Woah! Some seriously outstanding books are coming out this season. And just as I put finishing touches on this recap of my favorite September picture book releases I have an absolute mountain of October books to tackle (and we're already midway through October!) so best we get right to it.
Here's what stuck out to me from the SEPTEMBER 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!)
SEPTEMBER 2018 Recap (selected picture books):
FOR A BURST OF AFFIRMATION NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE OR HOW YOU FEEL
Rock What Ya Got by Samantha Berger and Kerascoet (LITTLE, BROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
A child reminds everyone to embrace their own special something in this joyful expression of self-love.
When a drawing of a little girl comes to life, she boldly declares that she doesn't want to be erased, or put into a picture that doesn't feel like her true self. Instead, she decides to speak up in a powerful way. And she has some words of advice: embrace what you have, love yourself, and "rock what ya got."
In this affirmation of self-identity and girl power, a child's memorable mantra offers a timeless lesson, reminding readers of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities that it's okay to be yourself.Bold illustrations from Kerascoët (Malala's Magic Pencil) bring the engaging story to life.
FOR INTERGENERATIONAL ADVENTURES THROUGH MEMORY AND IMAGINATION
The Greatest Adventure by Tony Piedra (ARTHUR A. LEVINE BOOKS)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
Eliot imagines sailing wild rivers and discovering giant beasts, right there on his block! But he wishes his adventures were real.
Eliot's grandpa, El Capitán, once steered his own ship through dangerous seas, to far-off lands. But he can't do that anymore.
Can Eliot and El Capitán discover a real adventure... together?
Come find out! All aboard The Greatest Adventure!
FOR WHEN HOPE AND EXPECTATION IS MET WITH WONDER
There's a Hole in My Garden by James Stewart (ALBERT WHITMAN & COMPANY)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
The dead-pan narration in this debut picture book delivers a perfect child-like vision with humor and panache, depicted in luminous detail. A little boy shows what happens when he drops larger and larger objects, both in terms of size and imagination, down a mysterious hole that grows throughout the year in his garden. But what happens in December?
FOR THOSE WITH A SOMETIMES-FLEETING, YET EVER IRREPRESSIBLE SONG ON THEIR HEART
Khalida and the Most Beautiful Song by Amanda Moeckel (PAGE STREET KIDS)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
When a song whispers in Khalida's ear late one night, she is determined to catch it. But the next day, no matter how hard she tries, bad timing and a busy schedule get in the way of her creative pursuit. Khalida longs for time to sit at the piano and make her own music and refuses to give up on her quest. When she finally succeeds, we discover the power of a captivating melody. Readers will relate to Khalida's overscheduling frustrations as well as her joy as inspiration becomes art. Lush watercolor art showcases how one girl's determined pursuit of an idea rewards us all with the enduring magic of a beautiful song.
FOR CATEGORICALLY (AND ALPHABETICALLY) DEFENDING THE RIGHT TO PEACEFUL PROTESTS
Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights by Rob Sanders and Jared Andrew Schorr (SIMON & SCHUSTER BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
A primer for peaceful protest, resistance, and activism from the author of Rodzilla and Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag.
Protesting. Standing up for what’s right. Uniting around the common good—kids have questions about all of these things they see and hear about each day. Through sparse and lyrical writing, Rob Sanders introduces abstract concepts like “fighting for what you believe in” and turns them into something actionable. Jared Schorr’s bold, bright illustrations brings the resistance to life making it clear that one person can make a difference. And together, we can accomplish anything.
FOR HELPING WITHOUT JUDGMENT AND FOR LEADING OTHERS TOWARD HEALING
Holes in the Sky by Patricia Polacco (G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS)
Miss Eula is back! In this heartwarming companion to Chicken Sunday, young Trisha is devastated when her grandmother passes away, but finds joy in bonds with a new friend, her new California neighborhood—and the invincible Miss Eula.
There will never be anyone like her grandmother, Patricia Polacco thinks, when her grandmother passes away. But when she and her family move to California—in the middle of a drought—she meets a new friend, the irrepressible Stewart, and his amazing grandmother, Miss Eula, who not only takes Trisha under her wing, but, with Trisha and Stewart, steps up to lead their entire extraordinarily diverse neighborhood to help a hurting neighbor—and her once lush garden—survive the drought.
Trisha's grandmother's old saying about the stars being Holes in the Sky turns out to be Miss Eula's, too, convincing Trisha that she has miraculously discovered another unforgettable grandmother.
FOR THE SACRIFICES OF PARENTS AND FOR THE KIDS WHO MAKE IT ALL MEAN SOMETHING
Night Job by Karen Hesse and G. Brian Karas (CANDLEWICK)
With lyrical narration and elegant, evocative artwork, Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse and illustrator G. Brian Karas share the nighttime experience of a father and child.
When the sun sets, Dad’s job as a school custodian is just beginning. What is it like to work on a Friday night while the rest of the city is asleep? There’s the smell of lilacs in the night air, the dusky highway in the moonlight, and glimpses of shy nighttime animals to make the dark magical. Shooting baskets in the half-lit gym, sweeping the stage with the game on the radio, and reading out loud to his father in the library all help the boy’s time pass quickly. But what makes the night really special is being with Dad. Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse’s quietly powerful story of a boy and his father is tenderly brought to life by G. Brian Karas in this luminous tribute to an enduring, everyday sort of love.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN FORCED OUT, CAST OUT, AND LEFT OUT (AND FOR ALL OF US WHO ARE CALLED TO WELCOME)
The Day War Came by Nicola Davies and Rebecca Cobb (CANDLEWICK)
A moving, poetic narrative and child-friendly illustrations follow the heartbreaking, ultimately hopeful journey of a little girl who is forced to become a refugee.
The day war came there were flowers on the windowsill and my father sang my baby brother back to sleep.Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble.
Imagine if you lost everything and everyone, and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end, and no room for you to even take a seat at school. And then a child, just like you, gave you something ordinary but so very, very precious. In lyrical, deeply affecting language, Nicola Davies’s text combines with Rebecca Cobb’s expressive illustrations to evoke the experience of a child who sees war take away all that she knows.
FOR SEEING THAT YOU MEAN MORE TO OTHERS (AND IN MORE WAYS THAN YOU REALIZE)
A Page in the Wind by José Sanabria (NORTHSOUTH BOOKS)
A whimsical and moving story about discovering your purpose by José Sanabria.
The last little newspaper on a newsstand wonders what its life will be like until a gust of wind sends its individual pages flying. Each page travels to a different place and experiences a vastly different life—from being used to clean a mirror and line the cage of a pet to being formed into a boat by a child and sheltering a homeless person from the cold—until, at last, the final page finds it’s true calling. Sanabria’s expressive art and thoughtful story reflect many ways our lives can be touched.
FOR THE UNDERDOGS IN ALL THEIR UNDERRATED GLORY
Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs by Melissa Stewart and Stephanie Laberis (PEACHTREE PUBLISHERS)
Puny? Poky? Clumsy? Shy? A lighthearted look at the surprising traits that help some animals survive.Written with a lively, playful voice, Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers introduces young readers to a variety of "animal underdogs" and explains how characteristics that might seem like weaknesses are critical for finding food and staying safe in an eat-or-be-eaten world.
Award-winning author Melissa Stewart offers readers a humorous and informative nonfiction picture book with a gentle message of understanding and celebrating differences. Stephanie Laberis's bright, bold--and scientifically accurate--illustrations add to the fun.
FOR FINDING YOUR ROAR (AND FINDING A HOME)
The Tiger's Egg by Nele Brönner (NORTHSOUTH BOOKS)
AMAZON | INDIEBOUND
Herman the tiger is grumpy because of all the noisy neighbors around him at the zoo.
But when a defenseless little egg falls into his lap, suddenly the cranky cat’s mood changes.
A playful celebration of family, our wonderful differences, and the transformative power of love.
FOR KEEPING UP WITH THE ROYALTY IN YOUR FAMILY
King Alice by Matthew Cordell (FEIWEL & FRIENDS)
Matthew Cordell, Caldecott Medal-winning author and illustrator of Wolf in the Snow, delivers yet another warm and delightful picture book in King Alice.
Alice and her family are stuck indoors on a snowy day. Alice loves to read, and when her dad suggests that she make her own book, she snaps out of her "I'm bored" mode and makes up a story that lasts till the lights go out later that night.
Here is a book that celebrates books, reading, and an imaginative way that one family handles being housebound.
FOR A GRANDCHILD'S PERSPECTIVE ON SOME PERSPECTIVE-CHANGING LIFE'S WORK
Tigers & Tea With Toppy by Barbara Kerley, Rhoda Knight Kalt, and Matte Stephens (SCHOLASTIC PRESS)
Rhoda loves spending time with Toppy. He is not only her beloved grandpa, but also the world-famous wildlife artist Charles R. Knight! Every outing with Toppy -- from visits to the American Museum of Natural History and the Central Park Zoo to tea parties at The Plaza Hotel -- is filled with fun and adventure.
Lovers of animals, art, natural history, and New York City will relish this vivacious and winsomely depicted true story. Presented through Rhoda's eyes, it celebrates the enchantment of scientific inquiry, a tender grandparent-grandchild bond, and the vision of a pioneering artist who opened our eyes to the wonders of the ancient world.
Included in this book are more than a dozen of Charles R. Knight's original paintings and drawings, interspersed with Matte Stephens's winsome illustrations.
FOR THOSE WHO PERSEVERE, WHO ENDURE, WHO BUILD KNOWLEDGE, AND WHO DEMONSTRATE TO OTHERS WHAT YOU'VE KNOWN OF YOURSELF ALL ALONG
The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague (Amazing Scientists #3) by Julia Finley Mosca and Daniel Rieley (INNOVATION PRESS)
Meet Raye Montague―the hidden mastermind who made waves in the U.S. Navy!
After touring a German submarine in the early 1940s, young Raye set her sights on becoming an engineer. Little did she know sexism and racial inequality would challenge that dream every step of the way, even keeping her greatest career accomplishment a secret for decades. Through it all, the gifted mathematician persisted―finally gaining her well-deserved title in history: a pioneer who changed the course of ship design forever.
The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague is the third book in a riveting educational series about the inspiring lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you'll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Montague herself!
FOR THOSE IN NEED OF STRENGTH AND IN NEED OF UNMISTAKABLE TRUTH
So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth's Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary D. Schmidt and Daniel Minter (ROARING BROOK PRESS)
From celebrated author Gary D. Schmidt comes a picture book biography of a giant in the struggle for civil rights, perfectly pitched for readers today.
Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but possessed a mind and a vision that knew no bounds. So Tall Within traces her life from her painful childhood through her remarkable emancipation to her incredible leadership in the movement for rights for both women and African Americans. Her story is told with lyricism and pathos by Gary D. Schmidt, one of the most celebrated writers for children in the twenty-first century, and brought to life by award winning and fine artist Daniel Minter. This combination of talent is just right for introducing this legendary figure to a new generation of children.
FOR REMEMBERING WHAT HAS CHANGED AND WHAT HAS COME BEFORE US
The Dam by David Almond and Levi Pinfold (CANDLEWICK STUDIO)
A haunting, stunningly illustrated story of loss, hope, and the power of music from multi-award winners David Almond and Levi Pinfold.
Kielder Water is a wild and beautiful place, rich in folk music and legend. Years ago, before a great dam was built to fill the valley with water, there were farms and homesteads in that valley and musicians who livened their rooms with song. After the village was abandoned and before the waters rushed in, a father and daughter returned there. The girl began to play her fiddle, bringing her tune to one empty house after another — for this was the last time that music would be heard in that place. With exquisite artwork by Levi Pinfold, David Almond’s lyrical narrative — inspired by a true tale — pays homage to his friends Mike and Kathryn Tickell and all the musicians of Northumberland, to show that music is ancient and unstoppable, and that dams and lakes cannot overwhelm it.
*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.