30 Outstanding New Picture Books, April 2024

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Well, April may have topped March, or at least equaled it for the quality and quantity of new picture books. If you’re looking for me, I’m buried under the piles. Ha.

Needless to say, you’re going to find so many gems on this list.

new picture books April 2024

Also, don’t miss the Earth Day picture book of the month This Is Not My Lunch Box! and the free download of book extension activities!

New Picture Books, April 2024

Too Many Golems written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Maya Shleifer
Abi, the rabbi’s son, is a little bit mischievous and always in trouble. His latest antic is stealing a scroll from the synagogue basement. When he tries to say the words on the scroll, he accidentally summons GOLEMS! Ten golems. The golems are usually fighters, but for Abi, they help Abit with his Hebrew. So by the time Abi has his bar mitzvah, his Hebrew is better than perfect! I LOVE this story for so many reasons– the infusion of Jewish religion and mythology, the mischievous Jewish main character, and the sweetness of helpful monsters.

Mama in the Moon written by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Brian Cronin
One of the most perfect books ever created, this is a must-own, must-read masterpiece of emotional storytelling and art. Baby and Mama live high in a tree. But when Baby falls out of the tree, he wants his Mama to come and get him. She’s on her way, but it will take time. To comfort Baby, Mama asks Baby Sloth to use his senses. She asks if he can see the moon, smell the flowers, hear the worms wriggling, and feel the flutter of moths dancing. He feels better noticing what’s around him! Eventually, Mama arrives on the ground and brings Baby back up the tree.

Popo & Meimei Can Help written and illustrated by Cathy Wu
In this sweet story, Popo (grandma) helps her grandchild Mei Mei and Mei Mei helps Popo, but Popo only speaks Chinese, and Meimei speaks only English. Mostly. It’s a day-in-the-life story, Popo and Mei Mei communicate as best they can. They work in the garden, make soup, get Popo’s prescription (MeiMei helps with the English phone call), and express their love for each other.

A Little Bit of Everything written by Meghana Narayan, illustrated by Michelle Carlos
Read this empowering, lyrical story to a soon-to-be older sibling to celebrate who they are and to celebrate who their siblings will be.You have a little bit of Mama in you, a little bit of Papa–and a little bit of me! You have a little bit of where you go, and a bit of who you meet. You have a little bit of all the things you do, and a bit of who you want to be.” It’s lushly illustrated, and the poetic language could be used as a mentor text or prompt for a child’s own writing. Amaya tells her baby sibling, “I am strong as the ocean and unique as a grain of sand. I am sweet like mangoes and tender like kisses.” Ask your readers to use the sentence starter, I am __________as the _________ and __________ as the ____________. I wonder what they will say about themselves! What a glorious celebration of individuality in a loving family.

The Hoys written by Kes Gray, illustrated by Mark Chambers
Because all the other pirates say, “a hoy,” Pirate Jake keeps wondering WHERE all the hoys are! Such a funny yet good question, right? So he searches for hoys. And what does he find? A cave full of them!

Roar-Choo! written by Charlotte Cheng, illustrated by Dan Santat
Dragons are supposed to be strong and brave and ROAR. But this dragon has a cold. And keeps sneezing. Maybe Dragon should listen to Phoenix, who says it’s okay for big, brave, and powerful dragons to rest. Ut-oh. Now Phoenix has the same cold so they snuggle up together with broth and tea. Feel better, Dragon and Phoenix!

Look written by Gabi Snyder, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
Look around you. The world is full of patterns! Step-hop, dot-dot, Big-Small—patterns are everywhere, in nature and in the city. “When the world feels confusing, look.” Even in the night sky, there are connect-the-dot pictures, patterns everywhere. This book feels like a big, deep breath, a warm hug, a lullaby, and a sigh. I love it. Enchanting diorama illustrations will give you plenty of patterns to find and admire.

Hello, Sun written and illustrated by Julie Downing
Sweet and lyrical rhymes show the woods during the day. Animals like the rabbit, hummingbird, and butterflies play and nap, fly and hide, until the sun sets and they go to sleep. Gorgeous illustrations.

The Invisible Story written by Jaime Gamboa, illustrated by Wen Hsu Chen
The little book is scared that it’s a ghost because no one sees it or reads it. But one day, a reader does, and she shows the little book that it has a story told in Braille letters that she reads with her fingers. I wish this story had examples of Braille, but the white paper-cut illustrations with splashes of colorful story elements are lovely.

On Friday Afternoon A Shabbat Celebration written by Michal Babey, illustrated by Menahem Halberstadt
Leelee and her dog Pickles race through the house eating challah rolls while they “clean” the house for Shabbat. With three hours to go, they find coins (and a sock) for Tzedakah, and they make a specialbox for their loot. What else could they donate? But in the process of their search, they make a grape juice mess! Whoops. Now, there are only two hours to go, so they mop, bathe, and dress. Then, they parade through the house and out the door, inviting neighbors over for Shabbat dinner. With ten minutes to go, everyone helps to pick up the house until finally, it’s time to light the candles. I love this playful, joyful celebration of Jewish faith and tradition!

If You Run Out of Words written and illustrated by Felicita Sala
It’s bedtime and a little girl worries. What if this. What if that. Her yellow pajama clad dad responds to all her questions with imaginative answers, reassuring her that no matter what, he’ll always find his way back to her, have enough words for her, or forget about her. Gorgeous and imaginative, this is a clever and tenderhearted love letter to a child.

I Would Love You Still written by Andrea Theodore, illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max
When a mom and child visit the zoo, the mom reassures the child that they will love them no matter how wild and animal-like they are. Even if they screech in the night OR even if they chewed on fresh bamboo. Rhyming, playful, and sweet.

A Wild, Windy Night written and Illustrated by Yui Abe
Bold, dark illustrations that give me a Where the Wild Things vibe, help to tell the story of a boy playing hide-and-seek with the noisy wind. When his mom peeks under his covers, he’s happy to be home after the wind blew he and his toys back. Playful and filled with onomatopoeia, this is a beautiful reminder to see the noisy dark as something playful and fun.

A Sundae With Everything On It written by Kyle Scheele, illustrated by Andy J. Pizza
Remember the first book with the dad and the boy? In this book the boy adventures with his mom to a universe made of ice cream. But they need bowls so they travel to a bowl universe. And then a spoon universe. Wouldn’t it be great if they found a universe that had everything? Readers will love flying through the exuberant, colorful artwork in space and universes and ice cream! What a wild ride!

Two Together written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
With a new illustration style that (to my untrained eye) looks like markers and colored pencils, a dog and cat travel together the world through and down and up in rhyming, simple text. They get lost but find their way home. Two together. A sweet as can be day-in-the -ife friendship story whose rhyme works –hooray! Recently, Ethan Long explained to me that the Caldecott is about picking illustrators with a unique and innovative artistic style compared to other illustrators in that same year. I wonder if this book will be considered?

A Voice Like Yours written by Frank Murphy and April Groman, illustrated by Kayla Harren
This book explores all the ways you can use your voice to show feelings, be friendly, connect people, shared, and more. It’s an affirmative, positive, and inspirational message with beautiful artwork.

You’re So Amazing! written by James & Lucy Catchpole, illustrated by Karen George
Adults and other kids see Joe playing with friends and say that he’s amazing When he doesn’t play, they see him as pathetic. Joe doesn’t want to be either– he just wants to be Joe! And that’s what his friends see. Just Joe, a kid who loves to play soccer and monkey bars and pirates with his friends. This book reminds readers that disability is normal and disabled kids don’t want to be framed as inspirational or pitiful.

The Magic Box A Book of Opposites written by Charles Ghigna, illustrated by Jacqueline East
Pandora, a panda, opens a mysterious, colorful box. (He, he, don’t you love her name!?) She lifts it up and puts it down. She climbs in and climbs out. Then the box begins to talk –and change. Big to small. Short to Tall. Yes, it’s rhyming and it’s perfect. The box changes and takes Pandora on an exciting opposites adventure! This is an adorable read aloud choice for the preschoolers on your lap.

Spider in the Well written by Jess Hannigan
Clever storytelling and artwork share the story of a kind-hearted newsboy-chimney sweep-shoe shiner-and milkman in the town of Bad Goodsburg. The townspeople are furious when the wishing well breaks. They lie to the newsboy about their altruistic wishes and tell him to figure out the problem. When he arrives at the wishing well, he meets a spider who reveals the truth about the selfish townspeople’s wishes. So the now furious newsboy decides to get justice! And it’s hilarious and very satisfying to see the greedy townspeople get what they deserve. Bold graphic art in orange neon, black, and purple makes this reading experience extra fun.

This is Not My Lunch Box! written by Jennifer Dupuis, illustrated by Carol Schwartz
In this innovative way to teach readers about forest animals, a camping child opens up a lunch box that is not the child’s but actually the lunch of an animal. Can you guess who it belongs to? The lunch box of bugs belongs to a downy woodpecker. The lunch box of worms, nuts, and truffles belongs to a jumping mouse. The lunch box of snails, spiders, and eggs belongs to a wood frog. Kids will love learning and guessing who would eat these lunch box feasts while admiring the brilliant illustrations with vibrant colors that pop off the page. Outstanding.

Finding Grateful written by Dianne White, illustrated by Faith Pray
Mama tells the little girl that grateful means noticing and being where your feet are. At the park, the little girl wonders if grateful is breathing in honeysuckle and newly cut grass and a hug from mama after a scraped knee. Walking home, the girl sees dandelions growing through a crack, a yellow bird singing a song, and she finds gratitude right here where her feet are.

Dog Vs. Strawberry written by Nelly Buchet, illustrated by Andrea Zuill
HILARIOUS x a million! An car racing announcer gives readers the play-by-play scoop as this dog races…a strawberry.A strong start for Dog, leaning left, while Strawberry, impassive, doesn’t take the bait.” There’s mayhem, there’s a quick nap, and the finish is…too close to call, but wait– can Dog win after all? I laughed out loud and so will you!

The Quiet Forest written by Charlotte Offsay, illustrated by Abi Cushman
Abi’s art brings this playful cumulative story to life in perfect motion-filled charm and exuberance. It’s not just a cumulative story but also a cause-and-effect story about animals in the woods. The forest is quiet until a mischievous mouse arrives and splat–lands in a rattled rabbit’s pancake breakfast. The rattled rabbit disturbed a beaver, the bothered beaver’s splashing drenches a deer, who bumps into a moose, who angers a bear, who awakens a cub, and then…the forest begins to sing. Whoosh. Swish. Woosh. Swish. This sets in reverse motion of friends calming each other until the forest isn’t too loud or too quiet. (But it won’t be for long.) A delight to read aloud.

What’s New, Daniel? written and illustrated by Micha Archer
In a joyful celebration of spring, Daniel and his grandfather visit the park. Daniel asks, “What’s new” to the animals and natural objects he meets. So many things are new: Old Rock is warm from the sun, the cattails are spreading seeds in the wind, polliwogs are growing legs, and Squirrel is building a nest, to name a few. Daniel shares them all with Grandpa who asks, “What’s new with you?” Daniels shares about learning to whistle and running fast. Then he asks Grandpa, “What’s new with you?” I love that his book models curiosity and caring about others with this simple question! Also, the vibrant collage art is stunning.

The House Before Falling Into the Sea written by Ann Suk Wang, illustrated by Hanna Cha
In this story about the historical time of the Korean War illustrated in beautiful watercolors, a little girl feels squished and annoyed when many relatives and neighbors stay at their seaside house. She doesn’t understand why it’s so crowded with so many people in her house until her parents explain the importance of sharing their home to show loving-kindness to people who don’t have homes anymore.

Keep Up, Duck! written by Ivan and Rachel Bates
Librarians who do preschool storytime, here’s your next favorite read-aloud! With playfulness, repetition, and onomatopoeia, this is the story of Puck, a duckling who keeps falling behind Mama Duck. But even though Puck isn’t a fast swimmer, he’s a great problem solver. He hops a ride on a paddle boat, a bicycle, and a dog, which makes him arrive at the lily pond faster than his family. Now he can say, “Keep up, Mamma!” Kids will love this one!


Aloha Everything written by Kaylin Melia George, illustrated by Mae Waite
When the young girl Ano was born, she grew up with hula– a storytelling dance that teaches her about her ancestors and the lore of her culture. Written in rhyme and vibrantly illustrated, this is an important book about Hawaii and the meaning of aloha.

Pick a Story A Pirate Alien Jungle Adventure written by Sarah Coyle, illustrated by Adam Walker-Parker
There aren’t many choose your own adventure picture books but this one fits the bill. One day at the park, Vincent sees a pirate ship, a shake, and a beam of light. What you Vincent investigate? You choose the story and prepare to have a wild adventure!

All Aboard the Alaska Train written by Brooke Hartman, illustrated by John Joseph
This is a cute rhyming book about a train ride through Alaska. Each time they see an animal, the train adds to its animal riders. After getting unstuck on the tracks, the train and its riders reach their destination– The Northern Lights!

Bros written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Reggie Brown
Simple text shares not just Black Boy Joy (which it does) but the many ways of being a boy. Reading, crafting, pretending, playing, praying,…this group of friends spends one glorious day together. And it’s epic!

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