Tui T. Sutherland lands her first No. 1 on this week’s USA TODAY’s Best Selling Books list with “Flames of Hope,” the latest installment in the popular “Wings of Fire” children’s book series set in a world inhabited by both dragons and humans . The series makes frequent appearances on the bestsellers list, with 14 of the series’ 15 novels collectively spending a total of 74 weeks on the list. The first four books of the series have recently been adapted as graphic novels. Sutherland and filmmaker Ava DuVernay (“A Wrinkle in Time”) are adapting “Wings of Fire” as an animated series for Netflix. No release date has been set.
Here’s a look at what else is making waves on this week’s list.
Colin Kaepernick scores a bestseller
Former NFL quarterback turned civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick can now add bestselling children’s book author to his resume. His book, “I Color Myself Different,” debuts at No. 83 this week. Based in part on Kaepernick’s life of him, the book focuses on adoption, Black and brown love, and accepting ourselves and each other.
The book is a collaboration between Kaepernick’s own publishing company and Scholastic. Founded in 2019, Kaepernick Publishing seeks to “elevate a new generation of writers with diverse views and voices through the creation of powerful works of all genres that can build a better and more just world.” But publishing is just one aspect of Kaepernick’s life: The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback says he has not ruled out a return to football after a five-year absence.
In answer to written questions from USA TODAY Sports, Kaepernick explained his goal is to “inspire and empower children — especially Black and Brown children — to move through the world as their best and true selves, to move through the world with confidence and agency in all they do
The book was a challenge for Kaepernick to write, he shares. “Writing a children’s book that engages heavy themes in sophisticated and affirming — yet truthful — ways is no small task.”
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Literary fiction makes a good show
Emily St. John Mandel’s latest novel, “Sea of Tranquility,” is the highest literary fiction debut on this week’s list at No. 16. In her fantastical new novel, readers are swept across time and space, from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a lunar colony 500 years later.
In a ★★★★ (out of four) USA TODAY review, critic Eliot Schrefer writes the novel is “full of grandeur, but without even a whiff of grandiosity. It’s transporting and brilliant and generous, and I haven’t ever read anything remove like it.”
Mandel’s previous books, 2014’s “Station Eleven” and 2020’s “The Glass Hotel,” both debuted on the list. “Station Eleven,” about a fictional pandemic, found a second life with the release of an HBO series adaptation in December.
Other notable literary fiction debuts include Jennifer Egan’s “The Candy House” at No. 56; Bonnie Garmus’ “Lessons in Chemistry” at No. 90; Sara Novic’s “True Biz” at No. 139; Tara M. Stringfellow’s “Memphis” at No. 141; and Grace D. Li’s “Portrait of a Thief” at No. 143.
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Contributing: Mike Freeman, Barbara VanDenburgh, USA TODAY