Growing Reader



The Best Children’s and YA Books of April 2018

by the Brightly Editors

April showers don’t just bring May flowers. They’re also the perfect excuse to hit your nearest bookstore or library! Fill those rainy days with this month’s best new releases including wonderfully fun and imaginative picture books, middle grade reads from some favorite authors, and a few YA stories sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

  • Picture Books

  • American Girl: Discover Science

    by DK

    Filled with all their favorite American Girl dolls and more than 50 science projects to tackle, this book is sure to provide hours of fun and learning for budding scientists.
    (On Sale: 4/3/18)

  • Don't Blink!

    by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by David Roberts

    Kids will come up with all kinds of reasons not to go to bed. Put their stalling tactics to good use with this ingenious story from beloved author Amy Krouse Rosenthal. The deal is that your kids can avoid going to bed if they can avoid getting to the end of the book. But if they blink, you have to turn the page, moving them one step closer to sleepy time. Those are the rules in this funny, smart, and memorable bedtime tale that's likely to become a repeat favorite.
    (On Sale: 4/3/18)

  • Mommy's Khimar

    by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illustrated by Ebony Glenn

    When a little girl dives into her mother’s colorful closet of khimars, she finds herself on an imagined adventure. She wraps the scarfs around herself in creative new ways, transforming into a regal queen, a mama bird with protective wings, and a superhero with a cape. Vibrant illustrations by Ebony Glenn bring the joyful girl and her loving, interfaith family to life on the page.
    (On Sale: 4/3/18)

  • Rhyme Crime

    by Jon Burgerman

    Jon Burgerman, the author of Splat!, is back with another playful picture book packed with giggle-inducing ideas. Follow along as a thief wreaks havoc by replacing what he steals with rhymes (“Hammy’s brand-new hat was swapped for a … cat”). A fun way to introduce the concepts of wordplay and rhyme to young readers.
    (On Sale: 4/3/18)

  • Friends Stick Together

    by Hannah E. Harrison

    Author Hannah E. Harrison is adept at showcasing the complex dynamics of early friendships. In her latest, she explores how friendships don't always have to be a case of same-same — sometimes the best friendships are more a case of yin-yang. On the surface, Rupert the refined rhinoceros and Levi the outlandish tickbird have nothing in common. But the unique things they offer each other may be exactly what they need to bond them together as friends.
    (On Sale: 4/10/18)

  • Hello Lighthouse

    by Sophie Blackall

    The seasons outside shift, the weather changes, the days, weeks, months, and years pass, and yet a lighthouse stands firm. In this beautifully illustrated book by Caldecott-winner Sophie Blackall readers get a glimpse of life outside and inside a lighthouse. Filled with rich details that evoke a warm and cozy feel, parents and kids will love snuggling up and poring over the pages of this one together.
    (On Sale: 4/10/18)

  • What If...

    by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Mike Curato

    In this lovely picture book, an artistic girl wonders what might happen if the handy pencil she uses to draw were to disappear. She imagines creating art out of just paper and folding it “till stories appeared.” If the paper were to disappear as well, she’d “chisel the table and then carve the chair.” And so she goes, imagining all the ways in which she could create art from what’s around her, no matter what. With stunning mixed-media illustrations, What If… is a true celebration of creativity and art in all its forms.
    (On Sale: 4/10/18)

  • Moon

    by Alison Oliver

    Moon has a very long list of responsibilities, but she wonders what it would be like to just let loose. A nighttime adventure with a wolf shows her the joys of being wild as she pounces, plays, and howls with the pack. Gorgeous, dreamlike images illustrate this sweet reminder of the importance of play and learning to live in the moment.
    (On Sale: 4/17/18)

  • Dude!

    by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Dan Santat

    Dude. Dude? Duuude! Told using only one word read in various voices and inflections, this is the story of an unlikely friendship between a surf-loving beaver and platypus and the shark they encounter in the water. Vivid illustrations and expressive characters drive the story and encourage young readers to pay attention to the details. It may only use one word, but dude, this is such a fun read-aloud!
    (On Sale: 4/24/18)

  • Middle Grade

  • Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword

    by Henry Lien

    Consider for a minute martial arts figure skating. Sounds dangerous and exiting and little bit crazy, right? That's what the students at Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword are studying, hoping to become future legends of the sport. Peasprout Chen wants that for herself, and her little brother, but it's a tall order to get there, not only because of the stiffness of the competition but also because they're outsiders, the first students from the rural country of Shin to attend the Academy. A thrilling, heartfelt story middle grade readers will high-kick for.
    (On Sale: 4/3/18)

  • Rebound

    by Kwame Alexander

    In this prequel to The Crossover, 12-year-old Charlie Bell is angry with the world after the sudden death of his father. Worried that his anger might lead him to trouble, his mom ships him off to Washington D.C. to spend the summer with his grandparents. It will take some tough love from his family, the support of his friends, and a new obsession with basketball to help Charlie rebound from his father’s death. Written in verse and enriched with comic illustrations throughout, Alexander’s story of love and loss does not disappoint.
    (On Sale: 4/3/18)

  • Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth

    by Sheila O'Connor

    When 11-year-old Maureen “Reenie” Kelly finds out that her older brother might be sent to fight in the Vietnam War, she wants to do everything she can to stop it from happening. Reenie finds an unexpected ally in Mr. Marsworth, a reclusive elderly man who lives in a house along her paper route and who begins to respond to the letters she leaves in his mailbox. Told through their exchanged notes, this historical novel is a timely, tear-jerking tale of an unlikely friendship and a girl navigating a complex political era in U.S. history.
    (On Sale: 4/3/18)

  • The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines

    by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly

    If you were starting at a brand-new school and not feeling too stoked about it, you know what might make you feel a little bit better? Unicorns. That's right. Say you were part of a secret group charged with protecting these special beasts. That might make you feel at least a little more excited about things. And that's just what happens to Elliot Eisner in this funny, fast-paced new adventure series from the Newbery Honor-winning author of The Inquisitor’s Tale.
    (On Sale: 4/10/18)

  • You Go First

    by Erin Entrada Kelly

    Author Erin Entrada Kelly recently won the Newbery Medal for her middle grade novel Hello, Universe. In You Go First, she once again explores the challenging world of tweendom with depth, perceptiveness, and heart. Charlotte and Ben are online friends who, on the surface, seem quite different. Yet where it counts they have a lot in common. They're both experiencing difficulties at home and at school and struggling to find a sense of connection and their place in the world. A moving and relatable story that promises to be a mirror for many middle grade kids.
    (On Sale: 4/10/18)

  • Ghost Boys

    by Jewell Parker Rhodes

    After 12-year-old Jerome is shot and killed by a police officer who mistook his toy guy for a real threat, he lingers to witness the pain and devastation of his community at his unjust passing. He meets the ghost of Emmitt Till who — with gut-wrenching honesty — helps Jerome understand what has happened and why. A heartbreaking story that reflects on the harsh realities of today’s world and the hope for change.
    (On Sale: 4/17/18)

  • The Lifters

    by Dave Eggers

    Gran and his family are new to Carousel, a small town that’s fallen on hard times since sinkholes started swallowing up buildings. Indeed there is more that lurks beneath the surface of Carousel than the townspeople realize, but Gran’s new friend Catalina knows something they don’t. Opening his eyes to a world of tunnels beneath the town, Gran and Catalina must work together to keep the tunnels from caving in and protect the town from the malevolent creatures that created them. A mysterious and engaging adventure middle grade readers are sure to dig.
    (On Sale: 4/24/18)

  • YA

  • Dread Nation

    by Justina Ireland

    Like all the other black and Native American kids in the U.S., Jane is sent to combat school training to protect white people from the dead that walk the land. But with conspiracy and sabotage facing her at every turn, she soon learns that humans are far worse than the zombies she’s trained to kill. Both thought-provoking and intense, Dread Nation is alternate historical fiction at its best.
    (On Sale: 4/3/18)

  • The Window

    by Amelia Brunskill

    Identical twins Anna and Jess may look the same — and tell each other everything — but they’re polar opposites in almost every other way. When Anna falls out of her bedroom window in a fatal accident, Jess, reeling from grief, begins to explore her sister’s past. Where was she sneaking out to the night she died? Jess wonders how many secrets Anna was keeping from her and how dangerous they were. Not for the faint of heart, The Window is a fast-paced, dark YA novel that will have you on the edge of your seat from the cover (so haunting!) to the very end.
    (On Sale: 4/3/18)

  • Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam

    by Elizabeth Partridge

    The best nonfiction interweaves intimate personal narratives with larger historical context to give readers a meaningful and layered perspective on lived events — what lead to them, what they meant at the time, and what they mean today. Boots on the Ground is a stunning piece of nonfiction writing, chronicling the lives of eight people caught up in the war in Vietnam and the larger events taking place back at home. An insightful, compelling, and close-up look at this complex time in American history that occupies our thoughts and informs our policies even today.
    (On Sale: 4/10/18)

  • For Every One

    by Jason Reynolds

    Before he was a New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist, Jason Reynolds was a writer, and maybe even more so a dreamer, hoping, trying, and sometimes struggling to make it. It was in these moments — that uncertain space between aspiration and achievement — in which he penned For Every One, an inspirational poem for all of the dreamers out there. A lyrical and moving reminder that dreams are powerful and purposeful, filled with hope and fuel and drive. A book for teens, their parents, younger readers, and older readers alike. For every one.
    (On Sale: 4/10/18)

  • Picture Us in the Light

    by Kelly Loy Gilbert

    High school senior Danny Cheng has been accepted to the Rhode Island School of Design on scholarship — a dream come true. But, as graduation approaches, life as he knows it begins to unravel. He can’t move past the voice in his head that he’s not a talented artist. He’s in love with his best friend, who is in a serious relationship. Then, Danny’s father loses his job and their family must move from the house Danny grew up in. When Danny discovers a box in his house filled with private information about a wealthy couple, he realizes that his parents have been hiding something big from him, and his future may hang in the balance.
    (On Sale: 4/10/18)

  • Ash Princess

    by Laura Sebastian

    Theodosia was very young when her country was conquered by the Kaiser and she became a prisoner within her own home. After ten years of abuse, the Kaiser forces her to execute one of her own people and Theo knows it's finally time to fight back. With the help of a group of magical insurgents, Theo sets in motion a rebellion to take back her throne. A compelling heroine, romance, and drama at every turn make for an enthralling fantasy novel with the promise of an even better second installment.
    (On Sale: 4/24/18)

What children’s and YA books are you looking forward to reading this month? Share with us in the comments below.