Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery; illustrated by Jessie HartlandWhat it is: The empowering true story of how Tony Hillery and the students of Harlem's PS 175 turned a garbage-strewn lot into a thriving urban garden.
Art alert: Visible brushstrokes and stylized, childlike figures give the book an accessible, inviting feel that's perfectly suited to the story.
Further reading: Jacqueline Briggs Martin's Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, a similar account of an African American farmer dedicated to helping communities grow their own food.
Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon by Simran Jeet Singh; illustrated by Baljinder KaurWhat it's about: As a kid, Fauja's legs were weak and he couldn't walk to school. As an adult, he became the first 100-year-old to run a marathon. And every step of the way, he proved his perseverance in the face of doubt and prejudice.
Who it's for: While this unusual biography of an everyday hero will intrigue all kinds of readers, it holds special appeal for those in search of positive Sikh representation.
Saturdays Are for Stella by Candy Wellins; illustrated by Charlie Eve RyanWhat it's about: Saturdays are special for George because they're the days he spends with grandma Stella, his best friend. Together they read, bake, explore the dinosaur museum, and share the absolute best hugs. But then Stella passes away, and a heartbroken George decides that Saturdays are cancelled.
Read it for: an authentic take on childhood grief, complete with a reassuring ending that reminds readers of how love and traditions can live on long after a person is gone.
Robobaby by David WiesnerWhat it's about: Young robot Cathode is excited when the kit for building her new baby brother arrives. Her parents, however, struggle to assemble the round little robot, and after some rocket-powered "improvements" go awry, Cathode steps up with her toolkit.
Art alert: Intricate details and retro-modern charm distinguish this robot romp from three-time Caldecott Medalist David Wiesner.
Did you know? This robot family (and many other imagined worlds) can also be found in the app David Wiesner's Spot.
I Am Enough by Grace Byers; illustrated by Keturah A. BoboWhat it is: an inclusive litany of the power and potential of girls.
Read it for: the always-welcome message of self-confidence and self-acceptance, as well as the energetic, expressive illustrations depicting the book's narrator (along with all kinds of girls) as she celebrates her skills, strength, kindness, and growth.
Kids might also like: I Believe I Can, the similarly encouraging follow-up book from creators Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo.
Say Hello! by Rachel IsadoraWhat it's about: As Carmelita walks down the street to visit her Abuela Rosa, she thoughtfully greets each of her neighbors in their own language.
Languages included: Carmelita uses salutations in Arabic, French, Japanese, Hebrew, Swahili, Spanish, and English.
Art alert: Richly patterned and textured cut-paper illustrations echo the busy, cheerful vibe of Carmelita's neighborhood.
Love the World by Todd ParrWhat it is: Using his signature bold lines and whimsical hues, veteran picture book creator Todd Parr presents an upbeat list of things, qualities, and activities for kids to love -- including both themselves and others.
Want a taste? "Love your walk. Love your talk. Love giving a hand. Love taking a stand."
Who it's for: With a simple concept, minimal text, and big, chunky shapes, Love the World is just right for sharing with preschoolers and toddlers.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold; illustrated by Suzanne KaufmanWelcome to: a new year at a city school, filled with playtime, classroom time, shared food, family visits, and friendship with all kinds of new classmates.
Why kids might like it: During these isolating times, children may be reassured by the titular refrain, as well as the reminder that they're part of their communities: “No matter how you start your day, what you wear when you play, or if you come from far away, all are welcome here.”
Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor; illustrated by Rafael López What it's about: As twelve kids work together in a garden, they get to know each other by asking questions.
What kind of questions? Questions such as "how do you use your senses?", "how do you get from place to place?", and "are you really good at something?" allow the kids to be matter-of-fact about how they live with disabilities and illnesses.
About the author: Other people's assumptions about her type 1 diabetes inspired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to write this refreshingly straightforward book.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!