Staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic and you’ve already (re)read everything on your kids’ bookshelf? We’ve got a list for that.
Here are new titles for everyone from picture book age to young adult. And remember, order from your local independent bookseller if at all possible. Not only will you be supporting a small business, you’ll help ensure that they’ll be back hosting authors, story times and other programming when the pandemic subsides.
“Garden ready/garden new/garden so much work to do!” Austin author Liz Garton Scanlon notes in her sweet new picture book, “Thank You, Garden” (Beach Lane Books, $17.99). Her story centers on a community garden and its ability to grow not just flowers and food but also connections and friendships.
While toiling en masse might be off-limits for now with social distancing, this book’s inspirational text, combined with evocative illustrations from Simone Shin, might just spur some outside time among your own immediate family. (Ages 3-7)
Fans of El Paso native Raśl the Third’s appealing, bilingual “Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market” will love the charming follow-up that published this week, “Vamos! Let’s Go Eat” (Versify, $14.99). Little Lobo has to deliver food to all the luchadores before the big match at el Coliseo. He zooms on his new bike between food trucks offering everything from churros to tortas to aguas frescas. As with the first volume, readers will enjoy the peek into daily life and the language lesson boosted by a food glossary at book’s end. (Ages 3-7)
World War II ended three years ago, and young Glory Bea can’t wait for the Merci Train to arrive in her small Texas town. Each car of the train carries thank-you gifts from France, a grace note of gratitude for U.S. soldiers’ efforts. If only Glory Bea’s father, who didn’t come home from the war, would arrive there, too. “I want a miracle of my very own,” she thinks. Austin author Anne Bustard’s “Blue Skies” (Simon & Schuster, $17.99) draws on research at the National Archives and the University of Texas to create a historically rooted, deeply affecting story of loss, love, resilience and hope. (Ages 8-12)
Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park reinvents and transforms Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” in “Prairie Lotus” (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99), the tale of a half-Chinese girl’s experience in the Dakota Territories. Hanna is a talented seamstress, and she hopes to be a dressmaker one day. But she must set out for a new life — and old prejudices — when her mother dies and she and her white father head to the Dakotas from California. “Lotus” has all the period details of the Wilder classic with a fresh lens that takes readers beyond the traditional white pioneer worldview. (Ages 8-12)
Sleuth Marigold “Goldie” Vance has legions of comics fans. Now she has her own middle-grade adventure series, which kicks off in “The Hotel Whodunit” (Little, Brown, $14.99), written by Lilliam Rivera (“The Education of Margot Sanchez”) and including two full-color comics inserts from artist Elle Power. In the first installment, plucky Goldie searches for the culprit who stole a famous actress’s bejeweled swim cap in this rollicking, action-packed adventure set at the Florida resort her father manages, all while navigating her crush on the girl who works at the record store. Rivera’s crisp, propulsive storytelling and Goldie’s irrepressible confidence make this one a winner. (Ages 8-12)
Korean folklore-inspired “The Dragon Egg Princess” (HarperCollins, $16.99) is Ellen Oh’s story of a magic-immune teen who must team with magical creatures to save his family’s homeland. Fourteen-year-old Jiho lives outside the Kidahara Wilderness, which some insist must be razed to make way for a railway that can bring much-needed jobs to the area. Immune to many of Kidahara’s dangers, Jiho agrees to guide a crew through the forest, little realizing that Omni Murtaugh Inc. has an even bigger agenda. (Ages 8-12)
Gene Luen Yang, the former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and author of “American-Born Chinese,” shines the spotlight on his own life for his newest graphic novel, “Dragon Hoops” (Macmillan, $24.99). As a kid, Yang loved comics and eschewed sports. But as a grown-up and teacher at an Oakland high school, he realized that his students were basketball-obsessed — and with good reason, because their school had a shot at the state championship. The memoir-esque “Hoops” explores courage in everyday and high-stakes moments as Yang embraces the inherent drama on the court. It also offers keen observations, like his depiction of teachers lunching with their subject-area compatriots: “As you get older, you generally spend less and less time with people who aren’t your kind of people.” (Ages 14-18)
Maya and Jamie are both 17, but their backgrounds are decidedly different. Maya is from a Muslim family and struggles with observing Ramadan after a series of misfortunes, including her parents’ separation. Jamie is Jewish and an avid political volunteer — as long as he can stay behind the scenes so as not to aggravate his anxiety. The two are thrown together to canvass during a special election in “Yes No Maybe So” (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, $19.99), with alternating chapters from “Amal Unbound” author Aisha Saeed and Becky Albertalli, whose “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” inspired the film “Love, Simon.” This activist tale, threaded with teen speak, delves into the challenges of cross-cultural relationships. It’s a chatty, perspective-shifting romance. (Ages 14 and older)