A Good Place by Lucy CousinsHomeward bound? While searching for a "good place" to call home in a bustling city, four insect companions (Bee, Dragonfly, Beetle, and Ladybug) can't seem to find a single place that suits everyone's needs.
Art alert: With chunky outlines and cheerful hues similar to the ones that made author Lucy Cousins' Maisy books so popular, this sweet, ecological story offers illustrations that will appeal to even the youngest children.
Reviewers say: "spring story time perfection" (School Library Journal).
Big and Small and In-Between by Carter Higgins; illustrated by Daniel MiyaresWhat it is: a thought-provoking exploration of relative size that encourages kids to consider the scale of experiences and emotions as well as tangible objects.
How it's told: through short bursts of poetic text along fascinating illustrations that invite contemplation and participation -- each section includes an interactive piece of paper engineering.
Read it for: an outside-the-box book that rewards attention and encourages discussion.
Kick Push by Frank Morrison Starring: Ivan, a skateboarder who's "been grinding the streets with moves so big, his friends call him EPIC."
What it's about: After moving to a new neighborhood, Epic tries to fit in the with kids there, but doesn't find his new crew until he hops on his skateboard and lets his true self -- not to mention his impressive skills -- shine.
Read it for: energetic onomatopoeia, a hopeful "new kid" story, and dynamic, graffiti-inspired illustrations.
Sometimes, All I Need Is Me by Juliana PerdomoWhat it's about: one little girl who cherishes the people and places that support her -- such as her cozy home, her caring friendships, and her grandma's warm hugs -- while also cherishing her own inner strength.
Want a taste? "I become my own home, where I feel calm...I can be my own company and make my own magic."
Art alert: Buoyant colors and folk-art flair add even more charm to this sweetly empowering tale.
Endlessly Ever After: Pick Your Path to Countless Fairy Tale Endings! by Laurel Snyder; illustrated by Dan SantatWhat it is: a choose-your-own-adventure romp through the world of fairy tales.
How it's told: by a narrator directly addressing the reader, frequently asking you to make a choice, turn the page, and discover your fate. Will it be a sudden (if temporary) demise? Or will it be happily ever after?
Featuring: an all-star lineup of fairy tale characters (Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, the Three Little Pigs, and more) illustrated with verve and humor by Caldecott medalist Dan Santat.
The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho; illustrated by Jess X. SnowWelcome to: Korea's Jeju Island, where young Dayeon's Grandma is teaching her the traditional skills of the haenyeo, free-diving women who collect shellfish from the deep sea.
Why kids might like it: Kids can relate to Dayeon's initial fear of the ocean and revel in her diving success, all while taking in the rich hues and flowing lines of the illustrations.
Did you know? Like Dayeon's Grandma, many of the real-life haenyeo are older women.
Ocean Meets Sky by The Fan BrothersWhat it's about: In honor of his grandfather's stories about the place "where ocean meets sky," young Finn builds a tiny boat and sets sail into a dreamscape filled with outlandish creatures and fantastic vessels gliding through the sea and air.
Art alert: Readers young and old will want to pore over every fanciful detail in the sweeping, full-page illustrations.
Kids might also like: the nautical whimsy of David Wiesner's Flotsam or David Soman's Three Bears in a Boat.
My First Day by Phung Nguyen Quang; illustrated by Huynh Kim Lien Welcome to: flood season on the Mekong River Delta, where a boy in a wooden boat paddles his way to school.
Why kids might like it: Combining real-life details with fanciful happenings and unusual perspectives, My First Day will intrigue a variety of young readers (and listeners).
Further reading: For another picture book that evokes a specific, aquatic setting in Vietnam, try Muon Van's In a Village by the Sea.
Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together by Andrea TsurumiWhat it's about: Octopus, Scallop, Lionfish, Lobster, and all the other undersea creatures are baffled by Crab's devotion to baking beautifully decorated pastries...until a boat dumps garbage into their home and Crab's creations provide a much-needed rallying point for the clean-up effort.
Read it for: serious messages about environmentalism and empathy folded into a frothy confection of colorful art and whimsy.
Along the Tapajós by Fernando Vilela; illustrated by Daniel Hahn Starring: siblings Cauã and Inaê, who live with their family and pet tortoise, Titi, in a village on stilts along Brazil's Tapajós River.
What happens: After their community relocates to higher ground during rainy season, Cauã and Inaê realize that they left Titi behind -- and tortoises can't swim! Can the siblings navigate the rising waters in time to make a daring rescue?
Art alert: Mixed-media illustrations in hues of orange and green create an atmospheric, you-are-there feeling.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!