November/December 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

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

The tri-fold, four-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for November/December 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 January/February 2024 Kids’ Indie Next List is November 6.

Find more information about nominating titles here.

Here are the titles appearing on the November/December 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List:

#1 Pick: Check & Mate
By Ali Hazelwood
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593619919, $14, Paperback, Nov. 7, Ages: 14+)

“Ali Hazelwood’s young adult debut delivers an exciting ride of rediscovery and second chances. The love story is of course, swoon-worthy, but what really shines is Mallory’s journey back to her joy with support from her family and friends.”
—Kaylie Padgett, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

Picture Books

Granny Rex
By Kurtis Scaletta, Nik Henderson (Illus.)
(Harry N. Abrams, 9781951836665, $18.99, Oct. 3, Ages: 4-8)

“A tiny chickadee complains about being small, which opens a big conversation about bird ancestors. Extremely good read-aloud potential here, both for the silly jokes and the dino and bird noises. I can’t wait to share this with kids.”
—Clare Doornbos, Mr. Mopps’ Children’s Books, Berkeley, CA

How This Book Got Red
By Margaret Chiu Greanias, Melissa Iwai (Illus.)
(Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 9781728265650, $18.99, Oct. 3, Ages: 4-8)

“A book that portrays the importance of there being a book for everyone. Poor Red the Red Panda doesn’t see herself in any books; all of the books are about Giant Pandas. So, she decides to write her own book about Red Pandas.”
—Mandy Harris, Angel Wings Bookstore, Stem, NC

If I Was a Horse
By Sophie Blackall
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316510981, $18.99, Oct. 3, Ages: 4-8)

“A gorgeous new picture book about how joyful life would be as a horse! Perfect for all the horse lovers and a funny look at getting to be a little rebellious living in a house as a horse.”
—Aerie Brown, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

The Little Books of the Little Brontës
By Sara O'Leary, Briony May Smith (Illus.)
(Tundra Books, 9780735263697, $18.99, Oct. 17, Ages: 5-9)

The Little Books of The Little Brontës is wonderful! An adorable telling of the lives of the Brontë siblings as children and their fascination with telling stories. This is a perfect biography for any child interested in storytelling!”
—Olivia Hoover, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Mole Is Not Alone
By Maya Tatsukawa
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250869647, $18.99, Oct. 3, Ages: 4-8)

“An adorable story about an introvert’s anxiety when faced with a party invitation. The art evokes Mole’s twists and turns talking themself into and out of attending, and celebrates the ways we can find joy no matter which path we take.”
—Shaun Manning, Booksweet, Ann Arbor, MI

A Stone Is a Story
By Leslie Barnard Booth, Marc Martin (Illus.)
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781534496941, $18.99, Oct. 3, Ages 4-8)

“A beautiful look at where stones come from, guaranteed to spark nature walks and lots of activities — gathering stones, making up their stories, and playing geologist. A fun, educational read perfect for any story time or classroom!”
—Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

There Was a Party for Langston
By Jason Reynolds, Jerome Pumphrey (Illus.), Jarrett Pumphrey (Illus.)
(Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781534439443, $18.99, Oct. 3, Ages: 4-8)

“All hail Langston Hughes! Jason Reynolds and the Pumphrey brothers celebrate him and his 1991 NY Public Library party in this wondrous picture book. The words dance, and each illustration is a treat! This book begs to be enjoyed — join the party!”
—Barb Bassett, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

The Time Machine: Because It’s Never Too Late to Apologize
By Pauline David-Sax, Melquea Smith (Illus.)
(Cardinal Rule Press, 9798985805154, $17.95, Oct. 2, Ages: 5-7)

“This sweet picture book is perfect for kiddos learning how to apologize. Bailey says something she regrets to her best friend Nia, and has to learn that the best way to deal with that awful pit in your stomach is to say sorry.”
—Izzy Stringham, White River Books, Carbondale, CO

By Matthew Ward, Scott Magoon (Illus.)
(Clarion Books, 9780358400059, $19.99, Oct. 17, Ages: 4-8)

We are birds — we do not give up! is a slogan that needs to go on a t-shirt. This is the kind of funny, empowering message I want out of my picture book literature. Unflappable is as charming as it gets. Highly recommend!”
—Rebecca Waesch, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

The Wishing Machine
By Jonathan Hillman, Nadia Alam (Illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781665922302, $18.99, Oct. 17, Ages: 4-8)

“A tremendously sweet journey of wishing for things that are out of your control, hope, and what really matters. The Wishing Machine embraces reality in an honest way without feeling crushing, allowing for magic.”
—Carrie Koepke, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

Middle Grade

The Apartment House on Poppy Hill
By Nina LaCour, Sònia Albert (Illus.)
(Chronicle Books, 9781797213736, $14.99, Nov. 7, Ages: 7-10)

The Apartment House on Poppy Hill is such a joyful mystery! Fans of Ivy + Bean and Secret Spy Society series will surely enjoy it. I, for one, would love to live at 1106 Wildflower Place.”
—Jacque Izzo, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

By Jessixa Bagley, Aaron Bagley (Illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534496552/9781534496545, Hardcover/Paperback, $24.99/$14.99, Nov. 7, Ages: 8-12)

Duel has it all — a compelling story, characters you care about, and fascinating facts about fencing. The sibling relationship is honest and the journey through grief is real. You’ll give this one to young readers the moment you finish it.”
—Donna Gephart, Inkwood Books, Haddonfield, NJ

Galaxy Jones and the Space Pirates
By Briana McDonald
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534498297, $17.99, Oct. 24, Ages: 8-12)

“Pirates: in space! This action-packed adventure is about finding yourself and being true to you, despite how others perceive you. When Galaxy Jones’ interstellar nemesis becomes her partner in crime, will he also be a friend? A fun read!”
—Katrina Bright-Yerges, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

Ink Girls
By Marieke Nijkamp, Sylvia Bi (Illus.)
(Greenwillow Books, 9780063027107, $15.99, Paperback, Nov. 21, Ages: 8-12)

“A young printer’s maestra gets arrested for publishing the truth of a political leader’s corruption. This is a powerful story of a group of young people who come together in friendship and for a greater purpose: to stand up for the truth.”
—Meghan Bousquet, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

Jawbreaker (Indies Introduce)
By Chistina Wyman
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374389697/9781250331021, Hardcover/Paperback,  $17.99/$9.99, Oct. 24, Ages: 8-12)

Jawbreaker is a coming-of-age debut layered with preteen angst, family dynamics, the power of friendships, and self-confidence. This book was instantly relatable and down to earth, with an honest, raw look at everyday issues.”
—Zsamé Morgan, Babycake’s Book Stack, St. Paul, MN

Juniper’s Christmas
By Eoin Colfer
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781250321947, $22.99, Oct. 31, Ages: 8-12)

Juniper’s Christmas is the perfect Christmas tale for our time. Santa’s burned out, the grownups are a little lost, and the only one who has it together is Juniper. Funny and heartwarming.”
—Jennifer Carney, Sidetrack Bookshop, Royal Oak, MI

The Puppets of Spelhorst
By Kate DiCamillo, Julie Morstad (Illus.)
(Candlewick, 9781536216752, $17.99, Oct. 10, Ages: 7-10)

“This breathtaking folk tale of lost love and five extraordinarily endearing puppets brought me to tears when I read it to my daughter. Filled with incredible Gorey-esque drawings, this story deserves to be cherished by readers of any age.”
—Reilly Hadden, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

Remember Us
By Jacqueline Woodson
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780399545467, $18.99, Oct. 10, Ages: 10+)

“With language both razor-sharp and achingly poetic, Woodson offers insights — no easy answers or empty platitudes — on grief, time, memory, and identity. A searing examination of friendship and what we’re forced to leave behind as we grow.”
—Olivia Morris, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

Sir Callie and the Dragon’s Roost
By Esme Symes-Smith
(Labyrinth Road, 9780593485811, $17.99, Nov. 7, Ages: 8-12)

“This sequel packs a punch! When Helston proves it’s not ready to change, Callie, Willow, Elowen, and Edwyn must flee to save their lives. Symes-Smith will have readers itching to rally behind Callie and the world they wish to fight for.”
—Vaughn Lachenauer, Main Point Books, Wayne, PA

Tagging Freedom (Indies Introduce)
By Rhonda Roumani
(Union Square Kids, 9781454950714, $16.99, Nov. 7, Ages: 8-12)

“Where Kareem is toying with jail and near-death, Sam is just trying to stay out of her bully’s way. But art brings everyone together in a way that made me breathe a sigh of relief. A fantastic road map for useful activism, and great storytelling!”
—Jamie McCauley, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

Young Adult

Betting on You
By Lynn Painter
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781665921237, $19.99, Nov. 28, Ages: 14+)

“Another fun Lynn Painter read! Bailey and Charlie meet on a long flight where they annoy each other nonstop. When they run into each other years later, they still annoy each other — but they kind of love it, and it becomes something more.”
—Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Marietta, GA

Bittersweet in the Hollow
By Kate Pearsall
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593531020, $18.99, Oct. 10, Ages: 12+)

“I was hooked on the premise of a murder mystery linked to Mothman. I didn’t expect how quickly I’d fall in love with the language that just drips with magic, the cast of amazing witchy women on every page, and the intricately woven story.”
—Jacey Anderson, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Godly Heathens
By H. E. Edgmon
(Wednesday Books, 9781250853615, $20, Nov. 28, Ages: 14-18)

“This thoroughly queer Southern gothic gripped me from start to finish. A teenager discovers they are a reincarnated god. Add hormones, century-long feuds, high school woes, magic that shakes the earth…the resulting chaos is heavenly.”
—Kaitee Tredway, River Bend Bookshop, Glastonbury, CT

Gwen & Art Are Not in Love
By Lex Croucher
(Wednesday Books, 9781250847218, $20, Nov. 28, Ages: 14-18)

“Inspired by Arthurian legend, Croucher’s tale centers a princess, her fiancé, and the queer love they feel for other people. A tale full of heart about the courage it takes to embrace love and yourself. I never wanted this book to end.”
—Matilda McNeely, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

If You’ll Have Me
By Eunnie
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593403235, $17.99, Paperback, Oct. 17, Ages: 14+)

“In her first year of university, kind, anxious Momo develops a crush on PG, an unattainable player known for her many one-night stands. Can they let their guards down and allow love to bloom? A cute WLW graphic novel for fans of Heartstopper.
—Talia Smart, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Night of the Witch
By Sara Raasch, Beth Revis
(Sourcebooks Fire, 9781728272160, $18.99, Oct. 3, Ages: 14-18)

“Based on the German witch trials, Night of the Witch is an enthralling new fantasy told in a dual point-of-view, with a will-they-won’t-they romance, sharply-paced plot, complex characters, and magic. Prepare to be absolutely enchanted.”
—Charlie Williams, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Scarlet Alchemist
By Kylie Lee Baker
(Inkyard Press, 9781335458018, $19.99, Oct. 3, Ages: 14+)

“I fell in love with The Scarlet Alchemist. Zilan was a wonderful, terrible delight to read. She is ambitious and unflinching; her callus personality stands out, yet she’s  someone I unerringly rooted for. I eagerly await another installment.”
—Anna Koennecke, The Open Door Bookstore, Schenectady, NY

Unholy Terrors
By Lyndall Clipstone
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250887733, $20.99, Oct. 17, Ages: 14-18)

Unholy Terrors takes us to a setting wildly beautiful in its ruin, armed only with Clipstone’s honey and ash prose to guard us against the monsters that howl in the Thousandfold. A haunting read for fans of transforming girls and kissable monsters.”
—Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop, Mobile, AL

What the River Knows
By Isabel Ibañez
(Wednesday Books, 9781250803375, $20, Oct. 31, Ages: 13-18)

“Ancient Egypt, mystery, and magic make this historical adventure a rollicking read. A daring Bolivian-Argentinian heroine breaks all the rules to find out what happened to her parents in their search for the lost tomb of Cleopatra.”
—Katie Fransen, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, MO

Wrath Becomes Her
By Aden Polydoros
(Inkyard Press, 9781335458032, $19.99, Oct. 10, Ages: 13+)

“I like books with teeth and sharp edges. This is a sharp book, made even sharper by its moments of sweetness. It is a bold, original, fascinating reworking of more familiar folklore and stories. This will be one to talk about for a long time.”
—Ari Ray Agnew, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA