Must-Read Picture Books

Window Fishing

Window Fishing By DK Dyson; illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez

A heartwarming story about finding joy in art and intergenerational friendship illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Rudy Gutierrez.

Rudeday dreams of creating art that brings people joy but instead, he paints to pay the bills. His days and nights are long, until one day he hears a Tap! Tap! Tap! at his window. What could it be? Rudeday sees a piece of string with a paper clip tied to the end of it, coming from the apartment upstairs. Rudeday has a brilliant idea.

Rudeday carefully paints a fish and attaches it to the paper clip, starting a window-fishing exchange with a little boy upstairs. The pair swap paper fishes back and forth every day. Rudeday is finally painting for fun but he wonders if he will ever meet his window-fishing friend.

A heartwarming story that celebrates art, friendship, and community that is sure to pull at your heartstrings.

Harlem at Four

Harlem at Four By Michael Datcher: illustrated by Frank Morrison

A stunning picture book comprising two incredible stories—the first part chronicles the adventures of a four-year-old Black girl named Harlem, while the second part describes the history of Harlem the neighborhood. From a New York Times bestselling author and a critically acclaimed illustrator.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

In this beautiful picture book in two parts, meet Harlem: the girl and the neighborhood. Part one follows the adventures of a little girl named Harlem and her single father as they go on a museum “playdate” with painters Romare Bearden and Jean-Michel Basquiat, listen to John Coltrane records, and conduct science experiments in their apartment ("The volcano erupts /Red lava on Valentine’s Day!").

Part two takes us back to the fourth year of the twentieth century in Harlem the neighborhood. Here, we are introduced to Philip A. Payton Jr., aka Papa Payton, whose Afro-American Realty Company gave birth to the Black housing explosion, helping to start America's Great Black Migration. Because of Papa Peyton, Black families—like Harlem and her father a century later—could move to Harlem and thrive and flourish.

This is a completely unique, absolutely gorgeous picture book by a New York Times bestselling author and a Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator that weaves together the lives of a modern Black family and a historically Black neighborhood in New York City.

Remember

Remember By Joy Harjo; illustrated by Michaela Goade

THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER • AN AMERICAN INDIAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION HONOR BOOK • A BOSTON GLOBE–HORN BOOK HONOR AWARD NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY School Library JournalPublishers WeeklyThe Horn Book • NPR • The BulletinKirkus Reviews

US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s iconic poem "Remember," illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade, invites young readers to pause and reflect on the wonder of the world around them, and to remember the importance of their place in it.


Remember the sky you were born under,
Know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn,
That is the strongest point of time.

So begins the picture book adaptation of the renowned poem that encourages young readers to reflect on family, nature, and their heritage. In simple and direct language, Harjo, a member of the Mvskoke Nation, urges readers to pay close attention to who they are, the world they were born into, and how all inhabitants on earth are connected. Michaela Goade, drawing from her Tlingit culture, has created vivid illustrations that make the words come alive in an engaging and accessible way.

This timeless poem paired with magnificent paintings makes for a picture book that is a true celebration of life and our human role within it.

Mine!

Mine! By Candace Fleming; illustrated by Eric Rohmann

This rhythmic read-aloud about sharing by an award-winning author and a Caldecott medalist features a series of hilariously selfish forest animals.

In a tall, tall tree, at the tip-tippy top, hangs a single red apple...
 
    Along skirts Mouse. “An apple!” she squeaks, "How divine! When it tumbles to the ground, it’ll all be mine!” 
    And so it goes, for Hare, Fox, Deer, and Bear, who each can't wait to get their hands on the apple. 
    Soon the wind huffs and puffs, the branch snips and snaps, and down the apple falls. Only one shiny red apple for five furry creatures? What are they to do?! 
    Here is a read-aloud picture book, perfect for storytime, that will have kids repeating the refrain “Mine!”... complete with an ending that celebrates sharing and is sure to surprise! 

Hot Dog

Winner of the 2023 Caldecott Medal

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE 2023 CALDECOTT MEDAL • This glowing and playful picture book features an overheated—and overwhelmed—pup who finds his calm with some sea, sand, and fresh air. Destined to become a classic!

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington PostPublishers WeeklyKirkus Reviews • New York Public Library

“An utter joy from beginning to end!” —Sophie Blackall, two-time Caldecott Medal winner


This hot dog has had enough of summer in the city! Enough of sizzling sidewalks, enough of wailing sirens, enough of people's feet right in his face. When he plops down in the middle of a crosswalk, his owner endeavors to get him the breath of fresh air he needs. She hails a taxi, hops a train, and ferries out to the beach.

Here, a pup can run!

With fluid art and lyrical text that have the soothing effect of waves on sand, award-winning author Doug Salati shows us how to find calm and carry it back with us so we can appreciate the small joys in a day.

More Recent Picture Book Releases to Add to Your Read-Aloud Rotation

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