2024 Starred Reviews Round-Up

2024 Starred Reviews Round-Up

2024 stars

Does your collection include this year’s critically acclaimed books? See what Booklist, School Library Journal, Kirkus, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, and more, say about the top reviewed books of 2024 for kids and teens!

Click the tabs below to view more books in each age category.

Picture BooksMiddle Grade BooksYoung Adult BooksAdult Books Crossover
Coretta: The Autobiography of Mrs. Coretta Scott King by Coretta Scott King; illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Coretta: The Autobiography of Mrs. Coretta Scott King by Coretta Scott King; illustrated by Ekua Holmes

On Sale January 2nd, 2024

Adapted from her adult memoir, this is the autobiography of Coretta Scott King––wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (the King Center), and twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist.

★ TWO STARRED REVIEWS! ★

A moving testimonial, distilled from 2017’s Coretta: My Life, My Love, My Legacy... Eloquent and stately.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

“Adapted from King’s autobiography, this picture book offers a new generation the remarkable story of the activist, artist, wife, and mother whose grace in the face of unspeakable loss continued the momentum of a movement… Reynolds and Holmes bring this civil rights icon to life, reminding readers of a dream yet to be fully realized.” —Horn Book, starred review


Three little 1

The Three Little Tardigrades by Sandra Fay

On Sale January 9th, 2024

In this hilarious retelling of “The Three Little Pigs”, three little tardigrades set out to find a home that’s just right for them—all while watching out for the Big Hairy Wolf Spider.

★ TWO STARRED REVIEWS! ★

“The humor is spot-on, informative, and self-aware, and background details like Gavin donning SPF 9999 or Colin wearing mittens and drinking hot cocoa are pure fun. Give this one to kids who love learning about the weirder things nature has to offer.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

“Substituting water bears for little pigs, Fay’s playfully STEM-centric tale introduces a trio of tardigrades dwelling together ‘in a cozy little drop of H20.’ Fay’s potato-and-paint artwork gives tidy graphical verve to this laugh-out-loud story of survival superpowers, told in fittingly fact-laden, serio-comic prose.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review


When you have to wait

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

On Sale January 9th, 2024

A mindful, gentle picture book about patience and learning to find beauty in the act of waiting.

“With soft textures and a gentle palette, Hong’s gouache and crayon illustrations perfectly echo the sentiment of the text and inspire a sense of calm mindfulness. The use of white space also encourages readers to pause and focus on small details. In a world fixated on instant gratification, Conklin and Hong make a persuasive case for the sense of joy and connection that can be found when we slow down. A relatable and beautifully rendered tale about the value of patience.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Time To Make Art by Jeff Mack

Time to Make Art by Jeff Mack

On Sale January 16th, 2024

Does art have to be perfect? Where do you begin? This inspiring picture book about making art doubles as an introduction to the multifaceted and diverse global history of art empowering readers to get creative.

★ TWO STARRED REVIEWS! ★

An inspiring and empowering manifesto for young creators.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

“There are many misconceptions about what art is and what it should do. An inquisitive brown-skinned girl wants to know more about art and asks a series of simple yet profound questions about it. Each question is answered by a  different artist, ranging from ancient to modern, famous to regionally known. Unlike many art surveys, this book presents a truly global perspective, putting Indigenous and non-Western art side-by-side with well-known Western artists as well as conceptual and avant-garde work… A thoughtful look at art that will likely motivate budding artists to trust their creative intuition.“—Horn Book, starred review


Threads: Zlata's Ukrainian Shirt by Lina Maslo

Threads: Zlata’s Ukrainian Shirt by Lina Maslo

On Sale January 23rd, 2024

Threads is an inspiring picture book about a girl’s survival of the 1930s Ukrainian Famine-Genocide, messaging hope, pride for one’s heritage, and context for today’s War in Ukraine.

“Drawing inspiration from the experiences of her grandparents, Maslo offers a window into the Ukrainian spirit… A poignant yet accessible entry into Ukraine’s ongoing suffering—and survival.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


The fish of small

The Fish of Small Wishes by Elana K. Arnold; illustrated by Magdalena Mora

On Sale January 30th, 2024

Fall in love with a modern fairy tale inspired by a Jewish family memory in this magical picture book by award-winning picture book creators Elana K. Arnold and Magdalena Mora.

“Well suited to reading aloud, this imaginative narrative was inspired by a family story about Arnold’s great-great-grandfather. The illustrations, created with gouache paints, colored pencils, inks, and collage, glow with warmth and color. While the art has a dreamlike element, the characters are neither idealized nor ethereal. Kiki is determined to save the fish, who seems embarrassed by its limited ability to grant wishes. Their down-to-earth demeanors and emotions suit this endearing picture book well.” —Booklist, starred review


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

The Girl Who Sang by Estelle Nadel with Bethany Strout; illustrated by Sammy Savos

On Sale January 23rd, 2024

A heartrending graphic memoir about a young Jewish girl’s fight for survival in Nazi occupied Poland, The Girl Who Sang illustrates the power of a brother’s love, the kindness of strangers, and finding hope when facing the unimaginable.

“Told in five parts, Nadel’s story presents readers with a picture of her life before (“I thought we would be this happy forever”), during, and—crucially—after the war. Savos’ exceptionally powerful illustrations convey the extremes of human emotion, make original use of different perspectives, and are both cinematic and intimate; they also do not shy away from accurately portraying the hardships and violence. Sweeping, stark, tragic, and triumphant.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Eowulf

Eowulf: Of Monsters and Middle School by Mike Cavallaro

On Sale February 13th, 2024

From Mike Cavallaro comes a story set in the Nico Bravo universe that spotlights an unforgettable, iconic new heroine!

“This new series hits a masterful note in its complex symphony of tween angst; Eowulf knows that something is amiss, and watching her forge ahead with candor and impulsivity makes her a compulsively relatable and endearing hero. Vivid, kinetic illustrations propel the adept plotting, and the coloring by Yeom makes the exciting battles positively blaze on the page. Nico Bravo aficionados will be pleased with winking nods to the trilogy throughout, and the clever, cliffhanging epilogue will certainly hook all readers. A pitch-perfect tale of friendship and fantastical foes.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


DnDooges

DnDoggos: Get the Party Started by Scout Underhill; colors by Liana Sposto

On Sale February 27th, 2024

Four adorable dogs have picked their characters and favorite dice and are ready to save the day in DnDoggos: Get the Party Started, the middle grade graphic novel debut from online comic creator Scout Underhill.

“Underhill’s debut makes a seamless transition from webcomic to traditional graphic novel. The vibrant, full-page illustrations combined with thoughtfully placed panels allow for clear sequencing throughout. Readers are able to easily differentiate between the dogs as players versus their game characters thanks to clever distinctions in how their facial features are illustrated (these differences are also shown side by side in an introductory guide to the cast). When compared to the simpler lines and color palette of the game players’ table scenes, the detailed, vividly colored scenes portraying the in-game adventure draw readers into the campaign in the same way human players use their imaginations to immerse themselves in RPGs. The irresistibly charming dogs guide young readers through the rules of tabletop RPGs while seamlessly demonstrating meaningful lessons about teamwork. A smart, endearing tale packed with adorable dogs and useful tips for role-playing game newcomers.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Asguardians: Odin by George O'Connor

Asguardians: Odin by George O’Connor

On Sale March 26th, 2024

Following his smash-hit the Olympians series, New York Times bestseller George O’Connor embarks on a new saga about the Norse gods. This first volume tells the story of the warrior god Odin!

Anchored, as in the brilliant previous series, by bountiful source notes and commentary at the end, O’Connor’s account sets the tone at once with Valkyries swooping down to lift the unseen reader up from a battlefield strewn with corpses, then flashes back to chronicle a whirl of worlds and peoples arising from a huge and doughy frost giant floating in the void of Ginnungagap… A rainbow bridge to a fresh set of mythological places and faces.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Lunar New Year love Story

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

On Sale January 9th, 2024

Graphic novel superstars Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham join forces in this heartwarming rom-com about fate, family, and falling in love.

★ FIVE STARRED REVIEWS! ★

A sparkling romance anchored by a poignant coming-of-age story.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

“Pham’s art embodies every essence of his narrative, every page enhanced with unstoppable, Technicolor energy. Enough effusive praise just isn’t possible here for what is sure to be a runaway hit. Yang and Pham boast impressive credentials in the graphic novel space, and together they’ll be unstoppable.” —Bookliststarred review

“Readers will fall in love with this heartwarming, fun rom-com… A positive and beautiful work of art that will make an impression on readers.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Yang and Pham do a wonderful job of weaving fractured families and romantic yearning with fantasy elements that show emotional states and growth, with plenty of humor throughout. Pham’s digital illustrations adeptly mix realistic scenes with celestial animals and ghosts. Her gorgeous, kinetic depictions of Chinese and Korean lion dancers are joyful, and the section in which Valentina first learns about Tết and meets her love interest is especially vibrant.” —Horn Bookstarred review

Poignant moments amplified by evocatively colored digitally rendered panels address deep issues of parental abandonment and grief, while interjections of comic relief and a riveting subplot surrounding lion dancing result in a well-paced, well-balanced dual effort.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review


Call-Me-Iggy-2

Call Me Iggy by Jorge Aguirre; illustrated by Rafael Rosado

On Sale February 13th, 2024

Ignacio “Iggy” Garcia is an Ohio-born Colombian American teen living his best life. After bumping into Marisol (and her coffee) at school, Iggy’s world is spun around. But Marisol has too much going on to be bothered with the likes of Iggy. She has school, work, family, and the uphill battle of getting her legal papers. As Iggy stresses over how to get Marisol to like him, his grandfather comes to the rescue. The thing is, not only is his abuelito dead, but he also gives terrible love advice. The worst. And so, with his ghost abuelito’s meddling, Iggy’s life begins to unravel as he sets off on a journey of self-discovery.

“Set against the backdrop of the 2016 election, this evocatively illustrated graphic novel delves into the cultural alienation that can happen to the children of immigrants when their parents try to erase humble beginnings and realize the so-called American dream. This powerful, timely story delicately balances an authentic teenage voice with a nuanced message about embracing and straddling multiple identities while thoughtfully portraying racism, microaggressions, and anti-immigrant ideology. The dynamic, expressive artwork draws readers in and emphasizes the characters’ complex emotions. A pitch-perfect example of teenage explorations of cultural identity.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Tempest of tea

A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal

On Sale February 20th, 2024

From the New York Times–bestselling author of We Hunt the Flame comes the first book in a hotly-anticipated fantasy duology teeming with romance and revenge, led by an orphan girl willing to do whatever it takes to save her self-made kingdom.

“This compelling read offers interesting commentary on our society while feeling entirely real within the context of its own worldbuilding. Crowd-pleasing fun laced with political fire: a winner.“—Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Stolen Fates

For the Stolen Fates by Gwendolyn Clare

On Sale February 20th, 2024

In this heart-pumping sci-fi sequel to In the City of Time, two people have to work together to prevent the cataclysm that will soon break the laws of physics and render Earth uninhabitable.

“An interesting parallel between Aris and Willa regarding vulnerability, which gives both characters emotional resonance, enhances rather than distracts from the narrative tension as Willa and Saudade get ever closer to finding out who caused the cataclysm and how to prevent it. A fantastically woven, intelligent story with real gems of characters.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


The Last Bloodcarver by Vanessa Le

The Last Bloodcarver by Vanessa Le

On Sale March 19th, 2024

The tantalizing romance of These Violent Delights meets the mechanical wonders of Cinder in Vanessa Le’s The Last Bloodcarver, the first in a two-book debut – with a riveting medical magic system and lush Vietnam-inspired fantasy world.

★ TWO STARRED REVIEWS! ★

“Le writes with meticulous care. The richly detailed worldbuilding is infused with Vietnamese cultural elements, and the characters, viewed through Nhika’s jaded yet desperately hopeful eyes, are sympathetic and complex, expressing conflicting emotions and motivations. The story demands, in the best possible ways, that readers think, posing questions of identity, family, and trust for them to ponder. The insidiously twisty ending packs a punch, leaving an opening for a sequel.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

Le expertly crafts a Vietnamese-inspired dark fantasy debut via visceral and exquisitely rendered prose, intertwining a murder investigation with themes of unresolved grief, medical ethics, and lost heritage.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review