New Picture Books
A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes
P is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter, illustrated by Maria Beddia
ALPHABET / Best of 2018
No Boring Stories! by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Charles Santoso
WRITING / WRITING WORKSHOP
This. Is. Writing. Workshop. And I love it. Teachers, you will, too. Use this in your classrooms to introduce writers’ workshop, to celebrate collaborative writing, and to show story elements!! When a cute little bunny crashes a less commonly written about a group of animal storytellers (mole, weevil, crab, and babirusa), the group is decidedly uninterested in adding her to their brainstorming group. So they continue their story that contains relatable characters, an inciting incident, rising action, climax, and an ending. But when they struggle with the ending AND when bunny reveals that she likes making up weird (not boring) stories, the group realizes that the bunny has the perfect ending idea. Reluctantly, they agree that she can be apart of the group. At least until a “bunch of adorable frogs and puppies show up next week…” This book shows the why and how of writer’s workshop, as well as more importantly showing the creative strengths of writers working together.
Little Bear’s Big House by Benjamin Chaud
This story and illustration are adorable. (Don’t you love Benjamin Chaud’s books?) It’s a sort-of Goldilocks story with a humorous twist when Little Bear decides to leave his home. He finds and explores a big, empty house. Which is fun at first but he realizes that there are noisy scary monsters in the house, what will he do? Race back home, of course. Meanwhile, you the readers will realize that the noises come from Little Bear’s family who is searching for him. Not only are the illustrations incredible, but they also narrate the family’s parallel search story. It’s a relatable topic for our children — they want independence, but not too much…
The Book Tree by Paul Czajak, illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh
POWER OF WORDS
Words and stories matter!!! You’ll love this allegory that shows the power of words as well as the power of one person’s actions. And what better what to show these important life lessons about stories than with a story? And ooh, aren’t these illustrations exquisite?
Arlo loves books — he starts a book by just breathing it in. “Beginnings were always the best part. // They smelled as if anything were possible.” Unfortunately, the Mayor tears up all the town’s books. “Books are dangerous! I don’t trust them. They act like seeds, which grow into ideas, and ideas turn into questions. I will tell you what you need to know.” Soon there is only one single page left. It blows away, landing in the dirt where it is swallowed. As time goes on, Arlo notices some unexpected consequences of no books. Like without storytime there is no nap time. Without cookbooks, the restaurants serve only cereal. Without plays, the actors have nothing to act out in the theater. But even his sadness, Arlo realizes that he can write his own words into stories. His stories help the buried page of words to grow into a tree that blooms books. The people began enjoying books again and the town flourishes. HOORAY! Read this for Banned Books week or anytime — I hope it will spark many great discussions.
The Wheels on the Uh-Oh! by Sue Tarsky, illustrated by Alex Willmore
Sing this familiar story as you read this familiar story with a twist– the bus gets a flat making this story a little different. The riders grumble, the driver pushes, and the wheel pops off going bump, whizz, roll right down the road. It will make a delightful storytime read aloud for parents and librarians.
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
The artwork is exquisite. The narration takes you on a journey of a mom and child together going to a new place to live. It celebrates their loving bond, how books helped them develop their voice. “We are stories. We are two languages. We are lucha, We are resilience. We are hope.” Added to: Children’s Books about Immigration
Benji, the Bad Day, and Me by Sally J Pla, illustrated by Ken Min
AUTISM / SIBLINGS
For a boy or girl whose sibling is on the autism spectrum, this book might be reassuring so they know that they are not alone. Sammy arrives home after a bad day but his little brother Benji is having a bad day, too. Benji’s in his box. And when Benji has a bad day, the rest of the family tiptoes and speaks softly. It’s not fair that no one does that for Sammy! Sammy wishes he had a box. He wishes that he could go to karate instead of going to Benji’s clinic. He wishes that someone would notice him, would notice his tears. Then, to his surprise, Benji notices. Benji comes out of his box to wrap Sammy in a burrito blanket. Added to: Books with Characters on the Autism Spectrum
Our Celebracion! by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Ana Aranda
MULTICULTURAL CITY PARADE
This feels very inclusive for bilingual Spanish and English families because the text is in a mixture of both languages. It’s all about a summer parade — the music, the people, the parade marchers, and so on. “Clowns throw dulces. Mouths are drooling. / Feel the sizzling sidewalks cooling. Duck for cover, form a huddle — / in la calle, splashy puddles.” I love the brightly colored exuberant illustrations of families and festivities, too.
Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett
I recently wrote a list of books with letters for Brightly and this book would be a great addition. The story is cute — what to do with an unexpected dragon in your house — and the illustrations are delightful. But the selling point of the whole book is the five letters that kids can take out of the envelopes. A boy named Alex writes letters to try to get ideas on how to care for his dragon…letters to the Fire Brigade and World Animal Welfare, for example. What will Alex end up doing? He’ll say good-bye so that his dragon can live in the wild. What a kind solution, right?
Hello, Horse by Vivian French, illustrated by Catherine Rayner
My daughter thinks horse-loving kids will enjoy this book. It’s both informative with facts on each page as well has as a narrative story about a child meeting a friend’s horse and learning about her. The illustrations are gorgeous.
You and Me, Me and You: Brothers by Miguel Tanco
Door by JiHyeon Lee
WORDLESS / IMAGINATION
Galápagos Girl / Galapagueña by Marsha Diane Arnold, illustrated by Angela Dominquez
ENVIRONMENT / DUAL-LANGUAGE
An introduction to both conservation and the Galapagos Island, you’ll read the story of a girl who grows up with pink flamingos, red-and-green iguanas, tortoises and more on the beautiful Galapagos Islands. After she leaves for school, she eventually becomes a biologist who returns to the Galapagos to educate others on the importance of protecting the wildlife. The story is translated into Spanish so it’s a dual-language book.