We’ve been reading like madwomen (and children) to keep up with all the amazing books that came out in 2019. From bilingual board books to books that help kids deal with tough subjects like racism, cancer and more, this year showed a celebration of diversity, resilience and hope. We read every one of the books on this list (or our kids did) so this curated collection may not be all about the bestsellers, but it’s definitely a list to keep for years to come.

All Ages/Activity Books

1. Cakes for Kids: 40 Easy Recipes That Will Wow!

Gibbs Smith

Paris-based baker, food artist and cookbook author Juliette Lalbaltry's latest book starts with teaching kids (and their grown-ups) four basic cake recipes (lemon, yogurt, chocolate and rolled sponge).  From these four bases she offers dozens of ideas for clever, totally doable decorations that will guarantee you'll never need to order another party cake. 

Ages: All Ages 

Find it here. $16.99

2. Where's the Llama?

Andrews McMeel

Where's the Llama: An Around-the-World Adventure Book is a wonderfully illustrated, seek-and-find activity book that is not only fun, it helps build a child’s visual and cultural vocabulary. Follow the llamas as they travel around the world to a Dia de los Muertos parade in Mexico, the world-famous tulip festival in the Netherlands, explore jungles in Cambodia and so much more. By Paul Moran & Gergely Forizs.

Ages: All ages. $9.99.

Order it here.

3. Snackable Science Experiments: 60 Edible Tests to Try and Taste

Page Street Publishing

Scientist, educator, mom and Chief Experimenter Science Sparks, Emma Vanstone's new book will delight kitchen helpers and bored kids everywhere! From chemistry to structural engineering, kids can play with their food and learn new concepts all at once. The perfect antidote to winter break brain drain! 

Ages: All ages, recommended for ages 6-11 but younger kids can get in on the fun with a little more help. Some adult supervision required. 

Get yours here, $13.39 

4. Plantology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Plants

Chicago Review Press

Budding botanists and curious collectors alike will adore Plantology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Plants by science educator and author Michael Elsohn Ross. From plant skeletons to prop roots and all the mosses in between, this super cool book will have your kids looking at the natural world in a whole new way. 

Ages: 7 and up (but younger kids may enjoy activities with parents/older siblings)

Buy it here. $15.99

5. Easy Paper Projects: 60 Crafts You Can Wear, Gift, Use and Admire

Page Street Publishing

London-based Maggy Woodley, the imagination behind the popular craft blog Red Ted Art, has created a clever collection of paper craft projects that any kid can do. Use printer paper, construction paper or even old homework to make cute, exciting, adorable, silly and delightful projects, all by following easy step-by-step instructions with ots ofo photos to show you the way.  
Ages: 4-11 (some grown-up help may be necessary for younger kids). 
Get it here, $14.59

Board Books

6. & 7. Lejos/Far & Cerca/Close

Candlewick Press

Looking for bilingual board books that stand out in a crowd? These two charmers,  Lejos/Far and Cerca/Close, both by author Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Blanca Gómez, definitely fit the bill. Clear, bold illustrations go beyond just words to include beautiful, poetic phrases that will embed themselves in your child's brain while helping them to learn the concept of "far" and "close." 

El árbol de limones está lejos de mi casa. The lemon tree is far from my house.

Ages: 2-5

Buy Lejos/Far and Cerca/Close, $7.99 each


8. Kahlo's Koalas: 1, 2, 3, Count Art with Me

Andrews McMeel

Seven Van Gogh Geckos, 3 Lichtenstein Llamas...learn to count with animals reimagined in iconic artist's style with this adorable board book from Grace Helmer. From Warhol's warthogs to Kandinsky's kangaroos and more, you'll love reading this one to bébé! 

Ages: 1-4

Get it here, $6.99

9. & 10. I Am Kind & I Am Unstoppable

Two board book versions of Brad Meltzer's best-selling Ordinary People Change the World series are now available for toddlers and preschool kids. I Am Kind, about Abe Lincoln and I Am Unstoppable, about Amelia Earhart, are a lovely addition to your child's first library. 

Ages: 2 and up.

Available at amazon.com, $.7.99. 

11. An ABC of Equality

It's never too early to teach kids about empathy, kindness and acceptance. This board book by Chana Ginelle Ewing, the Founder and CEO of Geenie, a women's empowerment platform, makes learning about concepts like gender, immigration and ability accessible to even the youngest of readers. Flip through the colorful pages to find letters like D is for difference or J is for justice explained in a way anyone can grasp. For any parent hoping to teach their child about multiculturalism and acceptance, this book is for you.

Ages: 3+ (as recommended on Amazon but this book is suited for any reader)

Available on amazon.com for $14.99

12. Be Bold, Baby: Sonia Sotomayor

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

This month's Be Bold, Baby series releases include spotlights on Sonia Sotomayor and J.K. Rowling. These board books will teach your kids resilience, patience and fairness like these female leaders. Each book ends with a special message (and cool mirror): just be you. 

Ages: baby to 3 years old

Available on amazon.com for $9.99

13. Feelings: A Pull-and-Play Book

Chronicle Books

Anyone with a toddler knows that they experience some big feelings, sometimes all in a span of five minutes! Turn to this book by Alice Le Henand and illustrated by Thierry Bedouet to explore all the emotions and feelings toddlers experience. They'll identify with Little Crocodile's sadness and Little Bear's fearfulness, as your kids pull the tabs in and out to bring these animals to life. 

Ages 0-3

Available at amazon.com for $11.59

14. 15. & 16. Three New Indestructibles Titles

Babies put everything in their mouths and even the most sturdy board books can fall prey to a toddler's destruction. New this month is three titles from the popular Indestructibles series: The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Row, Row, Row Your Boat all by Amy Pixton and illustrated by Maddie Frost. All of these books are chew proof, rip proof, nontoxic, 100% washable and are super thin and light so they make for great reads to throw in your diaper bag. 

Ages 0+

Available on amazon.com 

17. & 18. Look, There's a Helicopter!

Each book in this charming board book series follows a vehicle on its journey, introducing new readers to a host of words. Die-cut pages mean there's an interactive component, engaging those chubby little fingers in the story. This charming board book and its companion, Look, There's a Tractor (both out this April) are wonderfully illustrated by Dutch artist, Esther Arts. 

Ages: 1-4

Get yours here. $7.99

19. Colors (Zoe and Zack)

We love this book for its innovative way of introducing colors to tots. Author Jacques Duquennoy uses die-cut pages and printed acetate to engage young readers as friends Zoe and Zack paint different colors and shapes. Find out what they're creating by turning each acetate page. 

Ages: 3-5

Available at amazon.com

20. Mr. Boddington's Studio: San Francisco ABCs

Penguin Random House

This new series from Mr. Boddington's Studio—a vibrant stationary store in Brooklyn—now includes San Francisco (the first one was NYC ABCs, released in May of this year). We love this clever way to teach kids the alphabet and explore a city in an off-the-beaten path way. 

Ages: 3-5

Find yours here. $9.99

21. Touch and Explore Construction

For kiddos into everything dump truck, demolition and building, this book is a real winner. Each page focuses on one aspect of construction like setting up, building a road and demolition. The book explains what happens during each stage and it's peppered with cool tactile experiences like raised bumpy rubble and sticky surfaces where paint is "drying." 

Ages 3-5

Available at amazon.com

22. Frankie's Food Truck


This adorable lift-the-flap board book teaches kids all about shapes in the context of a vibrant food truck. Illustrator Lucia Gaggiotti's images are reminiscent of Richard Scarry books and bring life to the page. 

Ages: 2 and up 

Find your copy here, $9.99

23. Bedtime Classics: Alice in Wonderland

Penguin Young Readers

Classics are reimagined in this new series of board books that take famous books and re-tell them with inclusive and charming illustrations. Two of these sweet books are available now, and there's more to come in 2020. 

Ages: 3 & up. 

Buy it here, $7.29.

Elementary (Picture Books)

24. I Can Only Draw Worms

Penguin Random House

This book is part counting books, part funny tale about worms. Written in the same vein as The Book with No Pictures, the simple but brightly colored illustrations follow the adventures of 10 worms, And, although author/illustrator Will Mabbitt claims he can only draw worms, you'll still feel like it was a story about so much more. On sale March, 19th 2019.

Ages: 3-5

Available for pre-order at Amazon, $13.69. 

25. Wild Honey from the Moon


How far will one mother shrew go just to help her sick son? She'll go to the moon, and back. This beautifully illustrated book by amazingly self-taught author/illustrator Kenneth Kraegel is as touching and moving as it is visually pleasing. 

Ages: 4-8

Find it now, $17.99 

26. The Fate of Fausto: A Painted Fable

This gorgeous picture book from celebrated illustrator and artist Oliver Jeffers (of The Day the Crayons Quit fame) is a tale of a greedy man named Fausto and his journey to claim everything belonged to him. From claiming a flower to facing the sea, this simple but important story reminds us all of the power of kindness. Illustrated in traditional lithographic printmaking techniques, the images alone make this a must-have addition to your bookshelf. 

Ages: 4-8

Buy it here, $22.49.

27. The ABCs of Metallica


Kids will learn the history of one of America's most celebrated band from A to Z in this gorgeously illustrated book. Young fans and adults will enjoy this fantastic journey of Metallica and with each purchase a portion of the proceeds will benefit Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation, "which is dedicated to creating sustainable communities by supporting workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services."

Ages: 4-8

Find it here, $13.29. (Available Nov. 26)

28. Jacob's Room to Choose

Teach your kids about gender expression, kindness and inclusion in this new book from Sarah and Ian Hoffman. Jacob, the central character in this story, wears a dress. But, when he enters the boys bathroom the older kids make fun of him and tell him he isn't allowed. Jacob's friend, Sophie has a similar experience in the girl's bathroom. Discover what Jacob and Sophie—along with their teachers and classmates—do to teach inclusion and respect to others and how they shape their school's perception about gender expression. With colorful illustrations, a storyline kids and adults can follow and a positive, inclusive message both parents and kids can get behind, this new book is a must read.

Ages 5-8

Available at amazon.com for $13

29. Hey Grandude!

Oh, Hey Grandude! The adventurous new tale from musician Paul McCartney followers a super cool grandpa as he takes his four grandkids on the trip of a lifetime. Told with beautiful illustrations, the whimsical story is great for your little wayfarers.

Ages: 4-6

Buy on Amazon for $11.59.

30. Tomorrow Most Likely

Chronicle Books

Dave Eggers is at it again with his newest release for kiddos ages 3-5, Tomorrow Most Likely. Publishing this month from Chronicle Books, this new read illustrated by Lane Smith reinvents the classic bedtime book. Instead of focusing on what happened that day, the little boy protagonist focuses on the future and imagines all the fun, dreamy and whimsical things that might happen tomorrow. 

Ages 3-5

Available for $12.75 on amazon.com,

31. Dandy

Little, Brown and Company

One dad faces the ultimate challenge: convincing his daughter that the weed on his perfectly manicured lawn must go. From trying to snip the dandelion at naptime to sneaking behind his daughter's back when he thinks she's not looking, Dad does everything to try to convince his daughter, Sweetie that the dandelion (which she lovingly names Charlotte) is not fit for his perfect yard. Find out what happens in this endearing and funny tale from Ame Dyckman and illustrator Charles Santoso in this book debuting this month. 

Ages: 4-8

$12.75, on Amazon.com

32. Bad Dog

In this endearing and funny picture book by Mike Boldt, find out what happens when a little girl REALLY wants a dog but ends up with a pet cat instead. Her pet "dog" Rocky doesn't behave like other dogs so what's a girl to do? Join along as she discovers that maybe a pet dog isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

Ages 3-7

Find it here, $16.19

33. You Loves Ewe!

This quirky but fabulous tale features a donkey, yam and ewe. Follow along as hilarious homonyms take center stage as the animals try to discern who is "ewe" and who is "you." Grammarians and little kids alike will laugh out loud at this hilarious story by Cece Bell. 

Ages 4-7

Find it here, $17.99

34. A Ray of Light


For your non-fiction lover, this new book from author and photographer Walter Wick is just the thing. In A Ray of Light, Wick's stunning images are combined with easy-to-understand text. Kids will learn all about the speed, color, the spectrum and all the other complex secrets to light. 

Ages: 6-8 

$12.32. Order it now.

35. The Seekers

We're not sure what is the best part of this amazing new book; the original story based on mythology from the artists' native Mombai or the stunning illustrations created by Hari & Deepti, two paper-cut artists who bring the words to life. Both elements combine to make hands-down one of the most beautiful and unique books of 2019. The story about two children who learn that Silver Fox and Fire Wolf are anything but myths. 

Ages: 4-8

Find your copy today here. $17.60

36. The End of Something Wonderful: A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral

Dealing with the death of a family pet can be a hard topic to get right when it comes to kids. This new book from author Stephanie V. W. Lucianovic is a practical guide to burying something wonderful that is now something dead. What could be an awkward topic turns into something delightfully empathetic with Lucianovic's prose and the charming illustrations of artist George Ermos.

Ages: 5-8

Buy it here, $16.95.

37. How to Be a Coder

Kiki Prottsman doesn't just know all about coding,  she knows how to encourage, teach and get kids excited about learning to code...by reading. No small feat, getting kids to learn about greats like computer science pioneers Katherine Johnson and Alan Turing along with gleaning new skills, this impressive (and very colorful) book from DK is sure to be a hit. 

Ages: 7-9

See it here. $19.09

38. Get Up, Stand Up

Chronicle Books

This new picture book by Cedella Marley, inspired by one of Bob Marley's most loved songs, will inspire your kids (and you) to stand up for their rights and the rights of others. "When you meet someone talking big and thinking small...and their stinging words push your back against the wall...When their words bite, STAND UP for what's right." Beautifully illustrated by John Jay Cabuay, it's a perfect antidote in a bully-ish world. 

Ages: 3-5

Find it here, $16.99.

39. My Brother Otto


This endearing little picture book is about love, acceptance and understanding that one sister, Piper the crow, has for her brother Otto. Otto is on the autism spectrum and this book is a beautifully-illustrated and thoughtfully-written way to teach children about differences and acceptance. Otto does some things and likes some of the same things his sister does. But he also does some things differently, and other kids don't always understand this. The author, Meg Raby, holds a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology with a certification in Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and has several years of experience working with children ages 2–17 on the autism spectrum.

Ages: 3-5

Pre order here. $16.99

40. Bad Day

North Atlantic Books

Everyone has a bad day once in a while, kids and grown-ups alike. So when you're feeling overwhelmed, grab this book. When you have a bad day even small things seem like a big deal, and that's just what's happening for little Hennie in Ruby Roth's newest book, Bad Day. But guess what? With a little time to take deep breaths and a little space to oneself, anyone can change their bad day to good. A great story of resilience, validation of feelings and how normal it is to not always feel great. 

Ages: 3-7

Find it here, $16.50

41. Five Minutes

Penguin Random House

Five minutes can fly by (when you're having fun) and it can be an eternity (when you're waiting in line). This adorable book, by Audrey Vernick and Liz Garton Scanlon, and illustrated by Olivier Tallec, will be as relatable to parents as it is for the kids. 

Ages: 3-7

Find it now at amazon.com, $16.99

42. Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug

Chronicle Books

Tiny T. Rex is well, tiny. So, what will Tiny T. Rex do when his friend, Pointy needs cheering up and a hug? Follow along Tiny's adventure in this sweet book written by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Jay Fleck.

Ages 3-5

Available on Amazon.com

43. Sulwe

Simon & Schuster

Written by Kenyan-born actress Lupita Nyong'O, this is as much her personal story as it the story of young Sulwe, a girl whose skin is the color of midnight. The stunningly gorgeous illustrations by Vashti Harrison are reason enough alone to want this book in your library, but the story itself is beautifully told; it's about differences, acceptance of oneself no matter how we think others see us, it's about wanting to fit in and yet being unique. A vital message for every kid out there, regardless of race or gender. Read it today with your kids. 

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now on, $11.14

44. The GayBCs

Did you know that 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in NYC? Despite the passage of time, there's still much progress to be made for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. Take a step to be a part of the solution and empower your kids with knowledge with this book by M.L. Webb. Each page features vocabulary and poems like "A is for Ally" and "N is for Non-Binary." Educational and informative, this book will teach your kids all about inclusivity.

Ages: 4-8

Available at amazon.com for $9.47 

45. Cancer Party

Sara Olsher

When author-illustrator Sara Olsher was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 34, she struggled to find a way to tell her then 6-year-old daughter about it in a way that was true but not scary. Since she couldn't find the resource she need, Olsher wrote and illustrated Cancer Party—for her daughter and for all the parents out there struggling to explain cancer in a scientifically accurate but not-too-terrifying way. The illustrations are bright and colorful  and the entire book strikes the right balance between the facts and the feelings. Buy this book right now for anyone who you know who is struggling with cancer, or as a resource for your school library. Our resident 8-year-old book reviewer read this book again and again, even though he doesn't know anyone with cancer right now, and his mom says it has made him more aware and empathetic to cancer in general. 

Ages: 4-10

Get it here, $9.99

46. Perfect


This hilarious but also touching story by Max Amato about a Type-A Eraser and his goofy nemesis, Pencil, will garner plenty of giggles (Eraser gets tossed away in a tornado, gets smudgy, etc.) but it'll also spotlight why imperfection is actually the best way to find the truly amazing in the world. Kids will also see a pair of opposites learn to work together in order to create something even better than what was there before.

Ages: 3-5 

$12.14. Order it here.

47. Parker Looks Up

Simon & Schuster

Written by Parker Curry (age 4) and her mama, Jessica Curry, with an afterword by Michelle Obama. Illustrated by Brittany Jackson. This is the sweet story of Parker Curry, a young girl, who went to the National Portrait Gallery one afternoon with her mom. She saw prancing horse, blooming flowers, a bushy mustache...but before she went twirling off toward home, Parker Curry looked up. There on the wall she saw the magnificent portrait (by Amy Sherald) of Michelle Obama. Parker didn't just see the First Lady of the United States. She saw a queen, a woman with regality, beauty, truth and self-assurance, a woman who looked like her. This moving story will delight any young dreamer. A great addition to any home library or classroom. 

Ages: 4-8

Available Oct. 15, here. $12.79

48. Chapter Two Is Missing

Penguin Random House

This hilarious book written by Joh Lieb and illustrated by Kevin Cornell, invites the reader into the story to help solve a mystery. You see, Detective Irene McGarringan is busy preparing for the release of her book only to discover that (you guessed it) chapter two is missing. There's also other strange things afoot: a bunch of Ms hiding in Chapter 5 and there's a Chapter 45 that doesn't seem to belong to this book at all. Help her solve the mystery! 

Ages: 4-6

Find it on amazon for order. $17.99

49. Bear Needs Help

This sweet and funny story about a little polar bear with his shoe untied is the perfect pick-me-up for when you are having one of those days. And it’s a great lesson, sure to invoke grins, for kids learning that it’s okay to ask for help. Because, like Bear, we all need a little help sometimes! 

Ages: 3-7

Get it here. $16.99

50. ¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market


Fans of Richard Scarry will appreciate the lively details of this Mexican-American story by award-winning illustration Raúl the Third. This bilingual book teaches kids new words in Spanish while traveling through the bustling, border-town marketplace. Inspired by the author-illustrator's own life growing up between El Paso, Texas and Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, this exciting new book is a must-read for April and beyond.

Ages: 4-7

Get your copy at amazon.com, $10.91

51. The Shortest Day

Candlewick Press

Written by Newbery Medal winner Susan Cooper and illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Carson Ellis, this magnificent book based on Cooper's "The Shortest Day" a poem written for John Langstaff's Christmas Revels. It is the story of the shortest day, of the Solstice, and how our Yuletide traditions have evolved from the desire to burn against the impending darkness of winter. Absolutely gorgeous. 

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now, $16.19

52. Tomorrow I'll Be Brave

For an uplifting, positive bedtime read turn to this book by artists and illustrator Jessica Hische. Now in board book form, this popular title will motivate your kids to see the bright side of their day. Turn each page to find hand-lettered inspiring words, all with a reminder that tomorrow is a new day full of opportunity.

Ages: 3-7

Available on amazon.com for $9.99

53. Greta and the Giants


Written in allegory form by Zoë Tucker with gorgeous illustrations by Zoe Persico, this picture book retells the story of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg and her global movement to raise awareness about the climate crisis. Greta lives in a beautiful forest, threatened by Giants who chop down trees to make their homes. Then they chop down more trees, to make bigger houses, leaving little forest left. But Greta has an idea...

Includes a back section that helps kids learn how they can help Greta in her fight. Printed sustainably on 100% recycled paper. 

Ages: 4-7 

Get it here $17.99 

54. We'll Get Through This Together

Hospitals can be scary for kids, especially when they are the patients. This book helps to reassure children who are suffering from cancer as they navigate the road ahead of them, from medicine and treatments to side-effects, written from the point of view of a sweet black lab who is joining a young boy going through cancer treatment. It's also an excellent resource for parents to know how to talk to kids about tough issues like this. Written and illustrated by Ulrike Szalay, founder of the nonprofit Canines-N-Kids Foundation, aimed to help fund research and treatments for cancer in both children and dogs. 

Ages: 5-8

Find it on Amazon, $10.82

55. Sweety

Schwarz & Wade

Andrea Zuill (author illustrator of Wolf Camp) has done it again with this wonderful story about Sweety, the naked mole rat who is not like all the other naked mole rats. She's very unique, and is even called "a square peg." She's awkward, likes collecting fungi and is a passionate young mole rat—sometimes her peers look at her like she's another kind of creature altogether. But with the help of her cool Aunt Ruth, Sweety learns to be herself and that one day she will find her people. And they will want to do a secret handshake. A great story about acceptance, diversity and love of self. 

Ages: 3-7

Preorder it here. $17.99

56. Let's Learn Japanese: First Words for Everyone

Chronicle Books

Aspiring Japanese speakers will love this thoughtfully-designed book by Aurora Cacciapuoti. Flip through to pair words and characters with fun illustrations. The book covers the three main Japanese writing systems: Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana.

Ages: 4 and up

Available at amazon.com for $5.65

57. Be Brave, Be Brave, Be Brave

Author F. Anthony Falcon had these thoughts when he first held his son: "Be brave, be brave, be brave." He and his wife were in the middle of Hurricane Harvey's landfall in Corpus Cristi Texas when she went into labor. This book, a meditation on what it means to be brave, is also the author's reconnection with his Lakota roots. It is both the story of little Lakota's perilous arrival into the world as it is about Falcon describing what it is to be a Native American man today. Beautifully illustrated by Trisha Mason.

Ages: 3-7

Get your copy today here. $12.31

58. Freedom Soup

Candlewick Press

Join a Haitian grandma and her granddaughter in the kitchen as they make their traditional New Year's Soup, aka Freedom Soup, and learn the story of Haiti's independence. Includes a delicious recipe for you to try at home. Author Tami Charles pays homage to her heritage while Jacqueline Alcántara highlights the joy and richness of the culture with her gorgeous illustrations. 

Ages: 5-9

Get it here, $16.99 

59. Swarm of Bees

Little Brown/Hatchett

Beloved author Lemony Snicket teams up with Rilla Alexander for a brightly illustrated romp through one little boy's town as he mischievously chucks tomatoes and is followed by a swarm of bees. In spite of the funny, colorful tale it's really about feeling anger and other emotions, and figuring out where to put it. 

Ages: 4-8

Get your copy today. $12.75

60. Little Libraries, Big Heroes

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Miranda Paul's Little Libraries, Big Heroes tells the backstory of an ordinary hero: Todd Bol, one of the founders of the Little Free Library movements. John Parra's beautiful illustrations celebrate the diversity of Little Free Libraries everywhere, and the many people who have come together to improve their neighborhoods, one little library at a time. We loved the author's note at the back telling her own story as it relates to Little Free Libraries. 

Ages: 4-7

Get it here. $17.79

61. The Reader

Interlink Publishing Group, Inc.

The Reader is an ode to joy for young bookworms, celebrating the thrill of diving into a good book—especially when you really should be asleep. It is the story of a gender-neutral reader who chooses adventure over naptime, and you get to go along for the ride as the reader swims with whales, chases jaguars, and climbs dinosaurs as big as mountains.

Ages: 3-8

Buy it here, $17.95.

62. Mr. Scruff

Candlewick Press

Author-illustrator Simon James delights with this sweet story about a boy named Jim and a shelter dog named Mr. Scruff. All the other dogs have human companions whose names fit just right: Berry and Terry, Eric and Derek, Molly and Polly. But Jim and Mr. Scruff, although an unlikely pair, are made for each other. A sweet story you'll feel good reading to your kids again and again. 

Ages: 3-7

Get your copy here, $12.19

63. Daniel's Good Day

From Ezra Keats award-winning author/illustrator Micha Archer comes the next adventure for a young boy named Daniel. This time, as Daniel makes his way to grandma's, he ponders what makes it a "good day," and stops to ask various members of his community to find out. For his friend Emma, a steady wind for her kite makes it a good day, for the gardener it's bees on flowers, for the crossing guard, it's everyone home safe. Follow this charming tale to find out what makes a good, or better yet, a perfect day for Daniel. 

Ages: 3-6.

Available at amazon.com, $12.14.

64. Camp Tiger

Penguin Random House

Pulitzer-prize finalist Susan Choi has written her first picture book and it's a must-read for parents and kids alike. When a young boy goes camping at the end of the summer with his family, like they do every year, he's unsure that he's ready to stop being a kindergartner. All summer things his mom used to do for him, he's now doing for himself. When a tiger comes out of the woods and starts to talk to the boy, he helps the boy struggling with the changes to come. The illustrations by John Rocco are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and we're not going to lie: our mom-editor who reviewed this book said it made her cry a little. 

Ages: 7-9

Buy it here, $16.19.

65. Georgia’s Terrific, Colorific Experiment

Meet Georgia. She’s a budding scientist in a family of artists, and they all have an idea of how she can conduct her experiments. At first, Georgia doesn’t want their “silly imaginative ideas,” but after an afternoon spent trying to discover something new (and failing to re-create things that have already been proven as true), she realizes that sometimes, in order to be a scientist, you must think creatively. Accompanied by gorgeous illustrations by author Zoe Persico, this book is a perfect fit for any spunky kid who’s creatively curious.

Ages: 5-8

Buy it at amazon.com, $12.32.

66. Smell My Foot

Candlewick Press

A brand-new illustrated early chapter book by Newbery Honor Winner Cece Bell (El Deafo). In the vein of Elephant & Piggie, Chick and Brain's adventures will make your littles laugh out loud while learning a few manners along the way.

Ages: 4-8

Find it here, $10.55, hardcover

Illustrated Anthologies

67. Women in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the World

Ten Speed Press

This beautifully illustrated anthology of women artists from Rachel Ignotofsky, author of the New York Times bestseller Women in Science, features 50 pioneering female artists; some you'll recognize (Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keefe) and some you'll never want to forget (19th-century African American quilter Harriet Powers and Hopi-Tewa ceramic artist Nampeyo). For any kid out there with a love of art or history or both, this book is a gorgeous addition to any shelf. Makes a great classroom gift too! 

Ages: All ages; Probably best for 5 and up

Get yours here, $12.99

68. Thanku: Poems of Gratitude, Ed. by Miranda Paul


Edited by Miranda Paul (whose book Little Libraries, Big Heroes you'll also find on this list) these are poems from a diverse group of authors from around the world, on a diverse array of topics, utilizing many different forms of poetry, making it an excellent way to introduce kids to poetry as well as the beauty of being grateful. Beautiful illustrations from Marlena Myles make it a pleasure to read to your kids. 

A portion of the proceeds from this anthology will be donated to We Need Diverse Books.

Ages: 6-10

Find it here, $19.99

69. We Are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders

Chronicle Books

"In diversity there is beauty and there is strength."—Maya Angelou
This collection from Chronicle Books consists of sixteen award-winning children's book artists who have created stunning illustrations inspired by quotes from civil rights leaders and activists. Each artist also reflects on the artist they chose and what the quote means to them. Illustrator Selina Alko says, "I have always intuitively felt beauty and strength in representing different cultures, perspectives, and points of view. Life would be really bland if we only knew and told our own stories." Would make a beautiful graduation gift and a great read for young activists, artists or any kid (or grown up) looking for a little inspiration in a weary world. Includes an introduction by Harry Belafonte.

Ages: 10 and up

Buy it now. $12.32

Graphic Novels

70. Marie Curie : A Graphic History of the World's Most Famous Female Scientist

B.E.S. Publishing

Part of the Great Lives series from B.E.S. publishing, this year brought us both the Marie Curie edition along with Albert Einstein, as well as Martin Luther King Jr. and Leonardo DiVinici. We loved this well-written account by Agnieszka Biskup illustrated by Sonia Leong, that recounts the key events in Curie's life, the challenges she faced being a woman in a male-dominated field, how she discovered two radioactive elements and ultimately became revered by her peers. Such a cool way for kids to learn history! 

Ages: 9-12

Find it here, $12.99

71. Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice

Simon & Schuster

This graphic novel will enlighten tween, teen and grown-up alike with the story of how RBG grew from a shy little girl to the Supreme Court. Written by NY Times bestselling author Debbie Levy, and illustrated by Whitney Gardner (Fake Blood).

Ages: 10 and up

Find your copy here, $12.99

72. Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls

Dog Man is back in Dav Pilkey's latest in the popular elementary series, and this time, he is working with the Supa Buddies to overcome his bad habits. But, when things don't go exactly as planned, Dog Man becomes the target of a brand-new villian. All the while, Petey the Cat is out of jail and trying to start over with Li'l Petey. Petey also manages to learn the difference between right and wrong when his father comes to call. 

Ages: 7 & up.

Get it here, $7.27.

73. I Am Hermes

This graphic novel is filled with vivid illustrations that follow the mischievous Hermes: messenger of the Gods. Illustrated by Caldecott Medal-winner Mordicai Gerstein, read all about how Hermes steals his brother Apollo’s cows, tricks a turtle into giving up his shell and even gives humans common sense. A delightful way to introduce kids to Greek Mythology.

Ages 8-12

Grab a copy at amazon.com, $12.91.

74. White Bird: A Wonder Story

Penguin Random House

Acclaimed author R.J. Palacio is back with a new graphic novel based on the character Grandmere (introduced in Auggie & Me as Julian's grandmother). Palacio tells the story of how Grandmere, as a young Jewish girl, was hidden by a family in a Nazi-occupied French village during WWII. It's a story of triumph, kindness and true friendship, too, told in Palacio's unforgettable voice. 

Ages: 8-12

Buy your copy here, $16.59 

75. Lupin Leaps In

Andrews McMeel

This middle grade comic follow-up Georgia Dunn's Breaking Cat News will have your kiddos giggling and smiling while they read up on the adventures of cat reporters Lupin, Elvis and Puck. They're breaking headlines on subjects that really matter to cats, and kids who love cats. We also love the "More to Explore" section which shows kids how to draw the BCN crew, expressions, your own pet as reporters and more. Available Mar. 5. 

Ages: 6-12

Get it now, just $7.99 in paperback. 

Chapter Books

76. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition

The fourth book in the series, this version is fully, lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist, Jim Kay. Complete, unabridged text by JK Rowling. 

Ages: 8 and up 

Buy it now, $28.79

77. It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers

Quirk Books

From 1968 to 2001, Fred Rogers sang songs and taught valuable lessons of kindness and compassion to generations of kids. Now, you can hold those sentiments and lyrics in your own hand and heart with this collection with four-color illustrations by Luke Flowers. With topics like Caring; Curious; Imaginative and Reflective, the songs are written here for generations more to appreciate.

Ages: 6-8

Order in advance here, $19.99 hardcover

78. Kids Who Are Changing the World

Simon & Schuster

Find out how four different kids kids are helping the environment, inventing incredible medical devices, aiding the homeless, designing apps to make sure kids don't eat alone in the school cafeteria, and more. Your kids will be inspired to pursue their own best inventions after reading this easy-to-follow illustrated text by Sheila Sweeny Higginson (Author) and Alyssa Petersen (Illustrator). Available Feb. 12.

Ages: 6-8

Find it here. $17.99  

79. The Last Kids on Earth: Midnight Blade

Number five in the popular series by Max Brallier (look for the Netflix show!) has Jack and his friends coming out of the first winter after the Monster Apocalypse. He’ll learn about the new powers of his Louisville Slicer and fight plenty of zombies, all while trying to help his friend Dirk deal with his issues related to the zombies. There’ll be a new villain to deal with too, and the question remains: will Jack and his friends be able to save the rest of the world? 

Ages 8-12

Available at amazon.com, $10.29

80. Talent for Trouble

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Alice lives with her Aunt Patience, living a relatively quiet life since the death of Alice's mom when Alice was just seven-years-old. But when Aunt Patience sends Alice off to a boarding school in the Scottish Highlands, Alice embarks on an adventure of a lifetime. Alice makes two good friends at school who help her plot a way to find Alice's biological father, whom she's never met, and who lives on a remote Scottish island. Natasha Farrant's mischievous adventure story has a Harry Potter-ish element to the friendship and problem solving with the trio that includes meeting her biological father who lives on a remote Scottish island. Alice makes friends at school.

Ages: 10-12

Find it here, $

81. Emmy and the Key of Code

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

This middle-grade novel, by debut author and former software engineer Aimee Lucido, brings together STEM concepts with music for an enticing adventure for Emmy, a 12-year-old who is about to start a new school, in a new city. When Emmy takes her first coding class, she connects to the concepts and connects to a new friend. But when her beloved teacher delivers some bad news, Emmy's world seems upside down. For kids who love coding, music and can relate to the struggles of middle school friendships, this is a real gem.

Ages: 10-12

Find it here, $11.99

82. My Pet Slime

Andrews McMeel Publishing

Courtney Sheinmel introduces readers to a dynamic new duo in chapter books: a girl named Piper Maclane and her soon-to-be sidekick, Cosmo (her pet slime). When she's faced with a class assignment, petless Piper concocts some slime to bring to school. And through a strange turn of events, Cosmo comes to life. Take that slime craze to the next level. Illustrated throughout by Renée Kurilla.

Ages: 6-9

Find it here, $10.79

83. Diary of a 5th Grade Outlaw (Book 1)

Andrews McMeel Publshing

Written by Gina Loveless  with spot illustrations by Andrea Bell, this chapter book follows the adventures of ten-year-old Robin, who is about to start the 5th Grade at Nottingham Elementary. Her quest? Win back the friendship of her bestie, Mary Ann. To do this, she has to stand up to a bully and become a legendary outlaw of Nottingham. We can't wait to see more books in this series. 

Ages: 8-12

Get it here, $13.99 (hardcover) 

85. A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks

Sterling Publishers

Celebrate the life and voice of poet Gwendolyn Brooks with this thoughtful story that combines both Brooks' legacy with her life story. Known for being one of the most foremost poets on the Black experience and the role of women in society, Gwendolyn Brooks went from a young child writing all the time to becoming the first Black author to win the Pulitzer Prize and authoring 20 books of poetry, two autobiographies and one novel. Celebrated author and children's librarian Alice Faye Duncan makes Brooks come to life on the page for the young reader. 

Ages: 5 and up 

$16.95. Find a copy here

86. The Math Kids: A Sequence of Events (Volume 2)

David Cole's second book in the Math Kids chapter book series is just as lively and entertaining as the first. The Math Kids Club is back and this time they're entering the district Math Olympics. But they need one key thing to win: the quiet, math genius in class Catherine Duchesne. But when Catherine's dad goes missing, her new math friends spring into action to use math to solve the mystery. For any kid who loves math, buy this book. And any kid who doesn't? Buy it to show them math is fun! 

Ages: 8-11

Get a copy here. $9.99

87. The Math Kids: An Unusual Pattern (Volume 3)

CommonDeer Press

The third volume in these adventures just hit the stands in October and our kiddos were overjoyed to read it. Written by David Cole, a writer and math teacher, each volume follows the adventures of the Math Kids Klub—Jordan, Justin, and Stephanie as they work to crack the case of a bank robbery using a cryptic poem. Think Encyclopedia Brown meets STEM learning, your kids will have so much fun reading these adventures they won't even notice they're learning important math concepts! 

Ages: 8-11

Find it now, $8.69

88. From an Idea to LEGO

This awesome series, which includes other books like From an Idea to Google, and From an Idea to Disney, is basically like a "How I Built This" for kids, in book form. We learned so many amazing things about LEGO including the beginning concepts and hardships, fun facts and so much more. The perfect book for little LEGO lovers who want to go beyond sticking bricks. In short, Lowey Bundy Sichol's books are brilliant and inspiring for inventors and innovators everywhere. 

Ages: 8-12

Find it here. $7.99

89. Guts

Another great book from Raina Telgemeier, our editor first noticed this book at her son's schools book fair. It sold out: every day multiple kids (boys and girls) were buying it and sharing it with one another. The tale of a Raina facing her fears--this time they manifest in the form of a stomach ache. For every kid that has dread or worries about school, friends, and more, this one is relatable and as well-written as Telgemeier's many other books. 

A true story from Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of SmileSistersDrama, and Ghosts!

Ages: 8-12

Find your copy here, just $7.99 for the paperback. 

90. & 91. Two New Amelia Fang Books

This summer brought us not one but two new Amelia Fang books: Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (in which our heroine reluctantly attends her parents annual ball only to embark on an adventure to save her pet pumpkin, Squashy, from the evil clutches of a spoiled prince) and Amelia Fang and the Unicorns of Glitteropolis, where we find Amelia and her friends on a quest to rescue Queen Fairyweather from the terrifying Kingdom of Light. Both make a great read from author/illustrator  Laura Ellen Anderson, the perfect celebration of the dark side in all of us. 

Ages: 7 and up

See more here

92. The Curse of the Werepenguin

Allan Woodrow's just-released, The Curse of the Werepenguin not only gets the summer award for best book title ever, it also gets kudos for creativity, humor and engaging writing. Oprhan Bolt Wattle's life takes a dramatic turn when he is sent for by a mysterious baron in far-off Brugaria. Baron Chordata seems a little odd—he wears tuxedos and refuses to answer any questions. Things get a lot worse when the Baron bites Bolt and turns him into a half-boy, half-penguin. For fans of humor and adventure, you can't go wrong with this middle-grade chapter book. 

Ages: 8-12

Find it now. $16.39

93. Extraordinary Birds

This debut novel from fifth-grade teacher and award-winning poet Sandy Stark-McGinnis tells the story of an eleven-year-old foster girl named December who is placed in a home with a woman who cares for injured birds. The story of heartbreak, hope and an unlikely home is one parents will love reading with the kids, too. Available Apr. 30.

Ages: 8-12

Preorder it here, $11.72

94. Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of the Dark!


Sam Wu is back in the third book in the series by Katie & Kevin Tsang. This time Sam Wu is most definitely not afraid of anything....not sharks...not ghosts....and not the dark! Actually, Sam is afraid of a lot of things (including ghosts and sharks) and when he goes camping in the woods with is friends and his cousin Stanley, his fear of the dark becomes pretty real. Find out what happens in this latest adventure! 

Ages: 6-9

Get it here, $9.21.

95. The Story Pirates Present: Digging Up Danger

Love the Story Pirates podcast? Then you’ll likely be as excited as we are to discover the new book in their written collection—The Story Pirates Present: Digging Up Danger. This new chapter book, inspired by a real kid’s idea, is both a spooky mystery and a creative writing guide for young writers. There’s a ghost hunting girl, a scientist mom who studies weird plants and the sudden disappearance of one of these plants...all the backdrop for a colorful romp in reading. 

Ages: 8-12

Get it here. $13.99

96. Kassy O'Roarke, Cub Reporter

The adventures never end with 12-year-old Kassy O'Roarke, a wonderful character who is smart, thoughtful, clever and has real feelings that kids can relate to. Kassy is the class reporter and an investigator, and in this story she's trying to solve the case of a missing cougar cub. Written by bestselling author Kelly Oliver. 

Ages: 8-12

Order yours today, $11.95

97. The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA

Penguin Random House

Written by Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author Brenda Woods, The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA tells the story of a unique friendship between a young white boy and a black WWII veteran. Mr. Meriwether Hunter returns to Jim Crow South in 1946. When he saves little Gabriel’s life during a bike accident, Gabriel’s father offers Meriwether a job as a mechanic at their family garage. Gabriel and Meriwether form a friendship that endures in spite of the extreme prejudices in the world around them. A beautiful read. 

Ages: 10 and up

Get it here. $11.99

98. A Place to Belong

Simon & Schuster

Cynthia Kadohata, author of the Newberry Medal-winning Kira-Kira, takes young readers back to the end of WWII in the US and Japan. The 12-year-old protagonist, Hanako, is forced to move from the only home she's ever known in America to her parent's native Japan. This story is a reality check for anyone who thinks of WWII as being on foreign soil: Japanese people were rounded up and imprisoned right in the US. And modern kids will relate to the pressure Hanako feels as a young kid giving up everything known for something entirely different. Beautifully written.

Ages: 10-14

Get your copy here. $12.32

99. The Magic Misfits: The Minor Third

The third installment of the Magic Misfits has arrived! Neil Patrick Harris' beloved character, Theo Stein-Meyer is back with his trusty pals and in this adventure where they're chosen to combat the evil Emerald Ring. The magic-themed tale reinforces the power of friendship and adventure.

Ages 8 to 12.

Find it on Amazon for $11.79.

100. What Every Young Girl Should Know

Simon & Schuster

This historical novel by J. Albert Mann is based on the life of Margaret Sanger, a young activist for women's health and the founder of Planned Parenthood. The novel explores the early years of Sanger's life as she dealt with adversity to forge her own path: she grew up poor at a time when women had the choice of being wives and mothers, whose career choice was teacher (and that was usually just until you got married). But Sanger did none of the above and this spirited imaging of what her life was like will encourage children of all genders to go their own way. 

Ages: 14 and up 

Find it here, $18.99

—Amber Guetebier, Gabby Cullen, Erin Lem

featured image: iStock


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