2018 picture book gift guide

The holidays are upon us! There are deals upon deals this weekend, even at bookstores! So of course I’ve compiled a short 2018 picture book gift guide for holiday (or any other time) purposes. All books listed were released within the past year, or I’ve noted otherwise. Feel free to ask questions (or for recommendations for older kids) in the comments if you have any!

For the very littlest readers:

Autumn Babies and Winter Babies are bright, simple board books about visiting the park in different seasons, to be joined next year by series entries on spring and summer. The few words included engage the senses, and if that doesn’t work they’re great for surviving baby drool.

Mi Burrito/My Little Donkey is an accordion-style, bilingual, open-the-flap board book based on a famous Latin American Christmas song. Jaramillo’s books are always a hit with little ones for their bright colors, interactivity, and musical tie-ins. This one and Little Skeletons/Esqueleitos are the new releases for late 2017-2018 and are just as adorable as previous installments.

For 3- to 6-year-olds:

My Bed is An Air Balloon is an inventive, fantastical take on bedtime that will light up imaginations as well as lull children to sleep. A mirror poem with two front covers that works when read back-to-front and front-to-back, this beautifully illustrated book is a sure-fire reread.

Thank You, Omu! is an artful, food- and community-themed picture book with a diverse cast of characters and gorgeous and vibrant cut paper art (reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day). It is sure to become a classic, and would work well for both one-on-one reading and storytimes.

Hansel and Gretel is the latest in Bethan Woollvin’s twisted fairy tale series, joining Little Red and Rapunzel. Woollvin’s art (always in a limited color palette and utilizing geometric shapes to great effect) is fantastic, but it is her sly humor and slightly bent takes on familiar stories that will have both children and adults chuckling.

A Gift from Abuela is a sweet book about the small habits and special moments spent with family that make relationships special. The Mexico City setting and cultural elements are unique and wonderful – this will be a hit with readers who loved the film Coco.

Tiny, Perfect Things is a quiet, contemplative book encourages that readers young and old to take a walk outside with a loved one, pay attention, and celebrate the act of discovery.

The Things That I LOVE About TREES is a nonfiction picture book that celebrates nature, and especially trees (throughout the seasons). It is full of facts that will delight curious kids, and perhaps prompt them to want to go on tree-spotting walks.

Once Upon a Snowstorm is a wordless picture book that will delight fans of The Polar Express. A young boy loses his way in the snow, makes woodland friends, and eventually returns to his father. Children will enjoy being able to tell their own version of the story and pore over the beautiful winter scenes.

For 5- to 8-year-olds:

The Day You Begin is poignant, earnest, and poetic. Written to and for children whole feel separate and apart because of their differences (due to race, class, language, or culture), this picture book tells children 1) that they are brave, 2) that they can share their unique stories (and the world will make a place for them when they do), 3) that they will find themselves and find friends, and 4) that there is beauty in similarity AND difference.

Hortense and the Shadow is a whimsical, fairy tale-esque picture book with a bit of a dark edge, and it’s vaguely winter-themed without specific holidays. Great for daydreamers and those who enjoy flights of fancy (and gorgeous watercolor artwork).

Dreamers is a picture book autobiography of Yuyi Morales that provides a window into an immigrant experience while celebrating the joy and wonder of reading. This book bridge between languages and lives will spark creativity with its energetic mixed-media art.

Cece Loves Science and Izzy Gizmo are picture books featuring black girls who love science – and engaging stories as well. Cece works on a school project and learns about the scientific method (may be a great accompaniment to class science experiments) and Izzy learns lessons about perseverance and fixing the messes you make. Both are great picks for those who have enjoyed the Rosie Revere, Engineer books.

Graphic novel/picture book crossovers that will appeal to those transitioning to independent reading:

Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian features a heroine with a can-do attitude. Titular Lyric uses the powers of librarianship to defeat evil and save the day. This picture book-sized graphic novel is cute, funny, and an absolute delight to read.

Dear Sister is an ode to sibling relationships. It’s a quick, poignant epistolary graphic novel that walks a middle line between heartfelt picture books and Diary of a Wimpy Kid-type shenanigans. My nine-year-old cousin finished it in 45 minutes and liked it, and so did my thirty year-old brother. 

The Tea Dragon Society is a bright, adorable LGBTQ+- and disability-inclusive graphic novel about fantastical creatures called tea dragons. Themes of found family, finding acceptance, and making your own way will resonate with readers, even as its delightful illustrations charm them.


Mae Travels said...

That looks like a good gift for a child. I wish I had someone to give it to!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Heather Mitchell said...

These are precious, I'm going to share this list with my parents. I always get questions for what books would be beneficial/recommended for this year. I love how you broke them down by age group! I just picked one up that I have to recommend. The social lessons are priceless- illustrations are enchanting, all of my the kiddos in my classroom are loving this book. The Benjamin Birdie series by Michael Dotsikas. You can read more about them here: www.michaeldotsikas.com. Thank you for this lovely list, happy holiday reading!

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