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The Best Children’s and YA Books of May 2017

by the Brightly Editors

May’s new releases are packed with all manner of literary fun. From a cryptic cipher to taco-loving dragons to a charming rom-com and, yes, even Bigfoot, May has a little something for every kind of book lover. Here are some of the children’s and YA titles catching our eye this month.

  • Picture Books

  • Cinnamon

    by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Divya Srinivasan

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    This gorgeous book, with lush illustrations by Divya Srinivasan, will invite parents and children in from the very start. Newbery medal-winning author Neil Gaiman pens the tale, set in India, of a princess who will not speak. After many a teacher's efforts have failed, will it be the man-eating tiger who gets her to talk? Full of Gaiman's wit and whimsy, this one is great for reading aloud (and looks pretty lovely on the shelf as well).
    (On Sale: 5/2/17)

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  • Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel

    by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

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    Taco Tuesday just got better! In this sequel to Dragons Love Tacos, dragons still love tacos and spicy salsa is still a definite no-no, but now these ravenous, taco-gobbling dragons have gone too far because there are absolutely no tacos left! Good thing Robbie has that time machine in the garage. Cue the laughs as Robbie and the dragons travel back in time to save the tacos from extinction.
    (On Sale: 5/2/17)

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  • Margaret Wise Brown’s Manners

    by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Nicola Slater

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    Fans of Goodnight Moon will be thrilled to discover this never-before-published addition to the Little Golden Book collection. With help from delightful illustrations by Nicola Slater, Margaret Wise Brown walks readers through some rules of etiquette, including simple lessons that cover everything from table manners to approaching dogs. Manners, complete with its trademark Little Golden Book spine, is perfect for every family's library.
    (On Sale: 5/9/17)

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  • How to Be a Scientist

    by Steve Mould

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    Being a scientist sounds cool (and is cool!), but what does it really mean to be a scientist? In this engaging book, kids will learn to think and act like a scientist. They'll discover the curiosity, creativity, and exploration that makes science so exciting, and get the chance to put those skills to use through hands-on projects like making a tornado in a jar and creating music from a bike tire. Along the way, they'll find out about the principles behind the experiments and learn about great scientists from history. STEAM on!
    (On Sale: 5/9/17)

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  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff

    by Jerry Pinkney

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    Prolific author and Caldecott-winning illustrator Jerry Pinkney provides a new spin on a classic fairy tale with The Three Billy Goats Gruff. As the author’s note at the back of the book explains, Pinkney aimed to alter the tale’s usual ending in order to allow for the bully of the story, the “nasty troll,” to have a chance to learn his lesson — so instead of turning to stone or disappearing, the troll finds out what it’s like to face an even bigger antagonist than he. Beautiful illustrations fill the pages with Pinkney’s signature visual style in this conversation-sparking picture book.
    (On Sale: 5/9/17)

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  • Where Do Jet Planes Sleep at Night?

    by Brianna Caplan Sayres, illustrated by Christian Slade

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    First it was trucks. Then trains. Now Sayres and Slade are back with a brand-new bedtime story for little aviators. Follow along as skywriting planes read bedtime stories written in the sky and Air Force One dreams of flying over Mt. Rushmore. Sweet, poetic text and deeply colored illustrations will lull little ones to dreamland right along with these sleepy airplanes.
    (On Sale: 5/16/17)

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  • She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World

    by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

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    Learn about inspiring historical figures who persisted, facing adversity head-on and standing up for their rights and their dreams, in this new book written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexander Boiger. She Persisted introduces readers to such greats as Maria Tallchief, Ruby Bridges, and Sally Ride, who all serve as fantastic examples for children of the impact that strong women have had, and will continue to have, in this country.
    (On Sale: 5/30/17)

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  • Middle Grade

  • 5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior

    by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel, illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun

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    Fans of Amulet and Avatar: The Last Air Bender will clamor for this new graphic novel series. Oona is the clumsiest dancer at the Sand Dancer Academy and feels like she can’t do anything right. But when war erupts and the Five Worlds face extinction, Oona must rise up and become a warrior. Luckily she has wily An Tzu and famous athlete Jax Amboy to help her. Stunning artwork, nonstop action, and compelling characters create a unique world within the pages of 5 Worlds that readers won’t want to leave.
    (On Sale: 5/2/17)

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  • Lemons

    by Melissa Savage

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    In Melissa Savage’s debut novel, Lemonade Liberty Witt’s life turns on its head when her mother passes away and she must move from San Francisco to live with her grandfather in the Bigfoot Capital of the World. But things start looking up when she befriends her new neighbor, Tobin, a tween Bigfoot detective, and they begin a wild adventure to track down the legendary forest-dwelling creature. Set in 1975, Lemons provides valuable historical context for middle grade readers while also unraveling a sweet story that’s both empathy-building and loads of fun.
    (On Sale: 5/2/17)

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  • This Would Make a Good Story Someday

    by Dana Alison Levy

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    How many times have you uttered that line yourself? "This would make a good story someday..." Usually after something kind of crazy has happened, right? In Dana Alison Levy's new book, Sara Johnston-Fischer is on a cross-country train trip with her two moms, Mimi and Carol; her younger sister, Ladybug; her older sister, Laurel; and Laurel’s poncho-wearing activist boyfriend, Root. Oh, and one of her moms is writing a tell-all book about the trip. As the whole group crosses the country, Sara moves between laugh-out-loud moments and poignant ones, discovering more about who she is and who she's becoming.
    (On Sale: 5/16/17)

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  • York: The Shadow Cipher

    by Laura Ruby

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    The first book in an exciting new series that's great for fans of steampunk, history, mystery, and magic. The story centers on two sets of twins. The first, the Morningstarrs, are architects who, at the turn of the 19th century, created a New York city filled with amazing new technology: huge skyscrapers, a subway system, and impressive machines. They disappeared, however, leaving a cipher behind that promises great treasure. Flash forward to the present day and to Tess and Theo Biedermann, who live in the Morningstarr apartment. The Morningstarr apartment that's being threatened, that is. If they want to save it, they'll have to find, and solve, the cipher. Let the puzzles begin!
    (On Sale: 5/16/17)

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  • YA

  • Girl Out of Water

    by Laura Silverman

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    Readers looking to get a jump start on summer reading will be excited to dive into Girl Out of Water, a page-turning read about love, family, tragedy, and personal history, filled with a diverse cast of characters, from debut author Laura Silverman. Booklist calls it great for "fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han."
    (On Sale: 5/2/17)

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  • Antisocial

    by Jillian Blake

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    As a senior at Alexandria High, Anna is juggling college applications, drama with friends, heartbreak over her ex, and social anxiety disorder to boot. When a hacker breaks into the students' phones and starts leaking personal message and photos, Anna struggles to protect her own secrets. This gripping thriller for the modern teen serves as a reminder of the dangers of sharing too much, too publicly.
    (On Sale: 5/16/17)

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  • Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

    by Julie Israel

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    Get the tissues out for this simultaneously smart, funny, and moving read. Juniper Lemon’s sister, Camilla, was recently killed in an accident, leaving Juniper reeling with loss. Juniper copes with her sister’s death by continuing her “Happiness Index,” a daily writing exercise that Camilla encouraged her to do to stay positive. Then, months after Camilla’s death, Juniper finds a love letter Camilla wrote, addressed to “You,” and she loses one of her very personal “Happiness Index” cards at school — two mysterious events that set her on an unexpected search for meaning and a new path forward through grief.
    (On Sale: 5/30/17)

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  • When Dimple Met Rishi

    by Sandhya Menon

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    Dimple Shah just graduated from high school and is excited to head to a coding program, which will give her some space from her parents and their goal of seeing Dimple married ASAP. It feels like pure coincidence when she meets Rishi Patel at the program and they hit it off. But Rishi is attending the web development program with the primary intention of meeting his future wife, Dimple herself. A charming rom-com told from the alternating viewpoints of two unique and lovable characters.
    (On Sale: 5/30/17)

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