All Because You Matter by Tami Charles; illustrated by Bryan CollierWhat it is: scenes from the life of one Black child, rendered in vibrant mixed media collage and paired with a moving, affirming poem that reminds Black kids of how much they matter.
Want a taste? “You were dreamed of, like a knapsack full of wishes carried on the backs of your ancestors as they created empires, pyramids, legacies.”
Try this next: Useni Eugene Perkins' Hey Black Child, Derrick Barnes' I Am Every Good Thing, and Christian Robinson's You Matter.
Sun Flower Lion by Kevin HenkesWhat it's about: While snoozing in the warmth of a flower-shaped sun, a little lion (whose mane resembles petals) dreams about a field of sun-drenched, scrumptious cookie-flowers.
Why kids might like it: Repeated shapes, gentle whimsy, and easy-to-read sentences give this book an inviting, approachable tone.
Who it's for: Bridging the gap between preschoolers and kids who've just started to read, Sun Flower Lion can be shared aloud by an experienced reader or explored independently by a beginner.
Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina; illustrated by Sonia SánchezStarring: imaginative Daniela, who introduces readers to Evelyn, "my mejor amiga, my número uno best friend."
What happens: Living in nearly identical apartments and playing together every day, Daniela and Evelyn are so close that they feel like twins. But all of that changes when a moving truck arrives to take Evelyn and her family away.
Why kids might like it: A hopeful ending, a relatable friendship, and exaggerated, pattern-filled illustrations combine to give the book a warm, lived-in feel.
Picture Book by Dog by Michael RelthNarrated by: Dog, an affable brown mutt who describes how he lived on the street and in a shelter before he was adopted by his best friend (a curly-haired girl) and her family.
Why kids might like it: While Dog's initial plight will tug on their heartstrings, kids will smile at Dog's well-intentioned mishaps as he adjusts to life with his forever family. (Don't miss Dog's map of places NOT to poop or chew!)
My Favorite Color by Aaron BeckerWhat it is: an interactive concept book that introduces readers to the varying hues within each color of the rainbow.
Why it stands out: evocative writing ("the dew-dappled colors of sweet, ripe fruits") accompanies inventive illustrations -- each page features a panoply of translucent vinyl swatches, allowing readers to see how colors change when held up to the light.
Kids might also like: the author's You Are Light, which takes a similar approach to the concept of light.
Just Because by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Isabelle ArsenaultWhat it's about: the time-honored bedtime-stalling tactic of asking questions.
What kind of questions? A not-sleepy child begins by asking why the ocean is blue, and follows up with queries such as "Why do leaves change color? What is a black hole? Why do people have to sleep?" For each question, the child's patient parent spins an imaginative answer.
Who it's for: Although kids who prefer factual answers may be disappointed, those who relish flights of fancy will be charmed.
All Ears, All Eyes by Richard Jackson; illustrated by Katherine TillotsonWhat it is: a hushed and awestruck dive into the sights and sounds of forest animals at twilight.
What's inside: Swirling lines and luminous colors distinguish the watercolor illustrations, while rhyming text rich with onomatopoeia invites both wonder and quiet calm.
Want a taste? "Fox, mouse, owl, bat, this and that (was that a cat?), in our deep, dark woods. Where? There! Shhh."
The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan; illustrated by Tom KnightWhat it's about: one child's pitch about why she should get to sleep in the big bed with her mom, instead of her dad. (For starters, he already has a mommy, and he's not afraid of the dark.)
Why kids might like it: The contrast between the girl's businesslike dialogue and her intense demeanor generates sly humor that will amuse kids and adults alike.
About the author: Caregivers might recognize author Bunmi Laditan as the creator of the Honest Toddler blog.
Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnellWhat it's about: A girl named Maggie hosts a sleepover for her pint-sized animal friends: bunny Clement, elephant Jean, and bear Alan Alexander.
Why kids might like it: Winsome illustrations enhance the coziness of the animals' games and their before-bed gratitude practice, while playful details (like "nom nom nom" sounds during snacktime) temper the story's sweetness with humor.
Did you know? The adorable animals in this book are named after iconic children's book creators Clement Hurd, Jean de Brunhoff, and A.A. Milne.
Goodnight, Good Dog by Mary Lyn Ray; illustrated by Rebecca MaloneWhat it's about: It's bedtime, but the little yellow dog in this book isn't ready for sleep. Instead, he remembers the happy events of his day until the soothing repetition of his memories makes him drowsy and ready to dream.
Why kids might like it: Though its gentle lines and comforting colors have a more contemporary look, Goodnight, Good Dog recalls the classic simplicity of Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon, and is bound to become a bedtime favorite.