Sam's Super Seats by Keah Brown; illustrated by Sharee MillerWhat it is: a back-to-school shopping trip with Sam and her best friends. Sam loves dancing, playing on the swings, and -- because having cerebral palsy can make her feel tired -- finding the best spots to sit and rest.
Reviewers say: "A spirited celebration of self-confidence and self-care" (Kirkus Reviews).
About the author: This warm and cheery picture book is the children's debut from writer Keah Brown, creator of #DisabledAndCute.
I Feel Safe by David McPhailWhat it's about: After being roused from sleep by a sudden thunderclap, a scared child is comforted by reassurances and soothing activities from mother, father, grandmother, and grandfather.
Why kids might like it: Velvety watercolor illustrations and a repeated refrain ("And I feel safe") enhance the story's sense of calm and coziness
Try this next: Stephen R. Swinburne's Safe in a Storm.
Pizza! A Slice of History by Greg PizzoliWhat it is: From the very first pizzas in Persia and Greece, to 19th-century Queen Margherita's taste for the dish, all the way to the ubiquitous fast food of today, this kid-friendly history of pizza (as told by an adorable rat) is equal parts informative and fun.
Art alert: The colors of the illustrations stay on theme, evoking iconic pizza ingredients as well as the Italian flag.
Further reading: Youngsters hungry for further foodie microhistories might also relish Pat Miller's The Hole Story of the Doughnut.
Moonlight by Stephen SavageWhat it's about: the different moods of moonlight -- adventurous, mischievous, mysterious, and more -- as it makes the suspenseful journey to illuminate a child's room.
What's inside: crisp, contemporary illustrations in shades of moonlight blue, a limited palette that complements the minimal, atmospheric text.
Try this next: Ida Pearle's The Moon Is Going to Addy's House.
Gold! by David ShannonStarring: Max, a pint-sized, ruthless lemonade mogul so obsessed with gold that he'll cross anyone to get it, from kind-hearted neighbor Sadie to his own parents.
What happens: After Max becomes so rich he can literally eat gold dust, the grotesque results of his greed prompt him to wonder: is it too late to change his ways?
Author buzz: This modern Midas tale is the latest from David Shannon, creator of perennial favorites No, David! and A Bad Case of Stripes.
In the Woods by David Elliott; illustrated by Rob DunlaveyWhat it is: A playful, wonder-inspiring collection of poems describing the panoply of creatures who make the forest their home during the different seasons.
Why kids might like it: The poems are fun for independent reading or a shared storytime, while the expressive watercolor artwork is sure to grab the attention of animal aficionados.
My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Jillian TamakiWhat it's about: Though they've only just met, two girls sense an immediate bond as they run around the playground, swap favorite ice cream flavors, stretch their imaginations, and share companionable quiet.
Art alert: Warm, nostalgic colors reinforce the instant intimacy between the budding besties.
Why kids might like it: Though it portrays only one of many ways to make friends, this gentle read celebrates the indefinable alchemy that can happen between kindred spirits.
Joy by Yasmeen Ismail; illustrated by Jenni DesmondWhat it's about: With a "bounce bounce boing boing ding-a-ling ring," a rambunctious kitten launches into play, zooming around until, with a "crash bang wallop bonk-a-donk," it takes a sudden tumble.
Don't worry: the mother cat swoops in for comforting cuddles until the kitten is ready for play once more.
Why kids might like it: Toddlers and preschoolers -- especially those prone to such joyful chaos -- will be drawn in by the exuberant onomatopoeia and infectious energy in this read-aloud.
What Will These Hands Make? by Nikki McClureWhat it's about: While preparing for a birthday celebration, a family considers all things handmade, from cherished or practical objects to less tangible things such as safety and community.
Art alert: Cut-paper illustrations with small pops of color encourage kids to take time and pay attention to each page, as well as to the world around them.
The final question: is geared toward kick-starting creativity, asking readers "what will your hands make?"
A Way with Wild Things by Larissa Theule; illustrated by Sara PalaciosWhat it's about: Introverted wallflower Poppy, typically happier in the fascinating company of bugs rather than people, emerges as a wildflower after her insect knowledge impresses her family.
Read it for: bright botanical hues and an appreciation for curiosity, observation, and tranquility.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!
Somerset County Library System of New Jersey1 Vogt Drive
P.O. Box 6700
Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807