New Picture Books to Read and Share

Noodles on a Bicycle

Noodles on a Bicycle By Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Gracey Zhang

A vibrant historical picture book about Tokyo's bicycle food deliverers, or demae, who balanced towering trays of steaming hot noodles on their shoulders while navigating crowded city streets.

When the deliverymen set off in the morning, the children wait for the flicker of pedal and wheel. It's the demae-- delivery men-- setting off to deliver steaming trays of noodles to hungry customers all over the city. They are acrobats: whizzing past other bicycles, soaring around curves, avoiding the black smoke of motorcycles. When the children see them, they want to be them. And so they practice with bowls of wobbling water stacked on trays. The day passes, and, finally, exhausted, the demae return home, to their families, and, yes, to steaming bowls of noodles.
    This beautifully crafted, visually exciting story by a powerhouse author and illustrator team is sure to be adored by food lovers, young and old.

The Greatest

The Greatest By Veera Hiranandani; illustrated by Vesper Stamper

In this poignant tribute to grandparents everywhere, a grandfather reflects on his loving relationship with his three grandchildren. This story beautifully captures how love can make anyone "the greatest" in someone's eyes.

From Newbery Honor author Veera Hiranandani and National Book Award finalist Vesper Stamper comes a poignant story about the love between grandparents and grandchildren.

Grandpa loves Sundays-- that's when his three grandchildren come to visit. They act out plays and catch fireflies in the yard and build a sukkot to celebrate the harvest. His grandchildren bestow affection and admiration on him. Sometimes, though, he wonders why they think he's so great? Should he tell them that he's just an average, ordinary man?

Here is a book that wonderfully captures how simple, everyday moments can turn into treasured memories, and how the power of love makes us all the "greatest" to somebody.

Leo's First Vote!

Leo's First Vote! By Christina Soontornvat; illustrated by Isabel Roxas

Get out the vote! In this kid-friendly picture book introduction to voting and elections, Leo's father teaches him about the importance of every single vote, and how to use their voices to uplift their community.

Leo's dad is voting in his first election as a naturalized US citizen, and he promises to take Leo to the polls with him. Leo can't wait! But, after his cousin Ray casts doubt on the importance of a single vote, it'll take Leo's class mock election results, as well as a talk with his dad to convince him that each and every vote matters. 

This lively picture book shows us how citizens decide who will be in charge, hitting key moments in an election, from voter registration to polling places, to staying in line, and features extensive backmatter for kids who want to dig deeper.

The Night Market

The Night Market By Seina Wedlick; illustrated by Briana Mukodiri Uchendu

Journey with a young girl as she explores the mesmerizing wonders of a Nigerian night market, where each stall is an adventure waiting to be discovered! Filled with vibrant illustrations, this captivating picture book invites young readers into a world of magic, mystery, and the joy of finding treasures in unexpected places.

The Night Market is here again, and all one girl needs is a bag of gold coins to enter. The market is alive with the sound of hawkers and traders. “A taste of tangy sweetness!” hollers a man behind a towering fountain of lemonade. “I’ll trade you a joke for a coin,” a little boy calls. “Home grown spices!” shouts a granny at a counter. What should the girl buy? But, wait! Do you hear that? It's the sound of an old African drum. Have a turn, then learn to make cards disappear when you shout Abracadabra! When the sun starts to rise and the night market winds down, the girl has one gold coin left—just enough to buy a return ticket to the night market.

With stunning illustrations by Nigerian artist Briana Mukodiri Uchendu, here is an enchanting read aloud about curiosity and the wonders that lie hidden in plain sight.

Ms. Rachel and the Special Surprise: Encouraging Speech and Learning Through Play and Music

Ms. Rachel and the Special Surprise: Encouraging Speech and Learning Through Play and Music By Ms. Rachel; illustrated by Monique Dong

Ms. Rachel—the fastest-growing phenomenon in children’s educational entertainment—brings her signature teaching style to her debut picture book! With favorite songs and language development techniques from her videos, Ms. Rachel asks young readers to help her find a very special surprise just for them. 

Ms. Rachel is looking for something very special, and she needs your help finding it!

With more than 20 important milestones featured—including gestures and speech—Ms. Rachel brings educational expertise to her debut picture book. Using key lessons from her YouTube channel and threading them into an interactive story, she shows kids and parents alike fun ways to engage and play!

Fans of Ms. Rachel will recognize characters and music from their favorite videos while Ms. Rachel guides readers through exercises like pointing and call and response. After the adventure ends, you can use the helpful tips included on the back to assist with brain and language development for your little one.

Kids are sure to read and reread this new classic! With fun song lyrics and recognizable phrases, there’s plenty to keep them delighted and engaged with their favorite teacher. And, as always, she makes sure they know just how special they are!

Narwhal

Narwhal By Candace Fleming; illustrated by Deena So'Oteh

Venture to the Arctic Ocean and discover real life underwater unicorns--narwhals--in this stunningly illustrated nonfiction picture book.

You are a narwhal.
Shy... Swift... Small...
Humans call you unicorn of the Arctic.

When winter ice covers the Arctic Ocean, a narwhal pokes his head through a patch of open water, his tusk--a six-foot long tooth--pointed to the sky.

Join this mammal as he jousts with another narwhal, floats with his pod, and uses echolocation to find his prey. When warmer weather arrives, he will migrate towards summer ground. But he must be careful! Predators--orcas and polar bears--will be hungry and looking for a meal.... How will the narwhal escape? Will he be able to return to the winter bay? 

Paired with atmospheric illustrations by debut illustrator Deena So'Oteh, nonfiction master Candace Fleming delivers a picture book, uniquely told in second person, that expertly explores the mysterious and fascinating unicorn of the Arctic.

The Bakery Dragon

The Bakery Dragon By Devin Elle Kurtz

The heroic tale of a tiny dragon with a heart of gold and a taste for treats! A scrumptious picture book for fans of funny fairytales and fantastic beasts.

Ember has always been different from the other dragons. His fearsome roar sounds more like a polite sneeze, and when he breathes fire, the villagers just pat his head and say awwww.

Ember fears he’ll never collect a respectable hoard of gold until a chance encounter with a baker causes his fortunes to turn (and his stomach to grumble). As the little dragon soon discovers, the gold you make is way better than the gold you steal—and gold that is shared? That’s best of all.

Magic shimmers on every page of Devin Elle Kurtz's feel-good picture book that celebrates baked goods, dragons, and generosity in equal measure. Filled with adorable illustrations, this is a perfect read aloud for bedtime or brunchtime!

Tamales For Christmas

Tamales For Christmas By Stephen Briseño; illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

Before the first Christmas light is strung, Grandma is hard at work, making thousands of tamales to sell so she can buy gifts for her family! This heartwarming tale, based on a true story, explores a grandmother's boundless generosity, and the irresistible magic of tamales.

When the weather changes, but way before the Christmas tree is decorated, Grandma begins her preparations. With so many children and grandchildren in her family, she finds a way to put gifts under the tree-- she sells as many tamales as she can! Masa in one hand, corn husks in the other, Grandma’s just getting started. 15 dozen tamales. As Halloween passes, and Thanksgiving, Grandma is still toiling away in the kitchen: 150 dozen tamales, 700 dozen tamales, 850 dozen tamales. When it’s time to string the lights for Christmas, she’s inching closer to 1000 dozen tamales! Enough to give some to those in need and enough to sell to earn money for Christmas gifts.

Based on the author’s own grandmother, who was the heart of the familia, here is a warm story about Christmas, generosity, and, yes, tamales.

The Creature of Habit Tries His Best

The Creature of Habit Tries His Best By Jennifer E. Smith; illustrated by Leo Espinosa

The Creature of Habit is back in this humorous picture book that tackles a perennial challenge for every kid – learning to ride a bike! This story celebrates the power of persistence and reminds us that sometimes, it's not about being the best but about giving it your best try!

On the island of Habit, there lived a very big creature who was about to go on the ride of his life!

While he’d recently learned to try new things, the very big creature had also learned that he wasn’t always very good at everything. It turned out trying was hard! The kind of hard that made him stomp his feet and roar his biggest roar . . . and sometimes even feel like quitting. And learning to ride a bike? That was really hard—every time he tried, he wobbled and fell right off.

But the very big creature wouldn’t give up. He might not ever be the best at riding a bike, but maybe—just maybe—he could be the best at trying to ride one. After all, trying was a lot like sticking with something—and he was already an expert at that!

Charming and vibrantly illustrated by award-winning artist Leo Espinosa, Jennifer E. Smith’s picture book about a character with big feelings tackles the ups and downs of learning something new with humor, reminding readers to take pride in each effort to try again — big or small.

Random House Teachers and Librarians