Best Books of 2019
Curl up with a good book! Our picks will amuse, amaze and inspire kids of all ages to keep reading.
by Lisl Detlefsen and Madeline Valentine (Roaring Brook Press)
Swimming lessons can be lots of fun. This cute book covers all the questions, from “Will my teacher be a mermaid?” to “When can I wear flippers?”
Around the Table that Grandad Built
by Melanie Heuiser Hill and Jaime Kim (Candlewick Press)
A celebration of family and friends and all they contribute at the table. Kids will enjoy reading about family and food as this cumulative story builds.
Bear Came Along
by Richard Morris and LeUyen Pham (Little, Brown and Company)
The river brings all the animals together in this heartwarming tale, showing us how we can all work together, no matter how different we may think we are.
The Bear, the Piano, the Dog, and the Fiddle
by David Litchfield (Clarion Books)
A tale of friendship, music, success, jealousy and forgiveness. Follow Hugo the dog as he seeks to keep the music alive and finds great success.
The Buddy Bench
by Patty Brozo and Mike Dias (Tilbury House Publishers)
The kids in Miss Mellon’s class learn how to include everyone in their playground games. This story encourages empathy and makes sure no one feels left out.
Elvis is King
by Jonah Winter and Red Nose Studio (Schwartz & Wade Books)
Learn all about Elvis’s rise to fame in this engaging book. The 3-D illustrations and stop-motion animation bring the pages to life.
The Favorite Book
by Bethanie Deeney Murguia (Candlewick Press)
How do you choose a favorite? This great book has a fun rhythm that encourages readers to think about how they pick their own favorites.
The Fisherman and the Whale
by Jessica Lanan (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Go on a wordless journey in this beautifully illustrated book where whale and man find themselves intertwined.
Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!
by Cori Doerrfeld (Dial Books)
In this compassionate book, follow two friends as they learn how to positively deal with changes big and small. Perfect for kids making life transitions, even just from preschool to kindergarten.
Grandpa’s Top Threes
by Wendy Meddour and Daniel Egneus (Candlewick)
Follow a grandfather and his grandson as they cope with the loss of a loved one and share a special connection.
by Fiona Woodcock (Greenwillow Books)
A brother and sister go on an outdoor adventure, featuring words with double L’s in this beautifully illustrated book.
How to Read a Book
by Kwame Alexander and Melissa Sweet (HarperCollins)
This playful and creatively illustrated book makes reading fun. Children will love following the instructions on how to read a book as the words jump around the pages.
I Got Next
by Daria Peoples-Riley (Greenwillow Books)
Put your game face on and never give up. All kids can learn from one boy’s desire and persistence in this fun basketball book with a message.
Make a Wish, Henry Bear
by Liam Francis Walsh (Roaring Brook Press)
Henry Bear’s birthday wish is to do whatever he wants, like stay up late and eat cake for breakfast. When he wakes up, he gets his wish – and can’t wait for life to return to normal.
Nope! Never! Not for Me!
by Samantha Cotterill (Dial Books)
While this book is aimed at kids with sensory issues, all picky little eaters will enjoy it. Follow a mom guiding her dinosaur-loving kid to “try-ceratop” broccoli.
My Mama is a Mechanic
by Doug Cenko (Blue Manatee Press)
Mama can do everything in this sweet, easy-to-read book that shows the loving relationship between a son and his mom.
by Mya Thompson and Claudia Dávila (Cornell Lab Publishing Group)
Ruby is introduced to bird watching by her neighbor. When she discovers the excitement it brings, she’s anxious to share the activity with her family.
by Ishta Mercurio and Jen Corace (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Follow Nanda as she grows up and an amazing world grows with her. See where her journey takes her – it’s out of this world!
by Beth Ferry and the Fan Brothers (HarperCollins)
Scarecrows are meant to protect the fields and scare animals away. This scarecrow shows true friendship when he saves a baby crow.
by Lupita Nyong’o (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers)
A debut book by Academy-award winning actress Nyong’o follows a young girl learning to embrace her dark skin. The beautifully illustrated story encourages readers to cherish all shades and that beauty comes from within.
Take Your Pet to School Day
by Linda Ashman and Suzanne Kaufman (Random House)
Kids will giggle at this silly, rhyming book. When students bring their pets to school, chaos ensues. The teachers are confused – who invited all the animals? The answer surprises everyone!
by Jean Reidy and Lucy Ruth Cummins (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Sarah is ready for a new adventure on her first day of school, but Truman, her tortoise, doesn’t know why she’s leaving. Follow Truman’s brave adventure as he tries to reunite with her.
Under My Hijab
by Hena Khan and Aaliya Jaleel (Lee & Low Books)
Follow a young girl as she observes the women in her life and how each covers her hair in a different way. A friendly introduction to hijabs that celebrates Muslim women and girls.
We Are (Not) Friends
by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant (Two Lions Publisher)
Two furry friends are having a playdate, but when a new friend joins them, one starts feeling left out. This cute and funny story shows how they work it all out.
What a Cold Needs
by Barbara Bottner and Chris Sheban (Neal Porter Books)
This sweet story is just what a kid needs to feel better. A young girl needs snuggles, warm socks, sympathy and more before she is up and running again.
You Made Me a Dad
by Laurenne Sala and Mike Malbrough (HarperCollins)
Having a baby changes everything. This sweet view of fatherhood is told from the dad’s perspective and shows with heart how we learn from each other.
Chapter Books, Graphic Novels and More
by Kayla Miller (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
This new graphic novel series follows fifth grader Olive as she discovers she just doesn’t quite click with kids at school anymore, and how she overcomes the challenge.
Maker Comics Bake Like a Pro
by Falynn Koch (Macmillan)
Kids will enjoy this educational maker series of graphic novels. Bake Like a Pro includes recipes to bake, the science of baking and ingredients that talk.
Just South of Home
by Karen Strong (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
In this page turner, find out what happens one summer when Cousins Sarah and Janie uncover the mysteries of their small southern town, and how they heal and come together.
Planet Earth is Blue
by Nicole Panteleakos (Wendy Lamb Books)
Twelve-year-old Nova, who is autistic, eagerly awaits the launch of the Challenger space shuttle, but her sister Bridget has disappeared. Nova is in a foster home and speaking is hard for her. As the launch of the shuttle draws closer, her teachers and family begin to see her potential.
Sweeping Up the Heart
by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow)
Spring break changes seventh-grader Amelia Albright’s life forever. Learn how staying at home, instead of taking a trip like everyone else, leads to learning about loneliness, loss and friendship.
Yasmin in Charge
by Saadia Faruqi and Hatem Aly (Picture Window Books)
Perfect for early readers, Yasmin’s quick thinking as a teacher, chef, zookeeper and superhero saves the day. Easy to read with fun illustrations and diverse characters.
Compiled by Laura Powell