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Best New Books in January 2024

What better way to ring in the new year than with a bunch of terrific fresh reads? These are the new books for January 2024 we’re most excited to check out.

New Fiction Picture Books in January 2024

When You Have to Wait by Melanie Conklin, illustrated by Leah Hong


Patience is something kids have to learn (and it’s a really big task for many of them). This sweet new picture book helps them develop a mindful attitude and make the most of every moment.

Buy it: When You Have to Wait on Amazon

Angela’s Glacier by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Diana Sudyka

Angela's Glacier book cover

In the far north of Scandinavia, Angela has known Snæfellsjökull glacier since the day she was born. Any time she’s away from it too long, her heart feels a little empty. This lovely tale emphasizes the importance of connecting with nature your whole life long.

Buy it: Angela’s Glacier on Amazon

Forever and Always by Brittany J. Thurman, illustrated by Shamar Knight-Justice

Forever and Always book cover

When Olivia’s dad leaves for work as an EMT each day, she and her mom tell him, “Be safe.” Because Olivia knows that people, especially people of color, aren’t always safe in today’s world. This unique book respects strong emotions while offering the reassurance vulnerable kids need.

Buy it: Forever and Always on Amazon

Threads: Zlata’s Ukrainian Shirt by Lina Maslo

Threads: Zlata’s Ukrainian Shirt

Life in the Ukraine has been challenging for centuries, as this poignant story of a girl living through the 1930s famine and genocide reminds us. But it still has beauty—and hope.

Buy it: Threads: Zlata’s Ukrainian Shirt on Amazon

The Last Stand by Antwan Eady, illustrated by Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey

The Last Stand book cover

A Black family’s farm stand is more than a way to make a living—it’s a place for community and connection. When Papa is unable to work at the stand any more, his grandson does the work instead, and they both reap the benefits from their beloved customers.

Buy it: The Last Stand on Amazon

The Spark in You by Andrea Pippins

The Spark in You book cover

Set against the joyous background of Carnaval, this story follows one little girl as she prepares to enjoy the festival. Her ideas, her smiles, and her discoveries along the way all feed the spark that makes each one of us special.

Buy it: The Spark in You on Amazon

New Easy Reader/Chapter Books in January 2024

Ta-Da, Koala! by Michelle L. Brown, illustrated by Rayanne Vieira

Ta-Da, Koala! book cover

Looking for a new easy reader series for your little learners? You’ll love this fun offering, part of a series called Kangaroo’s Big World. With four books making their debut this month, kids can follow the adventures of Australian animals through simple rhyming text and engaging illustrations.

Buy it: Ta-Da, Koala! on Amazon

Birthday Bling by Catherine Daly, illustrated by Genevieve Kote

Birthday Bling book cover

Here’s another new easy reader series, one that serves a double purpose: It also aims to build financial literacy in kids. In the first one, Lucy learns about gift cards, budgeting, and even credit cards.

Buy it: Birthday Bling on Amazon

Bizard and the Big Bunny Bizness by Chrissie Krebs

Bizard and the Big Bunny Bizness book cover

Bizard the bear wizard made his debut last summer, and now he’s back with another chapter book tale that’s sure to engage young readers. This time around, his friend Squirrel offers to help Bizard out while he hibernates, and the consequences are disastrous—and hilarious!

Buy it: Bizard and the Big Bunny Bizness on Amazon

New Middle Grade Fiction Books in January 2024

Light and Air by Mindy Nichols Wendell

Light and Air book cover

Historical-fiction lovers will be fascinated by this trip back to a tuberculosis hospital in 1935. Today’s kids are familiar with terms like “isolation” and “quarantine,” but they’ll still be amazed by a time when TB was such a danger, and the lengths people had to go to in order to survive it and protect others.

Buy it: Light and Air on Amazon

Slugfest by Gordon Korman

Slugfest book cover

Beloved author Gordon Korman returns with a story about a group of underdogs who meet in a summer school P.E. class. Seemingly very different, these students slowly find their way to becoming a team—in more ways than one.

Buy it: Slugfest on Amazon

Shark Teeth by Sherri Winston

Shark Teeth book cover

After Kita’s mother’s neglect landed Kita and her siblings in foster care for the summer, Kita wants nothing more than to keep her family together, even if it means falling apart herself. When this seventh grader’s worst fears come true, she learns that sometimes what we want the most isn’t what we really need.

Buy it: Shark Teeth on Amazon

Between Two Brothers by Crystal Allen

Between Two Brothers book cover

Two brothers prepare for temporary separation as the older one gets ready to head off to college. But after a huge fight over a missed event, Isaiah’s older brother has an accident and ends up in a coma from which he might never wake. Now Isaiah must overcome his guilt and try to find a way to help his brother heal, all while dealing with his own grief.

Buy it: Between Two Brothers on Amazon

Amil and the After by Veera Hiranandani

Amil and the After book cover

In this companion novel to the Newbery Honor book The Night Diary, Amil struggles to figure out what “home” means after his family’s long, forced journey from Pakistan after the 1947 Partition of India. Both Muslim and Hindu, he begins to tell his story through drawings, trying to make sense of his new life and the one he had to leave behind.

Buy it: Amil and the After on Amazon

Just Shy of Ordinary by A.J. Sass

Just Shy of Ordinary book cover

Thirteen-year-old non-binary Shai has a lot to be stressed out about. Their mom lost her job during the pandemic, and they had to move in with friends, meaning a new school (and a new grade and a gifted program) for Shai. All this stress has led them to develop a new habit: picking at their arm hair—another secret to hide. This relatable tale is a timely message about asking for help and learning to accept life’s twists and turns.

Buy it: Just Shy of Ordinary on Amazon

New Young Adult Fiction Books in January 2024

Sky’s End by Marc J. Gregson

Sky's End book cover

Fantasy lovers will dive into this new saga of a teen who must battle powerful sky serpents in order to reunite his family. Full of political intrigue, family dynamics, and incredible adventure, this page-turner will have readers eagerly awaiting the promised sequel.

Buy it: Sky’s End on Amazon

Shut Up, This Is Serious by Carolina Ixta

Shut Up, This is Serious book cover

In East Oakland, teen Belén’s family life is a mess, she’s in danger of flunking out of school, and her best friend is pregnant by the boyfriend she’s afraid to tell her racist parents about. This is a pull-no-punches story about real-world challenges without easy answers, and the difficulties of breaking free from the cycle of generational trauma.

Buy it: Shut Up, This is Serious on Amazon

The Atlas of Us by Kristin Dwyer

The Atlas of Us book cover

After losing her father to cancer and dropping out of high school, Atlas (or “Maps,” as she’s known in the program) joins the Bear Creek Community Service program to try to pull her life together. She and her fellow teens clear brush along the Western Sierra trail, forging new relationships and coming to terms with the events that brought them all there in the first place.

Buy it: The Atlas of Us on Amazon

Yours From the Tower by Sally Nicholls

Yours From the Tower book cover

Travel back to 1896 and follow the letters of three friends in their very different lives: teaching in an orphanage, acting as a grandmother’s companion, and searching for a husband in the London Season. Each faces their own challenges, but they all support each other through their letters. If Jane Austen were alive today, this is just the kind of book she might have written.

Buy it: Yours From the Tower on Amazon

Poemhood: Our Black Revival by Amber McBride, Erica Martin, and Taylor Byas


Kwame Alexander, Ibi Zoboi, and Nikki Giovanni all contributed to this Black YA poetry anthology, filled with powerful and diverse messages in verse. This is a collection that belongs on every school library’s poetry shelves.

Buy it: Poemhood on Amazon

New Graphic Novels for All Ages in January 2024

Market Day by Miranda Harmon

Market Day book cover

Mama Cat’s treats are some of the most popular at the market, but her kittens think she deserves a treat of her own! This easy reader sneaks in some concepts like handling money and the delights of giving too. (Pre-K to Grade 2)

Buy it: Market Day on Amazon

Beaky Barnes and the Devious Duck by David Ezra Stein

Beaky Barnes and the Devious Duck book cover

Beaky Barnes is back, and he’s ready to foil the plans of the new duck in town, who wants to swindle folks out of their money so he can buy freshly baked bread (his favorite treat). Beaky uses the power of the library to save the day once again! (Grades 1 to 4)

Buy it: Beaky Barnes and the Devious Duck on Amazon

Alterations by Ray Xu

Alterations book cover

Life at home is a little crazy for Kevin Lee, with his overworked mom, absent father, moody sister, and weird grandmother. At school, he faces casual racism as one of the few Asian kids, and his best friend now seems to be his enemy. Will a class trip to Wonderland offer the chance to work everything out? (Grades 3 to 8)

Buy it: Alterations on Amazon

The Girl Who Sang by Estelle Nadel, Sammy Savos, and Bethany Strout

The Girl Who Sang book cover

In this poignant memoir of love and loss during the Holocaust, Estelle goes from an exuberant 5-year-old who loves to sing to a child with no voice. The end of the war is only the start of her journey to a new life in a new country, where she finds new songs to sing. (Grades 5 to 9)

Buy it: The Girl Who Sang on Amazon

Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Lunar New Year Love Story book cover

In Oakland, California, Vietnamese Valentina has always loved Valentine’s Day. But now that she’s in high school, she finds her favorite holiday to be more of a nightmare. Then, at the Têt new year festival, she begins a romance that might restore Valentine’s Day to its special place once more. (Grades 9 to 12)

Buy it: Lunar New Year Love Story on Amazon

Zodiac by Ai Weiwei with Elettra Stamboulis, illustrated by Gianluca Costantini

Zodiac book cover

Legendary artist Ai Weiwei shares a graphic memoir inspired by the Chinese Zodiac and the comic books he read as a child during the Cultural Revolution in China. The author weaves his own stories with those of Chinese folklore and legend, skillfully creating a narrative that invites readers to contemplate what it means to find yourself through art. (Grades 9 to 12)

Buy it: Zodiac on Amazon

New Nonfiction for All Ages in January 2024

Fighting With Love by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome

Fighting With Love book cover

In a month that celebrates the dedication of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this new and inspiring picture book dedicated to fellow activist John Lewis is a perfect fit. (Pre-K to Grade 2)

Buy it: Fighting With Love on Amazon

Time To Make Art by Jeff Mack

Time to Make Art book cover

Does art need to be perfect? That’s the question one young girl ponders in this journey through art history, where famous artists explain their own thoughts in a kid-friendly way about what it takes to make art. (Pre-K to Grade 2)

Buy it: Time To Make Art on Amazon

Everybody’s Book by Linda Leopold Strauss, illustrated by Tim Smart

Everybody's Book book cover

The story of the Sarajevo Haggadah (a book used at Passover seders) might seem like an unlikely book topic, but the centuries-long journey of this treasure is engaging and enlightening. From the Spanish Inquisition to war-torn Bosnia, this book has been a symbol of hope and faith for hundreds of years. (Pre-K to Grade 2)

Buy it: Everybody’s Book on Amazon

Casting Shadows by Bruce Betts

Casting Shadows book cover

Prepare for the upcoming 2024 solar eclipse with this fact-filled book. It delves deep into the science of solar and lunar eclipses, making it the perfect companion to your classroom eclipse activities. (Grades 2 to 5)

Buy it: Casting Shadows on Amazon

Who Got Game? Basketball by Derrick Barnes

Who Got Game? Basketball book cover

Sports books have the power to draw even reluctant readers, so the latest addition to the Who Got Game? series is a welcome one for school libraries. Fans will marvel at amazing true stories about basketball players throughout the history of the game. If you’re looking for new sports books to add to your shelves in January 2024, this is a worthy option. (Grades 3 to 8)

Buy it: Who Got Game? Basketball on Amazon

Alexandria: The City That Changed the World by Islam Issa

Alexandria book cover

The city of Alexandria dates back thousands of years and includes some of history’s greatest and most tragic stories. Read about them all in this new in-depth look at one of the greatest cities the world has ever known. (Grades 9 to 12)

Buy it: Alexandria: The City That Changed the World on Amazon

Best New Books for Teachers in January 2024

HBCU Made by Ayesha Rascoe

HCBU Made book cover

High school teachers will especially enjoy this roundup of essays on the experiences of students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Choose a few to share with juniors and seniors as they begin to make their own college and university choices.

Buy it: HBCU Made on Amazon

Infectious Generosity by Chris Anderson

Infectious Generosity book cover

It’s hard to be an optimist these days, and yet we’ve perhaps never needed a sense of infectious generosity more. Explore stories from the creator of TED Talks, and learn how sharing kindness can have incredible impacts on your world, near and far.

Buy it: Infectious Generosity on Amazon

Black Women Taught Us by Jenn M. Jackson

Black Women Taught Us book cover

Across 11 original essays that explore the legacy of Black women writers and leaders—from Harriet Jacobs and Ida B. Wells to the Combahee River Collective and Audre Lorde—Jackson shows how Black women have been at the forefront of liberation movements for decades.

Buy it: Black Women Taught Us on Amazon

What new books are you most excited to add to your classroom shelves in January 2024? Come share your thoughts in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook!

Plus, check out 37 Inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. Books for Kids of All Ages.


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