Kick the new year off with a selection of bright new reads for 2020. From the beautifully illustrated to the expertly crafted, we’ve found the best new children’s books coming out this month.

Board Books

photo: Random House Children's Books

Hello, Bunny

Que the cuteness with this bunny-shaped board book with chunky pages that little hands will love to turn. With simple rhymes and bright illustrations of woodland critters doing relatable activities, like sliding, playing with toy trains, and reading, this bitty board book is certain to delight.

Ages: birth to 3 years old

Available on amazon.com for $7.46.

photo: Mudpuppy

Andy Warhol What Colors Do You See?

Help your kiddos learn the colors of the rainbow in addition to fine art with the Andy Warhol What Colors Do You See? board book. Using Warhol's signature style and love of color, this simple book brings his masterpieces to your little's fingertips in a fun and easy way. Available Jan. 21.

Ages: 0 to 5

Get it here, $12.99

photo: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Brown Baby Lullaby

New York Times-bestselling and NAACP-Award-winning illustrator AG Ford comes together with Tameka Fryer Brown in their new collaboration, Brown Baby Lullaby. Gorgeous illustrations are paired with the sweet lullabye of parents caring for their baby. Using both Spanish and English, this book makes for the perfect bedtime story.

Available Jan. 14.

Ages: 2-6

Get it here, $12.19

photo: Grosset & Dunlap

Llama Llama Hide & Seek: A Lift-the-Flap Book

Llama Llama is back! In the newest book, your fave character can't find his funny. Where could he be? Kids will love lifting the flap to help Llama find his bedtime bestie. Available Jan. 14.

Ages: 3-5

Get it here, $12.99

photo: Little Simon

This Little Dreamer: An Inspirational Primer

In the sixth book of the This Little series, This Little Dreamer: An Inspirational Primer brings some of the most historic figures to light for young readers. The sweet illustrations share the tales of Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. and more with age-appropriate facts that are sure to inspire. Available Jan. 14.

Ages: 3-5

Find it here, $6.59

photo: Doubleday Books for Young Readers

Hello, World! Construction Site

Jill McDonald's Hello, World! series continues with this construction-themed board book. A creative way to introduce non-fiction books to littles, the newest book is depicted in gorgeously bright colors, contains simple definitions and fun language. Vroom!

Ages: 3 and up

Get it here, $7.99

Picture Books

photo: Clarion Books

Boxitects

Little Meg has a unique skill; she can build almost anything out of cardboard. She enjoys the maker spotlight until one day she meets Simone, who shares the same abilities. This book follows their antics as they try to out-construct each other. DIY directions for some of Meg's favorite creations are included at the back of the book. 

Ages: 3 & up

Get your copy here, $17.99. 

photo: Simon & Schuster

Beehive

Jorey Hurley's books are "quiet" books, meaning they have minimal text, allowing for time to absorb the pictures and the message. Beehive, her latest book joining Nest, Hop and Skyscraper, kids of all ages can learn how honeybees create honey, from meadow to hive. Available Jan. 7. 

Ages: Suggested for ages 3-7, but we think even babies and toddlers will absorb and appreciate (note: not a board book). 

Get your copy here, $17.99

photo: Clarion Books

Almost Time

They say good things come to those who wait, but sometimes waiting can be hard. Ethan is eagerly anticipating maple syrup season in this adorably illustrated book. A great read for kids who are struggling with 'Are we there yet' syndrome. 

Age: 4-7

Get your copy here, $17.99. 

photo: Penguin Random House

In a Jar

Author-illustrator Deborah Marcero brings us a beautifully illustrated picture book about the beauty of ordinary things and the magic of young friendships. Little bunny Llewellyn is a collector of ordinary things, "like buttercups, feathers, and heart-shaped stones" along with cherry colored sunsets and the shadows of summer with his friend, Evelyn. But when Evelyn moves away, they stay connected in a most magical way. Each page delights with "jars" of illustrations your children will love discovering. Available Jan. 21.

Ages: 3-7

Find a copy here, $17.95

photo: Penguin Random House

The Heart of a Whale

The dreamy watercolor wash of a magical undersea world comes to life in Anna Pignataro's The Heart of a Whale, the story of a whale whose beautiful song calms all the aquatic creatures and whose lonely sigh calls out to another whale across the sea. Enchanting, magical and incredibly sweet. Available Jan. 28. 

Ages: 3-7

Find it here, $17.99

photo: Penguin Random House

Tomorrow I'll Be Kind

Jessica Hische's Tomorrow I'll Be Brave was one of our favorite books and we're delighted to find Tomorrow I'll Be Kind to add to our libraries. Inspiring kids to be honest, patient, grateful and kind, this follow up to her bestselling book is just as beautiful as the first, a perfect way for kids to revisit their day and look at tomorrow as a new beginning. It's also a reminder for us parents, too. Available Jan. 14. 

Ages: 3-7

Find your copy here. $17.99

photo: Simon & Schuster

Fred's Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers

This picture-book biography by Laura Renauld, illustrated by Brigette Barrager, reminds us all of one of the purveying messages from Mister Rogers Neighborhood and Fred Rogers' life: it's okay to have feelings. The book takes us from his childhood finding his feelings through the piano, his grandfather McFeely's unconditional love, the feeling of gaining confidence in high school by being compassionate, through the feeling that children's television was conveying the wrong message: and Fred's feeling that he should change it. This book teaches kids not only about Fred Rogers life and legacy, but also to express and embrace their own feelings. Available Jan. 14. 

Ages: 4-8 (but we grown-ups really enjoyed it, too!)

Find your copy here, $17.99

photo: Macmillan

Black Is a Rainbow Color

When debut author Angela Joy set out to teach her children their first Black History lesson she was not expecting her preschooler to say, "But Mama, we're not black, we're brown." It was then that she realized that she wanted her children, and all children, to understand that being Black was about culture as much as color. And so Black Is a Rainbow Color was born. Vibrant, stained-glass like artwork by Coretta-Scott King Award-winning illustrator Ekua Holmes accompanies Joy's poetic text as we join a little girl on a journey to discover all the wonderful things that Black is. 

"Black is the robe of Thurgood's back. Black are the trains on railroad tracks. Black are the eyes on salted peas. Black are the shadows of ooo-old magnolia trees." 

Includes a suggested playlist as well as an expanded explanation of the historical references in the text to allow parents to explain Black history to their kids. It's an exceptionally designed, written and thoughtful new book appropriate for kids of all ages and ethnicities. We can't wait to see what Joy does next. Available Jan. 14.

Ages: Suggested age, 4-8, but we think even older kids can benefit from this book due to the important historical talking points in the back of the book

Get your copy here. $17.99

photo: Penguin Random House

Earth Hour: A Lights Out Event for Our Planet

Earth Hour takes place this year on  March 28—a day when every person is encouraged to turn off lights, electronics and anything that takes electricity for a full hour, in order to help conserve resources and connect with the planet. Nanette Heffernan's Earth Hour: A Lights Out Event for Our Planet teaches kids the importance of this idea both for Earth Hour and any hour. Her positive, clear message is accompanied by gorgeous illustrations by Bao Luu. Available Jan. 21. 

Ages: 3-7

Get yours here. $16.99

photo: Penguin Random House

The President of the Jungle

The democratic process comes to the jungle with this debut picture book by Brazilian authors Paula Desgualdo & Pedro Markun and illustrators André Rodrigues & Larissa Ribeiro. Yes, Lion is the King but when his selfish behavior causes his subjects to dissent, they decide it's time to hold an election. Each candidate campaigns with their unique attributes: Sloth, Snake, Monkey and more all bring something new to the table. A great way to teach kids about elections in a non-partisan way. Available Jan. 7.

Ages: 5-8

Find your copy here. $17.99

photo: Abrams Books for Young Readers

A Ride to Remember

Penned by Sharon Langley, the famously photographed African-American who rode a carousel at Baltimore's Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in 1963, this beautifully illustrated book tells the story of peacefully fighting for equality. 

Age: 6 & up

Get it here, $18.99

Chapter Books

Dead Max Comix: The Deadening, Book 1

7th grader Derrick Hollis is devastated when is dog Max dies. So when his dog returns from the other side and starts helping Derrick navigate the pitfalls of middle school, he decides to listen. Question is, should he? This new-this-year graphic novel by local author, Dana Sullivan is an engaging, easy read older kids will enjoy. 

Ages: 8 and up 

Find it today. $8.99

photo: Scholastic

Fly Guy Presents: Scary Creatures

Billed as 5 bookzzz in 1, Tedd Arnold's popular Fly Guy Presents series including Sharks, Dinosaurs, Insects, Bats and Snakes, are compiled into one book. In each chapter, Fly Guy and Buzz introduce kids to these "scary" animals with facts, photos and Fly Guy commentary. Available Jan. 7.

Ages: 5-7

Find it here. $9.99

The Best of Iggy

If your kid likes the Wimpy Kid series, this new set of stories might be right up his alley. Meet Iggy. He's a mischevious kid who will go through a series of doing bad things, from kinda bad to really bad. Then he'll deal with the consequences. Told with a dry wit and including plenty of fun illustrations, this easy chapter book is perfect for kids mastering their reading skills. 

Ages: 8-10

Buy it here, $13.92

 

Diana Princess of the Amazon

This fun graphic novel follows a tween Diana (aka Wonder Woman) on the island of Themyscira. As the only child on the island, she faces bouts of loneliness and ends up trying to make a friend, with unintended consequences. Featuring strong female protagonists and vivid illustrations, this is a great choice for early elementary-school kids. 

Ages: 7-10

Buy it here, $7.49

photo: Random House

Escape This Book: Tombs of Egypt

Part choose-your-own-adventure, part mystery, part activity book, the newest book in the Escape This Book series by author Bill Doyle and illustrator Sarah Sax will have your kids reading, laughing, drawing and puzzling out an "escape route" from an Egyptian tomb by choosing one of three paths. Educational and interactive, this might be the best book for travel we've seen in ages. Available Jan. 7.

Ages: 8-12

Get your copy here, $10.99

photo: Andrews McMeel

Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories

In the vein of books like Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, this illustrated book aims to empower and inspire kids by telling incredible stories of courage, ingenuity and deep commitment of kids who have changed (and are changing) the world. Amy Blackwell's rich illustrations accompany author Amandi Li's account of true-life tales of 29 incredible, ordinary kids including activist Great Thunberg, shark-attack survivor and surfer Bethany Hamilton, football (soccer) star Pelé, and more. Available Jan. 14. 

Ages: 8-12

Find it here. $16.99

Knights Club: The Buried City

"The Comic Book You Can Play!" This graphic novel, the newest installment in the Knights Club series—written by Shuky and illustrated by Waltch and Novy—is both a game and book all in one. You begin by selecting your character and continue by reading clues, solving riddles and making choices to find the next illustration. Once you get the hang of it, you can read it any number of times with different results. Available Jan. 14

Ages: 8-12

Find it here. $9.99

photo: Chronicle Books

A Girl, A Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon

Karen Romano Young introduces readers to a group of kid (and raccoon) activists who are fighting to save their local library. If that fact alone isn't enough to get you reading (raccoon activists! library lovers!) her frequent references to Edna St. Vincent Millay, delightful footnotes, and magically-infused writing should do it. Classic illustrations by Jessixa Bagley's add even more enchantment to the pages. Available Jan. 7.

Ages: 10 and up.

Get your copy here. $16.99

photo: Page Street Publishing

Beyond the Shadowed Earth

Eda made a pact with the mountain god to rule half the world, but nine years later, Eda's empire is beginning to fall and she begins to discover that bargaining for the crown with the soul of her best friend comes with some unexpectedly grim consequences. Fans of Joanna Ruth Meyer's debut, Beneath the Haunting SeaBeyond the Shadowed Earth is both a sequel and a whole new stand-alone tale for fans of fantasy, fairy tales and adventure novels. Available Jan. 14. 

Ages: 14 and up 

Find it here. $17.99 

 

—Amber Guetebier

featured image: iStock

 

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