july 2018 Best Picture Books

Updated Feb. 23, 2019
Mae's First Day of School book
#1
Mae's First Day of School
Written and illustrated by Kate Berube
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The first day of school can be scary for everyone--not just the students. As Mae gets ready for her very first day, she reflects on all the things she's afraid of. What if the other kids don't like her? What if she can't learn to read? What if she misses her mom? On the way to school, she decides that instead of facing all the unknowns, it would be much easier to climb up into her favorite tree and wait there until school is over. As other kids pass by, they, too, share their own fears with Mae, and she learns that everyone gets nervous about trying new things, even her teacher! Together, Mae and her new friends decide to face the day and celebrate new beginnings, hand in hand.

Lena's Shoes Are Nervous book
#2
Lena's Shoes Are Nervous
Written by Keith Calabrese and illustrated by Juana Medina
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Today is a big day! Today, Lena starts kindergarten. She is very excited. But there’s just one problem... Lena’s shoes are nervous. Lena doesn’t want to miss out on her first day of school, but she can’t go without her favorite shoes! How can she convince them to be brave?

Stumpkin book
#3
Stumpkin
Written and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Stumpkin is the most handsome pumpkin on the block. He’s as orange as a traffic cone! Twice as round as a basketball! He has no bad side! He’s the perfect choice for a Halloween jack-o-lantern. There’s just one problem—Stumpkin has a stump, not a stem. And no one seems to want a stemless jack-o-lantern for their window. As Halloween night approaches, more and more of his fellow pumpkins leave, but poor Stumpkin remains. Will anyone give Stumpkin his chance to shine?

Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Technology book
#4
Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Technology
Written by Bob Cooper and illustrated by Greg Paprocki, Bob Cooper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An introductory primer for kids focusing on the "T" portion of "STEAM" the ever-changing area of Technology. With original Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci as inspiration, this fascinating new volume in the Little Leonardo series introduces kids to the wonders of technology and the people who create it. Learn how nine fields of technology are present in nearly every aspect of our lives. From the invention of the wheel several thousand years ago to the increasing miniaturization of our computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices, we've always been looking for new ways technology can make our lives easier. Part of the Little Leonardo's Fascinating World Series. Greg Paprocki works full-time as an illustrator and book designer. He has illustrated several Curious George books, as well as the BabyLit alphabet books and The Big Book of Superheroes for Gibbs Smith. Bob Cooper is a veteran editor whose twenty-year career has found him working on everything from comic books to art, architecture, and children's titles.

We're All Works of Art book
#5
We're All Works of Art
Written by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Rose Blake
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

There is no single masterpiece in art galleries or with people--we're all works of art in our own special way! Our skin tones might all vary; we're every shade and hue. Some people think we look surreal, and frankly, yes, we do! But we can make you tilt your head, and see the world anew. Pairing bright and engaging illustrations with relatable rhymes, this beautiful hardbound book celebrates diversity while teaching kids about different styles of art: from prehistoric cave art to surrealism, cubism, pop art, and contemporary art. Includes an appendix that provides brief descriptions of different art styles along with mentions of their most significant works and practitioners to encourage further exploration, including: Stonehenge the bust of Nefertiti Leonardo da Vinci Henri Matisse Joan Miró Rene Magritte Roy Lichtenstein Pauline Boty Rachel Whiteread Steve McQueen Mark Sperring works as a children's bookseller in Bristol, England. He's the author of the children's picture books The Naughty Naughty Baddies, I'll Love You Always, The Shape of My Heart, and How Many Sleeps Till Christmas. Rose Blake has an MA in communication art from the Royal College of Art. She's done illustration work for a variety of clients, including Disney, the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, and Cartoon Network.

Red Alert book
#6
Red Alert
Written by Catherine Barr and illustrated by Anne Wilson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

“The Internati onal Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List tells us where we urgently need to do something to prevent the despoliation of this world.”—Sir David Attenborough, filmmaker and naturalist Inspired and endorsed by the “Red List” database of animals in peril, maintained by the IUCN, this interactive book introduces species on six continents. Lushly illustrated; blending approachable text and secondary facts; with full portraits of animals such as the Chinese giant salamander, the snow leopard, the blue whale, and the giant panda, Red Alert provides young activists with information on how they can help save these beautiful creatures. Inspire activism and environmentalism with these stories of animals in urgent need of attention.

The Shadow in the Moon book
#7
The Shadow in the Moon
Written by Christina Matula and illustrated by Pearl Lee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Two sisters and their grandma celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, a popular Chinese holiday. Their favorite part? Mooncakes, of course—along with Ah-ma’s story of the ancient Chinese tale of Hou Yi, a brave young archer, and his wife, Chang’E. A long time ago, Hou Yi rescued the earth from the heat of ten suns. The Immortals rewarded him with a magic potion that could let him live in the sky with them forever. But when a thief tries to steal the potion, what will Chang’E do to keep it out of dangerous hands? The sisters are mesmerized by Ah-ma’s retelling and the fact that the very mooncakes they enjoy each holiday are a symbol of this legend’s bravest soul. A unique blend of traditional folklore and contemporary customs brings the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival to life. A recipe for mooncakes is included!

First Laugh--Welcome, Baby book
#8
First Laugh--Welcome, Baby
Written by Rose Ann Tahe, Nancy Bo Flood and illustrated by Jonathan Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

In Navajo families, the first person to make a new baby laugh hosts the child’s First Laugh Ceremony. Who will earn the honor in this story? The First Laugh Ceremony is a celebration held to welcome a new member of the community. As everyone—from Baby’s nima (mom) to nadi (big sister) to cheii (grandfather)—tries to elicit the joyous sound from Baby, readers are introduced to details about Navajo life and the Navajo names for family members.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate book
#9
No Monkeys, No Chocolate
Written by Melissa Stewart, Allen Young and illustrated by Nicole Wong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Everyone loves chocolate, right? But how many people actually know where chocolate comes from? How it’s made? Or that monkeys do their part to help this delicious sweet exist? This delectable dessert comes from cocoa beans, which grow on cocoa trees in tropical rain forests. But those trees couldn’t survive without the help of a menagerie of rain forest critters: a pollen-sucking midge, an aphid-munching anole lizard, brain-eating coffin fly maggots—they all pitch in to help the cocoa tree survive. A secondary layer of text delves deeper into statements such as "Cocoa flowers can’t bloom without cocoa leaves . . . and maggots," explaining the interdependence of the plants and animals in the tropical rain forests. Two wise-cracking bookworms appear on every page, adding humor and further commentary, making this book accessible to readers of different ages and reading levels.

Explore the Rocky Shore with Sam and Crystal book
#10
Explore the Rocky Shore with Sam and Crystal
Written by Gloria Snively and illustrated by Karen Gillmore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Siblings Crystal and Sam and their aunt Kate and uncle Charlie continue to explore the ecosystems of Eagle Cove, a sheltered inlet on the Pacific Northwest coast. In this adventure, the children stick close to home on the rocky shore and discover that you don't need to go far out to sea to encounter some remarkable creatures! With the help of their neighbor Ada, Sam and Crystal explore the tide pools and shoreline through the eyes of an ancient fish, who draws a connection between the physical and mythical worlds. Beautifully illustrated with colorful and scientifically accurate drawings and paintings, Explore the Rocky Shore with Sam and Crystalis both an entertaining story and a useful learning tool.

Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Engineering book
#11
Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Engineering
Written by Bob Cooper and illustrated by Greg Paprocki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An introductory primer for kids focusing on the "E" portion of "STEAM" engineering. With original Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci as inspiration, this exciting new volume in the Little Leonardo series introduces kids to many of the different types of engineering they can aspire to. Littles will learn how nine types of engineers design and build all sorts of things, from the tiny microcircuitry in your smartphone to large projects like dams and bridges that transform the very face of the planet. Part of the Little Leonardo's Fascinating World Series. Greg Paprocki works full-time as an illustrator and book designer. He has illustrated several Curious George books, as well as the BabyLit alphabet books and The Big Book of Superheroes. Bob Cooper is a veteran editor whose twenty-year career has found him working on everything from comic books to art, architecture, and children's titles.

What's the Difference? book
#12
What's the Difference?
Written by Emma Strack and illustrated by Guillaume Plantevin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

What distinguishes a mandarin orange from a clementine, an iris from a pupil, a tornado from a cyclone, and a bee from a wasp? The difference is in the details! This content-rich illustrated extravaganza distills the distinctions between an impressive collection of pairs—from animals to food to geography and more—offering enlightening trivia, amusing tidbits, and unforgettable facts in a highly browsable format. Young readers can dip in quickly to feed their curiosity, or delve into the details and stay awhile. With a bold, graphic art style and an accessible, smart text, this miscellany collection will enrich probing minds (or is it "brains"?!).

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