Picture Books

Bedtime stories, fractured fairy tales, and more make ideal readalouds and readalongs.


Sophie Blackall (Little, Brown, ages 4–8) $18.99

Two-time Caldecott Medalist Blackall opens the doors to life in a white clapboard farmhouse, depicting a lively family of 14 in densely textured multimedia spreads that offer much to pore over. As the years go on, the children grow up and move away, and the house falls into disrepair. The tale’s strong sense of place undergirds Blackall’s witness to the way environments change over time and stories survive long after material objects disappear.

Good Night, Little Bookstore

Amy Cherrix, illus. by E.B. Goodale (Candlewick, ages 2–5) $17.99

“Good night, little bookstore.// Time to close!// Good night, picture books,// face-out in rows.” With engaging simplicity, Cherrix and Goodale combine the intimate world of an independent bookstore with the rhythmic verse of a bedtime read. It’s a sweet celebration of the bookstore as a cozy, comfortable—and crucial—corner of community.

Knight Owl

Christopher Denise. (Little, Brown/Ottaviano, ages 4–8) $17.99

With a baking tray belted to his small, feathery body, a saucepan for a helmet, and a wooden spoon brandished in wing, young Owl’s desire to become a knight is clear from the book’s first spread of medieval-inspired illustrations. He eventually encounters a real dragon, but Owl foils the dragon’s violence with a surprising charm offensive that proves more effective than skilled swordplay.

Nigel and the Moon

Antwan Eady, illus. by Gracey Zhang (HarperCollins/Tegen, ages 4–8) $17.99

A Black boy named Nigel hesitates to share his aspirations—to be an astronaut, a dancer, a superhero—with anyone but the moon. During career week, he worries what his classmates will make of his parents, who “don’t have fancy jobs” like theirs do. But when his folks stop by to speak about their professions, winning over his schoolmates and mentioning “the best job we’ve ever had,” Nigel finds courage to move beyond comparison.

The Real Dada Mother Goose

Jon Scieszka, illus. by Julia Rothman (Candlewick, ages 7–10) $19.99

It’s a children’s literature hat trick: a loving spoof of Blanche Fisher Wright’s The Real Mother Goose, an introduction to Dadaism, and a tribute to Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style. Scieszka’s amanuenses are a flock of “Dada geese,” who wreak playful havoc on six nursery rhymes, creating several new variations on each. Rothman collages Fisher Wright’s art with an impressive array of graphic styles, making for a handsome, brain-twisting package.

Somewhere in the Bayou

Jerome and Jarrett Pumphrey (Norton, ages 6–8) $17.95

A rabbit, an opossum, a squirrel, and a mouse looking for a place to cross a bayou pull up short at the sight of a fat, green tail next to a log in the water. The hubris of the first three animals lands them in the drink, but the mouse’s curiosity and humility create a different outcome. Wisdom echoes beneath the surface in a laugh-out-loud narrative told in woodblock-style artwork befitting its folktale feel.

Telling Stories Wrong

Gianni Rodari, trans. from the Italian by Anthony Shugaar, illus. by Beatrice Alemagna (Enchanted Lion, ages 6–up) $17.95

In this excerpt from Rodari’s Telephone Tales, Grandpa, to the exasperated delight of his grandchild, is all mixed up about “Little Red Riding Hood.” As he changes the story’s details (“There was a girl who was called Little Yellow Riding Hood”), the child’s constant corrections send the story further off the rails. The finale finds Grandpa driving a city bus filled with the characters conjured in the preceding pages, before a final hug makes it clear that the duo shares the same sense of storytelling mischief.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Mac Barnett, illus. by Jon Klassen (Orchard, ages 4–8) $18.99

The author-illustrator duo, whose kid-charming collaborations began with 2012’s Extra Yarn, launch a series of fairy tale remixes with this story of three goats seeking to cross a troll-guarded bridge. Klassen’s signature earthen tones and witty visual details are a fine match for Barnett’s gleeful narration as the goats’ ruse goes just as tradition dictates: the troll falls for each sibling’s offer of a larger, tastier brother, here building to a turn of gargantuan proportions.

Chapter Books

There’s no better gift for a beginning reader than a welcoming narrative they can enjoy on their own.

Anna Hibiscus

Atinuke, illus. by Lauren Tobia (Candlewick, ages 6–9) $16.99

Newly republished in the U.S., this is the first title in a chapter book series starring Anna, who lives with her mother, father, twin baby brothers, and extended family in a comfortable compound in an unnamed contemporary city in “Africa. Amazing Africa. In a country called Nigeria.” Two more volumes follow in January—Good Luck, Anna Hibiscus! and Hooray for Anna Hibiscus!—giving readers something to look forward to post-holidays.

Cornbread & Poppy

Matthew Cordell (Little, Brown, ages 4–8) $15.99

Caldecott Medalist Cordell depicts two mouse friends who each react
differently to winter’s approach. Conscientious Cornbread prepared diligently for cold and lack, while Poppy spent the foraging season
hiking and biking and playing on the swings. When it turns out that Poppy has collected nothing and the food is long gone, Cornbread agrees to help search with her on Holler Mountain, a forbidding wilderness. Their well-built escapades offer just enough suspense to keep kids engaged.

Mihi Ever After

Tae Keller, illus. by Geraldine Rodríguez (Holt, ages 8–12) $16.99

Mihi, a Korean girl in Massachusetts, loves princess stories, but is told she’s not the princess type. When she and two new friends, Reese and Savannah, stumble upon a portal leading to a magical world populated by fairy tale characters, they finally get their shot at royalty. But the grimmer realities of the fairy tale world have Savannah and Reese longing for home, and in Newbery Medalist Keller’s telling, Mihi must decide what matters more: her princess dreams or her friendships.

Leave It to Plum!

Matt Phelan (Greenwillow, ages 8–12) $16.99

A bighearted peacock with boundless cheer stars in this lively zoo caper. Free-range peacocks have long been official guest ambassadors at the Athensville Zoo, seeking to “Mingle! Guide! Delight!” Jealous marsupial Itch, a ningbing who’s fed up with being caged while others roam free, plots to frame the pea-fowl for a manufactured crime spree. To the rescue: a “peppy, purple peacock” named Plum, who plays detective to gain their release.

Middle Grade

Kids will get swept up in these tales of adventure, friendship, science, and the supernatural.

Aviva vs. the Dybbuk

Mari Lowe (Levine Querido, ages 8–12) $17.99

In this nuanced story of an Orthodox Jewish girl regaining her footing after her father’s death, 11-year-old Aviva lives with her Ema above the local mikvah. Aviva believes that it’s haunted by a dybbuk—a figure of Jewish folklore that here takes the form of a prankster boy who reminds Aviva of her beloved late Abba. The author portrays Aviva and Ema’s mourning with a gentle touch, gradually building to an ending that points toward spiritual and emotional healing.

Frances and the Monster

Refe Tuma (HarperCollins, ages 8–12) $17.99

In 1939 Switzerland, 11-year-old Frances Stenzel longs to join her famed scientist parents at a Brussels science symposium but is instead left in the care of an android tutor named Hobbes. As inventive Frances searches for a way to power Hobbes down, she discovers her great-grandfather’s encoded journal and secret laboratory, which houses a corpse encased in ice. Tuma’s tale bursts with wry humor and plenty of Frankenstein references, injecting considered discussions of gender roles and privilege while moving at breakneck speed through a richly imagined landscape.


Michael Mann (Peachtree, ages 8–12) $17.99

This adventure set in an alternate London finds 12-year-old Luke Smith-Sharma among scores of kidnapped children shoveling coal into Battersea Power Station’s underground furnace. An encounter with a ghost girl named Alma reveals Luke’s paranormal abilities, setting him on the road to escape with Alma and a pair of fellow captives. Smartly wrought worldbuilding aptly engages with themes of identity and equity in a thoughtful fantasy that’s also rollicking good fun.

The Midnight Children

Dan Gemeinhart (Holt, ages 8–12) $16.99

Slow-boiling danger elevates the stakes of Gemeinhart’s novel of transformative friendship. Acute loneliness wakes 12-year-old Ravani Foster the night that the seven Deering children—a parentless found family—mysteriously appear in his town. He develops a friendship with one of the newcomers, Virginia, and learns their secrets and the peril they’re in. As the suspense builds, the story’s robust emotional core sees the children change their community through courageous honesty and emotional vulnerability.


Katherine Applegate, illus. by Charles Santoso (Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, ages 8–12) $16.99

Writing in exquisitely descriptive free verse, Newbery Medalist Applegate delivers the uplifting tale of an inquisitive sea otter pup raised by scientists after being separated from her mother. Though humans make cameo appearances in this edifying novel about otter life, the focus remains rightfully on its enigmatic star: a lovable otter who not only survives against the odds but thrives. An author’s note details the story’s roots at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The Patron Thief of Bread

Lindsay Eagar (Candlewick, ages 10–14) $19.99

Sheltering in the ruins of an unfinished cathedral in a fictional French town, a band of pickpockets schemes to get eight-year-old Duck apprenticed to the local baker, where she’ll have ready access to coins and bread for the crew. Working alongside kind Griselde, Duck discovers she has a knack for baking, then settles into her new home, all the while fearing discovery. Eagar’s tale brims with medieval-era details and boasts vividly wrought characters, including a cantankerous gargoyle.

A Rover’s Story

Jasmine Warga (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, ages 8–12) $17.99

This touching, fact-filled novel alternates between the perspectives of Mars rover Resilience as he gears up for and executes a high-stakes mission, and Sophie, the child of one of Res’s NASA scientist creators, who writes to the rover from sixth grade to adulthood. Res’s fascination with humans leads to his internalizing non-programmed concepts (preferences, jealousy, trust); on the unfamiliar and sometimes treacherous Mars terrain, Resilience lives up to his name while showing that feelings are as important as logic.

Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting

Roseanne A. Brown (Disney/Riordan, ages 10–14) $17.99

Serwa Boateng has trained her entire life to become a Slayer of the Abomofuo order, Ghanian warriors charged with defeating dark creatures, including shape-shifting vampires that can inhabit a human host. When a surprise attack compromises her family’s U.S. safe house, Serwa’s parents head off to defeat the mystical enemy and send Serwa to stay with distant relatives and attend middle school. But all is not what it seems in Rocky Gorge, Md., and Serwa is soon caught up in a vampire hunt of her own.


Margi Preus, illus. by Armando Veve (Amulet, ages 10–14) $17.99

With worldbuilding that borrows from Norwegian fairy tales, this dystopian fantasy centers on 13-year-old Tag, who has lived her entire life indoors, safe from the treacherous wind that snatches under-15-year-old “youngers” and whisks them away to places unknown. Seven years after Tag’s three sisters were windswept, she and a motley group of new friends set off on a quest to find their missing siblings, encountering witches, trolls, and enchanting magic along the way.

You Only Live Once, David Bravo

Mark Oshiro (HarperCollins, ages 8–12) $16.99

In this joyful novel with a pick-your-path vibe, David Bravo, a transracial adoptee of Latinx descent, endures a first week of middle school riddled with missteps and disappointments. When he wishes for a do-over, help arrives in the form of a magical hairless hound, Fea. She leads David to the past, where he makes mistakes over—and over—again in his efforts to repair his timeline

Young Adult

New books for teens highlight real-world dramas and joys and take inspiration from the classics.


Tanya Byrne (Holt/Godwin, ages 14–up) $18.99

The budding romance between Ash Persaund and Poppy Morgan, both 16, is cut short when Ash is killed in a hit-and-run. She becomes a grim reaper, tasked with ferrying souls into the afterlife. A future with Poppy is seemingly out of reach until a chance encounter leads her to believe that Poppy may join her sooner than she’d thought. This tender, ultimately hopeful love story pulls on the heartstrings.

Anne of Greenville

Mariko Tamaki (Disney-Hyperion/de la Cruz, ages 14–up) $18.99

In this modern spin on Anne of Green Gables, Anne Shirley—half-Japanese, half-white, and “deliciously queer”—has just moved with her mothers to Greenville, where her dyed-orange hair and sequined jumpsuits make her stand out. She finds a friend in “moss and fluorescent and forest and pine green”–haired Berry, and nurtures a crush on tall, blonde Gilly. With her effervescent voice and open-mindedness, Anne’s a winning heroine.

Bone Weaver

Aden Polydoros (Inkyard, ages 13–up) $19.99

Polydoros constructs a rich, Slavic folklore-influenced world in this spirited adventure with emotional heft. When Toma’s rescue of an ousted tsar imperils her own family, she’s thrust into an enchanting world of good and evil witches, civil war allegiances, and treacherous encounters with monsters, making for an adrenaline-fueled fantasy volume.

The Getaway

Lamar Giles (Scholastic Press, ages 12–up) $19.99

For those who like their dystopian psychological horror served with an exploration of capitalistic greed, systemic racism, and oppression: high school junior Jay Butler lives year-round at walled, world-famous Karloff Country Resort. He’s grateful for his spot within Karloff Country’s wealthy community as the U.S. suffers national meat shortages, raging West Coast fires, East Coast flooding, and natural disasters battering Middle America. But when his friend Connie and her family disappear overnight, it’s just the beginning of a series of ominous incidents.

Scattered Showers

Rainbow Rowell (Wednesday, ages 14–up) $24.99

Rowell’s first short fiction collection—which gathers nine stories, including four previously published works, some in print for the first time, alongside five new tales—celebrates romance and human connection. Fans will recognize familiar characters, such as Fangirl’s Reagan, now older and coping (crankily and masked) with Covid, and Simon Snow and Baz from Carry On, who meet up for a yuletide romp.

The Science of Boys

Emily Seo, illus. by Gracey Zhang (Tradewind, ages 12–up) $18.95

Nerdy Emma Sakamoto, a 12-year-old aspiring scientist, hopes to improve her social standing as she starts high school. When she learns that popular Poppy has a crush on Cole, an actor attending their school, she offers to help Poppy win him over by claiming she’s writing about the science of boys, setting off a series of loopy schemes. Seo cleverly weaves in science elements that enhance her warm, relatable story of trying to fit in.

The Silent Stars Go By

Sally Nicholls (Walker US, ages 14–up) $17.99

When Margot was 16, her 19-year-old fiancé Harry went off to fight in WWI; soon after, he was reported missing in action, and Margot discovered she was pregnant. To avoid social disgrace, she was secretly sent off to deliver her son, James, who was then raised as her brother. Three years later, Christmastime 1919, her family is converging on their Yorkshire vicarage—and Harry, who survived as a POW, has returned. Margot’s longing for James, the strain of her perceived shame, and her desire for forgiveness underpins this deeply resonant post-war tale.

Strike the Zither

Joan He (Roaring Brook, ages 12–17) $18.99

At the start of this fantasy series opener, a gender-swapped reimagining of the Chinese classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, 18-year-old Zephyr, who believes she’s the best strategist in the Xin Dynasty, loyally serves Xin Ren, one of three warlords vying for continental reign. When Zephyr is trapped in the empire’s capitol, she falsely defects to protect her cover and must survive amid shifting politial agendas. Powerful, action-packed prose, quick pacing, and immersive worldbuilding exemplify the strengths of the source material while developing a distinct and evocative adventure.

Tasting Light

Edited by A.R. Capetta and Wade Roush (MITeen, ages 14–up) $19.99

This dazzling speculative collection comprising 10 authors, including coeditor Capetta, explores emerging innovative technology to imagine expansive futures. In one story, a nonbinary teen saves up money to literally change their voice and chooses that of an acquaintance’s dead loved one; another sees a group of women combatting generational mind control. The creators seamlessly tackle relevant issues such as colonization, misogyny, transphobia, and white entitlement in this eclectic celebration of infinite possibility and the ever-present human spirit.

This Is Our Place

Vitor Martins, trans. from the Brazilian Portuguese by Larissa Helena (Push, ages 12–up) $19.99

At the turn of the 21st century, Ana learns she’s moving to Rio de Janeiro, leaving her hometown, and her girlfriend, behind. In 2010, Greg is sent to live with his aunt while his parents navigate their impending divorce. And 10 years later, Beto contends with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. Linking the three is the house at Number 8 Sunflower Street, which narrates as the three queer teens contend with life changes, family strife, and first love.

TikTok Boom

A pair of box sets bring together some of the platform’s biggest YA #hits.

BookTok Bestsellers Boxed Set

E. Lockhart, Namina Forna, Erin A. Craig, and Holly Jackson (Ember, ages 14–up) $42.96

It’s an awesome foursome of favorite titles: Lockhart’s twisty mystery We Were Liars; Forna’s West Africa–inspired fantasy The Gilded Ones; the moody, fairy tale–tinged House of Salt and Sorrows, by Craig; and Jackson’s suspenseful thriller A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.

Death-Cast Box Set

Adam Silvera (Quill Tree, ages 13–up) $38.98

Silvera’s 2017 heartbreaker of a queer love story, They Both Die at the End, is joined this year by a prequel, The First to Die at the End; a month after the latter’s release, this gift-y package unites the two.


Our picks include young readers adaptations of popular adult titles and other books that trust kids with big concepts.

Better Than We Found It

Frederick Joseph and Porsche Joseph (Candlewick, ages 12–up) $19.99

Using approachable first-person narration, the Josephs tackle topics including the climate crisis and environmental racism, wealth gaps, and gun violence. Conversations with experts in their respective fields feature throughout, elevating the social activism discourse. This worthy read offers deep dives into relevant topics while maintaining a warmth and sense of hope that keeps readers engaged.

Big Lies

Mark Kurlansky, illus. by Eric Zelz (Tilbury House, ages 13–up) $22.95

Kurlansky empowers kids to think critically in this conversational guide to media literacy that begins with an entreaty: “This book is full of ideas, facts, and opinions. It would be easy just to read and believe it, but I ask you instead to consider as you read and to decide for yourself what to believe.” Throughout, Zelz’s illustrations, including comics spreads, amplify the text and distill ideas presented in the narrative.

Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults

Robin Wall Kimmerer, adapted by Monique Gray Smith, illus. by Nicole Neidhardt (Zest, ages 12–up) $17.99

Kimmerer, a scientist and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, has an enduring adult bestseller in 2013’s Braiding Sweetgrass, about the reciprocity between humans and Mother Earth. This edition, adapted by Smith, who is of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish ancestry, simplifies some language while sharing complex Native concepts, accented with crisp pen and washing drawings by Diné (Navajo) illustrator Neidhardt.

The Little Book of Joy

Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams and Rachel Neumann, illus. by Rafael López (Crown, ages 3–7) $18.99

The authors, writing as little boys growing up “on opposite sides of the world,” acknowledge tough emotions like sadness and loneliness while inviting children to focus on joy. López’s rainbow-hued illustrations show the young Dalai Lama and Tutu, along with kids around the world, embracing the message of the book, which was inspired by the pair’s 2016 bestseller, The Book of Joy: “We discovered that the more joy we shared, the more joy we had.”


Kate Scelsa (Simon & Schuster, ages 12–up) $18.99

Ranging over tarot, astrology, witchcraft, energy work, and more, YA author and playwright Scelsa emphasizes acceptance and curiosity in this “magical guide to self-care.” While initial chapters address holistic approaches to bettering one’s mental health and practicing mindfulness, Scelsa also emphasizes the importance of therapy and creative outlets, positing that self-care need not be seen as onerous homework.

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too.

Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin (Atheneum/Dlouhy, ages 12–up) $19.99

Reynolds, the current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and Griffin, a visual artist, offer a diary-style account, first published in 2009, of their early years as roommates in New York City. The text, formatted in myriad fonts, colors, and orientations, and the illustrations, which include ink sketches, watercolors, and bold collages, encompass the duo’s varying struggles over the years. The two also collaborated on another project released this year, Ain’t Burned All the Bright.

Opening My Eyes Underwater

Ashley Woodfolk (Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, ages 13–up) $19.99

Drawing on the life and words of Michelle Obama, YA novelist Woodfolk’s personal essays reflect on a variety of topics, among them bullying, confidence, heartbreak, and racism. Even as the narrative acknowledges struggles and hardships, its tone remains inspirational: “My hope is that with this book, you’ll see that achieving a life you’re proud of, a life that others might even one day aspire to emulate, isn’t as impossible as it might seem.”

Star Child

Ibi Zoboi (Dutton, ages 10–up) $16.99

This biography of legendary speculative fiction writer Octavia Butler (1947–2006), whose middle name, Estelle, means star, alternates among verse forms, prose interludes, and direct quotations. Tracing Butler’s initial forays into literature, first as a reader and then as a creator, Zoboi covers the author’s first novel, written in her trusty pink notebook at age 10; early submissions to editors at age 13; and her subsequent focus on science fiction and making “imagination her life’s mission.”

The Universe in You

Jason Chin (Holiday House/Porter, ages 8–12) $18.99

In this companion to Your Place in the Universe, Caldecott Medalist Chin zooms in rather than out, looking at progressively smaller objects. Linked comparisons from a child’s-eye view (“The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the United States... but it’s not as small as... the smallest bee”) continue from cells to molecules, atoms, and elementary particles, all explained clearly and portrayed in spreads with dazzling precision and imaginative power.

Seasonal Reads

Stories for babies, children, and teens offer affectionate takes on holiday spirit.

Eight Nights of Flirting

Hannah Reynolds (Razorbill, ages 12–up) $19.99

In this Hanukkah rom-com, Jewish high school junior Shira’s plans to woo her crush go awry when she seeks out flirting lessons from her neighbor Tyler (“who would hook up with anyone, except for me”). The supporting cast, including Shira’s bighearted family, are distinctly—and hilariously—drawn, and their traditions, which include ordering Chinese food on Christmas, combined with Shira and Tyler’s endearing enemies-to-lovers romance, makes for a cheerful holiday jaunt.

Hanukkah in Little Havana

Julie Anna Blank, illus. by Carlos Vélez Aguilera (Kar-Ben, ages 4–9) $19.99

A young family drives from chilly Maryland down to Miami to spend Hanukkah with Nonna and Nonno, and pass a smiling eight days picking and juicing oranges, visiting the beach, and making buñuelos in this solidly familial portrayal of Sephardic Jewish traditions. Tropically hued illustrations exude the heady joys of a warm climate, holiday home cooking, and unconditional love.

Happy All-idays!

Cindy Jin, illus. by Rob Sayegh Jr. (Little Simon, ages 1–5) $7.99

This board book introduction to December celebrations depicts different families along a snowy block. On facing pages, snapshot holiday cards share each family’s Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa regards; one father and young son celebrate Chrismukkah, while another family wishes a nondenominational “season’s greetings” to all.

How to Excavate a Heart

Jake Maia Arlow (HarperTeen, ages 14–up) $18.99

Recently dumped by her girlfriend, Shani is determined to spend winter break focused on her internship at the Smithsonian—but that changes when she meets May. In this queer, Jewish spin on a holiday rom-com, two romantically unconfident girls are hesitant to act on their feelings despite boundless chemistry; even as Shani’s feelings for May grow, she fears taking another chance on love. The clever banter, coupled with myriad relationship ups and downs, make for a cozy and sharply funny confection.

The Little Toymaker

Cat Min (Levine Querido, ages 4–8) $18.99

Though there’s no talk of holidays in this picture book about a wizardly young artisan who makes toys not for the young but for the old, its message about generosity has seasonal resonance. “When anyone brought an old toy, the Little Toymaker would rebuild it into something new—something magical.” Many themes intersect in this philosophical story: giving as a source of joy, listening to elders, and making old things new again.

Snow Horses

Patricia MacLachlan, illus. by Micha Archer (McElderry, ages 4–8) $18.99

Late Newbery Medalist MacLachlan’s gentle tale follows two midnight-black draft horses, Tim and Tom, as they pull a sleigh through a snowy rural town on the last night of the old year. Jenny, their driver, first welcomes the laughing children who climb aboard, and then “grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles, and longtime friends,” all rendered in Archer’s inviting cut-paper artwork.

Strum and Drum

Jashar Awan (Tundra, ages 3–7) $18.99

What do Christmas tree ornaments get up to when no one’s looking? Awan imagines just that, portraying a dreamy, candy-colored world in which adventure and danger lurk. One silent night, Strum and Drum wake from a deep sleep and, on guitar and percussion, begin jamming as they travel “all the way to the Great Star in the north!” Brief text holds readers in suspense until the book delivers a revelatory twist.

Twelve Dinging Doorbells

Tameka Fryer Brown, illus. by Ebony Glenn (Kokila, ages 4–8) $17.99

Revamping “The 12 Days of Christmas” to sweetly bustling effect, Fryer Brown’s lively refrain recounts a Black family’s gathering. Each doorbell ding heralds the arrival of more relatives and dishes: “two selfie queens... three posh sibs... four pounds of chitlins... BAKED MACARONI AND CHEEEEEESE!” The home becomes increasingly jam-packed and ever more festive, adding up to a lovingly chaotic portrayal with a pleasingly ample feel.


Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, Nicola Yoon (Quill Tree) $19.99

The rockstar YA authors behind the 2021 novel Blackout, which followed six couples through a summer power outage in New York City, bring their storytelling muscle to December in Atlanta, where 12 teens band together during an epic snowstorm. PW said of Blackout, “This joyful collaboration brings a necessary elation to stories of Black love, queer love, and alternative forms of affection,” and we anticipate the same in the new novel.

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