New Picture Books for Your Must Read List

I’ve been reading so many wonderful children’s books during the past few months. In July I joined a new group, Kid Lit Exchange, which has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to both learn about and read the latest picture books and middle grade books; many before they are published. This is a dedicated group of librarians, teachers and parents who love children’s literature and believe whole heartedly in the magic of reading and stories to help the kids in our lives grow in their love of books. We work with authors and publishers to read, review and share the newest titles on our blogs, Good Reads and Instagram. I hope you’ll check out our new website. Of course, I’ll be sharing the books I review here, on Instagram and on Good Reads!

Here are a few of my favorite recent picture books I think would be worthy to add to your TBR (To Be Read) pile! I hope you’ll agree!

picture booksLife on Mars by Jon Agee

The delightful illustrations in this picture book made me smile from the time I first viewed the cover and I didn’t stop until long after I finished the sweet story. The little astronaut is certain there is life on Mars and he travels there to prove his theory. He brings chocolate cupcakes, because when you visit someone’s home you always take a hostess gift, don’t you?! He’s so disappointed when he arrives. All he sees is barren terrain full of rocks – no life. When you read this book aloud to your little one, they will be squealing with delight as they point out who’s following the little explorer. And they’ll especially love the last page, as I did. This is definitely one you’re going to want to add to your library!

picture booksBook of Mistakes By Corianna Luyken 

I shared this book the other night at a family dinner, and EVERYONE loved it, just as I did! I definitely think I’m adding it to my holiday shopping list. The uplifting illustrations grow on every page, as Ms. Luyken tries out idea after idea. Is this a possibility? Is this a good idea? Opps, the “frog cat cow thing” was a mistake, but the “roller skates were definitely not a mistake!” “Even the ink smudges scattered across the sky, look as if the could be leaves!” I love how Ms. Luyken handles her mistakes. She has the confidence to admit that she’s made a mistake and just moves on, until she finds a solution; a plan b. She’s so joyfully positive and optimistic on every page!

If you have, or your little one has ever been obsessed with making a mistake, or if you’re just looking for a beautifully illustrated book full of positivity and optimism, this is definitely a book to add to your collection. The charming narrative encourages us to explore, to create and to understand that although we may stumble as we try a new experience, it’s okay, because we’re a work in progress. 

picture booksHappy Dreamer by Peter Reynolds

I think one of the reasons I liked this book so much, is because I am a dreamer. I am always making up stories about the people I see and the houses I pass as I walk down the street. I certainly don’t paint or draw, as Peter H. Reynolds does so brilliantly in the sparkling, joyful illustrations you’ll find on every page of the story, but that doesn’t mean I don’t dream about doing just that, as I’m sure many of you do. We follow the little guy, who is the main character, as he dances through each page over lots of obstacles, and finally concludes “…the best way to be a happy dreamer? Just be You.” This is one of those books that is wonderful for all ages. In fact, it’s perfect for anyone who needs a little encouragement to just follow their dreams. Maybe that’s you!

picture bookseverywhere, wonder by Matthew Swanson and illustrated by Robbi Behr

This imaginative picture book with vibrant illustrations invites the reader to tour the world with a young boy as he notices the world “with his eyes wide open.” I am always reminding myself to stop and smell the roses, to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us every day, even if it is something as insignificant as when this little guy notices a blue balloon caught in a tree or a parade of ants marching by. Of course he observes some majestic sights as well, such as the canyons of Arizona or the Brazilian rain forest. And when he finally ends his day, he dreams of everything he noticed that day.This would be a great book to read to your little guys to open up a conversation about “smelling the roses” or to provide a wonderful beginning to a writing project for your older kids. I highly recommend it!


picture booksDad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko and illustrated by Dan Santat

Newberry Honor winner, Gennifer Choldenko has written a heartwarming story about a father’s love. The illustrations by Caldecott Award Winner, Dan Santat @dsantat, (The Adventures of Beekle) make this charming story come alive even more. Little Nick was afraid of everything, but nothing scared Big Nick. Little Nick tried his best to be brave, but nothing helped until he got his dinosaur. Of course, nothing scares dinosaurs; not bugs, the dark or manhole covers, so when Nick had his toy dino with him he was brave. He scaled climbing walls, faced scary goalies and swam deep in the ocean. But then, something awful happened. Little Nick lost his dinosaur. That is, it WAS awful, until Dad came home and saved the day, as dads do. Because “dads get it. They just do.”

picture booksTidy by Emily Gravett

Pete the Badger is a compulsive tidier. He can’t even handle one fallen leaf in his forest! Emily Gravett tells the story of Pete’s destruction of his home with her rhyming, humorous text and vibrant illustrations. Pete’s insistence that everything be perfectly neat and clean in his forest soon leads to unwelcome consequences for both Pete and his friends. Happily, he realizes his extreme actions need to be rectified, so with the help of his friends he is able to save the forest and put everything back to how it was, just maybe a little bit tidier. This story will lead to some great conversations with your little one about protecting the environment.

What are some new picture books that you’ve discovered? Please be sure and share them in the comments!