Each month we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ and nominated for our Distinguished List at our previous month’s meeting. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the February edition of BayViews. Not a member? Join, come to our monthly meetings, and hear about these Outstanding books in person!
Balletball written by Dionne, Erin and illustrated by Flint, Gillian; Charlesbridge, 2020.
Nini is disappointed that ballet is over and she has to play baseball. Can she learn to be a team player? The charming watercolor illustrations show Nini as dark-skinned with curly hair, and the background characters also show a wide diversity including ability, orientation, religion, and skin tone. (Grades PreK-3.)
Bear Came Along written by Morris, Richard T. and illustrated by Pham, LeUyen; Little, Brown/Hachette, 2019.
First a bear and then other animals fall one by one into a river and all ride on a branch until they reach a waterfall in this joyous story of adventure and friendship. The narrative repeats the word “until”, making this a great choice for audience participation at storytime. (PreK-2.)
Bruce’s Big Storm written and illustrated by Higgins, Ryan T.; Disney/Hyperion, 2019.
Grumpy bear Bruce is back, and Soggy Hollow is facing a big storm! In this follow up to Mother Bruce, themes of community and resilience are explored. (PreK-3.)
The Button Book written by Nicholls, Sally and illustrated by Woollvin, Bethan; Tundra/Penguin Random House, 2019.
In this clever story, the buttons are those to push to hear a sound. Even though the buttons are only pictured, no actual buttons to push, this is fun, motivating listeners to clap, sing, bounce, and more. Colors and shapes are also featured. (PreK-2.)
Double Bass Blues written by Loney, Andrea J. and illustrated by Gutierrez, Rudy; Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House, 2019.
Young Nic is great on the double bass but he can barely lift it, traveling from school back home, but he never gives up. A very brief text filled with onomatopoeia complements full color acrylic illustrations that resemble elements of Cubism and graffiti. (PreK-3.)
The Favorite Book written and illustrated by Murguia, Bethanie Deeney; Candlewick, 2019.
Children of various skin colors consider their preferences with regard to such things as paint, dogs, trees, desserts, hats, flowers, musical instruments, etc. Is it okay to switch favorites? Is it okay to have multiple favorites? Must one even have a favorite? (See the scene in the reptile house where one child races on by!) (PreK-1.)
Gnome written and illustrated by Blunt, Fred; Anderson, 2020.
“This little fellow is a gnome. Say hello to the readers, Mr. Gnome.” “NO!” Readers follow the rude gnome on a fishing trip, wher we see him refuse to help or answer politely. The mix of narrated text and speech bubbles works unusually well when read aloud, and would be a big hit at storytime. (PreK-4.)
Stop! Bot! written and illustrated by Yang, James; Viking/Penguin Random House, 2019.
A boy’s drone (referred to as “bot”) flies out of his reach at his apartment building in this tall and slender picture book that received the 2020 Geisel Award for easy reader. All of the text is in dialogue balloons with lots of repetition, making this ideal for the emergent reader. (K-2.)
Thukpa For All written by Ram, Praba and illustrated by Ranade, Shilpa; Karadi Tales, 2019.
As blind Tsering walks the mountain path from temple to the home he shares with his grandma, he invites their neighbors to join them for Thukpa – Ladakhi noodle soup – while demonstrating his ability to navigate, be part of the community, and help cook, in this colorful #ownvoices picture book. (PreK-3.)
Light It Up written by Magoon, Kekla; Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2019.
Told from a variety of viewpoints, this story of the police shooting of an unarmed 13-year-old girl is rich with detail, despair, and humanity, examining the stark realities of racial bias in policing, politics, and all elements of American life. Multiple narrators create a convincing reality. (6-12.)
Torpedoed: the True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” written by Heiligman, Deborah; Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2019.
Using an engaging text, this details how a ship carrying more than 100 children from England to Canada during WWII was blown up by a German U-boat. Supported by both b&w photos and ink artwork, tweens who seek out books on the Titanic will find this equally fascinating. (5-10.)