september 2019 Best Picture Books

Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum book
#1
Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum
Written by Dr. Seuss and illustrated by Andrew Joyner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

This #1 New York Times bestseller is the perfect gift for the young artist in your life! A never-before-published Dr. Seuss non-fiction book about creating and looking at art!

Based on an unrhymed manuscript and sketches discovered in 2013, this book is like a visit to a museum—with a horse as your guide!

Explore how different artists have seen horses, and maybe even find a new way of looking at them yourself. Discover full-color photographic art reproductions of pieces by Picasso, George Stubbs, Rosa Bonheur, Alexander Calder, Jacob Lawrence, Deborah Butterfield, Franz Marc, Jackson Pollock, and many others—all of which feature a horse! Young readers will find themselves delightfully transported by the engaging equines as they learn about the creative process and how to see art in new ways.

Taking inspiration from Dr. Seuss’s original sketches, acclaimed illustrator Andrew Joyner has created a look that is both subtly Seussian and wholly his own. His whimsical illustrations are combined throughout with “real-life” art. Cameo appearances by classic Dr. Seuss characters (among them the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, and Horton the Elephant) make Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum a playful picture book that is totally unique. Ideal for home or classroom use, it encourages critical thinking and makes a great gift for Seuss fans, artists, and horse lovers of all ages.

Publisher’s Notes discuss the discovery of the manuscript and sketches, Dr. Seuss’s interest in understanding modern art, the process of creating the book, and information about each of the artists and art reproductions in the book.

Grandpa's Top Threes book
#2
Grandpa's Top Threes
Written by Wendy Meddour and illustrated by Daniel Egneus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A young boy’s original game coaxes a grieving grandpa to reconnect with the world in a touching intergenerational story of love and resilience. Henry loves talking with Grandpa, but Grandpa has stopped listening. Mom says to just give him time. But Henry wants to talk to Grandpa now. So Henry tries his favorite game: Top Threes. And something amazing happens: Grandpa starts talking again. Out of a tale of favorite sandwiches and zoo animals, outings and trains, emerges a moving story about love, loss, and the wonder of grannies and grandpas.

Ruby Finds a Worry book
#3
Ruby Finds a Worry
Written and illustrated by Tom Percival
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

From the creator of Perfectly Norman comes a sensitive and reassuring story about what to do when a worry won’t leave you alone. Meet Ruby—a happy, curious, imaginative girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a Worry. It’s not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger . . . And a little bigger . . . Until eventually, the Worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about. But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only that, there’s a great way to get rid of them too . . . This perceptive and poignant story is the perfect springboard for talking to children about emotional intelligence and sharing hidden anxieties.

Don't Call Me Bear! book
#4
Don't Call Me Bear!
Written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Koala is NOT a bear! (Or is he?) Find out why Koala is so mad in this new, irresistibly funny picture book from Aaron Blabey, the bestselling creator of Pig the Pug! “G’day, my name is Warren and I’ve got something to share… Just because I’m furry DOESN’T MEAN THAT I’M A BEAR.”

Koala is sick of being called the wrong thing. Koalas are NOT bears, and it is time that everyone knows it! Follow this feisty little koala as he explains why he is certainly NOT a bear (and why no one ever seems to believe him).

Rich with author-illustrator Aaron Blabey’s hysterical text and unforgettably wacky illustrations — plus nonfiction facts woven throughout — Don’t Call Me Bear! is a hilarious story about making sure everyone knows exactly who you are!

The Scarecrow book
#5
The Scarecrow
Written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by The Fan Brothers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A Junior Library Guild Selection and Indie Next List Pick

“An emotionally impactful exploration of love and loneliness, this is an essential addition to any picture book collection.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

Bestselling author Beth Ferry (Stick and Stone) and the widely acclaimed Fan Brothers (The Night Gardener) present a gorgeous and poignant picture book about two unexpected friends and the special connection they share.

This tender and affectionate story reminds us of the comforting power of friendship and the joy of helping others—a tale that will inspire and delight children for generations to come.

All the animals know not to mess with old Scarecrow. But when a small, scared crow falls from midair, Scarecrow does the strangest thing.…

He saves the tiny baby crow.

Soon a loving bond grows between the two unlikely friends. But is it strong enough to weather the changing of the seasons?

“A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling.”—Kirkus

“A novel twist on the theme of love between adversaries.” —Publishers Weekly

  1. Just Because - Curious minds are rewarded with curious answers in a fantastical bedtime book by Mac Barnett and Isabelle Arsenault. Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? What happened to the dinosaurs? It might be time for bed, but one child is too full of questions about the world to go to sleep just yet. Little ones and their parents will be charmed and delighted as a patient father offers up increasingly creative responses to his child’s nighttime wonderings. Any child who has ever asked “Why?” — and any parent who has attempted an explanation — will recognize themselves in this sweet storybook for dreamers who are looking for answers beyond “Just because.”

  2. Grace Goes to Washington - “Who’s in charge here?” When Grace learns about the three branches of the United States government, she and the rest of the student council put the lesson into practice as they debate how to spend the money from a school fund-raiser. Should they buy new sports equipment? Books for the library? Instruments for the music room? The arguments continue as they travel to Washington, DC, for a field trip. Exploring government buildings and national monuments, Grace feels closer than ever to her dream of becoming president someday. But she and her classmates have a lot to learn about what it means to serve the needs of the people, especially when the people want such different things! In this follow-up to New York Times best seller Grace for President, Kelly DiPucchio not only introduces how our government makes decisions, but also shares what it takes to be a true public servant.

  3. 16 Words: William Carlos Williams and "The Red Wheelbarrow" - This simple nonfiction picture book about the beloved American poet William Carlos Williams is also about how being mindful can result in the creation of a great poem like “The Red Wheelbarrow”—which is only sixteen words long. “Look out the window. What do you see? If you are Dr. William Carlos Williams, you see a wheelbarrow. A drizzle of rain. Chickens scratching in the damp earth.” The wheelbarrow belongs to Thaddeus Marshall, a street vendor, who every day goes to work selling vegetables on the streets of Rutherford, New Jersey. That simple action inspires poet and doctor Williams to pick up some of his own tools—a pen and paper—and write his most famous poem. In this lovely picture book, young listeners will see how paying attention to the simplest everyday things can inspire the greatest art, as they learn about a great American poet.

  4. A Friendship Yarn - Porcupine and Badger have always been the best of friends, so when Porcupine finds some yarn in the woods, she makes a present for Badger. And when Badger finds yarn, she makes a present for Porcupine. The only problem? It’s the same yarn—and to finish the gift, they each must unravel the other’s creation. An act of kindness turns into a fierce standoff as the friendship frays—can Porcupine and Badger set aside their differences and knit themselves back together?

Just Ask! book
#10
Just Ask!
Written by Sonia Sotomayor and illustrated by Rafael López
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and award-winning artist Rafael Lopez create a kind and caring book about the differences that make each of us unique.

Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

Dasher book
#11
Dasher
Written and illustrated by Matt Tavares
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the celebrated creator of Red and Lulu comes the story of a brave little doe who meets Santa and changes Christmas forever. Dasher is an adventurous young reindeer with a wish in her heart. She spends her days with her family under the hot sun in a traveling circus, but she longs for a different life — one where there is snow beneath her hooves and the North Star above her head. One day, when the opportunity arises, Dasher seizes her destiny and takes off in pursuit of the life she wants to live. It’s not long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a horse-drawn sleigh — a man named Santa. And soon, with the help of a powerful Christmas wish, nothing will be the same.

Our Favorite Day book
#12
Our Favorite Day
Written and illustrated by Joowon Oh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Charmingly detailed illustrations help tell a touching tale of the bond between grandparent and grandchild in a quiet yet powerful debut. “Thursdays are my favorite days.” “Mine, too.” Every morning Papa follows his normal routine. He drinks his tea, waters his plants, tidies up, and takes the bus into town. Papa enjoys his daily tasks, but there’s one day each week that is extra special. That’s the day he might visit the craft store, get two orders of dumplings to go, and possibly pick some flowers he sees along the path. With its spare text and wonderfully warm watercolor and cut-paper illustrations just begging to be pored over, Joowon Oh’s tale of the singular love between a grandfather and granddaughter will nestle within the heart of every reader.

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