Gift Books for Graduation

People all over the world are celebrating their graduations this summer so here’s a list of inspiring books that make great gifts for new graduates regardless of age.

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem
By Amanda Gorman
Illustrated by Loren Long
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593203224 | Viking BFYR
In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes – big or small – in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves. With lyrical text and rhythmic illustrations that build to a dazzling crescendo by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long, Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference.

Great Dog
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Miguel Tanco
46 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919170 | Tundra Books
A pup and his father contemplate his grand future while looking at other Great Dogs in their family. Will he be a marathon runner like Uncle Tibor, the fastest dog in the family? Will he be an astronaut like Aunt Yuki, who reached for the stars? Or maybe a teacher like Uncle Scooter, respected by all? No matter what, says his father, he will be a GREAT dog!

Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers
By Uma Mishra-Newbery and Lina AlHathloul
Illustrated by Rebecca Green
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781662650642 | MineditionUS
Loujain watches her beloved baba attach his feather wings and fly each morning, but her own dreams of flying face a big obstacle: only boys, not girls, are allowed to fly in her country. Yet despite the taunts of her classmates, she is determined to do it – especially because Loujain loves colors, and only by flying can she see the color-filled field of sunflowers her baba has told her about. Eventually, he agrees to teach her, and Loujain’s impossible dream becomes reality – and soon other girls dare to learn to fly. Based on the experiences of co-author Lina AlHathloul’s sister, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Loujain AlHathloul, who led the successful campaign to lift Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving, this moving and gorgeously illustrated story reminds us to strive for the changes we want to see – and to never take for granted women’s and girls’ freedoms.

Petra
By Marianna Coppo
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262676 | Tundra Books
Petra is a little rock who believes she is a mighty mountain . . . until a dog fetches her for its owner, and she is tossed into a bird’s nest. A mountain? No, Petra is now an egg! An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she’s flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl’s pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? But she’s a rock, and this is how she rolls!

The Path: A Picture Book About Finding Your Own True Way
By Bob Staake
32 Pages | 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781662650635 | MineditionUS
On this playfully illustrated journey with Bob Staake, children and adults alike will discover an encouraging truth: our path through life is not only challenging and beautiful – it is all our own to discover and invent. “You will walk. You will walk along a well-worn path that many people have taken – and long before you.” So begins this inspirational journey over gentle, grassy hills, through fields of wildflowers, over raging rivers, up steep mountains, and even through a dark, chilly cave. When it splits in two, you will have to decide what to do next – and you’ll create a path that’s unique to you.

The Story of You
By Lisa Ann Scott
Illustrated by Sue Cornelison
32 Pages | 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781635923117 | Astra Young Readers
No one can tell you who you are – it’s all up to you! You write your story with your actions and words. This dynamic picture book for readers of all ages features lush illustrations that bring universal situations to light, including ways to be brave, bold, and kind, as well as knowing when you’ve made a mistake. A perfect gift for new parents, young graduates, as well as children and adults in any stage of their life, this is a book with a message: You are what you say and do.

The Year We Learned to Fly
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by Rafael López
32 Pages | 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399545535 | Nancy Paulsen Books
On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.

This Is Ruby
By Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Alea Marley
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263611 | Tundra Books
Ruby is a little girl with a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm that’s too big to contain! Ruby is always busy – she loves to make things, watch things grow and figure out how things work, with her dog Teddy by her side. And Ruby has lots of ideas about what she wants to be: maybe an animal conservationist? Or an archaeologist? She’s great at excavating (i.e. digging holes). Or maybe an inventor? She’s already invented a book with smells instead of words (so dogs can read it) and a time machine (the dinosaurs did have feathers after all, and the future is looking wild). This is Ruby, and this is her world.

For older grads:

Call Us What We Carry
By Amanda Gorman
240 Pages | All Ages | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593465066 | Viking Books
Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.

Rising Troublemaker: A Fear-Fighter Manual for Teens
By Luvvie Ajayi Jones
272 Pages | 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593526033 | Philomel Books
The world can feel like a dumpster fire, with endless things to be afraid of. It can make you feel powerless to ask for what you need, use your voice, and show up truly as your whole self. Add the fact that often, people might make you feel like your way of showing up is TOO MUCH. BE TOO MUCH, and use it for good. That is what it means to be a troublemaker. In this book, Luvvie Ajayi Jones – bestseller of books, sorceress of side-eyes and critic of culture – gives you the permission you might need to be the troublemaker you are, or wish to be. This is the book she needed when she was the kid who got in trouble for her mouth when she spoke up about what she felt was not fair. This is the book she needed when kids made fun of her Nigerian accent. This is the book that she needed when it was time to call herself a writer, but she was too scared. As a Rising Troublemaker, you need to know that the beautiful, audacious life you want is on the other side of doing the things that will scare you. This book will help you face and fight your fear and start living that life ASAP.

YA Poetry Recs 2022

We’ve been reading a lot of novels-in-verse lately, so to celebrate National Poetry Month, here’s a list of some of our faves!

African Town
By Charles Waters and Iene Latham
448 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593322888 | Putnam BFYR
In 1860, long after the United States outlawed the importation of enslaved laborers, 110 men, women and children from Benin and Nigeria were captured and brought to Mobile, Alabama aboard a ship called Clotilda. Their journey includes the savage Middle Passage and being hidden in the swamplands along the Alabama River before being secretly parceled out to various plantations, where they made desperate attempts to maintain both their culture and also fit into the place of captivity to which they’d been delivered. At the end of the Civil War, the survivors created a community for themselves they called African Town, which still exists to this day. Told in 14 distinct voices, including that of the ship that brought them to the American shores and the founder of African Town, this powerfully affecting historical novel-in-verse recreates a pivotal moment in US and world history, the impacts of which we still feel today.

Alma Presses Play
By Tina Cane
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593121146 | Make Me A World
Alma’s life is a series of halfways: She’s half-Chinese, half-Jewish; her parents spend half the time fighting, and the other half silent; and she’s halfway through becoming a woman. But as long as she can listen to her Walkman, hang out with her friends on the stoops of the Village, and ride her bike around the streets of New York, it feels like everything will be all right. Then comes the year when everything changes, and her life is overtaken by constant endings: friends move away, romances bloom and wither, her parents divorce and – just like that – her life as she knew it is over. In this world of confusing beginnings, middles, and endings, is Alma ready to press play on the soundtrack of her life?

And We Rise
By Erica Martin
160 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593352526 | Viking BFYR
In stunning verse and vivid use of white space, Erica Martin’s debut poetry collection walks readers through the Civil Rights Movement – from the well-documented events that shaped the nation’s treatment of Black people, beginning with the “Separate but Equal” ruling – and introduces lesser-known figures and moments that were just as crucial to the Movement and our nation’s centuries-long fight for justice and equality. A poignant, powerful, all-too-timely collection that is both a vital history lesson and much-needed conversation starter in our modern world. Complete with historical photographs, author’s note, chronology of events, research, and sources.

Call Us What We Carry
By Amanda Gorman
240 Pages | All Ages | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593465066 | Viking Books
Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.

Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School
Foreword by Tyehimba Jess
Edited by Peter Kahn, Hanif Abdurraqib, Dan “Sully” Sullivan, and Franny Choi
176 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593226810 | Penguin Workshop
For Chicago’s Oak Park and River Forest High School’s Spoken Word Club, there is one phrase that reigns supreme: Respect the Mic. It’s been the club’s call to arms since its inception in 1999. As its founder Peter Kahn says, “It’s a call of pride and history and tradition and hope.” In its pages, you hear the sprawling echoes of students, siblings, lovers, new parents, athletes, entertainers, scientists, and more – all sharing a deep appreciation for the power of storytelling. A celebration of the past, a balm for the present, and a blueprint for the future, Respect the Mic offers a tender, intimate portrait of American life, and conveys how in a world increasingly defined by separation, poetry has the capacity to bind us together.

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler
By Ibi Zoboi
128 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399187384 | Dutton BFYR
From the New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist, a biography in verse and prose of science fiction visionary Octavia Butler, author of Parable of the Sower and Kindred. Acclaimed novelist Ibi Zoboi illuminates the young life of the visionary storyteller Octavia E. Butler in poems and prose. Born into the Space Race, the Red Scare, and the dawning Civil Rights Movement, Butler experienced an American childhood that shaped her into the groundbreaking science-fiction storyteller whose novels continue to challenge and delight readers fifteen years after her death.

Vinyl Moon
By Mahogany L. Browne
176 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593176436 | Crown BFYR
When Darius told Angel he loved her, she believed him. But five weeks after the incident, Angel finds herself in Brooklyn, far from her family, from him, and from the California life she has known. Angel feels out of sync with her new neighborhood. At school, she can’t shake the feeling everyone knows what happened – and that it was her fault. The only place that makes sense is Ms. G’s class. There, Angel’s classmates share their own stories of pain, joy, and fortitude. And as Angel becomes immersed in her revolutionary literature course, the words from Black writers like Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and Zora Neale Hurston speak to her and begin to heal the wounds of her past. This stunning novel weaves together prose, poems, and vignettes to tell the story of Angel, a young woman whose past was shaped by domestic violence but whose love of language and music and the gift of community grant her the chance to find herself again.

We Belong
By Cookie Hiponia Everman
208 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593112229 | Dial BFYR
Stella and Luna know that their mama, Elsie, came from the Philippines when she was a child, but they don’t know much else. So one night they ask her to tell them her story. As they get ready for bed, their mama spins two tales: that of her youth as a strong-willed middle child and immigrant; and that of the young life of Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god. Both are tales of sisterhood and motherhood, and of the difficult experience of trying to fit into a new culture, and having to fight for a home and acceptance. Glorious and layered, this is a portrait of family and strength for the ages.

What About Will
By Ellen Hopkins
384 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593108642 | Putnam BFYR
Twelve-year-old Trace Reynolds has always looked up to his brother, mostly because Will, who’s five years older, has never looked down on him. It was Will who taught Trace to ride a bike, would watch sports on TV with him, and cheer him on at Little League. But when Will was knocked out cold during a football game, resulting in a brain injury–everything changed. Now, seventeen months later, their family is still living under the weight of “the incident,” that left Will with a facial tic, depression, and an anger he cannot always control, culminating in their parents’ divorce. Afraid of further fracturing his family, Trace begins to cover for Will who, struggling with addiction to pain medication, becomes someone Trace doesn’t recognize. But when the brother he loves so much becomes more and more withdrawn, and escalates to stealing money and ditching school, Trace realizes some secrets cannot be kept if we ever hope to heal.

When We Make It
By Elisabet Velasquez
368 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593324486 | Dial BFYR
Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth grader who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has been denied. When We Make It is a love letter to girls who were taught to believe they would not make it at all. The verse is evocative and insightful, and readers are sure to be swept into Sarai’s world and rooting for her long after they close the book.

Poetry Month 2022

April is National Poetry Month! Here’s a list of recent books with rhyming text or novels-in-verse to share with all the young readers in your life.

Cats Can
By Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Illustrated by Ebony Glenn
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593115596 | Viking BFYR
Whether they’re stretching and scheming, playing or dreaming, cats love to make mischief, sneak snacks, and cuddle up in a cozy spot, just like . . . kids! Cats Can proves that kittens and kids are more alike than we think. Roseanne Greenfield Thong’s rhyming romp is perfectly matched by the vibrant, energetic illustrations of Ebony Glenn in this playful read-aloud.

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem
By Amanda Gorman
Illustrated by Loren Long
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593203224 | Viking BFYR
In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes – big or small – in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves. With lyrical text and rhythmic illustrations that build to a dazzling crescendo by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long, Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference.

Counting to Bananas: A Mostly Rhyming Fruit Book
By Carrie Tillotson
Illustrated by Estrela Lourenço
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593354865 | Flamingo Books
When a narrator starts filling this story with fruit, Banana can’t wait to step into the spotlight. The book is called Counting to Bananas, after all. But as more and more fruits (and non-fruits) are added to the story, Banana objects. When will it be time for bananas?! With laugh-out-loud text from debut author Carrie Tillotson and brought to life by illustrator Estrela Lourenço this is the story of a banana and narrator who have very strong opinions about what should (and should not!) be in this book.

Dog Says, Cat Says
By Marilyn Singer
Illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525553960 | Dial BFYR
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.

Frankie Gets a Doggie
By Amy Huntington
32 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781635923209 | Astra Young Readers
Frankie and Dad are going on an adventure! They head to the local animal shelter where they meet all kinds of dogs, until they find just the right one. But how will Kitty react to their new pet? Here is a charming, accessible story about adopting a pet and giving it a loving home that’s perfect for dog-and animal-lovers, and an ideal gift for any family considering pet ownership.

Hello, Moon
By Julie Downing
32 Pages | Ages 3-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823447015 | Neal Porter Books
When the sun goes down and most of us are getting ready for bed, the nighttime animals of the forest all wake up to the light of the moon. It calls to the them, from the slyest fox to the tiniest mouse, who feasts on leaves and fruit and scurries beneath the brush. A gentle rhyming text that will appeal to the youngest child is illustrated with soft and dreamy artwork in this perfect bedtime book in the tradition of Goodnight Moon.

Ocean Lullaby
By Laura McGee Kvasnosky
Illustrated by Kate Harvey McGee
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593118016 | Philomel Books
The sun is setting. The waves are gently lapping at the shore. It’s time for all the ocean creatures to rest. Whales, turtles, dolphins, and more drift and doze. And as the tide pools catch the light of the moon and the stars glowing above, a mother and her baby listen to the soft sounds of the ocean lullaby.

Oceans of Love
By Janet Lawler
Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593326756 | Viking BFYR
From whales and dolphins, to hermit crabs and jellyfish, the ocean is filled with many different creatures. Join them on this imaginary undersea journey as ocean mamas care for their babies, each in their own special way! Because one thing is universal: there’s no other love like that between mamas and their little ones. With bright and beautiful watercolor illustrations comes this tender and heartwarming celebration of all the different mamas and babies you can find, especially those that live under the sea.

Song for Jimi: The Story of Guitar Legend Jimi Hendrix
By Charles R. Smith Jr.
Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
56 Pages | Ages 7+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823443338 | Neal Porter Books
From his turbulent childhood through his epical appearance at the Monterey and Woodstock festivals, Charles R. Smith Jr. covers it all in this rich and rhythmic account of a singular life, accompanied by the psychedelic splendor of Edel Rodriguez’s acid-tinged artwork. Written as a series of verses beginning with intro and ending with outro, this unique mix of rhythm and rhyme captures the essence of rock icon Jimi Hendrix and his struggle to live life on his own terms.

Take Off Your Brave: The World through the Eyes of a Preschool Poet
By Nadim
Illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536223163 | Candlewick
Four-year-old Nadim puts his words on paper and gives us a glimpse of how he sees the world: one filled with glitter, magical boxes, and cuddles with Mom. A place where school smells like daffodils and honey (and sometimes dirty socks), where Wednesdays are rainbow-colored, where fish in the sea make a shhhh sound, and where everyone has love, even baddies. The poems in this anthology make for joyful reading and are paired with vibrant, child-friendly artwork by Yasmeen Ismail that invites us to full-heartedly enter Nadim’s world. At once funny and sweet, gentle and zany, this anthology may just entice readers young and old to release the poet within.

When I Was a Fairy
By Tom Silson
Illustrated by Ewa Poklewska-Koziello
32 Pages | Ages 5-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781838740207 | Flying Eye Books
When I Was a Fairy is a heart-warming tale about love, loss, and growing old. Touching on themes of dementia, old age, and relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren, this is not only a story about fairies, but also on the magic of life and what we can share with one another from generation to generation.

For older readers:

Behold Our Magical Garden: Poems Fresh from a School Garden
By Allan Wolf
Illustrated by Daniel Duncan
48 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204551 | Candlewick
There’s a lot more to gardens than meets the eye! In this collection of buoyant poems filled with fun facts, young nature enthusiasts and budding gardeners are called on to help solve a mystery by the compost bin, join a Wild West–style standoff between some good bugs and a few bad ones, interview the sun to find out what happens when it drinks a glass of water, and learn the fancy names of plants to spice up dinner conversation. They’ll be spurred to grab their own gardening tools, drop in some seeds, encounter a few insects, gather fresh vegetables, and find a whole lot of magic. Allan Wolf’s playful poems and Daniel Duncan’s whimsically detailed, welcoming illustrations combine in a charming celebration of the many wonders and lessons to be learned from a school garden. For further inspiration, engaging notes on the poems and an author’s note on jotting down observations can be found in the back matter.

Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play among Figures of Speech
By Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek
Illustrated by Richard Jones
72 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536203035 |  Candlewick
A freewheeling romp through the world of imagery and metaphor, this quietly startling collection of thirty poems, framed by the four elements, is about art and reality, fact and fancy. Look around: what do you see? A clown balancing a pie in a tree, or an empty nest perched on a leafless branch? As poet Connie Wanek alludes to in her afterword – a lively dialogue with former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser—sometimes the simplest sights and sounds “summon our imaginations” and cry out to be clothed in the alchemical language of poetry. This compendium of the fleeting and unexpected turns the everyday – turtles, trees, and tadpoles; cow pies, lazy afternoons, and pillowy white marshmallows – into poetic gold. A brilliant and timeless collaboration that evokes both the mystery and grandeur of the natural world and the cozy, mundane moments of daily life, this exquisitely illustrated collection is the go-to gift book of the season for poetry fans of all ages.

On the Move: Home Is Where You Find It
By Michael Rosen
Illustrated by Quentin Blake
144 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536218107 | Candlewick
Some of Michael Rosen’s relatives were lost before he was born, in the Holocaust. First, he wondered about them. And he wrote poems. Next, he searched for their stories. And he wrote poems. Then he found their stories. And he wrote poems. Now, in a companion book to The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II, Michael Rosen has brought together forty-nine of his most powerful poems, exploring the themes of migration and displacement through the lens of his childhood in the shadow of World War II, the lives of his relatives during that war, and migration, refugees, and displacement today and tomorrow, here, there, and everywhere. Throughout, atmospheric watercolors from master illustrator Quentin Blake evoke the hardship, exhaustion, isolation, and companionship of being on the move. At once intimate and universal, On the Move probes the power of art to adapt, bear witness, and heal.

Holiday Spotlight: Penguin Young Readers 2021

Here at Penguin Random House Canada, we’re lucky to work with so many different publisher lists. This holiday season, we’ll be highlighting each one with a dedicated post to help you find the perfect gift (or your next read). Today’s post is all about Penguin Young Readers.

Aetherbound
By E. K. Johnston
256 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735231856 | Dutton BFYR
Set on a family-run interstellar freighter called the Harland and a mysterious remote space station, E. K. Johnston’s latest is story of survival and self-determination. Pendt Harland’s family sees her as a waste of food on their long-haul space cruiser when her genes reveal an undesirable mutation. But if she plays her cards right she might have a chance to do much more than survive. During a space-station layover, Pendt escapes and forms a lucky bond with the Brannick twins, the teenage heirs of the powerful family that owns the station. Against all odds, the trio hatches a long-shot scheme to take over the station and thwart the destinies they never wished for.

Beasts of Prey
By Ayana Gray
496 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593405680 | Putnam BFYR
There’s no such thing as magic in the broken city of Lkossa, especially for sixteen-year-old Koffi, who holds a power within her that could only be described as magic – a power that if discovered could cost her life. Indentured to the notorious Night Zoo, Koffi knows the fearsome creatures in her care and paying off her family’s debts to secure their eventual freedom can be her only focus. But the night those she loves are gravely threatened by the Zoo’s cruel master, Koffi finally unleashes the power she doesn’t fully understand, upending her life completely. As the second son of a decorated hero, Ekon is all but destined to become a Son of the Six – an elite warrior – and uphold a family legacy. But on the night of his final rite of passage, Ekon encounters not only the Shetani – a vicious monster that has plagued the city for nearly a century and stalks his nightmares, but Koffi who seems to have the power to ward off the beast. Koffi’s power ultimately saves Ekon’s life, but his choice to let her flee dooms his hopes of becoming a warrior. Desperate to redeem himself, Ekon vows to hunt the Shetani and end its reign of terror, but he can’t do it alone. Meanwhile, Koffi believes finding the Shetani could also be the key to solving her own problems. Koffi and Ekon form a tentative alliance and together enter the Greater Jungle, a world steeped in wild, frightening magic and untold dangers. The hunt begins. But it quickly becomes unclear whether they are the hunters or the hunted.

Call Us What We Carry
By Amanda Gorman
240 Pages | All Ages | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593465066 | Viking Books
Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem
By Amanda Gorman
Illustrated by Loren Long
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593203224 | Viking BFYR
In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes – big or small – in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves. With lyrical text and rhythmic illustrations that build to a dazzling crescendo by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long, Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference.

Dark and Shallow Lies
By Ginny Myers Sain
432 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593403969 | Razorbill
La Cachette, Louisiana, is the worst place to be if you have something to hide. This tiny town, where seventeen-year-old Grey spends her summers, is the self-proclaimed Psychic Capital of the World – and the place where Elora Pellerin, Grey’s best friend, disappeared six months earlier. Grey can’t believe that Elora vanished into thin air any more than she can believe that nobody in a town full of psychics knows what happened. But as she digs into the night that Elora went missing, she begins to realize that everybody in town is hiding something – her grandmother Honey; her childhood crush Hart; and even her late mother, whose secrets continue to call to Grey from beyond the grave. When a mysterious stranger emerges from the bayou – a stormy-eyed boy with links to Elora and the town’s bloody history – Grey realizes that La Cachette’s past is far more present and dangerous than she’d ever understood. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who she can trust. In a town where secrets lurk just below the surface, and where a murderer is on the loose, nobody can be presumed innocent – and La Cachette’s dark and shallow lies may just rip the town apart.

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.

Hello (From Here)
By Chandler Baker and Wesley King
352 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593326121 | Dial BFYR
Maxine and Jonah meet in the canned goods aisle just as California is going into lockdown. Max’s part-time job as a personal grocery shopper is about to transform into a hellish gauntlet. Jonah’s preexisting anxiety is about to become an epic daily struggle. As Max and Jonah get to know each other through FaceTime dates, socially distanced playground hangs, and the escalating heartbreaks of the pandemic, they’re pushed apart by what they don’t share and pulled closer by what they do. As thoughtful, probing, and informed as it is buoyant, romantic, and funny, Hello (From Here) cuts across differences in class, privilege, and mental health, all thrown into stark relief by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a novel that looks at the first two months of the quarantine, and adds falling in love to the mess.

Huda F Are You?
By Huda Fahmy
192 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593324318 | Dial BFYR
Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl. Huda is lost in a sea of hijabis, and she can’t rely on her hijab to define her anymore. She has to define herself. So she tries on a bunch of cliques, but she isn’t a hijabi fashionista or a hijabi athlete or a hijabi gamer. She’s not the one who knows everything about her religion or the one all the guys like. She’s miscellaneous, which makes her feel like no one at all. Until she realizes that it’ll take finding out who she isn’t to figure out who she is.

I Don’t Want to Read This Book
By Max Greenfield
Illustrated by Mike Lowery
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593326060 | Putnam BFYR
Words, sentences, and even worse, paragraphs fill up books. Ugh! So what’s a reluctant reader to do? Actor Max Greenfield (New Girl) and New York Times bestselling illustrator Mike Lowery bring the energy and laugh-out-loud fun out for every child (and parent) who thinks they don’t want to read a book. Joining the ranks of favorites like The Book With No Pictures and The Serious Goose, this clever and playful read-aloud breaks the fourth wall and will have all readers coming back for laughs again and again!

Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom
By Sangu Mandanna
352 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593206973 | Viking BFYR
Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier. Did she lock the front door? Is there a terrible reason her mom is late? Recently her anxiety has been getting out of control, but one thing that has always soothed her is drawing. Kiki’s sketchbook is full of fanciful doodles of the rich Indian myths and legends her mother has told her over the years. One day, her sketchbook’s calming effect is broken when her mythological characters begin springing to life right out of its pages. Kiki ends up falling into the mystical world she drew, which includes a lot of wonderful discoveries like the band of rebel kids who protect the kingdom, as well as not-so-great ones like the ancient deity bent on total destruction. As the one responsible for creating the evil god, Kiki must overcome her fear and anxiety to save both worlds – the real and the imagined – from his wrath. But how can a girl armed with only a pencil defeat something so powerful?

The Last Kids on Earth and the Doomsday Race
By Max Brallier
Illustrated by Douglas Holgate
320 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984835376 | Viking BFYR
With his zombie-controlling powers growing stronger, Jack Sullivan and his buddies are road-tripping toward the mysterious Tower, where they must once and for all stop Rezzoch the Ancient, Destructor of Worlds, from descending upon our dimension. But their journey is sidetracked when they are swept up by the Mallusk, an enormous centipede monster carrying the world’s largest shopping mall on its back. On board, the kids discover a thriving monster society: Mallusk City! There, they encounter old allies – as well as old foes, who are ruling over Mallusk City with an iron fist. Beating these bad guys in battle is not an option, but beating them in an election is . . . so Jack runs for mayor of Mallusk City! At first, proving his leadership skills just means shaking monster hands, kissing monster babies, and promising to fill the water fountains with strawberry Nesquik. But when the Mallusk falls under attack, Jack must learn how to be a true leader – before it’s too late.

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.

The Legend of Auntie Po
By Shing Yin Khor
304 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525554882 | Kokila
Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman’s daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan – reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch. Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the difficulty and politics of lumber camp work and her growing romantic feelings for her friend Bee. The Legend of Auntie Po is about who gets to own a myth, and about immigrant families and communities holding on to rituals and traditions while staking out their own place in America.

The Legend of the Christmas Witch
By Dan Murphy and Aubrey Plaza
Illustrated by Julia Iredale
56 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593350805 | Viking BFYR
Gather ‘round the fire to hear a Christmas legend that has never been told before . . . until now. Each year a mysterious figure sweeps into town, leaving behind strange gifts in the night. No, not Santa Claus, but his sister . . . The Christmas Witch. Her story begins many, many years ago when her brother was torn away from her as a child. Raised alone by a witch of the woods, Kristtōrn’s powers of magic grew, as did her temper. Determined to find her long lost twin, she set out on a perilous journey across oceans to find him. But what she found instead was a deep-seated fear of her powers and a confrontation that would leave the fate of Christmas hanging in the balance.

When We Make It
By Elisabet Velasquez
368 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593324486 | Dial BFYR
Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth grader who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has been denied. When We Make It is a love letter to girls who were taught to believe they would not make it at all. The verse is evocative and insightful, and readers are sure to be swept into Sarai’s world and rooting for her long after they close the book.

Gift Books for Graduation

People all over the world are celebrating their graduations this summer so here’s a list of inspiring picture books that make great gifts for new graduates regardless of age.

Great Dog
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Miguel Tanco
46 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919170 | Tundra Books
A pup and his father contemplate his grand future while looking at other Great Dogs in their family. Will he be a marathon runner like Uncle Tibor, the fastest dog in the family? Will he be an astronaut like Aunt Yuki, who reached for the stars? Or maybe a teacher like Uncle Scooter, respected by all? No matter what, says his father, he will be a GREAT dog!

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
By Dr. Seuss
56 Pages | All Ages | Hardcover
ISBN 9780679805274 | Random House BFYR
From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. In a starred review, Booklist notes, “Seuss’s message is simple but never sappy: life may be a ‘Great Balancing Act,’ but through it all ‘There’s fun to be done.’” A perennial favorite and a perfect gift for anyone starting a new phase in their life!

She Persisted: Around the World
By Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525516996 | Philomel BFYR
In this companion book to She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to a group of thirteen incredible women who have shaped history all across the globe. She Persisted: Around the World is a book for everyone who has ever aimed high and been told to step down, for everyone who has ever raised their voice and been told to quiet down, and for everyone who has ever felt small, unimportant or unworthy.

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country
By Amanda Gorman
Foreword by Oprah Winfrey
32 Pages | All Ages | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593465271 | Viking Books
On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe with her call for unity and healing. Her poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” can now be cherished in this special gift edition, perfect for any reader looking for some inspiration. Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this remarkable keepsake celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.

This Is Ruby
By Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Alea Marley
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263611 | Tundra Books
Ruby is a little girl with a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm that’s too big to contain! Ruby is always busy – she loves to make things, watch things grow and figure out how things work, with her dog Teddy by her side. And Ruby has lots of ideas about what she wants to be: maybe an animal conservationist? Or an archaeologist? She’s great at excavating (i.e. digging holes). Or maybe an inventor? She’s already invented a book with smells instead of words (so dogs can read it) and a time machine (the dinosaurs did have feathers after all, and the future is looking wild). This is Ruby, and this is her world.