• Great Picture Book Biographies - a great way for kids to learn history
    book lists,  elementary,  history,  picture books

    19 Picture Book Biography Stories

    It’s never too early to introduce kids to biographies.

    I love the increase of the number of biographical picture books in the last number of years.

    It’s not even just the number, it’s the quality as well.

    Even I have learned a lot about history thanks to some well written picture books.

    In this list I’ve included mostly books we have read but there are also a few I’ve heard really good things about that I want to check out.

    I’m sure there will be a part two to this list because I can already guarantee I’ve forgotten some really good ones.

    If I’ve missed a great biographical picture book you love, let me know in the comments, I may just add it to the list for part two!

     

    Great Picture Book Biographies - a great way for kids to learn history

     

    19 Picture Book Biography Stories

     

    Counting on Catherine

    You’ve likely heard of the historic Apollo 13 moon landing. But do you know about the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned safely home?

    As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about math, about the universe.

    From Katherine’s early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, Counting on Katherine is the story of a groundbreaking American woman who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives and made enormous contributions to history.

     

    The Girl With a Mind for Math

    After touring a German submarine in the early 1940s, young Raye set her sights on becoming an engineer. Little did she know sexism and racial inequality would challenge that dream every step of the way, even keeping her greatest career accomplishment a secret for decades. Through it all, the gifted mathematician persisted―finally gaining her well-deserved title in history: a pioneer who changed the course of ship design forever.

    The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague is the third book in a riveting educational series about the inspiring lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Montague herself!

     

    The Crayon Man

    purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz…

    What child doesn’t love to hold a crayon in their hands?  But children didn’t always have such magical boxes of crayons.  Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn’t really even draw in color.

    Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!

     

    Hidden Figures

    Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math…really good.

    They participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America’s first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world.

    In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as “colored computers,” and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career.

     

    Mae Among the Stars

    When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering.

    She wanted to be an astronaut.

    Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”

    Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.

    This book will inspire other young girls to reach for the stars, to aspire for the impossible, and to persist with childlike imagination. 

     

    The Boy Who Loved Math

    Most people think of mathematicians as solitary, working away in isolation. And, it’s true, many of them do. But Paul Erdos never followed the usual path. At the age of four, he could ask you when you were born and then calculate the number of seconds you had been alive in his head. But he didn’t learn to butter his own bread until he turned twenty. Instead, he traveled around the world, from one mathematician to the next, collaborating on an astonishing number of publications. With a simple, lyrical text and richly layered illustrations, this is a beautiful introduction to the world of math and a fascinating look at the unique character traits that made “Uncle Paul” a great man.

     

    Snowflake Bentley

    From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley’s enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist’s vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.

     

    Shark Lady

    Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary―and they didn’t think women should be scientists.

    Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. After earning several college degrees and making countless discoveries, Eugenie wrote herself into the history of science, earning the nickname “Shark Lady.” Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared and that women can do anything they set their minds to.

    An inspiring story by critically acclaimed zoologist Jess Keating about finding the strength to discover truths that others aren’t daring enough to see. Includes a timeline of Eugenie’s life and many fin-tastic shark facts!

     

    The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes

    As a girl coming of age during the Civil Rights Movement, Patricia Bath made it her mission to become a doctor. When obstacles like racism, poverty, and sexism threatened this goal, she persevered―brightening the world with a game-changing treatment for blindness!

    The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath is the second book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists! In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Dr. Bath herself!

     

    The Watcher

    Acclaimed picture book biographer Jeanette Winter has found her perfect subject: Jane Goodall, the great observer of chimpanzees. Follow Jane from her childhood in London watching a robin on her windowsill, to her years in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania, invited by brilliant scientist Louis Leakey to observe chimps, to her worldwide crusade to save these primates who are now in danger of extinction, and their habitat. Young animal lovers and Winter’s many fans will welcome this fascinating and moving portrait of an extraordinary person and the animals to whom she has dedicated her life.

     

    The Girl Who Thought in Pictures

    When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe!

     

    Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

    Capturing an engineer’s creative vision and mind for detail, this fully illustrated picture book biography sheds light on how the American inventor George Ferris defied gravity and seemingly impossible odds to invent the world’s most iconic amusement park attraction, the Ferris wheel.

    A fun, fact-filled text by Kathryn Gibbs Davis combines with Gilbert Ford’s dazzling full-color illustrations to transport readers to the 1893 World’s Fair, where George Ferris and his big, wonderful wheel lifted passengers to the skies for the first time.

     

    Dinosaur Lady

    Mary Anning loved scouring the beach near her home in England for shells and fossils. She fearlessly climbed over crumbling cliffs and rocky peaks, searching for new specimens. One day, something caught Mary’s eye.

    Bones. Dinosaur Bones.

    Mary’s discoveries rocked the world of science and helped create a brand-new field of study: paleontology. But many people believed women couldn’t be scientists, so Mary wasn’t given the credit she deserved. Nevertheless, Mary kept looking and learning more, making discoveries that reshaped scientific beliefs about the natural world.

    Dinosaur Lady is a beautiful and brilliant picture book that will enlighten children about the discovery of the dinosaurs and the importance of female scientists. It also includes a timeline of Mary Anning’s life and lots of fantastic fossil facts!

     

    Manfish

    Once upon a time in France, a baby was born under the summer sun. His parents named him Jacques. As he grew, Jacques fell in love with the sea. He dreamed of breathing beneath the waves and swimming as gracefully as a fish. In fact, he longed to become a manfish. Jacques Cousteau grew up to become a champion of the seas and one of the best-known oceanographers in the world. In this lovely biography, now in paperback, poetic text and gorgeous paintings come together to create a portrait of Cousteau that is as magical as it is inspiring.

     

    Just Like Rube Goldberg

    Want to become an award-winning cartoonist and inventor? Follow your dreams, just like Rube Goldberg! From a young age, Rube Goldberg had a talent for art. But his father, a German immigrant, wanted Rube to have a secure job. So, Rube went to college and became an engineer.

    But Rube didn’t want to spend his life mapping sewer pipes. He wanted to follow his passion, so Rube got a low-level job at a newspaper, and from there, he worked his way up, creating cartoons that made people laugh and tickled the imagination. He became known for his fantastic Rube Goldberg machines—complicated contraptions with many parts that performed a simple task in an elaborate and farfetched way. Eventually, his cartoons earned him a Pulitzer Prize and his own adjective in the dictionary. This moving biography is sure to encourage young artists and inventors to pursue their passions.

     

    Terry Fox and Me

    Before Terry Fox become a national hero and icon, he was just a regular kid. But even then, his characteristic strength, determination and loyalty were apparent and were the foundation for his friendship with Doug. The two first met at basketball tryouts in grammar school. Terry was the smallest – and worst – basketball player on the court. But that didn’t stop him. With Doug’s help, Terry practiced and practiced until he earned a spot on the team. As they grew up, the best friends supported each other, challenged each other, helped each other become better athletes and better people. Doug was by Terry’s side every step of the way: when Terry received a diagnosis of cancer in his leg, when he was learning to walk – then run – with a prosthetic leg and while he was training for the race of his life, his Marathon of Hope.

     

    Salt in His Shoes

    Michael Jordan.

    The mere mention of the name conjures up visions of basketball played at its absolute best. But as a child, Michael almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he’d never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous. That’s when his mother and father stepped in and shared the invaluable lesson of what really goes into the making of a champion — patience, determination, and hard work.

    Deloris Jordan, mother of the basketball phenomenon, teams up with his sister Roslyn to tell this heartwarming and inspirational story that only the members of the Jordan family could tell. It’s a tale about faith and hope and how any family working together can help a child make his or her dreams come true.

     

    When I Was Eight

    Bestselling memoir Fatty Legs for younger readers. Olemaun is eight and knows a lot of things. But she does not know how to read. Ignoring her father’s warnings, she travels far from her Arctic home to the outsiders’ school to learn. The nuns at the school call her Margaret. They cut off her long hair and force her to do menial chores, but she remains undaunted. Her tenacity draws the attention of a black-cloaked nun who tries to break her spirit at every turn. But the young girl is more determined than ever to learn how to read. Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by stunning illustrations, When I Was Eight makes the bestselling Fatty Legs accessible to younger readers. Now they, too, can meet this remarkable girl who reminds us what power we hold when we can read.

     

    When Sue Found Sue

    From a very young age, Sue Hendrickson was meant to find things: lost coins, perfume bottles, even hidden treasure. Her endless curiosity eventually led to her career in diving and paleontology, where she would continue to find things big and small. In 1990, at a dig in South Dakota, Sue made her biggest discovery to date: Sue the T. rex, the largest and most complete T. rex skeleton ever unearthed. Named in Sue’s honor, Sue the T. rex would be placed on permanent exhibition at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. When Sue Found Sue inspires readers to take a closer look at the world around them and to never lose their brave, adventurous spirits. 

     

    What are some of your favorite picture book biographies?

     

    You can see all our book lists here!

  • The Best Picture Books About Nature
    book lists,  picture books

    13 of the Best Nature Picture Books

    I love the power of a good picture book.

    Great words and beautiful illustrations can be so much more powerful than a lot of words.

    There are so many excellent picture books about nature out there and today I wanted to share some of our favorites with you!

     

    The Best Picture Books About Nature

     

    If you like this list you may also like:

     

    13 of the Best Nature Picture Books

     

    You know those books that you feel the need to touch every page? This is one of those books! The inner cut-outs are so fun but it was actually the artwork that made me want to touch it to see if it was popping up.

    A WALK THROUGH THE WOODS

    Listen: the forest is calling. Take a quiet walk through the woods, where shadows fall in the darkness, eyes peek out, and some animals sleep while others run and leap. Simple, poetic text and intricate papercut illustrations introduce children to a deer, black rook, fox, rabbit, and many more beautiful creatures as they wait for morning—and spring—to come.

     

    UP IN THE GARDEN AND DOWN IN THE DIRT

    Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt there is a busy world of earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and all the other animals that make a garden their home. In this exuberant and lyrical book, discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves…and down in the dirt.

     

    OVER AND UNDER THE POND

    In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered…over and under the pond.

     

    OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW

    Over the snow, the world is hushed and white. But under the snow lies a secret world of squirrels and snow hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals making their winter home under the snow. This beloved nonfiction picture book exploring the subnivean zone reveals the tunnels and caves formed beneath the snow but over the ground, where many kinds of animals live through the winter, safe and warm, awake and busy, but hidden beneath the snow.

     

    POND

    The joy of the seasons, the wonder of discovery, and the appreciation and respect for the natural world is at the heart of this book, drawn from the childhood of award-winning illustrator Jim LaMarche.

    When Matt is out for a late winter hike he sees a trickle of water in the old deserted and junk filled dirt pit at the edge of his neighborhood. With quiet appreciation, Matt can imagine the pond that must once have been there, shining in the early spring light, freezing in the winter for skating and the perfect place for swimming in the summer.

    Can Matt’s discovery transform a forgotten pond to its natural wonder? With his idea of making the pond whole again, Matt rallies his friends, Katie and Pablo, and together they work through the spring, clearing debris, moving rocks to hold the water, and looking for leaks. But would there be enough water to fill the pond? Can they bring the pond back?

    The Raft

    Inspired in part by his own childhood, this gorgeous picture book from Jim LaMarche, the beloved illustrator of A Story for Bear and The Elves and the Shoemaker, tells the story of one stubborn boy’s unexpectedly wonderful summer on the river.

    This is an imagination-sparking story about appreciating the simple, natural joys of the world and the people in it, and about discovering and exploring one’s own talents. School Library Journal proclaimed, “This dazzling picture book is an artistic triumph.” The author’s note describes the similarities between his own life and the life of his protagonist.

    Nicky is convinced that his summer with his grandmother in the Wisconsin woods is going to be the worst summer ever. She cooks food that he doesn’t like, there’s an art studio where her living room should be, and he’s expected to do chores—including fishing, the most boring chore ever.

    But one afternoon, while Nicky is trying to catch their dinner, a raft drifts down the river towards him. The raft has a calming magic about it, affecting both Nicky and the wildlife of the river and woods. Through the raft and the adventures it brings him on, Nicky finds new common ground with his grandmother, a fellow river rat, who encourages him to explore his newfound talent for art.

     

    WORM WEATHER

    Drip,drop,
    skip and hop.

    Splish, splash,
    sidewalk dash!
    It’s worm weather! 

    Join in the rainy-day fun, as kids splash through the puddles, affecting another weather enthusiast, a nearby worm. An imaginative and playful story, readers will love seeing the worm delight in the weather just as much as the kids.

     

    FINDING WILD

    A lovely, lyrical picture book with gorgeous illustrations that explores the ways the wild makes itself known to us and how much closer it is than we think. There are so many places that wild can exist, if only you know where to look! Can you find it? Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. From the bark on the trees to the sudden storm that moves across the sky to fire and flowers, and snowflakes and fresh fruit. As the children make their way through the woods and back to the paved and noisy streets, they discover that wild exists not just off in some distant place, but right in their own backyard.

     

    GOODBYE SUMMER, HELLO AUTUMN

    As trees sway in the cool breeze, blue jays head south, and leaves change their colors, everyone knows–autumn is on its way!

    Join a young girl as she takes a walk through forest and town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with every flower and creature and gust of wind, she says good-bye to summer and welcomes autumn.

     

    GOODBYE AUTUMN, HELLO WINTER

    As leaves fall from their trees, animals huddle against the cold, and frost creeps across windows, everyone knows―winter is on its way!

    Join a brother and sister as they explore nature and take a stroll through their twinkling town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with everything from the setting sun to curious deer, they say goodbye to autumn and welcome the glorious first snow of winter.

     

    GOODBYE WINTER, HELLO SPRING

    As days stretch longer, animals creep out from their warm dens, and green begins to grow again, everyone knows―spring is on its way!

    Join a boy and his dog as they explore nature and take a stroll through the countryside, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with everything from the melting brook to chirping birds, they say goodbye to winter and welcome the lushness of spring.

     

    WINTER IS COMING

    Day after day, a girl goes to her favorite place in the woods and quietly watches from her tree house as the chipmunks, the doe, the rabbits prepare for the winter. As the temperature drops, sunset comes earlier and a new season begins. Silently she observes the world around her as it reveals its secrets. It takes time and patience to see the changes as, slowly but surely, winter comes.

     

    Sing a Song of Seasons

    Sing a Song of Seasons is a lavishly illustrated collection of 366 nature poems — one for every day of the year. Filled with familiar favorites and new discoveries written by a wide variety of poets, including William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, John Updike, Langston Hughes, N. M. Bodecker, Okamoto Kanoko, and many more, this is the perfect book for children (and grown-ups!) to share at the beginning or the end of the day.

     

    If you like this list you may also like:

     

    You can see all our book lists here!

  • Our Favorite Picture Books
    book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    Our Favorite Picture Books – Part One

    I was inspired by Julie from The Kreke Family on YouTube to do a video sharing our favorite picture books since she has been sharing videos all this month in response to the homeschool challenge I have been hosting over on Instagram.

    As I went through the house and grabbed our favorites I realized we really don’t own that many of our favorite picture books, so this is going to be part one and in the future, when we can have access to the library again, I will do a part two and maybe three, four and five as well!

    I have done tons of picture book lists on the blog in the past but as I get more into filming video I thought this would be a fun video to film because I can show you inside some of our favorite picture books.

    If you like video, I would love it if you would watch the video and subscribe to my channel on YouTube, if you prefer blog posts, you can scroll on, I’ve got all the books listed below! (But you can’t see inside them and hear why we love them all like can on the video.)

     

    Our Favorite Picture Books - The Best Picture Books for Toddlers, Preschoolers and School Aged Children

     

    Be sure to subscribe on YouTube!

     

    THE BEST PICTURE BOOKS

     

     

    Llama Llama Red Pajama

    Llama Llama has troubles sleeping but Mama Llama reassures him that she is always right there.

     

     

    One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

    From counting to opposites to Dr. Seuss’s signature silly rhymes, this book has everything a beginning reader needs! Meet the bumpy Wump and the singing Ying, and even the winking Yink who drinks pink ink. The silly rhymes and colorful cast of characters will have every child giggling from morning to night.

     

    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. Children will immediately respond to Eric Carle’s flat, boldly colored collages. Combined with Bill Martin’s singsong text, they create unforgettable images of these endearing animals.

     

    The Foot Book

    Explore all different kinds of feet, from fast to slow, front to back, big and small, and learn about opposites! Dr. Seuss’s rhymes will delight young readers and help them discover the world around them, starting with their own bodies!

     

    Monster Knows I’m Sorry

    Monsters are at Plooble School.  There’s time for work and play.  Monsters make mistakes at times.  “I’m sorry” are the words to say.

     

    Up, Up, Down

    In this zany story, Anna likes to climb on the refrigerator and her dresser and go “up, up, up” even though she falls down “ow ouch!” When her parents protest, she goes outside, where it’s okay to climb, and climbs the highest tree she can find. Sitting in the top, she goads her parents to come after her; when they fall down trying, she relents and climbs down to wrap them in “enormous Band-Aids” and repeats what they’ve been telling her: “Be CAREFUL-don’t CLIMB!” The humor is in the timing, the changing size and placement of the text, and the silliness of the plot. The watercolor illustrations are also over-the-top with ridiculously exaggerated points of view, comical-looking characters, and little jokes, such as a tiny treetop animal watching TV or stars flying off Daddy’s injured bottom. This is sure to be a hit, especially with this team’s fans.

     

    Let’s Go For A Drive

    Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
    Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
    Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

    Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

    In Let’s Go for a Drive! Gerald and Piggie want to hit the road! But the best-laid plans of pigs and elephants often go awry.

     

    If You Give a Pig a Pancake

    If you give a pig a pancake, she’ll want some syrup to go with it. You’ll give her some of your favorite maple syrup, and she’ll probably get all sticky, so she’ll want to take a bath. She’ll ask you for some bubbles. When you give her the bubbles…

    Readers will delight in the story of an accommodating little girl who tries to keep up with the whims of a busy little pig.

     

    The Little House

    Seventy-five years ago, Virginia Lee Burton created the Little House, and since then generations of readers have been enchanted by the story of this happy home and her journey from the pleasures of nature to the bustling city, and back again.  

     

    Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late

    It’s getting dark out, but one stubborn Pigeon is NOT going to bed! Toddlers and parents will love this interactive bedtime romp which puts readers back in the driver’s seat, deflecting Pigeon’s sly trickery as he tries to escape his inevitable bedtime. Will you let him stay up late?

     

    The Paper Dolls

    The breathtakingly beautiful story of one little girl and her five paper dolls. A string of paper dolls go on a fantastical adventure through the house and out into the garden. They soon escape the clutches of the toy dinosaur and the snapping jaws of the oven-glove crocodile, but then a very real pair of scissors threatens. The Paper Dolls is a stunning, rhythmical story of childhood, memory and the power of imagination from the author of The Gruffalo, and illustrating talent Rebecca Cobb.

     

    The Gruffalo

    A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo. . . .

     

    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. So what will happen when our pacifist hero is picked for the bullfights in Madrid?

     

    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.”

    So begins the story that has touched the hearts of millions worldwide. 

     

    Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?

     

    Rainy Day Magic

    It’s a rainy day, boring as can be, until Victor and Joey decide to make their own fun. Soon chairs turn into castles, bumblebees turn into tigers, and whales and starfish frolic in a watery kingdom.

     

    Wolfie The Bunny

    The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realizes Wolfie can–and might–eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to, and when (in a twist of fate) it’s Wolfie who’s threatened, can Dot save the day?

     

    What Should Danny Do?

    With 9 Stories in 1, the fun never ends! What Should Danny Do? is an innovative, interactive book that empowers kids with the understanding that their choices will shape their days, and ultimately their lives into what they will be. Written in a “Choose Your Own Story” style, the book follows Danny, a Superhero-in-Training, through his day as he encounters choices that kids face on a daily basis. As your children navigate through the different story lines, they will begin to realize that their choices for Danny shaped his day into what it became. And in turn, their choices for themselves will shape their days, and ultimately their lives, into what they will be.

     

    What are some of your favorite picture books?

     

    OThe Best Picture Books for Toddlers, Preschoolers and School Aged Children

     

    What are some of your favorite picture books?

  • The Best Picture Books Published in 2019
    book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2019

    I love taking time to notice the year a book is published and I am noticing such a great trend in picture books. 2019 was a good year for picture books.

    I’ll admit, we didn’t read as many published in 2019 books at the end of the year but there were so many great ones at the beginning of the year that those were most of my favorites anyway.

    Curious about our favorites from years past? You can check them out here:

    * The Best Picture Books Published in 2018

    * The Best Picture Books Published in 2017

    * The Best Picture Books Published in 2016

     

    If you have some favorite picture books that were published in 2019 that I didn’t share here I would love to hear about them!

     

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2019

     

    THE BEST PICTURE BOOKS PUBLISHED IN 2019

     

     

     

    Ame Dyckman is turning into one of my favorite picture book authors. Wolfie the Bunny is still my favorite of hers (because: adoption) but this one was funny and yet educational – the kids had fun retelling some of the shark stats they learned to their Dad at supper.

    Misunderstood Shark: Friends Don’t Eat Friends

    Last time on Underwater World with Bob Jellyfish…
    “SHARK ATE ME! Now get me OUT, Shark!”
    “That’s strange! I can hear Bob, but I can’t see Bob!”

    This hilarious follow-up to Misunderstood Shark by New York Times bestselling duo Ame Dyckman and Scott Magoon tackles what it really means to be a good friend. Bob is already irate that Shark has eaten him, but when Shark doesn’t admit to eating him, Bob is so mad he declares that the ocean isn’t big enough for both of them! Friends Don’t Eat Friends is exploding with over-the-top humor and awesome marine facts! For example, when Shark overdoses on Finilla Ice Cream after fighting with Bob, we learn that shark teeth are coated with fluoride. Lucky for Shark, he can’t get cavities! Join Shark and the gang for another story and find out if Shark learns his lesson about friendship, or if he really is just misunderstood — again!

     

     

    The illustrations in this book remind us so much of Julie Morstad’s (my daughter even noticed it without me pointing it out) and we love a book with so many possibilities.

    BE A MAKER

    How many things can you make in a day? A tower, a friend, a change? Rhyme, repetition, and a few seemingly straightforward questions engage young readers in a discussion about the many things we make–and the ways we can make a difference in the world. This simple, layered story celebrates creativity through beautiful rhyming verse and vibrant illustrations with a timely message.

     

     

    This book had my kids laughing so hard!

    Undercover Ostrich

    Animals can be sneaky. But do you know who is especially sneaky? Undercover ostriches! They’re everywhere, and they’re masters at going undetected. You’ve probably seen one and just assumed it was another woodpecker or owl. The narrator of this book is on the case, following a single ostrich on his many adventures. Not until the final twist does author and illustrator Joe Kulka let the readers in on the narrator’s true motivation: a peanut collection mission involving undercover elephants.

     

    I love the words in this book but also the diversity in the colors of the children. The cover is my favorite because it looks like my two kids!

    When I Pray For You

    With lyricism, whimsy, and heartfelt emotion, Matthew Paul Turner reveals the tender emotions connected with watching a beloved child grow up and experience the world. Paired with Kimberley Barnes’s vivid and playful illustrations, When I Pray for You is a beautifully affirming book, in which children and parents will see their own stories come to life.

    When I Pray for You celebrates the dreams, hopes, and longings parents pray over their children, and shares with the little ones how much care and concern a loved one feels for them.

     

     

     

    I’ve had a desire to have backyard chickens for years now, though I’m not sure if I would like it if they would be able to talk . . .

    Chicken Talk

    The chickens on the farm have a message for their farm owners! They’re tired of arugula salad, how about putting a fan in their hot coop, and HEYwatch out for that snake in your tent.

    As the children walk around their beloved farm, they discover more and more chicken talk scratched into the dirt. The family can hardly believe it. What will the chickens possibly say next!?

     

    As a cat owning family this book was not only hilarious but also very relatable.

    How To Give Your Cat a Bath: In Five Easy Steps

    Step one: fill the bath
    Step two: put the cat in the bath
    Step three: put shampoo on the cat
    Step four: rinse the cat
    Step five: dry the cat

    Seems simple, right? One problem: the cat has no intention of doing ANY of these things! Watch as the steps keep changing, the cat keeps escaping, the girl keeps eating cookies and the mess keeps escalating. Soon it’s not just the cat who needs a bath–it’s the whole house!

    This spoof on an instruction manual features an increasingly bewildered human, a nonchalant cat and a know-it-all narrator . . . who really doesn’t know it all. How DO you give a cat a bath? Read on to find out!

     

    The Bell Rang

    Every single morning, the overseer of the plantation rings the bell. Daddy gathers wood. Mama cooks. Ben and the other slaves go out to work. Each day is the same. Full of grueling work and sweltering heat. Every day, except one, when the bell rings and Ben is nowhere to be found. Because Ben ran. Yet, despite their fear and sadness, his family remains hopeful that maybe, just maybe, he made it North. That he is free.

    An ode to hope and a powerful tribute to the courage of those who ran for freedom, The Bell Rang is a stunning reminder that our past can never be forgotten.

     

     

    We Are the Gardeners

    From their failed endeavors, obstacles to overcome (bunnies that eat everything!), and all the knowledge they’ve gained along the way, the Gaines family shares how they learned to grow a happy, successful garden. As it turns out, trying something new isn’t always easy, but the hardest work often yields the greatest reward. There are always new lessons to be learned in the garden!

    You and your children can learn all about the Gaines family’s story of becoming gardeners in Joanna’s first children’s book—starting with the first little fern Chip bought for Jo. Over the years, the family’s love for gardening blossomed into what is now a beautiful, bustling garden.

     

    Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival

    A solitary polar bear travels across the sea ice in pursuit of food. As the ice melts and food becomes scarce, she is forced to swim for days. Finally, storm-tossed and exhausted, she finds shelter on land, where she gives birth to cubs and waits for the sea to freeze again.

    Informed by the author’s background in marine science, Sea Bear is a vivid and moving page-turner with a vital message about our changing planet. This is a gorgeously illustrated book, with the perfect marriage of scientific fact and poetry, that shows the reality of climate change and how it poses a threat to animals of the Arctic.

     

    If you have some favorite picture books that were published in 2019 that I didn’t share here I would love to hear about them!

  • book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    The Best Children’s Books for December

    Here we are at the end of monthly book lists! I can’t believe how fast this year went by!

    For this month’s book list I wanted to stick with the reason behind this season and focus on books that prepare us for the Christmas season.

    I am always looking for more great Christmas books that keep Christ at the center so if you have some that aren’t on this list let me know so I can check them out!

    If you are looking for Advent resources you can find some here.

    You can also check out a similar themed list (with almost completely different books) I wrote three years ago!

     

    The Best Children's Books for December

     

    The Children’s Books for December

     

    The Jesus Storybook Bible

    I think this (the Bible) is the best place to start in December. It was apparently unintentional but it just so happens that they are 24 readings leading up to the Christmas story! This is my favorite children’s Bible, I found it so impactful reading it an an adult.

    While other Kids’ Bibles contain stories from the Old and New Testaments, The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible, pointing to Jesus as our Savior. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will clearly see that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their story too.

     

    Jotham’s Journey

    I’ve heard about this series for so many years I am glad to finally read this one this year!

    In this widely popular, exciting story for the advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem.

     

    Song of the Stars

    An another amazing work by Sally Lloyd Jones, such a good book for this season!

    The skies shouted it to the seas that thundered it to the waves that roared it to the great white whales that sang it to the starfish in the deep. And tiny sandpipers danced it on shining sands… “It’s time! It’s time!” On one quiet night, creation whispered a secret. Grass and bees, robins and trees all spread the word. Sheep told their young while angels sang the song to the shepherds. Hushed news of a miracle echoed to the ends of the earth. The moment had come. The long-awaited child had arrived! Creation cried out in celebration, but only a few people heard. Only a few joined nature’s chorus, a song in praise of the newborn King.

     

    THE CRIPPLED LAMB

    This one is so sweet, I loved it when I was younger and I love reading it now!

    In this timeless bestseller, readers experience the tender love God has for those who feel alone and different. Joshua was a lamb with a crippled leg who felt left out because he couldn’t run and play like the other lambs. But God had a very special plan for Joshua’s life, as He does for all who feel alone. Readers can expect a gentle tug on their hearts as the little lamb’s prayers are answered in an amazing way. Original oil-painting illustrations by Liz Bonham brilliantly capture the beauty and warmth of this endearing story.

     

    The Littlest Watchman: Watching and Waiting for the Very First Christmas

    Benjamin is a Watchman. It’s his job to watch for the sign that all God’s promises are coming true. It’s his job to watch a stump.

    Trouble is, it’s hard just waiting. And one night, Benjamin finally gives in and stops watching. But that same night, as he sits outside Bethlehem, he gets to watch something wonderful.

    A Very Noisy Christmas

    Some think that Christmas was a “”Silent Night””. Far from it. It was filled with shouting, singing and screaming! It was as noisy as any of our Christmas celebrations.

    This fun and fresh retelling of the Christmas story comes with sound effects so that children can join in as parents read to them. But it also shows children that at the heart of the Christmas story is something we should all be quiet and see: God’s son Jesus was born, so that we can be friends with God forever. Now that’s something worth shouting about!

     

    From Eden to Bethlehem

    Your family will love this unique board book! Using colorful, engaging artwork, From Eden to Bethlehem introduces little ones to the coming messiah – from fall to prophecy to Incarnation – using the animals of the Bible to tell the story.

    Children will delight in the beautiful illustrations and learning about key animals in the Old and New Testaments. The creatures featured in From Eden to Bethlehem follow the narrative arc of Scripture and help children understand Jesus’s coming as the central story of the Bible.

    You will appreciate the artistic design, theologically sound content, and helping your little one gain a greater understanding of the animal kingdom, as well as the coming/establishing of God’s kingdom on earth.

     

    The Christmas Promise

    A captivating retelling of the Christmas story showing how God kept His promise to send a new King. Superb illustrations by Catalina Echeverri and faithful, Bible-centered story-telling by Alison Mitchell combine to make this a book that both parents and children will love.

    A long, long time ago so long that it’s hard to imagine God promised a new King. He wasn’t any ordinary king, like the ones we see on TV or in books. He would be different. He would be a new King; a rescuing King; a forever King!

     

    The Silent Noisy Night

    The night Jesus was born is frequently referred to as a silent night. But how could it possibly have been silent if Jesus was born in a manger, with cows and sheep and donkeys and probably chickens and mice and birds all celebrating His birth? How could these creatures keep quiet?

    The Silent Noisy Night takes on a new twist to the Christmas story by exploring what the night may have been like if all the creatures and people celebrated the birth of Jesus in their own God-given, special ways. With cows mooing and donkeys braying, it may have been a very noisy night.

     

    What are you favorite children’s Christmas books?

  • The Best Picture Books to Read in November - picture books about snow, hibernation and the arctic
    book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books for November

    Wow, the year is almost over already! I can’t believe we’re already on to the November picture book list!

    Most November picture book lists floating around on the internet include a large number of Thanksgiving books but I knew I wanted to make this list different, not that I am anti-Thanksgiving, but because as a Canadian we celebrate the holiday at the beginning of October.

    If you are looking for a list of Thanksgiving picture books you can find that here.

    So, this list will include a list of some introduction to winter books. For the record, I know that winter doesn’t technically start until halfway through December but we’ve got a pretty decent cover of snow here already so I hope you’ll forgive me if I just dive right in to all things winter.

     

    The Best Picture Books to Read in November - picture books about snow, hibernation and the arctic

     

    THE BEST PICTURE BOOKS FOR NOVEMBER

    In November

    In November, the air grows cold and the earth and all of its creatures prepare for winter. Animals seek food and shelter. And people gather together to celebrate their blessings with family and friends.
    Cynthia Rylant’s lyrical language and Jill Kastner’s rich, cozy paintings capture the cherished moments of this autumn month–the moments we spend together and the ones we witness in the world around us.

     

    Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter

    As leaves fall from their trees, animals huddle against the cold, and frost creeps across windows, everyone knows―winter is on its way!

    Join a brother and sister as they explore nature and take a stroll through their twinkling town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with everything from the setting sun to curious deer, they say goodbye to autumn and welcome the glorious first snow of winter.

     

    Winter Walk

    Slide, step, and stomp through the snow with “Grammy” as she takes her grandkids on a winter adventure. As they explore the woods, they spot a cardinal, learn why some trees are green all year, and build a tall snowman. At the end of the day, they learn how to build a pinecone bird feeder.

     

    I love this look into a farm preparing for winter!

    Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter

    A captivating exploration of how a family gets a farm ready for the snow of winter, Sleep Tight Farm lyrically connects each growing season to the preparations at the very end of the farm year. This beautiful and informative book paints a fascinating picture of what winter means to the farm year and to the family that shares its seasons, from spring’s new growth, summer’s heat, and fall’s bounty to winter’s well-earned rest. All year long the farm has worked to shelter us, feed us, keep us warm, and now it’s time to sleep.

     

    You really can’t go wrong with Jan Brett . . .

    The Snowy Nap

    Snow is on the way, and as Hedgie trundles around the farm all his friends tell him of the winter-time fun he will miss as he hibernates–Icicles decorating the chicken coop! Lisa making snowmen! The pond turned to slippery ice! It sounds so amazing, Hedgie decides to stay awake instead of going to his burrow. But then a snowstorm starts. Luckily, Lisa finds him and brings him inside so Hedgie gets to see the wonders of winter from inside the cozy house.

     

    I remember this book from when I was young and the pre-Christmas season seems like the perfect time to read it. I especially enjoyed watching the mice scenes at the bottom of the book.

    Something From Nothing

    The blanket Joseph’s grandfather made him is transformed into many things as the years go by: a jacket, a vest, a tie, a handkerchief–and finally a button. 

     

     

    Stella, Queen of the Snow

    Winter was never so magical as in this marvelous book about Stella and Sam discovering a familiar landscape transformed by a heavy snowfall. Sam makes his very first snowstorm, and, as usual, he has lots of questions: Where do snowmen sleep? Can you eat a snowflake? Do snow angels sing? Older and bolder, Stella knows all the answers, and she delights in showing Sam the many pleasures of a beautiful winter’s day. Young readers are enchanted as Stella and Sam build a gigantic snowman, then they go skating and sledding and make beautiful snow angels in a fluffy, white, magical, and wondrous world.

     

    Sea Bear

    A solitary polar bear travels across the sea ice in pursuit of food. As the ice melts and food becomes scarce, she is forced to swim for days. Finally, storm-tossed and exhausted, she finds shelter on land, where she gives birth to cubs and waits for the sea to freeze again.

     

    The Great Serum Race: Blazing the Iditarod Trail

    In the winter of 1925, Nome, Alaska, was hit by an unexpected and deadly outbreak of diphtheria. Officials immediately quarantined the town, but the only cure for the community of more than 1,400 people was antitoxin serum and the nearest supply was in Anchorage-hundreds of miles of snowbound wilderness away. The only way to get it to Nome was by dogsled.

    Twenty teams braved subzero temperatures and blizzard conditions to run over 600 miles in six days in a desperate relay race that saved the people of Nome. Several of the dogs, including Togo and Balto, became national heroes. Today their efforts, and those of the courageous mushers, are commemorated every March by the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

     

    Bear Has a Story to Tell

    It was almost winter and Bear was getting sleepy.
    But first, Bear had a story to tell…

    Bear found his friend Mouse, but Mouse was busy gathering seeds and didn’t have time to listen to a story. Then Bear saw his friend Duck, but Duck was getting ready to fly south. What about his friend Toad? He was busy looking for a warm place to sleep. By the time Bear was through helping his friends get ready for winter, would anyone still be awake to hear his story?