July/August 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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

The tri-fold, four-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for July/August 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 September/October 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List is July 12.

Find more information about nominating titles here.

Here are the titles appearing on the July/August 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List:

"The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale" by Jon Klassen#1 Pick: The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale
By Jon Klassen
(Candlewick, 9781536223361, $19.99, Jul. 11, Ages: 6-9)
“An oddly delightful and delightfully odd story that is wonderfully drawn and concisely told. Follow our runaway heroine as she happens upon a kindred spirit embodied (or, disembodied) in a skull. Witty, with a dash of dark humor.”
—Ernio Hernandez, River Bend Bookshop, Glastonbury, CT

Picture Books
Bitsy Bat, School Star
By Kaz Windness
(Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 9781665905053, $18.99, Jun. 6, Ages: 4-8)

“This is a wonderful story about embracing our differences and teaching others that they can be okay. While it’s got an important message, it’s also an adorable, sweet story, with illustrations that will keep your young readers engaged.”
—Anna Brown, Katy Budget Books, Houston, TX

By Kevin Johnson, Kitt Thomas (Illus.)
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781250840509, $18.99, Jun. 20, Ages: 4-8)

“An incredibly beautiful and moving book for kids and their grown-ups about grief, and how to hold onto someone we love after they have died. I’ll have this on our shelf forever.”
—Mary Cotton, Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, MA

I Am a Dragon!: A Squabble & a Quibble
By Sabina Hahn
(HarperCollins, 9780063253995, $19.99, Jul. 18, Ages: 4-8)

“There’s a lot packed into this picture book: believing what someone tells you, listening to others and acknowledging them, controlling your anger, and being kind. A great, engaging story time book — whether you’re a frog or a dragon!”
—Dea Lavoie, Second Star to the Right Children’s Books, Denver, CO

I Want to Be Spaghetti!
By Kiera Wright-Ruiz, Claudia Lam (Illus.)
(Kokila, 9780593529874, $19.99, Jul. 11, Ages: 4-8)

“Funny mixed with gorgeous illustrations, this picture book takes loving who you are to another level. Sometimes, all it takes is being put in a bowl of people just like you that makes you realize your perfect just the way you are.”
—Armilene Cabreros, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

The Ice Cream Vanishes
By Julia Sarcone-Roach
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593309858, $18.99, Jun. 20, Ages: 3-7)

“Squirrel loves to make snacks disappear. When they spot a dropped ice cream cone, they have to show Bear — but when they come back, it's vanished! All the forest critters are eager to witness the magic of an ice cream treat, hoping for a nibble!”
—Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA

The Masjid Kamal Loves
By Ashley Franklin, Aaliya Jaleel (Illus.)
(Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534499836, $18.99, Jun. 20, Ages: 4-8)

“A lovingly written introduction to the masjid (commonly called a mosque in English). Perfect for anyone interested in teaching or learning the traditions of Muslim houses of prayer.”
—Matthew May, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

We Are Going to Be Pals!
By Mark Teague
(Beach Lane Books, 9781665911863, $18.99, Jun. 6, Ages: 4-8)

“Opposites do attract! And when the rules of friendship are applied even in the unlikeliest pairs of — people? — the results can be golden. Mark Teague nails it with a Serengeti’s worth of wit, wisdom, and charm.”
—Kathy Adams, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN

When Rubin Plays
By Gracey Zhang
(Orchard Books, 9781338648263, $18.99, Jul. 18, Ages: 4-8)

“Beautiful music is in the ear of the beholder. In this stunning picture book from the author/illustrator of LaLa’s Words, that ear is a chorus of cats! Both a celebration of music and of new musicians, this is sure to be a story time favorite.”
—Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

By Philip Bunting
(Charlesbridge, 9781623543914, $17.99, Jun. 13, Ages: 2-5)

“An adorable picture book reminiscent of classics like One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish but filled with wombats! Philip Bunting’s hilarious wordplay and cute illustrations are sure to make this a read-aloud favorite.”
—Caleb Masters, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

You Can’t Be a Pterodactyl!
By James Breakwell, Sophie Corrigan (Illus.)
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780593110652, $18.99, Jul. 25, Ages: 3-7)

“I love this picture book on dreaming big, dealing with adversity, and staying true to yourself. It also has a great dad in it as well as pterodactyls. In addition to being a great read for kids, it would make a wonderful graduation ‘card.’ ”
—Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Middle Grade
Abeni’s Song
By P. Djèlí Clark
(Starscape, 9781250825827, $19.99, Jul. 25, Ages: 8-12)

“P. Djèlí Clark deftly takes the reader through unimaginable horrors to find strength. While reading, some story threads felt comfortingly familiar, like the Baba Yaga tales spun on a new loom. I’m excited for more of Abeni’s adventures.”
—Kristin Richland, Phoenix Books, Burlington, VT

The Bellwoods Game
By Celia Krampien
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781665912501, $17.99, Jul. 18, Ages: 8-12)

“Three chosen kids must make their way through the woods and ring a bell. If you win, you get a wish. If you lose, you lose your sacrificial item and your memories. A high stakes middle grade horror where friendships dictate if you win or lose.”
—Joe Rusnak, Charter Books, Newport, RI

Camp Sylvania
By Julie Murphy
(Balzer + Bray, 9780063114029, $18.99, Jun. 6, Ages: 8-12)

“Murphy delves back into middle grade with her delightful story about a girl who’s forced to go to fat camp for the summer, but things aren’t what they seem. This is a sweet story that’s also filled with lots of adventure and intrigue!”
—Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Marietta, GA

Greenwild: The World Behind the Door
By Pari Thomson
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374391379, $17.99, Jun. 6, Ages: 8-12)

Greenwild is pure magic. It grabs you and never lets go for an instant. The world-building is reminiscent of Harry Potter (in the best ways), but the plant magic wielded by the Botanists was refreshingly original and utterly captivating.”
—Kate Snyder, Plaid Elephant Books, Danville, KY

Half Moon Summer
By Elaine Vickers
(Peachtree, 9781682635391, $17.99, Jun. 6, Ages: 8-12)

“Two babies born on the same day are nestled together for comfort, but haven’t seen each other since. A half marathon brings them together. Determination, grit, and friendship are just some of the themes that will captivate readers!”
—Laura Edwards, The Little Bookshop, Midlothian, VA

Into the Shadow Mist (Legends of Lotus Island #2)
By Christina Soontornvat
(Scholastic Press, 9781338759174, $16.99, Jul. 18, Ages: 8-12)

“Another fun read from Christina Soontornvat. This series will delight early readers who have ‘graduated’ from Dragon Masters, but aren’t ready for longer fantasy. I’m hooked on Plum’s adventures and curious to see her powers develop.”
—Audrey I-Wei Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

The Kingdom Over the Sea (Indies Introduce)
By Zohra Nabi
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781665931083, $17.99, Jun. 6, Ages: 8-12)

“Yara seeks answers concerning her late mother, which leads her to Zehaira and a magical quest for the truth. Fantastical and steeped in cultural folklore, this adventure story of marvel and wonderment will appeal to middle graders.”
—Gerard Villegas, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

The Many Masks of Andy Zhou
By Jack Cheng
(Dial Books, 9780525553823, $17.99, Jun. 6, Ages: 10+)

“Andy Zhou and best friend Cindy start middle school together, but circumstances change their understanding of each other and their friendship. A wonderful emotional journey of finding yourself, both as an individual and in a community.”
—Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

Misfit Mansion
By Kay Davault
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781665903080, $22.99, hardcover; 9781665903073, $14.99, paperback, Jul. 25, Ages: 8+)

“Colorful and fun, Misfit Mansion uses heart and humor to remind us that families come in all forms. A great read!”
—Dana Brown, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

The Probability of Everything
By Sarah Everett
(Clarion Books, 9780063256552, $19.99, Jun. 27, Ages: 8-12)

“You’ll never find a book harder to discuss without spoilers, but here goes: Its brilliant use of an unreliable narrator is used as a lever to humanize the impacts of inhumanity with remarkable force. A rare, exceptional, memorable story.”
—Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, ME

Young Adult
All That’s Left to Say
By Emery Lord
(Bloomsbury YA, 9781681199412, $19.99, Jul. 18, Ages: 13+)

“Struggling to move on after her cousin’s opioid overdose death, Hannah transfers to an elite private school to uncover the truth. You’d Be Home Now meets One of Us Is Lying in this poignant examination of grief, addiction, and friendship.”
—Chris Schmidt, Main Street Books, St. Charles, MO

An Echo in the City (Indies Introduce)
By K. X. Song
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316396820, $18.99, Jun. 20, Ages: 14+)

An Echo in the City is a brilliant, moving coming of age story about two teens on the opposite sides of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, trying to figure out their place in the bigger picture. A must read for young activists and fans of Like a Love Story.”
—Abby Rice, Title IX: A Bookstore, New London, CT

The Faint of Heart
By Kerilynn Wilson
(Greenwillow Books, 9780063116221, $18.99, paperback, Jun. 13, Ages: 13+)

“In this world, June is the only person left with a heart; when she finds an abandoned one, she starts a quest to put hearts back into others. A metaphorical story about the importance of feeling and connection, with absolutely gorgeous art.”
—Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

Give Me a Sign (Indies Introduce)
By Anna Sortino
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593533796, $18.99, Jul. 11, Ages: 12+)

“Such a compelling story about finding yourself at summer camp that everyone can relate to, with wonderful representation. This book will mean so much to so many people. I learned so much about Deaf culture. Keep this book on your radar!”
—McKenna Moran, Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, IL

Going Bicoastal
By Dahlia Adler
(Wednesday Books, 9781250871640, $20, Jun. 13, Ages: 13-18)

“Completely, utterly, absolutely obsessed with this book. I was worried the two different story lines would be jarring as they switched, but Dahlia Adler is masterful at intertwining both stories. Bisexual Jewish rep for the win!”
—Honor Ford, The Doylestown & Lahaska Bookshops, Doylestown, PA

Saint Juniper’s Folly
By Alex Crespo
(Peachtree Teen, 9781682635773, $18.99, Jun. 6, Ages: 14+)

Saint Juniper’s Folly captivated me. I fell in love with the atmospheric setting, this trio of unlikely friends, and the haunted house and secrets that bring them together. This queer fantasy-gothic mystery is a force of healing.”
—Gabriella Crivilare, Prairie Fox Books, Ottawa, IL

The Shadow Sister
By Lily Meade
(Sourcebooks Fire, 9781728264479, $18.99, Jun. 27, Ages: 14-18)

“Quite the page turner! I was sucked right in to the story of Cassie and her missing older sister, Sutton. Who do we trust? What happened around Sutton’s disappearance? This is a compelling thriller with lots of layers! A great summer read.”
—Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

Sing Me to Sleep (Indies Introduce)
By Gabi Burton
(Bloomsbury YA, 9781547610372, $19.99, Jun. 27, Ages: 13+)

“Dark, stunning, and enchanting, Sing Me to Sleep is a book every fantasy lover needs on their shelves. For a moment, you feel the cool spray of mist on your cheek or the dangerous siren song on your tongue. I can’t begin to recommend this book enough!”
—Emma Butler, The Briar Patch, Bangor, ME

Their Vicious Games (Indies Introduce)
By Joelle Wellington
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781665922425, $19.99, Jul. 25, Ages: 14+)

Squid Game meets Ready or Not in this brutal takedown of racism and classism! From every twist and turn to its satisfying conclusion, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page.”
—Brandy Herr, Arts & Letters Bookstore, Granbury, TX

You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight
By Kalynn Bayron
(Bloomsbury YA, 9781547611546, $19.99, Jun. 20, Ages: 14+)

“Turn on all your lights before you settle in to read You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight — trust me, you need the lights on! From the very first sentence to the last shocking twist, this book is nonstop slasher action with plenty of gore and heart.”
—Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY