Best New Picture Books | March 2018
The Children’s Book Review | March 31, 2018
10 New Release Picture Books
We have 10 excellent picture books to share with you this month. You’ll discover a new picture book from New York Times bestselling and Caldecott Honor-winning author Brendan Wenzel, the first picture book from celebrated illustrator Jillian Tamaki, a debut picture book about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination by New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz, an intricately crafted journey through four seasons of flora and fauna, the incredible story of how Simon & Garfunkel became a cherished voice of their generation, a soccer story for boy and girls alike, and so much more.
Of the 10 best new picture books we have selected for you to read your way through, we wonder which one you are going to want to read first?
Written and Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
Publisher’s Synopsis: A new picture book from Brendan Wenzel, the New York Times bestselling and Caldecott Honor-winning author of They All Saw a Cat!
Hello, Hello! Beginning with two cats, one black and one white, a chain of animals appears before the reader, linked together by at least one common trait. From simple colors and shapes to more complex and abstract associations, each unexpected encounter celebrates the magnificent diversity of our world—and ultimately paints a story of connection.
Brendan Wenzel’s joyous, rhythmic text and exuberant art encourage readers to delight in nature’s infinite differences and to look for—and marvel at—its gorgeous similarities. It all starts with a simple “Hello.”
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | March 20, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1452150147
Written and Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Publisher’s Synopsis: In captivating paintings full of movement and transformation, Tamaki follows a young girl through a year or a day as she examines the colors in the world around her. Egg yolks are sunny orange as expected, yet water cupped in her hands isn’t blue like they say. But maybe a blue whale is blue. She doesn’t know, she hasn’t seen one. Playful and philosophical, They Say Blue is a book about color as well as perspective, about the things we can see and the things we can only wonder at.
This first picture book from celebrated illustrator Jillian Tamaki will find equal appreciation among kids and collectors.
Ages 5-7 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | March 13, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1419728518
Written by Junot Díaz
Illustrated by Leo Espinosa
Publisher’s Synopsis: From New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz comes a debut picture book about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination.
Every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else.
Hers was a school of faraway places.
So when Lola’s teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can’t remember The Island—she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories—joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola’s imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. As she draws closer to the heart of her family’s story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela’s words: “Just because you don’t remember a place doesn’t mean it’s not in you.”
Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination’s boundless ability to connect us—to our families, to our past and to ourselves.
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Dial Books | March 13, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0735229860
Publisher’s Synopsis: An intricately crafted journey through four seasons of flora and fauna.
Helen Ahpornsiri’s intricate artwork transforms leaves, petals, and seeds into bounding hares, swooping swallows, and blossoming trees. Using nothing but pressed plants, this journey through the seasons captures the wonder and magic of the natural world between the pages of a book. This standout title with beautiful nonfiction text will take readers through an extraordinary year in the wild.
Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Big Picture Press | March 13, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0763698980
Written by G. Neri
Illustrated by David Litchfield
Publisher’s Synopsis: From childhood friendship to brief teenage stardom, from early failures to musical greatness — the incredible story of how Simon & Garfunkel became a cherished voice of their generation.
Long before they became one of the most beloved and successful duos of all time, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were just two kids growing up in Queens, New York — best friends who met in a sixth-grade production of Alice in Wonderland and bonded over girls, baseball, and rock ’n’ roll. As teens, they practiced singing into a tape recorder, building harmonies that blended their now-famous voices until they sounded just right. They wrote songs together, pursued big-time music producers, and dreamed of becoming stars, never imagining how far their music would take them. Against a backdrop of street-corner doo-wop gangs, the electrifying beginnings of rock ’n’ roll, and the rise of the counterculture folk music scene, G. Neri and David Litchfield chronicle the path that led two young boys from Queens to teenage stardom and back to obscurity, before finding their own true voices and captivating the world with their talent. Back matter includes an afterword, a discography, a bibliography, and a fascinating list of song influences.
Ages 7-10 | Publisher: Candlewick | 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0763681746
Written and Illustrated by Alison Farrell
Publisher’s Synopsis: When little Etta the Elephant goes to her Aunt Ellen’s house, she takes a journey through bicycle-filled Cycle City, a town filled with bikes of all kinds! At the end of the day, a special surprise awaits Etta—the most amazing bicycle parade imaginable. Detail-rich illustrations in this fun seek-and-find book paint the colors of this unusual town where everyone rides some kind of bike—whether a penny-farthing, a two-wheeled unicycle, or a conference bike, everyone is on wheels! Packed with prompts and lots to see on every page, this is a sweet story for the sharpest of eyes.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | March 20, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1452163345
Written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Publisher’s Synopsis: “Let’s build a tree fort,” Russell says to his dad when they move into a house with a big maple tree in the backyard. His dad doesn’t know much about building, but he gamely follows Russell’s plan. Several trips to the lumber store later, the tree fort is done. There is no slide, balcony or skylight like Russell imagined, but it is perfect ― right up until he notices another tree fort going up three houses over.
When Russell goes over to investigate, he meets Warren, whose bigger tree fort has castle turrets and working lights. Russell is in awe until it dawns on him that it’s not worth worrying about who has the better tree fort when he has a loving dad there to build one with him.
In this subtle, humorous story, Jessica Scott Kerrin explores the idea of keeping up with the Joneses ― and what that means when you’re a kid with a tree fort. Qin Leng’s lighthearted watercolor illustrations show the unshakeable bond between a father and son, as well as the delightful details of two tree forts.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Groundwood Books | March 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1554988631
Written by Baptiste Paul
Illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara
Publisher’s Synopsis: A soccer story—for boy and girls alike—just in time for the World Cup!
“Vini! Come! The field calls!” cries a girl as she and her younger brother rouse their community—family, friends, and the local fruit vendor—for a pickup soccer (futbol) game. Boys and girls, young and old, players and spectators come running—bearing balls, shoes, goals, and a love of the sport.
“Friends versus friends” teams are formed, the field is cleared of cows, and the game begins! But will a tropical rainstorm threaten their plans?
The world’s most popular and inclusive sport has found its spirited, poetic, and authentic voice in Baptiste Paul’s debut picture book—highlighting the joys of the game along with its universal themes: teamwork, leadership, diversity, and acceptance. Creole words (as spoken in St. Lucia, the author’s birthplace island in the Caribbean) add spice to the story and are a strong reminder of the sport’s world fame. Bright and brilliant illustrations by debut children’s book illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara—winner of the We Need Diverse Books Illustration Mentorship Award—capture the grit and glory of the game and the beauty of the island setting where this particular field was inspired.
Soccer fan or not, the call of The Field is irresistible.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: NorthSouth Books | March 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0735843127
Written and Illustrated by David Ezra Stein
Publisher’s Synopsis: This sweet companion to David Ezra Stein’s award-winning Leaves celebrates the joy of savoring something you love.
Bear is ravenous when he wakes up from his winter sleep and has one thing on his mind: honey! Alas, it is too soon for honey, so Bear tries hard to be patient. The world around him is waking up, too, and he soon remembers all the other things he loves, like warm grass, berries, and rain. He’s almost content, until, one day, he hears a welcome buzzing sound . . . and finally it is time for Bear to delight in the thing he relishes above all others–and it is as warm, golden, sweet, and good as he remembered.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books | March 27, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1524737863
Written by Patricia Valdez
Illustrated by Felicita Sala
Publisher’s Synopsis: For fans of Ada Twist: Scientist comes a fascinating picture book biography of a pioneering female scientist–who loved reptiles!
Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets…. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere–she even brought a crocodile to school!
When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children’s tea parties–with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor.
With a lively text and vibrant illustrations, scientist and writer Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala bring to life Joan Procter’s inspiring story of passion and determination.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | March 13, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0399557255
*Header image illustration from They Say Blue, written and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (Harry N. Abrams, 2018)