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January 2018 Picture Book Recap

February 7, 2018

I read a bunch of awesome picture books in January. Some ended up getting featured with their author or illustrator on the podcast. A lot of them were shared with the students at my school. And many were discussed and loved and reread at bedtime or travel time in the car with my 2yo and 7yo.

 

Here's a collection of the books I can't stop thinking about from January. 

I wonder what were your favorite releases from this month? Please be sure to share in the comments below. I can't wait to read your recommendations (and I know others will be excited, too!).  

 

JANUARY 2018 Recap (selected picture books):

This Is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins and Lucy Ruth Cummins

 

This book is not a valentine. It doesn't have lacey edges or sugary hearts. But it is full of lucky rocks, secret hiding spots, and gumball machine treasures. This is a book about waiting in line and wishing for cinnamon buns. About recognizing that if you care so much about someone not thinking you care, maybe you really do. But wait--isn't that exactly what love is about? Maybe this book is sort of a valentine after all. A testament to handmade, wacky, bashful, honest love--sure to win over the hearts of all readers--this offering from debut picture book author Carter Higgins and children's book veteran Lucy Ruth Cummins is the perfect gift to celebrate every relationship, from parent to child, sibling to sibling, partner to partner, crush to crush.

 

When Sophie Thinks She Can't... by Molly Bang and Ann Stern 
 

When Sophie can't solve a math puzzle, she feels upset and inadequate. "I CAN'T DO IT " she shouts, expressing the frustration all of us feel when we try and fail. Will she ever be "smart" like her sister? Maybe she isn't smart at all.
Luckily Sophie's teacher steps in. What does it mean to be smart? Using current, popular "mindset" techniques, Sophie's class is taught that we get smarter when we exercise our brains, such as when we work harder at solving a puzzle. Struggling to solve a problem doesn't mean "I can't do it " Sophie and her classmates just can't do it... yet 
Readers will cheer when Sophie finally prevails, and at the end of the day, she's confident and optimistic. At home, Sophie uses her new technique to help her dad solve a carpentry puzzle.
In this third book about Sophie, Molly Bang again helps children deal with a challenging everyday issue, providing an opening to ask: What do you do when you think, "I can't "?

 

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds 
 
Some people collect stamps.
Some people collect coins.
Some people collect art.
And Jerome?
Jerome collected words . . . 
In this extraordinary new tale from Peter H. Reynolds, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him -- short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower. 
From the creator of The Dot and Happy Dreamer comes a celebration of finding your own words -- and the impact you can have when you share them with the world.

 

Ava and the Rainbow (Who Stayed) by Ged Adamson

 

The rain had stopped and the sun was coming out. And Ava knew that meant one thing...A RAINBOW

And not just any rainbow--this was the most beautiful rainbow Ava had ever seen. She wished that it could stay up in the bright sky forever. When the rainbow was still there the next day, and the next day, Ava realized it was true--the rainbow had decided to stay Everyone loved the rainbow as much as Ava. And she was happy.

But when people start to lose interest in the rainbow, Ava learns that sometimes the rare and special things in life are the most valuable and precious of all.

 

The Gingerbread Man and the Leprechaun Loose at School by Laura Murray and Mike Lowery

 

After a mischievous leprechaun makes a mess of the band room, the Gingerbread Man vows to catch him. He follows the leprechaun's clues all around the building finding chaos everywhere--even in the library But then he finds the worst clue of all. It says the leprechaun's next target might be a house made of gingerbread

 

Luckily, the Gingerbread Man makes it to his classroom in time to set a trap for the leprechaun. He'll show that mischief maker that he messed with the wrong cookie this time.

 

Shake the Tree!: a minibombo book by Chiara Vignocchi, Paolo Chiarinotti, and Silvia Borando 

 

Mouse spots a nut high up in a tree. "Mmm," she says. "I'm going to gobble that up " So she shakes the tree a little to the right, and she shakes the tree a little to the left. But it isn't the nut that falls from the tree, it's Fox, who thinks that Mouse looks pretty tasty Soon a warthog and then a bear come along with similar ideas. Little readers will enjoy the just-made-it escapes (and be happy to get in on the shaking action), only to laugh out loud when their expectations are foiled at the end.

 

My Pillow Keeps Moving! by Laura Gehl and Christopher Weyant

 

 

Dogs make good pillows, don't they?

 

A clever pup ends up in a cozy home, and she'll do anything to stay there. She impersonates everything the lonely homeowner needs--a pillow, a footstool, a jacket. But in the end, being herself works best. Laura Gehl's spare, humorous text and New Yorker cartoonist Christopher Weyant's expressive characters will leave young readers giggling and begging for more.

 

 

Grandma's Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton 

 

 

When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats...and her purse. You never know what she'll have in there--fancy jewelry, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it's pure magic

 

In this adorable, energetic ode to visits from grandma, beloved picture book creator Vanessa Brantley Newton shows how an ordinary day can become extraordinary.

 

 

Charlie Takes His Shot: How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf by Nancy Churnin, John Joven

 

Charlie Sifford loved golf, but in the 1930's only white people were allowed to play in the Professional Golf Association. Sifford had won plenty of black tournaments, but he was determined to break the color barrier in the PGA. In 1960 he did, only to face discrimination from hotels that wouldn't rent him rooms and clubs that wouldn't let him use the same locker as the white players. But Sifford kept playing, becoming the first black golfer to win a PGA tournament and eventually ranking among the greats in golf.

 

Free as a Bird: The Story of Malala by Lina Maslo 

 

The inspiring true story of Malala Yousafzai, human rights activist and the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, from debut author/illustrator Lina Maslo.

When Malala Yousafzai was born, people shook their heads because girls were considered bad luck. But her father looked into her eyes and knew she could do anything.

In Pakistan, people said girls should not be educated. But Malala and her father were not afraid. She secretly went to school and spoke up for education in her country.

And even though an enemy tried to silence her powerful voice, she would not keep quiet. Malala traveled around the world to speak to girls and boys, to teachers, reporters, presidents, and queens--to anyone who would listen--and advocated for the right to education and equality of opportunity for every person. She would shout so that those without a voice could be heard. So everyone could be as free as a bird.

Free as a Bird is the inspiring true story of a fearless girl and the father who taught her to soar.

 

Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

 

Elizabeth Cotten was only a little girl when she picked up a guitar for the first time. It wasn't hers (it was her big brother's), and it wasn't strung right for her (she was left-handed). But she flipped that guitar upside down and backwards and taught herself how to play it anyway. By age eleven, she'd written "Freight Train," one of the most famous folk songs of the twentieth century. And by the end of her life, people everywhere--from the sunny beaches of California to the rolling hills of England--knew her music.

 

Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace, Bryan Collier

 

Discover the remarkable true story of NFL star Ernie Barnes--a boy who followed his dreams and became one of the most influential artists of his generation--with this beautiful and fascinating nonfiction picture book illustrated by four-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier.

 

Penguins Don't Wear Sweaters! by Marikka Tamura, Daniel Rieley

 

You may have seen the cute pictures of penguins wearing sweaters--but did you know why they were wearing them? Debut author Marikka Tamura answers this question in this colorful, kid-friendly book that is told simply and charmingly. Penguins love the sea. Happy in the dark blue water. But what is this? One day something is floating in the water. Dark. Gooey. Oily . . . When the penguins become coated in an oil spill, many Big Boots arrive. The humans want to help the cold, greasy penguins, so they knit sweaters to keep them warm. The Big Boots mean well, but . . . penguins don't wear sweaters So after a good, soapy scrub, the penguins dive back into the deep blue sea, happily dressed only in their own penguin feathers.

 

Bub by Elizabeth Rose Stanton

 

A little monster, caught in the middle of a boisterous monster family, tries to find a way to be seen in this whimsically sweet and quirky picture book from the author of Henny and Peddles.

 

For Bub, it's not easy being the middle child in his little monster family--especially such a noisy and busy one: Maw and Paw can be very loud, his big sister Bernice is good at everything, and everyone has to pay attention to The Baby. No one has time for Bub. But the day comes when Bub decides to take charge, and suddenly things change in a very magical little monster way What happens next keeps his family guessing, until Bub sees that it might not be so bad being in the middle, after all.

 

Pass the Ball, Mo! by David A. Adler, Sam Ricks 

 

Mo's latest obsession is basketball. He's determined to learn how to pass, but as the shortest member of the team, he can't seem to launch the ball high enough. Can Mo learn to pass in time to help his team win the big game? This Level 2 reader about a little African-American boy with a big passion for sports is a funny, motivational companion to the winner of the 2016 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.

 

Welcome to Country: A Traditional Aboriginal Ceremony by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy

 

Welcome to the lands of the Wurundjeri people. The people are part of the land, and the land is a part of them. Aboriginal communities across Australia have boundaries that are defined by mountain ranges and waterways. Traditionally, to cross these boundaries, permission is required. Each community has its own way of greeting, but the practice shares a common name: a Welcome to Country. Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin, the senior Aboriginal elder of the Wurundjeri people, channels her passion for storytelling into a remarkable and utterly unique picture book that invites readers to discover some of the history and traditions of her people. Indigenous artist Lisa Kennedy gives the Wurundjeri Welcome to Country form in beautiful paintings rich with blues and browns, as full of wonder and history as the tradition they depict

*This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links will support the costs of maintaining the podcast, webcomic, and other materials associated with this site. 

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