Search Results for: pi

16 picture books for gifting and lifting spirits

I’ve been keeping an eye out for very recent picture books I think would make great gifts this year for those who are able to give this winter holiday season. These will simultaneously soothe and affirm and lift the spirits of anyone who reads them.

Please find below 16 picture books for gifting and lifting spirits!

 

I Am: Affirmations For Resilience by Bela Barbosa and Edel Rodriguez (2020), a bold, hopeful, beaming “tool kit for children” that teaches mindfulness, emotional regulation, resilience, and positive self-worth.

 

Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls and David Litchfield (2020) is a gorgeous, hopeful poem: “Dark days may shake us and worries creep in, with dragons to duel and battles to win…But…there are footsteps to follow and words that are wise. There’s a map that will guide us when troubles arise.”

 

All Because You Matter, written by Tami Charles, illustrated by Bryan Collier (2020) is a stunning ode to a child. A Black child. A reminder that they ARE matter, the stuff of the universe. That THEY matter. They matter. “They say that matter is all the things that make up the universe: energy, stars, space…If that’s the case, then you, dear child, matter.”

 

Layla’s Happiness written by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin Webb (2019) IS happiness, pure joy. Layla’s depiction of all the things she loves is lyrical, inventive, surprising, spunky, and sweet.

 

Every Child a Song by Nicola Davies and Marc Martin (2020) explores the metaphor of how each child is a unique song, each deserving of nourishment, belonging, and celebration. It was created for the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a list of 54 things every child in the world is entitled to.

 

Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar, illustrated by Khoa Le (2020) is a call to be the welcoming, inviting country we should be. It’s a story within a story, one modern-day, one a Persian legend, told with absolutely stunning artwork.

 

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James (2020) is created by a dream team and is a manifesto that celebrates Black boys. It wraps its arms around them with buoying, bouncing, beautiful language and vibrant pantings, affirming their preciousness and possibility and pride.

 

I Will Dance written by Nancy Bo Flood, illustrated by Julianna Swaney (2020) celebrates wishes and wishes coming true. A wheelchair user makes a wish to dance with other dancers on her birthday “between, around, while the other dancers glide past me, tumble over me, until we are all mixed together, one beautiful laughing heap.” And her wish comes true when she joins a dance troupe for EVERYONE.

 

We Are Water Protectors written by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade (2020) is a gorgeous, vital picture book that draws on Native history and culture, ancient and recent, to show how tribal nations are standing up to protect water and the earth. “We stand with our songs and our drums. We are still  here. We are stewards of the Earth. Our spirits have not been broken. We are water protectors.”

 

 

Neighbors by Kasya Denisevich (2020) is, at its heart, about how imagination leads to empathy when a girl who’s just moved to a new apartment imagines her neighbors and wonders at the ways in which we’re all connected.

 

You Matter by Christian Robinson (2020) is a super inventive book that tells the reader they are—everyone is—precious: young, old, first, last, stuff too small to see.

 

Black is a Rainbow Color written by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes (2020) sings the song of the color black and where it’s found in nature and then goes on to sing the song of Black history and people, Black artists, Black culture. “Black is a color. Black is a culture…Black is a rainbow, too.” I featured this book in a post on Ekua Holmes’s picture book life right here.

 

Our Favorite Day of the Year written by A.E. Ali, illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell (2020) is warm, connective, and charming as it honors the beautiful quilt of traditions celebrated by children in one classroom.

 

Every Color of the Light: A Book About the Sky written by Hiroshi Osada, illustrated by Ryōji Arai (2020) is a poem and series of paintings about a rainstorm, simple yet sophisticated and one of the most soothing bedtime books ever.

 

The Ninth Night of Hannukah by Erica S. Perl, illustrated by Shahar Kober (2020) is a sweet story about two resourceful siblings who’ve just moved and can’t find their Hannukah box to celebrate! But their lovely neighbors supply substitutions for everything they need and even though they’re not exactly what they were looking for, eventually it feels just like Hannukah, with new friends in the building to boot!

 

Intersection Allies by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, and Carolyn Choi, illustrations by Ashley Seil Smith, forward by Kimberlé Crenshaw (2019) is a joyful call for inclusion, joining together, making rom for all.

 

And for those who are able to give gifts this winter season, I hope we’ll all think of indies first to show support for the work they always do and to help with the challenges they face now. Here are some of my favorite independent bookstores in LA and elsewhere (of course there are more and likely a wonderful one near you!).

Find them online here: Brave and Kind, LA LibreríaSkylight Books,  Green Bean Books, Brain Lair Books, Vroman’s Bookstore,Once Upon a Time, Avid Bookshop, The Curious Reader.

A few booksellers from these faves have even stopped by This Picture Book Life to share picture book gems they recommend over the years! See those posts here:

Bunnie from Brave and Kind

Jen from Vroman’s

Sallly from The Curious Reader

Hannah from Avid Bookshop

 

 

 

 

picture books for pairing: me & mama + saturday

I haven’t published a “picture books for pairing post” in so long! Here’s one showcasing two picture books I couldn’t help but envision together in a storytime or stack.

They both are about mothers and daughters. They both are about spending time together and the bond between them being their center. They both are about coping when things don’t go as planned. They both have totally distinct styles but are both utterly beautiful.

 

Me & Mama by Cozbi A. Cabrera (2020). 

This picture book is full of paintings as evocative as the accompanying words. It is full of moments. Full of details in the text and details in the art like flowers, curtains, wallpaper, the textures of a home. Full of objects and observations the narrator notices about her day, her day spent with her mama—her constant.

It exudes togetherness and love in the simplest things: a morning, an oatmeal breakfast, their rain boots, their toothbrushes, a walk in the rain. And when there is a mishap, a cup breaks, that is perfectly okay because the narrator is with her mama. And the book ends with her knowing that she’s always with her, a soothing, steady balm.

 

 

“…I want to be everywhere Mama is.”

 

 

 

Saturday by Oge Mora (2019).

This picture book features vibrantly exuberant pastel collage art, energetic language, and a mother-child relationship that is honest and connected and full of love. It is also about a particular day—Saturday!—that has a very particular and special, splendid routine, a routine that on this Saturday has one big mishap, and then more to follow.

But this story embodies resilience. Because with each mishap, with each potential ruined outing, mother and Ava keep on and bounce back and come up with creative solutions. Why? Because they have each other. And that is the most special, splendid thing there is. It’s all they need.

 

 

 

“Saturday was the day they cherished.”

 

 

 

You may also want to check out the collage card craft I made for Thank You, Omu!, also by Oge Mora.

 

 

 

 

 

 

four 2020 picture books on raising your voice + giveaway for educators

These four non-fiction picture books, all published this year, showcase incredible people in history—and some young people today—who raised their voices to create change.

Shirley Chisholm is a Verb! written by Veronica Chambers, illustrated by Rachelle Baker (2020).

This picture book is a tribute to Shirley Chisholm and her verbs, her doing, her work and guts and courage. And the way she raised her voice as part of that. In Barbados, “…her teachers taught Shirley how to SPEAK up, and they helped her understand the power of words.” In Brooklyn, she became a teacher herself.

She helped people. Stood up for people. She was part of organizing Head Start. She ran for State Assembly and won. She ran for Congress and won. In 1968, she was the first Black woman elected to Congress!

She took action upon action. She spoke up and then spoke up again. She ran for President! In doing so, Chisholm inspired so many people and paved the way for so many others.

Rachelle Baker’s bold artwork in this biography portrays the spirit of the time as well as Chisholm’s dynamism.

 

Credit:
Collection copyright © 2020 by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Jeanette Bradley. Used with permission by Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc. All work used by permission of the individual authors, who control all rights. All poems copyright © 2020 by the individual authors. “Water Protector” © Joseph Bruchac.

No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History edited by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley, illustrated by Jeanette Bradley (2020).

This picture book is a treasure of inspiration, of poems and illustrations by kidlit creators, each featuring a young person creating change.

Some of these kids may be familiar to you, some of them may not, but every spread showcases one kid, their brief bio, a call to action, and a poem in their honor by acclaimed writers like Hena Khan, Traci Sorell, Carole Boston Weatherford, Andrea J. Loney, and Nikki Grimes.

A variety of amazing young people for readers to admire and take a cue from, 14 different journeys and issues of activism that matter to them, that matter to us all.


The Power of her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne  by Lesa Cline-Ransom and John Parra (2020).

This picture book captures the life of writer, fighter, and question-asker Ethel L. Payne who grew up in Chicago and “always had an ear for stories.”

Payne also had a lot of courage and persistence—when her school newspaper wouldn’t let a Black student write for it, when she worked toward social change in her neighborhood, when she set her sights on traveling the world as a journalist.

All that courage and persistence landed Payne in the press room of the White House asking important questions as “First Lady of the Black Press.” She documented history—and she was part of it—pushing for civil rights, for answers, and for change.

This non-fiction account is complemented by John Parra’s unmistakable illustrations full of color, texture, and symbols.

 

Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell and R. Gregory Christie (2020).

This picture book profiles Ella Baker, who took it to heart when her mother told her: “Lift as you climb.”

As a child, Ella Baker looked after neighbor kids and worked on the farm where her grandparents had been enslaved. She worked hard in school at her studies and as a waitress to pay for those studies. She moved to New York City where she worked hard for the NAACP, for the rights of Black Americans.

She worked for voting rights, always listening to people, always lifting her voice for justice, and always lifting as she climbed.

R. Gregory  Christie’s art is extraordinary in this book, as always: technicolor backgrounds, captivating compositions, and portraits that pop off the page.

+

Thanks to Penguin Young Readers and Charlesbridge, I’m giving away two picture books—if you’re a a teacher or librarian, enter below to win a copy of SHIRLEY CHISHOLM IS A VERB and NO VOICE TOO SMALL below! (US only.)

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cátia Chien’s Picture Book Life + giveaway

Today it’s illustrator Cátia Chien‘s picture book life here on This Picture Book Life!

When I think of Cátia Chien’s art, I think of textures: fuzzy, confetti-ed, rich, circled, splattered, splashed.

When I think of her art, I also think of these words: dreamy, vivid, beautiful.

Each page of a picture book Cátia Chien has illustrated is a discovery, each one varied in vibrant color and shape and experimentation and emotion. Stick around to see!

 

 

 

 

The above PBS video featuring Cátia Chien is extraordinary. I remember the impact it had on me a couple of years ago when it first came out. In it, she is honest about her childhood, her life, her experience as an immigrant and feeling like an outsider. She is honest about her process of being an artist and how making art is an act of empathy for her, and for the children she teaches.

“The feeling of actually belonging, it’s self-created. Arriving at the process of creating something from the inside out, it’s really just a validation of existing. It matters that we add to the conversation so that it’s not just one voice that’s being told in picture books.”

—Cátia Chien

She has art and prints for sale at Gallery Nucleus here in Los Angeles.

Now for her picture books, starting with the newest one, forthcoming The Bear and the Moon (out September 29th from Chronicle Books and our giveaway book) as well as some special process photos of The Bear and the Moon Cátia Chien provided for us!

 

 

 

The Bear and the Moon written by Matthew Burgess (September 29, 2020).

This is a story of surprise. Of companionship. Of loss. And the art is fuzzy, rich, dreamy and beautiful.

 

(click image(s) to enlarge)

Balloons are magic for children, and red ones have a literary and film history. And it turns out they’re magic for bears, too. This bear who is alone but curious and up for an adventure.

 

The red balloon the bear finds becomes not only a novel and wonderful mystery, but a friend. The bear shows the balloon all its haunts and habits, the way you’d tour a friend around too. The balloon is not only real, but feels animate. It’s a thing, yes, but a “wonderful thing! A squishable, huggable thing!”

Just look at those shapes and blended, muted pastel colors!

 

And here, the technicolor blue, the pops of white stars and constellations, the dreaminess of this evening scene as the bear and balloon sit together.

We all know what happens to balloons though. They don’t last forever. Nothing does, really.

The bear makes a mistake. Mistakes, like things not lasting, are something else universal. We all know what that’s like. The regret that follows. The blame. The despair and the wish that it wouldn’t have happened. That we hadn’t done it. That is the hard part.

I won’t give away the details of the ending of this beautiful, tender, reassuring book, but I will tell you that it’s hopeful. Because like anyone who’s made a mistake or experienced loss, the bear finds encouragement. The bear looks to nature. The bear accepts themself.

And like a red balloon and a full moon, the bear’s memories go around and around and around in an enveloping circle of comfort.

 

All the colors come together here, an emanating rainbow of everything will be okay.

 

 

The Town of Turtle written by Michelle Cuevas (2018).

A lonely turtle has a dream and then builds it, builds a whole town, and by doing so builds a whole community. The text of this book couldn’t be more perfectly paired with Cátia Chien’s absolutely fanciful pencil, acrylic, and paper collage illustrations. The turtle’s shell and then town feel like a planet and there are galaxy elements throughout—stars and dark black space and elemental shapes. The book is a dream that mirror’s turtle’s told-of dream.

 


Things to Do written by Elaine Magliaro (2017).

A compilation of poems that explore things to do according to your perspective and place—a celebration of moments and nature and soaking up every small experience.

 

The Sea Serpent and Me written by Dashka Slater (2008).

This one is sweet-sweet-sweet and mirrors what it’s like to find, to love, and to, when the time comes, let go.

 

A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz (2014).

This is the autobiography of Alan Rabinowitz, wildlife conservationist, who found that his ability to speak with animals was his special gift.

 


My Blue is Happy written by Jessica Young (2013).

An exploration of color and feelings and the way two interplay.

 

Big thanks to Cátia Chien and to Chronicle Books for images of The Bear and the Moon!

 

 

+

Thanks to Chronicle Kids, I’m giving away a copy of the latest picture book Cátia Chien’s illustrated, The Bear and the Moon, words by Matthew Burgess—out September 29th, 2020!

Simply comment below for a chance to win! (U.S. only; ends Friday, September 4th at midnight Pacific.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

seven years of this picture book life giveaway!


It’s been seven years of This Picture Book Life! A blog anniversary around here always means one thing: a picture book giveaway. I hope the winner will be able to read these with young people in their life whether students or children and also, potentially, pass a few along to someone else to share them around.

One winner will receive seven picture books + two for the older set. Titles and entry form below! (N. America only.) 

 

You Matter by Christian Robinson (2020), a super inventive book that tells the reader they are everyone are precious: young, old, first, last, stuff too small to see. (I featured this title in this post on picture books for now.)  Big thanks to Simon & Schuster for a copy of this picture book! 

Freedom, We Sing by Amyra Leon and Molly Mendoza (2020), a gorgeous, meaningful poem exploring how we all dream of and deserve to breathe free in a conversation between a parent and child. Big thanks to Flying Eye Books for a copy of this picture book!

Our Favorite Day of the Year written by A.E. Ali, illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell (2020) honors the beautiful quilt of traditions celebrated by children in one classroom. Big thanks to Salaam Reads for a copy of this picture book!

Storyboat words by Kyo Maclear, pictures by Rashin Kheiriyeh (2020) is the story of refugees and how stories offer hope. Big thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for a copy of this picture book!

Don’t Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton (2020) shows us how Little Crab (and little readers) has the capacity to be braver and stronger than they might think. (Find a crab and coloring page craft from Mayel Creates in this blog post.) Big thanks to Candlewick for a copy of this picture book!

The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey (2020), a gentle book, full of love, about a girl with dreams and determination illustrated with timeless, textured stamps. (Find a stamp craft to go with The Old Truck in this post!)

Like the Moon Loves the Sky by Hena Khan, illustrated by Saffa Khan (2020) is a series of loving hopes for a child as they grow, inspired by the Quran. (I featured this title in this blog post on picture books for comfort.) Big thanks to Chronicle for a copy of this picture book!

+

Love Your Body by Jessica Sanders, illustrated by Carol Rossetti (2019) is a wonderfully affirming book about embracing and appreciating your body, and honoring others’ too. Big thanks to Quarto Kids for a copy of this picture book!

Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Loveis Wise (2020) is a compilation of 49 powerful poems and vivid illustrations that empower and speak to Black women and girls while honoring the ones who have been killed by racist police violence and lifting up the activists fighting that violence.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway