august 2019 Best Picture Books

Spencer's New Pet book
#1
Spencer's New Pet
Written and illustrated by Jessie Sima
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Spencer gets a new pet, he’s excited to do all the things that pets do—taking walks in the park, going to the vet, and attending parties together. There’s just one hitch: Spencer’s new pet is a balloon. And that means No. Sharp. Objects. No drooling dogs at the park. No prickly porcupines at the vet. And absolutely no pinning tails on any donkeys! Spencer’s New Pet is a story of pure fun about a boy, his dog, and a friendship that endures life’s sharpest…and most unexpected twists.

The Boring Book book
#2
The Boring Book
Written and illustrated by Shinsuke Yoshitake
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Boredom: humankind’s age-old adversary. It’s a state that is undesirable, uninteresting . . . and just plain boring. But as one particularly bored boy discovers, there’s actually more to boredom than meets the eye—more questions, more theories, and heaps of humor. This exploration of boredom from acclaimed author-illustrator Shinsuke Yoshitake playfully—and hilariously—unpacks the ways in which a seemingly stagnant state is actually a portal into a dynamic, life-enriching experience. For anyone who’s ever been mind-numbingly bored, this smart, laugh-out-loud picture book just might change your perspective on the state of boredom forever.

Snowmen at Halloween book
#3
Snowmen at Halloween
Written by Caralyn Buehner and illustrated by Mark Buehner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The snowmen are getting their Halloween costumes ready for the latest picture book in this New York Times bestselling series. Have you ever built a snowman and discovered the next day that his grin has gotten a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have moved? And you’ve wondered . . . what do snowmen do when we’re not watching? After an early snowfall, a few kids build some snowmen before going trick-or-treating. And when the kids go off to bed, the snowmen have their own Halloween festival! There’s candy and apple-bobbing and costume contests and all sorts of autumn activities. When the kids wake up the next morning, the snowmen are gone… but they’ve left a very special message behind.

Granddaddy's Turn book
#4
Granddaddy's Turn
Written by Michael S Bandy and Eric Stein and illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Based on the true story of one family’s struggle for voting rights in the civil rights-era South, this moving tale shines an emotional spotlight on a dark facet of U.S. history. Life on the farm with Granddaddy is full of hard work, but despite all the chores, Granddaddy always makes time for play, especially fishing trips. Even when there isn’t a bite to catch, he reminds young Michael that it takes patience to get what’s coming to you. One morning, when Granddaddy heads into town in his fancy suit, Michael knows that something very special must be happening—and sure enough, everyone is lined up at the town hall! For the very first time, Granddaddy is allowed to vote, and he couldn’t be more proud. But can Michael be patient when it seems that justice just can’t come soon enough? This powerful and touching true-life story shares one boy’s perspective of growing up in the segregated South, while beautiful illustrations depict the rural setting in tender detail.

A Tiny Brown Monkey on the Big Blue Earth book
#5
A Tiny Brown Monkey on the Big Blue Earth
Written by Tory Christie and illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Starting with a tiny brown monkey in the middle of a jungle, this unique geography perspective shows ever-widening views from mountain to village to city, to country, continent, ocean, and planet.

  1. Do You Really Want to Meet Spinosaurus? - Six new titles in this popular adventure series feature various dinosaurs that once roamed the earth. Child adventurers become time travelers and make firsthand observations about the dinosaurs. Delightful illustrations and carefully crafted text help the stories come alive, making these books both educational and entertaining. A young child adventures back in time to 100 million years ago to meet a Spinosaurus, learning how they looked, where it lived, andhow they hunted other dinosaurs for food. This illustrated narrative nonfiction title includes a map of fossil findings, glossary, and further resources.

  2. Champions of Change - Stories of powerhouse women who pushed for justice in politics, medicine, art, music, religion, tribal leadership, and more. In fighting to pass the 19th Amendment, brave suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Emmeline B. Wells fought to end laws and take down barriers that prevented them from voting. Champions of Change introduces young readers not only to Anthony and Wells, but also to a diverse group of firsts and freedom-fighters in America’s fight for equality, such as: Zitkala-Sa, co-founder of the National Council of American Indians Martha Hughes Cannon, America’s first female senator Hanna Kaaepa, an advocate for Hawaiian women’s rights Barbara Toomer, who was jailed 35 times for protests that led to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities act and the women of the Kanab City Council, one of the first all-female city councils in the country. This timely collection of mini biographies highlights 25 champions for justice, includes colorful portraitures of each, and presents actual photos of the individuals as well as a quick reference glossary. Naomi Watkins, Ph.D. is an educational consultant, women’s advocate, and community builder. A former middle school English teacher, she specializes in curriculum development and school district consulting. She has been published in international journals such as the The Reading Teacher, Journal of Children’s Literature, TESOL Journal, and Middle School Journal. Katherine Kitterman is the historical director for Better Days 2020, an organization that explores stories of women who shaped Utah’s history. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in American History at American University in Washington, D.C., where she has worked to bring history to life at the Smithsonian Institution, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Woodrow Wilson House. Brooke Smart is an illustrator based in Sandy, Utah, with a BFA in Illustration from Brigham Young University. Her illustration clients include the New York Times, Gathre, Better Days 2020, Bravery Magazine, and private commissions. Brook recently won honorable mention in the 2016 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Portfolio Showcase in New York City.

  3. The Mighty Steam Engine - Using the rhyming poetic structure of This is the House that Jack Built, author Yvonne Ng takes young readers on a cumulative path through the inner workings of a steam engine, from the big wheels rolling on the tracks all the way to the engineer driving the train.

  4. Froggy Picks a Pumpkin - Froggy and friends enjoy a back-to-school ritual: a trip to the pumpkin patch. Froggy can’t wait to pick a pumpkin. He plans to carve a jack-o’-lantern and make a pumpkin pie. Prizes are given for the biggest, smallest, and prettiest pumpkin, but when Froggy trips and smashes his pumpkin, he takes home a special prize—for the ugliest pumpkin!

Tractor Mac: Autumn Is Here book
#10
Tractor Mac: Autumn Is Here
Written and illustrated by Billy Steers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Tractor Mac and his vehicle and animal friends return in a jacketed hardcover about the seasonal changes of autumn. Fergie the calf does not like change, so when his pleasant routine on Stony Meadow Farm begins to change as summer turns to autumn. Fergie is not happy. Luckily his pals on the farm help him acclimate to, and even embrace, the change of seasons.

Like a Girl book
#11
Like a Girl
Written by Lori Degman and illustrated by Mara Penny
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Once upon a time, “like a girl” was an insult. Not anymore! In every walk of life, girls are demonstrating their creativity, perseverance, and strength. From civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who stood up for her beliefs by staying seated, to astronaut Sally Ride, the 24 women profiled here took risks, broke barriers, and transformed the world. This tribute to girl power will inspire young women everywhere.

Our World Is Relative book
#12
Our World Is Relative
Written by Julia Sooy and illustrated by Molly Walsh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Size, speed, weight, direction, distance We think of space and time as fixed and measurable. But these measurements—our experience of space and time—they are relative. Our world is relative. With simple, engaging text and vibrant art imbued with light and movement, Our World Is Relative offers a child’s-eye view of time, space, and the vast role that relativity plays in comprehending our world. It’s an introduction to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, perfect for any curious young scientist.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!