Space Books for Kids

Look up, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a spaceship! We’ve rounded up some of the newest books about space exploration to take you and your kid(s) out of this world.

Astro Girl
By Ken Wilson-Max
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536209464 | Candlewick
Astrid has loved the stars and space for as long as she can remember. “I want to be an astronaut!” she says to everyone who will listen. While her mama is away, Astrid and her papa have fun acting out the challenges an astronaut faces on a space mission – like being in zero gravity (“I can do that all day long!” she says), eating food from a kind of tube, and doing science experiments with the help of cookie sheets. When at last it’s time to meet Mama at the air base, Astrid wears her favorite space T-shirt to greet her. But where exactly has Mama been? Channeling a sense of childlike delight, Ken Wilson-Max brings space travel up close for young readers and offers an inspiring ending.

Astronaut Training
By Aneta Cruz
Illustrated by Olivia Aserr
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781635922882 | Boyds Mills Press
Astrid is training to go to space! But as she builds her shuttle, cooks astronaut food, and practices floating in zero gravity, Dad tells Astrid that the ship’s construction is too dangerous, she’s too little to cook alone, and she’s not allowed to flood the bathroom. That night, when Astrid dreams she’s an astronaut, the challenges she encounters are overwhelming. Astrid realizes she isn’t as ready as she thought. Back on Earth, Astrid turns to her loving and supportive Dad, who helps Astrid continue her astronaut training.

Big and Small, Room for All
By Jo Ellen Bogart
Illustrated by Gillian Newland
30 Pages | Ages 0-2 | Board Book
ISBN 9780143198932 | Tundra Books
For the first time in board book format, this concept book by award-winning author Jo Ellen Bogart explores the size of animate and inanimate objects and their places in the universe. She introduces children to the concept of “we” – that humans are a big part of the world, but a small part of all of existence. From the immensity of the cosmos to the miraculous world of things too small to see, this stunning board book is a celebration of how we are all connected to the universe and to each other.

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover
By Markus Motum
56 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763695040 | Candlewick
Maybe you remember when a little robotic spacecraft landed on a far-off planet. On August 6, 2012, the rover Curiosity touched down on the rocky surface of Mars – and now she’s ready to guide you through her journey firsthand. From idea to creation and beyond, this fact-filled, stylish book introduces readers to Curiosity and her mission: to discover more about the red planet and search for evidence of life. How did Curiosity get her name? What tools does she use to carry out her tasks? In her own voice, the popular NASA rover tells how and why she traveled more than 350,000,000 miles to explore a planet no human has ever visited . . . and what she’s been doing there. In his debut picture book, Markus Motum brings Curiosity’s story to life in vivid color: the deep blues of space set off the warm, rusted hues of Mars’s dusty red surface, marking this lovable rover and her mission as something special – truly a world apart.

Eyewitness: Space Exploration
By Carole Stott
72 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781465426161 | DK Children
Learn how rockets work, find out about the various missions to the Moon and Mars, and know about all the rovers and landers with Eyewitness Space Exploration. Train with the astronauts to find out about the equipment they use to work in space. Trace the evolution of spacesuits and know how many components they have and how much they weigh. Share a meal with the astronauts and see how they carry on their day-to-day tasks in zero gravity. Follow the various spacecraft in space – from distant explorers such as Voyager to sample-gathering rovers on Mars, such as Curiosity.

Eye Wonder: Space
By Carole Stott
56 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781465418562 | DK Children
Explore the solar system, study astronomy, and discover fun facts about space shuttles with Eye Wonder: Space. From the huge volcanoes of Venus to the massive storms on Jupiter, Pluto, and the comets, plus how astronauts sleep in space, the secrets of the stars, and our future in space, every page lets the reader discover new and fascinating facts about our universe.

Goodnight, Astronaut
By Scott Kelly
Illustrated by Izzy Burton
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263451 | Puffin Canada
As an astronaut, Scott Kelly is one of the few people who know what it’s like to sleep in space. But that’s not the only unusual place he’s slept! As a child, he slept in treehouses, boats, and tents, but his thrill-seeking nature has led to him snatching shuteye in every place imaginable. From the bottom of the ocean, to Mount Everest Base Camp, to the International Space Station, Scott will send readers to sleep dreaming of exploring the wildest places. This sweet and adventurous story is the perfect bedtime tale for future astronauts and adventurers!

Journey to the Moon: Astronaut Girl #1
By Cathy Hapka and Ellen Vandenberg
Illustrated by Gillian Reid
96 Pages | Ages 6-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593095713 | Penguin Workshop
Val, aka Astronaut Girl, is just your typical eight-year-old scientist. She has her own laboratory and conducts experiments with her crew – her cat and baby brother. She loves science and knows everything about outer space. That’s why she’s surprised to learn that her new neighbor Wallace would rather talk about a fake space show than about real missions. But when Astronaut Girl, Wallace, and the Astro crew get lost on their own lunar adventure, they must all work together to find their way back home.

Professor Astro Cat’s Stargazing
By Dr. Dominic Walliman
Illustrated by Ben Newman
32 Pages | Ages 5-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781912497836 | Flying Eye Books
Welcome back, stargazers! Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what a star looks like up close? Ever thought about how long it would take to walk a light-year? Join Professor Astro Cat and his friends on another stellar mission! From scientific discoveries to the constellations dreamed up by humans centuries ago, the adventurous and wise Professor Astro Cat will guide young readers through fascinating facts.

Rocket Science: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fundamentals of Spaceflight
By Andrew Rader
Illustrated by Galen Frazer
64 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536207422 | Candlewick
Earth’s gravity keeps our feet on the ground, and also prevents us from soaring into space. So how do we explore that vast frontier? We use rockets! Discover how rockets work – from staging to orbits to power generation, from thermal control to navigation and more. Learn how rockets and other spacecraft travel to and explore the moon, Mars, Jupiter, and beyond. Speculate about the future of space exploration – and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. In a guide ideal for aspiring rocket engineers, planetary scientists, and others who love learning about space exploration, Galen Frazer’s distinctive yet accessible illustrations pair perfectly with Andrew Rader’s straightforward text, together taking readers to the edge of our knowledge of space travel.

Space: A Visual Encyclopedia
By DK
256 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781465494252 | DK Children
The most up-to-date images from space agencies such as NASA and ESA combine with info panels, timelines, interviews, diagrams, and activities you can do at home to help you understand the majesty and wonder of space.  Learn about the Space Race, the Apollo Moon Landings, the Voyager craft that first probed the outer planets, the Hubble telescope, and the International Space Station (ISS) – the state-of-the-art laboratory orbiting Earth. Find out about future missions, space tourism, and the latest discoveries in the furthest reaches of our galaxy. Discover how to find constellations and where to look for stars and planets, including Venus and Mars, in the night sky. Learn how galaxies such as our Milky Way were formed. Part of a series of best-selling encyclopedias for children, Space: A Visual Encyclopedia is a rocket ride from the beginning of time to the near future, and from planet Earth out to the furthest reaches of the Universe.

The Darkest Dark: Glow-in-the-Dark Edition
By Chris Hadfield
Illustrated by The Fan Brothers
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735264823 | Tundra Books
Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem – at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He’s afraid of the dark.
But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is – and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.  The internationally bestselling picture book, now with a glow-in-the-dark cover! Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan’s lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible.

Hoppy Reading: Books for Easter

Easter is coming up soon and we have some egg-cellent reading suggestions – even if you don’t celebrate! We have books featuring cuddly and fluffy spring animals to flowers and friendship.

A Lamb Called Lucky
By Helen Peters
Illustrated by Ellie Snowdon
144 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536210286 | Walker Books
It’s lambing season at Oak Tree Farm! When a little lamb loses his mother, Jasmine names him Lucky and steps in to bottle-feed him and patiently help him learn to walk. With a sheepdog to train and two helpless baby birds to raise, it’s hard work for Jasmine to juggle all of her animals, even with the help of her best friend, Tom. But when sheep rustlers strike her family’s flock, taking Lucky with them, Jasmine will have to summon the courage for her most daring rescue yet. From author Helen Peters and illustrator Ellie Snowdon comes an especially thrilling story about Jasmine Green, a girl with a talent for taking care of animals.

Bunny Roo and Duckling Too
By Melissa Marr
Illustrated by Teagan White
32 Pages | Ages 1-3 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525516040 | Nancy Paulsen Books
It’s hard to keep up with an energetic toddler, and as an adoring mom tries to, she describes all the frisky young animals her little one reminds her of – from a hopping frog and a squirming snake, to her adorable cuddly bunny. A loving mama has fun sharing the various animals her growing child resembles, in this delightful companion to Bunny Roo, I Love You.

Easter, Here I Come
By D. J. Steinberg
Illustrated by Emanuel Wiemans
32 Pages | Ages 4-6 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593224014 | Grosset & Dunlap
D. J. Steinberg is back with more playful poems, and this time, they are all odes to Easter and springtime. From making an Easter bonnet to enjoying an egg-squisite Easter brunch, this book – with its sheet of stickers – is a perfect gift to put in any child’s Easter basket!

Five Little Ducks
Illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Huang
10 Pages | Ages 0-2 | Board Book
ISBN 9780763699338 | Nosy Crow
Join a mother duck as she counts her five ducklings in this interactive board book based on the beloved children’s song. A QR code inside links to both instrumental and vocal versions of the song. Simply scan the code to listen and sing along – Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!

How Big Is Love
By Emma Dodd
24 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215441 | Templar
Does love have a size? A family of ducks celebrates the boundless affection between them in Emma Dodd’s gentle rhyming ode to unconditional love.

How Do Bunnies Take Baths?
By Diane Muldrow
Illustrated by David Walker
24 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593127773 | Golden Books
This delightful rhyming Little Golden Book shares fun facts about how bunnies, zebras, cats, elephants, and many other animals keep themselves clean. Young boys and girls will love comparing their bath time to those of the adorable animals in this new book from New York Times bestselling author Diane Muldrow and beloved illustrator David Walker.

Meet the Matzah
By Alan Silberberg
36 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593118115 | Viking BFYR
Meet Alfie Koman. He’s a matzah who really likes to hide. But Alfie also has a great story to tell his class of how the Hebrews fled Egypt to freedom. Too bad Loaf, the school sourdough bully, turns Alfie’s Passover story upside-down. A pharaoh who is a giant cockroach? Moses as a mighty superhero? And Ten Plagues that include “No Wi-fi” and “Chocolate-turned-to-broccoli”? Looks like it’s up to Alfie and his best friend Challa Looyah to get the Passover story right. Alfie just has to come out of hiding first. . . .

More Than Fluff
By Madeline Valentine
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593179055 | Knopf BFYR
Daisy happens to be fluffy – she’s a young chick after all. Her friends can’t help but want to pet her, squeeze her, and tell her how cute she is. But Daisy doesn’t want to be hugged or kissed. She’s not just fluff; Daisy has substance! But how can she tell everyone to give her some space without hurting their feelings? A timely and funny book that encourages kids to establish and respect boundaries – perfect for reading aloud and shared story time!

Mustache Duckstache
By Amy Young
Illustrated by AJ Young
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593205587 | Viking BFYR
When a mustachioed rabbit spots a mustache contest, he’s sure he has the competition beat. That is, until a pesky frog hops up with his own fine mustache. And a duck waddles up with a. . . duckstache? Soon, the competition is full of moosestaches and mousestaches, whalestaches and tailstaches – and every kind of ‘stache in between. Readers will love following this simple tale of hirsute havoc with a laugh-out-loud twist ending. Plus, there’s a fun guide at the end to every kind of mustache imaginable!

Peep and Ducky Sleepover
By David Martin
Illustrated by David Walker
32 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204544 | Candlewick
When Poppa leaves Ducky at Peep’s house for a sleepover, the little visitor is a bit teary at first. But Peep and his momma give Ducky a hug, making him feel better. Then comes playtime (and getting momentarily stuck in a truck), brushing teeth, and snuggling with Momma for bedtime stories. But will her wish for “sweet dreams” coax the two excited friends straight to sleep? With sing-song rhythms, winsome illustrations, and the most infectious sort of good-natured charm, Peep and Ducky’s latest adventure will be the bedtime read-aloud choice for mischievous toddlers everywhere.

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.

Spring Cakes
By Miranda Harmon
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823447534 | Holiday House
It’s springtime! Mama Cat is ready to bake her famous spring cakes, enchanted cupcakes heaped with sparkling frosting. Can kittens Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Ginger find all the magical ingredients she needs? The quest begins! This imaginative and adventurous graphic reader comes from rising comics star Miranda Harmon, co-creator of Mayor Good Boy.

The Passover Guest
By Susan Kusel
Illustrated by Sean Rubin
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823445622 | Neal Porter Books
It’s the Spring of 1933 in Washington D.C., and the Great Depression is hitting young Muriel’s family hard. Her father has lost his job, and her family barely has enough food most days, let alone for a Passover Seder. They don’t even have any wine to leave out for the prophet Elijah’s ceremonial cup. With no feast to rush home to, Muriel wanders by the Lincoln Memorial, where she encounters a mysterious magician in whose hands juggled eggs become lit candles. After she makes a kind gesture, he encourages her to run home for her Seder, and when she does, she encounters a holiday miracle, a bountiful feast of brisket, soup, and matzah. But who was this mysterious benefactor? When Muriel sees Elijah’s ceremonial cup is empty, she has a good idea.

The Secret Fawn
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Elly MacKay
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265165 | Tundra Books
A little girl is always missing out on the wonderful things her family gets to see and do, just because she is the youngest and smallest. She misses seeing shooting stars because she goes to bed too early; she can’t pick the first apple of autumn because she’s too short; and, this morning, everyone else got to see a deer . . . except her. She goes into her backyard in search of the deer, a sugar cube tucked in her pocket. She sees a flick of brown in the orchard – is that the deer? No, it’s just the neighbor’s friendly dog (shhhhh, Nala!). Is that it by the pond? No, that’s just a bird, playing in the water. Just when she’s about to give up, she spots a fawn, beautiful, quiet and small . . . just like her. The Secret Fawn beautifully captures the power of nature to inspire children and shows how connecting with animals can help kids who feel left out or overlooked.

The Tale of the Mandarin Duck: A Modern Fable
By Bette Midler
Illustrated by Michiko Kakutani
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593176764 | Random House BFYR
How do you get people to appreciate what is right in front of them? In The Tale of the Mandarin Duck, it takes a mysterious, beautiful duck and a clear-eyed kid to point out the obvious! Bette Midler’s distinctive voice joins striking photos of the real duck by Michiko Kakutani and charming black-and-white drawings by Joana Avillez. This book will have readers of all ages coming back to visit the fantastical interpretation of New York City and its odd ducks – both feathered and human. 

We  Adopted a Baby Lamb
By Lori Joy Smith
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266537 | Tundra Books
Ila is excited about her family’s move to the country – mostly because it means she can have more pets! But no one expected their next addition to be a lamb. When Albert first comes home, he sleeps a lot, he eats a lot . . . and he pees on the floor a lot. Ila and her sister and parents quickly learn how to care for a baby sheep – they must feed him and protect him. It’s not easy because Albert gets into everything! He eats the tulips from the flower bed, chews on car bumpers, chases the dog (and hides from the cats). Ila and her family does everything to make Albert happy and healthy, but she can’t help feeling like her little lamb might be missing something from his life. Maybe he needs a friend? But Ila soon realizes that she doesn’t need to look for a friend for Albert – he already has his flock.

Welcome Flower Child: The Magic of Your Birth Flower
By Brigette Barrager
42 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984830395 | Random House BFYR
Welcome to this celebration of nature and babies from New York Times bestselling illustrator of Uni the Unicorn, Brigette Barrager. A gorgeous gift book reveals the qualities of babies born in each month of the year, and the accompanying flower that blooms in each birth month. This text is sweet, and soft, and everyone who opens it can find the special personality traits of individuals born in their month revealed.

What’s Inside a Flower: And Other Questions About Science & Nature
By Rachel Ignotofsky
48 Pages | Ages 4-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593176474 | Crown BFYR
Budding backyard scientists can start exploring their world with this stunning introduction to these flowery show-stoppers – from seeds to roots to blooms. Learning how flowers grow gives kids beautiful building blocks of science and inquiry. In the launch of a new nonfiction picture book series, Rachel Ignotofsky’s distinctive art style and engaging, informative text clearly answers any questions a child (or adult) could have about flowers.

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.

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.

CTV Your Morning Kids’ Book Segment on I Read Canadian Day

Our Marketing and Publicity Director, Vikki VanSickle, was on CTV’s Your Morning today to talk about some of her top kids book picks for I Read Canadian Day. Check out our titles from her recommendations below and don’t forget to watch her segment for the full list!

AGES 3-7

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story
By Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Mark Fearing
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524714512 | Knopf BFYR
After centuries alone in his old castle, Vlad is ready to try something new. When he hears the local hockey team gushing about how they’ll crush and destroy their opponents in the next game, he knows he’s found the activity for him! Vlad immediately gives the game his all, but he soon realizes that super-human powers don’t mean much in hockey without a mastery of the basics. After weeks of practice, he’s finally ready for the big game . . . but can a hundreds-of-years-old vampire really learn new tricks? This hilarious, energetic picture book encourages teamwork, perseverance, and a love of hockey that will last a lifetime, even for an immortal being.

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.

AGES 4-8

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!

AGES 6-10

Super Detectives: Simon and Chester #1
By Cale Atkinson
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267428 | Tundra Books
Welcome to the world of Simon and Chester, ghost and boy duo extraordinaire.
They like to kick butt and take names.
They don’t like chores.
They are best friends.
And they are about to solve the mystery of a lifetime.
(Oh, and eat some snacks probably.)
Join Simon and Chester in their first adventure, and fall in love with this hilarious odd couple by fan favorite author and illustrator Cale Atkinson.

Black History Month YA Reading List

February is Black History Month and while we believe you should be reading books by BIPOC creators all year, we’ve made a list of some of our recent favorite titles by Black authors.

Chlorine Sky
By Mahogany L. Browne
192 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593176399 | Crown BFYR
She looks me hard in my eyes
& my knees lock into tree trunks
My eyes don’t dance like my heartbeat racing
They stare straight back hot daggers.
I remember things will never be the same.
I remember things.
With gritty and heartbreaking honesty, Mahogany L. Browne delivers a novel-in-verse about broken promises, fast rumors, and when growing up means growing apart from your best friend.

Concrete Kids
By Amyra León
Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
96 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593095195 | Penguin Workshop
Concrete Kids is an exploration of love and loss, melody and bloodshed. Musician, playwright, and educator Amyra León takes us on a poetic journey through her childhood in Harlem, as she navigates the intricacies of foster care, mourning, self-love, and resilience. In her signature free-verse style, she invites us all to dream with abandon – and to recognize the privilege it is to dream at all.

Dear Justyce
By Nic Stone
288 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984829665 | Crown BFYR
In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller, Nic Stone delivers an unflinching look into the flawed practices and silenced voices in the American juvenile justice system. Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up a block apart in the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Wynwood Heights. Years later, though, Justyce walks the illustrious halls of Yale University . . . and Quan sits behind bars at the Fulton Regional Youth Detention Center. Through a series of flashbacks, vignettes, and letters to Justyce – the protagonist of Dear Martin – Quan’s story takes form. Troubles at home and misunderstandings at school give rise to police encounters and tough decisions. But then there’s a dead cop and a weapon with Quan’s prints on it. What leads a bright kid down a road to a murder charge? Not even Quan is sure.

Every Body Looking
By Candice Iloh
416 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525556206 | Dutton BFYR
When Ada leaves home for her freshman year at a Historically Black College, it’s the first time she’s ever been so far from her family – and the first time that she’s been able to make her own choices and to seek her place in this new world. As she stumbles deeper into the world of dance and explores her sexuality, she also begins to wrestle with her past – her mother’s struggle with addiction and her Nigerian father’s attempts to make a home for her. Ultimately, Ada discovers she needs to brush off the destiny others have chosen for her and claim full ownership of her body and her future.

Rebel Sisters
By Tochi Onyebuchi
464 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984835062 | Razorbill
It’s been five years since the Biafran War ended. Ify is now nineteen and living where she’s always dreamed – the Space Colonies. She is a respected, high-ranking medical officer and has dedicated her life to helping refugees like herself rebuild in the Colonies. Back in the still devastated Nigeria, Uzo, a young synth, is helping an aid worker, Xifeng, recover images and details of the war held in the technology of destroyed androids. Uzo, Xifeng, and the rest of their team are working to preserve memories of the many lives lost, despite the government’s best efforts to eradicate any signs that the war ever happened. Though they are working toward common goals of helping those who suffered, Ify and Uzo are worlds apart. But when a mysterious virus breaks out among the children in the Space Colonies, their paths collide. Ify makes it her mission to figure out what’s causing the deadly disease. And doing so means going back to the homeland she thought she’d left behind forever.

The Beautiful Struggle
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
176 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984894021 | Delacorte BFYR
As a child, Ta-Nehisi Coates was seen by his father, Paul, as too sensitive and lacking focus. Paul Coates was a Vietnam vet who’d been part of the Black Panthers and was dedicated to reading and publishing the history of African civilization. When it came to his sons, he was committed to raising proud Black men equipped to deal with a racist society, during a turbulent period in the collapsing city of Baltimore where they lived. Coates details with candor the challenges of dealing with his tough-love father, the influence of his mother, and the dynamics of his extended family, including his brother “Big Bill,” who was on a very different path than Ta-Nehisi. Coates also tells of his family struggles at school and with girls, making this a timely story to which many readers will relate.

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person
By Frederick Joseph
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217018 | Candlewick
For Frederick Joseph, life as a transfer student in a largely white high school was full of wince-worthy moments that he often simply let go. As he grew older, however, he saw these as missed opportunities not only to stand up for himself, but to spread awareness to those white people who didn’t see the negative impact they were having. Speaking directly to the reader, The Black Friend calls up race-related anecdotes from the author’s past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now. Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to power dynamics, “reverse racism” to white privilege, microaggressions to the tragic results of overt racism, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former “token Black kid” who now presents himself as the friend many readers need. Backmatter includes an encyclopedia of racism, providing details on relevant historical events, terminology, and more.

The Gilded Ones
By Namina Forna
432 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984848697 | Delacorte BFYR
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity – and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki – near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

This Is My America
By Kim Johnson
416 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593118764 | Random House BFYR
Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time – her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

When You Were Everything
By Ashley Woodfolk
400 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524715915 | Delacorte BFYR
It’s been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship imploded. Nearly a month since Cleo realized they’ll never be besties again. Now Cleo wants to erase every memory, good or bad, that tethers her to her ex-best friend. But pretending Layla doesn’t exist isn’t as easy as Cleo hoped, especially after she’s assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Despite budding friendships with other classmates – and a raging crush on a gorgeous boy named Dom – Cleo’s turbulent past with Layla comes back to haunt them both. Alternating between time lines of Then and Now, When You Were Everything blends past and present into an emotional story about the beauty of self-forgiveness, the promise of new beginnings, and the courage it takes to remain open to love.

Black History Month Reading List

February is Black History Month, and we encourage you to visit your local bookstore or library (to learn more. In the meantime, we have compiled our reading recommendations for you.

Antiracist Baby
By Ibram X. Kendi
Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
32 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593110508 | Kokila
From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist comes a new 9×9 picture book that empowers parents and children to uproot racism in our society and in ourselves, now with added discussion prompts to help readers recognize and reflect on bias in their daily lives. With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.

Before the Ever After
By Jacqueline Woodson
176 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399545436 | Nancy Paulsen Books
For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone’s hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he’s as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ’s house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ’s mom explains it’s because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that – but it doesn’t make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can’t remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?

Brown Girl DreamingBrown Girl Dreaming
By Jacqueline Woodson
368 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780147515827 | Puffin Books
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

C is for Country
By Lil Nas X
Illustrated by Theodore Taylor III
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593300787 | Random House BFYR
Join superstar Lil Nas X—who boasts the longest-running #1 song in history—and Panini the pony on a joyous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown. Experience wide-open pastures, farm animals, guitar music, cowboy hats, and all things country in this debut picture book that’s perfect for music lovers learning their ABCs and for anyone who loves Nas’s signature genre-blending style. Featuring bold, bright art from Theodore Taylor III, with plenty of hidden surprises for Nas’s biggest fans, C Is for Country is a celebration of song and the power inside us all.

I Am Every Good Thing
By Derrick Barnes
Illustrated by Gordon C. James
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525518778 | Nancy Paulsen Books
The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He’s got big plans, and no doubt he’ll see them through – as he’s creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you – and shows you – who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!

I Am Smart, I Am Blessed, I Can Do Anything!
By Alissa Holder and Zulekha Holder-Young
Illustrated by Nneka Myers
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593206607 | Flamingo Books
Based on a viral video comes the story of one boy’s positive energy and how a sunny outlook can turn everything around. It’s a new day and Ayaan has woken up on the wrong side of the bed, where nothing feels quite right. What if he doesn’t know the answer at school? What if he messes up? But as he sets out that morning, all it takes is a few reminders from his mom and some friends in the neighborhood to remind him that a new day is a good day because . . . HE IS SMART, HE IS BLESSED, AND HE CAN DO ANYTHING!

Jabari Jumps
By Gaia Cornwall
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536202908 | Candlewick
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

Lubaya’s Quiet Roar
By Marilyn Nelson
Illustrated by Philemona Williamson
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525555551 | Dial BFYR
Newbery Honor winner Marilyn Nelson and fine artist Philemona Williamson have come together to create this lyrical, impactful story of how every child, even the quietest, can make a difference in their community and world. Young Lubaya is happiest when she’s drawing, often behind the sofa while her family watches TV. There, she creates pictures on the backs of her parents’ old protest posters. But when upsetting news shouts into their living room, her parents need the posters again. The next day her family takes part in a march, and there, on one side of the posters being held high, are Lubaya’s drawings of kids holding hands and of the sun shining over the globe – rousing visual statements of how the world could be. “Lubaya’s roar may not be loud, but a quiet roar can make history.”

Milo Imagines the World
By Matt De La Peña
Illustrated by Christian Robinson
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399549083 | Putnam BFYR
Milo is on a long subway ride with his older sister. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. There’s the whiskered man with the crossword puzzle; Milo imagines him playing solitaire in a cluttered apartment full of pets. There’s the wedding-dressed woman with a little dog peeking out of her handbag; Milo imagines her in a grand cathedral ceremony. And then there’s the boy in the suit with the bright white sneakers; Milo imagines him arriving home to a castle with a drawbridge and a butler. But when the boy in the suit gets off on the same stop as Milo – walking the same path, going to the exact same place – Milo realizes that you can’t really know anyone just by looking at them.

My Rainbow
By DeShanna Neal and Trinity Neal
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984814609 | Kokila
Warm morning sunlight and love fill the Neal home. And on one quiet day, playtime leads to an important realization: Trinity wants long hair like her dolls. She needs it to express who she truly is. So her family decides to take a trip to the beauty supply store, but none of the wigs is the perfect fit. Determined, Mom leaves with bundles of hair in hand, ready to craft a wig as colorful and vibrant as her daughter is. With powerful text by Trinity and DeShanna Neal and radiant art by Art Twink, My Rainbow is a celebration of showing up as our full selves with the people who have seen us fully all along.

Nana Akua Goes to School
By Tricia Elam Walker
Illustrated by April Harrison
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525581130 | Schwartz & Wade
It is Grandparents Day at Zura’s elementary school, and the students are excited to introduce their grandparents and share what makes them special. Aleja’s grandfather is a fisherman. Bisou’s grandmother is a dentist. But Zura’s Nana, who is her favorite person in the world, looks a little different from other grandmas. Nana Akua was raised in Ghana, and, following an old West African tradition, has tribal markings on her face. Worried that her classmates will be scared of Nana – or worse, make fun of her – Zura is hesitant to bring her to school. Nana Akua knows what to do, though. With a quilt of traditional African symbols and a bit of face paint, Nana Akua is able to explain what makes her special, and to make all of Zura’s classmates feel special, too.

She Persisted: Harriet Tubman
By Andrea Davis Pinkney and Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger and Gillian Flint
80 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593115657 | Philomel BFYR
Born enslaved, Harriet Tubman rose up to become one of the most successful, determined and well-known conductors of the Underground Railroad. With her family’s love planted firmly in her heart, Harriet looked to the North Star for guidance – and its light helped guide her way out of slavery. Her courage made it possible for her to help others reach freedom too. In this chapter book biography by bestselling and award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney, readers learn about the amazing life of Harriet Tubman – and how she persisted. Complete with an introduction from Chelsea Clinton!

Take Back the Block
By Chrystal D. Giles
240 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593175170 | Random House BFYR
Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That – and hanging out with his crew (his best friends since little-kid days) and playing video games – is what he wants to be thinking about at the start of the school year, not the protests his parents are always dragging him to. But when a real estate developer makes an offer to buy Kensington Oaks, the neighborhood Wes has lived his whole life, everything changes. The grownups are supposed to have all the answers, but all they’re doing is arguing. Even Wes’s best friends are fighting. And some of them may be moving. Wes isn’t about to give up the only home he’s ever known. Wes has always been good at puzzles, and he knows there has to be a missing piece that will solve this puzzle and save the Oaks. But can he find it . . . before it’s too late? Exploring community, gentrification, justice, and friendship, Take Back the Block introduces an irresistible 6th grader and asks what it means to belong – to a place and a movement – and to fight for what you believe in.

The Day You BeginThe Day You Begin
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by Rafael López
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399246531 | Nancy Paulsen Books
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963
By Christopher Paul Curtis
256 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593306499 | Yearling
When the Watson family – ten-year-old Kenny, Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and brother Byron – sets out on a trip south to visit Grandma in Birmingham, Alabama, they don’t realize that they’re heading toward one of the darkest moments in America’s history. The Watsons’ journey reminds us that even in the hardest times, laughter and family can help us get through anything. Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honoree about an unforgettable family on a road-trip during one of the most important times in the civil rights movement. This special edition makes a perfect gift and includes bonus content.

This Is Your Time
By Ruby Bridges
64 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593378526 | Delacorte BFYR
Written as a letter from civil rights activist and icon Ruby Bridges to the reader, This Is Your Time is both a recounting of Ruby’s experience as a child who had to be escorted to class by federal marshals when she was chosen to be one of the first black students to integrate into New Orleans’ all-white public school system and an appeal to generations to come to effect change. This beautifully designed volume features photographs from the 1960s and from today, as well as stunning jacket art from The Problem We All Live With, the 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell depicting Ruby’s walk to school. Ruby’s honest and impassioned words, imbued with love and grace, serve as a moving reminder that “what can inspire tomorrow often lies in our past.” This Is Your Time will electrify people of all ages as the struggle for liberty and justice for all continues and the powerful legacy of Ruby Bridges endures.

What Lane?
By Torrey Maldonado
144 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525518433 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Anything his friends can do, Stephen should be able to do too, right? So when they dare each other to sneak into an abandoned building, he doesn’t think it’s his lane, but he goes. Here’s the thing, though: Can he do everything his friends can? Lately, he’s not so sure. As a mixed kid, he feels like he’s living in two worlds with different rules – and he’s been noticing that strangers treat him differently than his white friends . . . so what’ll he do? Hold on tight as Stephen swerves in and out of lanes to find out which are his – and who should be with him. Torrey Maldonado, author of the highly acclaimed Tight, does a masterful job showing a young boy coming of age in a racially split world, trying to blaze a way to be his best self.

When Stars Are Scattered
By Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
Illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and Iman Geddy
264  Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525553915 | Dial BFYR
Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day. Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.

Need more ideas? Check out our list from last year or our Raising Conscious Kids listicle, and look out for a teen reading list this Friday!