december 2019 Best Picture Books

Words and Your Heart book
#1
Words and Your Heart
Written and illustrated by Kate Jane Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Simple, direct, and emotive, Kate Jane Neal’s Words and Your Heart’s message is that words have extraordinary power–to harm and to heal; to create and to destroy; and to spread love. This book is about your heart. (the little bit inside of you that makes you, you!) The words we listen to can affect how we feel. Some words can do amazing things and make us happy. And some words can really hurt us (we all know what sort of words those are). Our words have power, and we can choose to use them to make the world a better place.

A Picture Book of Alexander Hamilton book
#2
A Picture Book of Alexander Hamilton
Written by David A. Adler and illustrated by Matt Collins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

How the extraordinary patriot made soaring accomplishments but then met his devastating end, the life of Alexander Hamilton for picture book readers. From his youth in the Caribbean to his immigration to New York City, this picture book covers the highlights of Alexander Hamilton’s legacy, including his part in the American revolution, his influence on the monetary system we still use today, and his tragic death. Matt Collin’s hyperrealistic art style will transport readers right alongside Hamilton, while David A. Adler deftly chronicles pivotal moments in the Founding Father’s short but hugely influential life. A time line is included.

With a Little Help from My Friends book
#3
With a Little Help from My Friends
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and illustrated by Henry Cole
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Celebrate friendship with this lyrical picture book that beautifully illustrates John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s world-renowned words from “With a Little Help from My Friends.”

I get by with a little help from my friends…

In this gorgeously illustrated picture book, the universally loved words to “With a Little Help from My Friends” come vividly to life, showing that sometimes, all you need is a little help from your friends!

Freedom Soup book
#4
Freedom Soup
Written by Tami Charles and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Join the celebration in the kitchen as a family makes their traditional New Year’s soup — and shares the story of how Haitian independence came to be.

The shake-shake of maracas vibrates down to my toes. Ti Gran’s feet tap-tap to the rhythm.

Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup — Freedom Soup — just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle’s family is from. In this celebration of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next, Jacqueline Alcántara’s lush illustrations bring to life both Belle’s story and the story of the Haitian Revolution. Tami Charles’s lyrical text, as accessible as it is sensory, makes for a tale that readers will enjoy to the last drop.

I Love You, Fred book
#5
I Love You, Fred
Written by Mick Inkpen and illustrated by Chloe Inkpen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

From the father-daughter team behind I Will Love You Anyway comes another heartwarming tale about a sweatband-wearing pug.

Fetch! and Sit! and Stay! and Ball! and Walk! and Bed! I know those words… …but what is Fred?

Little ones will laugh out loud as you read Mick and Chloë Inkpen’s delightful second story all about a troublesome little dog who finally discovers his own name.

  1. Tooth Fairy in Training - When it’s time for Tate to start her tooth-fairy training, she learns that there’s much more to the job than just leaving coins for sleeping children. Tate’s tooth-fairy training starts today, and her big sister, May, is taking her out on her very first tooth-collecting mission. After practicing at home, Tate is ready to test her skills, and May leads her to their first stop: a herd of hippos in a lake! After all, human children aren’t the only young creatures that lose their teeth. In fact, being a tooth fairy is a dangerous job, and Tate must visit all kinds of toothy predators before the night is up. Will she be able to collect the teeth from narwhals, anacondas, and more — all without waking a single creature? Author Michelle Robinson and illustrator Briony May Smith introduce two brave fairy sisters with a whimsical, rhyming read-aloud.

  2. Job Wanted - A plucky farm dog will do anything to get a job—even be a cow! When a farmer tells a dog that “dogs just eat and don’t give anything back,” the dog is disappointed, but not discouraged. He’ll try being a cow, a horse, and a chicken before he’s done. As the farmer learns the value of a good dog, children will laugh as the dog finds his rightful place on the farm. Teresa Batemen’s endearing story celebrates persistence, ingenuity, and the fact that everybody can make a contribution. Award-winning artist Chris Sheban’s illustrations are filled with warmth and humor. Kids and parents will love this terrific read aloud with a subtle message about never giving up. Nominated for The Washington Children’s Choice Award, The New York State Charlotte Award, the Young Hoosier Book Award, and the Virginia Readers’ Choice Award.

  3. A Picture Book of Louis Braille - As a child, Louis Braille lost his sight in a tragic accident—but he was determined not to let that limit him. The young Frenchman sought every opportunity to learn, and by the time he was a teenager, began experimenting with a new form of writing. Today, his system of raised dots is used by people with visual difficulties across the world. Backmatter includes a timeline and author’s note, as well as a page of letters and numerals in braille printing. For almost thirty years, David Adler’s Picture Book Biography series has profiled famous people who changed the world. Colorful, kid-friendly illustrations combine with Adler’s “expert mixtures of facts and personality” (Booklist) to introduce young readers to history through compelling biographies of presidents, heroes, inventors, explorers, and adventurers. These books are ideal for first and second graders interested in history, or who need reliable sources for school book reports.

  4. Rain Makes Applesauce (Restored Edition) - My House goes walking every day… and rain makes applesauce. Oh, you’re just talking silly talk! So begins this award-winning collection of nonsense verse and images has been carefully restored for a new generation. A story-hour favorite since it was first published in 1964, this beloved read-aloud has been carefully remastered to bring back the rich, vivid details of its Caldecott Honor-winning artwork. Featuring an introduction by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney, R Makes A is popular both as a bedtime story and as a go-to title for elementary teachers of creative writing. Created by the unique team of legendary NASA publicist Julian Scheer and illustration master Marvin Bileck, this influential picture book has inspired artists and writers, as well as young children creating their own nonsense stories, for more than 50 years.

Watership Down book
#10
Watership Down
Written by and illustrated by Sophia O'Connor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Discover the adventures of the beloved rabbits from Watership Down—the animated TV miniseries now streaming on Netflix—in this beautiful storybook by Frank Cottrell-Boyce adapted from the TV scripts based on the Carnegie Medal–winning novel and timeless classic by Richard Adams.

Set in the English countryside, Watership Down tells the tale of a small group of rabbits suddenly forced to abandon their warren and seek a safe home. As they set off to find a new place to live, they encounter all kinds of danger, from the landscape, from humans, and also from other rabbits! Will they find a new place to call home?

Watership Down © 2018 Watership Down Television Limited A Netflix Original Series All rights reserved.

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush book
#11
Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Written and illustrated by Jane Cabrera
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

There’s so much to do on a cold and frosty day. . . . Two young pups are excited to go outside and play - but first they have to get ready for school. Sing along as they wake up, brush their teeth, get dressed, march to school, and finally get to go have fun. All the neighborhood children - from three young mice bundled up tight to a cuddly pig in a cozy hat - brave the cold to play together. Experience the familiar nursery rhyme celebrating morning routine . . . and continue the day’s routine into an afternoon of fun and cozy bedtime wishes that makes this picture book perfect for both story hours and bedtime. Send little ones off to school for the first time knowing what to expect - and also what to be excited for! Jane Cabrera’s Story Time celebrates children’s best-loved read along nursery rhymes and songs. These interactive favorites are given a new twist by award-winning artist Jane Cabrera and feature her bold, bright, kid-friendly illustrations. Other titles in the series include If You’re Happy and You Know It, One Two Buckle My Shoe, and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

Lola Dutch I Love You So Much book
#12
Lola Dutch I Love You So Much
Written by Kenneth Wright and illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

This is Lola Dutch, a delightfully creative girl who loves her friends SO much. When they’re having a bad day, Lola knows just what to do to make each of them feel better: She sews cozy pajamas for Gator, constructs the perfect reading nook for Crane, and takes Pig to the park! Lola loves showing her friends how much she loves them! But there’s one special friend she’s forgotten—Bear! Can Lola decide on the perfect way to express how much he means to her? The curious and inspired Lola Dutch knows that when it comes to showing friendship and appreciation, there’s no such thing as too much. And maybe because of that, the thing Lola’s friends love the most is . . . LOLA DUTCH! Inspired by their own four gorgeously creative children, Sarah Jane and Kenneth Wright are thrilled to continue this fun series about the unstoppable Lola Dutch, a larger-than-life character perfect for fans of Olivia and Fancy Nancy.

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