20 Great New Reads for the Young and Young at Heart

One of our favorite things about being in the bookstore, even with limited capacity, is hearing the giggles and curious voices emanating from our children’s section. We are grateful to all the parents, grandparents, caregivers, friends and other guides who bring their youngsters of all sizes and supply them with one of childhood’s most essential resources. We are also delighted to once again tap our booksellers for their favorites — everything from sturdy board books to hefty YA novels. Have fun!

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Old Boat Cover ImageThe Old Boat

A boy and his grandfather set sail in the old boat catching waves and wishes. Soon the boy guides the boat on his own, away from home and the familiar. The Pumphrey brothers new picture book is a celebration of family and nature.

Recommended by Chelsea

Big Dog and Little Dog Cover ImageBig Dog and Little Dog

An adorable story introducing Big Dog and Little Dog, best friends who do everything together, even nap! Follow Big Dog and Little Dog in their next adventure here.

Recommended by Kay

A House for Every Bird Cover ImageA House for Every Bird

An artist is shocked to find the birds in her drawings rebelling against the carefully color-coded houses she designed for them. A fun story full of colorful, quirky birds that demonstrates the importance of actually listening to people instead of making assumptions about them.

Recommended by Madeline

Sunny-Side Up Cover ImageSunny-Side Up

A girl wants to play outside, but the rain keeps her in. Pillow forts and building blocks help for a little while, but all she wants to do is go for a walk with her family. A beautifully illustrated picture book about patience and family.

Recommended by Kay

Out of Nowhere Cover ImageOut of Nowhere

Striking high-contrast illustrations tell a sweet story about two best bug friends who find themselves separated, then reunited. A simple story with simple charm. Sometimes that’s exactly enough.

Recommended by Madeline

The Dance of the Bees Cover ImageThe Dance of the Bees

This special treat of a book, featuring lyrical haiku, follows an elderly woman and her granddaughter on a stroll along a countryside. The grandmother teaches her granddaughter and the reader about the lives and importance of bees in nature. Each illustration is touching, the words enrapturing.

Recommended by Chelsea

Someone Builds the Dream Cover ImageSomeone Builds the Dream

Someone Builds the Dream follows the people who carry out the dreams of designers, architects, and engineers. Beautiful illustrations (inspired by 1903s WPA murals) and gentle rhymes will make this a read-aloud favorite for all.

Recommended by Alisha

I'll Meet You in Your Dreams Cover ImageI’ll Meet You in Your Dreams

This rendition of a parent’s love for their child and the everlasting nature of deep connection will touch the hearts of both child and adult. I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams is a gorgeous story with breathtaking art that can help us appreciate the time we have together and the unending bond that nothing can break.

Recommended by Chelsea

Oddity Cover ImageOddity

In an 1800s alternate history United States where the Louisiana Purchase never happened, an oddity is a magical item that defies logic and nature, often used as a weapon in war. Oddities seem to find Clover, the daughter of a physician who lives on the edge of civilization, despite her father’s warning about their danger. Perfect for lovers of both history and adventure stories, this page turner is also filled with thoughtful characters and powerful prose.

Recommended by Patsy

The One Thing You'd Save Cover ImageThe One Thing You’d Save

Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park pens a challenge to have us all, children and adults alike, consider the question of what matters most in our lives. This refreshing exercise in an age of semmingly unchecked consumerism requires us to consider the background and origin of our material goods and to reflect upon what we value and why.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Mars Is: Stark Slopes, Silvery Snow, and Startling Surprises Cover ImageMars Is: Stark Slopes, Silvery Snow, and Startling Surprises

Photos of Mars take us closer to this intriguing planet and uncover surprises. This book can be read as picture book or serve as a more in-depth exploration for older readers.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Downstairs Girl Cover ImageThe Downstairs Girl

The Downstairs Girl tells the story of Jo Kuan, lady’s maid by day and pseudonymous advice columnist by night. In 1890 Atlanta, Jo lives in a secret underground basement with her uncle as they make their way in the margins of society. Stacey Lee’s historical page turner is now available in paperback!

Read our interview with Stacey Lee here on Musing!

Recommended by Kay

Firekeeper's Daughter Cover ImageFirekeeper’s Daughter

This intense and intricate story follows Daunis, an Ojibwe teenager who joins an FBI investigation into the dangerous meth operation hurting her community. Boulley’s debut is both a carefully crafted mystery and a nuanced examination of community, exploring both the most joyful and most painful parts of Daunis’s life as a Native teen in unflinching detail. There’s a good reason everyone is talking about this one.

Recommended by Becca

Yolk Cover ImageYolk

Jayne Baek is flighty, superficial and paralyzingly self-aware. Nothing like her twin sister June, the perfect businesswoman. Both moved to NYC from Texas to elude the watchful eyes of their parents and the congregation of their local Korean American church. But when one sister’s life is at risk, the estranged pair must re-merge their lives and explore the deepest depths of their histories and identities to survive.

Recommended by Kay

Can't Take That Away Cover ImageCan’t Take That Away

This story follows a genderqueer teenager named Carey as they navigate prejudice and self-doubt to land the part of Elphaba in their high school’s production of Wicked. Carey’s intense relationship with music, amazing support network, and unshakeable ideals all work together to drive a story that is equal parts empowering and entertaining.

Recommended by Becca

Lost in the Never Woods Cover ImageLost in the Never Woods

Wendy Darling is a true crime buff who spends most of her time volunteering at the hospital where her mom works. That is, until one night she hits a shadowy figure on her way home from work, and begins to unravel the secret behind the children that have been disappearing from her small town for years — starting with her younger brothers.

Recommended by Chelsea

Tigers, Not Daughters Cover ImageTigers, Not Daughters

This story of sisterhood and survival is now out in paperback! When the eldest sister mysteriously falls to her death, the already fraught lives of the Torres girls become that much harder. Marby’s strong command of varying narrative perspectives throughout the novel and the slightest hint of magic left me breathless as I raced to find out the sisters’ fates.

Spark Book Club: April Selection

How to Save a Queendom Cover ImageHow to Save a Queendom

This fantasy adventure takes readers on an epic journey with an orphan, a pet chicken, and a tiny wizard. One day a wizard appears in Stub’s pocket claiming he’s a royal wizard to the queen. Soon Stub and her pet chicken are off on an adventure to return the wizard to the castle before the Peace Day celebration and stop an evil Queen trying to take over the land.

Early Sparks for the novel:

This jam-packed fantasy from Lawson (Under the Bottle Bridge) brims with delicious language—“humming honey,” “blue smoke smackers”—while enchanting characters, rich worldbuilding, and energetic pacing frame its rousing action. —Publisher’s Weekly

Spark Book Club is the first editions club for middle grade readers. Every month members will receive a first edition middle grade novel — plus a letter written by the author especially for club members. Makes a great gift for the independent reader! Sign ups are available for 3, 6, or 12 months.

ParnassusNext April Selection

The Cost of Knowing Cover ImageThe Cost of Knowing

This emotional page-turner follows Alex Rufus, a teen boy burdened with both a tragic past and constant, inescapable visions of the future. When Alex has a vision of himself standing before his younger brother’s grave, he must find the courage to take control of his family’s story.

Early praise for the novel:

“A timely, poignant page-turner about grief, love, and facing your fears.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“A resonant story of fraternal love that first compels, then devastates, and will be remembered for a long time.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Cost of Knowing is a tense and timely portrayal of powerful Black boys growing up too soon with knowledge that the past and future are aligned against them. Morris writes the best kind of speculative fiction, the kind where reality is close enough to touch.” —Lamar Giles, author of Not So Pure and Simple and Spin