September/October 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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

The tri-fold, four-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for September/October 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 November/December 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List is September 6.

Find more information about nominating titles here.

Here are the titles appearing on the September/October 2023 Kids’ Indie Next List:

#1 Pick: The Lost Library
By Rebecca Stead, Wendy Mass
(Feiwel & Friends, 9781250838810, $17.99, Aug. 29, Ages: 8-12)
“I loved the mystery of the Lost Library. This was a good ghost story with polite ghosts, a mouse-sympathizing cat, and some adventure-seeking fifth graders. A great story for kids to read by themselves or out loud — I can’t wait to share it!”
—Angela Burns, Little Bean Books, Antioch, IL

Picture Books

Dear Unicorn
By Josh Funk, Charles Santoso (Illus.)
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593206942, $18.99, Sept. 19, Ages: 4-8)
“As we can always count on with Josh Funk’s picture books, Dear Unicorn is imaginative, funny, and full of delightful surprises. While you may have other unicorn books, I guarantee you don’t have one quite like this!”
—Joanna Robertson, The Treehouse Reading and Arts Center, New York Mills, NY

Flora’s Wish
By Fiona Halliday
(Dial Books, 9780593462454, $18.99, Aug. 1, Ages: 4-8)
“A tender story of friendship and grief wrapped in the changing seasons; where comfort comes from being sheltered from harsh winds and cold temperatures. Gorgeous illustrations shape Flora’s journey of letting go, but never forgetting.”
—Amy Lane, Bards Alley, Vienna, VA

How Does Santa Go Down the Chimney?
By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (Illus.)
(Candlewick, 9781536223767, $18.99, Sept. 12, Ages: 4-8)
“Kids will love this playful look at how Santa does it! Parents will love that the book provides no answers, just fun suggestions — and includes homes that don’t have chimneys. The Barnett-Klassen superstar team delivers once again!”
—Paul Swydan, The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton, MA

I Am Stuck
By Julia Mills
(Clarion Books, 9780358695332, $19.99, Sept. 26, Ages: 4-8)
“There are a lot of ways to feel stuck, but having a friend to keep you company while you get unstuck can make all the difference. I love that this story takes us on a journey of companionship and the joys it can provide to help us get ‘unstuck.’ ”
—Stephanie Staton, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY

I Will Read to You
By Gideon Sterer, Charles Santoso (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316592611, $18.99, Aug. 1, Ages: 4-8)
“Sterer’s sweet ode to unconditional love features a brave child who reminds us of the power of empathy. I Will Read to You is more than a new spooky favorite for quieting monsters — it’s a celebration of storytelling and a bedtime classic.”
—Cristina Iannarino, Books on the Square, Providence, RI

It’s Fall! (Celebrate the Seasons #1)
By Renée Kurilla
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316363990, $18.99, Aug. 22, Ages: 4-8)
“This is my favorite leafy-pumpkiny-autumny book to date. The glasses alone make this book a delight, but the story is just as sweet and engaging.”
—Hannah Oxley, Mystery to Me, Madison, WI

Rosie Runs
By Marika Maijala, Mia Spangenberg (Transl.)
(Elsewhere Editions, 9781953861603, $19.95, Aug. 15, Ages: 3-7)
“A captivating tale of freedom for a racing dog named Rosie, told with beautiful rhythm and perfect read-aloud pacing for toddlers and early elementary listeners alike. Fluid illustrations invite the viewer to run right beside Rosie.”
—Julie Rowan-Zoch, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

Seals Are Jerks!
By Jared Chapman
(Orchard Books, 9781338835687, $18.99, Sept. 5, Ages: 4-8)
“Jared Chapman’s latest is complete with humor, empathy, and lots of Antarctica facts. Our narrator gets a first-person — er, penguin — account of the relationship between seals and penguins, and learns the hard truth about food chains.”
—Summer Laurie, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

Something, Someday
By Amanda Gorman, Christian Robinson (Illus.)
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593203255, $18.99, Sept. 26, Ages: 4-8)
“An inspirational picture book that respects young readers and their feelings, and encourages their desire to make positive change in the world. Something, Someday belongs in every library, school, and home in this country.”
—Lorie Barber, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL

This Book Is Banned
By Raj Haldar, Julia Patton (Illus.)
(Sourcebooks Explore, 9781728276564, $18.99, Sept. 26, Ages: 4-8)
This Book is Banned is a wonderful, playful way to engage children with the idea of books being banned and to talk to people with different beliefs. The book keeps you guessing as to what could possibly happen (and possibly be banned) next.”
—Thomas Murtland, Underdog Bookstore, Monrovia, CA

Middle Grade

The Dark Lord’s Daughter
By Patricia C. Wrede
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780553536201, $17.99, Sept. 5, Ages: 8-12)
“When Kayla is pulled from a state fair into a magical world, she wants nothing to do with becoming the next Dark Lady and even less to do with the terrible Traditions. She proves that it doesn’t matter if your power is Dark or Light, it’s how you use it.”
—Jordan Zwick, The Book Seller, Grass Valley, CA

Enlighten Me (A Graphic Novel)
By Minh Lê, Chan Chau (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Ink, 9780759555471/9780759555488, Hardcover/Paperback, $24.99/$12.99, Sept. 19, Ages: 8-12)
“Using video games to explain meditation is a brilliant way to engage young readers. The text’s humor blends beautifully with the art to make a complex topic relatable. Recommended for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Christina Soontornvat.”
—Julie Schultz, This House of Books, Billings, MT

Ghost Book
By Remy Lai
(Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250810410/9781250810434, Hardcover/Paperback, $22.99/$14.99, Aug. 15, Ages: 8-12)
“This Chinese folklore-inspired story of friendship and visibility left me craving a sequel and enchanted dumplings. Remy Lai writes to kids on their level with a beautiful message of how to sacrifice for others without losing yourself.”
—Maura Juenger, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

I Am Kavi (Indies Introduce)
By Thushanthi Ponweera
(Holiday House, 9780823453658, $18.99, Sept. 19, Ages: 8-12)
“Though written about a time and place far removed from today’s young American readers, this beautiful novel in verse has themes that are immediately relatable. Don’t we all want to fit in? Kavi does, even if it requires bending the truth.”
—Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books, Millerton, NY

By Charles Waters, Traci Sorell
(Charlesbridge, 9781623543808, $17.99, Sept. 5, Ages: 10+)
“A nuanced examination of Native American imagery in mascots makes this novel in verse shine. Readers will find inspiration to stand up for what they feel is right, while also understanding that controversies are rarely black and white.”
—Robin Stern, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

By Pedro Martín
(Dial Books, 9780593462294, Paperback, $14.99, Aug. 1, Ages: 10-14)
“Pedro’s voice echoes validation for those of us that grew up (or are growing up) in that space between not feeling Mexican enough or American enough, and finding our own identity. Every child in my life will be getting this book.”
—Lupe Penn, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

The Otherwoods
By Justine Pucella Winans
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781547612543, $17.99, Sept. 12, Ages: 8-12)
“You’ll fall in love with River and Mr. Fluffy Pancakes as they travel to places unknown to save their friend. A mixture of Leigh Bardugo, Neil Gaiman, and a little Stranger Things — but for middle grades! A perfect Spooky Season release.”
—Jenny Gilroy, E. Shaver, Bookseller, Savannah, GA

Saving Chupie
By Amparo Ortiz, Ronnie Vazquez (Illus.)
(HarperAlley, 9780062950284, Paperback, $19.99, Aug. 1, Ages: 8-12)
“What would you do if you didn’t believe in monsters, then came across a chupacabra? What if that chupacabra was sweet like a puppy? Violeta must save Chupie and show everyone that not all creatures are monstrous in this heartfelt graphic novel.”
—Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Things in the Basement
By Ben Hatke
(First Second, 9781250836618/9781250909541, Hardcover/Paperback, $22.99/$14.99, Aug. 29, Ages: 6-9)
“Atmospheric and spooky, but full of adventure, this near-wordless graphic novel is the perfect blend of action and heart. Perfect for fans of the Amulet series, Coraline, and Jon Klassen’s The Skull.”
—Emily Gilbow, House of Books, Kent, CT

Two Tribes
By Emily Bowen Cohen
(Heartdrum, 9780062983589, Paperback, $15.99, Aug. 15, Ages: 8-12)
“Mia’s feeling of not fitting in is intensified by her descent from not one, but two marginalized communities. Her journey into her Muscogee heritage means taking risks and learning from her mistakes. A brilliant coming-of-age story.”
—Keith Glaeske, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Young Adult

All the Fighting Parts (Indies Introduce)
By Hannah V. Sawyerr
(Amulet Books, 9781419762611, $19.99, Sept. 19, Ages: 14-19)
All the Fighting Parts pulls no punches, delving deep into the heart of one sexual assault survivor’s journey through grief, guilt, resistance, and reclamation. I hope with all my might that Amina’s story reaches those who need it most.”
—Isabel Agajanian, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

The Borrow a Boyfriend Club (Indies Introduce)
By Page Powars
(Delacorte Press, 9780593568583, $18.99, Sept. 12, Ages: 12+)
The Borrow a Boyfriend Club is a fresh, heartfelt take on the classic rom-com with characters that are relatable and laughs that keep you turning the page. I was rooting for Noah (and Asher) from Chapter One!”
—Liz Decker, Caprichos Books, Ocean Pines, MD

Bring Me Your Midnight
By Rachel Griffin
(Sourcebooks Fire, 9781728256153, $18.99, Aug. 1, Ages: 14-18)
“Griffin does it again: A perfectly-mixed potion of the modern and the magical. Bring Me Your Midnight is the fast-paced, witchy reading-slump antidote we need!”
—Sophie Robinson, The Briar Patch, Bangor, ME

Guardians of Dawn: Zhara
By S. Jae-Jones
(Wednesday Books, 9781250191427, $20, Aug. 1, Ages: 12-18)
“Jones delivers in the most magical way a shimmering retelling of Cinderella with Sailor Moon vibes — if that didn’t make you drop everything to read it, I’ve got three words for you: You will laugh.”
—Vania Stoyanova, Brave + Kind Bookshop, Decatur, GA

Mall Goth
By Kate Leth
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534476950/9781534476943, Hardcover/Paperback, $22.99/$14.99, Sept. 26, Ages: 12+)
“I loved this! There are so many little details that early 2000s goth/emo folk will recognize. Liv is a lovely, relatable character who is trying to find herself in a new town and new high school. I will definitely be rereading this one!”
—Katrina Bright-Yerges, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

The Spirit Bares Its Teeth
By Andrew Joseph White
(Peachtree Teen, 9781682636114, $19.99, Sept. 5, Ages: 14+)
“White expertly turns horror and the grotesque into a tender and beautiful exploration of gender, neurodivergence, and self that grabs you and refuses to let go. Incredible, brilliant, absolutely beautiful, very gross — the perfect mix.”
—Jacs Rodriguez, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

A Study in Drowning
By Ava Reid
(HarperTeen, 9780063211506, $19.99, Sept. 19, Ages: 14+)
A Study in Drowning is a beautifully eerie story about the myths we are told, the people we admire and what happens when the truths we hold begin to unravel. I am in awe of Reid and her storytelling abilities. You need this book in your life!”
—Joseline Diaz, Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA

There’s No Way I’d Die First
By Lisa Springer
(Delacorte Press, 9780593643174, $18.99, Sept. 5, Ages: 12+)
“Noelle Layne is certain she’d be the Final Girl in any slasher scenario. She’s put to the test when a killer clown at a Halloween party turns out to be the real deal. It will take all of Noelle’s know-how to survive and keep her friends alive.”
—Charlie Williams, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Thieves’ Gambit
By Kayvion Lewis
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780593625361, $19.99, Sept. 26, Ages: 12+)
“When Ross Quest tries to break away from her legendary family of thieves, she’s led to the Thieves’ Gambit, an international heist competition including her arch-nemesis and a charmer who may single-handedly bring back button-down vests.”
—Chris Schmidt, Main Street Books (MO), St. Charles, MO

Tilly in Technicolor
By Mazey Eddings
(Wednesday Books, 9781250847065/9781250328120, Hardcover/Paperback, $24.00/$14.00, Aug. 15, Ages: 13-18)
Tilly in Technicolor is a love letter to neurodivergent readers. It’s a disaster-cute, stuck-with-you romance that will melt your heart. Mazey Eddings’ writing is hilarious, heartfelt, and guaranteed to make you laugh, cry, and swoon.”
—Becky Martone, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT