Enrichment, Stages

From the Bookshelf: New Year, New Reads

Looking for inspiring ways to make 2024 the best year yet? The New Orleans Public Library has books for all ages about embracing a new year while being true to yourself and taking care of others.


In Black-Eyed Peas and Hoghead Cheese: A Story of Food, Family, and Freedom by Glenda Armand & Steffi Walthall, readers learn about the origins of soul food alongside 9-year-old Frances, as she discovers her ancestors’ history while helping her grandma prepare a classic Louisiana New Year’s Day meal.

A Year of Celebraciones by Carrie Lara & Christine Battuz takes audiences around the world to learn how different kids and families celebrate New Year’s across the globe. This book is a great tool for cultural education, walking young readers through different types of decorations, gifts, foods, and gatherings.

For caregivers looking to inspire children to be kind as they grow, Big by Vashti Harrison is a fantastic option. An emotional exploration of being big in a world that prizes small, Big simultaneously illustrates a young child’s journey to self-love and the power words have to both hurt and heal. 

Middle Grade

Adrianna Cuevas’ Mari and the Curse of El Cocodrilo is a wonderful way to encourage middle-grade readers to promote inclusivity and acceptance. This cute and timely story follows a 12-year-old Cuban-American girl who’s being bullied by a neighbor and classmate for her culture. When Mari decides not to participate in her family’s New Year ritual for fear of being shamed, she is married with a startling streak of bad luck. To combat the curse, Mari needs to embrace her cultural identity, her family history, and repair friendships damaged along the way.

For an inspirational guide to living your best life with a wild twist, try Roar Like a Lion: How Animals Can Help You Be Your Best Self by Carlie Sorosiak & Katie Walker. A great read for animal lovers, Roar Like a Lion is full of interesting information that is sure to make anyone crack a smile while learning some valuable life lessons along the way.


A Perfectionist’s Guide to Not Being Perfect by Bonnie Zucker is a must-read for teens with a tendency to be a little too hard on themselves. With a goal of helping teens maintain their desires to achieve without striving to always be perfect, Zucker encourages kids to appreciate and love themselves for who they are, not for what they do or accomplish.

There’s no way around it: the world can be a pretty scary place, especially for kids who’ve already lived through a pandemic and are navigating an ever-changing landscape of politics, climate, and conflict. Rising Troublemaker: A Fear-Fighter Manual for Teens by Luvvie Ajayi Jones gives young people the permission they might need to be the troublemakers they are or wish to be, to face their fears and be the change they want to see around them.

Bonus: For Parents

If your family’s New Year’s resolution is less screen time, Erica Domesek & Steph Stilwell’s 

P.S. We Made This!: Super Fun Crafts That Grow Smarter + Happier Kids is a fantastic resource to help you step away from your phones and take part in colorful at-home projects.

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