One of my favorite times of the year is when it’s time to announce the best new childrens books of the year!
I hope you did a lot of happy reading with your young elementary child. These books are perfect for kiddos ages 6, 7 and 8 and include both picture books and early elementary chapter books.
You can find the best new childrens books of 2017 at your local library or purchase through the affiliate links provided for your convenience.
Best New Childrens Books of the Year!
I’ve broken down this category into picture books and chapter books because many kids in this age group are ready and reading longer books 🙂
New Picture Books Of the Year
The Antlered Ship: Marco the fox has a lot of questions, like: how deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea? And why do birds have such lizardy feet? But none of the other foxes share his curiosity. So when a magnificent ship adorned with antlers and with a deer for a captain arrives at the dock looking for a crew, Marco volunteers, hoping to find foxes who are as inquisitive as he is that can answer his questions. The crew finds adventure and intrigue on their journey. And, at last, Marco finds the answer to his most important question of all: What’s the best way to find a friend you can talk to?
Malala’s Magic Pencil: Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Malala Yousafzai’s first picture book, inspired by her own childhood. As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala’s story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.
Jabari Jumps: Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
Her Right Foot: A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A School Library Journal Best Picture Book of the Year. A 2018 Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book. A Junior Library Guild selection. In this fascinating and fun take on nonfiction, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential of an entire country’s creation.
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors: From acclaimed, bestselling creators Drew Daywalt, author of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, and Adam Rex, author-illustrator of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, comes a laugh-out-loud hilarious picture book about the epic tale of the classic game Rock, Paper, Scissors.
The Book of Mistakes: As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.
The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!: La Paz is a happy, but noisy village. A little peace and quiet would make it just right. So the villagers elect the bossy Don Pepe as their mayor. Before long, singing of any kind is outlawed. Even the teakettle is afraid to whistle! But there is one noisy rooster who doesn’t give two mangos about this mayor’s silly rules. Instead, he does what roosters were born to do. Carmen Deedy’s masterfully crafted allegory and Eugene Yelchin’s bright, whimsical mixed-media paintings celebrate the spirit of freedom — and the courage of those who are born to sing at any cost.
Nerdy Birdy Tweets: Nerdy Birdy and his best friend, Vulture, are very different. Nerdy Birdy loves video games, but Vulture finds them BORING. Vulture loves snacking on dead things, but Nerdy Birdy finds that GROSS. Luckily, you don’t have to agree on everything to still be friends.One day, Nerdy Birdy joins Tweetster, and the friend requests start flying in. Vulture watches as Nerdy Birdy gets swept up in his new friendships, but when she finally gets angry, Nerdy Birdy knows just what to do to make things right.
The Pomegranate Witch: When a scary old tree blooms with the most beautiful pomegranates ever seen, the neighborhood kids’ mouths water with anticipation. But the tree isn’t theirs—and it has a protector! So begins the Pomegranate War, a fun, rollicking, rhyming tale of a battle between the sly, plucky young rascals and their wry, witchy neighbor who may have more than one trick up her sleeve. This delectable romp from award-winning children’s poet Denise Doyen and acclaimed illustrator Eliza Wheeler honors classic children’s literature and revels in nostalgia for free-to-roam days full of playful invention.
My Journey to the Stars: Scott Kelly wasn’t sure what he wanted to be when he grew up. He struggled in school and often got in trouble with his twin brother, Mark. Then one day Scott discovered a book about test pilots and astronauts that set him on a new path. His new focus led him to fly higher and higher, becoming first a pilot and then an astronaut, along with his brother—the first twin astronauts in history. But his greatest accomplishment of all was commanding the International Space Station and spending nearly a year in space, which set the record for the longest spaceflight by an American. This story of an ordinary boy who grew up to do extraordinary things is perfect for children, fans of Scott’s adult book Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, aspiring astronauts, and anyone who has ever tried to defy the odds.
Prince and Pirate: Prince and Pirate are proud masters of their very own fishbowls, and life goes along swimmingly–until they’re scooped up and plopped into shared waters. Prince is horrified to find this cheeky cod trespassing in his kingdom. “Halt, peasant!” Pirate is sure this scurvy sea slug has come to plunder his treasure. “Avast, ye scurvy sea slug!” And so begins a battle of regal sneers, seaworthy stink-eyes, and off-the-hook insults.
New Chapter Books of the Year
Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties: From the Creator of Captain Underpants (Dog Man #3): He was the best of dogs… He was the worst of dogs… It was the age of invention… It was the season of surprise… It was the eve of supa sadness… It was the dawn of hope… Dog Man, the newest hero from the creator of Captain Underpants, hasn’t always been a paws-itive addition to the police force. While he can muzzle miscreants, he tends to leave a slick of slobber in his wake! This time, Petey the cat’s dragged in a tiny bit of trouble — a double in the form of a super-cute kitten. Dog Man will have to work twice as hard to bust these furballs and remain top dog!
Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #2): Happy-go-lucky Narwhal and no-nonsense Jelly find their inner superheroes in three new under-the-sea adventures. In the first story, Narwhal reveals his superhero alter-ego and enlists Jelly to help him figure out what his superpower is. Next, Narwhal uses his superpower to help a friend find his way back home. In the third story, Jelly is feeling blue and Narwhal comes to the rescue. Ben Clanton showcases the joys of friendship and the power of believing in yourself and others through this irresistible duo.
The Bad Guys (The Bad Guys #1): They sound like bad guys, they look like bad guys . . . and they even smell like bad guys. But Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Shark are about to change all of that… Mr. Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys’ first good mission. They are going to break two hundred dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr. Snake please stop swallowing Mr. Piranha?!
Runny Babbit Returns: Another Billy Sook: An Amazon Best Book of 2017. A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2017. A NCTE 2018 Notable Poetry Book. Runny Babbit Returns, a collection of 41 never-before-published poems and drawings, features Runny and other woodland characters who speak a topsy-turvy language all their own. This carefully compiled work from the Silverstein archives is filled with spoonerism poems that are both playful and poignant. With tongue-twisting word play and uproarious characters, the endearingly befuddled Runny Babbit and his friends embody Shel Silverstein’s singular style, the one we all know and love.
Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen: A Junior Library Guild Fall 2017 Selection. An Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2017. A Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books 2017. Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker! She’s also tired of her big sister, Sophie, always getting to do things first. For once, Jasmine wishes SHE could do something before Sophie―something special, something different. The New Year approaches, and as the Toguchi family gathers in Los Angeles to celebrate, Jasmine is jealous that her sister gets to help roll mochi balls by hand with the women. Her mom says that Jasmine is still too young to join in, so she hatches a plan to help the men pound the mochi rice instead. Surely her sister has never done THAT before. But pounding mochi is traditionally reserved for boys. And the mochi hammer is heavier than it looks. Can Jasmine build her case and her mochi-making muscles in time for New Year’s Day?
Ben Franklin’s in My Bathroom! (History Pals): Nolan is a typical kid living in a typical 21st century American town. Ben Franklin is, well, Ben Franklin—Founding Father, inventor of the lightning rod and bifocals, and more. When, through a bizarre set of circumstances, Nolan and his little sister, Olive, find Ben in their house, chaos isn’t far behind. From introducing him to the toaster to taking him to the public library (another Ben invention) to preventing a nosy neighbor from blowing Ben’s cover, Nolan does his best to be Ben’s tour guide to the new world he helped form. With tons of funny illustrations throughout—plus graphic novel-style sections interspersed—readers will love adventuring alongside this awesome threesome.
Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers: Welcome to the kingdom of Great Kerfuffle! Great Kerfuffle is really great. And there’s usually a kerfuffle (the clue’s in the name really). This particular kerfuffle started the day Stinkbomb’s twenty dollar bill went missing. Stinkbomb and his little sister Ketchup-Face know exactly who took it: the badgers. After all, they’re called badgers because they do bad things; otherwise they’d just be gers. They bring news of the badgers’ treachery to King Toothbrush Weasel (don’t get us started on the story behind his name…), who sends them on a quest to rid the land of badgers. What follows is a full on kerfuffle-fest, containing: one deep dark forest, a grocery cart in distress, a song about jam–and, of course, a band of very tricky badgers.
Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker: Beatrice does her best thinking upside down. Hanging from trees by her knees, doing handstands . . . for Beatrice Zinker, upside down works every time. She was definitely upside down when she and her best friend, Lenny, agreed to wear matching ninja suits on the first day of third grade. But when Beatrice shows up at school dressed in black, Lenny arrives with a cool new outfit and a cool new friend. Even worse, she seems to have forgotten all about the top-secret operation they planned! Can Beatrice use her topsy-turvy way of thinking to save the mission, mend their friendship, and flip things sunny-side up?
Princess Cora and the Crocodile: Princess Cora is sick of boring lessons. She’s sick of running in circles around the dungeon gym. She’s sick, sick, sick of taking three baths a day. And her parents won’t let her have a dog. But when she writes to her fairy godmother for help, she doesn’t expect that help to come in the form of a crocodile—a crocodile who does not behave properly. With perfectly paced dry comedy, children’s book luminaries Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca send Princess Cora on a delightful outdoor adventure — climbing trees! getting dirty! having fun! — while her alter ego wreaks utter havoc inside the castle, obliging one pair of royal helicopter parents to reconsider their ways.
Love these best new childrens books of the year? Don’t miss out on other Best New Children’s Books for Kids, all broken down by age group through high school!