Free Library spring book picks for kids and teens

This spring find your way into fun new books—picture books that engage young children in fun things to do during spring, middle-grade books to keep minds occupied during spring break, or young adult books to catch up on before the film or TV series comes out!

Recommendations for Younger Readers (ages 2–7)

This Is The Nest That Robin Built by Denise Fleming
Denise Fleming is known for her beautiful collages created with carefully handmade paper. Her unique technique is again on display in this picture book that celebrates one of the harbingers of spring: birds building nests.  The cumulative text, told in the manner of “The House That Jack Built,” shows how mama bird gets her nest ready with a little help from other woodland friends. Lively!

Seeing Into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright by Richard Wright; illustrated by Nina Crews
Combining nature and poetry with breathtaking photo-collages, this lovely book celebrates the wonder of spring and the natural world. The inspiration for the title comes from one of the poems: “A spring sky so clear / That you feel you are seeing / Into tomorrow.” Timeless!

My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith; illustrated by Julie Flett
This tender and cheery board book reminds us happiness can be found in small moments and gestures and through family and cultural relationships. Of special note is the focus on a Native American community. Joyous!

Recommendations for Elementary School Students (Grades 2–5)

Plant, Cook, Eat! A Children’s Cookbook by Joe Archer and Caroline Craig

A horticulturalist and a food writer team up to bring us this unique cookbook for children.  Gardening tips are given for all kinds of gardens:  backyard, community-garden allotment, containers, and windowsills.  Recipes to prepare the food grown follow. Children get to see the process of farm-to-table up close and personal, with lots of colorful photos and illustrations throughout.

Love Double Dutch! by Doreen Spicer-Dannelly

MaKayla is a 13-year-old African American girl from Brooklyn who is more than passionate about competitive jump roping.  She has her heart set on making it to the National Jump-Off at Madison Square Garden with her Double Dutch team. But will her plans be ruined when her parents send her off to her relatives in North Carolina for the summer? Pick this one up to find out!

Sparks! by Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto

Grade schoolers will love this super funny graphic novel featuring two silly cats, August and Charlie.  One of them escaped from a laboratory and so would rather keep a low profile. The other wants lots of attention! They come to the rescue of many, but always disguised as the dog, Sparks. Side characters include a talking litter box and Steve-O the squirrel.

Recommendations for Young Adults (ages 12–18)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Lara Jean has written love letters to all the boys she has ever loved and hidden them in a hatbox for safe keeping—until one day those letters are accidentally sent and everything goes sideways (otherwise known as #MyWorstNightmare)!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
In this soon to be a TV series, 17-year-old Juliette is freed from prison on the condition that she use her horrific abilities in support of The Reestablishment, a post-apocalyptic dictatorship. Adam, the only person to ever show her affection, offers hope of a better future for the two of them. Shatter Me is the first installment of the series.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin'” by her former-beauty-queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin, but when her cute coworker asks her out it shakes her confidence. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world she deserves to be up there as much as any Twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the heck out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
Monica Carnesi and Teresa Arnold are Children’s Material Selectors, and Rachel Fryd is a Young Adult Material Selector from the Free Library of Philadelphia.