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.

Mental Health Week 2021

Mental Health Week is May 3-9, 2021 and May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Given the difficult last year and ongoing pandemic, talking to kids about mental wellness is more important than ever. Here are some titles to get the conversation started with young readers.

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.

Happy: A Beginner’s Book of Mindfulness
By Nicola Edwards
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593121191 | Rodale Kids
This poetically-written introduction to mindfulness touches upon the most important aspects of life – feeling, discovering, smelling, listening, and all the things that bring the world to life. With every soothing read and practice, children are better equipped to understand and control their own emotions . . . and discover an appreciation for the beautiful world around them.

It’s All Love: Reflections for Your Heart and Soul
By Jenna Ortega
240 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593174562 | Random House BFYR
This collection from actress Jenna Ortega is filled with Jenna’s own original quotes and affirmations, alongside intimate, personal stories about growing up Latina in Hollywood, working through depression, falling in – and out of – love, losing close family members, and so much more. Jenna has had to balance her acting career, her private life, and public expectations from a young age, and she’s learned that the only way to get through it all is to wake up every morning and affirm her commitment to herself, her faith, her mental health, and her family. In this honest and moving debut, she shares openly and intimately what it means to live this life of self-appreciation. Jenna’s vulnerability will remind readers that there’s power within us all and we are not alone in our struggles.

Many Shapes of Clay: A Story of Healing
By Kenesha Sneed
44 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Hardcover
ISBN 9783791374680 | Prestel Junior
Eisha lives with her mother, a ceramic artist, who helps her make a special shape out of a piece of clay. The shape reminds Eisha of her father, of the ocean, of a lemon. As Eisha goes through her neighborhood doing errands with her mother, the piece of clay hardens and then shatters into pieces when Eisha taps it. In poignant and powerful words and pictures, Kenesha Sneed shows how Eisha learns to live with the sense of loss and of the joyful power of making something new out of what is left behind. Illustrated with Sneed’s bold colors, graphic lines, and gestural textures, the book celebrates diversity and shares a gentle message that we all have the ability to heal and create.

My Monster and Me
By Nadiya Hussain
Illustrated by Ella Bailey
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593350768 | Viking BFYR
From the winner of The Great British Baking Show and star of Nadiya’s Time to Eat comes a heartfelt story to help give children and parents the tools they need to talk about worries and anxiety. A touching story about a little boy whose worry monster follows him everywhere he goes. It’s there when he gets dressed, when he wants to play with his toys, and even when his friends come over to visit. How can he escape his worries? Having struggled with anxiety for as long as she can remember, Nadiya Hussain has written this heartfelt story to ensure that no child suffers in silence – no matter what shape their worry monster may take.

Speechless
By Adam P. Schmitt
304 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536219012 | Candlewick
As if being stuffed into last year’s dress pants at his cousin’s wake weren’t uncomfortable enough, thirteen-year-old Jimmy has just learned from his mother that he has to say a few words at the funeral the next day. Why him? What could he possibly say about his cousin, who ruined everything they did? He can’t recall one birthday party, family gathering, or school event with Patrick that didn’t result in injury or destruction. As Jimmy attempts to navigate the odd social norms of the wake, he draws on humor, heartfelt concern, and a good deal of angst while racking his brain and his memory for a decent and meaningful memory to share. But it’s not until faced with a microphone that the realization finally hits him: it’s not the words that are spoken that matter the most, but those that are truly heard.

The Anti-Book
By Raphael Simon
320 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525552413 | Dial BFYR
Mickey is angry all the time: at his divorced parents, at his sister, and at his two new stepmoms, both named Charlie. And so he can’t resist the ad inside his pack of gum: “Do you ever wish everyone would go away? Buy The Anti-Book! Satisfaction guaranteed.” He orders the book, but when it arrives, it’s blank – except for one line of instruction: To erase it, write it. He fills the pages with all the things and people he dislikes. . . . Next thing he knows, he’s wandering an anti-world, one in which everything and everyone familiar is gone. Or are they? His sister soon reappears – but she’s only four inches tall. A tiny talking house with wings looks strangely familiar, as does the mysterious half-invisible boy who seems to think that he and Mickey are best buds. The boy persuades Mickey to go find the Bubble Gum King – the king, who resides at the top of a mountain, is the only one who might be able help Mickey fix the mess he’s made.

The Crayons’ Book of Feelings
By Drew Daywalt
Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
20 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Board Book
ISBN 9780593352939 | Philomel BFYR
Everyone knows the crayons love to color, but did you know that crayons have feelings too? Sometimes they are happy and sometimes they feel downright blue. From the creative minds behind the The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, comes a fun board book to help young readers understand and express their feelings.

The Invisible BearThe Invisible Bear
By Cecile Metzger
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266872 | Tundra Books
A bear sits in his quiet, colorless home in a forgotten place. He feels invisible; no one comes to see him, and he spends his days alone. Then someone moves in next door. Madame Odette is sound and sunshine, and at first, the bear isn’t sure about this colorful new neighbor. But through an act of kindness, the bear and the Madame Odette meet, and as time goes by, they become friends. And in the end, they are both forever changed by the gifts they bring each other. The first book from author-illustrator Cécile Metzger, The Invisible Bear is a powerful and beautiful meditation on the beauty of friendship and how two people can save each other just by being themselves.

Tough Like Mum
By Lana Button
Illustrated by Carmen Mok
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265981 | Tundra Books
Kim’s mum is tough. Everyone says so. She can deal with unruly customers at the Red Rooster with a snap of her fingers. Kim is tough, too. She doesn’t need to wear a hat to keep her ears warm. And she can make soup all by herself, even without the stove. Kim and her mum are tough. But Kim is learning that sometimes toughness doesn’t look like what you’d expect. In this tender exploration of a mother-daughter relationship, Kim and her mother learn that in order to support and truly take care of each other, they need to be tough – and that sometimes being tough means showing vulnerability and asking for help.

What’s Up, Maloo?
By Geneviève Godbout
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266643 | Tundra Books
Maloo the kangaroo has lost his hop. Can his friends help him find it again? This sweet picture book explores the idea of sadness and the importance of friendship through ups and downs. No other kangaroo can hop like Maloo! But one day Maloo’s friends find him stepping instead of hopping. What’s wrong, Maloo? His pals look for ways to help Maloo regain the spring in his step. With patience, support and a little “hop” from his friends, Maloo gets his bounce back. Simple text and adorable art convey the power of friendship over a gloomy mood in Geneviève Godbout’s charming debut as both author and illustrator.

Where Happiness Begins
By Eva Eland
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593127704 | Random House BFYR
This helpful picture book is a great introduction to mindfulness and emotional literacy. A spare text and simple illustrations encourage readers to find happiness even if it feels far away. The book gives it a shape, turning this elusive emotion into something real while acknowledging that you can’t be happy all the time. The thoughtful text reassures readers that when happiness is hard to find, they can look for it in many places. Sharing something with a friend or reaching out to someone who needs it can lead to happiness. Recognize and treasure it when you experience it, knowing that happiness begins with you. Perfect for kids and for adult readers tackling these feelings themselves!

Poetry Month 2021

April is National Poetry Month! Here’s a list of recent books with rhyming text or novels-in-verse to share with all the young readers in your life.

A is for Audra: Broadway’s Leading Ladies from A to Z
By John Robert Allman
Illustrated by Peter Emmerich
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525645405 | Doubleday BFYR
Step into the spotlight and celebrate a cavalcade of Broadway’s legendary ladies. Start with “A” for six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, then sing and dance your way through the alphabet with beloved entertainers like Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga, Kristin Chenoweth, Kelli O’Hara, and Liza Minnelli! Broadway fans and theater lovers everywhere will give a standing ovation to this one-of-a-kind tribute full of toe-tapping rhymes, with illustrations as bright and beautiful as the shining lights on any marquee.

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.

I Don’t Want to Be Quiet
By Laura Ellen Anderson
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593117286 | Philomel BFYR
Sometimes it’s hard to be quiet. There are drums to drum and hums to hum, drinks to slurp, and burps to burp – so many loud and wonderful noises to make! So when this spunky little girl goes to the library, it’s extra difficult to behave – until the entire room tells her to SHHHHHH. It’s only then, as she discovers the wonders that live inside books, that she sees how much fun she can have in her own imagination – all without making a peep. In this bright and playful rhyming picture book filled with vibrant, cheerful illustrations, readers learn the joy that is possible when we really stop and listen.

I Talk Like a River
By Jordan Scott
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823445592 | Neal Porter Books
When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he’d like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. Compassionate parents everywhere will instantly recognize a father’s ability to reconnect a child with the world around him. Poet Jordan Scott writes movingly in this powerful and ultimately uplifting book, based on his own experience, and masterfully illustrated by Greenaway Medalist Sydney Smith. A book for any child who feels lost, lonely, or unable to fit in.

Just Like Me
By Vanessa Brantley-Newton
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525582090 | Knopf BFYR
From Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the author of Grandma’s Purse, comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa’s signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.

Natsumis Song of SummerNatsumi’s Song of Summer
By Robert Paul Weston
Illustrated by Misa Saburi
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265417 | Tundra Books
Natsumi’s nervousness about meeting her cousin from across the sea quickly disappears when she discovers that her cousin is a lot like her: they both love summertime’s hot sandy beaches, cool refreshing watermelon, festivals, and fireworks. Then Jill asks Natsumi about the strange buzzing sound that comes from the nearby trees, and Natsumi is nervous once again. What if Jill is frightened of Natsumi’s cherished cicadas, the insects that sing the music of summertime? This sweet and gentle picture book celebrates summer in Japan, as one little girl shares her love for bugs with her cousin who is visiting from America.

No Buddy Like a Book
By Allan Wolf
Illustrated by Brianne Farley
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536203073 | Candlewick
Have you ever wanted to climb to the top of Everest with one hand behind your back? Kiss a crocodile all by yourself on the Nile River? How about learning how to bottle moonlight, or track a distant star? There are endless things to discover and whole universes to explore simply by reading a book. But books are only smears of ink without the reader’s mind to give their letters meaning and bring them to life. With a rollicking, rhyming text and delightful artwork, poet and storyteller Allan Wolf and illustrator Brianne Farley remind us that books, no matter how they may be consumed, give readers of every background an opportunity to expand their world and spark their imagination. With infectious enthusiasm, No Buddy Like a Book offers an ode to the wonders of language – written, spoken, and everything in between.

Raindrops to Rainbows
By John Micklos, Jr.
Illustrated by Charlene Chua
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593224090 | Penguin Workshop
Raindrops are falling outside, but there’s still a world of color to experience! Delightful rhymes and brilliant illustrations detail how a gloomy, rainy day might not actually be so gloomy after all when you get to spend time with Mom, Brown Bear, and the colors around you. And when a “beaming rainbow, bold and bright” cuts through the sky, everyone gets to experience the joy of all the colors that can only come after the rain.

Someone Has to Build the Dream
By Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated by Loren Long
48 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984814333 | Dial BFYR
Gorgeously written and illustrated, this is an eye-opening exploration of the many types of work that go into building our world – from the making of a bridge to a wind farm, an amusement park, and even the very picture book that you are reading. An architect may dream up the plans for a house, but someone has to actually work the saws and pound the nails. This book is a thank-you to the skilled women and men who work tirelessly to see our dreams brought to life.

Starfish
By Lisa Fipps
256 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984814500 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules – like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space – her swimming pool – where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life – by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

The Stars Beckoned: Edward White’s Amazing Walk in Space
By Candy Wellins
Illustrated by Courtney Dawson
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593118047 | Philomel BFYR
Edward White was the first American astronaut to walk in space. But before his spacewalk, he was just a boy who loved the stars. As he grew up, he would look up at the night sky in wonder – he knew that, one day, he would visit the stars themselves. In this touching and poignant picture book biography, we see how Edward’s passion for the stars shaped the course of his life, and how he came to realize, even in the depths of space, what was ultimately most important to him – his family.

We Belong
By Cookie Hiponia Everman
208 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593112205 | Dial BFYR
Stella and Luna know that their mama, Elsie, came from the Philippines when she was a child, but they don’t know much else. So one night they ask her to tell them her story. As they get ready for bed, their mama spins two tales: that of her youth as a strong-willed middle child and immigrant; and that of the young life of Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god. Both are tales of sisterhood and motherhood, and of the difficult experience of trying to fit into a new culture, and having to fight for a home and acceptance. Glorious and layered, this is a portrait of family and strength for the ages.

What Are Little Girls Made Of?
By Jeanne Willis
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
32 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217339 | Nosy Crow
Think you know your nursery rhymes? Then think again! In this witty reworking of some nursery rhymes, Georgie Porgie doesn’t dare to make the girls cry, Little Bo-Peep’s sheep are all present and accounted for, thank you, and it’s a female doctor, of course, who fixes Humpty Dumpty. With the combination of clever rhymes and charming, witty illustrations, this remixed nursery rhyme collection is the perfect gift book for any child (or adult!), to read aloud or enjoy alone.

Wild Symphony
By Dan Brown
Illustrated by Susan Batori
44 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593123843 | Rodale Kids
Travel through the trees and across the seas with Maestro Mouse and his musical friends! Young readers will meet a big blue whale and speedy cheetahs, tiny beetles and graceful swans. Each has a special secret to share. Along the way, you might spot the surprises Maestro Mouse has left for you – a hiding buzzy bee, jumbled letters that spell out clues, and even a coded message to solve! Children and adults can enjoy this timeless picture book as a traditional read-along, or can choose to listen to original musical compositions as they read – one for each animal – with a free interactive smartphone app, which uses augmented reality to play the appropriate song for each page when a phone’s camera is held over it.