The Best Children’s & YA Books of May

With the school year winding down and summer break just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to stock up on new and exciting reads for your kiddos! Keep them occupied with creative picture books from beloved creators, magical adventure novels, and light-hearted beach reads. Here are the best children’s and YA books hitting bookstore shelves this month.

yes no Picture Books 9780593569177 Built to Last by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

The creative team that brought us The Blur and Drawn Together delivers another heartfelt picture book you won’t want to miss. Two boys build entire worlds with blocks, cardboard, and their imaginations. But when each creation comes tumbling down, the boys wonder if their friendship is also doomed. Thankfully, the boys quickly recognize that even if their creations don’t last, their friendship will.

9780593325636 The Perfect Place by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Paola Escobar

Matt de la Peña is the author of several award-winning picture books, including the Newbery Award-winning book Last Stop on Market Street. He tackles perfectionism in his newest story about a child struggling to accept the imperfect parts of life. However, as the boy looks closer, he discovers that love and family are better than the illusion of perfection.

9780593651759 Uni the Unicorn: Mermaid Helper by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Uni the Unicorn lovers will enjoy this story that has an extra helping of magic! Uni and the little girl meet a mermaid during a walk on the beach. They tell the mermaid about life on land and take her on an unforgettable adventure.

9781984816030 Being Home by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Michaela Goade

A Cherokee family returns to their ancestral land in this joyous picture book from award-winning First Nations creators Traci Sorell (At the Mountain’s Base) and Michaela Goade (We Are Water Protectors). The young girl says goodbye to her house and takes in the sights as they drive to their destination. She dreams about spending time with her cousins and the new memories she will make once they arrive.

9780593642917 Maxine Gets a Job by Alexandra Garyn and Bryan Reisberg, illustrated by Susan Batori

Maxine, the fluffy corgi, wants a job. She tries every dog job she can think of, including pulling sleds and rescuing cats from trees, but doesn’t enjoy any of them. It takes some contemplation and self-reflection for Maxine to find the perfect job. This gently humorous picture book delivers an essential lesson about leaning into your strengths and not comparing yourself to others.

9780593532294 Monster Hands by Karen Kane and Jonaz McMillan, illustrated by Dion MBD

This interactive, rhyming picture book combines bedtime fears, ASL, and friendship. In an effort to scare away the monster under the bed, two friends create scary shadow puppets on the wall. The kids soon learn that a good friend is the best antidote to monsters — both real and imagined.

9780525707783 The Serious Goose by Jimmy Kimmel

This giggle-worthy picture book is now available as a board book! Now, even the tiniest readers can try to make the goose laugh by making faces in a mylar mirror. This sturdy edition of the fan-favorite book is perfect for tucking into gift baskets or as a fun surprise for the new parent in your life.

9780593527108 The Color of Love by Poppy Harlow and Laura Jarrett, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri

If you want an uplifting and joyful picture book to read with your little one, pick up this title by CNN news anchor Poppy Harlow and Saturday TODAY’s Laura Jarrett. Grace’s class at school discusses the colors they associate with love. This sweet story shows children that love comes in many forms and means something different to everyone.

9780593753118 No One Likes a Burp by Zoë Foster Blake, illustrated by Adam Nickel

Fans of No One Likes a Fart can have twice the laughs with this hilarious companion book. Social outcasts Burp and Fart team up, don their superhero capes, and rescue people in distress in this rib-tickling story. You will never think of burps (or farts) the same way again!

9780593752821 Mini Bluey: A Bluey Storybook by Penguin Young Readers Licenses

Bluey fans will love the latest adventure featuring their favorite blue heeler. Bluey’s parents point out the differences between her and her younger sister, Bingo. So, Bluey paints Bingo blue and delivers a crash course on how to act like her. Now there are two Blueys! But as the day wears on, Bluey and Bingo realize that being the same comes with a few drawbacks, and it’s better to be themselves.

9780593623596 Perla The Mighty Dog by Isabel Allende, illustrated by Sandy Rodriguez

When Perla, the dog, realizes that her human is being bullied at school, she knows she needs to help him. Thankfully, Perla can roar like a lion and teaches her human how to do it. This sweet story is about fostering confidence in young people and teaching them how to stand up for themselves.

yes no Chapter Books & Middle Grade 9780593376553 Sweet Valley Twins: The Haunted House (A Graphic Novel) by Francine Pascal, illustrated by Knack Whittle, adapted by Nicole Andelfinger

Return to the world of Sweet Valley with the twins’ newest graphic novel adventure. When a new girl named Nora moves into the local haunted house, everyone at school thinks she must be a witch. With rumors swirling and friendships at stake, Jessica and Elizabeth set out to discover the truth about their new neighbor.

9780593698457 Telephone of the Tree by Alison McGhee

Kids who have experienced loss will appreciate this tender story of a girl learning to cope with her best friend’s death. After a terrible accident, Ayla finds an old-fashioned telephone sitting in her favorite tree. People stop by the tree and use the phone to call their deceased loved ones. A loving family, community, and time help Ayla deal with her grief and learn how to move forward.

9780593525272 Anzu and the Realm of Darkness by Mai K. Nguyen

Young readers who enjoyed the Disney movie Coco will love this enchanting graphic novel steeped in Japanese folklore. During a festival honoring her ancestors, Anzu follows a mysterious dog away from the celebration and becomes trapped in the underworld. Curses, spirits, magic, and a fast-approaching deadline stand between her and the door to the world of the living.

9780593706473 Windy Night with Wild Horses by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by AG Ford

Magic Tree House series fans will love Jack and Annie’s newest adventure — rescuing wild horses in Mongolia! With a fast-paced storyline and black-and-white illustrations throughout, the latest addition to this bestselling series is perfect for newly independent readers!

9780593406328 And Then, Boom! by Lisa Fipps

Lisa Fipps, author of the Printz-winning novel Starfish, returns with another poignant novel in verse about a child on the edges of society. While this story tackles heavy themes such as childhood homelessness and food scarcity, it does so through a lens of hope and kindness. Kids who enjoy stories with all the feels will find much to love about this novel.

9780593806746 Tidemagic: The Many Faces of Ista Flit by Clare Harlow

In a city filled with magic, monsters, and thieves, citizens have started disappearing. Ista Flit searches for her missing father and teams up with other kids looking for lost loved ones. Together, they infiltrate the highest and lowest tiers of the city, uncovering its darkest secrets. Young readers won’t be able to set this book down!

yes no YA 9780593481684 Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken

This instant #1 New York Times bestselling fantasy novel is now available in paperback! Dive into this lush story about a non-magical girl racing against time and magical opponents to find an Arthurian ring. An unlikely alliance with her rival, dark magic, and ancient secrets will keep YA readers on the edge of their seats. And don’t miss the sequel, The Mirror of Beasts, coming in July!

9780593711927 Blood at the Root by LaDarrion Williams

Get swept away by this modern urban fantasy with a Southern twist. At Caiman University, 17-year-old Malik learns how to control his magical powers and finds a community, friendship, and ties to his missing family members. But as he dives deeper into the magical community and learns the truth about his mother’s disappearance, he awakens an ancient evil force. You’ll stay up well past your bedtime reading this book!

9780593617564 Spin of Fate by A. A. Vora

If you’re ready for a one-of-a-kind fantasy adventure unlike anything you’ve read before, snag a copy of Spin of Fate. Aina is one of the few people to improve her social status and move up to a higher realm in her kingdom. However, the peaceful life she was promised is nothing more than a myth, and she wants to return home. But with a war brewing between the upper and lower realms, Aina and her new friends must navigate an increasingly divided world filled with power struggles, monsters, and magic.

9780593705179 10 Things I Hate About Prom by Elle Gonzalez Rose

From the author of Caught in a Bad Fauxmance comes a new YA rom-com about a girl who is secretly in love with her best friend. Ivelisse doesn’t realize she has feelings for Joaquin until he asks for her help planning a promposal for someone else. This sweet, slow-burn romance is perfect for every fan of 90s-era rom-coms!

9780593809068 Beach Cute by Beth Reekles

When you need a lighthearted, beachy romance to escape into, you can’t go wrong with a Beth Reekles novel! In this story, three teenage girls meet when they all go on vacation to the same resort. Together, they have an unforgettable summer filled with friendship, romance, and self-discovery.

9780593855720 Everything We Never Said by Sloan Harlow

Get your fill of spine-tingling chills with this romantic thriller. After her best friend Hayley dies, Ella finds herself falling in love with Hayley’s boyfriend, Sawyer. As Ella falls for Sawyer, she also discovers unsettling secrets that have her questioning everything she knows about him, Hayley, and what they are capable of.

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