The Black Friend: Q&A with Frederick Joseph

We got a chance to ask Frederick Joseph a couple of questions about his New York Times bestselling book, The Black Friend, and his answers will inspire you.

Tell us about The Black Friend – what inspired it?

The Black Friend was inspired by a moment of racism I faced while taking the subway to work a few years ago. I sat next to a young white woman who clutched her purse as soon as I sat down, as if I was going to steal from her and then moved her seat next to a white man. I tweeted about the incident and how racist her actions were and many people argued that her actions were in fact not racist. I then realized that we have a very long way to go as a society in understanding that racism is a spectrum and microaggressions are one of the most consistent manifestations of daily racism non-white people face. I wanted to create a text that helped people further understand that fact.

You’ve been behind two successful campaigns – #BlackPantherChallenge and #RentRelief – can you tell us about how both of those started? Did you get the results you expected?

Both campaigns started by me recognizing a need in our society and wanting to do what I could to help alleviate it, though the two needs are very different. #RentRelief is likely the most practical for many. People are facing economic hardship because of the pandemic, so I raised money to send funds in hopes that it would help them during their troubles. As far as the #BlackPantherChallenge, that’s a bit more nuanced. I created that campaign because oftentimes when we discuss marginalized young people, we only talk about how to help them survive. But I believe joy is a very important part of youth as well. So I raised money to give young people a moment for joy and to see themselves represented on screen.

What other writing projects are you currently working on?

This is top secret for the moment. But I will say, I’m going to continue to find ways to support marginalized communities through my writing, especially women and the LGBTQ+ community.

You interviewed so many inspiring people for The Black Friend – were there any people you wish you could have included?

I do wish that I could have had someone who is Native American in the book. I was working on firming up time to interview three amazing people, but scheduling didn’t work out. But I will do everything in my power to get them in a future project.

Related: Who would be at your dream dinner party (once dinner parties are a thing again)?

At my dinner party hmmmm . . . You didn’t specify whether they have to be alive. So I’ll say, my fiancée, Malcolm X, Coretta Scott King, Ayanna Pressley, my editor Kaylan Adair, LeBron James, and Fred Hampton.

You provided an excellent list of recommendations in the appendices. Since releasing the book, is there anything else you’d add to those lists (book, movies, music, people to Google)?

There are SOOOO many pieces of art I wish I could have added to the list. But on my mind at this moment is the upcoming film Judas and The Black Messiah.

How have you been keeping yourself busy during the pandemic?

I’ve kept busy by moving to a new home, writing my top secret projects, and having amazing discussions such as this.

Anything else you want to share with readers?

I want to share one thought with readers: Prioritize your mental health. So much is going on in our world and I want you all to do things to heal and find your peace mentally and emotionally.

Thank you, Fred! If you haven’t picked up The Black Friend yet, it’s a powerful read.


The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person
By Frederick Joseph
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217018 | Candlewick
For Frederick Joseph, life as a transfer student in a largely white high school was full of wince-worthy moments that he often simply let go. As he grew older, however, he saw these as missed opportunities not only to stand up for himself, but to spread awareness to those white people who didn’t see the negative impact they were having. Speaking directly to the reader, The Black Friend calls up race-related anecdotes from the author’s past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now. Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to power dynamics, “reverse racism” to white privilege, microaggressions to the tragic results of overt racism, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former “token Black kid” who now presents himself as the friend many readers need. Backmatter includes an encyclopedia of racism, providing details on relevant historical events, terminology, and more.

Frederick Joseph: websitetwitter | instagram

Enter the world of Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking

If you’re anything like us, you’ve been waiting forever for the Chaos Walking adaptation starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley (and did someone say Nick Jonas?!?). If you haven’t read Patrick Ness’ incredible series yet, now’s your chance!

The Knife of Never Letting Go: Movie Tie-In
By Patrick Ness
496 Pages | Ages 14+| Paperback
ISBN 9781536200522 | Candlewick
Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. In the midst of the cacophony, Todd knows that the town is hiding something from him: something so awful he is forced to flee. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, Todd stumbles upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

The Ask and the Answer
By Patrick Ness
519 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780763676179 | Candlewick
Reaching the end of their flight in The Knife of Never Letting Go, Todd and Viola did not find healing and hope in Haven. They found instead their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss, waiting to welcome them to New Prentisstown. There they are forced into separate lives: Todd to prison, and Viola to a house of healing where her wounds are treated. Soon Viola is swept into the ruthless activities of the Answer, while Todd faces impossible choices when forced to join the mayor’s oppressive new regime. In alternating narratives the two struggle to reconcile their own dubious actions with their deepest beliefs. Torn by confusion and compromise, suspicion and betrayal, can their trust in each other possibly survive?

Monsters of Men
By Patrick Ness
602 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780763676193 | Candlewick
As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.

#PenguinIcebreakers

If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen our #PenguinIcebreakers pop up over the past few months. We asked some of our favourite YA authors to answer a few questions to help us get to know them better – catch up with all the current Icebreakers now and get ready for more as we head into the new year!

How It All Blew Up
By Arvin Ahmadi
272 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593202876 | Viking BFYR
Eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi always knew coming out to his Muslim family would be messy — he just didn’t think it would end in an airport interrogation room. But when faced with a failed relationship, bullies, and blackmail, running away to Rome is his only option. Right? Soon, late nights with new friends and dates in the Sistine Chapel start to feel like second nature . . . until his old life comes knocking on his door. Now, Amir has to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to a US Customs officer, or risk losing his hard-won freedom. At turns uplifting and devastating, How It All Blew Up is Arvin Ahmadi’s most powerful novel yet, a celebration of how life’s most painful moments can live alongside the riotous, life-changing joys of discovering who you are.

The Cousins
By Karen M. McManus
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525708001 | Delacorte BFYR
Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious. Their parents are all clear on one point — not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious — and dark — their family’s past is. The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over — and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

This Coven Won’t Break
By Isabel Sterling
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780451480354 | Razorbill
Hannah Walsh just wants to finish high school. It’s her senior year, so she should be focusing on classes, hanging out with her best friend, and flirting with her new girlfriend, Morgan. But it turns out surviving a murderous Witch Hunter doesn’t exactly qualify as a summer vacation, and now the rest of the Hunters seem more intent on destroying her magic than ever. When Hannah learns the Hunters have gone nationwide, armed with a serum capable of taking out entire covens at once, she’s desperate to help. Now, with witches across the country losing the most important thing they have — their power — Hannah could be their best shot at finally defeating the Hunters. After all, she’s one of the only witches to escape a Hunter with her magic intact. Or so everyone believes. Because as good as she is at faking it, doing even the smallest bit of magic leaves her in agony.

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
By Jeff Zentner
384 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735263123 | Penguin Teen Canada
High school seniors and best friends Delia and Josie are two of the brightest stars on TV . . . TV Six, that is, the premiere public access cable station of Jackson, Tennessee. Every Saturday night the duo slip into their on-screen personas, Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, to host the Midnite Matinee — an enthusiastic, if underwatched, creature feature that brings back the best, the bizarre and the usually zero-budget horror and sci-fi flicks of the 1950s and 60s. But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls must face tough decisions about their futures. For Josie, that probably means leaving town for a big university, and chasing her dream career in mainstream TV. If only she didn’t have to leave the show — and Delia — behind to get the life she wants. But the future isn’t the only thing Josie feels guilty about. Soon she begins falling for the charismatic MMA fighter, Lawson, and her commitment to the show and Delia is pushed to its limits. As the line between growing up and growing apart blurs, Josie and Delia must test the bonds of friendship and learn that an uncertain future can be both monstrous . . . and momentous.

Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House
By Janet Hill
240 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770499249 | Tundra Books
It has been a year since Lucy Crisp graduated from high school and she still hasn’t found her calling. That is, until she discovers an exclusive arts college called Ladywyck Lodge. On a whim, she applies and is thrilled to be accepted into their program. Lucy moves to Esther Wren, the charming little town where it’s based, and stays in the house her father buys as an investment: a magnificent building built by a sea captain in 1876. The house has history and personality — perhaps too much personality. . . Strange things start happening. Lucy hears voices and footsteps in empty rooms. She sees people and things that should not be there. Furniture disappears and elaborate desserts appear. What’s worse is that the strange events are not restricted to her house. Lucy begins to understand that the town and its inhabitants are hiding many secrets, and Ladywyck is at the heart. As the eerie happenings escalate, Lucy fears she is being threatened — but she is determined not to let fairy potions, spells and talk of witchcraft scare her away.

A Phoenix First Must Burn
Edited by Patrice Caldwell
368 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984835659 | Viking BFYR
Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.

 

Burn Our Bodies Down
By Rory Power
352 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525645627 | Delacorte BFYREver since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along. But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for. Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there? The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Girl Crushed
By Katie Heaney
352 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984897343 | Knopf BFYR
Before Quinn Ryan was in love with Jamie Rudawski, she loved Jamie Rudawski, who was her best friend. But when Jamie dumps Quinn a month before their senior year, Quinn is suddenly girlfriend-less and best friend-less. Enter a new crush: Ruby Ocampo, the gorgeous and rich lead singer of the popular band Sweets, who’s just broken up with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. Quinn’s always only wanted to be with Jamie, but if Jamie no longer wants to be with her, why can’t Quinn go all in on Ruby? But the closer Quinn grows to Ruby, the more she misses Jamie, and the more (she thinks) Jamie misses her. Who says your first love can’t be your second love, too?

Hunted by the Sky
By Tanaz Bhathena
384 Pages | Ages 12+| Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267022 | Penguin Teen Canada
Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge. Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets Gul in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance — and discovers a magic he never expected to find. Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own.

A Game of Hope
By Sandra Gulland
384 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780143187127 | Penguin Teen Canada
Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom suffered tragic losses during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution. She loves to play and compose music, read and paint, and daydream about Christophe, her brother’s dashing fellow officer. But Hortense is not an ordinary girl. Her beautiful, charming mother Josephine has married Napoleon Bonaparte, soon to become the most powerful man in France, but viewed by Hortense as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was guillotined during the Terror. Where will Hortense’s future lie? Inspired by Hortense’s real-life autobiography with charming glimpses of teen life long ago, this is the story of a girl chosen by fate to play a role she didn’t choose.

 

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
By Holly Jackson
400 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984896360 | Delacorte Press
Everyone in Fairview knows the story. Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town. But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer? Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

The Grey Sisters
By Jo Treggiari
228 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735263000 | Penguin Teen Canada
D and Spider have always been close friends, and they are further united in their shared heartbreak: they both lost siblings in a horrific plane crash two years earlier. A chance sighting of a beloved cuddly toy in a photograph of the only survivor spurs D to finally seek closure. She and Spider and their friend, Min, set off on a road trip to the mountainside site of that terrible crash. Ariel has lived on the mountain all her life. She and her extended family are looked down upon by neighboring townsfolk and she has learned to live by her wits, trusting few people outside of her isolated, survivalist community. A terrifying attack sends her down the mountain for help; on her way, she comes upon the three girls — a chance encounter that will have far-reaching consequences for them all.

He Must Like You
By Danielle Younge-Ullman
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265691 | Penguin Teen Canada
Libby’s having a rough senior year. Her older brother absconded with his college money and is bartending on a Greek island. Her dad just told her she’s got to pay for college herself, and he’s evicting her when she graduates so he can AirBnB her room. A drunken hook-up with her coworker Kyle has left her upset and confused. So when Perry Ackerman, serial harasser and the most handsy customer at The Goat where she waitresses, pushes her over the edge, she can hardly be blamed for dumping a pitcher of sangria on his head. Unfortunately, Perry is a local industry hero, the restaurant’s most important customer and Libby’s mom’s boss. Now Libby has to navigate the fallout of her outburst, find an apartment and deal with her increasing rage at the guys who’ve screwed up her life — and her increasing crush on the one guy who truly gets her. As timely as it is timeless, He Must Like You is a story about consent, rage, and revenge, and the potential we all have to be better people.

Barry Squires, Full Tilt
By Heather T. 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.

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person
By Frederick Joseph
272 Pages | Ages 12+| Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217018 | Candlewick
For Frederick Joseph, life as a transfer student in a largely white high school was full of wince-worthy moments that he often simply let go. As he grew older, however, he saw these as missed opportunities not only to stand up for himself, but to spread awareness to those white people who didn’t see the negative impact they were having. Speaking directly to the reader, The Black Friend calls up race-related anecdotes from the author’s past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now. Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to power dynamics, “reverse racism” to white privilege, microaggressions to the tragic results of overt racism, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former “token Black kid” who now presents himself as the friend many readers need. Backmatter includes an encyclopedia of racism, providing details on relevant historical events, terminology, and more.

Who do you want to see do a #PenguinIcebreakers video? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

Giveaway: The Black Friend

The Black Friend by Frederick Joseph came out this week! It’s such an important, timely book from an amazing author and we can’t wait for you all to read it. Head over to our Instagram account right now and you can enter to win a copy for you and a friend! Good luck!

See official rules here.

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person
By Frederick Joseph
272 Pages | Ages 12+| Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217018 | Candlewick
For Frederick Joseph, life as a transfer student in a largely white high school was full of wince-worthy moments that he often simply let go. As he grew older, however, he saw these as missed opportunities not only to stand up for himself, but to spread awareness to those white people who didn’t see the negative impact they were having. Speaking directly to the reader, The Black Friend calls up race-related anecdotes from the author’s past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now. Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to power dynamics, “reverse racism” to white privilege, microaggressions to the tragic results of overt racism, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former “token Black kid” who now presents himself as the friend many readers need. Backmatter includes an encyclopedia of racism, providing details on relevant historical events, terminology, and more.

Deck the Halls with These Holiday Books

The holidays are coming! Whether you’re looking for a gift to celebrate the holidays or just because, we have a cool list of winter-themed books to choose from – make sure you pick them up from your favourite bookstore!

Ages 0-3

The Wheels on the Bus at Christmas
By Sarah Kieley
24 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593174852 | Doubleday BFYR
Families will love creating a new Christmas tradition as they sing along to this joyful, boistrous, holiday version of the classic song “The Wheels on the Bus”. With a gaggle of adorable Christmas passengers, including reindeer, elves, snowmen, Christmas cookies, and of course Santa himself as the bus driver, this bright and festive book is sure to have children eager to read it (and sing it!) again and again. Peek-through “windows” in the front cover give kids a sneak glimpse of the characters they’ll find inside.

Ages 2-5

Christmas in the Country
By Barbara Collyer and John R. Foley
Illustrated by Retta Worcester
24 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593119952 | Golden Books
Betty and Bob are excited to spend Christmas in the Country with their grandparents in this classic Little Golden Book, originally published in 1950. From chopping down a Christmas tree to stringing cranberries and singing carols, this is a holiday to cherish. The colorful illustrations by Walt Disney animator Retta Worcester will delight children ages 2 to 5 as well as their parents and grandparents! Makes a great stocking stuffer.

Christmas is Joy
By Emma Dodd
24 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215458 | Templar
An enchanting celebration of the true meaning of Christmas, featuring two adorable reindeer.
Christmas is love that lasts all year.
It’s all of us, together, here.
Christmas is peace, stars twinkling above,
a night of sweet dreams and a heart full of love.

Emma Dodd’s joyful celebration of this wonderful time of year, as seen through the eyes of two reindeer, is a pure delight.

Dinosaur Christmas!
By Penny Dale
32 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536214499 | Nosy Crow
Our favorite dinosaurs are back, and this time they must save Santa Claus from a snowstorm! Join them as they plow the road, whizz down a mountain on snowmobiles, zoom through the icy water on a hovercraft, and much more! But where is Santa? And will they manage to dig out his sleigh in time for Christmas day?

Mouse’s Night Before Christmas
By Tracey Corderoy
Illustrated by Sarah Massini
32 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536214406 | Nosy Crow
It’s Christmas Eve, and everyone is fast asleep except for a lonely mouse that lives in the grandfather clock. When Santa arrives, lost in a blizzard and called by Mouse’s wish, it’s Mouse who is there to show Santa the way. Together they embark on a magical sleigh ride, delivering presents all around town. But the best present of all is for Mouse: his wish to make a new friend to share Christmas Day with has finally come true.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas: Sing Along with Me!
Illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Huang
8 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Board Book
ISBN 9781536216455 | Nosy Crow
Share the holiday song with this interactive board book edition that includes five slider mechanisms. A QR code inside links to both instrumental and vocal versions of the festive song. Simply scan the code to listen and sing along – merry Christmas!

Ages 3-7

A Polar Bear in the Snow
By Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Shawn Harris
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536203967 | Candlewick Press
Follow a magnificent polar bear through a fantastic world of snow and shockingly blue sea. Over the ice, through the water, past Arctic animals and even a human . . . where is he going? What does he want? Acclaimed author Mac Barnett’s narration deftly balances suspense and emotion, as well as poignant, subtle themes, compelling us to follow the bear with each page turn. Artist Shawn Harris’s striking torn-paper illustrations layer white-on-white hues, with bolts of blue and an interplay of shadow and light, for a gorgeous view of a stark yet beautiful landscape. Simple and thought-provoking, illuminating and intriguing, this engaging picture book will have readers pondering the answer to its final question long after the polar bear has continued on his way.

A Very Quacky Christmas
By Frances Watt
Illustrated by Ann James
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593173770 | Doubleday BFYR
“We wish you a quacky Christmas!” Samantha Duck is getting ready for Christmas. “I’m going to give presents to animals all over the world!” But tortoise pal Sebastian is not so sure: “Christmas is not for animals!” With the help of her farmyard friends, who all give something to help make and deliver the presents, this determined duck sets out to prove that Christmas is for EVERYONE – and to make sure animals all around the world have a very quacky Christmas. Families will enjoy snuggling up to read this warm and friend-filled Christmas tale of giving and sharing. It’s a joyous reminder that with a bit of faith and the love of those around you, anything is possible. . . .

Christmas is Every Day
By Isabel Otter
Illustrated by Alicia Más
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593178966 | Rodale Kids
Through adorably-illustrated vignettes, this gifty, light-hearted picture book captures and celebrates the true meaning of Christmas and encourages readers to embrace the spirit of Christmas every day! With an array of family structures and communities enjoying all the kind moments that make Christmas special throughout the year, Christmas is Every Day shares the message that generosity, hope, kindness, and community are relevant all year round.

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story
By Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Mark Fearing
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524714512 | Knopf BFYR
After centuries alone in his old castle, Vlad is ready to try something new. When he hears the local hockey team gushing about how they’ll crush and destroy their opponents in the next game, he knows he’s found the activity for him! Vlad immediately gives the game his all, but he soon realizes that super-human powers don’t mean much in hockey without a mastery of the basics. After weeks of practice, he’s finally ready for the big game . . . but can a hundreds-of-years-old vampire really learn new tricks? This hilarious, energetic picture book encourages teamwork, perseverance, and a love of hockey that will last a lifetime, even for an immortal being.

If Winter Comes, Tell It I’m Not Here
By Simona Ciraolo
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215304 | Candlewick Press
Nothing is better than summer, with its joys of swimming every day and eating ice cream. One little boy’s older sister tells him he’d better make the most of it, because summer is going to end soon. When winter comes, she assures him, it will be cold and dark, and the icy rain will turn to snow. They’ll be stuck on the sofa for days and won’t even dream of eating ice cream. . . . Simona Ciraolo’s expressive illustrations belie the bleak forecast with images of glowing autumn leaves, cozy couch snuggles, wintry play, and sweet desserts. A celebration of the changing of the seasons, this inviting tale shows how much fun can be found around every sunny – or snowy – corner.

Little Unicorn’s Christmas
By Rhiannon Fielding
Illustrated by Chris Chatterton
32 Pages | Ages 3-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780241484708 | Ladybird
It’s Christmas Eve, and Twinkle has ten minutes before she has to go to sleep. But when Santa needs her help, Twinkle wonders if she could help save Christmas and still get to bed on time? Written for bedtime, this story follows Twinkle the Unicorn as she finds herself on a Christmas-themed nighttime adventure. With a ten-minute countdown at the heart of this enchanting story, little ones will love following Twinkle on a brand new adventure.

Mistletoe: A Christmas Story
By Tad Hills
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593174425 | Schwartz & Wade
Mistletoe loves everything about Christmas – the twinkling lights, the cookies for Santa, and, most of all, the gently falling snow. Her best friend, Norwell, is an elephant who likes sitting by the fire and watching the snow from the comfort of his cozy house. On one particularly snowy walk, Mistletoe stops to appreciate the beauty and peace of a snow-covered world. She knows Norwell would love it too… if he weren’t so afraid of the cold. Then she has an idea! Mistletoe knits from morning to night – when she’s reading, when she’s baking, and even in the bath (which isn’t easy). By the time Christmas morning arrives, she puts down her knitting needles. Her gift for Norwell is ready – and it is perfect.

Pick a Pine Tree
By Patricia Toht
Illustrated by Jarvis
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536216028 | Candlewick Press
Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. With style and warmth, debut author Patricia Toht and Jarvis, the author-illustrator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, evoke all the rituals of decorating the tree – digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights. Joyously drawn and rhythmically written, this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday season is as merry as the tradition it depicts.

Snow FallsSnow Falls
By Kate Gardner
Illustrated by Brandon James Scott
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919217 | Tundra Books
Snow softens, snow tricks, snow tracks, snow glows and snow snows and snows and snows, transforming a small village into a winter wonderland. A girl and her dog set out and make the most of every snow-filled moment: sledding, building snowmen and snowforts, making snowangels (and snowdogs), and drinking cocoa by a cozy fire as the snow continues to fall. This luminous and lively picture book celebrates the beauty, magic and excitement of snow with simple, easy-to-read text, comprised almost solely of verbs and action words, and gorgeous art that highlights the amazing colors of a snowy day. As inviting as the first snowfall, but so much warmer, Snow Falls encourages little people and big people to go outside and enjoy the snow . . . before it goes!

When Santa Was a Baby
By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770495562 | Tundra Books
Santa’s parents think their little one is absolutely wonderful, even though he has a booming voice instead of a baby’s gurgle, loves to stand in front of the refrigerator, gives his birthday presents away, trains his hamsters to pull a matchbox sleigh . . . and has an unusual interest in chimneys. The adorably funny portrait of an oddball kid who fulfills his destiny – and two very proud parents.

Ages 4-8

Bear Goes Sugaring
By Maxwell Eaton, III
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823444489 | Neal Porter Books
Did you know that it takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup? “How many pancakes can I eat with that gallon?” wonders Dog. Every step of the process of making maple syrup is covered in this sweet (but never saccharine) informational picture book by Maxwell Eaton III, the creator of the popular “Truth About” series. It begins with Bear assembling the tools she’ll need for the project, continues with a discussion of the types of maples found in the area and why sugar maples are best for tapping, then on to drilling, tapping, evaporation and at the end of the process, real maple syrup and best of all, PANCAKES! Along the way there are hilarious asides from increasingly ravenous Dog and Squirrel, making this a book as funny as it is informative.

Bobby Orr and the Hand-me-down Skates
By Kara Koostra and Bobby Orr
Illustrated by Jennifer Phelan
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265325 | Tundra Books
Bobby eats, sleeps and breathes hockey. So, with his birthday is coming up, he only wants one thing: new skates. He’s seen the exact pair he wants in the shop window: sparkling blades, shiny leather, clean new laces tied in perfect bows. But when Bobby opens his gift, he’s dismayed to find hand-me-down skates: scuffed leather, nicked blades, floppy laces. Once Bobby breaks them in, though, he and the hand-me-down skates become inseparable, and he can’t imagine life without them . . . until the brand-new skates come into his life. How can he leave his hand-me-down skates behind? Log Driver’s Waltz illustrator Jennifer Phelan brings this classic story to life with timeless, gorgeous art, and Kara Kootsra’s words evoke the joy and dedication that Bobby Orr brought to his favorite sport.

Cozy
By Jan Brett
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593109793 | Putnam BFYR
Cozy is the softest musk ox in Alaska, with the warmest fur you ever did feel. When a storm hits while he’s separated from his family, he starts to feel lonely – but not for long. As the snow piles up, animals start to notice just how warm and cozy Cozy really is! One mama lemming has a bright idea . . . maybe the best place to spend the winter is under Cozy’s fur! As more and more animals burrow in, Cozy adds to the house rules: quiet voices, gentle thumping, claws to yourself, no biting, and no pouncing. That seems easy enough . . . until the lemmings, snowshoe hare, snowy owl, arctic fox, and wolverine begin to bicker. Luckily, signs of spring soon appear, and that means Cozy can find his herd and his new friends can head to their summer homes. But not before promising to get cozy with Cozy next year!

Llama Llama Holiday Helper
By Anna Dewdney
Illustrated by JJ Harrison 
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593222591 | Penguin Young Readers Licenses
In this beautiful picture book, Llama Llama and Mama Llama are just about done with getting ready for the holidays. So Llama decides to help out his friends – hanging wreaths, decorating trees, and baking cookies. Join Llama, Gilroy, Nelly, Euclid, and Luna as they celebrate their favorite time of year. Celebrate the holidays with Llama Llama and all his friends in this beautifully illustrated picture book, based on the hit animated Netflix series!

Once Upon a Winter Day
By Liza Woodruff
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823440993 | Margaret Ferguson Books
Milo wants a story, but his mom is too busy to entertain him. Instead, she encourages him to go out and play in the snow. At first, Milo is disappointed – he doesn’t want to play outside, he wants a story. But when he starts to follow a trail of mouse-prints, he discovers signs of activity all around, prompting him to ask, “What happened here?” Before long, he’s using his imagination – depicted in lush wordless spreads that capture the vividness of Milo’s fantasies – to fill in the gaps. By the time Milo comes home, he’s the one with stories to tell.

Snow is Fun
By Steve Henry
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446001  | Holiday House
Snow is fun, and snow is quiet – but snow is heavy, too. A tiny bird is perched upon a branch that begins to strain under the weight of a heavy snowfall. When the branch breaks, the bird falls into the deep, deep snow. His friends – a bunny, two mice, a squirrel, and an owl – try to rescue him. Luckily, little bird can fly! He can help himself. The friends rejoice. Snow is fun – and snow is especially fun with friends.

Ten Ways to Hear Snow
By Cathy Camper
Illustrated by Kenard Pak
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399186332 | Kokila
One winter morning, Lina wakes up to silence. It’s the sound of snow – the kind that looks soft and glows bright in the winter sun. But as she walks to her grandmother’s house to help make the family recipe for warak enab, she continues to listen. As Lina walks past snowmen and across icy sidewalks, she discovers ten ways to pay attention to what might have otherwise gone unnoticed. With stunning illustrations by Kenard Pak and thoughtful representation of a modern Arab American family from Cathy Camper, Ten Ways to Hear Snow is a layered exploration of mindfulness, empathy, and what we realize when the world gets quiet.

the-day-santa-stopped-believing-in-haroldThe Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold
By Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735268708 | Tundra Books
Santa has a problem. This kid? Harold? Santa doesn’t think he’s real. He WANTS to believe in Harold – after all, Harold is one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Getting Harold’s letters, eating the cookies he leaves out, feeding his carrots to the reindeer . . . what would Christmas be without that? But Santa’s just not sure. Some of his friends are telling him they think Harold’s not real. And the Harold that sat on his knee last Christmas looked AWFULLY different. Santa comes up with a plan to find out once and for all if Harold really exists . . . with hilarious consequences.

The Eight Knights of Hanukkah
By Leslie Kimmelman
Illustrated by Galia Bernstein
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823439584 | Holiday House
It’s the last night of Hanukkah and everyone is doing their part for the big celebration, but a dragon called Dreadful has other ideas. He roams the countryside, interrupting the party preparations. Lady Sadie must call upon the Eight Knights of Hanukkah to perform deeds of awesome kindness and stupendous bravery and put an end to the dragon’s shenanigans. When Dreadful eats all the special donuts the baker made, Sir Lily helps the baker make more sufganiyot. Sir Alex makes a young lad a new dreidel after Dreadful scorched his original one. And on the Knights go – but when they finally catch up to Dreadful, a funny surprise awaits them!

The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol
By Arthur A. Levine
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
40 Pages | Ages 5-8  | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763697419 | Candlewick Press
Nate Gadol is a great big spirit with eyes as shiny as golden coins and a smile that is lantern bright. He can make anything last as long as it is needed, like a tiny bit of oil that must stretch for eight nights, a flower that needs to stay fresh to cheer up someone ailing, or a small lump of chocolate that grows to allow the Glasers to treat their children over the holiday and, during a harsh winter when medicine is needed more than sweets, spurs them to share what little they have with the O’Malleys. In this charming holiday hybrid story, well-known children’s author and editor Arthur A. Levine pairs with award-winning illustrator Kevin Hawkes to offer a mythical, magical take on the way Jewish families came to give and receive gifts over Hanukkah, just as their Christian neighbors do at Christmas, thanks to a loving spirit named Nate Gadol working behind the scenes – together with a certain jolly old soul.

The Square Root of Possible: A Jingle Jangle Story
By Lyn Sisson-Talbert and David E. Talbert
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593203835 | Razorbill
A heartwarming picture book story based on the song “The Square Root of Possible” from the Netflix holiday film Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey! A holiday tale set in the snow-covered town of Cobbleton, Jingle Jangle follows eccentric toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker) whose fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. But when a betrayal by a former protégé (Keegan-Michael Key) leaves Jeronicus withdrawn and down on his luck, it’s up to his bright and adventurous granddaughter, Journey (newcomer Madalen Mills) – and a singularly magical invention – to save the day. From the imagination of writer/director David E. Talbert and featuring original music by John Legend, Philip Lawrence, and Davy Nathan, Jingle Jangle reminds you that anything is possible. . . if you believe.

Ages 6-9

Happy Narwhalidays
By Ben Clanton
76 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262515 | Tundra Books
Dive into three new stories about Narwhal’s favorite time of the year! It’s the festive season in the world wide waters, and Narwhal is looking forward to cozying up with a good book, singing and partying with pod pals and enjoying some warm waffle pudding. But most of all Narwhal is excited about the arrival of the Merry Mermicorn! According to Narwhal, she’s part mermaid, part unicorn and completely mer-aculous! Jelly is of course skeptical about the existence of the “Mira-Miny-What-A Corn” . . . even when he receives a mysterious present. It must be from Narwhal. Now Jelly has to get the perfect gift, but finding a present for someone as unique as Narwhal is no easy feat, even when you have six tentacles. How will Jelly ever come up with a whaley great gift for a best pal who spreads cheer all through the year?

Ages 8-12

Jingle Jangle: The Invention of Jeronicus Jangle
By Lyn Sisson-Talbert and David E. Talbert
176 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593203804 | Razorbill
A delightful middle grade story based on the Netflix holiday film Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey! A holiday tale set in the snow-covered town of Cobbleton, Jingle Jangle follows eccentric toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker) whose fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. But when a betrayal by a former protégé (Keegan-Michael Key) leaves Jeronicus withdrawn and down on his luck, it’s up to his bright and adventurous granddaughter, Journey (newcomer Madalen Mills) – and a singularly magical invention – to save the day. From the imagination of writer/director David E. Talbert and producer Lyn Sisson-Talbert, featuring original music by John Legend, Philip Lawrence, Davy Nathan, and Michael Diskint. Jingle Jangle reminds you that anything is possible. . . if you believe.