Here we round up new and forthcoming children’s titles including the travails of a food truck, a middle grader grappling with loss, a picture book about preserving memories, a witchy YA novel, and more.
Little Lunch Truck by Charles Beyl. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-250-25577-8. In his solo debut, Beyl’s digitized pencil drawings make Little Lunch Truck’s route fun to follow and cater to the fussiest truck fan, while the text exudes cheerful empathy for anyone who’s felt the urge to hang back in unfamiliar settings.
Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake. Little, Brown, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-316-53545-8. This middle grade novel tracing a family moving from town to town to escape the loss of a parent offers messages about healing, grief, memory, and familial relationships while employing layered metaphors about oceanic fact and fiction.
Memory Jars by Vera Brosgol. Roaring Brook, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-250-31487-1. After a grandmother and granddaughter spend a day picking blueberries and learning to can them, the girl wonders if other ephemeral things can be similarly captured. Caldecott Honoree Brosgol’s delicious fable conveys the lesson that some things must be savored in the moment. The book earned a starred review from PW.
Spells Trouble by P.C. and Kristin Cast. Wednesday, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-2507-6563-5. In this YA novel from the mother-daughter collaborators, the descendants of a witch who escaped persecution during the Salem witch trials seek to heal the damage that their ritual has wrought on their Illinois town.
The Fifth Quarter by Mike Dawson. First Second, $21.99; ISBN 978-1-250-24418-5. The first in a series about less-than-star athletes, Dawson’s middle grade graphic novel documents the on- and off-court drama of a fourth grade girls’ basketball team with sincerity, humor, and strong character development.
The Ivies by Alexa Donne. Crown, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-593-30370-2. Quick pacing, dark humor, and deftly drawn characters distinguish this satirical thriller of boarding school life from Donne (The Stars We Steal).
We All Play by Julie Flett. Greystone Kids, $17.95; ISBN 978-1-77164-607-9. Flett aptly underlines the idea in the title by showing animals and humans embracing play in similar ways (snakes slide, children sled down a hill in the snow), until at last, “slowly, side by side,” everyone sleeps. The picture book earned a starred review from PW.
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Flatiron, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-250-76660-1. When a California teen discovers her father is Japanese royalty, this YA novel gets off to a buzzy start, interspersing text conversations and tabloid coverage to keep the pages turning in Jean’s (Empress of All Seasons) fun, frothy, and often heartfelt duology starter.
Sixteen Scandals by Sophie Jordan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-358-20621-7. Jordan (Kissing Lessons) In this charming Pride and Prejudice–reminiscent romance, Jordan imbues forward-thinking, dynamic heroine Prim with refreshing agency.
Pawcasso by Remy Lai. Henry Holt, $21.99; ISBN 978-1-250-77448-4. Lai (Pie in the Sky) tenderly crafts a tale of friendship, loss, and the risks involved in letting people in, encouraging readers to love deeply in this middle grade graphic novel about a child and her bond with a community dog.
Aetherbound by E.K. Johnston. Dutton, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-7352-3185-6. A teen flees her emotionally abusive family in Johnston’s (The Afterward) slow-burning, character-driven YA space opera.
Da Vinci's Cat by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Greenwillow, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-301525-8. As a political hostage of Pope Julius II, 11-year-old Federico Gonzaga is witness to the historic rivalry between artists Raphael and Michelangelo as the latter works on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Federico’s pampered life is opulent but lonely, until he discovers a cat in an enigmatic closet designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
No One Returns from the Enchanted Forest by Robin Robinson. First Second, $21.99; ISBN 978-1-250-21153-8. Debut creator Robinson explores the ups and downs of siblinghood in this lushly illustrated middle grade fantasy graphic novel that’s visually reminiscent of Hildafolk and Steven Universe.
The Mending Summer by Ali Standish. HarperCollins, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-06-298565-1. Standish (How to Disappear Completely) skillfully portrays the uncertainty and powerlessness of Georgia’s home situation as her mother retreats into academia and her father retreats into drinking; the magic at the heart of this understated tale offers its protagonist escape and healing, as well as the understanding that wishing is insufficient to change difficult circumstances.
It Began with Lemonade by Gideon Sterer, illus. by Lian Cho. Dial, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-7352-2828-3. In this picture book, Cho’s (The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom) sprightly art, filled with invention and wit, gives charm to a story about doing one’s best with what one’s given, and of transitioning from city to wilderness.
A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia. Quill Tree, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06236729-7. The history of a white plantation-owning family dominates this YA novel by Newbery Honoree Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), offering a substantial portrait of antebellum slavery.
Dessert Island by Ben Zhu. Roaring Brook, $18.99; ISBN 978-1-250-76330-3. Monkey’s dessert paradise ends when a torrential rainstorm shrinks its island, while Fox’s luck changes with the same fateful event. Zhu, making his debut, turns up the visual drama through an ocean storm that’s almost palpable in this picture book.
For more children’s and YA titles on sale throughout the month of May, check out PW’s full On-Sale Calendar.