January 2018

I am so happy to be able to once again post new releases by Indigenous/People of Color (IPOC) authors particularly in a year that seems to be offering many more books by these authors. While collecting these titles, I’ve notice that that is still a dearth of Latinx and African American speculative fiction, graphic novels and mysteries; an abundance of reality fiction in these groups. IPOC intersectionality by or about those who are LGBT+ or who have disabilities is remarkably lacking. And, there are very few male IPOC authors as well. Why does everyone want to write about Indigenous people, but never want them to tell their stories? Where are the Native American books?

Yes, there are many, many ways to consider representation. Not listed here are about written about IPOC characters and considering representation there is a must, particularly because the job of critically reading these texts goes to sensitivity readers rather than to editors who should do the work. This is not possible in an industry that is overwhelmingly White. This inability to editor those writing about IPOC also affects those who IPOC writers: too many editors have limited experience and knowledge in this regard.

In January 2016, I identified 6 releases by IPOC authors. I have no doubt I missed some that year, just as I’m probably missing some this year. However, the difference between 6 books then and 25  28 is tremendous.

The 25th   last book this month is actually a reprint. The Middle Passage by Tom Feelings is a book that belongs in every library, so I’ve included here among the new releases.

I still have to limit my online activities this year because I’m on ALSC’s Sibert Informational Book Award Committee. I can still mention, interview and review YA books and authors that are not informational in nature and that feels really good! First, I need to finish by Printz work and let me just say that’s about to get really intense. The winners will be announce at ALA Midwinter in Denver. My blogging will remain sporadic until then.

Feel free to mention other MG or YA books in the comment section. Thanks!

JANUARY 2018 Releases

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu. (Random House)
The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list … Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Black Girl Magic by Mahogany L. Brown and Jess X. Snow (Roaring Brook Press)
Much of what twenty-first century culture tells black girls is not pretty: Don’t wear this; don’t smile at that. Don’t have an opinion; don’t dream big. And most of all, don’t love yourself. In response to such destructive ideas, internationally recognized poet Mahogany Browne challenges the conditioning of society by crafting an anthem of strength and magic undeniable in its bloom for all beautiful Black girls. She has travelled the world sharing her vision of Black Girl Magic, and now in collaboration with artist Jess X. Snow, presents her acclaimed tribute in a visual form.

Black Panther the Young Prince by Ronald L. Smith (Disney)
Black Panther. Ruler of Wakanda. Avenger. This is his destiny. But right now, he’s simply T’Challa-the young prince.

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Renee Watson. (Farrar Straus and Giroux) ages 8-12
Raised by her aunt until she is six, Betty, who will later marry Malcolm X, joins her mother and stepfamily in 1940s Detroit, where she learns about the civil rights movement.

Chainbreaker (Timekeeper #2) by Tara Sim (Sky Pony Press)
Clock mechanic Danny Hart knows he’s being watched. But by whom, or what, remains a mystery. To make matters worse, clock towers have begun falling in India, though time hasn’t Stopped yet. He’d hoped after reuniting with his father and exploring his relationship with Colton, he’d have some time to settle into his new life. Instead, he’s asked to investigate the attacks.

After inspecting some of the fallen Indian towers, he realizes the British occupation may be sparking more than just attacks. And as Danny and Colton unravel more secrets about their past, they find themselves on a dark and dangerous path―one from which they may never return.

Cleo Edison in Persuasion Power by Sundee T. Franklin (Levine/Scholastic)
Cleopatra Edison Oliver has a brand new business Passion Clips She and her best friend Caylee are going to take the world by storm with their personalized barrettes. All they need now is their big break.

Escape From Aleppo by N. H. Senzai (Simon and Shuster) ages 8-12
After Nadia is separated from her family while fleeing the civil war, she spends the next four days with a mysterious old man who helps her navigate the checkpoints and snipers of the rebel, ISIS, and Syrian armies that are littering Aleppo on her way to meeting her father at the Turkish border.

Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, A Monumental American Man by Tonya Bolden. (Abrams) ages 10-14
Frederick Douglass (1818 1895) is best known for the telling of his own emancipation. But there is much more to Douglass s story than his time spent enslaved and his famous autobiography. Facing Frederick captures the whole complicated, and at times perplexing, person that he was. Statesman, suffragist, writer, and newspaperman, this book focuses on Douglass the man rather than the historical icon.

A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield  (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) ages 12 and up
Examines the events and forces leading up to 1919 race riots in Chicago.

Harley Quinn at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee (Random House)
Harley Quinn loves fighting crime with her classmates like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl, but she always does it her with own madcap style–and a big mallet! It’s no surprise that Harley can’t resist getting involved with an upcoming inter-school battle of the bands and a fantastic cosmic carnival that appears only once a year–and this year, it’s coming to Earth! But as things get stranger, Harley knows how to get to the bottom of a mystery–and deliver a great punch line while doing it.

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis. (Scholastic)  Ages 8-12
When his poor sharecropper father is killed in an accident and leaves the family in debt, twelve-year-old Little Charlie agrees to accompany fearsome plantation overseer Cap’n Buck north in pursuit of people who have stolen from him; Cap’n Buck tells Little Charlie that his father’s debt will be cleared when the fugitives are captured, which seems like a good deal until Little Charlie comes face-to-face with the people he is chasing.

King Geordi the Great by Gene Gant (Harmony Ink Press)
Growing up means overcoming obstacles: facing reality even when it hurts, being brave enough to stand up for yourself, and being your own man even when going along with others’ expectations is easier.

Geordi is learning these lessons the hard way when his overbearing but well-meaning parents out him before he’s ready. It leads to a declaration of love from Geordi’s best friend Toff–a love that isn’t reciprocated. But with a neglectful father at home, Toff is already struggling, and Geordi can’t bear to break his heart, so he goes along with the romance–until things move to the next level and it’s too hard to live the lie. Geordi must take a long hard look at his life and face some truths that would be easier to avoid, because a disastrous event will mean his friends Toff and Jess need someone to lean on like never before. For Geordi to be that person, he must figure out how to be true to himself.

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi. (Philomel Books) ages 12 and up.
After their home in Syria is bombed, Tareq, his father, and his younger sister seek refuge, first with extended family in Raqqa, a stronghold for the militant group, Daesh, and then abroad.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (Swoon Reads) ages 13-18 Debut Author
Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting—working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating—no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

Little Leaders:  Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison. (Little Brown and Co.) ages 8-12 Debut Author
Based on her popular Instagram posts, debut author/illustrator Vashti Harrison shares the stories of 40 bold African American women who shaped history.

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. (Soho Teen) ages 12-18 Debut Author
Maya Aziz, seventeen, is caught between her India-born parents world of college and marrying a suitable Muslim boy and her dream world of film school and dating her classmate, Phil, when a terrorist attack changes her life forever.

Love Sugar Magic : A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano and Mirelle Ortega Debut Author
Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.

Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake. Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet. And, when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?

March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine by Melba Pattillo Beals. (HMH Books)  ages 10-12.
Long before she was one of the Little Rock Nine, Melba Pattillo Beals was a warrior. Frustrated by the laws that kept African-Americans separate but very much unequal to whites, she had questions. Why couldn’t she drink from a “whites only” fountain? Why couldn’t she feel safe beyond home—or even within the walls of church?  Adults all told her: Hold your tongue. Be patient. Know your place. But Beals had the heart of a fighter—and the knowledge that her true place was a free one.

Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra (HarperVoyager)
Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, one of a handful of sisterhoods of highly trained elite warriors. Armed with blades whose metal is imbued with magic and guided by a strict code of conduct, the Orders are sworn to keep the peace and protect the people of Asiana. Kyra has pledged to do so—yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her murdered family. But to be a Markswoman means disconnecting from one’s past completely.

Marley Dias Gets it Done (and so can you!) by Marley Dias and Siobán McGowan. (Scholastic) Debut Author
In this accessible “keep-it-real” guide, Marley explores activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion, and using social media for good. Drawing from her experience, Marley shows kids how they can galvanize their strengths to make positive changes in their communities, while getting support from parents, teachers, and friends to turn dreams into reality.

A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson. (HMH Books) ages 10-12.
After the murder of Emmett Till, thirteen-year-old Rose is struggling with her decision to stay in Mississippi. Torn between the opinions of Shorty, a boy who wants to meet violence with violence, and Hallelujah, her best friend who believes in the power of peaceful protests, Rose is scared of the mounting racial tension and is starting to lose hope. But when Rose helps Aunt Ruthie start her own business, she begins to see how she can make a difference in her community. Life might be easier in the North, but Mississippi is home and that’s worth fighting for. Mid-Century Mississippi comes alive in this sequel to Midnight Without a Moon.

Someone to Love by Melissa de la Cruz. (HarlequinTeen).
Constantly in the spotlight thanks to her politician father’s rising star, Olivia Blakely feels the pressure to be perfect. As the youngest girl in her class, she tries hard to keep up and to seem mature to the older boy she’s crushing on, even as she catches his eye. But the need to look good on camera and at school soon grows into an all-consuming struggle with bulimia.

As Liv works toward her goal of gaining early admission to art school, including taking part in an upcoming student show, her life spirals out of control. Swept up in demands to do more than she’s ready for, to always look perfect and to succeed, Liv doesn’t know who she is anymore. It will take nearly losing her best friend and even her life for Liv to learn that loving herself is far more important than earning the world’s approval.

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez. (Roarking Brook Press) Ages 7-10
Introducing Stella D az, a sweet new young middle-grade character who will win your heart! When a new boy named Stanley arrives in Stella’s class, she really wants to be his friend, but sometimes Stella accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English and pronounces words wrong, which makes her turn roja. Plus, she has to speak in front of her whole class for a big presentation at school! But she better get over her fears soon, because Stella Diaz has something to say!

Stormspeaker (Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts #7) by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Scholastic)
The four heroes of Erdas are fugitives on the run in this new chapter of the New York Times best-selling series!

Shadowsong (Wintersong) by S. Jae-Jones. (Wednesday Books) Ages 12-18
Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her.

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King―who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws once and for all? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world―or the ones Liesl loves―is in her hands?

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney. (Scholastic) Ages 8-12
In a rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion, Andrea and Brian Pinkney convey the final months of Martin Luther King’s life — and of his assassination — through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.

For Everyone by Jason Reynolds. (Antheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books) Ages 12 and up
Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world. Jump Anyway is for kids who dream. Kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing.

The Middle Passage by Tom Feelings. (Dial) ages 12 and up
[reprint] Alex Haley’s Roots awakened many Americans to the cruelty of slavery. The Middle Passage focuses attention on the torturous journey which brought slaves from Africa to the Americas, allowing readers to bear witness to the sufferings of an entire people.

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