october 2019 Best Picture Books

The Proudest Blue book
#1
The Proudest Blue
Written by Ibtihaj Muhammad and illustrated by Hatem Aly and S. K. Ali
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school—and two sisters on one’s first day of hijab—by Olympic medalist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad. With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab—a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong. Paired with Hatem Aly’s beautiful, whimsical art, Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and Morris Award finalist S.K. Ali bring readers an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and of being proud of who you are.

My Big Book of the World's Greatest Art book
#2
My Big Book of the World's Greatest Art
Written and illustrated by Louise Lockhart
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From cave paintings to Banksy, this stylish, fun, and interactive book will teach kids about 10,000 years of art history. This children’s book is the perfect stepping stone to a lifelong appreciation of art. Each major art period unfolds in a gently colored spread featuring famous artists and artworks while other spreads present specific scenes that incorporate similar details. In this book, kids will learn how the earliest artists mixed pigments; how ancient civilizations worshiped their gods; how religion drove artistic efforts in the middle ages; and scientific discoveries inspired Renaissance painters and sculptors. They’ll observe artists playing key roles in revolutions both historic and cultural and they’ll visit a modern museum to see what today’s artists are creating. Packed with endless possibilities for learning, this book offers kids a new way to engage with and understand the art they experience every day.

Little Frida: A Story of Frida Kahlo book
#3
Little Frida: A Story of Frida Kahlo
Written and illustrated by Anthony Browne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Young Frida Kahlo’s imaginary friend comes to life in a touching story by Anthony Browne enhanced by exquisite surreal illustrations.

Following a bout with polio at the age of six, Frida Kahlo’s life was marked by pain and loneliness. In real life she walked with a limp, but in her dreams she flew. One day her imagination took her on a journey to a girl in white who could dance without pain and hold her secrets, an indelible figure who would find her way into Frida’s art in years to come. Inspired by Frida Kahlo’s diary, Anthony Browne captures the essence of the artist’s early flights of fancy and depicts both Frida and her imaginary friend in vivid illustrations evoking Kahlo’s iconic style. A note at the end offers a brief biography of the artist who has intrigued art lovers the world over.

Sulwe book
#4
Sulwe
Written by and illustrated by Vashti Harrison and Lupita Nyong'o
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

Snow Leopard: Ghost of the Mountains book
#5
Snow Leopard: Ghost of the Mountains
Written by Justin Anderson and illustrated by Patrick Benson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Look! A line of paw prints in the snow. Follow the tracks to see the rare and utterly majestic snow leopard and visit her secret world.

The people who live among the high peaks of the Himalayas tell stories of a mysterious animal called the gray ghost. To see one, you’d have to be very lucky indeed. Join a zoologist in the Himalayan mountains as he searches for the elusive creature. With her pale gold and silver-gray coat painted with black rosettes, she blends so well into the boulders, it’s no wonder she’s thought of as a ghost of the mountains. But the fortunate few who spot her are rewarded with a sight they will never forget. Written by an expert with firsthand experience, beautifully illustrated, and interwoven with fascinating facts, this vicarious look at a breathtaking animal includes an end note suggesting resources to explore.

  1. Henry and Bea - Henry and Bea are inseparable, but one day Henry suddenly stops talking to his best friend. Bea knows there’s something Henry’s not telling her, but what could it be? Henry and Bea have always been inseparable…until one day Henry suddenly stops talking to Bea. He won’t chat with her in class, and he won’t sit with her at lunch. Bea can tell something’s going on, and she’s determined to find out what it is. Then their teacher announces that the class is taking a field trip to a farm, and Bea hopes that this might be her chance to reconnect with Henry. When Henry finds an old cat collar at the farm and starts to cry, he finally reveals his secret to Bea: his cat Buddy died last week. And even though it’s hard for them both, Bea knows that she’ll be there for Henry, as his best friend, no matter what. From award-winning author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley comes a realistic and ultimately uplifting portrayal of the challenges of childhood friendship.

  2. Same Way Ben - Ben likes things the same way every day at school—he sits at the same table, eats the same lunch, and likes the daily class routine. But when his teacher leaves to have her baby and a substitute teacher comes and changes everything, Ben gets upset. He liked everything the way it was before! But soon Ben starts to think differently about change and realizes that doing things another way can be fun.

  3. Muslim Girls Rise - Long ago, Muslim women rode into battle to defend their dreams. They opened doors to the world’s oldest library. They ruled, started movements, and spread knowledge. Today, Muslim women continue to make history. Once upon a time, they were children with dreams, just like you. Discover the true stories of nineteen unstoppable Muslim women of the twenty-first century who have risen above challenges, doubts, and sometimes outright hostility to blaze trails in a wide range of fields. Whether it was the culinary arts, fashion, sports, government, science, entertainment, education, or activism, these women never took “no” for an answer or allowed themselves to be silenced. Instead, they worked to rise above and not only achieve their dreams, but become influential leaders. Through short, information-rich biographies and vibrant illustrations, Muslim Girls Rise introduces young readers to the diverse and important contributions Muslim women have made, and role models they may never have heard of before, but whose stories they will never forget.

  4. Just So Willow - The delightful story of a finicky polar bear who learns that having friends and fun is more important than things being “just so.” Willow is a polar bear who likes things just so. She even irons her underwear and tidies her teacher! So when a storm covers her backyard in a smooth blanket of snow, she’s determined to keep it that way—in spite of all the other kids creating a lumpy, bumpy mess. Will Willow realize that being particular is making her miss out on all the fun?

Why? book
#10
Why?
Written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Claire Keane
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

This sweet book will appeal to anyone familiar with the universal tendency of young children to always ask WHY? When supervillain Doctor X-Ray swoops in threatening to vanquish an innocent crowd, the only one brave enough not to run away is a little girl, who asks him simply, “Why?” He is taken aback—but he answers. She keeps asking. And he keeps answering—until a surprising truth is uncovered, and the villain is thwarted. In this laugh-out-loud take on the small-and-determined-beats-big-loud-bully story, simple questions lead to profound answers in a quest that proves the ultimate power of curiosity.

Santa's Prayer book
#11
Santa's Prayer
Written by Tom Roberts and illustrated by Doug Moss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Celebrate the real reason for the season with Santa as he takes time from a busy Christmas Eve to pause and offer a prayer to the Lord. On Christmas Eve, a brother and sister stroll through their town, excitedly discussing the gifts they hope to find under the tree. Then they suddenly spy Santa quietly slipping into the church. They follow him inside, where they witness his humble prayer at the altar crèche and hear his greatest holiday wish: that children understand that Jesus is the focus at Christmas . . . and always.

Imagination Vacation book
#12
Imagination Vacation
Written and illustrated by Jami Gigot
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Sam has a very busy family. Mom works late, Dad’s projects pile up. Even Sam’s younger sister Marla is always doing something. Everyone in Sam’s family has their own idea of what the perfect vacation would look like. But there’s one thing they all agree on: they just can’t get away right now. So Sam comes up with a different kind of getaway. With a little planning, a few supplies, and a touch of creativity, she finds that her family’s dream vacation wasn’t so far away after all.

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