• New Picture Books Released March 2021 - great new picture book releases
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  picture books

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: March 2021

    March is another great month for new picture book releases!

    I have enjoyed making these monthly lists again this year. In case you missed it, you can see the picture books I have been excited to read with my kids from previous months:

    And if you have kids that read middle grade (or are an adult that reads middle grade, I am!) here are some new releases for middle grade books as well.

    If you know of any good books being published this year I would love it if you would let me know, I would like to check them out!

     

    New Picture Books Released March 2021 - great new picture book releases

     

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: March 2021

     

    You Were Created

    March 1st

    When Justice approaches her teacher, Ms. DoWright, with tears in her eyes, upset about a recent argument with friends, an important conversation about kindness and acceptance is immediately underway in this faith-based children’s book, You Were CreatedYou Were Created, by Alicia Kennedy, shares the heartfelt story about a group of children who discover that their differences embody special qualities God has created in them to make them unique. Readers will learn the valuable lesson that they were created with purpose, especially for this world, and will be encouraged to embrace one another’s differences, a timeless lesson all children deserve to uncover.

    Allergic: A Graphic Novel

    March 2nd

    A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet!

     

    At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with the new baby they’re expecting, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie thinks a new puppy is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!

    Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet?

     

     

    If You Give a Girl a Bike

    March 8th

    If you give a girl a bike, she will ride and ride and ride. She may also ask for a skateboard, climbing shoes, and a surfboard!

    Follow these adventurous girls as they learn new sports. They may fall every now and then, but they aren’t afraid of a few scrapes or bruises!

     

    The Story of Anne Frank: A Biography Book for New Readers

    March 9th

    Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who lived during World War II, when people like her were killed just for being Jewish. Anne and her family were forced to hide in a tiny, secret space to try and survive, and Anne began keeping a diary to practice her love of writing and pass the time.

    In her writing, she described what life was like as a Jewish person during the war. She also wrote about her hopes, dreams, and the future she wanted when she could live a normal life again. Even though she was scared, Anne believed in the goodness of people and never gave up hope that life would get better again.

     

    Kafka and the Doll

    March 9th

    Inspired by a true story, Kafka and the Doll recounts a remarkable gesture of kindness from one of the world’s most bewildering and iconic writers. In the fall of 1923, Franz Kafka encountered a distraught little girl on a walk in the park. She’d lost her doll and was inconsolable. Kafka told her the doll wasn’t lost, but instead, traveling the world and having grand adventures! And to reassure her, Kafka began delivering letters from the doll to the girl for weeks.

    The legend of Kafka and the doll has captivated imaginations for decades as it reveals the playful and compassionate side of a man known for his dark and brooding tales. Kafka and the Doll is a testament to living life to the fullest and to the life-changing power of storytelling.

     

    Cartwheels: Finding Your Special Kind of Smart

    March 9th

    Lively Sloane loves to make up dances, put on shows, and do art. But as she heads into first grade, nothing frustrates her more than reading. In math, the numbers go together right in her brain, but no matter how hard she looks at letters, and no matter how many times her teacher and parents say “focus,” she would much rather do cartwheels. She feels sad that she isn’t keeping up with her class and isn’t reading the “right way.” Then, she finds out that she has dyslexia. Join Sloane on her journey to learn to read, gain confidence, and find her own special kind of smart.

     

    I grew up on the Highlights Hidden Picture pages and I want to get this book for nostalgia’s sake but also because I think my kids would really like it!

    The Hardest Hidden Pictures Book Ever

    March 9th

    Hidden Pictures puzzles just got even harder! This collection includes all types of challenging Hidden Pictures puzzles, including photo puzzles, puzzles without clues, unscrambles, and more. Find more than 1,500 objects hidden in 125+ pages of puzzles. A great gift for anyone who loves a puzzle challenge!

     

    Little Dandelion Seeds the World

    March 15th

    Did you know dandelions thrive on all seven continents? The cheery blooms are among the most resilient and adaptable in the world. In this lyrical book, learn how the crafty plant travels on the wind and hitches rides in all manner of ways in order to spread far and wide. Includes a map and backmatter on dandelions.

     

    Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up

    March 16th

    After a long sleepy winter, the trees, flowers, and animals are getting ready for a busy spring. Discover all the different ways nature wakes up when spring arrives in this fresh and fun story of a family exploring their garden. 

    With further non-fiction information about animals and plants at the back, this picture book is the perfect introduction to the science behind spring.

     

    Coquí in the City

    March 16th

    Miguel’s pet frog, Coquí, is always with him: as he greets his neighbors in San Juan, buys quesitos from the panadería, and listens to his abuelo’s story about meeting baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Then Miguel learns that he and his parents are moving to the U.S. mainland, which means leaving his beloved grandparents, home in Puerto Rico, and even Coquí behind. Life in New York City is overwhelming, with unfamiliar buildings, foods, and people. But when he and Mamá go exploring, they find a few familiar sights that remind them of home, and Miguel realizes there might be a way to keep a little bit of Puerto Rico with him–including the love he has for Coquí–wherever he goes.

    A heartfelt picture book based on the author-illustrator’s own experiences, about a boy who moves to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico and realizes that New York City might have more in common with San Juan than he initially thought.

     

    My Little Brave Girl

    March 23rd

    The world is big, my little brave girl.
    It’s all here for you.
     
    A poetic text encourages girls to reach higher, dream bigger, and approach the world with their hearts wide open. This love letter to little girls was inspired by Hilary Duff’s own experience as a mother as she considered all the ways her daughter had to be brave even as an infant. With lush illustrations and an empowering message, My Little Brave Girl is the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, graduation, and any time a girl—or woman—is embarking on a new chapter of her life!

     

    Watercress

    March 30, 2021

    Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl’s parents stop suddenly when they spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road. Grabbing an old paper bag and some rusty scissors, the whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the muddy, snail covered watercress as they can.

    At first, she’s embarrassed. Why can’t her family get food from the grocery store? But when her mother shares a story of her family’s time in China, the girl learns to appreciate the fresh food they foraged. Together, they make a new memory of watercress.

     

    Hugo and the Impossible Thing

    March 30th

    Hugo has one goal – to conquer the Impossible Thing.

    At the edge of the forest stood the Impossible Thing. All the animals in the forest often wondered what was beyond the Impossible Thing, but since everyone said getting through it would be impossible, no animal ever tried.
     
    Until a brave little dog named Hugo decides he just might be up to the challenge. With determination and some unexpected help from his friends, Hugo learns that what may seem impossible might just be possible after all.

     


     

    Once again, here are some more great lists of books being released this year:

  • The Best Picture Books of 2020 - the best picture books for kids published in 2020
    book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2020

    It’s time for one of my favorite book lists of the year:

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2020!

    Well, okay, this is my first time every writing this particular post but I’ve made lists for the past number of years and it’s a fun annual one to write. In case you are curious, here are are favorites from previous years:

     

    The Best Picture Books of 2020 - the best picture books for kids published in 2020

     

    I also like to do a mid-year version of this post, here’s The Best Picture Books of 2020 (so far) from a few months ago.

     

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2020

     

    I actually got a copy of this beautiful book sent to me by the author and illustrator but that’s not why it’s on this list, it’s on here because it is a gorgeous book with a wonderful message.

    Also, I just mentioned this book in my recent Homeschool Day in the Life post, with it’s great rhyme and rhythm we used it in our poetry tea time.

    Oh, The Beautiful Things He Makes

    It’s a question we all wrestle with. Why do bad things happen? But it’s not just adults asking this question. Children want to know too. Oh! The Beautiful Things He Makes! follows a sweet, yet candid dialogue between a mother and her adoptive panda cub about life’s tough subjects. Written specifically for children, this book has a repetitive, resounding message–that God makes beautiful things out of any circumstance. If children grow up embracing this truth, they will be able to face these challenges with confidence, and come out stronger on the other side.

    Oh! The Beautiful Things He Makes! touches on topics such as selfishness, bullying, prejudice, grief and loss, among others. The end of the book has 7 supplemental origami crafts meant to inspire further creativity and connection.

     

    There are a few books on this list that while they are picture books they aren’t storybooks, this is a beautifully illustrated book about flowers. I’ve enjoyed this author’s entire series.

    The Big Book of Blooms

    In The Big Book of Blooms, the next installment in the wildly successful Big Book series, Yuval Zommer’s charming illustrations bring to life some of the most colorful, flamboyant, and unusual flowers from across the globe.

    In the opening pages, readers will learn all about botany, including how to recognize different types of flowers. Subsequent pages illustrate the various habitats that are home to flora such as pitcher plants, the giant water lily, and the weirdly wonderful corpse flower. Readers will discover which flowers are endangered and why some blooms are fragrant or colorful, not to mention grisly details about carnivorous and poisonous flowers.

     

    This is a funny little story/spin off from Captain Marvel all about the Flerken, my kids loved it.

    Beware the Flerken

    Hello! I am Goose.
    I look like a cat.
    But I am not a cat.
    I am a Flerken!
     
    In this adorable picture book told from Goose”s point of view, our favorite Flerken embarks on an adventure alongside Captain Marvel that leads them to Louisiana, where Goose SLORPS some alligators and finds a new friend in Monica Rambeau!
     
     

    Rita and Ralph’s Rotten Day

    In two little houses,
    on two little hills,
    lived two best friends…

    So begins the story of Rita and Ralph. Every day they meet to play beneath the apple tree. It’s always fun and games — until one roundly rotten day when a new game means someone ends up crying. Who knew it could be so hard to say “I’m sorry”?

    Just when it seems nothing will ever be right again, a surprising thing happens. The old friends try something new, that isn’t new at all. Something they’ve done a hundred times…

     

    Are You a Cat?

    Dogs chase cats. Everyone knows this, especially cats.

    When Dog wants to chase Cat, he politely asks, “are you a cat?”

    To outrun and outsmart Dog, Cat pretends to be other animals that dogs wouldn’t ordinarily want to chase. It’s a masterful plan indeed. But when an unexpected creature walks by, it’s impossible for Cat to play pretend for much longer.

    In a charming picture book filled with pleasing banter and hilarious quips, rising talent Coll Muir creates the perfect story about staying true to yourself.

     

    Mable: A Mermaid Fable

    Mabel isn’t like the other mermaids. Lucky isn’t like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn’t about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses.

    The inimitable Rowboat Watkins is back with another humorous tale about being true to yourself.

     

    I didn’t do a very good job keeping up with picture books in 2020, in large part because the library was closed for a number of months, I’m hoping to do better in 2021 and have a longer list!

    Actually, this year I am writing monthly book lists with picture books that are being released that sound really good, you can check out January’s list and February’s list so far.

  • 2021 New Picture Book Releases - great sounding picture books that are being released February 2021
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: February 2021

    I’m excited to share a list of books that are coming out in February that sound really good!

    In case you missed it, I recently shared a post that had January’s new picture book releases as well as middle grade novels that are being released in the first few months of 2021.

    Once again, I’ve spent quite a bit of time sifting through picture books that are being released and I think I’ve found some really good winners! Obviously, I haven’t actually been able to read these books yet so I can’t promise they are going to be amazing but I hope so.

    I hope to read as many of these as I can so that throughout the year I can share which books have been our favorites.

     

    2021 New Picture Book Releases - great sounding picture books that are being released February 2021

     

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: February 2021

     

    Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket

    February 1st

    Sadie Sprocket is a girl with a big dream—to go to Mars! No one has been to Mars (yet!), so of course that’s where Sadie sets her sights. She learns everything she can about the planet and space, then assembles her crew of trusty stuffed animals. Together they build a rocket and prepare for the historic journey. And then finally—blastoff!

    Sadie and her team make it to Mars, but what will they encounter when they leave the ship? And will they travel home safely as the world watches?

    With cheery rhyming text and quirky artwork, this is a story about dreaming big and reaching for the stars. The book includes facts about Mars and women in space to inspire budding explorers everywhere.

     

    I loved Miracle Man by this author and am excited to get my hands on this one!

    Go and Do Likewise!: The Parables and Wisdom of Jesus

    February 2nd

    But Jesus was going somewhere.
    His journey to find those most in need of him began anew each morning.
    Jesus walked . . . and ever since, people have followed him.
     
    Through parables of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son, the lost sheep and the beatitudes, Jesus taught his disciples the redeeming power of sacrificial love and showed mercy to everyone around him—especially the sick, the poor, and the downtrodden.
     
    In this inspirational and richly illustrated book, John Hendrix brings to life the wisdom of Jesus. Interweaving hand lettering with his signature, award-winning art style, Hendrix captures the spirit of Jesus’s timeless message that will resonate with readers of any Christian faith.

     

    Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

    February 2nd

    Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.

    News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.

     

    Love Gave: A Story of God’s Greatest Gift

    February 2nd

    From author and spoken word artist Quina Aragon comes this one-of-a-kind poetic picture book for children. Love Gave tells the story of the incarnation and the good news of Jesus Christ in language kids can understand.

    Children will hear how God created us to be His friends, but because of sin, we were separated from Him. Out of love, God gave us Jesus who died and rose again to solve our sin problem and restore our friendship with God.

    The final page provides a clear explanation of the gospel and an invitation for children to trust their heart to God and accept His gift of eternal fellowship. This is a book your whole family will enjoy and is sure to become a favorite for years to come.

     

    What’s Inside A Flower?: And Other Questions About Science & Nature

    February 2nd

    Budding backyard scientists can start exploring their world with this stunning introduction to these flowery show-stoppers–from seeds to roots to blooms. Learning how flowers grow gives kids beautiful building blocks of science and inquiry.

    In the launch of a new nonfiction picture book series, Rachel Ignotofsky’s distinctive art style and engaging, informative text clearly answers any questions a child (or adult) could have about flowers.

     

    Goodnight, Astronaut

    February 2nd

    Scott Kelly was born for adventure. But exploring takes a lot of enery–and sleep is the super fuel to turbocharge dreams. Luckily, sleeping can be exciting if you’re drifting off in the right place.

    Scott has fallen asleep at the bottom of the ocean, in the cockpit of an F-14 fighter jet, in a yurt on Mount Everest, and of course in space! Join Scott on his many adventures, and maybe they’ll inspire dreams of your own!

     

    The Secret Fawn

    February 2nd

    A little girl is always missing out on the wonderful things her family gets to see and do, just because she is the youngest and smallest. She misses seeing shooting stars because she goes to bed too early; she can’t pick the first apple of autumn because she’s too short; and, this morning, everyone else got to see a deer . . . except her. She goes into her backyard in search of the deer, a sugar cube tucked in her pocket. She sees a flick of brown in the orchard — is that the deer? No, it’s just the neighbor’s friendly dog (Shhhhh, Nala!). Is that it by the pond? No, that’s just a bird, playing in the water. Just when she’s about to give up, she spots a fawn, beautiful, quiet and small . . . just like her.

     

    Flashlight Night: An Adventure in Trusting God

    February 2nd

    Flashlight Night is narrated by a boy whose parents have used chalkboard paint to create a wall where he and his siblings can write out all their fears, cares, and concerns: Will I learn to blow a bubble? Tie my shoes? Stay out of trouble? Be the friend they choose?

    When the boy worries that God isn’t responding to his prayers, he and his mom climb the stairs and visit the chalkboard wall at nighttime with a flashlight. She shines the light on some prayers and turns it off at other times, pointing out that the prayer (and his faith) is still there, and in God’s hands.

    “Sometimes we see His yes,” Mom says.
    “And sometimes we just don’t.
    But just because it hasn’t happened,
    doesn’t mean it won’t.”

    Even when it’s dark and dim
    and when I cannot see,
    I choose to place my trust in Him
    And I know God’s close to me.

     

    How to Promenade with a Python (and Not Get Eaten): A Polite Predators Book

    February 2nd

    Celeste is a cockroach, and everyone knows that cockroaches are survivors, so who better to give advice on surviving an encounter with a polite predator? Everyone also knows that taking a moonlit promenade with a deadly reticulated python (named Frank) is a very bad idea. But Celeste loves very bad ideas, and she is willing to put your life on the line to prove herself right! Need to stop a python from swallowing you head-first? Wear a lamp shade as a hat! Want to speed up a three-hundred-pound snake? Try roller skates! What’s the perfect light snack for a python? A chicken! Using her superior pythonine knowledge, Celeste comes up with various strategies and solutions — many dangerous, most absurd, but all based on the biology of pythons. Meanwhile, Frank is hatching his own plans.

     

    Milo Imagines the World

    February 2nd

    Milo is on a long subway ride with his older sister. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. There’s the whiskered man with the crossword puzzle; Milo imagines him playing solitaire in a cluttered apartment full of pets. There’s the wedding-dressed woman with a little dog peeking out of her handbag; Milo imagines her in a grand cathedral ceremony. And then there’s the boy in the suit with the bright white sneakers; Milo imagines him arriving home to a castle with a drawbridge and a butler. But when the boy in the suit gets off on the same stop as Milo–walking the same path, going to the exact same place–Milo realizes that you can’t really know anyone just by looking at them.

     

    The Owl Who Asks Why

    February 2nd

    Little Owl and Little Wolf have so many questions for their parents. “Why can’t we move our eyes?” “When will I no longer be a pup?” But owls don’t ask “Why?” They ask “Whooo?” And wolves don’t ask “When?” They ask “Hoooow?” Mom and Dad say it’s silly to even consider asking those sorts of questions.

    Feeling teased and misunderstood, Little Owl and Little Wolf decide to run away from home for good. After straying too far from the path, the pair discovers that they’re lost in the forest and begin to wonder if they’ve made the right decision by leaving the pack. Little Owl and Little Wolf realize that the only way to make it back to their families is to not be afraid to ask the right questions, their own way.

     

     

    Paris by Phone

    February 9th

    When Josephine Harris decides that Paris is where she really belongs, all it takes is a quick call on her magical phone to whisk her away. The city of lights has fancy cafés, baguettes under every arm, the Eiffel Tower, and a fabulous new family who can’t wait to show her around.

    The city is a feast for the senses, but each new discovery brings a pang of melancholy. There’s something missing here. Could it be the person who loves Josephine’s best–her own mother?

     

    Headstrong Hallie!: The story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female “Fire Guard”

    February 15, 2021

    Hallie Morse Daggett loved spending time outdoors, hiking among the tall trees of the forests in California’s Siskiyou Mountains. She wasn’t afraid of the bears, coyotes, and wildcats. But Hallie was afraid of fire and understood the threat it posed to the forests, wildlife, and people. And more than anything, she wanted to devote her life to protecting her beloved outdoors; she decided she would work for the US Forest Service. But in the 1880s the Forest Service didn’t hire women, thinking they couldn’t handle the physical challenges of the work or the isolation. But the Forest Service didn’t know Hallie or how determined she could be.

    This picture-book biography tells the story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the first woman “fire guard” hired by the US Forest Service, whose hard work and dedication led the way for other women to join the Forest Service.

     

    Shy Willow

    February 16th

    Willow is shy. VERY shy.

    Her home is in an abandoned mailbox, and she’d rather stay put. Outside kids scream and soccer balls collide, trees look like monsters, and rain is noisy in a scary kind of way. It’s much nicer to stay inside, drawing. But then a young boy drops a letter in Willow’s mailbox: it’s a note to the moon asking for a special favor. Willow knows that if she doesn’t brave the world outside, the letter will never be delivered, and the boy will be heartbroken. Should she try? Can she?

    Cat Min delivers a breathtakingly illustrated story about shyness, the power of empathy, and what it means to make a friend.

     

    Mars! Earthlings Welcome

    February 23rd

    Meet Mars! The red planet. Planet Marvelous. Favorite sibling of Earth (or so he claims). Sometimes they’re close (just 34.5 million miles apart). Sometimes they need space (250 million miles apart)! Earth and Mars have a lot in common―clouds, mountains, polar icecaps. And while Earth has Earthlings, Mars makes a persuasive case for why people should make the journey to spend time with him. His day is 7 minutes longer! He is home to the largest volcano in the whole solar system. He’s, well, marvelous.

  • January 2021 New Picture Book Releases - Anticipated Picture Book Releases we are excited about!
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: January 2021

    Last week I shared a list of middle grade books coming at in the first few months of the year and this week I thought I would share some new picture book releases that sound really good.

    Originally I was going to make this list include picture books that were coming out January through to March but I got started with the list and realized there were enough good sounding books to make separate monthly lists!

    I actually did this a few years ago and so I guess this year I am bringing back the monthly picture book releases lists.

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time sifting through picture books that are being released and I think I’ve found some really good winners! Obviously, I haven’t actually been able to read these books yet so I can’t promise they are going to be amazing but I hope so!

    I hope to read as many of these as I can so that throughout the year I can share which books have been our favorites.

    I’ll have the list of February picture books up in about two weeks so be sure to check back soon!

     

    January 2021 New Picture Book Releases - Anticipated Picture Book Releases we are excited about!

     

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: January 2021

     

    I am raising three different kids from three different races, we love to recognize and celebrate the differences.

    Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

    January 5th

    A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

    Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages.

     

    This book looks so cozy!

    Blanket: Journey to Extreme Coziness

    Behold, the powers of your blanket are REAL.

    Readers will learn how to make their own snuggly, cuddly cocoon and all the things you can do when you feel safe and warm. Your blanket might take you to space, under the deep blue sea, or anywhere you can imagine. But what happens when you leave your blanket? Not knowing is scary, but also exciting!
     
    This adorable and exuberant story is filled with open-ended questions that encourage readers to be true to themselves, both inside and outside of their blankets.

     

    I can totally picture my daughter on the cover of this book.

    Outside, Inside

    January 5th

    Something strange happened on an unremarkable day just before the season changed.

    Everybody who was outside . . .

    . . . went inside.

    Outside, it was quieter, wilder, and different. Inside, we laughed, we cried, and we grew.

    We remembered to protect the ones we love and love the ones who protect us.

    While the world changed outside, we became stronger on the inside and believed that someday soon spring would come again.

     

    I like owls and I like picture books that have lots of facts and good information.

    So You Want to Be an Owl

    January 12th

    Welcome to Owl School! Professor Olaf Owl is here to tell you everything you need to know about being an owl, from hunting to camouflage to seeing in the dark. Study hard, and soon you’ll be a first-rate member of Team Owl! This engaging nonfiction picture book is full of vibrant, humorous illustrations and owl lessons that will have readers eagerly practicing their hoots, toe swivels, and alertness (even if they can’t grow feathers).

     

    I’m excited for another great sounding picture book biography!

    She Caught the Light: Williamina Stevens Fleming: Astronomer

    January 19th

    Ever since Williamina Fleming was little she was curious, and her childhood fascination with light inspired her life’s work. Mina became an astronomer in a time when women were discouraged from even looking through telescopes. Yet Mina believed that the universe, with its billions of stars, was a riddle—and she wanted to help solve it.

    Mina ultimately helped to create a map of the universe that paved the way for astronomers. Newbery Honor–winning Kathryn Lasky shares her incredible true story.

     

    I love helping my children have a strong vocabulary and this book sounds like a good one for it!

    Seaside Stroll

    Go on a snowy, sandy shore walk in a story where every single word starts with the letter S!

    Explore the beach in winter in this story told through clever language. During a sunset beach saunter, a girl stumbles and drops her doll into a tidal pool. Soaked! Celebrating the natural silence of an off-season location, the surf and sand are brought to life through this engaging story.

     

    Oooh, this is a good one after the last year!

    Windows

    January 19th

    Out the window, I can see
    a new world looking back at me.
    The streets are still,
    there are no crowds …
    but looking up, I see the clouds.

    Told through the voices―and windows―of children from around the world, this story’s comforting message and bright illustrations bring hope into your home even as our world changes outside. The book’s beautiful design reveals similarities―“In different windows everywhere, I see rainbows, hearts, and teddy bears”―that can comfort and unite us, even in hard times.

    Author Patrick Guest was inspired to write this story when he was forced to isolate from his family as a medical worker. His lyrical writing gives hope to our shared experience. In addition, Jonathan Bentley, award-winning illustrator of more than 30 children’s books, infuses the book with warmth and delight.

    When you look out your window, don’t forget that we’re all looking out―together.

     

    This one sounds really sweet.

    Love

    January 19th

    Everyone loves everyone in Tess’s house, but when Tess has to leave for school for the very first time, she is worried that her family’s love might not stretch that far. Mom explains that love is like a string, it connects people together even when they are far away. At school Tess notices that all the children have strings! Some are new, some are old, some stretch a long way, and some even stretch right up into the sky. But what happens when a string breaks?

    Love is the third in a trio of feel-good picture books from author Corrinne Averiss (Joy (2018), Hope (2019)) – a pure delight from start to finish. A wonderful story that subtly tackles difficult topics of death, grief, separation, and overcoming anxiety.

     

    Bear Island

    January 26th

    Louise and her family are sad over the loss of their beloved dog, Charlie. “Life will not be the same,” Louise says, as she visits a little island that Charlie loved.

    But on a visit to the island after Charlie’s death, something strange happens: She meets a bear. At first, she’s afraid, but soon she realizes that the bear is sad, too. As Louise visits more often, she realizes that getting over loss takes time. And just when she starts to feel better, it’s time for Bear to bed down for the winter.

    Once again, Louise believes that life will not be the same. But sometimes, things can change for the better, and on the first warm day of spring, her family welcomes a new member. Here is a lovely, poignant story about loss and healing that will bring comfort to even the youngest readers.

     

    Marsha is Magnetic

    January 26th

    Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped.
     
    Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method.
     
    With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to attract as many friends as she can—what could possibly go wrong?

    In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.

     

     

    As someone who is NOT a hugger I want this book for myself!

    Don’t Hug Doug: (He Doesn’t Like It)

    January 26th

    Doug doesn’t like hugs. He thinks hugs are too squeezy, too squashy, too squooshy, too smooshy. He doesn’t like hello hugs or goodbye hugs, game-winning home run hugs or dropped ice cream cone hugs, and he definitely doesn’t like birthday hugs. He’d much rather give a high five–or a low five, a side five, a double five, or a spinny five. Yup, some people love hugs; other people don’t. So how can you tell if someone likes hugs or not? There’s only one way to find out: Ask! Because everybody gets to decide for themselves whether they want a hug or not.

     

    A Best Friend for Bear

    January 26th

    Bear is in his room. He is sad. He wants a best friend to play with. “Go outside,” says Daddy. “You’ll meet a friend to play with.”
    Bear takes his ball and goes to the forest. But where will he find a best friend? He looks everywhere(behind the trees, between bushes, etc.).
    Rabbit sees Bear and Bear says he is looking for a best friend. So Rabbit joins in on the search. Owl flies down and asks what they are doing.

    So Owl joins in the search but only sees Fox & thinks she can help. Squirrel sees them and she joins in the quest to go to Fox.
    Badger is the last one to join them. But when they got to Fox’s house, Fox tells them Owl was wrong and she doesn’t know where to find a best friend.

    Bear is sad. As he sits on the rock, Squirrel tells him he is not alone, all the animals are there. Bear thinks about it and he lights up. He realizes he not only found one best friend but 5!

     

    What’s the Matter, Marlo?

    January 26th

    Marlo and Coco are best friends. They do everything together―they read together, laugh together, and play games together. After all, they’re best friends. And that’s what best friends do.

    But one day, when Coco asks Marlo to play, he doesn’t answer. Instead, Marlo turns away ignoring Coco, until he’s lost in his anger. Coco is worried about her friend, but then she remembers she can always find Marlo.

    In this charming, thoughtful picture book, author-illustrator Andrew Arnold explores empathy and sadness, and how friends can help each other navigate big emotions. Because that’s what best friends do.

     

    We just spent all of November and December listening to Rend Collective’s A Jolly Irish Christmas Volume 2 album and so now I want to visit Ireland and this book sounds like a fun alternative for the moment.

    The Great Irish Farm Book

    January 31st

    Everything your child needs to know about Irish farms!

    Did you know that there are almost 2,000,000 pigs in Ireland?

    And that sheep have rectangular pupils, which means they have amazing vision?

    Would you believe only 10 per cent of the milk produced in Ireland is consumed here?

    And that hens are pregnant for 21 days, but a horse can be pregnant for up to 345 days?

    How about the fact that despite our love of spuds, grass is Ireland’s top crop, covering 3,700,000 hectares, while potatoes cover only 9,000 hectares?

    From the farmer’s day to the changing of the seasons, from animals and crops to machinery and technology, and from ancient times to the modern day, The Great Irish Farm Book will take you on a fascinating journey through life on an Irish farm.

     

    Do you know of any good sounding picture books coming out in January? (Or other months of the year?)

    Check back soon for February’s list!

  • The Best Picture Books of 2020 - so far! Great picture books to read with kids
    book lists,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books of 2020 (so far)

    I feel like we are behind in our picture book reading this year.

    I blame it (mostly) on the fact that the libraries were closed for a few months.

    But now that our library is back up and running we are taking full advantage of it again.

    (If you are curious, you can see inside a few of the books from our library hauls here.)

     

    These are the best picture books that have been published in 2020 that we have read so far. We’ve got a lot more that came out this year that we want to read yet so like most years I plan on doing this round up mid-year (those this one is a little late) and then I’ll do one at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2021.

    If you are curious about previous years you can check them out:

     

    The Best Picture Books of 2020 - so far! Great picture books to read with kids

     

     

    The Best Picture Books of 2020 (so far)

     

    Wood Wire Wings

    Emma Lilian Todd’s mind was always soaring–she loved to solve problems. Lilian tinkered and fiddled with all sorts of objects, turning dreams into useful inventions. As a child, she took apart and reassembled clocks to figure out how they worked. As an adult, typing up patents at the U.S. Patent Office, Lilian built the inventions in her mind, including many designs for flying machines. However, they all seemed too impractical. Lilian knew she could design one that worked. She took inspiration from both nature and her many failures, driving herself to perfect the design that would eventually successfully fly. Illustrator Tracy Subisak’s art brings to life author Kirsten W. Larson’s story of this little-known but important engineer.

     

    Rita and Ralph’s Rotten Day

    In two little houses,
    on two little hills,
    lived two best friends…

    So begins the story of Rita and Ralph. Every day they meet to play beneath the apple tree. It’s always fun and games — until one roundly rotten day when a new game means someone ends up crying. Who knew it could be so hard to say “I’m sorry”?

    Just when it seems nothing will ever be right again, a surprising thing happens. The old friends try something new, that isn’t new at all. Something they’ve done a hundred times…

     

    If I Couldn’t Be Anne

    In this whimsical and magical picture book, Anne’s boundless imagination takes flight! She imagines being all the things she loves so dearly. If I Couldn’t Be Anne, Anne with an e, what would I be . . . Anne wonders what it would be like to be the wind dancing round the treetops. A tightrope walker, breathless and brave. A princess in a palace made of apple blossoms. A magical frost fairy or a plain little wood elf. . . . But even as Anne’s imagination soars far and wide, she comes back down to earth, recognizing that some things – like friendship! – are even better than the imagination.

     

    Are You a Cat?

    Dogs chase cats. Everyone knows this, especially cats.

    When Dog wants to chase Cat, he politely asks, “are you a cat?”

    To outrun and outsmart Dog, Cat pretends to be other animals that dogs wouldn’t ordinarily want to chase. It’s a masterful plan indeed. But when an unexpected creature walks by, it’s impossible for Cat to play pretend for much longer.

    In a charming picture book filled with pleasing banter and hilarious quips, rising talent Coll Muir creates the perfect story about staying true to yourself.

     

    Mable: A Mermaid Fable

    Mabel isn’t like the other mermaids. Lucky isn’t like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn’t about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses.

    The inimitable Rowboat Watkins is back with another humorous tale about being true to yourself.

     

    Mayhem at the Museum

    Paintings and sculptures come to life when a young girl visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her classmates. What starts as just another tour of the museum becomes a joyful parade as the art, which must not be touched, touches the young museum-goers in surprising ways.

     

    I Found a Kitty

    Lucky dog Arfy has a home. When he discovers a homeless kitten, Arfy hopes Scamper can come live with him, but–achoo!–his person is allergic to cats! So, Arfy writes persuasive letters to prospective owners about what a great pet Scamper would make. But somehow these matches aren’t made in heaven. If Scamper can’t live with any of them, where will he go? He needs a quiet home where he could make people as happy as they’ll make him, full of laps, pats and purrs, and yarn balls….Arfy thinks he knows just the place!!

    Another winning, heart-tugging story that’s perfect for cat lovers, dog lovers, and pet adoption advocates. Troy Cummings writes a great read aloud, and the book showcases many styles of letters, making it appealing to parents and teachers looking to teach the lost art of written communication. Helpful tips in the backmatter inform children how they can help the plight of homeless animals.

     

    What are some of your favorite books from 2020 so far?

  • Classic Picture Books that are still good today - a list of classic picture books that have stood the test of time
    book lists,  picture books

    14 Classic Picture Books That Have Stood The Test of Time

    There are some picture books that have just proven themselves over and over again.

    Of course, everyone has a slightly different opinion on which books are actually good classic picture books.

    Truthfully, my kids even have different opinions than me (if they had made this list Curious George would have been included).

    When trying to decide the criteria for what made a picture book a classic I decided to go will anything published in 1986 (the year of my birth) or before that.

    I think that makes me a classic in this definition. That’s one way to feel old.

    Next week I plan on coming back with a list of what I would consider modern day classic picture books!

    Are there classic picture books that you think should have made this list?

     

    Classic Picture Books that are still good today - a list of classic picture books that have stood the test of time

     

    14 Classic Picture Books That Have Stood The Test of Time

     

    Where the Wild Things Are

    This iconic story has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations. When Max dresses in his wolf suit and causes havoc in the house, his mother sends him to bed. From there, Max sets sail to an island inhabited by the Wild Things, who name him king and share a wild rumpus with him. But then from far away across the world, Max smells good things to eat…

     

    Ox-Cart Man

    Thus begins a lyrical journey through the days and weeks, the months, and the changing seasons in the life of one New Englander and his family. The oxcart man packs his goods – the wool from his sheep, the shawl his wife made, the mittens his daughter knitted, and the linen they wove. He packs the birch brooms his son carved, and even a bag of goose feathers from the barnyard geese.

    He travels over hills, through valleys, by streams, past farms and villages. At Portsmouth Market he sells his goods, one by one – even his beloved ox. Then, with his pockets full of coins, he wanders through the market, buying provisions for his family, and returns to his home. And the cycle begins again.

     

    I love the rhythm and rhyme in this book!

    The Caboose Who Got Loose

    Katy caboose doesn’t like her life at the back of the train. Stuck with clouds of billowing smoke from the engine and a bumpy, jolting ride, she longs for some peace and quiet. When her rusty bolts bust loose, Katy finally gets the life she wants in a way she never expected!

     

    Classic Picture Books that are still good today - a list of classic picture books that have stood the test of time

     

     

    This one was published in the year of my birth and never fails to make me choke up when I’m reading it.

    Love You Forever

    A young woman holds her newborn son
    And looks at him lovingly.

    Softly she sings to him:
    “I’ll love you forever
    I’ll like you for always
    As long as I’m living
    My baby you’ll be.”

    Obviously this book had to be on the list, this is a true classic!

    Green Eggs and Ham

    “Do you like green eggs and ham?” asks Sam-I-am in this Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. In a house or with a mouse? In a boat or with a goat? On a train or in a tree? Sam keeps asking persistently. With unmistakable characters and signature rhymes, Dr. Seuss’s beloved favorite has cemented its place as a children’s classic. In this most famous of cumulative tales, the list of places to enjoy green eggs and ham, and friends to enjoy them with, gets longer and longer. Follow Sam-I-am as he insists that this unusual treat is indeed a delectable snack to be savored everywhere and in every way.

     

    The poems and pictures in this book are stunning.

    The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies

    Enjoy the classic, complete collection of Cicely Mary Barker’s original Flower Fairies books in this brand-new edition. This collector’s favorite has been redesigned and now features a lavish, eye-catching jacket with silver foil. The interior still includes all of the well-loved illustrations and poems from Barker’s eight original books, as well as a selection of fairy rhymes.

     

    The Tale of Peter Rabbit

    In this original edition, Peter and his sisters are told to go gather blackberries and not to go into MacGregor’s garden because Peter’s father was made into a pie by MacGregor after being found in the garden. Peter, who is wearing a new coat, promptly disobeys his mother, stuffs himself with vegetables, gets spotted by MacGregor, loses his coat and barely makes it out of the garden alive. When Peter gets home, he is given chamomile tea for dinner. Peter’s sisters, who listened to their mother and stayed out of the forbidden garden have a regular dinner.

     

    Classic Picture Books that are still good today - a list of classic picture books that have stood the test of time

     

    The Story of Ferdinand

    A true classic with a timeless message, The Story of Ferdinand has enchanted readers since it was first published in 1936. All the other bulls would run and jump and butt their heads together. But Ferdinand would rather sit and smell the flowers. And he does just that, until the day a bumblebee and some men from the Madrid bullfights give gentle Ferdinand a chance to be the most ferocious star of the corrida—and the most unexpected comic hero. This cherished hardcover is perfect for those who love Ferdinand, and those who have yet to meet him.

     

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    THE all-time classic story, from generation to generation, sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds! Have you shared it with a child or grandchild in your life?

    One sunny Sunday, the caterpillar was hatched out of a tiny egg. He was very hungry. On Monday, he ate through one apple; on Tuesday, he ate through three plums–and still he was hungry. When full at last, he made a cocoon around himself and went to sleep, to wake up a few weeks later wonderfully transformed into a butterfly!

     

    The Little House

    The house has an expressive face of windows and doors, and even the feelings of a person, so she’s sad when she’s surrounded by the dirty, noisy city’s hustle and bustle: “She missed the field of daisies / and the apple trees dancing in the moonlight.” Fortunately, there’s a happy ending, as the house is taken back to the country where she belongs.

     

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

    A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck–all parade across the pages of this delightful book.

     

    The Lorax

    “UNLESS someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.” Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth’s natural beauty. His classic cautionary tale is now available in an irresistible mini-edition, perfect for backpack or briefcase, for Arbor Day, Earth Day, and every day.

     

    Classic Picture Books that are still good today - a list of classic picture books that have stood the test of time

     

    The Little Engine That Could

    The story of a train filled with toys and gifts for little boys and girls that breaks down before reaching the children. After asking several passing trains for help over the hill, a little blue train agrees to help the stranded toys. Even though she is small, the blue train tries her best to bring the toys to the children on the other side of the hill.

     

    Little Bear

    Meet Little Bear, a friend to millions of children. And meet Mother Bear, who is there whenever Little Bear needs her. When it is cold and snowy outside, she finds just the right outfit for Little Bear to play in. When he goes to the moon, she has a hot lunch waiting for him on his return. And, of course, she never forgets his birthday.

     

    You can check out all of our book lists here!