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february 2020 Best Picture Books

The Perfectly Perfect Wish book
#1
The Perfectly Perfect Wish
Written by Lisa Mantchev and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the author of Strictly No Elephants comes a sweet picture book that explores themes of selflessness and empathy when a girl has the chance to make just one wish.

In the grass, a girl finds an extraordinary thing that gives her…just…one…wish.

She asks her those around her what they would wish for in her shoes, but nothing seems quite right. What will her perfect wish be?

In this pitch-perfect picture book, Lisa Mantchev takes the concept of a magic wish and uses it to explore real world empathy, kindness, and good will.

Fly High, John Glenn: The Story of an American Hero book
#2
Fly High, John Glenn: The Story of an American Hero
Written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Maurizio A.C. Quarello
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The inspiring, deeply patriotic true story of John Glenn, a true hero who not only changed America’s contribution to space exploration but also spent his life proudly serving his country in many ways.

This is a gorgeous picture book to introduce younger readers to John Glenn, from award-winning author Kathleen Krull and illustrator Maurizio A. C. Quarello.

John Glenn wasn’t just the first American to orbit Earth. He was a family man, a soldier, a United States senator, and a national hero. He laid the groundwork for future star voyagers—and dreamers—everywhere.

From the time he was a child, John Glenn loved flying. Later he did so by flying airplanes for the U.S. military, and then when space travel became a possibility, he trained for years to become an astronaut. John had to push his mind and body to the brink.

But he loved his country more than anything and wanted to serve—including flying into the great unknown.

Emily Writes book
#3
Emily Writes
Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Christine Davenier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An imagined and evocative picture book account of Emily Dickinson’s childhood poetic beginnings. As a young girl, Emily Dickinson loved to scribble curlicues and circles, imagine new rhymes, and connect with the natural world around her. The sounds, sights, and smells of home swirled through her mind, and Emily began to explore writing and rhyming her thoughts and impressions. She things about the real and the unreal. Perhaps poems are the in-between. This thoughtful spotlight on Emily’s early experimentations with poetry offers a unique window into one of the world’s most famous and influential poets. Christy Ottaviano Books

My Friend Earth book
#4
My Friend Earth
Written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Francesca Sanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Celebrate Earth Day with this valentine to our wonderful planet from the Newbery Award–winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Our friend Earth does so many wonderful things! She tends to animals large and small. She pours down summer rain and autumn leaves. She sprinkles whisper-white snow and protects the tiny seeds waiting for spring.

Readers of all ages will pore over the pages of this spectacular book. Its enticing die-cut pages encourage exploration as its poetic text celebrates everything Earth does for us, all the while reminding us to be a good friend in return.

• Interactive format and kid-friendly art will engage both toddlers and young readers. • A celebration of the natural world and rallying cry for positive action for Planet Earth • Great opportunities to share life science concepts and amazing facts about the environment with children

This beautiful and innovative ode to our natural world will appeal to readers of Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, The Poet’s Dog, and Thank You, Earth.

Five Fuzzy Chicks book
#5
Five Fuzzy Chicks
Written by Diana Murray and illustrated by Sydney Hanson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Five adorable chicks are determined to have some fun before bed in this rhyming story with counting elements.

Goodnight Moon meets Big Red Barn in this gently humorous counting read-aloud, perfect for spring!

It’s time for bed, then five fuzzy chicks race out of the coop. But as they visit each animal on the farm, the chicks can’t help but fall asleep one by one—the dog is so snuggly and the hay is so comfy! Before long, the sleeping chicks are scattered all over the farm! What will Mama Hen do?

With irresistible artwork, Five Fuzzy Chicks is a sweet spin on the bedtime story incorporating rhyme and counting.

  1. Selena: Queen of Tejano Music - This is a moving and impassioned picture book about the iconic Queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla, that will embolden young readers to find their passion and make the impossible, possible! Selena Quintanilla’s music career began at the age of nine when she started singing in her family’s band. She went from using a hairbrush as a microphone to traveling from town to town to play gigs. But Selena faced a challenge: People said that she would never make it in Tejano music, which was dominated by male performers. Selena was determined to prove them wrong. Born and raised in Texas, Selena didn’t know how to speak Spanish, but with the help of her dad, she learned to sing it. With songs written and composed by her older brother and the fun dance steps Selena created, her band, Selena Y Los Dinos, rose to stardom! A true trailblazer, her success in Tejano music and her crossover into mainstream American music opened the door for other Latinx entertainers, and she became an inspiration for Latina girls everywhere.

  2. Snail Crossing - In a book that is as cheerful and charming as Snail himself, Corey Tabor tells a winning tale of slow but steady Snail, whose determination and kindness bring him the best reward of all: friendship. When Snail spies a plump, crisp cabbage across the road, nothing will stop him—not a speeding car or even a hungry crow. But then kindhearted Snail stops to help a crew of antsy ants in a rainstorm, and he loses his way. It looks like he will never get his treat—until Snail’s new friends come up with an ingenious idea. . . .

  3. Hundred Feet Tall - Guess How Much I Love You meets Someday in this gentle read-aloud picture book that shows us that with just the right amount of care and support, even the smallest of seeds can grow to stand one hundred feet tall. Thanks for the love that you’ve shown me Right now I’m so very small But with water and light I will keep gaining height And then one day I’ll stand at a hundred feet tall Hundred Feet Tall is a tender ode to the power of unconditional, immutable love. Because no matter how small you are now, with patience and persistence, with encouragement and devotion, you, too, will someday grow strong.

  4. Ducks! - A funny, visual story from Bearnard’s Book author Deborah Underwood, about a duck who wanders away from the rest of the flock and must find the way back. Ducks. Ducks? NO DUCKS! Duck wanders away from the pond for a moment and returns to find the other ducks gone! Searching high and low, Duck discovers many clues around the city―footprints, feathers, eggs―but no ducks. Will Duck’s feathered friends finally be found? With spare storytelling and lots of visual jokes, this is a funny and sweet celebration of family.

Sunny book
#10
Sunny
Written and illustrated by Celia Krampien
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Most people would say there is nothing good about trudging to school on a rainy day.

Most people would say that being carried away by the wind and dropped into the middle of a tumultuous sea is a very bad sort of situation.

No, most people wouldn’t like that at all.

But Sunny isn’t most people. Sunny likes to look on the bright side. And when things get exceedingly bleak?

Well, isn’t that what friends are for?

From debut author/artist Celia Krampien comes an unforgettable, transcendent story about the true power of optimism.

The Music of Life book
#11
The Music of Life
Written and illustrated by Louis Thomas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Full of joy and discovery, Louis Thomas’ The Music of Life is a simple, melodious picture book about finding big inspiration and beauty in the smallest of details.

At night when everyone else is asleep, one artist sits awake—pencil in hand, stuck. Lenny is a composer, but this evening, no music floats from his head.

Then as night breaks into dawn, Lenny’s cat, Pipo, begins lapping milk. Lick lick lick. Birds yawn awake, singing in the trees. Tweet tweet! A bike bell tings on the street below. Suddenly, Lenny notices a rhythm to the world around him. He pulls on his coat and walks through the city to write down every sound he can find. Lenny listens to a gardener, a jogger, a dogwalker, and more neighborhood characters.

Finally, the morning’s sounds culminate in a sun-dappled symphony that Lenny conducts in the center of the park.

Pitter Pattern book
#12
Pitter Pattern
Written and illustrated by Joyce Hesselberth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Patterns are everywhere! How many can you find?

This gorgeously illustrated book from Joyce Hesselberth, the creator of the acclaimed Mapping Sam, expertly introduces readers to basic patterns in nature, music, sports, art, language, and math. Pitter Pattern is an exceptional mix of fiction and nonfiction perfect for home as well as classroom sharing.

Pitter, pitter, pat! Pitter, pitter, pat! Hey, it’s a pitter, pitter, pattern!

Lu and her friends love spotting patterns in their daily activities. Lu learns that patterns can be found at soccer practice, during her piano lessons, in dance class, at snack time, and even at the park! How many patterns can you spot as Lu goes about her week?

Patterns are an important building block of preschool and early elementary education, and Pitter Pattern includes examples of patterns found in music, weather, time, play, shapes, nature, math, and language. The accessible and playful illustrations feature additional patterns for engaged readers to discover. An expert blend of fiction and nonfiction, this beautiful and innovative character-driven picture book is an ideal read-aloud for classrooms, family story times, and for fans of Hervé Tullet, Lois Ehlert, Steve Jenkins, and Joyce Sidman. Includes backmatter about the patterns in the book.

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