Franny's April Recommendations

57th Street Books' Children's Manager Franny Billingsley with this month's top recommendations of Children's, Middle Grade, and Young Adult literature.

Picture Books

Triangle, Mac Barnett, illus by Jon Klassen

Triangle goes to Square’s house to play a trick on Square; Square goes to Triangle’s house to play a trick on Triangle.  Which shape is going to out-trick the other?  Might they also trick the reader? Deadpan humor and terrific comic timing characterize this offbeat introduction to a planned trilogy.  Watch for more trickery with Square and Circle.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, Barack Obama, illus by Loren Long

A tribute to thirteen American heroes accompanies a parallel tribute to Obama’s beloved daughters.  A heartfelt letter of hope, and love, and of what it means to be American.

Celebrating National Poetry Month

A Song About Myself, John Keats, illus by Chris Raschka

A playful poem Keats wrote for his sister, deliciously illustrated by Caldecott-winner Chris Raschka.

Make the Earth Your Companion, J. Patrick Lewis, illus by Anna and Elena Balbusso

A beautifully illustrated paean to the earth by former US Children’s Poet Laureate: “Make the Earth your companion, walk lightly on it as other creatures do.”  Simply gorgeous.


A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, illus by Jim Kay

“The monster showed up just after midnight,” says Conner.  “As they do.”  The monster shows up again and again, poking at Conner’s defenses, forcing him at last to reveal a secret he has kept for too long. This novel (winner of the Carnegie Award when first published in Britain) is both heartbreaking and hopeful.

See You in the Cosmos, Jack Cheng

Space-crazy Alex models himself on his hero, Carl Sagan, who launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977.  Alex records his own story on his iPod, hoping to likewise launch it into space and tell other lifeforms about earth. But instead, his charming, unaffected narration leads him to understand his own self.