As sorry as I am to see summer end, the transition is made infinitely smoother by the arrival of so many new books. Fall is, in my view, when the best books – and movies – are released. So while I wait to see Downton Abbey and The Goldfinch on the big screen, here are some of the picture books that stand out – and that may have shiny gold or silver Caldecott stickers on them in mid-January!
This book comes out on October 22, but I was able to see a copy at the Simmons Summer Institute where the illustrator was one of the speakers. Mora collage art is something special. Her work is vibrant and colorful in a way that makes it stand out on a bookstore or library shelf. Saturday is Mora second picture book, and it more than fulfills the promise of the Caldecott Honor that welcomed Thank You, Omu to the picture book shelves.
I first heard about this book on Sydney Smith’s Instagram. He is one of my favorite illustrators, and I started watching for this one months ago. This is a quiet book about a boy who is “small in the city.” He is bundled up and small – compared to the skyscrapers and crosswalks and taxis. You can feel the snow and the “rawness” of the day as you move through this book to its beautiful – and warm – conclusion.
Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer
When Daniel Finds a Poem was published a couple of years ago, I fell in love with the young protagonist and his search to understand what poetry is. Now the same cute little guy is trying to understand what it means when people tell him to “have a good day.” What he learns, while walking around his diverse and colorful neighborhood, is that the answer depends on who you ask. Of course, the girl with the kite wants a “steady wind,” and the painter hopes for clear skies. On my favorite page, the man at the newsstand tells Daniel that a good day means “busy sidewalks and friendly faces.” This is a happy book, a book that would contribute to a “good day!”
Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris and Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
This one came out over the summer, but it’s new to the school year so I consider it a fall book! It’s the cover that pulls you toward this one. There are no names on the cover – only a startled looking Bear at the bottom of an oversized title. I know LeUyen Pham’s illustrations primarily from the Princess in Black series, but this is a whole different thing. Bear Came Along begins with a river and a curious bear which can only lead to….an adventure! First, Bear meets a frog and then turtles and then a beaver, and as the log attracts more animals, they eventually come to a waterfall – and that’s a page you have to see for yourself!
River by Elisha Cooper
This is another book that isn’t on library shelves yet, but I was able to preview it earlier this summer. Cooper is another illustrator on my list of automatic purchases for our school library. His many books include: the Caldecott Honor book, Big Cat, Little Cat, Magic Thinks Big, and Beach. River is something different. My first thought was that it will be the perfect gift for a thoughtful and outdoor loving child. I also thought of colleagues who are happiest in our outdoor classroom. At the book’s center is a woman traveling along the Hudson River on a canoe. She faces challenges in the form of weather and animals, but at the end arrives home safely and ready to share her story.
I don’t think any of these books will be in one of the Little Libraries sprouting up in neighborhoods across the country very soon, but you never know what treasure you’ll find in them. One of Inly’s Upper Elementary teachers made a Little Library this summer, and she reports lots of foot traffic!