March/April 2024 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the titles on the March/April 2024 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 2024 Kids’ Indie Next List is March 11.

Find more information about nominating titles here.

Here are the titles appearing on the March/April 2024 Kids’ Indie Next List:

#1 Pick: Luigi, the Spider Who Wanted to Be a Kitten
By Michelle Knudsen, Kevin Hawkes (Illus.)
(Candlewick, 9781536219111, $18.99, Mar. 5, Ages: 4-8)

“Luigi may have eight legs instead of four, may prefer webs over snuggling under blankets, and would surely rather eat a bug than play with a toy one. He may be a spider in body, but he’ll always be a kitten at heart. A super sweet, unique pet story.”
—Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC


Picture Books

The Book That Can Read Your Mind
By Marianna Coppo
(Chronicle Books, 9781797229010, $17.99, Mar. 12, Ages: 5-8)

“Abracadabra! This interactive story is filled with adorable illustrations, and the undeniably fun choose-your-own-adventure style makes for a new read every time. Perfect for parents who can’t bear to read the same book over and over.”
—Mary Wahlmeier Bracciano, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

The Cat Who Couldn’t Be Bothered
By Jack Kurland
(Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 9780711287457, $18.99, Mar. 26, Ages: 2-6)

“What a cute and adorable cat with a message about feelings and honesty. Children love cats and they are a great messenger for teaching lessons. We can all relate to this cat!”
—Clark Buckmaster, The Taleless Dog, Booksellers, Berea, KY

By Lo Cole
(Boxer Books, 9781915801289, $18.99, Mar. 5, Ages: 3-6)

“Doris the elephant doesn’t want to be noticed, so she tries to find the perfect hiding place. She goes through the birds, flowers, and fish in her attempt to stay hidden. This is a perfect book for any child who struggles with being shy.”
—Judith Lafitte, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA

I Lived Inside a Whale
By Xin Li
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316492270, $18.99, Feb. 20, Ages: 4-8)

“What a spectacular story! It is a rare picture book that combines gorgeous illustrations with humor and real insight into real emotions, but I Lived Inside a Whale does so perfectly.”
—Jennifer Carney, Sidetrack Bookshop, Royal Oak, MI

My Thoughts Have Wings
By Maggie Smith, Leanne Hatch (Illus.)
(Balzer + Bray, 9780063214583, $19.99, Feb. 13, Ages: 4-8)

My Thoughts Have Wings reads like a deep breath when your pulse is racing and your palms are sweaty. As someone that’s struggled with anxiety, getting to the end of this book and feeling my nervous system regulate brought tears to my eyes. A gift.”
—Audrey Beatty, River Bend Bookshop, Glastonbury, CT

Pretty Ugly
By David Sedaris, Ian Falconer (Illus.)
(Toon Books, 9781662665271, $18.99, Feb. 27, Ages: 5-7)

“David Sedaris fans will love Pretty Ugly, a story about true beauty, family, and character. Ian Falconer’s illustrations are perfection. And honestly, who hasn’t wanted to lock themselves in a wood shed for three days?!”
—Jessica Nock, Main Street Books, Davidson, NC

Small Things Mended
By Casey W. Robinson, Nancy Whitesides (Illus.)
(Rocky Pond Books, 9780593529812, $18.99, Mar. 19, Ages: 4-8)

“With Small Things Mended, Casey Robinson transcends kids’ expectations of adults and shows just how infectious and healing kindness can be. The illustrations will bring big smiles and a jaunty pep to your step all day long.”
—Gibran Graham, The Briar Patch, Bangor, ME

Spider in the Well
By Jess Hannigan
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063289475, $19.99, Mar. 19, Ages: 4-8)

“Everyone in this book is so devious and I loved every page! The Spider in the Well is absolutely delightful, with a fable-like feeling, awesome illustrations, and characters both silly and sly. Love!”
—Julia DeVarti, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

Treehouse Town
By Gideon Sterer, Charlie Mylie (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316592628, $18.99, Feb. 13, Ages: 4-8)

“What a great story to read with little ones as you imagine the fun of living in a town made of treehouses! Simple rhymes on each page add to the charm of this book.”
—Vicky Titcomb, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

The Wild
By Yuval Zommer
(Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 9780593708989, $18.99, Feb. 27, Ages: 3-7)

“This curious tale personifies earth as a living being resembling a coyote — first appreciated by the people who live on it, and then has too much taken from it until it is sick. A tale of child activism that offers a hopeful ending.”
—Jess Iverson, Booked, Evanston, IL


Middle Grade

City Girls (Indies Introduce)
By Loretta Lopez
(Triangle Square, 9781644213421, $17.95, Apr. 9, Ages: 9-12)

“A smart and thoughtful story about the challenges of growing up, and the ways we see ourselves and each other. The three girls, Elisa, Lucia, and Alice, all feel so real in their hopes, fears, and struggles. A very moving debut!”
—Ann Branson, Beach Books, Seaside, OR

Coyote Lost and Found
By Dan Gemeinhart
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250292773, $17.99, Mar. 5, Ages: 9-12)

“Loved this as much (maybe more) than the first! Don’t we all want a Coyote in our life? This could easily be read without the first book, as Gemeinhart weaves in the backstory of Coyote and Rodeo. This will be a top book of 2024!”
—Pam Page, pages: a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, CA

Daughters of the Lamp (Indies Introduce)
By Nedda Lewers
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593619308, $18.99, Feb. 20, Ages: 8-12)

“A magical tale of a science-minded kid encountering things she can’t explain as Sahara and her father travel to Egypt for a family wedding. This was an adorable book full of family love and Arabian traditions!”
—Andi Richardson, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

By Kate DiCamillo
(Candlewick, 9781536231052, $18.99, Mar. 5, Ages: 8-12)

“The Wilkey family will tug on your heartstrings, drive you bonkers, and make you feel right at home. Ferris reminds us to slow down and listen to loved ones — young and old — because ‘every good story is a love story.’ A tender read for the whole family.”
—Beth Wilson, Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, MN

The First State of Being
By Erin Entrada Kelly
(Greenwillow Books, 9780063337312, $19.99, Mar. 5, Ages: 8-12)

“Erin Entrada Kelly’s sci-fi novel is just the book kids need now! Michael’s anxiety and flaws are so relatable, Elizabeth is a kindhearted secret hero, and Ridge’s curiosity spans time. I love how hopeful this book is.”
—Jennifer Kraar, City of Asylum Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA

Free Period
By Ali Terese
(Scholastic Press, 9781338835830, $17.99, Mar. 5, Ages: 8-12)

“Two goofy pranksters broke the final straw with the principal, who assigns them to a school improvement group run by their enemy! They notice that there are no period products in the school. Can the group change the school board’s mind? Read to find out!”
—Julie Beckers, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH

Louder Than Hunger
By John Schu
(Candlewick, 9781536229097, $18.99, Mar. 19, Ages: 10-14)

“This novel-in-verse takes a candid look at a teen’s anxiety and eating disorder as he works to find his place in the world. John Schu candidly tells Jake’s story, using an engaging format and a beautiful voice. Bravo, Mr. Schu!”
—Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Max in the House of Spies: A Tale of World War II
By Adam Gidwitz
(Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9780593112083, $18.99, Feb. 27, Ages: 8-12)

“A brilliant, touching, and powerful story, told by the incredibly gifted Adam Gidwitz. I rarely read a book that explains such complex subjects so approachably and eloquently, let alone in such an exciting, moving, and gripping tale!”
—Peter Glassman, Books of Wonder, New York, New York

Next Stop (A Graphic Novel)
By Debbie Fong
(Random House Graphic, 9780593425183, $13.99, Paperback, Mar. 19, Ages: 8-12)

Next Stop is an endearing graphic novel that made me laugh out loud on one page, then tear up on the next. Fong’s ability to discuss grief and loss without sacrificing charm makes Next Stop a must read for children and adults.”
—Dominic Smith, Underbrush Books, Rogers, AR

Olivetti (Indies Introduce)
By Allie Millington
(Feiwel & Friends, 9781250326935, $17.99, Mar. 26, Ages: 8-12)

Olivetti completely blew me away. Deeply beautiful prose frames this emotional journey of a typewriter and the humans who love him. An absolute must-read for readers of all ages. It made me laugh, cry, and feel grateful to be a human being.”
—Hannah Kerbs, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

Young Adult

The Absinthe Underground
By Jamie Pacton
(Peachtree Teen, 9781682634929, $19.99, Feb. 6, Ages: 14+)

“This book is Moulin Rouge meets the Fae realm with a sapphic friends-to-lovers romance. Sybil and Esme are tasked to enter the Fae Realm and steal gems from Queen Mab. There’s romantic pining and heists. What more could you ask for?”
—Meghan Molinari, Lark and Owl Booksellers, Georgetown, TX

The Bad Ones  
By Melissa Albert
(Flatiron Books, 9781250894892, $19.99, Feb. 20, Ages: 14-18)

The Bad Ones is a dark love song to the ‘weird girls’ who may only survive adolescence on account of holding each other together. A testament to a sisterhood that runs deeper than blood, this gripping story encapsulates this bond.”
—Sara Crow, Crow & Co. Books, Hutchinson, KS

The Fox Maidens
By Robin Ha
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062685124, $18.99, Paperback, Feb. 13, Ages: 13+)

“This book was absolutely fantastic! The feminist, queer retelling of the Gumiho story I never knew I needed. If you’ve ever struggled with taking hold of your own power, this one’s for you.”
—Leah Grover, Scrawl Books, Reston, VA

How the Boogeyman Became a Poet (Indies Introduce)
By Tony Keith, Jr.
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063296008, $19.99, Feb. 6, Ages: 14+)

“This affirming memoir in verse walks the reader through the beautiful journey of being honest with yourself and fostering community. This book is for anyone trying to put the puzzle pieces of life together, but feel like they are missing just one piece.”
—Maryan Liban, Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers, Columbus, OH

I Hope This Doesn’t Find You
By Ann Liang
(Scholastic Press, 9781338827156, $19.99, Feb. 6, Ages: 12+)

“A queen of academic rivals to lovers, Ann Liang captures the nuances of teen paranoia, rivalry, and romantic tension perfectly. She utilizes the most intriguing ways to bring two characters together — in this case, eight years of drafted emails.”
—Mallory Sutton, Bards Alley, Vienna, VA

Infinity Alchemist
By Kacen Callender
(Tor Teen, 9781250890252, $19.99, Feb. 6, Ages: 13-18)

“It’s rare for me to experience a young adult fantasy novel that feels grounded, introduces rich and complex characters, and keeps the integrity of the story and world in place. I can’t wait to see what this world has in store for me next!”
—Kalli King, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Skater Boy
By Anthony Nerada
(Soho Teen, 9781641295345, $18.99, Feb. 6, Ages: 14+)

Skater Boy is a thoughtful and honest coming-of-age romance, centering a lot on the idea of who we are, and who we want to be — and how to navigate it, as simple and complicated as it can all be.”
—Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA

Snowglobe (Indies Introduce)
By Soyoung Park, Joungmin Lee Comfort (Transl.)
(Delacorte Press, 9780593484975, $20.99, Feb. 27, Ages: 12+)

“An absolute knockout! Set in a post-ecological apocalypse Earth, this intense, fascinating dystopian book belongs on your shelf next to The Hunger Games. I hope Soyoung Park’s got more coming, because I’m ready for the next one.”
—Vaughn Lachenauer, Main Point Books, Wayne, PA

A Tempest of Tea
By Hafsah Faizal
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374389406, $20.99, Feb. 20, Ages: 14-18)

A Tempest of Tea is everything I have ever wanted in a book. A hidden vampire bloodhouse masquerades as a tea room by day in this thrilling, death-defying heist novel. I will be recommending this book to absolutely everyone I know.”
—Katie Fransen, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

Where the Dark Stands Still
By A. B. Poranek
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781665936477, $19.99, Feb. 27, Ages: 14+)

“Based on Polish folklore, Where the Dark Stands Still warps and darkens at it unfolds. I’m fascinated with the underlying theme of religious oppression pressed up against this amazing world of demons, ghosts, and magic. A fiendishly fantastical read!”
—Stephanie Staton, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY