Juneteenth Reading List 2022

Today is Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth National Independence Day, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and also celebrates African-American culture. Here’s a reading list to keep the conversation going any day of the year.

The 1619 Project: Born on the Water
By Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson
Illustrated by Nikkolas Smith
48 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593307359 | Kokila
The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book in verse chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States, thoughtfully rendered by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newbery honor-winning author Renée Watson. A young student receives a family tree assignment in school, but she can only trace back three generations. Grandma gathers the whole family, and the student learns that 400 years ago, in 1619, their ancestors were stolen and brought to America by white slave traders. But before that, they had a home, a land, a language. She learns how the people said to be born on the water survived.

Build a House
By Rhiannon Giddens
Illustrated by Monica Mikai
40 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536222524 | Candlewick
As an acclaimed musician, singer, songwriter, and cofounder of the traditional African American string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens has long used her art to mine America’s musical past and manifest its future, passionately recovering lost voices and reconstructing a nation’s musical heritage. Written as a song to commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth – which was originally performed with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma – and paired here with bold illustrations by painter Monica Mikai, Build a House tells the moving story of a people who would not be moved and the music that sustained them. Steeped in sorrow and joy, resilience and resolve, turmoil and transcendence, this dramatic debut offers a proud view of history and a vital message for readers of all ages: honor your heritage, express your truth, and let your voice soar, even – or perhaps especially – when your heart is heaviest.

Darryl’s Dream
By Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Shawnee Warfield, Johnny Warfield, and Adam Padilla
Illustrated by Tristan Tait
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593487747 | Random House BFYR
Meet Darryl, a quiet third grader with big hopes and dreams. He loves writing and wants to share his talents, but he’s shy – and the kids who make fun of his glasses only make things worse. Will the school talent show be his chance to shine? Darryl’s Dream, by iconic performer Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, is a story about finding confidence, facing bullies, and celebrating yourself. This full-color picture book is certain to entertain children and parents with its charming art and important message.

Hey You! An Empowering Celebration of Growing Up Black
By Dapo Adeola
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593529423 | Nancy Paulsen Books
This book addresses – honestly, yet hopefully – the experiences Black children face growing up with systemic racism, as well as providing hope for the future and delivering a message of empowerment to a new generation of dreamers. It’s a message that is both urgent and timeless – and offers a rich and rewarding reading experience for every child. To mirror the rich variety of the Black diaspora, this book showcases artwork from Dapo Adeola and eighteen more incredible Black illustrators in one remarkable and cohesive reading experience.

Emile and the Field
By Kevin Young
Illustrated by Chioma Ebinama
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984850423 | Make Me A World
Emile loves the field close to his home – in spring, summer, and fall, when it gives him bees and flowers, blossoms and leaves. But not as much in winter, when he has to share his beautiful, changeable field with other children . . . and their sleds. This relatable and lyrical ode to one boy’s love for his neighborhood field celebrates how spending time in nature allows children to dream, to imagine . . . and even to share.

Goodnight Racism
By Ibram X. Kendi
Illustrated by Cbabi Bayoc
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593110515 | Kokila
As children all over the world get ready for bed, the moon watches over them. The moon knows that when we sleep, we dream. And when we dream, we imagine what is possible and what the world can be. With dynamic, imaginative art and poetic prose, Goodnight Racism delivers important messages about antiracism, justice, and equality in an easy-to-read format that empowers readers both big and small. Goodnight Racism gives children the language to dream of a better world and is the perfect book to add to their social justice toolkit.

I Am Every Good Thing
By Derrick Barnes
Illustrated by Gordon C. James
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525518778 | Nancy Paulsen Books
The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He’s got big plans, and no doubt he’ll see them through – as he’s creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you – and shows you – who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!

Mae Makes a Way
By Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Illustrated by Andrea Pippins
48 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525645856 | Crown BFYR
Mae had a dream to make one-of-a-kind hats. But the path for a Black female designer was unclear, so Mae made a way, leaving her home in the segregated South to study at the Chicago School of Millinery. Mae had the skills, but craved the independence to create her own styles. So Mae found a way. In Philadelphia, she became the first Black woman to own a business on South Street. Whether you were Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Marian Anderson or a lady from the neighborhood, Mae wanted you to look good and feel special in one of her original hats. A mother, a successful entrepreneur, and a community advocate, Mae led the way. Published in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, acclaimed author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (Two Naomis) and award-winning illustrator Andrea Pippins (I Love My Hair) bring the life of fashion entrepreneur and civic organizer Mae Reeves to the page. And when you are done reading, explore Mae’s store and styles in person at her permanent exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations
By Kelly Starling Lyons
Illustrated by Keith Mallett
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525516095 | Nancy Paulsen Books
In Jacksonville, Florida, two brothers, one of them the principal of a segregated, all-black school, wrote the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” so his students could sing it for a tribute to Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1900. From that moment on, the song has provided inspiration and solace for generations of Black families. Mothers and fathers passed it on to their children who sang it to their children and grandchildren. Known as the Black National Anthem, it has been sung during major moments of the Civil Rights Movement and at family gatherings and college graduations. Inspired by this song’s enduring significance, Kelly Starling Lyons and Keith Mallett tell a story about the generations of families who gained hope and strength from the song’s inspiring words.

Why Not You?
By Ciara and Russell Wilson
Illustrated by Jessica Gibson
With JaNay Brown-Wood
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593374405 | Random House BFYR
We all have big dreams! Sometimes it’s hard to imagine our big dreams coming true. But what if someone saw all the amazing and spectacular parts of us – our winning smiles, our fancy feet, our warm hearts – and asked, “Why not you?”. Whether it’s becoming a football player or a pop star or the president or a scientist: Why not you? In this picture book debut, superstars Ciara and Russell Wilson encourage readers to see themselves achieving their dreams, no matter how outrageous they may seem. It’s a lyrical celebration of self-esteem, perseverance, and daring to shoot for the stars.

For older readers:

Dear Martin
By Nic Stone
240 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781101939529 | Crown BFYR
Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend – but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out. Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up – way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

Just Mercy: A True Story of the Fight for Justice
By Bryan Stevenson
288 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593177044 | Ember
In this very personal work – adapted from the original #1 bestseller, which the New York Times calls “as compelling as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so” – acclaimed lawyer and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson offers a glimpse into the lives of the wrongfully imprisoned and his efforts to fight for their freedom. Stevenson’s story is one of working to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society – the poor, the wrongly convicted, and those whose lives have been marked by discrimination and marginalization. Through this adaptation, young people of today will find themselves called to action and compassion in the pursuit of justice. Proceeds of this book will go to charity to help in Stevenson’s important work to benefit the voiceless and the vulnerable as they attempt to navigate the broken U.S. justice system.

Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman
By Kristen R. Lee
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593309155 | Crown BFYR
Savannah Howard sacrificed her high school social life to make sure she got into a top college. Her sights were set on an HBCU, but when she is accepted to the ivy-covered walls of Wooddale University on a full ride, how can she say no? Wooddale is far from the perfectly manicured community it sells on its brochures, though. Savannah has barely unpacked before she comes face to face with microaggressions stemming from racism and elitism. Then Clive Wilmington’s statue is vandalized with blackface. The prime suspect? Lucas Cunningham, Wooddale’s most popular student and son of a local prominent family. Soon Savannah is unearthing secrets of Wooddale’s racist history. But what’s the price for standing up for what is right? And will telling the truth about Wooddale’s past cost Savannah her own future? A stunning, challenging, and timely debut about racism and privilege on college campuses.

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People
By Kekla Magoon
400 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536214185 | Candlewick
In this comprehensive, inspiring, and all-too-relevant history of the Black Panther Party, Kekla Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers’ community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens. For too long the Panthers’ story has been a footnote to the civil rights movement rather than what it was: a revolutionary socialist movement that drew thousands of members – mostly women – and became the target of one of the most sustained repression efforts ever made by the U.S. government against its own citizens. Revolution in Our Time puts the Panthers in the proper context of Black American history, from the first arrival of enslaved people to the Black Lives Matter movement of today. Kekla Magoon’s eye-opening work invites a new generation of readers grappling with injustices in the United States to learn from the Panthers’ history and courage, inspiring them to take their own place in the ongoing fight for justice.

What Is Juneteenth?
By Kirsti Jewel and Who HQ
Illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez
112 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593384695 | Penguin Workshop
On June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved men, women, and children in Texas gathered around a Union solder and listened as he read the most remarkable words they would ever hear. They were no longer enslaved: they were free. The inhumane practice of forced labor with no pay was now illegal in all of the United States. This news was cause for celebration, so the group of people jumped in excitement, danced, and wept tears of joy. They did not know it at the time, but their joyous celebration of freedom would become a holiday – Juneteenth – that is observed each year by more and more Americans. Author Kirsti Jewel shares stories from Juneteenth celebrations, both past and present, and chronicles the history that led to the creation of this joyous day.

Tundra Telegram: Books That Are Real Dingers

We’re back with another edition of Tundra Telegram, a column in which we look at the subjects on readers’ minds and recommend some recent great books to continue the discussion.

Last weekend in cities across North America, baseball season began. Baseball: America’s pastime, a thing to watch while eating a few chili dogs. Readers could hear the crack of the bat, smell the aroma of Cracker Jacks, taste the awkwardness of crowds doing half-hearted waves. And if you, like so many others, have been knocked flat by a case of baseball fever, we prescribe a few of these books and plenty of rest!

PICTURE BOOKS

If you think your child is showing sure signs of infielding and arm strength before they can even walk, you should pick up the board book Baseball Baby by Diane Adams and Canadian illustrator Charlene Chua in which a toddler is introduced to baseball for the first time.

A Ticket to the Pennant by Mark Holtzen is a story of baseball in Seattle, back when the Seattle Mariners were the Seattle Rainiers. (We have heard it’s rainier in Seattle.) Huey searches for his lost ticket to the big game, and wanders through the city’s diverse communities – all united by their love of the sport.

But if it’s the characters of baseball you love, you’ll want Barb Rosenstock and Terry Widener’s Yogi, a picture book tribute to Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, an all-star and true personality who coined such classic wisdom like, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over,” and “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”

And if you like baseball AND hockey, check out NHL player and author Zachary Hyman’s The Bambino and Me, about a boy in 1920s New York and his quest to watch Babe Ruth face off against the dreaded Red Sox.

CHAPTER BOOKS

Mac Barnett and Greg Pizzoli’s Jack at Bat may not have the history or the literary pedigree of a “Casey at the Bat,” but it does have a mischievous rabbit, a cranky old lady, a lovable dog, and baseball teams named the Lady Town Ladies and the Big City Brats, so kids seem to like it more.

Jack and Annie have encountered dinosaurs, mummies, dolphins, and pirates, but in Magic Tree House #29: A Big Day of Baseball, they meet Jackie Robinson, the first Black player in Major League Baseball, as they are whisked back to 1947 to see Number 42 and learn about a longer-held American pastime than baseball. (Spoiler: it’s racism.)

MIDDLE GRADE

If you loved A League of Their Own and like your baseball stories with a dash of history and civil rights, you’ll love Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages. In 1957 small-town America, Katy Gordon proves that even if you’re the best ten-year-old pitcher in town, people will try to stop you from playing Little League. (And for this reader, there was, in fact, crying in baseball.)

But don’t just stop there, as you’ll also want to follow along the journey of Shenice Lockwood and her Fulton Firebirds as they go to the regional softball championship in New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone’s coming-of-age softball page turner Fast Pitch. Not only will you cheer their triumphs, you’ll also learn a little about baseball history!

If you like classic books just as much as you like baseball, Alan Gratz’s Fantasy Baseball is probably for you. If you’ve ever wondered what a baseball game would look like with Dorothy Gale, The Big Bad Wolf, and Pinocchio in the infield, search no further!

Learn about Vancouver’s legendary Asahi baseball team in Ellen Schwartz’s Heart of a Champion, in which Kenny and his brother and local baseball star Mickey’s worlds are turned upside-down when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, and a dark period in Canadian history follows.

And maybe Paolo Bacigalupi’s Zombie Baseball Beatdown doesn’t have that much to say about the game (and is more about a zombie apocalypse caused by corrupt food producers) but no one can deny baseball bats do get swung frequently.

YOUNG ADULT

Matt de la Peña’s Mexican WhiteBoy tells the story of Danny, a biracial kid with a killer fastball. When he spends a summer with his father’s family in Mexico, he faces personal demons tougher than any slugger.

And including Karen M. McManus’s blockbuster One of Us Is Lying (now a successful television series) is a stretch, but may we remind you that Cooper, one of the Bayview Four (and one of our murder suspects) is an all-star pitcher. So, we’re keeping it!

Women’s History Month 2022: Women in Sports

March is Women’s History Month and there are so my incredible and inspiring books to read! We’ll be sharing a new themed list every week this month so make sure to keep an eye on our blog!

Bibi’s Got Game: A Story About Tennis, Meditation, and a Dog Named Coco
By Bianca Andreescu with Mary Beth Leatherdale
Illustrated by Chelsea O’Byrne
56 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270558 | Tundra Books
From the moment she wakes up, Bibi is very busy. Even before school begins, there are cartwheels to do, world records to break (38 minutes balancing a spoon on your nose), and her dog, Coco, to snuggle. Bibi’s mother suggests she try a sport, but nothing feels right. Until she tries tennis. On the court, she feels strong and powerful. Her serve is like lightning, her backhand booms like thunder and her forehand is as fierce as a hurricane. But one day, everything changes when she is injured on the playground. Bibi is heartbroken, sad, frustrated and angry – she decides to quit tennis! But her mother, with a little help from Coco, shows her how to meditate and dispel the self-doubt and negativity. Bibi learns to focus on all the things that make her grateful and happy. And when her body is ready to go back to tennis, so is her mind. “Now every morning, I picture myself strong and powerful on the court. Just me and the fuzzy ball.”

I am Billie Jean King
By Brad Meltzer
Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
40 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735228740 | Dial Books
This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great – the traits that kids can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. Each book tells the story of one of America’s icons in a lively, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers and that always includes the hero’s childhood influences. At the back are an excellent timeline and photos. This volume features Billie Jean King, the world champion tennis player who fought successfully for women’s rights. From a young age, Billie Jean King loved sports – especially tennis! But as she got older, she realized that plenty of people, even respected male athletes, didn’t take women athletes seriously. She set to prove them wrong and show girls everywhere that sports are for everyone, regardless of gender.

Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports
By Phil Bildner
Illustrated by Brett Helquist
40 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536205640 | Candlewick
Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert come from completely different places and play tennis in completely different ways. Chrissie is the all-American girl: practiced, poised, with perfect technique. Martina hails from Czechoslovakia, a Communist country, and her game is ruled by emotion. Everything about them is different, except one thing: they both want to be the best. But as their intense rivalry grows, something else begins to swing into place, and a friendship forms that will outlast all their tennis victories. Phil Bildner and Brett Helquist tell the engaging true story of these two masters of the court as they win title after title – and, most importantly, the hearts of the fans.

She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game
By Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593114544 | Philomel BFYR
She Persisted in Sports is a book for everyone who has ever aimed for a goal and been told it wasn’t theirs to hit, for everyone who has ever raced for a finish line that seemed all too far away, and for everyone who has ever felt small or unimportant while out on the field. Alexandra Boiger’s vibrant artwork accompanies this inspiring text that shows readers of all ages that, no matter what obstacles come their way, they have the power to persist and succeed. This book features: Margaret Ives Abbott, Gertrude Ederle, Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, Wilma Rudolph, Jean Driscoll, Mia Hamm (and the 1996 Olympic soccer team), Kristi Yamaguchi, Venus and Serena Williams, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, Diana Taurasi, Simone Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad and Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux.

Sisters & Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams
By Howard Bryant
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399169069 | Philomel BFYR
Everyone knows the names Venus & Serena Williams. They’ve become synonymous with championships, hard work, and with shaking up the tennis world. This inspirational true story, written by award-winning sports journalist, Howard Bryant, and brought to beautiful life by Coretta Scott Kind Award and Honor winner, Floyd Cooper, details the sisters’ journey from a barely-there tennis court in Compton, CA, to Olympic gold medals and becoming the #1 ranked women in the sport of tennis. Here is a worthy ode to Venus and Serena Williams, the incredible sister duo who will go down in history as two of the greatest athletes of all time.

Women in Sports: Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win
By Rachel Ignotofsky
30 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780593377659 | Crown BFYR
Highlighting the pioneering efforts of women athletes, this board book edition of the original bestseller features simpler text and Rachel Ignotofsky’s signature beautiful illustrations reimagined for younger readers to introduce the perfect role models for inspiring a love of sports. The collection includes diverse women across various sports, time periods, and geographic location. The perfect gift for every future athlete!

For older kids:

Fast Pitch
By Nic Stone
192 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984893017 | Crown BFYR
Shenice Lockwood, captain of the Fulton Firebirds, is hyper-focused when she steps up to the plate. Nothing can stop her from leading her team to the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship. But life has thrown some curveballs her way.
Strike one: As the sole team of all-brown faces, Shenice and the Firebirds have to work twice as hard to prove that Black girls belong at bat.
Strike two: Shenice’s focus gets shaken when her great-uncle Jack reveals that a career-ending – and family-name-ruining – crime may have been a setup.
Strike three: Broken focus means mistakes on the field. Shenice’s teammates are beginning to wonder if she’s captain-qualified.
It’s up to Shenice to discover the truth about her family’s past – and fast – before secrets take the Firebirds out of the game forever.

On Top of Glass: My Stories as a Queer Girl in Figure Skating
By Karina Manta
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593308462 | Knopf BFYR
Karina Manta has had a busy few years: Not only did she capture the hearts of many with her fan-favorite performance at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, she also became the first female figure skater on Team USA to come out as queer. Her Modern Love essay “I Can’t Hate My Body if I Love Hers” was published in the New York Times, and then she joined the circus – Cirque du Soleil’s on-ice show, AXEL. Karina’s memoir covers these experiences and much more. Attending a high school with 4,000 students, you’d expect to know more than two openly gay students, but Karina didn’t meet an out-lesbian until she was nearly seventeen – let alone any other kind of queer woman. But this isn’t just a story about her queerness. It’s also a story about her struggle with body image in a sport that prizes delicate femininity. It’s a story about panic attacks, and first crushes, and all the crushes that followed, and it’s a story about growing up, feeling different than everybody around her and then realizing that everyone else felt different too.

One Life: Young Readers Edition
By Megan Rapinoe
272 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593203415 | Razorbill
You know Megan Rapinoe as an international soccer superstar! She’s also a fierce activist, boldly speaking out about issues of equality and justice – from LGBTQ rights to the equal pay movement to Black Lives Matter. In this adaptation for middle school readers of her memoir One Life, get to know Megan: from her childhood in a small California town where she learned to play soccer and how to fight for social justice; through high school, college and beyond; to 2016 when she became the first high-profile white athlete to take a knee in support of Colin Kaepernick, and also suing the United States Soccer Federation along with her teammates over gender discrimination. Using stories from her own life and career, Rapinoe discusses the responsibility we have to speak up. In this edition specifically for young readers, she reveals the impact everyone, even kids, can have on their communities and how kids can get involved in making the world a better place.

Wild Girl: How to Have Incredible Outdoor Adventures
By Helen Skelton
Illustrated by Liz Kay
144 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536212860 | Candlewick
From kayaking the length of the Amazon to biking to the South Pole and running an ultramarathon across the Namib desert, Helen Skelton shares the stories of her most daring feats of endurance and grit in some of the world’s most extreme wildernesses – overcoming challenges, embracing her fears, and finding the positives in the toughest situations. Alongside each exciting account are ideas for outdoor adventures readers can have closer to home, as well as gear lists, information about Helen’s support teams, statistics, tips for physical and mental preparation, and a Wild Girl Wall of Fame featuring the diverse women who inspired Helen with their own achievements. A likable, no-nonsense tone paired with a combination of photographs and fun art will inspire young people to get outside and dream big.

Black History Month Reading List 2022

February is Black History Month, and we encourage you to visit your local bookstore or library to learn more. In the meantime, we have compiled our reading recommendations for you. For more recommendations, check out last year’s list or our list for World Day for African and Afrodescendant Culture.

Picture Books:

Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country
By Atinuke
Illustrated by Mouni Feddag
80 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536205374 | Candlewick
A Nigerian storyteller explores the continent of Africa country by country: its geography, peoples, animals, history, resources, and cultural diversity. The book is divided into five distinct sections – South, East, West, Central, and North – and each country is showcased on its own bright, energetic page brimming with friendly facts on science, industry, food, sports, music, wildlife, landscape features, even snippets of local languages. The richest king, the tallest sand dunes, and the planet’s largest waterfall all make appearances along with drummers, cocoa growers, inventors, balancing stones, salt lakes, high-tech cities, and nomads who use GPS! Atinuke’s lively and comprehensive introduction to all fifty-five African countries – a celebration scaled to dazzle and delight even very young readers – evokes the continent’s unique blend of modern and traditional. Complete with colorful maps, an index, and richly patterned and textured illustrations by debut children’s book artist Mouni Feddag, Africa, Amazing Africa is both a beautiful gift book and an essential classroom and social studies resource.

Because Claudette
By Tracey Baptiste
Illustrated by Tonya Engel
32 Pages | Ages 6-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593326404 | Dial BFYR
When fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin boarded a segregated bus on March 2, 1955, she had no idea she was about to make history. At school she was learning about abolitionists like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, which helped inspire her decision to refuse to give up her seat to a white woman, which led to her arrest, which began a crucial chain of events: Rosa Park’s sit-in nine months later, the organization of the Montgomery bus boycott by activists like Professor Jo Ann Robinson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Supreme Court decision that Alabama’s bus segregation was unconstitutional – a major triumph for the civil rights movement. Because of Claudette’s brave stand against injustice, history was transformed. Now it’s time for young readers to learn about this living legend, her pivotal role in the civil rights movement, and the power of one person reaching out to another in the fight for change.

Darryl’s Dream
By Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Shawnee Warfield, Johnny Warfield, and Adam Padilla
Illustrated by Tristan Tait
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593487747 | Random House BFYR
Meet Darryl, a quiet third grader with big hopes and dreams. He loves writing and wants to share his talents, but he’s shy – and the kids who make fun of his glasses only make things worse. Will the school talent show be his chance to shine? Darryl’s Dream, by iconic performer Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, is a story about finding confidence, facing bullies, and celebrating yourself. This full-color picture book is certain to entertain children and parents with its charming art and important message.

Hey You! An Empowering Celebration of Growing Up Black
By Dapo Adeola
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593529423 | Nancy Paulsen Books
This book addresses – honestly, yet hopefully – the experiences Black children face growing up with systemic racism, as well as providing hope for the future and delivering a message of empowerment to a new generation of dreamers. It’s a message that is both urgent and timeless – and offers a rich and rewarding reading experience for every child. To mirror the rich variety of the Black diaspora, this book showcases artwork from Dapo Adeola and eighteen more incredible Black illustrators in one remarkable and cohesive reading experience.

My Little Golden Book about Kamala Harris
By Rajani LaRocca
Illustrated by Ashley Evans
24 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593430224 | Golden Books
Help your little one dream big with a Little Golden Book biography all about the first female Vice President Kamala Harris! The perfect introduction to nonfiction for preschoolers! This Little Golden Book about Kamala Harris – the first woman, first African American woman, and first Indian American woman to be elected Vice President of the United States – is an inspiring read-aloud for young girls and boys.

My Little Golden Book about Misty Copeland
By Sherri L. Smith
Illustrated by Tara Nicole Whitaker
24 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593380673 | Golden Books
Help your little one dream big with a Little Golden Book biography all about Misty Copeland, the American Ballet Theatre’s first Black principal dancer! The perfect introduction to nonfiction for preschoolers! This Little Golden Book introduces ballet prodigy Misty Copeland to the youngest readers. The first Black principal dancer in the history of the American Ballet Theatre – who didn’t start dancing until she was almost thirteen – continues to impress the world and pave the way for young Black girls to chase their dreams.

Nina: A Story of Nina Simone
By Traci N. Todd
Illustrated by Christian Robinson
56 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524737283 | Putnam BFYR
Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in small town North Carolina, Nina Simone was a musical child. She sang before she talked and learned to play piano at a very young age. With the support of her family and community, she received music lessons that introduced her to classical composers like Bach who remained with her and influenced her music throughout her life. She loved the way his music began softly and then tumbled to thunder, like her mother’s preaching, and in much the same way as her career. During her first performances under the name of Nina Simone her voice was rich and sweet but as the Civil Rights Movement gained steam, Nina’s voice soon became a thunderous roar as she raised her voice in powerful protest in the fight against racial inequality and discrimination.

Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch
By Heidi Tyline King
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101996294 | Putnam BFYR
MaVynee loved going to the beach. But in the days of Jim Crow, she couldn’t just go to any beach – most of the beaches in Jacksonville were for whites only. Knowing something must be done, her grandfather bought a beach that African American families could enjoy without being reminded they were second class citizens; he called it American Beach. Artists like Zora Neale Hurston and Ray Charles vacationed on its sunny shores. It’s here that MaVynee was first inspired to sing, propelling her to later become a widely acclaimed opera singer who routinely performed on an international stage. But her first love would always be American Beach. After the Civil Rights Act desegregated public places, there was no longer a need for a place like American Beach and it slowly fell into disrepair. MaVynee remembered the importance of American Beach to her family and so many others, so determined to preserve this integral piece of American history, she began her second act as an activist and conservationist, ultimately saving the place that had always felt most like home.

She Persisted: Coretta Scott King
By Kelly Starling Lyons and Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger and Gillian Flint
80 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593353509 | Philomel BFYR
In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Kelly Starling Lyons, readers learn about the amazing life of Coretta Scott King – and how she persisted. Coretta Scott King is known for being the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but she was a civil rights activist and leader in her own right! She was a singer and an author too, and her work made a difference for Black Americans and for all women for decades to come. Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton, black-and-white illustrations throughout, and a list of ways that readers can follow in Coretta Scott King’s footsteps and make a difference! And don’t miss out on the rest of the books in the She Persisted series, featuring so many more women who persisted!

Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress
By Alicia D. Williams
Illustrated by April Harrison
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593123683 | Anne Schwartz Books
Meet Shirley, a little girl who asks way too many questions! After spending her early years on her grandparents’ farm in Barbados, she returns home to Brooklyn and immediately makes herself known. Shirley kicks butt in school; she breaks her mother’s curfew; she plays jazz piano instead of classical. And as a young adult, she fights against the injustice she sees around her, against women and black people. Soon she is running for state assembly . . . and winning in a landslide. Three years later, she is on the campaign trail again, as the first black woman to run for Congress. Her slogan? “Fighting Shirley Chisholm – Unbought and Unbossed!” Does she win? You bet she does.

Sonny Rollins Plays the Bridge
By Gary Golio
Illustrated by James Ransome
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984813664 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Sonny Rollins loved his saxophone. As a teenager, he was already playing with jazz stars and making a name for himself. But in 1959, at age twenty-nine, he took a break from performing – to work on being a better, not just famous, musician. Practicing in a city apartment didn’t please the neighbors, so Sonny found a surprising alternative – the Williamsburg Bridge. There, with his head in the clouds and foghorns for company, Sonny could play to his heart’s content and perfect his craft. It was a bold choice, for a bold young man and musician. Sonny’s passion for music comes alive in jazzy text and vivid, evocative paintings of New York City. His story celebrates striving to be your very best self, an inspiration to music lovers young and old.

Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
By Mara Rockliff
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524720643 | Random House Studio
Georgia Gilmore was cooking when she heard the news Mrs. Rosa Parks had been arrested – pulled off a city bus and thrown in jail all because she wouldn’t let a white man take her seat. To protest, the radio urged everyone to stay off city buses for one day: December 5, 1955. Throughout the boycott – at Holt Street Baptist Church meetings led by a young minister named Martin Luther King, Jr. – and throughout the struggle for justice, Georgia served up her mouth-watering fried chicken, her spicy collard greens, and her sweet potato pie, eventually selling them to raise money to help the cause. Here is the vibrant true story of a hidden figure of the civil rights movement, told in flavorful language by a picture-book master, and stunningly illustrated by a Caldecott Honor recipient and seven-time Coretta Scott King award-winning artist.

The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice
By Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by Laura Freeman
40 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593306505 | Random House Studio
When Elijah Cummings was a little boy, he struggled in school. His teachers thought he talked too much and asked too many questions. They said he’d never be able to read or write well. Despite his difficulties, Elijah never gave up. He persevered, having faith that with hard work, he’d be able to achieve his goals. Best known as a voice for people of color and an advocate for equal opportunity, Elijah Cummings was a man of faith and dignity, a beacon of justice, and an unrelenting warrior for equality and change. Carole Boston Weatherford and Laura Freeman marry words and images beautifully in this picture book biography of politician and civil rights champion Elijah Cummings, detailing his inspiring journey – from his humble beginnings as the son of former sharecroppers to his unwavering faith as he became a lawyer, state legislator, and leading congressman. Best known as a voice for people of color and an advocate for equal opportunity, Elijah Cummings was a man of faith and dignity, a beacon of justice, and an unrelenting warrior for equality and change.

When We Say Black Lives Matter
By Maxine Beneba Clarke
32 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536222388 | Candlewick
In this joyful exploration of the Black Lives Matter motto, a loving narrator relays to a young Black child the strength and resonance behind the words. In family life, through school and beyond, the refrains echo and gain in power, among vignettes of protests and scenes of ancestors creating music on djembe drums. With deeply saturated illustrations rendered in jewel tones, Maxine Beneba Clarke offers a gorgeous, moving, and essential picture book.

Middle Grade:

Defiant: Growing Up in the Jim Crow South
By Wade Hudson
272 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593126356 | Crown BFYR
Born in 1946 in Mansfield, Louisiana, Wade Hudson came of age against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement. From their home on Mary Street, his close-knit family watched as the country grappled with desegregation, as the Klan targeted the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and as systemic racism struck across the nation and in their hometown. Amidst it all, Wade was growing up. Getting into scuffles, playing baseball, immersing himself in his church community, and starting to write. Most important, Wade learned how to find his voice and use it. From his family, his community, and his college classmates, Wade learned the importance of fighting for change by confronting the laws and customs that marginalized and demeaned people. This powerful memoir reveals the struggles, joys, love, and ongoing resilience that it took to grow up Black in segregated America, and the lessons that carry over to our fight for a better future.

Fast Pitch
By Nic Stone
192 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984893017 | Crown BFYR
Shenice Lockwood, captain of the Fulton Firebirds, is hyper-focused when she steps up to the plate. Nothing can stop her from leading her team to the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship. But life has thrown some curveballs her way.
Strike one: As the sole team of all-brown faces, Shenice and the Firebirds have to work twice as hard to prove that Black girls belong at bat.
Strike two: Shenice’s focus gets shaken when her great-uncle Jack reveals that a career-ending – and family-name-ruining – crime may have been a setup.
Strike three: Broken focus means mistakes on the field. Shenice’s teammates are beginning to wonder if she’s captain-qualified.
It’s up to Shenice to discover the truth about her family’s past – and fast – before secrets take the Firebirds out of the game forever.

Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior
By Ed Clayton
Illustrated by Donald Bermudez
128 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536222906 | Candlewick
Martin Luther King Jr. devoted his life to helping people, first as a Baptist minister and scholar and later as the foremost leader in the African-American civil rights movement. An organizer of the Montgomery bus boycott and cofounder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. As a result of his actions, the United States Congress passed the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. This book’s powerful story and important message, originally published in 1964, remain as relevant today as they were more than fifty years ago. With a new foreword by the author’s widow, Xernona Clayton, the text has been reviewed and updated for a new generation and features striking new illustrations by Donald Bermudez.

Polo Cowboy
By G. Neri
Illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson
288 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536207118 | Candlewick
When Cole moves in with his dad, Harp, he thinks life will be sweet – just him and his horse, Boo, hanging out with Philadelphia’s urban cowboys. But when Harp says he has to get a job, Cole winds up as a stable hand for the polo team at George Washington Military Academy, where the players are rich, white, and stuck-up – all except Ruthie, the team’s first and only girl, who’s determined to show the others she can beat them at their own game. As Cole and Ruthie become friends – and maybe more – he starts imagining his future, maybe even at the academy. But between long workdays, arrogant polo players, and a cousin trying to pull Cole into his dangerous business, that future seems remote. Will Cole find the courage to stand and be seen in a world determined to keep him out? With striking illustrations by Jesse Joshua Watson, celebrated author G. Neri’s novel weaves themes of tenacity and community into a rousing sports story inspired by Philadelphia’s real-life urban cowboys and polo players.

Recognize! An Anthology Honoring and Amplifying Black Life
Edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson
208 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593381595 | Crown BFYR
In the stunning follow-up to The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth, award-winning Black authors and artists come together to create a moving anthology collection celebrating Black love, Black creativity, Black resistance, and Black life. Prominent Black creators lend their voice, their insight, and their talent to an inspiring anthology that celebrates Black culture and Black life. Essays, poems, short stories, and historical excerpts blend with a full-color eight-page insert of spellbinding art to capture the pride, prestige, and jubilation that is being Black in America. In these pages, find the stories of the past, the journeys of the present, and the light guiding the future.

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People
By Kekla Magoon
400 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536214185 | Candlewick
In this comprehensive, inspiring, and all-too-relevant history of the Black Panther Party, Kekla Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers’ community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens. For too long the Panthers’ story has been a footnote to the civil rights movement rather than what it was: a revolutionary socialist movement that drew thousands of members – mostly women – and became the target of one of the most sustained repression efforts ever made by the U.S. government against its own citizens. Revolution in Our Time puts the Panthers in the proper context of Black American history, from the first arrival of enslaved people to the Black Lives Matter movement of today. Kekla Magoon’s eye-opening work invites a new generation of readers grappling with injustices in the United States to learn from the Panthers’ history and courage, inspiring them to take their own place in the ongoing fight for justice.

#12DaysOfJanYouAry – Week 2

This January is all about YOU and what YOU want to read! We asked 12 readers what 2021 books they hope to pick up soon and we’re sharing them for the #12DaysOfJanYouAry. Here are the final six – make sure to follow along on Instagram as well!

Some Girls Do
By Jennifer Dugan
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593112533 | Putnam BFYR
Morgan, an elite track athlete, is forced to transfer high schools late in her senior year after it turns out being queer is against her private Catholic school’s code of conduct. There, she meets Ruby, who has two hobbies: tinkering with her baby blue 1970 Ford Torino and competing in local beauty pageants, the latter to live out the dreams of her overbearing mother. The two are drawn to each other and can’t deny their growing feelings. But while Morgan – out and proud, and determined to have a fresh start – doesn’t want to have to keep their budding relationship a secret, Ruby isn’t ready to come out yet. With each girl on a different path toward living her truth, can they go the distance together?

“My 2021 vibe has been all YA all the time, and I’m always intrigued by anything sapphic! The cover is stunning AND blurbed by Casey McQuiston?! Sign me up!”
@grayscalebooks

Spells Like Teen Spirit
By Kate M. Williams
400 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593304822 | Delacorte Press
Ever since Esme met Cassandra Heaven and discovered the truth about their shared legacy – that they’re Sitters, supernaturally gifted teens tasked with protecting the innocent from evil – her life has been moving at 90 mph. During the day, she chases wild toddlers, and at night, she employs a different skill set for a different kind of demon. Like, literal ones. And sometimes it’s almost fun. Her spells are getting better, her telekinesis is on point, and now that Esme’s dad and her best friend Janis know the truth, she’s no longer lying to the people she loves. She’s also learned that there’s a way to undo her mother’s curse, and with the Synod out of the picture, she might even have a chance to do it. If she could just figure out how. But she can’t, and even with her mom living at home again, Esme can’t shake the feeling that she’s failing. Throw in the fact that Pig is still gone, Esme’s crush is MIA, and it’s cold, slushy February, and she’s in bummer city. Esme needs a serious pick-me-up, and Janis has a plan: a Galentine’s stay-cation, with the Sitter friends Esme and Cassandra made at the Summit. Except things are getting weird in Spring River again. Esme and Cassandra just discovered a new band, and not in a good way: these guys reek of Red Magic, and their music sucks. Trouble is brewing, and if Esme’s not careful, this show might be her last – and no one likes a one-hit wonder.

“The title of the book alone had me immediately adding it to my TBR but the fact that I had two books before this one to read had me all over it. Sign me up for anything packed with magic and girl power.”
@literaryscents13

Fast Pitch
By Nic Stone
192 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984893017 | Crown BFYR
Shenice Lockwood, captain of the Fulton Firebirds, is hyper-focused when she steps up to the plate. Nothing can stop her from leading her team to the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship. But life has thrown some curveballs her way.
Strike one: As the sole team of all-brown faces, Shenice and the Firebirds have to work twice as hard to prove that Black girls belong at bat.
Strike two: Shenice’s focus gets shaken when her great-uncle Jack reveals that a career-ending – and family-name-ruining – crime may have been a setup.
Strike three: Broken focus means mistakes on the field. Shenice’s teammates are beginning to wonder if she’s captain-qualified.
It’s up to Shenice to discover the truth about her family’s past – and fast – before secrets take the Firebirds out of the game forever.

“Written by the magnificent Nic Stone ✔️
Girls playing softball ✔️
Uncovering the past ✔️
Should be fun, let’s play ball! ”
@onmybookitlist

The Righteous
By Renée Ahdieh
432 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984812612 | Putnam BFYR
Following the explosive events of The Damned, Odette faces a vampire’s final death. The Court of the Lions have done everything they can to save her but have failed. A healer from the Sylvan Vale could help her, but only Arjun Desai, as a half fey, can cross the boundary between realms. The Sylvan Vale is a world Arjun despises, and in return, it despises him. But knowing it could save Odette, he returns to the Vale with all haste, leaving the mirrored tare between two worlds open and unwittingly setting the stage for both love and war. It’s mere days until Pippa Montrose is to wed Phoebus Devereux and become a member of his well-heeled family, offering salvation to her own. But Celine is missing. Pippa has no idea where her best friend has gone, but she’s certain it’s in the company of vampire Sébastien Saint Germain and that Arjun can lead her to them. Pippa enjoins the help of Eloise, the daughter of a powerful sorceress, to discover the gateway Arjun uses to travel between worlds. Pippa, tired of hesitating in life, marches right through in search of her friend. But what she discovers on the other side is a dangerous, duplicitous world full of mischief and magic she doesn’t understand, and most unexpectedly, she finds love.

“First, this series has gorgeous covers (instant cover buy)! Second, there are vampires and romance (take all my money)! Third, Ahdieh’s writing style and characters will draw readers into this mythical version of New Orleans. ”
@abookishstar

Small Favors
By Erin A. Craig
480 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593306741 | Delacorte Press
Ellerie Downing is waiting for something to happen. Life in isolated Amity Falls, surrounded by an impenetrable forest, has a predictable sameness. Her days are filled with tending to her family’s beehives, chasing after her sisters, and dreaming of bigger things while her twin, Samuel, is free to roam as he wishes. Early town settlers fought off monstrous creatures in the woods, and whispers that the creatures still exist keep the Downings and their neighbors from venturing too far. When some townsfolk go missing on a trip to fetch supplies, a heavy unease settles over the Falls. Strange activities begin to plague the town, and as the seasons change, it’s clear that something is terribly wrong. The creatures are real, and they’re offering to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand, for just a small favor. These seemingly trifling demands, however, hide sinister intentions. Soon Ellerie finds herself in a race against time to stop Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves from going up in flames.

“The cover immediately drew me in, the art is just gorgeous. Also the summary sounds amazing. Beekeeping? It’s so interesting and rarely any books feature it. I can’t wait to learn more about beekeeping. This haunting tale seems like the perfect read for 2022.”
@she_who_reads_ya_books

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.

“Can we just take a minute to appreciate this stunning cover?! Magical creatures, hunt or be hunted? I’m so ready for this wild (pun intended) adventure.”
@ilikescarystories