The Best Children’s and YA Books of January 2018

by the Brightly Editors

A new year of great reading awaits! Start the new year off right by refreshing your home library with wonderful new books. We’ve rounded up some of January’s best new releases for picture book, middle grade, and YA readers. From an adventure at sea to a twisted boarding school thriller to a beautiful rumination on love, there’s plenty to excite and delight in the early days of 2018.

  • Picture Books

  • Dr. Seuss’s Book of Colors

    by Dr. Seuss

    From the master of rhyme comes this zippy concept book for young readers. Illustrated with artwork from some of Dr. Seuss's most beloved stories, including The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, it's a fun, engaging, vibrant way for kids to explore color. Also out this month, Dr. Seuss's Book of Animals, an introduction to animals found in our world and in the universe of Dr. Seuss.
    (On Sale: 1/2/18)

  • Love

    by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Loren Long

    Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña’s lyrical verse pairs with bestselling illustrator Loren Long’s hauntingly beautiful illustrations in this deep reflection on love and life. Delivering a simple message with a powerful impact, this is a stunning book that should be read by all.
    (On Sale: 1/9/18)

  • DK findout! Robots

    by DK

    Learn all about robotics in this new installment of the DK findout! series! Young readers will enjoy getting a behind-the-scenes look at the awesome technology that drives robots, how robots are used today, and what’s in store for the field in this super-visual, STEAM-inspired guide.
    (On Sale: 1/16/18)

  • Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery

    by Sandra Neil Wallace, illustrated by Bryan Collier

    The late Ernie Barnes is now known for his impact on the art world, specifically for his dynamic paintings of athletes and other people in motion. Barnes started out as a quiet child in the segregated South who loved to create art, but it was his athletic talent that snagged him a scholarship to college and a job playing professional football. Lucky for us, Barnes continued to follow his true passion off the field: art. A beautifully illustrated, fascinating celebration of a legendary life.
    (On Sale: 1/23/18)

  • The Forever Tree

    by Tereasa Surratt and Donna Lukas

    Based on the story of a real tree, authors Surratt and Lukas tell a tale of a tree made tall and strong by the love and laughter of the animals that live within its trunk and people’s appreciation for its shady leaves and sturdy branches. The tree lives a long life, proudly providing for animals and people, but time eventually takes its toll. Humans and animals come together around their beloved tree in this heartwarming story of love, loss, tradition, and transformation.
    (On Sale: 1/23/18)

  • How to Grow a Dinosaur

    by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Mike Boldt

    A funny, relatable, and practical book about having a new sibling, this one is great for soon-to-be big brothers and big sisters, especially those who are dinosaur fans. Having a baby dinosaur in the house is a lot like having a new baby in the house: they eat, sleep, poop, and don't do much of anything else, at least at first. That can be hard for a big brother or big sister dinosaur, but they'll soon see all the important ways this little baby will need them and look up to them for a long time to come.
    (On Sale: 1/23/18)

  • Yellow Kayak

    by Nina Laden, illustrated by Melissa Castrillon

    An unexpected adventure begins as a little boy and a giraffe set off in a small boat. A calm day at sea changes course as rain starts blowing, but the pair vow to keep going. Laden’s sparse, rhythmic verses and Castrillon’s muted illustrations brilliantly convey a sense of quiet courage and trust in the face of life’s unexpected difficulties. A comforting voyage that young readers will want to take again and again.
    (On Sale: 1/23/18)

  • Middle Grade

  • Fairy Mom and Me

    by Sophie Kinsella, illustrated by Marta Kissi

    Ella’s mom is a fairy, but she’s not at all good at magic. Every spell she casts ends in disastrous — albeit hilarious — fairy failure. Good thing Ella, who can’t wait to grow up and start practicing magic herself, is there to “help”. A fun read for fans of fairies!
    (On Sale: 1/2/18)

  • Hope in the Holler

    by Lisa Lewis Tyre

    From the author of Last in a Long Line of Rebels comes a middle grade story that’s packed with lovable characters and heartstrings-tugging emotion. Wavie’s life was turned upside-down when her mother passed away and now she must live with a long-lost, and not very kind, aunt she has never met. Things start looking up when Wavie befriends some kids in her neighborhood who show her the compassion she has been missing. A moving, well-penned story about family, friendship, and hope.
    (On Sale: 1/9/18)

  • A Problematic Paradox

    by Eliot Sappingfield

    Author Eliot Sappingfield was inspired to write this story after his teen daughters pointed out the need for more female protagonists in science fiction. At the center of A Problematic Paradox is Nikola Kross, a smart girl interested in science, who's used to not fitting in. Things get really crazy when Nikola's dad is kidnapped by extraterrestrials and she's sent to an unbelievable boarding school where students use wormholes to commute to class and her fellow classmates aren't all human. It's all topsy-turvy and wild and fun, but the craziest part of it all might be Nikola's special abilities — abilities that could put those around her in great danger.
    (On Sale: 1/23/18)

  • The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

    by Leslie Connor

    Life isn't easy for Mason Buttle. He's the biggest kid in his grade, struggles with learning disabilities, and has just lost his best friend, Benny Kilmartin. Benny was found dead in the Buttle family’s orchard, and suspicions hang over Mason's story of what happened that day. When Mason's new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, goes missing, Mason finds himself in even more trouble and is desperate to figure out what's happened to his friends. A beautiful and compassionate tale that will resonate with middle grade readers from the distinguished author of All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook.
    (On Sale: 1/23/18)

  • YA

  • Batman Nightwalker

    by Marie Lu

    Before he was defending the dark streets of Gotham City as Batman, he was reckless boy billionaire Bruce Wayne. Determined to stop the Nightwalkers, a violent gang targeting the city’s elite, Bruce finds himself tangled up with the police and forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum. There he meets Madeleine, a dangerous killer who may just be his only hope to save the city. But can he trust her? With a brilliant twist you’ll never see coming, Marie Lu expertly gives new life to the origin story of the Bat-to-be.
    (On Sale: 1/2/18)

  • The Cruel Prince

    by Holly Black

    Proclaimed "Queen of the Faeries" by her fans, Holly Black once again pulls us into the wickedly delightful world of the fey. Stolen from the human world at a young age, the High Court of Faerie is the only home Jude has ever known. But years later she still hasn't been accepted as one of their own. To win her place at Court, Jude must play the game of court politics — but by her own rules. With darkly complex characters, just the right amount of drama, and a fantastical world come to life, readers will find the wait for the next book in this series to be torture.
    (On Sale: 1/2/18)

  • Rookie on Love

    by Tavi Gevinson

    All fans of “Rookie” magazine and love rejoice — Tavi Gevinson has put together a love-inspired anthology featuring 45 voices from within the YA and adult book worlds and beyond. Rookie on Love is packed with poems, essays, interviews, and more from the likes of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Zhang, Emma Straub, and Gabourey Sidibe. Get ready for some laughs, tears, and everything in between.
    (On Sale: 1/2/18)

  • Truly Devious

    by Maureen Johnson

    This first book in a new series is sure to have YA readers turning the pages fast and furious and eagerly awaiting the next installment. Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon. Filled with puzzles of all kinds, it's a place for inventors, thinkers, artists. It's also linked to one of the greatest unsolved crimes in American history: the kidnapping of Ellingham's wife and daughter. The only clue that was left in that crime was a riddle signed with pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” Crime buff Stevie Bell is set to start her first year at Ellingham Academy and set to solve the case. The stakes grow higher, and deadlier, for Stevie, and past and present collide, when Truly Devious makes a surprise return.
    (On Sale: 1/16/18)

  • A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

    by Atia Abawi

    Tareq and his family are struggling to survive in a war-torn Syrian city when their building is bombed, killing many of Tareq’s family members. Tareq and his sister survive the attack, and along with their father and cousin, decide they have no choice but to flee to a safer place — and so begins their long and dangerous journey to Europe. Early readers are raving about this beautiful, heartbreaking, and timely novel about a family, and country, in crisis.
    (On Sale: 1/23/18)

  • The Hazel Wood

    by Melissa Albert

    This one has already racked up four starred reviews and a host of praise from fellow authors. Alice and her mother have always been followed by bad luck. It's why they've spent most of their life on the road. But when Alice's grandmother — the author of a book of dark fairy tales with a cult-like following — dies on her estate, the Hazel Wood, bad luck comes for Alice and her mom in a whole other way. Alice's mom is stolen away by a figure who comes from the Hinterland, where her grandmother's stories are set. The only clue about her mother's whereabouts is the message she left behind for Alice, "Stay away from the Hazel Wood." Reluctantly Alice teams up with Ellery Finch, one of her grandmother's superfans, to journey to the Hazel Wood and beyond to try to find her mother, and maybe find out the mystery to her own bad luck as well.
    (On Sale: 1/30/18)

  • S.T.A.G.S.

    by M.A. Bennett

    S.T.A.G.S, or St. Aidan the Great School, is a prestigious English boarding school for the elite. Greer MacDonald, a recent transfer and scholarship student, is a far cry from the school's most revered clique, the Medievals. And so she's quite surprised when they invite her to an exclusive, off-campus weekend retreat. Billed as a weekend of “huntin’ shootin’ fishin’,” it soon becomes clear that the danger is real, the enemies are out there, and that people will go to great lengths to protect the established social order. Already optioned as a film, this one is an edge-of-your-seat thriller and dark and twisted societal tale that will have readers glued to the page.
    (On Sale: 1/30/18)

What books are you looking forward to reading this month? Share with us in the comments below.