From starting school to learning to swim and flying on an airplane, here are 20 new picture books about a variety of topics you’ll want to read!
But, if you’re looking for summertime books about summer, go here.
And, if you’re looking for summer book lists, go here.
New Picture Books (May 2022)
The Queen of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
BACK TO SCHOOL
MJ is excited about her first day of school. Before she leaves, her momma tells her that she can be the Queen of Kindergarten and how being the Queen isn’t just about the tiara but it means being kind and helpful to others. At school, MJ shows kindness to her new classmates and has a wonderful first day. She’s truly the queen — and you can be a queen, too. A joyful celebration of school and kindness.
Swim, Jim! by Kaz Windness
BRAVERY / SWIMMING
A sweet story of bravery and swimming illustrated with playful mixed-media drawings. Worried about sinking, Jim doesn’t join his crocodile siblings in the big swamp. He decides to wiggle, waggle to a smaller swamp. There, he finds a pool with abandoned floaties and noodles seemingly just for him. Joined by his siblings, Jim tests out his new swimming gear –and his sisters show him all about bubbles and paddling and FUN.
Amira’s Picture Day by Reem Faruqi
MUSLIM MAIN CHARACTERS
Amira’s family is celebrating Eid but she’s sad because it’s the same day as her school pictures. Once they go to their Eid celebration, Amira feels happy then even happier when her mom takes her to school just in time for pictures. I love learning about Amira’s Muslim holiday and seeing how her family celebrates Eid.
Kicks by Van G. Garrett, illustrated by Reggie Brown
Inspiring lyrical verse gives readers sage wisdom for picking out those next pair of sneakers–because picking out “kicks” isn’t like picking out anything else — they are magic and wow and zoom. And then you’ll wear them everywhere, the perfect look for every occasion, helping you leap, soar, run, and play. Playful, relatable, and filled with joy!
Old Wood Boat by Nikki McClure
This is a beautifully written love story about a wooden boat and the new family who restores it and takes it for adventures. Punchy text with exquisite cut-paper illustrations.
Everywhere with You by Carlie Sorosiak, illustrated by Devon Holzwarth
The lonely dog isn’t lonely when his neighbor girl reads to him through the fence. The girl also tells him stories and uses descriptive imagery to help him dream and hope for a better life. Eventually, the neighbors ask if the girl would like to keep their dog — and the dog becomes hers!
Tiny Dino by Deborah Freedman
COMPARE & CONTRAST / DINOSAURS
Learn all about the characteristics of dinosaurs as you compare the little bird’s many features to those of a dinosaur. The plot is clever and the dialogue between the animals is playful and engaging.
Sylvie by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
In the same building as Truman, Sylvie the spider notices that the people in her building seem a little sad. She uses her web to help the building’s residents gather on the rooftop which brings them together and makes them happier. It’s a sweet reminder of how much we need relationships with other people… and spiders.
Tell Me a Lion Story by Kara Kramer
I LOVE this book — and so will you. A little girl wants a lion story — but keeps interrupting her dad, so her dad suggests that they tell the story together! The dad’s new story has blank spaces for you, the reader, to participate.
When Langston Dances by Kaija Langley, illustrated by Keith Mallett
Inspired by Alvin Ailey, this is a story about a boy who wants to dance — not tap or hip hop but to dance ballet. He tries a class in basketball clothes which is okay but he needs the proper shoes. His teacher gives him black ballet shoes and tells him that he’ll have to work hard. Which he does. And he dances! BEAUTIFUL.
What Do You See? by Barney Saltzberg and Jamie Lee Curtis
What do you see in a photograph? Will you see what she sees or he sees? Or will you notice something else completely? The authors show us photos and photos with drawings of their creative ways of seeing the world. This lovely book is an invitation to see the world with new eyes; to find the hidden pictures in everything whether you see flower fairies or dinosaurs.
To Make by Danielle Davis, illustrated by Mags DeRoma
“To make” writes the author, “gather, make, wait.” Lovely illustrations show the making of a cake, a garden, a song, a story, and more creative endeavors. Keep making and waiting, the author encourages readers.
The Best Bed for Me by Gaia Cornwall
BEDTIME / LGBTQ+
It’s bedtime and the little boy imagines that he is different animals in their bedtime habitats — a koala in a tree, a whale in the ocean, or a pig in the mud. A playful imaginative bedtime adventure!
Bearplane! by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Sam Wedelich
TRAVELING BY PLANE
Help kids learn what to expect on a plane trip as the bear parent guides their bear cub through the airport’s lines and security and on to the plane.
Better than New Mejor Que Nuevo by Robert Broder, illustrated by Lake Buckley
At the ocean, Isidora and Julian help a sea lion trapped in an underwater net. After this, they ponder how to help all the other ocean animals and find inspiration in a bird’s nest. They decide to pick up abandoned fishing nets which they will then recycle into fabric for clothing. Bilingual in English and Spanish.
A Day for Sandcastles by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng
Just in time for summer, celebrate the beach in this gorgeous wordless picture book about a playful day building sandcastles at the beach.
Elephant Island by Leo Timmers
A shipwrecked engineering elephant adds to his funky island structures by accidentally sinking each arriving ship with his weight, and adding the pieces to his make-shift island. Eventually, he has a big island with lots of friends.
Mako and Tiger by Scott Rothman, illustrated by Mika Song
Competitive, rude sharks steal each other’s food. Then, when one shark sees the other shark is near a fisherman’s hook, the other shark doesn’t believe him so he has to knock the hook away to get the other shark to listen. Now the sharks are allies, not enemies.
Bharatanatyam in Ballet Shoes by Mahak Jain, illustrated by Anu Chouhan
INDIAN DANCE / BALLET
Paro starts ballet classes but worries she won’t be able to do ballet since she’s used to Bharatanatyam dancing like her mom. She learns that both kinds of dance are beautiful expressions of cultural creativity.
Who Is It Whoodini? by Roman Yasiejko, illustrated by Gustavo Ramos
Owls, Cahoots, and Whoodini need to solve the mystery of what kind of bird crashed into the tree. Follow along and see if you can solve the mystery using the clues that they discover. But they’ll learn that the answer is NOT a bird at all–can you figure it out?
Milo’s Moonlight Mission by Kathleen M. Blasi, illustrated by Petronela Dostalova
Milo’s second-in-command, his mother, is too busy to join him for their launch — so Milo helps her get all the housework done. Later that night, they sit outside under the stars cuddled up under a blanket, and watch the meteor shower.