My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey BrownWhat it’s about: School is boring and the teacher is droning robot, at least according to Fred, who imagines himself a more exciting day: history class involves time travel, lunch is eaten on a space station, and recess is a battle between superheroes and mud monsters.
About the author: Kids and adults alike might recognize author/illustrator Jeffrey Brown’s cartoony art and off-kilter humor from his Star Wars-inspired books, Vader’s Little Princess and Vader and Son.
Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! by Cori DoerrfeldWhat it’s about: Facing change is often difficult for kids, but this gentle, winsome story reminds them that “every goodbye leads to a hello.”
What happens: As Stella finds a new best friend, mourns a pet goldfish, watches the seasons change, and moves to a new town, her experiences demonstrate how endings and beginnings are part of a cycle.
Try this next: For another rhythmic, reassuring read about transition, try Deborah Underwood’s Bad Bye, Good Bye.
The Evil Princess Vs. the Brave Knight by Jennifer Holm and Matthew HolmStarring: armor-clad Brave Knight and crown-wearing Evil Princess, two siblings who share a castle, a cat, and talent for getting on each other’s nerves.
Why kids might like it: With its combination of slapstick (Evil Princess unapologetically trips the Brave Knight) and sly visual humor ("a damsel in distress across the moat" is pictured as the cat perched above a full bathtub), this cartoon-illustrated tale will set off gales of giggles.
Vroom! by Barbara McClintockWhat it’s about: It’s “a fine evening for a drive,” and so Annie hops into her race car and zooms off for an imaginative road trip through city streets, up winding mountain roads, and around a racetrack, arriving back home in time for bed.
Why kids might like it: Just like Annie, kids will feel the wind in their hair as they pore over Vroom’s detailed art and listen to its simple, evocative words.
Truman by Jean Reidy; illustrated by Lucy Ruth CumminsWhat it's about: Tiny tortoise Truman is about the size of “a small donut,” and he loves his human, Sarah, so much that when she leaves one day aboard a city bus, Truman resolves to escape his tank and go find her.
Who it’s for: children who love imagining what their pets do when they’re away.
Kids might also like: Thyra Heder’s Alfie, for another adorable, heartwarming, turtle's-eye view of the world.
Up! How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones by Susan Hughes; illustrated by Ashley BarronWhat it is: From baskets to slings to the loving cradle of a mother's arms, this joyfully inclusive picture book looks at how family members carry babies in ten different parts of the world.
Why kids might like it: Younger children will relish the repetition of "upsy-daisy, baby!" on each spread, as well as the eye-catching colors and textures in the cut-paper illustrations.
This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World by Matt LamotheWhat it is: a visual guide to everyday customs in India, Italy, Iran, Japan, Peru, Russia, and Uganda, as experienced by seven real kids.
What’s inside: Crisp digital illustrations give readers a wealth of cultural details to pore over as they learn about the different ways these seven children eat, play, get dressed, go to school, go to bed, and more.
Don’t miss: the final pages, which provide a glossary, notes, and photos of the kids and their families.
If You Lived Here: Houses of the World by Giles LarocheWhat it is: a collection of meticulous, layered collages depicting 16 different homes from various times and places, including a Mongolian yurt, a Venetian palazzo, a Chilean palafito, and a Fujian tulou.
Why kids might like it: Curious kids will soak up the facts paired with each collage describing the house, how it’s built, and where it’s from.
Try this next: For further cross-cultural home comparisons, try Jeannie Baker’s Mirror or Carson Ellis’ Home.
We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands by Rafael LópezWhat it is: a colorful, contemporary take on a beloved spiritual.
What happens: As the updated words of the song appear, a child tosses a multicolored ball of yarn, creating ever-expanding loops and lines that connect diverse children around the globe.
Don’t miss: the included sheet music, for those who’d like to sing or play along.
Every Month is a New Year: Celebrations Around the World by Marilyn Singer; illustrated by Susan L. RothWhat it is: an introduction in verse to the variety of New Year celebrations that take place in different countries and cultures.
Art alert: vibrant mixed-media collages add depth to the poems, which cover such New Year’s holiday traditions as water fights (Thailand), speed-eating grapes (Spain), burning effigies (Ecuador), and gathering daisies (Ethiopia).
Who it’s for: older picture book readers, who can appreciate the book’s calendar format and sophisticated concepts.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!