Spring Super Stars!

We are almost at the halfway mark for the year. Can you believe it? Before jumping into the summer season, let’s take some time to reflect on those exceptional fiction and nonfiction from the spring. We have gathered all the titles from Lerner Publishing Group and our publishing partners that have received starred reviews in the list below. Discover the best titles for your young readers and still have time to enjoy the sunshine!

Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Natasha Donovan

Grade Level: 2 – 5
Age Level: 7 – 11

Mary Golda Ross designed classified projects for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation as the company’s first female engineer. Find out how her passion for math and the Cherokee values she was raised with shaped her life and work.

★”A stellar addition to the genre that will launch careers and inspire for generations, it deserves space alongside stories of other world leaders and innovators.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

How to Build an Insect by Roberta Gibson and illustrated by Anne Lambelet

Grade Level: K – 3
Age Level: 5 – 9

Let’s build an insect! Enter a wondrous workshop filled with everything you’ll need, including a head, a thorax, an abdomen, wings, and much more. A delightfully original take on insect anatomy!

★”Gibson and Lambelet provide a fun, instructional easy reader text and a science project for children. . . . A must-buy for elementary school and public libraries.”—starred, School Library Journal

It’s Outta Here: The Might and Majesty of the Home Run by Matt Doeden

Grade Level: 5 – 12
Age Level: 10 – 18

For more than one hundred years, the home run has been the most exciting play in baseball. Read about the longest, strangest, and most important home runs in Major League Baseball history.

★”Holy cow! It is high; it is far; it is gone! A game winner.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

Rissy No Kissies by Katey Howes and illustrated by Jess Engle

Grade Level: PreK – 3
Age Level: 4 – 9

A lovebird who doesn’t like kisses? Rissy’s friends and family wonder if she’s sick, confused, or rude. But kisses make Rissy uncomfortable. Can she show everyone there’s not one right way to share affection?

★”Radiant.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

★”[A] refrain (‘No kissies!’) and soft watercolor art by Engle reinforce the message that speaking up for one’s bodily agency should always be embraced.”—starred, Publishers Weekly

The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field by Scott Riley and illustrated by Nguyen Quang and Kim Lien

Grade Level: 2 – 5
Age Level: 7 – 11

On a tiny Thai island without room for a soccer field, a group of resourceful teen boys gathers scraps and works together to build a floating field so they can play the game they love.

★”A compelling book for football [soccer] fans and readers seeking examples of ingenuity.”—starred, Publishers Weekly

★”This is a story that presents kids as true problem solvers. . . . an excellent STEM resource.”—starred, School Library Journal

★”[F]illed with happy smiles and strong kicks. . . . A splendid nonfiction picture book.”—starred, The Horn Book Magazine

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Grade Level: 3 – 6
Age Level: 8 – 12

Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history.

★”Ideal for classroom libraries and a deeper study of American history, this title is a must-have for those seeking the painful and complete truth.”—starred, Booklist

★”Unspeakable deserves to be read by every student of American history.” —starred, BookPage

★”A somber, well-executed addition to the history as the incident approaches its 100th anniversary.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

★”[S]ucceeds in teaching the tragedy of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the legacy of Black Wall Street.”—starred, Publishers Weekly

★”This moving account sheds light on shameful events long suppressed or ignored. All collections should consider this title’s value in providing historical context to current conversations about racism and America’s ongoing legacy of white supremacy.”—starred, School Library Journal

★”Far from romanticizing history, Weatherford is equally descriptive in explaining how a false accusation of assault brought simmering racial tensions to a violent end . . . Cooper’s illustrations (‘oil and erasure’) are the perfect partner to this history, the sepia-toned images resembling historical photographs. The portraits of Black residents are particularly moving, seeming to break the fourth wall to implore the reader to remember their story.”—starred, The Horn Book Magazine

When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them by Jesse Freidin, Robert Garofalo, Zach Stafford, and Christina Garofalo. Photography by Jesse Freidin

Grade Level: 8 – 12
Age Level: 13 – 18

Compiled by an LGBTQ advocate, an adolescent HIV specialist, and a fine-art photographer, When Dogs Heal illustrates a refreshing, beautiful and totally unique portrait of HIV infused with a deep message of hope for young adults.

★”A unique collection that is unflinchingly honest and infused with hope. These valuable lessons of empathy, self-care, and acceptance will inspire all readers . . .”—starred, School Library Journal

From Our Publishing Partners

Lerner Publishing Group partners with publishing houses around the world to bring you engaging picture books, high-quality supplemental nonfiction, graphic novels, and boundary-pushing young adult novels. Find the starred spring titles from Lantana Publishing, Creston Books, Gecko Press, and more below!

Anita and the Dragons by Hannah Carmona and illustrated by Anna Cunha

Grade Level: 2 – 4
Age Level: 7 – 10

Anita watches the dragons high above her from her village in the Dominican Republic. Will she be brave enough to enter the belly of the beast and take flight to new adventures?

★”Muted chalk illustrations with spare details help to capture Anita’s world and future home.”—starred, Foreword Reviews

★”A gorgeous story about the love of one’s homeland and the courage it takes to emigrate.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

Boardwalk Babies by Marissa Moss and illustrated by April Chu

Grade Level: 2 – 5
Age Level: 7 – 11

Come to Coney Island and see the incredible Boardwalk Babies: infants so tiny, they can be held in the palm of one hand. You’ll gasp and you’ll “ooh” and “aah” at this incredible true story.

★”Moss turns a little-known historical subject into a poignant and readable picture book. . . .The soft illustrations and the heartwarming approach make this story beautiful and relevant to all families.”—starred, School Library Journal

Can You Whistle, Johanna? by Ulf Stark and illustrated by Anna Höglund

Grade Level: K – 5
Age Level: 5 – 11

Berra wants a grandfather, so he goes to the retirement home to try to find one. Ideally one who eats pig’s trotters, invites you to tea, and can teach you to whistle. This is an international award-winner from one of the world’s great writers.

★”A sweet, tender, never maudlin evocation of an intergenerational friendship.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

Do Animals Fall in Love? by Katharina von der Gathen and illustrated by Anke Kuhl

Grade Level: 4 – 8
Age Level: 9 – 14

A frank, illustrated approach to the most astonishing facts about animal reproduction, from seduction methods and anatomy to family life and animal babies. The animal kingdom is a fascinating reflection of our own different ways of living and loving.

★”[The writer] demonstrate[s] the wonder of species reproduction as well as her respect for her audience with frankness and good humor. They will find it irresistible in tone and content.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

Escape: One Day We Had to Run . . . by Ming Chen and Wah Chen with illustrations by Carmen Vela

Grade Level: 4 – 6
Age Level: 9 – 12

These remarkable true stories of escape show how courageous people all around the world have overcome insurmountable obstacles in their flight to freedom.

★”An arresting collection of deep, accessible stories of people on the move.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

Pablo written and illustrated by Rascal

Grade Level: PreK
Age Level: 1 – 3

With the little chick Pablo, we discover our five senses and take a first flight. A fresh and funny story about stepping out on your own into a bright new world.

★”Delightful—will surely bring smiles to readers’ faces.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

Where Is the Dragon? written and illustrated by Leo Timmers

Grade Level: PreK – K
Age Level: 4 – 6

Three knights go looking for a dragon in the dark; the king won’t sleep until they find it. But with only one candle between them, the task becomes a challenge. Is that a dragon? Attack! From New York Times Best Illustrated Book recipient Leo Timmers.

★”The text is translated from the original Dutch in a lilting Suessian singsong, with wonderful, surprising rhymes, and little readers and their grown-ups will have a great time combining their voices and giggling through the proceedings.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews

For more book lists from the Lerner Blog click here!

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