May/June 2022 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the titles on the May/June 2022 Kids’ Indie Next List flier, arriving at stores in the upcoming Kids’ Box mailing. The May/June title list is also viewable as a collection in Edelweiss.

The tri-fold, four-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for May/June 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 July/August 2022 Kids' Indie Next List is May 9. Find more information about nominating titles here.

Here are the titles appearing on the May/June 2022 Kids' Indie Next List:

#1 Pick: I Kissed Shara Wheeler
By Casey McQuiston
(Wednesday Books, 9781250244451, $19.99, May 3, Ages: 13-18)

“Casey McQuiston is at their absolute best in this charming YA caper. It’s fun, queer, smart, and a perfect summer read. If you love scavenger hunts, runaway prom queens, Taco Bell, and young queer self-discovery, this is your book!”
—Julia DeVarti, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

Picture Books
Being a Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness
By Maria Gianferrari, Pete Oswald (Illus.)
(HarperCollins, 9780063067912, $18.99, Apr. 5, Ages: 4-8)

“Who has not envied the delightfully simple life of a dog? Being a Dog is an engaging way to introduce young children to the idea of mindfulness. Kids will love the cute illustrations and easy instructions to be like their furry friends!”
—Jessica Baker, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Donut: The Unicorn Who Wants to Fly
By Laura Gehl, Andrea Zuill (Illus.)
(Random House Studio, 9780593376256, $17.99, Apr. 12, Ages: 4-8)

“This is such a cute picture book about dreams and perseverance! The illustrations are adorable and add so much to the written story. I cannot wait to read this one to my preschoolers at story time.”
—Anna Brown, Katy Budget Books, Houston, TX

Francis Discovers Possible
By Ashlee Latimer, Shahrzad Maydani (Illus.)
(Abrams Books for Young Readers, 9781419749100, $17.99, May 3, Ages: 4-8)

“As kids, words that give you power can be turned into weapons of self-doubt in an instant. This is a beautiful fat-positive book that really resonated with me. I love Francis!”
—Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, NY

Growing an Artist: The Story of a Landscaper and His Son
By John Parra
(Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 9781534469273, $18.99, May 10, Ages: 4-8)

“A beautifully illustrated story by John Parra on his inspiration to become an artist. This tender rendering of his landscape architect father’s work brings simplicity, joy in doing, and a passion for plants to a new level. Exquisite!”
—Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

I Am Quiet: A Story for the Introvert in All of Us
By Andie Powers, Betsy Petersen (Illus.)
(Bala Kids, 9781611809848, $16.95, Apr. 12, Ages: 3-7)

“I've never read a book that so beautifully captures what it’s like to be an introvert. Quiet is not always shyness, but perhaps something more, something open. A gift to all children (and adults) who grapple with quietness in a loud world.”
—Amy Lane, Bards Alley, Vienna, VA

I Was Born a Baby
By Meg Fleming, Brandon James Scott (Illus.)
(HarperCollins, 9780063157217, $17.99, Apr. 26
, Ages: 4-8)
“What a delightful and fun book! I had a great time learning about all of the names we have for baby animals. This book is the perfect gift for a baby shower or an emerging reader.”
—Cassidy Ochs, Lark and Owl Booksellers, Georgetown, TX

Little Houses
By Kevin Henkes, Laura Dronzek (Illus.)
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062965721, $18.99, May 24, Ages: 4-8)

“As always, Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek deliver a superb picture book that will delight little ones with promises of the beach and wax nostalgic for adults. A gorgeously told story of keeping wonder alive. I want to live in this book.”
—Katie Fransen, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

A Mouthful of Minnows
By John Hare
(Greenwillow Books, 9780063093225, $17.99, May 10, Ages: 4-8)

“With sacrifice and heroism reinforced by adventure and storytelling, A Mouthful of Minnows develops Alfonso the turtle much like a child. An exciting story with great illustrations showing that the cream still rises to the top.”
—Robin Gross, Books on the Square, Providence, RI

Pineapple Princess
By Sabina Hahn
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781250798367, $18.99, May 31, Ages: 4-8)

“A hilarious picture book that will keep both parents and children entertained, while also opening the door for discussions of why wanting something doesn’t mean it’s always the best idea.”
—Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Punky Aloha
By Shar Tuiasoa
(HarperCollins, 9780063079236, $17.99, June 7, Ages: 4-8)

“Punky Aloha’s special sunglasses help her overcome her shyness to ‘be helpful; be giving; be brave.’ A great story on how to be brave and grow. Shar Tuiasoa’s warm and round illustrations add softness to this sweet, empowering story.”
—Tildy Lutts, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA


Middle Grade
Cress Watercress
By Gregory Maguire, David Litchfield (Illus.)
(Candlewick, 9781536211009, $19.99, Mar. 29, Ages: 8-12)

Cress Watercress shows us how to meet new challenges head-on, with plenty of witty humor, determination, whimsical adventure, and friendship. With timeless woodland charm, this book is sure to be a friend to many and a comfort to all.
—Allison Cruse, Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative, Alamosa, CO

The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza
By Mac Barnett, Shawn Harris (Illus.)
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063084087, $15.99, May 10, Ages: 8-12)

“With his trademark voice and Shawn Harris’ spot on illustrations, Mac Barnett tells the action-packed story of a cat, a princess, and a toenail-clipping robot saving the moon from rats set on destroying it. Kids will clamor for more!”
—Diane Capriola, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

Hunters of the Lost City 
By Kali Wallace
(Quirk Books, 9781683692898, $16.99, Apr. 26, Ages: 10+)

Hunters of the Lost City is a story that will keep you enthralled until the very last page. Full of friendship, mystery, magic, and monsters, this story of a strong young girl trying to save all she loves is a ride you won't ever want to end!”
—Marielle Orff, Towne Book Center & Café, Collegeville, PA

The Last Mapmaker
By Christina Soontornvat
(Candlewick, 9781536204957, $17.99, Apr. 12, Ages: 8-12)

“Sai is a great, relatable heroine. So many strong female characters, both friend and foe — who can she trust? Soontornvat builds a remarkably vivid world and keeps the surprises coming until the end. An incredible middle grade fantasy.”
—Christina Batten, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI

The Problem with Prophecies (The Celia Cleary Series #1)
By Scott Reintgen
(Aladdin, 9781665903578, $17.99, May 24, Ages: 10-14)

“This story is so fun and charming! I love Celia — she’s spirited, stubborn, compassionate, and so easy to root for. The action is gripping, and the plot is exciting. I had tons of fun reading this, and I’m looking forward to the next book!”
—Jenny Ancik, Best of Books, Edmond, OK

Small Town Pride
By Phil Stamper
(HarperCollins, 9780063118782, $16.99, May 31, Ages: 8-12)

“A young gay teenager meets small-town politics when trying to start the village’s first Pride festival. An important book about feeling comfortable in your hometown, and showing that there are queer kids everywhere!”
—Elizabeth Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA

Swim Team
By Johnnie Christmas
(HarperAlley, 9780063056770, $21.99, hardcover; 9780063056763, $12.99, paperback, May 17, Ages: 8-12)

“What a fun graphic novel! I really liked the relatable moments in the book — self-doubt, relocating to a new town, starting a new school — and learned so much about swimming and segregation in the Black community. A win on so many levels!”
—Sara Rishforth, Roundabout Books, Bend, OR

Wildseed Witch 
By Marti Dumas
(Amulet Books, 9781419755613, $18.99, May 10, Ages: 10-14)

Wildseed Witch is a captivating coming-of-age story filled with magic, technology, and the unexpected. Hasani’s struggles to fit in and use magic for good are real and relatable. I loved the characters, and I hope this becomes a series!”
—Lorilee Sugden, Linden Tree Children’s Books, Los Altos, CA

By Claribel A. Ortega
(Scholastic Press, 9781338745528, $17.99, Apr. 5, Ages: 8-12)

“I adore Ortega and her writing. This is the perfect middle grade read for those who want quirky characters (toads with mustaches), a haunting setting, and an impossible task that will make you keep reading to find out what happens next!”
—Sierra Dertinger, Main Street Books, St. Charles, MO

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor
By Xiran Jay Zhao
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781665900706, $17.99, May 10, Ages: 8-12)

Zachary Ying is a whirlwind adventure jam-packed with folklore, action, and memes! This middle grade novel shoots a magical qi arrow right at the nexus of sci-fi and fantasy and hits. Full of heart and wit, I was hanging off of every word!”
—Jess Cooper, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH


Young Adult
An Arrow to the Moon
By Emily X.R. Pan
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316464055, $18.99, Apr. 12, Ages 14 +)

“In a quaint Northeastern town in the 1990s, Luna and Hunter live just a forest apart. When they meet, everything changes in a flash of light. Woven with Chinese folklore and magical realism, An Arrow to the Moon will take your breath away.”
—Mary Wahlmeier, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

Family of Liars: The Prequel to We Were Liars
By E. Lockhart
(Delacorte Press, 9780593485859, $19.99, May 3, Ages: 12+)

“What a pack of lies! I loved it. This beautiful, close-knit, proper family is not at all what they seem. They are none of those things and yet they are those things and more. This is even better than We Were Liars.”
—Heather Weirich-Roy, Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, NH

Forging Silver into Stars            
By Brigid Kemmerer
(Bloomsbury YA, 9781547609123, $18.99, June 7, Ages: 13+)

“Brigid Kemmerer has done it again. Forging Silver into Stars is the perfect mix of characters we know and love from her Cursebreakers series and new characters to fall in love with for the first time. I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.”
—Rayna Nielsen, Blue Cypress Books, New Orleans, LA

The Ghosts of Rose Hill
By R. M. Romero
(Peachtree Teen, 9781682633380, $18.99, May 10, Ages: 14+)

“This is a stunning read! The Ghosts of Rose Hill is the moving story of a teenage girl sent to live with her aunt in Prague, and the magic, romance, and dangers encountered there. Romero has composed a heartbreaking tale in elegant verse.”
—John Lynn, The Kennett Bookhouse, Kennett Square, PA

Hollow Fires
By Samira Ahmed
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316282642, $18.99, May 10, Ages: 12+)

“I was immediately consumed with the power and uniqueness of this novel. A timely topic portrayed in profound writing, told from the viewpoint of a young boy who was killed and the young woman who found his body. This is truly beautiful.”
—Kappy Kling, HearthFire Books, Evergreen, CO

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School
By Sonora Reyes
(Balzer + Bray, 9780063060234, $18.99, May 17, Ages: 13+)

“You can always tell when a story is so personal to the person who wrote it and The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School is one of the best examples of this. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, and I read the last page with the biggest smile on my face.”
—Miranda McGowan, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

Love Radio (Indies Introduce)
By Ebony LaDelle
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781665908153, $19.99, May 31, Ages: 12+)

“Can DJ Love, a teenage expert on love with his own radio show, take his own advice and build a relationship with the girl of his dreams? Detroit and R&B classics mix with characters you’ll fall in love with. A romcom with depth and so much fun!”
—Susan Williams, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers, Greenville, SC

She Gets the Girl
By Rachael Lippincott, Alyson Derrick
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534493797, $18.99, Apr. 5, Ages: 14+)

She Gets the Girl is an opposites-attract queer romance between two college freshman struggling to figure out their lives. Alex and Molly’s friendship and growing feelings made this an unputdownable story with all the warm fuzzies.”
—Becky Martone, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

Sofi and the Bone Song 
By Adrienne Tooley
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781534484368, $18.99, Apr. 19, Ages: 12+) 

“A musical fantasy, a magical mystery, a lyrical love story — Sofi and the Bone Song is a gorgeous, wintry novel that does it all. Readers who love soft, sweet coming-of-age stories with clever fantasy worldbuilding will find a home here.”
—Kiersten Frost, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

Tokyo Dreaming (Tokyo Ever After #2)
By Emiko Jean
(Flatiron Books, 9781250766632, $18.99, May 31, Ages: 12-18)
Tokyo Dreaming is the satisfying sequel to Tokyo Ever After. Izumi and her mother think they finally found their happily ever after, but nothing is easy when it comes to being royalty. How much of themselves are they willing to sacrifice?”
—Nicole Lintemuth, Bettie’s Pages, Lowell, MI