The Rough Patch by Brian LiesWhat it's about: Farmer Evan the fox is never without his faithful dog, and their favorite pastime is tending to Evan's impressively lush garden. When the dog dies, Evan is so devastated that he destroys the garden -- yet one prickly vine persists, coaxing Evan into rediscovering his passion.
Who it's for: Though it may be too poignant for some, this tender tale of loss and healing offers comfort for children experiencing rough patches of their own.
A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace LinWhat it's about: In the velvety darkness of their night-sky kitchen, Mama and Little Star bake a huge, luminous mooncake. Little Star knows she shouldn't touch it, but she can't resist taking a little nibble every night...
Read it for: a whimsical, family-centric fable about the phases of the moon, just right for celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (a favorite holiday for award-winning author Grace Lin).
Try this next: Loretta Seto's Mooncakes.
Stop, Go, Yes, No! A Story of Opposites by Mike TwohyWhat it is: a lesson in opposites, as demonstrated by an aloof cat and a persistent dog.
What's inside: Though each scene contains only two words (such as "asleep" and "awake" or "inside" and "outside"), the funny, frenetic cartoon art provides more than enough entertainment.
Kids might also like: Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run!, also by author/illustrator Mike Twohy, which highlights the letters of the alphabet.
Mama Dug a Little Den by Jennifer Ward; illustrated by Steve JenkinsWhat it is: an exploration of the ways in which animals -- from foxes to tarantulas to platypuses -- build and use dens.
Who it's for: Young children can cozy up with the rhyming verses on each page, while older kids can dig into the corresponding animal facts.
Series alert: Like its predecessor, Mama Built a Little Nest, Mama Dug a Little Den features collage-art cutaways and an endearing sense of wonder.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson; illustrated by Rafael LópezWhat it's about: four new classmates who each feel uncertain, left out, or singled out… but who discover that when you share your story, "the world opens itself up a little wider to make some space for you."
Read it for: an empowering message of inclusiveness paired with expressive, brilliantly colored illustrations.
Did you know? Celebrated author Jacqueline Woodson is the current U.S. National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.
Giant Squid by Candace Fleming; illustrated by Eric RohmannStarring: the elusive giant squid, depicted in tantalizing glimpses: look, there's an outflung tentacle; and there, a fearsomely sharp beak; and is that a lidless eye appearing out of the murk? By the time a gatefold reveals a stunning full-length portrait of the storied cephalopod, kids will be eager to learn more.
Don't miss: the final pages filled with facts to quench readers' curiosity.
Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie GraeginWhat it's about: While pursuing the thief who stole her treasured toy fox, a little girl discovers a magical woodland village.
Why kids might like it: Without using a single word, this debut will captivate readers as they follow the characters from the dull human world into the dazzling forest, absorbing every winsome detail along the way.
Try this next: Aaron Becker's Journey trilogy, for further wordless stories that bridge fantasy and reality.
Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben HatkeWhat it's about: Small, green, and snaggle-toothed, Goblin lives in a dungeon with his best (and only) friend Skeleton. After a band of adventurers raid the dungeon's treasure and accidentally steal Skeleton as well, Goblin gives chase, venturing out into "the wide world" where people look down on goblins.
Who it's for: fantasy and fairy tale fans of all ages, who'll appreciate the playful visual in-jokes as well as the happily-ever-after conclusion.
Swap! by Steve LightWhat it's about: How do you repair a sailing ship with nothing but a button to your name? For a dejected sea captain and a peg-legged boy, all it takes is a bit of bartering to acquire sails, anchors, snazzy hats, and everything else they need to make their vessel shipshape!
With kids might like it: With hyper-detailed artwork and repeated opportunities to yell "SWAP!", this picture book inspires attention, interaction, and a practical approach to problem-solving.
Accident by Andrea TsurumiWhat it's about: "I've ruined everything!" wails Lola the armadillo. Mortified that she spilled juice on the couch, she decides to run away to the library, but her journey is hampered by other hapless animals, creating an epic pile-up of mishaps and mayhem.
Why kids might like it: Though it's crowded with countless calamities, this uproarious read is ultimately reassuring.
Reviewers say: "poring over the riotous illustrations is pure joy" (Booklist).
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