Here we round up new and forthcoming children’s titles including a theater-infused YA novel, a novel about a teen nursing a broken heart, a picture book about packing alpacas, a book of the childhood stories of influential children’s illustrators, and more.
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99; ISBN 978-0-06-264383-4. Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) centers a close friendship in this theater-infused novel that swaps chapters for scenes. Best friends Kate Garfield, who is Jewish and white, and Anderson Walker, who is Black, have lots in common: they’re neighbors in an Atlanta suburb who both live for theater and tend to fall for the same guy each summer, despite having “no game.” The book earned a starred review from PW.
The Key to You and Me by Jaye Robin Brown. HarperTeen, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-282458-5. When white, openly queer Piper Kitt has her heart broken seven weeks prior to the start of the novel, the pining Olympic dressage hopeful decides to flee Massachusetts for a summer in Harmon, N.C., “a haven for retirees from colder places and the horse show elite,” in this YA novel.
The Alpactory: Ready, Pack, Go! by Ruth Chan. HarperCollins, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-290951-0. In this picture book, the Alpactory promises to assuage new-experience anxieties with a crack alpaca team that stuffs suitcases, backpacks, and duffels with items that anticipate every possibility, from homesickness-fighting mementos to clothes for each weather pattern and activity.
Before They Were Artists: Famous Illustrators as Kids by Elizabeth Haidle. Etch, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-328-80154-8. Illustrated capsule childhood biographies of Wanda Gág, Tove Jansson, Hayao Miyazaki, Yuyi Morales, Jerry Pinkney, and Maurice Sendak offer illuminating answers to Haidle’s framing question: “What makes an illustrator?”
Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff. Dial, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-5931-1115-4. In this gently paced debut novel by Lukoff (When Aidan Became a Brother), 11-year-old Bug, a transgender boy, is having a difficult summer. The book earned a starred review from PW.
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-250-22958-8. Crafting a suspenseful, atmospheric historical mystery, Hur (The Silence of Bones) explores women’s lack of bodily agency in 13th-century Korea.
How to Save a Queendom by Jessica Lawson. Simon & Schuster, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5344-1434-1. In this high-energy middle grade fantasy novel, a 12-year-old orphan helps save the Queen.
The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art by Cynthia Levinson, illus. by Evan Turk. Abrams, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-4197-4130-2. This profile of Jewish artist and activist Ben Shahn, who emigrated from Lithuania to America in 1906, highlights the threads of compassion and social justice that ran through his work. The picture book biography earned a starred review from PW.
In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens. S&S/McElderry, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-5344-8050-6. The royal family of Harth has always kept Prince Taliesin’s magic out of the public eye, but now that Tal’s 16, it’s time for his coming-of-age tour—he’ll see the kingdom and have a little fun before taking on official duties. His plans change when he meets a handsome, mysterious scoundrel.
The Republic of Birds by Jessica Miller. Amulet, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-4197-3675-9. Miller (Elizabeth and Zenobia) crafts a Russian folklore–infused tale, augmented by excerpts from mythical history books about a 12-year-old girl who has designs on being a cartographer.
Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope by Jodie Patterson, illus. by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow. Crown, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-12363-8. This picture book companion to activist Patterson’s adult memoir The Bold World centers her transgender son Penelope’s coming-out journey, shortly before he turned five.
She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen. Roaring Brook, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-250-20915-3. Quindlen (Late to the Party) offers a queer refresh of multiple romance genre standbys in this YA novel set beside a basketball court: enemies to friends, fake dating, sports romance, and surmounting a broken heart.
Saint Spotting by Chris Raschka. Eerdmans, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-8028-5521-3. This personal iconography in the form of a picture book, presented with honesty about the emotions some of the images elicit, offers a gift to families who want to know more about the renderings and stories of saints.
Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart. HarperTeen, $18.99; ISBN 978-0-06-294598-3. Ancestral magic radiates throughout Smart’s Jamaican folklore–inspired YA debut, a dual narrative driven by grief and revenge.
Wood Could by Tiffany Stone, illus. by Mike Lowery. Dial, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-7352-3081-1. In a loose conceptual follow-up to the creators’ picture book Knot Cannot, Wood is sleeping like the log he is (beside a sign that reads “DO NOT DISTURB! THIS MEANS YOU!”) when a brown-skinned girl enters the forest and becomes determined to cast Wood as her partner in pretend play.
Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva. Scholastic Press, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-338-63092-3. Moving to Isla Pag-Ibig from Marikina City in Metro Manila, Filipina Jolina Beatrice Bagayan, 12, starts an apprenticeship with her Lolo Sebyo as an arbularyo, or faith healer. Villanueva (My Fate According to the Butterfly) seamlessly blends Filipino mysticism and culture with themes of internalized racism, classism, and homophobia in this middle grade novel with interwoven Tagalog throughout.
The Stars Beckoned: Edward White’s Amazing Walk in Space by Candy Wellins, illus. by Courtney Dawson. Philomel, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-11804-7. A bouncy rhyme scheme distinguishes this picture book biography of Edward White, “the first American to walk in space,” on June 3, 1965.
For more children’s and YA titles on sale throughout the month of April, check out PW’s full On-Sale Calendar.