Bears and Dolls and Stuffies, Oh My!

Grab your favorite cuddly toy and grab one of these books – whether you’re looking for cozy or spooky, there’s something for everyone!

Always By My Side: A Stuffie Story
By Jennifer Black Reinhardt
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593173824 | Random House BFYR
A celebration of the special connection that exists between a young child and their comfort stuffed animal. Follow a little boy as he gradually outgrows the need for the constant presence for his comforting companion – a stuffed green dinosaur. But as the stuffed animal narrates, none of us grow out of loving our favorite toys, and, perhaps, they never stop loving us back. When you need a loving hug, or a cuddle of reassurance, or just someone to play with, fuzzy creatures big and small, short and tall, will always be your friend.

Book Buddies: Ivy Lost and Found
By Cynthia Lord
Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
80 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536213546 | Candlewick
Ivy was Anne the librarian’s doll when she was a young girl. But now she has moved to Anne’s library to be its newest Book Buddy – a toy that can be checked out just like a book. Ivy isn’t sure she wants to be borrowed, though. She’d rather go back to just being Anne’s favorite toy. Fern, a child who visits the library with her stepfamily, also wishes things could go back to the way they were, when Fern had her dad all to herself. When Fern takes Ivy home, an unexpected outdoor adventure helps both of them find confidence and belonging in their changing worlds. This heartwarming story by Cynthia Lord, with a classic feel and gentle illustrations by Stephanie Graegin, is the first in a chapter-book series that pairs friendly toys with child characters who need them.

Gemma and the Giant Girl
By Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Marie Lafrance
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263673 | Tundra Books
Gemma has always lived in a very nice little house, always slept in the same room and always worn the same clothes. A doll in an old forgotten dollhouse, Gemma wonders if she will ever grow up, but her parents tell her she will always be their little girl. Until, one day, the dollhouse is opened by a GIANT, and Gemma’s whole life changes. New things are introduced into the little house – and Gemma finally has an opportunity to leave what’s familiar and see the enormous world beyond. A story that evokes children’s classics, Gemma and the Giant Girl is a gorgeously illustrated and poignant tale of what it feels like to be small in a big world and how even the smallest among us can take charge of our own destinies.

I Am Not a Dog Toy
By Ethan T. Berlin
Illustrated by Jared Chapman
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593119013 | Random House BFYR
A fun bear, who wears a vest with many pockets, is the brand new toy for a little girl. Bear couldn’t be more excited to play with the girl, but she is a little less than enthused. In fact, she throws him into the dog’s water bowl. Splash! Bear doesn’t take the hint. Dog, however, is very excited to play with Bear. But Bear insists he is not a dog toy, he is a kid’s toy. So he keeps trying to get the girl’s attention . . . to no avail. Will Bear ever realize that Dog is the better friend? Kids making friends will see that friendship isn’t really friendship unless it’s reciprocated in this hilarious and sweet picture book.

Kafka and the Doll
By Larissa Theule
Illustrated by Rebecca Green
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593116326 | Viking BFYR
Inspired by a true story, Kafka and the Doll recounts a remarkable gesture of kindness from one of the world’s most bewildering and iconic writers. In the fall of 1923, Franz Kafka encountered a distraught little girl on a walk in the park. She’d lost her doll and was inconsolable. Kafka told her the doll wasn’t lost, but instead, traveling the world and having grand adventures! And to reassure her, Kafka began delivering letters from the doll to the girl for weeks. The legend of Kafka and the doll has captivated imaginations for decades as it reveals the playful and compassionate side of a man known for his dark and brooding tales. Kafka and the Doll is a testament to living life to the fullest and to the life-changing power of storytelling.

The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story
By Charis Cotter
360 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269064 | Tundra Books
Alice’s world is falling apart. Her parents are getting a divorce, and they’ve cancelled their yearly cottage trip – the one thing that gets Alice through the school year. Instead, Alice and her mom are heading to some small town where Alice’s mom will be a live-in nurse to a rich elderly lady. The house is huge, imposing, and spooky, and everything inside is meticulously kept and perfect – not a fun place to spend the summer. Things start to get weird when Alice finds a dollhouse in the attic that’s an exact replica of the house she’s living in. Then she wakes up to find a girl asleep next to her in her bed – a girl who looks a lot like one of the dolls from the dollhouse. . . . When the dollhouse starts to change when Alice isn’t looking, she knows she has to solve the mystery. Who are the girls in the dollhouse? What happened to them? And what is their connection to the mean and mysterious woman who owns the house?

The Dollhouse Murders (35th Anniversary Edition)
By Betty Ren Wright
Illustrated by Leo Nickolls
Foreword by R. L. Stine
160 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780823439843 | Holiday House
Amy is terrified. She hears scratching and scurrying noises coming from the dollhouse in the attic, and the dolls she was playing with are not where she left them. Dolls can’t move by themselves, she tells herself. But every night when Amy goes up to check on the dollhouse, it’s filled with an eerie light and the dolls have moved again! Are the dolls trying to tell her something? Could this all be connected to the murders of her great-grandparents? Sinister secrets unravel as Amy gets closer to revealing the mystery of the dolls in this haunting novel that combines complicated family relationships with a bone-chilling mystery. Even readers who love scary stories will want to keep the lights on after finishing! The all-new foreword and jacket art make this spooky classic, an Edgar award nominee, perfect for sharing with a new generation.

Teddy Bear of the Year
By Vikki VanSickle
Illustrated by Sydney Hanson
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263925 | Tundra Books
Ollie is a regular bear with a regular job. He listens to his girl’s stories about her days, he snuggles her to sleep and he is there waiting when she gets home from school. Just your typical teddy bear stuff. So when he is whisked away to the annual teddy bears’ picnic, he feels insignificant compared to the other bears who do daring and daunting things: sleepovers, hospital stays – even a night in the lost and found! Ollie feels even more small and unimportant but he soon learns that it’s not just the big things that matter, it’s the little things too.

National Family Day

National Family Day is September 26! It’s a good day to honor the people in your life who make up your family, even if you aren’t related. Here are some books celebrating all kinds of found families.

Antonia: A Journey to a New Home
By Dipacho
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781662650451 | MineditionUS
Like so many people around the world facing difficult times, the little girl and her family in this eye-catching and emotionally satisfying picture book have had to leave their home. The girl has brought along her belongings and her friendly, curious dog, Antonia. While waiting for a boat to take them across a river, she plays with other children who’ve also brought pets – a duck and a bird. But on the other side of the river, Antonia goes missing in the brush. The girl is distraught, until a new friend releases his own pet bird from its cage in an extraordinary gesture of solidarity and freedom. With colorful, whimsical illustrations and an uplifting message of resilience, this US debut from a talented Colombian creator will leave readers with a full heart.

Better Together!
By Amy Robach and Andrew Schue
Illustrated by Lenny Wen
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593205693 | Flamingo Books
From Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach and her husband, actor Andrew Shue comes a sweet tale about finding common ground and accepting and appreciating each others’ differences. When a big thunderstorm shakes their woodland home, the Squirrelly family must flee their nest for a hollow in an oak tree. To their surprise, the McMunk family had the exact same idea. This family of squirrels and a family of chipmunks must find ways to live together – which isn’t always easy since they come from different backgrounds. But after some important lessons in compromise, the Squirrellys and the McMunks realize that life is better together as the McSquirrelies.

Carpenter’s Helper
By Sybil Rosen
Illustrated by Camille Garoche
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593123201 | Schwartz & Wade
Join a girl as she helps a mama and papa bird build a nest in her bathroom, hatch their eggs, and teach their babies to fly away. Renata and her Papi are hard at work at renovating their bathroom. Renata can’t wait to build castles of bubbles in the deep, old-fashioned bathtub. But one morning, she finds dried leaves and pine needles heaped on a shelf in the corner. How did they get there? She soon realizes that a bird has built a nest on the shelf, and inside it are four rosy eggs! Weeks pass, and Renata watches as the wrens come and go, building a home in her bathroom . . . until, one day, with a little help from Renata, the birds are ready to fly.

Nosotros Means Us: Un cuento bilingüe
By Paloma Valdivia
40 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593305140 | Knopf BFYR
If I were a sheep, you would be a lamb.
If I were a bear, you would be a cub.
As a mother holds her toddler, they muse over the way their love would translate if they were different animals. But no matter how they change, they will always be “us.” This bilingual story is a timeless ode to the unshakable bond between parent and child.

Olu and Greta
By Diana Ejaita
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593384909 | Rise x Penguin Workshop
Olu lives in Lagos, Nigeria; his cousin, Greta, lives in Milan, Italy. Though their lives may be different, their ways of living and playing are quite similar. They both roller skate; they both skip down the street; they both play with toy trains, trucks, and boats . . . and they both dream of meeting and being together. Debut author-illustrator Diana Ejaita references her own childhood and heritage to create a rich, poignant, and authentic portrayal of Nigeria, of Italy, and of the unity of childhood.

Over the Shop
By JonArno Lawson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201475 | Candlewick
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.

Sister, Brother, Family: An American Childhood in Music
By Willie Nelson, Bobbie Nelson, and Chris Barton
Illustrated by Kyung Eun Han
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984851833 | Doubleday BFYR
He was a boy with a guitar. She was a girl with a piano. Raised by loving grandparents in Depression-era rural Texas, their humble beginnings playing local shows to put food on the table started Willie and Bobbie Nelson on a remarkable path to global stardom. In a story filled with details of a childhood in rural Texas – with church socials, general stores, and town dances – Willie and Bobbie weave together an inspiring story of a long-ago time. With triumphs and tragedies, hard work and determination, here is a deeply personal, gorgeously-written, and profoundly moving tale of hope.

The Bench
By Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex
Illustrated by Christian Robinson
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735272163 | Tundra Books
In The Bench, Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, touchingly captures the evolving and expanding relationship between father and son and reminds us of the many ways that love can take shape and be expressed in a modern family. Evoking a deep sense of warmth, connection, and compassion, The Duchess’s debut children’s book gives us a window into shared and enduring moments between a diverse group of fathers and sons – moments of peace and reflection, trust and belief, discovery and learning, and comfort and nurture. Working in watercolor for the first time, Caldecott-winning, bestselling illustrator Christian Robinson expands on his signature style to bring joy and softness to the pages, reflecting the beauty of a father’s love through a mother’s eyes. With a universal message, this thoughtful and heartwarming read-aloud is destined to be treasured by families for generations to come.

The Circles All Around Us
By Brad Montague
Illustrated by Brad and Kristi Montague
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593323182 | Dial Books
This is the story of a circle. When we’re first born, our circle is very small, but as we grow and build relationships, our circle keeps getting bigger and bigger to include family, friends, neighbors, community, and beyond. Brad Montague originally created Circles as an Instagram video adorably narrated by his kids, and now this picture book adaptation is the perfect way to start a conversation about how to expand our worlds with kindness and inclusivity – even if it seems scary or uncomfortable. This book makes an ideal new-baby, first-day-of-school, or graduation gift, or any milestone that celebrates someone’s world getting bigger.

The Worm Family Has Its Picture Taken
By Jennifer Frank
Illustrated by David Ezra Stein
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593124789 | Anne Schwartz Books
Emma is excited for her worm family to have their portrait taken. But when she sees her other friends’ portraits, she gets discouraged. “We had the most beautiful smiles,” Ellie the Chipmunk squeals. Abigail the Cat meows, “I looked gorgeous with my big poufy hair.” The worm family doesn’t have teeth . . . how will they show their beautiful smiles? They don’t have hair either . . . how can it look big and poufy?! So Emma gathers wigs, giant fake teeth, and colorful clothing for her parents and sisters. But it’s only after taking off their costumes that the worm family is able to wriggle and squiggle and squeeze into a delightful pose that only a worm family can make. And Emma? She thinks it’s perfectly perfect.

What Will My Story Be?
By Nidhi Chanani
40 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593205068 | Viking BFYR
After spending an afternoon listening to her aunties tell her stories from their pasts, a young girl ruminates on all of the tales that she can create using her imagination and begins to feel as if the possibilities for her future are endless. Filled with Nidhi Chanani’s signature vibrant illustrations, What Will My Story Be? is for anyone who finds inspiration in the quiet moments and cherishes the wisdom of the generations that came before them.

You Are Always Loved
By Madeleine Dean and Harry Cunnane
Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593309247 | Random House BFYR
An evergreen message about hope and unconditional love is told through the story of a bunny separated from its parent during a rainstorm and all the forest friends who come together to offer help. This lyrical book will touch children who have experienced deep loneliness or isolation, and is crafted especially for those who know the unique heartache of witnessing a family member suffer from addiction.

Best Books for Cooks

Today is National Cooking Day! We here at Tundra Book Group + Friends love books about food – here are some of our fave options for budding foodies (and readers!)!

Alice Fleck’s Recipes for Disaster
By Rachelle Delaney
256 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269279 | Puffin Canada
Alice Fleck’s father is a culinary historian, and for as long as she can remember, she’s been helping him recreate meals from the past – a hobby she prefers to keep secret from kids her age. But when her father’s new girlfriend enters them into a cooking competition at a Victorian festival, Alice finds herself and her hobby thrust into the spotlight. And that’s just the first of many surprises awaiting her. On arriving at the festival, Alice learns that she and her father are actually contestants on Culinary Combat, a new reality TV show hosted by Tom Truffleman, the most famous and fierce judge on TV! And to make matters worse, she begins to suspect that someone is at work behind the scenes, sabotaging the competition. It’s up to Alice, with the help of a few new friends, to find the saboteur before the entire competition is ruined, all the while tackling some of the hardest cooking challenges of her life . . . for the whole world to see.

Every Cake Has a Story
By Christina Tosi
Illustrated by Emily Balsley
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593110683 | Dial Books
Everything in Samesville is exactly the same, from the people and their clothes to the houses and their doors. So one night before going to bed, Sammi tucks a recipe card under her pillow and wishes that things were not the same. And when she wakes up, that white, black, gray sameness is gone, replaced with things that are bolder and brighter and wilder than ever before! With her newly colorful world and a new recipe book, she gathers her friends and makes the most magical cake, beautiful and different – just like Sammi and her friends. Things will never be the same again.

Frankie’s Favorite Food
By Kelsey Garrity-Riley
36 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264311 | Tundra Books
Frankie has a problem: he has too many favorite foods. He can’t bring himself to choose just one to be for the school play, so on the day of the performance, he’s still without a costume. His teacher comes up with a delicious idea: what if Frankie becomes the Costume Manager? That way, he can parlay his love of all things culinary into the whole production. From adding some last-minute garnishes to helping the rice and beans into their costumes, Frankie shines backstage until he has a brilliant idea and decides to make his debut on the menu as something that combines his love for all his favorite foods . . . In this funny and scrumptiously adorable story, readers will delight in the variety of foods represented and the clever performances full of silly word play and sweet camaraderie. In Kelsey Garrity-Riley’s author-illustrator debut, she shows the joy of food and revels in celebrating the way food can bring people together and inspire creativity.

Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast
By David Ezra Stein
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536207781 | Candlewick
It’s bright and early on a Saturday morning, and the little red chicken wants cookies for breakfast. What better way to persuade Papa than by jarring him awake and gleefully interjecting cookies – and herself! – into every nursery rhyme they read together? Though the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe heartily endorses the little red chicken’s plan, Papa has his own idea for a sweet breakfast for his determined daughter. Featuring the same riotous charm and bright, bold art as Interrupting Chicken and Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise, David Ezra Stein’s third installment will have any fan with a sweet tooth and a love of meta rhyme clamoring to find out: will the early bird get the cookie?

It Happened on Sweet StreetIt Happened on Sweet Street
By Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
44 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918852 | Tundra Books
Cakes, cookies or pie? A rivalry among local bakers is the basis for this deliciously sweet, off-the-wall picture book. Monsieur Oliphant’s cake shop, the only bakery game in town, has long had customers lining up outside its door for Oliphant’s delicious jelly rolls and marvelous wedding cakes . . . until the day cookie concocter Mademoiselle Fée takes over the old shoemaker’s shop. And it isn’t long before the divine piemaker Madame Clotilde soon moves into the old bric-a-brac shop. Three different bakers all trying to outclass one another means their little cul-de-sac is packed with customers every day and night, so, one morning, when everyone is bumpling and jostling each other with their cakes, cookies and pies, a food disaster – a massacre of cream, a devastation of crumbs – is inevitable! Only one little girl has the drive (or appetite?) to find a solution, but can it last? This madcap tale of frenzied cooks and zany eats (and one very lucky town) will delight readers with a sweet tooth of any age!

Julia, Child
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735264014 | Tundra Books
Julia and Simca are two young friends who agree that you can never use too much butter – and that it is best to be a child forever. Sharing a love of cooking and having no wish to turn into big, busy people who worry too much and dawdle too little, they decide to create a feast for growing and staying young. A playful, scrumptious celebration of the joy of eating, the importance of never completely growing up and mastering the art of having a good time, Julia, Child is a fictional tale loosely inspired by the life and spirit of the very real Julia Child – a story that should be taken with a grain of salt and a generous pat of butter.

Kate the Chemist: The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids
By Dr. Kate Biberdorf
112 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593116197 | Philomel Books
Did you know that all cooking is really chemistry? And that chocolate chip cookies will look – and taste – completely different if you swap out baking powder for baking soda? Or swap out brown sugar for white sugar? In this cookbook packed with 25 edible science experiment recipes kids can do in their own kitchen, chemistry professor and science entertainer Kate the Chemist introduces young scientists to the fascinating world of STEM – and cooking! Each recipe includes step-by-step instructions, an ingredients list, full-color photographs, a messiness factor rating, and a note from Kate explaining the science behind each delicious treat.

Let’s Taco Bout How Great You Are
By Bob Holt
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593182017 | Doubleday BFYR
Advice, pep-talks, smiles, and silly puns aplenty are DISHED out (see what I did there?) in this bright, festive gift book that celebrates the reader on every page. Perfect for graduation, birthdays, or any big milestones in a kid’s life, here is a picture book that tells your young superstar that you are hap-PEA to know them and they can’t be BEET. So LETTUCE all yell, “Yay, you!”

Lunch Lady #1: Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute
By Jarrett J. Krosoczka
96 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Paperback
ISBN 9780375846830 | Knopf BFYR
Serving justice . . . and lunch! Hector, Terrence, and Dee have always wondered about their school lunch lady. What does she do when she isn’t dishing out the daily special? Where does she live? Does she have a lot of cats at home? Little do they know, Lunch Lady doesn’t just serve sloppy joes – she serves justice! Whatever danger lies ahead, it’s no match for LUNCH LADY!

McTavish Takes the Cake
By Meg Rosoff
Illustrated by Grace Easton
96 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536213751 | Candlewick
Pa Peachey has gotten it in his head that he is going to be the baker in the family, and the Peacheys and their dog, McTavish, are more than a little surprised. Stunned, in fact. Ever since Ma Peachey declared herself free of the cooking responsibilities, Betty, Ava, and Ollie have taken turns making inventive and delicious meals. But Pa thinks he can do better, even though his cakes are as flat as manhole covers and his cookies turn to charcoal. When the town announces a baking competition with a big prize, Pa is convinced he will enter an absolute masterpiece. Now the Peacheys have to decide: should they be honest with Pa and tell him his confections are contemptible, or should they support his high-flying dreams? Or could McTavish have a last-minute option at the ready?

Monster Food
By Daisy Hirst
18 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9781536217742 | Candlewick
What do little monsters like to eat? Daisy Hirst infuses a bright, funny board book with her offbeat charm. Some monsters eat peaches. Some monsters eat pears. And then there are monsters who eat only chairs. Some monsters like noodles and some prefer stew, but there’s always that one you’ll see eating a shoe, or . . . a rake? Picky little eaters, adventurous eaters, and born jokesters alike will see themselves in this comedy of cuisine, perfectly suited for the youngest (and hungriest) of listeners.

Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea!
By Linda Ashman
Illustrated by Alea Marley
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204834 | Candlewick
To Abby, her friend Phoebe can do no wrong. Phoebe is speedy. Phoebe is smart. She’s equally brilliant at science and art. So when the budding hostess invites Phoebe over for a tea party, everything from the sugary treats on the menu to Abby’s dog, Louie, must be, well . . . perfect. But when life – and possibly Louie – send a clear message to let loose, the girls indulge in a perfectly imperfect playdate. Linda Ashman’s vivacious rhyme and Alea Marley’s inviting illustrations serve up a classic tale of enduring friendship at a tea party that will leave readers wanting to pull up a chair.

Phoebe G. Green #1: Lunch Will Never Be the Same!
By Veera Hiranandani
Illustrated by Christine Almeda
128 Pages | Ages 6-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593096895 | Penguin Workshop
Phoebe loves her pet fish, Betty #2 (named after Betty #1, may she rest in peace), making lists, and her best friend Sage. But when Camille, a tall French girl, arrives at school with unusual lunches, Phoebe can’t seem to think about anything else, including her friendship with Sage. Thanks to Camille, Phoebe discovers goat cheese, butter lettuce, and cilantro (although she’s convinced that’s not a real word). She’s determined to get invited to her new friend’s house for dinner to see what other mysterious food Camille eats. But what about Sage? Can Phoebe make a new friend and keep an old one?

There’s a Dodo on the Wedding Cake
By Wade Bradford
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536208849 | Candlewick
For his return visit to the wacky Sharemore Hotel, Mr. Snore will be playing his violin at a fancy wedding. As he waits for his cue to join the ceremony, he admires the wedding cake . . . and notices that he’s not alone in ogling that tower of frothy perfection. Is that a dodo, eating one of the frosting roses? As more and more creatures enter the scene – including two beavers, a boa constrictor, and a bunch of bats – it’s hard to tell who’s a guest and who’s a pest. But Mr. Snore, rushing the cake trolley from room to room, is going to do his heroic best to save that prize from sure disaster. From author and playwright Wade Bradford and award-winning illustrator Kevin Hawkes comes a madcap encore to There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor, starring the ever-proper Mr. Snore.

Tomatoes for Neela
By Padma Lakshmi
Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593202708 | Viking BFYR
Neela loves cooking with her amma and writing down the recipes in her notebook. It makes her feel closer to her paati who lives far away in India. On Saturdays, Neela and Amma go to the green market and today they are buying tomatoes to make Paati’s famous sauce. But first, Neela needs to learn about all the different kinds of tomatoes they can pick from. And as Neela and Amma cook together, they find a way for Paati to share in both the love and the flavors of the day. Bestselling author and host of Bravo’s Top Chef and Hulu’s Taste the Nation Padma Lakshmi takes young readers on an intergenerational journey full of delicious flavors and fun food facts that celebrates a family’s treasured recipes.

#PenguinIcebreakers with Alexandra Leigh Young

As you may know, we’ve been doing #PenguinIcebreakers over on Instagram for the last year. Alexandra Leigh Young, author of Idol Gossip, decided to change things up by sending us her answers in written form – check them out below, along with our K-pop playlist inspired by our #Penguin10 titles!

#PenguinIcebreakers with Alexandra Leigh Young

What’s the weirdest/most random book on your bookshelf?

The most random book on my bookshelf has to be Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. Years ago, I was alone in a subway station in Manhattan late at night, waiting for a train back to Brooklyn, and I noticed a book had been abandoned on the bench next to me. On a whim, I picked it up and read it on the train all the way home. It ended up being one of my favorite books of all time, and I am so grateful to whoever left it there!

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading Made in Korea by Sarah Suk and My Year of Meats by Ruth L. Ozeki.

What is the one book you tell everyone to read?

Earlier this year, I read Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor and recommended it to everyone in my life. I am a better person for having read that book.

Alexandra Leigh Young at Books Are Magic

What’s a unique or unexpected talent that you have?

Most people don’t know this, but I used to be a competitive pole vaulter in high school. I even held my school’s record until my best friend’s little sister broke it years later!

If you could be quarantined anywhere in the world, where would you be?

I was an exchange student in Hokkaido, Japan when I was in middle school, and I’ve continued to visit over the years. Japan makes me feel deeply nostalgic for my childhood, and it’s been calling to me during the pandemic.

Thanks, Alexandra! Make sure to check out Idol Gossip, in stores now!

Want some more K-pop (and YA) in your lives? Here’s our playlist of songs inspired by our #Penguin10!


Idol Gossip
By Alexandra Leigh Young
352 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536213645 | Walker Books US
Every Friday after school, seventeen-year-old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong to sing karaoke. Back in San Francisco, when she still had friends and earthly possessions, Alice took regular singing lessons. But since their diplomat mom moved them to Seoul, her only musical outlet is vamping it up in a private karaoke booth to an audience of one: her loyal sister. Then a scout for Top10 Entertainment, one of the biggest K-pop companies, hears her and offers her a spot at their Star Academy. Can Alice navigate the culture clashes, egos, and extreme training practices of K-pop to lead her group onstage before a stadium of 50,000 chanting fans – and just maybe strike K-pop gold? Not if a certain influential blogger and the anti-fans get their way. . . . This debut novel is about standing out and fitting in, dreaming big and staying true. It will speak to fans of K-pop and to anyone who is trying to take their talents to the next level.

Alexandra Leigh Young: website | instagram

Wordless Books

There aren’t enough words to describe these wonderful titles. Wordless books can be a huge asset for emerging readers and a great resource for parents and educators. Here are some we love:

Antonia: A Journey to a New Home
By Dipacho
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781662650451 | MineditionUS
Like so many people around the world facing difficult times, the little girl and her family in this eye-catching and emotionally satisfying picture book have had to leave their home. The girl has brought along her belongings and her friendly, curious dog, Antonia. While waiting for a boat to take them across a river, she plays with other children who’ve also brought pets – a duck and a bird. But on the other side of the river, Antonia goes missing in the brush. The girl is distraught, until a new friend releases his own pet bird from its cage in an extraordinary gesture of solidarity and freedom. With colorful, whimsical illustrations and an uplifting message of resilience, this US debut from a talented Colombian creator will leave readers with a full heart.

Dandelion’s Dream
By Yoko Tanaka
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204537 | Candlewick
In a meadow filled with dandelion buds just about to flower, one dandelion blooms into a real lion. Roots and leaves unfurl into four tiny paws and a long tail with a fluffy yellow tuft. What a great, wide world there is to explore when you have paws instead of roots: there are fast trains to ride, regal ships to sail, and cities with lights as bright as Dandelion’s field in full bloom. But will a real lion ever be content to go back to being a rooted dandelion? Yoko Tanaka’s exquisite illustrations take us on an adventure where even the smallest seeds contain cosmic dreams.

Field Trip to the Ocean Deep
By John Hare
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446308 | Margaret Ferguson Books
Students dressed in deep sea helmets travel to the ocean deep in a yellow school-bus submarine. When they get there, they frolic with fish, chase luminescent squid, and discover an old shipwreck. But when it’s time to return to the submarine bus, one student lingers to take a photo of a treasure chest and falls into a deep ravine. Luckily, the child makes an unexpected friend – a maybe-not-so-extinct sea creature called a Pleiosaur – that’s happy to entertain the young explorer until the teacher returns.

Hike
By Pete Oswald
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201574 | Candlewick
In the cool and quiet early light of morning, a father and child wake up. Today they’re going on a hike. Follow the duo into the mountains as they witness the magic of the wilderness, overcome challenges, and play a small role in the survival of the forest. By the time they return home, they feel alive – and closer than ever – as they document their hike and take their place in family history. In detail-rich panels and textured panoramas, Pete Oswald perfectly paces this nearly wordless adventure, allowing readers to pause for subtle wonders and marvel at the views. A touching tribute to the bond between father and child, with resonant themes for Earth Day, Hike is a breath of fresh air.

How to Talk Monster
By Lynn Plourde
Illustrated by Mike Lowery
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525515807 | Putnam BFYR
A Little Boy is just trying to go to sleep when a Little Monster creeps up to his window and . . . says goop-zee-googy! Or, peek-a-boo!, in case you don’t speak Monster. Hilarity ensues as the Little Monster tries to play with the Little Boy despite the language barrier. While at first scared, the Little Boy comes to Little Monster’s rescue when he gets hurt and the two new friends are able to play together all night long. Complete with a glossary translating the monster language used throughout, this classic nighttime adventure story will have little readers wishing for a Little Monster to knock on their window at night.

I Walk with Vanessa: A Picture Book Story About a Simple Act of Kindness
By Kerascoët
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524769550 | Schwartz & Wade
Inspired by real events, I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. By choosing only pictures to tell their story, the creators underscore the idea that someone can be an ally without having to say a word. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and strength in numbers, this timeless and profound feel-good story will resonate with readers young and old.

Journey
By Aaron Becker
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763660536 | Candlewick
A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

La La La
By Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Jaime Kim
72 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763658335 | Candlewick
“La la la . . . la.” A little girl stands alone and sings, but hears no response. Gathering her courage and her curiosity, she skips farther out into the world, singing away to the trees and the pond and the reeds – but no song comes back to her. Day passes into night, and the girl dares to venture into the darkness toward the light of the moon, becoming more insistent in her singing, climbing as high as she can, but still there is silence in return. Dejected, she falls asleep on the ground, only to be awakened by an amazing sound. . . . She has been heard. At last. With the simplest of narratives and the near absence of words, Kate DiCamillo conveys a lonely child’s yearning for someone who understands. With a subtle palette and captivating expressiveness, Jaime Kim brings to life an endearing character and a transcendent landscape that invite readers along on an emotionally satisfying journey.

Over the Shop
By JonArno Lawson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201475 | Candlewick
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.

Stormy: A Story About Finding a Forever Home
By Guojing
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524771768 | Schwartz & Wade
In this heartwarming, wordless picture book that’s perfect for dog lovers, a woman visits a park and discovers a pup hiding under a bench – scruffy, scared, and alone. With gentle coaxing, the woman tries to befriend the animal, but the dog is too scared to let her near. Day after day, the woman tries – and day after day, the dog runs away. With perseverance and patience – and help from an enticing tennis ball – a tentative friendship begins. But it’s not until a raging storm forces the two together that a joyous and satisfying friendship takes hold. Guojing poignantly explores how trust doesn’t always come easily, but how, over time, and with kindness and determination, forever love can grow.

The Midnight Fair
By Gideon Sterer
Illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536211153 | Candlewick
Far from the city, but not quite the countryside, lies a fairground. When night comes and the fair is empty, something unexpected happens. Wild animals emerge from the forest, a brave raccoon pulls a lever, and the roller coasters and rides explode back into bright, neon life. It’s time for the woodland creatures to head to the fair! In a gorgeous wordless picture book, author Gideon Sterer and illustrator Mariachiara Di Giorgio offer an exuberant take on what animals are up to when humans are asleep. Suffused with color and light, the panel illustrations celebrate the inherent humor and joy in deer flying by on chair-swings, a bear winning a stuffed bear, three weasels carrying a soft pretzel, and a badger driving a bumper car. With thrills both spectacular and subtle, Midnight Fair will have readers punching their tickets again and again to revel in this fantastic nocturnal world.

For ideas on how to use some of these titles, check out this activity kit.