Happy Book Birthday: New Picture Books, Graphic Novels, and YA

new titles February 2019

By Libby Stille, Publicist

Check out February new releases from Lerner Publishing Group!

Picture books

Let ‘Er Buck! George Fletcher, the People’s Champion, written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and illustrated by Gordon C. James


Written by Coretta Scott King Award-winner Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Gordon C. James, Let ‘Er Buck! is the true tale of African American cowboy George Fletcher’s epic rodeo ride at the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up.

In 1911, three men were in the final round of the famed Pendleton Round-Up. One was white, one was Indian, and one was black. When the judges declared the white man the winner, the audience was outraged. They named black cowboy George Fletcher the “people’s champion” and took up a collection, ultimately giving Fletcher far more than the value of the prize that went to the official winner. Award-winning author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson tells the story of Fletcher’s unlikely triumph with a Western twang that will delight kids—and adults—who love true stories, unlikely heroes, and cowboy tales.

Let 'Er Buck! spread
Spread from Let ‘Er Buck!

Praise for Let ‘Er Buck!

★“A distinguished depiction of men and horses, and an under-told piece of history from the Old West.”—starred, Booklist

★“James’ painterly oils swirl with energy. . . . A champion indeed.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

★“[A] triumphant tale of fairness trumping prejudice for a wrangler extraordinaire.”—starred, Publishers Weekly

★“The rollicking language and gorgeous art make this a terrific read-aloud . . .”—starred, School Library Journal

“[An] engrossing picture-book biography of African American cowboy and bronc buster George Fletcher.”—The Horn Book Magazine

Read more about Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Gordon C. James’s creative process in this blog post.

I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon, written by Baptiste and Miranda Paul and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon


When Tantoh Nforba was a child, he loved the dirt and all that grew in his grandmother’s garden. In school, his fellow students mocked him by calling him Farmer. His older brother told him to study hard so he could one day get a job in an office. But Tantoh knew that wasn’t the right path for him.

Today Tantoh is proud to call himself Farmer. Farmer Tantoh is an environmental leader, bringing clean water and bountiful organic gardens to the central African nation of Cameroon. He is also the founder of the international charity Save Your Future Association. Authors Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul traveled through northwest Cameroon with Farmer Tantoh to see firsthand how his grassroots work is growing a movement. Elizabeth Zunon’s intricate collage illustrations authentically bring to life this powerful story of community.

I Am Farmer spread
Spread from I Am Farmer

Praise for I Am Farmer

“This heartening story . . . conveys the importance of sound agricultural practices across farms, schoolyards, communities, and nations.”—The Horn Book Magazine

“[A] beautiful book about an important topic and the man behind a movement.”—Booklist

“A valuable work for early lessons on the environment and small-scale community action, and a reminder that one person can bring about change even in difficult circumstances.”—School Library Journal

Graphic novels

Super Potato’s Galactic Breakout: Book 2 by Artur Laperla


In this second installment of the Super Potato series of graphic novels for young readers, Super Potato is kidnapped by Zort, a space slug who collects rare creatures from across the galaxy. But with the help of Zort’s put-upon robot helper, Super Potato stages an outer-space jailbreak.

Super Potato's Galactic Breakout spread
Spread from Super Potato’s Galactic Breakout

Praise for Super Potato’s Galactic Breakout

“A whimsical tale for fans of the series, newcomers, and anyone who loves adventure.”—School Library Journal


Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield


Best friends and sisters Lo and Rita have spent their lives flying through the air on the trapeze under the lights in the big top. The nomadic circus community is a close-knit family, but those bonds are threatened as secrets and lies surface and Lo finds forbidden love with a boy from outside the circus. The two sisters find themselves at odds with each other for the first time as they both search for love and test the limits of family loyalty. Lo must face up to a family member’s deception and navigate her newfound love. Will she manage to land on her feet?

Praise for Flight of a Starling

★”[A] gem of a novel, one that is sure to be savored.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

“A lingering piece on family, sisterhood, and the cost of secrets.”—Booklist

“[For] fans of Jennifer Niven and Stephanie Garber.”—School Library Journal

Read a Q&A with Lisa Heathfield.

More posts by Libby.

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