New Picture Books, August 2020
The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow
Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo, a Korean treasure-hunting mermaid, like her Grandma but she’s scared. Her Grandma helps her practice diving and holding her breath in a tide pool and later in the big ocean, tethered together. The perspective of the illustrations help us feel like we’re under the water, too — and we feel breathless and wonder-filled at the beauty of the ocean.
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast: Short & Sweet by Josh Funk, illustrated by Brendan Kearney
Rhyming text narrates the terrible ordeal of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast who are — gasp — spoiling! They visit Professor Biscotti for help but he accidentally shrinks them. Terrified of their large friend, Baron von Waffle, the miniature Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast run away through fields of bran and pine nuts, play on a fun playground, and even to library. Eventually, the pair return to the laboratory where Baron von Waffle returns them to their normal size. Hooray for a happy ending! Readers will adore this food-based adventure, detailed illustrations, and playful word choices.
Ronan the Librarian by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie, illustrated by Victoria Maderna
LOVE OF BOOKS / READING ALOUD / LIBRARIANS
Barbarians like the mighty Ronan and his people don’t read books. They invade, raid, and trade. Then, one pillage goes horribly wrong because they only find BOOKS. Even so, Ronan notices the pictures and starts reading. Soon, he spends all his spare time reading. “He invaded and raided and read.” But, how can Ronan get the other barbarians to read? Can you guess? He reads aloud to them…and it hooks them on books! Soon, Ronan becomes the community’s librarian, sharing and recommending books with his fellow barbarians. Playful, funny, and perfect for reading aloud with the best literacy message: READING is for everyone and everyone can love books…even barbarians.
Bear Is a Bear (except when he’s not) by Karl Newson, illustrated by Anuska Allepuz
BEARS / FUNNY
This book has the most perfect cadence for reading aloud! This sleepy bear wakes up and is confused about who he is– is he a bird or a fox or a squirrel? Not only is this a fun introduction to the creatures of the woods, but it’s a sweet story culminating with the bear returning to his cave and going back to sleep.
Birrarung Wilam: A Story from Aboriginal Australia by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
ABORIGINAL CULTURE / INFERENCE / ECOLOGY
Use this story to discuss learning a new language, geography, context clue, language, inference, and culture! The story is written in both English and the Woiwurrung language, which children won’t immediately understand without support. You’ll read about the beautiful Yarra River and the plants and wildlife that live near it. Luminous, lush illustrations and enticing text celebrate aboriginal culture and nature. “As ngua rises, Bunjil soars over mountain ash, flying higher and higher as the wind warms. Below, Birrarung begins its long winding path down to palem warreen.”
Newton and Curie: The Science Squirrels by Daniel Kirk
STEM / SCIENTIFIC METHOD
Newton is a curious squirrel with lots of questions. He overhears science lessons in a classroom with an open window and learns about simple machines. Then, he and his little sister do experiments that apply the scientific principals he’s learned–they make a swing, a seesaw, and a pulley — showing that science is fun and can be helpful.
Fussy Flamingo by Shelley Vaughan James, illustrated by Matthew Rivera
FLAMINGOS / PICKY EATERS
A charming, silly story about a picky eater that teaches kids about flamingos coloring. Lola doesn’t want to eat the soggy, yucky, muddy shrimp so she finds an avocado that turns her feathers green, then pepino melons which turns her yellow, and finally, dragon fruit which turns her feathers purple. “Ay de mi?”” Mami cries each time Lola’s feathers turn a not-pink color. Finally, her mami convinces Lola to give shrimp a try– and Lola turns pink! Just like she’s supposed to. I love the story’s repetitive text: “Lola lolls along the shoreline. Lola dillies on her right leg. Lola dallies on her left leg. She dips her black-tipped beak into the water.” Back matter gives readers fast facts about flamingos including when they turn pink, what they eat, where they live. All in all, a wonderful story for the readers on your lap.
A Place Inside of Me by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Noa Denmon
EMOTIONAL LITERACY / POLICE SHOOTING / BLACK EXPERIENCE
A black boy expresses a myriad of feelings that wait inside him for him to feel each one. Joy that glows bright and warm as the sun when he’s playing basketball, sorrow that is cold & dark when he sees the news about a police shooting, fear that stalks him and “seeps like a poison into my dreams”. He expresses his anger, hunger, pride, hope, love, and compassion in lyrical phrases and illuminating illustrations. This is an essential picture book for starting conversations about racial injustice, emotions, and what it’s like to be black in the U.S.
Huddle Up Cuddle Up by Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Mike Deas
Football metaphors show an exuberant family preparing for Sunday night bedtime — bath time, actually playing with a football, doing laundry, picking up, and a touchdown in bed for storytime. Playful fun!
Second Banana by Blair Thornburgh, illustrated by Kate Berube
A little girl’s class is putting on a play — and she has to share the role of banana with another girl. What injustice! Because the second banana is not a very good part. After fuming for days of rehearsal, the girl learns that the other girl playing first banana is scared about performing, so she lets her mad go and helps make the experience fun for them both. A story about friendship and reframing negative thoughts.
The Case of the Missing Cake (Not an Alphabet Book) by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Marc Boutavant
Use the clues in the illustrations to help Bear find who ate the cake. It’s pretty obvious but funny, all the same, and a delightfully unique twist on the traditional alphabet book.
No Ordinary Jacket by Sue-Ellen Pashley, illustrated by Thea Baker
Filled with lovely descriptive writing and similes, this beautiful book that describes the special jacket’s journey from one sister to another to a doll’s coat and eventually to make a bear. I would love to use this book as a writing prompt, wouldn’t you? “It was still soft and warm and comforting, but now it had paint on the elbows. And dirt on the hem. And threads coming loose at the collar. And only three dazzling buttons down the front.”
A Journey Toward Hope by Victor Hinojosa & Coert Voorhees, illustrated by Susan Guevara
Follow four children from different Latin American countries as they leave their home countries, meet during the trip, and travel towards the U.S. for asylum. The story shows these exhausted kids making the best of their new, unexpected situations. It’s developmentally appropriate for young children because it does not include the actual horrors of what it could be like; instead, it focuses on the children’s friendship and general piece of the journey.
A Thousand No’s by DJ Corchin, illustrated by Dan Dougherty
A girl gets an idea! But then, she’s told NO and NO and NO…so she asks for help and gets curious. Eventually, she’s told no so many times that the NOs stack up into a large YES!
A New School for Charlie by Courtney Dicmas
A lonely dog at school tries strategies for making friends. Some of what he tries works and some of it doesn’t. But in the end, he makes a new friend and remembers to befriend someone new every day, too.
Catching Thoughts by Bonnie Clark, illustrated by Summer Macon
A little girl has a thought she doesn’t like –and the only thing that works to deal with it is to say hello and decide if she wants to hold on to it or let it go. She realizes that the more positive thoughts she catches, the smaller the negative thought becomes. I like that this story models acknowledging all thoughts and not stuffing them.
More Picture Books From Previous Months
National Regular Average Ordinary Day by Lisa Katzenberger, illustrated by Barbara Bakos
CELEBRATING THE ORDINARY
To avoid boredom, Peter tries to make each day extra exciting by celebrating those random daily holidays like Waffle Day and Walk Backwards Day. Until one day, there is no special holiday. So he makes up National Regular Average Ordinary Day and remembers that ordinary days playing outside with other kids can be worth celebrating, too. This book offers families a lot of post-reading possibilities, doesn’t it?
The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
This story reminds children that just because they can’t do something, it’s not forever — it’s not YET. The magical yet means that you’ll start to see the possibilities in the future. Yet doesn’t mind mistakes or do-overs. With patience and an open mind to the magical yet, you can get where you want to be.
Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
The importance of this book is that it shows a family with a guardian who is just like a mama and a “Mommy and Daddy” living miles away. The girl wishes they lived together but she also loves her Mama Rose who loves her, cares for her, and teaches her, just like a mama.
You Might Also Like: