If ever there was a time for families to cuddle up with a good book, it’s now. Lucky for us, PNW authors spent the last year rolling out great new kids books that you won’t want to miss. From a book about a horse who makes grade school math look easy, to a real-life orca rescue story, we’re sure you’ll find a new nighttime fave from our picks below.

photo: courtesy Sasquatch Books

1-2-3 Salish Sea: A Pacific Northwest Counting Book

We can't wait for the February 2021 release of Olympia-based paper artist, Nikki McClure's newest release. Perfect for tots, it counts sea creatures as friends every PNW kid will recognize. From one stubby squid exploring below to twenty clams that make a great octopus feast, kids won't just learn how to count with this book, they'll also learn about the local marine life that bring magic to our area.

Ages: 2-5

Pre-order it on amazon, $16.99

The Whale Child

This newly released book by local brother/sister writing duo Keith and Chenoa Egawa is a must-read for any kiddo who is concerned about the health of our planet. It's the story of Shiny, a whale child who agrees to be turned into a human boy so he can warn people about the way carelessness and waste are endangering the Earth's oceans. Along the way, he meets Alex, a Coast Salish girl, who joins him and helps spread his message of hope and the importance of environmental stewardship.

Ages: 7 & up

Find it on amazon, $15.61

Clever Hans

We’re chomping at the bit to read this book by Seattle-based author, Kerri Kokias and illustrator Mike Lowery. Set in Germany around the turn of the last century, this true story introduces kids to Hans, a horse who can tell time, count, solve equations, even spell. Hans’s amazing abilities draw as many crowds as they do questions, and eventually people start to wonder if this horse really is as clever as he seems. Find out how the mystery of Hans’s intelligence is solved (or is it?) when you read this playful book

Ages: 4-8

Find it on amazon, $14.39

The Camping Trip

Whether your kids love camping or not, they’ll love this soon-to-be-released book by Jennifer K. Mann. Ernestine's been invited to go on her first camping trip with her aunt, Jackie. She needs a new sleeping bag and new flashlight, of course. But these are plenty of other new things she encounters as the book unfolds. At its heart Ernestine's is a story about how to approach new situations, especially ones that are challenging.

Ages: 3-7

Find it on amazon, $14.99

Elizabeth Warren’s Big, Bold Plans

At home with the kids? We've got a plan for that! Read Laurie Ann Thompson’s upcoming book Elizabeth Warren’s Big, Bold Plans to your kids. This picture book bio chronicles the Senator’s life from childhood, to teacher, to lawyer, to presidential hopeful. Susanna Chapman’s beautiful illustrations make Warren’s impressive life story accessible to kids of all ages.

Ages: 4-8

Find it on amazon, $14.86

The Spirit of Springer: The Real-Life Rescue of an Orphaned Orca

This new-this-year book, by author Amanda Abler and illustrator Levi Hastings, details the real-life rescue of Springer, a northern resident orca found swimming alone in Puget Sound in 2002. The book immerses kids in the thrilling details of the heroic rescue and even follows up with Springer in the present. The extras about Springer’s orca family tree and the state of our resident orcas found in the bonus pages are… well, a true bonus.

Ages: 7-10

Find it on amazon, $13.99

The Elephants’ Guide to Hide-and-Seek

Be the first on your block to pick up this witty debut book by Bellingham-based author, Kjersten Hayes, that hit stores in early April. Playful illustrations by Gladys Jose bring to life this sincere guide, put out by the Elephant Hobby and Sport League, aimed at helping elephants who haven’t mastered the art of hide-and-seek…yet. But with these helpful tips, our oversized friends will soon be hiding behind trees, under tables and in closets with the best of them.

Ages: 4-8

Find it on amazon, $16.99

The Sasquatch and the Lumberjack: Family

A companion book to the original, The Sasquatch and the Lumberjack: Family, by Crix Sheridan, published at the end of last month. And although it’s short on words (you’ll find one per page), it’s big on creativity. The pictures chronicle a PNW adventure that marries the lumberjack’s family with the Sasquatch’s. Kids will love making up the details based on the book’s colorful illustrations, noticing new details every time they sit down with this title.

Ages: 0-4

Find it on amazon, $12.99

Everyone’s Awake

Put the kids to bed with this new one by best-selling author (and Decemberists frontman), Colin Maloy, and they’ll laugh themselves to sleep. It’s a sing-song madcap romp about a family, all of whom were feeling drowsy earlier, but now find themselves doing all sorts of distracting things—baking bread, knitting, even fixing the roof. What will it take to finally settle things down so everyone can get some sleep? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Ages: 5-8

Find it on amazon, $14.49

Help Wanted, Must Love Books

This just-published book by Janet Sumner Johnson, illustrated by Courtney Dawson, is for every kid who has ever had a parent too busy to read a bedtime story. When it happens to Shailey, she takes matters into her own hands. She fires her dad, posts a help wanted sign and the offers start rolling in…from her favorite fairytale characters. Find out who winds up reading bedtime stories to Shailey when you sit down to read this cute book with your crew.

Ages: 4-7

Find it on amazon, $12.49

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. Grab a copy for your comic fan to read today. Psst... Book 2 is out now too!

Ages: 8 & up

Find it on amazon, $8.99

—Allison Sutcliffe

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