Books We Can’t Wait to Read: Lea’s and Lydia’s 2018 Picture Book Picks

For our final TBF 2018 Book Picks preview, our resident #KidLit nerds Lea and Lydia are looking at some of the amazing picture books coming out this year! The majority of these books are spring and summer catalogs, and there are so many more exciting picture books coming out this year. Lea’s already hustling to bring many of these authors to Texas elementary schools for Reading Rock Stars visits, and we can’t wait to see these books on the shelves and in the hands of young readers.

And don’t forget: you can check out the rest of our 2018 Book Preview posts here.

Happy reading, y’all!


Mae Among the Stars

Roda Ahmed, illustrated by Stasia Burrington; January 9

We’re so excited to have Roda as one of our Reading Rock Stars authors in Dallas and Fort Worth this year! It’s easy to fall and in love with and be inspired by Dr. Mae Jemison’s story. The book is the perfect way to start to talk to children about their dreams and how they can achieve them.







Junot Díaz, illustrated by Leo Espinosa; March 13

One of the most anticipated picture book releases of the year! Junot Díaz’s first picture book started with a promise to his goddaughters “two decades ago, when they asked him to write a book that featured characters like them, Dominican girls living in the Bronx.” With Díaz’s brilliant storytelling touching on the themes he does best—immigration and traditional culture, family and memories, and finding where you belong—along with bright, fluid illustrations from Leo Espinosa, this book is sure to be one you read over and over again.

Don’t miss Junot Díaz speaking and signing copies of Islandborn at Bookpeople, April 4 at 6:30pm




Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Loren Long; January 9

I LOVE Matt de la Peña! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this book shows children all the different ways love can be expressed. Share it with the child in your life to start a conversation about all the different ways you love them and that they can love others. An inspiring and heartwarming story, you definitely need this on your shelf!


Don’t miss Matt de la Peña and Loren Long speaking and signing copies of Love at Bookpeople January 20, 11:30am.



Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and The Rainbow Flag

Rob Sanders, illustrated by Steven Salerno; April 10

I have become such a fan of non-fiction picture books and I cannot wait to see this one! The Rainbow flag feels like it’s been a symbol of queer pride forever, but that’s not the case! This picture book brings the story of the flag and will teach children about the inspiring Harvey Milk. It’s a great primer on activism and I’m saving a spot on my shelf for it!






Alma and How She Got Her Name

Juana Martinez-Neal; April 10

When read this book, I couldn’t help but say “awwwww” this entire time! A veteran Reading Rock Stars author/illustrator, Juana Martinez-Neal takes you through sweet Alma’s name and her family history. It’s a wonderful way to talk to your children about family, their history and why it’s important to feel pride in your story and your uniqueness. Beautifully illustrated, I am looking forward to sharing this with students as soon as I can!




They Say Blue

Jillian Tamaki; March 13

Jillian Tamaki has been one of my favorite graphic artists since I first read Skim, the YA graphic novel she co-wrote with her cousin Mariko Tamaki, and her following books This One Summer and Super Mutant Magic Academy have only cemented her place on my best bookshelf. Her first picture book, which follows a young girl exploring the colors of the world around her, is a gorgeous, wonder-filled ode to the beauty of nature and perspective.





The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra

Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ana Aranda; March 7

I laughed out loud the entire time  I read this adorable book. While it has been out awhile, I am looking forward to having its illustrator, Ana Aranda, join us for Reading Rock Stars in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s such a silly feel good book! The illustrations are so fun and you and your child will be sure to laugh and wonder how the goats will escape the mighty chupacabra!






Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea

Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Rebecca Green; May 1

Rebecca Green is one of my favorite illustrators, and this story by Elizabeth Suneby about a resourceful, science-loving boy who devises a sustainable way to make the monsoon season in Bangladesh safer for his mother is a sweet, inspiring story about sustainable technology and family love.







Books we haven’t read yet but can’t wait to get our hands on: