Lupe Lopez: Rock Star Rules! by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo and Pat Zietlow Miller; illustrated by Joe CepedaHave fans, not friends: is the rule for aspiring rock star Lupe Lopez when she starts kindergarten. But when her pencil-drumstick beats result in trouble rather than celebrity, Lupe has to reconsider her own rules -- and her new classmates.
Read it for: lively, staccato onomatopoeia in English and Spanish, plus a charismatic heroine who changes her perspective without sacrificing her bold personality.
Music is a Rainbow by Bryan CollierWhat it is: "A poetic collage of emotion and purpose and a vibrant testament to the power of music" (Kirkus Reviews).
What happens: Heartbroken over his momma's absence and facing tough choices, a young boy remembers his father's advice -- "Leave room for that rainbow to find you. Broken is beautiful." -- as he seeks solace in piano.
Art alert: Celebrated illustrator Bryan Collier employs a myriad of colors to emphasize the feelings in the book's sweeping, swirling artwork.
Two Dogs by Ian FalconerWhat it's about: While their human family is away, dachshund siblings Augie and Perry relieve their boredom by annoying each other -- until they break out into the yard, where they can really cause some havoc.
Why kids might like it: Simple backgrounds call attention to every expressive detail in this witty and "exuberant display of canine choreography" (Publishers Weekly).
About the author: You might recognize author/illustrator Ian Falconer's style from his popular books about Olivia the pig.
A Seed Grows by Antoinette PortisWhat it is: An accessible introduction to the life cycle of a sunflower, from seed to sprout to blossom that produces new seeds.
Who it's for: While the simple, sunny illustrations offer an enchanting pleasure-read, the clear explanations and easy-to-understand words in A Seed Grows will also appeal to beginning readers or preschoolers exploring STEM concepts.
Every Dog in the Neighborhood by Philip C. Stead; illustrated by Matthew CordellWhat it's about: Determined Grandma and shaggy-haired grandchild Louis are each tackling a big project in their neighborhood: Grandma's churning out letters and clearing an empty lot, while Louis conducts a census of every resident dog (complete with visits and petting).
What happens: the two projects dovetail, uniting the community (human and canine alike).
Art alert: Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell doesn't skimp on details -- rendered in his trademark scribbly style, each person and dog exudes their own unique personality.
Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration by Samara Cole Doyon; illustrated by Kaylani JuanitaWhat it is: a celebration of the color brown in its rich variations.
Featuring: an inclusive, animated group of brown-skinned girls who connect with nature, family, or friends as they each describe all kinds of browns: amber, feathery, thundering, cozy, radiant, and deep.
Kids might also like: similarly sweet and affirming reads such as Angela Joy's Black Is A Rainbow Color or Ashok Banker's I Am Brown.
Lights on Wonder Rock by David LitchfieldWhat it's about: how one space-obsessed girl's childhood encounter with a friendly alien shapes her whole life.
Why kids might like it: While the minimal text will inspire curiosity about extraterrestrial life and gratitude for home and family, the illustrations -- packed with cinematic compositions and luminous colors -- invite a captivating sense of wonder.
All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed... by Annette Bay Pimentel; illustrated by Nabi H. AliWhat it is: the biography of young Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, who was so tired of a world not built for her wheelchair that she joined fellow disability activists in a powerful protest that helped to pass the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
Don't miss: the foreword by Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins herself, plus concluding facts and timelines for inquisitive older readers.
Try this next: Laurie Ann Thompson's Emmanuel's Dream, another galvanizing biography about a tenacious kid activist.
Snail Crossing by Corey R. TaborStarring: wide-eyed, pink-shelled Snail, who's bound for the succulent-looking cabbage patch across the road despite the risk of speeding cars, hungry birds, surprise rainstorms, and rowdy ants.
Why kids might like it: Though the protagonist may be small and slow, this charming picture book offers big adventure and lively illustrations.
Kids might also like: Matt Phelan's Turtle Walk or Dashka Slater's A Book for Escargot.
Green on Green by Dianne White; illustrated by Felicita SalaWhat it's about: one family's idyllic, color-soaked experience of nature across all four seasons.
How it's told: through "serene, incantatory" (Publishers Weekly) stanzas of poetry, overflowing with sensory details and featuring unique combinations of colors for each season.
Why kids might like it: In addition to the enchanting verses, Green on Green is also visually engaging, with recurring elements in the illustrations that kids will enjoy finding over and over again.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!