New Release Spotlight: May 5, 2020 (Picture Books)

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This week’s picture book list was what initially made me question whether authors and publishers might choose to delay their new titles. Usually, the picture book releases require me to be judicious in what I include. But this week, there wasn’t nearly as much for me to choose from. It’s still a pretty good list, but it’s a bit shorter than a normal first-week of May.

As always, titles with a * by them received two or more starred professional reviews. You can find links to the YA and Middle Grade Spotlights for this week at the bottom of this post.  All titles on this list have been added to The Ginormous book list, an excellent collection development tool for any librarian!

*Lift by Minh Lê (Author) and Dan Santat (Illustrator)

Iris loves to push the elevator buttons in her apartment building, but when it’s time to share the fun with a new member of the family, she’s pretty put out. That is, until the sudden appearance of a mysterious new button opens up entire realms of possibility, places where she can escape and explore on her own. But when she’s forced to choose between going at it alone or letting her little brother tag along, Iris finds that sharing a discovery with the people you love can be the most wonderful experience of all.

Four starred reviews!

  • Genre(s): picture book, fantasy
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: elevators, sibling rivalry, exploration, other realms

*Southwest Sunrise by Nikki Grimes (Author) and Wendell Minor (Illustrator)

When Jayden touches down in New Mexico, he’s uncertain how this place could ever be home. But if he takes a walk outside, he just might find something glorious.

Flowers in bright shades.
Birds and lizards and turtles, all with a story to tell.
Red rock pillars towering in the distance.
Turquoise sky as far as the eye can see.

Perhaps this place could be home after all.

Kirkus and SLJ starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book, poetry
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: New Mexico, nature, beauty, moving, discovery, color

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry (Author) and Juana Martinez-Neal (Illustrator)

Captain Swashby loves the sea, his oldest friend. And he loves his life by the sea just as it is: salty and sandy and serene. One day, much to Swashby’s chagrin, a young girl and her granny commandeer the empty house next door. All Swashby wants is for his new neighbors to GO AWAY and take their ruckus with them.

When Swashby begins to leave notes in the sand for his noisy neighbors, however, the beach interferes with the messages that are getting across. Could it be that the captain’s oldest friend, the sea, knows what Swashby needs even better than he knows himself?

Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: neighbors, recluses, sea, noise, saving lives, heroes, grumpiness

Grandparents by Chema Heras (Author) and Rosa Osuna (Illustrator)

Grandfather is tending his garden when a loudspeaker announces a dance in the local park. He asks Grandmother to join him, but she has many reasons to delay their outing: she needs to put eyeliner around her eyes—which are as sad as a moonless night—and color in her hair—which is as gray as an autumn cloud. Grandfather counters with loving arguments of his own: her sad eyes look like stars and her hair is as perfect and white as a summer cloud.

Kirkus starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: grandparents, lifelong romance, parties, dances, getting ready, beauty, flirting

Brick by Brick by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

Papi is a bricklayer, and he works hard every day to help build the city, brick by brick. His son, Luis, works hard too–in school, book by book. Papi climbs scaffolds, makes mortar, and shovels sand. Luis climbs on the playground and molds clay into tiny bricks to make buildings, just like Papi. Together, they dream big about their future as they work to make those dreams come true. And then one Saturday, Papi surprises Luis with something special he’s built for their family, brick by brick.

Booklist starred.

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2
  • Themes: fathers and sons, family, learning, working, masonry, onomatopoeia

The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath by Susan Verde (Author) and Jay Fleck (Illustrator)

Once upon a time there lived a wolf who lost his huff and his puff. It was a BIG, BAD problem! One morning, the wolf came upon a peaceful little yogi doing sun salutations. The wolf wanted to huff and puff and blooow her hut down into a big pile of straw. But instead the yogi suggested, “Let’s meditate on that!”

Soon the wolf met a second yogi, and then a third. He may have lost his huff and puff—but with the help of three new yogi friends, can the wolf find his breath?

  • Genre(s): picture book
  • Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3
  • Themes: yoga, stress, breathing, Three Little Pigs, Big Bad Wolf, retellings



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