We’ve gathered a selection of some of the biggest new releases for kids and teens to keep you company on the long winter nights ahead. Discover a protest song illustrated in vivid color, an exceptionally strange school, a YA romance anthology, and more.

Picture Books

Light for All

Margarita Engle, illus. by Raúl Colón. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-5727-0. Ages 4–8.

The creators pay tribute to the torch held high by the Statue of Liberty, and to new arrivals on America’s shores who respond to its beacon: “The powerful light/ of a mighty lamp/ shines/ for all!” The grainy, organic quality of Colón’s spreads, his luminous palette, and the grace he gives to the forms and figures warm the pages of this call to conscience.

We Shall Overcome

Bryan Collier. Orchard, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-54037-6. Ages 4–8.

Illustrating lyrics of the civil rights protest anthem “We Shall Overcome,” Collier demonstrates the song’s continuing significance, layering dynamic, vibrantly hued images of a contemporary Black girl’s day-to-day with grayscale drawings of meaningful events in Black history—and drawing a direct link between them. Back matter provides detailed notes of historical scenes shown as well as a brief history of “We Shall Overcome.” The book received a starred review from PW.

Stacey’s Extraordinary Words

Stacey Abrams, illus. by Kitt Thomas. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-320947-3. Ages 4–8.

With warmth and candor, politician and voting rights activist Abrams tells a fictionalized story of her first spelling bee, emphasizing the value of education, of focusing on effort over result, and of standing up to bullying. A dramatic spelling bee sequence distributes triumph and defeat in unexpected ways, and Thomas’s spreads give the proceedings cinematic suspense. In competition, Abrams reminds readers, victory can take years to arrive—and integrity and courtesy are always more important.

When I Wake Up

Seth Fishman, illus. by Jessixa Bagley. Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-245580-2. Ages 4–8.

It’s early in the morning—“only the streetlights are on,” writes Fishman—and a wide-awake brown-skinned child in striped pajamas knows they’re not supposed to disturb their sleeping parents until 7 a.m. They dream up four possibilities to occupy the time, which Bagley portrays in dramatically framed watercolor and pencil sketches, with each highly imaginative reverie rendered in different color. Even though the child makes a less adventurous choice in the end, readers should come away admiring their mischievousness, creativity, independence, and curiosity. See our interview with Fishman and Bagley.

Middle Grade

Birdie’s Billions

Edith Cohn. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (274p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0711-2. Ages 10–12.

In Cohn’s entertaining tale infused with timely reflections on class, money, and privilege, 11-year-old skateboarder Birdie lives with her single mother in fancy Valley Lake, where they moved so her mom could make more money. But Birdie inadvertently causes her mother to get fired from her housecleaning job. All Birdie wants is to not have to worry about finances, so when she follows a cat into an abandoned house and finds $500,000 in a wall, she devises a way to post some to her mom. The book received a starred review from PW.

Escape from Chernobyl

Andy Marino. Scholastic, $7.99 paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-338-71845-4. Ages 8–12.

Alternating perspectives between three heroic young people living in Pripyat, Ukraine, Marino puts a gripping fictional spin on the April 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Highlighting eerie moments, the denial of science by political appointees, and the swift and deadly effects of radiation poisoning, Marino paints a vivid picture of the catastrophe, its dangers, and a government willing to cover it all up.

Strangeville School Is Totally Normal

Darcy Miller, illus. by Brett Helquist. Random House, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-30950-6. Ages 8–12.

From games of dodgeball that employ bowling balls to cafeteria meatloaf that sports a black hole and ominous mentions of a third-floor supply closet, Strangeville is indeed the most bizarre school that new student Harvey Hill has attended. And the fifth grader has attended his share—four in the past four years due to a secret that makes new friendships a challenge. Miller employs an aside-heavy third-person narrative that ups the laughs, while Harvey’s relatable struggles and growth ground the absurdity.

Young Adult

Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales

Edited by Ashley Herring Blake and Rebecca Podos. Running Press Kids, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7624-7234-5. Ages 13 and up.

Fifteen authors offer up tales inspired and informed by classic romance tropes in this pleasing anthology, which delivers an enjoyable selection of kisses, confessions, and happy-for-nows. Alongside a variety of character backgrounds, gender identities, and pairings, editors and contributors Blake and Podos curate a range of moods, genres, and themes.

Four Streets and a Square: A History of Manhattan and the New York Idea

Marc Aronson. Candlewick, $29.99 (440p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5137-4. Ages 10 and up.

In this ambitious, richly visual “biography of an island and an idea,” Aronson covers 400 years of Manhattan history, beginning with Munsee and Lenape agriculture and continuing through Civil War draft riots, AIDS activism, and Covid-19. Ample visuals include archival photos, historic maps, and newspaper illustrations; extensive back matter follows. The book received a starred review from PW.

If This Gets Out

Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich. Wednesday, $18.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-80580-5. Ages 13 and up.

For the four members of popular boy band Saturday, life is one big performance: their management company controls their actions onstage and off, and they’re tired of the grind of touring. But during their first sold-out European tour, 18-year-old Ruben Montez, who’s Spanish American, and Zach Knight, who’s white, grow even closer. When Ruben and Zach’s friendship takes a turn toward romance, they contemplate what they should be expected to give up for their success.

The Midnight Girls

Alicia Jasinska. Sourcebooks Fire, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-72821-001-8. Ages 14 and up.

The teen servants of three brutal legendary witches compete to obtain princes’ literal hearts in this fierce sapphic adventure set in an alternate 18th-century Poland. Jasinska mingles human fears and goals with sharp-edged protagonists in this rewarding high-stakes novel, drawing from Slavic fairy tales to craft an intriguing tale of bitter rivals exploring their bond. The book received a starred review from PW.