Fall into some of the big books for young readers coming out this month. Kids can discover the world through a little cub’s eyes, join a group of teenagers in uncovering a mystery their parents were involved in, learn how a Japanese American girl became a renowned chef, and much more.

Picture Books

Ada and the Galaxies

Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv, illus. by Susanna Chapman. MIT Kids/Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1561-8. Ages 4–6.

Ada knows that the best place for star-gazing is on the island in Maine where she vacations with her grandparents. By day, she tracks osprey in the trees, paddles a kayak, and hunts for shells. But she’s most in her element when the sun goes down and the stars blink to life. The book received a starred review from PW.

Bear Wants to Sing

Cary Fagan, illus. by Dena Seiferling. Tundra, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6803-6. Ages 3–7.

A bear finds a ukulele in the woods. It makes a nice sound—plink!—and inspires him to write his own song. His friend Mouse would love to hear it. But Bear isn’t the only animal in the forest to find musical inspiration that day. The book received a starred review from PW.

Big Bear, Little Bear

Marine Schneider. Cameron Kids, $9.99 (22p) ISBN 978-1-951836-28-3. Ages up to 3.

This simple and sweet board book, featuring bold primary-colored art, compares Big Bear and Little Bear and the big and little everyday objects they each use in their lives together as parent and child. The book received a starred review from PW.

Bright Star

Yuyi Morales. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4328-4. Ages 4–8.

In this story of a fawn making her way through a border landscape teaming with flora and fauna native to the region, a gentle but empowering voice encourages her to face her fears when she comes across an obstacle in the form of an insurmountable barrier. The book received a starred review from PW.

Cat Dog

Mem Fox, illus. by Mark Teague. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-8688-1. Ages 4–8.

A cat and dog are astonished to find a mouse in their house. The three circle each other while the story sometimes correctly describes their antics—and sometimes doesn’t—in this call-and-response-style adventure. The book received a starred review from PW.

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem

Amanda Gorman, illus. by Loren Long. Viking, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-20322-4. Ages 4–8.

A girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, as they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and most importantly, in themselves. The book, written by inauguration poet Gorman, received a starred review from PW.

Circle Under Berry

Carter Higgins. Chronicle, $15.99 (52p) ISBN 978-1-79720-508-3. Ages 2–4.

Using hand-painted paper to create brilliantly hued, shape-based forms that appear against a clean white backdrop, Higgins economically examines ways to observe color, shape, pattern, and position. The book received a starred review from PW.

A Cub Story

Kristen Tracy, illus. by Alison Farrell. Chronicle, $9.99 (22p) ISBN 978-1-4521-7458-7. Ages 2–4.

Readers can see the world through a bear cub's eyes in this book about finding your place in the world. Little cub measures himself up to the other animals in the forest. Compared to a rabbit, he is big. Compared to a chipmunk, he is huge. Compared to his mother, he is still a little cub. The book received a starred review from PW.

Have You Seen Gordon?

Adam Jay Epstein, illus. by Ruth Chan. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5344-7736-0. Ages 4–8.

The narrator wants to play hide and seek with Gordon and the reader, but Gordon just wants to stand out. This madcap, fourth wall–breaking picture book is packed with humor and full, zany spreads. The book received a starred review from PW. See our In Conversation with Epstein and Chan.


John Rocco. Little, Brown, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7595-5493-1. Ages 4–8.

A boy’s favorite place in the world is the old, splintery neighborhood dock, in this follow-up to Blizzard and Blackout. There the boy can swim, fish, or watch minnows dart between the rocks. But a hurricane is coming, and its violent winds and rain carry with it anything that can float.

It Fell from the Sky

The Fan Brothers. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-5344-5762-1. Ages 4–8.

It fell from the sky on a Thursday. None of the insects know where it came from, or what it is. Some say it’s an egg. Others, a gumdrop. But whatever it is, it fell near Spider’s house, so he’s convinced it belongs to him. See our Cover Reveal.

King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin

Stephen Costanza. Atheneum, $17.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-5344-1036-7. Ages 4–8.

This rhythmic picture book biography of African American composer Joplin is a celebration of the King of Ragtime. The book received a starred review from PW.

Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest

Phoebe Wahl. Tundra, $19.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6489-2. Ages 4–8.

Little Witch Hazel is a tiny witch who lives in the forest, helping creatures big and small. She’s a midwife, an intrepid explorer, a hard worker and a kind friend. But when Little Witch Hazel needs help herself, will she get it in time? The book received a starred review from PW.

Magic Candies

Heena Baek, trans. from the Korean by Sophie Bowman. Amazon Crossing Kids, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2959-9. Ages 4–8.

Tong Tong could never have imagined what everyone around him was thinking. But when he gets hold of some magic candies, suddenly there are voices everywhere. It turns out, these voices in Tong Tong’s life have a lot to say, if he’s ready to hear it. The book received a starred review from PW.

Niki Nakayama: A Chef’s Tale in 13 Bites

Jamie Michalak and Debbi Michiko Florence, illus. by Yuko Jones. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-31387-6. Ages 4–8.

This picture book biography tells the story of Nakayama, a female Japanese American chef, and her rise to fame. Using the structure of a traditional kaiseki meal, the authors playfully detail Niki's hunger for success in 13 “bites” — from wonton wrappers she used to make pizza as a kid to yuzu-tomatillo sauce in her own upscale Los Angeles Michelin-starred restaurant, n/naka. The book received a starred review from PW.

Nina: A Story of Nina Simone

Traci N. Todd, illus. by Christian Robinson. Putnam, $18.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3728-3. Ages 4–8.

Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in small town North Carolina, Nina Simone was a musical child. This picture book biography tells the story of little Eunice who grew up to become the acclaimed singer, and her bold legacy. The book received a starred review from PW.

Norman Didn’t Do It! (Yes, He Did)

Ryan T. Higgins. Disney Hyperion, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-368-02623-9. Ages 3–5.

Norman is a porcupine. Mildred is a tree. Norman and Mildred are best friends, just the two of them. But when a surprise pops up, life will never be the same again. The book received a starred review from PW. See our interview with Higgins.

Thank You, Neighbor!

Ruth Chan. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-290953-4. Ages 4–8.

Readers follow the narrator and her dog on their daily walk as they greet the people in their neighborhood. Whether listening, asking, helping, or just saying hello and thank you—it’s the child’s patience and kindness that makes their town feel like home. The book received a starred review from PW.

There’s a Ghost in This House

Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, $27.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-593-46618-6. Ages 4–8.

A girl lives in a haunted house, but she has never seen a ghost. Are they white with holes for eyes? Are they hard to see? Kids are invited to step inside and help the girl as she searches under the stairs, behind the sofa, and in the attic for the ghost.

Time for Bed, Old House

Janet Costa Bates, illus. by A.G. Ford. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0998-3. Ages 3–7.

Isaac is excited about having a sleepover at Grandpop’s house, but he’s a little nervous about being away from home for the first time. Luckily, his knowing Grandpop tells him it’s not quite time to go to bed yet—first, he needs Isaac’s help in putting the house to bed. The book received a starred review from PW.

Time Is a Flower

Julie Morstad. Tundra, $18.99 (56p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6754-1. Ages 3–7.

In this meditation on the nature of time, Morstad shines a light on a difficult-to-grasp concept for young readers and reminds older readers to see the wonders of our world, including children themselves, through the lens of time. The book received a starred review from PW.

Middle Grade

Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds

Samira Ahmed. Little, Brown, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-54046-9. Ages 8–12.

On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, 12-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can’t stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. When an ancient artifact accidentally breaks due to their fighting, it is up to the siblings to right the wrong they have unlocked. See our author profile on Ahmed.

The Beatryce Prophecy

Kate DiCamillo, illus. by Sophie Blackall. Candlewick, $19.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1361-4.

Tenderly illuminated by Caldecott Medalist Blackall’s atmospheric, fine-lined art, this compassionate tale rejoices in “the wonder of being known” and the protective powers of understanding one’s identity. The book received a starred review from PW. Ages 8–12.


Thomas King, illus. by Natasha Donovan. Little, Brown, $24.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-316-59306-9. Ages 8–12.

Kind tells the story of a boy and his mother whose road trip is thwarted at the border when they identify their citizenship as Blackfoot. Refusing to identify as either American or Canadian first bars their entry into the U.S., and then their return into Canada. In the limbo between countries, they find power in their connection to their identity and to each other. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories About Mythic Heroes

Ed. by Rick Riordan. Disney/Riordan, $17.99 (496p) ISBN 978-1-368-07083-6. Ages 8–12.

All but one of the heroes in this anthology previously starred in a popular book from Disney’s Rick Riordan Presents multicultural fantasy imprint. Readers will be reunited with Aru Shah, Zane Obispo, Min the fox spirit, Sal and Gabi, Gum Baby, Nizhoni Begay, Paola Santiago, Sikander Aziz, and Riley Oh. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Ghost of Midnight Lake

Lucy Strange. Chicken House, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-68643-2. Ages 8–12.

It’s 1899. The Earl of Gosswater has died, and 12-year-old Agatha has been cast out of her ancestral home. As she struggles to adjust to her new life, a stranger claims to be her real father, and she learns that the shores of Gosswater Lake are haunted. Soon she comes face to face with the spirit of another girl whose soul will not rest.

The Insiders

Mark Oshiro. HarperCollins, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-063-00810-6. Ages 8–12.

San Francisco and Orangevale may be in the same state, but for Héctor Muñoz, they might as well be a million miles apart. Back home in San Francisco, being gay didn’t mean feeling different, but at Héctor’s new school, he couldn’t feel more alone. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with Oshiro.


Brian Selznick. Scholastic, $19.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-338-77724-6. Ages 10 and up.

In words and illustrations, Selznick tells the story of two people bound to each other through time and space, memory and dreams. At the center of their relationship is a mystery about the nature of grief and love, which will look different to each reader. See our Cover Reveal here.

The List of Unspeakable Fears

J. Kasper Kramer. Atheneum, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5344-8074-2. Ages 8–12.

Essie O’Neill is afraid of everything. Most of all, she’s afraid of the red door in her nightmares. But soon Essie discovers so much more to fear. Her mother has remarried, and they must move from their dilapidated tenement in the Bronx to North Brother Island. Now, something on the island is haunting Essie. And the red door from her dreams has become a reality. The book received a starred review from PW.


Karla Arenas Valenti, illus. by Dana Sanmar. Knopf, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-17696-2 Ages 8–12.

In the hottest hour of the hottest day of the year, a fateful wind blows into Oaxaca City. It whistles down cobbled streets and rustles the jacaranda trees before slipping into the window of an 11-year-old girl named Clara. Unbeknownst to her, Clara has been marked for la Lotería. The book received a starred review from PW.

Paradise on Fire

Jewell Parker Rhodes. Little, Brown, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-316-49383-3. Ages 8–12.

Addy is haunted by the tragic fire that killed her parents, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother. Now, years later, Addy’s grandmother has enrolled her in a summer wilderness program. There, Addy joins five other Black city kids to spend a summer out west.


R.J. Palacio. Knopf, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-553-50811-6. Ages 10 and up.

Silas is awoken in the dead of night by three menacing horsemen who take his father away. Alone except for the presence of his ghost companion, Silas makes the courageous decision to leave his home and embark on a perilous journey to find his father when a pony shows up at his door.

A Soft Place to Land

Janae Marks. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-287587-7. Ages 8–12.

When Joy Taylor loses her home, she must also give up her dreams of becoming a great pianist. But when a new neighbor reveals their apartment’s secret hideout, Joy finds solace in a mystery letter writer there who seems to understand exactly what she’s going through. The book received a starred review from PW.

What About Will

Ellen Hopkins. Putnam, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-10864-2. Ages 10 and up.

Trace Reynolds has always looked up to his brother, mostly because Will, who’s five years older, has never looked down on him. But when Will was knocked out cold during a football game, resulting in a brain injury—everything changed.


Katherine Applegate. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-14740-0. Ages 8–12.

Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land: strange beasts known as “screechers” but the villagers of Perchance call pests. Perchance has been cursed with fires and droughts, and even the annual migration of hummingbears, a source of local pride and income, has dwindled. This year, not a single hummingbear has returned to Perchance, and no one knows why. The book received a starred review from PW. See our article on Applegate’s new cautionary environmental tale.

Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero

Saadia Faruqi. Quill Tree, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-294325-5. Ages 8–12.

Yusuf Azeem has spent all his life in the small town of Frey, Tex.—and nearly that long waiting for the chance to participate in the regional robotics competition, which he just knows he can win. Only, this year is going to be more difficult than he thought, because this year is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks—an anniversary that has everyone in his family on edge. See our q&a with Faruqi.

Young Adult

Battle of the Bands

Edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith. Candlewick, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1433-8. Ages 14 and up.

This entertaining collection of 16 interconnected contemporary tales centers a battle of the bands at a New Jersey high school. Chronicling the breakups, make-ups, make-outs, and breakout performances of a number of intersectionally diverse teens, this anthology’s deliberate pacing allows each entry to stand on its own while harmonizing with the larger melody of the night’s overlapping characters and events. The book received a starred review from PW.

The City Beautiful

Aden Polydoros. Inkyard, $19.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-335-40250-9. Ages 13 and up.

In 1893 Chicago, Alter Rosen dreams of the day he’ll have enough money to bring his mother and sisters to America, freeing them from the oppression they face in his native Romania. But when Alter’s best friend, Yakov, becomes the latest victim in a long line of murdered Jewish boys, his dream begins to slip away.

Defy the Night

Brigid Kemmerer. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (496p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0466-1. Ages 13 and up.

The land of Kandala is recovering from a devastating plague, with a cure so rare that only the wealthy can afford it. Tessa is one of the many in the lower class whose parents were killed for distributing the cure on the black market. As rumors spread that the cure no longer works, Tessa hatches a dangerous plan to infiltrate the castle and break down the class barriers for good.

For All Time

Shanna Miles. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5344-8597-6. Ages 14 and up.

Tamar is a musician, a warrior, a survivor. Fayard is a pioneer, a hustler, a hopeless romantic. Together, they have lived a thousand lives and watched humanity take to the stars. But in each life one thing remains the same: their love and their fight to be together. Their only concern is they never get to see how their story ends, until now. See Miles’s essay for PW on weaving historical truths with fiction.

Hello (From Here)

Chandler Baker and Wesley King. Dial, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-32612-1. Ages 12 and up.

Maxine and Jonah meet in the canned goods aisle just as California is going into lockdown. As they get to know each other through FaceTime dates, socially distanced playground hangouts, and the escalating heartbreaks of the pandemic, they’re pushed apart by what they don’t share and pulled closer by what they do. The book received a starred review from PW.

Maybe We’re Electric

Val Emmich. Poppy, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-53570-0. Ages 14 and up.

New Jersey’s Thomas Edison Center might not seem like the best place to wait out a snowstorm, but two teens bond there after hours in Emmich’s quirky book about the power of honesty and forgiveness—and the temptations of internet anonymity.

Once Upon a Broken Heart

Stephanie Garber. Flatiron, $19.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-26839-6. Ages 13 and up.

First in a series spun off from her Caraval trilogy, Garber’s dreamy fantasy follows 17-year-old Evangeline Fox, whose boyfriend, Luc Navarro, unexpectedly proposes to her stepsister, Marisol Tourmaline. See our q&a with Garber.

The Other Merlin

Robyn Schneider. Viking, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-35102-4. Ages 14 and up.

Prince Arthur’s a depressed botanist who would rather marry a library than a princess, Lancelot’s been demoted to castle guard after a terrible lie, and Emry Merlin has arrived at the castle disguised as her twin brother since girls can’t practice magic. Life at court is full of scandals, lies, and backstabbing courtiers, so what’s a casually bisexual teen wizard masquerading as a boy to do? The book received a starred review from PW.

Time Will Tell

Barry Lyga. Little, Brown, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-316-53778-0. Ages 14 and up.

Four teens have dug up a time capsule that their parents buried and never recovered. But in addition to the expected ephemera of mixtapes, photographs, and junk, Elayah, Liam, Marcie, and Jorja discover a hunting knife stained with blood and wrapped with a note. The book received a starred review from PW.

We Are Not Broken

George M. Johnson. Little, Brown, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7595-5460-3. Ages 14 and up.

In a memoir exploring Black boyhood, womanhood, and joy, Johnson introduces young readers to their maternal grandmother, who “didn’t take no shit,” and the New Jersey childhood and adolescence that they, their brother, and their cousins spent under her care. The book received a starred review from PW.

When Can We Go Back to America? Voices of Japanese American Incarceration During WWII

Susan H. Kamei. Simon & Schuster, $22.99 (736p) ISBN 978-1-4814-0144-9. Ages 12 and up.

Kamie presents the narrative history of Japanese Americans before, during, and after World War II incarceration. The why and how of these tragic events are interwoven with more than 130 individual voices of those who were unconstitutionally incarcerated, many of them children and young adults. The book received a starred review from PW.