New Picture Books

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Do you need suggestions for new picture books to read and adore this summer? Well, I have a gazillion. Or close. Read on!

The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Most kids can relate to young Laszlo’s fear of the dark. In this unique picture book, the dark is an actual thing that lives in the basement, hides in the closet, and waits in the corners. One night, the dark comes to Laszlo’s room and speaks to him. Yikes! The dark wants to show Laszlo something. He shows Lazlo a nightlight in the basement. Now Lazlo has a light and the dark never bothers Laszlo again.

When My Baby Dreams of Fairy Tales by Adele Enersen
We like this book even better than her first. As with the first book, the author gives some narrative text to accompany her gorgeously staged photos of  baby Mila sleeping. The photography is beautiful and this book gives a stronger storyline than the first one. As you can guess from the title, you’ll read about Mila’s dreams of fairies and princesses. Lovely.

Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler
I LOVE the author/illustrator’s richly detailed and sensory illustrations of Miss Maple, a tiny little woman who gathers lost seeds. She cares for them as if they are children, taking them on field trips, tucking them into bed with a story at night, and finally, teaching them to find roots of their own. She tells them to take care. “Even the grandest of trees once had to grow up from the smallest of seeds.” Whimsical and imaginative!

Let’s Go, Hugo! by Angela Dominguez
Adorable, little Hugo lives near the Eiffel Tower, which he loves to admire . . . from the ground. Because he’s afraid to fly. One day, Hugo meets Lulu. When he admits his fear, she helps him practice and then, fly. Flying up towards the Eiffel Tower is so beautiful, he forgets to be afraid. Go, Hugo!

Rain by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Christian Robinson
A delightful story contrasting a grumpy old man and a happy-go-lucky little boy who both see their life and the rain from their own perspectives. Until . . . the man forgets his hat in the cafe and the little boy returns it to him. “Ribbit.” So charming.

Rex, The King of Space by Jonny Duddle
Your kids will love the illustrations in this picture book- comic book hybrid. Then, the story. Rex is an imaginative little boy (do you know any like that?) who has the coolest parents (yay!) who back him up when he’s caught trying to take over space with his Warbot, Dastardly Dung Ray, and kidnapped Princess Kooki. He’s done playing so his parents handle it — I love that!

Peace, Baby written by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

This sweet picture book leads us through common conflicts that young kids encounter and suggests, “Peace, Baby.” Super message, no?

“Taj is losing, tries to cheat.
Maya’s mean. You’re mad at Pete.
Use your words-not your feet!
Hey, peace, baby!”

Land of Milk and Honey by Joyce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
We travel by train with our young heroine from Oklahoma to the land of milk and honey in this true story of Joyce Carol Thomas’ own life. The prose evokes excitement, hope, and wonder. Thought-provoking.

Look at the people!
And their fascinating faces
Look at the people!
All ages, all races

The Story of Cassiopeia a Roman Constellation Myth retold by Thomas Kingsley Troupe, illustrated by Robert Squier

Hooray, a  kid-appropriate book for mythology without too much text to bore / overwhelm young readers! I the story of Cassiopeia, and where the story is in the sky. I bet your kids will enjoy it, too.

Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin
Not only does this book have splots, scribbles, and splashes of colors, the words zig and zag, splot and sploosh over the pages, too. It’s so much fun, you’re going to love it! Silly.

Red is the color of
and More! More!

Giant Dance Party by Betsy Bird illustrated by Brandon Dorman
Little Lexy loves to dance. Just not on stage. That’s where she freezes up. So, she thinks that she should be a dance teacher. And, it turns out that a group of gigantic, blue furry monsters want to learn. When it’s time for their recital, they experience the same fear as Lexy, stage fright. What will Lexy do?

A Special Gift for Grammy by Jean Craighead George, illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Hunter leaves a special pile of stones on his Grammy porch. He tells her to do what everyone does with a pile of stones. We watch her pile as others use creatively — the carpenter uses a stone for his plumb line or when the mail carrier puts a stone on the letters so they won’t be blown by the wind. When Hunter visits again, there are six stones left. He imagines just what to do with them. Beautiful and very imaginative!

My Neighbor Is a Dog by Isabel Minhos Martins and Madalena Matoso
Prejudice lives in our world but when we see it in our own parents, it’s impossible to ignore. As new, different neighbors move in, neighbors that the little girl likes, her parents don’t change. Her parents move out and the little girl looks forward to coming back to live there. Without her parents.

I thought about this book a lot. It’s very unusual to read a picture book in which the parents aren’t good. But, it is realistic. I liked that. More than that, I liked how the little girl accepted the reality of what is but still hoped for a difference in the future. Interesting.

Jackie and Me A Very Special Friendship by Tania Grossinger, illustrated by Charles Goerge Experanza
A gorgeously illustrated story of one special girl, who didn’t think she was special, and her friendship with Jackie Robinson — who both encouraged her and inspired her to never be ashamed of who she was. Loved it.

On a Beam of Light A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky
Albert loved thinking and wondering about all sorts of things: movement, numbers, music. It’s written like a story, not a non-fiction book. My seven-year-old daughter didn’t care for this book but I liked it, especially for the classroom. Also, I passionately adore the illustrations!!

Little Raccoon Learns to Share by Mark Packard, illustrated by Lisa McCue
Part of the Watch Me Grow series of teaching picture books, this is my favorite about Little Raccoon who doesn’t want to share her berries. However, she learns that when you share with others, they share with you, too.

Any other new picture books you’d add to this list?


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  1. thank you for this list! I am getting _On A Beam of Light_ for my youngest. His name is also Albert, and he adores Einstein (who is one of the few people he also knows is named Albert).

    We recently got _Toys In Space_ by Mini Grey (author of the Traction Man series). my two boys (8 and 4) really enjoyed it, and as always, the illustrations are wonderful.

  2. Love these! My daughter’s obsessed with monsters right now, so I’ll have to look for “Monsters Love Colors.”

  3. Another great list and I appreciate the variety of choices. ‘Rain’ is going to be the first one I investigate. Thanks!