I love giving books as gifts! Birthdays or holidays, books are one of the things I turn to when giving books to loved ones—especially kids. My thought is that if I give a book to a kid, I am showing them that I think that books, imagination, and reading are important and gift-worthy. Here are some of my favorite books that have come out this year to give to readers who love picture books (plus one easy reader).
For the Reader in Your Life Who Likes: Animals
DON’T WORRY, LITTLE CRAB
By Chris Haughton
In this story, Little Crab is venturing away from his tiny rock pool by the sea for the first time. Little Crab is scared as Very Big Crab takes him in to the ocean, but with a lot of calm reassurance Little Crab finds that there is a wonderful world waiting for those who are brave enough to venture out to see it.
A POLAR BEAR IN THE SNOW
By Mac Barnett
Art by Shawn Harris
This story follows a polar bear as he walks through the snow. What does the polar bear want to do? What will the polar bear do next? Kids who enjoy learning about animals in a story format will enjoy this cool read.
By Matt Phelan
This is absolutely one of my all-time favorite picture books of the year! The short text which begs readers to recite the text over and over again is great for kids who love a surprise ending. The clever storyline and humorous artwork will appeal to youngsters and the grownups who read to them.
For the Reader in Your Life Who Likes: Christmas
By Jan Brett
Alright, this one isn’t technically a Christmas book; however, it is full of snow and winter and needing to cozy up to keep warm. So, I’m throwing it on this list. This is the story of Cozy a musk ox who has such thick fur that all the other animals in Alaska come to seek shelter during a particularly bad snow storm. It is another sweet and wintery tale told by Jan Brett.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
By Clement C. Moore
Illustrated by Loren Long
Moore’s text has been a family favorite and a holiday tradition in my home for decades. In this particular book Loren Long has created illustrations of four different homes that show the diversity of families who celebrate the holiday. Beautiful.
A VERY QUACKY CHRISTMAS
By Frances Watts
Illustrated by Ann James
Samantha Duck decides that Christmas shouldn’t just be celebrated by people—animals can enjoy the season of giving as well. With friend Sebastian Tortoise they go around the farm and gather supplies to make gifts for all the various animals around the world. Totally sweet.
For the Reader in Your Life Who Likes: Humor
DON’T WAKE THE DRAGON: AN INTERACTIVE BEDTIME STORY!
By Bianca Schulze
In this book a rascally dragon is sleeping—and the narrator wants to keep it that way. However, when pots clang, doors bang, and all kinds of noises abound readers must help to keep that dragon asleep by rocking the book back and forth, stroking the dragon’s scales, or doing other interactive things.
LITTLE FOX AND THE WILD IMAGINATION
By Jorma Taccone
Illustrated by Dan Santat
Little Fox has had a bad day at school so Papa Fox decides to help cheer him up by playing and being imaginative. Of course, things go awry when Little Fox takes control with his imagination and Papa Fox must try to keep up.
SEE THE CAT: THREE STORIES ABOUT A DOG
By David LaRochelle
This is the one easy reader book on my list. But it is hilarious! This is a book about a dog. Even though it says that the book is about a cat. Readers can watch as dog is flummoxed by the way that the narrator keeps referring to him as a cat (and then having weird and crazy things happen to him). Basically, this is one funny story after another (there are three chapters in the book) where readers will laugh and then immediately want to go and read the book again. This is another of my top ten books for the year.
For the Reader in Your Life Who Likes: Nature
By Pete Oswald
This is a nearly-wordless story of a father and his child as they wake up, prepare, and go on a hike to do something special. This book has gorgeous illustrations that showcase the father and child’s love of nature and family. Beautifully brilliant.
I’M TRYING TO LOVE ROCKS
By Bethany Barton
The protagonist of this book tends to think that rocks are boring. Why should anyone want to write or read a whole book about an object that just sits there—or does it? Explore rocks, where they come from, and what their stories are in this humorous tale.
SEEK & FIND NATIONAL PARKS
By Jorrien Peterson
Line art illustrates nine different national parks around North America. On each spread, readers will learn about the various parks as well as getting to find different plants, animals, and land features that celebrate what makes the various parks unique and amazing.
For the Reader in Your Life Who Likes: Starred Reviewed Books
By Minh Lê
Illustrated by Dan Santat
This is the story of a young girl who is in charge of pushing the elevator button for her family—until her little brother usurps her button pushing power. As she tries to come to grips with a new normal she finds a discarded button from the elevator repair man and uses her imagination to relive all her button pushing dreams.
IF YOU COME TO EARTH
By Sophie Blackall
In this story, a young boy writes a letter to an alien to explain how things work on Earth. From talking about how we travel, what animals are here, or the diversity amongst all sorts of cultures the boy briefly explains it all—and then goes on to ask his own questions about aliens.
YOUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE
By Jason Chin
This is defiantly a thoughtful book. It starts by comparing the size of the book to an average 8-year-old. Then it goes on to examine how that compares to an ostrich, a giraffe, a tree, a skyscraper, and all things in the universe. Readers who love to learn facts and enjoy thinking about science will enjoy this book.
For the Reader in Your Life Who Likes: Things That Go
FIRE TRUCK VS. DRAGON
By Chris Barton
This is the sequel to Shark vs. Train. In this competition readers can cheer along with illustrated children who want to see the Fire Truck spray out the fire of a Dragon; however, they are *mostly* disappointed. Will Fire Truck actually spray water all over the place? Will Dragon blow flames across the pages? Will the illustrated children actually get to see it? Such fun.
THE OLD TRUCK
By Jarrett Pumphrey
An old truck has stopped working and just sits gathering dust (or being a place for imaginative play for the farm’s young daughter). Once the daughter is old enough, she starts working on restoring the old truck and bringing it back to life.
TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE
By Gabi Snyder
This is a silly counting book. One dog stands at a fence all alone, then two dogs decide to go for a ride on a trike. Various modes of transportation are all used as an additional dog joins the group—until readers find that the tenth dog may not be a dog at all and the countdown to get back home begins.