18 Lovable New Books for Young Readers


Novels are fun
Short stories are, too
Candy rots your teeth
So these books are for you

Here are our current favorites for young readers, hand-picked by Parnassus experts:

Picture Books
Recommended by Steph

Love Love Cover Image

If you have ever loved or been loved, you must read this beautiful, necessary picture book.

Recommended by Katherine

Grover Cleveland, Again!: A Treasury of American Grover Cleveland, Again!: A Treasury of American Presidents Cover ImagePresidents 

This expertly-crafted treasury of US presidents is perfect for kids of all ages. (Just in time for Presidents’ Day!) Grownups, you may find that this becomes a mainstay on your coffee table. It’s equal parts thoroughly-researched AND fun, in true Ken Burns fashion.

Recommended by Katherine

What Do You Do with a Chance What Do You Do with a Chance Cover Image

The third installment in the beloved What Do You Do With A… picture book series takes on chances and the opportunities that come with taking them. Yamada’s fable-like prose conveys that no matter how big or small the chance, possibilities are endless. This warm, life-affirming book will especially resonate with anxious young readers, and also for those wishing to round out their What Do You Do With A… collections!

Recommended by Katherine

The Word Collector The Word Collector Cover Image

For anyone who loves words and all the amazing things they can do.

Recommended by Devin

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Cover Image

The names you know and the names you might not, coupled with beautiful illustration.

Recommended by Devin

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut Cover Image

This book received both a Caldecott Honor and a Newbery honor, and it’s easy to see why. With its beautiful illustrations and a brief look into the legend of a barbershop, this book introduces its reader to self-love and just what a fresh edge-up can do for a person.

Recommended by Betsy

Lines Lines Cover Image

A young figure skater skates on a frozen pond and creates one long line. She spins and a curly line forms. She jumps and a space appears between flight and landing. Buy this book in the spirit of the Winter Olympics — then take your kiddo(s) to the public ice at Centennial Sportsplex (or even better, Learn to Skate) so they can make their own lines!

Recommended by Steph

Rot, the Cutest in the World!Rot, the Cutest in the World! Cover Image

Cheer along with Rot, the mutant potato, as he enters a contest to decide who is the cutest in the world. The competition is stiff: A baby bunny, a cuddly kitten, and a jolly jellyfish. Who will win? Ben Clanton’s signature style is at its most charming and hilarious in this sweet story about loving yourself for who you are. Three cheers for Rot!

Recommended by Katherine

Yellow Kayak Yellow Kayak Cover Image

I love this book so much that I want to melt inside its pages. Gentle, often profound rhymes coupled with gorgeous illustrations make this one I will return to forever.

Recommended by Jackie

Winter Dance Winter Dance Cover Image

A snowflake signals that winter is coming, and a little red fox wonders what to do. All the other animals try to help him out, but foxes don’t handle winter the same way squirrels, geese, or bears do. Finally, another fox helps him out, and the reader learns the meaning of the title.

Recommended by Ella

Elmore Elmore Cover Image

Who doesn’t love stories about cute animals trying to fit in? You’ll love reading this book as you absorb every single thing that Elmore does in his plight to make friends.

Recommended by Jackie

Hortense and the Shadow Hortense and the Shadow Cover Image

Fed up with her shadow following her everywhere, Hortense manages to cut it off. She’s happier without it, until one day bandits come, and her shadow rescues her. This story feels like a fairy tale, and observant readers will find the bandits hidden in the illustrations on most pages. For fans of Smoot, A Rebellious Shadow, by Michelle Cuevas.

Independent Readers
Recommended by Rae Ann

Hamster Princess: Whiskerella Hamster Princess: Whiskerella Cover Image

I love books that make me laugh out loud. If you like to LOL, this twist on the Cinderella story is just right for you.

Middle Grade
Recommended by Jackie

Winterhouse Winterhouse Cover Image

A fun book for avid readers who love word games, puzzles, and mysteries. Anyone who liked Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library will love this.

Recommended by Rae Ann

A Sky Full of Stars A Sky Full of Stars Cover Image

I love books about kids who make a difference in their community. Meet Rose and her friends in 1950s Mississippi in this sequel to Midnight Without A Moon.

Young Adult
Recommended by Steph

Love, Hate and Other Filters Love, Hate and Other Filters Cover Image

This is a debut novel that reads like the self-assured work of a seasoned writer. Even as Maya struggles to balance family, culture, friendship, romance, and her hopes and dreams for the life she wants to build for herself, Samira Ahmed ensures that Maya and the characters who surround her are dimensional, complex, and human.

Recommended by Devin

Meet Cute Meet Cute Cover Image

Y’all. Look at the authors in this anthology. If that doesn’t win you over on its own, just know that I loved every story within this. If you love a good rom-com, this is the book for you.

Recommended by Ella

The Cruel Prince The Cruel Prince Cover Image

I love this book because it’s dark, magical, and surprising. Basically, it’s a perfect new YA series to start out the new year.

ParnassusNext — February Selection

The Hazel Wood Cover ImageThe Hazel Wood 

This is what the experience of reading Melissa Albert’s delicious, intoxicating, and slightly dangerous debut novel, The Hazel Wood, feels like:

You are attending a magician’s performance. You walk into the theater and take your seat. The curtains part. The audience applauds. On the stage, a table has been set with an elaborate, elegant meal: Candles, wine glasses, flatware, platters of food, and so on. You realize you’ve seen this trick before. The magician bows, daintily grasps two corners of the table cloth. You hold your breath. The magician begins to pull on the table cloth. You realize you are, in fact, a salt shaker on the magician’s table. The magician whisks the table cloth out from beneath you. You wobble back and forth, unsteadily, then fall over. A few grains of salt scatter across the bare wood of the table.

The Hazel Wood is a love letter written ransom-note-style to anyone who’s ever opened a wardrobe and held their breath. Melissa Albert raises the stakes slowly but steadily, so that by the time you realize there’s even a game afoot, you’ve put far more on the table than you intended. This is a novel that is, in some ways, a story about obsession with story — and it’s a story with which you will quickly find yourself obsessed.

* * *

Every member of ParnassusNext receives a first edition hardcover of each month’s  selected book, signed by the author. There is no membership fee to join — and no line to stand in for the autograph. You’re billed just for the cost of each book (+ shipping). Not only will you have one of the best YA books of the month when it comes out, you’ll have it straight from the author’s hands, with an original, authentic signature! Choose 3, 6, or 12 months for yourself, or buy a gift membership for your favorite YA reader.

More Bookish Goodness . . .

04Alam-01-mediumThreeByTwo210.jpgDon’t miss this great list by author Rumaan Alam: Children’s Books About Black History, Heavy on Biographies

Congratulations to all the winners of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards — including our ParnassusNext selection from last April, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, which won a Michael L. Printz Honor! Our November ParnassusNext selection, The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater, was one of two books to win the Stonewall Book Award and was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Piecing Me Together, a YA novel by Renee Watson, received a Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author Award. (We chose Renee’s previous book, This Side of Home, for ParnassusNext all the way back in February 2015, and Piecing Me Together was Devin’s staff pick.) A whole lot of other Parnassus staff picks got a whole lotta love, too:

  • Crown (Devin’s staff pick, a Newbery Honor, a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor)
  • Long Way Down (Rae Ann’s staff pick, a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, a Michael L. Printz Honor, and an Odyssey Honor for best audiobook)
  • You’re Welcome Universe (Grace’s staff pick, a Schneider Family Book Award)
  • The Hate U Give (Cat’s staff pick — which we all adored — a CSK Author Honor, a Printz Honor, the Odyssey Award, and the William C. Morris Award for debut YA)
  • Little & Lion (another one of Devin’s picks, the other Stonewall Award)
  • Charlie and Mouse (Steph’s staff pick, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for most distinguished book for beginning readers)

Bring the littles over for stories! We host Saturday Storytime weekly at 10:30 a.m. and Sing-along Storytime with Entertainer Emily Arrow every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Events! Please plan to join us for these fun readings and book-signings with visiting authors: