December is an exciting month for many folks, with lots of holidays to celebrate! It’s also the time when wintry weather sets in, making it perfect for cozying up with a new book by the fire. While December isn’t a big month for new releases, there are still plenty of upcoming books we’re excited to check out. In addition to the best new books for December 2023, we’ve also included some of this year’s top new holiday-themed choices. Merry reading and happy new books!
Fiction Picture Books & Easy Reader/Chapter Books for December 2023
Small-Girl Toni and the Quest for Gold by Giselle Anatol, illustrated by Raissa Figueroa
For a young Toni Morrison, the quest for gold is all about telling stories. Join her as she learns that it’s not so much about the story itself as how you tell it.
Buy it: Small-Girl Toni and the Quest for Gold on Amazon
A Gift for Nai Nai by Kim-Hoa Ung
Nai Nai’s birthday is coming up soon, and her granddaughter Lyn Lyn has her heart set on crocheting her the perfect hat. In the end, the hat might not be perfect, but it’s definitely special.
Buy it: A Gift for Nai Nai on Amazon
Keep Dreaming, Black Child by Nyasha Williams, illustrated by Sawyer Cloud
Help BIPOC children see their futures wide open and waiting for whatever they can dream up with this inspirational new picture book. The text helps kids understand what it means to dream, and why it’s so important to follow yours.
Buy it: Keep Dreaming, Black Child on Amazon
Wish Soup: A Celebration of Seollal by Junghwa Park
On Seollal, Koreans eat a special rice cake soup known as tteokguk. Tradition says that children grow one year older for each bowl they eat, and this year Sohee is determined to eat more than anyone else. But she’s so busy with holiday tasks—will she get even one delicious bowl this year?
Buy it: Wish Soup: A Celebration of Seollal on Amazon
To Dogs, With Love by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Ishaa Lobo
Dogs are special to many people, but service dogs are especially wonderful. This book is a love letter to all the pups out there who spend their lives helping their favorite humans.
Buy it: To Dogs, With Love on Amazon
Flubby Does Not Like Valentine’s Day by J.E. Morris
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but Flubby couldn’t be less interested. Her human Kami wants to give her a gift anyway, but what will an aloof cat appreciate? This easy reader is a charming choice for the sweet season.
Buy it: Flubby Does Not Like Valentine’s Day on Amazon
Your Voice, Your Vote by Leah Henderson, illustrated by Keisha Morris
Quetta is too young to vote, but she joins her mother and grandmother as they wait in the long line at their polling place and discuss the importance of voting for all citizens.
Buy it: Your Voice, Your Vote on Amazon
New Middle Grade & Young Adult Fiction Books for December 2023
Down the Well by Veronica King
When Lore falls down a well into a magical world full of talking animals and finds herself accused of the mayor’s murder, she’s understandably shocked. (Plus, how could she have killed a giant alligator?) Now she’ll need to make new friends to prove her innocence and find her way back home.
Buy it: Down the Well on Amazon
Voyage de Gourmet by Paul Tobin, illustrated by Jem Milton
Former friends turned foes find themselves competing head-to-head on a globe-trotting reality cooking show. Is this their chance to reconcile?
Buy it: Voyage de Gourmet on Amazon
Missing by Savannah Brown
Thirty years ago, a promising young singer vanished from a resort town and was branded a runaway. Today, 17-year-old Mona is determined to track down the real answers about this mystery and record it all for her podcast. It soon turns out that there’s more here than meets the eye.
Buy it: Missing on Amazon
Where There’s Smoke by E.B. Vickers
When Calli’s father dies, the whole town rallies around her. Then, a mysterious girl appears on Calli’s property, scared and unable to speak. Calli wants to help, but her investigations raise many questions about the people she thought she knew so well.
Buy it: Where There’s Smoke on Amazon
This Cursed Light by Emily Thiede
In the sequel to popular fantasy novel This Vicious Grace, Alessa and Dante are ready to live happily ever after on the island they saved from vengeful gods. But their challenges aren’t quite over, and together they must find a way to save both the world and their love.
Buy it: This Cursed Light on Amazon
Best New Graphic Novels for December 2023
Mayor Good Boy Turns Bad by Dave Scheidt, illustrated by Miranda Harmon
In the latest entry in this beloved graphic novel series for young readers, it turns out Mayor Good Boy might just have been bad to the bone all along!
Buy it: Mayor Good Boy Turns Bad on Amazon
Monarchs by Joshua Bullock
This middle-grade graphic novel follows the adventures of Monarchs, the greatest fighters in the galaxy. Taking a Monarch’s crown brings great rewards, but are the risks worth it for Ja’Khari and and his cheetah-boy friend Pepper?
Buy it: Monarchs on Amazon
Tasty: A History of Yummy Experiments by Victoria Grace Elliott
Ever wondered how some of your favorite foods came to be, like pickles or cheese or soda? Find out in this graphic novel–style nonfiction book that’s perfect for upper elementary and middle school readers.
Buy it: Tasty: A History of Yummy Experiments on Amazon
Lion’s Game by Kevin W. Brown, illustrated by Mac Thy
A hundred years ago, an exiled princess of Mali fled to the Tuareg tribes with her child for safety, swearing an oath of vengeance against those who wronged her. Today, her descendants carry their vendetta into an age of political strife, plague, and civil war. Will Diata follow through when the chance comes to avenge the princess at last?
Buy it: Lion’s Game on Amazon
Nonfiction Books for All Ages for December 2023
Creep, Leap, Crunch! by Jody Jensen Shaffer, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
The food chain is vital to our planet’s survival, but it can be a hard thing to talk to little ones about. Try this new nonfiction picture book to help explain the circle of life to kids.
Buy it: Creep, Leap, Crunch! on Amazon
Doña Gracia Saved Worlds by Bonni Goldberg, illustrated by Alida Massari
Hundreds of years ago, Portuguese woman Doña Gracia lived a secret hidden Jewish life. She and her husband also helped other Jewish people in hiding by protecting them during the Spanish Inquisition. Learn her story in this truly inspiring picture book.
Buy it: Doña Gracia Saved Worlds on Amazon
Deadliest Animals on the Planet by National Geographic Kids
Books like this are no-brainers for your classroom library because they draw in even the most reluctant readers. Get the low-down on the planet’s most terrifying creatures in the latest National Geographic Kids offering.
Buy it: Deadliest Animals on the Planet on Amazon
Becoming Ella Fitzgerald by Judith Tick
Teens with a love for music and strong female role models will be entranced by this new biography of the legendary Ella Fitzgerald. Make it part of your Representation Matters classroom collection.
Buy it: Becoming Ella Fitzgerald on Amazon
December 2023 New Holiday Books
Merry and Hark: A Christmas Story by April Genevieve Tucholke, illustrated Rebecca Santo
In 2020, an owl was discovered living in the enormous Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. This new holiday tale imagines how the owl (here named Merry) found herself there, and how she found her way back home again. (Pre-K to Gr. 3)
Buy it: Merry and Hark on Amazon
The Magical Snowflake by Bernette Ford, illustrated by Erin K. Robinson
On a cold but snowless winter’s day, a magical snowflake lands on Ori’s nose and invites her and her friends on a journey. Snow begins to fall as others join their adventure, ending in a transformed town ready for a “Merry Winter.” (Pre-K to Gr. 1)
Buy it: The Magical Snowflake on Amazon
The Mexican Dreidel by Linda Elovitz Marshall and Ilan Stavans, illustrated by Maria Mola
In Mexico, Hanukkah is Janucá, and Danielito is excited to celebrate at Bobo’s house. The local kids are playing with their Mexican tops, called trompo. Danielito doesn’t have a trompo, but he does have a dreidel, and soon the whole neighborhood has joined in to learn this traditional Hanukkah game. (PreK to Gr. 3)
Buy it: The Mexican Dreidel on Amazon
The Sugar Plum Bakers by Pat Tanumihardja
Sugar Plum, Mr. Gingerbread, and their magical helpers are busy filling their cottage with freshly baked treats for December holidays around the world: Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Lunar New Year, and Christmas. But when the holidays themselves arrive, will they be able to carry out their deliveries? (Pre-K to Gr. 2)
Buy it: The Sugar Plum Bakers on Amazon
The Christmas Doll by Amy Sparkes, illustrated by Katie Hickey
Susan and her great-granddaughter arrive at The Repair Shop with an old doll that needs some love. As the repair team does its work, Susan shares the story of receiving this precious doll as a young evacuee from London in World War II. (Gr. 2-4)
Buy it: The Christmas Doll on Amazon
A Wild, Wild Hanukkah by Jo Gershman and Bob Strauss
Clever text brings the eight nights of Hanukkah to life quite literally, as a host of wild animals join the holiday fun. The alliterative, tongue-twisting text makes this one an especially fun read-aloud. (Pre-K to Gr. 3)
Buy it: A Wild, Wild Hanukkah on Amazon
Winter: A Solstice Story by Kelsey E. Gross, illustrated by Renata Liwska
On the longest night of the year, Owl, Mouse, Deer, and others have a message of hope and light to share with all their forest friends. It’s a message we all need during the darkest days of December. (Pre-K to Gr. 3)
Buy it: Winter: A Solstice Story on Amazon
Max Fernsby and the Infinite Toys by Gerry Swallow and Peter Gaulke, illustrated by Marta Kissi
Two of Santa’s most troublesome elves take his sleigh for a joyride and accidentally drop his magical bag overboard! It falls on the head of Max Fernsby, who suddenly finds he has the ability to make any toy he can imagine. Can the mischievous elves get the bag back to the North Pole in time for Christmas? (Gr. 3-7)
Buy it: Max Fernsby and the Infinite Toys on Amazon
Gift & Box by Ellen Mayer, illustrated by Brizida Magro
In a season that’s often about giving presents, this sweet journey of a gift and its box is a perfect fit. Follow Grandma’s package on its sometimes-bumpy travels to her granddaughter Sofia, and imagine your own holiday deliveries doing the same.
Buy it: Gift & Box on Amazon
The Twelve Hours of Christmas by Jenn Bailey, illustrated Bea Jackson
Twelve days become twelve magical hours as this family celebrates Christmas with special moments like festive feasts, family portraits, snowman building, and much more.
Buy it: The Twelve Hours of Christmas on Amazon