Battle the heat with some cool new books out this month, including an empowering picture-book retelling of a classic fairy tale; a middle grade story of community; a YA fantasy about an heir to a powerful house of magic full of secrets; and many more.
Picture Books and Illustrated Novels
Deborah Hopkinson, illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky. Random House/Schwartz, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-593-48003-8. Ages 4–8. In this contemporary retelling of “Cinderella” with illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Zelinsky, a grumpy fairy godmother sticks Ella in a pair of heels and a floofy dress for a ball, much to Ella’s frustration. Ella abandons the ball with the determination to choose her own path.
Renée Kurilla. Little, Brown, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-316-36399-0. Ages 4–8. A teacher provides her students with a prompt to cite what they enjoy about the season of autumn, to which children of varying abilities and skin tones describe a range of emblematic pleasures. The picture book captures the crisp warmth of the season as well as an appealing hint of youthful exuberance in cheerful community-oriented scenes. It received a starred review from PW.
Dan Misdea. Penguin Workshop, $8.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5935-2162-5. Ages 3–7. In this wordless children’s debut from cartoonist Misdea, a little humanoid figure with a round jack-o’-lantern head depends on a beloved purple stuffed mouse to ward off the frightening dreamlike figures that seem suspended over the bed after lights-out. When a wind blows the mouse away, the child goes on an epic pursuit through a nocturnal landscape peopled by the creatures of their dream. The book received a starred review from PW.
Candace Fleming, illus. by Eric Rohmann. Random House/Schwartz, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-18166-9. Ages 3–7. This rhyming fable by married team Fleming and Rohmann begins with a single, shiny red apple hanging from a tree, ready to fall. Spotting it amid the leaves, several animals each decide—seemingly unbeknownst to others—that it will be “Mine!” See our recent profile of Fleming and Rohmann.
Leslie Kimmelman, illus. by Jessie Hartland. Random House Studio, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5934-3365-2. Ages 4–8. Highlighting this world-famous sporting event, Kimmelman and Hartland make the experience feel relatable to young readers—from training and race-eve prep to the moment when an exhausted but happy runner falls asleep still holding a participant’s medal. The book received a starred review from PW.
Xelena González, illus. by Adriana M. Garcia. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-534-49963-8. Ages 4–8. Following the death of family dog Simon, a Latinx-cued child readies for Día de Muertos to celebrate the beloved pet’s life. The child gathers items together with family to offer at an altar in remembrance. The book received a starred review from PW.
Marika Maijala, trans. from the Finnish by Mia Spangenberg. Elsewhere, $19.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-953861-60-3. Ages 3–7. The day after she wins a race, Rosie starts off running again, but when she gets to the finish line, she doesn’t stop. When she finds herself washed out to sea, she encounters new canine companions in a place where she’s more than just a jersey number. The book received a starred review from PW.
Rhode Montijo. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-46493-2. Ages 4–8. Two mischievous little skeletons move throughout their day in Skeletown, picking out a gift, attending a birthday party, and riding a bike. But each activity reveals two takes: an initial image of one skeleton on the floor with a greeting card (“Sí”) is followed by a page turn that reveals the same scene as taking place in a shop, with cards spread all around (“No”). The book received a starred review from PW.
Lane Smith. Random House Studio, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5936-4983-1. Ages 4–8. The eponymous protagonist of this wonder-oriented picture book, who appeared previously in Smith’s A Gift for Nana, meets a fascinating visitor and offers to play tour guide, highlighting all of the items of their world that they enjoy. See our q&a with Smith. The book received a starred review from PW.
Adam Rex. Chronicle, $14.99 (140p) ISBN 978-1-7972-1323-1. Ages 6–9. In his pursuit of being crowned the Harvest Hero in this year’s annual festival, cheerful-to-a-fault Gumluck the wizard harnesses his powers to help ungrateful townsfolk. The book received a starred review from PW.
Ben Hatke. First Second, $22.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-83661-8; $14.99 paper ISBN 978-1-250-90954-1. Ages 6–9. After being tasked with retrieving his baby sister’s special sock from the basement laundry room, Milo finds himself wandering into a subterranean world inhabited by various unusual magical creatures, whose help he will need to find the sock and return home. The book received a starred review from PW.
DK Dyson, illus. by Rudy Gutierrez. Knopf, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-42901-3. Ages 4–8. In this picture book by married creators Dyson and Caldecott Honoree Gutierrez, commercial artist Rudeday, loves creating art but grows frustrated that no one will ever be able to see it. Via a wire connected to another building, Rudeday begins anonymously exchanging gifts with a kind stranger, giving him the opportunity to finally showcase his work and make a new friend. The book received a starred review from PW.
Sharelle Byars Moranville. Holiday House, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8234-5359-7. Ages 8–12. Fifth grader Sofie yearns to have a more stable relationship with her mother, but then her mom is suddenly arrested. Now, a looming court case threatens to separate Sofie from her beloved grandparents as she navigates her complex relationship with family. The book received a starred review from PW.
Kacy Ritter. Clarion, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-324792-5. Ages 8–12. Cassidy Drake, heir to the largest dragon sanctuary in the American Southwest, is surprised to learn that the sanctuary is struggling financially and plans to save it by winning the cash prize at the competitive Great Texas Dragon Race. The book received a starred review from PW.
Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-250838-81-0. Ages 8–12. Evan pulls out two mysterious books from a new Little Free Library that signal they came from the local library that burned down long ago, and that seem to have been checked out by his father. Evan seeks to unravel his family’s possible connection to the town’s history while navigating his anxiety about the looming adjustment to middle school. See our In Conversation with Stead and Mass, who previously collaborated on Bob.
Pedro Martín. Dial, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-46228-7; $14.99 paper ISBN 978-0-593-46229-4. Ages 10–14. In his solo debut adapted from a webcomic, Martín looks at his 1970s childhood growing up as the seventh of nine children in a bustling Mexican American household, chronicling his struggles with insecurities surrounding his Mexican heritage and helping a new family member settle in. The book received a starred review from PW.
James Bird. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-25-087762-8. Ages 10–14. Twelve-year-old Ojibwe Opin has lived on the road with his mother and older brother, and finds a new stray pup that he believes completes their family. But a harrowing incident between Opin’s brother and the pup may force their family to a breaking point. The book received a starred review from PW.
Rebecca Lim. Delacorte, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-593-64897-1. Ages 10 and up. Thirteen-year-old Wen Li Zhou struggles at home with an abusive father and looks forward to taking an entrance exam with her best friend Henry, in hopes that a new school can change her homelife. When tragedy strikes Henry’s family, Wen must tap into her own strength and learn to stand up for herself. The book received a starred review from PW.
Christine Day. Heartdrum, $18.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-306456-0. Ages 8–12. When middle schooler Wesley Wilder moves to her grandfather’s Indigenous community outside of Seattle, she’s excited to learn more about her heritage. However, she struggles with feelings of inadequacy when her poem celebrating Indigenous People’s Day draws negative attention at school. The book received a starred review from PW.
Stephanie Willing. Viking, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-46557-8. Ages 8–12. Haven is watching Mama struggle with the loss of their grandparents but can’t ignore the strange happenings surrounding her mother. When she vanishes, Haven and her friends set off across Texas to search for her. The book received a starred review from PW.
Jake Maia Arlow. Dial, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-5931-1296-0. Ages 10–14. Seventh grader Al receives a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease and joins the Bathroom Club, an inflammatory bowel disease support group, to meet kids like her. Arlow presents an honest story of a tween’s experience dealing with rapid and abundant change. The book received a starred review from PW.
Dashka Slater. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $20.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-374-31434-7. Ages 12 and up. Slater chronicles the fallout of a high schooler’s bigoted Instagram account that was leaked onto other social media platforms in 2017. The volume contains forthright interviews from the individuals who experienced the event document court cases, mediation attempts, and student protests against the account and its owner, as well as how the incident affected the community. See our q&a with Slater.
Autumn Allen. Kokila, $19.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-61904-9. Ages 12 and up. In 1995 Massachusetts, high school senior Gibran faces possible expulsion after disrupting a racist talent show performance at majority-white Lakeside Academy, and cannot stomach letting the injustice go unacknowledged. Meanwhile, in the days following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, Columbia student Kevin fights to halt the construction of a university expansion that would further gentrify the surrounding Harlem community. The book received a starred review from PW.
Aisha Saeed. Kokila, $18.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-32646-6. Ages 12 and up. In this new YA novel from the author of Amal Unbound, Moonlight Bay locals and best friends Yas and Raf face shifts in their relationship when Raf resolves to finally tell Yas his true feelings about her. But instead, Raf discovers a tragedy that holds disastrous implications for everyone in town.
Elizabeth Lim. Knopf, $19.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-30099-2. Ages 12 and up. After being cursed by the Demon Witch as a child in favor of her sister, 19-year-old Channi now prepares to wed and has matched with the Crown Prince. When a battle reveals Channi’s strength, she is kidnapped by her adversary and must rescue her sister as the Demon Witch makes her return, in this fantasy adventure by the author of the Six Crimson Cranes duology.
J. Elle. Razorbill, $19.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-52770-2. Ages 14 and up. After a life of being on the run, Quell has no choice but to seek out her estranged grandmother, who is the headmistress of the magical powerhouse Marionne. Quell attempts to conceal her dark magic, the reason she’s had to hide her whole life, as she prepares to join the school’s debutante class of magical women. Read more about the planned trilogy here.
Steve Sheinkin. Roaring Brook, $19.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-25026-572-2. Ages 12 and up. Sheinkin chronicles how, in June 1944, 19-year-old Rudi Vrba, together with 24-year-old Alfred Wexler, both Slovakian Jewish, were the first to reveal to the world the then-hidden Nazi atrocities occurring in Auschwitz. Threaded with the history of Hitler, the Nazi party, and antisemitism, Sheinkin shares how both prisoners who witnessed firsthand “death on an industrial scale,” the two made a perilous escape from the camp, determined to alert the public. The book received a starred review from PW.
Jennifer Dugan. Putnam, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-059353-207-2. Ages 14 and up. In this departure from Dugan’s YA rom-coms, teenagers Sloan and Cherry, the sole survivors of a summer camp massacre, have become inseparable. However, Sloan grows suspicious of Cherry and their relationship as she investigates the tragedy.
Adam Rex. Roaring Brook, $20.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-2506-2191-7. Ages 12 and up. The day Zelda narrowly misses being hit by a car and meets Langston is the same day she discovers that her entire life has been a dream. Zelda endeavors to travel to the edge of the vision, discover the identity of the dreamer, and hopefully return to waking life. See our q&a with author-illustrator Rex.
Edited by Shelly Page and Alex Brown. Wednesday, $24 (304p) ISBN 978-1-2508-9298-0; $12 paper ISBN 978-1-250-89296-6. Ages 13 and up. Thirteen authors, including Kalynn Bayron, Vanessa Montalban, and editors Brown and Page, center queer teens navigating harrowing experiences in this Halloween-set horror anthology. The book received a starred review from PW.
Kit Frick. McElderry, $19.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-6659-2146-6. Ages 14 and up. A family vacation forces twins Addison and Mason, cousin Natalia, and soon-to-be stepbrother Theo together as they struggle to hang onto their hidden truths. The disappearance of two high schoolers from the resort soon dredges up their individual secrets, alongside family drama. The book received a starred review from PW.
Jessica Walton, illus. by Aśka. Graphix, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-338-81880-2; $15.99 paper ISBN 978-1-338-81879-6. Ages 12 and up. Bisexual 14-year-old Australian Maisie is disappointed when she attends her first fan convention, and her favorite star cancels her appearance. But then she befriends 15-year-old Ollie, a nonbinary fan-con volunteer who offers to make the rest of Maisie’s convention experience one to remember. The book received a starred review from PW.