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Pre-K

Growing Reader

The Most Exciting Picture Books of 2019

by Devon A. Corneal

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2019’s list of most exciting picture books is brimming with fantastic stories for you to enjoy. Get ready to test your high-fiving skills, explore emotions, learn how to spend (or save) money, celebrate dads, make new friends, and remember the importance of the truth.

Find book picks, reading tips, and activities for pre-k readers.
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  • There Are No Bears in This Bakery

    by Julia Sarcone-Roach

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    No one gets past Muffin and into The Little Bear Bakery. No one. Except, maybe, perhaps on occasion, a bear. Just a little one. Who might be a little hungry. Or maybe a lot hungry. Now Muffin has a problem. But Muffin also has donuts. Which, as we all know, bears like an awful lot.

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  • Just Ask!

    by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

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    Diagnosed with diabetes as a child, Justice Sonia Sotomayor often wondered why kids who seemed fearful when she gave herself insulin shots wouldn’t just ask her about it. Featuring kids with everything from nut allergies to ADHD to autism, this beautiful book does an excellent job teaching readers to ask questions and embrace that which makes us unique.

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  • When Sadness is at Your Door

    by Eva Eland

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    Kids often struggle to understand and cope with their emotions, especially the hard ones like anger and sadness. Talking about our feelings helps us process them, and this book gives parents a tender and comforting way to work through sadness with their kids.

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  • Hey Grandude!

    by Paul McCartney, illustrated by Kathryn Durst

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    Stuck inside on a dreary day, Grandude uses his magic compass to whisk him and his grandkids off to a sunny beach, the Old West, and a snow-covered mountain in the Swiss Alps. A delightful picture book that celebrates the power of imagination by music legend Paul McCartney.

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  • Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish

    by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

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    Birthdays are important days to celebrate. But before you do, you should make sure you’re following the ten important rules of your big day. Rule #1? Make sure it actually is your birthday.

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  • Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum

    by Dr. Seuss, illustrated by Andrew Joyner

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    Based on a recently discovered Dr. Seuss manuscript, this must-read picture book takes readers through an art museum to understand the many ways artists interpret a subject — in this case, a horse. With more than 30 reproductions of famous art, Joyner also adds a touch of silliness to his illustrations with surprise appearances from a few beloved Seuss characters.

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  • Elvis Is King!

    by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Red Nose Studio

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    Bold, vibrant, and captivating — just like its main character — Elvis Is King! introduces a new generation of young readers to the iconic performer. Illustrated with moody and evocative clay figures, this book captures both Elvis’s amazing life and the heart of rock ‘n’ roll.

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  • Lubna and Pebble

    by Wendy Meddour, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus

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    Lubna and Pebble gives young readers a developmentally appropriate window into some of the hardships refugee children face, and reminds us all that great generosity can come from even the simplest of acts. When young Lubna meets another scared child in a refugee camp, she must decide if she can give up her best friend, Pebble, to help him. With great care and tenderness, Wendy Meddour shows children the power of friendship in frightening times.

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  • The Happy Book

    by Andy Rash

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    Emotions can be complicated things, especially when you were happy but now you’re sad and you really want to get back to happy. Sound familiar? If so, Camper and Clam are here to help with a new story designed to build your child’s social-emotional development while having fun at the same time.

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  • A Piglet Named Mercy

    by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

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    Kate DiCamillo, two-time Newbery Medal winner, and Chris Van Dusen, illustrator extraordinaire, have joined together to tell the remarkable story of an irrepressible piglet named Mercy and how she came to join the Watson family on Deckawoo Drive. This prequel will have you hiding your eyes and howling with laughter, then racing to the library to read the rest of the Mercy Watson series.

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  • The Sea Book

    by Charlotte Milner

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    Dive into the depths of the oceans with this fantastic exploration of marine life and habitats, peppered with eco-friendly tips and reminders of how we can keep our oceans clean.

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  • Spend It!

    by Cinders McLeod

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    Sonny the bunny earns three carrots a week for his allowance, but struggles with how to spend it. A bouncy house would be great, but it’s very expensive, and Sonny would like to buy a lot of other cool things. Good thing Sonny has a smart mom who helps him make smart choices about spending his precious carrots.

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  • My Papi Has a Motorcyle

    by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña

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    Daisy Ramona loves feeling the wind in her hair as she rides through her neighborhood on the back of her Papi’s motorcycle. From there, she has a perfect view of the people and places that make her community so special and memories of her father’s love that will last a lifetime.

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  • Dragons Are Real!

    by Holly Hatam

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    The littlest of littles will love this sweet board book that teaches them all about the magical world of dragons. From their favorite meal (barbeque, obviously), to their fire sneezes, this books of fantastic facts will have everyone wishing they could have a dragon of their very own. And if dragons aren’t enough, check out Unicorns Are Real!

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  • The Sad Little Fact

    by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Pete Oswald

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    In a world where truth seems to be a rare commodity, Jonah Winter may be our modern-day Aesop, reminding us of the importance of joining together to insist that facts matter and to bring them to light. A simple yet utterly compelling story, appropriate for children and adults alike.

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  • Hair Love

    by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison

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    In this celebration of a father’s love, Zuri and her dad work together to style her gorgeous, natural, curly hair when Zuri’s mom is away. Zuri’s dad shows, once again, the power of the bond between dads and daughters and the remarkable capacity parents have to tackle new challenges for their kids.

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  • Jasper & Ollie

    by Alex Willan

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    Who doesn’t like a good sloth story? Forget the tortoise and the hare, this tale of friendship between an unhurried sloth and a wild fox is a funnier version of those famous opposites, and one that will have kids wondering whether they’re more like the deliberate Ollie or the frenetic Jasper.

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  • If I Built a School

    by Chris Van Dusen

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    First-rate rhyming and bright, entertaining illustrations make this picture book an absolute delight to read aloud. What would school look like if Jack were in charge? There’d be hover desks, hologram guests, robot chefs, and pop-up books in place of text. Full of imagination and fun, Jack’s fantastical dreams provide the perfect jumping-off point to spark children’s own creativity.

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  • Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!

    by Cori Doerrfeld

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    Making new friends is hard, but the change that comes when they move away can be even harder. Cori Doerrfeld helps kids understand transitions and the beauty that they bring in her usual sensitive and gentle way.

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  • Raise Your Hand

    by Alice Paul Tapper, illustrated by Marta Kissi

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    Written by 11-year-old Alice Tapper, daughter of CNN’s Jake Tapper, this empowering picture book encourages girls to be confident. Alice admits that she is afraid to do a lot of things, even raising her hand in class. With the help of her parents and Girl Scout Troop leaders, she came up with a program called Raise Your Hand to help girls be brave.

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