10 Of The Best New Children’s Books Out April 2024

Margaret Kingsbury grew up in a house so crammed with books she couldn’t open a closet door without a book stack tumbling, and she’s brought that same decorative energy to her adult life. Margaret has an MA in English with a concentration in writing and has worked as a bookseller and adjunct English professor. She’s currently a freelance writer and editor, and in addition to Book Riot, her pieces have appeared in School Library Journal, BuzzFeed News, The Lily, Parents,, and more. She particularly loves children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, horror, graphic novels, and any books with disabled characters. You can read more about her bookish and parenting shenanigans in Book Riot’s twice-weekly The Kids Are All Right newsletter. You can also follow her kidlit bookstagram account @BabyLibrarians, or on Twitter @AReaderlyMom.

April is here, and it’s raining new book releases! Last month, I mentioned how abundant March children’s book releases were, and I’m surprised to say I had just as many April new children’s book releases on my longlist as I did for March. Once again, I encourage you to subscribe to Book Riot’s kidlit newsletter to read my reviews of even more April children’s book releases. It was next to impossible to choose my favorites for this list, so I will be reviewing my other favorites for the newsletter.

This month has many returning favorite picture book creators: Sophie Blackall, Dan Santat, Gabi Snyder, Samantha Cotterill, and more. Myths and folklore are explored in many of April’s children’s book releases regardless of age group, as are music and the power of imagination. I had such a hard time narrowing down picture books that I actually read my top ten picks with my six-year-old daughter and had her help me narrow it down to five for this list.

April’s middle grade releases were just as challenging to narrow down, but alas, my daughter could not help me there (yet). In middle grade, I include a fantasy graphic novel, an excellent middle grade history, a phenomenal novel-in-verse about puberty for boys, and more.

I hope you find some books you want to read on this list of April children’s book releases.

April Children’s Book Releases: Picture Books

Cover of Ahoy! by Sophie Blackall

Ahoy! by Sophie Blackall (April 2; Anne Schwartz Books)

Sophie Blackall is a beloved children’s book author and illustrator, but her newest picture book—Ahoy!—is my six-year-old’s favorite. We read it back-to-back four times in a row when it arrived, with lots of laughter each time! It’s a funny, endearing celebration of children’s imaginations told entirely through dialog. A parent tries to vacuum the living room rug while the child sets up odds and ends around the house into a pretend-play boat. The child reels in the parent, and the two—as well as their cat—spend a thrilling day on the seas escaping squids and sharks. When another parent arrives, they join in on the fun. Blackall pairs her delightful story with equally delightful illustrations. I especially love the genderless characters.

Cover of Piper Chen Sings by Phillipa Soo, Maris Pasquale Doran, & Qin Leng

Piper Chen Sings by Phillipa Soo, Maris Pasquale Doran, & Qin Leng (April 2; Random House Studio)

I’m not always super keen on celebrity-authored children’s books, but this sweet intergenerational picture book co-written by Hamilton star Phillipa Soo (Eliza) and her sister-in-law Maris Pasquale Doran is an exception. It’s a lovely and relatable story about a young singer finding confidence after speaking with her grandmother. Piper loves to sing and sings everywhere she goes. She’s initially thrilled when her school’s music teacher asks her to sing a solo at a school performance. However, suddenly signing doesn’t feel the same. It makes her tummy feel funny, and her voice comes out as a whisper. Singing isn’t fun anymore. At home, she sits with Nǎi Nai at the piano bench, and her grandmother tells her all the times she’s felt these butterflies, húdié, in her stomach—at her first piano recital, when she graduated from music school, when she left China to live in America, and more. She realized the húdié were telling her that something exciting was happening, and she learned to welcome them instead of dreading them. Young Piper does the same at her first solo performance. Leng’s illustrations are soft and gentle.

Cover of Roar-Choo! by Charlotte Cheng & Dan Santat

Roar-Choo! by Charlotte Cheng & Dan Santat (April 9; Rocky Pond Books)

This hilarious picture book inspired by Chinese mythology depicts a dragon with a cold being ornery with a phoenix. After Dragon sneezes, sending out a dangerous pillar of flame, Phoenix tries to get Dragon to relax. Dragon, however, is determined to show off everything they can do, from diving to soaring and, of course, roaring. When Phoenix begins sneezing as well, Dragon calms down, and they both rest. An author’s note at the end describes how the dragon and phoenix are traditionally portrayed in Chinese Mythology. As always, Santat’s illustrations are phenomenal. Santat also has another picture book releasing this month, Built to Last by Minh Lê, which I haven’t read yet, but I’m so looking forward to it!

Cover of You're SO Amazing! by James Catchpole, Lucy Catchpole, & Karen George

You’re SO Amazing! by James Catchpole, Lucy Catchpole, & Karen George (April 16; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

I adored James Catchpole’s first picture book, What Happened to You? and I love his newest—a follow-up featuring the same characters co-written by his wife, Lucy Catchpole—just as much. Joe and his friend Simone are having fun playing on the playground when someone shouts, “You’re amazing!” to Joe. Joe gets this a lot. Joe is disabled, and apparently, that means everything he does is amazing, whether it’s trying to play with friends, eating ice cream, or even scratching his bottom. Strangers just won’t stop commenting on how great he is. This makes Joe feel uncomfortable and confused. He wants his amazing friend Simone to be acknowledged, too, and really just wants to be left alone to play with his friends. Thankfully, he has friends who treat him like a normal human being. Back matter includes a note to adults about why disabled kids want to be treated like normal kids. The Catchpoles are well-known in the disabled community, and I love how their picture books push back against stereotypes. This is a must-read for kids and their adults!

Cover of Look by Gabi Snyder & Samantha Cotterill

Look by Gabi Snyder & Samantha Cotterill (April 16; Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books)

Snyder and Cotterill are more of my favorite children’s book creators, and their latest is a stunning picture book about finding patterns. A child and pregnant parent go on a walk in their new town. Along the way, the child notices patterns everywhere: tall and short dogs being walked in a row, shapes at a farmer’s market stand, colorful flowers, and more. The child draws the patterns in a sketchbook. Noticing the patterns helps the child feel less overwhelmed. Snyder’s lyrical text is imaginative and engaging, while Cotterill’s constructed diorama illustrations are gorgeous and evocative. Kids can spend a long time noticing patterns when they read this! Back matter includes a discussion of pattern types and pattern activities.

March Children’s Book Releases: Early Readers

Cover of Batcat: Sink or Swim by Meggie Ramm

Batcat: Sink or Swim by Meggie Ramm (April 16; Abrams Fanfare)

The adorable Batcat returns in this fantastic standalone follow-up to the early reader graphic novel Batcat. I’m so glad this is a series. Batcat and Al the Ghost are now friendly roommates, but sometimes Batcat needs some alone time. So Batcat decides to go to the beach alone for a little quiet reading and snacking. Unfortunately, the beach is packed with wailing mermaids. Their tails have been drained of color, and when they spy Batcat, they enlist their help by enticing Batcat with fish taco treats. Unfortunately, Batcat hates the water, making solving this magical mystery difficult. Back matter includes instructions on how to draw Batcat, Al, and emanata, as well as nonbinary facts. This second book is just as entertaining as the first.

March Children’s Book Releases: Middle Grade

Cover of Monkey King and the World of Myths: The Monster and the Maze by Maple Lam

Monkey King and the World of Myths: The Monster and the Maze by Maple Lam (April 2; G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)

This is such a fun middle grade graphic novel combining Chinese and Greek mythology. It stars the Monkey King—Sun Wukong—on his quest to become a god. Everyone tends to get a bit annoyed with Sun Wukong’s endless energy and silly antics. When he visits the human world, he meets the God Venus and decides to sneak into the world of the gods. He wants to become a god, too, but as a beast, he’s not allowed into the world of the gods. After causing a lot of mischief among the gods, God Venus makes him a deal. To earn his godship, he must defeat monsters plaguing the human world. First stop: Crete and the legend of the Minotaur. Young mythology lovers will adore this funny, action-packed, and playful spin on the classic tales. The illustrations are so cute and fun.

Cover of Ultraviolet by Aida Salazar

Ultraviolet by Aida Salazar (April 2; Scholastic)

This lyrical middle grade novel-in-verse tackles much-needed topics for middle school boys: toxic masculinity, puberty, consent, and first relationships. Eighth-grader Elio, who is Indigenous Mexican American, has his first crush on Camellia. All his friends are hooking up, too, and thankfully Camellia is interested in him as well, and the two begin dating. Elio’s body is going through a lot of changes, and he doesn’t know what to think of it all. Camellia’s is, too, and Elio struggles with how to react to her changes as well. When Camellia breaks up with him, Elio says some bad things he later regrets. Meanwhile, his dad is also working out how to confront his toxic masculinity. Salazar does a great job combining humor and realism. It also includes older queer characters, which is nice to see in a novel about puberty for boys.

Cover of Made in Asian America: A History for Young People by Erika Lee & Christina Soontornvat

Made in Asian America: A History for Young People by Erika Lee & Christina Soontornvat (April 30; Quill Tree Books)

This phenomenal middle grade nonfiction centering Asian Americans fills many gaps in history textbooks. It’s adapted from Erika Lee’s adult nonfiction book The Making of Asian America. Lee and Soontornvat use engaging individual narratives, accessible language, and many photographs to create this much-needed, personal look into Asian American history. It covers a broad swath of history, from the 13th-century problematic interest in the “Orient” to the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act and much, much more. The authors also explore broad topics like the model minority stereotype. It’s a fascinating and essential history.

Cover of Benny Ramírez and the Nearly Departed by José Pablo Iriarte

Benny Ramírez and the Nearly Departed by José Pablo Iriarte (April 30; Knopf Books for Young Readers)

This is a funny, whimsical ghost story about a young boy haunted by his abeulo’s ghost. When Benny’s grandfather dies of a heart attack, the family inherits his Miami home. So they move from Los Angeles to Miami, and all three siblings are enrolled in the South Miami Performing Arts School. But there’s only one problem—unlike the rest of his family, Benny has no musical skills. Well, there’s a second problem, too: Benny can see his grandfather’s ghost, though no one else can. To make his way to heaven, Benny’s abuelo decides he needs to teach Benny how to play the trumpet like a pro and become the most popular kid at his new school. Abuelo’s advice never goes as planned, however. This is such a sweet and heartwarming read.

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