Chances are you do a lot of your book shopping on Amazon; nothing beats getting a box full of books delivered straight to your house. But there are so many good reads on the site that it can be hard to know what to order next, which is why I'm such a big fan of Amazon's Best Children's Books of 2019 (So Far) list. It highlights the Amazon editors' favorite books from the first half of the year, so you don't have to spend forever scrolling through reviews. Shout out to efficiency.
The children's list is just one of the "So Far" lists the editors have compiled; you can check out their faves in pretty much any genre you're a fan of, including their top picks for the year overall. Their kid's lit picks provide options for little ones of all ages, ranging from toddler-friendly bedtime stories to middle grade books that introduce young readers to more complex narratives. The diversity of their picks is impressive, and I'm pretty sure any parent could find at least one book on the list their kid would be interested.
Read on to find out the top 20 children's releases of the year according to the Amazon team, and get ready to freshen up your kiddo's bookshelves. Summer reading just got a whole lot more fun.
1. 'The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise' by Dan Gemeinhart
In this middle grade book, Coyote and her dad Rodeo have been on the road for 5 years in an old school bus after an accident killed her mom and her two sisters. But when Coyote gets word that her childhood playground — where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a memory box — is going to be demolished, she has to find a way to get her dad back to their hometown...without him realizing her plan. On their journey, the duo will pick up a troupe of equally lost travelers, Coyote will discover the restorative hope of new friendships, and hopefully, find her way home.
2. 'Rumple Buttercup: A Story of Bananas, Belonging, and Being Yourself' by Matthew Gray Gubler
Rumple Buttercup looks weird. With green skin, three strands of hair, and five crooked teeth, he doesn't always fit in. But with the help of his imaginary friend Candy Corn Carl, Rumble Buttercup will see why being yourself is the best thing you can be. This #1 New York Times bestseller written by 'Criminal Minds' star Matthew Gray Gubler is as funny as it is heartwarming.
3. 'Pay Attention, Carter Jones' by Gary D. Schmidt
Carter Jones's world is flipped upside down when he wakes up to find a traditional English butler on his doorstep. The butler says he's there to help Carter's family, who have been having some trouble lately. As the stress of middle school, a new bossy adult in his life, and grief combine, Carter will learn that letting it out is the key to finding happiness.
4. 'Waiting for Chicken Smith' by David Mackintosh
A little boy goes to the same beach house with his family every year, and the best part of every trip is seeing his friend, Chicken Smith. The little boy is anxiously waiting for Chicken Smith's arrival — and ignoring his sister MaryAnn's attempts to get his attention in the process. This sweet and gorgeously illustrated picture book focuses on the in-between moments of life, emphasizing the importance of the everyday and the people we share it with.
5. 'The Undefeated' by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
A cross between picture book and poem, Kwame Alexander chronicles African American history in this book, from the horrors of slavery to the leaders of the 21st century. It's moving and inspiring, anchoring the hope we have for the future in its roots of the past.
6. 'Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat #1' by Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth, illustrated by Robb Mommaerts
Klawde the cat was the emperor of another planet, but then he gets exiled to Earth to be Raj Banerjee's house cat. Raj has just moved to Oregon from Brooklyn, bored and bummed by his new surroundings. This unlikely pair will find solace in their friendship, learning to love their new lives together.
7. 'The Last Last-Day-of-Summer' by Lamar Giles, illustrated by Dapo Adeola
Otto and Sheed have been sleuthing about their small town all summer, solving mysteries like pros. The duo are craving a real challenge and start bickering, when a suspicious man shows up and literally freezes time. They have to pause their fight to save their town, or time will never move forward.
8. 'The Good Egg' by Jory John, illustrated by Pete Oswald
The creators of 'The Bad Seed' are back in this clever tale about the dangers of perfectionism. Good Egg is doing his best to be good, but he's struggling to compensate for the rotten eggs in his dozen. When the pressure finally becomes too much, he'll see why accepting others for who they are and taking care of yourself are so important.
9. 'Pie In The Sky' by Remy Lai
Jingwen and his little brother Yanghao are feeling isolated after moving to another country in the wake of their father's death. The one thing that brings them comfort is making cakes, as they can relive their dad's dream of opening a bakery, but their mom has forbidden them from using the oven when she isn't home. The brothers are forced to come up with farfetched excuses to keep their cake making a secret in this hilarious and moving story.
10. 'Sweety' by Andrea Zuill
Meet Sweety, an awkward naked mole rat who is on a mission to find a friend who likes mushrooms as much as she does. But with the help of her Aunt Ruth, Sweety comes to realize being herself is all that matters. It's an ode to individuality, which every kid needs every now and then.
11. 'Dragon Pearl' by Yoon Ha Lee
Rick Riordan presents 'Dragon Pearl,' the story of a young girl named Min desperate to find her place in the world. Min is a fox spirit, giving her the power to shape shift and Charm, but her mother forbids her from using her powers to keep her safe. Min resents not being able to be herself, and when she gets word that her brother has defected from the Space Forces to find the Dragon Pearl, a mystical object with massive power, Min knows something is wrong. She leaves to clear her brother's name, setting out on a journey that will test her wits, powers, and bravery.
12. 'Don't Let Them Disappear' by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Gianna Marino
Looking for a way to teach your little ones about endangered species? Then Chelsea Clinton's 'Don't Let Them Disappear' is perfect for you, as it catalogs a selection of endangered animals, pointing out their cool character traits and explaining what threatens them. The book highlights what these animals offer the world, while motivating readers to do something to protect them.
13. 'Destination Moon: The Remarkable and Improbable Voyage of Apollo 11' by Richard Maurer
Space fans will be enthralled by this book, which gives the backstory for the Apollo program that led man to the moon. Explaining how World War II fighter pilots, a Nazi engineer, and soon-to-be president fit together, Richard Maurer emphasizes just how incredible and unlikely it is that man walked on the moon.
14. 'Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers' by Margaret Peterson Haddix, illustrated by Anne Lambelet
Chess, Emma, and Finn Greystone think their life is pretty settled; they live a happy life with their mom, and each of them is perfectly different. But when they hear about three kids who were kidnapped that seem just like them, they grow confused and unsure, suspicious of their picture perfect life. Their mom leaves for a business trip before they can ask questions, and they're left to unravel this dangerous secret themselves.
15. 'Because' by Mo Willems, illustrated by Amber Ren
The prolific Mo Willems is back in this story of a young girl's path to becoming a composer. Combining hard work, luck, and a little bit of magic, she'll find her way to stardom. With breathtaking illustrations by Amber Ren, this story will move and motivate young readers.
16. 'You Are My Happy' by Hota Kotb, illustrated by Suzie Mason
The 'Today Show's' Hota Kotb is back with another sentimental story that kids and parents will both love. As a mama bear and her baby get ready for bed, they think about the best parts of their day, taking joy in the beauty of their habits. Inspired by Kotb's nighttime routine with her own daughter, this story rings with truth and sweetness.
17. 'The Neighbors' by Einat Tsarfati, translated by Annette Appel
This story is full of imagination, as it stars a little who girl who comes up with elaborate fantasies of what her neighbors homes are like as she walks up the seven stories to her own apartment. She pictures everything from circuses to underwater living, but it's the secret her parents have waiting for her that will surprise her most of all. It's a fun tale that any kid with a sense of wonder will relate to.
18. 'We Are the Gardeners' by Joanna Gaines, illustrated by Julianna Swaney
Joanna Gaines of HGTV fame and her kids share their story of starting a family garden in her picture book debut. What started as a single fern grew into a lush garden, which Julianna Swaney brings to life with her colorful illustrations. The story might just inspire your fam to plant your own.
19. 'Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson's Journal' by Jeff Kinney
'Diary Of A Wimpy Kid' lovers will know Rowley Jefferson as Greg's best friend, but now they get to hear all the middle school dirt from directly from him. In the story, he agrees to be Greg's biographer, but things go hilariously awry quickly. It's a new perspective on Jeff Kinney's beloved series that fans will love.
20. 'To Night Owl From Dogfish' by Holly Goldberg Sloan, illustrated by Meg Wolitzer
Avery Bloom and Bett Devlin have absolutely nothing in common, with one major exception; they're both being raised by single dads, and their dads just happen to have fallen in love. Their fathers send them to the same summer camp in the hopes the girls will bond. Suddenly, things take a turn for the weird for the girls and their dads, and they find themselves on a summer adventure that will change their lives forever.