Indies Introduce - Top Ten Picks for 2021 Kids and Teen Book Debuts

Indies Introduce Kids Logo Text
Here is something indie bookstores do best - find and showcase undiscovered authors and compelling books. 
 
A panel of booksellers chose ten Kids Indies Introduce titles as the best of the Summer / Fall 2021 debuts.
 
I was so happy to represent Children's Book World as the chairman of this special committee. Our eight bookseller panel collectively read over fifty titles! We chose these ten debut books as the best books to share with our collective community of book lovers.  
- Brein Lopez, Manager of Children's Book World Los Angeles
 
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The Passing Playbook Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781984815408
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Dial Books - June 1st, 2021

“Isaac Fitzsimons has scored a goal for Trans Boy Joy. This teen rom-com set amid high school halls and soccer fields was a delight from start to finish. Explorations of identity, faith, friendship, family, and competition give every character a chance to grow and to shine.” – Brein Lopez, Children’s Book World, Los Angeles, CA


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Don't Hate the Player Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781547605026
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Bloomsbury YA - June 15th, 2021

Don’t Hate the Player follows Emilia, a chronic overachiever who moonlights as a competitive gamer. The romance in this is sweet and realistic and charming, and everything about this incredible debut novel makes me wildly excited for Alexis Nedd's whole career. - Abby Rauscher, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY
 
“I loved this book, I sometimes hated this book (in the way you really love to), and I enjoyed the entire ride. With power-gamer Emilia leading a double life as a professional e-sportswoman and Ivy-bound good daughter, an old friend entering as a possible new flame, and high-stakes fantasy battle-royales this book is an achievement, pun intended. Snappy dialogue, funny physical comedy, and heartwarming romance are everything high school should be.” - Hannah Amrollahi, Bookworm of Omaha, Omaha, NE
 
“Reading this was just as entertaining as actually playing a 1v1 with your gaming crush — and then some.” - Cat Chapman, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL


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Me (Moth) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250780362
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Feiwel & Friends - August 17th, 2021

This is a must read book for teens and adults who love powerful verse and engaging characters. - Brein Lopez - Children's Book World Los Angeles
 
“Incredible. Poetic. Jaw dropping. It's hard to find the words to describe how amazing this book is. Two lost souls finding each other and themselves, paired with a heart-stopping ending you will never see coming. Just read this book.” - Kelsy April, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT and Savoy Bookshop & Cafe, Westerly, RI
 
“One of the most beautiful books I've ever read. The verses flow so smoothly. Each poem could stand on its own but together they make a heartbreakingly beautiful story of loss, grief, and finding one's self. Stunning debut!” - Kim Brock, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH


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Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781728234656
Availability: On Our Shelves Now or Recently
Published: Sourcebooks Young Readers - September 14th, 2021

“Alda P. Dobbs has gifted her future readers with a much needed Mexican and American history, brought to life vividly in the death-defying journey of Petra and her familia. This suspenseful and inspiring story of war, migration, and the determination of one young girl has left me excited for Petra’s future.” - Brein Lopez, Children’s Book World, Los Angeles, CA

“It is 1913. The revolution is burning through Mexico and 12-year-old Petra Luna’s father has been arrested, her mother has died, and her grandmother has decided they need to leave their home for safety in the north. This stunning story of bravery and loss (based on the author’s great-grandmother’s early life) is exciting and inspiring and way too close to what we are seeing today.” - René Kirkpatrick, University Book Store, Seattle, WA


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When We Make It Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780593324486
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Dial Books - September 21st, 2021

“Like a 21st century manifestation of the Nuyorican pionero poet Miguel Pinero, Elisabet Velasquez conjures her community to existence in a living, breathing narrative debut in verse that moved my soul. Her fiery literary voice is echoing in my mind still.” - Brein Lopez, Children’s Book World, Los Angeles, CA
 
“The extraordinary poetry of Elisabet Velasquez takes the reader through the streets Bushwick, Brooklyn. It’s a journey of energy, turning corners, facing roadblocks and finding paths. Sarai, her sister, and mother are almost always moving and survival is almost always on the line. Nothing is easy with her mother, but through it all Sarai keeps telling her story in this heart-breaking, heart-mending novel in verse. Her voice is powerful. Her story looks fragile but steel runs through it. Read it once, read it again, then look for more poetry by Velasquez!” - Connie Griffin, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM


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The Keeper of Night Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781335405661
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Inkyard Press - October 12th, 2021

“The world of soul collecting and the mythic monsters that rule the night are brought vividly to life in this debut by Kylie Lee Baker. Ren is a child of two disparate cultures of magic and mystery, but both worlds view her as an outsider. In a tale of haunting suspense, she must battle a host of demons and Death itself to prove her right to exist. Edge of your seat excitement.” - Brein Lopez, Children’s Book World, Los Angeles, CA

“What a vivid and chilling story! For the first time in my life, I was thrilled to be creeped out. Kylie Lee Baker has created this world based on Japanese mythology and it is terrifyingly good. Grab a flashlight, a blanket, and dive into this haunting tale.”  -Kim Brock, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH


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Barakah Beats Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338702064
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Scholastic Press - October 19th, 2021

“Maleeha Siddiqui has written a joyful debut that features a diverse cast of Muslim characters headlined by a superstar in 12-year-old Nimra. Whether at her Islamic school or navigating the hallways of her new secular school, Nimra is a groundbreaking girl who just wants to shine her light and share her passions, which include art, her faith, and friendship. I loved her and her friends as they gave each other the chance to be their best selves.” - Brein Lopez, Children’s Book World, Los Angeles, CA


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Manu: A Graphic Novel Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781338264197
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Graphix - November 2nd, 2021

“Kelly Fernández's debut middle grade graphic novel is a funny, friendship-filled adventure set at a convent/magic school in the Dominican Republic. Manu, Josefina, and their classmates will be a treat for all kids but especially for Latinx kids who may have dreamed about a magic school whose classmates looked like them. Manu's magic is mostly just being herself.” - Brein Lopez, Children’s Book World, Los Angeles, CA


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Neverforgotten Cover Image
By Alejandra Algorta, Aida Salazar (Translated by), Iván Rickenmann (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781646140947
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Levine Querido - October 26th, 2021

“Columbian poet Alejandra Algorta has authored a jewel of a book. From the first to the last line I was entranced by the story of Fabio, a young boy who lives every day to fly like a bird through the streets of Bogotá on his bicycle, leading a crew of friends behind him. Then, one day he forgets how to ride a bike and his soul comes crashing down. This is a beautiful and special story for young and old readers everywhere.”-Brein Lopez, Children’s Book World, Los Angeles
 
Neverforgotten is about a boy, a bicycle, a city. Movement. Growth. Transformation.  It’s a story that absorbs the reader, that through words and drawings carries us to Bogotá while at the same time brings us to our own thoughts and memories of moments when our lives shifted.” – Connie Griffin, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM


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Skin of the Sea Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593120941
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - November 2nd, 2021

“Natasha Bowen gives voice to the long established African and Carribean folk legends about merbeings and the goddess Yemoja in her fantastic debut, Skin of the Sea. A riveting folklore-fantasy that is rooted in the historic reality of the Euro-American trade of enslaved Africans.” – Brein Lopez, Children’s Book World, Los Angeles, CA