Refresh Your Shelf: New Kids & YA

Our final Refresh Your Shelf picks are for the littles and young adult readers. Add these recently-released kids and YA titles to your reading lists: four books with themes of diversity, friendship and self-acceptance, and a handy guide for enhancing communication skills.


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Dragging Mason County by Curtis Campbell (Annick Press)

The cover of Dragging Mason County by Curtis Campbell

A funny, and touching debut on small-town queer life that embraces the magic of drag—perfect for those who can’t get enough of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Pumpkin.

The story’s protagonist Peter Thompkin is in serious need of a public image makeover after a showdown with another queer kid in his high school has rumours swirling by the day. So when his BFF Alan, aka the teen drag sensation Aggie Culture, is throwing Mason County’s first-ever Drag Extravaganza, Peter jumps in to help produce the show with hopes that people will see he’s not a self-hating gay kid. Little does he know, he’ll be dealing with furious guard dogs, even angrier bigots, and one seriously wound-up church lady. Dragging Mason County is a debut YA that celebrates queer community, self-acceptance, and friendship.

Find Dragging Mason County here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

More Than Words:

Navigating the Complex World of Communication

by Valerie Sherrard and Natalie Hyde

(Cormorant Books/Dancing Cat)

The cover of More Than Words by Valerie Sherrard and Natalie Hyde

A concise, illustrated guide for young people to enhance their communication skills and boost confidence, More Than Words was created in response to the decline in communication skills among youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics include verbal and non-verbal communication, the importance of grammar, active listening, and social media etiquette. Quick tips and chapter summaries are provided, complemented by comic strip-style illustrations and a communication-related glossary at the end.

Find More Than Words here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

Nipugtug by Emma Metallic, illustrated by Natalie Laurin

(Kegedonce Press)

The cover of Nipugtug by Emma Metallic, illustrated by Natalie Laurin

Embark on a whimsical journey in Nipugtug (In the Forest, pronounced “nee-book-dook”) with A’le, a spirited young Mi’gmaw woman, as she snowshoes through the forest during various stages of her life. On her journeys, various animals and trees guide her through the challenging and nourishing emotions of learning her Mi’gmaw language. Rooted in her deep connection with her community of Listuguj, Gespe’gewa’gi, A’le navigates the memories tied to her language and culture. This is a gorgeous and delightful book written in both Mi’gmaw and English for language-learners between 7-11, and beyond.

Find Nipugtug here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

How to be Found by Emily Pohl-Weary (Arsenal Pulp Press)

The cover of How to Be Found by Emily Pohl-Weary.

Emily Pohl-Weary’s newest YA novel is a gripping story about the power of friendship and chosen family. 

Inner-city teens Michie and Trissa are best friends who despite growing up together under similar circumstances couldn’t be more different: Michie’s an introvert obsessed with a book called A Girl’s Guide to Murder, and Trissa is a girl who likes to party. When Trissa mysteriously disappears, Michie, fueled by determination and assisted by her longtime crush Anwar, dives into a perilous search. Navigating through a luxury nightclub, dark alleys, and the online sex industry, Michie unravels Trissa’s secrets while confronting shady characters and a city haunted by a serial killer.

Ages 14 and up.

Find How to be Found here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

Pirate Glitterbeard by Oksanna & Larissa Crawley

(Rebel Mountain Press)

Pirate Glitterbeard

With whimsical characters and vibrant illustrations, Pirate Glitterbeard is a sweet celebration of being oneself for children ages 4-6.

Pirate Glitterbeard, lover of all things pink and glittery, sets sail with his crew on the Heart’s Desire. In this lively sea adventure, the captain and his eccentric crew seek the legendary Wikkie-Tikkie meat pies as their treasure. But beware! The wicked Pirate Squidlips and her ship, The Rotten Turnip, approach…oh no!

Find Pirate Glitterbeard here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

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Check out more Refresh Your Shelf picks here.