Raising a reader? From board books to chapter books, we’ve got some of the hottest new kids books to read with the kids or for the kids to explore on their own. Read on for our top picks.
I Am Kind & I Am Unstoppable
Two board book versions of Brad Meltzer's best-selling Ordinary People Change the World series are now available for toddlers and preschool kids. I Am Kind, about Abe Lincoln and I Am Unstoppable, about Amelia Earhart, are a lovely addition to your child's first library.
Ages: 2 and up.
Available at amazon.com, $.7.99.
Maggie May and Lizzie Loo
Written by two sisters, Maggie Cordish and Lizzie Schaul, Maggie May and Lizzie Loo is a whimsical and rhythmic story inspired by their sets of daughters and their own sisterly dynamic. The beautifully illustrated tale will quickly become a favorite for your little ones.
Ages: 2 and up.
Available at amazon.com, $15.
Mr. Boddington's Studio: NYC ABCs
From the Brooklyn stationary store, Mr. Boddington's Studio comes a beautiful board book for your early learner. Discover NYC's nooks and crannies from A to Z, with iconic landmarks like Central Park Zoo, Rockefeller Center and Yellow taxis all making an appearance.
Available at amazon.com, $7.66.
Award winning author-illustrator Stephen Savage's latest book (May 7 pub date) Sign Off offers kids of varying ages bright illustrations and a wordless story, perfect for budding or reluctant readers. Spark their imagination as you turn the pages to discover what happens to all those road signs and street signs under cover of night. Iconic figures come to life and kids can narrate their own story as they go.
Grab your copy today. $12.75.
What Kind of Car Does a T-Rex Drive?
Uncle Otto has no idea how to sell a car to a dinosaur, but he better learn fast! It's a good thing he's got Ava and Mickey there to help him figure out what kind of car best fits prehistoric characters like a Stegosaurus and of course, a T-Rex. This book by author Mark Lee combines preschool favorites like dinosaurs and cars with fun images from illustrator Brian Bigs to create a fun bedtime story that's bound to be a classic.
Ages: 3 and up.
Available for pre-order at amazon.com, $12.75.
Daniel's Good Day
From Ezra Keats award-winning author/illustrator Micha Archer comes the next adventure for a young boy named Daniel. This time, as Daniel makes his way to grandma's, he ponders what makes it a "good day," and stops to ask various members of his community to find out. For his friend Emma, a steady wind for her kite makes it a good day, for the gardener it's bees on flowers, for the crossing guard, it's everyone home safe. Follow this charming tale to find out what makes a good, or better yet, a perfect day for Daniel.
Available at amazon.com, $12.14.
Be Brave, Be Brave, Be Brave
Author F. Anthony Falcon had these thoughts when he first held his son: "Be brave, be brave, be brave." He and his wife were in the middle of Hurricane Harvey's landfall in Corpus Cristi Texas when she went into labor. This book, a meditation on what it means to be brave, is also the author's reconnection with his Lakota roots. It is both the story of little Lakota's perilous arrival into the world as it is about Falcon describing what it is to be a Native American man today. Beautifully illustrated by Trisha Mason. Out May 7.
Get your copy today here. $12.31
Abner & Ian Get Right Side Up
Stuck sideways on the pages of this new book by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Laura Park, Abner and Ian need YOUR help to get turned the right way. With a fear of heights and dizziness from being sideways, Ian is relying on his buddy, Abner and the readers to shake them all right side up. This book will have your kids reading, shaking and laughing throughout all 80 pages.
Ages 4 and up.
Available on amazon.com, $13.37.
Jacob's Room to Choose
Teach your kids about gender expression, kindness and inclusion in this new book from Sarah and Ian Hoffman. Jacob, the central character in this story, wears a dress. But, when he enters the boys bathroom the older kids make fun of him and tell him he isn't allowed. Jacob's friend, Sophie has a similar experience in the girl's bathroom. Discover what Jacob and Sophie—along with their teachers and classmates—do to teach inclusion and respect to others and how they shape their school's perception about gender expression. With colorful illustrations, a storyline kids and adults can follow and a positive, inclusive message both parents and kids can get behind, this new book is a must read.
Available at amazon.com for $13
I'm a Baked Potato
Everyone has their favorite food and for one lady it's baked potatoes. So, of course, she names her new adopted dog "Baked Potato" because why not?! In this funny book by Elise Primavera with art by Juana Medina, you'll find out what happens to this dog who thinks he's a baked potato. The story is funny, endearing and light-hearted, and will also make your kids consider the importance of what a name actually means.
Ages 5 and up.
Available at amazon.com, $9.94.
The Karate Kid: The Classic Illustrated Storybook
Children of the '80s rejoice: The Karate Kid is now an illustrated book you can read with your kids! Kim Smith's vibrant illustrations bring this martial arts tale of patience, inner strength and redemption to life. Wax on, wax off! Available May 7.
Order it here.
Let's Go on Safari
A family trip to South Africa ended up changing the life of nine-year-old Kate Gilman Williams in ways she couldn’t imagine. When she learned about the many threats that wildlife face like poaching, Williams returned home with a passion to help animals that come to harm at the hands of humans. With the help of South African professional wildlife guide, Michelle Campbell, Williams turned her passion into a children’s book, Let’s Go On Safari. The book encourages children all over the globe to be an advocate for wild animals. Available May 6. Read more about her story here.
Buy your copy here. $7.51.
Jasper & Ollie
Jasper is as fast as can be, but Ollie is slower than molasses. This book proves that no matter your style, being a friend doesn't mean you have to be the same—it's really more about appreciating those differences. Written and illustrated by Alex Willan. Out May 28.
Get your copy here. $12.99.
Pulitzer-prize finalist Susan Choi has written her first picture book and it's a must-read for parents and kids alike. When a young boy goes camping at the end of the summer with his family, like they do every year, he's unsure that he's ready to stop being a kindergartner. All summer things his mom used to do for him, he's now doing for himself. When a tiger comes out of the woods and starts to talk to the boy, he helps the boy struggling with the changes to come. The illustrations by John Rocco are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and we're not going to lie: our mom-reader who reviewed this book said it made her cry a little. The perfect summer read as one school year ends and another is coming. Released May 21.
Buy it here, $16.19.
The Start Up Squad
Brian Weisfield founded The Startup Squad to inspire young girls to become entrepreneurs and this book is the first in a series that all featured strong female characters creating their own companies. In the first one, released May 7, Brian Weisfeld and co-author Nicole C. Kear introduce readers to Theresa ("Resa" for short) and her entry into the lemonade stand competition. While the main characters are girls, our editor's 8-year-old son read this and was inspired to start his own store—so we encourage parents of both genders to give this cool new series a try.
Order it now for $7.99 paperback, $9.99 hardcover.
National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020
National Geographic is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Kids Almanac by releasing an all-new edition for 2019. Filled with facts, crafts, activities, featured about animals, science, conservation, technology and more, it's the perfect go-to book for curious kids.
Available at amazon.com, $11.15.
A Girl's Guide to the Wild
Girls can be Eagle Scouts, too! This charming and extremely informative guide to the wild is filled with important information—everything from reading maps to what to do when you need to ... you know ... go. There are also recipes perfect for a campfire, inspiring true-life stories of girl adventurers like Laura Ingalls Wilder and Claire Marie Hodges and more. For those days you can't get to the forest? There are everyday activities, science experiments and even plant, animal and geological identification tables.
Available at amazon.com, $12.18.
Shouting at the Rain
Spend the summer with Delsie on Cape Cod as she comes to terms with the fact that change is inevitable but not always a bad thing. Written by author Lynda Mullaly Hunt (Fish In a Tree), this lovely middle-grade read is a coming of age tale that touches on things all kids grapple with: unusual family dynamics, old friendships fading as new ones take their place, emotions of all sorts, and of course, an adventure or two.
Ages: 10 and up.
Available at amazon.com, $11.72.
We Are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders
"In diversity there is beauty and there is strength."—Maya Angelou
This collection from Chronicle Books consists of sixteen award-winning children's book artists who have created stunning illustrations inspired by quotes from civil rights leaders and activists. Each artist also reflects on the artist they chose and what the quote means to them. Illustrator Selina Alko says, "I have always intuitively felt beauty and strength in representing different cultures, perspectives, and points of view. Life would be really bland if we only knew and told our own stories." Would make a beautiful graduation gift and a great read for young activists, artists or any kid (or grown up) looking for a little inspiration in a weary world. Includes an introduction by Harry Belafonte.
Ages: 10 and up
Buy it now. $12.32
A Place to Belong
Cynthia Kadohata, author of the Newberry Medal-winning Kira-Kira, takes young readers back to the end of WWII in the US and Japan. The 12-year-old protagonist, Hanako, is forced to move from the only home she's ever known in America to her parent's native Japan. This story is a reality check for anyone who thinks of WWII as being on foreign soil: Japanese people were rounded up and imprisoned right in the US. And modern kids will relate to the pressure Hanako feels as a young kid giving up everything known for something entirely different. Beautifully written. Publishes May 14.
Get your copy here. $12.32
—Gabby Cullen & Amber Guetebier
featured image: iStock