If your kid has already blown through that summer reading list, or if he just needs something fresh and new to read, we’ve got you covered. From the newest book releases for toddlers to the hottest grade school books (Hello, brand-new Diary of a Wimpy Kid!) we’ve rounded up the best new kids books of 2018 (so far!).
Books for Babies and Toddlers
Cement Mixer's ABC: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Dump Truck's Colors: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Fans of the Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site series will be thrilled to discover two new books hitting shelves October 2018: Cement Mixer's ABC: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Dump Truck's Colors: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Ethan Long, these two board books are colorful, engaging and fun for babies—and readers of all ages.
Ages: baby and up
Available at amazon.com, $6.99/each
Fun fact: Get ready for everything holiday with the newest release, Construction Site on Christmas Night, slated for hardcover release October 2018.
Little Scientist Board Book Set
STEM learning has never been so fun! This colorful new board book set by Mudpuppy features real women who have made history in their scientific fields. Little readers will learn about trailblazers in astronomy, physics, chemistry and earth and life science. The set includes four mini board books, each with eight chunky pages, packaged in a slipcase box.
Available at amazon.com, $13.49.
There’s a Bear on My Chair
Poor Mouse tries everything to move Bear out of his favorite chair. But nothing seems to work. Once Mouse has gone, Bear gets up and walks home. But what happens when the Bear spots a mouse at his house?
Available at amazon.com, $7.31.
Fruits in Suits
Have you ever seen a banana in a bikini? Or a tangerine in trunks? What about grapes in goggles? Jared Chapman uses colorful illustrations of fruit to teach kids there are suits for everything, from swimming to scuba diving. In this funny story, kids learn the importance of holding onto their suits when jumping in the water.
Available at amazon.com, $7.99.
When Mama leaves her young penguin Kipling, he knows she'll return home soon―yet he still can't help but miss her. This beautifully illustrated picture book is a perfect book to read anytime a kiddo needs to be reminded of the strength of a mother's love.
Available at amazon.com, $9.98.
Books for Preschoolers
Tomorrow I'll Be Brave
From award-winning lettering artist Jessica Hische comes her debut children's book, Tomorrow I'll Be Brave. Inspired after the birth of her own daughter, Hische wanted to give kids an opportunity to reflect on their day, to understand that tomorrow is a new beginning and that self-forgiveness is the best gift you can give yourself. Filled with strong words like Brave, Confident, Creative, Smart and Curious and complimented by gorgeous illustrations, Hische's first foray into children's literature is a success.
Available for pre-order on amazon.com, $12.75.
Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses
Written by legendary thriller author James Patterson and his wife Susan, this follow-up to their best-selling first book (Big Words for Little Geniuses) takes kids on an animal journey that leaves the cows, chickens and sheep in the barnyard. From swimmers to flyers and beyond, kids will discover the sloth, the wombat, the tarsier and much more. Charming illustrations from Hsingping Pan complete the equation, making this book a must-have bookshelf addition.
Available on amazon.com, $14.47.
Julián Is a Mermaid
Not only is Julián Is a Mermaid beautifully illustrated by author Jessica Love, it is one of the most important picture books of the year. When Julián, riding the subway home with his abuela, sees three lavishly dressed women with mermaid-like fishtailed gowns he tells his grandma he wants to be like them. He makes a mess of grandma's house, trying to dress like those lovely ladies he saw...but what does his grandmother do when she sees the mess he's made? And what does she think of a little boy who wants to dress like a woman? The answer is beautiful in picture and in message: love is love. Acceptance is what is normal. A powerful message in a gorgeous package. For anyone who wants to raise a woke kid, and maybe influence a few family members to do the same!
Buy it now here. $14.29
Llama Llama Loves to Read
Anna Dewdney may no longer be with us, but her spirit lives on. Fans will be overjoyed to learn that her first posthumous book, Llama Llama Loves to Read was released in May 2018. The book features all of the beloved rhymes and storytelling you've come to know and love from the Llama Llama series. Follow along as Llama Llama goes to school and learns to read. Your kids will be inspired to learn their ABCs and open this book time and again.
Available at amazon.com, $10.79.
Elmore by Holly Hobbie is an endearing read with beautiful illustrations. Elmore, a porcupine, is lonely and is in search of new friends. But, all his potential friends are deterred by Elmore's spikes. Find out how the creative and kind Elmore seeks out companionship in his community of forest critters.
Available at amazon.com, $12.59.
Pat Zietlow Miller's thoughtful book explores the question: What does it mean to be kind? Through the story of Tanisha spilling grape juice on a classmate at school, this story explores how simple words and small acts of kindness can make a big difference in the world.
Available at amazon.com, $12.10.
If you're looking for a book about feelings, Grumpy Monkey written by Suzanne Lang and illustrated by Max Lang is a must read. Follow along as Jim, the chimpanzee, is in a no-good, grumpy mood. All of his friends tell Jim to cheer up and just be happy, but the fact is: Jim just feels grumpy. Find out what happens to Jim, the grumpy monkey and how he sorts through his feelings.
Available at amazon.com, $14.48.
Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us are Kin
This book teaches kids what makes different animals unique and what they have in common. Diane Lang writes the story in rhyming verse with facts alongside beautiful illustrations that will lead young readers to want to learn more about the creatures around us.
Available at amazon.com, $14.88.
As Annie prepares for career day at her school, she talks to her family about their hopes for her future as she plans her future career as an astronaut. Suzanne Slade's book includes lots of bonus material about famous female astronauts and facts about the moon.
Available at amazon.com, $12.20.
How to Code a Sandcastle
Pearl is trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but she is not having any luck with fellow beach-goers ruining her efforts. That's when Pearl turns to a robot named Pascal to teach her computer coding concepts to build a foolproof sand castle.
Available at amazon.com, $13.24.
Lola is an immigrant who enlists the help of family and friends to learn about the country she came from and the culture she left behind. Junot Díaz's book teaches kids about cultural differences and how we all learn from each other.
Available at amazon.com, $12.75.
My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing
This interactive picture book by mindfulness experts Nick Ortner and Alison Taylor will help kids process their emotions and consciously breathe through the moment to help find calm. With a read-along-breathe-along element, this illustrated story provides prompts to inspire conversation between parent and child of how they feel.
Available at amazon.com, $14.88.
The Case of the Pinched Stradivarius
Miles and Fargo are two turtles who usually spend their days arguing in the aquarium on a New York high rise apartment. But one day they see a little girl's violin being stolen outside their window. These two turtles must put aside their differences in order to solve the crime and bring the thief to justice.
Available at amazon.com, $18.95.
Books for Grade Schoolers
Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure
Torben Kuhlmann’s third mouse-adventure book just might be his best one yet. The author-illustrator of Armstrong and Lindbergh has done it again Edison, an epic novella of the prettiest kind. Young mouse Pete stumbles upon an old diary which tells of a missing treasure, and Pete embarks on an amazing journey all the way to the bottom of the sea to find the treasure. Inspired by Thomas Edison, the book includes an about-Edison fact page. This book is not to be missed.
Available at amazon.com, $19.95.
The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague
This story introduces readers to Raye Montague, a hidden mastermind who made a huge impact in the U.S. Navy. When she was growing up in the 1940s, Raye decided to become an engineer. A culture of sexism and racial inequality challenged her plans but never deterred her from accomplishing her dream.
Available at amazon.com, $17.99.
Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere
Our editors have a soft spot for beautifully illustrated kids books that hold a history lesson, and Otis & Will Discover the Deep definitely checks all of our boxes! This gorgeous picture book is written by Katherine Roy and illustrated with stunning images throughout, tells the story of the creation of the Bathysphere, the world’s first diving machine, created by Otis Barton and Will Beebe. Sure to foster a sense of adventure and perseverance in anyone reading, this is definitely a must-read.
Available on amazon.com,$17.04 (hardcover).
The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Global Reefs
If you like the kind of book that makes you want to literally dive into its pages, this is the book for you. With dreamy illustrations by Matthew Forsythe, the powerful story of Ken Nedimyer’s quest to rescue the world’s coral reefs. This book written by Kate Messner reminds kids everywhere that “it starts with one.” Not only will you be enchanted by the layout of the book, but you’ll also be inspired by Ken. Includes a coral-reef glossary and ways kids can help.
Available at amazon.com, $17.33.
The Bee Book
Get ready to learn all about one of the hardest-working creatures out there: the honeybee. Kids will learn how bees talk to one another, the life of a queen bee, and what a worker bee actually does. Discover how much bees matter, why they're declining, and what everyone can do to help the bee population.
Available at amazon.com, $15.08.
The Zach and Zoe Mysteries: The Missing Baseball
When eight-year-old Zach’s prized signed baseball goes missing, he and his twin sister swing into sleuthing action. This story is the first in a new mystery series for young readers.
Available at amazon.com, $3.99.
Peanut Butter and Jelly (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #3)
Narwhal and Jelly are back together, and Narwhal is obsessed with peanut butter. In fact, he's so in love with peanut butter that he's ready to change his name. Jelly tries to talk him out of this idea in this fun book about accepting who we are with two of the newest lovable literary pals.
Available at amazon.com, $11.68.
Books for Upper Grade to Middle Grade
Lions and Liars
What kid can't relate to a bunch of misfits trying to fit in at summer camp? This story centers around a group of troubled boys, and it also tackles issues such as the social pecking order with humor and honesty.
Available at amazon.com, $14.29.
The Bird, the Boy & the Coffin Maker
This brand-new chapter book will take your children to a world of magical realism alongside the sea. Alberto the widower and coffin maker, lives alone in the town of Allora, where fish fly from the glittering sea below. And then one day a little bird—followed by a little boy—arrive at Alberto’s doorstep and everyone’s lives change. With whimsical illustrations by Anuska Allepuz, this first book from author Matilda Woods reads a bit like an Isabel Allende novel for young readers. A beautiful reading experience for kids ages 8-12 (and their parents).
Available at amazon.com, $15.99.
Escape From Shudder Mansion (Goosebumps SlappyWorld #5)
The latest in the popular Goosebumps series features twins Riley and Scarlett as they create a documentary video about their adventure being trapped in a haunted house. Can the kids make an "A" grade for staying in the haunted house overnight?
Available at amazon.com, $6.99.
Stanley Will Probably Be Fine
Stanley Fortinbras has a lot of anxiety about signing up for a trivia treasure hunt at the famous San Diego Comicon comic book festival. But the thought of actually winning and getting VIP tickets to the event pushes him to overcome his fears and try something new, all with the help of his neighbor, Liberty, and a superhero.
Available at amazon.com, $11.02.
Dork Diaries 13: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Birthday
Fans of the Dork Diaries series should mark their calendars for Oct. 16, 2018. That's when the latest book in the series—Tales from a Not-So-Happy Birthday—is released. In this story, it's Nikki Maxwell's birthday, but will the day be amazing or a total bust?
Available at amazon.com, $9.78.
Endling: The Last
This fantasy story takes place in Nedarra, a kingdom plagued by war. Byx is a dairne, a doglike creature with opposable thumbs and the ability to walk on two legs. Her pack members are the latest casualties of the fighting, so she sets off on a journey to find shelter and meets two unique creatures along the way. The story tackles complex themes while rooting for brave and lovable characters.
Available at amazon.com, $13.65.
The Night Diary
In 1947 India, 12-year-old Nisha is not sure where she belongs as a half-Muslim, half-Hindu in her country. When her father decides to leave Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark on a long and challenging journey to find a new home. The hopeful and personal story of this family is told through Nisha's letters to her mother.
Available at amazon.com, $11.72.
The Meltdown (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 13)
Wimpy Kid fans are in luck! The latest story in this series comes out Oct. 30, 2018. When middle school is closed for a snow day, the neighborhood quickly transforms into a winter battlefield. Snow forts are built and snowball fights ensue, and in the middle, is Greg and Rowley. But will their friendship survive the snow meltdown?
Ages: 8 - 12
Available at amazon.com, $9.90.
— Leah R. Singer with Erin Lem & Amber Guetebier