5 Parents-Approved Children's Books to Read Right Now
Your monthly guide to making the most of storytime and raising forever readers
1. Guess What!?
Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
The master of the modern early reader brilliantly helps kids grapple with anticipation and disappointment. A squirrel asks his pals the title question, bursting to tell them about his upcoming beach trip. In a slyly educational way, he counts down the days, growing more excited as time passes. While he ends up not liking the beach ("I am done," the squirrel declares), he recalls the fun of planning the outing. ("Yes, I had a bad day. But guess what? I had a great week.") A gentle reminder to focus on the big picture is something we all could use this year. Ages 4 to 7
2. The Cow Said BOO!
Written by Lana Button, illustrated by Alice Carter
In this infectious Halloween read-aloud, the cow's friends think she's a ghost because her cold makes her "moos" come out as "boos." Rhyming text and a repeated refrain swoop kids into the silly antics. The kindness that the cow receives from her pals and how she pays it forward is the real treat. Ages 4 to 7
3. Grandude's Green Submarine
Written by Paul McCartney, illustrated by Kathryn Durst
The Beatles legend still has a way with words: His second picture book about kids who go on magical adventures with their grandfather entertains multi-gens with zippy dialogue and vivid descriptions. In the follow-up to 2019's Hey Grandude!, McCartney introduces Nandude, a spunky, accordion-playing grandma who saves the day. Grandparents will appreciate the dashing, tenderhearted portrayal of their generation, while little ones will be enthralled by the fantastical elements, like a compass that makes a green submarine fly. Ages 4 to 6
4. Long Road to the Circus
Written by Betsy Bird, illustrated by David Small
An appealing main character and a quirky plot make this historical novel a page-turner for elementary-schoolers. Suzy, a strong-willed 12-year-old living in the Midwest in 1920, accepts a job from a frosty former circus queen to train her ostrich to pull a surrey at the annual fair. While Suzy thinks ostrich wrangling is absurd, she sees it as a way out of her small town. By the time kids reach the celebratory yet bittersweet ending, they'll appreciate that it takes hard work and determination to achieve goals. Ages 10+
Written by Andrew Pettie, illustrated by Andrés Lozano
With input from his inquisitive 8-year-old daughter, Pettie crafted an epic collection of unexpected, fascinating facts in the form easiest to digest: lists. Dozens of them—like 18 things left behind on the surface of the moon and 35 different types of snowflakes—fill each of the eight themed chapters. Their whimsical illustrations and titles ("Are You a Banana?" is about how much DNA humans have in common with fruits and animals) hook readers and send them down a wondrous rabbit hole of knowledge. Ages 8+