Happy Book Birthday: New Picture Books, Middle Grade, and YA

By Libby Stille, Publicist

Check out September new releases from Lerner Publishing Group!

Picture books

Ella McKeen, Kickball Queen by Beth Mills

Ella McKeen, Kickball Queen cover

First grader Ella McKeen is the undisputed kickball queen until a new girl shows up—and shows her up at recess. Ella reacts by throwing a fit! Will she ever be able to play kickball again?

Spread from Ella McKeen, Kickball Queen
Spread from Ella McKeen, Kickball Queen

Praise for Ella McKeen, Kickball Queen

“Readers will close this emotionally intelligent book with strong feelings—and will likely ask to hear it again and again.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Emotions ring true in this relatable story. A good read-aloud choice to spark discussion.”—School Library Journal

Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle: How Animals Get Ready for Winter, written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Claudine Gévry

Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle cover

This charming nonfiction picture book shows how a variety of familiar, kid-friendly animals prepare for—and survive—winter in northern climates.

Spread from Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle
Spread from Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle

Praise for Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle

“Primary grade teachers may find this picture book a useful read-aloud choice to supplement units on animals in winter.”—Booklist

“A good choice for a late fall storytime.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Too charming to miss.”—School Library Journal

Thanku: Poems of Gratitude, illustrated by Marlena Myles and edited by Miranda Paul

Thanku cover

This poetry anthology, edited by Miranda Paul, explores a wide range of ways to be grateful with poems by a diverse group of contributors, offering a wonderful alternative to traditional Thanksgiving books.

Spread from Thanku
Spread from Thanku

Praise for Thanku

“[T]his attractive and accessible collection should be popular with browsers and useful for creative writing classes.”—Booklist

“Lovely lyric lessons in appreciating the ordinary.”—Kirkus Reviews

“It is #OwnVoices at its very best!”—Dr. Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children’s Literature

Middle grade

Owl’s Outstanding Donuts by Robin Yardi

Owl's Outstanding Donuts cover

When an owl alerts Mattie Waters to suspicious activity near her aunt’s Big Sur donut shop, Mattie must rally her friends, face her fears, and try to save her new home.

Praise for Owl’s Outstanding Donuts

“An exciting conclusion will satisfy young mystery fans. . . . Yardi’s love for nature shines through in this quiet but quirky story about friendship, family, and of course, donuts.”—Booklist

“Doughn’t miss this earnest tale.”—Kirkus Reviews

“With an owl who likes strawberry iced doughnuts, an environmental crime, and a family business at stake, Robin Yardi has crafted a sweet mystery about the power of friendship and facing one’s fears.”—Jacqueline K. Ogburn, author of The Unicorn in the Barn

“Readers of all ages will be cheering—and hooting!—for Mattie and her friends as they track down the culprits in this brilliant, high-stakes mystery with heart. Owl’s Outstanding Donuts is, well, simply outstanding!”—Kristen Kittscher, author of The Wig in the Window

Graphic novels

Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman

Stage Dreams cover

In this queer western adventure, acclaimed cartoonist Melanie Gillman puts readers in the saddle alongside Flor and Grace, a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway, as they thwart a Confederate plot in the New Mexico Territory.

Spread from Stage Dreams
Spread from Stage Dreams

Praise for Stage Dreams

★”This charming and poignant queer romance set against a Civil War–era backdrop will resonate with readers.”—starred, School Library Journal

“An illuminating western with a refreshingly matter-of-fact queer romance.”—Booklist

“An engrossing escapade with a heart-stealing queer romance.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Melanie Gillman’s beautifully crafted YA graphic adventure reveals the hitherto little-known historic diversity of the Old West.”—Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

Stage Dreams is a delight. A fast-paced, charming adventure story told beautifully in colored pencil—a medium nobody knows better than Mel Gillman. Treat yourself to this book; your day/week/life will be better for it.”—Kate Leth, Spell on Wheels

Cassandra Steps Out: Book 1, written by Isabelle Bottier and illustrated by Hélène Canac

Cassandra Steps Out cover

Cassandra has a gift: she sees what animals are thinking. After keeping her talent a secret, Cassandra decides to make a difference. Can she find a lost cat? Or will her first case be a flop?

Spread from Cassandra Steps Out
Spread from Cassandra Steps Out

Praise for Cassandra Steps Out

“[G]reat themes are packed in with loads of heart and excellent pacing. Any animal lover will devour this in two bites.”—Booklist

“Cassandra’s struggles and triumphs make this an entertaining series opener with broad appeal.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A good match for readers who enjoy stories about animals or psychic powers.”—School Library Journal


The Truth Is by NoNieqa Ramos

The Truth Is cover

Fifteen-year-old overachiever Verdad is struggling to meet her Puerto Rican mother’s expectations and process her best friend’s death when she falls for Danny, a trans boy, and starts to question her own identity.

Praise for The Truth Is

“Ramos (The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary, 2018) creates an #OwnVoices protagonist in Puerto Rican Verdad and weaves her many intense feelings together in a way that never feels forced, from Verdad dealing with PTSD after the shooting to falling in love to discovering and then defining her queer identity.”—Booklist

“A coming-of-age novel about coming out and overcoming. . . . [P]owerful.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Ramos writes with intensity and poeticism in this fresh, painful, but ultimately optimistic coming-of-age novel. Notable for its up-to-the minute depiction of gender identity, sexual orientation, and race.”—School Library Journal

“NoNieqa Ramos’s unflinching voice and writing style continues to cement her as a force to be reckoned with in the YA world.”—Mia García, author of The Resolutions

“A brilliant, beautiful, moving story of ecstasy and loss and tragedy and hope, The Truth Is demands to be read.”—Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick, authors of Snowsisters

Read a version of NoNieqa Ramos’s speech to ALA librarians about her YA novels, diversity, and resisting the status quo here.


Monstrous: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind Your Favorite Monsters by Carlyn Beccia

Monstrous cover

Could Dr. Frankenstein’s machine ever animate a body? Why should vampires drink from veins and not arteries? What body parts are best for zombies to eat? (It’s not brains.) Explore the fascinating history and science behind eight legendary creatures.

Spread from Monstrous
Spread from Monstrous

Praise for Monstrous

★”Informative and entertaining throughout for readers undead or otherwise.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

Debunk It! Fake News Edition: How to Stay Sane in a World of Misinformation by John Grant

Debunk It! Fake News Edition cover

We live in an era of misinformation. Updated to include a chapter on fake news, this book is a guide to critical thinking for young readers looking to find some clarity in a confusing world.

Praise for Debunk It! Fake News Edition

“In an era of fake news, click-bait, and viral media, this book demands to be read.”—Kirkus Reviews

“An essential book for our modern era.”—John R. Platt, editor, The Revelator

Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck: A Sesame Street ® Celebration of Food by Heather E. Schwartz

Cookie Monster's Foodie Truck

Introduce readers to food literacy with the help of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster, Chef Gonger, and their foodie truck! Browseable layout includes recipes, the basics of healthy eating, where food comes from, and table manners.

Spread from Cookie Monster's Foodie Truck
Spread from Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck

Praise for Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck

“A lively and entertaining way to introduce cooking to youngsters and get them thinking about ways to keep their bodies healthy and strong.”—School Library Journal

Crayola ® Team Colors: The Wonderful, Colorful World of Sports by Jon M. Fishman

Crayola ® Team Colors cover

Why are soccer balls black and white? What do the colors on a team’s jersey mean? Explore colors in sports with Crayola! Photos and text celebrate colors in children’s sports as well as favorite professional teams.

Spread from Crayola ® Team Colors
Spread from Crayola ® Team Colors

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