Best 2016 Picture Books (So far)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

When it comes to lists I have it on good authority that bookish folks, including former librarians, are some of the best list makers around.  At the beginning of 2016 I started on a quest to read every new picture book publication I could get my hands on.  Mainly because I have a pretty strict rule about reading a picture book prior to purchasing it for our home collection.  Sometimes we go to the bookstore to read new books, but mostly we wait for library holds. That said, this has been a phenomenal year for picture books!

As far as lists go, I realize this is a completely subjective compilation.  Some of the books on this list became favorites because my daughter adores them and we read them repeatedly.  Others are strange and may be considered outside the scope of a "normal" children's book.  Different books speak to different people at different times in their life.  That's okay.  I think there's room for everyone in the picture book parade.  Especially ones that flaunt beautiful colors and wave delightful stories.
  1. Ideas are All Around by Phillip Stead - When the author is stumped for an idea he goes on a walk.  While out and about he finds ideas in nature and from his neighbor's spilled paint can.  I especially like the Instax images included in this book and the typewriter font. 
  2. I Won a What? by Audrey Vernick - When a little boy wins at the Go Fish carnival game, his prize is a little larger than anticipated.  But even if his parents are practical, they are also fair.  Which means Nuncio, the whale he won, is coming home with them.
  3. There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith - Collective nouns connected in a magical sequence.  Also a sweet reminder that no matter the generation, there will always be a tribe of kids keeping the rest of us young.  
  4. Secret Tree Fort by Brianne Farley - Nothing is more appealing than a "You're not invited" taunt from a sibling.  But when two sisters, very different in their approaches to play, come together, they realize they can create a candy-covered, pirate-halting fortress for two. 
  5. Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer - Penguin is grumpy for no reason.  He takes off his grumpy coat, pants, boots, hat, and underpants in an effort to shed his mood.  After a bath, a book, and a good sleep he knows tomorrow will be better.
  6. The Night Gardener by Terry and Eric Fan - One day a young boy discovers the tree in his backyard has been transformed into an owl.  Each day a new tree is sculpted into a work of art by a mysterious new stranger, who manages to transform not only trees, but an entire town. 
  7. A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins - When animals start disappearing the Hungry Lion is the obvious guilty party. However, in a slightly dark twist, the animals, occupied by other obligations, fail to notice another party crashing predator.  
  8. Over the Ocean by Taro Gomi - A small girl stands at the edge of the sand and wonders: What's over the ocean?  Ships perhaps?  Big farms or tall buildings?  Small houses and kids?  Or maybe another beach, where someone else is standing, looking over the ocean and wondering.
  9. Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by Isabel Campoy - 
  10. Based on the true story of Rafael and Candice López, whose colorful murals dot the East Village near downtown San Diego, California, this book is "an invitation to transform not only walls and streets, but also minds and hearts of communities." 
  11. Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill - This collection of poems weaves a lyrical arc, culminating in the historical fold-out picture that brought jazz musicians together on a hot August morning in 1958.  With retro-style illustrations and playful side stories I could easily scat praises of this book all day long. 


  1. This is fascinating as our top 10 would look quite different and I haven't heard of lots of these. Thanks so much for sharing, so interesting to see the different book releases from across the world!


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