Buyer's Guide 2020: Picture Book Picks

Staff Pick Badge
Nothing in Common Cover Image
By Kate Hoefler, Corinna Luyken (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780544774780
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - September 15th, 2020

Two kids living in neighboring buildings never wave to each other because they have nothing in common, although separately, they love watching the old man with his marvelous dog. They both notice the day when something changed: “Neither had ever seen an old man cry. Or heard a name called so sadly it flies through your window and lands on your chest.” In parallel searches, they both go looking for the dog, and when they find him, they also find that they need each other to guide him home to the old man. Finally, they have something in common: friendship.

-Collette


Staff Pick Badge
The Bear and the Moon Cover Image
By Matthew Burgess, Catia Chien (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781452171913
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Chronicle Books - September 29th, 2020

After a snooze, Bear looks skyward, where a little dot grows into a floating red moon on a silver string. Bear is delighted to have company and shares his life with the moon. But one day, he squeezes too hard and the moon bursts, leaving only scraps of red. Distraught, Bear blames himself. With time, he finds a transcendent source of love and comfort. Filled with exquisite language and whimsical illustrations, this is a tender and subtly-humorous story of friendship, loss, and self-forgiveness.

-Kara


Staff Pick Badge
Snow Birds Cover Image
By Kirsten Hall, Jenni Desmond (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781419742033
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Abrams Books for Young Readers - November 3rd, 2020

What happens to the birds that don’t fly south for the winter? Snow Birds introduces us to these resilient birds through verse bursting with sound and soft, striking illustrations. This book could be a delight for any season, but is especially a treasure for the winter months, revealing how life and beauty can endure through the harshest conditions.

-Claire


Staff Pick Badge
In the Half Room Cover Image
By Carson Ellis, Carson Ellis (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781536214567
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Candlewick - October 13th, 2020

Half a flower, half a vase, half a rug, half a face. Even half a cat! Everything in this strange room is only one half, but this book is a whole work of art. Ellis’s charming illustrations are captivating alongside fun, simple rhymes. This sweet and quiet book is perfect for snuggling in at bedtime (especially for all cat lovers).

-Sarah


Staff Pick Badge
I Am Every Good Thing Cover Image
By Derrick Barnes, Gordon C. James (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525518778
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - September 1st, 2020

The adventurous, joyful, confident Black narrator of this book leads us in one powerful affirmation after another. “I am every good thing that makes the world go round...I am brave. I am hope. I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams.” Each page is filled with beautiful, lively portraits and empowering text. As a teacher, I would read this to students in elementary, middle, and high school to remind them that they are, “a star-filled sky of solutions.” A vital and relevant picture book you’ll want to share.

-Karlyn


Staff Pick Badge
The Barnabus Project Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780735263260
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Tundra Books - September 1st, 2020

The Fan Brothers have done it again with this quirky picture book. Barnabus, who is half elephant and half mouse, was created to be the perfect pet. Instead, he is kept in a glass jar on a shelf with all the other failed pets. With illustrations ranging from hauntingly beautiful to bright and cheery, this imaginative book teaches readers that in a world obsessed with perfection, it’s ok to be imperfect.

-Anna


Staff Pick Badge
Becoming a Good Creature Cover Image
By Sy Montgomery, Rebecca Green (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780358252108
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - September 29th, 2020

Animals have a lot to teach us about how to be good creatures. A weasel can teach forgiveness, an octopus to find common ground, a dog to trust in tomorrow. Full of bright illustrations, good lessons, and even better creatures, this touching book is perfect for young animal lovers, and a wonderful invitation for readers of all ages to learn from the world around us.

-Claire


Staff Pick Badge
If You Come to Earth Cover Image
By Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781452137797
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Chronicle Books - September 15th, 2020

This epistolary picture book from beloved author/illustrator Sophie Blackall tells aliens everything they need to know before visiting Earth. Full of facts about the diversity of people, plants, and animals that inhabit our planet alongside gorgeous illustrations, this is a perfect read-aloud for curious kids.

-Linda


Staff Pick Badge
Every Color of Light: A Book about the Sky Cover Image
By Hiroshi Osada, Ryoji Arai (Illustrator), David Boyd (Translator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781592702916
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Enchanted Lion Books - October 13th, 2020

A meditation on the natural world spans a day and you might be the only human around to witness it. Hone your senses through rainstorm, setting sun and rising moon admidst an ancient starry sky. Listen to the elements and feel the vibrancy in every skyscape. Deeply textural illustrations are windows to one remote place in time, each shedding new light on the visible spectrum. Here is a poetic invitation to lose ourselves in a lush, reflective world. Settle in.

-Jesse


Staff Pick Badge
A Mystery in the Forest Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9788416733927
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Cuento de Luz SL - September 15th, 2020

In all seasons, Deer likes to gather ingredients from the forest to bake sweet treats for his neighbors. One day, his recipe book goes missing, and mysterious footprints are found near his house. Follow the trail to enjoy a whimsical woodland story about generosity, friendship, and the power of a shared meal. This book will make you want to cozy up in the kitchen and bake with loved ones!

-Claire


Staff Pick Badge
Our Little Kitchen Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781419746550
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Abrams Books for Young Readers - September 22nd, 2020

We watched homeless encampments crop up in south Minneapolis this summer. We see our neighbors in need. Day-to-day survival for so many balances on a knife-edge. Drawing from her own weekly commitment to provide a nourishing meal, Jillian Tamaki serves up just the soul-stirring story for this moment. In one little kitchen, an eclectic crew comes together with superhuman energy to feed bellies and fill hearts.

-Jesse


Staff Pick Badge
Ten Ways to Hear Snow Cover Image
By Cathy Camper, Kenard Pak (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399186332
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Kokila - October 13th, 2020

On Lina’s winter walk to her grandmother’s to make warak enab, she listens closely to all the ways she can hear snow: boots crunch, shovels scrape, and a blanket of white wraps the neighborhood in silence. This book celebrates everyday moments: cooking in a warm kitchen with family, the cold quiet of snowy days, and all that we can discover when we take time to listen.

-Claire


Staff Pick Badge
The Suitcase Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780358329602
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - September 29th, 2020

A stranger arrives one day pulling a big suitcase. When the other animals ask him about it, he explains that there’s a teacup inside. When pressed he adds: also a table, a chair, and a little kitchen in a cabin. Their curiosity turns into disbelief and suspicion; after the exhausted traveler falls asleep, the animals break open the suitcase. I won’t give away the ending, but when he wakes up, the stranger can’t believe what the others have done. A beautifully spare tale about immigration, remorse, and reparation.

-Collette


Staff Pick Badge
The Most Beautiful Thing Cover Image
By Kao Kalia Yang, Khoa Le (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781541561915
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Carolrhoda Books (R) - October 6th, 2020

Kalia’s grandmother was born on the other side of the world, across a wide ocean, where, “she once looked into the gleaming eyes of a tiger.” All the grandchildren love to hear their beloved grandmother’s stories of bravery and resilience. The book moves from the jungles of Laos to life in the United States. Captivating, with gorgeous illustrations so beautiful they could be framed.

-Karlyn


Staff Pick Badge
Swift Fox All Along Cover Image
By Rebecca Lea Thomas, Maya McKibbin (Illustrator)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781773214481
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Annick Press - September 8th, 2020

Swift Fox is filled with nervous butterflies as she meets her extended family for the first time. What if they don’t like her? What if she doesn’t fit in? Everyone has those concerns sometimes, and Thomas has crafted a beautiful story about embracing yourself. Alongside McKibbin’s rich colorful illustrations, we learn about Swift Fox’s Mi’kmaq heritage as she struggles to embrace it and join a bigger family.

-Anna


Staff Pick Badge
All Because You Matter Cover Image
By Tami Charles, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338574852
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Orchard Books - October 6th, 2020

Black Lives Matter. An uncontroversial statement. An uncontroversial statement?!? While the world struggles with that, this poetic work fosters conversations concerning racial injustice for all families. For Black families, this buoyant book offers an affirmation of community support along with ancestral and familial love that does not require permission from society to be granted. What an empowering book for our times!

-Carmelle