The spring break season is upon us, but you won’t need a break from these new titles. Follow a circus performer as he gets a second chance; join a crew of critters on their expedition for a new badge; discover the secrets kept at a magical traveling hotel; and more in our roundup of big books for young readers.

Picture Books

Armadillo Antics

Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson, illus. by Nathalie Beauvois. Brown, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-61254-547-9. Ages 4–8.

Armadillos take on an adventure before the break of dawn in this picture book by the late Martin and Sampson. The book received a starred review from PW.

Big and Small and In-Between

Carter Higgins, illus. by Daniel Miyares. Chronicle, $18.99 (98p) ISBN 978-1-4521-6650-6. Ages 3–5.

Higgins depicts the variations of size in this conceptual picture book about categorization. It’s an abstract journey with many turns and surprises.

Children of the Forest

Matt Myers. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4767-1. Ages 2–5.

Invoking the vibe of classic children’s book protagonists, two brave siblings tackle the fantastical adventures of the outdoors, even if it’s only in their own backyard.

The Great Zapfino

Mac Barnett, illus. by Marla Frazee. S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5344-1154-8. Ages up to 8.

Circus performer the Great Zapfino might not always deliver on his big name, especially after he flees from a failed tightrope performance. But on his getaway, a new opportunity arises to prove just how great the stuntboy can be. The book received a starred review from PW.

Middle Grade

A Duet for Home

Karina Yan Glaser. Clarion, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-544876-40-8. Ages 8–12.

June’s arrival at the Huey House, a Bronx shelter for unhoused people, follows both the loss of her beloved viola and the death of her father. Huey House resident Tyrell shows June the small joys and comforts her temporary home has to offer, but when the government threatens to evict the residents, the two come up with a plan to save their home. The book received a starred review from PW.

In the Key of Us

Mariama J. Lockington. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-374-31410-1. Ages 8–12.

A music summer camp brings together grief-stricken Andi and pressure-ridden Zora, the only two Black girls at the camp. The two bond over their shared love of music as they strive to figure out who they want to become. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Last Mapmaker

Christina Soontornvat. Candlewick, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0495-7. Ages 8–12.

Though mapmaker assistant Sai appears to be a budding lady of society, she harbors a secret about her family that could ruin her. When the opportunity to join a sea expedition arises, Sai jumps at the opportunity to make a name for herself, while learning of the mythical dangers of where she’s headed. The book received a starred review from PW. See our profile on Soontornvat.


Kirsty Applebaum. Holt, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-31735-3. Ages 8–12.

Lonny has the magical capability to save a life, but at the cost of losing years of his own life. When the need for money forces Lonny’s family to move to the town of Farstroke, where its residents are rumored to be villainous, Lonny is surprised to find the townspeople to be different than he thought, and questions if he can risk his life to save someone else. The book received a starred review from PW.

Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods

Catherynne M. Valente, illus. by Lauren Myers. S&S/McElderry, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7699-7. Ages 8–12.

Twining familiar folk and myth elements with an arch, quippy voice, Valente conjures an underworld odyssey that “must be kept secret.” The treaty between the Quidnunx and the people of Littlebridge is broken when the mother of Osmo Unknown kills a Quindunx. In return, Osmo must make the precarious journey to the Eightpenny Woods to make amends with the woodland creatures.

Out in the Wild (Bug Scouts #1)

Mike Lowery. Graphix, $22.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-338-72632-9. Ages 7–1-0.

Bug Scouts Doug, Josh, and Abby are ready to earn the next bug badge for finding an edible plant and rush to the forest for their acquisition, where they meet a tricky frog who may eat them first. The book received a starred review from PW.

Young Adult

An Arrow to the Moon

Emily X.R. Pan. Little, Brown, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-46405-5. Ages 14 and up.

In this YA novel inspired by Chinese mythology and Romeo and Juliet, Hunter and Luna aren’t supposed to befriend one another due to the ongoing feud between their families, but the magical phenomena that happen when they’re together draw them closer together, and closer to their fate. See our q&a with Pan.

Boys of the Beast

Monica Zepeda. Tu, $20.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-64379-095-4. Ages 14 and up.

Matt, Ethan, and Oscar couldn’t be more different, but the shared loss of their beloved grandmother brings the boys together to take an epic road trip in her 1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. Over the course of their journey, they find that they may have more in common than they thought.

Different Kinds of Fruit

Kyle Lukoff. Dial, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-5931-1118-5. Ages 10–14.

Sixth-grader Annabelle Blake welcomes new nonbinary student Bailey, and through their budding relationship learns that her own father is trans. Inspired by both her father and by Bailey, Annabelle takes to the task of fighting for real, progressive change.

High Spirits

Camille Gomera-Tavarez. Levine Querido, $18.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-64614-129-6. Ages 12 and up.

In 11 interconnected stories of the “Dominican Diaspora” told from the perspective of different generations of the Belén family, Gomera-Tavarez explores identity, intergenerational memory, patriarchy, and toxic masculinity. The book received a starred review from PW.

Hotel Magnifique

Emily J. Taylor. Razorbill, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-40451-5. Ages 12 and up.

Jani wants a better life for herself and her younger sister Zosa, and the opportunity to work at the Hotel Magnifique seems like their perfect chance. Only after their contracts are signed do they realize that the hotel is hiding dangerous secrets, which they must get to the heart of if they plan to ever escape. The book received a starred review from PW.


Zetta Elliott and Lyn Miller-Lachmann. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (244p) ISBN 978-0-374-31437-8. Ages 10–14.

Despite their racial differences, JJ Pankowski and Pie Velez make a great duo in 1980s Brooklyn, bonding over their love of music and art, until an encounter with the police reveals the vast disparities between their worlds. The book received a starred review from PW.

Nothing Burns as Bright as You

Ashley Woodfolk. Versify, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-358-65535-0. Ages 12 and up.

It takes only one day and a lit match to unravel the dark history, confusing present, and unknown future of two Black queer friends-turned-lovers in this YA novel. The book received a starred review from PW.

Scout’s Honor

Lily Anderson. Holt, $18.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-24673-8. Ages 14 and up.

It is a Ladybird’s duty to protect humanity from monsters, but following the death of her best friend during battle, Prue is ready to put her monster hunting days behind her. However, when Prue finds herself training new Ladybird scouts and a new slew of monsters threaten the town, Prue must find it in herself to face her past fears. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with Anderson.

This Rebel Heart

Katherine Locke. Knopf, $18.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-38124-3. Ages 12 and up.

A magical river is what kept many residents safe in WWII Budapest, including Csilla and her family, until the Communist rise to power. When her parents are exonerated, protests begin across the city, and Csilla’s plans to escape to a new country are halted by the river calling out to her and the chance to fight for change at home.

Very Bad People

Kit Frick. S&S/McElderry, $19.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4973-2. Ages 14 and up.

Six years after a car crash that ended with the death of her mother and two sisters, Calliope returns to her mother’s alma mater, Tipton Academy. When she accepts a bid into the school’s secret society that’s dedicated to fighting for social justice, Calliope realizes the group’s tactics for veer towards dangerous and discovers that the society may be linked to the death of her mother. The book received a starred review from PW. See our q&a with the author.