may 2019 Best Picture Books

The King Who Banned the Dark book
#1
The King Who Banned the Dark
Written and illustrated by Emily Haworth-Booth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Once there was a Prince who was afraid of the dark—like so many children are. But this boy became King and actually did something about it: he banned the dark completely! Soon, the sleep-deprived, exhausted citizens are ready to revolt. Can the people help the King face his fears and see that you can’t appreciate the light without having the dark, too?

Cinderella Liberator book
#2
Cinderella Liberator
Written by Rebecca Solnit and illustrated by Arthur Rackham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

In her debut children’s book, Rebecca Solnit reimagines a classic fairytale with a fresh, feminist Cinderella and new plot twists that will inspire young readers to change the world, featuring gorgeous silhouettes from Arthur Rackham on each page.

In this modern twist on the classic story, Cinderella, who would rather just be Ella, meets her fairy godmother, goes to a ball, and makes friends with a prince. But that is where the familiar story ends. Instead of waiting to be rescued, Cinderella learns that she can save herself and those around her by being true to herself and standing up for what she believes.

The Fisherman & the Whale book
#3
The Fisherman & the Whale
Written and illustrated by Jessica Lanan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Jessica Lanan’s dreamy and dramatic watercolor paintings bring to life a wordless story about wonder in the natural world. A fisherman takes his son for a trip out on the water. When they encounter a whale entangled at sea, they realize a connection that transcends the animal kingdom.

There's Only One You book
#4
There's Only One You
Written by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook and illustrated by Rosie Butcher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“In all the world over, this much is true: You’re somebody special. There’s only one YOU.” Celebrate your individuality with this picture book that honors all the wonderful things that make you . . . you. This feel-good book reassures kids that, whoever and whatever they are, it’s awesome being YOU! Expertly written to include all kinds of children and families, it embraces the beauty in a range of physical types, personalities, and abilities. Kids will love discovering and recognizing themselves in these pages—and they’ll feel proud to see their special qualities acknowledged. Adorable illustrations by Rosie Butcher show a diverse community that many will find similar to their own.

A Visit to Fairyland book
#5
A Visit to Fairyland
Written and illustrated by Shirley Barber
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

Are there fairies at the bottom of the garden? Laura thinks so—she has seen a little green door at the base of the willow tree, and thinks fairies might live on the other side. So she and her brother Daniel wait by the door, and sure enough, some fairies come out to greet them. Then they take them through to the other side, and so being Laura and Daniel’s adventures in Fairyland. Exquisitely detailed illustrations and an engaging story will delight children for hours on end.

  1. G Is for Golazo - S is for soccer. F is for football, and fútbol, and fußball… No matter what you call it, everyone loves the beautiful game! The creators of B is for Baller return with a vibrant, stylish parade of soccer legends. Featuring dozens of international superstars like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Pelé, Diego Maradona, Marta, Mia Hamm, and Abby Wambach, G is for Golazo is the ultimate ABC book for budding soccer fans.

  2. Waiting for Chicken Smith - A story about childhood friendships, anticipation, and the magic moments that arise while you’re waiting for something else to happen. Every year a young boy stays in the same cabin at the beach with his family. And every year his friend Chicken Smith stays in the next cabin over. But this year, something’s different: Chicken Smith hasn’t shown up yet. The boy’s little sister, MaryAnn, keeps trying to get his attention, but he’s too busy remembering all of his adventures with Chicken Smith — and thinking about everything they’re going to do this summer. Is Chicken ever going to show up? And just what has MaryAnn been yelling about? David Mackintosh’s ode to small summer wonders will make readers of all ages open their eyes to the quick, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments happening all around them.

  3. Lottie & Walter - An original, compelling, and visually stunning treatment of a common childhood predicament: overcoming a fear of the water. Lottie goes to swim lessons every Saturday, but she never gets in the water. That’s because she is convinced there is a shark in the pool, a shark that wants to eat her and only her. But then Walter appears. Walter likes singing and reading books and bubble baths, and his favorite food is fish sticks, just like Lottie. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie is no more ready to jump in the pool than she was before. Or is she? Sometimes it just takes a special friend to find the courage that was inside you all along.

  4. This Is MY Room! - Jojo’s ready for her first night all alone in her very own room, but a menagerie of animals have other ideas in this charming and fun picture book. Jojo can’t wait to spend the night in her very own bed in her very own room. She doesn’t care what her big sister Margaret says, she’s NOT afraid and she WON’T be back to the bedroom they used to share. There’s just one problem though—there are intruders in her new room! A lion, a bear, and a very persistent tiger seem to think this is THEIR room, not Jojo’s. Is Margaret right? Is Jojo not quite ready to spend the night on her own? Or can Jojo find a way to show that trespassing tiger just who’s boss in HER room?

If I Was the Sunshine book
#10
If I Was the Sunshine
Written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A breathtaking picture book about the relationships we share from New York Times bestselling storytellers Julie Fogliano and Loren Long in the tradition of The Runaway Bunny and Guess How Much I Love You. if i was the sunshine and you were the day i’d call you hello! and you’d call me stay if you were the winter and i was the spring i’d call you whisper and you’d call me sing… Through clever, thought-provoking verse and warmly evocative art, New York Times bestsellers Julie Fogliano and Loren Long explore the awe-inspiring nature of relationships, love, and connection.

When Pencil Met Eraser book
#11
When Pencil Met Eraser
Written by Karen Kilpatrick and Luis O. Ramos, Jr. and illustrated by German Blanco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Ever wonder why there’s a little pink eraser on every pencil? Find out in this funny, clever picture book that tells the true story of how Pencil and Eraser became the best of friends. When Pencil draws on the pages of this book, Eraser erases parts of Pencil’s work, and the book itself becomes a canvas for their different takes on creativity—until the two discover their artwork is even better when they work together. From Karen Kilpatrick, Luis O. Ramos, and illustrator Germán Blanco, When Pencil Met Eraser brings to life something kids use every day at school and at home. Engaging art, adorable characters, and a clever ending create a memorable message about friendship and creativity.

Flora's Tree House book
#12
Flora's Tree House
Written and illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Flora entertains herself by drawing and painting. Will leaps from trees and swings branches like they’re swords. The two siblings have always played separately, until Will is curious about what exactly Flora is putting in her sketchbook. Flora reveals that she has been drawing—and enhancing—all of Will’s imaginary adventures, and making up some of her own. In one joyful afternoon, brother and sister discover that playing together is always more fun.

This irresistible and thoughtful story about siblings has expressive, vibrant art as stunning as the adventures the children go on. It is perfect for fans of Jonathan D. Voss’s Brave Enough for Two and Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers.

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