Little Lunch Truck by Charles BeylWhat it's about: Little Lunch Truck loves driving all over town to serve up Chef Nina's tasty food. Today, however, Little Lunch Truck is both excited and nervous, because they're making their first visit to a noisy construction site full of big, busy trucks.
Art alert: With headlight eyes and a friendly smile, Little Lunch Truck is irresistibly adorable.
Who it's for: truck enthusiasts (of course), as well as anxious kids looking for reassurance about trying new things.
Zuri Ray Tries Ballet by Tami Charles; illustrated by Sharon SordoThe setup: With a zeal for "anything-but-ordinary" experiences, Zuri Ray and her bestie Jessie go to ballet camp.
What happens: Graceful Jessie fits right in, but hair buns and dainty moves aren't really Zuri's style. Should she quit, or can she find a way to keep dancing with Jessie while still feeling like herself?
Read it for: exuberant illustrations and an upbeat story featuring supportive adults and a caring friendship.
We All Play by Julie FlettWhat it is: a spirited exploration of kimêtawânaw mîna, a Cree phrase describing the interconnected relationships between humans and animals.
What's inside: minimal, read-aloud ready text paired with simple yet striking illustrations of children and wild animals, at play and at rest.
Look for: the pronunciation guide and glossary at the end, in which Cree-Métis creator Julie Flett provides animal names in both English and Cree.
Fish and Sun by Sergio RuzzierIntroducing: bored, ocean-dwelling Fish, who's delighted to make friends with warm, sky-dwelling Sun...until dusk brings an end to their games (or so Fish thinks).
Why kids might like it: The inviting pastel art, pared-down graphic novel format, and clear speech-bubble dialogue make this a strong choice for beginning readers, whether they're sharing with a helper or ready to go solo.
Try this next: Jill Esbaum's Friends Do Not Eat Friends or Corey R. Tabor's Fox Versus Winter.
When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling; illustrated by Aaron AsisSummer's here: and one little girl is excited by the arrival of her lola (grandmother) for an annual visit.
What's inside: Lola's visit is packed with sensory details: the splash of the pool, the sparkle of fireworks, and the tastes and smells of Lola's Filipino dishes, culminating in a joyful kamayan.
Kids might also like: Livia Blackburne's I Dream of Popo, another story about intergenerational bonds in a bicultural family; or Stephanie Parsley Ledyard's Pie is for Sharing, for further sweet summer vibes.
Life on Mars by Jon AgeeWhat it's about: Arriving on Mars, a young astronaut begins exploring the seemingly uninhabited landscape...and a shy, curious Martian picks up his trail.
Art alert: Sight gags abound in the heavily outlined illustrations as the Martian -- huge, orange, and pointy-eared -- mirrors the astronaut's movements but is never detected.
Why Jon Klassen fans might like it: Kids who love yelling advice at the clueless characters in Sam and Dave Dig a Hole will relish this offbeat read.
Don't Worry, Little Crab by Chris HaughtonWhat it’s about: At first, Little Crab is thrilled to join Very Big Crab on a trip from their tide pool home to the open ocean. But the crashing waves bring newfound anxiety; can this crustacean find the courage for undersea exploration?
Why Jon Klassen fans might like it: because it's bursting with bold, blocky artwork in a similar style to Klassen's.
Kids might also like: Carolyn Crimi’s There Might Be Lobsters, another beach-set book about overcoming fear.
Unstoppable by Adam Rex; illustrated by Laura ParkIt begins: with a crab and bird who join forces, becoming a nigh unstoppable Crabbird!
Things escalate: as the duo teams up with more animals, gaining new abilities and zany names (“Birdraburtlebear!”) every time. When their habitat is threated by a mall, however, the amalgamated animals set their sights on a different kind of power: Congress.
Why Jon Klassen fans might like it: Like several of Klassen's books, Unstoppable offers big-eyed animals and a charmingly absurd lesson on conflict and cooperation.
Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds; illustrated by Peter BrownWhat it's about: At first, Jasper Rabbit is thrilled with his new, neon green monster underpants. But his excitement shifts to dread when they glow eerily in the dark and resist his increasingly desperate (and hilarious) attempts to get rid of them.
Why Jon Klassen fans might like it: Jasper's faux-noir misadventures (which begin in Creepy Carrots!) will amuse kids who like the dark humor and expressive animal characters in Jon Klassen's Hat trilogy.
Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket; illustrated by Lisa BrownStarring: a newly deceased goldfish.
What happens: Bored with floating upside-down above his fishbowl, the spectral hero -- drawn in eye-catching white against a colored background -- floats out the window in search of friends to share his afterlife.
Why Jon Klassen fans might like it: The subdued color palette and gently macabre tone of Goldfish Ghost may resonate with readers who enjoy Klassen's offerings -- especially The Dark, which was also written by Lemony Snicket.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!