The Kids Are All Right

Valentine’s Day, Dyslexia, And More!

It’s the last January newsletter! Has this month seemed to last forever to anyone else? I guess the bizarre weather and multiple school closures have made January a bit weird.

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

a photo of a pink t-shirt with images of a heart reading a book across it

Book Lover Valentine Shirt by OnyeijeDigitalCo

This would be an adorable tee to wear for Valentine’s Day. It’s available in kid and adult sizes. $9+

New Releases

Cover of Molly's Great Discovery by Krista Weltner

Molly’s Great Discovery by Krista Weltner

This delightful picture book is the first in a series about Molly, her invisible friend Lexi, and her experiences with dyslexia. This first book tells the story of Molly’s dyslexia diagnosis. Molly has a lot of trouble on spelling tests, and Lexi encourages her to ask for help from the teacher. At first, Molly resists, but when she does ask for help, she’s glad. She takes tests with a different teacher, and she and her parents meet with her to discuss the test results and come up with a plan to help with Molly’s dyslexia. Back matter includes an author’s note about being diagnosed with dyslexia when she was seven, a discussion of identity-first terminology, and how adults can help dyslexic kids in their lives.

Cover of Alterations by Ray Xu

Alterations by Ray Xu

This is a funny, original, and heartfelt middle grade graphic novel about a Chinese Canadian middle schooler, Kevin Lee, in the mid-90s. Kevin lives above his mother’s alterations shop with his mother, older sister, and grandmother, who has recently moved in. Now, Kevin shares a bedroom with his older sister, who is not happy about it. As one of only a few Asian kids at school, he’s often ostracized, but he does have a few good friends. His social status plummets when he brings a century egg to school for lunch. The one thing he’s looking forward to is a trip to Thrill Planet, but his frequent trips to the principal’s office put that in jeopardy. Kevin also loves art and comic books, and interspersed within the main story are scenes from his favorite comic book.

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

Riot Recommendations

Valentine’s Day is coming soon, and while it’s not my favorite holiday, I do enjoy reading children’s books about love. Here are four to read for Valentine’s Day!

Hearts Are Everywhere by Wednesday Kirwan

Hearts are Everywhere by Wednesday Kirwan

In this adorable interactive board book, young readers can turn a wheel to hide a heart and then lift flaps to reveal where the heart is hidden. Each page shows different animals celebrating Valentine’s Day scenes. This would be a great read for toddlers, and I love the art.

Cover of Eleven Words for Love by Randa Abdel-Fattah, illustrated by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Eleven Words for Love by Randa Abdel-Fattah, illustrated by Maxine Beneba Clarke (PB)

This stunning picture book celebrates twelve Arabic expressions for different types of love. There’s the love of remembering one’s homeland, the love of welcoming new life into the world, the love of friendship, and more. The lovely, textured illustrations give the impression of a canvas and depict cherished moments in a Palestinian immigrant family’s life. The words for love are written in the Arabic script.

Cover of Flubby Does Not Like Valentine’s Day by Jennifer E. Morris

Flubby Does Not Like Valentine’s Day by Jennifer E. Morris

My daughter is a huge fan of the Flubby reader series. In this most recent addition to the series, the child main character wonders what to gift Flubby the cat for Valentine’s Day. Flubby doesn’t like any of the typical Valentine’s Day presents. This series uses repetition and humor to engage beginning readers.

Cover of Teeny Houdini: The Super-Secret Valentine by Katrina Moore, illustrated by Zoe Si

Teeny Houdini: The Super-Secret Valentine by Katrina Moore, illustrated by Zoe Si

This is the second book in the hilarious Teeny Houdini chapter book series, though they can be read in any order. Bessie Lee wants to be a magician, so when her teacher asks her to make an extra special Valentine for the class’s new student, she decides to make it into a magic trick. But how can she make the perfect magic Valentine?

a photo of picture books spread out across a bed

My home office shares space with my bedroom, so during the day, my bed is often covered in books I’m reviewing…plus my planner, tissues, and laundry that needs to be put away.

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