May/June 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the titles on the May/June 2023 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 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List is May 8.

Find more information about nominating titles here.

Here are the titles appearing on the May/June 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List:

"Big Tree" by Brian Selznick#1 Pick: Big Tree
By Brian Selznick
(Scholastic Press, 9781338180633, $32.99, Apr. 4, Ages: 7+)

“Through exquisite art and spacious language, Big Tree is told by sibling sycamore seeds making their way in the world. It is captivating, empowering, and impactful; written for a young audience and to be enjoyed by all.”
—Meghan Bousquet, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

Picture Books
By Vashti Harrison
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316353229, $19.99, May 2, Ages: 4-8)

“A gentle and loving book about what it means to be big. Harrison’s stunning art style perfectly encapsulates all the beautiful roundness of being a child, and encourages love and warmth for yourself if you are navigating the world as big.”
— Tildy Lutts, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

Gustav Is Missing!: A Tale of Friendship and Bravery
By Andrea Zuill
(Random House Studio, 9780593487471, $18.99, Apr. 11, Ages: 4-8)

“Little Cap overcomes his fears when he has to go and find his best friend Gustav. Zuill’s last book Sweety captured our imaginations because it was quirky and cute. Little Cap will make readers smile as they explore his world.”
—Margaret Neville, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

How Dinosaurs Went Extinct: A Safety Guide
By Ame Dyckman, Jennifer Harney (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316593298, $17.99, Apr. 18, Ages: 4-8)

“Hilarious! Take every warning you’ve ever been given as a child, from wait a full hour after eating before swimming to don’t run with scissors, and you have this side-splittingly funny alternative to how dinosaurs went extinct.”
—Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

Manolo & the Unicorn
By Jackie Azúa Kramer, Jonah Kramer, Zach Manbeck (Illus.)
(Cameron Kids, 9781951836528, $18.99, Apr. 18, Ages: 5-7)

“This is a magnificent story about an inquisitive little boy who succeeds in making an ordinary world feel extraordinary. The book’s ethereal artwork and charming story make it a top book to put into the hands of magic seekers of all ages.”
—Courtney Roach, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli
By David LaRochelle, Lian Cho (Illus.)
(Dial Books, 9780525555445, $19.99, Apr. 4, Ages: 3-7)

“Everything David LaRochelle publishes is pure gold — but this! This could be the funniest, most charming, most captivating counting book ever! I laughed out loud, I got a little worried, and I cheered at the end.”
—Kathy Adams, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN

Real to Me
By Minh Lê, Raissa Figueroa (Illus.)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593377499, $18.99, May 2, Ages: 4-8)

Real to Me perfectly captures the joy and magic of friendship, the complicated feelings when friendship is lost, and the delight and wonder in discovering new friends. This book will stay in my heart forever, it is a modern classic!”
—Christine Bollow, Loyalty Bookstores, Washington, DC

Simon and the Better Bone
By Corey R. Tabor
(Balzer + Bray, 9780063275553, $19.99, May 9, Ages: 4-8)

“I loved Mel Fell, and Simon and the Better Bone did not disappoint! The illustrations are so fun and detailed, from his expressive eyebrows to the sweet little bird observing the entire exchange. This will make an excellent read aloud!”
—Katie Pionk, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

Snake’s Big Mistake
By Sarah Kurpiel
(Greenwillow Books, 9780063093218, $19.99, May 9, Ages: 4-8)

“This story shows how to make things right when we’ve done something wrong. Snake takes credit for Turtle’s art project, but doesn’t feel good about it. So, Snake repairs the damaged project and the damaged friendship with Turtle. Beautiful!”
—Amy Lane, Bards Alley, Vienna, VA

10 Cats
By Emily Gravett
(Boxer Books, 9781914912580, $16.99, May 2, Ages: 3-5)

“The cats in this picture book are mischievous and hilarious. Children will enjoy searching for the different cats while learning numbers, colors, and patterns.”
—Ann Vogl, Dragon Tale Books, Menomonie, WI

Weather Together (Not Quite Narwhal and Friends)
By Jessie Sima
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781665916981, $18.99, May 2, Ages: 4-8)

“Sima hits it out of the park yet again with a sweet tale of friendship and understanding. A reminder that feelings can be overwhelming, and not always fun, but they are part of us — most of all, shared feelings are always better than hidden ones.”
—Carrie Koepke, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

Middle Grade
Elf Dog and Owl Head
By M. T. Anderson, Junyi Wu (Illus.)
(Candlewick, 9781536222814, $18.99, Apr. 11, Ages: 8-12)

“A remarkable tale set during the height of the pandemic. Clay explores the mysteries the woods have to offer, and soon boring days are filled with magic. A heartfelt, fast-paced adventure novel with fantastic illustrations by Junyi Wu.”
—Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI 

The Firefly Summer
By Morgan Matson
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534493353, $18.99, May 2, Ages: 8-12)

“When Ryanna is invited to spend the summer with the grandparents she barely knows, she has no idea that she’s in for a summer filled with new cousins, family secrets, and a whole lot of fun. This is a perfect summer read!”
—Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books, Millerton, NY

Grace Needs Space!: A Graphic Novel
By Benjamin A. Wilgus, Rii Abrego
(Random House Graphic, 9780593182383, $13.99, paperback, Apr. 4, Ages: 8-12)

“Wow! This was great! Good art, good storyline, exciting, and a wonderful read for anyone interested in what it might be like to actually live and work in space.”
—René Kirkpatrick, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Jude Saves the World (Indies Introduce)
By Ronnie Riley
(Scholastic Press, 9781338855876, $18.99, Apr. 18, Ages: 8-12)

“This is a beautiful book with brave characters who fiercely guard friendship as a safe space filled with unconditional love — and set about to make the world that way. Jude Saves the World cracked my heart open and poured joy right in.”
—Justin Colussy-Estes, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy
By Angie Thomas
(Balzer + Bray, 9780063225138, $19.99, Apr. 4, Ages: 8-12)

“Moving and magical, Angie Thomas’ middle grade debut perfectly blends African mythology and history of the American South. An impactful and fast-paced read for fans of Rick Riordan and B. B. Alston.”
—Maura Juenger, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Once There Was
By Kiyash Monsef
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781665928502, $18.99, Apr. 4, Ages: 10+)

“With a mixture of Persian fairy tales, mystery, magic, friendship, grief, and a pinch of romance, Monsef explores fantasy in a way that is grounding and entertaining. Perfect for fans of fractured fairy tales and mythical creatures.”
—Emma Butler, The Briar Patch, Bangor, ME

Opinions and Opossums
By Ann Braden
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 9781984816092, $17.99, May 2, Ages: 10+)

“Ann Braden has done it again! I love Opinions & Opossums just as much as I love Flight of the Puffin. Agnes is my new hero. Braden has a way of writing for kiddos that respects them, celebrates them, and challenges them, all while making them laugh.”
—Christina Batten, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI

Parachute Kids: A Graphic Novel
By Betty C. Tang
(Graphix, 9781338832686, $12.99, paperback, Apr. 4, Ages: 9-12)

“Being a kid is a lot harder when you have to worry about being deported. Parachute Kids is equal parts sweet and searing, a portrait of the lengths families are willing to go for the perceived American Dream. An absolute must-read.”
—Leah Grover, Scrawl Books, Reston, VA

Squire & Knight
By Scott Chantler
(First Second, 9781250249340, $14.99, paperback, May 9, Ages: 8-12)

“I loved this middle grade graphic novel about a young squire and a dragon that is destroying the town. Can’t wait for it to come out and to hand it to all the kids I know.”
—Elizabeth Schieber, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS

A Work in Progress
By Jarrett Lerner
(Aladdin, 9781665905152, $17.99, May 2, Ages: 8-12)

“A harrowing look at what can go through the mind of a young person, and serves as a cautionary tale: it’s important for all of us (not just kids) to love who we are. This outstanding, accessible book stands to be on shelves for a very long time.”
—Paul Swydan, The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton, MA

Young Adult
Blood Debts
By Terry J. Benton-Walker
(Tor Teen, 9781250825926, $18.99, Apr. 4, Ages: 13-18)

“This book is absolutely phenomenal. Soaked in magic, history, trauma, and joy, this will keep you on the edge of your seat. Terry J. Benton-Walker’s must-read mystery is full of tension and plenty of heart. I already need book #2!”
—Cassandra Schulz, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

I Kick and I Fly (Indies Introduce)
By Ruchira Gupta
(Scholastic Press, 9781338825091, $18.99, Apr. 18, Ages: 12+)

“This book had me crying AND cheering on the subway. It’s an age-appropriate indictment of global sex trafficking that’s also inspiring and illuminating, and  a powerful story about courage and community. Highly recommended!”
—Rebekah Shoaf, Boogie Down Books, Bronx, NY

If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come
By Jen St. Jude
(Bloomsbury YA, 9781547611362, $19.99, May 9, Ages: 14+)

“The morning Avery plans to drown herself, she learns that an asteroid will hit Earth in eight days. She decides to ride out the end of the world without telling anyone what almost happened. A devastating, hopeful book about what makes life worth living.”
—Marianne Wald, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Imogen, Obviously
By Becky Albertalli
(Balzer + Bray, 9780063045873, $19.99, May 2, Ages: 14+)

“Only Becky Albertalli can manage to combine the white-hot debate about who belongs in queer spaces with a sweet story about young folks who like each other a whole lot. She strikes an incredible balance here; I can’t wait to sell this!”
—Abby Dan, Booked, Evanston, IL

Painted Devils
By Margaret Owen
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250831163, $20.99, May 16, Ages: 14-18)

Painted Devils touches on necessary topics that I wished I’d encountered half so gently and thoughtfully when I was a young reader — especially in a fantasy setting, where Owen masterfully weaves an exciting, witty, and romantic adventure.”
—Kay Frost, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (A Graphic Novel)
By Deya Muniz
(Little, Brown Ink, 9780316538701, $24.99, hardcover; 9780316538725, $17.99, paperback, May 9, Ages: 12-19)

“A complete and utter delight! I read it in one sitting and squealed the whole time. Much like a grilled cheese sandwich, this book overflows with goodness. I was heart-eyed all the way through! I recommend this to readers of all ages.”
—Joanne Machin, Brick & Mortar Books, Redmond, WA

Questions I Am Asked about the Holocaust: A Young Reader’s Edition
By Hédi Fried, Alice E. Olsson (Transl.) Laila Ekboir (Illus.)
(Scribble US, 9781957363233, $18.95, Apr. 4, Ages: 10-17)

“Hédi Fried gives an eyewitness and direct account of her experiences during the Holocaust. She answers the most frequently asked questions she has received over the years on her quest to educate so that generations to come do not hate.”
—Linda Bakersmith, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

By Maurene Goo
(Zando Young Readers, 9781638930204, $19.99, Apr. 11, Ages: 14+)

“Much more than a Back to the Future story, Throwback is a story about mothers, daughters, the immigrant experience, high school, and finding your dreams. Maurene Goo tackles friendship and family set in the best of the ‘90s.”
—Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Warrior Girl Unearthed
By Angeline Boulley
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250766588, $19.99, May 2, Ages: 14-18)

“Angeline Boulley’s newest YA thriller brings us back to the world of Firekeeper’s Daughter. Perry Firekeeper-Birch follows the footsteps of her Auntie Daunis to find missing Indigenous women, fight corruption, and honor her ancestors.”
—Jennifer Carney, Sidetrack Bookshop, Royal Oak, MI

Where You See Yourself (Indies Introduce)
By Claire Forrest
(Scholastic Press, 9781338813838, $19.99, May 2, Ages: 12+)

“An utterly engrossing, fun senior year novel told through the eyes of a spunky teenager fighting for disability rights. I rooted for Effie to find her voice, to get the guy, and to go for the future that would make her happy.”
—Earl Dizon, Green Bean Books, Portland, OR