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.

A to Z Menagerie book
#2
A to Z Menagerie
Written and illustrated by Suzy Ultman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Step right up to Suzy Ultman’s alphabet menagerie! This unique multisensory reading experience features a die-cut letter to trace and a satisfying pull-tab reveal for each letter of the alphabet. In addition, Suzy Ultman fills each page with a diverse and colorful collection of illustrated first words to find and identify. An alphabet book unlike any other, this feast for the eyes and the imagination teaches young readers hand-eye coordination, prediction skills, and rich vocabulary. Learning from A to Z has never been this charming!

Bird Count book
#3
Bird Count
Written by Susan Edwards Richmond and illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A young girl eagerly identifies and counts the birds she observes around her town during the New England Christmas Bird Count.

Young Ava and her mother prepare to participate as “citizen scientists” in the Christmas Bird Count. She is excited when Big Al, the leader of their team, asks her to record the tally this year. Using her most important tools―her eyes and ears―and the birding ID techniques she’s learned, Ava eagerly identifies and counts the birds they observe on their assigned route around the town. At the end of the day, they meet up with the other teams in the area for a Christmas Bird Count party, where they combine their totals and share stories about their observations.

This informative story by author Susan Edwards Richmond, coupled with Stephanie Fizer Coleman’s charming depictions of birds in their winter habitats, is the perfect book to introduce young readers to birdwatching. The text offers simple explanations of the identification methods used by birdwatchers and clear descriptions of bird habitats, and a section in the back provides more information about the birds featured in the book and the Christmas Bird Count.

Pokko and the Drum book
#4
Pokko and the Drum
Written and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From E.B. White Read Aloud honor artist Matthew Forsythe comes a picture book about a tiny drum, an emerald forest, and a frog who dares to make her own music.

The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her the drum. When Pokko takes the drum deep into the forest it is so quiet, so very quiet that Pokko decides to play. And before she knows it she is joined by a band of animals —first the raccoon, then the rabbit, then the wolf—and soon the entire forest is following her. Will Pokko hear her father’s voice when he calls her home?

Pokko and the Drum is a story about art, persistence, and a family of frogs living in a mushroom.

My Big Book of the World's Greatest Art book
#5
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.

  1. Little Frida: A Story of Frida Kahlo - 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.

  2. Snow Leopard: Ghost of the Mountains - 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.

  3. Caspian Finds a Friend - Caspian lives in a lighthouse surrounded by a cold gray-blue sea. Every day, he watches, wishing for a friend. But no one comes. So, Caspian decides that wishing is not enough. What follows is an imaginative journey that will inspire readers to reach out to others and remind us all that the power to change our world lies within ourselves.

  4. The Hike - With lyrical language that captures the majesty of the natural world coupled with fun narrative featured throughout, this spirited picture book tells the victorious story of three girls’ friendship—and their tribulations and triumphs in the great outdoors. Here is the best and worst of any hike: from picnics to puffing and panting, deer-sighting to detours. Featuring a glossary, a sketchbook by one of the characters, abundant labels throughout, and scientific backmatter, this book is a must-have for budding scientists, best friends, and all adventurers. And it proves, as if proof were needed, what epic things can happen right in your own backyard.

Hi, I'm Norman book
#10
Hi, I'm Norman
Written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“An inviting and admiring introduction to an important American artist.” —Kirkus Reviews

From award-winning author Robert Burleigh comes a striking, intimate picture book biography about an American icon—beloved artist Norman Rockwell.

Norman Rockwell is best known for capturing the American spirit as a painter and illustrator in the late twentieth century. This beautifully illustrated, first-person narrative explores Rockwell’s life in episodes based on important moments in American history. Norman Rockwell is not only a great American artist, but he also successfully chronicled two generations of American life, making him one of the most beloved and well-known American artists of all time.

Sulwe book
#11
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.

Henry and Bea book
#12
Henry and Bea
Written and illustrated by Jessixa Bagley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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