Have you heard of the Pocket Change Collective? It’s an on-going series of big ideas wrapped in cute little packages from a variety of voices across North America. They deal with huge topics like the gender binary, art, and the plastics crisis and we’re obsessed with them. And they make great stocking stuffers or small holiday gifts for the budding activist in your life! Check them out below and keep an eye out for a few new installments in 2021!
If you need more encouragement to pick these little books up, we’ve included links to panels we did with the entire Pocket Change Collective team in collaboration with the Koffler Centre of the Arts in Toronto!
Beyond the Gender Binary By Alok Vaid-Menon Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky 64 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9780593094655 | Penguin Workshop Alok Vaid-Menon challenges the world to see gender not in black and white, but in full color. Taking from their own experiences as a gender-nonconforming artist, they show us that gender is a malleable and creative form of expression. The only limit is your imagination.
The New Queer Conscience By Adam Eli Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky 64 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9780593093689 | Penguin Workshop Voices4 Founder and LGBTQIA+ activist Adam Eli offers a candid and compassionate introduction to queer responsibility. Eli calls on his Jewish faith to underline how kindness and support within the queer community can lead to a stronger global consciousness. More importantly, he reassures us that we’re not alone. In fact, we never were. Because if you mess with one queer, you mess with us all.
Imaginary Borders By Xiuhtezcatl Martinez Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky 64 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9780593094136 | Penguin Workshop Earth Guardians Youth Director and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez shows us how his music feeds his environmental activism and vice versa. Martinez visualizes a future that allows us to direct our anger, fear, and passion toward creating change. Because, at the end of the day, we all have a part to play.
This is What I Know About Art By Kimberly Drew Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky 64 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9780593095188 | Penguin Workshop Arts writer and co-editor of Black Futures Kimberly Drew shows us that art and protest are inextricably linked. Drawing on her personal experience through art toward activism, Drew challenges us to create space for the change that we want to see in the world. Because there really is so much more space than we think.
Catch up with Kimberly and Xiuhtezcatl at the Koffler Centre – October 6, 2020
Concrete Kids By Amyra León Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky 96 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9780593095195 | Penguin Workshop Concrete Kids is an exploration of love and loss, melody and bloodshed. Musician, playwright, and educator Amyra León takes us on a poetic journey through her childhood in Harlem, as she navigates the intricacies of foster care, mourning, self-love, and resilience. In her signature free-verse style, she invites us all to dream with abandon–and to recognize the privilege it is to dream at all.
Taking on the Plastics Crisis By Hannah Testa Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky 64 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9780593223338 | Penguin Workshop Youth activist Hannah Testa, founder of Hannah4Change, shares how she led a grassroots political campaign to successfully pass state legislation limiting single-use plastics and how she influenced global businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. Through her personal journey, readers can learn how they, too, can follow in Hannah’s footsteps and lower their carbon footprint by simply refusing single-use plastics.
Whether your kids are physically back at school or learning virtually, activity books are an entertaining and educational resource – here are a few that we love!
More Hidden Pictures Two-Player Puzzles
144 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781684372584 | Highlights Press
This companion to the innovative Hidden Pictures® Two-Player Puzzles book includes even MORE fun and challenging puzzles to solve. In a unique new twist on the best-selling classic Hidden Pictures® puzzle books, each puzzle duo is created to engage pairs of players while honing their concentration skills and attention to detail. This is the perfect addition to family game night, ideal for a rainy-day activity–and makes a great gift!
My Book with No Pictures
By B. J. Novak
40 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593111017 | Dial BFYR
Now YOU can create some of those amazing words. YOU can write a book that makes grown-ups have to say silly things. Just fill in the blanks with whatever unusual, nonsensical words come to mind (or use the sticker sheet with its funny options). Then ask your favorite adult to read your book to you, and laugh and laugh at YOUR book with no pictures!
The 2021 Almanac of Fun
304 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781684379224 | Highlights Press
Get ready for 2021 with favorite Highlights puzzles and activities that celebrate traditional and wacky holidays, historical anniversaries, world events, and everything in between. Kids can puzzle their way through each month while learning lots of interesting facts, and documenting their own occasions!
The Dot: Make Your Mark Kit
By Peter H. Reynolds
Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763669782 | Candlewick
An enchanting invitation to self-expression, Peter H. Reynolds’s The Dot is the much-loved story of a reticent girl who discovers that being an artist is simply a matter of making a mark and seeing where it takes you. Now everyone’s inner artist can come out to play with the help of a hardcover edition of The Dot, enticingly packaged with The Blank Book and a set of colored pencils at the ready.
Where’s Waldo? The Boredom Buster Book: 5-Minute Challenges
By Martin Handford
220 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536211450 | Candlewick
Flying off on vacation or taking a long car ride? Stuck inside for hours on a rainy day? Fend off boredom with this hefty compendium of searches and activities featuring everyone’s favorite wanderer and his wily friends. You’ll find mazes, matching games, connect-the-dots, coloring pages, word searches, quizzes, and more, all guaranteed to occupy sharp-eyed fans.
Amazing Ancients!: Egypt
By Gabby Vernon-Melzer
32 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781524790622 | Penguin Workshop
Fourteen fabulous spreads of lively nonfiction topics like geography, games, daily life, customs and rituals, inventions and architecture, and more are matched with mazes, word searches, craft ideas, and puzzles. Read about the importance of papyrus to the Egyptian culture then learn to make your own papyrus placemat at home! Learn to decode hieroglyphs, try making a dessert fit for a queen, and make your own senet board and learn how to play the most popular Egyptian game.
Amazing Ancients!: World of the Maya
By Elaine A. Kule
32 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593093061 | Penguin Workshop
The classic Maya period from 250 AD to 900 AD was a time of tremendous cultural growth in Central America. Stretching from Mexico in the north to Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and to Honduras in the south, the Maya established trade routes, city-states, mathematic and scientific calculations, and a hieroglyphic style of writing. In fourteen fabulous four-color spreads, Amazing Ancients! takes readers into the geography, games, daily life, customs and rituals, inventions and architecture in the World of the Maya. Through cool mazes, word searches, craft ideas, and puzzles, readers will learn how this fascinating culture lived and thrived.
By Helen Piercy
32 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763667016 | Candlewick
Do you know how to build a storyboard? Design a character? What does the action of “squash and stretch” have to do with making animation look realistic? From hand-drawn sequences to 3-D models, from lighting a set to using a variety of camera shots, Animation Studio offers expert tips to help kids transform a series of still images into an original animated movie.
Brain Games: Colossal Book of Cranium-Crushers
By Stephanie Warren Drimmer and Gareth Moore
160 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781426336751 | National Geographic Children’s Books
Prepare to have your mind blown! Inside this book you’ll find mind-bending games and puzzles that are backed by the latest neuroscience discoveries and designed to fine-tune your mental muscle. Journey through elaborate mazes, solve crossword puzzles like a pro, and get your creative juices flowing with fun art challenges. And that’s not all: This write-in, full-color book also includes expert-level sudoku puzzles, storytelling games, code-cracking riddles, and much more. You’ll also get the inside scoop on the brain science at work behind the challenges.
Discovery Globe: Build-Your-Own Globe Kit
By Leon Gray
Illustrated by Sarah Edmonds
48 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763697488 | Candlewick
For curious adventurers everywhere comes a unique guide to the amazing diversity of life on planet Earth. From the poles to the equator, from dense cities to vast wildernesses, from deep below the sea to high in the forest canopy, this illustrated globe and guide take readers on a rich and exciting tour of discovery and revelation.
Dungeons & Dragons: Big Trouble
By Matt Forbeck
128 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536202458 | Candlewick
When evil giants attack your home in Ardeep Forest, your parents think you’re dead and they go hunting for your missing little brother. You wake up and set out after them, helped by a giant wizard who lives in a flying tower. You don’t know where they’ve gone, but you know that if you don’t find them, you’re all in big trouble. Wield your magic wisely against the giants, wizard.
By Young Rewired State
208 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780763692766 | Candlewick
Crack open this book and set off on several fun missions — while simultaneously learning the basics of writing code. Want to make a website from scratch? Create an app? Build a game? All the tools are here, laid out in a user-friendly format that leads kids on an imaginary quest to keep a valuable diamond safe from dangerous jewel thieves. Presented by Young Rewired State — an international collective of tech-savvy kids — in easy-to-follow, bite-size chunks, the real-life coding skills taught in this engaging, comprehensive guide may just set young readers on the path to becoming technology stars of the future.
Maps Activity Book
By Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski
72 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Paperback
ISBN 9780763677718 | Big Picture Press
Following the best-selling Maps, the Mizielinskis return with a companion activity book. Bursting with fascinating facts and puzzles from around the world, this book offers hours of entertainment to young adventurers. Informative and inspiring, the myriad activities in this book challenge the reader to discover something new and explore their imagination to draw, decorate and design on every pull-out page.
National Geographic Kids Cats and Dogs Super Sticker Activity Book
By National Geographic Kids
112 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9781426338113 | National Geographic Children’s Books
This bind-up of Cats and Dogs combines two super-cute, fun-filled sticker books in one! It’s chock-full of information about kids’ favorite furry friends: kittens, puppies, different breeds of cats and dogs, behaviors, pet care, and much more! With a colorful design and loaded with tons of games and activities–such as mazes, matching, drawing, and counting–kids are sure to love these pages of 2,000 stickers!
Guess How Much I Love You Coloring Book
By Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
96 Pages | All Ages | Paperback
ISBN 9780763694678 | Candlewick
Love is a colorful thing! Fans old and new, young and not so young will revel in these intricate scenes of nature featuring Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare. In ninety-six pages of beautifully rendered images and words inspired by the beloved story, the world of Guess How Much I Love You stands ready to come to life with the help of some crayons or markers, dozens of stickers, and a whole lot of love.
Raising conscious and informed children requires an education on social and racial inequalities and injustices. We’re highlighting some young reader titles to inspire open conversations about race, racism, and prejudice.
Ages 0 and up
Written by Ibram X. Kendi
Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
24 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780593110416 | Kokila
From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist comes a fresh new board book that empowers parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves. With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.
Ages 3 and up
Last Stop on Market Street
By Matt de la Peña
Illustrated by Christian Robinson
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399257742 | G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
The New Neighbors
By Sarah McIntyre
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524789961 | Penguin Workshop
New neighbors have moved into the ground floor of a bustling apartment building. The bunnies upstairs are excited, but what will the other residents think? Sarah McIntyre’s funny, light-hearted tale reveals there’s no room for prejudice. The bunnies upstairs are thrilled to find out that rats have moved into the first-floor apartment. But when other neighbors discover the news, excitement soon turns to jitters, panic, and worse! As the residents descend the stairs to investigate, the rats prepare a yummy dessert. Will all of the animals make the rats leave, or can fear be conquered with delicious, homemade cake?
A is for Activist
By Innosanto Nagara
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781609806934 | Triangle Square
This bestselling ABC book is written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. A continuous bestseller, we heard from booksellers around the country who clamored for a large format edition that would appeal to children over the age of 5. This engaging book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children and parents to action.
Ages 4 and up
Breanna J. McDaniel
Illustrated by Shane W. Evans
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525552314 | Dial Books
A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane’s wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.
We Really Do Care
By Tami Lewis Brown and Tania de Regil
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984836304 | Philomel Books
Inspired by current events, this picture book shows the importance of compassion, empathy, and demonstrates how even the smallest act of kindness can make a difference. A little boy has a ball. It’s his, and he really doesn’t care if nobody else has a ball. He’s not sharing. He’s not sharing his pets either. Or his family. Especially not his brother. But then he realizes that both he and the new little girl he meets – the one who’s all alone without a ball or a pet or a family of her own – are actually quite similar. And when he sees their similarities instead of their differences, he’s happy to share. Even his little brother.
Ages 5 and up
The Other Side
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399231162 | G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Clover’s mom says it isn’t safe to cross the fence that segregates their African-American side of town from the white side where Anna lives. But the two girls strike up a friendship, and get around the grown-ups’ rules by sitting on top of the fence together. With the addition of a brand-new author’s note, this special edition celebrates the tenth anniversary of this classic book. As always, Woodson moves readers with her lyrical narrative, and E. B. Lewis’s amazing talent shines in his gorgeous watercolor illustrations.
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399246524 | Nancy Paulsen Books
This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. With its powerful anti-bullying message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they’ve put it down. Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.
By Misty Copeland
Illustrated by Christopher Myers
40 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399166150 | G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl – an every girl – whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird. Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers’s best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere.
The Day You Begin
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by Rafael López
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399246531 | Nancy Paulsen Books
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
Preaching to the Children: The Story of Young John Lewis
By Jabari Asim
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399168567 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Critically acclaimed author Jabari Asim and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis give readers a fascinating glimpse into the boyhood of Civil Rights leader John Lewis. John wants to be a preacher when he grows up—a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm’s flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful congregation! So he preaches to his flock, and they listen, content under his watchful care, riveted by the rhythm of his voice.
Seeds of Freedom
By Hester Bass
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780763695163 | Candlewick Press
Mention the civil rights era in Alabama and most people recall images of terrible violence. But for the citizens of Huntsville, creativity, courage, and cooperation were the keys to working together to integrate their city and schools in peace. This engaging celebration of a lesser-known chapter in American and African-American history shows how racial discrimination, bullying, and unfairness can be faced successfully with perseverance and ingenuity.
Go Show the World
By Wab Kinew
Illustrated by Joe Morse
40 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262928 | Tundra Books
“We are a people who matter.” Inspired by President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing, Go Show the World is a tribute to historic and modern-day Indigenous heroes, featuring important figures such as Tecumseh, Sacagawea and former NASA astronaut John Herrington. Celebrating the stories of Indigenous people throughout time, Wab Kinew has created a powerful rap song, the lyrics of which are the basis for the text in this beautiful picture book, illustrated by the acclaimed Joe Morse. Including figures such as Crazy Horse, Net-no-kwa, former NASA astronaut John Herrington and Canadian NHL goalie Carey Price, Go Show the World showcases a diverse group of Indigenous people in the US and Canada, both the more well known and the not- so-widely recognized.
Ages 6 and up
Mr. Lincoln’s Way
By Patricia Polacco
48 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9780425288313 | Puffin Books
Mr. Lincoln is the coolest principal ever! He knows how to do everything, from jumping rope to leading nature walks. Everyone loves him . . . except for Eugene Esterhause. “Mean Gene” hates everyone who’s different. He’s a bully, a bad student, and he calls people awful, racist names. But Mr. Lincoln knows that Eugene isn’t really bad-he’s just repeating things he’s heard at home. Can the principal find a way to get through to “Mean Gene” and show him that the differences between people are what make them special?
Ages 8 and up
By Nic Stone
240 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984892973 | Crown Books for Young Readers
How to Go on an Unplanned Road Trip with Your Grandma:
– Grab a Suitcase: Prepacked from the big spring break trip that got CANCELLED.
– Fasten Your Seatbelt: G’ma’s never conventional, so this trip won’t be either.
– Use the Green Book: G’ma’s most treasured possession. It holds history, memories, and most important, the way home.
What Not to Bring:
– A Cell Phone: Avoid contact with Dad at all costs. Even when G’ma starts acting stranger than usual.
Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, take a trip with this New York Times bestseller and an eleven-year-old boy who is about to discover that the world hasn’t always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren’t always what they seem – his G’ma included.”
Ages 9 and up
Heart of a Champion
By Ellen Schwartz
272 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781770498815 | Tundra Books
Ten-year-old Kenny (Kenji in Japanese) worships his older brother, Mickey (Mitsuo), a baseball hero whose outstanding performance on the Asahi baseball team has given him fame and popularity. But world events soon overtake life in this quiet community. When Japan attacks Pearl Harbor in 1941, everything for Kenny and his family spirals out of control: schools are closed, businesses are confiscated, fathers are arrested and sent to work camps in the BC interior and mothers and children are relocated to internment camps. Coming across a “vacant” field covered with scrap wood, broken shakes and torn tar paper, Kenny gets permission to clear it and convert it into a baseball field. One by one, the boys in the camp pitch in, and the work gives purpose to their long days. Kenny’s persistence, hard work and big dreams shape the teen he is to become in this story of happiness found despite all odds.
Ages 10 and up
Brown Girl Dreaming
By Jacqueline Woodson
368 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780147515827 | Puffin Books
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
Five Thousand Years of Slavery
By Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen
176 Pages | Ages 10+ | eBook
ISBN 9781770491519 | Tundra Books
When they were too impoverished to raise their families, ancient Sumerians sold their children into bondage. Slave women in Rome faced never-ending household drudgery. The ninth-century Zanj were transported from East Africa to work the salt marshes of Iraq. Cotton pickers worked under terrible duress in the American South. Ancient history? Tragically, no. In our time, slavery wears many faces. James Kofi Annan’s parents in Ghana sold him because they could not feed him. Beatrice Fernando had to work almost around the clock in Lebanon. Julia Gabriel was trafficked from Arizona to the cucumber fields of South Carolina. Five Thousand Years of Slavery provides the suspense and emotional engagement of a great novel. It is an excellent resource with its comprehensive historical narrative, firsthand accounts, maps, archival photos, paintings and posters, an index, and suggestions for further reading. Much more than a reference work, it is a brilliant exploration of the worst – and the best – in human society.
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer
By Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
56 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781536203257 | Candlewick Press “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. Integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964, Ms. Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that, despite President Johnson’s interference, aired on national TV news and spurred the nation to support the Freedom Democrats. Featuring vibrant mixed-media art full of intricate detail, Voice of Freedom celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength.
Ages 12 and up
Speak a World for Freedom
By Janet Willen and Marjorie Gann
216 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781770496514 | Tundra Books
From the early days of the antislavery movement, when political action by women was frowned upon, British and American women were tireless and uncompromising campaigners. Without their efforts, emancipation would have taken much longer. And the commitment of today’s women, who fight against human trafficking and child slavery, descends directly from that of the early female activists. Speak a Word for Freedom: Women against Slavery tells the story of fourteen of these women. Meet Alice Seeley Harris, the British missionary whose graphic photographs of mutilated Congolese rubber slaves in 1904 galvanized a nation; Hadijatou Mani, the woman from Niger who successfully sued her own government in 2008 for failing to protect her from slavery, as well as Elizabeth Freeman, Elizabeth Heyrick, Ellen Craft, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frances Anne Kemble, Kathleen Simon, Fredericka Martin, Timea Nagy, Micheline Slattery, Sheila Roseau and Nina Smith. With photographs, source notes, and index.
As a publisher, we are learning a lot and have a long ways to go to diversify our staff, work culture, and the voices and experiences we publish. While we work on this, we are committed to amplifying the BIPOC voices on our lists.
Given all the news over the past few weeks, we want to take this opportunity to amplify Black voices with some incredible books by equally incredible authors. This list is by no means comprehensive, so let us know if we missed your favourite title or author. And we encourage you to pick up one or more of these books from your local bookstore if you’re able to!
1968: Today’s Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change
Edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti
208 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763689933 | Candlewick Press
Nineteen sixty-eight was a pivotal year that grew more intense with each day. As thousands of Vietnamese and Americans were killed in war, students across four continents took over colleges and city streets. Assassins murdered Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. Demonstrators turned out in Prague and Chicago, and in Mexico City, young people and Olympic athletes protested. In those intense months, generations battled and the world wobbled on the edge of some vast change that was exhilarating one day and terrifying the next. To capture that extraordinary year, editors Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti created an anthology that showcases many genres of nonfiction. Some contributors use a broad canvas, others take a close look at a moment, and matched essays examine the same experience from different points of view. As we face our own moments of crisis and division, 1968 reminds us that we’ve clashed before and found a way forward — and that looking back can help map a way ahead.
A Phoenix First Must Burn
Edited by Patrice Caldwell
368 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984835659 | Viking BFYR
Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic. With stories by: Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Patrice Caldwell, Dhonielle Clayton, J. Marcelle Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Nicole Davis, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Danny Lore, L. L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.
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.
By Nnedi Okorafor
384 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780142420911 | Speak
Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.
Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But as she’s finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them combat a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?
All the Days Past, All the Days to Come
By Mildred D. Taylor
496 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399257308 | Viking BFYR
In her tenth book, Mildred Taylor completes her sweeping saga about the Logan family of Mississippi, which is also the story of the civil rights movement in America of the 20th century. Cassie Logan, first met in Song of the Trees and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, is a young woman now, searching for her place in the world, a journey that takes her from Toledo to California, to law school in Boston, and, ultimately, in the 60s, home to Mississippi to participate in voter registration.
She is witness to the now-historic events of the century: the Great Migration north, the rise of the civil rights movement, preceded and precipitated by the racist society of America, and the often violent confrontations that brought about change. Rich, compelling storytelling is Ms. Taylor’s hallmark, and she fulfills expectations as she brings to a close the stirring family story that has absorbed her for over forty years. It is a story she was born to tell.
Date Me, Bryson Keller
By Kevin Van Whye
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593126035 | Random House BFYR
Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new–the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he’s never really dated before.
Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.
Kai Sheridan didn’t expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there’s more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he’s awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this “relationship” will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?
By Nic Stone
240 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781101939529 | Ember
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.
By Camryn Garrett
320 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984829955 | Knopf BFYR
Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.
Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.
If You Come Softly
By Jacqueline Woodson
192 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525515487 | Nancy Paulsen
Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he’s in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he’s going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don’t exactly fit in there. So it’s a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen moment their eyes lock, and after that they know they fit together–even though she’s Jewish and he’s black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that’s not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in their way.
It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime
By Trevor Noah
304 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780525582199 | Yearling
Trevor Noah, the funny guy who hosts The Daily Show on Comedy Central, shares his remarkable story of growing up in South Africa with a black South African mother and a white European father at a time when it was against the law for a mixed-race child to exist. But he did exist–and from the beginning, the often-misbehaved Trevor used his keen smarts and humor to navigate a harsh life under a racist government.
This fascinating memoir blends drama, comedy, and tragedy to depict the day-to-day trials that turned a boy into a young man. In a country where racism barred blacks from social, educational, and economic opportunity, Trevor surmounted staggering obstacles and created a promising future for himself, thanks to his mom’s unwavering love and indomitable will.
Obviously: Stories from My Timeline
By Akilah Hughes
288 Pages | All Ages | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101998908 | Razorbill
In Akilah Hughes’s world, family–and life–are often complicated, but always funny. Through intimate and hilarious essays, Akilah takes readers along on her journey from the small Kentucky town where she was born–and eventually became a spelling bee champ and 15-year-old high school graduate–to New York City, where she took careful steps to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer and performer. Like Tiffany Haddish’s The Last Black Unicorn or Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? for the YA set, Akilah pens revealing and laugh-out-loud funny essays about her life, covering everything from her racist fifth grade teacher, her struggles with weight and acne, her failed attempts at joining the cheerleading team, how to literally get to New York (hint: for a girl on a budget, it may include multiple bus transfers) and exactly how to “make it” once you finally get there.
By Akwaeke Emezi
208 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525647072 | Make Me a World
There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question–How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist? Acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi makes their riveting and timely young adult debut with a book that asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial.
The Beauty that Remains
By Ashley Woodfolk
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781524715908 | Ember
Loss pulled Autumn, Shay, and Logan apart. Will music bring them back together?
Autumn always knew exactly who she was: a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan has always turned to writing love songs when his real love life was a little less than perfect.
But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger who’s struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.
Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.
The Sun is Also a Star
By Nicola Yoon
384 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735267008 | Penguin Teen
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store–for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
By Junauda Petrus
320 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780525555490 | Penguin Books
Port of Spain, Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend.
Minneapolis, USA. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when Audre comes to dinner.
Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.
This is What I Know About Art
By Kimberly Drew
Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
64 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593095188 | Penguin Workshop
In this powerful and hopeful account, arts writer, curator, and activist Kimberly Drew reminds us that the art world has space not just for the elite, but for everyone. Pocket Change Collective is a series of small books with big ideas from today’s leading activists and artists. In this installment, arts writer and co-editor of Black Futures Kimberly Drew shows us that art and protest are inextricably linked. Drawing on her personal experience through art toward activism, Drew challenges us to create space for the change that we want to see in the world. Because there really is so much more space than we think.
By Tochi Onyebuchi
464 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780451481672 | Razorbill
The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky.
In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life.
Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together. And they’re willing to fight an entire war to get there.
Who Put This Song On?
By Morgan Parker
336 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525707516 | Delacorte Press
Trapped in sunny, stifling, small-town suburbia, seventeen-year-old Morgan knows why she’s in therapy. She can’t count the number of times she’s been the only non-white person at the sleepover, been teased for her “weird” outfits, and been told she’s not “really” black. Also, she’s spent most of her summer crying in bed. So there’s that, too.
Lately, it feels like the whole world is listening to the same terrible track on repeat–and it’s telling them how to feel, who to vote for, what to believe. Morgan wonders, when can she turn this song off and begin living for herself?
Loosely based on her own teenage life and diaries, this incredible debut by award-winning poet Morgan Parker will make readers stand up and cheer for a girl brave enough to live life on her own terms–and for themselves.
X: A Novel
By Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
384 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780763690922 | Candlewick Press
Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s a pack of lies. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. X follows the boy who would become Malcolm X from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.
Celebrate national cat day by feline fine and checking out a good story. Here is the purrfect list for cat-lovers of all ages!
How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps
By Nicola Winstanley
Illustrated by John Martz
ISBN 9780735263543 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Seems simple, right? One problem: the cat has no intention of doing any of these things! Watch as the steps keep changing, the cat keeps escaping, the girl keeps eating cookies and the mess keeps escalating. Soon it’s not just the cat who needs a bath – it’s the whole house!
Miss Mink Life Lessons for a Cat Countess
By Janet Hill
ISBN 9781770499225 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
This whimsical collection of twenty cat-approved life lessons for living your purrfect life is accompanied by gorgeous, lushly detailed paintings.
Princess Puffybottom . . . and Darryl
By Susin Nielsen
Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
ISBN 9781101919255 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
Princess Puffybottom has the perfect life – her subjects serve her delicious meals, clean up her “delicate matters” and wait on her hand and foot. Life is good . . . until Darryl arrives. Princess Puffybottom thinks he’s disgusting, horrid and a true animal. Though she tries everything in her power to banish him (including hypnosis, trickery and even sabotage), it looks like this puppy is here to stay. Can Princess P. and Darryl find a way to co-exist?
By Ali Pye
ISBN 9780763699352 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Nosy Crow
Bella loves Anna. In fact, Bella loves Anna so much that she wants to be just like her and copies every single thing she does. Finally Anna decides she’s had enough of Bella being such a copycat! What is Bella going to do? With an adorable troupe of colorful kittens and vibrant illustrations, this author-illustrator debut from rising star Ali Pye is a lighthearted look at playground friendships and finding your own way.
The Cat Who Lived With Anne Frank
By David Lee Miller and Steven Jay Rubin
Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
ISBN 9781524741501 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Philomel Books
Told from the perspective of the cat who actually lived with Anne Frank in the famous Amsterdam annex, this poignant book paints a picture of a young girl who wistfully dreams of a better life for herself and her friends, tentatively wonders what mark she might leave on the world, and, above all, adamantly believes in the goodness of people.
The Cat Book: A minibombo Book
By Silvia Borando
ISBN 9780763694722 | Hardcover
Ages 2-5 | Candlewick Press
Who’s that, curled in a ball? Call out his name to wake him! Now turn the page and see him give a big stretch, waiting for you to pat him. Purr, purr, purr. Aww. But what’s that? Fleas! Quick, squish them with your finger! As this pampered cat’s day progresses, readers will have their hands full, acting as umbrella and towel and even clapping their hands loudly to save a bird . . . oh no!
By Kevan Atteberry
ISBN 9780823442836 | Hardcover
Ages 3-6 | Neal Porter Books
There’s something oddly familiar about this ghost cat – it does lots of things that remind the boy of the cat he used to have. The boy’s not sure why the ghost cat never stays for more than a few moments, or why the ghost cat has visited him in the first place. He follows the ghost cat all over his house, until finally it leads him to something new and wonderful.
Professor Astro Cat’s Stargazing
By Dr. Dominic Walliman
Illustrated by Ben Newman
ISBN 9781912497836 | Hardcover
Ages 5-7 | Flying Eye Books
In this new addition to the bestselling science series, we learn all about the stars in our universe, including our own sun! From scientific discoveries to the constellations dreamed up by humans centuries ago, the adventurous and wise Professor Astro Cat will guide young readers through fascinating facts.
By Mike Boldt
ISBN 9781984847973 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Cat lovers and dog lovers alike will howl with laughter at this little girl’s willful insistence that her cat is a dog. The hilarious ways in which cats and dogs are different are brilliantly illuminated with each turn of the page and will leave young readers and their grown-ups giggling.
There Are No Bears in this Bakery
By Julia Sarcone-Roach
ISBN 9780399556654 | Hardcover
Ages 4-8 | Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
A tough gumshoe of a cat–the name’s Muffin–protects his territory: The Little Bear Bakery. But there are no bears here. Not on Muffin’s watch. One night, Muffin hears a suspicious noise. Mouse? Raccoon? Bat? Nope, not the usual suspects. But Muffin hears . . . growling. Could it be? Yup. A bear. Just a cub. Whose stomach is definitely growling. Muffin’s got this case solved–clearly this bear needs some donuts.
Maya and the Lost Cat
By Caroline Magerl
ISBN 9781536204230 | Hardcover
Ages 3-7 | Candlewick Press
Where does Cat live, and who can lead the way there? A lyrical, charmingly offbeat tale about wanderlust and family, rescue and finding home. What will lure Cat down? Feather boas? Pretty pink shoelaces? A boatful of fish under a tiny tin sail?
Peg + Cat: The Puddle
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
ISBN 9781536206982 | Trade Paperback
Ages 3-7 | Candlewick Entertainment
A rainy day in the park has Peg and Cat singing, dancing, and measuring puddles to find out which ones are perfect for jumping in. Splash! Peg jumps right in, but Cat isn’t so sure. Just how deep is that water, anyway? If only they had some way to measure how far down the puddles go!
Megabat and Fancy Cat
By Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
ISBN 9780735262591 | Hardcover
Ages 7-10 | Tundra Books
Megabat returns, this time with a new nemesis: a very fancy cat. Can our tiny bat hero stop his Daniel’s heart from being stolen by this nefarious, fluffy villain?
The Adventures of Miss Petitfour
By Anne Michaels
Illustrated by Emma Block
ISBN 9780735263222 | Trade Paperback
Ages 6-9 | Tundra Books
Miss Petitfour enjoys having adventures that are “just the right size – fitting into a single, magical day.” On windy days, she takes her sixteen cats out for an airing: Minky, Misty, Taffy, Purrsia, Pirate, Mustard, Moutarde, Hemdela, Earring, Grigorovitch, Clasby, Captain Captain, Captain Catkin, Captain Cothespin, Your Shyness and Sizzles.
Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat
By Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth
Illustrated by Robb Mommaerts
ISBN 9781524787202 | Hardcover
Ages 8-12 | Penguin Workshop
Klawde is not your average cat. He’s an emperor from another planet, exiled to Earth. He’s cruel. He’s cunning. He’s brilliant… and he’s about to become Raj Banerjee’s best friend. Whether he likes it or not.
Timmy Failure: The Cat Stole My Pants
By Stephan Pastis
ISBN 9781536209099 | Trade Paperback
Ages 8-12 | Candlewick Press
Timmy is in Key West, Florida, ostensibly for the honeymoon of his mother and Doorman Dave — if they even got married, which Timmy doubts. Unfortunately for Timmy, crime doesn’t take a vacation. And because Total has fled to Cuba seeking political asylum, Timmy must rely on a new partner for help: Doorman Dave’s nephew Emilio. Meanwhile, a surprise newcomer shows up in Timmy’s life and, as if things couldn’t get more hectic, Timmy’s pants have been stolen by a six-toed cat.
Cat Science: Unleashed
Fun activities to do with your feline friend
By Jodi Wheeler-Toppen
ISBN 9781426334412 | Trade Paperback
Ages 8-12 | National Geographic Children’s Books
Unleash the power of science! Have fun with 22 safe and cat-friendly activities that let you work alongside your cat to discover what makes her tick. Learn how catnip affects your kitty and how she can see so well in the dark. Find out what kind of toys your cat loves by making a feather flyer. How does your cat balance so well and always land on all fours? Each activity is paired with step-by-step instructions, clear and interesting scientific explanations, and cool photographs shot specifically for this book.