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at the start of their independent reading journey.
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I am excited that publishers are continuing to publish more and more chapter books, especially those that are being written and illustrated by authors and illustrators that are from a diverse number of cultures and languages and backgrounds. Here are some new ones from my stacks!
Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business
Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade
written by Lyla Lee
illustrated by Dung Ho
I'm really excited to meet this new character! Mindy is a determined and feisty character who is going to be so relatable to young readers. Mindy has just moved across the United States - from California to Florida -with her father to start in a new location. Both Mindy and her father are learning to live as a family of two, with the loss of Mindy's mother. The story does not go into details but we know she was sick for awhile and passed away. Mindy's biggest struggle in her new home, besides trying to convince her dad to get a puppy, is making new friends at her school. While eating some traditional Korean food, Mindy ends up turning her peers' curiosity about her food into a way to meet people and make some money. Although the latest scheme may end up costing her a new friendship.
In the second book, Mindy and her new friend, Sally, celebrate the Lunar New Year with Mindy's father. They attend Orlando's Lunar New Year Parade and join in the festivities, including a parade, Asian food, and later some Korean food and games. But when Mindy and Sally get too excited to see a balloon, they lose Mindy's father in the crowd. Mindy was so excited to join in the festivities but will she find her dad in time to still enjoy the day?
I like that this series is sharing Korean traditions and cultures with readers. With the series coming in at under 100 pages, this will be a perfect series for readers who are still working on their reading stamina but are ready to try chapter books. Hand this to readers of the Frankie Sparks series or Ellie May series.
Stella Díaz Never Gives Up
by Angela Dominguez
I fell in love with Stella a couple of years ago, and I'm so glad to see her return! Stella is a character we can all fall in love with - and in fact, many students did as part of the Global Read Aloud! Now all of those readers have a new book to add to their TBR lists!
Stella's new project involves doing something around her passion - which she has discovered is saving marine animals! When she's older she wants to be a marine biologist, but in the meantime, she's figuring out what she can do now. After a visit to the Pacific Ocean when visiting her family in Mexico, and then going to a week long camp at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Stella is determined to figure out how she can help save the oceans. With help from new and old friends, and even from her brother - who seems to have no time for Stella now that he's a teenager - Stella learns about ways we can help reduce our plastic use that will make a big impact on ocean life.
The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane
written by Nikki Shannon Smith
illustrated by Mari Lobo
This is a new series from Capstone Publishing. This first book in the series introduces us to Azaleah and her family. She lives with her mom, who owns a restaurant, and her dad, who is a lawyer. Azaleah is the middle sibling. Her big sister, Nia, is getting ready for her school play and her little sister, Tiana, tends to aggravate Azaleah! Right now Azaleah wants nothing more than to use her weekend to work on her extra-credit diorama of tigers, like the ones she saw on her class field trip to the National Zoo. But Tiana needs Azaleah's help to solve a big mystery - her stuffie is missing and she neeeeeeds it! Readers will understand what it's like to just want to do your own thing but at the same time want to help out.
The problem in this story is written as a mystery so I'm interested in knowing if that's how the rest of the series will be or if it will mix things up.
Full color illustrations and it comes in at just over 100 pages. Ideas at the end of the book that go along with the story. This is a nice stepping stone up from Capstone's Yasmin and Saadiq series.
Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet
written by Zanib Mian
illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik
If you haven't noticed already, there is a lack of boy characters in transitional chapter books. Especially boys of color. There are some out there, but many more feature girl characters. While I'm not saying we need books for boys, I am saying boys should see themselves as characters within the pages of books. Thrilled to have this series come our way.
Omar has just moved with his family (mom, dad, older sister, younger brother) to a new home which means a new school. He's nervous, but lucky for him he finds a great friend in Charlie. But his accidental trouble magnet also draws him to class troublemaker, Daniel. Omar does his best to stay away but of course he's in the same group as him for a school trip.
This book takes place around Ramadan and celebrates the traditions and food and names the days that are traditionally celebrated. Love that this is being celebrated in more and more books!
I'm excited that this will be a series. It's already a series in the author's native London and has earned some accolades there. Excited to hand it to readers here!
Hope some of these books will be perfect for your readers!