The Write Stuff: The Best Fall Books For Kids From NYC Authors

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This is a literary town, and not just for adults. NYC is home to not only many amazing children’s book authors and illustrators, but also spirited independent bookstores that sell — and support — their work. Read on to see some of the new fall releases for kids from local writers and illustrators we’re excited about. And don’t forget!: The Brooklyn Book Festival returns as a hybrid event with in-person and online programming from September 26 to October 4. Children’s Day is October 2, and is packed with events at which kids can meet authors and artists for kids of all ages—even some of the people below!

photo: Harper Collins

Major Makes History: From the Shelter to the White House 

From the mind that brought you New York Times best-selling bunny Marlon Bundo (and other animals advocating things like kindness and equity) comes the tale of President Biden’s friendship with his German shepherd, Major, the first shelter dog in the White House. Written by Jill Twiss and illustrated by Maribel Lechuga, the book is told in Major's voice, and is filled with Twiss’ signature humor and heart. Bonus: this picture book for ages four to eight also includes back matter about past presidential pets and information on adopting shelter animals. 

Release date: Sept. 28, 2021
$18.99
Buy it!

photo: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Nina: A Story of Nina Simone

Queens-based author Traci N. Todd and renowned illustrator Christian Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street) have collaborated on the first-ever American picture book biography of legend Nina Simone. This vibrant and illuminating book tells the story of little Eunice who grew up to become the acclaimed singer Nina Simone and her bold, defiant, and exultant legacy.

Release date September 14, 2021
$18.99
Buy it!

photo: Clarion Books

The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish

The latest in the New York Times best-selling series from Karina Yan Glaser, this book for kids ages eight to 12 follows a Harlem family as they try to find the perfect 40th birthday present for dad. Along the way, they learn a lot more about their mysterious grandparents. The fun and funny tale all goes down in Harlem, the NYC neighborhood Glaser calls home. 

Release date Sept. 21, 2021
$16.99
Buy it!

photo: Enchanted Lion Books

Make Meatballs Sing

Writer Matthew Burgess and illustrator Kara Kramer (both Brooklyn residents) tell the story of artist, nun, educator and activist Corita Kent in this biography for ages six to 12. Made in close collaboration with the Corita Art Center,  it includes reproductions of her colorful works, a chronology, and author and illustrator notes.

Release date Sept. 7, 2021
$18.95
Buy it!

photo: Scholastic

KALEIDOSCOPE

Brian Selznick (author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck and more) is back with Kaleidoscope, a story of two people bound to each other through time and space, memory and dreams. At the center of their relationship is a mystery about the nature of grief and love which will look different to each reader. Selznick brings his masterful storytelling ability to the book, illuminating how even the wildest tales can help us in the hardest times. Recommended for ages 10 and up. 

Release date: September 21, 2021
$19.99
Buy it!

photo: Simon & Schuster

Vampenguin

On a Saturday morning, baby Dracula visits the zoo with his family, where baby Penguin lives with hers. But these intrepid young adventurers are not content with staying in their proper places. Baby Dracula slips into the Penguin House to spend the day eating, swimming, and hanging around, while baby Penguin waddles into the stroller to explore the rest of the zoo. Dracula’s family doesn’t even notice the switch—will they bring the right baby home? 


Release date July 2021
$17.99
Buy it!

photo: Brooklyn Book Festival

Pony

Author of the smash hit Wonder R. J. Palacio's latest is Pony, a coming-of-age adventure that explores what it means to be courageous. After a harrowing night, a boy sets out on a quest to rescue his father, with only a ghost as his companion and a mysterious pony as his guide. 

Release date September 28, 2021
$17.99
Buy it!

photo: Aladdin Paperbacks

Frankie & Bug

Set in the summer of 1987, this coming-of-age story is the debut middle-grade novel from best-selling author Gayle Forman. Bug's looking for someone to hang out with, but mom's busy and her brother is down on the boardwalk with his friends. The only one around is her neighbor's nephew Frankie, and she's less than thrilled. Over the course of the season, two become friends, helping each other learn about family, friendship, allyship, and finding your way in a complicated world. (P.S. the audio book is narrated by Stockard Channing!)

Release date: Oct. 12, 2021
$17.99
Buy it!

photo: Harper Collins

The Grandmaster's Daughter

For the kids who spend a lot of time at the dojo (or watching Cobra Kai), check out this story of imagination and determination from Dan-ah Kim. A picture book featuring a young, female black belt, The Grandmaster’s Daughter is a celebration of teamwork and friendship for fans of The Three Ninja Pigs and Hello, Ninja.

Release date November 9, 2021 
$18.99
Buy it!

photo: Simon & Schuster

Have You Seen Gordon?

The narrator wants to play hide and seek with Gordon and the reader, but kooky Gordon just wants to stand out. This madcap, fourth-wall–breaking picture book from writer Adam Jay Epstein and illustrator Ruth Chan is packed with humor and full, zany spreads with details kids will love to point out time and again. Recommended for kids ages four to eight. 

Note: Chan will be participating in the Brooklyn Book Festival's popular illustrator draw-off event, which is always a good time!

Release date September 28, 2021
$17.99 
Buy it!

photo: Harper Collins

Looking for A Jumbie

Do you believe in jumbies? Naya does, and she sets out to go find one. In this picture book for kids ages four to eight, New York Times bestselling author Tracey Baptiste takes readers on a fun, creepy romp through a forest filled with creatures from Caribbean folklore. Amber Ren provides illustrations. 

Release date September 9, 2021
$17.99
Buy it!

— Mimi O’Connor

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