What is it about spring that rejuvenates us and makes us want to try new things? As our spring cleaning kicks into gear, we’ve created a list of books releasing in April that can freshen up your child’s home library. This month’s releases are filled with books that bring together community and loving yourself.
Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope by Jodie Patterson, Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (Release date: 4/20): Penelope knows that he’s a boy. (And a ninja.) The problem is getting everyone else to realize it.
In this exuberant companion to Jodie Patterson’s adult memoir, The Bold World, Patterson shares her son Penelope’s frustrations and triumphs on his journey to share himself with the world. Penelope’s experiences show children that it always makes you stronger when you are true to yourself and who you really are.. (Ages 4-8)
Keeping the City Going by Brian Floca (Release Date: 4/27): We are here at home now, watching the world through our windows. Outside we see the city we know, but not as we’ve seen it before. The once-hustling and bustling streets are empty. Well, almost empty. Around the city, there are still people, some, out and about. These are the people keeping us safe. Keeping us healthy. Keeping our mail and our food delivered. Keeping our grocery stores stocked. Keeping the whole city going. Brian Floca speaks for us all in this stirring homage to all the essential workers who keep the essentials operating so the rest of us can do our part by sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ages 4-8)
Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers by Rajani LaRocca, Chaaya Prabhat (Release date: 4/20): n Bracelets for Bina’s Brother, Bina is getting ready for Raksha Bandhan, an Indian holiday celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters. This year, Bina says she’s old enough to make beads for her three annoying brothers on her own with the help of her trusty dog Tara. Bina considers her brothers’ interests, likes, and dislikes, as she tries to make bracelets that are as unique as they are.
This was a beautiful book. The author infused lessons of perseverance, problem-solving, love, creativity, cultural appreciation, and math into a book without it feeling forced. The illustrations are gorgeous and add bursts of color and brightness to the story. This is definitely a must-have for kids learning about patterns. The author’s note in the book provides some additional context about Raksha Bandhan and activities for exploring patterns. (Ages 3-6)
If I Had an Octopus by Alex Barrow, Gabby Dawnay (Release date: 4/13): Have you ever thought about what the best aquatic pet would be? It’s an octopus, of course! When a little girl fantasizes about having a crazy smart octopus pet, she pictures jumping rope with its tentacles, practicing different ball games simultaneously, and playing hide-and-seek with her camouflaging friend (just look out for the ink!). (Ages 3-5)
America, My Love, America, My Heart by Daria Peoples-Riley (Release date: 4/6):
America, do you love me? My black. My brown. My pride. My crown.
What begins as a single question from a single child multiplies as America, My Love, America, My Heart sweeps across the country with every page turn, inviting in more and more children of color–and their questions. Does America love them when they speak? Or whisper? Or shout? When they stand? Does America love them just as they are? Ages 4-8)
The Big Hug by Megan Walker (Release date: 4/6): On opposite sides of a quiet street lived two friends. From morning to evening, they played. ”You two are stuck together like glue ” their parents and teachers laughed. So it was a shock when, one day, they had to stop and go inside. Between them now was only space. Suddenly, outside was scary and felt very large. Their parents were full of whispers and frowns, and the worry inside felt heavy. Where can you put friendship when friends are apart? Slowly, they learned. They found that, across the street and through windows, they could give each other a hug. They discovered that a smile is a hug. A wave is a hug. And funny faces, a phone call, a song. They discovered that when you’re apart, a friendship doesn’t leave. With time and effort, it will grow and grow until it is big, bigger than all fears.
Inspired by real-world events, The Big Hug is a story of love’s resilience. So many kids will be able to relate. (Ages 3-7)
We Laugh Alike/Juntos Nos Reímos: A Story That’s Part Spanish, Part English, and a Whole Lot of Fun by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, Alyssa Bermudez (Release Date: 4/13): This bilingual book depicts two groups of kids coming to the park to play. They are each fascinated by the language, songs, and games of the other group. They listen and learn. Until…they decide to play together.
The illustrations are fun and bright, bringing life to the story. The author also reinforces the message of kids that while people may have differences, there is so much more that brings them together. In the beginning, the book has English and Spanish text on separate pages next to the group of children speaking. When the children begin to play with one another, the text also comes together on a single page. The author’s note gives suggestions for learning a new language and embracing other cultures. (Ages 5-8)
Ways to Grow Love by Renee Watson, Nina Mata (Release Date: 4/27): So excited for the release of the follow-up to Ways to Make Sunshine. Ryan Hart and her family are back in another installment of stories about a Black girl finding her way and her voice as she grows through change and challenges. In this book, Ryan finds herself waiting on lots of things — like for her new sister to be born healthy, for her new recipes to turn out right, for that summer camp trip to go better than she fears! And of course, Ryan is facing these new challenges and new experiences in her classic style — with a bright outlook and plenty of spirit!. (Ages 7-10)
Aru Shah and the City of Gold: A Pandava Novel Book 4: by Roshani Chokshi (Release date 4/6): This is for your adventure, magic, and mythology lovers. If your child loves the Percy Jackson type series, the Pandava series is under the Rick Riordan Presents label. Aru Shah and her sisters–including one who also claims to be the Sleeper’s daughter–must find their mentors Hanuman and Urvashi in Lanka, the city of gold, before war breaks out between the devas and asuras.
Aru has just made a wish on the tree of wishes, but she can’t remember what it was. She’s pretty sure she didn’t wish for a new sister, one who looks strangely familiar and claims to be the Sleeper’s daughter, like her.
Aru also isn’t sure she still wants to fight on behalf of the devas in the war against the Sleeper and his demon army. The gods have been too devious up to now. Case in point: Kubera, ruler of the city of gold, promises to give the Pandavas two powerful weapons, but only if they win his trials. If they lose, they won’t stand a chance against the Sleeper’s troops, which will soon march on Lanka to take over the Otherworld.
Aru’s biggest question, though, is why every adult she has loved and trusted so far has failed her. Will she come to peace with what they’ve done before she has to wage the battle of her life? (Ages 8-12)
Merci Suárez Can’t Dance by Meg Medina (Release date 4/6): In Meg Medina’s follow-up to her Newbery Medal-winning novel, Merci takes on seventh grade, with all its travails of friendship, family, love–and finding your rhythm.
Seventh grade is going to be a real trial for Merci Suárez. For science, she’s got no-nonsense Mr. Ellis, who expects her to be a smart as her brother, Roli. She’s been assigned to co-manage the tiny school store with Wilson Bellevue, a boy she barely knows but whom she might actually like. And she’s tangling again with classmate Edna Santos, who is bossier and more obnoxious than ever now that she is in charge of the annual Heart Ball.
One thing is for sure, though: Merci Suarez can’t dance–not at the Heart Ball or anywhere else. Dancing makes her almost as queasy as love does, especially now that her merengue-teaching aunt, has a new man in her life. Unfortunately, Merci can’t seem to avoid love or dance for very long. She used to talk about everything with her grandfather, Lolo, but with his Alzheimer’s getting worse each day, whom can she trust to help her make sense of all the new things happening in her life? The Suárez family is back in a touching, funny story about growing up and discovering love’s many forms, including how we learn to love and believe in ourselves. (Ages 9-12)
Wind Up by Derek Jeter (Release date 4/13): As Derek and his team tackle playoffs, everyone deals with the pressure differently. And practice gets intense! One of Derek’s teammates, Avery, starts being especially hard on herself. She isn’t even enjoying the game anymore. Can Derek and the rest of the team pull her out of her funk?
Inspired by Derek Jeter’s childhood, this is the eighth book in Jeter Publishing’s New York Times bestselling middle-grade baseball series that focuses on key life lessons from Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation. (Ages 8-12)
What are you in the mood to read this month? Drop a comment below.
You can find these and hundreds of other titles in our Bookshop collections. We are constantly updating our selections. Let us know what titles excite you.