Spotlight on Social-Emotional Learning Books

Social-emotional learning (SEL): is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. Children learn about identifying and managing emotions, coping with stress, positive motivation, building relationships, deepening their sense of self, and thinking critically and creatively.

Here are some books that help apply these everyday skills in their experiences at school, at home, and in the community.

Bear Outside
By Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Jen Corace
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446131 | Neal Porter Books
In this imaginative picture book by Jane Yolen, acclaimed author of many distinguished children’s books including Owl Moon and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, a girl explores the many ways she expresses herself by imagining that she wears a bear as her personal protective shell. They go everywhere and do everything together. The Bear is like a suit of armor and a partner all in one, protecting her from bullies and giving her strength to be bold when she needs it. In turn, she listens to and takes care of the Bear.

Big Feelings
By Alexandra Penfold
Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
42 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525579748 | Knopf BFYR
In their bestselling picture book All Are Welcome, Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman celebrate kindness, inclusivity, and diversity. Now with Big Feelings, they help children navigate the emotional challenges they face in their daily lives. What should we do when things don’t go to plan? We may feel mad, frustrated, or overwhelmed, but by talking it through, compromising, and seeing another point of view, we can start fresh, begin anew.

Carol and the Pickle-Toad
By Esmé Shapiro
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263987 | Tundra Books
In the big city, people wear all kinds of hats. Not everyone wears a toad as a hat, but some people do . . . and some of those toad hats can be VERY bossy! Carol has always followed the orders of her demanding toad hat at the expense of her own inner voice. But when her toad hat is plucked away by a pigeon, how will Carol know what to do? After spending so long being told what to eat and do and paint, Carol’s not sure what SHE wants, and nothing feels quite right. Feeling lost, she creates a new hat – a toad made out of pickles and eggs – to help guide her. Even though her new pickle-toad doesn’t make a sound, Carol can hear it loud and clear! But when a pigeon takes away THAT hat too, Carol begins to understand that there is a big, booming voice that lives inside herself . . . and that it’s well worth listening to! For any reader who’s doubted their own voice and talents, or felt like a bossy friend or family member is always drowning them out, Carol and the Pickle-Toad is an inspiring invitation to listen to your own heart and stand on your own two feet – even better if you’re wearing very tall boots.

Daisy
By Jessixa Bagley
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446506 | Neal Porter Books
“Daisies seem so simple on the surface, but when you look closely you see their hidden beauty.” That’s what Daisy the warthog’s mom always says, and it’s the reason she got her name. But when Daisy goes to school, she doesn’t feel like her name. The other kids, Rose, Violet, and Petunia, make fun of her and call her “Thistle.” Daisy spends a lot of time with her head down, but she doesn’t need her classmates to have fun. When she looks at the forest floor, she starts to find all sorts of treasures, beautiful things that were once special and have since been forgotten. The other kids might make fun of her pastime, but it turns out she’s not the only one who appreciates the hidden beauty of forgotten things when she meets a like-minded new friend.

Ellie’s Dragon
By Bob Graham
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536211139 | Candlewick
When Ellie is very small, she finds a lovable newborn dragon on a carton of eggs in the grocery store. Ellie calls him Scratch, takes him home, and moves him into her dollhouse. Her mother can’t see Scratch, and her teacher doesn’t notice when Ellie brings Scratch to preschool, yet her friends are amazed. Ellie is lucky to have an affectionate, house-trained dragon like Scratch! But dragons get quite large as they grow. And Ellie is growing, too, moving from dollhouses to dance parties, not noticing that Scratch’s brilliant green scales are beginning to fade a little. . . . A wistful, quietly thought-provoking tribute to the friends who appear when we need them most, even if it’s just for a little while.

I Do Not Like Yolanda
By Zoey Abbott
44  Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266513 | Tundra Books
When Bianca gets stuck in Yolanda’s line at the post office, she expects the worst: scowls, claws, teeth . . . This is what she gets for having a five-letter day. She might not survive . . . Or will Yolanda surprise her? This hilarious story explores fear and kindness, in that order, when Bianca decides to overcome her terror and ask Yolanda very nicely how her weekend was . . . and learns that Yolanda is not scary, she’s a delight! A truly lovely book about questioning your assumptions and reaching out to another person, no matter how scary they might be.

Jabari Tries
By Gaia Cornwall
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536207163 | Candlewick
Jabari is making a flying machine in his backyard! “It’ll be easy. I don’t need any help,” he declares. But it doesn’t work! Jabari is frustrated. Good thing Dad is there for a pep talk and his little sister, Nika, is there to assist, fairy wings and all. With the endearing father-child dynamic of Jabari Jumps and engaging mixed-media illustrations, Gaia Cornwall’s tale shows that through perseverance and flexibility, an inventive thought can become a brilliant reality.

Laxmi’s Mooch
By Shelly Anand
Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984815651 | Kokila
Laxmi never paid much attention to the tiny hairs above her lip. But one day while playing farm animals at recess, her friends point out that her whiskers would make her the perfect cat. She starts to notice body hair all over – on her arms, legs, and even between her eyebrows. With her parents’ help, Laxmi learns that hair isn’t just for heads, but that it grows everywhere, regardless of gender. Featuring affirming text by Shelly Anand and exuberant, endearing illustrations by Nabi H. Ali, Laxmi’s Mooch is a celebration of our bodies and our body hair, in whichever way they grow.

Mad, Mad, MAD
By Leslie Patricelli
26 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536203806 | Candlewick
Sometimes Baby is sad. And sometimes mad, mad, MAD! Baby screams and falls to the floor, and a spectacular tantrum follows, from furious crying to the final flop. What happens when Baby wants to stop, but even hugging a beloved blankie doesn’t dissolve the cranky? Maybe a walkabout is in order, with some mindful breathing to boot? Master of toddler expression Leslie Patricelli turns the focus to feelings in a relatable episode offering some tips for helping the mad go away.

Maya’s Big Scene
By Isabelle Arsenault
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267602 | Tundra Books
Maya is an imposing, burgeoning playwright and loves to have the kids in her Mile End neighborhood bring her scenes to life. Her latest work, about a feminist revolution, is almost ready for public performance. But as her actors begin to express their costume preferences, Maya quickly learns that their visions may not match hers . . . and as both Director and Queen, Maya demands obedience and loyalty in her queendom of equality! But she soon realizes – with the help of her friends and subjects – that absolute bossiness corrupts absolutely!

Mr. Mole Moves In
By Lesley-Anne Green
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918029 | Tundra Books
Mr. Mole is a very well-mannered fellow. He greets fence posts politely, he compliments watermelons and he generously gives children erasers to eat. The critters of Juniper Hollow are confused, but they befriend him anyway. After all, maybe this is just how things are done back in Moletown . . . and in Juniper Hollow, strangers are just friends waiting to happen! This hilarious story of compassion, friendship, and wacky misunderstandings will tickle readers, and the fuzzy artwork will delight fans big and small.

My Little Brave Girl
By Hilary Duff
Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593300725 | Random House BFYR
A poetic text encourages girls to reach higher, dream bigger, and approach the world with their hearts wide open. This love letter to little girls was inspired by Hilary Duff’s own experience as a mother as she considered all the ways her daughter had to be brave even as an infant. With lush illustrations and an empowering message, My Little Brave Girl is the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, graduation, and any time a girl – or woman – is embarking on a new chapter of her life!

Sometimes It’s Bright
By Annie Ruygt
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781684379828 | Boyds Mills Press
In this visually rich picture book, a girl discovers the joy of creativity, first on a walk through the city and ultimately within herself. As Ronan and her mother spend an afternoon together, the girl notices a sparkling brightness – flowing in the notes of a street musician, blaring from billboards, and flying from dancers on stage. Why does she sometimes feel bright – and where could she find that brightness when she wants it? Curious, she experiments . . . until she discovers the magic can come from her, too, when she dances, draws, and paints. Sometimes It’s Bright explores how being our most creative selves brings joy to us and to the world.

The Joy in You
By Cat Deeley
Illustrated by Rosie Butcher
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593181416 | Random House BFYR
Journey through a magical world where readers will find endless opportunities to be themselves and find freedom in expression, no matter where they are or who they’re with.  Kids will delight in the silly humor and undeniable spirit of this rhythmic picture book – and take to heart the message that they are enough exactly as they are! Cat Deeley’s debut is the perfect gift for new mom and baby, birthday celebrations, and any family in need of a spark of happiness.

The Purple Puffy Coat
By Maribeth Boelts
Illustrated by Daniel Duncan
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204971 | Candlewick
It’s almost Stick Bug’s birthday, and his fashionable friend Beetle can’t wait to give him his present – a purple puffy coat! The coat draws a lot of attention and makes Stick Bug really stick out in the crowd. Beetle thinks that’s terrific! He brings Stick Bug all over town, happily boasting and bragging (while Stick Bug waits behind a tree, in a pile of leaves, or under a bench). Oh, dear – maybe Stick Bug isn’t as wild about the purple puffy coat as Beetle is! What can the two friends do? Charming illustrations bring to life both characters’ endearing struggles in this warm and humorous story about learning to pay attention to what makes your friend happy rather than what makes you happy.

Toasty
By Sarah Hwang
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823447077 | Margaret Ferguson Books
Toasty loves dogs – so much so that he’d like to be one. He knows there are some differences – most dogs have four legs, but Toasty has two arms and two legs. Some dogs sleep in dog houses, but Toasty sleeps in a toaster. All dogs have hair and fur, but Toasty has neither because he’s made of bread. In spite of these differences, he decides to go to the park to play with the dogs but runs into trouble when they want to eat him. Lucky for Toasty, he is rescued by a little girl who has always wanted a dog but can’t have one because she is allergic. Toasty is the perfect dog for her.

Will You Be My Friend?
By Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217476 | Candlewick Press
Little Nutbrown Hare is out exploring on his own. Off he hops along the path and through the grass until he reaches Cloudy Mountain, where something extraordinary happens: he discovers a new friend! Now the fun can really begin. Twenty-five years after we met the Nutbrown Hares, this enchanting new tale about friendship is bound to capture the hearts of Guess How Much I Love You fans – and everyone else – the world over.

Ramadan and Eid Reading List

This year, the holy month of Ramadan will occur for Muslim people from April 13 to May 12, culminating with Eid al-Fitr on May 13. If you’re looking for books to celebrate Ramadan or just want to learn more about Muslim culture, here are some suggestions.

A Party in Ramadan
By Asma Mobin-Uddin
Illustrated by Laura Jacobsen
32 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781629798479 | Boyds Mills Press
Ramadan is coming, and Leena is excited. Although she is too young to fast every day during the Muslim religious festival, Leena decides to fast each Friday instead. When Leena receives an invitation to a party which happens to fall on Friday, she has a dilemma. She doesn’t want to miss the party, but she doesn’t want to miss fasting either. So Leena decides to go to the party, but not eat or drink anything at all. Later, she will join her family for the meal known as iftar, when the daily fast is broken. But when Leena, the only Muslim at the party, sees her friends enjoying fresh lemonade and chocolate cake, her stomach starts to growl and her head begins to hurt. Will she keep her Ramadan fast?

Amal Unbound
By Aisha Saeed
240 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780399544699 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Twelve-year-old Amal’s dream of becoming a teacher one day is dashed in an instant when she accidentally insults a member of her Pakistani village’s ruling family. As punishment for her behavior, she is forced to leave her heartbroken family behind and go work at their estate. Amal is distraught but has faced setbacks before. So she summons her courage and begins navigating the complex rules of life as a servant, with all its attendant jealousies and pecking-order woes. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s increasing awareness of the deadly measures the Khan family will go to in order to stay in control. It’s clear that their hold over her village will never loosen as long as everyone is too afraid to challenge them – so if Amal is to have any chance of ensuring her loved ones’ safety and winning back her freedom, she must find a way to work with the other servants to make it happen.

Amira’s Picture Day
By Reem Faruqi
Illustrated by Fahmida Azim
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823440191 | Holiday House
Just the thought of Eid makes Amira warm and tingly inside. From wearing new clothes to handing out goody bags at the mosque, Amira can’t wait for the festivities to begin. But when a flier on the fridge catches her eye, Amira’s stomach goes cold. Not only is it Eid, it’s also school picture day. If she’s not in her class picture, how will her classmates remember her? Won’t her teacher wonder where she is? Though the day’s celebrations at the mosque are everything Amira was dreaming of, her absence at picture day weighs on her. A last-minute idea on the car ride home might just provide the solution to everything in this delightful story from acclaimed author Reem Faruqi, illustrated with vibrant color by Fahmida Azim.

Baby’s First Ramadan
By DK
14 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780744026597 | DK Children
Perfect for story time with little ones, this first board book introduces babies and toddlers to the holy month of Ramadan. From the first sight of the crescent moon in the sky, colorful lanterns and sparkly lights, beautiful henna designs, and favorite Ramadan sweets, to prayers at the mosque, family meals, and sweet dates after a day of fasting, all the elements of this wonderful Islamic celebration of the holy month are included. This classic first picture book for babies and toddlers has simple language and engaging, real-life photos that celebrate Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.

Deep in the Sahara
By Kelly Cunnane
Illustrated by Hoda Hadadi
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780525645665 | Dragonfly Books
Lalla lives in the Muslim country of Mauritania, and more than anything, she wants to wear a malafa, the colorful cloth Mauritanian women, like her mama and big sister, wear to cover their heads and clothes in public. But it is not until Lalla realizes that a malafa is not just worn to show a woman’s beauty and mystery or to honor tradition – a malafa for faith – that Lalla’s mother agrees to slip a long cloth as blue as the ink in the Koran over Lalla’s head, under her arm, and round and round her body. Then together, they pray.

Fatima’s Great Outdoors
By Ambreen Tariq
Illustrated by Stevie Lewis
40 Pages | Ages 4-8| Hardcover
ISBN 9781984816955 | Kokila
Fatima Khazi is excited for the weekend. Her family is headed to a local state park for their first camping trip! The school week might not have gone as planned, but outdoors, Fatima can achieve anything. She sets up a tent with her father, builds a fire with her mother, and survives an eight-legged mutant spider (a daddy longlegs with an impressive shadow) with her sister. At the end of an adventurous day, the family snuggles inside one big tent, serenaded by the sounds of the forest. The thought of leaving the magic of the outdoors tugs at Fatima’s heart, but her sister reminds her that they can keep the memory alive through stories – and they can always daydream about what their next camping trip will look like. Ambreen Tariq’s picture book debut, with cheerful illustrations by Stevie Lewis, is a rollicking family adventure, a love letter to the outdoors, and a reminder that public land belongs to all of us.

Hannah and the Ramadan Gift
By Qasim Rashid
Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593114667 | Viking BFYR
It’s the first day of Ramadan and Hannah wants to be a part of this important month every way she can. But if she’s too young to fast, how can she observe Ramadan? By saving the world, Dada Jaan tells her. And so Hannah learns that by helping her friends and neighbors and by showing kindness and generosity, she can make the world a better place. The debut picture book by human rights activist and attorney Qasim Rashid tells a timely story full of warmth and heart about the observance of Ramadan and the power of good deeds.

My Grandma and Me
By Mina Javaherbin
Illustrated by Lindsey Yankey
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763694944 | Candlewick
While Mina is growing up in Iran, the center of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart. At once deeply personal and utterly universal, Mina Javaherbin’s words make up a love letter of the rarest sort: the kind that shares a bit of its warmth with every reader. Soft, colorful, and full of intricate patterns, Lindsey Yankey’s illustrations feel like a personal invitation into the coziest home, and the adoration between Mina and her grandma is evident on every page.

Peg + Cat: The Eid al-Adha Adventure
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536206807 | Candlewick
It’s Eid al-Adha, a very special holiday for Yasmina and Amir, who invite their friends Peg and Cat to check it out. After they all rock out with some singing, it’s time to head to the celebration, where there’s so much food waiting! Amir explains that an important part of celebrating Eid al-Adha is dividing the meat into three equal parts, one third to be shared with someone who has less. But with all three bowls of meatballs holding different amounts, they’ve got a BIG PROBLEM! Thanks to a balancing scale, a trip to a soup kitchen, and an unexpected visit to a housebound neighbor, Peg and Cat learn all about the concept of taking from where there’s more and giving to where there’s less. Even Cat discovers how awesome giving can be. Eid Mubarak!

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Maker
By Zanib Mian
Illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593109212 | Putnam BFYR
Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar! Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?! But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country. . . . Could that possibly be true? Luckily, Omar’s enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life’s ups and downs. Omar’s funny, relatable narrative is the perfect answer to the call for both mirrors and windows to fill bookshelves with diverse stories.

The Green Bicycle
By Haifaa Al Mansour
368 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780147515032 | Puffin Books
Spunky eleven-year-old Wadjda lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with her parents. She desperately wants a bicycle so that she can race her friend Abdullah, even though it is considered improper for girls to ride bikes. Wadjda earns money for her dream bike by selling homemade bracelets and mixtapes of banned music to her classmates. But after she’s caught, she’s forced to turn over a new leaf (sort of), or risk expulsion from school. Still, Wadjda keeps scheming, and with the bicycle so closely in her sights, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Set against the shifting social attitudes of the Middle East, The Green Bicycle explores gender roles, conformity, and the importance of family, all with wit and irresistible heart.

The Night Diary
By Veera Hiranandani
288 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735228528 | Kokila
It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together. Told through Nisha’s letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl’s search for home, for her own identity . . . and for a hopeful future.

The White Nights of Ramadan
By Maha Addasi
Illustrated by Ned Gannon
32 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781629798462 | Boyds Mills Press
Mid-Ramadan is a special time for families in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf. These middle days are known as “the three whites,” because they include the day of the full moon, the day before, and the day after. It’s a time when children dress in traditional clothing and go from house to house collecting treats from their neighbors. When Noor sees the full moon rising, signaling the coming of Girgian, she and her brothers prepare for the fun. Together, they decorate the bags they’ll carry to collect the candies. But along with the fun, Noor remembers the true meaning of Ramadan: spending time with family and sharing with those less fortunate.

Lunar New Year 2021

February 12 is the Lunar New Year and it’s the Year of the Ox! Whether you’re celebrating or hoping to learn more about Lunar New Year traditions, we have some books for you.

Books about Lunar New Year:

A New Year’s Reunion: A Chinese Story
By Yu Li-Qiong
Illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9780763667481 | Candlewick
Little Maomao’s father works in faraway places and comes home just once a year, for Chinese New Year. At first Maomao barely recognizes him, but before long the family is happily making sticky rice balls, listening to firecrackers, and watching the dragon dance in the streets below. Papa gets a haircut, makes repairs to the house, and hides a lucky coin for Maomao to find. Which she does! But all too soon it is time for Papa to go away again. This poignant, vibrantly illustrated tale, which won the prestigious Feng Zikai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award in 2009, is sure to resonate with every child who misses relatives when they are away – and shows how a family’s love is strong enough to endure over time and distance.

Baby’s First Chinese New Year
By DK
14 Pages | Ages 0-2 | Board
ISBN 9781465484017 | DK Children
The bright and colorful images in this book are the perfect way to discover the new year holiday traditions together. From colorful lanterns, to beautiful traditional clothes, to special animals that each year is named after, Baby’s First Chinese New Year features all the familiar favorites associated with one of Asia’s biggest and brightest celebrations. An ideal baby gift to develop early learning, the simple pictures and sentences promote language skills, and the small, padded format is perfect for babies to hold. Babies and toddlers will enjoy turning the pages by themselves, which helps to foster early reading development as well as fine motor skills. Learn all about the amazing new year holiday with your little one! Baby’s First Chinese New Year perfectly captures the joy of this special celebration and is an ideal preschool learning introduction to the traditions of the festival.

Bringing In the New Year
By Grace Lin
34 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9780375866050 | Knopf BFYR
This exuberant story follows a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Lunar New Year. Each member of the family lends a hand as they sweep out the dust of the old year, hang decorations, and make dumplings. Then it’s time to put on new clothes and celebrate with family and friends. There will be fireworks and lion dancers, shining lanterns, and a great, long dragon parade to help bring in the Lunar New Year. And the dragon parade in our book is extra long – on a surprise fold-out page at the end of the story. Grace Lin’s artwork is a bright and gloriously patterned celebration in itself! And her story is tailor-made for reading aloud.

Chinese New Year: A Mr. Men Little Miss Book
By Adam Hargreaves
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593222249 | Grosset & Dunlap
The Mr. Men and Little Misses are celebrating Chinese New Year! Little Miss Neat is having a Chinese New Year party with traditional decorations, a New Year’s Eve feast, and the next day there will even be a dragon dance. What could possibly go wrong?!

Chinese New Year Colors
By Richard Lo
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823443710 | Holiday House
This bilingual color concept book celebrates a rainbow of traditional objects seen during the Chinese New Year. Hóng is the color of explosive firecrackers! Jīn is the hue of lucky coins. Zŏng is the shade of sweet peanut puffs. Welcome to the festivities of the Chinese New Year, where symbolic gifts, foods, and objects come together in a celebration of beautiful colors. This vibrant, simple, and highly graphic bilingual book is the perfect introduction to Chinese and English words for colors as it honors one of the biggest holidays around the world. Includes informative back matter.

Maisy’s Chinese New Year
By Lucy Cousins
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215649 | Candlewick
Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, and Maisy’s friend Tiger is coming home for the occasion. Hooray! Tiger has brought some beautiful gifts, some with a special symbol that means good luck. Maisy has asked all her friends to her house to celebrate with a delicious feast, and Penguin and Ostrich are handing out lucky red packets with money inside. Now it’s time for Tiger to tell the story of Chinese New Year, while everyone stays up late for fireworks. But the best is to come on New Year’s Day, when Maisy and all her friends take part in a dragon dance! Vivid with red and gold, this First Experiences book – featuring a simple visual glossary of common Chinese New Year’s objects – will be a favorite of little ones new to the tradition as well; as those for whom it’s a beloved event.

Stories to share:

Ten Little Dumplings
By Larissa Fan
Illustrated by Cindy Wume
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266193 | Puffin Canada
In the city of Tainan, there lives a very special family – special because they have ten sons who do everything together. Their parents call them their ten little dumplings, as both sons and dumplings are auspicious. But if you look closely, you’ll see that someone else is there, listening, studying, learning and discovering her own talent – a sister. As this little girl grows up in the shadow of her brothers, her determination and persistence help her to create her own path in the world . . . and becomes the wisdom she passes on to her own daughter, her own little dumpling. Based on a short film made by the author, inspired by her father’s family in Taiwan, Ten Little Dumplings looks at some unhappy truths about the place of girls in our world in an accessible, inspiring and hopeful way.

Staff Picks: Anticipated 2021 Teen Titles

New year, new books! There are so many exciting titles coming out in 2021 – here are the ones we’re most looking forward to during the first half of the year.

Vikki, Marketing & Publicity Director

“I cannot wait for Last Night at the Telegraph Club, a searing lesbian love story set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1950s.”

Last Night at the Telegraph Club
By Malinda Lo
416 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525555254 | Dutton BFYR
Release Date: January 19, 2021
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father – despite his hard-won citizenship – Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

Sylvia, Marketing and Publicity Manager

“You had me with ‘there’s a serpent in this paradise’.”

The Great Godden
By Meg Rosoff
256 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735268319 | Penguin Teen Canada
Release Date: April 13, 2021
This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer. . . . In a holiday house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things they shouldn’t, as their brother and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding. Enter two brothers: irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in this paradise – and the consequences will be devastating.

Evan, Publicity Manager

“This looks like a throwback to the golden days of Christopher Pike and friends: ten friends at a house on the Jersey Shore, who begin to die one-by-one? I’d definitely watch this movie, so you know I’m going to read this book.”

Prom House
By Chelsea Mueller
256 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593180051 | Underlined
Release Date: May 4, 2021
What happens when the best night of your life turns into the worst? Full of menace and suspense, this is an unputdownable thriller – and a trade paperback original! Ten people share a prom house at the Jersey Shore for the weekend. Every one of them has a secret . . . and when they begin to die one by one, panic ensues. Could somebody’s prom date also be . . . a killer?

Sam, Associate Publicist

“Coming-of-age stories are one of my weaknesses and this one – narrated by a self-proclaimed fat Latina – is probably going to break my heart…I can’t wait!”

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
By Crystal Maldonado
352 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823447176 | Holiday House
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat. People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter. But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing – he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? Because it’s time people did.

The Globe 100: Our Favourite Books of 2020

Every year, the reviewers and editors at the Globe and Mail put together their list of notable books called The Globe 100 and we’re so happy to see some of our titles were included! Congratulations to our creators!

All the Days Past, All the Days to Come
By Mildred D. Taylor
496 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399257308 | Viking BFYR
In her tenth book, Mildred Taylor completes her sweeping saga about the Logan family of Mississippi, which is also the story of the civil rights movement in America of the 20th century. Cassie Logan, first met in Song of the Trees and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, is a young woman now, searching for her place in the world, a journey that takes her from Toledo to California, to law school in Boston, and, ultimately, in the 60s, home to Mississippi to participate in voter registration. She is witness to the now-historic events of the century: the Great Migration north, the rise of the civil rights movement, preceded and precipitated by the racist society of America, and the often violent confrontations that brought about change. Rich, compelling storytelling is Ms. Taylor’s hallmark, and she fulfills expectations as she brings to a close the stirring family story that has absorbed her for over forty years. It is a story she was born to tell.

Barry Squires, Full Tilt
By Heather Smith
232 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267466 | Penguin Teen Canada
It’s 1995. When the Full Tilt Dancers give an inspiring performance at the opening of the new bingo hall, twelve-year-old Finbar (Barry) Squires wants desperately to join the troupe. Led by Father O’Flaherty, the Full Tilt Irish Step Dancers are the most sought-after act in St. John’s, Newfoundland (closely followed by popular bagpiper, Alfie Bragg and his Agony Bag). Having watched Riverdance twice, Barry figures he’ll nail the audition. And good thing too – it’d be nice to be known for something other than the port wine stain on his cheek. With questionable talent and an unpredictable temper, Barry’s journey to stardom is jeopardized by his parents’ refusal to take his dreams seriously. Thankfully, Barry has the support of a lively cast of characters: his ever-present grandmother, Nanny Squires; his adorable baby brother, Gord; an old British rocker named Uneven Steven; a group of geriatrics from the One Step Closer to God Nursing Home; and Saibal, a friend with whom Barry gets up to no good.

I Talk Like a River
By Jordan Scott
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823445592 | Neal Porter Books
When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he’d like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. Compassionate parents everywhere will instantly recognize a father’s ability to reconnect a child with the world around him. Poet Jordan Scott writes movingly in this powerful and ultimately uplifting book, based on his own experience, and masterfully illustrated by Greenaway Medalist Sydney Smith. A book for any child who feels lost, lonely, or unable to fit in.

The List of Things That Will Not Change
By Rebecca Stead
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101938096 | Wendy Lamb Books
After her parents’ divorce, Bea’s life became different in many ways. But she can always look back at the list she keeps in her green notebook to remember the things that will stay the same. The first and most important: Mom and Dad will always love Bea, and each other. When Dad tells Bea that he and his boyfriend, Jesse, are getting married, Bea is thrilled. Bea loves Jesse, and when he and Dad get married, she’ll finally (finally!) have what she’s always wanted – a sister. Even though she’s never met Jesse’s daughter, Sonia, Bea is sure that they’ll be “just like sisters anywhere.” As the wedding day approaches, Bea will learn that making a new family brings questions, surprises, and joy, and readers will discover why the New York Times called Rebecca Stead a “writer of great feeling.”

The Magic Fish
By Trung Le Nguyen
256 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593125298 | Random House Graphic
Real life isn’t a fairytale. But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It’s hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn’t even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he’s going through? Is there a way to tell them he’s gay? A beautifully illustrated story by Trung Le Nguyen that follows a young boy as he tries to navigate life through fairytales, an instant classic that shows us how we are all connected.

We Are Not From Here
By Jenny Torres Sanchez
368 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984812261 | Philomel BFYR
Pulga has his dreams. Chico has his grief. Pequeña has her pride. 
And these three teens have one another. But none of them have illusions about the town they’ve grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Even with the love of family, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the trio knows they have no choice but to run: from their country, from their families, from their beloved home. Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico, they follow the route of La Bestia, the perilous train system that might deliver them to a better life–if they are lucky enough to survive the journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and desperation drumming through their hearts, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña know there is no turning back, despite the unknown that awaits them. And the darkness that seems to follow wherever they go. In this striking portrait of lives torn apart, the plight of migrants at the U.S. southern border is brought to light through poignant, vivid storytelling. An epic journey of danger, resilience, heartache, and hope.

Wildfire
By Carrie Mac
272 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399556296 | Knopf BFYR
Annie and Pete have been best friends since they were little. They know each other better than anyone, and they’ve been on more adventures than they can count–they even have a notebook filled with all the times they’ve almost died. But they always survive, because together, they’re invincible. And they’ve always been just friends. But lately, Annie has been thinking that maybe friendship is just the beginning, and she’s been mentally replaying all the times they were almost something more. Now they’re heading out on their next great quest: a ten-day backpacking trip through the mountains of Washington State, ending at Fire Camp, where they’ll learn to fight the area’s growing wildfire problem. The woods spark with the promise of adventure, but a freak climbing accident interrupts their progress, and as the wildfires close in and smoke envelops them, Annie and Pete wander farther from the trail. Carrie Mac’s gripping story of the power of unrequited love and the danger of the elements is harrowing, beautiful, and unforgettable.