Praise-worthy Picture Books to Discover During Children’s Book Week

Picture books can carry delightful and engaging content for many age groups. In our celebration of the 100 year of Children’s Book Week, we’re going to focus on brand new and still forthcoming picture books for preschoolers and those in primary school, and every one of them is a picture book unlike any you may have seen before now.

Two such picture books appeared the 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books list published last Friday. A Million Dots, written and illustrated by Sven Volker and published by Cicada Books, explores the concept of doubling numbers by showing what happens when we keep doubling and doubling again. In 44 beautifully designed pages, we manage to get from 1 tree to more than a million dots, with counts for fizzy drink bubbles and lady bug spots just two of the depictions of newly arrived products obtained by doubling the previous number.

Gecko Press’s Monkey on the Run, by Leo Timmers, is also on The New York Times/New York Public Library list this year. Practically wordless, this sort is a visual parade of fantastic events involving animals, musical instruments, food, and a host of hilariously concocted railroad cars. It begs to be studied, flipped through repeatedly, and set in a likely spot for unsuspecting visitors to discover it.

Tilbury House has two picture books forthcoming in February that are already winning plaudits. Magnificent Homespun Brown, written by Samara Cole Doyon with illustrations by Kaylani Juanita, delivers on its subtitle: “a celebration”–in this case of all shades of brown girls with all manner of hairstyles, and all in full action mode celebrating nature in easy to read verse. Providing a more narrative approach to picture book contents, The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story, by Aya Khalil with illustrations by Anait Semirdzhyan, offers excellent inspiration for inclusive cultural sharing. From personal names to a class-wide project, the kids in this story grow socially and credibly in a short story with artwork that builds out the text to make a veritable handbook for local emulation.

And because bears and picture books continue to be a winning combination, we finish today’s Children’s Book Week episode with NubeOcho’s newly reviewed with a star by School Library Journal My Big Bear, My Little Bear and Me, by Margarita del Mazo and illustrated by Rocio Bonilla. Available in both Spanish and English, this is a comforting story just right for winter–and for bear-loving picture book readers everywhere.

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