Picture books continue to grow in popularity with new authors and illustrators plus old favorites stretching the boundaries of the 32-page norm. Stop by your local library and check them out!
The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai Gerstein
Best known for his Caldecott winner The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, Mordicai Gerstein is a prolific children’s author/illustrator. His latest book is a beautifully told tale of a young boy who frees a whale, even though his father warns him of the danger. While the father worries about losing their net, the boy worries about the whale. He remembers the fear he felt when he was caught in a net himself and almost drowned. When the whale blinks an enormous eye, the boy knows that he has to try to save the creature, no matter how dangerous doing so may be. Large, translucent illustrations convey the empathy and concern while giving an accurate view of the enormity of the task and its subject. The story portrays themes of survival and living life by the sea as well as a boy choosing a solution opposing his father’s wishes.
Windows by Julia Denos, illustrated by E. B. Goodale
Before your city goes to sleep, you might head out for a walk, your dog at your side as you go out the door and into the almost-night. Anything can happen on such a walk: you might pass a cat, or a friend, or even an early raccoon. And as you go down your street and around the corner, the windows around you light up one by one until you are walking through a maze of paper lanterns, each one granting you a brief, glowing snapshot of your neighbors as families come together and folks settle in for the night. With a setting that feels both specific and universal and a story full of homages to The Snowy Day, Julia Denos and E. B. Goodale have created a singular book — at once about the idea of home and the magic of curiosity, but also about how a sense of safety and belonging is something to which every child is entitled.
Snow and Rain by Sam Usher
Perfect for our current extreme weather changes, these two titles explore the wonders of snow and rain. Each includes the wanderings of a young boy and his grandfather. The young boy is focused only on being the first out in the new cover of snow and grandfather is focused on preparation for the weather. Finally outside, they are greeted with an amazing surprise when they make it to the park.
The follow-up to Snow is Rain, with illustrations that evoke all the blurred edges a rainy day can bring. Grandfather once again says “wait” for the rain to stop. When finally there is an important letter to deliver the two venture out into the wet and discover a floating world. In the end it’s “the very best things are always worth waiting for” and the boy agrees. *Bonus: tactile covers with raised images.
Look for Sun to continue the series this summer.
Love by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Loren Long
Matt de la Pena won a Newbery Medal and Caldecott Honor for his book Last Stop on Market Street. In his latest book Love, illustrated by Loren Long, he tackles the most universal of subjects in a compassionate voice. Wonderfully diverse, the simple text reinforces the many bonds of love, from birth through adult, through the eyes of a child. Warm and inspiring, it wraps the reader in the sweetest hug.
A Song About Myself, written by John Keats, illustrated by Chris Raschka
Raschka is well known for his children’s books as author/illustrator and for his many illustrations for other authors. In this book he takes a classic poem by John Keats and brings it to life with his characteristic watercolor images. This poem follows the adventures of “a naughty boy” and was written on the end of a letter to Keats’ younger sister when Keats was on a walk to Scotland.