Here we round up new and forthcoming children’s titles, including an imaginary friend’s story, a tale set in the desert, an uplifting picture book, a book about an agender teen and the bakery in which they work, and many more.

Imaginary by Lee Bacon, illus. by Katy Wu. Amulet, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-4197-4664-2. This middle grade novel is told between a grieving boy and his imaginary friend—a toy soldier that belonged to his deceased father.

Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling. Little, Brown, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-316-49474-8. Bowling’s passion for the desert and its inhabitants—as well as a personal understanding of children of adults with addictions—is clear and powerful in this tense, poignant story about the essential nature of friendship and life’s unexpected possibilities. The middle grade book earned a starred review from PW.

You Are Revolutionary by Cindy Wang Brandt, illus. by Lynnor Bontigao. Beaming, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5064-7830-2. Narrating from an adult’s perspective to a child, Wang Brandt offers an uplifting, simply worded picture book about noticing injustice and making change in the world.

The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta. Candlewick, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-5362-1653-0. In the wake of being dumped, 17-year-old agender baker Syd—who works at the Proud Muffin, South Austin’s best queer bakery—accidentally infuses a batch of brownies with heartbreak and confusion, causing every couple who tries them to break up soon after.

Any Sign of Life by Rae Carson. Greenwillow, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-269193-4. The mechanics of coping bloom into much more in this deeply humanizing near-future survival thriller from Carson (The Empire of Dreams). The YA novel earned a starred review from PW.

Frankie & Bug by Gayle Forman. Aladdin, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5344-8253-1. Forman (We Are Inevitable) tenderly depicts a girl whose understanding—of identity, sexuality, and prejudice—is rapidly expanding, and whose chosen family provides a safe, loving space in which to navigate her experiences and learn to show up as an ally.

Mighty Inside by Sundee T. Frazier. Levine Querido, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-64614-091-6. In this richly layered historical novel set in 1955 Spokane, Wash., Frazier (The Other Half of My Heart) recounts the first few months of high school for freshman Melvin Robinson, one of two Black boys in his class. The middle grade novel earned a starred review from PW.

The Midnight Club by Shane Goth, illus. by Yong Ling Kang. Owlkids, $18.95; ISBN 978-1-77147-394-1. Working in pencil and watercolor, Kang (Tanna’s Owl) bathes the interior spreads of this midnight story in blue, the better to convey the excitement of two siblings who explore their house in the night. The picture book earned a starred review from PW.

Crashing in Love by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Candlewick, $16.99; ISBN 978-1-5362-1153-5. The heroine of this middle grade novel has high hopes to find love on her summer vacation, and emerges as realistically flawed when she learns that well-laid plans don’t always work and truth isn’t always the way one person sees it.

Sour Cakes by Karen Krossing, illus. by Anna Kwan. Owlkids, $18.95; ISBN 978-1-77147-397-2. A child navigates the contrary moods of their younger sibling in this tender picture book debut by Krossing.

Salt Magic by Hope Larson, illus. by Rebecca Mock. Holiday House/Ferguson, $21.99; ISBN 978-0-8234-5050-3. This story by the previous collaborators (Compass South) unfolds in 1919 Oklahoma, taking time to develop memorable heroine Vonceil and her quotidian world, before setting her on an adventure that echoes fantasy classics.

Ferryman by Claire McFall. Walker US, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-5362-1845-9. Scottish teenager Dylan is killed in a horrific train crash, then emerges into a deserted landscape reminiscent of the Scottish highlands. There she meets brooding, handsome Tristan, a boy near her own age who is soon revealed to be her personal ferryman, charged with leading her through the “land between worlds.”

Clarice the Brave by Lisa McMann, illus. by Antonio Caparo. Putnam, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-32337-3. Delicately balancing hope and despair, McMann (the Unwanteds Quests series) brings to life the tale of ship’s mouse Clarice and her runt-of-the-litter brother, Charles Sebastian in this illustrated middle grade novel.

I Will!: A Book of Promises by Juana Medina. Versify, $14.99; ISBN 978-0-358-55559-9. Pura Belpré Award winner Medina offers a compilation of self-affirmations for young readers in this colorful picture book series starter.

What Can You Do with a Rock? by Pat Zietlow Miller, illus. by Katie Kath. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-72821-763-5. “Some people don’t notice rocks.” But a child with an eager expression is the very model of a rock connoisseur in Zietlow Miller and Kath’s picture book, which offers a litany of answers to the titular question.

Help Mom Work from Home! by Diana Murray, illus. by Cori Doerrfeld. Little, Brown, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-316-27365-7. A well-meaning toddler attempts to help their mother work from home in this rhyming how-to. Employing digital chalk art, Doerrfeld offers countless details: laptop stickers, a conference call on-screen, and childlike artwork and signs (“Shhhh! Qwiet”).

Zadie and the Stripey Sock by Barbara Nye. Penny Candy, $16.95; ISBN 978-1-73603-192-6. Sick of being ignored, Zadie is set on running away—just as soon as she finds her missing rainbow-striped sock.

Stitch by Stitch: Cleve Jones and the AIDS Memorial Quilt by Rob Sanders, illus. by Jamey Christoph. Magination, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-4338-3739-5. This neatly woven picture book biography features Cleve Jones, a white gay man who moved to San Francisco, became a mentee of Harvey Milk, and came up with the idea for the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The book earned a starred review from PW.

Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan. HarperTeen, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-305636-7. In Tan’s thrilling debut, an homage to Xianxia novels, 16-year-old orphan Ahn has nothing but a murky past and a secret: she is a magic-wielding Tiensai, a hunted people whose powers are said to be the cause of the land’s transition into desert. The YA high-fantasy novel earned a starred review from PW.

Nibi’s Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco, illus. by Chief Lady Bird. Lee & Low, $18.95; ISBN 978-1-64-379482-2. “So thirsty her mouth was clucking,” an Indigenous child called Nibi (which means “water” in Anishinaabemowin) seeks to make drinkable water more abundant for her community via a picture book that is also a call to action.

Liberty’s Civil Rights Road Trip by Michael W. Waters, illus. by Nicole Tadgell. Flyaway, $18; ISBN 978-1-947888-19-7. Inspired by a civil rights pilgrimage for faith leaders that the author led commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, this picture book follows the author’s young Black daughter Liberty and her Muslim best friend Abdullah, both of whom attended the real trip through sites in the U.S. South.

Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel. Chronicle, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-4521-7319-1. In They All Saw a Cat, Wenzel mulled the riddle of perception through the eyes of various creatures looking at a cat. Here, it’s a cat that does the looking. The picture book earned a starred review from PW.

The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Eugene Yelchin. Candlewick, $16.99; ISBN 978-1-5362-1552-6. In this frank, engaging memoir, Yelchin (Spy Runner) recounts his childhood in the U.S.S.R. as his boyhood self, Yevgeny, perceives and ponders it. The illustrated middle grade memoir earned a starred review from PW.

For more children’s and YA titles on sale throughout the month of October, check out PW’s full On-Sale Calendar.