I hope your summer is going well! I’m thrilled to have a few new picture books to share with you that I think you’ll like.
New Picture Books, July 2023
Paula’s Patches written by Gabriella Aldeman, illustrated by Rocio Arreola Medoza
Paula’s pants rip which makes her feel embarrassed and worried because it will be a while before she gets more hand-me-downs. When she gets an idea from her friend who makes quilts, she use her mami’s scraps of material to make patches, not just for her but for everyone in her class! Paula shows her classmates that the patches are like stickers for jackets and bags or bandages to cover tears or stains. And her classmates love it! I love, love, love this kindness and empathy-building story that will inspire readers to treat themselves and others with more understanding and gentle compassion.
Carina Felina written by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Henry Cole
In this rollicking, rhyming Cuban cumulative folktale, a parrot falls in love with a cat named Carina Felina and that starts all the trouble. Carina Felina warns the parrot, “I’m Carina Felina! I do what I like and I eat what I wish. Step out of my way, or be my next dish!” The parrot doesn’t comply…so Carina Felina eats him! Back outside in the market, the cat chants the same arrogant warning before eating one creature after another starting with the florista and then the carretero and his ox, the chivo and his boy, and the novios and his boy. Fed up, the crabs decide to teach Carina Felina a lesson. They cut all the creatures out of the cat and Carina Felina learns to be a pickier eater! What a fun read aloud romp!
Rivka’s Presents written by Laurie Wallmark, illustrated by Adelina Lirius
HISTORICAL FICTION / JEWISH MAIN CHARACTER
In this historical fiction picture book, Rivka advocates for her own learning of letters and numbers, reading and addition, but since she can’t go to school because her papa is sick with a long-term flu, Rivka asks local shopkeepers to be her teachers. In return, she works at their shops. When her papa is no longer sick, Rivka is reading and able to go to school for more learning. This is a warm-hearted story about education, community, and family.
We Are Expecting You! by Barney Saltzberg
The sweetest story about welcoming a new baby from the perspective of an excited sibling. The sibling talks to the new baby saying they can’t wait to play peek-a-boo, sing, read, dance, and so forth. But they are READY NOW to see the baby! Really, really ready. (And cute!)
Challah Day! written by Charlotte Offsay, illustrated by Jason Kirschner
Make challah step by step with this little girl and her family. The illustrations, which I adore SO MUCH, show every ingredient and step — from pouring flour to kneading, cleaning, braiding, and eventually, lighting the candles for Shabbat and eating the homemade challah. Yum! This is a warmhearted, family-filled celebration of the Jewish tradition of making challah bread. Back matter explains more about challah, including a recipe so you can make your own.
Kantiga Finds the Perfect Name written by Mabel Mnensa, illustrated by Chantelle Burgen Thorne
Kantiga, a South African girl, wants to change her name. When she tells her grandmother, her grandmother shares a folktale about a village ruler who walked to get water with two pots, one of which was cracked. When questioned about the waste of water, the village leader shows the path she’s walked from the well to her home that is filled with flowers and plants that grow new fruits and vegetables every day that her dripping pot watered. The water gains magical powers through the crack in the clay pot, called a Kantiga. After hearing the story about her name, Kantiga embraces her name.
The Best Bad Day Ever by Marianna Coppo
Kids will 100% understand Wolfie’s feelings because we’ve all had days when nothing goes right and it’s making him feel very grumpy. At school, Woflie is still having a bad day until Penguin comes along — and trades snacks with Wolfie. That helps turn things around! Playing with his new friend makes the bad day feel like a very good bad day!
If You Get Lost written by Nikki Loftin, illustrated by Deborah Marcero
LOST & FOUND
A little girl speaks directly to you, her stuffed bunny that she loses out the car window. She tells the bunny to look around and try to find one smile, one friend. The AMAZING illustrations show the bunny making friends with a fox and playing with the forest animals until the little girl finds the bunny again at the end. Lyrical with simple text, this is a beautiful story told primarily through the evocative artwork — I just love it.
Out of the Blue by Nic Yulo
I love Nic Yulo’s style of artwork and it’s exceptionally rendered in this story about a quiet girl who feels small and invisible. At her school trip to the aquarium, Coral finds a kindred spirit in a small octopus who is small and can become invisible. The octopus helps her see that you can do big things even if you are small.
The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale by Jon Klassen
If you like a little dark and subversive to go with your illustrated chapter books or picture books, you’ll love this new Jon Klassen story. Our hero Otilla runs away in the dark through a forest. She finds a large house with a talking skull. The skull lets her inside the house if she promises to carry him around. She does, of course, and the two become friends. But the skull is frightened of the headless skeleton. So, Otilla, being a good friend, pushes the skeleton off the tower, bashes his bones, and burns the pieces. Then she and the skull go for a picnic. And that, my friends, is this weirdly dark friendship story taking the kidlit world by storm.