Get ready to learn about some amazing new picture books — you’re going to want these for your homes and classrooms.
Impressive New Picture Books, July 2019
The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
BACK TO SCHOOL
Don’t miss this delightful book of positive presuppositions about the first day of school because today you’re going to be the King of Kindergarten! Rich imagery filled with hyperbole and metaphors harmoniously complements the lush illustrations, together creating a festive atmosphere filled with exuberance and bravery. I love how this story shows a sequential day filled with the many happy possibilities at school including story time, recess, playing with new friends, and a kind teacher. Added to: Essential Back-to-School Picture Books.
So Big! by Mike Wohnoutka
BACK TO SCHOOL
Illustrations primarily narrate the story in this meaningful picture book story with minimal text. Bear feels so big now that he’s starting school. But once he gets to school, he doesn’t feel big anymore–the school feels so big. Just when he’s very overwhelmed, a new friend takes his hand and they walk to the classroom together. Now he feels just right. Added to: Essential Back-to-School Picture Books.Impressive New Picture Books, July 2019
Truman by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
BACK TO SCHOOL
One day Truman’s Sarah leaves on the number 11 bus in a tender story about the first day of school from a pet tortosie’s perspective. When Sarah leaves, she tells him to be brave. Readers get a strong sense of place and emotion as Truman worries and waits for a thousand hours until he decides to go after his Sarah. Just as he’s about to leave the apartment, Sarah arrives home. Back in his habitat, he feels proud. Sarah reads him a story about her day so he knows how one day for show-and-tell, he might go with her to her new school. From a writing perspective, this book makes a perfect mentor text for teaching repetition, sentence fluencey, voice, narrative arc, sensory imagery, and character arc. Truman shines brightly as a magnificent, well-crafted gem of a picture book. Added to: Essential Back-to-School Picture Books.
Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
What a delightful story about being metacognitively aware of your own life and mindful of the moments that can turn into big adventures with friends. The river doesn’t realize it was a river. Not until Bear comes along. And Bear isn’t aware that he’s on an adventure until he’s floating down the river on a log with Froggy on his head. The friends are joined by Turtles, Beaver, and Racoons who don’t know they need to be careful until they run into Duck. In a wonderful circular ending and after a fun-filled fall of the waterfall, the friends realize they’re sharing life together because the river came along. Grab this book for storytime because your kids will love it!
Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! by Cori Doerrfeld
LOVE this — and my kids do, too!!! These best friends show us how to say goodbye and say hello. Because every goodbye leads to a hello. For example, goodbye to mom at the bus stop leads to hello to a new friend at school. “Goodbye to snowman…/…is hello to puddles!” Sweet example after example captured in tender, charming illustrations reassures kids that endings can lead to wonderful new beginnings.
The Rhythm of the Rain by Grahame Baker-Smith
A sparkling circular tribute to water in an oversized picture book with stunning imagery. The story begins with a young boy emptying his jar of water into a mountain pool leading into a river that flows into a great ocean. Follow the water on its journey leading to a whale, to the clouds, down in rain to a different river and ocean, and then back to the sky and rain again. Finally, the water goes back to the mountain pool where the boy named Issac is playing. Astonishingly magical.
The Girl and the Wolf by Katherena Vermette, illustrated by Julie Flett
NATURE – TRUSTING SELF
When a little girl wanders off, a wolf helps her find her way home by helping her trust herself. She notices the smells and observes her surroundings in order to find her way home.
Home Is a Window by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard, illustrations by Chris Sasaki
Beautiful metaphors about moving houses and knowing that your home is your family. “Home is one more hide-and-seek before bath” and “home is washing, rinsing, and drying, and whenever a dish gets broken, someone to help you sweep.”
Little Taco Trucks by Tanya Valentine and Jorge Martin
SHARING – FRIENDSHIPS
Little Taco Truck used to be the only food truck but when one truck after another join him in his area, he gets upset and feels pushed out. This relatable story shows the benefits of making space for new friendships and flavors.
How Do You Dance? by Thyra Heder
A book that begs you to get up and boogie — this celebration of the expression of dance shows you that you can dance anyway (even floppy) and anywhere (at the market); on good days and rainy days. “How do you dance?” the author asks. Get up and show us!
The Night Is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
On a hot summer night, you escape the apartment to the cooler courtyard to play double Dutch and hide-and-go-seek. The moon gleams off your skin and the different browns and tans of your friends. The night is full of laughter and joy and the light of the moon. Celebrate summer, friendship, and community with this exuberant story!
Birds of a Feather Bowerbirds and Me by Susan L. Roth
Beautiful collage illustrations illustrate fascinating comparisons between a collage artist and a bowerbird who have more in common than you might think. It’s very out-of-the-box thinking which you will love as much as me. Use this brilliant book for teaching kids about making art with found objects as well as comparing and contrasting with similarities and differences.
Tangled by Anne Miranda, illustrated by Eric Comstock
GEOMETRY – SHAPES
This geometric book about shapes, friendships, and problem-solving is so cute I can hardly stand it. One by one the shapes get trapped inside a jungle gym and can’t get out. What shape will get them out? It’s playful, adorable, and hallelujah has rhymes that work!
Papa Put a Man on the Moon by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Sarah Green
HISTORICAL FICTION / SPACE
I like the simplicity of this story that gives us a snapshot of an important time in history, the moon landing, through the eyes of a little girl whose hard-working blue-collar father worked on the fabric of the astronaut’s spacesuits.
Little Red Reading Hood and the Misread Wolf by Troy Wilson, illustrated by Ilaria Campana
Red likes to read so she uses the knowledge from her books on how to handle any situation. Like what to do when you encounter a wolf. (Maintain eye contact and slowly back away.) Or when a bird asks for directions. (Give a detailed description of your route, while noting good spots for worms.) And in this retold fairy tale, Red reads a story to Grandma, Wolf, and the Woodcutter. My daughter loved this cute story!
Shady Streams, Slippery Salamanders by Jason Patrick Love, illustrated by Joyce Turley
Use this excellent STEM picture book in the classroom to show how scientists in the fieldwork or to teach about ecosystems, erosion, or salamanders. Two boys who love salamanders help scientists with their research in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s a good mix of dialogue, action, and description plus insets of factual information to support.
Born to Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face by Larissa Theule, illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
What a charming story about the power of perseverance! Did you know that in the past, women were told that if they rode bicycles, they would get bicycle face with bulging eyes and lockjaw but Louisa Belinda didn’t believe it. Her brother teaches her how to ride, she tries and rides. And no bicycle face!
My Tiny Pet by Jessie Hartland
When her parents downsize, there’s no room for pets. But this little girl has a smart plan —she’ll ask for the tiniest pet ever, a water bear a microscopic creature. Her parents reluctantly accept and the little girl brings her beloved new pet everywhere. And even when her parents downsize again, she’ll still be able to keep her unique pet.
A Visit to Grandad: An African ABC by Sade Fadipe, illustrated by Shedrach Ayalomeh
I love that this alphabet book is a cohesive story! It’s not just a book labeling nounts, it’s a story about an African girl on school break who goes to visit her grandad. “O is for onions Grandad slices for my eggs. / P is for pump. We fetch water in our kegs.” Rich, detailed illustrations give readers a strong sense of place and emotion.