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 Dog Day 2021

National Dog Day is on August 26 and we are getting ready to celebrate all our ulti-mutt friends in literature!

100 Dogs
By Michael Whaite
32 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593308301 | Random House BFYR
TOP DOGS! Can there really be 100 dogs behaving in oh-so familiar doggy ways packed into the pages of this picture book? Leap dog, sheep dog, fallen fast asleep dog. . . . Follow Michael Whaite’s fun and lively rhyme as it weaves its way from happy dogs to yappy dogs to every type of dog in between. This romp of a read-aloud is bursting with amusing details to spot and hilarious hounds that dog-lovers won’t be able to resist. Readers will want to pore over it again and again. Which dog is yours?

Awesome Dog 5000
By Justin Dean
208 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780525644842 | Random House BFYR
Marty, Ralph, and Skyler might make the ultimate secret combo when battling alien-slime ninjas in their favorite video game, but in real life they’re just regular kids. That is, until the three best friends discover Awesome Dog 5000, a robotic dog with very real power-ups. Awesome Dog can “bark” a sonic boom, “walk” at speeds over three hundred miles per hour, and “fetch” with an atomic cannon. Life for Marty, Ralph, and Skyler just got a major turbo-boost! Awesome Dog 5000 is a wild action-comedy told through a mix of text and black-and-white illustrations, with a mystery to solve at the end. Can you handle the awesomeness?

Dear Beast
By Dori Hillestad Butler
Illustrated by Kevan Atteberry
96 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9780823448432 | Holiday House
Simon has taken care of his owner, Andy, for many years. He’s a good cat. Clean, responsible, and loyal. What more could a boy want? Even when Andy’s dad moves out, Simon is certain that Andy doesn’t need another pet. So why would Andy’s dad adopt a DOG?! To make matters worse, the animal is a rude, rowdy troublemaker. Simon’s job is clear: the beast has got to go. He decides to write him a letter. Strongly worded, of course. But when the dog’s response sets off an unexpected correspondence, Simon realizes the beast may be here to stay. Can he make room for another pet in Andy’s life?

Dog Squad
By Chris Grabenstein
336 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593301739 | Random House BFYR
When trouble calls . . . it’s DOG SQUAD to the rescue! Duke is not your average dog. Along with his crew, he fights crime and goes on claw-biting adventures helping dogs in peril in the hit streaming sensation – DOG SQUAD! Fred is a pretty average dog. He’s scrappy. He’s loveable. But he’s not brave like his heroes on Dog Squad. Fred looks an awful lot like Duke from Dog Squad though. In fact, when Duke needs a stand-in, Fred’s the perfect choice. But the Dog Squad action doesn’t always stop on screen! When there’s danger in real life, can Fred find the courage to step up and save the day?! It’s all paws on deck in this action-packed, middle grade adventure series just right for anyone who loves dogs – and anyone who loves to laugh!

Hugo and the Impossible Thing
By Renée Felice Smith and Chris Gabriel
Illustrated by Sydney Hanson
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593204634 | Flamingo Books
Hugo has one goal – to conquer the Impossible Thing. At the edge of the forest stood the Impossible Thing. All the animals in the forest often wondered what was beyond the Impossible Thing, but since everyone said getting through it would be impossible, no animal ever tried. Until a brave little dog named Hugo decides he just might be up to the challenge. With determination and some unexpected help from his friends, Hugo learns that what may seem impossible might just be possible after all.

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.

I, Cosmo
By Carlie Sorosiak
304 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536219081 | Walker Books
Ever since Cosmo became a big brother to Max ten years ago, he’s known what his job was: to protect his boy and make him happy. Through many good years marked by tennis balls and pilfered turkey, torn-up toilet paper and fragrant goose poop, Cosmo has doggedly kept his vow. Until recently, his biggest problems were the evil tutu-wearing sheepdog he met on Halloween and the arthritis in his own joints. But now, with Dad-scented blankets appearing on the couch and arguing voices getting louder, Cosmo senses a tougher challenge ahead. When Max gets a crazy idea to teach them both a dance routine for a contest, how can Cosmo refuse, stiff hips or no? Max wants to remind his folks of all the great times they’ve had together dancing – and make them forget about the “d” word that’s making them all cry. Told in the open, optimistic, unintentionally humorous voice of a golden retriever, I, Cosmo will grab readers from the first page – and remind them that love and loyalty transcend whatever life throws your way.

Mad About Meatloaf (A Weenie featuring Frank and Beans Book)
By Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Alexandra Bye
56 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267916 | Tundra Books
Weenie loves his human, Bob. He loves his guinea pig friend Beans and his cat friend Frank. He loves naps, adventures and sharing. In fact, Weenie loves pretty much everything (except the mail carrier). But the thing Weenie loves and desires more than anything else in the world is meatloaf. And he’ll do anything to get it. Join Weenie, Frank and Beans on a laugh-out-loud meatloaf adventure, complete with a trench coat disguise, a wild meatloaf trap and even a hungry wolf.

Puppy Problems
By Paige Braddock
96 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593524213 | Viking BFYR
Crackers is a rescue dog who’s a bit on the nervous side, but pretty comfy at home with Butter, a very plump cat who – like all cats – is all about himself. The two pets have a good life: big backyard, nice couch, good eats, and an owner who goes to work every day so they can pretty much do what they want. Enter Peanut, a brand-new puppy with big floppy ears, unabashed energy, and no appreciation for the quiet life. The little dog is a chowhound who dips into everybody’s food bowl. He drools, he chews up stuff, he doesn’t get how stairs work, and he’s afraid of the dark. Yowl! Not to mention he’s hogging their owner’s lap. Even the squirrels in the yard are laughing at this goofy little canine. Butter and Crackers have had it! This puppy has to go! But when the backyard gate is left open (the cat’s idea, of course!) and Peanut wanders out and gets lost, the older animals remember what it was like to be alone – and lonely. Butter and Crackers to the rescue!

Rocket Has a Sleepover
By Tad Hills
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593181225 | Random House BFYR
Rocket is having fun at a sleepover! But when Owl, Bella, and Fred get ready to catch some Z’s, Rocket refuses to go to bed. Can a bedtime story soothe Rocket and help him fall asleep? With its simple words, lots of repetition, and bright, colorful illustrations, young readers will love this Step 1 Step into Reading leveled reader about an unforgettable sleepover, which they can ready all by themselves!

Toasty
By Sarah Hwang
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823447077 | Margaret Ferguson Books
Toasty loves dogs – so much so that he’d like to be one. He knows there are some differences – most dogs have four legs, but Toasty has two arms and two legs. Some dogs sleep in dog houses, but Toasty sleeps in a toaster. All dogs have hair and fur, but Toasty has neither because he’s made of bread. In spite of these differences, he decides to go to the park to play with the dogs but runs into trouble when they want to eat him. Lucky for Toasty, he is rescued by a little girl who has always wanted a dog but can’t have one because she is allergic. Toasty is the perfect dog for her.

International Cat Day 2021

August 8 is international cat day! Here are the purr-fect book picks to celebrate these sassy pets.

100 Cats: Cute Kitties to Count
By Michael Whaite
32 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593308332 | Random House BFYR
CATS RULE! Can there really be 100 cats behaving in oh-so familiar cat-like ways packed into the pages of this picture book? Caring cat, sharing cat, stood still staring cat. . . . Follow Michael Whaite’s fun and lively rhyme as it weaves its way through long cats, silly cats, frizzy cats . . . 100% hilarious cats. Speaking of 100, you can count them all! This romp of a read-aloud is bursting with amusing details to spot and funny felines that cat-lovers won’t be able to resist.

A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories
By John Martz
60 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270985 | Tundra Books
In Tim’s world, cats can paint on the ceiling and a cheerful porcine couple can wait months for the bus. A duck and a mouse can fly . . . a plane, of course. In “Doug & Mouse,” the first of four stories, a plucky duck and mouse pair embark on a globe-spanning journey by plane, jungle vine, horse, skis, skates, paraglider, boat, and submarine, but they’re sure to make it home in time for pizza and tunes. In “Tim,” the titular cat lives his nine lives to the fullest – he’s a basketball star (sort of), a scientist (but not a very good one), a painter (very lifelike), and an all-terrain golfer. In “Connie,” a plucky rabbit follows her line of inquiry wherever it leads. And in the final story, “Mr. and Mrs. Hamhock,” an amiable pig couple wait months and months for the bus, only to realize that they’ve forgotten something important behind at home.

ABC Cats: An Alpha-Cat Book
By Leslea Newman
Illustrated by Isabella Kung
26 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Board Book
ISBN 9781536209945 | Candlewick
A beguiling array of felines from A to Z makes learning the alphabet the cat’s pajamas. From curious to elegant, grouchy to inquisitive, rowdy to tangled to . . . well, unusual (who says cats don’t swim in the tub?), these twenty-six charming felines interact with oversize alphabet letters on rhyming spreads. Author Lesléa Newman and illustrator Isabella Kung offer a cat’s-eye concept book that makes the ABCs go down easy – and is sure to inspire many a repeat viewing.

Bad Cat! 
By Nicola O’Byrne
32 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217285 | Nosy Crow
Fluffykins is a perfect cat. He wouldn’t do anything naughty . . . would he? But what’s this? He’s knocked over the flowers, tangled up all the yarn, bent the blinds, and scratched the sofa . . . and he won’t apologize. What a bad cat! Whatever will Fluffykins do next? This witty and perfectly paced story by award-winning author-illustrator Nicola O’Byrne revels in all the mayhem of living with a bad cat.

Cat Likes Red
By Christopher Russo
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823445875 | Holiday House
Cat learns colors and meets new friends! Cat meets a red ladybug. Turn the page: Cat and Cat’s new friend are outdoors in an all-red scene, chock full of details. Cat meets more friends – including a green lizard, a blue fish, and a yellow bee.

Cat Problems
By Jory John
Illustrated by Lane Smith
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593302132 | Random House Studio
Just like most cats, this cat lives an extremely comfortable life. But he has his problems too! The sun spot he’s trying to bathe in won’t stop moving. He keeps getting served dry food instead of wet. And don’t even get him started on the vacuum – it’s an absolute menace! – and the nosy neighbor squirrel that just can’t seem to mind its own business. Will this cat ever find the silver lining?

Dear Beast
By Dori Hillestad Butler
Illustrated by Kevan Atteberry
96 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9780823448432 | Holiday House
Simon has taken care of his owner, Andy, for many years. He’s a good cat. Clean, responsible, and loyal. What more could a boy want? Even when Andy’s dad moves out, Simon is certain that Andy doesn’t need another pet. So why would Andy’s dad adopt a DOG?! To make matters worse, the animal is a rude, rowdy troublemaker. Simon’s job is clear: the beast has got to go. He decides to write him a letter. Strongly worded, of course. But when the dog’s response sets off an unexpected correspondence, Simon realizes the beast may be here to stay. Can he make room for another pet in Andy’s life?

Home Is Where the Heart Is
By Emma Dodd
24 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217124 | Templar
Just what IS it that makes home such a special place to be?
Home’s an extra special space
you hold within your heart
to keep you very close to me
when we must be apart.
A charming celebration of what home means to all of us, featuring a wise cat and an adorable little kitten who discover that there really is no place like home.

Katie the Catsitter
By Colleen AF Venable
Illustrated by Stephanie Yue
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781984895639 | Random House BFYR
Katie is dreading the boring summer ahead while her best friends are all away at camp – something that’s way out of Katie and her mom’s budget, UNLESS Katie can figure out a way to earn the money for camp herself. But when Katie gets a job catsitting for her mysterious upstairs neighbor, life get interesting. First, Madeline has 217 cats (!) and they’re not exactly . . . normal cats. Also, why is Madeline always out EXACTLY when the city’s most notorious villain commits crimes?! Is it possible that Katie’s upstairs neighbor is really a super villain? Can Katie wrangle a whole lot of wayward cats, save a best friendship (why is Beth barely writing back? And who’s this boy she keeps talking about?!), AND crack the biggest story in the city’s history? Some heroes have capes . . . Katie has cats!

Max Meow Book 1: Cat Crusader
By John Gallagher
240 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593121054 | Random House BFYR
Max is just a regular cat in Kittyopolis, trying to make it big as a podcaster UNTIL he accidentally takes a bite of an RADIOACTIVE SPACE MEATBALL at his best friend, scientist Mindy’s, SECRET LAB. Then before you can say MEOWZA, Max becomes . . . (drum roll!) . . . The CAT CRUSADER! Being a super hero is fun (Super strength? Check! Flying? YES!!!) – but not if you get so cocky, you forget your best friend! Will Max learn to listen? Will he and Mindy make up? And together, can Max and Mindy save Kittyopolis from the evil Agent M and BIG BOSS?! Find out in Max Meow: Cat Crusader – a laugh out loud, furr-ociously funny, action-packed new series filled with so many twists, turns, and terrific jokes it makes bad guys FLEA and kids cheer with glee! BONUS: Includes how to draw Max Meow!

Rectangle Time
By Pamela Paul
Illustrated by Becky Cameron
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593115114 | Philomel Books
This spunky, self-assured cat has always loved Rectangle Time – when the boy and the man he lives with curl up with their rectangle and read aloud from it. The cat knows how helpful he is during Rectangle Time, of course – his presence is vital to the very ritual! But when the rectangle starts to get smaller, the stories start to get quieter, and worst of all, the boy no longer needs the cat’s “help,” the cat must find a way to reclaim his part in Rectangle Time, even if slightly different from before. In this fun, funny, and ultimately sweet story about growing up, embracing change, and the ways we all can misread social cues, we see the power of stories to bring everyone together – there’s always room for everyone at story time.

Spotlight on Social-Emotional Learning Books

Social-emotional learning (SEL): is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. Children learn about identifying and managing emotions, coping with stress, positive motivation, building relationships, deepening their sense of self, and thinking critically and creatively.

Here are some books that help apply these everyday skills in their experiences at school, at home, and in the community.

Bear Outside
By Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Jen Corace
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446131 | Neal Porter Books
In this imaginative picture book by Jane Yolen, acclaimed author of many distinguished children’s books including Owl Moon and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, a girl explores the many ways she expresses herself by imagining that she wears a bear as her personal protective shell. They go everywhere and do everything together. The Bear is like a suit of armor and a partner all in one, protecting her from bullies and giving her strength to be bold when she needs it. In turn, she listens to and takes care of the Bear.

Big Feelings
By Alexandra Penfold
Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
42 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525579748 | Knopf BFYR
In their bestselling picture book All Are Welcome, Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman celebrate kindness, inclusivity, and diversity. Now with Big Feelings, they help children navigate the emotional challenges they face in their daily lives. What should we do when things don’t go to plan? We may feel mad, frustrated, or overwhelmed, but by talking it through, compromising, and seeing another point of view, we can start fresh, begin anew.

Carol and the Pickle-Toad
By Esmé Shapiro
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263987 | Tundra Books
In the big city, people wear all kinds of hats. Not everyone wears a toad as a hat, but some people do . . . and some of those toad hats can be VERY bossy! Carol has always followed the orders of her demanding toad hat at the expense of her own inner voice. But when her toad hat is plucked away by a pigeon, how will Carol know what to do? After spending so long being told what to eat and do and paint, Carol’s not sure what SHE wants, and nothing feels quite right. Feeling lost, she creates a new hat – a toad made out of pickles and eggs – to help guide her. Even though her new pickle-toad doesn’t make a sound, Carol can hear it loud and clear! But when a pigeon takes away THAT hat too, Carol begins to understand that there is a big, booming voice that lives inside herself . . . and that it’s well worth listening to! For any reader who’s doubted their own voice and talents, or felt like a bossy friend or family member is always drowning them out, Carol and the Pickle-Toad is an inspiring invitation to listen to your own heart and stand on your own two feet – even better if you’re wearing very tall boots.

Daisy
By Jessixa Bagley
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823446506 | Neal Porter Books
“Daisies seem so simple on the surface, but when you look closely you see their hidden beauty.” That’s what Daisy the warthog’s mom always says, and it’s the reason she got her name. But when Daisy goes to school, she doesn’t feel like her name. The other kids, Rose, Violet, and Petunia, make fun of her and call her “Thistle.” Daisy spends a lot of time with her head down, but she doesn’t need her classmates to have fun. When she looks at the forest floor, she starts to find all sorts of treasures, beautiful things that were once special and have since been forgotten. The other kids might make fun of her pastime, but it turns out she’s not the only one who appreciates the hidden beauty of forgotten things when she meets a like-minded new friend.

Ellie’s Dragon
By Bob Graham
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536211139 | Candlewick
When Ellie is very small, she finds a lovable newborn dragon on a carton of eggs in the grocery store. Ellie calls him Scratch, takes him home, and moves him into her dollhouse. Her mother can’t see Scratch, and her teacher doesn’t notice when Ellie brings Scratch to preschool, yet her friends are amazed. Ellie is lucky to have an affectionate, house-trained dragon like Scratch! But dragons get quite large as they grow. And Ellie is growing, too, moving from dollhouses to dance parties, not noticing that Scratch’s brilliant green scales are beginning to fade a little. . . . A wistful, quietly thought-provoking tribute to the friends who appear when we need them most, even if it’s just for a little while.

I Do Not Like Yolanda
By Zoey Abbott
44  Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266513 | Tundra Books
When Bianca gets stuck in Yolanda’s line at the post office, she expects the worst: scowls, claws, teeth . . . This is what she gets for having a five-letter day. She might not survive . . . Or will Yolanda surprise her? This hilarious story explores fear and kindness, in that order, when Bianca decides to overcome her terror and ask Yolanda very nicely how her weekend was . . . and learns that Yolanda is not scary, she’s a delight! A truly lovely book about questioning your assumptions and reaching out to another person, no matter how scary they might be.

Jabari Tries
By Gaia Cornwall
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536207163 | Candlewick
Jabari is making a flying machine in his backyard! “It’ll be easy. I don’t need any help,” he declares. But it doesn’t work! Jabari is frustrated. Good thing Dad is there for a pep talk and his little sister, Nika, is there to assist, fairy wings and all. With the endearing father-child dynamic of Jabari Jumps and engaging mixed-media illustrations, Gaia Cornwall’s tale shows that through perseverance and flexibility, an inventive thought can become a brilliant reality.

Laxmi’s Mooch
By Shelly Anand
Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984815651 | Kokila
Laxmi never paid much attention to the tiny hairs above her lip. But one day while playing farm animals at recess, her friends point out that her whiskers would make her the perfect cat. She starts to notice body hair all over – on her arms, legs, and even between her eyebrows. With her parents’ help, Laxmi learns that hair isn’t just for heads, but that it grows everywhere, regardless of gender. Featuring affirming text by Shelly Anand and exuberant, endearing illustrations by Nabi H. Ali, Laxmi’s Mooch is a celebration of our bodies and our body hair, in whichever way they grow.

Mad, Mad, MAD
By Leslie Patricelli
26 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536203806 | Candlewick
Sometimes Baby is sad. And sometimes mad, mad, MAD! Baby screams and falls to the floor, and a spectacular tantrum follows, from furious crying to the final flop. What happens when Baby wants to stop, but even hugging a beloved blankie doesn’t dissolve the cranky? Maybe a walkabout is in order, with some mindful breathing to boot? Master of toddler expression Leslie Patricelli turns the focus to feelings in a relatable episode offering some tips for helping the mad go away.

Maya’s Big Scene
By Isabelle Arsenault
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267602 | Tundra Books
Maya is an imposing, burgeoning playwright and loves to have the kids in her Mile End neighborhood bring her scenes to life. Her latest work, about a feminist revolution, is almost ready for public performance. But as her actors begin to express their costume preferences, Maya quickly learns that their visions may not match hers . . . and as both Director and Queen, Maya demands obedience and loyalty in her queendom of equality! But she soon realizes – with the help of her friends and subjects – that absolute bossiness corrupts absolutely!

Mr. Mole Moves In
By Lesley-Anne Green
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918029 | Tundra Books
Mr. Mole is a very well-mannered fellow. He greets fence posts politely, he compliments watermelons and he generously gives children erasers to eat. The critters of Juniper Hollow are confused, but they befriend him anyway. After all, maybe this is just how things are done back in Moletown . . . and in Juniper Hollow, strangers are just friends waiting to happen! This hilarious story of compassion, friendship, and wacky misunderstandings will tickle readers, and the fuzzy artwork will delight fans big and small.

My Little Brave Girl
By Hilary Duff
Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593300725 | Random House BFYR
A poetic text encourages girls to reach higher, dream bigger, and approach the world with their hearts wide open. This love letter to little girls was inspired by Hilary Duff’s own experience as a mother as she considered all the ways her daughter had to be brave even as an infant. With lush illustrations and an empowering message, My Little Brave Girl is the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, graduation, and any time a girl – or woman – is embarking on a new chapter of her life!

Sometimes It’s Bright
By Annie Ruygt
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781684379828 | Boyds Mills Press
In this visually rich picture book, a girl discovers the joy of creativity, first on a walk through the city and ultimately within herself. As Ronan and her mother spend an afternoon together, the girl notices a sparkling brightness – flowing in the notes of a street musician, blaring from billboards, and flying from dancers on stage. Why does she sometimes feel bright – and where could she find that brightness when she wants it? Curious, she experiments . . . until she discovers the magic can come from her, too, when she dances, draws, and paints. Sometimes It’s Bright explores how being our most creative selves brings joy to us and to the world.

The Joy in You
By Cat Deeley
Illustrated by Rosie Butcher
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593181416 | Random House BFYR
Journey through a magical world where readers will find endless opportunities to be themselves and find freedom in expression, no matter where they are or who they’re with.  Kids will delight in the silly humor and undeniable spirit of this rhythmic picture book – and take to heart the message that they are enough exactly as they are! Cat Deeley’s debut is the perfect gift for new mom and baby, birthday celebrations, and any family in need of a spark of happiness.

The Purple Puffy Coat
By Maribeth Boelts
Illustrated by Daniel Duncan
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204971 | Candlewick
It’s almost Stick Bug’s birthday, and his fashionable friend Beetle can’t wait to give him his present – a purple puffy coat! The coat draws a lot of attention and makes Stick Bug really stick out in the crowd. Beetle thinks that’s terrific! He brings Stick Bug all over town, happily boasting and bragging (while Stick Bug waits behind a tree, in a pile of leaves, or under a bench). Oh, dear – maybe Stick Bug isn’t as wild about the purple puffy coat as Beetle is! What can the two friends do? Charming illustrations bring to life both characters’ endearing struggles in this warm and humorous story about learning to pay attention to what makes your friend happy rather than what makes you happy.

Toasty
By Sarah Hwang
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823447077 | Margaret Ferguson Books
Toasty loves dogs – so much so that he’d like to be one. He knows there are some differences – most dogs have four legs, but Toasty has two arms and two legs. Some dogs sleep in dog houses, but Toasty sleeps in a toaster. All dogs have hair and fur, but Toasty has neither because he’s made of bread. In spite of these differences, he decides to go to the park to play with the dogs but runs into trouble when they want to eat him. Lucky for Toasty, he is rescued by a little girl who has always wanted a dog but can’t have one because she is allergic. Toasty is the perfect dog for her.

Will You Be My Friend?
By Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217476 | Candlewick Press
Little Nutbrown Hare is out exploring on his own. Off he hops along the path and through the grass until he reaches Cloudy Mountain, where something extraordinary happens: he discovers a new friend! Now the fun can really begin. Twenty-five years after we met the Nutbrown Hares, this enchanting new tale about friendship is bound to capture the hearts of Guess How Much I Love You fans – and everyone else – the world over.

Ramadan and Eid Reading List

This year, the holy month of Ramadan will occur for Muslim people from April 13 to May 12, culminating with Eid al-Fitr on May 13. If you’re looking for books to celebrate Ramadan or just want to learn more about Muslim culture, here are some suggestions.

A Party in Ramadan
By Asma Mobin-Uddin
Illustrated by Laura Jacobsen
32 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781629798479 | Boyds Mills Press
Ramadan is coming, and Leena is excited. Although she is too young to fast every day during the Muslim religious festival, Leena decides to fast each Friday instead. When Leena receives an invitation to a party which happens to fall on Friday, she has a dilemma. She doesn’t want to miss the party, but she doesn’t want to miss fasting either. So Leena decides to go to the party, but not eat or drink anything at all. Later, she will join her family for the meal known as iftar, when the daily fast is broken. But when Leena, the only Muslim at the party, sees her friends enjoying fresh lemonade and chocolate cake, her stomach starts to growl and her head begins to hurt. Will she keep her Ramadan fast?

Amal Unbound
By Aisha Saeed
240 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780399544699 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Twelve-year-old Amal’s dream of becoming a teacher one day is dashed in an instant when she accidentally insults a member of her Pakistani village’s ruling family. As punishment for her behavior, she is forced to leave her heartbroken family behind and go work at their estate. Amal is distraught but has faced setbacks before. So she summons her courage and begins navigating the complex rules of life as a servant, with all its attendant jealousies and pecking-order woes. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s increasing awareness of the deadly measures the Khan family will go to in order to stay in control. It’s clear that their hold over her village will never loosen as long as everyone is too afraid to challenge them – so if Amal is to have any chance of ensuring her loved ones’ safety and winning back her freedom, she must find a way to work with the other servants to make it happen.

Amira’s Picture Day
By Reem Faruqi
Illustrated by Fahmida Azim
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823440191 | Holiday House
Just the thought of Eid makes Amira warm and tingly inside. From wearing new clothes to handing out goody bags at the mosque, Amira can’t wait for the festivities to begin. But when a flier on the fridge catches her eye, Amira’s stomach goes cold. Not only is it Eid, it’s also school picture day. If she’s not in her class picture, how will her classmates remember her? Won’t her teacher wonder where she is? Though the day’s celebrations at the mosque are everything Amira was dreaming of, her absence at picture day weighs on her. A last-minute idea on the car ride home might just provide the solution to everything in this delightful story from acclaimed author Reem Faruqi, illustrated with vibrant color by Fahmida Azim.

Baby’s First Ramadan
By DK
14 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780744026597 | DK Children
Perfect for story time with little ones, this first board book introduces babies and toddlers to the holy month of Ramadan. From the first sight of the crescent moon in the sky, colorful lanterns and sparkly lights, beautiful henna designs, and favorite Ramadan sweets, to prayers at the mosque, family meals, and sweet dates after a day of fasting, all the elements of this wonderful Islamic celebration of the holy month are included. This classic first picture book for babies and toddlers has simple language and engaging, real-life photos that celebrate Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.

Deep in the Sahara
By Kelly Cunnane
Illustrated by Hoda Hadadi
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780525645665 | Dragonfly Books
Lalla lives in the Muslim country of Mauritania, and more than anything, she wants to wear a malafa, the colorful cloth Mauritanian women, like her mama and big sister, wear to cover their heads and clothes in public. But it is not until Lalla realizes that a malafa is not just worn to show a woman’s beauty and mystery or to honor tradition – a malafa for faith – that Lalla’s mother agrees to slip a long cloth as blue as the ink in the Koran over Lalla’s head, under her arm, and round and round her body. Then together, they pray.

Fatima’s Great Outdoors
By Ambreen Tariq
Illustrated by Stevie Lewis
40 Pages | Ages 4-8| Hardcover
ISBN 9781984816955 | Kokila
Fatima Khazi is excited for the weekend. Her family is headed to a local state park for their first camping trip! The school week might not have gone as planned, but outdoors, Fatima can achieve anything. She sets up a tent with her father, builds a fire with her mother, and survives an eight-legged mutant spider (a daddy longlegs with an impressive shadow) with her sister. At the end of an adventurous day, the family snuggles inside one big tent, serenaded by the sounds of the forest. The thought of leaving the magic of the outdoors tugs at Fatima’s heart, but her sister reminds her that they can keep the memory alive through stories – and they can always daydream about what their next camping trip will look like. Ambreen Tariq’s picture book debut, with cheerful illustrations by Stevie Lewis, is a rollicking family adventure, a love letter to the outdoors, and a reminder that public land belongs to all of us.

Hannah and the Ramadan Gift
By Qasim Rashid
Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593114667 | Viking BFYR
It’s the first day of Ramadan and Hannah wants to be a part of this important month every way she can. But if she’s too young to fast, how can she observe Ramadan? By saving the world, Dada Jaan tells her. And so Hannah learns that by helping her friends and neighbors and by showing kindness and generosity, she can make the world a better place. The debut picture book by human rights activist and attorney Qasim Rashid tells a timely story full of warmth and heart about the observance of Ramadan and the power of good deeds.

My Grandma and Me
By Mina Javaherbin
Illustrated by Lindsey Yankey
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763694944 | Candlewick
While Mina is growing up in Iran, the center of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart. At once deeply personal and utterly universal, Mina Javaherbin’s words make up a love letter of the rarest sort: the kind that shares a bit of its warmth with every reader. Soft, colorful, and full of intricate patterns, Lindsey Yankey’s illustrations feel like a personal invitation into the coziest home, and the adoration between Mina and her grandma is evident on every page.

Peg + Cat: The Eid al-Adha Adventure
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536206807 | Candlewick
It’s Eid al-Adha, a very special holiday for Yasmina and Amir, who invite their friends Peg and Cat to check it out. After they all rock out with some singing, it’s time to head to the celebration, where there’s so much food waiting! Amir explains that an important part of celebrating Eid al-Adha is dividing the meat into three equal parts, one third to be shared with someone who has less. But with all three bowls of meatballs holding different amounts, they’ve got a BIG PROBLEM! Thanks to a balancing scale, a trip to a soup kitchen, and an unexpected visit to a housebound neighbor, Peg and Cat learn all about the concept of taking from where there’s more and giving to where there’s less. Even Cat discovers how awesome giving can be. Eid Mubarak!

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Maker
By Zanib Mian
Illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593109212 | Putnam BFYR
Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar! Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?! But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country. . . . Could that possibly be true? Luckily, Omar’s enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life’s ups and downs. Omar’s funny, relatable narrative is the perfect answer to the call for both mirrors and windows to fill bookshelves with diverse stories.

The Green Bicycle
By Haifaa Al Mansour
368 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780147515032 | Puffin Books
Spunky eleven-year-old Wadjda lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with her parents. She desperately wants a bicycle so that she can race her friend Abdullah, even though it is considered improper for girls to ride bikes. Wadjda earns money for her dream bike by selling homemade bracelets and mixtapes of banned music to her classmates. But after she’s caught, she’s forced to turn over a new leaf (sort of), or risk expulsion from school. Still, Wadjda keeps scheming, and with the bicycle so closely in her sights, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Set against the shifting social attitudes of the Middle East, The Green Bicycle explores gender roles, conformity, and the importance of family, all with wit and irresistible heart.

The Night Diary
By Veera Hiranandani
288 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735228528 | Kokila
It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together. Told through Nisha’s letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl’s search for home, for her own identity . . . and for a hopeful future.

The White Nights of Ramadan
By Maha Addasi
Illustrated by Ned Gannon
32 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781629798462 | Boyds Mills Press
Mid-Ramadan is a special time for families in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf. These middle days are known as “the three whites,” because they include the day of the full moon, the day before, and the day after. It’s a time when children dress in traditional clothing and go from house to house collecting treats from their neighbors. When Noor sees the full moon rising, signaling the coming of Girgian, she and her brothers prepare for the fun. Together, they decorate the bags they’ll carry to collect the candies. But along with the fun, Noor remembers the true meaning of Ramadan: spending time with family and sharing with those less fortunate.