Tag Archives: book list

Storytime Spotlight: Favorite Reads

Here we go with another storytime spotlight roundup! At my library, we are still doing outdoor storytimes and because our crowd is so spread out, we are limited to the selections in our “big book” staff collection. These books tend to be older titles, that are not my ideal storytime selections with a few exceptions. So I am dreaming of the day when I can get back to reading all the latest and greatest titles in storytime. Here are a few of my current favorites.

Find past storytime spotlight posts here, and feel free to comment with your outstanding storytime shares!

Baby Storytime (ages 0-2)

Shhh! The Baby's Asleep; JaNay Brown-Wood;  9781580895224

Shhh! The Baby’s Asleep by JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Elissambura

Terrific baby storytime books are hard to come by for many reasons. Oftentimes books with tremendous baby storytime potential are only published in board book format and, thus, are much too petite to share with even the smallest of audiences. Because baby storytime is my most beloved program (who doesn’t love sitting in a roomful of babies, amiright?) I am consistently searching high and low for great storytime content for our littlest patrons. Shhh! The Baby’s Asleep by JaNay Brown-Wood fits the bill for babies with a caveat – it is quite long to share with babies. But with a few paperclips, it can be easily abbreviated. In this title, a family is struggling with the age-old problem of staying quiet while its littlest member sleeps. The rhyming structure and the sound effects make this title more storytime-friendly than the average picture book and the repeating phrase of, “Shhh! The baby’s asleep!” will give ample opportunity for grown-ups to join in as you read.

Toddler Storytime (ages 2-3)

Hello, Moon: Downing, Julie: 9780823447015:  Amazon.com: Books

Hello, Moon by Julie Downing

Simply put, toddler storytime perfection. Its spectacular mixed-media illustrations are brimming with the cutest nighttime critters and each page spread features simple, yet vocabulary rich, description. This title could be accentuated in storytime by sharing puppets of the featured animals either during the reading or at the end. Also there are many lines throughout the book that lend themselves to action, “Stir awake, open eyes,” or “Thunder roars” (pat hands on the ground) “Raindrops splash” (pat hands on lap). Creativity is key if you are trying to engage your audience. Especially if that audience is full of twos and threes.

I Like Trains by Daisy Hirst

I Like Trains will tickle pint-sized train enthusiasts far and wide. It features large, bold illustrations and oversized font which can be seen from quite a distance – a storytime-sharing bonus. It will also give little ones insight into what it is like to ride on a train – an experience that would be foreign to some children. The train ride ends with a visit to grandma’s house and the playground. The size of both the illustrations and the font, along with the opportunity for saying a “choo-choo” or two make this one ideal for toddler storytime sharing.

Preschool Storytime (ages 3-5)

What I Am by Divya Srinivasan

Although Srinivasan’s signature illustrative style from Little Owl series and Octopus Alone is missing in this newest picture book, she chose an simpler aesthetic that is well-matched with this book’s subject matter. She addresses self-affirmation, touching on all of the aspects that make little Divya who she is. The strength with this work lies in its child-like illustrations and accompanying text. Each page spread would be easily visable from a distance making it an excellent one to share with a crowd. And although it focuses on a celebration of self, the pacing is quick so a big preschool crowd will be more apt to stay engaged. These are concepts that preschoolers and early school-agers are exploring almost daily in their lives – discovering their likes, dislikes, and ultimately their identity. There are lots of opportunities throughout to ask questions to get the kids thinking about how they would define themselves.

Chill Chomp Chill! by Chris Ayala-Kronos and illustrated by Paco Sordo

Chomp the dinosaur has some choices to make in this crowd-pleasing and highly engaging title. He is presented with a variety of negative behavior choices followed by the repeating phrase, “Chill, Chomp, chill.” This one will have preschoolers and their grownups answering with a resounding, “No!” each time they are asked, “Should Chomp ____?” Not only will preschoolers be invested in Chomp’s decision-making, but the brief pause to “chill” introduces little ones to mindfulness and its power in redirecting upsetting emotions. Storytime gold!

Storytime Spotlight: Favorite Reads

I am always on the hunt for the best upcoming or recently-released storytime books. I love getting suggestions from other librarians or storytime presenters when they have discovered a  winning title. I have been presenting storytime in some form or fashion for ten years, and there is nothing worse than a book that falls flat by either not engaging the kids or being too long. That can lead to unwelcome storytime chaos and having a real Ben Stiller/Bueller moment, where I really lose the crowd.

I’ve certainly learned some lessons while presenting books in storytime. This series will regularly spotlight books that really work for storytime (at least for me). In Storytime Spotlight, I will focus on titles for Baby Storytime (ages 0-2), Toddler Storytime (ages 2-3), and Preschool Storytime (ages 3-6), as well as some titles that may work for kindergarten and first grade audiences. Feel free to comment with your recent favorites as well!

Find past storytime spotlight posts here, and feel free to comment with your outstanding storytime shares!

Baby Storytime (ages 0-2)

Close Your Eyes: A Book of Sleepiness: Houran, Lori Haskins, Hanson,  Sydney: 9780807512715: Amazon.com: Books

Close Your Eyes: A Book of Sleepiness by Lori Haskins Houran and illustrated by Sydney Hanson

This book is part of series by Houran and Hanson that features the most adorable baby animals doing extremely cute things. It is a smaller format picture book, so it would be a challenge to share with a large baby storytime audience, but when shared with a smaller group or even as a virtual storytime title, this one cannot be beat. I am a huge fan of Syndey Hanson’s illustrative style which is featured in one of my all-time favorite preschool storytime titles, Escargot by Dashka Slater. The illustrations in Close Your Eyes are truly the star of the show, but the text is simple and lends itself to great grown-up/baby interaction—cuddles, bouncing, making animal sounds.  All of this supports early literacy, an added bonus.

We Love Babies!: Esbaum, Jill: 9781426337482: Amazon.com: Books

National Geographic Kids We Love Babies! by Jill Esbaum

This National Geographic Kids title features photography of animal babies (clearly I like animals in my baby storytime books).  The size of the book and the formatting of the photography and text are ideal for sharing in baby storytime. The first segment features some animal opposites (big and little, fast and slow) followed by the second segment which features animal body parts (snouts, trunks, stripes).  The third and final segment focuses on animal movements (crawling, climbing, pouncing, swimming).  All three of these themes lend themselves well to storytime movement and the book is easily shortened, if needed.  This one would work very well for toddlers too.

Toddler Storytime (ages 2-3)

Early One Morning | Book by Mem Fox, Christine Davenier | Official  Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

Early One Morning by Mem Fox and illustrated by Christine Davenier

No one knows about writing children’s books like the titan Australian author Mem Fox. Early One Morning is no exception from her regularly stellar work. This plot is very similar to Rod Campbell’s Oh Dear! but it does have a few key differences.  It features a little boy who is searching for eggs on the farm. He comes to various farmyard objects (trucks, tractors, haystacks) and, alas, finds no eggs anywhere. Then he encounters some farm animals (cow, pony, sheep) all the while being followed by a pesky little hen. He ends his journey at the chicken coop realizing  that his travel buddy was actually the critter he was seeking the entire time. I like this title for its repetition of phrase and vintage-inspired illustrations. It is simple and provides many opportunities for question-asking and participation in toddler storytime. 

The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round: Shang, Wendy Wan-Long, Shang,  Wendy Wan-Long, Tu, Lorian: 9781338621198: Amazon.com: Books

The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and illustrated by Lorian Tu

Book text that is set to a familiar tune is absolutely ideal for storytime sharing. The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round is written to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus. It features a multigenerational Chinese family sitting around the table for a traditional meal. Each family member is spotlighted and, prior to sharing in storytime, I would encourage a listen to Mandarin pronunciations of typical family names if you are unfamiliar (Nai Nai, Ge Ge, Jie Jie). The author was kind enough to provide phonetic pronunciation in the back of the book but I find that it helps to listen to pronunciations as well. Toddlers and grownups will chime in with the tune immediately. When sharing, the phrases could be repeated  twice so everyone can join in with singing.

Preschool Storytime (ages 3-5)

Benny's True Colors: Paulson, Norene, Passchier, Anne: 9781250207715:  Amazon.com: Books

Benny’s True Colors by Norene Paulson and illustrated by Anne Passchier

Benny the bat doesn’t feel like a bat—he loves the sunshine, cannot imagine sleeping upside down, and craves vibrant color. Benny knows that although he is a bat on the outside, he most definitely a butterfly on the inside. He knows that in order to truly be himself, Benny must make the transition from bat to butterfly. This is a perfect Pride month storytime book as it has LGBTQ+ themes.  Benny is an endearing character who will have preschoolers rooting for him to live his best butterfly life. The illustrations are peppered with a vivid, neon pink against a less vibrant—but still rich—color palette. I have an 80s-childhood-nostalgic love for the use of neon pink in any context.

Strollercoaster: Ringler, Matt, Third, Raúl the, Bay, Elaine:  9780316493222: Amazon.com: Books

Strollercoaster by Matt Ringler and illustrated by Raύl the Third and Elaine Bay

This title feels fun, fresh, and cool. The artwork by the wife-husband team of Raύl the Third and Elaine Bay is the highlight and is characteristic of their illustrative style. The “strollercoaster” makes its way through the  big city streets and sees all the sights and sounds of a metropolitan area—the street art, the basketball courts, the playground. All the while the strollercoaster climbs and soars with lots of lively storytime movement opportunities.  And after the exciting journey, our rider Sam is tuckered out and ready for a nap.  Relatable and well-suited for preschoolers and their grownups.

Storytime Spotlight: Favorite Reads

I am always on the hunt for the best upcoming or recently-released storytime books. I love getting suggestions from other librarians or storytime presenters when they have discovered a  winning title. I have been presenting storytime in some form or fashion for ten years, and there is nothing worse than a book that falls flat by either not engaging the kids or being too long. That can lead to unwelcome storytime chaos and having a real Ben Stiller/Bueller moment, where I really lose the crowd.

I’ve certainly learned some lessons while presenting books in storytime. This series will regularly spotlight books that really work for storytime (at least for me). In Storytime Spotlight, I will focus on titles for Baby Storytime (ages 0-2), Toddler Storytime (ages 2-3), and Preschool Storytime (ages 3-6), as well as some titles that may work for kindergarten and first grade audiences. Feel free to comment with your recent favorites as well!

Baby Storytime (ages 0-2)

Step By Step - By Guido Van Genechten (board Book) : Target

Step by Step by Guido Van Genechten

This is a large-format board book (which may not work for a big storytime crowd), but I love it for it’s simplicity. As the title suggests, it focuses on the steps involved in learning to walk. The cute twist is the narrator is coaching adorable animals on the foot and body position needed for walking. The animal element is great, especially because it lends itself to adding puppets to the story. Puppets are an excellent way to extend the story and actions beyond the page.  Babies can really engage with puppets as they are easy to see. Incorporating animal sounds as well supports early literacy because they are often some of baby’s first words. On the final page, we finally meet our baby who has a non-white skin tone. My storytime book choices feature all types of skin tones, ethnicities, abilities, and gender identities.

Applesauce Is Fun To Wear – LD Shoppe

Applesauce is Fun to Wear by Nancy Raines Day and illustrated by Jane Massey

Another baby title that features a diverse cast of characters; this one is made for baby storytime. It is currently published in hardcover, but I could imagine it will be released as a board book at some point in the future. The title features babies eating, and of course, making a huge mess. The illustrations are relatively delicate and simple, but they work because both the babies and the text are large in relationship to the overall size of the book. And this book incorporates an element that is always baby storytime gold—simple and relatable actions for caregivers to do along with their babies while reading. In Applesauce is Fun to Wear these actions focus on body parts. Being able to name at least two body parts by 12 months is a milestone for neurotypical kiddos. Parents and caregivers will appreciate the extra body part-naming practice.

Toddler Storytime (ages 2-3)

The Sea Knows: McGinty, Alice B., Havis, Alan B., Laberis, Stephanie:  9781534438224: Amazon.com: Books

The Sea Knows by Alice McGinty & Alan B. Havis, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis

Finding books for toddler storytime is always a challenge for me. I feel like it is somewhat of a market deficit to find books that truly suit the 2s and 3s in a storytime setting. The Sea Knows sits comfortably in that age range for several reasons. It deals with both concrete concepts (the ocean and it’s critters) and the more abstract (opposites). I find toddlers (especially 3s) are really able to engage with both as long as the idea is simple and the illustrations are vivid and bold. This book ticks both of those boxes. When read to a large group of toddlers, I would suggest shortening it with the old librarian trick of paperclipping pages together, especially towards the end (“The sea knows crash. The sea knows trouble”). This could be a juncture at which the toddler crowd may be lost as those are difficult concepts for toddlers to grasp.

One of These Is Not Like the Others: Saltzberg, Barney: 9780823445608:  Amazon.com: Books

One of These Is Not Like the Others by Barney Saltzberg

Barney Saltzberg is a favorite author, and this title is perfect for large crowd sharing. The background is entirely white, which allows the Sandra Boynton-esque animals to be easily seen from far away.  Older toddlers will  be able to identify the outlier on each page, and if there are preschool siblings in the toddler-preschool crowd, they will likely get the relationships between the creatures (i.e. sheep and a wolf, dogs and a cat). It moves quickly through the story, and the theme repeats throughout, which adds to the predictability of the story. Being able to predict what happens next in the story is an important early literacy skill that is important to highlight during storytime.

Preschool Storytime (ages 3-5)

Mel Fell: Tabor, Corey R., Tabor, Corey R.: 9780062878014: Amazon.com: Books

Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor 

As a snail owner, I am always seeking out snail stories like Tabor’s Snail Crossing (another terrific preschool storytime read), and I was anxious to read Tabor’s latest critter adventure. Mel Fell did not disappoint with its sense of humor and charming illustrative style. The concepts of book handling and print orientation are turned on their heads with this title. Preschoolers are just beginning to understand the significance of text and its placement in a book, so sharing Mel Fell will invite a conversation where they can “correct” your orientation of the book. What is even cooler about this idea is that it is flipped—literally—when our  protagonist Mel begins to fly instead of fall. Mel meets all kinds of critters that add potential for asides while reading (for example, Mel meeting the hive of bees gives an opportunity to encourage the kids to buzz like a bee). And of course, all preschoolers love a story of overcoming adversity and learning new skills. 

Amazon.com: Pigeon Math (9781943147625): Citro, Asia, Watson, Richard: Books

Pigeon Math by Asia Citro and illustrated by Richard Watson

Asia Citro’s first foray into the picture book world is a charmer. Unless you have a crowd of extremely precocious preschoolers, the math concepts will fly (pun intended) well above their heads. Nonetheless, the pigeons are silly and engaging enough to entertain preschool-aged kiddos.  The action of the birds can be extended easily by having the participants join in with what the pigeons do on their wire throughout the book.  And when reading to an older group of kindergarteners or early school-agers, the kids can shout out the answers to the math problems. All around, this one appealed to me for many reasons, and I’m always going to gravitate towards books about pigeons, the true underdog (underbird?) of birds.

2020 Favorite Picture Books

It’s book list season! I’ve read a lot this year, and I am excited to highlight my favorite releases of 2020. I’m thrilled to share my 2020 Favorite Picture Books.

There were so many fantastic picture books released this year that this list is split in two! Make sure to check out my 2020 Favorite Storytime Books for even more amazing titles.

These lists are personal. The picture books that stand out for me may not be your favorites–and that is okay! We each have our own reading preferences. Also, I very well may have missed some great titles that were released over the last year–so make sure to check out all of the great lists all over the internet, and please share your favorites in the comments!

2020 Favorite Picture Books

All Because You Matter: Charles, Tami, Collier, Bryan: 9781338574852:  Amazon.com: Books

All Because You Matter
by Tami Charles and illustrated by Bryan Collier
Lyrical, poetic, beautiful, powerful, timely, and timeless–this brilliant book affirms that black lives matter. If you haven’t already added this to your library shelves, buy a copy immediately.

Antiracist Baby Board Book: Kendi, Ibram X., Lukashevsky, Ashley:  9780593110416: Amazon.com: Books

Antiracist Baby
by Ibram X. Kendi and illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
An overview of how to be antiracist in nine steps. Personally, I prefer the picture book to the board book–while the content is excellent, it is a bit dense for the smaller format (and not really meant for actual babies). A great read between a caregiver and preschooler (or older child).

The Best Worst Poet Ever: Stohler, Lauren, Stohler, Lauren: 9781534446281:  Amazon.com: Books

The Best Worst Poet Ever
by Lauren Stohler
Pug and Cat are both determined to become the world’s best poet–though they have vastly different poetic styles. A battle of wits and words ensues, with rapidly increasing hilarity, until the two realize that maybe they would work better as a team. Lots of laughs and an excellent book to adapt into a reader’s theater script.

Boys Dance! (American Ballet Theatre): Allman, John Robert, Lozano,  Luciano: 9780593181157: Amazon.com: Books

Boys Dance
by John Robert Allman and illustrated by Luciano Lozano
Travel through a day of ballet practice for a group of young boys. This book stands out by focusing on diverse, male ballet dancers, including highlighting real male ballet dancers from throughout history.

Catch That Chicken!: Atinuke, Brooksbank, Angela: 9781536212686:  Amazon.com: Books

Catch That Chicken!
by Atinuke and illustrated by Angela Brooksbank
Lami is the best chicken catcher in her Nigerian village, but when she hurts her ankle, her speed won’t help her succeed anymore. Can she figure out another way to prove her skills?

Danbi Leads the School Parade: Kim, Anna, Kim, Anna: 9780451478894:  Amazon.com: Books

Danbi Leads the School Parade
by Anna Kim
Danbi just moved to America from Korea, and she is thrilled to start school! Except, when she gets there, she doesn’t understand what her teacher or classmates say. Danbi is sure that she knows what to do at lunch, but even her food is different than everyone else’s. Can Danbi figure out how to make new friends?

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away: Medina, Meg, Sanchez, Sonia: 9781536207040:  Amazon.com: Books

Evelyn del Rey Is Moving Away
by Meg Medina and illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
Best friends Evelyn and Daniela have always done everything together until today–today is the day that Evelyn moves away. A beautiful story about friendship, family, and goodbyes.

Everything Naomi Loved: Yamasaki, Katie, Lendler, Ian, Yamasaki, Katie:  9781324004912: Amazon.com: Books

Everything Naomi Loved
by Katie Yamasaki & Ian Lendler
Naomi loves her street from the bodega to the big tree outside her building. One day, that tree is cut down because “They’re building something new. Something fancy.” Soon lots of things start to change–her best friend’s building is torn down. The stores close one by one. Naomi figures out a way to hold onto her home even while everything changes around her.

Freedom, We Sing – Flying Eye Books

Freedom, We Sing
by Amyra Leon and illustrated by Molly Mendoza
Lyrical words and beautiful illustrations inspire conversations about hope and freedom around the world.

Grandmother School: Singh, Rina, Rooney, Ellen: 9781459819054: Amazon.com:  Books

Grandmother School
by Rina Singh and illustrated by Ellen Rooney
In Phangane, a remote village in India, grandchildren walk their grandmothers to a special grandmother school. As children, these grandmothers watched their brothers go to school. As mothers, they sent their own children-sons and daughters-to school. Now, as grandmothers, they are finally learning to read and write themselves.

Grandpa Grumps: Moore, Katrina, Yan, Xindi: 9781499808865: Amazon.com: Books

Grandpa Grumps
by Katrina Moore and illustrated by Xindi Yan
Daisy is so excited to meet her Yeh Yeh (grandfather), visiting from China for the first time. She has so many great ideas for all of the ways they will have fun together…but he seems really grumpy.

Hot Pot Night!: Chen, Vincent, Chen, Vincent: 9781623541200: Amazon.com:  Books

Hot Pot Night!
by Vincent Chen
Delicious and full of rhythm! Diverse neighbors come together to cook a yummy, communal meal. Everyone adds ingredients to make the meal extra delicious.

How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion:  Shiraishi, Ashima, Xiao, Yao: 9781524773274: Amazon.com: Books

How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion
by Ashima Shiraishi and illustrated by Yao Xiao
To a rock climber, each new mountain is a problem to be solved. Shiraishi’s methods to approaching each new problem can be applied to kids’ everyday challenges–both small and big–to give them the courage to move forward.

I Am Every Good Thing: Barnes, Derrick, James, Gordon C.: 9780525518778:  Amazon.com: Books

I Am Every Good Thing
by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James
A beautiful book emphasizing the creativity, strength, courage, smarts, humor, and kindness of our main character–and Black children everywhere. Gorgeous illustrations and a wonderful message.

I Will Dance | Book by Nancy Bo Flood, Julianna Swaney | Official Publisher  Page | Simon & Schuster

I Will Dance
by Nancy Bo Flood and illustrated by Julianna Swaney
Eva longs to dance. But Eva is in a wheelchair because she has cerebral palsy. While she stares longingly at professional dancers on stage, she can’t imagine she will ever be able to join them. But one day, she finally can, when she learns about the Young Dance Company, a dance studio for young people of all abilities (and a real organization).

Kamala and Maya's Big Idea: Harris, Meena, González, Ana Ramírez:  9780062937407: Amazon.com: Books

Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea
by Meena Harris and illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez
Kamala and Maya want to turn the empty courtyard in their apartment complex into a playground. They are told no, again and again, but after a lot of teamwork and persistence, they finally get that no changed to a yes.

The Little Mermaid by Jerry Pinkney

The Little Mermaid
by Jerry Pinkney
Mermaid princess Melody loves catching glimpses of the world above. When she finally breaks the surface, she discovers a girl standing on the beach. After a tempting offer from the sea witch, Melody agrees to give up her voice for a chance at legs and making a new friend.

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration: Doyon, Samara Cole, Juanita,  Kaylani: 9780884487975: Amazon.com: Books

Magnificent Homespun Brown
by Samara Cole Doyon and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
Poetic language paired with an inspiring message and amazing illustrations. A bit more for adults than kids, this is still a beautiful book to be shared as a family.

My Maddy: Pitman, Gayle E., Tobacco, Violet: 9781433830440: Amazon.com:  Books

My Maddy
by Gayle E. Pitman and illustrated by Violet Tobacco
A fun, adorable story about the love between a child and their parent–made all the more powerful by featuring a nonbinary parent. Back matter gives caregivers suggestions for ways to talk to kids with a transgender or nonbinary parent.

My Rainbow: Neal, DeShanna, Neal, Trinity, Art Twink: 9781984814609:  Amazon.com: Books

My Rainbow
by Trinity and DeShanna Neal and illustrated by Art Twink
During playtime, Trinity realizes that she is a girl–and she wants beautiful long hair like her dolls. Her family accepts Trinity and works to find her the perfect wig. A beautiful own voices story depicting intersectionality–Trinity is black, autistic, and transgender.

Nana Akua Goes to School: Walker, Tricia Elam, Harrison, April:  9780525581130: Amazon.com: Books

Nana Akua Goes to School
by Tricia Elam Walker and illustrated by April Harrison
Zura is nervous about bringing her Nana Akua to school for Grandparent’s Day. Nana Akua is Zura’s favorite person in the world, but Nana Akua has tribal markings on her face from a family tradition from her childhood in Ghana. Sometimes, those marks scare strangers when Zura and Nana Akua go to the park or the store. What will her classmates think?

The Noisy Classroom: Shanté, Angela, Hawkins, Alison: 9781513262925:  Amazon.com: Books

The Noisy Classroom
by Angela Shanté and illustrated by Alison Hawkins
A child is nervous about her new classroom. She has heard about this room. While the rest of the classes are quiet, Ms. Johnson’s class is noisy. The kids sing and talk and aren’t always in their seats. Can she get out of joining this new class? Or will she discover she likes her new experiences after all?

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read: Hubbard, Rita  Lorraine, Mora, Oge: 9781524768287: Amazon.com: Books

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
by Rita Lorraine Hubbard and illustrated by Oge Mora
Mary Walker was born into slavery. While she was free at 15, life kept her busy–getting married, having children, and working many, many jobs. When she was 114, she was the last remaining member of her family–and she finally learned to read.

Overground Railroad: Cline-Ransome, Lesa, Ransome, James E.: 9780823438730:  Amazon.com: Books

Overground Railroad
by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome
An African American family travels via the “Overground Railroad” from the south to New York City as part of the Great Migration in the 1930s. A combination of free verse poetry and vivid watercolor illustrations gorgeously makes Ruth’s journey jump off the page.

Papa, Daddy, and Riley | Kids' BookBuzz

Papa, Daddy, & Riley
by Seamus Kirst and illustrated by Devon Holzwarth
Riley’s classmates have all kinds of questions about Riley’s two dads. Where is you mom? Who is your REAL dad? Riley is upset–she doesn’t want to choose between her two dads. Papa and Daddy lovingly explain that families can look different because families are all about love.

Peanut Goes for the Gold: Van Ness, Jonathan, Reid, Gillian: 9780062941008:  Amazon.com: Books

Peanut Goes for the Gold
by Jonathan Van Ness and illustrated by Gillian Reid
Nonbinary guinea pig Peanut does things their own way. When Peanut decides to be a rhythmic gymnast, no one is surprised when Peanut comes up with a unique routine that is uniquely them. By a nonbinary author.

Salma the Syrian Chef: Ramadan, Danny, Bron, Anna: 9781773213750:  Amazon.com: Books

Salma the Syrian Chef
by Danny Ramadan and illustrated by Anna Bron
Salma misses her mom’s smiles. Ever since they moved from Syria, her mom seems busy, sad, and lonely. Salma decides to create her mom’s favorite Syrian meal–but nothing goes according to plan.

Too Sticky! (Hardcover) | Albert Whitman & Company

Too Sticky!
by Jen Malia and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Holly loves science class, but she is nervous when she finds out her class is making slime. Holly is autistic and has sensory issues–she doesn’t like anything sticky, and slime is made with glue. Does she want to give slime a try? By an own voices autistic author.

We Are Water Protectors: Lindstrom, Carole, Goade, Michaela: 9781250203557:  Amazon.com: Books

We Are Water Protectors
by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade
So beautiful! An Ojibwe author and Tlingit illustrator create a breathtaking book calling for activism to protect the world’s water from oil pipelines. A sharp reminder that Native people are still here and standing for what is right.

You Matter | Book by Christian Robinson | Official Publisher Page | Simon &  Schuster

You Matter
by Christian Robinson
A lovely reminder that everyone matters–whether you are old or young, small or large, pesky (or even gassy).

I know there are always books that I miss each year, and some of the 2020 picture books I’m excited to explore soon are below!

The Paper Boat | CBC Books