Ryan Hart is headed to sleepaway camp where she faces some friendship challenges, but even that may be easier than going home to the new baby that’s on its way. Ramona Quimby for a new generation, Ryan Hart is a young, optimistic black girl navigating a changing world with style. This series really has staying power.
Ways to Grow Love by Renée Watson, (List Price: $7.99, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781547609963, April 2022)
A middle grade fantasy novel with magical trains, a magical submarine, an apartment in the sky, a missing uncle, talking animals, endangered species and rewilding? Yes, please! This series is proof that kids can learn about current day issues in novels. Not that any of us in the industry need convincing of this, but this series does it effortlessly. Brilliant! Can’t wait for more!
The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman, (List Price: $35, Little Brown and Company, 9780316283540, May 2022)
Reviewed by Jill Naylor, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee
Art museums are wonderful places of discovery and this collection of 20 famous pieces is a great way to bring all the world’s great art museums into one spot. This little gem is the perfect introduction to art for novices of a tender age.
The National Menagerie of Art by Thaïs Vanderheyden, (List Price: $12.95, Prestel Junior, 9783791375090, April 2022)
When Celia Cleary “comes of age” in her magical family, she inherits a gift for prophecy–and all the problems that come with it. While The Problem with Prophecies raises questions about fate, free will, and magic, it is at its core a sweet story about family, friendship, and first crushes. Scott Reintgen writes insightfully about the liminal space between childhood and adolescence.
The Problem with Prophecies by Scott Reintgen, (List Price: $27, Atria Books, 9781665903578, May 2022)
I finished this book in three days, and it did NOT feel like it took me that amount of time. It felt like time stood still as I read through the whole book, which I guess in kind of ironic, considering the book’s themes.I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were well written and captivating. The world was both mysterious and filled to the brim with lore. And the themes hit hard and were still realistic; I truly believed in every characters motivation and cause.I would happily read a sequel or prequel to this book, or even something entirely unrelated, if it was from this author. The way the world was described and the author’s writing style was both unique and perfectly fitting for this book. A wonderful read, and I would gladly spend my time reading this book again!
The Prince of Nowhere by Rochelle Hassan, (List Price: $16.99, HarperCollins, 9780063054608, May 2022)
My absolute favorite thing about this book is that it pulls no punches towards its antagonist, a thinly-veiled caricature of the star of a certain Bo Burnham song, and it is oh so satisfying to see him get the kind of comeuppance we can only dream about on this side of the page. Besides that, this middle-grade adventure through Chicagoland has an endearing set of characters who all learn something about the world being a little bigger and more complicated than they think it is, but not so big and complicated that they can’t handle. I also loved how much fun all the locations throughout the Chicago area were!
Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese, (List Price: $17.99, Scholastic Press, 9781338743241, April 2022)
What a great way to share with a young child why they are different and why they matter. Colin learns he was chosen and was adopted into a family of loving people. Great colorful illustrations and a wonderful message. For kids and adults
I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick, (List Price: $18.99, Scholastic Inc., 9781338789621, April 2022)
Reviewed by Gina Norris, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina
Hundred Years of Happiness is a remarkable picture book. Teeming with stunning illustrations and storytelling, this book tugs at the heartstrings. I adored the mixture of family, culture, and food at the center of this story. The inclusion of the recipe at the end of the book was such a fun surprise!
Hundred Years of Happiness by Thanhhà Lai, (List Price: $17.99, HarperCollins, 9780063026926, April 2022)
Reviewed by Lauren Kean, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
This thoughtful & fast-paced book will open children’s eyes to the plight of homeless families. It also demystifies the appeal of learning to play a musical instrument. Overall, it’s a well-crafted celebration of friendship and how kindness & determination can enact real change.
A Duet For Home by Karina Yan Glaser, (List Price: $16.99, Clarion Books, 9780544876408, April 2022)
Reviewed by Maggie Robe, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
A practical picture book that explains where eggs come from AND teaches young readers how to read a basic map — what fun! I loved maps when I was a kid and this book is a great introduction to the concept of getting on the road to move from one place to the next.
Eggs from Red Hen Farm by Monica Wellington, (List Price: $18.99, Holiday House, 9780823447824, March 2022)
Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Wingbearer is a beautiful fantasy graphic novel written by Marjorie Lu. The world is breathtakingly beautiful along with having an enchanting story. I was at the edge of my seat following Zuli’s journey from the great tree to the world she supposedly came from. I loved the side characters and can’t wait to see the full color version. This is a middle reader fantasy that will draw in even the most reluctant of readers.
Wingbearer by Marjorie Liu, (List Price: $12.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780062741158, March 2022)
This is a beautifully diverse book about Abdul finding his voice despite his learning challenges. Throughout the story Abdul doesn’t think he is a writer, but he knows he has stories to tell. Once he has a mentor he learns that everyone makes mistakes and the best stories come from what look like messes. In the end Abdul finds his voice and confidence in what once felt like an impossible task.
Abdul’s Story by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, (List Price: $17.99, Salaam Reads, Simon ∓ Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534462984, March 2022)
Reviewed by Josie Greenwald, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
"The illustrations for Knight Owl posed an interesting challenge. Most of the book takes place at night. How could I make the illustrations using a color pallet varied enough so that each scene could have the right feeling and not feel too dark? I took that challenge as an opportunity to dive deep into my fascination with Japanese woodblock prints, specifically the work of Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) one of the greatest artists of the shin-hanga style. Yoshida’s work, along with a few nods to Rembrandt and Vermeer, defined the palette for the entire project. The range of blue tones in Yoshida’s work is amazing! "–Christopher Denise (via School Library Journal Blog)
What booksellers are saying about Knight Owl
An absolutely delightful picture book bursting with wonderfully playful illustrations. As a kid, I loved knights, dragons, and adventure (still do!) and I would have cherished this wonderful book from Denise and spent hours looking at each page. Celebrating perseverance, cleverness, and friendship; Knight Owl is sure to delight readers! ― Caleb Masters from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC Buy from Bookmarks
A night Knight owl who proves he can be brave by outwitting a dragon with
pizza. And in doing so shows that even the smallest of creatures can be cunning. ―Judith Lafitte from Octavia Books LLC in New Orleans, LA Buy from Octavia Books
A sweet picture book about a wise owl, perseverance, and finding common
ground with others. ―Rae Ann Parker from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN Buy from Parnassus Books
Knight Owl is full of goodness. Who knew dragons and owls made for a good story? And pizza, the great peace maker? Perfect for fans of Gruffalo and Dragons Love Tacos. ―Jilleen Moore from Square Books in Oxford, MS Buy from Square Books
About Christopher Denise
Christopher Denise spent much of his childhood in Shannon, Ireland, exploring castles and dreaming of great adventures. He is the illustrator of many critically acclaimed books for young readers, including Anika Aldamuy Denise’s Bunny in the Middle, Alison McGhee’s Firefly Hollow, Rosemary Wells’s Following Grandfather, and Anne Marie Pace’s Groundhug Day, as well as several in Brian Jacques’s award-winning Redwall series. His books have appeared on the Indie Next List and the New York Times bestseller list and in the Society of Illustrators’ Annual Exhibition. Knight Owl marks his author-illustrator debut. Christopher’s current adventures include exploring coastal Rhode Island, where he lives with his family.
This beautiful tale is cleverly oozling with allegory–but it boils down to a simple message: knowledge, education, and the written word are power, kindness matters, and together we are stronger. Kelly Barnhill has crafted a masterpiece chock full of mistrusting citizens in a ruined village, an ogress with a big heart, orphans who pay attention, crows with a language of their own, a scarily charismatic mayor who isn’t who he seems, and an unnoticed stone at the heart of it all. This reader was thoroughly bedazzled and charmed by its brilliance.
The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill, (List Price: $28, Algonquin Young Readers, 9781643750743, February 2022)
Catalina Incognito is the first book in what’s sure to be a charming new chapter book series. Gifted with a magic sewing kit on her eighth birthday, shy and reserved Catalina learns about taking chances and trying again — and also solves the mystery of her aunt’s missing ruby. I loved the way Spanish phrases are mixed in throughout the book..
Catalina Incognito by Jennifer Torres, Gladys Jose (illus.), (List Price: $5.99, Aladdin, 9781534482784, March 2022)
Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina