Close out summer vacation with loads of new books hitting shelves this month. Young readers can follow along as a child attempts to build his own boat; navigate the definition of family with the daughter of a pro-wrestling star; immerse themselves in the story of an influencer festival turned deadly; and more in our roundup of some of the big new books for kids and teens.

Picture Books

King Kong’s Cousin

Mark Teague. Beach Lane, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-66591-230-3. Ages up to 8. King Kong’s smaller cousin Junior lives a more ordinary life and covets their movie-star counterpart’s spot in the limelight, but learns that he can be a hero in his own way. See our interview with Teague here.

Lunch from Home

Joshua David Stein, illus. by Jing Li. Rise x Penguin Workshop, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5933-8445-9. Ages 3–6. When other students make fun of the dishes that a group of multicultural students bring for lunch, they learn the power of their culture’s cuisine and advocate for culinary inclusion.

Marcel’s Masterpiece: How a Toilet Shaped the History of Art

Jeff Mack. Holt, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-77716-4. Ages 4–8. This picture book tracks the life of French artist Marcel Duchamp, starting from his 1917 urinal display to his influence on the art world. The book received a starred review from PW.


Stephen Savage. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-5084-8. Ages 4–8. An elusive shadow travels across the world without revealing its identity, inviting readers to uncover the mystery. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with Savage on his linocut technique.

Nana, Nenek & Nina

Liza Ferneyhough. Dial, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-35394-3. Ages 4–8. When Nina travels to visit her grandmothers in both England and Malaysia, she comes to appreciate the differences and similarities bound together by love. The book received a starred review from PW.


Matt de la Peña, illus. by Corinna Luyken. Putnam, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-9848-1396-1. Ages 4–8. A group of children’s early traits seem to dictate their future, but together they learn they can envision and choose different paths for themselves in this picture book, which was simultaneously published in Spanish.

Rick the Rock of Room 214

Julie Falatko, illus. by Ruth Chan. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-534-49464-0. Ages 4–8. Rick the Rock sits as a classroom artifact but when he learns of the more adventurous lives of other kinds of rocks, he ventures outside to see what the world has to offer. The book received a starred review from PW.

A Room of Your Own: A Story Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Famous Essay

Beth Kephart, illus. by Julia Breckenreid. Cameron Kids, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-951836-38-2. Ages 4–8. In this picture book nod to Virginia Woolf, varying children appreciate times of solitude across different homes. See our q&a with Kephart.

Sal Boat (A Boat by Sal)

Thyra Heder. Abrams, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5750-1. Ages 4–8. Sal is determined to build a boat all on his own, but when he runs into a problem he can’t fix by himself, he learns to rely on the help of his community. The book received a starred review from PW.

Middle Grade

Flipping Forward Twisting Backward

Alma Fullerton, illus. by Sarah Mensinga. Peachtree, $16.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-68263-366-3. Ages 8–12. Fifth grade gymnast Claire excels on the mat but struggles in the classroom. When she needs a learning disability diagnosis, she must find a way to advocate for herself. The book received a starred review from PW.


Christina Diaz Gonzalez, illus. by Gabriela Epstein. Graphix, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-338-19454-8. Ages 8–12. Middle schooler George lands in his school’s community service program with a group of unexpected new friends who rally together to help a displaced family.

The Midnight Children

Dan Gemeinhart. Holt, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-2501-9672-9. Ages 8–12. Lonely 12-year-old Ravani Foster has a calling to magic and is drawn to a group of wandering children on the run from a hunter. Together, the children explore their magic and navigate the vulnerability that comes with new friendship. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with Gemeinhart.

Three Strike Summer

Skyler Schrempp. McElderry, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5344-9914-0. Ages 8–12. After her family makes a sudden move to California, Gloria Willard wants to explore her love of baseball and finds the opportunity in a makeshift boys’ baseball team, even if it means breaking the rules. The book received a starred review from PW.


Celia C. Pérez. Kokila, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-59332-517-9. Ages 9–12. Twelve-year-old Adela Ramírez takes the leap to find her biological family, who turn out to be pro-wrestling superstars, and navigates the complications with her new and old family. The book received a starred review from PW.

Young Adult

The Drowned Woods

Emily Lloyd-Jones. Little, Brown, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7595-5631-7. Ages 14 and up. After fleeing the captivity of a callous prince, 18-year-old Mer joins a team of magical rebels in order to pull off a daring heist to destroy the heart of the prince’s power. The book received a starred review from PW.

How You Grow Wings

Rimma Onoseta. Algonquin, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64375-191-7. Ages 14 and up. Nigerian sisters Cheta and Zam have survived the verbal and physical abuse in their home together, until one is sent to live with a wealthy new family and the other stays behind, leading to fractures in their relationship that they could have never imagined. The book received a starred review from PW.

Lord of the Fly Fest

Goldy Moldavsky. Holt, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-23012-6. Ages 14 and up. Rafi Francisco attends musical festival Fly Fest to investigate one of its attendees for her podcast, but when she and the rest of the guests arrive to a deserted island it becomes clear that their vacation just turned into survival of the fittest.

Nothing More to Tell

Karen M. McManus. Delacorte, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-17590-3. Ages 14 and up. Returning to the scene of a haunting crime from her past, Brynn Gallagher is determined to find the truth of what happened to her murdered English teacher, even if former friends are the prime suspects. The book received a starred review from PW.

Ride On

Faith Erin Hicks. First Second, $22.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-250-77282-4. Ages 10–14. Best friends Hazel, Norrie, and Sam are surprised to find a rival rider attending their horse camp for the summer. After a rocky first impression, they discover that their love of horseback riding is the connecting thread running through them all. The book received a starred review from PW.