Sweet Reads Are Made of These: 16 New Books for the Young and Young at Heart

It’s been a sloppy week here in Nashville, but the cure-all for the winter-time blahs, the rainy-day blahs, and the rainy-winter-day blahs, as always, is a good book (or pile of books), and we’ve got some good ones for you! Our booksellers are always reading, and for our first young-readers Staff Picks of 2020, we’ve got a sweet stack of 16 new titles to keep the yucky weather at bay. And if you’re in Nashville (or will be soon), scroll to the bottom for information about some great upcoming author events!

Recommended by Rae Ann

I Heart You (Classic Board Books) Cover ImageI Heart You

This beautiful rhyming picture book celebrates love in both animal and human families. Just right for Valentine’s Day or anytime!

Recommended by Karen

In a Jar Cover ImageIn a Jar

Llewellyn loves to collect things from his wanderings, from leaves to heart-shaped rocks. When Llewellyn meets Evelyn by the shore, together their collecting becomes even more magical. What do you see in the world around you that you would want collect in a jar and place by your bed?

Recommended by Jackie

The Heart of a Whale Cover ImageThe Heart of a Whale

This beautifully illustrated story reminds readers that it’s lovely to have a friend, and music (in this case, whale song) can bring creatures together.

Recommended by Chelsea

Cuddle Monkey Cover ImageCuddle Monkey

Are you a fan of Scott Campbell’s Hug Machine? You will love Lewis! Lewis just wants to snuggle, but a new baby brother and school gets in the way. Follow Lewis on his adventure to find cuddles from somewhere.

Recommended by Kay

The Girl and the Dinosaur Cover ImageThe Girl and the Dinosaur

As a kid who spent a lot of time (unsuccessfully) digging for dinosaur bones in my backyard, I was utterly enchanted by this story of a girl who finds not only a dinosaur skeleton, but a magical adventure and a group of like-minded friends too! A fantastic story for bedtime.

Recommended by Chelsea

Almost Time Cover ImageAlmost Time

This darling father and son story examines a child’s excitement for things that occur on nature’s timeline, namely loose teeth and maple syrup. Ethan (and the reader) grow antsy with anticipation, but both learn to read the passing of time in the change of seasons.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Things Seen from Above Cover ImageThings Seen from Above

April volunteers as a recess Bench Buddy to avoid the 6th grade lunchroom. Her friendship with an unusual 4th grader known as the “Picasso of the Playground” transforms the entire school and town.

Recommended by Kay

Snapdragon Cover ImageSnapdragon

When Snap enlists her town’s resident “witch” to help her care for a litter of orphaned opossums, she ends up learning more than she could have ever imagined about herself, her family, and the power of being a strange kid in a sometimes scary world. (She also learns a lot about magic and skeletons, which is pretty cool too.)

Recommended by Madeline

The Mystwick School of Musicraft Cover ImageThe Mystwick School of Musicraft

Khoury beautifully captures the fear of orchestra auditions, the soul of making music, and the heart of finding who you are. When Amelia Jones fumbles her audition to attend the school, she’s surprised to receive an acceptance letter. Upon arrival, she discovers she’s not the right Amelia Jones. It’s up to her to prove herself. There’s many tests and trials, and there’s dangerous magic lurking.

Recommended by Gavin, age 9

Dog Man: Fetch-22: From the Creator of Captain Underpants (Dog Man #8) Cover ImageDog Man: Fetch-22

This book is about Dog Man trying to fetch 22 tadpoles that can fly. You’ll see how when you read the book! It’s funny and crazy!

Recommended by Chelsea

Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle #1) Cover ImageInfinity Son

Mythical creatures abound, and the bad guys steal their powers by taking their blood. The good guys are born with powers, and humans are caught in the middle of their war. Silvera’s action is fast-paced, and the use of multiple narrators really allows the reader to get to know his characters. I devoured this, staying up too late for just one more chapter.

Recommended by Chelsea

Yes No Maybe So Cover ImageYes No Maybe So

This hopeful, inspiring read was exactly what I needed to kick off 2020. The novel uses dual perspectives to tell the stories of Jamie and Maya, reluctant door-to-door canvassers in a local election. As the election grows closer, Jamie and Maya’s connection grows stronger. I loved this endearing book and the warm fuzzies it gave me as we head into our next major election cycle.

Recommended by Chelsea

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Cover ImageA Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

It’s an infamous tale in Pip’s hometown — the popular girl murdered by her boyfriend. Five years later, Pip swears there’s more to the story, so she decides to investigate. Things get dark and twisty as Pip grows closer to the truth. Perfect for fans of mysteries and Serial, Jackson’s debut shows its strength in Pip herself and her relentless, endearing search for justice.

Recommended by Kay

19 Love Songs Cover Image19 Love Songs

In this collection of stories and essays, David Levithan manages to capture both the joys and pains of young love in its many forms. Levithan’s language brings every emotion into sharp focus, while the stories themselves range from hopeful to hilarious. Recommended for anyone who enjoys feeling feelings.

Recommended by Jordan

Go with the Flow Cover ImageGo With the Flow

This is such a great read about activism, friendship, body positivity, and adolescence, with a positive message. Both teens and preteens will enjoy this graphic novel, and hopefully feel inspired by the way the girls in the story stand up for what they believe in and support each other.

Recommended by Kay

Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir Cover ImageAlmost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir

This graphic memoir captures the author’s experience moving from Korea to America when she was 14 years old. She highlights her struggles with family, friendship, language, and identity over her years of adjustment, telling each part of her story with an eye for detail that truly brings her journey to life on the page.

ParnassusNext — Our February Selection

The February ParnassusNext selection is The Map From Here to There by Emery Lord. Paige Hancock’s senior year bucket list includes working at the local movie theater, dating her charming boyfriend, and the college of her choice on the horizon. It will be a fabulous year. Right?!?

Here is some buzz for the novel:

“Engrossing and engaging.” —Kirkus

“Lord hits the agonizing and comforting beats of the end of high school, capturing the nostalgia of old friendships and hard choices.” —Booklist

“What a gift Emery Lord has given us with The Map from Here to There. Gut-bustingly funny and exquisitely tender, full of characters to fall in love with and writing that sings out loud, this is a book about figuring out what the rest of your life is going to look like. It’s a book about learning to be a person in the world.” —Katie Cotugno, New York Times bestselling author of 99 Days.

ParnassusNext is the book subscription box for YA lovers. 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. 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! Set up a subscription for yourself or buy a gift membership for your favorite YA reader for 3, 6, or 12 months.

And don’t miss these great kid-friendly events coming up!