The Kids Are All Right

Lunar New Year, Big Families, And More!

Happy Sunday, kidlit friends! I’m so happy for Vashti Harrison, the winner of the Caldecott Award for Big, and the first Black woman to win the award! I’m surprised there were a couple of honor Caldecotts I hadn’t read yet. And I haven’t read the Newbery winner either—The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers. I don’t know about you, but my library holds list is about to explode! There are a ton of winning and honor books in other categories I’m eager to read, too, or that I’ve already read and loved! You can check out the winners here.

Thousands of kidlit authors and professionals have signed the KidLit4Ceasefire letter to President Biden urging a ceasefire in Gaza. Today is the last day to sign it.

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

Bookish Goods

Lunar New Year Magnetic Bookmark by ApsaraLabels

Lunar New Year Magnetic Bookmark by ApsaraLabels

This magnetic bookmark is adorable and would be a perfect gift for Lunar New Year. $7

New Releases

Cover of Too Much by Laurel Goodluck, illustrated by Bridget George

Too Much by Laurel Goodluck, illustrated by Bridget George

Russell loves his big Native American family, but when he gets a part in a play, he feels overwhelmed by all their family get-togethers and frustrated at being unable to practice his part in the play as often as he would like. When it comes time for his performance, however, his big Native family is exactly who he wants to see in the crowd watching and supporting him. This is a joyful and relatable celebration of a Native American family.

Cover of Amil and the After by Veera Hiranandani

Amil and the After by Veera Hiranandani

This is a lovely companion novel to The Night Diary, which follows Amil’s twin sister Nisha in 1947 during the Partition. Now, the family has settled in Bombay, at least for now. Amil misses his old home in Pakistan and struggles in school because of his dyslexia. He makes a friend with their shared interest in drawing, but his new friend is in much worse circumstances than Amil and his family. Interspersed throughout the novel are Amil’s drawings in black and white.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

The Lunar New Year starts February 10th, so I wanted to round up some Lunar New Year children’s books.

Cover of The Lucky Red Envelope by Vikki Zhang

The Lucky Red Envelope by Vikki Zhang

This beautiful interactive board book has over 140 flaps and follows Yue and her family as they celebrate the Lunar New Year in China. Richly detailed illustrations show the family attending a Lunar New Year parade, having a feast with the family, exchanging red envelopes, and so much more. Each page has many small flaps for kids to explore. There are also more details about the Lunar New Year throughout, like flaps that reveal which years are which Zodiac animal, the legend of the Nian monster, and more.

Cover of Lunar New Year by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Jingting Wang

Lunar New Year by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Jingting Wang

This picture book also follows a Chinese family as they prepare for and celebrate the Lunar New Year. It opens with two sisters cleaning a statue of the Kitchen God, with the older sister explaining who the Kitchen God is. The family picks flowers, writes poems on red paper, flies kites in the shape of the Zodiac animals, and more. What I really enjoy about the Celebrations & Festivals series is the extensive back matter. In this picture book, the back matter includes instructions on how to make red envelopes, a dumpling recipe, riddles, a quiz, how the Lunar New Year is celebrated in other countries, and much more.

Cover of Wish Soup by Junghwa Park

Wish Soup by Junghwa Park

The Korean Lunar New Year is called Seollal, and this delightful picture book follows Sohee as she prepares for Seollal. She’s so excited to eat as many bowls of tteokguk as she can so she can be a big girl. Each bowl of soup is supposed to make you one year older. However, every time she tries to eat her soup, she’s interrupted with pleas for help. She sets the table, helps her younger sibling get dressed, and lets everyone know breakfast is ready. When she returns to eat her soup, she finds that her younger sister has stolen everyone’s tteokguk. Now, there’s no way for Sohee to become a big girl, or so she thinks.

Alex's Good Fortune by Benson Shum

Alex’s Good Fortune by Benson Shum

This is a funny and sweet reader about the Chinese New Year. Alex is so excited to show her best friend Ethan her family’s Lunar New Year traditions. The two fold dumplings with Nai Nai, attend a pattern festival, share a family feast, and more. Back matter includes more information about the Chinese New Year and a dumpling recipe. Shum’s illustrations are just always so joyful and child-friendly.

Birthday for cats, the kids are all right

We had a lot of indoor time the past week. Because Nashville is ill-prepared for snow, my daughter had a week off of school. We tried to get outside every day, but the freezing temperatures prevented a lot of outdoor playtime. Her favorite indoor games inevitably involve pretend playing with her cat stuffed animals. We had three birthday parties for different cats, many trips to the vet, several baths, hotel visits with the cats, and much more. She even invented a cat restaurant called Meowrant. I don’t recommend their tea.

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, Bluesky, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

All the best,

Margaret Kingsbury