It’s the start of a new year and, to help kick things off, we’ve gathered a list of some of the big books hitting shelves. New releases this month include the highly anticipated prequel to The Hate You Give; the memoir of a well-known author of coming-of-age stories set in the wilderness; a celebration of essential workers and community during the pandemic; and more.

Picture Books

The Beak Book

Robin Page. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6041-6. Ages 3–8.

This picture book explores the fascinating and surprising ways that different kinds of birds from around the world use their unique beaks. The book received a starred review from PW.

Bear Island

Matthew Cordell. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-31716-2. Ages 2–5.

Louise and her family are sad over the loss of their beloved dog, Charlie. But on a visit to the island after Charlie's death, Louise meets a bear. As the girl visits more often, she realizes that getting over loss takes time. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Boy Who Loved Everyone

Jane Porter, illus. by Maisie Paradise Shearring. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1123-8. Ages 3–7.

In this story about navigating the social cues of new friendship, Dimitri’s vocal affection for everything is met with wary reactions. But can love be expressed in unspoken ways? The book received a starred review from PW.

The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy

Kekla Magoon, illus. by Laura Freeman. Quill Tree, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-291251-0. Ages 4–8.

Magoon and Freeman team up to present this overview of the life of Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, covering his early-20th-century childhood in segregated Baltimore, his persistent fight against segregation, his initiation as the first Black member of the Supreme Court in 1967, and his death in 1993. The book received a starred review from PW.

I Dream of Popo

Livia Blackburne, illus. by Julia Kuo. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-24931-9. Ages 3–6.

Steeped in personal history, this picture book from a Taiwanese American author-illustrator-editor team tenderly portrays the time zone–transcending love between a girl and her grandmother after the girl emigrates from Taiwan to San Diego. The book received a starred review from PW.

Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued

Peter Sís. Norton Young Readers, $19.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-324-01574-1. Ages 6–8.

Czech-American artist Sís dramatizes the story of Nicholas Winton, a man who saved 700 children trapped in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, in this deeply personal picture book. The book received a starred review from PW. See our interview with Sís about the book.

Outside, Inside

LeUyen Pham. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-79835-0. Ages 3-6.

This moving picture book celebrates essential workers and the community coming together to face the challenges of the global pandemic. See our interview with Pham about the inspiration behind the book.

Over the Shop

JonArno Lawson, illus. by Qin Leng. Candlewick, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0147-5. Ages 3–7.

A lonely girl and her grandparent need to fill the rundown apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space—until one special couple shows up. The book received a starred review from PW.

Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge

Ray Anthony Shepard, illus. by Keith Mallett. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-30704-2. Ages 3–6.

In a stunning picture book debut, historian Shepard pens a free verse poem addressing Ona Judge, a young Black woman who emancipated herself from George and Martha Washington’s ownership. The book received a starred review from PW.

Scarlet’s Tale

Audrey Vernick, illus. by Peter Jarvis. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-368-04308-3. Ages 4–8.

Born a bit different than expected, Scarlet has always embraced her uniqueness. When she starts preschool, though, she finds it can be a little scary to stand out from the crowd. But with the help of some new friends, Scarlet’s enthusiasm has everyone celebrating what makes her special. The book received a starred review from PW.

Ten Beautiful Things

Molly Beth Griffin, illus. by Maribel LeChuga. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58089-936-9. Ages 5–8.

Lily and her grandmother search for 10 beautiful things as they take a long car ride to Iowa and Lily’s new home with Gran. At first, Lily sees nothing beautiful; Soon though, Lily can see beauty in unexpected places. The book received a starred review from PW.

Time for Kenny

Brian Pinkney. Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-073528-9. Ages 4 and up.

In four stories, Pinkney guides readers through the young child’s day. With the help of his family, Kenny finally gets his own favorite outfit on. Then he must overcome his fear of the monstrous vacuum cleaner, learn to play soccer with his big sister, and get ready for bedtime. The book received a starred review from PW.

Watch Me: A Story of Immigration and Inspiration

Doyin Richards, illus. by Joe Cepeda. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-26651-4. Ages 3–5.

In this picture book based on a true story of Richards’s father, young Joe comes to America from Africa. And like so many immigrants before and after him, Joe succeeds when many thought he would fail. The book received a starred review from PW.

We Wait for the Sun

Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe, illus. by Raissa Figueroa. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-22902-1. Ages 4–8.

From civil rights trailblazer Roundtree comes a picture book about a precious early-morning moment between her and her grandmother—the woman who taught her everything she knew about self-worth, strength, and justice. The book received a starred review from PW.

What’s the Matter, Marlo?

Andrew Arnold. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-250-22323-4. Ages 3–6.

Marlo and the narrator of this book are best friends: “We read together. We laugh together. We play games together,” writes Arnold (the Adventures in Cartooning series), making his picture book debut. But when Marlo falls into a funk that he won’t explain, an emotional void opens up. The book received a starred review from PW. Read our q&a with Arnold here.

Chapter Books

She Persisted: Harriet Tubman

Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Gillian Flint. Philomel, $14.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-593-11565-7. Ages 6–9.

In this chapter book series opener expanding upon Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger’s She Persisted picture book series, Coretta Scott King Award winner Pinkney presents an accessible portrait of abolitionist, activist, nurse, and spy Harriet Tubman. The book received a starred review from PW.

Middle Grade

Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations #1)

B.B. Alston. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-297516-4. Ages 8–12.

A girl must earn a spot at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs in order to find her missing brother—only to discover that her unprecedented levels of potential and power have marked her as a suspect in the ongoing fight against an evil magical threat. The book received a starred review from PW. Read our profile on Alston.

Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood

Gary Paulsen. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-374-31415-6. Ages 8–12.

Newbery Honoree Paulsen’s (Hatchet) third-person memoir portrays moments in his childhood as his own survival story. The book received a starred review from PW. Read our q&a with Paulsen about the new book.

Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast and Other Tasty Poems

Jack Prelutsky, illus. by Ruth Chan. Greenwillow, $18.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-06301-913-3. Ages 8 and up.

From a lizard playing a mandolin (although not very well) to the surprised guest of honor (at a birthday party he threw for himself), there’s something for young readers of varied interests in this collection featuring more than 100 original poems. The book received a starred review from PW.

The In-Between

Rebecca K.S. Ansari. Walden Pond, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-291609-9. Ages 8–12.

Two kids discover a 100-year-old unsolved mystery—and the quiet, strange girl next door may be the key to unraveling it. The book received a starred review from PW.

Joe Biden: Our 46th President

Beatrice Gormley. Aladdin, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5344-7932-6. Ages 8–12.

In 15 chapters, this biography of Joe Biden offers an endorsing portrait of the new president. An informative introduction that effectively frames the challenges ahead.

The Lion of Mars

Jennifer L. Holm. Random House, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-593-121818. Ages 8–12.

Bell has spent his whole 11 years of life on Mars. But he’s still just a regular kid and is curious about the secrets that the adults in the U.S. colony are keeping. When a virus breaks out and the grownups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Sea in Winter

Christine Day. Heartdrum, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-287204-3. Ages 8–12.

Day tackles an important and timely issue in her sophomore novel: how to start over when a dream is no longer possible. Middle schooler Maisie, who is Makah/Piscataway, wants nothing more than to dance. But an accident tears her ACL and isolates her from her ballet friends, and Maisie sinks into a depression that results in slipping grades and familial tensions. The book received a starred review from PW.

Young Adult

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas

Kimberly Willis Holt. Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-23410-0. Ages 10–14.

This follow-up to Holt’s 1999 National Book Award-winning novel, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, introduces readers to Rylee, Toby’s daughter, who is set on finding out what happened to Zachary after 1971 while navigating her own shifting friendships and the aftermath of 9/11. See our q&a with Holt here.

Be Dazzled

Ryan La Sala. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4926-8269-1. Ages 14 and up.

Raffy has a passion for bedazzling and creating, and is determined to make his mark at this year’s biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. The only problem: Raffy’s ex-boyfriend, Luca, is the main competition. The book received a starred review from PW.

Concrete Rose

Angie Thomas. HarperTeen/Balzer + Bray, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-284671-6. Ages 14 and up.

Four years after publishing The Hate U Give, Thomas’s bestselling Black Lives Matter-inspired novel, she returns to her acclaimed fictional universe to explore the origins of Maverick Carter, the father of Starr Carter, THUG’s central character. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with Thomas here.

Girl on the Line

Faith Gardner. HarperTeen, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-0630-2230-0. Ages 13 and up.

Bisexual 18-year-old Journey Smith is trying to piece her life back together after a suicide attempt. There are no easy answers in Gardner’s tough but rewarding latest novel, but there is hope in its message that there is no singularly correct road to recovery—and that the journey is worthwhile. The book received a starred review from PW.

Happily Ever Afters

Elise Bryant. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-298283-4. Ages 14 and up.

Debut author Bryant creates a wholly genuine protagonist in Tessa, a biracial Black teen and aspiring romance author who enrolls in a prestigious program for creative writing. But even as her social life flourishes, she can’t surmount a case of writer’s block. To alleviate her fear of embarrassment and lack of romantic experience, Tessa creates her own love story with Nico, a rich, white classmate. The book received a starred review from PW.

Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

Nikki Grimes. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-68119-944-3. Ages 10–14.

In this expansive introduction to Harlem Renaissance women poets, Grimes utilizes the Golden Shovel poetry technique to create a contemporary collection of innovative feminist remixes. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with Grimes here.


Alexandra Bracken. Disney-Hyperion, $18.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-4847-7820-3. Ages 14 and up.

With ambitious worldbuilding and breakneck pacing, Bracken’s standalone novel blends Greek mythology and modern-day Manhattan. An entertaining joyride.

Tales from the Hinterland (The Hazel Wood)

Melissa Albert, illus. by Jim Tierney. Flatiron, $19.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-25030-272-4. Ages 12 and up.

Albert pulls readers deeper into the world established in her YA novels The Hazel Wood and The Night Country with this collection of 12 original fairy tales. Illustrations by Jim Tierney accompany these metafictional stories, which form the backbone of the dark and magical world of the Hinterland, from which main character Alice must save her mother. See our interview with the author on her new book.


Katie the Catsitter (Katie the Catsitter #1)

Colleen AF Venable, illus. by Stephanie Yue. Random House, $20.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-984895-63-9. Ages 8–12.

Katie is dreading the boring summer ahead while her best friends are all away at camp—something that’s way out of Katie and her mother’s budget, unless Katie can figure out a way to earn the money for camp herself. But when Katie gets a job cat-sitting for her mysterious upstairs neighbor, life gets interesting. The book received a starred review from PW.