Best New Children’s Books of April 2018
Browse through Amazon Editors’ picks of the Best New Children’s Books of April 2018. Here are the best new children’s books scheduled for release this month.
Best New Children’s Books of April 2018: Ages 3 – 5
This section consists of Best New Children’s Books of April 2018 for children Ages 3 to 5.
1.1. I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness
by Kerascoët (Author)
This wonderful wordless picture book is for children aged 4 to 8 years old. It tells the story of a new girl in school, Vanessa. The new girl spends her first day in school all by herself. She does not join in the games, neither does she participate in the classroom activities. As soon as school is over, she leaves quickly. On her way home, she is bullied by another child. A girl in her class witnesses this incident. The witness spends the entire evening thinking about what she saw, and what she can do to help. In the morning of the next day, she has an idea. She goes to Vanessa’s home and walks with her to school. Friends join the walk, and soon the entire school is walking with Vanessa.
This wonderful picture book addresses the serious issue of bullying. It gives children a way to talk about the issue and do something about it. The book thoughtfully includes information for children about bullying, and a guide for parents and teachers to talk more about the issue. The illustrations are lively. Bullying is clearly depicted as hurtful and wrong. The emotions displayed on the faces of the children are complemented by their body language.
Kerascoët is the collective pen name of a husband and wife team of illustrators. They are the illustrators of the highly acclaimed graphic novel Beautiful Darkness by Fabie Vehlmann, as well as the New York Times bestselling Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein.
See also: Laugh Out Loud
by Aaron Reynolds (Author), Dan Santat (Illustrator)
This hilarious picture book is for children aged 4 to 8 years old. It is about a platypus and a beaver who are friends. They want to go surfing in the ocean, but there’s this shark who is also in the ocean. The shark approaches them, and you’ll never guess what happens next. Lots of surprises, sharks, and ice cream. What’s not to like?
Aaron Reynolds is a New York Times–bestselling author of many children’s books. His books include Carnivores; Chicks and Salsa; Joey Fly, Private Eye; the Caldecott Honor book Creepy Carrots!; Nerdy Birdy; and its follow-up, Nerdy Birdy Tweets.
Dan Santat is the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, Are We There Yet?, and After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again).
1.3. Someone Farted
by Bruce Eric Kaplan (Author, Illustrator)
The Krupkes are having a nice, quiet Saturday morning drive to the supermarket to do their weekly food shopping. Suddenly it happens: Someone farted. The whole family is thrown into chaos. Mom almost faints. Brother starts worrying. Dad almost gets into an accident. And they all end up in jail!
Will the Krupkes make it through this nightmare? Or will the family break up from the never-ending rounds of accusations and denials?
Bruce Eric Kaplan, the author of this laugh-out-loud book for children aged 4 to 8 years old has been a cartoonist for the New Yorker for more than fifteen years. Apart from seven adult titles, Bruce is also the author and illustrator of four children’s books: Monsters Eat Whiny Children, Cousin Irv from Mars, Meaniehead, and Someone Farted.
1.4. Alma and How She Got Her Name
by Juana Martinez-Neal (Author, Illustrator)
It all starts with Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela’s long name. She complains to her father about the many parts of her name. Her dad sits her down and patiently shares the story of each part of her name. Each part of her name belonged to someone in her family tree. And each name connects her to the past and to her family and to her current and future self.
The structure of this wonderful book for children aged 4 to 8 years old is just adorable, even the way sweet Alma peeks into and enters the past on every other spread.
“Alma and How She Got Her Name” is her first picture book as author-illustrator.
1.5. Hello Lighthouse
by Sophia Blackall (Author)
Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in a lighthouse? After reading this truly beautiful and wonderful book, you may feel as if you already have. This is the tender story of a lighthouse keeper and his family, and how each day unfolds through all types of weather and conditions. This picture book consists of large two-page spreads which provide evocative scenes of the lighthouse in all weather and conditions.
The author also includes extensive information on lighthouses.
Sophie Blackall illustrated Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, for which she won the Caldecott Medal.
1.6. Don’t Blink
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Author), David Roberts (Illustrator)
This is an interactive book that may seem to be on the side of a reluctant sleeper — but it’s really a bedtime book in disguise! This new children’s book is from New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Amy Krouse Rosenthal and David Roberts!
Here’s how it works: if a child can avoid getting to the end of this book, he can avoid bedtime, simple as that. But each time he blinks, he has to turn a page. Those are the only rules.
This story is narrated by a cheeky stuffed owl. The owl suggests all sorts of ways to help—a staring contest, focusing on an optical illusion, even physically holding their eyelids open. The text is appealing and kids will enjoy the challenge of trying not to blink. The illustrations are simple, most pages showing just the owl on a plain white background. About halfway through the book, black and gray sections appear at the top and bottom of each page, as if viewers are looking out through eyelids growing heavier. This clever technique continues until there is only a slit of white page left and the owl finally advises that readers close their eyes to keep from blinking.
Kids love a challenge, and they’ll do their best to rise to the one set out in Don’t Blink!…especially when bedtime is on the line!
1.7. When I Am Big
By Maria Dek (Author)
Every child loves to count and anticipates all the great things he will do when he is bigger. This unique picture book creatively combines the two activities by embedding succeeding numbers within increasingly imaginative, bold fantasies for the future.
1.8. I Got It!
By David Wiesner (Author)
This is a story of a boy who is watching a baseball game and asks to join in. But when he calls “I got it!” and goes after a fly ball, he misses not once, but twice! On the most important play of the game, the boy soars with the birds on his way to catch the final fly ball and deny the home run from the opposing team. The author depicts the nerve-wracking few seconds in the game in a nearly wordless, fantastical and suspenseful visual narrative.
Best New Children’s Books of April 2018: Ages 6 – 8
This section is comprised of Best New Children’s Books of April 2018 for children ages 6 to 8.
2.1 Big Foot and Little Foot (Book #1)
By Ellen Potter (Author), Felicita Sala (Author)
Hugo is a young Sasquatch who is extremely curious about the Big Wide World. Boone is a young boy who longs to see a Sasquatch. Both long for adventure. When their worlds accidentally slam into each other, they become the unlikeliest pair of best friends. Not long after, the two team up to search for mythical beasts like Ogopogos and Snoot-Nosed Gints. Through discovering these mythical beasts, Big Foot and Little Foot explore the ins and outs of each other’s very different worlds. Through all their differences, they learn that deep down, they are not so different after all.
2.2 Lulu is getting a Sister: (Who WANTS her? Who NEEDS her?)
By Judith Viorst (Author), Kevin Cornell (Illustrator)
Lulu is not so thrilled when her parents announce that a baby sister will soon be joining their happy home. She is quickly packed off to Camp Sisterhood a.k.a. big sister training camp. At the Camp, her Counselor-in-Chief, Call-Me-Debbie, partners her with a temporary sibling so she can experience the joy of being a big sister. Lulu goes through three temporary siblings before she realizes that maybe having a little sister “isn’t as bad as getting a tooth pulled.”
2.3 How to Merit in Monsters (Strange Scout Tales)
By Matthew Cody (Author), Steve Lambe (Illustrator)
A boy scout troop learns that their sleepaway camp is actually a training ground for protecting the earth’s most endangered species―monsters. The lowest-ranked Troop D (or Troop Dweeb, as the other troops refer to them) attempt to earn their Monster Merit Badges.
Join Troop D on a mission to rescue the legendary Big Foot, whose water supply has been contaminated. With their troop master by their side and the ever-handy century-old Scout’s Handbook, they might just have a chance!
2.4 Road Trip With Max and His Mom
By Linda Urban (Author), Katie Kath (Illustrator)
After a weekend with his dad (Weekends with Max and His Dad), Max focuses his energetic spirit and loving concern for his divorced parents to an adventure with his mom. Divorce is not the main theme of this story; it’s simply part of Max’s family structure. Max’s mom wants to take him on a road trip to a family reunion for the 100th birthday party of his Great-Great-Aunt Victory. And, best of all, it’s at an amusement park! Max handles family concerns, like leaving his dad alone on one of their regular weekends, and regular old life concerns, like dealing with a school presentation and facing a gigantic roller coaster, all in stride and with a good sense of humor. Max faces his fears, processes his feelings, and enjoys himself a lot.
2.5 Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship
By Jessica Kansky (Author), Patrick Downes (Author), Scott Magoon (Illustrator)
This is an excellent story of both the skills and emotional support provided by Rescue, a working support dog. The two authors are survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing where they both lost limbs. This story combines fiction and fact, drawing on their real-life experiences with Rescue, a support dog who has greatly impacted their lives.
But the book is not just a story. It also provides a wealth of information on what support dogs can do and what tasks they can perform. What is most notable, however, is the loving bond between human and dog in this working relationship.
2.6 Charlie and Frog
By Karen Kane (Author)
Charlie Tickler is once again left behind by his parents. They usually leave him with a nanny while they are off traveling, but this time he is dumped with his TV-obsessed grandparents in Castle-on-the Hudson, a Victorian resort town with a real castle. Feeling lonely and curious, Charlie explores the town. He visits the library, where an agitated old woman mysteriously disappears after trying to confess something dire to Charlie in sign language. Charlie smells a mystery and seeks the help of Francine “Frog” Castle. Frog is deaf and speaks American Sign Language (ASL). She works at the Flying Hands Cafe. But she would rather be solving mysteries.
When Charlie walks into the cafe looking for help, Frog jumps at the opportunity to solve a real-life mystery. Charlie and Frog collaborate to find out who the mysterious old lady is and why two men are trying to find her as well. When Charlie describes the old woman’s signs Frog tells him that the last sign the old woman gave was for the word “dead”. Frog is super keen to be a detective and ropes Charlie into investigating what Frog believes is clearly a murder mystery. Is it? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find that out.
2.7 The Creature of the Pines (The Unicorn Rescue Society)
By Adam Gidwitz (Author), Hatem Aly (Illustrator)
Elliot Eisner is fretfully making his way through his first day of school. Things take an unexpected turn when he finds out his eccentric new teacher, Professor Fauna, scheduled a field trip to the Pine Barrens for Elliot’s very first day. Along the way, he meets Uchenna Devereaux and they begin a fantastic frolic through both the Pine Barrens and their town. Elliot and Uchenna get caught up in a secret group of adventurers, The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose goal is to protect and defend the world’s mythical creatures. Together with Professor Fauna, Elliot and Uchenna must help rescue a Jersey Devil from a pair of conspiring, rapacious billionaires, the Schmoke Brothers.
Best New Children’s Books of April 2018: Ages 9 – 12
This is a list of Best New Children’s Books of April 2018 for children ages 9 to 12.
3.1 Sunny (Track)
By Jason Reynolds (Author)
Sunny is the kid who feels like a killer. His mother died giving birth to him. Of course, it wasn’t really his fault. But doesn’t mean it doesn’t seem like it. Sunny is a member of the track team, and his father expects him to keep running. This way, his mother’s dream of being a marathoner will live on. But Sunny doesn’t want to run anymore. He wants to dance. The problem is, there isn’t much on the track team that is like dancing. But his coach wants him to give discus a try. Sunny has to decide if he can face this new challenge. He also has to think about what will happen if he tries to let go of all the things holding him down.
Sunny’s story is the third of Jason Reynolds’ Track series. His story is recounted in a series of diary entries — a diary he keeps to help control and ideas swirling around in his head.
See also: Jason Reynolds’ Track Series
3.2 Waste of Space (Moonbase Alpha)
By Stuart Gibbs (Author)
Emotions and tensions are running high among the colonists at Moon Base Alpha. This is after snobby millionaire Lars Sjolberg is poisoned. Dash Gibson expected his 13th birthday to be ordinary. However, it quickly turned into him solving a murder attempt. It starts as an ordinary morning for Dash. His father decides to take him on a bit of a moonwalk to play a game of catch. But this is no ordinary game of catch as both Dash and his father break a number of rules by being outside the moon base. The irate demands from the mission commander to return inside were soon replaced with screams of terror and confusion.
The final book in this series continues to deliver the mystery and mayhem that being secluded on the moon can cause. This is an outstanding conclusion to a strong trilogy with the many clues and red herrings that mystery lovers expect. Everyone is a suspect, including Dash’s own father. Long months aboard Moon Base Alpha and homesickness only add to the heightened tension.
See also: Moon Base Alpha by Stuart Gibbs
3.3 Ghost Boys
By Jewell Parker Rhodes (Author)
In Chicago, a white police officer mistakes a toy gun for a real one. He shoots and kills Jerome, a 12-year-old black youth. As a ghost, Jerome observes the consequences affecting both his family and that of the police officer’s. Jerome also meets another ghost – that of Emmett Till, a black boy murdered in 1955. Through Till’s story, he learns of the hundreds of other “ghost boys” left to wander and stop history from continuously repeating itself. The only person who can see Jerome is Sarah, the daughter of the white police officer. Through her eyes, he realizes that his family isn’t the only one affected by the disaster. Two families are shattered with one split decision. Together, Sarah and Jerome try to heal both of their families, along with Jerome’s friend Carlos. It was Carlos’ toy gun that Jerome was playing with. This left Carlos with a heavy guild and the great desire to protect Jerome’s little sister, Kim, from bullies and other sorrows.
This is a story about society, biases both conscious and unconscious. Finally, it is a deftly woven and poignantly told story about society trying to right the wrongs of the world.
3.4 The Doughnut Fix
By Jessie Janowitz (Author)
Tristan’s parents have bought a new house in rural Petersville, NY. That means that he has to move from his apartment in New York City to a town so small that it has no restaurants. To Tristan, who has baked almost all the recipes in White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier’s cookbook, this is plain unthinkable and an unmitigated disaster. Just as he is about to give up all hope, he learns that the grouchy general store owner has a secret recipe for chocolate cream doughnuts which apparently are “life-changing.” With the help of his new friend Josh, the town librarian’s son, Tristan goes on a major quest to discover the secret recipe and bring the famed doughnuts back to the sleepy town. Tristan finds that setting up a doughnut stand is harder than it looks. He learns this himself, as he as he cruises his way through negotiating prices with vendors and farmers, keeping the pastry gun out of his four-year-old sister’s hands, and trying to cheer up his older sister.
Budding entrepreneurs will enjoy this tale about a kid chef starting a business. Tristan is a refreshing protagonist who displays a relaxed confidence in and clear understanding of himself. He has varied interests including basketball, cooking, and being a sympathetic, if occasionally frustrated, brother. His family members—an eccentric, relentlessly optimistic father; restauranteur/caterer mother; a grumpy but bright older sister; and an irrepressible handful of a younger sister—all help to create a warm and delicious start to a new series.
By Kwame Alexander (Author)
This book by Kwame Alexander is a prequel to The Crossover. It is the story of Josh and JB’s father, Chuck Bell. It is the summer of 1988 and twelve-year-old Chuck Bell is not faring well with the death of his father. His mother is so worried and confused, she sends him to spend the summer with his grandparents in Washington, DC. They are still mourning the loss of his father (their son) as well, but showing it in various ways. All Chuck wants to do is stay in his room and read comic books all day. But thanks to his grandpa’s tough love and his cousin Roxie, he starts to play basketball again. This book is written in Kwame’s powerful and engaging poetry. It includes elements of several poems in a graphic novel style as well, which ties in nicely to Chuck’s love of comic books. This is a must-read for fans of The Crossover. Although it is a prequel, I recommended reading it after The Crossover because of a few of the plot points. Readers will also care more about Chuck’s story if they met him in The Crossover. This book is highly recommended for grades 4 & up.
3.6 The Orphan Band of Springdale
By Anne Nesbet (Author)
Gusta Neubronner arrives at her Gramma Hoopes’s house in Springdale, ME, with a suitcase, a letter from her mother, and her French horn. Her pro-union father left her at the bus station while running from government agents. The concerns of 1941 beset Gusta in her temporary home. Children from school make fun of her poor vision. But the oculist Mr. Bertmann fixes her poor vision in exchange for her help with his carrier pigeons. Fear of strangers and poverty loom over the orphans Gramma Hoopes shelters. And amid all this, Gusta, orphan Josie, and cousin Bess form a band of female solidarity. As problems arise, Gusta looks for her great grandfather’s mythical wishing coin. Images of small-town Maine in a quickly changing period fill Nesbet’s story with a warm coziness, despite Gusta’s struggles. Enchanting forest walks, collecting and cleaning eggs for sale, and visits to the family graveyard make Springdale seem like the magical Brigadoon. The unexpected change Gusta experiences when she can see objects around her helps readers view every detail of Springdale with Gusta’s newfound clarity. The conversation is catchy, and Gusta’s internal speeches share her great curiosity and friendliness with readers. This is a solid historical fiction with a memorable heroine highly recommended for children ages 10 to 14.
3.7 You Go First
By Erin Entrada Kelly (Author)
Preteens Charlotte Lockard and Ben Boxer enjoy a continuing online Scrabble rivalry, each vying for word-game mastery, while they both silently cope with middle school social disasters and disintegrating family infrastructures.
Suddenly, their occasional Scrabble raillery becomes an unexpected lifeline. Pennsylvanian Charlotte’s rock collections, unending anagramming, and probing thought spirals charm readers instantly; Louisianan Ben’s stammering, comprehensive knowledge of presidential history, Ravenclaw blanket, relentless recycling statistics, and persistent optimism couldn’t be sweeter. Sincere and earnest, these two kids seem at the brink of inevitable heartbreak. Charlotte can’t approach her lifelong best friend, who suddenly thinks she’s a “parasite,” or her father, recovering in the ICU after a heart attack. Ben can’t comprehend his parents’ marriage’s descent into a divorce or the taunting his student council campaign encourages. Disaster looms and builds through the book, the settlement of a single week that ends with a crucial convergence of the Scrabble friends’ virtual world with their real one.
This book is a well-crafted, entertaining call for middle schoolers to find their voices and remain accountable in shaping their own social domain. Children aged 8 to 12 are encouraged to read this.
3.8 Be Prepared
By Vera Brosgol (Author)
9-year-old Vera is convinced that she will never fit in with the American girls in her class because her family is “too poor,” “too Russian,” and “too different.” She jumps at the opportunity to attend Russian summer camp in hopes of finding a peer group she can belong to. However, Russian camp in the Connecticut woods is not at all what she had expected. Her tentmates turned out to be two mean girls five years her senior, and she doesn’t click with any of the other girls. What’s more, the outhouse, nicknamed “Hollywood,” completely weirds her out. When all of Vera’s mistaken attempts to fit in with the other kids fail, she resigns herself to waiting out the uncomfortable days till her mother picks her up—until she unexpectedly succeeds in making one good friend. Vera’s wide-eyed optimism and subsequent frustrations come to life through the vivid interaction between Vera Brosgol’s funny text and her black, white, and olive-green illustrations. Kids with Russian heritage will relate to the culturally specific references in the book. But the larger story will strike chords with any kid who has ever struggled to find a place to belong. It will especially speak to that segment of the population who feels distressed about summer camp. It is an experience that translates across many cultures.
This book is a funny summer-camp story with a culturally specific perspective.