily difficult for the student.

Two starred reviews, and another title that will be easy to booktalk.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Evvie Chambers is doing her best to skate through the last month of high school to graduation. The only thing standing in her way is a biology report on foxes—and her teacher, Mrs. Audrey Dearborn. The same Mrs. Dearborn who’s been a thorn in Evvie’s side for years, refusing to acknowledge or accommodate her neurodiversity. Evvie would much rather be doing her report on Aretha, the octopus she cares for when she volunteers at the Minnesota Zoo but deviating from the exact assignment isn’t allowed—and Mrs. Dearborn isn’t going to make following the rules easy.

Evvie’s only escape from high school hell is the Lair: a safe haven for kids whose brains need some time away. But when Mrs. Dearborn refuses Evvie’s pleas to finesse the final report assignment to her strengths, and persistent bully Vandal McDaniel directs his harassment toward Lair members, Evvie finds herself more desperate than ever for stability and support.

When a shocking act of violence pushes the whole mess over the edge, Evvie, with the help of her friends and the others who love her, will have to figure out how to find her place in the wide world, while remaining true to herself.

Rom-Com
The Calculation of You and Me

Author: Serena Kaylor

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: romance, rom-com

Recommended for: Grades 9-12

Setting: Georgia, USA

Themes: neurodiversity, autism, dating and relationships, social skills, awkwardness, math, ex-boyfriends, determination, wit, sarcasm

Protagonist: female, white, autistic, HS senior

Starred reviews: Kirkus

Pages: 304


See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

If you’ve seen Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix (and if you haven’t, you totally should!), this reminds me a bit of that. We have a female HS senior with autism, scheming to get her ex-boyfriend back. Along the way, she makes a new friend to help her and learns more about herself in the process. Professional reviews mention sarcasm and wit, which also reminds me of the humor in CXG.

One starred professional review. I also like that this is only 300 pages – we need more YA of shorter lengths.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Marlowe Meadows understands a lot of things. She understands that calculus isn’t overwhelmingly beautiful to everyone, and that it typically kills the mood when you try to talk Python coding over beer pong.

She understands that people were surprised when golden boy Josh asked her out and she went from weird, math-obsessed Marlowe to half of their school’s couple goals.

Unfortunately, Marlowe was the one surprised when Josh dumped her because he’d prefer a girlfriend who’s more romantic. One with emotional depth.

But Marlowe has never failed anything in her life, and she isn’t about to start now. When she’s paired with Ashton Hayes for an English project, his black clothing and moody eyeliner cause a bit of a systems overload, and the dissonant sounds of his rock band make her brain itch.

But when she discovers Ash’s hidden stash of love songs, Marlowe makes a desperate deal to unleash her inner romantic heroine: if Ash will agree to help her write some love letters to win back Josh, she’ll calculate the perfect data analytics formula to make Ash’s band go viral.

As the semester heats up with yearning love notes, a syllabus of romance novels, and late nights spent with a boy who escapes any box her brain tries to put him in, Marlowe starts to question if there’s really a set solution to love.

Could a girl who’s never met a problem she can’t solve have gotten the math so massively wrong?

Romance
Four Eids and a Funeral

Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé and Adiba Jaigirdar

Publication date: June 4, 2024

Genre: romance, realistic fiction

Recommended for: Grades 9-12

Setting: summer in New Crosshaven, Vermont, USA

Themes: male-female friendships, former best friends, Eid-al-Fitr, funerals, grief, returning home, mending friendships, racism

Protagonist: perspectives alternate between female, Black, Muslim, Yoruban, Nigerian American and male, Bangladeshi, Muslim

Starred reviews: no starred reviews

Pages: 336


See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

This title released on June 4, but I was waiting to see if any starred reviews popped up before I featured it. None as of this week, but there are several positive professional reviews.

I love the focus on Eid and Muslim traditions; there is always room for more culturally diverse titles in the library.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

These days, Said Hossain spends most of his time away at boarding school. But when his favorite hometown librarian, Ms. Barnes, dies, he must return to New Crosshaven for her funeral and for the summer.

Too bad being home makes it a lot harder to avoid facing his ex–best friend, Tiwa Olatunji, or facing the daunting task of telling his Bangladeshi parents that he would rather be an artist than a doctor.

Tiwa doesn’t understand what made Said start ignoring her, but it’s probably that fancy boarding school of his. Though he’s unexpectedly staying at home through the summer, she’s determined to take a page from him and pretend he doesn’t exist. Besides, she has more than enough going on anyway, between grieving her broken family and helping her mother throw the upcoming Eid celebration at the Islamic Center―a place that means so much to Tiwa.

But when the Islamic Center accidentally catches fire, it turns out the mayor plans to demolish the center entirely. Things are still tense between the ex-friends, but Tiwa needs Said’s help if there’s any hope of changing the mayor’s mind, and on top of everything, Said needs a project to submit to art school (unbeknownst to anyone).

Will all their efforts be enough to save the Islamic Center, save Eid, and maybe even save their relationship?

Realistic Fiction
The Last Apple Tree

Author: Claudia Mills

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: realistic fiction

Recommended for: Grades 3-8

Setting: Indiana, USA

Themes: grief, new kid in town, grandfathers, friendship, tree conservation, neighbors, alternating perspectives, family secrets, unique narrators

Protagonist: 3rd person narrative alternates between two 7th graders and an old apple tree; one female and one male, both white

Starred reviews: Kirkus

Pages: 272


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Twelve-year-old Sonnet’s family has just moved across the country to live with her grandfather after her nana dies. Gramps’s once-impressive apple orchard has been razed for a housing development, with only one heirloom tree left.

Sonnet doesn’t want to think about how Gramps and his tree are both growing old—she just wants everything to be okay.

Sonnet is not okay with her neighbor, Zeke, a boy her age who gets on her bad side and stays there when he tries to choose her grandpa to interview for an oral history assignment. Zeke irks Sonnet with his prying questions, bringing out the sad side of Gramps she’d rather not see.

Meanwhile, Sonnet joins the Green Club at school and without talking to Zeke about it, she asks his activist father to speak at the Arbor Day assembly—a collision of worlds that Zeke wanted more than anything to avoid.

But when the interviews uncover a buried tragedy that concerns Sonnet’s mother, and an emergency forces Sonnet and Zeke to cooperate again, Sonnet learns not just to accept Zeke as he is, but also that sometimes forgetting isn’t the solution—even when remembering seems harder.

Fantasy
The Girl Who Kept the Castle

Author: Ryan Graudin

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: fantasy

Recommended for: Grades 3-7

Setting: the castle Celurdur 

Themes: castles, ghosts, competitions, power, good versus evil, fathers and daughters, magic

Protagonist: female, age 12, white, groundskeeper's daughter

Starred reviews: no starred reviews

Pages: 333

Notes: Book 1 of a planned duology.


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Wizard West was dead for nearly an entire day before he noticed. And it is up to Faye, the daughter of West’s groundskeeper, to inform the wizard that he is a ghost who has lost all of his magical powers. (But not before the wizard tries transforming her into a cat!)

To make matters worse, the enchanted castle of Celurdur—the only home that Faye has ever known—will fall apart at the next full moon if its foundation spells can’t be renewed.

After (sort of) accepting his demise, West decides to host a competition to choose his successor. Faye finds herself fighting to keep the tournament running smoothly behind the scenes: putting out kitchen fires, feeding the compost dragon, and making sure competitors stay away from the cockatrice pen.

But killer roosters soon become the least of her worries. A servant of the evil Shadow Queen has sabotaged the contest—set on destroying not just Celurdur but the entire kingdom of Solum. It is up to Faye to stop him, but she’ll need more than a mop.

Will a maid’s magic be enough to save everything she loves from utter destruction?

Realistic Fiction
Anatomy of Lost Things

Author: Shawn K. Stout

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: realistic fiction

Recommended for: Grades 3-8

Setting: small town in Maryland, USA

Themes: grief, loss, moving to a new town, family problems, anxiety, alternating perspectives, Madagascar hissing cockroaches as pets, unique pets

Protagonist: narrative alternates among three protagonists: two females and one male, all tweens (one is age 11), all three are white

Starred reviews: Kirkus

Pages: 272


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

A necklace. A bugle. A lion statue. What do they have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing unless you’re Tildy, Leon, or Nell. These items matter an awful lot to them. Not because of what they are, but what—and who—they represent.

Anatomy of Lost Things shares the crisscrossing stories of Tildy, Leon, and Nell, of the impossible losses they’ve each recently faced, and the unexpected histories of their prized objects. Written with heartbreaking honesty and humor, this novelunfolds in the tender space that exists between staggering loss and the start of recovery, and it finds plenty of hope and laughter waiting there.

Science Fiction
Countdown to Yesterday

Author: Shirley Marr

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: science fiction, magical realism

Recommended for: Grades 3-7

Setting: Australia

Themes: time travel, divorce, memories, perception versus reality, nostalgia, friendship, family problems

Protagonist: male, age 11, biracial (Chinese and white), Australian

Starred reviews: Kirkus

Pages: 272


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

The present is the last place James wants to be. Since his parents have separated, he’s been living two different lives and neither of them add up to the great one he used to have. He thinks about his Top Six memories and wonders if he can go back.

During National Science Week, James meets the enigmatic Yan, a girl who looks at the world with x-ray eyes, and discovers that time travel might be possible after all.

The two budding scientists’ quest to restore James’s lost past brings them into contact with retro Australian Women’s Weekly birthday cakes, old Commodore computers, chaotic rideshare vehicles of the future, and spacemen.

But as they get closer to their goal, James is forced to consider that his favorite moments from his personal history may not be as perfect as he remembers them.

Chapter Book
Rachel Friedman Breaks the Rules

Author: Sarah Kapit

Illustrator: Genevieve Kote

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: chapter book, realistic fiction

Recommended for: Grades K-4

Themes: ADHD, following rules, the importance of rules, the importance of breaking rules, listening to your conscience, gymnastics

Protagonist: female, age 8, cues white in illustrations, Jewish, has ADHD

Starred reviews: no starred reviews

Pages: 112


See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

I’m always down for a cute new chapter book series by Sarah Kapit! And I love that this one features a young girl with ADHD who struggles with the purpose of following rules.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Rachel loves being Jewish, but she hates following the rules at synagogue―and everywhere else.

To encourage her to see the value of rules, Rachel and her father strike a deal: If Rachel can stick to the rules for one whole week, she can go to a meet and greet for her favorite gymnast!

But when Rachel finds herself in a tricky situation that forces her to choose between following the rules or doing what she believes is right, she learns that some rules are worth breaking. And yet, when the consequences of her rule breaking spin out of control, she learns that some rules are still worth following.

Sarah Kapit creates a refreshing chapter book heroine in Rachel Friedman, featuring her identity, ADHD, and personality with care. The book also features Genevieve Kote’s adorable illustrations throughout.

Chapter Book
Bibsy Cross and the Bad Apple

Author: Liz Garton Scanlon

Illustrator: Dung Ho

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: chapter book

Recommended for: Grades 1-4

Setting: elementary school classrooms

Themes: school stories, conflict with a teacher, trouble at school, friendship, positive reinforcement, punishment at school

Protagonist: female, age 8, light-skinned, 3rd grader

Starred reviews: Publishers Weekly and Kirkus

Pages: 128

Notes: Book 1 in the Bisby Cross series


See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

This chapter looks adorable! I love that this features a female protagonist getting into trouble at school. It reminds me of the Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby books from my childhood or, more recently, Sarah Pennypacker’s Clementine series.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Most things are easy-peasy, regular-pegular for Bibsy Cross. She loves her parents, her cat, her best friend, Natia. And she loves going to school. She might just love that most of all!

This year, Bibsy has Mrs. Stumper for a teacher… and Mrs. Stumper doesn’t seem too keen on Bibsy. She thinks Bibsy talks too much–especially about her science fair project.

But one day, when Bibsy talks a little too much, and goes a stone too far, Mrs. Stumper punishes her by punching a hole in her paper apple that hangs in the classroom. And Bibsy is devastated.

How can she make the best science fair project when she feels so rotten?

Picture Book
My Daddy Is a Cowboy

Author: Stephanie Seales

Illustrator: C. G. Esperanza 

Publication date: June 11, 2024

Genre: picture book

Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3

Setting: pre-dawn

Themes: cowboys, stories, fathers and daughters, community, Black joy

Protagonist: young girl and her father, both Afro-Latine and Panamanian American

Starred reviews: Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus

Pages: 48


See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

Three starred reviews on this one!

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

In the early hours before dawn, a young girl and her father greet their horses and ride together through the waking city streets. As they trot along, Daddy tells cowboy stories filled with fun and community, friendship, discovery, and pride.

Seeing her city from a new vantage point and feeling seen in a new way, the child discovers that she too is a cowboy—strong and confident in who she is.

Thoughtfully and lyrically written by debut author Stephanie Seales, with vibrant illustrations from award-winning artist C. G. Esperanza, this beautiful picture book is a celebration of Black joy, outdoor play, and quality time spent between child and parent.

Picture Book
Sparrow Loves Birds

Author: Murry Burgess

Illustrator: Tamisha Anthony

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: picture book

Recommended for: PreS-3

Setting: birds featured suggest a Eastern and Midwestern U.S. and Canada setting

Themes: birdwatching, bird facts, nature, animals

Protagonist: young girl, brown skin, dark hair worn in braids

Starred reviews: no starred reviews

Pages: 40

Notes: Includes profiles of 17 bird species, such as robins, thrashers, and cardinals.


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Sparrow sets out for a day of birding, where she watches, listens, and identifies the many types of birds around her through their color (red—a cardinal), song (“Cheer up! Cheer up!”—a robin), and movement (flitting backward, forward, and even upside down—a hummingbird).

Using her notebook and markers, Sparrow records all the birds she sees on her walk.

This interactive STEM offering is a welcome primer for young children interested in birding close to home. The back matter features an author’s note, birding tips for kids to get started, and a primer birding field guide.

Based on a True Story
Barrio Rising: The Protest that Built Chicano Park

Author: María Dolores Águila

Illustrator: Magdalena Mora

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: picture book

Recommended for: PreS-3

Setting: 12 days of protest in 970; Chicano Park in Barrio Logan, a Chicano neighborhood in San Diego, California, USA

Themes: discrimination, racism, neighborhood parks, community activism, based on a true story, Spanish language, Aztec cultural symbols, Maya cultural symbols, protests

Protagonist: young Chicana (Mexican American) girl

Starred reviews: Publishers Weekly and Kirkus

Pages: 40

Notes: Released simultaneously in Spanish.

See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

This is fiction, but it is based on a true story of community activism in San Diego in 1970.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Barrio Logan, one of San Diego’s oldest Chicane neighborhoods, once brimmed with families and stretched all the way to the glorious San Diego Bay. But in the decades after WWII, the community lost their beach and bayfront to factories, junkyards, and an interstate that divided the neighborhood and forced around 5,000 people out of their homes.

Then on April 22, 1970, residents discovered that the construction crew they believed was building a park—one the city had promised them years ago—was actually breaking ground for a police station.

That’s when they knew it was time to make their voices heard. B

arrio Rising invites readers to join a courageous young activist and her neighbors in their successful twelve-day land occupation and beyond, when Barrio Logan banned together and built the colorful park that would become the corazón of San Diego’s Chicane community.

Also available in Spanish/también disponible en español: El barrio se levanta

Picture Book Biography
Wat Takes His Shot: The Life & Legacy of Basketball Hero Wataru Misaka

Author: Cheryl Kim

Illustrator: Nat Iwata

Publication date: June 18, 2024

Genre: picture book biography, picture book for older readers, sports

Recommended for: PreS-Grade 7

Setting: Ogden, Utah, 1940s

Themes: prejudice, discrimination, basketball, overcoming adversity, sports, Japanese internment camps, NBA history, basketball history

Protagonist: Wataru Misaka, a Japanese American basketball player

Starred reviews: SLJ

Pages: 40


See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

This is a picture book biography about professional basketball player Wataru Misaka. He was the first non-white basketball player in the Basketball Association of America, which later became the NBA.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

As a kid, Wataru Misaka channeled his endless energy into playing sports. Every Sunday, he raced to the park where his Japanese American community came together to play basketball. Wat wasn’t the tallest on the team, but he was fast and loved the game! Encouraged by his father to always do his best, Wat applied this mentality to every aspect and challenge in his life.

Wat was a college student when the US government forced more than 122,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast into incarceration camps during WWII. He overcame racism and segregation to join his college’s basketball team but despite Wat’s impressive skills, he was treated as an outsider because he was Japanese American.

Wat kept his eye on the ball, and his team-player mentality made him shine on and off the court. He became an inspiration to his Japanese American community. After helping Utah University’s basketball team win the national championship in 1947, Wat was drafted by the New York Knicks, making him the first person of color to play in the NBA.

Wat’s motivational story of rising to any challenge and bringing your best to everything you do is a reminder of the power we each have to inspire others–if we just take our shot!

Picture Book
Home in a Lunchbox

Author: Cherry Mo

Illustrator: Cherry Mo

Publication date: June 11, 2024

Genre: picture book

Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3

Setting: elementary school in the USA

Themes: Chinese food, Chinese culture, moving to a new country, immigrant families, not speaking English, new kid at school, making new friends, Cantonese language

Protagonist: young girl, Chinese, Hong Kongese

Starred reviews: Publishers Weekly

Pages: 40


See it on Amazon

MY THOUGHTS

Illustrations look so lovely! As someone who lives in a place where I am still learning the local language, I can absolutely empathize with the young girl in this story. I speak a lot more than 3 phrases of Spanish, but it can still be difficult and frustrating to communicate sometimes.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

When Jun moves from Hong Kong to America, the only words she knows are hello, thank youI don’t know, and toilet. Her new school feels foreign and terrifying.

But when she opens her lunchbox to find her favorite meals—like bao, dumplings, and bok choy—she realizes home isn’t so far away after all.

Through lush art and spare dialogue, Cherry Mo’s breathtakingly beautiful debut picture book reminds readers that friendship and belonging can be found in every bite.

PREVIOUS NEW RELEASE SPOTLIGHTS

   
 

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.

Each week, school librarian Leigh Collazo compiles the New Release Spotlight using a combination of Follett’s Titlewave, Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble. Recommended grade levels represent the range of grade levels recommended by professional book reviewers. See the full selection criteria here.

Inevitably, there are far more books that meet my criteria than can make it on the Spotlight. When I have to make the tough decisions on what to include, I just use my “librarian judgment.” Would I buy this book for my own library? Would my students want to read this book? Is the cover appealing? Does it fill a need?

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