What better way to celebrate the spring than with some of the biggest books of the season? This month we’ve got meditations on ancestry and nature, a bedtime story interweaving mythology and a tale of immigration, a discovery of the meaning of home, and many more.
Picture Books and Early Readers
Maria Gianferrari, illus. by Felicita Sala. Abrams, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4422-8. Ages 4–8.
In this poetic celebration of one of nature’s greatest creations, Gianferrari and illustrator Sala gently share the ways in which trees can inspire us to be better people. The book received a starred review from PW.
Alexandra Penfold, illus. by Suzanne Kaufman. Knopf, $18.99 (42p) ISBN 978-0-525-57974-8. Ages 4–8.
Travis Jonker, illus. by Grant Snider. Abrams, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4423-5.
In this picture book about an iceberg who breaks off from his parents, a whole new existence opens up for Blue, offering more adventures, new friends, and a gratifying conclusion. Animating the water cycle is a project that Jonker takes on with humor, drama, and even momentary twinges of fear. The book earned a starred review in PW book.
Bruce Handy, illus. by Hyewon Yum. Enchanted Lion, $18.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-59270-351-7. Ages 5–8.
With this loose collection of turnabouts, Handy and Yum meditate on the way moments of disgrace, loss, and worry can resolve into something better. The book received a starred review from PW.
Daisy Hirst. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1276-1. Ages 2–5.
Whether sending toy animals on a journey around a model track or driving a cardboard-box locomotive, the puppy in Hirst’s picture book really likes trains. The book received a starred review from PW.
Jessica Young, illus. by Rafael López. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-45328-8. Ages 4–8.
This story celebrates the parent-and-child bond in its many forms and offers gentle assurance of love to last a lifetime. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with López here.
Pablo Bernasconi, trans. from the Spanish by Evelia Romano. Penny Candy, $16.95 (72p) ISBN 978-1-73422-592-1. Ages 9 and up.
Bernasconi invites kids and adults to use their imaginations to consider the concept of infinity, and a universe where the possibilities are endless. The book received a starred review from PW.
Shannon Hale, illus. by LeUyen Pham. Abrams, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5091-5. Ages 4–8.
This picture book by collaborators Hale and Pham (Real Friends) ostensibly starts out as a cute tale of pretend play, and transforms into something much more: a celebration of claiming and naming one’s identity and having it affirmed by others—even if it’s a community of two. The book earned a starred review from PW.
Scott Riley, illus. by Nguyen Quang and Kim Lien. Millbrook, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5415-7915-6. Ages 8–9.
After watching the World Cup on television, a group of Thai boys is inspired to form their own team. But on the island of Koh Panyee, in a village built on stilts, there is no open space. Everything changes when the teens join together to build their very own floating soccer field. The book received a starred review from PW.
Shelly Anand, illus. by Nabi H. Ali. Kokila, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-984815-65-1. Ages 4–8.
Laxmi never paid much attention to the tiny hairs above her lip. That is until one day her friends point out that her whiskers would make her the perfect cat. With her parents’ help, Laxmi learns to accept herself as she is. It’s a joyfully affirmative picture book with a winning first-person point of view. The book received a starred review from PW.
Richard Ho, illus. by Jessica Lanan. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-23135-2. Ages 3–6.
Not all packages make it to where they’re meant to go. Readers can follow one package that loses its way in this friendship tale showing how distance can’t always keep us apart. The book received a starred review from PW.
Steven Weinberg. Chronicle, $14.99 (76p) ISBN 978-1-4521-8180-6. Ages 6–9.
This engaging early chapter book uses a loose diary structure to capture episodes in a day in the life of a middle child. Not tough enough for the older brother but too rambunctious for the younger sister, an unnamed and subtly ungendered diarist feels “attacked from both sides.” The book received a starred review from PW.
Sam McBratney, illus. by Linda Ólafsdóttir. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1281-5. Ages 3–7.
When a girl named Mindi says she is being visited by a big goose, her parents try everything they can to drive it away. But some outside assistance is warranted from their friend Austen, a farmer who knows what is needed to help Mindi turn her mind to something new. The book received a starred review from PW.
Gillian Sze, illus. by Sue Todd. Orca, $10.95 (20p) ISBN 978-1-4598-2481-2. Ages up to 2.
A child comes in from picking flowers as the creatures around their home all settle down for the evening. Songbirds curl against their mothers’ sides and the house slumps and sighs as times slows. The book received a starred review from PW.
Christina Soontornvat, illus. by Lauren Castillo. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-17632-6. Ages 3–7.
Merra, Locky, Roozle, Finn, and little Jory love their ramble shamble house. It’s a lot of work taking care of the garden, the chickens, and themselves, but they all pitch in to make it easier. When they come across a picture of a “proper” house in a book, they start wondering if their own home is good enough. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with 2021 Newbery and Sibert Honoree Soontornvat.
Katey Howes, illus. by Jess Engle. Carolrhoda, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5415-9798-3. Ages 7–8.
A lovebird named Rissy is seen as an anomaly for repeatedly refusing the kisses of her affectionate neighbors, family, and friends, which make her feel “worried, weird, and wrong.” Rissy wonders if she will ever find belonging if she can’t accept others’ smooches, until her mother imparts a valuable truth. The book received a starred review from PW.
Atinuke, illus. by Onyinye Iwu. Candlewick, $15.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1127-6. Ages 7–9.
In this winning trio of stories, Atinuke introduces readers to counting whiz Tola, who lives with her family in “a run-down block of apartments in the megacity of Lagos, in the country of Nigeria.” Though “everybody calls her Too Small Tola, which makes her feel too-too small,” Tola is eager to prove herself. The book received a starred review from PW.
Andrea Wang, illus. by Jason Chin. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4624-7. Ages 4–8.
Driving through Ohio, a girl’s parents stop the car when they spot watercress growing wild by the side of the road. The family wades into the muck to collect as much as they can. First, she’s embarrassed. But when her mother shares a story of her family’s time in China, the girl learns to appreciate what they foraged. The book received a starred review from PW. See our In Conversation with Wang and Chin.
Dave Eggers, illus. by Woodrow White. Chronicle, $18.99 (44p) ISBN 978-1-4521-8393-0. Ages 5–8.
When Grandma comes to visit and a boy’s parents leave, the rules of the house—and the world—change. Grandson and grandmother transform into jaguars and lose themselves in an exhilarating adventure. The book received a starred review from PW.
Micha Archer. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-10964-9. Ages 3–7.
When two curious kids embark on a “wonder walk,” they let their imaginations soar as they look at the world in a new light. The book received a starred review from PW.
Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter. Graphix, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-338-56890-5. Ages 8–12.
At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents and her younger brothers are always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy is the answer. But when she goes to select one, she finds out she’s allergic to anything with fur. Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet?
Hena Khan. Salaam Reads, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5344-5988-5. Ages 8–12.
In this companion novel to Amina’s Voice, it is the last few days of vacation in Pakistan and Amina is excited to share her experience with her friends back home. But her friends don’t seem interested. When she decides to do a presentation on Pakistani hero Malala Yousafzai, her classmates focus on the worst parts of the story. Amina wonders how she can share the beauty of Pakistan when no one wants to listen. See our q&a with Khan.
Holly Goldberg Sloan. Dial, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2994-5. Ages 10 and up.
It’s been almost a year since Sila’s mother traveled to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States. The long separation is almost impossible for Sila. But things change when she meets an old man who previously won the lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant.
Elana K. Arnold. Walden Pond, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-293706-3. Ages 8–12.
Alder has always lived in his cozy home in Southern California with a comforting walnut tree in between his house and the neighbor’s. But when a new family with an annoying girl his age, Oak, moves in and the tree is unexpectedly cut down, they can’t imagine ever becoming friends. Then the two of them discover a series of connections between them that they can’t make sense of—not without each other. The book received a starred review from PW.
Linda Sue Park, illus. by Robert Sae-Heng. Clarion, $16.99 (72p) ISBN 978-1-328-51513-1. Ages 8–12.
When a teacher asks her class what one thing they would save in an emergency, some students know the answer right away. Others come to their decisions more slowly. A lively dialogue ensues as the students discover unexpected facets of one another, and themselves. The book received a starred review from PW.
Lisa Fipps. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-9848-1450-0. Ages 10 and up.
Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules to escape criticism and judgment. Fortunately, Ellie has allies who buoy her, inspiring her to cast aside her rules and unapologetically be her own self. The book received a starred review from PW.
Gillian McDunn. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0538-5. Ages 8–11.
Annie has always been the odd one out in her family. When Annie lands in hot water, she must make amends by watching her elderly neighbor Gloria’s dog. As Annie begins to connect with Gloria, it becomes clear that the woman won’t be able to live on her own for much longer. The book received a starred review from PW.
Cookie Hiponia Everman. Dial, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-593-11220-5. Ages 10 and up.
Stella and Luna know that their mother came from the Philippines when she was a child. One night they ask her to tell them her story. As they get ready for bed, their Mama spins two tales: that of her youth as a strong-willed middle child and immigrant; and that of the life of Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god. The book received a starred review from PW.
Martin Stewart. Viking, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-11613-5. Ages 8–12.
In a city overrun by war, Luka doesn’t have time for games. When his little sister makes him promise to care for her so-called faeries as she’s sent to escape the air raids, Luka quickly goes back on his word. He soon finds out that faeries are not only real but more terrifying than he imagined. The book received a starred review from PW.
Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. by Julia Iredale. Candlewick, $22.99 (544p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0122-2. Ages 10–14.
Bound by destiny, Melisto and Rhaskos—Amber and Clay—never meet in the flesh. By the time they do, one of them is a ghost. It takes an army of snarky gods and fearsome goddesses, slaves and masters, mothers and philosophers to help shape their story. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with Schlitz here.
Angeline Boulley. Holt, $18.99 (496p) ISBN 978-1-250-76656-4. Ages 14 and up.
A Native teen goes undercover to root out the crime and corruption threatening her community, tracking down criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine. But the deceptions and deaths keep piling up, and soon the threat strikes too close to home. The book received a starred review from PW. See our interview with Boulley on her highly anticipated debut.
Safia Elhillo. Make Me a World, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-59317705-1. Ages 12 and up.
Muslim 14-year-old Nima doesn’t feel understood. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself. Until she doesn’t. As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, and the life Nima has. The book received a starred review from PW.
Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan. Random House Graphic, $23.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-984893-14-7. Ages 14 and up.
Covering relationships, friendships, gender, sexuality, anatomy, body image, safe sex, and more, Moen and Nolan aim to offer a graphic novel-style handbook for every teen. The book received a starred review from PW.
Andrea Tang. Razorbill, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-9848-3512-3. Ages 12 and up.
In this standalone novel set 15 years after Prudence Wu took flight in Rebelwing, a new generation of young pilots challenge corruption, competition, and more dangerous mechs than ever, as they redefine what it means to be a revolutionary.
David Elliott, illus. by Rovina Cai. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-35825-211-5. Ages 14 and up.
When Robyn and his brothers are turned into ravens through the work of an unlucky curse, a sister is their only hope to become human again. Though she’s never met her brothers, April will stop at nothing to restore their humanity. But Robyn feels a greater affinity to air than to the earth-bound lives of his family. The book received a starred review from PW.
Mary H.K. Choi. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4600-7. Age 14 and up.
Sisters Jayne and June Baek are nothing alike. Once thick as thieves, these sisters who moved from Seoul to San Antonio to New York together now don’t want anything to do with each other. That is, until June gets cancer and Jayne becomes the only one who can help her. The book received a starred review from PW.