New Release Spotlight: October 1, 2019 (Part III, Picture Books)

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The list of new book releases for Oct. 1 is so long that I have split it into three parts: YA, middle grades, and picture books. The YA and middle grade lists are linked at the bottom of this post.

Welcome to the picture book list! My favorite book on this list is one that made my mouth water: Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao. Today is China’s National Day (a day of celebrations and military parades), and reading about this book makes me crave some yummy bao zi steamed buns!

As always, titles with a * by them received two or more starred professional reviews.

*Roar Like a Dandelion by Ruth Krauss (Author) and Sergio Ruzzier (Illustrator)

If you are looking for an interactive, movement-based book for storytime, this is your book! This story takes readers through the 26 letters of the alphabet, showing different animals’ movement through each letter. As you read, encourage your students to “fall like a raindrop” or “kick away the snow and make spring come.”

Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 1
  • Themes: alphabet, interactive storytime, movement

Little Tigers by Jo Weaver

A mother tiger and her two cubs search for a new resting place after the mother hears human voices near their current resting spot. They investigate several new places, but they are too wet, too high, and too buggy. Eventually, they find the perfect spot. Information about the endangered status of bengal tigers (and humans’ role in it) is included at the end. Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: tigers, endangered animals, safety, human impact on animals and environment

*Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler

Set during the Great Depression and based on the author’s grandmother’s childhood. After the death of their father, six-year old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their mother find an abandoned tarpaper shack in the woods. Over the course of a year, they work to make the old shack into a home.

Booklist and Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: Grades K-4
  • Themes: Great Depression, home, family, poverty

*The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come by Sue Macy (Author) and Stacy Innerst (Illustrator)

Over the last forty years, Aaron Lansky has jumped into dumpsters, rummaged around musty basements, and crawled through cramped attics. He did all of this in pursuit of a particular kind of treasure, and he’s found plenty. Lansky’s treasure was any book written Yiddish, the language of generations of European Jews. When he started looking for Yiddish books, experts estimated there might be about 70,000 still in existence. Since then, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient has collected close to 1.5 million books, and he’s finding more every day.

Kirkus and Publishers Weekly starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book biography
  • Recommended for: Grades K-4
  • Themes: Yiddish books, European Jews, language, books

Eek, You Reek!: Poems about Animals That Stink, Stank, Stunk by Jane Yolen (Author), Heidi E. Y. Stemple (Author) and Eugenia Nobati (Illustrator)

For some reason, poetry can be a hard-sell for many students. I’ve never understood it–I loved poetry as a kid and still love it. Maybe stinky animal poetry can be a hook? Kirkus starred. Here’s a sample:

Eek, you reek,
You make a funk.
Where you have been
Things stink, stank, stunk.

You’ve left a path,
A swath of smell,
You did it very well.

  • Genre(s): poetry
  • Recommended for: Grades 1-7
  • Themes: animals, bad smells

*Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang (Author) and Charlene Chua (Illustrator)

I have definitely eaten a few bao zi in my five years of living in China! Bao zi are super-yummy soft dumplings made from steamed bread. They have a filling, usually either meat or red bean. I used to eat them every morning on the way to school, but I stopped because I was gaining weight! I worried I’d look like a bao zi if I kept eating them.

In this story, a little girl named Amy tries to make the perfect bao. Making bao is an art that takes some practice, but “perfect” bao are so cute! This book would be great for Chinese New Year lessons, especially those that involve traditional Chinese food. Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): picture books
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: Chinese food, cooking

Looking for more? This week’s Spotlight was so long that I split it into three parts:



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