New Release Spotlight: October 15, 2019 (Part III, Picture Books)

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Welcome to Part III of this week’s New Release Spotlight! I have come to believe that some of today’s most talented artists are illustrating graphic novels and picture books. How gorgeous are these books?

My favorite picture book this week is This Is Not That Kind of Book by Christopher Healy. I’m a huge fan of genrefying libraries (see all my articles under the Genrefication tab!), and this book lends itself easily to teaching and promoting book genres.

If you are looking for the YA or picture book lists, you’ll find links at the bottom of this page. Books with a * by the title received two or more starred professional reviews (no double-starred picture books on this week’s list).

Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car by Peggy Thomas (Author) and Edwin Fotheringham (Illustrator)

With a mind for ingenuity, Henry Ford looked to improve life for others. After the Great Depression struck, Ford especially wanted to support ailing farmers. For two years, Ford and his team researched ways to use farmers’ crops in his Ford Motor Company. They discovered that the soybean was the perfect answer. Soon, Ford’s cars contained many soybean plastic parts, and Ford incorporated soybeans into every part of his life. He ate soybeans, he wore clothes made of soybean fabric, and he wanted to drive soybeans, too.

  • Genre(s): picture book biography
  • Recommended for: Grades 2-5
  • Themes: picture books for older readers, Henry Ford, agriculture, Great Depression, soybeans


Wintercake by Lynne Rae Perkins

Wintercake is a book about holiday traditions and why they matter. It’s also a story about making mistakes and how mistakes can sometimes lead to wonderful things. When Thomas misplaces the basket of dried fruit he needs to make his seasonal wintercake, friends old and new come together to save the day.

An interesting discussion topic for older readers: At one point, a bright yellow bird named Lucy accuses a dark brown-feathered bird of stealing the basket of fruit. She’s ultimately embarrassed that she jumped to conclusions that way (the brown bird is absolutely innocent), but astute readers will notice the parallels with today’s society, where brown-skinned people falsely-accused of crimes far too often. SLJ starred review.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 5
  • Themes: holidays, animals, winter, seasons, traditions, false accusations

This Is Not That Kind of Book by Christopher Healy (Author) and Ben Mantle (Illustrator)

Looking for a tool to introduce genre or character tropes to your students? This one is perfect!

This clever alphabet book…Wait, that’s not right. This original fairy tale…Nope. Mystery? Joke book? Superhero story? Pirate adventure? This delightful mash-up features every kind of character found in the picture-book universe–all in one book. Just when the reader is convinced the story is going in one direction, it spins off in another.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 4
  • Themes: genre, character, humor

I Promise by Catherine Hernandez (Author) and Syrus Marcus Ware (Illustrator)

I Promise captures with love and honesty the intimate moments of parenting in all their messy glory–from dealing with a kid who doesn’t want to brush their teeth to looking under the bed for monsters to cuddling after a long day. This picture book showcases the many shapes, sizes, and colors that families come in, emphasizing that every queer family starts with the sacred promise to love a child.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: family, LGBT+ parents, diversity

Castles Magnified by David Long (Author) and Harry Bloom (Illustrator)

This is kind of like Where’s Waldo, but with castles and medieval objects instead of a bespectacled boy. It comes with a 3X magnifying glass, but it’s probably not needed for most students. That’s a good thing since the magnifying glass won’t likely stay with the library book long anyway.

Meet history’s most heroic knights as you travel back in time to follow Sir Gallahad into the court of King Arthur, Joan of Arc into battle, and Richard the Lionheart on his last crusade. Use the magnifying glass to explore cutaway castles, epic medieval battlefields, and impressive royal tournaments, then learn about chivalry, armor, and jousting.

  • Genre(s): nonfiction
  • Recommended for: Grades 1-4
  • Themes: world history, castles, search-and-find

Caspian Finds a Friend by Jacqueline Veissid (Author) and Merrilees Brown (Illustrator)

Caspian lives in a lighthouse surrounded by a cold gray-blue sea–every day, he watches, wishing for a friend, but no one comes. So, Caspian decides that wishing is not enough.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 1
  • Themes: loneliness, friendship, making friends, lighthouses



green forest background with New Release Spotlight overlay  cover image--New Release Spotlight--Middle Grades--Oct. 15, 2019  Cover image--New Release Spotlight--Young Adult--Oct. 15, 2019


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