Check out these exciting easy and fiction titles published in January. Happy reading!
ELEMENTARY PICTURE BOOKS
Bear Needs Help by Sarah S. Brannen. 9780525516507. Penguin. 2019. Gr PK-2.
A young polar bear has a problem: one of his shoes is untied. He doesn’t know how to tie it, and the other animals are too scared of him to come close. Finally, two birds stop buy and help him out—though not in the way he—or the reader—will expect.
Cheerful Chick by Martha Brockenbrough (ill. by Brian Won). 9781338134186. Scholastic. 2019. Gr PK-2.
Chick has known she wants to be a cheerleader since the moment she hatched, but none of the other barnyard animals want to join her. She’s about convinced herself to be a one-chick cheering team when her patience and determination is rewarded.
Dragon Night by J.R. Krause. 9780525514244. Penguin. 2019. Gr PK-2.
A boy afraid of the night and a dragon afraid of the knight team up on an adventure to overcome their fears.
The Goose Egg by Liz Wong. 9780553511574. Random House. 2019. Gr PK-2.
After a minor incident, the introverted elephant Henrietta finds herself the de facto mother of a gosling. Her normal peace and solitude is shattered as she teaches the gosling how to be a proper goose, even painting her trunk to look like a mother goose. She becomes lonely when Goose flies off in the fall, until Goose comes back with her own goslings.
Hats Off to Mr. Pockles! by Sally Lloyd-Jones (ill. by David Litchfield). 9780399558153. Random House. 2019. Gr PK-3.
Mr. Pockles, a small, reclusive dog, has a hat for every occasion and dreams of attending Hat Day at the PandaPolitan Club. Unfortunately, he is not a panda and can’t get in. When he runs into Lady Coco Fitz-Tulip—a panda—at a local cafe who has lost her hat to some hungry bunnies, he gives her his best one. After distributing the rest of his hats to the cafe patrons, they all head to the PandaPolitan Club.
Noodlephant by Jacob Kramer & K-Fai Steele. 9781592702664. Consortium. 2019. Gr PK-2.
When the bossy kangaroos declare that noodles are only for them, Noodlephant—known for her pasta parties—and her friends are determined to fight back.
Oh No, Bobo! : You’re in Trouble by Phil Gosier. 9781250176837. Macmillan. 2019. Gr PK-2.
When Bobo breaks the zookeeper’s stolen flashlight, his friend Fifi tattles to the other animals. Bobo desperately looks for help and tries to avoid the keeper. This hilarious story would make a great read-aloud.
Perfect by Max Amato. 9780545829311. Scholastic. 2019. Gr PK-1.
A neat, pink eraser is frustrated at the scribbles of the silly pencil. As the eraser becomes more desperate to keep the page clean, the pencil creates more and more complex drawings. Soon, the eraser begins to find that artistic collaboration between the two of them can be fun.
The Real Boat by Marina Aromshtam (ill. by Victoria Semykina). 9781536202779. Random House. Gr K-3.
When a little paper boat hears about the ocean, he is determined to go there and become a real boat.
There Are No Bears in This Bakery by Julia Sarcone-Roach. 9780399556654. Random House. Gr PK-3.
The hard-boiled gumshoe cat, Muffin, protects The Little Bear Bakery from intruders. One night he hears a sound and investigates. It’s not the usual suspects, but instead, a bear cub looking for something to eat.
ELEMENTARY & MIDDLE SCHOOL FICTION
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee. 9781368013352. Hachette. 2019. Gr 4-6.
In order to discover what happened to her older brother, Min stows away on a space battle cruiser, impersonating a cadet in the Thousand World Space Force. As a girl with fox-magic, she could use a charm or her shape-shifting ability, but to keep her family’s secret safe, Min’s mother insists on her children appearing human at all times.
Freya & Zoose by Emily Butler (ill. by Jennifer Thermes). 9781524717711. Random House. 2019. Gr 3-5.
In 1897, Freya, a dignified rockhopper penguin, hears about Captain Salomon August Andreé’s hot-air balloon expedition to the North Pole and decides to sneak aboard. She then meets fellow stowaway, Zoose, an uncouth, scrappy mouse, whose poor manners make for an uncomfortable travel companion. But when their balloon lands in the Arctic, the two develop a close friendship to survive the harsh environment.
Max & the Midknights by Lincoln Pierce. 9781101931080. Random House. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Max knows there is no chance that she can become a knight, but when her uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the evil King Gastley, Max gathers a small gang of adventures. Calling themselves the Midkngihts, they set off to save Uncle Budrick and wrest the kingdom away from Gastley’s cruel grip. This fun combination of text and comic panels is by the author of Big Nate.
The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle. 9781681199597. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 4-7.
Fionn Boyle, terrified of the sea, must spend the summer with his older sister, Tara, and their grandfather on the isle of Arranmore. The island has been known to make people disappear, and it seems to be restless again.
Ultraball #1 : Lunar Blitz by Jeff Chen. 9780062802668. Harper Collins. 2019. Gr 4-6.
Strike (real name: Shinzo Sazaki) lives in a moon colony, where the sport of Ultraball is popular. Similar to football, Ultraball is mechanical suits to enhance a player’s skills. Strike is captain of a team that has made it to the Ultrabowl three years in a row, but been defeated every time. This year he has a new star player who has just moved to his colony. But there are rumors of a traitor; can he trust her?
The Whispers by Greg Howard. 9780525517498. Penguin. 2019. Gr 5-8.
Riley believes in the whispers, magical fairies living in the woods who will grant your wishes if you leave them gifts. His biggest wish is for his mom to come home. She disappeared several months ago, and he is determined to find out what happened to her. His meetings with the detective don’t seem to be doing much good, so Riley decides to go on a camping trip to find the whispers and ask them to bring his mom home. But he finds that the trip will totally upend his world.
HIGH SCHOOL FICTION
The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale. 9781481488440. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Milla lives on a sheltered family farm near a cursed village. Isolated and expressly forbidden from going to the village, Milla is thrilled when a young girl named Iris comes to stay. Iris tells Milla that a demon in the village possesses girls at random and that the townspeople live in constant fear over who will be next. When the demon came for Iris, Milla leaves her farm to rescue her friend. On her journey she finds that she may soon become a demon herself.
Come Find Me by Megan Miranda. 9780525578291. Random House. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Kennedy and Nolan have each suffered personal losses; Kennedy’s mother has been murdered and Nolan’s brother has disappeared. The two find each other on a SETI message board after they each run across a mysterious signal, and they believe the signals might be e a message meant only for them. As they start to make sense of their losses, a mystery unfolds.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. 9781681195087. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Harper, a high school senior with cerebral palsy, is abducted and wakes up in a castle in Emberfall, a magical land. The castle is occupied by Prince Rhen, cursed to relive his eighteenth year until he finds love. Every autumn he becomes human, but after three months, becomes a beast. Every year Rhen’s guard, who was also cursed, abducts a girl in hopes Rhen will woo her and break the curse. With no intention of becoming a bride, Harper attempts to negotiate with the enchantress who cursed Rhen, but learns she plans to invade Emberfall.
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker. 9780812994162. Random House. 2019. Gr 11-Adult.
A plague that causes people to fall asleep—and stay asleep—spreads through a small college town, which is quarantined and falls into chaos. The sleepers are found to have extremely high levels of brain activity, indicating heightened dreams, but of what no one is sure. Doctors frantically search for a cause as problems in the town escalate.
Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer. 9781624147159. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 8-12.
Echo is an outcast due to the facial scars she received as a child after a wolf attack. Years later, her father leaves for the city, but after he fails to return, Echo finds his half-frozen body guarded by the same wolf that attacked her. The wolf is enchanted and offers Echo a deal—live with him for a year, and the wolf will ensure her father’s safety. She agrees and accompanies the wolf to his enchanted house beneath the mountain. As the year goes by, Echo learns centuries-old secrets and attempts to sort out the wolf’s strange enchantment.
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. 9781250144546. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 9-12.
In 1889 Paris, treasure hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin is given the opportunity to hunt a rare treasure for the Order of Babel, an organization of two powerful houses who are in charge of protecting the West’s Babel Fragment. Séverin, the rejected heir to one of the houses, longs to claim his inheritance, but is often thwarted by his childhood rival Hypnos. When Hypnos employs Séverin to retrieve the Horus Eye, which can reveal the location of a Babel fragment, Séverin assembles his eclectic team—and what they find could change the course of history.
King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, Book 1) by Leigh Bardugo. 9781250142283. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 9-12.
This new duology takes place three years after Ravka’s civil war (in Ruin and Rising of the Grisha Trilogy). The king, infected by dark magic at the end of the war, is struggling to keep his country afloat as a darkness grows inside him.
Ship of Smoke and Steel (Wells of Sorcery Trilogy, Book 1) by Django Wexler. 9780765397249. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 8-12.
When her talent for combat magic is discovered, Isoka is sent on an impossible mission—to steal a legendary ghost ship. Others have searched for the ship, but no one has ever returned. If she fails, her sister will die. Finding the ship is not the hard part; surviving the hostile monsters and fellow exiles and the ship itself might be impossible.
Slayer (Book 1) by Kiersten White. 9781534404953. Simon & Schuster. 2019. Gr 9-12.
Nina’s father was killed while protecting Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She and her twin sister Artemis have grown up at the Watchers Academy, a boarding school where teens to learn to protect Slayers, and where their mother is a member of the Watchers Council. Though Nina’s not interested in the Watcher lifestyle, learning that she’s the last Slayer leaves her with little choice but to learn what she can to take on the evil that surrounds her.
Unnatural Disasters by Jeff Hirsch. 9780544999169. HMH. 2019. Gr 9-12.
The year is 2049 and Lucy Weaver has her future plans all set—go to prom, skip graduation, and road trip with her boyfriend, Luke. However, when everyone’s phones start going off halfway through the dance, Lucy knows something horrible has happened—In fact, the apocalypse. Decades of climate change have all lead to this moment, and prom night 2049 is the night it all tips over the edge.
White Stag (Permafrost, Book 1) by Kara Barbieri. 9781250149589. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 10-12.
Janneke, the last child in a family of only daughters, has been raised to take the place of the male heir. While her sisters were learning to be wives and mothers, Janneke learned to track, hunt, and fight. When her village is attacked, she is the only survivor, taken captive by the evil Lydian to become the slave of his nephew Soren. When the Goblin King’s death sets off the hunt for the next king, Soren takes the hunt as an opportunity for Janneke to accept the ways of Permafrost. She finds her loyalty to Soren deepening, but in the process, she may lose her last connections to her former life and world.
The Wild Lands by Paul Greci. 9781250183583. Macmillan. 2019. Gr 8-12.
In the near future, natural disasters and chaos have isolated Alaska from the rest of the world. Travis and his sister Jess set out for civilization, hundreds of miles away through wild lands inhabited by hungry animals and desperate survivors ready to do anything to survive.