Some of September’s numerous big releases for children and teens include the return of a beloved character after a 35-year wait, a determined Chinese-Mexican girl who is intent on meeting her baseball idol, magical booksellers, and more.

Picture Books

The Barnabus Project

Terry, Eric, and Devin Fan. Tundra, $18.99 (72p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6326-0. Ages 5–9.

The Perfect Pet store’s friendly window display offers adorable fuzzy animals, “Genetically Engineered!” But in a laboratory deep below, the Failed Projects are imprisoned: small, fuzzy cast-offs with names like Quirt and Moshi. A cinematic climax caps this romp from the Fan Brothers, collaborating with their brother Devin. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Bear and the Moon

Matthew Burgess, illus. by Catia Chien. Chronicle, $18.99 (52p) ISBN 978-1-4521-7191-3. Ages 3–5.

Two companions embark on a journey that follows what happens when the gift of a balloon floats into a Bear’s life. The book received a starred review from PW.

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away

Meg Medina, illus. by Sonia Sánchez. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0704-0. Ages 5–7.

Daniela and Evelyn are best friends and do everything together. But not after today—not after Evelyn moves away. The girls play amid the moving boxes until it’s time to say goodbye, making promises to keep in touch, because they know that their friendship will always be special. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Farmer and the Monkey

Marla Frazee. Beach Lane, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4619-9. Ages 4–8.

In this wordless follow-up to Caldecott Honoree Frazee’s The Farmer and the Clown, the farmer has another unexpected visitor from the nearby circus. After his new friend baby clown returns to the circus, the farmer expects to resume his quiet life. But little does he know that a playful circus monkey has followed him home.

Hamish Takes the Train

Daisy Hirst. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1659-2. Ages 3–7.

Hamish the bear and Noreen the goose live in the country where they like to watch the trains. Noreen is content to stay in the country but Hamish can’t help but wonder what it would be like to ride the train into the city. The book received a starred review from PW.

If You Come to Earth

Sophie Blackall. Chronicle, $18.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-4521-3779-7. Ages 5–8.

This picture book is inspired by the thousands of children Caldecott Medalist Blackall has met during her travels around the world in support of UNICEF and Save the Children. According to the starred review from PW, If You Come to Earth is an exquisite guide to our home planet, and a call for us to take care of both Earth and each other.

Imogene Comes Back!

David Small. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-59-312374-4. Ages 3–7.

Thirty-five years after her transformation in Imogene’s Antlers, Imogene returns in this sequel. First she discovers she has sprouted a giraffe’s neck, followed by a curious new feature every day.

I Talk Like a River

Jordan Scott, illus. by Sydney Smith. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4559-2. Ages 4–8.

When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he’d like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. The book received a starred review from PW. Read our interview with Scott, Smith, and publisher Neal Porter.

Julia’s House Moves On

Ben Hatke. First Second, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-19137-3. Ages 4–8.

Julia and her fantastic friends are back for another adventure and this time they are ready to move on. But where will they go? And how will they get there? Good thing Julia always has a plan. The book received a starred review from PW.

My Day with Gong Gong

Sennah Yee, illus. by Elaine Chen. Annick, $18.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-77321-429-0. Ages 4–7.

May can’t understand Chinese and her grandfather, Gong Gong, can’t speak much English. Tired and bored with Gong Gong during her trip to Chinatown, May can’t take anymore. But an unexpected turn helps to make a connection between them. The book received a starred review from PW.

One Summer Up North

John Owens. Univ. of Minnesota, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5179-0950-5. Ages 3 and up.

Readers can follow a family’s journey through the Boundary Waters on the Minnesota-Canada border, canoeing and camping as they encounter the Northwoods wilderness. The book received a starred review from PW.

Our Little Kitchen

Jillian Tamaki. Abrams, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4655-0. Ages 4–8.

A crew of resourceful neighbors comes together to prepare a meal for their community. It is a celebration of full bellies and looking out for one another. Recipes and an author’s note about the volunteering experience that inspired the book are also included. The book received a starred review from PW.


David Wiesner. Clarion, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-98731-9. Ages 4–7.

When new baby Flange is delivered to a family of robots, the adults are flummoxed by technical difficulties. Big sister Cathy, with her advanced knowledge of robotics, hasn’t been allowed to help, but manages to resolve the issues and bond with her new baby brother. The book received a starred review from PW.

Sometimes People March

Tessa Allen. HarperCollins/Balzer and Bray, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-299118-8. Ages 4–8.

Allen offers an introduction to how Americans exercise their right to free speech by marching in the name of justice. From past to present one thing remains true: no matter how or why people march, we are powerful because we march together. The book received a starred review from PW.

Will You Be My Friend?

Sam McBratney, illus. by Anita Jeram. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1747-6 . Ages 3–7.

Twenty-five years after publishing evergreen bestseller Guess How Much I Love You, the collaborators offer a similarly resonant sequel in which Little Nutbrown Hare goes exploring alone when Big Nutbrown Hare is preoccupied. The book received a starred review from PW. See our tribute to McBratney, who died September 18 at age 77.

Your Place in the Universe

Jason Chin. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4623-0. Ages 4–8.

Chin introduces readers to the mind-boggling scale of the known universe in a book that is accessible and understandable to readers of all ages. The book received a starred review from PW.

Grow: Secrets of Our DNA

Nicola Davies, illus. by Emily Sutton. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1272-3. Ages 5–9.

Davies and Sutton reunite to offer another exploration of a fundamental science concept: this time, how and why things grow. Davies’s thoughtful prose spirals from simplicity through accessible complexities, showing the range and diversity of growing things, from sunfish and bristlecone pines to human beings. The book received a starred review from PW.

Middle Grade

Before the Ever After

Jacqueline Woodson. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-399-54543-6. Ages 12 and up.

Woodson’s novel-in-verse explores how a family moves forward when their glory days have passed and the cost of professional sports on Black bodies. When ZJ’s dad—a talented pro football star—begins to forget important things, including ZJ’s name, he wonders if those happy feelings can be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past. The book received a starred review from PW.

Dungeon Critters

Natalie Riess and Sara Goetter. First Second, $22.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-19547-0. Ages 8–12.

A squad of animal companions are on a wild adventure investigating a sinister conspiracy among the furry nobility. Motivated by rivalries and a lust for adventure, the critters navigate the perils and dangers of the natural world, taking them through haunted dungeons and high society balls. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Land of the Cranes

Aida Salazar. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-338-34380-9. Ages 8–12.

A Latinx girl learns to hold on to hope and love even in the darkest of places: a family detention center for migrants and refugees. When Betita’s Papa is arrested by ICE and deported to Mexico, Betita and her pregnant mother are soon detained and must survive in a family detention camp. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Language of Ghosts

Heather Fawcett. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-285454-4. Ages 8–12.

Noa, Julian, and Mite, a trio of exiled royal siblings, unlock a long-forgotten magical language in their bid to reclaim their stolen throne. The book received a starred review from PW.

Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney. Little, Brown, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-53677-6. Ages 8–12.

This illustrated novel provides a front-row seat to the groundbreaking moments in history that led to African Americans earning the right to vote, through the eyes of Loretta, Roly, and Aggie B., members of the Little family. Each present the story of their lives, spanning three generations, from a cotton field in 1927 until the end of the presidential election of 1968. The book received a starred review from PW. Read our In Conversation with the Pinkneys here.

Lupe Wong Won’t Dance

Donna Barba Higuera. Levine Querido, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-64614-003-9. Ages 8–12.

Lupe Wong is determined to become the first female pitcher in the major leagues. But Lupe needs an A in all her classes in order to meet her favorite pitcher, Fu Li Hernandez, who’s Chinacan/Mexinese just like her. So when the horror that is square dancing rears its head in gym, obviously she’s not going to let that slide. The book received a starred review from PW.

One Time

Sharon Creech. HarperCollins/Cotler, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-257074-1. Ages 8–12.

In this powerful coming-of-age novel from Newbery Medalist Sharon Creech, a girl discovers the limitless possibilities her future may hold with help from a brilliant teacher and a mysterious boy.

The Silver Arrow

Lev Grossman. Little, Brown, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-316-53953-1. Ages 8 and up.

Kate and her younger brother Tom lead dull, uninteresting lives, that is, until her mysterious Uncle Herbert, whom she’s never even met before, surprises her with the most unexpected birthday present of all time: a colossal steam locomotive called the Silver Arrow. See our Q&A with Grossman on his middle grade debut.

The Sisters of Straygarden Place

Hayley Chewins. Candlewick, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1227-3. Ages 10–14.

Seven years ago, the Ballastian sisters’ parents left them in the magical Straygarden Place with a warning to never leave the house or go into the grass. Ever since, the house itself has taken care of the sisters—until one day, when the eldest ventures outside into the grass, and everything starts to unravel. The book received a starred review from PW.

Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger #1)

Amy Timberlake, illus. by Jon Klassen. Algonquin, $18.95 (136p) ISBN 978-1-64375-005-7. Ages 8–12.

When Skunk barges into Badger’s quiet brownstone, readers sympathize with the scholarly, solitary Badger. Faced with an unwanted housemate, Badger must learn to live with—and learn from—Skunk’s warm, chaotic presence. The book received a starred review from PW. Read our q&a with author Timberlake here.

Spindlefish and Stars

Christiane M. Andrews. Little, Brown, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-49601-8. Ages 8–12.

Drawing from Greek mythology, Andrews constructs a lyrical debut exploring the nature of destiny and sacrifice. After her father, an art restorer and sometimes thief, is detained, young Clothilde takes his last gifts to her—his precious leather notebook, a stolen painting, a wheel of foul-smelling cheese—and follows his instructions. The book received a starred review from PW.

Three Keys

Kelly Yang. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-338-59138-5. Ages 8–12.

The story of Mia and her family, which Yang began in Front Desk, continues at the Calivista Motel where she is finally able to run the front desk and is finally getting somewhere with her writing. But sixth grade comes with its own challenges, including a new immigration law that could threaten everyone in Mia’s life. The book received a starred review from PW.

Tune It Out

Jamie Sumner. Atheneum, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5344-5700-3. Ages 10 and up.

Lou has the voice of an angel but she’s terrified of loud noises—an undiagnosed sensory processing disorder. When Lou crashes the car, child services separate the mother-daughter duo. Now she has to start all over at a private school. With help from a new friend, her aunt and uncle, and the school counselor, she begins to see things differently. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Willoughbys Return

Lois Lowry. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-358-42389-8. Ages 8–12.

Twelve years after the publication of The Willoughbys and 30 years after it takes place, Lowry’s quirky cast returns for another adventure. With the Willoughby siblings now grown, the eldest—Tim, now a candy manufacturing magnate—is living lavishly in Commander Melanoff’s mansion with son Richie, 11, when a new law criminalizes candy and jeopardizes the family’s fortune. See our cover reveal here.


The Black Kids

Christina Hammonds Reed. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6272-4. Ages 14 and up.

Set in 1992 Los Angeles, this coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy Black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Bridge

Bill Konigsberg. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-338-32503-4. Ages 14 and up.

Aaron and Tillie don’t know each other, but they are both suicidal, and arrive at the George Washington Bridge at the same time, intending to jump. What happens is far from straightforward. The book received a starred review from PW. Read our Q&A with Konigsberg here.

Each of Us a Desert

Mark Oshiro. Tor Teen, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-25016-921-1. Ages 13 and up.

Honesty, the weight of caregiving, and the space between absolution and compassion span deserts in this tender, postapocalyptic Latinx fantasy. Xochitl is destined to wander the desert alone. Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit. One night, Xo’s wish is granted—in the form of Emilia. The book received a starred review from PW.


Tiffany D. Jackson. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-284035-6. Ages 13 and up.

Jackson gives readers another ripped-from-the-headlines mystery, this time telling the story of horrific secrets hiding behind the limelight and the power of a young woman’s voice. After aspiring singer Korey Fields is found dead, Enchanted Jones awakes with blood on her hands and no memory of the previous night. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Inheritance Games

Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Little, Brown, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-368-05240-5. Ages 12 and up.

In this Knives Out–esque series opener from Barnes, Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why—or even who—Tobias Hawthorne is. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Last Halloween: Children

Abby Howard. Iron Circus, Oct. 6 $25 paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-9458-2066-3. Ages 13 and up.

On Halloween night, 10-year-old Mona must forego trick-or-treating when her nonbinary parent opts out of chaperoning to contact their late wife at a séance. That night, the mystical Phagocyte, which “protects and preserves the balance between the worlds,” becomes incapacitated, leaving monsters to roam outside their shadow dimension. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

Garth Nix. HarperCollins/Tegen, $19.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-268325-0. Ages 14 and up.

A girl’s quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. Read our Q&A with Nix.

Punching the Air

Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-299648-0. Ages 14 and up.

Award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five team up for a novel-in-verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. The book received a starred review from PW. See our In Conversation with Zoboi and Salaam here.

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite

Ed. by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker. Imprint, Sept. 22 $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-23001-0. Ages 12 and up.

In their introduction to this bloodthirsty anthology, Córdova and Parker note that, “despite queer subtext and outstanding nonwhite examples,” the most famous vampires are “predominantly men, white, cisgender, straight, and able-bodied.” This boundary-pushing collection seeks to upend the default with 11 toothsome stories that stake a new claim on old tropes, centering an intersectionally diverse range of protagonists. The book received a starred review from PW. See our feature on the resurgence of YA vampire fiction.

Watch Over Me

Nina LaCour. Dutton, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-10897-0. Ages 14 and up.

In this novel from Printz Medalist LaCour, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. When she’s offered a job and a place to stay at a Northern California farm, she immediately accepts. The farm is a refuge, but also haunted by the past traumas its young residents have come to escape. And Mila’s own terrible memories are starting to rise to the surface. The book received a starred review from PW.

Graphic Novels


Mike Curato. Holt/Godwin, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-2507-5614-5. Ages 14 and up.

Before transitioning from a private Catholic middle school to a public high school, Aiden Navarro, 14, wants to enjoy Boy Scout summer camp. As in school, however, Aiden can’t escape the things he’s so often been bullied for: his weight, his Filipino heritage, and his effeminate voice. Emotional and raw, Curato’s story plummets Aiden deep into despair, which is juxtaposed with powerful moments of fiery hope.

Stuck Together (Pea, Bee, & Jay #1)

Brian “Smitty” Smith. HarperAlley, $12.99 (64p) ISBN 978-0-06-298116-5. Ages 6–10.

Pea, Bee, and Jay—three unlikely heroes—join forces to find their way back to the farm after a sudden thunderstorm throws Pea off course. The book received a starred review from PW.

Witches of Brooklyn (Witches of Brooklyn #1)

Sophie Escabasse. Random House Graphic, $20.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-593-11927-3. Ages 8–12.

Life in Brooklyn takes a strange twist for Effie as she learns more about her family and herself. With new friends who will do whatever they can to be there for her, a cursed pop-star, and her new magically inclined family, Effie’s life is about to get interesting.