Zonia's Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-NealWelcome to: the Peruvian Amazon, where Zonia, an Asháninka girl, answers the call of the surrounding rain forest by visiting its many animal residents.
What's inside: river dolphins, sloths, coatis, a caiman, and even a companionable boa constrictor -- as well as an urgent appeal to protect their home.
Don't miss: the rain forest facts and Asháninka translation in the final pages, and the blue morpho butterfly that appears throughout the book.
The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome PumphreyWhat it's about: a little green-and-white boat and the family that goes fishing in it, generation after generation. At first, they take the beauty of their seaside home for granted, but environmental changes -- and a big storm -- help them gain a new perspective.
Series alert: Although they tell different stories, this follow-up to The Old Truck also offers minimal text, retro stamped illustrations, and an uplifting multi-generational story.
The Ramble Shamble Children by Christina Soontornvat; illustrated by Lauren CastilloWhat it's about: Tucked away near the mountainside live five children who work together to maintain their scruffy house and garden. (Even the baby "helps" by looking after the mud.) After they find a book with pictures of a "proper house," however, the they begin to wonder: should their house be fancier?
Read it for: bright, softly textured illustrations and a sweet message about what makes a house a home.
Kids might also like: Julie Fogliano's The House That Once Was.
Watercress by Andrea Wang; illustrated by Jason ChinWhat it's about: A Chinese American girl on a car ride with her family is mortified when her immigrant parents pull over to pick wild watercress from the Ohio roadside. It's not until later, when her mom shares a poignant memory, that the girl's embarrassment turns to understanding.
About the author: Watercress was inspired by award-winning author Andrea Wang's own childhood.
Try this next: Bao Phi's A Different Pond, another quietly moving book about connection and resilience in immigrant families.
Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler; illustrated by Loren LongWhat it is: a rhyming ode to the hardworking tradespeople whose skills turn ideas into buildings, places, and objects for people to enjoy.
Featuring: carpenters, welders, plumbers, construction workers, electricians, and many more -- including the typesetters, press operators, and other workers who produce picture books like this one.
Want a taste? "All across this great big world, jobs are getting done by many hands in many lands. It takes much more than ONE."
Fix That Clock by Kurt CyrusWhat it’s about: The old clock tower is “rusty, dusty, moldy, musty,” and home to all sorts of small animals. Then, with a “Trampl! Tramp! Tramp!” and “Creak -- Crack -- Crash!”, a construction crew rebuilds the rickety tower -- and crafts some custom animal homes, too.
Why kids might like it: With plenty of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, Fix That Clock is a read-aloud that kids will want to hear again and again.
Little Excavator by Anna DewdneyWhat it's about: Little Excavator is tiny, yellow, and bursting with can-do spirit, even though the bigger vehicles won't let him help on the construction site.
Why kids might like it: Little Excavator's rhythmic text is packed with machine sounds that are "just begging to be read aloud with dramatic effect" (Kirkus Reviews).
Try this next: For another exuberant anthropomorphic construction vehicle, try Candace Fleming's Bulldozer series.
I'm Tough! by Kate and Jim McMullanStarring: a smiling red pickup truck who isn't the biggest vehicle on the farm, but is definitely the toughest.
Why kids might like it: While many kids are sure to enjoy the plentiful exclamation points and accessible guide to truck parts, others may be encouraged to see the truck prove that determination is more important than size.
Series alert: I'm Tough! is the latest in the popular vehicle series that begins with I Stink!
Three Cheers for Kid McGear! by Sherri Duskey RinkerIntroducing: Kid McGear, a shiny new skid steer who gets sidelined by the more experienced construction trucks on the site.
Read it for: mechanical details, a cheery color palette, and a satisfying storyline in which Kid McGear gets to show her crew what she's made of.
Series alert: Kid McGear is the newest member of the vehicle cohort that first appeared in Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.
Smashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha; illustrated by Dan YaccarinoStarring: wrecking-ball operator Mr. Gilly, who's ready to SMASH, CRASH, CRUMBLE, and TUMBLE old buildings so that new ones can be built.
Read it for: big machines. gleeful destruction, and a refrain ("Is the demolition done?") that encourages interaction (because kids love yelling "NO!").
For fans of: Mr. Gilly’s 1st outing in Trashy Town.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!