Children’s Book Roundup: August 2021

  • August 30, 2021

Big new titles perfect for the littles.


Depending on where you live, the school year has either already started or is rapidly approaching. With that in mind, here are three recent releases to get your kids excited about returning to the classroom. Just don’t stay up too late reading them; that big yellow bus comes earlier than you think!

Kalamata's Kitchen by Sarah Thomas (author) and Jo Kosmides Edwards (illustrator) (Random House Books for Young Readers). It seems like business as usual in the kitchen, but Kalamata knows it isn’t. “Tonight was not a normal night at all, because tomorrow would not be a normal day. Tomorrow would be Kalamata’s first day in her new school.” What might calm the nerves of the little girl and her alligator friend, Al Dente? Maybe recalling all the dazzling sights, smells, and tastes from her trip to a spice market in India earlier that summer…

Becoming Vanessa by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Knopf Books for Young Readers). “Mom and Vanessa decided she should pick out her own first-day-of-school outfit so her new classmates could tell right away that she was someone they should know.” But will the tutu, feather boa, polka-dot leggings, shiny shoes, and favorite hat be enough to set her apart? Yes, but not in the way she hopes. It turns out, Vanessa is worth knowing not for what she wears but because of what she is — a smart, kind, special girl.

Isabel and Her Colores Go to School by Alexandra Alessandri (author) and Courtney Dawson (illustrator) (Sleeping Bear Press). “The night before the first day of school, Isabel sat cross-legged on her bed, coloreando with her favorite crayons…rojo, verde, azul. Isabel didn’t speak much inglés. English sounded wrong, like stormy blues and blizzard whites. That night, Isabel dreamt of all that could go wrong.” When she finally gets to class, though? She’ll discover that colors — and friends — are beautiful in any language!

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