As we continue into the summer months, and libraries are back open, you’ll probably want to see what’s new and amazing in picture books. I think you’ll find some wonderful books to read with children on this list of new books.
New Picture Books, July 2021
Something Stinks by Jonathan Fenske
INTERACTIVE / FOURTH WALL / FUNNY
Speaking directly to the reader, skunk asks YOU if you can smell that bad smell. Because it’s really stinky! But if it’s not the clean underpants or you (you smell wonderful), what could it be? Why are you shouting? Skunk can’t quite hear you. Silly fun sure to entertain the readers on your lap.
The Foodie Flamingo by Vanessa Howl, illustrated by Pablo Pino
This daring flamingo will teach kids that trying new foods (aka. being a foodie) can be a colorful adventure! Because when Frankie tries foods that AREN’T shrimp — she changes colors to match the other foods. Her friends become curious and when they see Frankie’s food adventures, they decide to try new foods, too. I love this gentle (non-preachy) story because it will encourage children to try new foods, too.
The More the Merrier by David Martin, illustrated by Raissa Figueroa
ALL DIFFERENCES ARE CELEBRATED
An exuberant celebration of each animal’s uniqueness as one after the other join bear in dancing through the forest in their own way. Moose galumphs, snake wiggles, deer leaps, owl flies. Rhythmic with repetition, this animal party is a delight to read aloud. As each animal is introduced they say something similar to this — “I like your beat. But I’m not like you. So I’ll just do what I can do.” What fun to celebrate individuality and dance together!
Penelope Strudel and the Birthday Treasure Hunt by Brendan Kearney
PUZZLES / SEARCH & FIND
It’s Penelope’s birthday but her Uncle Derek hid her presents from the pesky puffins. You’ll have to help her solve the puzzles including ciphers, mazes, and equations on each page as well as search for the lists of items. That will help Penelope move to the next room until finally, she can find out what her birthday present is. Great problem-solving fun with detailed, interesting illustrations best for ages 7 – 10.
Listen by Gaby Snyder, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
LISTENING / MINDFULNESS / ONOMATOPOEIA
What if you listened to each sound? Listen with a little girl through her day, starting with the noisy street, then the sounds at school, into the rain and wind, and all the way to bedtime. “Listen past the crunch of gravel and the scrape of chalk.// Can you hear new words? Listen to each sound. Some pop, like quick and snappy, while others stretch, like looong and leisurely. Listen.” The girl implores you to listen, repeating it frequently throughout the book, reminding us to stop and listen to what’s outside and inside us, too. Listen to the slap-slap-slap of shoes, the tippy-tap-tap of rain falling on your umbrella, the rumble of belly, and whooshy of breath. Beautiful.
Halal Hot Dogs by Susannah Azia, illustrated by Parwinder Singh
FOOD / MUSLIM AMERICAN CULTURE
It’s Musa’s turn to pick the food after the Jummah Prayer at the masjid — and he picks halal hot dogs. But first, he shares which food treats his other family members picked for their turns, then he has to wait until after masjid. He’s a bit wiggly and hungry but finally, it’s time. Musa waits in a long line, eager to share with his family. But, when he arrives home, the bag doesn’t have the sauce or hotdogs but falafel instead. Now, what will he do? Find another halal hot dog stand, of course! A festive celebration of food and culture!
Super Milly and the Super School Day by Stephanie Clarkson, illustrated by Gwen Millward
Super Milly thinks hard and uses her kid superpowers of kindness to help her classmates when they struggle with different things. For example, she helps someone with his costume and another person to share the green paint.
Fatima’s Great Outdoors by Ambreen Tariq, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
Leaving the cruelty of her classmates’ behind, Fatima and her family take their first camping trip in the forest. Her mom and dad make the experience a fun adventure with good food, family stories, and persistence when things go wrong. It helps Fatima love camping– the fun and the adventure–and reminds her of what life used to feel like in India. She’s sad to return to the city but her aapa (sister) reminds her that they can come back soon.
Moth & Butterfly by Dev Petty, illustrated by Ana Aranda
DIFFERENCES & SIMILARITIES / FRIENDSHIP / BUGS
Two good caterpillar friends with a lot in common go through the amazing process of metamorphosis. Then they pop out of their cocoons– one, a butterfly, and the other, a moth. Now they have new differences. Butterfly’s wings are colorful and Moth’s are beige. Butterfly flies during the day and Moth flies at night. Even still, some things are still the same — they still have cool moves and a good friendship.
The Perfect Plan by Lean Gilbert
Maya is determined to make her dream of a cozy fort for reading and playing a reality so she gets to work. But, she realizes that she needs help so she recruits the forest animals to use their special skills to help her with the fort. The beavers help cut the wood, the moose lifts the heavy pieces, the bears help create a frame, and the birds help with the roof. A gorgeous forest setting featuring a determined girl who isn’t afraid to ask for help.
Somewhere in the City by J. B. Frank, illustrated by Yu Leng
A little girl waits for her daddy to arrive home from work. The daddy leaves work and travels through the busy, noisy city back towards home. We also see the city from Lucy’s window. Finally, daddy arrives home and reads Lucy a bedtime story.
Counting to Diwali: A Celebration in Numbers by S. C. Baheti, illustrated by Rohen Dahotre
COUNTING / INDIAN CULTURE
Learn to count from one to ten in Hindi. Beautiful illustrations show nouns that represent the holiday of Diwali and the number of fingers for the number shown. For example, the seven page says, “7 SAAT seven Phool maala flower garlands” and shows hands with seven fingers marked in red with a lovely illustration of flower garlands. This is a wonderful book to introduce Indian culture and language.
Jenny Mei Is Sad by Tracy Subisak
FEELINGS / FRIENDSHIP
Narrated by Jenny Mei’s friend, we learn that Jenny Mei is sad but she doesn’t always show it. Sometimes she smiles and sometimes she rips things and sometimes she is quiet. And it’s ok. Her friend is always there for “fun and not-fun and everything in between.” This wonderfully shows the importance of accepting a friend’s feelings and behaviors without judgment or trying to fix things.
The Memory Box: A Book About Grief by Joanna Rowland, illustrated by Thea Baker
I’m so impressed with this beautiful book that gently shows children, in kid-friendly language, how grieving can look and feel, sharing the feelings a child experiences and the things she does to remember her loved one. The girl worries that she might forget the person and she wonders what will happen to their love. She makes a memory box to help her remember and asks people to share memories. The girl carries the person in her heart even as she makes new memories. She knows that she’ll never forget the person because every time she misses the person, she thinks of them. Exceptional.
**I highly recommend buying the accompanying Grief Journal for Children and Families to help process emotions with some of the activities and more prompts mentioned in the story.
(Here’s my complete book list for children on death and grieving.)