John's Turn by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Kate BerubeEvery Friday: John's school has Sharing Gifts time, when students showcase their talents. Some kids play music, some tell jokes, and some do magic tricks. Today, John's going to dance.
Why kids might like it: Vivid sensory details and dynamic illustrations invite kids to share in John's anticipation, nervousness, and joy in the ballet dancing he loves.
I'm Not Small by Nina CrewsWhat it's about: Venturing into the backyard by himself, a "big kid" considers his size compared to towering trees, vast skies, cuddly pets, and tiny insects.
Art alert: Colorful, textured collage art adds even more charm to this straightforward story about independence and relative size.
For fans of: Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant's You Are (Not) Small.
Let's Do Everything and Nothing by Julia KuoWhat it is: a strikingly illustrated collection of single sentences, each one evoking a different experience -- some fanciful, some everyday -- for a mother and child.
What's inside: bold yet delicate illustrations depicting the pair as they do everything from swim with giant manta rays to sharing cozy cups of tea.
Try this next: Elizabeth Garton Scanlon's All the World, another visually arresting book about how life can feel simultaneously simple and expansive.
Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour; illustrated by Kaylani JuanitaWhat it's about: When her Mommy has to go away on a work trip, a little girl feels sad and uncertain. Where does she belong, if not in her usual place between Mama and Mommy?
Read it for: colorful illustrations full of lived-in details; a child-centric take on missing a loved one; and a reassuring conclusion.
Book buzz: This is the picture book debut of award-winning young adult author Nina LaCour.
Hundred Years of Happiness by Thanhhà Lại; illustrated by Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim LienWhat it's about: Saddened by her grandmother Bà's hazy memories, young An and her grandfather Ông patiently grow gấc fruits so that they can make xôi gấc, reminding Bà of one of her happiest moments.
Art alert: Warm, rich colors and softly rounded edges in the illustrations bring an old-fashioned yet timeless feel to this intergenerational family story.
Who it's for: kids who want to see their Vietnamese heritage reflected; families dealing with memory loss; anyone who's enjoyed author Thanhhà Lại's books for older readers.
When the Storm Comes by Linda Ashman; illustrated by Taeeun YooWhat it's about: a coastal community of diverse humans and animals braces for a storm, takes shelter, and cleans up together in the aftermath.
How it's told: through dramatic illustrations and chiming, conversational verse that's ideal for reading aloud.
Want a taste? "What do you do when the clouds roll in, when the wind chimes clang and the weather vanes spin? We watch. We sniff. We perk our ears and listen as the rumbling nears."
Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas by Aaron BlabeyStarring: Brian, a pop-eyed piranha with an unusual fondness for plant-based cuisine.
What happens: Through playful rhyming text, Brian keeps offering fruit and vegetables to his fellow piranhas, who are increasingly incredulous (and more interested in biting people's feet).
Author alert: Along with delightfully absurd picture books like this one, Australian author Aaron Blabey writes the Bad Guys series for older kids, which was recently adapted as an animated movie.
There's a Bear on My Chair by Ross CollinsWhat it's about: When a huge and cheerfully oblivious polar bear takes up residence in a mouse's favorite chair, the mouse responds with annoyance, outrage, and scheming...until he finally decides that
turnabout is fair play.
Read it for: the exuberant words and goofy visual humor.
Reviewers say: it's an "instant classic for storytime and one-on-one sharing" (School Library Journal).
Wolfboy by Andy HarknessWhat it's about: Wolfboy is on the prowl! He's "HUNGRY and HUFFY and DROOLY and GROWLY" and he's hunting high and low for rabbits. When he finally finds them...well, we won't spoil the ending, but you can expect giggles, not gore.
Why kids might like it: With stunning, three-dimensional clay artwork and LOTS of ALL-CAPS text, Wolfboy makes a riveting read-aloud.
Kids might also like: Drew Brockington's Hangry, which features a different monster in need of a snack.
How to Be on the Moon by Viviane SchwarzThree, two, one...Even though her best friend Crocodile says it'll be nearly impossible, little Anna is determined to visit the moon. After all, she's great at math (she can count backward from five!), and she can build a rocket while Crocodile makes sandwiches.
Liftoff! Textured, mixed-media illustrations capture Anna and Crocodile's fun-filled lunar voyage, from blast-off to return.
Series alert: Want more adventures with Anna and Crocodile? Don't miss their first outing in How to Find Gold.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!