January/February 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the titles on the January/February 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List flier, arriving at stores in the upcoming Kids’ Box mailing. The January/February title list is also viewable as a collection in Edelweiss.

The tri-fold, four-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for January/February and additional titles organized by age group. All Indie Next List picks are based on recommendations from booksellers at independent bookstores across the country and include a bookseller quote and full bibliographic information.

The deadline for nominating titles for the March/April 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List is January 9.

Find more information about nominating titles here.

Here are the titles appearing on the January/February 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List:

“The Davenports” by Krystal Marquis #1 Pick: The Davenports (Indies Introduce)
By Krystal Marquis
(Dial Books, 9780593463338, $19.99, Jan. 31, Ages: 12+)

The Davenports is an absolute delight and a fantastic historical YA exploring Black history and success at the turn of the century. I adored the four leading ladies learning, growing, falling in love, and seeking out their own paths.”
—Gabriella Crivilare, Prairie Fox Books, Ottawa, IL

Picture Books
Agatha May and the Anglerfish
By Nora Morrison, Jessie Ann Foley, Mika Song (Illus.)
(Dial Books, 9780593324752, $18.99, Dec. 13, Ages: 5-8)

“My heart was stolen by Agatha May and her love for the anglerfish. This picture book is a love letter to kids who struggle with fitting in, with hearts full of unique and quirky passions.”
—Tori-Lynn Bell, House of Books, Kent, CT

An American Story
By Kwame Alexander, Dare Coulter (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316473125, $18.99, Jan. 3, Ages: 4-8)

“We are put in the shoes of school kids learning the painful history of American slavery, and the struggle their teacher faces trying to teach it. This book is necessary. Readers (and educators) will be challenged, but also given hope.”
—Kristin Richland, Phoenix Books, Essex Junction, VT

The Animal Song
By Jonty Howley
(Random House Studio, 9780593381465, $18.99, Jan. 10, Ages: 4-8)

“Simple, exaggerated illustrations and onomatopoeia make The Animal Song an engaging, adorable read, and the subject is perfect for a bedtime book with a little one.”
—Mallory Sutton, Bards Alley, Vienna, VA

Anzu the Great Listener
By Benson Shum
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781250776136, $18.99, Jan. 10, Ages: 4-8)

“As someone whose default mode is to try to ‘fix’ things for friends and family in need, I very much appreciated the reminder that sometimes the best gift one can offer is the gift of sympathy/empathy without additional action.”
—Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Creating Conversations, Redondo Beach, CA

The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name
By Sandhya Parappukkaran, Michelle Pereira (Illus.)
(Abrams Books for Young Readers, 9781419761584, $17.99, Jan. 10, Ages: 4-8)

“A lot of kids will connect with this book. The illustrations are beautiful and the message is heartwarming. Growing up with a long name — and I use a four-letter version of it — this made me question: who am I shrinking my name for?”
—Lupe Penn, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

The Kindest Red: A Story of Hijab and Friendship
By Ibtihaj Muhammad, S. K. Ali, Hatem Aly (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780759555709, $18.99, Jan. 10, Ages: 4-8)

“People often wish for ‘World Peace.’ In The Kindest Red, Faizah wishes for ‘World Kindness.’ Isn’t that the first step to world peace? This simple picture book with a big message celebrates diversity and personal responsibility.”
—Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Little Owl’s Love
By Divya Srinivasan
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593204047, $18.99, Dec. 6, Ages: 3-5)

“Little Owl loves so much, and there is much to discover in the forest. The illustrations bring those discoveries right to you. I’m not sure I love mushrooms as much as Little Owl, but I do know I love to discover with Little Owl — so will you.”
—Carolyn Roys, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL

Nell Plants a Tree
By Anne Wynter, Daniel Miyares (Illus.)
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062865779, $17.99, Jan. 31, Ages: 4-8)

“When a picture book gives you chills, you know it’s special. This gorgeously illustrated book captures a connection to family and the meaning of roots in a very special way.”
—Kirsten Hess, Let’s Play Books!, Emmaus, PA

This Little Kitty
By Karen Obuhanych
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593435144, $18.99, Jan. 31, Ages: 3-7)

“Anyone who’s had cats will find these pages familiar. I particularly love the kitties receiving their loving, and one chomping down on the human’s hand. Great expressions, hilarious mischief, and fun rhymes that don’t feel forced.”
—Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

Very Good Hats
By Emma Straub, Blanca Gómez (Illus.)
(Rocky Pond Books, 9780593529430, $18.99, Jan. 10, Ages: 2-5)

“Emma Straub and Blanca Gómez have teamed up for a delightful picture book reminding readers that anything can be a hat. It depicts a wide variety of people wearing a wide variety of hats! A great read aloud that kids will want to pore over.”
—Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Middle Grade
The Ever Storms (Wilderlore #3)
By Amanda Foody
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781665910750, $17.99, Jan. 31, Ages: 8-12)

“My favorite ongoing middle grade series keeps getting better and better! I loved this continuation of Barclay’s adventure in the Wildlands. The school setting was a blast and the prank war Tourney added a fun twist! I can’t wait for more.”
—Mary Louise Callaghan, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Never After: The Broken Mirror (The Chronicles of Never After #3)
By Melissa de la Cruz
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781250827258, $16.99, Dec. 6, Ages: 10-14)

“I loved this storyline and the continued adventure of Filomena and her friends! The way the story unfolds is masterful and kept me reading to see what happens next. I can’t wait for the next book!”
—Donna Powers, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

The Pancake Problem (Weenie Featuring Frank and Beans #2)
By Maureen Fergus, Alexandra Bye (Illus.)
(Tundra Books, 9780735267947, $13.99, Jan. 24, Ages: 6-9)

"Ahhh, it's just as good as the first one. I will never get enough Weenie, Frank, and Beans!"
—Rebecca Crosswhite, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Rare Birds
By Jeff Miller
(Union Square Kids, 9781454945048, $16.99, Jan. 31, Ages: 8-12)

“A coming-of-age story where a young man sees there are things bigger than himself. How better to learn the value of life than a new friend and a rare bird? A nice middle grade with the right amount of wonder, turmoil, adventure, and self-love.”
—Tina Greene-Bevington, Bay Books, Suttons Bay, MI

Santiago!: Santiago Ramón y Cajal — Artist, Scientist, Troublemaker
By Jay Hosler
(Margaret Ferguson Books, 9780823454891, $14.99, paperback, Jan. 3, Ages: 8-12)

Santiago! is a delight! A graphic novel is perfect for Jay Hosler’s dramatic biography of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, a neuroscientist who won the Nobel prize in 1906. Santiago! presents Cajal’s inspiring life with both humor and respect.”
—Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

Simon Sort of Says
By Erin Bow
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781368082853, $16.99, Jan. 31, Ages: 8-12)

“I cannot remember the last mid-grade book that made me laugh out loud and cry real tears. Simon’s earnest voice, his parents’ humor, and their tragic story against the comic strangeness of a new town is a balancing act deserving of praise.”
—Heather Jeziorowski, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

They Set the Fire: The Teddies Saga Book 3
By Daniel Kraus, Rovina Cai (Illus.)
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250224446, $18.99, Jan. 10, Ages: 10-14)

“The conclusion to The Teddies Saga is as explosive as its title. All questions are answered — some not in the ways you might expect. They Set the Fire keeps its secrets close in hand right up to the end. I could not breathe until I’d finished.”
—Kvothe Harris, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

By Martha Freeman
(Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 9781665905350, $17.99, Jan. 17, Ages: 8-12)

“When Arthur discovers a teacup in his parents’ second-hand shop, life takes a turn to the adventurous. Arthur teams up with his best friend, little sister, and a ghost mouse to get to the bottom of some seemingly unrelated mysteries.”
—Chelsea Stringfield, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

What Happened to Rachel Riley?
By Claire Swinarski
(Quill Tree Books, 9780063213098, $16.99, Jan. 10, Ages: 8-12)

“This book turns the ‘boys will be boys’ excuse on its head and empowers all genders to stand up for what they know is right. While the book deals with a serious topic, the way it’s written makes it a fun, entertaining, and relatable story.”
—Nancy Baenen, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

World Made of Glass
By Ami Polonsky
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316462044, $16.99, Jan. 17, Ages: 10-14)

“It’s 1987, and Iris’ dad is dying from AIDS. Her grief is devastating enough, but it’s even harder when the world is ignorant about AIDS. This poignant historical novel moved me to tears! This is a book that kids and adults will appreciate.”
—Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA

Young Adult
Begin Again
By Emma Lord
(Wednesday Books, 9781250783363, $18.99, Jan. 24, Ages: 12-18)

“I’ve loved Emma Lord since Tweet Cute and she killed it with the follow up; Begin Again is just as sweet and romantic. A must read for YA fans!”
—Kailey Fox, Kingfisher Bookstore, Coupeville, WA

Blood Circus
By Camila Victoire
(Blackstone Publishing, 9798200816088, $19.99, Jan. 31, Ages: 12-17)

Blood Circus is a breath of fresh air. It is brutal, set in a complex dystopian future that is both familiar yet bizarrely different. Incredible book, one of the best I’ve had the pleasure to read this year. Completely unforgettable.”
—Kyle Page, Lake City Books and Writers Nook, Plattsburgh, NY

Friday I’m in Love
By Camryn Garrett
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593435106, $18.99, Jan. 10, Ages: 12+)

Friday I’m in Love is for every adolescent, or adult, who is wondering where they fit and who they belong with. It deals with sexuality, class, and race in a humorous way while still giving these aspects of the story the respect they deserve.”
—Isabella Barbuto, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

Heartbreak Boys
By Simon James Green
(Clarion Books, 9780358617259, $18.99, Dec. 20, Ages: 13+)

“Nate and Jack discover at prom that their boyfriends are cheating on them…with each other. So, they team up and make the most fabulous, jealousy-inducing social media account of the summer. It turns out to be tougher than they thought.”
—Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Marietta, GA

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
By Talia Hibbert
(Joy Revolution, 9780593482339, $19.99, hardcover; 9780593482353, $13.99, paperback, Jan. 3, Ages: 12+)

“Talia Hibbert never disappoints! Her signature wit and charm are on full display in her first foray into the Young Adult world. I couldn’t put this book down — not that I wanted to. I would follow Celine and Brad anywhere.”
—Libby Monaghan, Twice Told Tales, McPherson, KS

Mysteries of Thorn Manor
By Margaret Rogerson
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781665935616, $14.99, Jan. 17, Ages: 14+)

“Margaret Rogerson builds worlds that you want to just move into. Mysteries of Thorn Manor is an absolute delight, and it was such a treat to revisit the characters and wonders of Brassbridge in this adorable and utterly romantic novella.”
—Amy Van Keuren, Charter Books, Newport, RI

Nine Liars
By Maureen Johnson
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063032651, $19.99, Dec. 27, Ages: 14+)

“Split between 1995, where a group of Cambridge University students play a deadly game of hide-and-seek, and the present day with Stevie Bell hot on the case, this is a cleverly plotted mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.”
—Emily Gilbow, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

The Poison Season
By Mara Rutherford
(Inkyard Press, 9781335915801, $19.99, Dec. 6, Ages: 12+)

“A beautiful and elegant dark fantasy! The world is so unique with a magical wandering forest, it’s people with magical songs, and a poisonous lake with a secret that enhances the atmosphere of the novel. This standalone is so addicting!”
—Haley Calvin, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

Queen Among the Dead
By Lesley Livingston
(Zando Young Readers, 9781638930181, $19.99, Jan. 17, Ages: 14+)

Queen Among the Dead is bright, authentic and spellbinding. The story takes place in a kingdom where magic is outlawed and druids hoard and misuse magic. When Eire is threatened, an outlaw and a princess team up to secure a safer future.”
—Kahill Perkins, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did)
By Tess Sharpe
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316302791, $18.99, Jan. 24, Ages: 14+)

“This book is a gift not only to girls in love, but to all teens forced to carry adult burdens too soon. An incandescently beautiful novel of young love, loss, and the family we forge when blood ties alone aren’t enough to see us through.”
—Jaye Lawrence, Content Bookstore, Northfield, MN