My bookshelves are overflowing with picture books. I’m wondering if there are more picture books this year than in previous years. Whatever the case, I can’t wait to share with you even more great books that are out in these fall months. Books that you’ll want for your home and classroom libraries.
More New Picture Books, September and October 2021
Looking for a Jumbie by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Amber Ren
SIMILARITIES & DIFFERENCES / CARRIBIAN MYTHOLOGY / MONSTERS
You will LOVE this picture book about mythological monsters, friendship, and bravery! Naya is a brave girl who goes out into the dark to search for a jumbie…even though her Mama says that jumbies are only in stories. “I’m looking for a jumbie. I’m going to find a scary one.” The refrain repeats as Naya searches in the dark in a beautiful turquoise woods where she meets other mythological monstrous creatures. She compares each creature to a jumbie (thick fur and big mouths) then invites them to join her search. At the end of the night, Naya and her new friends arrive back at her little house. Are jumbies real? Because now we know that Mama D’Leau, Papa Bois, Soucouyants, Lagahoo, and Douen are real and sleeping on Naya’s lawn.
Dad Bakes by Katie Yamasaki
Beautiful illustrations capture the loving relationship between a girl and her dad. He rises early for a job at the bakery then returns home to his daughter. Together, they make dough then wait, playing until it’s ready. The dad rolls the dough into a bear shape for the daughter. Readers will want their own bread bear and notice that this tattooed dad shows his love with time and food. Inspired by muralist Katie Yamasaki’s work with formerly incarcerated people.
Have You Seen Gordon? by Adam Jay Epstein & Ruth Chan
SEARCH AND FIND / CONSENT
Goofy adventures and fun characters make this the most hilarious seek-and-find book you’ll ever read with themes of consent and allyship. A funny narrator battles the independent thinking characters who have their own ideas about how the story should go. But first, can you find Gordon? When Gordon doesn’t hide very well, the narrator decides to find someone else to look for — but his new target, Jane, the construction worker, is shy so she runs away. Quickly, can you catch up to her? What will happen now?
The Longest Letsgoboy by Derick Wilder, illustrated by Catria Chien
DEATH OF A DOG / WORDPLAY / VERBS
Heartbreaking and beautiful with transcendent illustrations, this is a beautiful book for anyone who has a dog or who has lost a dog. An old dog walks with his Little one last time through nature, speaking to us in a playful dog-speak style. “She gives me a happyface. I wigglewag…We reach a bend in the gurgleburble, where hornheads and stripetails often visit, and sipslurp cool sweetness.” Later, when Little sleeps, the dog slowsteps to the softgreen, circles twice, and then hears his last letsgoboy. He closes his eyes and is lifted to a place where he’s young again. There, he watches Little as she grieves and eventually welcomes a new “awwwpuppy”. (I promise, this book will make you cry.)
Thankful by Elaine Vickers, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
Three-dimensional miniatures and paper cut art college together as a girl expresses gratitude with a thankful chain as the first snow falls. She lists what she’s thankful for lie a teacher who knows when I am trying her best, things that are warm like soup and socks, snow that softens the world, and things that keep her safe like stop signs and seat belts. Beautiful illustrations and a beautiful message.
Amara’s Farm by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Samara Hardy
PUMPKINS / FALL
Read this picture book for fall harvest season and learn about pumpkins with a girl named Amara who needs to harvest pumpkins. As she searches the farm, we learn about the features of pumpkins with our own search and find and compare and contrast. For example, “A pumpkin is large and round. Is that a pumpkin? // No. That’s an apple. An apple is round, but not large like a pumpkin.” Can you spot the pumpkins?
We’re Going on a Pumpkin Hunt by Goldie Hawk, illustrated by Angie Rozelaar
PUMPKIN / HALLOWEEN
A fun adaptation of “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” that is absolutely pitch-perfect to read aloud to celebrate Halloween! Trick or Treating friends are looking for the perfect pumpkin but to find it, they must brave cobwebs, bats, and a spooky house. But they’re not scared!! Lots of fun spooky sound noises like “creaky-squeak, flap-flap, tickle-swish, and meow-meow” for readers to chant along.
Boo Stew by Donna L. Washington, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
A clever and brave heroine named Curly Locks saves the town with her unusual cooking! When Mr. Mayor’s house is overrun with Scares from the Toadsuck Swamp, the townspeople try to help. But every attempt just makes more Scares appear. Until Curly Locks wonders if violence isn’t the answer — but making them food might be the trick. And sure enough, Curly Locks give them a taste of her famous Boo Stew, makes them clean up, and gets them to agree to a trade: they’ll stay in the swamp if she cooks for them.
Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Repetition and rhyme with short, punchy words and phrases depict Inside Cat’s observation and expertise on Outside as he observes it through the windows. Inside “Wanders. Wonders. Naps. Knows what’s hiding in the gaps.” Outside is full of color while inside, only the cat is full of color. Cat thinks he might know it all — until. Oh. The last page shows him walking outside into a beautiful, amazing world that is ready for exploration. SURPRISE, INSIDE CAT!
The Leaf Thief by Alice Hemming, illustrated by Nicola Salter
FALL / HUMOR
Kids will love this darling cause and effect story about a worried squirrel who thinks that SOMEONE is stealing his tree’s leaves. HIS leaves! Even though his friend Bird tries to help him, Squirrel doesn’t seem to understand the changes that the fall season brings like leaves changing color and wind blowing them off the trees. It’s funny and illuminating — and will spark helpful discussions about the characteristics of fall– with a hint of a winter surprise at the end.
Beautiful Me by Nabela Noor, illustrated by Nabi H. Ali
BODY SIZE / IDENTITY
Zubi’s story reminds us to be kind to ourselves and that beauty doesn’t have anything to do with our weight. Zubi overhears people in her family and at school talk about body size, dieting, and how being large isn’t good. She wonders if she needs to change anything about herself. So, she asks her family. Her baba says that sometimes we can be mean to others and ourselves and apologies to Zubi. Then, her mama tells Zubi that only Zubi gets to define what is beautiful. In response, Zubi reminds her family that just like her, they are all beautiful just the way they are, too.
Animals Go Vroom! by Abi Cushman
ONOMATOPOEIA / VEHICLES
Tricky and silly, this is a fun story with peek-throughs that give you a wrong clue about what will be on the next page. “Hiss! Goes the…” The peek through shows a snake. Will you guess SNAKE as the answer? Turn the page and see a snake driving a car with a flat and read “…CAR that gets a flat tire.” I predict that your kids will crack up at this read-aloud book!
Dragons Are the Worst! by Alex Willan
HUMOR / MYTHICAL CREATURES
If you like silly books with mythical creatures, you’ll love this book narrated by Gilbert the Goblin. From dragon poop to hoarding gold, dragons are the worst. Or are they? Maybe dragons aren’t so bad after all!
Sweater Weather by Matt Phelan
Hilarity ensues when Papa Bear asks the cubs to put their sweaters on to go outside. But it takes so long for them to get dressed in their sweaters that they don’t get outside until dark. Even still, the evening sky treats them to a shooting star and they return inside for bed. Warm watercolors show the cubs silly antics with charm.
Dolls and Trucks Are For Everyone by Robb Pearlman, illustrated by Eda Kaban
A warm, inclusive story with a bit of humor that will remind readers (parents and teacher included) that toys and movies and sports are for everyone — and that there’s no need to gender stereotype anything.
Trick or Treat, Crankenstein by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Dan Santat
HALLOWEEN / GRUMPY FEELINGS
A grumpy kid (Crankenstein) gets annoyed by everything this Halloween learns to laugh at himself when his friends celebrate him by dressing up as Crankensteins, too.
Maybe by Chris Haughton
The monkeys aren’t supposed to go to the mango tree because of tigers but they decide that maybe it’s okay to just go and look. Then, maybe they might just get a little mango. Soon, their maybes get them in trouble with the tiger and they get trapped in a tree with…bananas. What will their next maybe be? I think you’ll guess their next move! Silly mischief.
Gladys the Magic Chicken by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Adam Rex
Get ready for a comical read-aloud picture book set in ancient times about a magical chicken named Gladys who, after granting The Shepherd Boy’s wish, goes on an adventure granting wishes and meeting new people. But are the wishes magic or coincidences? You’ll have to be the judge of that but in this circular story with a happy ending, you’ll meet a merchant, a swordsman, a pirate, a princess, and return to a much-changed No-Longer-a-Boy Sheperd while rooting for Gladys. The comical adventures perfectly exemplify storytelling and sequencing as well as narrator with a strong, opinionated voice.
A Walk in the Words by Hudson Talbott
READING / LEARNING DISABILITY / MEMOIR
This memoir shares the stress and difficulties the author had with reading, especially compared to others who read books without trouble. Eventually, he figured out ways to read on his own by looking at words differently.
El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! by Donna Barba Higuera, illustrated by Juliana Perdomo
BACK TO SCHOOL / FRIENDSHIP / MOVING HOMES / HISPANIC & LATINE HERITAGE MONTH
Ramón isn’t scared of El Cucuy anymore (the boogieman) because he’s more worried about his first day of school. And El Cucuy feels the same — he misses their old home and the desert. Ramon reassures El Cucuy that they’ll both get used to it and make new friends and that El Cucuy is strong and brave; they both are. It’s a sweet story of friendship with colorful, vibrant illustrations.
Archie Celebrates Diwali by Mitali Banerjee Ruths, illustrated by Parwinder Singh
INDIAN / HINDU HOLIDAY
Archie hosts a Diwali party but worries her friend will think it is boring or weird but even with a storm and power outages, Archie’s friends dance, eat, and enjoy the holiday celebration.
How to Talk Monster by Lynn Plourde, illustrated by Mike Lowery
MONSTER / LANGUAGE BARRIERS
A Little Monster startles Little Boy as he’s sleeping but what is he saying? And why does he keep trying to talk to Little Boy? At first, Little Boy is scared but then he helps Little Monster when he gets hurt and they become friends, playing together all night long.
Goodbye, Old House by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Ann James
Use this picture book as a helpful guide for children moving homes. First, you must realize that it’s your last time doing things at your old house. “This is the last time I’ll sleep in this house.” Then, you can say goodbye to everything. “Goodbye, living room. Goodbye, big bedroom. Next, you’ll be at the new house and can embrace what’s new and say hello to the new things in your house. This picture book teaches children that closure and new beginnings are part of the moving process.
Hurricane by John Rocco
WEATHER / COMMUNITY
Stunning art invites you into the young boy’s world — particularly, his favorite place on a doc where he can swim, fish, or watch minnows. But after a hurricane, it’s destroyed — just like much of his neighborhood. The neighbors must work together to clean up and rebuild their homes and the boy’s special spot– the dock, a place that becomes a special place for the entire community.
Bubbles…Up! by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
SUMMER / SWIMMING / 2ND PERSON POV
(Published earlier this year.) Written in the second person, this is a verby, punchy, exuberant celebration of swimming and playing underwater! And even if a storm stops you for a while, when it’s gone And time to get back in the water, you plunge under under under BUBBLES UP!