"Leo was a gentle knight / in thought and word and deed. / While other knights liked fighting, / Leo liked to sit and read." From the husband and wife team who created The Snatchabook comes another gentle tale of bookish adventure. Leo is a small knight who'd rather be left in peace to read than to go and tame dragons, but at his parent's insistence he leaves home, with a brand new sword and shield, to do just that. Along the way he meets many foes and "defeats" them all by reading them a story in which they are the star. He then returns home a hero with a promise from his parents that he needn't fight anymore and they'll let him read in peace. This is such a lovely story for instilling a love of books. -Heather W.
What could be better than mustaches and babies? BABIES WITH MUSTACHES! Billy the baby is born with a special kind of mustache that is constantly evolving and leading him into all sorts of crazy adventures! This board book is full of hilarious illustrations and creative narration and is the perfect gift for all mommies, daddies, toddlers and babies alike! -Madeline
How do you describe to a kid what being normal is? In this funny and beautiful book, you will meet Norman -- the perfectly normal gorilla who is anything but, according to our young narrator's description of a gorilla. This book shows kids how to be themselves and that you should embrace your uniqueness. -Jess
Astronaut Chris Hadfield tells the autobiographical story of a young boy who loves outer space and dreams of becoming an astronaut and discovering the universe. After watching the moon landing on TV, the boy realizes that outer space is the darkest dark there is -- and the problem is he's afraid of the dark. From there we're taken on a journey where the boy learns to love the dark, and faces his fears in order to chase a greater sense of imagination, adventure, and purpose. A wonderful read for anyone, big or small, who has faced their fears to discover their dreams . . . or who needs to. -Amy
When I first started reading BLOOM I was a little concerned there was too much text to keep kids' attention. Then I got sucked into the story and completely forgot I'd been worried. That's how engrossing BLOOM is. In essence, it's about a muddy fairy getting kicked out of a kingdom, and the seemingly ordinary girl (who is actually anything but) who is the only one that can save the kingdom when it falls apart. This book teaches girls that they can be dirty and messy and hardworking AND the hero that saves the day. All they need to do is believe in themselves. -Camilla
Perhaps (like me) you are friends with a cat like Archie Snufflekins. He's the kind of cat who goes by many names -- who belongs to everyone in the neighborhood, and no one. Each day Archie makes his rounds, visiting neighbors more out of duty than enjoyment. Until the day he decides to drop in on the loneliest resident on the block . . . The message is sweet: sometimes it takes a cross-looking calico to unite a neighborhood! -Emmy
This cute series is a dog named Buddy & his hedgehog friend Earl who live together in the same house. Dogs and hedgehogs are two of my favorite animals, so I was sold on this series right away. In this book the pair go on some late night exploring in their family's kitchen and make quite a mess in the process. Earl sees ordinary things like mom's hairbrush as his hedgehog lady love and Buddy's water dish as a silvery lake. This is a great book for anyone with an active imagination. -Heather G.
A fantastic picture book that proves that every girl is amazing. Whether they are dressing up like pirates, climbing trees, or playing sports, they are always BEAUTIFUL! A must have for every parent and child.
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My parents are probably lucky this book didn't’t exist when I was a child – if it had, I would have been constantly pestering them to read it to me ‘just one more time.’ Even as an adult, I felt the need to start over and read it again immediately after finishing it. Harold the fox is a wonderful character, an adorable detective with the courage to follow his own path and treat others with compassion. I couldn't’t help but smile at his adventure. Sweet, clever, silly, charming, and hilarious, OUTFOXED is a joy for all ages. -Jason
This brilliant little picture book made my entire day when I first read it and I can't stop talking about it. It tells the story of a shy little boy who wears costumes to feel brave but can't quite find the right costume. Along comes Camille on the day he's been chased by a dog while wearing a cat costume and helps him find the perfect costume: a frog. Camille is a little different too, she loves math so much that sometimes she only speaks in numbers; 23 is yes, 17 is no, and he knows it's time for lunch when she starts singing her 6 times tables. This book is perfect for any kid who feels a little different or shy and especially great for kids who may be on the Autism spectrum. -Heather W.
As a person with tattoos myself, I was excited to finally see a picture book featuring ink. In TELL ME A TATTOO STORY, a little boy asks his dad to tell him about the colorful images adorning the father's body. Each tattoo has a meaning, from childhood books and memories to important events in the father's life, and the explanations are rendered in vibrant images. From the father-son bonding aspect to the use of tattoos as a common, beautiful occurrence, TELL ME A TATTOO STORY is a sweet and lovely tale that will make inked young parents and their children smile. -Camilla
If you're ever jealous, impatient, or rude -- if you ever let your temper run away with you, or say the wrong thing before you can stop yourself -- then you will immediately recognize THE SNURTCH. Ruthie's Snurtch is waiting for her every day when she arrives at school. He is a scribbly mess of flaming orange spikes, with an all-too-familiar nose and miniature pigtails. Over and over Ruthie is seized by the Snurtch's whims, and finds herself ostracized by her classmates. Ferrell and Santoso brilliantly portray Ruthie's desperation to be understood. So how do you beat your own personal Snurtch? Keep reading -- the final two pages resonate no matter your age. -Emmy
Born a true scientist, Ada Twist's first words, not spoken until age three, were "why" "when" and "how". Ada gets into her fair share of messes, but that's what scientists do! And while her parents may sometimes fall into exasperation, they never doubt her brilliance or fail to encourage her repeated requests of "Why?". Though they do stop her more risky experiments . . . like preventing her from finding out what will happen if she puts the family cat in the clothes dryer. -Amy
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As a lover and advocate of comic books and visual literacy, I had a huge nerd out when I found these books. How amazing that someone else thinks comic books are so important that they're writing them for the littlest readers! I'm so excited to get to share my love of comic books with the next generation. As it says on the back of the book, learning to read pictures is the first step to learning to read words. And what a great message both of these books have! I'M GRUMPY and I'm SUNNY! are all about how being nice to others makes us feel better about ourselves. Gosh, I just can't say enough good stuff about these wonderful little books! -Heather W.
I'll be honest with you, I'm a sucker for anything with a dog on the cover. When I opened this picture book, however, I was immediately blown away by the mixed media inside. Combining photographs, pencil drawings, and paintings, Stead illustrates a day in which he takes his dog Wednesday for a walk because he has no ideas to write about. Perfect for kindergarten through second grade, IDEAS ARE ALL AROUND is sure to capture your imagination! -Heather H.
Everyone needs alone time. Sometimes we get frustrated by distractions like kids and grandkids, bears, goats, or even aliens. When this happens, a new, quieter place to get work done is needed. Some people, like Vera Brosgol's old woman, will venture to new outrageous places until they can finish their projects. This hilarious picture book had me in stitches. It's a great reminder that even when loving adults get overwhelmed and want to scream "Leave Me Alone!" and wander off into the forest to be alone, they'll come back in the end. -Camilla
This book was a hoot! In all seriousness, if the artwork doesn't’t grab you, the story will. Big brother Hoot tries teaching his young sister Peep all she needs to know about being an owl, but Peep just won't listen. Hoot soon learns sometimes when you think you know everything you can always learn a different tune. -Jess
Sometimes, learning to read is not fun; just ask Stevenson. And sometimes, reading comes as naturally as a fish to water; just ask Verne. Eventually, though, we all find something to love about books, and boy do I love this one. I was giggling at every page, whether it was the story or the images. Nick is such a patient and nurturing teacher, too. We could all take some lessons from the heart of this character and the humor of this story. Enjoy your summer, all you Stevensons and Vernes. -Jordan
For any kid looking to have a serious conversation with Mom and Dad about their choice of name. Whether it's because your name is unpronounceable, difficult to pronounce (my gripe!), super strange, too common or a perfectly good name that just doesn't fit who you are, Thunder Boy, Jr.'s quest to discover the right name for him is funny and heartfelt. Beautifully illustrated by Yuyi Morales with all the charm and wit you'd expect from Sherman Alexie. -Elisa
Sometimes a book comes along so charming and delightful, you can't help but read it over and over again. OOKO is such a treasure, full of whimsy and beautiful artwork. Follow a funny little fox on his desperate search for a friend, and as he discovers that the best way to be is to be yourself. You are sure to fall in love with this little fellow. -Mira
I LOVE THIS BOOK! OMG UNICORNS! READ IT! I swear I have put this book in the faces of all of my coworkers. I may not have read every picture book in the universe, but I say this with certainty: this is, hands down, the cutest picture book in the universe. Not only is it a faithful and adorable riff on the beloved classic, there is a handy Unicornology Guide for the Unicorn enthusiasts in your life. (Also, you'll notice, the kid in this book about Unicorns is a boy. Take that, gender stereotypes.) -Heather W.
My heart could hardly handle this story. The resilience of love is the permeating message here. Loved ones come and they go, but they are never really gone. I see my grandmother in everything. I think of my friends in so many ways throughout my day. This story captures the vulnerability of loving somebody, and teaches us that it is okay to give our heart away. In fact, not only is it okay, but it is what makes us happy at the end of the day. If you can read this story without tearing up, or without feeling a twinge in your sternum, or without thinking of someone out there that you miss, then I'm just going to assume you're a robot. Which is fine. But for all the beings made of flesh and heart and soul, this story is for them. This story is for you. -Jordan
What is the journey like for someone fleeing a country devastated by war? This beautifully illustrated book is based on real stories from refugees, and follows a family that has to say goodbye to everything they know and make the dangerous trek towards an uncertain future. A completely affecting book that illuminates the emotional story behind what you might hear about in the news. -Dan S.
Monica loves to paint! She has painted things in all the colors of the rainbow, but she needs help finding the right color to paint a kiss. Monica takes the readers through the things and emotions she associates with each color to find the right color for a kiss. Full of imagination and wonderful illustrations, this is a great book for creative minds and artists-in-training. -Amanda
I don't read too many kid's books these days, but when I saw this one I had to pick it up. Which I did, fast. Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of my all-time favorite artists, and his work and life story has been a huge inspiration to me ever since I was young. This book shows his art as it was, despite his tragically short life, vivid and explosive, a celebration of life and free-expression. Each line reads like a running poem across pages that paint snap-shots of his life in the style of own paintings. I'm really glad that Steptoe made this story available to children, as it presents an artist who managed hardship and sadness through art and ultimately self-actualized through his own creativity and inner radiance. -Salvatore
You should totally touch this book if you’re looking for a fun book to read out loud. Join our narrator Larry in this fun adventure that you can help him create! Make a rainbow with your fingers, become a robot, and roar with dinosaurs! -Jess