Love is in the air — love of books that is, and we’re continuing to kick off the new year with some brilliant new books for kids and YA. From vibrant new storytime picks you won’t mind reading 100 times to hilarious super-spy alligators, wicked fairies, and swashbuckling adventures of epic proportions, here are our picks for the best new kids’ and YA books to look out for this February.
Corey R. Tabor
Packed with heart, charm and adorable illustrations, Corey Tabor opens the door for readers of all ages to be inspired and captivated by Mel, a Kingfisher, who’s ready to learn to fly. Readers will be captivated by the fun, rotating design and encouraging life lessons. A special book (no matter which way you hold it) and one that’s sure to leave a lasting impression on all those who read it.
Stay This Way Forever
Linsey Davis, Lucy Fleming (Illustrator)
Linsey Davis’ third installment in her One Big World universe, Stay This Way Forever is a celebration of individuality, affection and empowerment. As Linsey has become known to do, she creates a parade of hope and encouragement wrapped in a hug of love that is felt from the very first page. Lucy Fleming’s vibrant art is back, too, making this the perfect book to share with a loved one or gift for that special moment.
Milo Imagines the World
Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson (Illustrator)
The dynamic, multiple award-winning duo Matt de La Peña and Christian Robinson are back in another thought-provoking, conversation-starting tale about a boy and his inquisitive mind. While riding the subway, Milo lets his imagination wander as he assumes what the other passengers’ lives are like — a boy that’s catered to by a butler, a woman on her way to get married. Is anything as it seems or has Milo’s imagination jumped to conclusions? A terrific read-aloud but also versatile for independent readers and adults.
Pamela Paul, Becky Cameron (Illustrator)
This charming love letter to reading and storytime comes from Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review. Becky Cameron’s illustrations of a spectating house cat, boy and man perfectly accompany Paul’s description of a daily story time ritual. “Oh, good, it’s time! They’re bringing out the rectangle,” the cat exclaims while taking its snuggly place on a lap. But as the boy grows bigger in size and the books get smaller in shape, the “rectangle time” experience evolves.
Off the Hook (InvestiGators Series #3)
John Patrick Green
InvestiGators Mango and Brash are back for their third laugh-out-loud crime-fighting mission in Off the Hook! This time, they’re posing as Investibankers when Crackerdile strikes again. The hilarious and goofy InvestiGators series follows a super-spy alligator duo as they travel through the sewers to fight the forces of evil and is perfect for fans of the Dog Man series looking for their next action-packed adventure.
The Magical Reality of Nadia
Bassem Youssef, Catherine R. Daly, Douglas Holgate (Illustrator)
Nadia is ready to start 6th grade with a bang! Fresh off summer vacation with her cousins in Egypt, Nadia is most excited about her school project celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Museum of American History. When one of her classmates starts making snide comments about her Egyptian heritage, Nadia ends up finding support from a magical Egyptian source — her ancient necklace! Filled with humor and heart, The Magical Reality of Nadia also keenly handles tough topics like prejudice and empathy that will resonate with Young Readers for years to come.
Love in English
Maria E. Andreu
This refreshing take on a high school love story follows 16-year-old Ana, who has recently immigrated from Argentina to New Jersey, as she navigates friendship, family, crushes, and adapting to a new home, all while dealing with a significant language barrier. Ana’s story is compelling and relatable, with excerpts of her poetry perfectly placed throughout to give perspective into her journey of learning the linguistic oddities of English as a non-native speaker.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
This fun and refreshing coming-of-age story follows Charlie, a smart, funny, ambitious, and fat Puerto Rican American girl on a journey of self-acceptance while the world (including her mother) is telling her she needs to be thinner, lighter, and quieter. Through it all, Charlie manages to find happiness while balancing her relationship with her best friend and a budding romance in this heartfelt debut.
Love Is a Revolution
This joyful and endearing story about a Black teenage girl learning to love herself first and foremost is perfect for fans of contemporary romance looking for a fresh twist on a classic trope. “One of the most radical things a Black girl can do is know that she is both worthy of love and deserving of joy … deftly crafted, big-hearted, beautiful, funny, honest, and inspiring.” —Nicola Yoon, author of The Sun is Also a Star
Seventeen-year-old Denver’s life is music, and she dreams of escaping her small rural town and hitting it big with her two best friends. When they catch the attention of a big-time R&B star, Sean “Mercury” Ellis, Denver sees their dreams finally coming true. However, they soon get caught in the dark underbelly of the music industry, and their dreams quickly turn into nightmares. Charles’ writing is captivating and lyrical, with her words flowing seamlessly across each page in this impossible to put down novel about muting the monsters.
After a devastating accident leaves Lo Denham injured and orphaned, her big sister Bea finds solace in The Unity Project, a local religious group. Years later, Bea has disappeared from her life, and Lo finds herself looking for answers: where has Bea gone, and is The Unity Project the cult that so many have made it out to be? Her search for the truth proves more dangerous than anticipated and leaves her questioning herself and everything she thought she knew. The Project is a dark and unsettling psychological thriller that readers will not want to miss.
Ransom Riggs is a master of storytelling, and this final tale in his epic Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series is no exception. With twists and turns on every page, fans of his series will devour the visually rich experience that awaits them in The Desolations of Devil’s Acre in no time flat and end waiting eagerly to see what Riggs has up his sleeve next.
After getting concussed in a football game, 17-year-old Ash finds that his world seems slightly different. Suddenly, Ash is traveling through alternate universes, experiencing society through a different lens in each. Neal Schusterman’s writing is compulsively readable and the timely social issues addressed throughout the story will give readers much to think about as they dive further into Ash’s experiences in each new reality.
All the Tides of Fate
While hiding secrets of her own, the newly crowned Queen Amora must also work to appease the kingdom of Visidia that was left reeling after her father’s death. This exhilarating conclusion to the All the Stars and Teeth duology is filled with all the action, magic, and swashbuckling adventure we loved in the first book — and then some! Come for the mermaids, pirates, and sea monsters and get lost in a lush world with a captivating cast of characters you won’t soon forget
The Gilded Ones
Though not for the faint of heart, this West African-inspired feminist fantasy is a stunning and powerful narrative about a deeply patriarchal society where women who are deemed impure are sent off to train as deadly warriors. Forna’s epic worldbuilding sets the perfect backdrop for this first book in a new series that is sure to become a must-read for YA Fantasy fans.
The Iron Raven
Wicked fairies with a dash of danger — yes, please! This first book in a new trilogy set in the same world as Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series is sure to be loved by fans new and old. This time we get to see the world through the eyes of beloved prankster Puck as he sets out to save Faery and the world. Fans of Cassandra Clare should run to add this to their shelves.
Nubia: Real One
L. L. McKinney, Robyn Smith (Illustrator)
Though Nubia is Amazonian, the world won’t accept her as a hero in the same way they do Wonder Woman. But when the opportunity arises to save her best friend, Nubia jumps at the chance to prove she is worthy. This fresh graphic novel reimagining of DC Comics’ first Black woman superhero story is heartfelt and beautiful with vibrant illustrations that leap off the pages.
The Electric Kingdom
In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a deadly Fly Flu, the few remaining survivors seek their paths to better lives based on stories and memories of the past. Through their interwoven existences, fraught with the pain of survival, we see the power of hope and love in this thought-provoking and original tale. A haunting, slow-burn dystopic novel that you will not be able to put down.