March/April 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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

The tri-fold, four-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for March/April 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 May/June 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List is March 13.

Find more information about nominating titles here.

Here are the titles appearing on the March/April 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List:

The Moth Keeper: A Graphic Novel By K. O’Neill#1 Pick: The Moth Keeper: A Graphic Novel
By K. O’Neill
(Random House Graphic, 9780593182277, $21.99, hardcover; 9780593182260, $13.99, paperback, Mar. 7, Ages: 8-12)

“A beautiful children’s graphic novel full of wonder, magic, warmth, and a touching story about community, responsibility, and burnout. The Moth Keeper is a special book that readers both young and old will find humor and meaning in.”
—Caleb Masters, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Picture Books
By Matthew Cordell
(Feiwel & Friends, 9781250317179, $18.99, Feb. 7, Ages: 2-5)

“Beautiful, adorable pictures and characters tell the story of Evergreen, a little squirrel doing her best to help other woodland creatures, even if they seem a little scary at first. Readers will want to be Evergreen’s BFF and neighbor!”
—Nancy Baenen, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

In Every Life
By Marla Frazee
(Beach Lane Books, 9781665912488, $18.99, Feb. 7, Ages: 0-8)

“Sometimes it takes an upside-down world to see what is most important to all of us. Frazee’s sublime genius is her signature warmth of spirit, line and shading, and most importantly, the warmth of love. Such an exquisite gift for all!”
—Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

The Fantastic Bureau of Imagination
By Brad Montague, Kristi Montague
(Dial Books, 9780593323472, $18.99, Mar. 21, Ages: 4-8)

“The Department of Dreams, The Cave of Untold Stories, The Planetarium of Possibility, these are all divisions of the FBI. Yep — The Fantastic Bureau of Imagination. Whoosh down the whoosh-scilator and dive into fun and imagination.”
—Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

My Baba’s Garden
By Jordan Scott, Sydney Smith (Illus.)
(Neal Porter Books, 9780823450831, $18.99, Mar. 7, Ages: 4-8)

“Every day at Baba’s house, she makes the boy breakfast and walks him to school — the love is there on the page. One day, Baba moves in with the boy and he cares for her in return. A gorgeous ode to love between a grandparent and a grandchild.”
—Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Once Upon a Book
By Grace Lin, Kate Messner
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316541077, $18.99, Feb. 7, Ages: 4-8)

“Two powerhouses of children’s literature celebrate what a book can mean to a child. I fell into the illustrations and lyrical descriptions of Alice’s responses to her surroundings. I kept turning the pages to see where I would go next.”
—Clare Doornbos, Mr. Mopps’ Books and Toys, Berkeley, CA

Ramen for Everyone
By Patricia Tanumihardja, Shiho Pate (Illus.)
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781665904353, $18.99, Mar. 14, Ages: 4+)

“My stomach growled with every page as I ate up this delectable book! Hiro teaches us that the sky is the limit when it comes to ramen and cooking! This book will help kids grow kitchen confidence and give them a lesson on the history of ramen.”
—Rashauna Marie Tunson, Second Star to the Right Children’s Books, Denver, CO

Sometimes It’s Nice to Be Alone
By Amy Hest, Philip C. Stead (Illus.)
(Neal Porter Books, 9780823449477, $18.99, Feb. 14, Ages: 4-8)

“Kind, gentle, and oh so true to so many hearts! Sometimes being alone is exactly what we need. Sometimes it’s not. Stead’s illustrations are perfect with Hest’s honest and lyrical text. Can't wait to put this one in as many hands as possible!”
—Joy Preble, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

Twenty Questions
By Mac Barnett, Christian Robinson (Illus.)
(Candlewick, 9781536215137, $17.99, Mar. 14, Ages: 4-8)

“Questions open to interpretation are paired with colorful art in this sly and funny picture book. I can’t wait to read it with the right kids — those who are perennially inquisitive!”
—Robin Stern, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

The Umbrella
By Beth Ferry, Tom Lichtenheld (Illus.)
(Clarion Books, 9780358447726, $19.99, Mar. 21, Ages: 4-8)

“The illustrations do a phenomenal job of taking the simple, rhythmic text and lifting it to a whole new level. This fanciful story with a bit of kindness sprinkled in will delight old and young alike!”
—Lorie Barber, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL

When Things Aren’t Going Right, Go Left
By Marc Colagiovanni, Peter H. Reynolds (Illus.)
(Orchard Books, 9781338831184, $18.99, Mar. 7, Ages: 4-8)

“A wonderful concept book of positivity with the always fabulous illustrations of Peter H. Reynolds. The prose is inspiring and will speak to adults, teens and children of all ages! Loved this book.”
—Debbie Scheller, A Likely Story, Sykesville, MD

Middle Grade
Dear Mothman
By Robin Gow
(Amulet Books, 9781419764400, $18.99, Mar. 21, Ages: 10-14)

“A tender story of a trans child navigating grief, friendship, love, and identity. Turning to a cryptid to express his feelings, Noah writes to figure out who he is, how much he misses his friend who passed away, and how to make new friends.”
—Sydne Conant, A Room Of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, WI

Finally Seen
By Kelly Yang
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534488335, $17.99, Feb. 28, Ages: 8-12)

“Growing up a Chinese-American girl in a mostly white neighborhood, I identified so much with Lina’s struggles to see herself in literature. Finally Seen inspires children who have never seen themselves as heroes in books to be heroes themselves.”
—Donna Liu, Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA

The Guardian Test (Legends of Lotus Island #1)
By Christina Soontornvat, Kevin Hong (Illus.)
(Scholastic Press, 9781338759150, $16.99, Mar. 7, Ages: 8-12)

“Plum wants to stay with her grandparents, taking care of their garden and animals. But when she is called to join the Guardians, she learns more about herself and her strengths. This book is for kids who love adventure, magic, and nature.”
—Alissa Hugel, Folio Books, San Francisco, CA

Hanging with Vampires: A Totally Factual Field Guide to the Supernatural
By Insha Fitzpatrick, Lilla Bölecz (Illus.)
(Quirk Books, 9781683693413, $14.99, paperback, Mar. 28, Ages: 8-12)

“Fitzpatrick covers everything from the origins of the vampire myth, to historical context, to the vampire in modern culture. Filled with interesting, bite-sized pieces of information, it’s the perfect companion for a middle grader.”
—R. Aimee Chipman, The Bluestocking Bookshop, Holland, MI

By Matt Tavares
(Candlewick, 9781536201369, $22.99, hardcover; 9781536231953, $12.99, paperback, Mar. 14, Ages: 8-12)

“This graphic novel is based on the true story of Judi Warren, and the 1976 Warsaw High School inaugural girls’ basketball team. Perfect for young athletes, this book will inspire and show how far we have come since Title IX was passed.”
—Kelli McDonald, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

The Pearl Hunter (Indies Introduce)
By Miya T. Beck
(Balzer + Bray, 9780063238190, $17.99, Feb. 7, Ages: 8-12)

“Among the countless books using fantasy to speak to the reality of growing up, this book stands out for its unique plot and magical realism, magical realms and beings, down-to-earth emotions, and universal adolescent experiences.”
—Emily Autenrieth, A Seat at the Table Books, Elk Grove, CA

The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels (Indies Introduce)
By Beth Lincoln
(Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9780593533239, $17.99, Feb. 7, Ages: 8-12)

The Swifts is no run-of-the-mill story. While the eccentric Swifts defy comparison, they remain relatable and deeply human in a book that is part mystery, part family drama, part coming-of-age comedy, and entirely delightful.”
—Jordan Zwick, The Book Seller, Grass Valley, CA

Turtles of the Midnight Moon (Indies Introduce)
By María José Fitzgerald
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593488706, $17.99, Mar. 14, Ages: 8-12)

“A delightful middle grade eco-mystery that brings two girls from different backgrounds together as they try to stop poachers from stealing turtle eggs. I enjoyed the little bit of magical elements interwoven into this story.”
—Earl Dizon, Green Bean Books, Portland, OR

When Sea Becomes Sky
By Gillian McDunn
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781547610853, $16.99, Feb. 28, Ages: 8-11)

“This is now one of my favorite books. I was devastated while reading this wonderfully crafted story. This book will rip your heart out and put it back together perfectly. I highly recommend When Sea Becomes Sky for readers young and old.”
—Rayna Nielsen, Blue Cypress Books, New Orleans, LA

The Windeby Puzzle: History and Story
By Lois Lowry
(Clarion Books, 9780358672500, $16.99, Feb. 14, Ages: 10+)

“Tell someone’s story, and they live forever. Even someone you never knew, like a child buried in a bog in Windeby, Germany, in the first century AD. This book gently wraps warm narrative around a cold news story to bring ‘the bog body’ to life.”
—Margaret Walker, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

Young Adult
Always the Almost
By Edward Underhill
(Wednesday Books, 9781250835208, $18.99, Feb. 14, Ages: 12-18)

“A relatable, honest exploration of grief, confusion, and second chances, Always the Almost is an empowering celebration of music and love.”
—Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, MA

Belle of the Ball
By Mari Costa
(First Second, 9781250784124, $17.99, paperback, Mar. 21, Ages: 14-18)

“This is so lovely! A great, inclusive graphic novel! The relationships created by the author are so sweet and wholesome, and this would be such an impactful read for young wlw. I can’t wait to promote this as much as it deserves!”
—Gianna Conidi, Harvey’s Tales, Geneva, IL

Delicious Monsters
By Liselle Sambury
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781665903493, $21.99, Feb. 28, Ages: 14+)

“Perfect for horror fans, Delicious Monsters is a fantastically creepy dual narrative with one girl trying to uncover her mother’s past, and another girl investigating a secluded mansion’s high body count. This is an unforgettable read.”
—Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY

Hidden Systems: Water, Electricity, the Internet, and the Secrets Behind the Systems We Use Every Day (Indies Introduce)
By Dan Nott
(Random House Graphic, 9780593125366, $23.99, hardcover; 9781984896049, $17.99, paperback, Mar. 14, Ages: 12+)

“Dan Nott takes one of the most innocuous subjects, infrastructure, and demonstrates how fascinating and vital it can be. Subtleties, entrenched inequalities, dis-functions, and outmoded processes are laid bare in an interesting way!”
—Justin Colussy-Estes, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

Lies We Sing to the Sea
By Sarah Underwood
(HarperTeen, 9780063234475, $19.99, Mar. 7, Ages: 14+)

“Underwood’s writing is impeccable. Her storytelling is vivid and gripping and her characters are incredibly strong. I love a good female empowerment, queer, Greek mythology-inspired book and Underwood knocks this one out of the park.”
—Grace Burke, Little District Books, Washington, DC

Seven Faceless Saints
By M.K. Lobb
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316386883, $19.99, Feb. 7, Ages: 14+)

“A book fantasy fans will love. In a world where those favored by the Saints exploit those who aren’t, two former lovers team up to solve a series of inexplicable murders and discover sinister secrets about their city — and about each other.”
—Bridey Morris, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

She Is a Haunting
By Trang Thanh Tran
(Bloomsbury YA, 9781547610815, $18.99, Feb. 28, Ages: 13+)

“Jaw-clenching gothic and sapphic perfection! As is the case with haunted houses, everything about this book drew me in and kept me rapt until the very last word.”
—Valeria Salas Ibarra, Front Street Books, Alpine, TX

There Goes the Neighborhood (Indies Introduce)
By Jade Adia
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781368084321, $18.99, Mar. 7, Ages: 12-18)

“This book is vibrant and alive. The teens and the community come alive as they rally to save their neighborhood from gentrification and eviction. Rhea and her friends are so vividly drawn, one can’t help but root for the community to rise.”
—Audrey Huang, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

This Time It’s Real
By Ann Liang
(Scholastic Press, 9781338827118, $18.99, Feb. 7, Ages: 12+)

“A believable, awkward teen romance starts out as fake love that transforms into the real thing. The reader explores Beijing thru Eliza’s eyes as she gets to know Caz and starts to trust in herself and her feelings. A delightful rom-com!”
—Connie L. Eaton, Three Sisters Books & Gifts, Shelbyville, IN

By Lauren Blackwood
(Wednesday Books, 9781250787132, $18.99, Feb. 7, Ages: 13-18)

“Absolutely devastating in the best possible way. Wildblood will pull you through the jungle, breathless at Blackwood’s turns of phrase and twists of plot.”
—Leah Grover, Scrawl Books, Reston, VA