HomeBooks by AgeAges 0-3Best New Kids Books | December 2015
Best New Kids Stories | December 2015

Best New Kids Books | December 2015

The Children’s Book Review | December 1, 2015

Hot New Release Kids Books & Popular Kids Stories

After taking a look at our selection of hot new releases and popular kids’ books … it’s more than likely we’re suckers for picture books about love, kindness, and compassion. Take a gander and let us know which titles and covers catch your eyes …

Here Comes Valentine CatHere Comes Valentine Cat

Written by Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by Claudia Rueda

Publisher’s Synopsis: The New York Times bestselling Cat is back just in time for Valentine’s Day—but he’s not interested in giving a valentine to any old dog. This homage to classic comic strips is perfect for fans of Pete the CatBad Kitty, Mo Willems’s Pigeon books, and of course, Cat’s two previous capers, Here Comes the Easter Cat and Here Comes Santa Cat.

Cat does NOT like Valentine’s Day. It’s much too mushy, and no way is he making anyone a valentine—especially not his new neighbor, Dog. Dog refuses to respect the fence: He keeps tossing over old bones and hitting Cat in the head! But just as Cat’s about to send Dog an angry “valentine” telling him exactly what he can do with his bones, Dog throws a ball over the fence. What is Dog playing at? Cat is in for a hilarious—and heartwarming—surprise in this story about being perhaps too quick to judge.

Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Dial Books | Dec. 22 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0525429159

The Red HatThe Red Hat

Written by David Teague

Illustrated by Antoinette Portis

Publisher’s Synopsis: Billy Hightower spends his whole life alone in a skyscraper high above a big city. Then one day, a skyscraper is built next door and a girl moves in. Could she be a friend? But every time Billy tries to reach out to her, the wily Wind gets in his way! Can Billy find a way to outsmart the Wind and make a new friend, or will he be swept away?

Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | Dec. 8 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1423134114

Groundhog's DilemmaGroundhog’s Dilemma

Written by Kristen Remenar 

Illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Publisher’s Synopsis: After Groundhog announces six more weeks of winter, half his animal friends are disappointed, while the other half are excited. Each animal asks Groundhog to make his prediction in their favor the following year. Rather than being truthful about the fact that he just “calls it like he sees it,” he leads them to believe he can control the weather, accepting their gifts of food and favor. On the next Groundhog Day, he finally admits he made promises he couldn’t keep because he was trying to please everyone and makes amends.

Matt Faulkner’s rich illustrations are packed with hilarious details that will delight readers of all ages. No matter what weather the Groundhog predicts, curling up with this fun book is a great way to spend the winter.

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Charlesbridge | Dec. 1 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1580896009

How to Mend a HeartHow to Mend a Heart

Written and Illustrated by Sara Gillingham

Publisher’s Synopsis: A charming arts-and-crafts approach to dealing with first moments of heartbreak. Be it caused by a lost pet, a friend’s moving away, or even simple childhood injustice, Sara Gillingham (How to Grow a Friend) understands the gentle touch needed to soothe a sore heart. Her fresh and whimsical design makes an enticing vehicle for her advice.

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers | Dec. 22 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0553510935

Mimi and Shu in I'll Race You!Mimi and Shu in I’ll Race You!

Written by Christian Trimmer

Illustrated by Melissa van der Paardt

Publisher’s Synopsis: Mimi and Shu are in a race to make history (and dessert) in this inventive and fun reimagining of the origins of the Chinese zodiac.

Shu the mouse has his eyes set on making history. His best friend Mimi the cat, on the other hand, has her eyes set on cupcakes. When Emperor Jade invites Mimi, Shu, and a bunch of their animal friends to his big race for a spot in the Chinese zodiac—and a big plate of cupcakes—Shu and Mimi are determined to win. But with their eyes set on different prizes, can Mimi and Shu work together to win Emperor Jade’s great race? Or will the lure of sweet (and sugary) victory come between them for good?

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers | Dec. 15 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1481423304

I Love You Already!I Love You Already!

Written by Jory John

Illustrated by Benji Davies

Publisher’s Synopsis: From the creators of Goodnight Already!, Jory John and Benji Davies, comes another standout hilarious picture book about Bear and Duck. Bear can’t wait to spend a pleasant day by himself. His persistent next-door neighbor, Duck, wants to take a morning stroll . . . with Bear. He just wants Bear to like him already. . . .

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | Dec. 22 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0062370952

the only child guojingThe Only Child

Written and Illustrated by Guojing

Publisher’s Synopsis: New York Times Best Illustrated Book

Like Shaun Tan’s The Arrival and Raymond Briggs’s The Snowman, this gorgeous and imaginative 100-page graphic picture book is utterly transporting and original.

A little girl—lost and alone—follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, and, like Alice down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a strange and wondrous world. But… home and family are very far away. How will she get back there?

In this magnificently illustrated—and wordless—masterpiece, debut artist Guojing brilliantly captures the rich and deeply-felt emotional life of a child, filled with loneliness and longing as well as love and joy.

Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | Dec. 1 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0553497045

Long Road to Freedom (Ranger in Time #3)Long Road to Freedom (Ranger in Time #3)

Written by Kate Messner

Publisher’s Synopsis: Ranger is a time-traveling golden retriever with search-and-rescue training. In this adventure, he goes to a Maryland plantation during the days of American slavery, where he meets a young girl named Sarah. When she learns that the owner has plans to sell her little brother, Jesse, to a plantation in the Deep South, it means they could be separated forever. Sarah takes their future into her own hands and decides there’s only one way to run — north.

Ages 7-10 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | Dec. 29 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0545639200

The Secret Files of Fairday MorrowThe Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

Written by Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson

Illustrated by Roman Muradov

Publisher’s Synopsis: Fans of the classic detective/spy story as well as the popular THE SECRET SERIES will adore this highly illustrated debut middle-grade adventure featuring three young sleuths!

Fear Not the Unexpected.

Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s absolutely certain she’ll die of boredom.
As if leaving New York City and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad (DMS), weren’t bad enough, Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past.
Before she can even unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where an ancient mirror, a brass key, and a strange picture of a red-haired lady are the first in a series of clues that takes the members of the Detective Mystery Squad on an amazing adventure.

Ages 10+ | Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers | Dec. 1 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0385744713

The Art of Star Wars- The Force AwakensThe Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Written by Phil Szostak

Foreward by Rick Carter

Publisher’s Synopsis: Step inside the Lucasfilm art departments for the creation of fantastical worlds, unforgettable characters, and unimaginable creatures. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will take you there, from the earliest gathering of artists and production designers at Lucasfilm headquarters in San Francisco to the fever pitch of production at Pinewood Studios to the conclusion of post-production at Industrial Light & Magic—all with unprecedented access. Exclusive interviews with the entire creative team impart fascinating insights in bringing director J. J. Abrams’s vision to life; unused “blue sky” concept art offers glimpses into roads not traveled.

Bursting with hundreds of stunning works of art, including production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, blueprints, and matte paintings, this visual feast will delight Star Wars fans and cineastes for decades to come. The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the definitive expression of how the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga was dreamed into being. 

Ages 10+ | Publisher: Abrams | Dec. 10 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1419717802

Star Wars- The Force Awakens Visual DictionaryStar Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary

Written by Pablo Hidalgo

Publisher’s Synopsis: The definitive guide to the characters, droids, aliens, and creatures of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Beautiful photography and clear, authoritative text by Lucasfilm insider Pablo Hidalgo names and explains all the details of costumes, weapons, and accessories. Includes three exclusive, specially commissioned cutaway models produced by Industrial Light & Magic model maker John Goodson.

Ages 10+ | Publisher: DK Children | Dec. 18 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1465438164

Breakthrough by Jim MurphyBreakthrough!: How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever

Written by Jim Murphy

Publisher’s Synopsis: In 1944 a groundbreaking operation repaired the congenital heart defect known as blue baby syndrome. The operation’s success brought the surgeon Alfred Blalock international fame and paved the way for open-heart surgery. But the technique had been painstakingly developed by Vivien Thomas, Blalock’s African American lab assistant, who stood behind Blalock in the operating room to give him step-by-step instructions.

The stories of this medical and social breakthrough and the lives of Thomas, Blalock, and their colleague Dr. Helen Taussig are intertwined in this compelling nonfiction narrative.

Ages 10-12 | Publisher: Clarion Books | Dec. 8 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0547821832

not if i see you first by eric lindstromNot If I See You First

Written by Eric Lindstrom

Publisher’s Synopsis: The Rules:

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened–both with Scott, and her dad–the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You Firstilluminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

Ages 14+ | Publisher: Poppy | Dec. 1 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0316259859

For more of the best new kids stories and popular books for kids, follow along with our tag for Popular Kids Stories.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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