Here we round up new and forthcoming children’s titles, including a middle grade novel about a seventh-grader’s swag, a YA fairy tale fantasy, a new picture book perspective on Santa, a memoir by a world-renowned ballerina, and many more.
The Swag Is in the Socks by Kelly J. Baptist. Crown, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-593-38086-4. Seventh-grader Xavier Moon has long dreamed about following in his grandfather, uncle, and father’s footsteps by becoming part of the Scepter League—a school club for those with “super swag” whose creed emphasizes social responsibility. When Xavier gets his chance to interview with the League, he makes it his mission to get inducted by any means necessary.
Into the Bloodred Woods by Martha Brockenbrough. Scholastic Press, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-338-67387-6. Studded with references to familiar fairy tales, this YA fantasy from Brockenbrough (The Game of Love and Death) explores the revolutionary properties of honesty, equality, and self-acceptance.
All the Things Santa Claus Will Never Do by Noé Carlain, illus. by Ronan Badel. Schiffer Kids, $14.99; ISBN 978-0-7643-6217-0. The team behind All the Things a Teacher Will Never Say reunites for this holiday exercise in hilarity, as Carlain imagines Santa caught up in various scenarios that he wouldn’t reasonably entertain.
Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy by Misty Copeland, illus. by Salena Barnes. Aladdin, $19.99; ISBN 978-1-5344-7424-6. Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre, reveals her own path to greatness and spotlights inspiring Black dancers—who often served as her mentors—in this mesmeric combination of memoir and biography.
Spell Sweeper by Lee Edward Fodi. HarperCollins, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-06-284532-0. As part of the Magical Occurrence Purger track at western Canada’s Dragonsong Academy, 13-year-old Cara Moone is a spell sweeper in training, learning to tidy away the spell dust left behind by wizards accessing the Field of Magical Matter, until she’s sucked into a mundane-world mystery.
Tiger Skin Rug by Joan Haig. Europa, $17; ISBN 978-1-60945-720-4. Lal Patel, nearly 12, and his younger brother Dilip have just moved to Scotland from India with their parents and maternal grandmother for their father’s work, where their new home feels haunted and a tiger skin rug in their drawing room starts to converse with Dilip.
The Biggest Little Boy: A Christmas Story by Poppy Harlow, illus. by Ramona Kaulitzki. Viking, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-20457-3. A boy who loves big things discovers that appreciating the small is the key to holiday joy in this simple yet comforting picture book debut by CNN news anchor Harlow.
Carla and the Christmas Cornbread by Carla Hall with Kristen Hartke, illus. by Cherise Harris. S&S/Millner, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5344-9469-5. Top Chef contestant and culinary personality Hall relays a sweetly nostalgic tale following young Carla, who, with her sister Kim and their mother, visits her grandparents on Christmas Eve. The picture book earned a starred review from PW.
Santa in the City by Tiffany D. Jackson, illus. by Reggie Brown. Dial, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-11025-6. In her accessibly written picture book debut, Jackson centers Deja, a Black child of Jamaican descent who asks myriad questions regarding Santa’s methods of reaching her city home.
Hamsters Make Terrible Roommates by Cheryl B. Klein, illus. by Abhi Alwar. Dial, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-32423-3. This picture book about a low-affect hamster and his exuberant cage-mate also acts as a guide for détente between introverts and extroverts. The book earned a starred review from PW.
Dear Little One by Nina Laden, illus. by Melissa Castrillon. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5344-5477-4. Curling tendrils, swirling forms, and lush colors by Castrillon (Nano: The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small) exhibit landscapes accompanying a benediction by Laden (You Are a Beautiful Beginning), whose rhyming lines, spoken to a child, contemplate a life lived among the wonders of the natural world.
¡¡Manu!!: A Graphic Novel by Kelly Fernández. Graphix, $24.99; ISBN 978-1-338-26419-7. Richly inflected by her Dominican heritage, Roman Catholic traditions, and elements of brujería, Fernández’s fast-paced graphic novel debut explores striving for individuality while yearning to belong, reminding readers that differences should never preclude extending kindness and love. The middle grade book earned a starred review from PW.
Little Red and the Cat Who Loved Cake by Barbara Lehman. Clarion, $18.99; ISBN 978-0-358-31510-0. In this inventive, largely wordless “Little Red Riding Hood” remix, Little Red delivers a cake through a cityscape. Caldecott Honoree Lehman’s clean, clear lines offer a sense of structured calm.
Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion by Stephen W. Martin, illus. by Dan Tavis. S&S/McElderry, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5344-4145-3. The feline puffball of this title is so overwhelmingly adorable that when anyone in her animal-populated world is in any kind of proximity, they spontaneously combust in a cloud of rainbow smoke. Transgressive humor marks her journey from loneliness to a place where she can find companionship safely.
Ace Takes Flight by Cory McCarthy. Clarion, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-358-26507-8. In a high-flying trilogy opener set in 2048, McCarthy (Sword in the Stars) follows the newest cadet to join the Biological Enhancement Systems Technology (B.E.S.T.), a corporate-sponsored educational track that trains its students in cybernetic augmentations that grant everything from super-strength to emotional insight.
Gilded by Marissa Meyer. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $19.99; ISBN 978-1-250-61884-9. Meyer (Instant Karma) explores the power of fiction in this inventive YA reimagining of “Rumpelstiltskin.”
Terciel and Elinor by Garth Nix. HarperCollins/Tegen, $19.99; ISBN 978-0-06-304932-1. Nix (The Left-Handed Booksellers of London) makes a satisfying return to his Old Kingdom series with this prequel about Sabriel’s parents, Terciel and Elinor. The YA novel offers a useful introduction to the world, while sympathetic characters, a unique magical system, and frightening foes guarantee broad appeal to teen and adult fantasy readers, whether established Nix fans or new to the series.
Robin Robin by Dan Ojari and Mikey Please, illus. by Briony May Smith. Red Comet, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-63655-009-1. In this picture book debut, Ojari and Please, co-directors of the forthcoming animated Netflix musical of the same name, relay the rhythmic story of an orphaned robin adopted by a family of mice.
Our Table by Peter H. Reynolds. Orchard, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-338-57232-2. In Reynolds’s characteristic ink-and-watercolor spreads, protagonist Violet mourns that the dining room table is no longer where her family congregates. An apropos reminder, especially pertinent for the holidays, of connections maintained through physical proximity.
The Barn by Leah H. Rogers, illus. by Barry Root. Candlewick, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5362-0906-8. Incantatory lines of free verse by debut author Rogers consider a barn and the creatures living in and around it—a cat, cows and their calves, hens, horses, swallows, and even a lonely coyote. The picture book earned a starred review from PW.
Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross. Quill Tree, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-301592-0. An imaginative mythology distinguishes this stand-alone YA fantasy from Ross (Sisters of Sword and Song) with abundant intrigue, escalating romantic tension, and twisty plotting to keep readers on their toes.
Redlocks and the Three Bears by Claudia Rueda. Chronicle, $16.99; ISBN 978-1-4521-7031-2. The red cloak–clad child at the Three Bears’ door isn’t the usual suspect: it’s Little Red, escaped from “the book next door” to ask for help in this meta picture book.
Tiny Dancer by Siena Cherson Siegel, illus. by Mark Siegel. Atheneum, $19.99; ISBN 978-1-4814-8666-8. The husband-and-wife team behind graphic memoir To Dance returns with another rich tale, delving into Siena’s experiences at the School of American Ballet in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
You Can Go Your Own Way by Eric Smith. Inkyard, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-335-40568-5. Once close friends, high school seniors Adam Stillwater and Whitney Mitchell now spar on Twitter via their respective family businesses’ social media accounts.
Second Sleep by Diane Stanley. Quill Tree, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-265803-6. When 12-year-old Max’s mother doesn’t come home to their New York City apartment, instead leaving a cryptic message about helping an old friend, Max’s family is thrown into disarray, suddenly missing “the sun to their planets.” The middle grade novel earned a starred review from PW.
Wildfire! by Ashley Wolff. Beach Lane, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5344-8773-4. “Buck hears the rumble. Squirrel sees the flash.” A lightning strike ignites a fire on Spruce Mountain, spurring animals and people into action in this sweeping picture book by Wolff.
Tangled Up in Luck by Merrill Wyatt. S&S/McElderry, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5344-9579-1. The chemistry between an unlikely team of amateur sleuths propels this humorous romp, in which a satisfying mystery and authentic friendship offer momentum for the Tangled Mysteries series’ next installment.
Off-Limits by Helen Yoon. Candlewick, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5362-0731-6. “Hello! I’m just looking,” the child addresses readers in Yoon’s story which reveals the fun behind closed doors in this comedic, well-designed picture book.
For more children’s and YA titles on sale throughout the month of November, check out PW’s full On-Sale Calendar.