As we say goodbye to 2018, I find myself wondering, “Did I miss out on any great new picture books this year?” To answer this persistent question, I reached out to a bunch of Twitter friends and asked them to share their favorite title from the past year. (Choosing just one was a tall order, indeed!) The result? A fantastic roundup of titles for my TBR pile. I hope you enjoy the list and add a few of these selections to your library or book store haul in the New Year!
2018 Picture Book Picks
Technology Integration Coach and Educator Scott Fillner (@sfillner) chose ROCK WHAT YA GOT by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Kerascoet (Little, Brown): “I LOVE the message for all, but being the father of two strong, beautiful young ladies at home, I love the message it shares with them. I believe it’s a great theme to build a classroom around that promotes self-concept, creativity, and taking risks. There are SO many great picture books out right now, but this one just resonated with me this year, and still holds a strong place in my heart.”
Author and Teacher Ashley Franklin (@DifferentAshley) adored MOMMY’S KHIMAR by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illustrated by Ebony Glenn (Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster): “I absolutely loved the depiction of a multi-faith family and the imaginative representation of a young, Black Muslim girl embracing a religious headscarf.”
Author and BrainPOP Editor Richard Ho (@richkarho) loved GRUMPY MONKEY by Suzanne Lang, illustrated by Max Lang (Random House): “It’s so hard to pick ONE favorite picture book of 2018, so I’ll mention the one we most recently fell in love with: Grumpy Monkey. We love it for its affirming message that it’s okay to be sad or grumpy… even if there isn’t always a reason.”
Author and Educator Doris Imahiyerobo (@TheAuthorDoris) adored SWEET DREAMS, SARAH by Vivian Kirkfield, illustrated by Chris Ewald (Creston): “At a time when African Americans barely owned their own freedom, Sarah E. Goode was working towards owning a piece of history. As a product developer, it’s extremely hard to get a patent approved by the government in the 21 century, not to talk about during Sarah’s time. But that never stopped her. This is an extremely inspiring true story for readers of all ages and should be a must-read for all elementary school kids!”
Author, Co-founder of #MGBookVillage, and Co-organizer of #KidsNeedMentors Jarrett Lerner (@Jarrett_Lerner) connected with DREAMERS by Yuyi Morales (Neal Porter). “In terms of the beauty and the brilliance of the artwork, and the power and importance of the words, there is nothing else that compares.”
PreK-5 Reading Specialist and Book Blogger Laura Mossa (@lauramossa) fell for OPERATION RESCUE DOG by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Louisa Uribe (little bee): “Being a dog mom of two rescue beagles, this book has my whole heart, but most especially because our first beagle Etta was on a similar transport to rescue dog Lulu. At the end of the book, the author shares how readers can support pet rescue and how a portion of the book’s proceeds will benefit Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. It’s a beautiful story that will continue to give back by raising awareness to animals in need.”
4th & 5th grade ELA Teacher Katie Reilley (@KReilley5) fell for ADRIAN SIMCOX DOES NOT HAVE A HORSE by Marcy Campbell, illustrated by Corinna Luyken (Dial): “Not only does this book have gorgeous illustrations that utilize negative space to capture emotion, but it gently teaches readers about empathy and reminds us that kindness is more important than being right.”
ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ (@CherokeeNation) Citizen and Children’s Author Traci Sorell (@tracisorell) loved PIPSQUEAKS, SLOWPOKES, AND STINKERS by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis (Peachtree): “This is a nonfiction book about fellow creatures in the animal world whose perceived weaknesses are actually their strengths - a message so many children need to hear now with bullying so prevalent.”
Sending out a HUGE thank you to all of the contributors to this post, who obliged my 11th-hour request for favorite books! Kidlit, you are as amazing as ever, and I wish all in our wonderful community the VERY best… in 2019 and beyond!