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may 2019 Best Picture Books

Updated Jul. 19, 2019
Cinderella Liberator book
#1
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
#2
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.

This Is MY Room! book
#3
This Is MY Room!
Written by Jennifer Richard Jacobson and illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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?

Where's the Astronaut? book
#4
Where's the Astronaut?
Written by Nosy Crow and illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing with little ones by lifting the felt flaps to discover four hidden space-themed friends. Then find the mirror under the final flap! Parents love these books because they are simple yet robust, and little readers adore them because they're fun and easy to play with.

Bush Tracks book
#5
Bush Tracks
Written by Ros Moriarty and illustrated by Balarinji Studio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

What can you see? Follow the clues that landscape, seasons, weather, the stars, the moon and the sun give to navigate bush tracks and find the Australian animal. A lyrical, fun story about tracking animals in the bush featuring vibrant illustrations by Balarinji, Australia's leading Indigenous design studio.

Viking Myths: Volume Two book
#6
Viking Myths: Volume Two
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Journey to the frozen north for this second spellbinding anthology of Viking myths! Enter the world of Norse mythology, where you'll find sea monsters, shape-changers, dark forests, and cunning, gold-hoarding underground dwarves. This second volume of Viking tales features more fantastical, entrancing adventures, including Thor's journey in the land of the giants, and Ragnarok, the apocalyptic battle of the gods, retold in a way that will engage very young readers. Different illustrators bring their distinctive styles to each story.

Pop-Up Jungle book
#7
Pop-Up Jungle
Written and illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

In another palm-size pop-up book, designer Ingela P. Arrhenius showcases flora, fauna, and other familiar scenes of the jungle with her trademark retro style. Hop aboard a riverboat for a colorful trek into the depths of the jungle with its many wonders. Tree frogs, monkeys, and jewel-toned birds are just a few of the extraordinary creatures that make their home within this lush green forest. Stylish and well-crafted, this miniature pop-up from the illustrator of the oversize hit Animalswill let imaginations go wild.

The Book of Dragons book
#8
The Book of Dragons
Written and illustrated by Stella Caldwell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the glittering peaks of frozen mountains to dripping caverns hidden deep underground, The Book of Dragons brings mighty and ancient dragons to life. Read exciting tales of legendary dragons, pore over detailed maps of mythical lands, explore a dragon's treasure hoard and marvel at lavish collections of dragon teeth, talons, scales and eggs. This richly illustrated book is a sumptuous treasury of a magical lost world and fulfils the desires of every young dragon enthusiast.

Pout-Pout Fish: Back to School book
#9
Pout-Pout Fish: Back to School
Written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Get ready to go back to school with the Pout-Pout Fish! Mr. Fish is going back to school to be a substitute teacher, and he's nervous—until he meets a little guppy who can help him! At an affordable price point, and with two pages of stickers, this new format is fun and accessible for Mr. Fish's fans and newcomers alike.

Titan and the Wild Boars book
#10
Titan and the Wild Boars
Written by Susan Hood, Pathana Sornhiran and illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Don’t miss the breathtaking true story of the international rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand! One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped! With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved. Award-winning author Susan Hood and journalist Pathana Sornhiran based this picture book on Sornhiran’s first-hand reporting of the event, and Dow Phumiruk’s beautiful illustrations bring the story to life. The book also includes a timeline and back matter with additional resources.

Flora's Tree House book
#11
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.

Under the Water book
#12
Under the Water
Written and illustrated by Carles Porta
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Summer has finally arrived in the fourth book of Carle's Porta's Tales From The Hidden Valley series! Beloved characters return in the final book of this whimsical series for fans of Tove Jansson's Moomins. Hidden in a remote place surrounded by high mountains, there lies a secret valley. There is an entrance, but you could pass by it a hundred times and still not see it. It's finally summer, and our friends from the hidden valley are gearing up for a dreamy summer afternoon! When a new, watery friend appears, Ticky, Mister Cold and the rest of the pals explore an exciting new undewater world. But a great monster lurks beneath the surface, and our joyous friends sure are causing quite a fuss! Will they be able to escape its terrible jaws?

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!