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

Books

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, StarTrek.com, 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.

The weather is getting warmer, and the flowers are blooming, which makes March a great month for reading outside (though if you have allergies like me, maybe pack a box of tissues with you!). I often bring along a children’s book on our outdoor excursions, and there are lots of March children’s book releases to choose from.

While March always has a lot of book releases, this March has just SO MANY. I know I say this every month, but because of the unusually high number of March children’s book releases, I had an extra hard time narrowing this list down to ten books. All this to say, if you want to read my reviews of even more awesome March children’s book releases, you should subscribe to Book Riot’s kidlit newsletter. Several books I review this month are inspired by the author’s experiences or the author’s family’s experiences, whether it’s about growing up Deaf, housing Korean War refugees, or grappling with mental illness in middle school. Several of these March children’s book releases made me cry, and just as many (and sometimes even the same ones) made me smile and laugh out loud. I include historical fiction, fantasy, novels-in-verse, funny read-alouds, and more.

There’s something for every reader! I hope you enjoy these March children’s book releases as much as I did.

March Children’s Book Releases: Picture Books

Cover of The House Before Falling into the Sea by Ann Suk Wang & Hanna Cha

The House Before Falling into the Sea by Ann Suk Wang & Hanna Cha (March 5; Dial Books)

This gorgeous picture book depicts a historical moment rarely, if ever, covered in picture books—the Korean War—with stunning illustrations and deft prose that centers on a young girl’s experience. Kyung Tak lives in a house by the sea and watches as refugees from the Korean War walk toward her home. Her family welcomes them, no matter how many come. While at first, the constant noise and new people make Kyung nervous, she befriends one of the refugees, and the girls spend the day together helping around the house and playing on the beach. An author’s note follows where Wang describes her mother’s experiences during the Korean War and how she bases this story on those experiences. The illustrator’s note describes Cha’s grandmother’s experiences in the war. Cha’s illustrations are breathtaking, and I imagine this will be nominated for awards. It’s an accessible, compassionate, and lovely picture book.

Cover of Butterfly on the Wind by Adam Pottle & Ziyue Chen

Butterfly on the Wind by Adam Pottle & Ziyue Chen (March 12; Roaring Brook Press)

This beautiful and imaginative picture book is written and illustrated by Deaf creators and depicts the experiences of a Deaf child living with a hearing family. It opens with the child Aurora nervously practicing her signs for a school talent show. When she spies a butterfly, she beats her hands to create the butterfly’s wind, which sends a pink butterfly into the air, where it finds another Deaf child far away who creates another butterfly. The butterflies travel on the wind from house to house, multiplying as they meet more Deaf children and their families. When they return to Aurora, who is waiting for the talent show outside of her school, she feels a joyful calm knowing she is not alone. Back matter includes an author’s note about growing up Deaf in a hearing family and his inspiration for the story as well as the ASL alphabet. The luminous illustrations perfectly capture the movement and sparkling joy of the butterflies and the people they visit. It’s a fantastic, metaphoric book about community and belonging.

Cover of Was it a Cat I Saw? by Laura Bontje & Emma Lidia Squillari

Was it a Cat I Saw? by Laura Bontje & Emma Lidia Squillari (March 12; Amicus Ink)

Young word smiths will love this exuberant celebration of palindromes. Hannah only speaks in palindromes. When a young boy asks for her help in finding his lost cat Otto, she jumps to the rescue. The two search high and low and are about to give up when they hear a “mew” from behind a trash can and discover the cat eating tacos—“Taco cat!” However, the two are now lost, but Hannah’s agility with palindromes gives her the solution to finding their way home. All the palindromes in the picture book are in bold. It’s a super fun read-aloud with sweet illustrations. Full disclosure: the author and I are critique partners.

Cover of Mama's Library Summers by Melvina Noel & Daria Peoples

Mama’s Library Summers by Melvina Noel & Daria Peoples (March 12; Cameron Kids)

This picture book is based on the author’s experiences growing up in the 1960s, visiting the library with her sister. Every summer, Mama would bring the narrator and her sister to the library to check out as many books as allowed, as long as they were all about Black people. The girls pour over the books until they find just the ones they want. At home, the family reads together, imagining what it would be like to be the characters and historical figures from the books they read. When they finish, they compete in book review contests with the winner receiving an extra slice of sweet potato pie. When the books are finished, it’s time for another visit to the library. Author and illustrator notes follow about how their mothers influenced their literacy. It’s a joyful homage to the power of books and reading and early literacy accompanied by warm, collage-like illustrations.

Cover of The Book That Almost Rhymed by Omar Abed & Hatem Aly

The Book That Almost Rhymed by Omar Abed & Hatem Aly (March 26; Dial Books)

This hilarious picture book also centers on two siblings and has clever wordplay. The older sibling is creating a book that rhymes, but the younger sister keeps interrupting the perfect story with non-rhyming words! The sister’s asides change the course of the story as the two fly in rockets, encounter pirates, and fight dragons as a knight and detective. But are her non-rhyming words really so out of place? The ending has a surprise twist that shows the younger sister is just as adept at wordplay as her older sibling. This is such a funny read-aloud and would make a great addition to classroom libraries and any discussions of rhyming words.

March Children’s Book Releases: Middle Grade

Cover of Paper Dragons: The Fight for the Hidden Realm by Siobhan McDermott

Paper Dragons: The Fight for the Hidden Realm by Siobhan McDermott (March 5; Delacorte Press)

12-year-old orphan Yeung Zhi Ging has been raised by an elderly healer woman. Her village shuns her because her hair doesn’t glow around dragon scales. She’s determined to pass the test to be accepted into a program that trains immortals, but even when she makes it to the school, the training is much more complicated than she expected and involves competitions between the students. If the students don’t pass the instructors’ challenges, they’ll have to return to their village with their memories wiped. Meanwhile, zombie-like creatures are attacking parts of the kingdom if rumors are to be believed. This middle grade fantasy has such inventive world-building.

Cover of Summer at Squee by Andrea Wang

Summer at Squee by Andrea Wang (March 5; Kokila)

Phoenny Fang and her best friend Lyrica are so excited to attend the summer camp their mothers run as senior campers—Summertime Chinese Culture, Wellness, and Enrichment Experience, called Squee by campers. But when they get there, they’re split up to share cabins with a group of newcomers who seem resentful, though Phoenny can’t figure out why. Phoenny also has a crush on someone training to be a camp counselor with her brother. When racist remarks are left on the camp’s social media page, the entire camp is shaken. This is such a great exploration of summer camps, middle school friendships and crushes, and life as a Chinese American tween. It also explores transracial adoption.

Cover of Table Titans Club by Scott Kurtz

Table Titans Club by Scott Kurtz (March 5; Holiday House)

This is such a fun graphic novel about kids bonding over a Dungeons and Dragons school club called Table Titans. Val is a new girl in middle school, and she’s a bit intense. She got into fights at her previous school, and her mom is worried it will happen again. Val’s first day is a disaster until a kind kid at the end of the day invites her to the D&D club. She loves it, though the school sponsor is taking a semester off, and they’ll need to find another teacher to sponsor the club. The only teacher available is the wrestling coach. Will they be able to convince him? I smiled so much while reading this. The characters are well-drawn and realistic, and I love the friend drama and D&D fantasy play. I’m hoping there’s a book two!

Cover of Louder Than Hunger by John Schu

Louder Than Hunger by John Schu (March 19; Candlewick)

Prepare to be gutted by this gorgeous middle grade novel-in-verse about a 13-year-old boy, Jake, with anorexia, depression, and OCD, who Schu based on his own experiences. After being bullied in middle school, Jake just wants to disappear, and he has a voice that tells him the best way to do so is not to eat. Jake also loves musicals, poetry, volunteering at a nursing home, and spending time with his grandmother on the weekends. After a doctor’s visit, Jake is sent to an in-patient treatment facility, where he stays for many months as he grapples with the voice inside him that compels him to disappear. Even though this is longer than the average middle grade, I read it in only two sittings. It’s a powerful, heartbreaking, yet hopeful novel, and another one I expect to see on some award lists.

Cover of On All Other Nights: A Passover Celebration in 14 Stories edited by Chris Baron, Joshua S. Levy, & Naomi Milliner

On All Other Nights: A Passover Celebration in 14 Stories edited by Chris Baron, Joshua S. Levy, & Naomi Milliner (March 26; Amulet Books)

This middle grade Jewish short story anthology about Passover has many fantastic contributors: Ruth Behar, Sarah Kapit, R.M. Romero, A.J. Sass, Laurel Snyder, and nine others. The collection is organized around the 14 parts of the Passover Seder, and the acknowledgments use the “Who Knows One” pattern, the traditional song sung on Passover. Stories range from contemporary to fantasy, from poetry to comics, and even include recipes. There are black and white illustrations throughout. It’s a must-read for Jewish families and to read more about Jewish culture and Passover.


If you’re looking for more new children’s book releases beyond this list of March children’s book releases, check out my list of February children’s book releases, January new children’s book releases, and December new children’s book releases.

You can find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index, carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors, organized by genre and release date.

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