Brightly Must-Reads by Devon A. Corneal


Book-lovers everywhere are eagerly looking forward to the arrival of 2018 and the amazing array of picture books being published in the new year. Winnowing down the list to a manageable 18 was no small feat, but we hope you’ll find something to love in this diverse collection of books that celebrate wisdom, trailblazing, the environment, friendship, invention, exploration, imagination, and love in all its many forms.

Pre-K to early reader picture books.

  • Love

    by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Loren Long

    In his new picture book, Newbery Medal-winner Matt de la Peña explores all the ways that we see, feel, and experience love from the first days of life through childhood and beyond.

  • Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

    by Margot Lee Shetterly, illustrated by Laura Freeman

    Finally, the extraordinary lives of four African American women who helped NASA put the first men in space is available for picture book readers. The true story of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden will inspire girls and boys alike to love math, believe in themselves, and reach for the stars.

  • The Digger and the Flower

    by Joseph Kuefler

    Digger’s job is to dig things up, no questions asked. But one day Digger discovers something small and precious among the rubble of his construction site. Will he do his job or make a different choice? This story contains bold graphic illustrations and a wonderful message about the environment.

  • The Great Dictionary Caper

    by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Eric Comstock

    Dictionaries are great, so long as all the words stay where they’re supposed to. Unfortunately, the words in this story have decided to make a break for it, and poor Noah Webster has to get them all back in alphabetical order before it’s too late! A fabulous read for word-lovers of all ages.

  • Elmore

    by Holly Hobbie

    Who doesn’t love a cute porcupine? A lot of other animals, apparently. Poor Elmore can’t make friends, even though he really wants to, because everyone is afraid of his spines. Thankfully, this tenacious (and prickly) porcupine won’t let that stand in his way!

  • Wordy Birdy

    by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by David Mottram

    Wordy Birdy loves to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. Which means that sometimes she doesn’t pay attention to what her friends are saying or where she’s going. That kind of thing can get a girl in trouble, as Wordy Birdy is about to find out.

  • The Rabbit Listened

    by Cori Doerrfeld

    When confronted by grief and loss, many of us don’t know what to say. This lovely book reminds us that sometimes, the very best thing we can do is simply listen.

  • She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History

    by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

    Chelsea Clinton inspired countless little activists with her #1 New York Times bestselling picture book, She Persisted. From Marie Curie to Malala Yousafzai, this companion book highlights 13 more remarkable women from around the world who followed their dreams.

  • Islandborn

    by Junot Díaz, illustrated by Leo Espinosa

    In a school full of immigrants, Lola realizes she can’t remember the Island she came from. But with the help of her family and friends, she learns about the magical world her family left behind and how it lives on in her.

  • They Say Blue

    by Jillian Tamaki

    Gorgeous and lively illustrations fill this book about a young girl’s exploration of the colors around her. What is blue, she wonders? And why do colors shift and change? For anyone with a philosophical bent or a love of the vivid hues around us.

  • Don’t Blink!

    by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by David Roberts

    Amy Krouse Rosenthal may have left us, but her incredible and evocative stories continue. Pick up this book for the little readers in your house who may have trouble falling asleep and see if it makes bedtime a lot easier and a lot more fun.

  • Alma and How She Got Her Name

    by Juana Martinez-Neal

    Alma has a lot of names — six to be exact! And Alma thinks that’s about five too many, until she learns that each of them pays homage to a special person in her life. Suddenly Alma realizes that having six names may be just the right amount.

  • Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag

    by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Steven Salerno

    The rainbow flag is an international symbol of acceptance and equality — but, while its meaning may be global, its origins are not as well-known. Now’s your chance to learn about Harvey Milk and Gilbert Baker’s role in creating this beacon of pride and hope.

  • A House That Once Was

    by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Lane Smith

    Have you ever wanted to walk inside an abandoned house? Or wondered who lived there before the vines crept over the windows and the floorboards began to sag? Author Julie Fogliano and illustrator Lane Smith let two children’s imaginations run wild as they try to tell the story of a home’s previous inhabitants.

  • Square

    by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

    The second book in the shape trilogy cometh, with the adventures of Square, who spends his days moving rocks from one place to another. His friend Circle, however, sees a hint of genius in his friend’s efforts and maybe the spark of a true artist.

  • How to Code a Sandcastle

    by Josh Funk, illustrated by Sara Palacios

    A little girl named Pearl is trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but unpredictable beach-goers foil her every effort. So she sits down with a robot named Pascal and, using basic computer coding concepts, together they plot out a foolproof plan to build a castle that can withstand the beach environment — even reckless puppies.

  • Crunch, The Shy Dinosaur

    by Cirocco Dunlap, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

    Crunch the dinosaur wants to play, but he’s just too shy! With the help of some much-needed reader encouragement, Crunch might just learn to step outside of his comfort zone and make new friends. A sweet and comical read for all young readers, especially those who also feel shy at times.

  • We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

    by Ryan T. Higgins

    Going to school is hard. Going to school with classmates who are also delicious snacks is even harder. If she’s going to make it through elementary school, Little Penelope Rex is going to have to figure out how to get along with the other students in her class … without eating them!