Okay, so.... apparently October is a big month for book releases I read double or triple what I normally read in order to make the picture book recap for October. Here's a portion of the book pile from when I was starting to work out which 16 would make this list.
I hope to feature a number of the books I read and loved this month on upcoming podcasts. Until then, here's what stuck out to me from the OCTOBER picture book releases that crossed my desk.
I wonder if you read and loved any of these? And I wonder which books weren't included on my list for one reason or another that definitely made it onto yours. (Be sure to share in the comments below!)
OCTOBER 2018 Recap (selected picture books):
FOR A WICKED TWIST ON A FAMILIAR TALE
Hansel & Gretel by Bethan Woollvin (PEACHTREE PUBLISHERS)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
Deep in the forest lives a witch named Willow. She is a good witch, who only uses good magic--until she meets Hansel and Gretel.Willow never used to worry about messy breadcrumb trails. Or entire portions of her gingerbread house being devoured. Or anyone fiddling with her spells and magic books and causing a ruckus. But Hansel and Gretel are two very naughty and very rude children, and they are trying Willow's patience.
This subversive and deliciously wicked retelling of Hansel & Gretel from Bethan Woollvin, creator of Little Red and Rapunzel, features her signature striking and humorous visuals, and a twist ending that is sure to surprise and delight.
FOR THOSE WHO GIVE AND FOR THOSE WHO NOTICE
Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora (LITTLE, BROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
In this remarkable author-illustrator debut that's perfect for fans of Last Stop on Market Street and Extra Yarn as well as for the Thanksgiving season, a generous woman is rewarded by her community.
Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?
Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love. An author's note explains that "Omu" (pronounced AH-moo) means "queen" in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean "Grandma." This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora's life.
FOR THOSE WITH A GROWTH MINDSET AND STRONG DETERMINATION
No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas by Tonya Bolden and Don Tate (KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
Discover the incredible true story of how one of history's most successful potato farmers began life as a slave and worked until he was named the "Potato King of the World"!
Junius G. Groves came from humble beginnings in the Bluegrass State. Born in Kentucky into slavery, freedom came when he was still a young man and he intended to make a name for himself. Along with thousands of other African Americans who migrated from the South, Junius walked west and stopped in Kansas. Working for a pittance on a small potato farm was no reason to feel sorry for himself, especially when he's made foreman. But Junius did dream of owning his own farm, so he did the next best thing. He rented the land and worked hard! As he built his empire, he also built a family, and he built them both on tons and tons and tons of potatoes. He never quit working hard, even as the naysayers doubted him, and soon he was declared Potato King of the World and had five hundred acres and a castle to call his own.
From award winning author Tonya Bolden and talented illustrator Don Tate comes a tale of perseverance that reminds us no matter where you begin, as long as you work hard, your creation can never be called small potatoes.
FOR THOSE WHO HELP STORIES TAKE ROOT
The Book Tree by Rashin Kheiriyeh and Paul Czajak (BAREFOOT BOOKS)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
When young Arlo accidentally drops a book on the Mayors head, the Mayor decides books are dangerous and destroys all the books in town! But thanks to Arlos imagination and perseverance, the Mayor finds that suppressing stories cannot stop them from blossoming more beautifully than ever. This timely allegorical tale will be a useful tool for starting conversations with children about the power of activism and the written word.
FOR THOSE WHO DARE TO SEE FOR THEMSELVES
The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker and Mark Pett (ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
A curious little girl watches the man who guards the last castle in town. Every time she passes by him, she tries to catch his eye. While the other townspeople fear what may be locked up inside the mysterious castle, the girl finally gets up the courage to knock on the door and find out what’s really behind the gate. A story about overcoming fear of the unknown, trying new things, and reaching out to make new friends, The Very Last Castle shows that bravery comes in packages both big and small.
FOR EACH OF US, FULL OF HOPE, TOGETHER
I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds (ABRAMS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS)
From the picture book dream team behind I Am Yoga and I Am Peace comes the third book in their wellness series: I Am Human. A hopeful meditation on all the great (and challenging) parts of being human, I Am Human shows that it’s okay to make mistakes while also emphasizing the power of good choices by offering a kind word or smile or by saying “I’m sorry.” At its heart, this picture book is a celebration of empathy and compassion that lifts up the flawed fullness of humanity and encourages children to see themselves as part of one big imperfect family—millions strong.
FOR THOSE WHO SEE THROUGH THE NOISE AND TROUBLE
Being You by Alexs Pate and Soud (CAPSTONE EDITIONS)
Award-winning author and professor Alexs Pate delivers a message of hope and self-discovery in a time of uncertainty in our world. BEING YOU is a beautiful picture book celebrating every readers' individuality and talents. With an authentic voice, BEING YOU's poetic message of love and optimism for the future speaks directly to today's children. BEING YOU helps us to see the wonder and light within each of us.
FOR THOSE WHO MARVEL AT NATURE'S ABILITY TO CONTRADICT AND TO WONDER
Contrary Creatures: Unique Animal Opposites by James Weinberg (PAGE STREET KIDS)
This vibrantly illustrated nonfiction picture book goes beyond expected animal opposite pairings by comparing and contrasting behaviors like migration habits (or lack thereof) and sleeping schedules.
Featuring snow monkeys, sea dragons, peacocks, and more, this is an eye-catching and thought-provoking concept book. It will appeal to nature-loving readers, making them think about opposites in new ways.
“Some animals live only in stories and legends, while others are real but seem make-believe.”
FOR THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF SEEING SOMEONE IN THEIR TIME OF TURMOIL
Poe Won't Go by Kelly DiPucchio and Zachariah OHora (DISNEY-HYPERION)
When an elephant plants himself in the road and refuses to move, the people of Prickly Valley try all sorts of methods to get him to go-but one thoughtful little girl works up the courage to do what no one else has done: ask him.
Balancing both hilarity and sensitivity, Poe Won't Go has the feel of a contemporary classic, reminding readers that there is power in one, power in listening, and power in being a friend.
FOR CELEBRATING THE LIVES OF AND LESSER KNOWN FACTS ABOUT OUR FIRST LADIES
Have You Heard About Lady Bird?: Poems About Our First Ladies by Marilyn Singer and Nancy Carpenter (DISNEY-HYPERION)
The role of First Lady has been defined differently by each woman who's held it, but all of them left an impact on our nation as partner of the commander in chief.
Incisive poetry by Marilyn Singer and energetic art by Nancy Carpenter provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of women-from Martha Washington to Eleanor Roosevelt to Lady Bird Johnson-who variously embraced the position and shied away from it, craved the spotlight and fiercely guarded their privacy, took controversial stands and championed for the status quo. Detailed back matter includes short biographies, quotations, and more.
FOR REMEMBERING AND FOR THOSE WHO WILL REMEMBER YOU
Dad's Camera by Ross Watkins and Liz Anelli (CANDLEWICK)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
One day Dad comes home with one of those old cameras, the kind that uses film. But he doesn’t take photos of the regular things people photograph. He takes pictures of his keys, his coffee cup, the objects scattered on his desk. He starts doing a lot of things that are hard to understand, like putting items that belong in the fridge in the cupboard and ones that belong in the cupboard in the fridge. In a sensitive, touching tale about losing a family member to a terminal illness, Ross Watkins and Liz Anelli prove that love is the one thing that can never be forgotten.
FOR FAMILY AND FOR ALL OF THOSE MAKING THOUGHTFUL WISHES
Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson (G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS)
In their first collaboration since the Newbery Medal- and Caldecott Honor-winning Last Stop on Market Street, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson deliver a poignant and timely new picture book that's sure to be an instant classic.
When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true--she's finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make . . .
With lyrical, stirring text and stunning, evocative artwork, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson have crafted a moving ode to family, to dreamers, and to finding hope in the most unexpected places.
FOR THE THINGS REVEALED TO US OVER TIME, PATIENCE, AND PERSISTENCE
Pearl by Molly Idle (LITTLE, BROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS)
Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Molly Idle dazzles with an original mermaid tale about how small, persistent actions can achieve great things.
Sometimes the tiniest light can shine the brightest! Like the other mermaids of the deep, Pearl longs to care for the endless beaches, coral reefs, and towering kelp forests of her vast ocean world. So when her mother asks her to tend to a mere grain of sand, Pearl is heartbroken. It takes all her patience and determination to discover how even the littlest mermaid can transform the world.
Caldecott Honor-winning author and artist Molly Idle has masterfully crafted a modern classic in this mesmerizing tale about the immense power of small actions.
FOR RECOGNIZING A CHILD'S NEED FOR PROTECTION AND SAFETY
My Quiet Ship by Hallee Adelman and Sonia Sanchez (ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY)
Whenever the yelling in his house starts, Quinn runs to a special hiding place. There he becomes captain of the Quiet Ship, where he can get far, far away from the yelling that hurts his ears and makes him feel scared. But one day the Quiet Ship is broken and Quinn needs a new plan, one that requires him to be brave. A thoughtful treatment of a difficult topic, this story is for any child who faces fighting in the home.
FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT BED, WHO DO NOT WANT THE ADVENTURES TO STOP
Stop That Yawn! by Caron Levis and LeUyen Pham (ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS)
Pack your toothbrushes, but leave your pajamas and pillows behind for this one-of-a-kind bedtime story from Ida, Always author Caron Levis and bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham. And whatever you do…DON’T YAWN!
Gabby Wild has had enough of bedtime. Yawn, curl, snuggle, snore—what a bore!
So instead of tucking in, she jets out—with poor Granny in tow—to a place where beds are for bouncing, hushes are shushed, and it’s never too late for ice cream. But sometimes, even when you grit your teeth and seal your lips, it’s impossible to stop that…YAWN!
There’s a yawn on the loose! Can Gabby stop that yawn from spreading the snooze, or will it be lights out for Never Sleeping City?
FOR NEW FRIENDS, AND FOR THE CHALLENGE OF MAKING THEM
The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones (PEACHTREE PUBLISHERS)
A beautiful, reassuring story with a gentle touch of magic.
After moving to a new home, Caro wishes she had a friend, but she's too shy to meet the neighborhood kids. With a little imagination, however, Caro finds the Snow Lion. Together, they have all kinds of fun racing, climbing, and playing hide-and-seek. But when the boy next door asks Caro to come play, Caro isn't so sure. Then, the Snow Lion has an idea Making new friends isn't always easy, but it is always worth it in the end.
This powerful but gentle story about making new friends is gorgeously illustrated to celebrate the magic and imagination that fills every page and will appeal to any shy or lonely young reader.
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