10 Best New Picture Books, January 2024

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January 2024 arrives with new picture books that your readers will love! Read aloud these stories about kindness, friendship, mindfulness, gravity, and more!

new picture books January 2024

New Picture Books, January 2024

The Last Zookeeper by Aaron Becker
Aaron Becker’s imagination never ceases to amaze me. In this beautifully illustrated wordless story about kindness, a gigantic robot rescues abandoned animals from a zoo. When a storm comes, he figures out how to save them with a Noah’s ark-type boat. Unfortunately, they get shipwrecked on a small deserted island. Just in time, another robot arrives by balloon and saves them all!

Ra Pu Zel and the Stinky Tofu written by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Crystal Kung
Ra Pu Zel lives in ancient China. After too much criticism from adults, Pu Zel shuts herself in a tall tower with her dog Bao, getting food via her long braid. Nothing will entice her out of her tower so her father, the emperor, declares that the first person to persuade Pu Zel to leave her tower will have his marriage blessing. Different princes try to lure her out, but they don’t succeed. Eventually, a young chef cooks stinky tofu below the tower, and Pu Zel rushes down to try a bite. She loves the stinky tofu and falls in love with the chef!

Gravity Is Bringing Me Down written by Wendelin Van Draanen, illustrated by Cornelia Li
In this clever story, a girl blames gravity for her falls, trips, and crashes! Her teacher at school teaches the class about gravity, and gravity starts affecting Leda’s classmates, too. After school, Leda’s mom takes her to her happy place — the zero gravity rocket simulator– which helps LEda and Gravity get along again so she can eat and dance and skip without tripping or falling.

Ellie Mae Dreams Big written by Kristina McMorris, illustrated by Amanda Yoshida
Ellie Mae’s teacher tells the class to dress up as the job want to do when they grow up. That sparks Ellie Mae’s big imagination. She wants to be an astronaut-chef, a candy-farmer, and a ballerina-painter, among other careers. She dreams so big that she doesn’t know how to pick her favorite. Maybe she can dress up as them all!? This is an exuberant, creative celebration of imagination and dreaming big!

Mabel and the Mountain: A Story About Believing in Yourself by Kim Hillyard
Mabel is a fly with big plans. And she has to get started right away.. What mountain would she climb? Climbing a mountain, Mabel met others with big plans, too. When it got hard, she wondered if she should change her big plan. But she didn’t. After persisting, she made it to the top of the mountain! A charming story about persistence and dreaming big.

The Little Tiger by Nicola Killen
Ollie gets a tiger costume for her birthday, which is exactly what she wanted! Then, she sees a colorful bunch of balloons floating by her window, so she rushes outside to chase them. She roars and races after them. When she catches the string, they fly her to a big surprise– a birthday party just for her! You will love Nicola’s delicate, beautiful illustrations.

Searching for Home by Chantal Bourgonje
Noa is a lonely house sprite searching everywhere for friends. He finds one friend after another who joins his journey. Eventually, his group of friends returns to Noa’s house! Now his house won’t be friendless anymore! I love the artwork– the illustrations are charming.

Today written by Gabi Snyder, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Written in second person, this beautiful book is about enjoying your day today; a day when you drive to the lake and splash and play, where time seems slow and fast, and fireworks pop, jasmine smells, and Pop-pop’s cat sits heavy on your belly. Today is a memory you can keep. Breathe in and out and remember. Back matter explains mindfulness and ideas for when you want to fast-forward time. Gorgeous sensory writing invites readers to experience the day with all their senses…and savor it as precious. Lovely.

The Lucky Red Envelope: A Lift-the-flap Lunar New Year Celebration by Vikki Zhang
In this intricately illustrated search-and-find story with enchanting border art and mesmerizing illustrations, Yue and her family celebrate Lunar New Year. As you read the story, lift the flaps to reveal more information or surprises, like the door god hiding in a lantern or fortune cookies or what’s inside Yue’s satchel. Over the days of celebration, the family watches fireworks, serves guests delicious food, wears traditional clothing, makes dumplings, attends the parade and dragon dance, and eats rice balls. Your readers will love finding all the surprises within each page; I know I did!

Pepper & Me by Beatrice Alemagna
After a fall that scrapes her knee, the girl gets a hideous scab that doesn’t go away. Eventually, the girl names the scab Pepper, the name she had for the dog she never got. Pepper goes everywhere with the girl, and soon, she becomes smaller and softer. The girl realizes that Pepper is only doing what scab do and they become friends. Then, one day, Pepper isn’t on her knee anymore. The girl says goodbye to her scab and thinks of her fondly, especially when she sees the scar on her knee. This is a relatable, very unique story of acceptance, unexpected friendship, and letting go with stunning, eye-catching artwork.

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