Kicking off the month with a new MG chapter book series somewhat in the vein of Magic Treehouse. Word Travelers & the Taj Mahal Mystery (10/2021) and Word Travelers & the Missing Mexican Mole (2/2022) (Random House). It is written by rapper and wordsmith Raj Halder and illustrated by Neha Rawat. A diverse trio of word sleuths magically travels the world uncovering linguistic connections in words that came to English from around the world. This one is on the young side with an engaging pace and a glossary at the back. I hope we see many more of these in the future.
Here is a trio of MG friendship stories. Just Right Jillian is the debut novel of Nicole D. Collier. It’s about overcoming shyness and finding your voice. Wishing Upon the Same Stars is the debut novel of Jacquetta Nammar Feldman. It explores the challenges in moving from a community where everyone practices the same faith to a more diverse neighborhood. It features a friendship between an Arab and an Israeli girl. Reem Faruqui’s fifth book Golden Girl, is a novel in verse celebrating Pakistani culture. It has a glossary and an Aloo Gosht recipe which could not be more simple or delicious!
Good books about neurodiverse children are rare. Here’s a title that includes two kids in Maine with divergent aspects of autism who form an enduring friendship, in spite of their differences. Anybody Here Seen Frenchie? is written by Schneider Family Book Award winning author Leslie Connor
Here are two diverse fantasy titles for February: A Comb of Wishes by debut author Lisa Stringfellow is about a mermaid-summoning girl who learns the price of wishes. Master storyweaver Pam Muñoz Ryan has a new tale, Solimar: the sword of the monarchs, a story full of magic and danger with the fate of a kingdom and of monarch butterflies in the balance.
Fans of historical fiction will find Rima’s Rebellion by Margarita Engle a fascinating journey to Cuba’s wars for independence in the 1920s. And on a personal note I am particularly delighted to see a biography of Lise Meitner for young readers. My grandfather’s cousin worked with Werner Von Braun and Enrico Fermi so I had heard a little bit about her life but I’m dazzled by Jeannine Atkins biography in verse which brings to life the work of the woman who got a PhD in physics in 1906, became a professor, engaged in ground breaking research, and discovered nuclear fission, all while struggling to survive as a Jewish woman in Nazi Germany. Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner’s Call to Science is riveting and accessible. It contains a bibliography, a timeline, and an impressive list of international scientists that Meitner worked with and mentored in her long and productive life.
As always this is only a fraction of the wonderful diverse books being published in February. My selection is strongly influenced by the ARCs that come to my at my independent bookstore. Please add any titles I’ve missed this month in the comments. If you have a diverse MG title coming out this year, please encourage your publicist to send me an ARC at. Annie Blooms in Portland Oregon.
Rosanne Parry is the author of 7 MG novels including best sellers A Wolf Called Wander, and A Whale of the Wild. Her first picture book Big Truck Day will go on sale in September of 2022. She sells books at Annie Blooms Bookstore in Multnomah Village and writes books in her treehouse in Portland, Oregon.
From the Mixed-Up Files is the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— we offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting.
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