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34 of the Best Picture Books of 2019, so Far

The Children’s Book Review | April 3, 2019

Feast your eyes on this list! Here are some of the best picture books of 2019 that have released so far—January through March. There is surely something for everyone on this list—picture books about feelings, compelling non-fiction, unique and excellent illustrations, diversity of characters, humor, poetry … you name it. This list will definitely keep you busy and your library bags full. You can thank us later!

When Sadness is at Your DoorWhen Sadness is at Your Door

Written and Illustrated by Eva Eland

Publisher’s Synopsis:A comforting primer in emotional literacy and mindfulness that suggests we approach the feeling of sadness as if it is our guest.

Sadness can be scary and confusing at any age! When we feel sad, especially for long periods of time, it can seem as if the sadness is a part of who we are–an overwhelming, invisible, and scary sensation.

In When Sadness Is at Your Door, Eva Eland brilliantly approaches this feeling as if it is a visitor. She gives it a shape and a face, and encourages the reader to give it a name, all of which helps to demystify it and distinguish it from ourselves. She suggests activities to do with it, like sitting quietly, drawing, and going outside for a walk. The beauty of this approach is in the respect the book has for the feeling, and the absence of a narrative that encourages the reader to “get over” it or indicates that it’s “bad,” both of which are anxiety-producing notions.

Simple illustrations that recall the classic style of Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon) invite readers to add their own impressions.

Eva Eland’s debut picture book is a great primer in mindfulness and emotional literacy, perfect for kids navigating these new feelings–and for adult readers tackling the feelings themselves!

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Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers | January 29, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0525707189

B Is for BabyB Is for Baby

Written by Atinuke

Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Publisher’s Synopsis: Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank, creators of the award-winning Baby Goes to Market, pair up again for a bright and beautiful first book of words.

B is for Baby. B is for Brother. B is for going to see Baba!

One morning after breakfast, Baby’s big brother is getting ready to take the basket of bananas all the way to Baba’s bungalow in the next village. He’ll have to go along the bumpy road, past the baobab trees, birds, and butterflies, and all the way over the bridge. But what he doesn’t realize is that his very cute, very curious baby sibling has stowed away on his bicycle. Little ones learning about language will love sounding out the words in this playful, vibrantly illustrated story set in West Africa.

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Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick | March 12, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1536201666

How to Give Your Cat a Bath- in Five Easy StepsHow to Give Your Cat a Bath: in Five Easy Steps

Written by Nicola Winstanley

Illustrated by John Martz

Publisher’s Synopsis: In this hilarious and clever “how-to,” a little girl and a know-it-all narrator are thwarted by a cat who refuses to take a bath. The perfect read-aloud for fans of Snappsy the Alligator and Interrupting Chicken.

Step one: fill the bath
Step two: put the cat in the bath
Step three: put shampoo on the cat
Step four: rinse the cat
Step five: dry the cat

Seems simple, right? One problem: the cat has no intention of doing ANY of these things! Watch as the steps keep changing, the cat keeps escaping, the girl keeps eating cookies and the mess keeps escalating. Soon it’s not just the cat who needs a bath–it’s the whole house!

This spoof on an instruction manual features an increasingly bewildered human, a nonchalant cat and a know-it-all narrator . . . who really doesn’t know it all. How DO you give a cat a bath? Read on to find out!

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Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Tundra Books | January 22, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0735263543

The Goose EggThe Goose Egg

Written and Illustrated by Liz Wong

Publisher’s Synopsis: From the author of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record pick Quackers comes the story of Henrietta the Elephant, whose life goes from calm to chaotic when a baby goose comes to stay.

Henrietta likes her quiet life. A morning swim, a cup of tea–all is serene.

But everything changes when she bumps her head and winds up with a goose egg–a REAL goose egg. Henrietta tries to return the baby goose to the nest, but her flock has flown. It’s up to Henrietta to raise her.

Goose isn’t anything like Henrietta. She’s flappy, and noisy, and exhausting. But Henrietta raises that goose right. She teaches her to swim, and to honk, and to fly. When Goose flies off with the other geese, Henrietta is so proud!

And then . . . lonely. How quiet her life feels now.

But the love you give has a way of coming back to you. And Henrietta has a wonderful surprise in store. . . .

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Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | January 22, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0553511574

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon TreeWhen Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree

Written by Jamie L.B. Deenihan

Illustrated by Lorraine Rocha

Publisher’s Synopsis: When Grandma gives you a lemon tree, definitely don’t make a face! Care for the tree, and you might be surprised at how new things, and new ideas, bloom.

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised (and disappointed) to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator’s careful—and funny—instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all. This clever story, complete with a recipe for lemonade, celebrates the pleasures of patience, hard work, nature, community . . . and putting down the electronic devices just for a while.

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Ages 3+ | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books | March 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1454923817

THE BEAR THE PIANO THE DOG AND THE FIDDLEThe Bear, the Piano, the Dog, and the Fiddle

Written and Illustrated by David Litchfield

Publisher’s Synopsis: In this charming, gorgeously illustrated follow-up to the award-winning The Bear and the Piano, a fiddle-playing dog and his human pal share the joy of music, and discover that, even through sad times and far-apart times, good friendship lasts forever.

Fiddle-playing Hector and his dog, Hugo, are best friends. Hugo is Hector’s biggest fan, and when Hector decides to retire, Hugo secretly learns to play the fiddle himself. Soon, a famous piano-playing bear invites him to join his all-animal band and travel the world to perform in front of huge crowds—an opportunity that Hector had always dreamed of for himself. Will Hector be able to overcome his jealousy and learn to be happy for his friend?

This heartfelt tale reminds us that there are many different kinds of success, and it celebrates the joy and healing powers of music and friendship.

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Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Clarion Books | March 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1328595898

My HeartMy Heart

Written and Illustrated by Corinna Luyken

A metaphoric wonder that readily shows we each truly hold the power of our own hearts.  The compelling message shines through with minimal text and the remarkably uncomplicated use of water-based inks and pencil in captivating yellow and grey hues. A gorgeous book!

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Dial Books | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0735227934

Magic Ramen- The Story of Momofuku AndoMagic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando

Written by Andrea Wang

Illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz

Publisher’s Synopsis: Inspiration struck when Momofuku Ando spotted the long lines for a simple bowl of ramen following World War II. Magic Ramen tells the true story behind the creation of one of the world’s most popular foods.

Every day, Momofuku Ando would retire to his lab–a little shed in his backyard. For years, he’d dreamed about making a new kind of ramen noodle soup that was quick, convenient, and tasty for the hungry people he’d seen in line for a bowl on the black market following World War II. Peace follows from a full stomach, he believed.

Day after day, Ando experimented. Night after night, he failed. But Ando kept experimenting.

With persistence, creativity, and a little inspiration, Ando succeeded. This is the true story behind one of the world’s most popular foods.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: little bee books | March 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1499807035

The Neighbors by Einat TsarfatiThe Neighbors

Written and Illustrated by Einat Tsarfati

Translated by Annette Appel

Publisher’s Synopsis: As a young girl climbs the seven stories to her own (very boring!) apartment, she imagines what’s behind each of the doors she passes. Does the door with all the locks belong to a family of thieves? Might the doorway with muddy footprints conceal a pet tiger? Each spread reveals—in lush detail—the wilds of the girl’s imagination, from a high-flying circus to an underwater world and everything in between. When the girl finally reaches her own apartment, she is greeted by her parents, who might have a secret even wilder than anything she could have imagined!

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1419731686

Lola Dutch When I Grow UpLola Dutch When I Grow Up

Written by Kenneth Wright

Illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright

Publisher’s Synopsis: Lola Dutch is always bursting with grand plans–so of course she has many ideas for what she wants to be when she grows up!

She could be a magnificent performer . . .
or a daring inventor . . .
or a brilliant botanist . . .
there are exciting ideas all around! But Lola is too excited–she wants to try EVERYTHING. How will she ever decide what she is destined to become?

The curious and creative Lola Dutch is inspired to imagine every way to explore the wonder of her world. And she doesn’t have to wait until she grows up!

Inspired by their own four gorgeously creative children, Sarah Jane and Kenneth Wright are thrilled to continue this fun series about the unstoppable Lola Dutch, a larger-than-life character perfect for fans of Olivia and Fancy Nancy.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books | January 15, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1681195544

Planting Stories- The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura BelprePlanting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Written by Anika Aldamuy Denise

Illustrated by Paola Escobar

Publisher’s Synopsis: An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.

When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.

Brought to colorful life by Paola Escobar’s elegant and exuberant illustrations and Anika Aldamuy Denise’s lyrical text, this gorgeous book is perfect for the pioneers in your life.

Informative backmatter and suggested further reading included.

A Spanish-language edition, Sembrando historias: Pura Belpré: bibliotecaria y narradora de cuentos, is also available.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | January 15, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062748683

Mary Wears What She WantsMary Wears What She Wants

Written and Illustrated by Keith Negley

Publisher’s Synopsis: From the award-winning creator of My Dad Used to Be So Cool and Tough Guys Have Feelings Too comes a charming picture book inspired by the true story of Mary Edwards Walker, a trailblazing 19th-century doctor who was arrested many times for wearing pants.

Once upon a time (but not that long ago), girls only wore dresses. And only boys wore pants.

Until one day, a young girl named Mary had an idea: She would wear whatever she wanted. And she wanted to wear pants!

This bold, original picture book encourages readers to think for themselves while gently challenging gender and societal norms.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Balzer + Bray | January 15, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062846792

The Roots of Rap- 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-HopThe Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop

Written by Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrated by Frank Morrison

Publisher’s Synopsis: Explore the roots of rap in this stunning, rhyming, triple-timing picture book!

A generation voicing

stories, hopes, and fears

founds a hip-hop nation.

Say holler if you hear.

The roots of rap and the history of hip-hop have origins that precede DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash. Kids will learn about how it evolved from folktales, spirituals, and poetry, to the showmanship of James Brown, to the culture of graffiti art and break dancing that formed around the art form and gave birth to the musical artists we know today. Written in lyrical rhythm by award-winning author and poet Carole Boston Weatherford and complete with flowing, vibrant illustrations by Frank Morrison, this book beautifully illustrates how hip-hop is a language spoken the whole world ’round, it and features a foreward by Swizz Beatz, a Grammy Award winning American hip-hop rapper, DJ, and record producer.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: little bee books | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1499804119

Brave Ballerina- The Story of Janet CollinsBrave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins

Written by Michelle Meadows

Illustrated by Ebony Glenn

Publisher’s Synopsis: A lyrical picture book biography of Janet Collins, the first African American principal dancer at the Metropolitan Opera House.

Janet Collins wanted to be a ballerina in the 1930s and 40s, a time when racial segregation was widespread in the United States. Janet pursued dance with a passion, despite being rejected from discriminatory dance schools. When she was accepted into the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a teenager on the condition that she paint her skin white for performances, Janet refused. She continued to go after her dreams, never compromising her values along the way. From her early childhood lessons to the height of her success as the first African American prima ballerina in the Metropolitan Opera, Brave Ballerina is the story of a remarkable pioneer as told by Michelle Meadows, with fantastic illustrations from Ebony Glenn.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1250127730

Hands UpHands Up!

Written by Breanna McDaniel

Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Publisher’s Synopsis: This triumphant picture book recasts a charged phrase as part of a black girl’s everyday life–hands up for a hug, hands up in class, hands up for a high five–before culminating in a moment of resistance at a protest march.

A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane’s wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Dial Books | January 22, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0525552314

Sea Bear- A Journey for SurvivalSea Bear: A Journey for Survival

Written and Illustrated by Lindsay Moore

Publisher’s Synopsis: Lindsay Moore’s remarkable and beautifully illustrated picture book follows a lone polar bear as she makes her way across sea ice in the Arctic. Sea Bear is a deeply moving and informative story about perseverance, family, nature, and climate change that will resonate with readers of all ages.

A solitary polar bear travels across the sea ice in pursuit of food. As the ice melts and food becomes scarce, she is forced to swim for days. Finally, storm-tossed and exhausted, she finds shelter on land, where she gives birth to cubs and waits for the sea to freeze again.

Informed by the author’s background in marine science, Sea Bear is a vivid and moving page-turner with a vital message about our changing planet. This is a gorgeously illustrated book, with the perfect marriage of scientific fact and poetry, that shows the reality of climate change and how it poses a threat to animals of the Arctic. Perfect for family and classroom sharing.

Includes extensive backmatter about Arctic animals, climate change, and sea ice.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | January 22, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062791283

Elvis Is KingElvis is King!

Written by Jonah Winter

Illustrated by Red Nose Studio

Publisher’s Synopsis: Elvis Presley–the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, still beloved by millions of Americans–comes to vibrant, gyrating life in this extraordinary picture-book biography from an award-winning author and the winner of a New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award.

Here’s the perfect book for anyone who wants to introduce rock ‘n’ roll and its king to the child in their lives. In single- page “chapters” with titles like “The First Cheeseburger Ever Eaten by Elvis” and “Shazam! A Blond Boy Turns into a Black-Haired Teenager,” readers can follow key moments in Presley’s life, from his birth on the wrong side of the railroad tracks in the Deep South, to playing his first guitar in grade school, to being so nervous during a performance as a teenager that he starts shaking . . . and changes the world!

Jonah Winter and Red Nose Studio have created a tour-de-force that captures a boy’s loneliness and longing, along with the energy and excitement, passion, and raw talent that was Elvis Presley.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0399554704

The Good EggThe Good Egg

Written by Jory John

Illustrated by Pete Oswald

Publisher’s Synopsis: From the bestselling creators of The Bad Seed, a timely story about not having to be Grade A perfect!

Meet the good egg. He’s a verrrrrry good egg indeed.

But trying to be so good is hard when everyone else is plain ol’ rotten.

As the other eggs in the dozen behave badly, the good egg starts to crack from all the pressure of feeling like he has to be perfect.

So, he decides enough is enough! It’s time for him to make a change…

Dynamic duo Jory John and Pete Oswald hatch a funny and charming story that reminds us of the importance of balance, self-care, and accepting those who we love (even if they are sometimes a bit rotten).

Perfect for reading aloud and shared story time!

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | February 12, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062866004

Hey WaterHey, Water!

Written and Illustrated by Antoinette Portis

Publisher’s Synopsis: Splash! A spunky little girl plays a spirited game of hide-and-seek with water, in this gorgeously illustrated nonfiction picture book.

Hey, water! I know you! You’re all around.

Join a young girl as she explores her surroundings and sees that water is everywhere. But water doesn’t always look the same, it doesn’t always feel the same, and it shows up in lots of different shapes. Water can be a lake, it can be steam, it can be a tear, or it can even be a snowman.

As the girl discovers water in nature, in weather, in her home, and even inside her own body, water comes to life, and kids will find excitement and joy in water and its many forms.

This latest work from award-winning author/illustrator Antoinette Portis is an engaging, aesthetically pleasing nonfiction picture book, complete with accessible backmatter on the water cycle, water conservation, and more.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Neal Porter Books | March 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0823441556

The Very Impatient CaterpillarThe Very Impatient Caterpillar

Written and Illustrated by Ross Burach

Publisher’s Synopsis: This clever send-up of every child’s biggest challenge — being patient! — is a STEM-friendly, laugh-out-loud comedy about metamorphosis.

HEY! What are you guys doing?

We’re going to metamorphosize.

Meta-WHAT-now?

Transform into butterflies.

Right. Right. I knew that…

WAIT?! You’re telling me I can become a BUTTERFLY?

Yes.

With wings?

Yes.

Wait for ME!!

Ross Burach’s hilarious, tongue-in-cheek exploration of metamorphosis will make you flutter with glee, while also providing real facts about how caterpillars transform into butterflies.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | February 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1338289411

Another by Christian RobinsonAnother

Written and Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Publisher’s Synopsis: In his eagerly anticipated debut as author-illustrator, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King honoree Christian Robinson brings young readers on a playful, imaginative journey into another world.

What if you…
encountered another perspective?
Discovered another world?
Met another you?

What might you do?

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers | March 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1534421677

Music for Mister MoonMusic for Mister Moon

Written by Phillip C. Stead

Illustrated by Erin Stead

Publisher’s Synopsis: What if you threw your teacup out your window…and what if it accidentally knocked the moon out of the sky?

A girl named Harriet longs to play her cello alone in her room. But when a noisy owl disrupts her solitude, Harriet throws her teacup out the window and accidentally knocks the moon out of the sky in frustration. Over the course of an evening, Harriet and the moon become fast friends. Worried that he’ll catch a chill, Harriet buys the moon a soft woolen hat, then takes him on a boat ride across a glistening lake, something he’s only dreamed of. But can she work up the courage to play her music for the moon?

In this delicate bedtime story about a shy young cello player who learns to share her music with the moon, the award-winning Philip and Erin Stead deliver another whimsical, visually oriented picture book in their signature style.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Neal Porter Books | March 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0823441600

Raise Your HandRaise Your Hand

Written by Alice Paul Tapper

Illustrated by Marta Kissi

Publisher’s Synopsis: 11-year-old Alice Paul Tapper–daughter of CNN’s Jake Tapper–is challenging girls everywhere to speak up!

When Alice Tapper noticed that the girls in her class weren’t participating as much as the boys, she knew she had to do something about it. With help from her Girl Scout troop and her parents, she came up with a patch that other girls could earn if they took a pledge to be more confident in school. Alice even wrote an op-ed about the experience for the New York Times! Inspired by that piece, this picture book illustrates her determination, bravery, and unwillingness to accept the status quo. With Marta Kissi’s delightful illustrations depicting Alice’s story, young readers everywhere will want to follow Alice’s lead and raise their hand!

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Penguin Workshop | March 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1524791209

What Is Given from the HeartWhat Is Given from the Heart

Written by Patricia C. McKissack

Illustrated by April Harrison

Publisher’s Synopsis: This final, magnificent picture book from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack is a poignant and uplifting celebration of the joy of giving.

“Misery loves company,” Mama says to James Otis. It’s been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they’re blessed. One Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service– the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple’s “love box,” but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack–with stunning illustrations by Harrison–delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | January 8, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0375836152

The Bell RangThe Bell Rang

Written and Illustrated by James E. Ransome

Publisher’s Synopsis: A young slave girl witnesses the heartbreak and hopefulness of her family and their plantation community when her brother escapes for freedom in this brilliantly conceived picture book by Coretta Scott King Award winner James E. Ransome.

Every single morning, the overseer of the plantation rings the bell. Daddy gathers wood. Mama cooks. Ben and the other slaves go out to work. Each day is the same. Full of grueling work and sweltering heat. Every day, except one, when the bell rings and Ben is nowhere to be found. Because Ben ran. Yet, despite their fear and sadness, his family remains hopeful that maybe, just maybe, he made it North. That he is free.

An ode to hope and a powerful tribute to the courage of those who ran for freedom, The Bell Rang is a stunning reminder that our past can never be forgotten.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books | January 15, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1442421134

Breathe with MeBreathe with Me: Using Breath to Feel Strong, Calm, and Happy

Written by Mariam Gates

Illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder

Publisher’s Synopsis: When you’re mad or worried or can’t wake up in the morning, what can you do? Use the amazing superpower that you already have—breathing.

The newest offering from the bestselling creators of Good Night Yoga teaches kids fun and easy breathing practices based on the proven methods of yoga and mindfulness meditation.

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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Sounds True | January 1, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1683640301

Because by Mo WillemsBecause

Written by Mo Willems

Illustrated by Amber Ren

Publisher’s Synopsis: Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, composes a powerful symphony of chance, discovery, persistence, and magic in this moving tale of a young girl’s journey to center stage. Illustrator Amber Ren brings Willems’ music to life, conducting a stunning picture-book debut.

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Ages 5-6 | Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children | March 5, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1368019019

Dream Flights on Arctic NightsDream Flights on Arctic Nights

Written by Brooke Hartman

Illustrated by Evon Zerbetz

Publisher’s Synopsis: Follow a child’s dreamy flight through the Arctic and discover the animals that live there, from the wolves prowling in the snow to the goats and sheep standing on the mountains to the walrus and sea lions lying on big glaciers.

Told in singsong rhymes and colorfully illustrated with gorgeous linocut art, Dream Flights on Arctic Nights is a beautiful bedtime story for children to explore the Arctic before drifting off to sleep.

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Ages 5-7 | Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books | February 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1513261898

Little Doctor and the Fearless BeastLittle Doctor and the Fearless Beast

Written and Illustrated by Sophie Gilmore

Publisher’s Synopsis: Crocodiles come from far and wide to seek Little Doctor’s care. She treats each one with skill and kindness―even the toughest crocs with thick skins and large, powerful jaws. Little Doctor marvels at these fearless beasts, listening to their stories, while she diagnoses and cures what ails them. But when she meets Big Mean, the largest crocodile in the land with jaws clamped tightly shut, Little Doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong. And she might be just a little bit afraid.

When one creative idea lands Little Doctor right inside Big Mean’s tremendous jaws, she is sure she’ll be munched or crunched―until she sees that Big Mean isn’t so horrible, after all. As it turns out, the crocodile is only protecting her hatchlings, all tangled in plastic, inside her mouth.

Watercolor illustrations create a richly imagined world in this awe-inspiring story about how even little kids can be fearless, and even big, mean creatures sometimes need help.

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Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Owlkids | March 15, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1771473446

PoetreePoetree

Written by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds

Illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani

Publisher’s Synopsis: A girl writes a poem to a tree, but then is surprised when the tree writes back in this wondrous and warm picture book about friendship, nature, and the power of poetry.

The snow has melted, the buttercups are blooming, and Sylvia celebrates winter’s end by writing a poem. She ties her poem to a birch tree, hoping that it doesn’t count as littering if it makes the world more beautiful. But when she returns, a new poem is waiting for her. Could the tree really be writing back? Sylvia decides to test her theory, and so begins a heartwarming poetic correspondence…as well as an unexpected new friendship.

Lyrical and sweetly satisfying, Poetree is about finding beauty in the world around you, and new friends in unlikely places.

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Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Dial Books | March 19, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0399539121

The Frog BookThe Frog Book

Created by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Publisher’s Synopsis: Caldecott Honor–winning team Steve Jenkins and Robin Page explore form, color, and pattern, and capture the very unique nature of frogs in this brilliantly illustrated picture book. Perfect for fans of The Beetle Book, and young readers looking for nonfiction about this perennially fascinating animal.

Long legs, sticky tongues, big round eyes, and other dazzling features—what’s not to love about frogs?

In this magnificently illustrated picture book, Caldecott Honor–winning team Steve Jenkins and Robin Page explore one of the world’s most diverse—and most threatened—animals. With more than 5,000 different frog species on the planet, in every color of the rainbow and a vast number of vivid patterns, no creatures are more fascinating to learn about or look at. Jenkins and Page present a stunning array of these intriguing amphibians and the many amazing adaptations they have made to survive.

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ages 6-9 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | February 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0544387607

The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To PoemsThe Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems

Edited by Paul B. Janeczko

Illustrated by Richard Jones

Publisher’s Synopsis: Toast a marshmallow, be a tree in winter, read braille — Paul B. Janeczko and Richard Jones invite you to enjoy an assortment of poems that inform and inspire.

Today I walked outside and spied
a hedgehog on the hill.
When she and I met eye to eye,
she raised up straight and still.

Be they practical (how to mix a pancake or how to bird-watch) or fanciful (how to scare monsters or how to be a snowflake), the poems in this book boast a flair and joy that you won’t find in any instruction manual. Poets from Kwame Alexander to Pat Mora to Allan Wolf share the way to play hard, to love nature, and to be grateful. Soft, evocative illustrations will encourage readers to look at the world with an eye to its countless possibilities.

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Candlewick | February 25, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0763681685

The Yellow SuitcaseThe Yellow Suitcase

Written by Meera Sriram

Illustrated by Meera Sethi

Publisher’s Synopsis: In The Yellow Suitcase by Meera Sriram, Asha travels with her parents from America to India to mourn her grandmother’s passing. Asha’s grief and anger are compounded by the empty yellow suitcase usually reserved for gifts to and from Grandma, but when she discovers a gift left behind just for her, Asha realizes that the memory of her grandmother will live on inside her, no matter where she lives.

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ages 6-10 | Publisher: Penny Candy Books | March 12, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0999658413

Smile- How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to LaughSmile: How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to Laugh

Written by Gary Golio

Illustrated by Ed Young

Publisher’s Synopsis: An award-winning author and a Caldecott Medalist take a creative look at the early life of comedic genius Charlie Chaplin.

Once there was a little slip of a boy who roamed the streets of London, hungry for life (and maybe a bit of bread). His dad long gone and his actress mother ailing, five-year-old Charlie found himself onstage one day taking his mum’s place, singing and drawing laughs amid a shower of coins. There were times in the poorhouse and times spent sitting in the window at home with Mum, making up funny stories about passersby. And when Charlie described a wobbly old man he saw in baggy clothes, with turned-out feet and a crooked cane, his mother found it sad, but Charlie knew that funny and sad go hand in hand. With a lyrical text and exquisite collage imagery, Gary Golio and Ed Young interpret Charlie Chaplin’s path from his childhood through his beginnings in silent film and the creation of his iconic Little Tramp. Keen-eyed readers will notice a silhouette of the Little Tramp throughout the book that becomes animated with a flip of the pages. An afterword fills in facts about the beloved performer who became one of the most famous entertainers of all time.

Order a Copy Now: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Candlewick | March 26, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0763697617

For more of the best new picture books for kids, follow along with our articles tagged with New Books for Kids, Picture Books, Books for Ages 0-3, Books for Ages 4-8, and .

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.

Comments
  • April 3rd, 2019

    Hello to you Briana:

    I hope this email finds you well.
    You reviewed my debut picture book (as author) a month ago or so:
    THE LIGHT IN CY. Your review is my first EVER! so I was excited to recieve it.

    Wondering where I would find it posted on your website? A perhaps.
    I’m also curious about what the requirements are to have a book featured
    in your Best Books of 2019 — So Far (ages 4-8)?

    Thanks much,

    -Mark Glover Masterson

    April 3, 2019
  • A link perhaps?

    – MGM

    April 3, 2019
  • thanks Bianca

    want to read this The Goose Egg

    April 3, 2019
  • This is a great list. Perhaps you haven’t yet seen NOODLEPHANT (Enchanted Lion Books, 2019) by Jacob Kramer and K-Fai Steele. There is nothing else like it. It’s phenomenal. And, THE THREE VIKINGS (Christy Ottaviano Books, 2019) by Adam Auerbach which has been compared to Lionni’s Frederick and Ungerer’s The Three Robbers. Both of these are very special new books to add to the picture book cannon.

    April 9, 2019
    • *canon

      April 9, 2019
  • Thanks for the recommendations! A book that my family absolutely love (and should be considered for a future list!) is “D-Pug in New York” by Janie Nugent. It is a fabulously illustrated book about Michael and his pug, Doug. It’s the second book in the series and Michael and Doug have moved to New York (His New York friends have given him a nickname….D-Pug). Their circle of friends include schoolmates, teachers, 4-H members, local pet shelter volunteers and pets. They have to build a float for the Thanksgiving Day Parade so the book really focuses on the importance of teamwork. The illustrations are a lot of fun too. Both books in the series are definitely worth checking out: https://janienugent.com/

    April 15, 2019
  • I had to buy a present for a kid and some of these books will definitely do! I’ll probably get The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems and Smile: How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to Laugh, a perfect present!

    April 17, 2019

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