Happy Book Birthday: New in Young Adult, Middle Grade, Graphic Novels, and Picture Books

As the leaves fall and the temperature drops, it’s a perfect time to add to your reading list! We’re releasing titles in multiple different genres that cover a wide range of topics from space adventures to mental health.

Read on to see new books from Lerner this November!

New in Young Adult

Breakthrough: Katalin Karikó and the mRNA Vaccine by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

A Junior Library Guild Selection

  • Interest Level: Grade 7 – Grade 12

An thorough and accessible biography of Dr. Katalin Karikó, winner of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, whose hard work pioneering mRNA research led to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, scientist Katalin Karikó was one of the few people who believed in the potential of mRNA to help cells fight off disease. Breakthrough chronicles Karikó’s relentless pursuit of knowledge and dedication to helping people, depicting her as an inspirational figure for readers interested in science. The book contextualizes Karikó’s work within her upbringing in a small village in rural Hungary, the discrimination she faced as an immigrant and woman scientist, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The work shines most when elucidating the long path to scientific discovery, including the many failed experiments and minor discoveries that necessarily precede breakthroughs. A stimulating and accessible foray into recent scientific history.” — Kirkus Reviews

The Denim Diaries: A Memoir by Laurie Boyle Crompton

The Denim Diaries Cover
  • Interest Level: Grade 8 – Grade 12

Laurie Boyle Crompton’s coming of age in rural Pennsylvania and the New York City area in the 1970s and 1980s was anything but idyllic. In moving verse accompanied by diary-esque sketches, Crompton takes you along as she navigates relationships, plays the happy family at church despite discord at home, manages her mother’s ambitions and her father’s alcoholism, struggles with her self-image, and desperately tries to fit in at school by squeezing into too-tight designer denim.

Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, The Denim Diaries follows Crompton’s journey through disordered eating and sexual assault to acceptance and recovery. Her vivid poems recall the highs and lows of a life filled with hardship and joy alike. At times both harrowing and humorous, this memoir brings new perspective to the importance of self-love and finding hope in the darkest of times.

“Crompton’s free verse gives readers a powerful view of her inner self-loathing until she learns to accept herself as she is. At times, this is a tough read, but Crompton’s candidly honest story will resonate with anyone struggling with self-image issues and difficult family relationships.” — starred, Booklist

* Available 11/14

New in Middle Grade

Forsooth by Jimmy Matejek-Morris

Forsooth Cover
  • Interest Level: Grade 6 – Grade 8

Thirteen-year-old Calvin knows he’s destined to be a star. . . if he can just stop making embarrassing mistakes onstage, like getting stuck on a single line—”Forsooth!”—during the school play. The summer after seventh grade, he’s hoping for a fresh start. All he has to do is prove himself as an actor and fix the awkwardness with his friends that started after the play.

But nothing’s going according to plan. His parents don’t get his love of performing. His best friend is moving on without him. And he might have a crush that could change everything.

Surrounded by drama on all sides, Calvin will have to go off script if he’s going to be a real friend and be true to himself.

“A funny and thoughtful exploration of middle school relationships.” — Kirkus Reviews

New in Graphic Novels

The First Invasion: Book 1 by Zack Soto

From the Series Power Button

A Junior Library Guild Selection

The First Invasion Cover
  • Interest Level: Grade 4 – Grade 8

A powerful sci-fi adventure with humor and heart

Truly’s parents are arguing all the time, so they’ve dropped her off with her aunt and uncle. Her cousin Kaz has a big imagination but he’s not the best at making friends. Maximo Skulldigg gets bullied by his older brother—and now he has to conquer Kaz and Truly’s home planet.

It’s a good thing Kaz and Truly just uncovered a family secret. After the cousins find a hideout full of strange treasures near Kaz’s house, they slip on wristbands that summon a space knight named Trinn Cyclo. Soon, he may be Earth’s only hope!

“Hilarious, inventive, and absolutely action-packed. Zack Soto spins an exciting fun-filled yarn and leaves you wanting more. Power Button is a blast!” — Mike Dawson, author of The Fifth Quarter

The Wolf in Underpants Gets Some Pants by Wilfrid Lupano, illustrated by Mayana Itoïz

From the Series The Wolf in Underpants

The Wolf in Underpants Cover
  • Interest Level: Grade 2 – Grade 5

This season, underpants are in style!

The forest’s local wolf loves his comfy striped briefs. Still, when they become a fashion trend, the wolf needs a new way to stand out. He ditches his underpants and snatches some trousers from a scarecrow. But will he find out who he truly is without his favorite undies?

The fifth tale in the Eisner-nominated Wolf in Underpants series is a laugh-out-loud fable about identity, conformity, and being who you really are.

New in Picture Books

Small Shoes, Great Strides: How Three Brave Girls Opened Doors to School Equality by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by Alex Bostic

A Booklist Editor’s Choice

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Small Shoes, Great Strides Cover
  • Interest Level: Grade 2 – Grade 5

Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost didn’t set out to make history. But when these three Black first graders stepped into the all-white McDonogh No. 19 Public School in New Orleans on November 14, 1960, that’s exactly what they did. They integrated their school just ten minutes before Ruby Bridges walked into her school, also in New Orleans. Like Ruby, the trio faced crowds of protestors fighting against public school desegregation efforts and relied on US Marshals to keep them safe. Their teacher protected them every step of the way, and the girls formed a close bond, becoming friends for life.

Award-winning author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson conducted extensive interviews to bring this little-known story from the Civil Rights Movement to a broad audience. Vivid illustrations by fine artist Alex Bostic highlight the girls’ strength, courage, and determination.

“[A]n unmissable story about everyday courage whose notes about the importance of overcoming discrimination remain timely.” —starred, Foreword Reviews

For more Lerner releases, visit our website.

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