Hot New Releases: Books for Kids

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Consider this your new book releases shelf at the library or bookstore — but with reviews. You’ll love these fantastic chapter book selections in all varieties, from sweet to funny to suspenseful to poignant. My personal favorite probably is the YA book, The Serpent King, but they all are books that I recommend and couldn’t put down. Enjoy!

Hot New Releases: Books for Kids Spring 2016

The Dragonsitter Hot New Releases: Books for Kids Spring 2016
The Dragonsitter
by Josh Lacey illustrated by Garry Parsons (ages 6 – 8) HUMOR
Written in increasingly funny (and alarming) letters we learn that Uncle Morton left his pet dragon for Edward and his mom and sister to watch — with no directions!! The dragon poops in their shoes, eats their pet bunny, and causes all kinds of destruction which all are the subjects of Edward’s letters to his nowhere-to-be-found uncle. Finally Edward hears from his uncle who suggests feeding the dragon chocolate. Will Edward’s mom lose her mind? Will the chocolate work?
Crime Biters Hot New Releases: Books for Kids Spring 2016
Crime Biters: My Dog Is Better Than Your Dog
by Tommy Greenwald (ages 6 – 8) MYSTERY
This is a funny beginning chapter book about a boy who is convinced (rightly so?!) that his rescue dog is a crime-solving, vampire, genius!
Weekends with Max and His Dad Hot New Releases: Books for Kids Spring 2016
Weekends with Max and His Dad
 by Linda Urban, illustrated by Katie Kath (ages 6 – 8) REALISTIC
This is a terrific book that captures the fun of time spent with a caring parent who is totally present for his son– I loved the short story format of adventures and that the story didn’t make a big deal of Max’s parents divorce but was simply part of the way life was. Excellent.
Hippopotamister Hot New Releases: Books for Kids Spring 2016
by John Patrick Green (ages 6 – 8) REALISTIC (!?)
Red Panda convinces hippo to leave the neglected, run-down zoo and try to be a career hippo. Which mostly is a disaster and always hilarious. Together the duo discover that what’s right for one person (er, animal) isn’t always best for the other. A charming, easy graphic novel.
Bird and Squirrel on the Edge Hot New Releases: Books for Kids Spring 2016
Bird & Squirrel On the Edge
by James Burks (ages 6 – 8) HUMOR
You may remember that I ADORE this series — and this latest book is no exception. In this giggle-worthy story, Bird loses his memory and bravery so it’s up to Squirrel to be the brave one and help get them (and a small bear cub friend) safely out of the dangerous, wolf-filled mountains. These characters are just so lovable and funny! Paired with a terrific narrative adventure, this book has it all.
Far Out Fairy Tales Hot New Releases: Books for Kids Spring 2016
Far Out Fairy Tales: Classic Tales with Modern Twists
by various authors (ages 8 – 12) FANTASY
Fairy tales with a twist — talk about right up my alley, how about yours? I love these creatively imagined retellings. I also really appreciated that for each story, the original tale is included at the end a well plus a guide to the plot and character twists. This graphic novel includes Snow White and the Seven Robots, Hansel and Gretel and the Zombies, Red Riding Hood, Superhero, and more.
Red Moon Rising newly released chapter books 2016
Red Moon Rising by K. A. Holt (ages 8 – 12) SCI-FI
There aren’t too many science fiction middle grade books around. This is a new one that’s pretty interesting — with some gender themes (women as workers/wives vs. women as warriors) and racism (human vs. alien).
The Lost Twin newly released chapter books 2016
The Lost Twin
by Sophie Cleverly (ages 8 – 12) MYSTERY
Ivy’s forced to not just attend Rookwood boarding school but pretend she is her twin sister who mysteriously died the year before. Ivy discovers clues that her sister left hidden all over the campus and learns that something very sinister is going on. I loved the originality and the suspense.
Maybe a Fox newly released chapter books 2016
Maybe a Fox
by Kathi Appelt and Allison McGwee  (ages 8 – 12) MAGICAL REALISM
Maybe a Fox captures the bittersweet sorrow of losing a loved one and being left behind. It’s a poignant, beautiful story about the magic of nature and love with what some might call spirit animals — a soulful fox and a protector Catamount. It’s absolutely lovely.
Witherwood Reform School newly released chapter books 2016
Witherwood Reform School
by Obert Skye, illustrated by Keith Thompson MYSTERY (ages 8 – 12)
This is a fun and fast adventure trilogy of siblings accidentally abandoned (father lost his memory on the way to get them) at a sinister so-called school. The third book still has yet to be published but the second book is out and also a great adventure story.
The Lost Cipher newly released chapter books 2016
The Lost Cipher by Michael Oechsle  (ages 8 – 12) REALISTIC
Lucas is sent to nature camp for kids who’ve lost a parent. There he discovers a local legend about a buried treasure. He thinks if he can find it, he’ll be able to save his family’s land. This is an excellent novel of secret codes, grief, and serendipity.
The Leaving newly released chapter books 2016
The Leaving by Tara Altebrando  (ages 12+) MYSTERY
What happened to the kids who suddenly vanished at age five and now have returned sans memory age 16? As they try to piece together their past and understand their present, it’s not clear what happened — at least not until the very end of the book. You’ll be a surprised as me! Suspenseful and captivating!
Absolutely Truly Pumpkin Falls Mystery newly released chapter books 2016
Absolutely Truly Pumpkin Falls Mystery
by Heather Votel Frederick  (ages 8 – 12) MYSTERY
Truly and her family now live in her father’s small hometown after her father, a soldier, returns from Afghanistan a changed man. Truly helps her father and his sister in the family bookstore where she finds a valuable first edition of Charlotte’s Web which leads her on mysterious treasure hunt. I loved how the journey for clues develops simultaneously as Truly finds friends and her place in the town! This is a wonderful story.
Peas and Carrots newly released chapter books 2016
Peas and Carrots
by Tanita S. Davis  (ages 8 – 12) REALISTIC
This beautiful story will grab your heart! Dess is a survivor who is reunited with her baby brother in his long term foster home which Dess helped him get after she called social services on her mother. The foster family loves on both kids but their biological daughter Hope struggles between jealousy and compassion for her new sibling. Just as Dess finally starts to trust her foster family, her mother wants her back. (Oh, and interestingly enough, the foster family is black and Dess is white.) There’s way more to the story of course but you should know that it’s a thought-provoking coming-of-age book about family and hard choices.
Wing & Claw Forest of Wonders newly released chapter books 2016
Wing & Claw: Forest of Wonder by Linda Sue Park  (ages 8 – 12) FANTASY
Step into the world of a talented apothecary named Raffa. He’s horrified to discover that someone in the capital city is using the rare plant he and his cousin found to forcefully control animals. Not only that, whoever is doing this is removing baby animals from their mothers and training a bear to be a killer. When Raffa discovers who is behind it, he, his friend, and the animals he saves must escape from the city and the horrible truth.
To Catch a Cheat newly released chapter books 2016
To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson  (ages 8 – 12) ADVENTURE
Someone is trying to frame Jackson for a prank he didn’t even commit — and they’re doing a great job of it! It will take months to prove the video is falsified and by then Jackson will have missed the robot contest due to his punishment. Jackson and his friends are determined to prove their innocence but it won’t be easy. This is a great adventure filled with twists and turns. I very much enjoyed it.
The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse newly released chapter books 2016
The Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey (ages 8 – 12) FANTASY
Strangely, the only two people who aren’t always happy and can experience sadness are Princess Jeniah and a village girl named Aon. Aon sneaks into the Dreadwillow Carse, a sinister place forbidden to royalty where villagers dare not enter, to see if she can help the Princess learn why it’s growing and why no one feels more than happiness. When Aon doesn’t return from one of her trips, Princess Jeniah feels responsible and sets out to find her. What she finds is a terrible secret that will change everything. Loved it.
The Serpent King newly released chapter books 2016
The Serpent King
by Jeff Zentner (ages 13+) REALISTIC
This is a stunning, twist-you-heart-inside-out, beautiful coming-of-age story of three friends who are all outcasts in their small, narrow minded town. It’s about learning to accept your past, present, and future, not letting your circumstances (including your parents) define you, and finding hope in the midst of difficulty. I HIGHLY recommend you race to the bookstore or library and get this book — it’s a book that will linger with you. And one that I personally will read more than once. Favorite quotes from the book: “And if you’re going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.”
“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” (- quote originally from Dolly Parton)
hot new chapter books for kids -- that they'll love!!

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  1. We’d read the far-out fairy tales when they came out in individual books. Ninja-rella was my favorite, but I was a little concerned about the Japanese cultural setting, with her dad being white and her mom having long black hair… and blue eyes? Like they wanted to make Ninja-rella bi-racial but couldn’t quite get there? Would have been happier with it if it hadn’t seemed so whitewashy. That said, it was SO well-written and fun.