New and Noteworthy Children’s and YA Books: December 2021 – Publishers Weekly

December 13, 2021 by No Comments

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 …….



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