I brought home 162 books from the Texas Library Association Conference in April. It's a mad grab for good books at the conference, and you never know what you have until you get home and sort through the books.
Today I'm going to do a quick read/review of my favorite just-published/about-to-be-published/recently-published picture books.
Courage Out Loud: 25 Poems of Power
Written by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett
Published by Quarto
Fear is a hugely debilitating force in the world. In this book of twenty-five poems, written by the Waterstones Children's Laureate for 2022-2024, Joseph Coelho encourages children to take action against fear, to act with courage---to dare to jump from the diving board, to say no sometimes, to dare to be a friend, to stand up when you fall and try again, to apologize, to cry when you need to, and to write stories and poems of your own. Coelho writes a lot of different types of poems---pantoums and limericks and ballads and more---and he encourages his children readers to try these, too. This is a fabulous collection for all of us who would like to face and overcome our fears in the world.
Baby Animals First Sounds Book
Written by Alexandra Claire
Photos by Andrea Kelly
Published by The Collective Book Studio
Baby Animals First Sounds Book is a first introduction to the sounds animals make for very young children. The text is simple rhyme, and the illustrations are photos of baby animals. An especially cool feature of this book is the QR code on the back which gives adults access to the real sounds that baby animals make.
When You Can Swim
Written and illustrated by Jack Wong
Published by Scholastic Books
Jack Wong was discouraged as a child by his fearful mother and his own fears of looking different from others in Canada from learning to swim. When he learned to swim later in life, and when he dared to swim out in nature, he discovered the joys of swimming in different settings, and it is these delights that he shares with us in this beautifully illustrated, beautifully written book.
Book of Questions / Libro de las Preguntas
Written by Pablo Neruda
Illustrated by Paloma Valdivia
Published by Enchanted Lion
This is the book I have most wanted to read over the last year, but, sadly, I was able to find a copy in my usual book places. I was joyous, exuberant, ebullient to see it at the Enchanted Lion booth at TLA this year, and how happy I was to be allowed to buy a copy and take it home. It did not disappoint. Written in Spanish and translated into English, this is a book of thoughtful and surprising questions from one of the world's greatest poets of the last century, Pablo Neruda. The illustrations illuminate the questions and add to the complex simplicity of this amazing book. I can see this book being read by children, of course, but also by adolescents and young adults and middle-aged folks, and even old ladies aged 66. This book is a keeper.
If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It:
How 25 Inspiring Individuals Found Their Dream Jobs
Written by Colleen Nelson and Kathie MacIsaac
Illustrated by Scot Ritchie
Published by Pajama Press
What is more glorious than dreaming about the future? And how important is it for kids to be thinking about the future and what their parts in it might be? That, then, is the greatness of this book: This book highlights twenty-five people who set a goal to have their dream job and achieved it. Not only does the book tell each person's story, but it tells related stories about young people who are still children but who are already starting to work to achieve their dreams. The book also shares pro tips for achieving one's dreams, suggestions to try now in one's early pursuit of the dream, and spin-off jobs one might consider. Those chosen to share their stories are a diverse group of people, and that's delightful.