Last updated on November 25.
By day Elevator Bird cheerfully tends to the myriad animal guests at the hotel — shepherding them up and down the elevator, offering advice on the sights and doling out kindness all around — but by night he “longs for dark nights filled with city lights.” So his coworkers come together to help Bird’s fresh air dreams come true. The story is lovely but it's the illustrations that really make it into something special. The colorful and adorably drawn critters will elicit squees of delight. (Rainbow porcupine is my personal favorite.) --Elese
Written as a letter to a visitor from Outer Space, Sophie Blackall's new book doesn't disappoint. She covers all the major points of contemporary life using a diverse cast of characters from all over the world. While she covers helping others, going to school, etc., she also doesn't shy away from tough topics (poverty, violence, natural disasters). As always, her beautiful illustrations matched with the sweet text makes for a completely endearing, heartwarming, and important book for anyone--child or adult. --Jen
Jillian Tamaki's text & illustrations offer a joyful peek inside the controlled chaos of an inclusive community food kitchen. Pair it with Harlem Grown by Tony Hillery (also on this list), and you've got a powerful duo of food justice picture books. --Elese
A sweet, slightly quirky picture book reminiscent of Kevin Henkes's beloved Kitten's First Full Moon.
This book is worth it simply for the capybara cuddle clump. Adorable.
Signed copies available.
Hands down one of my favorite picture books of the year. The colors simply leap off the page. Alternating between wordless pages and text, Little Fox tells the story of a playful fox who has gotten himself into a pickle (more than once, really) and relies on the help of a little boy for rescue. All turns out well in the end. What a joy to read.
A celebration of all things round!
Young Dayeon wonders if she's brave enough to be a haenyeo - a free-diver - like her Grandma. As she works up her courage to try, the reader is treated to gorgeous illustrations awash in lush purples and vibrant oranges. Complete with beautiful messages about working in partnership with other women and in harmony with the sea, this grandmother-granddaughter story is a delight to read aloud and a welcome addition to the picture book world. --Elese
This book inspired my family to work on creating a Monarch butterfly garden!
Louie, the most-adorable dog, has perfected his ideal day on the town -- pancakes, fish tacos, fettuccine and hot cocoa -- well, almost perfected. Louie is lonely! Kids will giggle at the ever-expressive Louie's idiosyncrasies as he navigates through a Goldilocks array of families until he finds the one just right for him. So much to love on these pages. --Elese
A joyful book about community, perseverance and good food. Mr. Tony's spirit and gentle leadership shines through the pages and is sure to inspire young gardeners everywhere --Elese (Ages 3-6)
A wonderful picture book introduction to the world of birds. There are a lot of bird books out there but this one has joined Kevin Henkes' Birds as an absolute favorite.--Elese
A story about art, family, love and perspective. -Elese
Gustavo is a normal ghost...except he's very shy and anxious. Will he be able to overcome his shyness and make friends with the other monsters? The cutest Halloween story with a great message! --Jen
A silly read-aloud that will have adult readers chuckling, too. --Elese
An odd but lovable space dog in an odd but lovable picture book. Short and silly. --Elese
What a quirky picture book! The members of this unusual household stay awake all night in increasingly absurd ways. Had us all laughing out loud. --Elese
A heartwarming and gorgeously illustrated book about the stories behind tattoos and realizing you can be whatever you decide to be. HOW TO BE A PIRATE will make your day. It will have readers young and old laughing and smiling from ear to ear. --Zach
A hilarious read-aloud about one very determined snail. --Elese ("Oh, Snail Crossing is so funny" says my 8-year-old as he saw me making this list.)
Young Iris has been her family's designated elevator-button-pusher for as long as she can remember, until the day when her role is unceremoniously usurped by her upstart of a baby brother ... --Elese
In a story of the Great Migration, a young girl travels with her family by train from North Carolina to New York. How James Ransome hasn’t been awarded a Caldecott yet is beyond me … his art is divine and the accompanying words by Lesa Cline-Ransome are poetic. A wonderful and important picture book for elementary school-aged children.
A story of homesickness, memory and discovery. With the help of a new friend, Ren learns how to find the beauty & possibility in the city around him, while keeping space in his heart for the magic of the place he left behind. Lush, rainbow-filled illustrations are rife with small details that will delight upon repeat readings. --Elese
It's Grandparents Day and a young girl wonders what her classmates will think of her beloved Nana Akua. A powerful story skillfully told, with magnificent illustrations. --Elese
A picture book for slightly older readers about the friendship between Jack & Charlie, a skittish goat and a blind horse, who together find a way to face life's challenges. --Elese
A follow-up to the fantastic ¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market!
This colorful board book celebrates pride of place, creates connections to North Carolina's rich African American heritage, and teaches children about human equality and social justice. P is for Pauli Murray!
David Shannon, author of the No, David books, is back with the story of an earnestly naughty terrier. --Elese
A joyous riot of color with a pair of ridiculously cute bunnies ... Llewellyn and Evelyn are the best of friends, collecting memories of the wonders of their world. When the day comes that Evelyn's family has to move to a new town, the two bunny friends endeavor to find a new way to share their experiences with each other across the distance. --Elese