Summer is upon us, with exciting new books hitting shelves this month. Young readers can find out what happens when a girl’s grandmother runs out of a needed ingredient while cooking dumplings; join a determined boy in making a superhero movie; follow a transgender witch on the run; and much more.

Picture Books and Early Readers

Bodies Are Cool

Tyler Feder. Dial, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-11262-5. Ages 3–5.

This is a celebration of all the different human bodies that exist in the world, from the way a body jiggles to the scars a it bears. The book received a starred review from PW.

A Boy Named Isamu: A Story of Isamu Noguchi

James Yang. Viking, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-20344-6. Ages 3–7.

Yang imagines a day in the boyhood of Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi. Wandering through an outdoor market, through the forest, and then by the ocean, Isamu sees things through the eyes of a young artist but also in a way that many children will relate to. The book received a starred review from PW.

Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor

Kate Messner, illus. by Alexandra Bye. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-66590-243-4. Ages 4–8.

This narrative, drawing from interviews the author did with Dr. Fauci himself, follows Anthony from his Brooklyn beginnings through medical school and his challenging role working with seven U.S. presidents to tackle some of the biggest public health challenges of the past 50 years, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dumplings for Lili

Melissa Iwai. Norton Young Readers, $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-324-00342-7. Ages 6–8.

Lili loves to cook baos, and Nai Nai has taught her all the secrets to making them, but when Nai Nai realizes that they are out of cabbage she sends Lili up to Babcia’s apartment to get some. Babcia is happy to share, but she needs some potatoes for her pierogi. What follows is a race up and down stairs as Lili helps the grandmothers in her building borrow ingredients. The book received a starred review from PW.

Faraway Things

Dave Eggers, illus. by Kelly Murphy. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-49219-5. Ages 4–8.

Lucian’s father called them faraway things: those mysterious objects orphaned upon the windswept shore. When Lucian discovers a cutlass, he faces a choice: cling to the sword he loves or accept a gift that shines farther, wider, and deeper than he could have dreamed. The book received a starred review from PW.

Fish and Sun

Sergio Ruzzier. HarperAlley, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-06-307663-1. Ages 4–8.

One day, bored little Fish journeys up to the surface of the ocean where it meets Sun, and a wonderful friendship blooms. But right in the middle of their fun, Sun starts to set. The book received a starred review from PW.

Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School

Emily Jenkins, illus. by Pete Oswald. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-525-64471-2. Ages 5–8.

In just 100 days, Harry will learn how to overcome first-day jitters, why guinea pigs aren’t scary, what a silent “e” is about, how to count to 100 in lots of different ways, how to make great friends, and much more. In other words, he will become an expert first grader. The book received a starred review from PW.

I Am the Subway

Kim Hyo-eun, trans. from the Korean by Deborah Smith. Scribble, $18.99 (52p) ISBN 978-1-950354-65-8. Ages 4–7.

A translation by Smith brings Kim’s sensitive, closely observed portraits of Seoul’s subway passengers to English-speaking readers. The subway itself narrates (“On my travels I meet so many people and things”), its words punctuated with the rails’ constant “ba-dum ba-dum ba-dum ba-dum” and passengers’ autobiographical thoughts. The book received a starred review from PW.

Jenny Mei Is Sad

Tracy Subisak. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-53771-1. Ages 4–8.

Jenny Mei is sad but still smiles a lot. She makes everyone laugh. And she still likes blue Popsicles the best. But her friend knows that Jenny Mei is sad, and does her best to be there to support her. The book received a starred review from PW.

Monster Friends

Kaeti Vandorn. Random House Graphic, $12.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-9848-9682-7. Ages 5–8.

Reggie’s plan is to spend the whole summer brooding over his latest adventure gone wrong. But his friendly and curious neighbor won’t let him sit alone and unhappy in his house forever. Despite their differences, these two monsters make the perfect pair of explorers. The book received a starred review from PW.

Noah’s Seal

Layn Marlow. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1851-0. Ages 3–7.

Noah waits on shore while Nana fixes their sailboat, which will take them out to sea where the seals live. In the meantime, he sculpts his own seal out of sand. After a storm blows in and Noah must take cover, he wonders: did his seal swim away? The book received a starred review from PW.

On the Day the Horse Got Out

Audrey Helen Weber. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-45984-6. Ages 4–8.

Drawing on the influence of nursery rhymes, fables, and mythology, Weber blends suspense, cause-and-effect, and connectedness in this picture book about an escaped horse. The book received a starred review from PW.

Paletero Man

Lucky Diaz, illus. by Micah Player. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-301444-2. Ages 4–8.

Inspired by the Lucky Band’s song of the same name, Latin Grammy Award–winning musician Diaz pens a bouncy rhyming narrative from the first-person perspective of a dark-haired, light brown–skinned Los Angeles resident. Intent on securing an icy paleta on the hottest day of the year, the child races down the street, greeting various members of his community along the way. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Rescuer of Tiny Creatures

Curtis Manley, illus. by Lucy Ruth Cummins. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-24671-4. Ages 4–8.

Covered in earthworm slime and assisted only by her cat and her little brother, Roberta rescues tiny creatures. When a swarm of baby spiders finds its way into the classroom, Roberta saves the day with her knowledge and creativity, showing everybody that tiny creatures aren’t so scary after all. The book received a starred review from PW.

The True Story of a Mouse Who Never Asked for It

Ana Cristina Herreros, illus. by Violeta Lópiz, trans. from the Spanish by Chloe Garcia Roberts. Unruly, $22.95 (108p) ISBN 978-1-59270-320-3. Ages 13 and up.

In this contemporary retelling of a Spanish folktale, a mouse is approached by many suitors, rejecting all but one: a cat, whose gentle meow assures her that he won’t bring her harm. But one must remember that a kitten always grows up to be a cat, and a danger for the mouse. The book received a starred review from PW.

Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott

Joyce Scott with Brie Spangler, illus. by Melissa Sweet. Knopf, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-525-64811-6. Ages 4–8.

Scott and Spangler begin this powerful picture book biography of Scott’s twin sister Judith (1943–2005) with a description of their early childhood. Joyce and Judy did everything together. But when Joyce is ready to attend school, Judy, who has “what will come to be known as Down syndrome,” stays home. Told in an order that allows readers to appreciate Judy the way Joyce does, this book’s creators render a personal story of love, nurture, and individual gifts. The book received a starred review from PW.

Middle Grade

The Islanders

Mary Alice Monroe with Angela May. Aladdin, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5344-2727-3. Ages 8–12.

Jake’s life has just turned upside-down. His father was wounded in Afghanistan, and his mother is leaving to care for him. That means Jake is spending the summer on a tiny island nature sanctuary with his grandmother. To make matters worse, Jake’s grandmother doesn’t believe in using cable or the internet, which means Jake has no cell phone and no friends. See our q&a with Monroe.

Marcus Makes a Movie

Kevin Hart, with Geoff Rodkey, illus. by David Cooper. Crown, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-593-17914-7. Ages 8–12.

In this middle-grade debut from comedian Hart, Marcus is not happy to be stuck in after-school film class, until he realizes he can turn the story of the cartoon superhero he’s been drawing for years into an actual movie. There’s just one problem: he has no idea what he’s doing.

The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe

Tricia Springstubb. Holiday House/Ferguson, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4757-2. Ages 8–12.

Loah is definitely a homebody. While her mother works to save the endangered birds of the shrinking Arctic tundra, Loah anxiously counts the days till her return. But to Loah’s dismay, her mom decides to go on a solo quest to find an extinct bird. Does her mother care more about the bird than her daughter? The book received a starred review from PW.

Rez Dogs

Joseph Bruchac. Dial, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-59-332621-3. Ages 8–12.

Malian loves visiting her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation. Then, suddenly, all travel shuts down because of a virus making people sick. Everyone is worried about the pandemic, but Malian knows how to keep her family and community safe. And when Malsum, one of the dogs living on the rez, shows up at their door, Malian’s family knows that he’ll protect them too. The book received a starred review from PW.

Sisters of the Neversea

Cynthia Leitich Smith. Heartdrum, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-286997-5. Ages 8–12.

This modern take on Peter Pan focuses on Native American Lily and English Wendy—stepsisters who must find their way back to the family they love. When their feuding parents plan to spend the summer apart, they don’t know what the future holds. Little do they know that a boy who calls himself Peter Pan has been watching, intending to take them to an island of Fairies and kidnapped children. The book received a starred review from PW.

To Tell You the Truth

Beth Vrabel. Atheneum, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5344-7859-6. Ages 8–12.

Trixy needs a story, fast, or she’s going to fail the fourth grade. But every time she sits down to write, her mind is a blank. The only stories she can think of are Gran’s, the ones no one else ever believed. Gran is gone, buried under the lilac bush in the family plot, so it’s not like Trixy’s hurting anybody to claim one of those stories as her own, is she? The book received a starred review from PW.

Young Adult

Ace of Spades

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-80081-7. Ages 14 and up.

When two Niveus Private Academy students are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. But soon after the announcement is made, someone who goes by Aces begins sending school-wide anonymous text messages revealing secrets that threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures. The debut novel received a starred review and a Flying Start from PW.

All Our Hidden Gifts

Caroline O’Donoghue. Walker US, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-53621-394-2. Ages 14 and up.

After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards, she quickly becomes the most sought-after diviner at school. But when Maeve’s ex–best friend, Lily, draws an unsettling card Maeve has never seen before, the session ends with Maeve wishing that Lily would disappear. When Lily isn’t at school the next Monday, Maeve learns her ex-friend has vanished without a trace. The book received a starred review from PW.


Dhonielle Clayton et al. Quill Tree, $19.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-308809-2. Ages 14 and up.

Young Black love glows throughout this collaboration by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon, which follows six couples through a summer blackout in New York City. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with the co-authors.

Blood Like Magic

Liselle Sambury. S&S/McElderry, $19.99 (496p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6528-2. Ages 14 and up.

After years of waiting for her Calling, Voya Thomas didn’t expect to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her a second chance, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Girl from the Sea

Molly Knox Ostertag. Graphix, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-338-54057-4. Ages 12 and up.

Morgan has a secret: she wants to kiss another girl. One night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life doesn’t seem so stifling, but Keltie has secrets of her own. The book received a starred review from PW.

Instructions for Dancing

Nicola Yoon. Delacorte, $19.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1896-1. Ages 12 and up.

Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore, especially after she is overcome with visions of how romances will end. As Evie tries to understand what is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to dance with a boy named X. Falling for X was not what Evie had in mind. See our In Conversation with Yoon and her editor Wendy Loggia. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Lucky List

Rachael Lippincott. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6853-5. Ages 12 and up.

Emily and her mother were always lucky. But Emily’s mom’s luck ran out three years ago when she succumbed to cancer, and nothing has felt right for Emily since. When Emily finds her mom’s bucket list, she and her new friend take it on as a challenge for Emily to feel closer to her mother. See our q&a with Lippincott.

One Great Lie

Deb Caletti. Atheneum, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6317-2. Ages 14 and up.

When Charlotte wins a scholarship in Venice with the charismatic and brilliant Luca Bruni, it’s a dream come true. Venice is beautiful, charming, and seductive, but so is Luca. As his behavior becomes increasingly unnerving, and as Charlotte begins to unearth the long-lost work of Isabella with the help of sweet Dante, other things begin to rise, too—secrets about the past, and secrets about the present. See Caletti’s essay on “The Practical Magic of Research” here. The book received a starred review from PW.

We Are Inevitable

Gayle Forman. Viking, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-425-29080-4. Ages 14 and up.

Aaron Stein used to think books were miracles. But not anymore, even though he spends his days working in his family’s secondhand bookstore. When Aaron sees the opportunity to sell the store, he jumps at it. But he doesn’t account for Chad, a “best life” bro with a wheelchair and too much optimism. Or Hannah, a beautiful musician who might be the kind of inevitable he’s been waiting for. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Witch King

H.E. Edgmon. Inkyard, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-33521-279-5. Ages 13 and up.

In Asalin, fae rule and witches don’t. Wyatt’s betrothal to his best friend, fae prince Emyr, was supposed to change that. But when Wyatt lost control of his magic, he fled to the human world. Now Emyr has found him and despite transgender Wyatt’s newfound identity, Emyr has no intention of dissolving their engagement. In fact, he claims they must marry now or risk losing the throne. The book received a starred review from PW.