• The Best Picture Books Published in 2019 (so far)
    book lists,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books of 2019 (so far) – Part One

    I always have a lot of fun with these annual picture book lists.

    For the past few years I’ve created round ups of the best of the best at the end of the year (2018, 2017 and 2016) and I will often share a few of our favorites throughout the year as well.

    This is part one to our favorite picture books published in 2019. It’s early in the year yet so I know there will be a part two (and possibly a part three) yet before I share our ultimate list of 2019 favorites.

    If you’ve read some great picture books published this year I would love to hear about them!

    If you are looking for more picture book lists, check them out here.

     

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2019 (so far)

     

    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!

     

     

    This is a really sweet take on feeling sad – perfect for those parents who have children who feel all the emotions so much deeper than most. 🙋 It was even a good read for myself – as one who feels emotions deeply.

    When Sadness is at Your Door

    Sadness can be scary and confusing at any age! When we feel sad, especially for long periods of time, it can seem as if the sadness is a part of who we are–an overwhelming, invisible, and scary sensation.

    In When Sadness Is at Your Door, Eva Eland brilliantly approaches this feeling as if it is a visitor. She gives it a shape and a face, and encourages the reader to give it a name, all of which helps to demystify it and distinguish it from ourselves. She suggests activities to do with it, like sitting quietly, drawing, and going outside for a walk. The beauty of this approach is in the respect the book has for the feeling, and the absence of a narrative that encourages the reader to “get over” it or indicates that it’s “bad,” both of which are anxiety-producing notions.

     

    Circle

    This book is about Circle. This book is also about Circle’s friends, Triangle and Square. Also it is about a rule that Circle makes, and how she has to rescue Triangle when he breaks that rule. With their usual pitch-perfect pacing and subtle, sharp wit, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen come full circle in the third and final chapter of their clever shapes trilogy.

     

     

    I Love You, Funny Bunny

    Together, parents and children will giggle their way through I Love You, Funny Bunny as they discover the fun and loving parts of their own relationship. Illustrated by Sean Julian, I Love You, Funny Bunnyis a picture book perfect for sharing at bedtime or any time of day. With read-aloud rhymes and adorable illustrations, readers will have fun turning the pages to discover all the ways this parent bunny loves little funny bunny.

    I love you, Funny Bunny, from your whiskers to your toes.
    I love the way you hop around and wiggle your cute nose.
    I love the way you make me laugh, then melt me with your smile.
    And no one in this great big world can match your sense of style.

     

     

    Mary Wears What She Wants

    Once upon a time (but not that long ago), girls only wore dresses. And only boys wore pants.

    Until one day, a young girl named Mary had an idea: She would wear whatever she wanted. And she wanted to wear pants!

     

     

    Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish

    The most important rule is #1: It must be your birthday. 

    After that’s been established, a crew of hilarious animals help picture book pros Tom Lichtenheld and Beth Ferry take readers through a joyous romp that covers the most important elements of every year’s most essential holiday, including singing; closing your eyes and making a wish; blowing out candles on a cake, then settling into bed and dreaming of your wish coming true.

     

     

    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!?

     

     

    Fearless Mary: Mary Fields, American Stagecoach Driver

    A little-known but fascinating and larger-than-life character, Mary Fields is one of the unsung, trailblazing African American women who helped settle the American West. A former slave, Fields became the first African American woman stagecoach driver in 1895, when, in her 60s, she beat out all the cowboys applying for the job by being the fastest to hitch a team of six horses. She won the dangerous and challenging job, and for many years traveled the badlands with her pet eagle, protecting the mail from outlaws and wild animals, never losing a single horse or package. Fields helped pave the way for other women and people of color to become stagecoach drivers and postal workers.

     

     

    There Are No Bears in this Bakery

    A tough gumshoe of a cat–the name’s Muffin–protects his territory: The Little Bear Bakery. But there are no bears here. Not on Muffin’s watch.

    One night, Muffin hears a suspicious noise. Mouse? Raccoon? Bat? Nope, not the usual suspects. But Muffin hears . . . growling. Could it be? Yup. A bear. Just a cub. Whose stomach is definitely growling. Muffin’s got this case solved–clearly this bear needs some donuts.

     

    We have a lot more 2019 picture books coming and can’t wait to share part two to this post in a few months. If you’ve read some great picture books published this year I would love to hear about them!

  • book lists,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books About Easter (That Keep Christ at the Center)

    I did not anticipate how hard this book list would be to write.

    There are so many Easter picture books about chicks and bunnies and chocolate but unfortunately very few about Christ . . . And He’s the reason for the celebration!

    Anyway, I did manage to include some books on this list some of which are top notch books in general. Some of them may not completely be Easter specific but the whole point of Jesus coming to earth led up to His death and resurrection so I’ve included a few books that are a little broader than just Easter.

    I am looking forward to reading these books over the next few weeks with my kids.

    If you have other good books to add to this list I would love to hear about them and add them to the list!

     

    Pin this post so you can come back to it again next year!

    The Best Easter Picture Books That Keep Christ at the Center

     

    THE BEST EASTER PICTURE BOOKS THAT KEEP CHRIST AT THE CENTER

     

     

    This is one of my favorite picture books ever. I actually completely forgot about it until I was writing this book list. We got it out from the library last year and I loved it so much. I am planning on purchasing this one before Easter.

    Miracle Man – The Story of Jesus

    This book freshly reinterprets some of the oldest and best-known stories in human history and focuses on some of the many miracles that Jesus performed before his crucifixion. Jesus’s miracles are endless. From the large harvest of fish to washing the unclean, healing the sick, feeding the poor, and walking on water, Jesus performs feats that draw in believers that he is the Son of God. Unfortunately it also attracts the attention of nonbelievers, who saddle him with the cross he must bear. After all of his miraculous acts, the book closes with a final wonder for all to see—one that changes faith and religion as the world knows it, forever. 

     

     

    The Donkey Who Carried a King

    Davey was a young donkey who was bored and unhappy because he was never given anything to do. Then one day, some strangers came to the gate and Davey’s master picked him for a very special task. Davey carried the King, Jesus, into Jerusalem. A few days later, Davey saw some angry people making the King carry a heavy beam of wood. Davey could not understand it until another donkey helped him see that the King was being a Servant on behalf of His people.

    The Donkey Who Carried a King offers a unique perspective on the events of Jesus’ Passion Week and calls all believers, both young and old, to follow in the footsteps of the Suffering Servant for the glory of God. Jesus was willing to leave the glories of heaven to suffer and die in this world on our behalf, so we should serve Him with all our hearts.

     

     

    The Garden, The Curtain and The Cross

    This beautifully illustrated hardback book takes children on a journey from the garden of Eden to God’s prefect new creation. 

    Retelling the Easter story through a Bible overview, children will discover that ‘because of our sin, we can’t go in’ but because of Jesus’ victory on the cross, an even better garden awaits us…

     

     

    The Donkey That No One Could Ride

    “… You will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden.”

    Bestselling author Anthony DeStefano begins his creative telling of the beloved Bible story of Christ’s triumphant entry by introducing the young donkey who has yet to realize his important mission. The lowly creature believes he can do nothing noble, but that’s before he meets the Master…

    Then Jesus said to the donkey,
    “It’s time that you knew
    About the great thing 
    That you’re destined to do…”
    He hears the sad donkey cry,
    “Just leave me alone and cast me aside.
    I’m just a poor donkey that no one can ride.”

     

     

    Easter Love Letters From God

    Easter Love Letters from God, written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Sophie Allsopp, guides children and families through Holy Week with seven beautifully illustrated Bible stories. Following each story the child will find his or her own letter from God. Children will love the excitement of opening the letters and parents will love how the letters elaborate on the Bible stories being told. Each message gives the child a sense of wonder as they discover what happened leading up to Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. A very special Bible verse, entitled God’s Wonderful Words to You will accompany each story and letter. Much more than a memory verse, each carefully chosen promise will be God’s very own personal words of love, encouragement, and hope.

     

     

    The Parable of the Lily

    Maggie, the farmer’s youngest daughter, loves getting gifts, especially mysterious ones. One wintry day, she receives a package in the mail. She excitedly opens the package to find a bulb buried in a crate of dirt. This was not what Maggie expected. She had hoped for a doll or a game, not a bulb that would one day become a plant. When spring comes, she finds the bulb in the cellar and tosses the lifeless thing into the garden, never to think of it again. . . . Until she walks outside on Easter morning and finds the most beautiful lily she has ever seen. Through the unique gift of a bulb, Maggie discovers the power of grace and forgiveness and the true meaning of Easter.

     

     

    Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs

    What are the treasures in Benjamin’s Box? Come along with Benjamin and see. Like all boys and girls, Benjamin is very, very curious. When Jesus comes to Jerusalem, Benjamin decides to follow him and find out who he really is. At first, Benjamin thinks Jesus is a teacher, then a king. At last, he learns the good news―news that every child (and grown-up!) will want to share.

     

     

    Humphrey’s First Palm Sunday

    The delightfully goofy camel we met in Humphrey’s First Christmas is back, three decades older and not much wiser. He wants nothing more than to be the lead camel in the caravan, so he can improve his view. When the caravan leads him to Jerusalem, he crosses paths with Jesus making his triumphal entry. Humphrey is delighted to see Jesus, now a grown man, and remembers the Child to whom he gave his coveted blanket all those years ago in Bethlehem.

     

    What are your favorite, Christ centered, Easter picture books?

  • The Best Picture Books for April - great picture books that include all things gardening and flowers that kids will enjoy
    book lists,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books for April

    To me the month of April just vibes all things flowers and gardening* so that is the theme of this month’s book list.

    Well, flowers and gardening and Easter and new life – I plan on having a separate Easter book list up soon because every few years it falls in March and that can just get confusing.

    We have a few garden plants (tomatoes, peppers and eggplant) already started indoors and the rest will need to wait until the second half of May for it to be nice enough for us to plant outside in our garden. But I know people in other places can get into their gardens much sooner than we can here in the Canadian prairies. Plus, I just like the idea of thinking about gardens and flowers even before we can actually grow them here.

    If you have other good flower and gardening picture books suggestions I would love to hear them!

    Pin this post so you can come back to it each year (I’ll be continually adding to it).

     

    The Best Picture Books for April - great picture books that include all things gardening and flowers that kids will enjoy

     

    THE BEST PICTURE BOOKS TO READ IN APRIL

     

    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.

     

     

    I love all the books in this series by Dianna Hutts Aston.

    A Seed is Sleepy

    A beautiful and informative look at the intricate, complex, and often surprising world of seeds. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, the book introduces children to a fascinating array of seed and plant facts, making it perfect reading material at home or in the classroom.

     

     

    Jack’s Garden

    “Building on a rhyme that will be familiar to many children, author-illustrator Cole creates an enticing guide to creating a garden. ‘This is the garden that Jack planted…’ The final illustration presents a satisfied-looking boy surrounded by a lush, bird-filled flower garden.

     

     

    This book really made me want to grow poppies, I wonder if they would grow in my climate . . .

    Ava’s Poppy

    Ava is delighted when she discovers a brilliant red poppy in the middle of her yard.  She sits with the little flower in the sunny days of summer and shields it from the rain, until one day the petals start to drop and the tiny flower fades away.  But when spring comes again…Ava is surprised anew.

     

     

    All of Gail Gibbons’ books are excellent and this one is no different.

    From Seed to Plant

    With simple language and bright illustrations, non-fiction master Gail Gibbons introduces young readers to the processes of pollination, seed formation, and germination.  Important vocabulary is reinforced with accessible explanation and colorful, clear diagrams showing the parts of plants, the wide variety of seeds, and how they grow.  
     
    The book includes instructions for a seed-growing project, and a page of interesting facts about plants, seeds, and flowers.   A nonfiction classic, and a perfect companion for early science lessons and curious young gardeners.

     

     

    If You Plant a Seed

    With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.

     

     

    Plant the Tiny Seed

    Beautiful collage-and-watercolor art follows the seed through its entire life cycle, as it grows into a zinnia in a garden full of buzzing bees, curious hummingbirds, and colorful butterflies. Children engage with the book as they wiggle their fingers to water the seeds, clap to make the sun shine after rain, and shoo away a hungry snail. Appropriate for even the youngest child, Plant the Tiny Seed is never the same book twice—no matter how many times you read it!

     

     

    I really enjoyed this book and love the illustrations.

    The World Is Awake: A celebration of everyday blessings

    This is the day the Lord has made.
    A butterfly floats through the sun and the shade,
    while dragonflies flit past the flowers and trees
    and grasshoppers hop in the soft morning breeze.

    The World Is Awake, A celebration of everyday blessings, written by Emmy Award winner and ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis with Joseph Bottum, is a lyrical, rhyming story for young children intended to make them feel safe and joyful, cradled in the hands of God. Paired with bright and engaging illustrations by Lucy Fleming, this book inspires children to be thankful for all of God’s blessings that surround us in our daily lives. From the nature in our own backyard to the animals at the zoo, The World is Awake is a celebration of God’s wonderful world.

     

     

    I haven’t read this one yet, it’s coming out in a few days (March 26th) and I can’t wait to read it! (It was on our list of books being published this year that we want to read.)

    We Are the Gardeners

    In We Are the Gardeners, Joanna and the kids chronicle the adventures of starting their own family garden. 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.

  • The Best Picture Books to Read in March - picture books about St. Patrick's Day, the coming of spring and more!
    book lists,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books for March

    Month three of the year is almost upon us so it’s time for another monthly book list – this time it’s the March picture book list!

    Overall March can be a pretty great month – the weather starts warming up and you’ve got St. Patrick’s Day and spring and every few years Easter is even thrown in at the end of the month.

    The book list is mostly spring-ish themed though I did add in a few St. Patrick’s Day books (you can find a full list of them here though if you are looking for more) oh, and remember, March 14th is Pi Day (3.14) so I’ve got a book on the list for that as well! I will be creating a separate Easter book list in the next few weeks since this year Easter is close to the end of April.

    If you have a book that you think is great for March I would love for you to leave a comment at the bottom of the post and I’ll check it out and maybe add it to the list!

     

    The Best Picture Books to Read in March - picture books about St. Patrick's Day, the coming of spring and more!

     

    THE BEST PICTURE BOOKS FOR MARCH

     

    Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi (A Math Adventure)

    The math adventure is centered around a potion that changes Sir Cumference into a fire-breathing dragon. Can Radius change him back? Join Radius on his quest through the castle to solve a riddle that will reveal the cure. It lies in discovering the magic number that is the same for all circles. Perfect for parent and teachers who are looking to make math fun and accessible for everyone.

     

    Fiona’s Luck

    An original folktale full of wit, magic, and leprechauns, that is sure to delight for St. Patrick’s Day as well as all year round. The luck of the Irish has waned after the greedy Leprechaun King has taken all the good fortune in Ireland and locked it away. It is up to one cunning girl, Fiona to come up with a plan to get the luck and good tidings back from the leprechauns to help the people of Ireland. Through clever charades, Fiona uses her wit to outsmart the powerful Leprechaun King and restore luck to the Emerald Isle. 

     

    Patrick: Patron of Ireland

    The story of Patrick’s life, from his noble birth in Britain, to his being captured and taken to Ireland by a group of bandits, to the “dreams” that led him to convert the Irish people to the Christian faith. DePaola also retells several well-known legends, including the story of how Patrick got rid of all the snakes in Ireland.

     

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    What happens when a very hungry caterpillar continues to eat and eat? Find out through this book complete with fun cutout pages!

     

    If You Plant a Seed

    With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.

     

    Dormouse Dreams

    As Dormouse dreams–and snores–his way from winter to spring, he imagines going on fantastical adventures with his best dormouse friend. Whimsical illustrations feature other animals entertaining themselves with dart games, cross-country skiing, flying airplanes, and more while Dormouse hibernates. Readers can also follow the friend’s journey to Dormouse’s house, where she wakes him up for some real life pleasures, including daydreaming. This is the perfect bedtime book to snuggle up with when spring isn’t coming fast enough.

     

    Spring Story

    Step into the exquisite, miniature world of the mice of Brambly Hedge in this beautiful new edition of the classic picture book.

    Wilfred woke early. It was his birthday. He had lots of lovely presents, but the best one was a surprise… Mr Apple had organised a secret celebration picnic and all the mice of Brambly Hedge were invited.

    There was so much to carry. Poor Wilfred got very tired as he lurched and bumped his way along the grassy track. What was it Mrs Apple had said was in his hamper? Knives? Sandwiches? They were certainly heavy!

    When they finally arrived, Wilfred was allowed to open up the hamper and there he found the best treat of all . . .

     

    Plant the Tiny Seed

    How do you make a garden grow? In this playful companion to the popular Tap the Magic Tree and Touch the Brightest Star, you will see how tiny seeds bloom into beautiful flowers. And by tapping, clapping, waving, and more, young readers can join in the action! Christie Matheson masterfully combines the wonder of the natural world with the interactivity of reading.

    Beautiful collage-and-watercolor art follows the seed through its entire life cycle, as it grows into a zinnia in a garden full of buzzing bees, curious hummingbirds, and colorful butterflies. Children engage with the book as they wiggle their fingers to water the seeds, clap to make the sun shine after rain, and shoo away a hungry snail. Appropriate for even the youngest child, Plant the Tiny Seed is never the same book twice—no matter how many times you read it!

     

    Whose Nest?

    For preschoolers and beginning readers, Whose Nest? is a beautiful illustrated introduction to nests of all descriptions and their inhabitants. It might be a tree frog or a gecko, a dormouse or a rabbit, a duckling or an eagle!

     

    All Kinds of Nests

    Birds make nests to suit their way of living. Find out about different birds by looking at their nests.

     

    Flower Fairies of the Spring

    Suitable for all Flower Fairy enthusiasts, this title celebrates the annual rejuvenation of the natural world at spring and introduces children to the season’s flowers by making them magical.

     

    A Seed is Sleepy

    This gorgeous book from award-winning artist Sylvia Long and author Dianna Hutts Aston offers children a beautiful and informative look at the intricate, complex, and often surprising world of seeds. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, the book introduces children to a fascinating array of seed and plant facts, making it perfect reading material at home or in the classroom.

     

    An Egg is Quiet

    Featuring poetic text and an elegant design, this acclaimed book teaches children countless interesting facts about eggs. Full of wit and charm, An Egg Is Quiet will at once spark the imagination and cultivate a love of science.

     

    A Nest is Noisy

    This gorgeous and informative book looks at the fascinating world of nests, from those of tiny bee hummingbirds to those of orangutans high in the rainforest canopy. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.

  • Books Coming out in 2019 we are looking forward to reading
    book lists,  elementary,  middle grades,  picture books

    Books Coming Out in 2019 We Are Looking Forward To

    A couple of years ago I would take time at the beginning of each month to look ahead and see what picture books were all coming out that month that we were looking forward to reading and then wrote a blog post about it. I thought it would be fun to do that again but instead of making it a monthly post this year it will probably be quarterly-ish.

    That’s what today’s post is. The books on this list are all coming out at the beginning of 2019 (or may have just came out) and based on the cover (cause yes, I totally judge a book by its cover) and description, I’m excited to read them!

    Now, because I haven’t actually read the books yet this list will be different than most of my other book lists where I am generally telling you our favorite books, ones that I can highly recommend, there are no guarantees with this list and I would suggest checking to see if your library has the books or is planning on getting them soon. I have linked to Amazon because they show the publication date, that way you can see when the book is coming out.

     

    Books coming out in 2019 we are looking forward to reading - picture books and middle grade chapter books

     

    I plan on having a few “favorite books of 2019” lists this year and those will be books that pass our tests. This list is for those of you who are curious about new books and enjoy making use of your library (or don’t mind bringing a book you bought to the thrift store).

    I have done one other thing differently than my previous “books we are looking forward to” lists – I’ve included a few chapter/middle grade books! When I did these lists a few years ago Raeca wasn’t at the point of reading much more than very very short chapter books but she is an avid reader now and I’ve included some books that sound good that I think she will enjoy. Some of them I may end up proof reading or finding other people’s reviews before putting the books into her hands.

    Okay, this is an incredibly long post, so let’s get on to the books!

     

    PICTURE BOOKS WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2019

     

    If this book is any good I want to buy it, I feel like cover totally represents my kids, a rare find (now, if only there was a cat instead of a dog, it would be perfect).

    When I Pray for You

    Something about seeing a beloved child come into the world, grow, and experience the wonder and pain of life drives adults to pray for the kids they love. When I Pray for You celebrates the dreams, hopes, and longings we pray over our children, and shares with the little ones how much care, concern, and love a parent, family member, or friend feels for them.

    From the moment I saw you, 
    I started to pray.
    Big prayers and small ones 
    I have sent God’s way.

    I prayed you felt safe,
    full of joy and content.
    When I whispered “I love you,”
    you knew what I meant.

     

    This book has me rooting for Tiny T. Rex, look how adorable he is!

    Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug

    Tiny T. Rex has a HUGE problem. His friend Pointy needs cheering up and only a hug will do. But with his short stature and teeny T. Rex arms, is a hug impossible? Not if Tiny has anything to say about it! Join this plucky little dinosaur in his very first adventure—a warm and funny tale that proves the best hugs come from the biggest hearts.

     

    This looks like a cute wordless picture book!

    Another

    Christian Robinson brings young readers on a playful, imaginative journey into another world.

    What if you…
    encountered another perspective?
    Discovered another world?
    Met another you?

    What might you do?

     

    Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish

    The most important rule is #1: It must be your birthday. 

    After that’s been established, a crew of hilarious animals help picture book pros Tom Lichtenheld and Beth Ferry take readers through a joyous romp that covers the most important elements of every year’s most essential holiday, including singing; closing your eyes and making a wish; blowing out candles on a cake, then settling into bed and dreaming of your wish coming true.

     

    I think this one is actually already published and being re-published as a board book, but it looks adorable, I can’t wait to read it.

    Made for Me

    Of all the children that ever could be, 
    You are the one made just for me.

    From a child’s first uttered “Dada” to his or her first unsteady steps, nothing can adequately convey the joy and awe of watching the birth and growth of a new child. Now releasing as a board book filled with adorable illustrations and the refrain, “You are the one made just for me,” Made for Me is a winning presentation of tender moments that tie a father and his new child together forever.

     

    How to Catch a Unicorn

    Can you catch the unicorn?
    You’ll have to use your brain,
    So set your traps and prep your team
    To pet that rainbow mane!

     

    Believe: A Pop-Up Book of Possibilities

    All of life’s possibilities are just a page turn away in this beautiful pop-up book from renowned paper artist Robert Sabuda. Throughout, phrases and images evoking potential (an acorn, an egg, a paper airplane) are answered by a glorious 3-D image on the following spread (a towering tree, a flock of birds, a rocket soaring upward). An ideal gift for graduates from kindergarten to college and beyond, Believe is the perfect way to celebrate life’s passages and look forward to new horizons.

     

    You Are My Happy

    As mama bear and her cub cuddle together before closing their eyes for a good night’s sleep, they reflect on the everyday wonders of life that make them happy.

    Inspired by her own nighttime routine with her daughter, Haley Joy, Kotb creates another beautiful treasure for parents and children to enjoy together. With charming and lush illustrations from bestselling artist Suzie Mason, this soothing yet playful lullaby explores the simple joy of taking a moment to be grateful.

     

    Love Made: A Story of God’s Overflowing, Creative Heart

    The joy of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—has existed for all eternity. That indescribable joy bubbled over to make creation. God made so many wonderful things, but we are by far His greatest work of art.

    Share that precious truth with your little one with this unique children’s book celebrating the miracle of God’s creation. Boys and girls will learn about God as the Trinity, the Creator, and about how they are made in His image.

     

    Because

    Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, composes a powerful symphony of chance, discovery, persistence, and magic in this moving tale of a young girl’s journey to center stage.

     

    Circle

    This book is about Circle. This book is also about Circle’s friends, Triangle and Square. Also it is about a rule that Circle makes, and how she has to rescue Triangle when he breaks that rule. With their usual pitch-perfect pacing and subtle, sharp wit, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen come full circle in the third and final chapter of their clever shapes trilogy.

     

    Say Something

    The world needs your voice. If you have a brilliant idea… say something!If you see an injustice… say something!

    In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voices. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are… what you are thinking… and what you believe. And how you’ll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING!

     

    The Good Egg

    Meet the good egg. He’s a verrrrrry good egg indeed.

    But trying to be so good is hard when everyone else is plain ol’ rotten.

    As the other eggs in the dozen behave badly, the good egg starts to crack from all the pressure of feeling like he has to be perfect.

    So, he decides enough is enough! It’s time for him to make a change…

    Dynamic duo Jory John and Pete Oswald hatch a funny and charming story that reminds us of the importance of balance, self-care, and accepting those who we love (even if they are sometimes a bit rotten).

     

    Right This Very Minute

    What’s that you say? You’re hungry? Right this very minute? Then you need a farmer. You have the stories of so many right here on your table! Award winners Lisl H. Detlefsen and Renee Kurilla’s delicious celebration of food and farming is sure to inspire readers of all ages to learn more about where their food comes from – right this very minute!

     

    We Are the Gardeners

    In We Are the Gardeners, Joanna and the kids chronicle the adventures of starting their own family garden. 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!

     

    My Heart

    My heart is a window. My heart is a slide. My heart can be closed…or opened up wide.

    Some days your heart is a puddle or a fence to keep the world out. But some days it is wide open to the love that surrounds you.

     

    Have I Ever Told You?

    This little book holds the message of dignity that every child on this earth needs to hear: You are loved. You matter. You make me smile. You make me the happiest person in the world, just by being you.

    “Have I ever told you that, for me, there is no one more special than you? That for me, you are the most special child in the world, and that I love you now and will love you forever? Have I ever told you that?”

     

    Sea Bear

    Lindsay Moore’s remarkable and beautifully illustrated picture book follows a lone polar bear as she makes her way across sea ice in the Arctic. Sea Bear is a deeply moving and informative story about perseverance, family, nature, and climate change that will resonate with readers of all ages.

     

    I Love You, Funny Bunny

    Together, parents and children will giggle their way through I Love You, Funny Bunny as they discover the fun and loving parts of their own relationship.

     

    What Is Given From The Heart

    “Misery loves company,” Mama says to James Otis. It’s been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they’re blessed. One Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service– the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple’s “love box,” but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack–with stunning illustrations by Harrison–delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

     

    There Are No Bears in This Bakery

    A tough gumshoe of a cat–the name’s Muffin–protects his territory: The Little Bear Bakery. But there are no bears here. Not on Muffin’s watch.

    One night, Muffin hears a suspicious noise. Mouse? Raccoon? Bat? Nope, not the usual suspects. But Muffin hears . . . growling. Could it be? Yup. A bear. Just a cub. Whose stomach is definitely growling. Muffin’s got this case solved–clearly this bear needs some donuts.

     

    Sealed With a Kiss

    What’s a seal to do when she’s new to the zoo? Make new friends, of course!

    But when the other animals aren’t so friendly, a wise sparrow inspires them to surprise Seal with a special treat.

     

    Elvis is King

    Here’s the perfect book for anyone who wants to introduce rock ‘n’ roll and its king to the child in their lives. In single- page “chapters” with titles like “The First Cheeseburger Ever Eaten by Elvis” and “Shazam! A Blond Boy Turns into a Black-Haired Teenager,” readers can follow key moments in Presley’s life, from his birth on the wrong side of the railroad tracks in the Deep South, to playing his first guitar in grade school, to being so nervous during a performance as a teenager that he starts shaking . . . and changes the world!

     

    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!?

     

    Fearless Mary

    A little-known but fascinating and larger-than-life character, Mary Fields is one of the unsung, trailblazing African American women who helped settle the American West. A former slave, Fields became the first African American woman stagecoach driver in 1895, when, in her 60s, she beat out all the cowboys applying for the job by being the fastest to hitch a team of six horses. She won the dangerous and challenging job, and for many years traveled the badlands with her pet eagle, protecting the mail from outlaws and wild animals, never losing a single horse or package. Fields helped pave the way for other women and people of color to become stagecoach drivers and postal workers.

     

    Brave Ballerina

    Janet Collins wanted to be a ballerina in the 1930s and 40s, a time when racial segregation was widespread in the United States. Janet pursued dance with a passion, despite being rejected from discriminatory dance schools. When she was accepted into the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a teenager on the condition that she paint her skin white for performances, Janet refused. She continued to go after her dreams, never compromising her values along the way. From her early childhood lessons to the height of her success as the first African American prima ballerina in the Metropolitan Opera, this is the story of a remarkable pioneer.

     

    When Sadness is at Your Door

    Sadness can be scary and confusing at any age! When we feel sad, especially for long periods of time, it can seem as if the sadness is a part of who we are–an overwhelming, invisible, and scary sensation.

    In When Sadness Is at Your Door, Eva Eland brilliantly approaches this feeling as if it is a visitor. She gives it a shape and a face, and encourages the reader to give it a name, all of which helps to demystify it and distinguish it from ourselves. She suggests activities to do with it, like sitting quietly, drawing, and going outside for a walk. The beauty of this approach is in the respect the book has for the feeling, and the absence of a narrative that encourages the reader to “get over” it or indicates that it’s “bad,” both of which are anxiety-producing notions.

     

    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.

     

    Travel With Me and See Paris

    In her first Travel with Me & See adventure, B invites readers to explore the city of Paris, France. Her goal is to reach the Eiffel Tower by night so she can view the lights sparkle for 5 magical minutes. Finding friendship along the way, B and her readers learn about French culture, language and Parisian historical landmarks including:

    – Eiffel Tower
    – The Church of Notre Dame
    – Stravinsky Fountain
    – Pompidou
    – Louvre Museum
    – Mona Lisa
    – Sacré Coeur Church
    – Arc de Triomphe
    – Champs-Élysée
    – Seine River

     

    Limerick Comics

    Limerick Comics offers lighthearted original limericks on a wide range of history and science
    topics, each with an informational panel of surprising fun facts, all presented in entertaining
    comics. Young readers age 8 and up are invited to linger on each page to enjoy the humor, ponder inferences, and view the evocative details of each illustrated panel. The book is crafted to appeal to reluctant and advanced readers alike. The informational panel on each page can provide a springboard for discussion between parents and children about each topic.

     

    No More Poems!: A Book in Verse That Just Gets Worse

    In the tradition of Shel Silverstein, these poems bring a fresh new twist to the classic dilemmas of childhood as well as a perceptive eye to the foibles of modern family life. Full of clever wordplay and bright visual gags–and toilet humor to spare–these twenty-three rhyming poems make for an ideal read-aloud experience. 

    Taking on the subjects of a bullying baseball coach and annoying little brothers with equally sly humor, renowned lyricist Rhett Miller’s clever verses will have the whole family cackling.

     

    CHAPTER BOOKS WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2019

     

    I so enjoy Andrea Beaty’s picture books and can’t wait to check out the chapter book series (apparently I already missed book one!)

    Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants

    Ada Twist is full of questions. A scientist to her very core, Ada asks why again and again. One question always leads to another until she’s off on a journey of discovery! When Rosie Revere’s Uncle Ned gets a little carried away wearing his famous helium pants, it’s up to Ada and friends to chase him down. As Uncle Ned floats farther and farther away, Ada starts asking lots of questions: How high can a balloon float? Is it possible for Uncle Ned to float into outer space? And what’s the best plan for getting him down?

     

    Ada Lace and the Suspicious Artist

    Third grader and inventor extraordinaire Ada Lace is on spring break. But it’s just a little less relaxing than she’d imagined. Nina is beside herself with excitement about meeting her favorite artist and enlists Ada and Mr. Peebles’s coding-whiz nephew to help revamp her online portfolio.

    When Nina finally meets Miroir, he snubs her, and her confidence is shaken—but not enough to miss the art show opening. While there, Ada spots a suspiciously familiar painting that may mean Miroir isn’t the original he claims to be.

    Will the friends be able to reveal the artist’s true nature, before he fools someone else?

     

    Raeca loves all things fantasy and this book sounds like one she would enjoy.

    Secret in the Stone (The Unicorn Quest)

    Claire Martinson and her sister Sophie have decided to stay in Arden–the magical land they discovered by climbing up a chimney in their great-aunt’s manor. If what they’ve learned is true, the sisters are the last descendants of the royal family, and only a true heir of Arden–with magic in her blood–can awaken the unicorns.

    Since Sophie has does not have magic, the land’s last hope rests on Claire. The sisters journey to Stonehaven, a famed Gemmer school high in the mountains of Arden, so Claire can train in the magic of stone. As Claire struggles through classes, Sophie uncovers dangerous secrets about the people they thought they could trust. With Arden on the brink of crumbling, can Claire prove she is the prophesied heir and unlock the magic of the unicorns before it’s too late?

     

    It’s Not Hansel and Gretel

    Hansel and Gretel will not listen to their storyteller. For one thing, who leaves a trail of bread crumbs lying around, when there are people starving? Not Hansel, that’s for sure! And that sweet old lady who lives in a house made of cookies and candy? There’s no way she’s an evil witch! As for Gretel, well, she’s about to set the record straight—after all, who says the story can’t be called Gretel and Hansel? It’s time for these wacky siblings to take their fairy tale into their own hands. So sit back and enjoy the gingerbread!

    With laugh-out-loud dialogue and bold, playful art (including hidden search-and-find fairy-tale creatures), this Hansel and Gretel retelling will have kids giggling right up to the delicious ending!

     

    I remember reading one of the Baxter family books years and years ago and I’m very interested to see there is now a children’s series based on the family, I think it sounds like something Raeca would enjoy.

    Best Family Ever

    Brooke is the perfect older sister. For that reason, Kari and Ashley work hard to make their parents just as proud of them as they are of Brooke. Each girl has her own talents. Brooke is an excellent student. Kari is a great soccer player. Ashley, a talented artist. And they are always there for each other. But when the news comes that Dr. Baxter is moving the family from Ann Arbor to Bloomington, Indiana, and the Baxters need to leave the only home and friends they’ve ever known, no one is happy. Saying goodbye is hard but the family still has what’s most important—their faith and their love for each other. 

    The first book in the Baxter Family Children series, #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury and Tyler Russell tell the story of what it was like to grow up in the Baxter family, the best family ever.

     

    Gordon Korman is an author I remember reading when I was young, I might just read this one for nostalgia’s sake!

    The Teachables

    The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117.

    Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables.

    The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.

     

    Raeca and I both have a not-so-secret dream to live in a motorhome or bus so this book sounds amazing!

    The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

    Five years.

    That’s how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation.

    It’s also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.

    Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished―the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box―she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days…without him realizing it.

    Along the way, they’ll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there’s Gladys…

    Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all…but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her “once upon a time” into a “happily ever after.”

     

    Which ones are you excited to read first?

  • The Best Picture Books of 2018 - our favorite picture books published in 2018
    book lists,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2018

    I enjoy keeping track of the publication date of the picture books we read and doing a round up of the best books from each year.

    Earlier in 2018 I wrote two lists: a part one and then part two of our favorite 2018 picture books thus far. Then, at the beginning of the year I like to do a final round up of the ten-ish best books from the year, hence this list.

     

    The Best Picture Books of 2018 - our favorite picture books published in 2018

     

    Ideally this list would be done by the beginning of January but there are always a number of books published at the end of the year that it takes a little while for my library to get in and so that’s why it’s almost February and I’m just now coming out with this list.

    You can check out our favorite books from 2017 here as well as 2016’s list here (the books from both of these lists are still some of my favorites of all time).

    Now, on to 2018!

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2018

     

    This book is so sweet, and I would love a dress like hers. 😉

    The Dress and the Girl

    A little girl and her favorite dress dream of an extraordinary life. They enjoy simple pleasures together on a beautiful Greek island. They watch the sunset, do chores, and pick wildflowers on the way home. One day, the dress and the girl must leave the island and immigrate to the United States. Upon arrival, the girl is separated from the trunk carrying her favorite dress, and she fears her dress is lost forever. Many years later, the girl—now all grown up—spots the dress in a thrift store window. As the two are finally reunited, the memories of their times together come flooding back. While the girl can no longer wear the dress, it’s now perfect for her own daughter—and the new journey of a girl and her dress begins. Featuring lush illustrations, The Dress and the Girl is a stunning picture book about memory and the power of the items we hold most dear.

     

    Even the prickly ones need hugs sometimes!

    Hedgehog Needs a Hug

    When Hedgehog wakes up feeling down in the snout and droopy in the prickles, he knows a hug will make him feel much better. But none of his animal friends are eager to wrap their arms around Hedgehog’s prickles, and he’s too smart to fall for Fox’s sly offer.

    Then Hedgehog gets a surprise: Another animal in the forest is feeling exactly the same way.

    Luckily, both are kind and brave enough for the perfect hug.

     

    This is one of the cutest and most fun alphabet books I’ve ever come across!

    Animalphabet

    From ant to butterfly to caterpillar . . . to zebra and then back again, Animalphabet is an entertaining puzzle as well as a gorgeous alphabet book to treasure.

    Who can slither better than a rabbit? A snake! Who can growl better than a snake? A tiger! There are clever hints and peekaboo holes within the artwork that will amaze and delight young children as they learn to use the alphabet.

     

    This is a fairly new book and we all loved the simple words and the beautiful illustrations.

    I’ve Loved You Since Forever

    I’ve Loved You Since Forever is a celebratory and poetic testament to the timeless love felt between parent and child.

    In the universe,
    there was you and
    there was me,
    waiting for the day our
    stars would meet . . .

     

    Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave

    Tomorrow I’ll be all the things I tried to be today:
    Adventurous, Strong, Smart, Curious, Creative, Confident, & Brave.
    And if I wasn’t one of them, I know that it’s OK.

    Journey through a world filled with positive and beautifully hand-lettered words of widsom, inspiration, and motivation. As this book reminds readers, tomorrow is another day, full of endless opportunities–all you have to do is decide to make the day yours.

     

    An Apatosaurus Would Not Make a Good Spy

    Artie the Apatosaurus wants to be a secret agent, but at 40 feet tall he is not very secret! He is terrible at hiding, he can’t disguise himself, and he is too slow to chase bad guys. In fact, being an Apatosaurus is exactly what makes Artie an awful spy! This hilarious picture book from the Dinosaur Dreams series includes discussion questions, an interactive look-and-find fact section, and dinosaur facts.

     

    Bravery is one of the character traits I want my children to learn and this sweet story shows how we can be brave enough to help our friends.

    Brave Enough for Two

    Olive is a little girl who likes the types of adventures that exist in books. Her best friend Hoot, a stuffed-animal owl, prefers the ones that take place in the real world. Today, Hoot gets to pick the adventures. At first, Olive isn’t sure if she’s brave enough for the activities Hoot has picked: flying a makeshift hot-air balloon and navigating raging rivers. But when her dearest friend gets hurt, Olive discovers that she’s not only brave, she’s brave enough for two.

     

    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.

     

    Um, anyone else have a child that likes to talk more than listen? If so, you’ll enjoy this book!

    Wordy Birdy

    Wordy Birdy LOVES to talk. “Hello, sunrise. Hello, pink sky. Hello, orange sky. . . .” But does she love to listen? NOPE. One day, while she’s walking through the forest, her gift of the gab gets her into hot water: “That’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty danger sign and that’s a pretty tree. . . .” Will this inattentive bird walk right into danger? Will her faraway thoughts lead her along a path of doom? It’s up to her long-suffering, heard-it-all-before pals Squirrel, Raccoon, and Rabbit to save their distracted friend.

     

    Kindness is always something we are working on teaching our children, isn’t it?! This book is a good one!

    Be Kind

    When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, wondering:

    What does it mean to be kind?

    From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving story explores what kindness is, and how any act, big or small, can make a difference―or at least help a friend.

     

    What were some of your favorite picture books from 2018?