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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
This book is an essential addition to any toddler’s bookshelf because it addresses the biggest challenge of toddlerhood--intense, indiscriminate GRUMPINESS. Little ones will find the spare text resonantly funny. The illustrations are at once simple and expressive. Allow Penguin to demonstrate a reliable prescription to wash away a bad mood: a bath, your favorite pair of PJs, a cup of cocoa, and a comforting book.
This luminous tribute to the United States' National Parks is filled with sweeping saturated landscapes from Hawaii Volcanoes, to Acadia, and every national park in between. Intertwined with the rich illustrations is an ode proclaiming that everyone, from all walks of life, is home here.
Have you ever wondered how an ant spends his day? See the world through the eyes of an ant in this whimsically illustrated book. Follow a colony of ants through their forest home while learning about their plant and animal neighbors. Be sure to keep your eye out for little Red Socks as you wind your way through the imaginative drawings and unexpected text placement in this darling book.
Six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings and newly widowed mother are forced to find a new place to live. That place turns out to be a tar-papered shack deep in the woods. Marvel says “it doesn’t look like much of a home to me”. Local author/artist Eliza Wheeler recounts this story of her Grandma Marvel’s life during the Great Depression in a series of tableaux passing through each of the Wisconsin seasons. We see the shack transform into a livable place with the hard work and perseverance of all of those siblings, always with the refrain: “our joyous laughter echoed through the trees”. From a grim beginning, they make the shack “warm and bright and filled up with love” and Marvel is finally home! Wheeler makes a compelling case for listening to the reminiscences of our elders: ‘They will soon be gone, and if we haven’t yet collected their stories, the time is now.” This is a lovely family book for sharing.
What if we let our kids run away with their fascinations? For Pokko, it’s her new drum. For her quiet frog family, the gift is the biggest mistake. But when Pokko steps out of her mushroom to explore the musical possibilities, results are rip-roaring and wonderful. Pokko marches to her own beat, inspiring a vibrant band of forest animals to join her jam. A sensational young frog makes a statement. Play on!
“At the mountain’s base grows a hickory tree. Beneath this sits a cabin”. So begins a story poem about expecting a loved one to return from military deployment: waiting, weaving, worrying. What makes it glorious is that it’s a Cherokee family waiting for their mom, daughter, sister to return from flying as a WWII pilot. Not enough is celebrated about Native American women serving in the Armed Forces. This woman, Ola Mildred Rexroat (Ogalala Lakota) was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her achievements and contributions and yes, she came back to that cabin at the base of the mountain under the hickory tree: “the roots that ground us help us soar”.
Ready to discover pure joy in the form of a book? An ode to personal expression, this book makes me grin every time I open its pages. Don’t miss the catalogue of new dance moves, the storyline of the unwilling dancer in the green sweater, or the dance party in the dark! Heder’s dynamic illustrations will inspire all readers to get up and start movin’. Because the best way to dance is exactly how you want to!
Yang’s words and Kim’s drawings create a layered story about an attentive and empathetic young girl named Paj Ntaub. As Paj helps her grandmother hang a special story cloth that tells how the Hmong made their way to America, Paj notices how their new house finally feels like home. Paj takes note of all the changes inside and outside the house as the seasons pass. These observations are gathered up like treasures and shared in a beautiful chalk drawing at the end of the story. Pictures and words to linger over.
How can we truly prepare our little ones for life’s amazing journey? It’s a mind-boggling endeavor, for sure, but this book suggests a few key items that can help: wind, songs, snacks, laughter, a little bit of luck, and the comfort and promise of home. Fogliano’s delightful and occasionally unexpected rhymes pair perfectly with Robinson’s whimsical, charming illustrations in this heart-warming book that’s sure to become a favorite in your travel bag or on your bedroom shelf.
This wordless picture book is captivating from start to finish. Told in the style of a silent film, Sima’s illustrated narrative follows a young child whose best friend is a balloon dog. Going for a walk is treacherous for them, however, because the world is full of pointy objects… Suspense builds as they have near miss after near miss, but just when you think the inevitable will happen, there’s a twist!
Who would win: a supervillain or a little girl who listens? Seasoned picture book author Adam Rex takes a situation children and adults are both all too familiar with (the seemingly endless stream of “Why?”s that curious kids can generate) and makes a delightful story about the power of sympathy. This book is fun, funny, and at the end of the day, quite simply clever as all get out!
How lucky are we to have a planet with graced with both rhinoceroses and rhinoceros beetles? With gorgeous illustrations adorning each page, this book will leave you marveling at our natural world. Adolfo Serra has crafted a meditative narrative whose scope is at once grand and granular. As you turn the last page of this story about finding commonalities and celebrating difference, you’ll find yourself pausing with wonder
What better way to celebrate the end of the year than by honoring all the different ways people across the world gather around a table? In this ode to the universal tradition of breaking bread together, luscious illustrations sweep you into the field where food is grown and the kitchen where it is prepared. Insightful verse welcomes the reader inside, sets the table, and reminds us all to give thanks.
Everyone deserves to find their passion and the possibilities are infinite. Tanco's charming illustrations simply capture the perspective of a child who sees the math that is all around us. From concentric circles in a pond to the velocity of a paper airplane, there is so much to understand! Don't miss the helpful index at the end!
Did you know that an African elephant tusk can grow as long as two seven-year-olds toe to toe?! Nonfiction comes alive with Desmond's brilliantly illustrated collection featuring our world's most captivating endangered creatures: the elephant, polar bear, and blue whale. Follow our red crown-wearing narrator on a fun, factual journey that will leave you wanting to learn more.
SPOILER ALERT: Llama destroys the world on Friday. In the meantime? Llama will enjoy ever-wackier days and make honest mistakes that may just lead to the ultimate doom of everything. Great for fans of Dragons Love Tacos or Super Happy Magic Forest. Any book that starts with cake and ends with pie is a winner!
Toot LOVES to travel and do adventurous things like climb mountains and ride camels. Puddle LOVES the quiet life of home, doing things like cooking, gardening, and painting. As Puddle goes through daily pleasures at home, we follow Toot through postcards sent home to Puddle. Upon his return, they take joy in hearing about each others' experiences and creating memories together. I love this heartwarming story about being true to yourself and having loving, supportive friendships that allow you to be uniquely you!
All Caro wants is someone to play with. Imagine her delight when she meets a snowy white lion who blends in with the walls of her new house. The lion is an ideal playmate, but he gently encourages her to make friends outside too. This is a lovely story about being brave in new places, and the resilience that comes with an active imagination.
Never fear! Muffin the cat is on the night shift to ensure that there are no bears in Little Bear Bakery. Muffin's tale is filled with mysterious sounds, expressive illustrations, and witty wordplay. Enjoy plenty of sprinkles and the most endearing kitty narrator you'll ever meet! Not unlike our own Wild Rumpus cat ambassadors!
A story doesn't have to be lengthy to be impactful. In few words, "Fox" manages to say more about grief, friendship, jealousy, betrayal, and hope than novels twenty times its length. You will find yourself contemplating the ending of this tale of trauma and recovery for days (or possibly longer) after you've turned the final page.
A hungry lion is with all his friends, all of them much smaller animals including a penguin, a turtle, and bunnies with and without floppy ears. One by one they disappear...What's going on? This clever book is happy to remind you that things are not always what they appear. Or are they?
There once was a pig who loved to watch the birds. Day after day, he dreams of flying, and begins to create his own inventions to soar through the air, but to no avail. Pig soon learns that asking for help not only brings in valuable input, but also joyous community around a good idea. Will Pig be able to get his dream off the
ground? Il Sung Na’s soft illustrations give this book a true dream-like quality, as Pig works hard developing his idea over and over again, with help from his friends. It celebrates the fact that, even if you have lofty and complicated dreams, sometimes the most simple of pastimes, like watching the birds, can be the most fulfilling. And—by the end of this book—who knows? Maybe pigs really will fly.
Skeptics, do not fret: finally, there are princesses all of us can look up to. Brown
reconstructs our narrow definition of what it means to be a princess, proposing a
new narrative of heroism. With the help of Wimmer’s fluid and soulful illustrations, we meet a myriad of genuine role models, from firefighting gardeners to
supermarket cashiers, all of whom fight their battles day by day. This gem is one of a kind in elegance and diversity.
At the edge of the no-go desert, under the stretching-out sky, imagination abounds.
A dynamic girl’s voice rings with pride and exuberance about the best thing in the village. Gather your crazy brothers and all you can find to build a bike from scratch. Clarke and Rudd collaborate on a world of possibility where you can only cheer for these engineers as they cruise bumpetty bump over sand hills, right through their mud-for-walls home and past their fed-up mum! Thick swaths painted over cardboard boxes vault you right into the homestyle fun of these spirited kids.
Bold and captivating. Morales vividly shares the story of her journey with her son
from Mexico to the United States. Leaving her heart and language behind, she struggles to find a sense of home, until they stumble upon the place that conquers all fear: the public library. Five-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales vibrantly captures the pure wonder of discovery, saturating each word and image with a purpose. Your heart will soar as you realize this feeling of joy exists in all of us
when we read.
The animal world is often typecast: spiders are creepy, porcupines are prickly, and gorillas are fierce. But each of these beasts has other sides, too. Gorillas, for instance, enjoy napping and are gentle parents to their young. As we learn more about each creature, its illustration changes from a stark, black-and-white image to one with subtle colors and nuance. The message of this book is clear,
but it’s welcome and, indeed, lovely.
Omu (AH-moo, the Igbo word for ‘queen’) has made a delicious red stew to have for her evening meal. Oh, what a wonderful stew, so full of love and flavor! A stew so rich creates a marvelous aroma—but it’s not just Omu who is anticipating
this comforting treat. The smell has wafted down to the street, and soon—KNOCK KNOCK! One by one, dozens of neighbors come by Omu’s door to get a taste of the marvelous red stew. Omu’s generous heart gets the best of her, and soon her pot is as empty as her stomach. What is Omu to do? This is a beautiful tale of generosity, community, and the joy surrounding food. The ending is sure to warm
your heart, just like a delicious bowl of Omu’s rich red stew.