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may 2019 Best Picture Books

Updated Jul. 23, 2019
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.

There's Only One You book
#3
There's Only One You
Written by Kathryn Heling, 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.

The Fisherman & the Whale book
#4
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
#5
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
#6
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.

Pout-Pout Fish: Back to School book
#7
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.

Pop-Up Jungle book
#8
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
#9
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.

Viking Myths: Volume Two book
#10
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.

Bush Tracks book
#11
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.

Titan and the Wild Boars book
#12
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.

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