Wishes, Road Trips and Songs: 19 New Reads for the Young and Young at Heart

March is here, and it’s time to turn the page on our kids and YA staff picks! We’ve got another great batch of new reads, hand-picked by our booksellers and, this time around, with some great Nashville connections. Author Jessica Young is a local, and Emily Arrow is our former afternoon storytime sing-along leader. Scroll down for all our latest recommendations!

Recommended by Rae Ann

A Wish Is a Seed Cover ImageA Wish Is a Seed

This gorgeous picture book compares a wish to a seed that grows as it travels through time and space. A delightful read-aloud.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Thank You, Garden Cover ImageThank You, Garden

Rhyming text and vivid illustrations celebrate the joy of gardening with family and friends in this lovely picture book.

Recommended by Rae Ann

When You Need Wings Cover ImageWhen You Need Wings

A beautiful book about soaring on the wings of your imagination. Perfect for reading with someone you love.

Recommended by Becca

Studio: A Place for Art to Start Cover ImageStudio: A Place for Art to Start

Based on a song by Emily Arrow (of Emily Arrow’s Sing-Along Storytime!), this book is a bold and cheerful exploration of finding the right creative environment for YOU, whether that’s a painter’s studio or your very own yard. The story is almost impossible not to sing, and the pages are so beautifully illustrated that I’m tempted to frame them and hang them on my walls.

Recommended by Jackie

Nesting Cover ImageNesting

In an illustration style similar to Spot, the Cat and Spot & Dot, Cole uses black and white lines and just a touch of turquoise to tell the story of a robin family throughout the year. I love this book for its detailed drawings, its simple and direct text, and for the way that it includes factual information about robins throughout the story.

Recommended by Chelsea

Cyclops of Central Park Cover ImageCyclops of Central Park

Cyclops settles down to sleep, but upon counting sheep discovers Eugene is missing. Cyclops, timid and shy, must venture outside the comfort of his cave in order to find Eugene. Perfect for any reader who may be a little timid and shy, just like Cyclops.

Recommended by Chelsea

The Paper Kingdom Cover ImageThe Paper Kingdom

When the babysitter cancels, Daniel is dragged out bed to go to work with his parents. While he’s there, they tell him of the Paper Kingdom and its inhabitants of a king, queen, and dragons. A powerful, sweet read about sacrifice, family, and the magic of hard work.

Recommended by Becca

Everyone's Awake: (Read-Aloud Bedtime Book, Goodnight Book for Kids) Cover ImageEveryone’s Awake

This book is beautiful and riotous, with a rhythmic story and detailed illustrations that make me want to read it over and over again. It will especially strike a chord with readers who, like me, tend to find themselves awake far past bedtime. (And if that’s not enough to convince you, it’s written by that guy from The Decemberists!)

Recommended by Jackie

Vote for Our Future! Cover ImageVote for Our Future!

Many Nashville schools are also polling stations, just like the fictional elementary school in this story. This book does a great job of helping kids who are too young to vote understand that they can still play a part by encouraging the adults in their lives to make voting a priority. Includes a short list of acts of Congress that kids might want to research.

Recommended by Jackie

Rita and Ralph's Rotten Day Cover ImageRita and Ralph’s Rotten Day

This book will be a fun read-aloud for little ones, as the characters go up and down and up and down hills to meet each other. It acknowledges that sometimes we make mistakes and hurt our friends — and that even apologizing can be hard! It ends on a positive note and includes an illustration with gestures to play a hand game along with the text.

Recommended by Rae Ann

My Best Friend Cover ImageMy Best Friend

This sweet picture book about the magic of friendship reminds us what’s really important in connecting with others. Beautiful illustrations complement the text.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane Cover ImageThe Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane

Maybelle Lane has never met her father. When she hears his voice on the radio, she’s sure entering a singing contest sponsored by his station is the way to his heart. An RV road trip with her teacher and another kid from school takes Maybelle to Nashville where she hopes for a shot at her dream of music and family.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Clean Getaway Cover ImageClean Getaway

Scoob’s G-Ma takes him on a surprise road trip using the Travelers Green Book as their guide. A break from school turns into an unexpected adventure into G-Ma’s past and a few surprises about the present.

Recommended by Chelsea

From the Desk of Zoe Washington Cover ImageFrom the Desk of Zoe Washington

On Zoe’s 12th birthday, she receives a letter from her father — a father she hasn’t met because he’s in prison. When he swears he’s innocent and even has an alibi, Zoe decides to take his case into her own hands, even though her parents strictly forbid it. This heartfelt story is endearing because of Zoe herself, who sticks to what she believes in, even in the face of opposition.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories Cover ImageThe Imaginaries: Little Scraps of Larger Stories

Snippets of stories paired with beautiful illustrations make this book perfect for a family discussion or paging through on your own.

Recommended by Kay

Bug Boys Cover ImageBug Boys

Young readers will love this series of adventures following two beetle besties as they face everything from friendship troubles to warring insect kingdoms with enough humor and heart to spare.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Light in Hidden Places Cover ImageThe Light in Hidden Places

The Light in Hidden Places is based on the extraordinary true story of Stefania, a Catholic teenager in 1943 Poland who rescued 13 Jews with the help of her 6-year-old sister. This is a story of strength and humanity.

Recommended by Chelsea

Be Not Far from Me Cover ImageBe Not Far from Me

Ashley knows how to survive in the woods, but that is tested when she tumbles in a rage and wakes to discover that her foot is beyond broken and she is alone. For fans of Hatchet and Into Thin Air, this survival tale is a tightly woven exploration of how far someone will really go to survive.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Blossom and the Firefly Cover ImageThe Blossom and the Firefly

This unique novel of WWII Japan is told in beautiful prose. Vivid setting and historical details.

ParnassusNext — Our March Selection

The March ParnassusNext selection is The Kingdom of Back by #1 New York Times best-selling author Marie Lu. The lives of the wildly talented Mozart siblings, Nannerl and her brother, Wolfgang are full of music. Their quest for fame and fortune intertwines with a fantasy kingdom in this thrilling YA historical fantasy where all may not be as it seems. Look for an interview with Marie Lu in Musing next week!

Here is some early buzz for the novel:

“A historical fiction/fantasy mashup with crossover appeal.” —Kirkus

“Lu shows her knack for creating detailed worlds while seamlessly building a complicated sibling relationship with a balance of rivalry and love.”  —Publisher’s Weekly

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.