january 2019 Best Picture Books

What Is Given from the Heart book
#1
What Is Given from the Heart
Written by Patricia C McKissack and illustrated by April Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This final, magnificent picture book from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author Patricia McKissack is a poignant and uplifting celebration of the joy of giving.

“Misery loves company,” Mama says to James Otis. It’s been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they’re blessed. One Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service— the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temple’s “love box,” but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack—with stunning illustrations by Harrison—delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

My Heart book
#2
My Heart
Written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the author-illustrator of The Book of Mistakes comes a gorgeous picture book about caring for your own heart and living with kindness and empathy. My heart is a window. My heart is a slide. My heart can be closed…or opened up wide. Some days your heart is a puddle or a fence to keep the world out. But some days it is wide open to the love that surrounds you. With lyrical text and breathtaking art, My Heart, My Heart empowers all readers to listen to the guide within in this ode to love and self-acceptance.

Mary Wears What She Wants book
#3
Mary Wears What She Wants
Written and illustrated by Keith Negley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Once upon a time (but not too long ago), girls only wore dresses. And only boys wore pants. Until one day, a young girl named Mary had a bold idea: She would wear whatever she wanted. And she wanted to wear pants! Inspired by the true story of Mary Edwards Walker, a trailblazing doctor who was arrested many times for wearing pants, this fresh, charming picture book encourages readers to think for themselves while gently challenging gender and societal norms.

Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt book
#4
Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt
Written by Carrie Clickard and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this rhyming, hilarious romp about a little-known facet of American history, Thomas Jefferson tries to disprove a French theory that those in the New World are puny and wussy by going in search of mammoth bones.

In the New World called America big changes were a’brewing. Independence was declared with bold hurrahs and ballyhooing!

The French feel threatened by America’s new freedom and confidence, as embodied by Count Buffon who claims that the “New World was a chilly, swampy place, filled with puny, scrawny creatures, every species, breed, and race.” Thomas Jefferson won’t stand his young country being insulted, so he sets out to prove Count Buffon wrong. He sends people across the country in search of an animal or animal bones to prove that creatures in the United States are big and strong and worthy.

Hilarious, energetic, and a delight to read aloud, this book shines a light on this little-known slice of American history. Included in the back matter are an author’s note, who’s who and what’s what from American history, bibliography, and further reading.

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré book
#5
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré
Written by Anika Denise and illustrated by Paola Escobar
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature. When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy. Brought to colorful life by Paola Escobar’s elegant and exuberant illustrations and Anika Aldamuy Denise’s lyrical text, this gorgeous book is perfect for the pioneers in your life. Informative backmatter and suggested further reading included.

  1. There Are No Bears in This Bakery - The creator of the “New York Times”-bestselling “The Bear Ate Your Sandwich” delivers another sly story of a hungry bear and a smooth-talking narrator: a tough gumshoe of a cat named Muffin. Full color.

  2. Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom - When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.

  3. Hush, Little Bunny - Hush, Little Bunny is a heartwarming, lyrical love letter from a papa bunny to his little one—from David Ezra Stein, Caldecott Honor-winning creator of Interrupting Chicken and Leaves. Fans of Kevin Henkes and Beatrix Potter will adore this gorgeous book. Come, little bunny, don’t be shy . . . “Hush Little Baby” is a lullaby that parents have sung to their children for generations. Now Caldecott Honor winner David Ezra Stein has reimagined the classic featuring an irresistible papa bunny and his little one. This new classic is the perfect gift for Easter, baby showers, Father’s Day, and all year long.

  4. The Hair Book - An easy reader about hair—and all the things you can do with it—that’s perfect for fans of classic Dr. Seuss concept books like The Foot Book and The Eye Book! Full Color Illustrations.

Lola Dutch When I Grow Up book
#10
Lola Dutch When I Grow Up
Written and illustrated by Kenneth Wright and Sarah Jane Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lola Dutch is always bursting with grand ideas—so of course she has many ideas for what she wants to be when she grows up! She could be a magnificent performer . . . or a daring inventor . . . or a brilliant botanist . . . there are exciting ideas all around! But Lola is too excited—she wants to try EVERYTHING. How will she ever decide what she is destined to become? The curious and creative Lola Dutch is inspired to imagine every way to explore the wonder of her world. And she doesn’t have to wait until she grows up! 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.

Thunder Pug book
#11
Thunder Pug
Written by Kim Norman and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Welcome back the perfect pug-and-pig pair: Percy and Petunia. The two besties are inseparable—until Petunia wins a blue ribbon at the fair. Suddenly she’s too busy to play anymore. So when lonely Percy finds a faded comic book, he takes on a new persona: THUNDER PUG! But what’s a superhero without a sidekick? Will a little “Pink Lightning” (aka Petunia) come to his rescue?

The Wild Fluffalump book
#12
The Wild Fluffalump
Written by Mwenye Hadithi and illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

One morning, at the foot of a tree on the African plain, a strange creature is found. It’s fluffy and puffy. What can it be? The meerkats declare that it is a wild Fluffalump. Eagle says there is no such thing, Buffalo thinks it must be a bird, Hyena says it squeaked and wriggled when he gave it a poke, and Giraffe finds it has toes. By now the Fluffalump is hungry and thirsty and when it is nipped on the bottom by Crocodile it trumpets loudly. And across the plain comes Elephant who dumps it in the lake for a wash and Fluffalump is revealed to be . . . ?

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