It seems like children’s books are more beautiful every year, or maybe this year I’m especially open to colorful and thoughtful portals to other places. Perhaps I’m trying to escape the realities of the divisive language of 2016 and finding refuge in books. Recently I’ve found myself returning to books of paintings. Not contemporary art, but paintings from the Dutch Golden Age that are rich and detailed and awe-inspiring to remind me how lucky we are to be surrounded by so much beauty.
Here are my favorite picture books of 2016….
Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol (A folk-tale like picture book about a woman trying to knit, but can’t find a quiet space. A perfect read-aloud!)
Motor Miles by John Burningham (A dog driving a car in a whimsical and joyful book. Burningham is wonderful. His books never rely on flashy elements or literary acrobatics, but what he does is far more skillful – his pictures and words integrate to tell a good story that kids love.)
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas (This is a quiet book, but it finds a place in your heart. A foggy and “watery” book about a lonely man who finds a message in a bottle – and new friends.)
Penguin Problems by Jory John (This is the book I’m reading in the picture at the top of the post – and my first grade friend loved it. Life as a penguin in more challenging than we realized!)
The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers (A truly magical book about the power of community)
The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield (The book to give a young child who is afraid of the dark. The astronaut, Chris Hadfield, tells a story about his own fears that changed the day he saw the Apollo 11 moon landing on television.)
This is Not a Picture Book! by Sergio Ruzzier (I read this to a group of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders last week and they loved it. In fact, a student visited the Library this week and asked me to read it again. A book about the joy of reading.)
Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre (A photo tribute to snow that is among the most beautiful winter books I’ve ever seen. An inspiring book for nature lovers.)
Before Morning by Joyce Sidman (Beth Krommes’ scratchboard illustrations are the stars here. They complement Sidman’s small gem of a poem about a child dreaming of a snow day. I’m not sure if it should be shelved with picture books or art books – maybe both!)
Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarenski (A new book for your “Velveteen Rabbit shelf” of stories about toy animals becoming real. Leo, a stuffed lion, is Henry’s best friend, but during a walk in the woods, they are separated. Only Henry believes Leo is real and will come back…..)
Last week, I visited Rob Hakala and Lisa Azizian at WATD-FM. Thanks to their generous invitation, I have shared book recommendations with WATD listeners several times over the past year…..
Finally, here are the two paintings by the 17th century Dutch artist, Gerrit Dou, I’ve found myself looking at over the past few weeks. Since November 8 to be exact.
A Girl Chopping Onions
The Grocer’s Shop
Happy Book Shopping!