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The Best Children’s and YA Books of March 2018

by the Brightly Editors

March is a month straddling two seasons. While still bundled up against the chill of winter, we eagerly eye the promise of spring days ahead. This month’s new releases feel just right for this time of year. Among the month’s standouts are rich, compelling narratives that beg to be read in long binges, while curled up under a blanket, and bright, effervescent stories that sparkle with fresh adventures.

  • Picture Books

  • I Got a Chicken for My Birthday

    by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Sarah Horne

    No one wants a chicken for their birthday, but that’s just what Abuela Lola sent the birthday girl! Ana really wanted tickets to the amusement park, but she tries to make the best of her new gift (scrambled eggs, anyone?). Except this chicken has plans of its own. Plans that involve hard hats, lots of friends, and a very long shopping list. Just what is this chicken up to? With laugh-out-loud moments and wonderfully detailed illustrations, this adorable picture book will be a much-loved read for many.
    (On Sale: 3/1/18)

  • The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

    by Dr. Seuss

    Celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back! In this follow-up to The Cat in the Hat, the Cat in the Hat, with 26 little cats in tow, surprises Dick and Sally on a snowy day while their mother is away. The Cat sure does make a mess that the siblings will have to clean up before mom comes home, but that’s a price they’ll pay for having loads of wintery fun.
    (On Sale: 3/2/18)

  • Astronaut Annie

    by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell

    Anne can’t wait to share what she wants to be when she grows up at Career Day — she has promised to keep it a secret until the big reveal. Throughout the week, her family tries to guess what Annie’s dream job might be, but none get it quite right. In the end, Annie reveals what the book’s title suggests: She wants to be a brave and bold astronaut. A sweet story about the individuality of dreams, plus it has some information about real-life women in space at the end of the book.
    (On Sale: 3/6/18)

  • Harriet Gets Carried Away

    by Jessie Sima

    Harriet loves to dress up for just about everything. But things take an unexpected turn when she dresses up as a penguin and is accidentally swept up in a flock of, you guessed it, real penguins! Will she make it back home to her dads, and in time for the big event — her special dress-up party? Kids will delight in following along with the adventures of plucky Harriet to find out.
    (On Sale: 3/6/18)

  • I Am Enough

    by Grace Byers, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo

    The title of this empowering book is a powerful mantra in and of itself but one that gains added meaning and resonance when paired with the motivational prose and uplifting, diverse images that appear throughout the book. A positive message of self-love, self-acceptance, and kindness towards others that will raise the spirits of kids and the adults reading to them.
    (On Sale: 3/6/18)

  • Bus! Stop!

    by James Yang

    When a boy misses his school bus, he figures another will be close behind. In an unexpected twist to his day, more vehicles come to his stop — but not the one he’s waiting for. In fact, these buses look quite strange indeed. One looks like a bounce house, while another looks just like a boat! When the boy finally boards a bus, it’s not the one he’s used to, and he’s ready for a real adventure. Light on words, but heavy on laugh-out-loud scenarios and bright illustrations, this one’s a sure bet for little vehicle-lovers.
    (On Sale: 3/13/18)

  • Islandborn

    by Junot Díaz, illustrated by Leo Espinosa

    Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz brings his talents for exploring place, belonging, and family to a whole new audience. Making his picture book debut, Díaz looks at how memory, imagination, and creativity combine to connect us to where we come from and the many people that shape our lives. Beautiful writing, vibrant illustrations, and a curious heroine make this a sparkling story for young readers.
    (On Sale: 3/13/18)

  • Hello Hello

    by Brendan Wenzel

    Packed with dynamic illustrations of a wide variety of animals, Hello Hello shows kids that similarities and differences are everywhere — and they’re all worth celebrating. Starting with a black cat and a white cat, Wenzel places different animals who have at least one thing in common side by side, in a long chain of unique, vibrant creatures. In the end, kids will find some information about the 30+ threatened or endangered species Wenzel features in the book and why they, in particular, deserve some special attention.
    (On Sale: 3/20/18)

  • Middle Grade

  • Maker Lab: Outdoors: 25 Super Cool Projects

    by Jack Challoner

    A follow-up to the award-winning Maker Lab, this new book takes the learning and fun to the backyard. From water rockets to wormeries, kids will love these hands-on and interactive STEAM projects geared toward the great outdoors.
    (On Sale: 3/6/18)

  • The Night Diary

    by Veera Hiranandani

    Set in 1947, newly free of British rule, India has been split into two countries along religious lines: Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. Because of the divide, tensions erupt between Hindus and Muslims and thousands of people are displaced, including 12-year-old Nisha and her family. Half-Muslim and half-Hindu, Nisha’s family is no longer safe in Pakistan and must embark on a long and harrowing journey to their new home across the border. Charting their trek in nightly journal entries written to her long-dead mother, Nisha’s experience is a difficult, yet ultimately uplifting story of a young girl trying to find her place in the world.
    (On Sale: 3/6/18)

  • The Science of Breakable Things

    by Tae Keller

    The Cobalt Blue Orchids are flowers that survive against impossible odds, and if Natalie can just manage to get her mother to New York City to see them, maybe her mother will see how it's possible to thrive in the face of difficult circumstances. And then she won't be depressed anymore. A beautiful, touching, and heartwarming story about seeing fragility in our parents, wanting to make things right, and finding our own sources of hope and strength.
    (On Sale: 3/6/18)

  • Like Vanessa

    by Tami Charles

    Thirteen-year-old Vanessa Martin has dreams. Dreams of being reunited with her mother, of her grandfather sobering up, of leaving her drug-infested neighborhood, and of winning the Miss America pageant like her idol Vanessa Williams. Vanessa has the chance to win a crown of her own at a school-run beauty pageant, but to do that she must first overcome racism, bullies, and her own self-doubt. Both heart-wrenching and inspirational, Kirkus raves this book is “a gift to every middle school girl who ever felt unpretty, unloved, and trapped by her circumstances.”
    (On Sale: 3/13/18)

  • The Wild Robot Escapes

    by Peter Brown

    Robot Roz returns in this sequel to The Wild Robot. Readers will pick up right where Brown left off — after Roz’s journey to a factory to be repaired, she ends up working on a farm. Roz misses the island where she came from, and her adopted son (who happens to be a goose), Brightbill, and plots a plan to escape the farm and return to her loved ones. With Brown’s stunning illustrations as a backbone of the story, The Wild Robot Escapes will entertain, and move, middle grade readers.
    (On Sale: 3/13/18)

  • Aru Shah and the End of Time

    by Roshani Chokshi

    Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has been known to exaggerate on occasion. Her stories about her exotic trips, royal heritage, and lavish lifestyle don't exactly map to her reality: spending much of her time at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting on her archeologist mom. When her classmates catch on to Aru's fibs and aim to catch her in one of them, Aru tries to save face. She lights the museum's Lamp of Bharata, accidentally unleashing an ancient demon bent on destruction. Thus begins an epic and utterly entertaining fantasy with Aru at the center. Will this compelling heroine successfully save her mother and classmates from being frozen in time?
    (On Sale: 3/27/18)

  • YA

  • The Beauty That Remains

    by Ashley Woodfolk

    In this heartbreaking debut novel, high school students Autumn, Shay, and Logan have each recently lost someone important to them and it seems like they’re barely (or maybe not at all) keeping it together. As they navigate their respective complex, seemingly insurmountable journeys through grief, they reflect on what still ties them to the ones they’ve lost and what weaves the three teens themselves together. The Beauty That Remains is a definitive tearjerker, written beautifully to convey the raw emotion of heartache in its many forms — and you simply won’t be able to put it down.
    (On Sale: 3/6/18)

  • Children of Blood and Bone

    by Tomi Adeyemi

    He killed her mother, banished magic, and left her people without hope. Now eleven years later, 17-year-old Zélie is ready to fight back against King Saran’s tyrannical rule over the maji. With only one chance to restore magic, Zélie, her brother, and the rebellious Princess Amari race against the crown prince to uncover a lost scroll that will turn diviners like Zélie into full-fledged magic-wielding maji. An action-packed and fast-paced adventure with a cliffhanger that will leave readers desperately longing for the next installment.
    (On Sale: 3/6/18)

  • In Search of Us

    by Ava Dellaira

    Part of the move into adulthood is the journey to discover not just who we are, but who and what brought us to where we are today, and what that might mean for our future. That's the journey that 17-year-old Angie is on. Brought up by her single mother, who is white, Angie, who is mixed-race, always believed her father died before she was born. But now Angie's not so sure that's true. Along with her ex-boyfriend, Sam, Angie hits the road to find her dad, discovering truths about her mother, the past, and herself in the process. A captivating, realistic story about our lives, our parents' lives, racial divisions, and the search for truth and meaning in it all.
    (On Sale: 3/6/18)

  • The Wicked Deep

    by Shea Ernshaw

    Two hundred years ago, the people of Sparrow found the Swan sisters guilty of witchcraft and drowned them in the town’s waters. Every year since, beginning on June 1st, three of the local girls are possessed by the Swan sisters to lure young men to their own watery graves. Bo Carter has just arrived in Sparrow looking for vengeance of his own. Though she can sense his dark past, Penny — who lives on the lighthouse island offshore — offers him a place to stay. The two soon fall for each other, but will their love be enough to save Bo from the curse? A fabulous mystery with crazy plots twists that are sure to leave readers bewitched.
    (On Sale: 3/6/18)

  • The Astonishing Color of After

    by Emily X.R. Pan

    Leigh is struggling with the loss of her mother, but she’s certain that since committing suicide her mother has transformed into a beautiful red bird. With poetic language, Pan seamlessly shifts between past and present to tell this sad tale and paints a picture of a 16-year-old girl who is reeling from her mother’s depression and death, but who, encouraged by the reappearing bird, travels to discover her roots by meeting her grandparents for the first time in Taiwan. Older teens who love magical realism will welcome The Astonishing Color of After with open arms.
    (On Sale: 3/20/18)

  • I Have Lost My Way

    by Gayle Forman

    Gayle Forman, the bestselling author of If I Stay, is beloved for her ability to engage the reader's heart in a very real and very lasting way. Those talents are on display once again in her latest, I Have Lost My Way, a story about three strangers struggling with loss and uncertainty. An accident draws these strangers — Freya, Harun, and Nathaniel — together, and it may be the thing that saves them. Together, they start to realize that through connection, and helping to heal others, we can perhaps begin to heal ourselves and find a way forward.
    (On Sale: 3/27/18)

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