Books by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

LIKE VANESSA by Tami Charles
Released: March 13, 2018

"This debut is a treasure: a gift to every middle school girl who ever felt unpretty, unloved, and trapped by her circumstances. (Fiction. 10-14)"
In pursuit of her dreams, Vanessa becomes an unlikely contestant in her middle school's first-ever pageant. Read full book review >
GRANDMA'S PURSE by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 9, 2018

"The magic of grandparents is undeniable, and this book is an excellent treat for grandkids to share with their own grandmas and grandpas, or the other way around. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Treasure could be hiding in the most surprising places. Read full book review >
A NIGHT OUT WITH MAMA by Quvenzhané Wallis
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 3, 2017

"As (at 9) the youngest contender to date for an Academy Award best actress prize, Wallis narrates a story well worth reading and sharing. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Few brown girls (and even few brown women) have ever been able to tell a story like this. Read full book review >
JADA JONES, ROCK STAR by Kelly Starling Lyons
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 19, 2017

"Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere. (Fiction. 6-8)"
Easy to read and sprinkled with science, a contemporary tale of friendship, loss, acceptance, and learning how to be who you are and rock what you've got. Read full book review >
HANNAH SPARKLES by Robin Mellom
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2017

"A serviceable title on friendship. (Picture book. 5-7)"
Do friends always have to enjoy the same activities? Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"A vivid reminder that it took a community to fight segregation and the community responded. (author's note, timeline, recipe, sources) (Informational picture book. 7-10)"
Readers can decide whether, were they in Audrey's shoes, they would make the same dangerous decision. Read full book review >
MARY HAD A LITTLE GLAM by Tammi Sauer
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Welcome, Mary! We hope to see you again. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Pinkalicious + Fancy Nancy + Eloise = Mary, the diminutive, precocious, brown-skinned queen of glam. Read full book review >
A BIRTHDAY CAKE FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON by Ramin Ganeshram
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"Children whose grown-ups do not address the material in the notes with them will be left with a sorely incomplete understanding of both the protagonists' lives and slavery itself. (recipe) (Picture book. 5-8)"
Delia's papa, Hercules, faces a seemingly insurmountable challenge: how to bake a birthday cake for his master, President George Washington, without sugar? Read full book review >
SEWING STORIES by Barbara Herkert
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Harriet Powers: an artist worth knowing. (author's notes, bibliography, quilt explanations) (Picture book. 5-8)"
The story of a little-known historical figure whose life was sewn together with quilts. Read full book review >
THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU by Amy Parker
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents and personalities. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)"
God's address to the Hebrew exiles from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah is repurposed in this cheery picture book that emphasizes children's future careers. Read full book review >
MY THREE BEST FRIENDS AND ME, ZULAY by Cari Best
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 13, 2015

"Blind and sighted kids alike will enjoy this cheery outing, which appropriately treats learning to use a white cane with the straightforwardness another might treat learning to ride a bike. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A glimpse at blindness, friendship and perseverance. Read full book review >
THANKSGIVING FOR EMILY ANN by Teresa Johnston
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 26, 2014

"While there are few books that even mention kids' complaints about the November holiday, the majority of Thanksgiving-themed books address gratitude much more meaningfully (and realistically). (Picture book. 3-5)"
A kid's perspective on Thanksgiving Day points out all the inconveniences of the holiday. Read full book review >
THE HULA HOOPIN' QUEEN by Thelma Lynne Godin
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2014

"A fine incentive to motivate couch potatoes young and old to move. (Picture book. 6-10)"
A lively intergenerational picture book that will send readers out to the sidewalk for a hoopin' good time. Read full book review >
WE SHALL OVERCOME by Debbie Levy
CHILDREN'S
Released: Dec. 17, 2013

"A slice of musical Americana celebrating community protest against injustice. (timeline, sources, recommended Web recordings, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-10)"
An inviting introduction to a spirited and spiritual anthem. Read full book review >
THE GIRL WHO HEARD COLORS by Marie Harris
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 26, 2013

"An engaging look at a fascinating difference in perception, for younger readers. (Picture book. 4-7)"
A little girl with synesthesia engages the world with all five senses, plus. Read full book review >
MISTER AND LADY DAY by Amy Novesky
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 18, 2013

"By highlighting Lady Day's affectionate relationship with Mister, Novesky and Newton invite readers to admire the illustrious singer in a sparkling new light. (author's note, website, adult bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)"
Using simple, reductive prose, this appreciation of jazz great Holiday focuses on the dogs in the singer's life. Read full book review >
EVERY LITTLE THING by Bob Marley
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2012

"A sweet elaboration of the original's reassuring message that 'every little thing is gonna be all right.' (afterword) (Picture book. 4-8)"
An effervescent adaptation of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds," with a skinny plotline supplied by the art and new themes and verses added by the songwriter's eldest daughter. Read full book review >
THINK BIG by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 3, 2012

"Short and peppy enough for plenty of encores—until it's time to go make art. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A bouncy, early-childhood answer to Glee shows a racially diverse classroom of kids eagerly preparing for a multifaceted art performance. Read full book review >
BABY FACES by Mallory Loehr
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 22, 2012

"This fails to bring life to the impressive real-life range of tots' mannerisms. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)"
There's not enough visual variation in these babies' faces to cause many smiles to break out. Read full book review >
ONE LOVE by Bob Marley
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 5, 2011

"Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)"
A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

"An inspiring, exciting introduction to avant-garde art and social commentary, this biography convinces young readers that art can exist, thrive and effect change outside in the real world. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-10)"
Multi-colored, multi-layered, multi-media illustrations trace the life of Tyree Guyton and his visionary artwork, which used reclaimed trash to turn a derelict Detroit street into community-activist art. Read full book review >
PRESENTING... TALLULAH by Tori Spelling
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 21, 2010

"Frankly, the other children seem more interesting. (Picture book. 7-9)"
This puzzling book makes for a confusing read. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2008

"This series kick-off will publish simultaneously with its second volume, Trivia Queen, 3rd Grade Supreme (ISBN: 978-0-545-01761-9). (Fiction. 7-10)"
African-American third-grader Ruby Booker is going to school with her three older and immensely popular brothers for the first time. Read full book review >