Check out these exciting easy and fiction titles published in March. Everything here is realistic, including historical fiction, mysteries, and adventure. Happy reading!
ELEMENTARY PICTURE BOOKS
Anya’s Secret Society by Yevgenia Nayberg. 9781580898300. Charlesbridge. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Anya is left-handed, but in Russia where she lives, only right-handedness is allowed. When she uses her left hand, she is an artist, and she dreams of a secret society where she can draw with other left-handed artists. Then her family emigrates to America, where she doesn’t need to hide this part of herself.
Be a Maker by Katey Howes (ill. by Elizabet Vukovic). 9781512498028. Carolrhoda. 2019. Gr PK-3.
A young girl encourages the reader, upon awakening, to ask: “What will you make?” Whether it’s a tower, a friend, or a change in the world, make something new every day.
Because by Mo Willems & Amber Ren. 9781368019019. Hyperion. 2019. Gr PK-2.
From historical events to the present day, this picture book tracks a series of incidents and important people—beginning with “Because a man named Ludwig wrote beautiful music”—that leads up to a young girl attending a concert and realizing her passion for music.
The Biggest Puddle in the World by Mark Lee & Nathalie Dion. 9781554989799. Groundwood Books. 2019. Gr K-2.
Sarah and her brother Charlie visit their grandparents near the ocean. Soon after they arrive, the rain begins and lasts for days. When it clears, the siblings go outside to play in the puddles. Their grandfather helps them find bigger and bigger puddles until they see the ocean, the biggest puddle of them all. The book also teaches young readers about the water cycle.
Born to Ride : A Story About Bicycle Face by Larissa Theule (ill. by Kelsey Garrity-Riley). 9781419734120. Abrams. 2019. Gr PK-3.
In 1896 New York, it is inappropriate for girls to wear pants. It is also inappropriate to wear skirts on bikes. Girls were also told that the struggle to balance on a bike would leave them forever with bulging eyes and clenched jaws. But a young girl bucks social conventions to wear her brother’s pants, puts aside fears of “bicycle face,” and convinces her brother to teach her to ride.
The Chickens Are Coming! by Barbara Samuels. 9780374300975. Farrar Straus Giroux. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Sophie and Winston are excited about raising chickens in their backyard in the city, but when will there be eggs?
Crane & Crane by Linda Joy Singleton (ill. by Richard Smythe). 9781681524085. Amicus. 2019. Gr PK-1.
This book invites readers to compare the actions of sandhill cranes and construction cranes.
Diana Dances by Luciano Lozano. 9781773212487. Annick Press. 2019. Gr PK-1.
Diana has difficulty concentrating in school, which concerns her parents, her teachers, and her doctor. At a psychologist’s appointment, the doctor steps outside to talk to her parents, leaving Diana alone with music on the radio. Soon Diana is dancing across the room, helping the doctor to realize that Diana is a kinetic learner who CAN learn—when she’s moving.
Ernestine’s Milky Way by Kerry Madden-Lunsford & Emily Sutton. 9781524714857. Schwartz & Wade. 2019. Gr PK-2.
On a farm in the Smoky Mountains, Ernestine’s father is away fighting in World War II, and her mother is pregnant with twins. Five-year-old Ernestine is busy with chores. When her mother asks her to bring two large Mason jars of milk to the neighbors, she knows she is a big girl. The way is scary, however, and she drops one jar, which rolls out of reach down the hill. But at her destination, the neighbor’s son shows her that the unbroken jar has already arrived. A sweet story of helping others and overcoming fear.
Here and There by Tamara Ellis Smith (ill. by Evelyn Daviddi). 9781782857419. Barefoot Books. 2019. Gr K-3.
With his parents newly separated, the differing sounds of birds and music at each place helps Ivan learns to deal with having two homes.
I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt. 9781524788223. Penguin. 2019. Gr PK-1.
Readers will learn about worms and counting as they laugh their way through this book by an illustrator who can only draw worms.
Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour & Daniel Egneus. 9780525554165. Penguin. 2019. Gr PK-3.
After arriving in a new city, Lubna takes as her best friend a pebble she found on the beach. Pebble listens to Lubna’s stories as she shares her hopes, dreams, and past, and also her fears about the war in her home country. When a new boy named Amir arrives, and Lubna’s father announces that the family will be leaving again, Lubna realizes that Amir needs Pebble to listen to his own stories.
Noah Builds an Ark by Kate Banks (ill. by John Rocco). 9780763674847. Candlewick Press. 2019. Gr PK-2.
A storm is imminent, and while his parents prepare the house (boarding up windows), a boy heads out to the garden to prepare a safe place for the backyard critters.
The Sun Shines Everywhere by Mary Ann Hoberman (ill. by Luciano Lozano). 9780316523844. Little, Brown. 2019. Gr K-2.
No matter where on the Earth you live or how you play or worship or what you eat, the sun shines on everyone. A great read-aloud to promote unity amidst diversity.
Trees by Verlie Hutchens (ill. by Jing Jing Tsong). 9781481447072. Beach Lane Books. 2019. Gr PK-3.
This collection of poems celebrates the qualities and beauty of fifteen different types of trees.
When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan (ill. by Lorraine Rocha). 9781454923817. Sterling. 2019. Gr K-2.
A young girl crafts a list of all the electronic devices she will accept for her birthday, and is disappointed when her grandmother brings a lemon tree sapling instead. But, with her grandmother’s help, she follows instructions on how to plant and raise the tree, and a year later, is delighted to be rewarded with lemons. A lemonade recipe is included.
When I Found Grandma by Saumiya Balasubramaniam & Qin Leng). 9781773060187. Groundwood Books. 2019. Gr K-2.
Maya’s grandmother comes to visit from India, but Maya isn’t prepared for the unique cultural differences, including the cuisine and grandma’s clothing. Frustrated, Maya begins to wish her grandmother would go back home. But as the two begin to learn about each other, they realize that family matters more than not understanding cultural norms.
ELEMENTARY CHAPTER BOOKS & FICTION
The Astonishing Maybe by Shaunta Grimes. 9781250191830. Feiwel & Friends. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Gideon’s life has been boring and safe—until his family moves to Nevada. Adventures start when he meets Roona, a neighbor girl who sometimes wears roller skates and a baby blanket as a cape when she needs to feel brave. As they become closer, Gideon finds out that Roona’s mother is deeply depressed, and that Roona thinks the only way to make her better is to find her father—whom she hasn’t seen since she was a baby. She convinces Gideon to take the bus to Las Vegas to help her search.
Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord. 9780545914246. Scholastic. 2019. Gr 3-6.
Emma and her game warden father answer a call to capture a wild rabbit stuck in a fence, but instead find a domestic bunny. Emma convinces her father to let the rabbit come live with them. The next day, Emma is set to attend fifth grade at a public school after being homeschooled her whole life. She wants to make a good first impression and maybe a new best friend, but is instead paired with the hyperactive Jack, who, while annoying, loves animals as much as Emma.
Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen by Niki Lenz. 9781524770419. Random House. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Being a bully sorta comes with the name Buttman, as Bernice well knows. But she also wants a friend, almost as much as she wants to be a Hollywood stuntwoman. When her mom leaves her in a new town with her aunt (a num), Bernice decides to become a model citizen. But that is easier said than done.
How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons. 9780316484008. Little, Brown. 2019. Gr 4-6.
In 1944, Ella lives in a segregated South Carolina town with her grandparents. Constantly teased for her “white” appearance, she spends most of her days with her best friend and cousin. Her mother, a jazz singer in Boston, invites Ella to join her at Christmas. While there, she is shocked to learn some of her mother’s secrets, especially regarding the father Ella has never known. When she returns to South Carolina, she discovers that a schoolmate has been charged with the murder of two young white girls.
One Speck of Truth by Caela Carter. 9780062672667. Harpercollins. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Alma knows that her Portuguese father is dead, but her mother won’t tell her anything more. Neither will she tell her why her beloved stepfather just moved out of the house. Suddenly, Alma’s mother sells everything and moves them to Lisbon, where she meets her father’s relatives and learns the answers to some of her questions.
The Space Between Before and After by Sue Stauffacher. 9780823441488. Margaret Ferguson Books. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Thomas’s mother has been battling depression for years when she tells him that she dreamed about taking a trip by herself—which was odd because she never even left the house. But that afternoon, she was gone when he got home from school. The police found her car at the airport, but they can’t find her. At the urging of a neighbor who lost her father in World War II, Thomas begins to imagine the adventures that his mother might be taking, in order to deal with his grief and worry.
Sweeping Up the Heart by Kevin Henkes. 9780062852540. Greenwillow. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Seventh-grader Amelia Albright goes on an adventure with a new friend, Casey, who claims to have seen the spirit of Amelia’s deceased mother. Instead of going on a spring break trip to Florida, Amelia is forced to stay home, but that week spent with her first male friend is both thrilling and daunting.
Tito the Bonecrusher by Melissa Thomson. 9780374303532. Farrar Straus & Giroux. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Oliver “Spaghetti-O” Rodriguez’s father is in a Florida detention center and slated for deportation back to Mexico. Oliver believes the only way to save his father is by recruiting the lucha-libre wrestler Tito the Bonecrusher. Together they come up with an absurd plan to free his father, while he also struggles with his grief over his father’s plight.
The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins by Gail Shepherd. 9780525428459. Kathy Dawson Books. 2019. Gr 3-5.
In 1985 Lyndie goes to live with her grandparents in Tennessee when her Vietnam veteran father loses his job. She is immediately at odds with her grandmother who insists on Lyndie becoming a nice Southern girl. A lover of history, Lyndie investigates secrets about her father’s struggles, much to the chagrin of her grandmother who believes in keeping family secrets to protect the family reputation. Lyndie then meets DB, a local boy from a juvenile detention center, who is an open book full of optimism and a direct contrast to her grandmother’s secretive ways.
The Yellow Suitcase by Meera Sriram. 9780999658413. Penny Candy Books. 2019. Gr 2-4.
Asha travels with her family to India after her grandmother’s death. Her grandmother’s house is filled with relatives and strangers, all talking about their memories. Asha remembers how she brought gifts in her yellow suitcase for her grandmother, and how her grandmother filled it up with gifts for America. Her sadness is overwhelming. Before the family goes home, Asha realizes that her grandmother left her one more surprise.
MIDDLE SCHOOL FICTION
Beast Rider by Tony Johnston. 9781419733635. Amulet Books. 2019. Gr 7-10.
A twelve-year-old Mexican boy, Manuel, jumps onto the train—nicknamed “the Beast”—heading to America to reunite with his brother in Los Angeles. The first time he tries, he is arrested and beaten by local police; the second time, he is attacked by a gang and left for dead. Local villagers nurse him back to health and help him get back on the train. When he reaches Los Angeles and finds his brother, his traumatic experiences haunt him and prevent him from adapting to his new home.
Far Away by Lisa Graff. 9781524738594. Penguin. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Twelve-year-old CJ speaks to her mother—who supposedly died just after she was born—through her psychic medium aunt. One day, her mother claims she will no longer speak to CJ and is going away. CJ learns that she must find a magical object that can tether her mother back to Earth, so she heads out on a road trip with her friend Jax to find the object by solving cryptic clues. What she finds though, instead of the tether, is that her mom isn’t really dead.
Focused by Alyson Gerber. 9781338185973. Scholastic. 2019. Gr 4-8.
After Clea fails yet another test, her parents take her to the doctors and she is diagnosed with ADHD. Her attention is all over the place, and that has to change; her life can’t continue the way it has been. Clea has to fight to find a way to focus and get her life back on track.
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee. 9780062836687. Balzer+Bray. 2019. Gr 5-8.
All Shayla wants to do is follow the rules, but when she starts seventh grade, the rules have changed. Her two best friends seem to be going their own ways, and some people at school are saying that she’s not black enough. After a ruling in a controversial court case involving the shooting of a black man by a white police officer, Shayla decides to join the Black Lives Matter movement and begins passing out black armbands at school. As the unrest in both Los Angeles and her school spreads, Shayla must figure out if some things are worth breaking the rules.
Goodbye, Mr. Spalding by Jennifer Robin Barr. 9781684371785. Calkins Creek. 2019. Gr 4-7.
During the Depression, Jimmy and Lola loved to watch the Philadelphia Athletics baseball games from their rooftops. Their parents earn money by selling tickets for the bleachers on the roof. But when demand for tickets at the park falls, the park owner decides to build a wall to block their view. Jimmy is willing to do almost anything to prevent the spite wall from being built, but Lola thinks he is going too far.
The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake. 9780316515535. Little, Brown. 2019. Gr 4-7.
After a heart replacement surgery for her cardiomyopathy, Sunny makes a list of the “awesome amazing things” her heart condition kept her from doing, including getting a new best friend and then finding a boy to kiss. She meets the blue-haired Quinn while swimming for the first time and realizes she doesn’t really want to kiss a boy, she wants to kiss Quinn. She also grows uncertain which feelings are hers and which are those of her heart donor.
The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane by Julia Nobel. 9781492664642. Sourcebooks. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Emmy’s dad has disappeared, and her mom, too busy to take care of her, decides to send Emmy to a boarding school in England. Before Emmy leaves, she finds a box of strange medallions in her attic that may have belonged to her dad. At school, she finds the same strange markings from the medallions all over the school, etched in the walls and in the books. Following the symbols, she and her two new friends discover the school’s secret society. Could the society know why her dad is missing?
Nikki on the Line by Barbara Carroll Roberts. 9780316521901. Little, Brown. 2019. Gr 5-9.
Nikki has been the best point guard on her team and dreams of becoming a basketball star. But when she is selected for an elite-level team, she finds she isn’t the best point guard; she’s not any kind of point guard. With the stress of basketball and a family tree project at school and taking care of her younger brother, Nikki finds that she is losing confidence in herself.
The Size of the Truth (Sam Abernathy, Book 1) by Andrew Smith. 9781534419551. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 5-8.
Seven years ago, Sam was trapped in a well for three days. Now he is the only 11-year-old in eighth grade, trying to deal with the boy he thinks pushed him into the well. His dad takes him on extreme survivalist camping trips and his parents assume he’s going to MIT. But he just wants to be a chef. The book alternates between Sam’s flashbacks of being in the well and his experiences in eighth grade.
Tree of Dreams by Laura Resau. 9780545800884. Scholastic. 2019. Gr 4-8.
Coco works in her mother’s chocolate shop along with her former best friend Leo. After a donut shop opens nearby, her mother’s business begins to fail. Coco begins dreaming of a rare ceiba tree that grows in the Amazon rainforest, and when a dessert competition is announced where the top prize is a trip to Ecuador, she knows she has to win—which she does, along with Leo. As she spends time in a small Ecuadorian village, her life is put into perspective as she learns of the plight of the native people who are at risk of losing everything to logging and oil companies.
The Year I Didn’t Eat by Samuel Pollen. 9781499808087. Yellow Jacket. 2019. Gr 5-8.
To externalize his inner problems with eating, Max keeps a diary that he addresses to “Ana,” where he engages in conversations with his anorexia. His older brother gives him a geocache which Max uses to store his journal, but one day, a mysterious newcomer signed “E” finds his journal and begins corresponding with Max in the journal. He takes comfort in E’s words and begins to wonder if it’s his sometimes-crush Evie. Even as they confide in and comfort each other, Max’s anorexia begins to tear his family apart.
HIGH SCHOOL FICTION
All the Walls of Belfast by Sarah J. Carlson. 9781684422531. Turner Publishing. 2019. Gr 7-12.
Though Fiona and Danny were born in the same hospital in Belfast, Fiona and her mother moved to the U.S. when she was two to escape the Troubles. Now seventeen, Fiona is back with her father and brothers. But a forty-foot wall still divides the Catholics of her dad’s neighborhood and the Protestants of Danny’s neighborhood. When Fiona and Danny meet by chance, they must overcome the secrets of their family histories if they hope to have a future together.
Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez. 9781534404458. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books. 2019. Gr 10-12.
In El Paso, Fabi, her son Juan, and his best friend JD each have their own struggles as they deal with the injustices of being brown and poor in Texas. After a mistake at a party in a wealthy neighborhood, Juan and JD find themselves on the run, and decide to search out answers on who Juan’s father really is. Fabi wants to stop them, but she is struggling with the secrets of her own family.
Cold Day in the Sun by Sara Biren. 9781419733673. Amulet Books. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Holland wants to be known as a hockey player, not a girl hockey player. But all the cameras are on her as the only girl on her school’s hockey team when it is featured as part of HockeyFest. She doesn’t want the fame. The other players aren’t too happy about it either. Surprisingly, her only support comes from the overbearing captain of the team. And Holland is afraid she might be falling for him.
Cold White Sun by Sue Farrell Holler. 9781773060811. Groundwood Books. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Tesfaye lives with his wealthy, powerful family in a sheltered compound in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Most of his life he had few responsibilities, but when a rebel force rises up against the capital, Tesfaye is taken to the former imperial palace where his is instructed to deliver political pamphlets. When his father is arrested, Tesfaye is forced to flee Ethiopia and ends up in Canada. He begins a new life there but is thrust between foster homes and expats, and all the while, wonders at the fate of his family.
Dig by A.S. King. 9781101994917. Penguin. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Gottfried and Marla Hemmings made millions selling the family potato farm to land developers, but refuse to pass on that wealth to their children and grandchildren. In the town they helped create, five teens struggle with racial hatred, drugs, poverty, and domestic violence that stem from belonging to the Hemmings’ privileged, hateful family tree.
Fear of Missing Out by Kate McGovern. 9780374305475. Farrar Straus Giroux. 2019. Gr 9-12.
After a lengthy remission, Astrid’s brain cancer returns. While everyone in her life has an opinion on what she should do, Astrid begins exploring cryopreservation, which in turn leads her to question life and death, what makes a person, the purpose of God and faith, and her own fears of missing out on the rest of life. The science-loving Astrid, her best friend Chloe, and her boyfriend Mohit, go on a road trip to research cryopreservation, against the wishes of Astrid’s mother who is desperate to get her into an experimental treatment program.
Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith. 9780399559419. Delacorte. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Just before he leaves for university, Hugo gets dumped by his girlfriend. Unfortunately, they’d planned on taking a romantic cross-country trip across America and the tickets are non-refundable—and in his girlfriend’s name. He takes out an ad for another Margaret Campbell to take the trip with him. Margaret “Mae” Campbell sees the ad, and, fresh off a rejection for film school, decides to join Hugo, a complete stranger, on the trip. What starts as a simple, convenient trip for each to shake off their heartbreak turns into something more as they learn about each other and what it means to build a future.
Heroine by Mindy McGinnis. 9780062847195. Katherine Tegen Books. 2019. Gr 9-12.
After a car accident, star high school softball player Mickey is taken to surgery and prescribed opioids for her pain. As she convalesces, she begins to rely on the medication not just to help her heal, but because she feels good while taking them. Because of the pressures of adolescence, a desperate need to compete in elite athletics, and the pain from the accident, Mickey devolves into someone she doesn’t recognize as addiction takes over.
If You’re Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser. 9780062865670. Balzer+Bray. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Zan is baffled when her best friend, Priya, stops answering her emails after moving to California, but new friend, Logan, presents the disturbing possibility that Priya cannot answer.
In Another Life by C.C. Hunter. 9781250312273. Wednesday Books. 2019. Gr 10-12.
Chloe has always known that she was adopted at the age of three, and her life with her adopted parents has been great. Now 17, her parents are divorcing and she and her mother have moved to Texas. At school, she meets Cash, an intriguing boy who tells her that she looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost when she was little. Together they are determined to find out the truth, despite the danger that seems to accompany it.
Killing November by Adriana Mather. 9780525579083. Knopf. 2019. Gr 9-12.
November’s widowed father sends her away to a secret boarding school for her own protection while he deals with threats against their family. At Academy Absconditi, there’s no electricity or internet, and the students train to be assassins and spies. She quickly learns that she has no allies in the competitive school. When another student is murdered, November is the prime suspect. She races to figure out who the real killer is before she is found guilty of the crime—or winds up the killer’s next victim.
Lovely War by Julie Berry. 9780451469939. Penguin. 2019. Gr 9-12.
The goddess Aphrodite is required to tell the story of four humans, Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette, or face judgment on Mount Olympus. Their story reveals that while war is a formidable opponent, it is no match for the power of love.
Night Music by Jenn Marie Thorne. 9780735228771. Penguin. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Ruby Chertok fails her audition to the prestigious school where her father teaches, which leaves her questioning an identity that has been devoted to classical music. Meanwhile, Oscar, an African American composer and conductor, is excited to study with the great Martin Chertok, but wasn’t prepared to meet Ruby. Aware of Ruby’s privileged upbringing, not to mention the elitist world of classical music, the two fall for one another, leaving Oscar suspicious of how people will interpret a relationship between the white daughter of a teacher and an ambitious black man.
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds. 9780062748379. Katherine Tegen Books. 2019. Gr 8-12.
After Jack falls for Kate, her unexpected death sends him back in time to the moment they first met, but he soon learns that his actions have consequences when someone else close to him dies.
Tin Heart by Shivaun Plozza. 9781250312761. Flatiron Books. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Marlowe, an Australian high schooler, is the recipient of a heart transplant. Back at school, she must deal with all the same tensions of any other student, including a bully and a crush on the butcher’s son, all while escaping the stigma of being The Dying Girl. She goes in search of the donor of her new heart, but is faced with numerous obstacles, not the least of which is a family with no interest in meeting her. Desperate, she conjures a lie but is quickly found out, breaking the hearts of those she cares about.
Voices : The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott. 9781328987594. HMH. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Medieval poetic forms of poetry such as ballades, rondels, sestinas, and villanelles present a history of Joan of Arc, focusing on her last few hours. These poems, told by people and objects around Joan, address themes of identity, innocence, heresy, and redemption.
Waiting for Fitz by Spencer Hyde. 9781629725277. Shadow Mountain. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Addie enters the psychiatric ward due to her uncontrolled OCD. An aspiring playwright, she feverishly works on a project related to Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” There she meets Fitz, a budding schizophrenic, who names his hallucinations after popular country singers. Their relationship is tested when Fitz asks Addie to help him escape the hospital to find closure on a painful secret. As they bond over their mutual love of wordplay, Addie reflects on her existential questions and mental health.
Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill. 9780310765233. Blink. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Italian-American Evalina and Japanese-American Taichi’s vow to be together, although interracial marriage is illegal in 1941 San Francisco. Their promise is tested when Taichi’s family is sent to Manzanar internment camp.
XL by Scott Brown. 9781524766252. Knopf. 2019. Gr 8-12.
At 16, Will isn’t quite five feet tall. He’s resigned to the fact that he’ll always be tiny, but he isn’t happy about it at all. At least he has his best friend (his 6’3” stepbrother, Drew) and their friend Monica, whom Will has been crushing on for years—until he catches them kissing. And when he finally starts to grow—and keeps growing until he has to see a doctor to find out if there is something physically wrong—Will starts to have a new view of the world, but despite his new look, he still struggles with deep-seated insecurities.