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The Best Black And White Kids Books

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Window
Written & illustrated by Marion Arbona
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A young girl is walking home from school in a big city. As she gazes up at window after window in the buildings on her route - all different shapes and sizes - she imagines the most fantastic goings-on behind each one, which we can see by opening the gatefold. A tropical jungle. A whale in a bathtub. Vampires playing badminton. Her fantasies know no bounds. Until, behind the very last window, we discover the girl back home in her own room, where the toys surrounding her look strangely familiar.

This highly original wordless picture book by Marion Arbona is a celebration of curiosity and imagination that is sure to inspire a sense of wonder in readers of all ages. There are thirteen windows to open in all, and each scene is intricately drawn in black and white and packed with level upon level of extraordinary details to explore: a gathering of gnomes, a deep-sea diver under water, a collection of masks, small cars that drive up the walls. In a special touch, each window contains a clue to what’s behind it - for example, a plant on the ledge of the window that opens to the jungle, and a window shaped like a porthole that reveals the whale in a bathtub. With so much going on, this book will entice even the youngest children to pore over the pages for close reading, promoting observation skills and visual literacy.

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The Missing Piece
Written & illustrated by Shel Silverstein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From Shel Silverstein, the celebrated author of The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends, comes The Missing Piece, a charming fable that gently probes the nature of quest and fulfillment. It was missing a piece. And it was not happy. What it finds on its search for the missing piece is simply and touchingly told. This inventive and heartwarming book can be read on many levels, and Silverstein’s iconic drawings and humor are sure to delight fans of all ages. So it set off in search of its missing piece. And as it rolled it sang this song— Oh I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece Hi-dee-ho, here I go, Lookin’ for my missin’ piece. And don’t miss Runny Babbit Returns, the new book from Shel Silverstein!

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Book Love
Written & illustrated by Debbie Tung
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Book Love is a gift book of comics tailor-made for tea-sipping, spine-sniffing, book-hoarding bibliophiles. Debbie Tung’s comics are humorous and instantly recognizable—making readers laugh while precisely conveying the thoughts and habits of book nerds. Book Love is the ideal gift to let a book lover know they’re understood and appreciated.

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Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction
Written by David Macaulay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

Readers worldwide recognize Caldecott Medal winner David Macaulay’s imaginary Cathedral of Chutreaux. This critically acclaimed book has been translated into a dozen languages and remains a classic of children’s literature and a touchstone for budding architects. Cathedral’s numerous awards include a prestigious Caldecott Honor and designation as a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year for Macaulay’s intricate pen-and-ink illustrations. Journey back to centuries long ago and visit the fictional people of twelfth-, thirteenth-, and fourteenth-century Europe whose dreams, like Cathedral, stand the test of time.

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Round Trip
Written & illustrated by Ann Jonas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This book isn’t just the STORY of a family’s round trip - it IS a round trip! Read forward and look at the sights, then flip the book over to see something different on the way back. The black-and-white illustrations for the trip into the city become something different when the book is turned upside down for the journey home. Clouds turn into puddles, fields of wheat turn into rain, lightning becomes mountain trails, and building lights morph into stars. “Round Trip” was featured on Reading Rainbow, the acclaimed PBS-TV series celebrating books and reading.

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  • Pyramid - Through concise text and richly detailed black and white illustrations we come to know the philosophy of life and death in ancient Egypt.

  • Look, Look! - Look, look! Children run, fish swim, stars shine . . . all for baby’s eyes to see. This sturdy board book, full of high-contrast black-and-white cut-paper art perfect for staring at, is just the thing for the eyes of the youngest babies. A few words in curving red type on each spread describe the scenes – a car races, a cat stretches, flowers bloom– and extend the book’s age appeal so that it will be fascinating to older babies, too. Striking and stylish, Look Look! is the ideal first board book for babies just beginning to look and learn. Peter Linenthal is an illustrator who has taught art in elementary schools for twenty years.

  • The Z Was Zapped: A Play in Twenty-Six Acts - A dramatic black- and- white presentation of the alphabet in which the three-time Caldecott medalist depicts a mysterious transformation of each letter.

  • Black Cat & White Cat - A black and white board book with a colorful surprise! Black cat and white cat are friends. But in a world of black and white, someone is always hard to see! Can they find a way to play together without someone disappearing?

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Art for Baby
Written & illustrated by Various
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

“Inspiring little minds with big ideas — what a brilliant concept. This is an excellent way to start sharing the world of art with your baby.” — Dr. Miriam Stoppard. A collection of fascinating black-and white images created by some of the world’s leading modern artists. Each one has been specially selected to help babies begin to recognize pictures and connect with the world around them. This board book also includes a stunning frieze featuring all the images used in the book — a perfect way to bring contemporary art to your baby.

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The Garden of Abdul Gasazi
Written & illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Sometimes that very thin line between illusion and reality is not as clearly defined as we would like it to be. It certainly wasn’t the day that Alan Mitz stumbled into the garden of Abdul Gasazi. For in this bizarre and eerie place – where strange topiary trees loomed – the evil visage of Gasazi casts its shadow. And even after Alan escaped, the spell of Gasazi still seemed to penetrate into his everyday world. In this extraordinary, unusual, and unique picture book, Chris Van Allsburg explores both the real and surreal worlds with incredible deftness. In doing so, he has created exquisite and beautiful images that will continue to haunt readers long after they have left the enchanted garden of Abdul Gasazi.

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Who Needs Donuts?
Written & illustrated by Mark Alan Stamaty
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Sam’s love of donuts takes him to the Big City where he makes friends with Mr. Bikferd, a world class collector of donuts. But when Mr. Bikferd falls in love with Pretzel Annie, the prophecy of an old homeless woman comes true: “Who needs donuts when you’ve got love?” Mr. Bikferd bequeaths his donut collection to Sam, who uses it to save the old homeless woman from drowning in a basement flooded with coffee. This is a reissue of Mark Alan Stamaty’s masterpiece of the absurd, first published 30 years ago and out of print nearly as long. With an illustration style that mixes a benign Hieronymus Bosch with an urban Where’s Waldo?, Stamaty’s off-the-wall humor is on target for little kids and big kids today.

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Bea and Mr. Jones
Written & illustrated by Amy Schwartz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Bea Jones is bored with kindergarten. Really bored. Her dad is fed up with being stuck in an office. Really, really fed up. So Bea and Mr. Jones decide to change places. Neither kindergarten nor the office will ever be the same. Originally published in 1982, Bea and Mr. Jones, Amy Schwartz’s unforgettable debut picture book, was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year and a Reading Rainbow selection. Now back with a fresh design, this charming favorite will inspire a new generation of children to see everyday life in a whole new light.

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Cat and Fish
Written by Joan Grant & illustrated by Neil Curtis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Cat and Fish, the most unlikely of friends, introduce each other to their very different worlds, which leads to trouble and forces them to find a way to celebrate their differences and remain friends.

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  • Farm Animals (Baby Basics) - Which animal is it? Xavier Deneux’s bold illustrations of familiar farm animals make for a clever visual guessing game for the youngest readers with the use of sliding tabs, which can reveal colors in the animal . . . or even reveal what the animals are! Baby Basics™ books encourage tactile exploration, support hand-eye coordination, and help develop strong cognitive skills. That mission complements the findings of experts that interactive books featuring high-contrast visuals stimulate baby’s brain development, as well as keep them engaged and entertained.

  • Black on White - Share this book with the baby in your life. It’s never too early to read together! From the eminent photographer and acclaimed book creator Tana Hoban, this bestselling large format board book features bold black-and-white high-contrast images to engage babies and very young children. Tana Hoban’s board books have sold more than a million copies and are beloved by teachers, librarians, parents, and readers. A perfect gift for new parents and babies. Before they are able to clearly see colors, babies respond to the strong contrast between black and white, which makes this the perfect first book for young, developing brains. Experiencing bold black-and-white contrast helps stimulate development in the retina and the optic nerve. About Black on White and White on Black, Publishers Weekly said, “Hoban’s compositions are so supple and her layouts so well balanced that she casts kind of a spell . . . magical.”

  • White on Black - Share this book with the baby in your life. It’s never too early to read together! From the eminent photographer and acclaimed book creator Tana Hoban, this bestselling large format board book features bold black-and-white high-contrast images to engage babies and very young children. Tana Hoban’s board books have sold more than a million copies and are beloved by teachers, librarians, parents, and readers. A perfect gift for new parents and babies. Before they are able to clearly see colors, babies respond to the strong contrast between black and white, which makes this the perfect first book for young, developing brains. Experiencing bold black-and-white contrast helps stimulate development in the retina and the optic nerve.

  • Hello, Garden Bugs: A High-Contrast Book - Ladybugs, snails, and butterflies! Oh my! This charming introduction to ten garden bugs, paired with friendly text and bold, basic patterns, provides a great high-contrast experience for young developing eyes. Newborns cannot fully recognize colors, so the sharp contrast between black and white patterns and illustrations allows babies to follow along and make connections to the real world, an important building block for communication skills. Using simple greetings like “Hello, bumblebee” and “Good to see you, dragonfly” alongside black-and-white art by Julissa Mora, Hello, Garden Bugs is the perfect board book for babies just beginning to look around and learn about their world.

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Ten Birds
Written & illustrated by Cybèle Young
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A clever counting book and fable unlike any other. Ten birds are trying to figure out how to get to the other side of the river. The bird they call “Brilliant” devises a pair of stilts. The bird they call “Highly Satisfactory” engineers a raft. One by one, nine resourceful birds make the crossing until a single bird is left behind ? the one they call “Needs Improvement.” This bird’s solution proves surprising ? and absurdly simple. More than a counting book, Ten Birds is a witty story that highlights ingenuity, common sense and the inadequacies of labels. Cybele Young’s intricate chiaroscuro pen-and-ink drawings depict a rich alternative world that both children and adults will marvel over.

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My Animals (BabyBasics)
Written & illustrated by Xavier Deneux
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

Black. White. Bright and just right for baby! Experts and parents know that books that are high-contrast and hands-on are best for engaging babies’ attention. Babies just can’t resist running their hands across the intriguing surface of My Animals black-and-white cover–they’ll need to know what comes next! Inside the book, peek-a-boo holes allow toddlers to grab and turn each page themselves. And when they do—they’ll get a new peek-a-boo surprise!

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Checkers and Dot
Written by J. Torres & illustrated by J. Lum
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Welcome to the wonderfully patterned world of Checkers and Dot! This sweet and striking series of board books has been designed especially for babies and tots. With high-contrast, patterned art for developing eyes, simple but memorable rhyming text for reading aloud, and cute-as-a-button characters, J. Torres and J. Lum have created engaging first books that little ones and their loved ones will want to cozy up with and read again and again. A simple, sturdy, and stylish new series for those just beginning to look, listen, and learn.

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Hearts & Stars
Written & illustrated by Chez Picthall
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-1

Designed for babies 6 weeks to 6 months, these books use high-contrast images to provide visual stimulation as babies begin to make visual connections with the world around them. These wordless picture books for the youngest of readers are sure to capture the interest and attention of babies everywhere. The use of black and white shapes with bold colors creates stimulating patterns that babies love. Sturdy board books with rounded corners.

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