Drawn from PW’s Spring Children’s Announcements Issue, here are our editors’ selections for 18 children’s and young adult books that can’t arrive soon enough. And check out our picks for this season’s most anticipated adult books as well.
Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin, illus. by Brian Selznick (Scholastic Press, Feb.) - Selznick loves to bend format and genre, and this hybrid picture book/chapter book/graphic narrative—created with his husband, Serlin—is no different. Readers follow Baby Monkey as he solves four robberies—while still leaving time for important things like eating snacks and putting on pants.
Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel (Chronicle, Mar.) - Fresh off his Caldecott Honor for They All Saw a Cat, Wenzel returns with an animal tale of a different kind, a gentle reminder that many of Earth’s creatures need our protection, told through spare rhymes and playful portraits.
Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall (Little, Brown, Apr.) - In Blackall’s first solo outing since 2014’s The Baby Tree, the Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator of Finding Winnie traces the idiosyncratic life and work of a lighthouse keeper and his growing family, until the time that his services are no longer needed.
Islandborn by Junot Díaz, illus. by Leo Espinosa (Dial, Mar.) - The author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This Is How You Lose Her makes his first foray into children’s books with the story of a girl named Lola, who turns to members of her community to better understand the island home on which she was born but that she herself has no memories of.
She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History by Chelsea Clinton, illus. by Alexandra Boiger (Philomel, Mar.) - Building on the success of 2017’s She Persisted, which profiled 13 trailblazing American women, Clinton goes global, highlighting the accomplishments of a diverse group of women that includes Marie Curie, Wangari Maathai, J.K. Rowling, and Malala Yousafzai.
They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki (Abrams, Mar.) - Tamaki—co-creator of the Caldecott and Printz Honor–winning This One Summer—presents her first picture book this spring, about a girl whose contemplations of nature lead her to ask questions, query the things she’s been told, and take careful notice of the world around her.
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (Disney-Hyperion, Mar.) - This first book in the Pandava series kicks off the Rick Riordan Presents publishing program, which aims to tell stories drawn from underrepresented cultures, myths, and voices. Balancing action and comedy, Chokshi introduces 12-year-old Aru, who learns that she’s the reincarnation of one of five Pandava brothers after she accidentally releases a demon who could bring about the end of all things.
The Creature of the Pines by Adam Gidwitz, illus. by Hatem Aly (Dutton, Apr.) - Gidwitz and Aly, whose The Inquisitor’s Tale took home a Newbery Honor, have partnered with the founders of the creative studio Mixtape Club to launch the Unicorn Rescue Society series. In this first outing, students Elliot and Uchenna discover the eponymous society, which works to protect the world’s mythological creatures.
New Shoes by Sara Varon (First Second, Mar.) - Acclaimed comics creator Varon, a former Sendak Fellow, highlights the flora and fauna of South America (Guyana, specifically) in the entertaining story of a donkey shoemaker who goes to great lengths to satisfy his new celebrity client: calypso singer Miss Manatee.
The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall (Knopf, May) - It’s been three years since readers last saw the Penderwicks siblings, in 2015’s The Penderwicks in Spring. In their fifth and final story, baby sister Lydia is now 11 years old, and her older sisters are returning to Arundel: someone is getting married.
Rebound by Kwame Alexander (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apr.) - Alexander rewinds the shot clock in this prequel to The Crossover, as he gives readers a look at the basketball-playing youth of Chuck Bell—the father of the twins who starred in his Newbery Medal–winning novel-in-verse.
The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown (Little, Brown, Mar.) - Roz the robot is back in this sequel to Brown’s bestselling novel, The Wild Robot. In that book, Roz struggled to fit in among the animal inhabitants of a remote jungle island, but now that Roz is off the island, a fresh set of challenges await.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Holt, Mar.) - This first book in the Orïsha Legacy trilogy marks a major debut for Adeyemi; acquired in a seven-figure deal, it’s a West African–inspired fantasy set in a world into which magic, long banished, may be returning.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Apr.) - Ireland transports readers to an altered version of America’s past, in which the Civil War ended when the dead inexplicably returned to the life as shambling hordes. Her heroine, Jane McKeene, has been trained to exterminate the undead, but her own life takes an unexpected turn when she uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy.
I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman (Viking, Mar.) - The lives of three strangers—a singer who has lost her voice, a gay Muslim teen struggling with a breakup, and a newcomer to New York City—collide in a novel from the bestselling author of If I Stay, set over a single day and rotating among their perspectives.
Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, illus. by Emily Carroll (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Feb.) - Almost 20 years after its original publication, Anderson’s first novel of silence and sexual abuse, a National Book Award Finalist, returns as a graphic novel, adapted by Anderson and featuring artwork by Through the Woods illustrator Carroll.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, May) - Thomas’s first novel, The Hate U Give, spent most of 2017 on the New York Times bestseller list, so all eyes will be on her sophomore outing, which is set in the same neighborhood as the previous book and focuses on an aspiring young rapper.
War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (HarperTeen, May) - The bestselling series that began with 2014’s Red Queen comes to an end in this fourth novel, which sees Aveyard’s lightning-powered heroine, Mare Barrow, seeking to overthrow the kingdom of Norta and secure freedom for her fellow Reds.