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december 2019 Best Picture Books

Freedom Soup book
#1
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.

With a Little Help from My Friends book
#2
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!

Odd Dog Out book
#3
Odd Dog Out
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A heartwarming and poignant story from award-winning creator Rob Biddulph about the power of embracing your true colors. Perfect for fans of Peter Brown’s Tiger Goes Wild.

It’s a dog’s life in the big, busy city, but there’s one lonely pup who doesn’t quite fit in. She behaves differently from the rest, sports rainbow in a sea of gray, and marches to the beat of her own drum.

She’s one Odd Dog.

Join Odd Dog as she journeys to the other side of the world to find her place in it, only for her to discover that maybe she’s meant to be right where she started.

And check out Rob Biddulph’s other books for children, including:

Blown Away

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!

A Picture Book of Alexander Hamilton book
#4
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.

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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Telling Time - A group of young space travelers can’t wait for their pizza party later, but how many hours away is dinner? What are hours anyway? Readers follow along as a loveable crew of kid astronauts and their Martain friends go about their daily routine, exploring the differences between seconds, minutes, and hours; what A.M. and P.M. mean; and how to tell time on both digital and analog clocks. Ten seconds to liftoff! Are you ready? Veteran children’s nonfiction author David Adler incorporates math concepts, such as addition and subtraction, into this fun narrative with problem-solving exercises for readers to tackle at their own pace. Edward Miller’s vibrant cartoon art depicts the happy group of friends embarking on space walks, working together on projects, and settling in for bed. The sixteenth book in Alder and Miller’s math picture book series, this title is perfect for enthusiastic learners or kids who may need a little extra support in mastering this essential life skill. A glossary explains time zones, daylight savings time, and more. An out-of-this-world STEM book.

  4. 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.

Rain Makes Applesauce (Restored Edition) book
#10
Rain Makes Applesauce (Restored Edition)
Written by Julian Scheer and illustrated by Marvin Bileck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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
#11
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
#12
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.

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