Sometimes a publishing season comes around that is so full and great that you almost can’t believe it, and Winter 2013 is one such season for us in the picture book arena. There truly is something for everyone in this winter’s happy group: sneezing pandas, biographies, non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, collage, dioramas, monsters, farm animals, and did we mention… unbearably adorable sneezing pandas? Neil Gaiman, Adam Rex, Melissa Sweet, Jack Prelutsky, and more– the talent pool is just too deep! Look forward to upcoming posts featuring the artwork of the following books that we think are going to be “picture-perfect” additions to your classroom, library, home, and heart.
by Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Adam Rex
Beloved storyteller Neil Gaiman and acclaimed artist Adam Rex bring us Chu, a baby panda’s whose mighty sneeze produces disastrous and hilarious results.
Great for: reading aloud, storytime! (there’s a great library scene )
Starred Review: PW
BRICK BY BRICK
by Charles R. Smith Jr.
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
On the heels of the 2012 Presidential election comes this powerful story of the building of the White house. Coretta Scott King Award winners Charles R. Smith and Floyd Cooper capture the emotion and the toil that created this incredible structure, the home of our President. Built brick by brick, the White House was created by human hands, many of them slaves, whose hard labor created the symbol of this country.
Themes and applications: history, the United States, slavery.
by Brett Helquist
Goat has never had a single friend in his life. He doesn’t want one now. What he wants is to eat, and so he does! That is, until he stumbles upon a beautiful dandelion that stops him in his tracks. And once Goat opens his eyes to the beauty that surrounds him, he can’t help but open his heart as well.
Themes and applications: friendship, grief, the circle of life, animals, reading aloud!
by Kadir Nelson
In poignant verse and glorious illustrations, Kadir Nelson tells the story of a young boy’s determination to change South Africa and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country by believing in equality for people of all colors. Readers will be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s triumph and his lifelong quest to create a more just world.
Themes and applications: equality, justice, perseverance, Black History Month.
Two starred reviews! Kirkus, PW
by Michelle Markel
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
The inspiring true story of Clara Lemlich, a young immigrant girl who led the biggest strike of women workers in U.S. history. Caldecott Honor and Sibert Medal winner Melissa Sweet has used a variety of techniques—oil paints, watercolor, collage—to create a truly stunning picture book.
Themes and applications: Women’s history, equality, individuality, collage.
Starred Review: PW
MONSTERS LOVE COLORS
by Mike Austin
Different-colored monsters howl, growl, and roar for more as they mix and match primary colors to make new shades and hues. We (dare we say!) see this as the heir apparent to The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown.
Themes and applications: colors– primary and secondary colors, creativity, storytime!
STARDINES SWIM HIGH ACROSS THE SKY
by Jack Prelutsky
illustrated by Carin Berger
Sixteen mixed-up animal poems by poet Jack Prelutsky are paired with stunning three-dimensional collages, dioramas, and shadow boxes by Carin Berger. A faux natural history catalog of silliness, originality, and spectacular beauty.
Themes and applications: poetry, creativity, reading aloud!
TITO PUENTE, MAMBO KING
by Monica Brown
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
A vibrant picture book biography of Tito Puente, the Mambo King. Rafael Lopez’ colorful illustrations make the story come alive.
Themes and applications: biography, music, creativity, storytime!
What do you think? Do any of these books look like ones you can use with your students, patrons, or your own kids? We’d love to know!