WHAT’S NEW?: Published in 2019

The titles in this posting have are new publications.  I have included both picture book, fiction and poetry selections (+ one memoir for adults)


MARTIN & ANNE: The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Marthin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank by Nancy Churnin; illus. Yevgenia Nayburg

Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were both born in the same year (1929). Each faced racial hatred. Each reacted to hate with words of love. The connections and comparisons are made between these two iconic figures, spread by spread.  A gem of a book, inspiring hope.

I DIDN’T STAND UP by Lucy Falcone; illus. Jacqueline Hudson

“First they went after Jamal. / But I’m not black – so I didn’t stand up for him./ Then they went after Duncan. But I’m not a geek – So I didn’t stand up for him. A book that helps readers contemplate the bystander role and consider taking action to be an upstander. (see: Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds)

CIRCLE by Mac Barnett; illus by Jon Klassen; illus. by Mac Barnett; illus by Jon Klassen

The dynamo duo of Barnett and Klassen have presented a third book int heir shapes trilogy (Triangle, Square, and now Circle. A waterfall, the dark, and three good friends learning about rule-making – and rule breaking.

SAY SOMETHING! by Peter H. Reynolds

Last year, Reynolds The Word Collector was at the top of my favourites list. Great that he has another great picture book about activism, making a difference and  to SAY SOMETHING…If you see someone lonley; If you see an empty canvas; If you see someone being hurt; If you have a brilliant idea… because YOUR VOICE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD! (see: I Didn’t Stand Up by Lucy Falcone)



NEW KID by Jerry Craft (Graphic novel)

Jordan Banks’ parents decide to enroll their son in a  private school where he discovers that he is one of the few kids of colour. A talented artist, Jordan strives to balance his life in his lower-income neighbourhood, with that of  prestigious school culture. Another great book about learning to fit in as a Middle School. Another great graphic novel narrative.

THE MOON WITHIN by Aida Salazar

Celi Rivera,  a young half Jamaican, half Mexican girl is becoming a woman. Her mother insists on celebrating the occasion of Celi’s first period with a moon ceremony, an ancestral ritual. Life becomes even more complicated for Celi when she falls in love with a boy and has her loyalty tested with her best friend who is genderfluid. Told in free verse style.

TO NIGHT OWL FROM DOGFISH by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Two popular authors have collaborated to present a heartwarming and engaging novel about friends and family. Avery Bloom from New York city (Night Owl) and Bett Devlin,from Los Angeles (Dogfish)  engage correspond when they discover that their fathers have fallen in love. The novel is told almost entirely in Email format, from different points of view adding to the authenticity of the voices. Sloan Wolitzer certainly know tweenagers and readers easily become friends with these two characters in a story that includes, summer camp adventures, a grandmother who become a Broadway actress, two fathers journeying through China on motorcycles and gay dating.

CHICKEN GIRL by Heather Smith (YA)

Ebb & Flow, and The Agony of Bun O’Keefe were absolutely two of my favourite reads last year and I so looked forward to Heather Smith’s new novel.  It’s fantastic! Poppy and Cam are two twin teenagers whose relationship is deepened by their varied outlooks on life. Poppy has issues with body images and is hired to dress up as  a chicken mascot to advertise the local restaurant. Cam is an openly gay teen who strives to maintain an optimistic outlook on life with all that he encounters. When Poppy meets a young girl named Miracle who is sheltered by a group of homeless people, she struggles to come to terms with the good and bad in the world. This novel is full of heart, albeit an aching one at times, and unforgettable characters. Kudos to Poppy, Cam, Miracle.. and Heather Smith.

FING by David Walliams; illus. Tony Ross

I bought a copy of this new novel in the airport in Rome and read it on a return trip to Toronto, laughing out loud while miles in the sky. Myrtle Meek is the most irreverent of fictional characters and would probably lead the troupe of Roald Dahl’s obnoxious folk. Myrtle wants /demands to own a Fing, and her parents, Mr.  & Mrs. Meek will go to the ends of the earth to make their daughter happy (and shut her up.)  Walliams and Ross and the brilliant design team have thrilled a multitude of readers with a mighty formula of story, vocabulary, art and graphics and I say praise the literacy lords for that formula of  frivolity and hysteria (Make sure to read the footnotes that appear throughout. )  I am ready for the any next hysterically funny Fing that Walliams gives birth to.



BOOM! BELLOW! BLEAT! Animal poems for Two or More Voices by Georgia Heard; illus. Aaron DeWitt

Georgia Heard brilliant plays around with the sounds of animals (Alligators/Hiss; Chimpanzees/Hoot; Goats/Bleat; Ferrets/Dook) in this collection of poems, beautifully illustrated, which two (or more) voices can enjoy and read aloud together.

TREES by Verlie Hutches; illus. by Jing Jing Tsong

Short poems painting vivid images of trees, accompanied by wonderful paintings which add tribute to nature’s tall and graceful, wise and gnarled heroes. (e.g., Willow dances/in her narrow kimono/with elegant sweeping leaves/wafting/in gentle wind.)



TOO MUCH IS NOT ENOUGH: A memoir of fumbling toward adulthood by Andrew Rannells (memoir)

Gay Broadway actor Andrew Rannells recounts his journey from Omaha Nebraska to the Broadway stage. It is a story of dreams, desires, and determination, likely shared by thousands who have made (or hope to make) the same journey to the theatre – or otherwise.

THE GIVER by Lois Lowry, adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell (graphic novel)

Since it’s release in 1993, The Giver has been read by millions (particularly young adolescents).  This story of a boy who lives in a future community where everyone is the same has been transformed into a play, a movie, and an opera. The graphic adaptation is a perfect vehicle to tell the story in another art form. Much of the images are monochromatic black, white and washes of blue and splashes of colour emerge is given the power to maintain memories.




by Kwame Alexander; illus.  Kadir Nelson

A stirring poem that is a love letter to Black American artists, athletes and activists by Kwame Alexander with striking illustrations by Kadir Nelson.  A staggering book. An important book underlining ‘the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present.’ (from book jacket). This one will will awards. Please!

This is for the undeniableThe Undefeated

The ones who scored

with chains

on one hand

and faith

in the other.