To open a book illustrated by Floyd Cooper is to be drawn into a world of warmth, bravery, and joy. His drawings are as essential as the text itself in illuminating the world of childhood, often of the Black experience.
He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1956. Early on, his family lived in the projects and had little money, but his mother was able to give him a sense of self-worth that he has carried with him always. She also shared stories with him, helping to build his imagination.
In El Deafo, author Cece Bell loses her hearing at age four. Despite this sudden tragedy, Bell's graphic novel memoir is an inspiring and even entertaining look at her childhood. Most importantly, it clearly explains navigating life in ways that would not occur to hearing people.
A Hug Machine is on the loose, and everyone is fair game. Scott Campbell's picture book follows an unstoppable force in the form of an eager-to-squeeze kid who claims to be the best at hugging.
He starts with the members of his family but extends the generosity to police officers, gardeners, and even inanimate objects. "No one escapes the hug machine."
Did you know that technology helped archaeologists uncover the mysteries of Ferry Farm: George Washington’s Boyhood Home? Learn how in this interactive class co-sponsored by The George Washington Foundation. Sign-up.
How could a cephalopod and a buckaroo be best friends? Cowboy & Octopus follows the unlikely pair through several adventures involving seesaws, knock-knock jokes, and a whole mess o' baked beans.
Like most families, we have our favorite holiday traditions. We decorate our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving and, every year, my husband watches Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. When I was young, my father always read C. Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” to my brother and I. When my son was born, I couldn’t wait to uphold the tradition and searched for the just the right version that offered beautiful, detailed illustrations with a classic-looking Santa. I hope your family has a favorite holiday read aloud. If “The Night Before Christmas” isn’t for you here are a couple of other suggestions; of course there are many more possibilities to enjoy as well.
The top of the food chain has some serious self-esteem issues in Aaron Reynold's Carnivores. Lion, Great White Shark, and Timber Wolf are majestic and fearsome predators. This meat-eating crew might look tough, but deep down they are dealing with some major insecurities.
Bored? Nothing to do? Jump into a cozy picture book on a winter night. Troublesome trolls and a beauty's Beast! Helpful hedgehogs and polite polar bears! Whether you find yourself surrounded by swirling snowflakes or a chilly blue twilight, there are no better companions for winter's frozen brightness than Jan Brett's tales from the European tradition.
Jan Brett knows all about the magical relationship between a book and a reader. "I remember the special quiet of rainy days when I felt that I could enter the pages of my beautiful picture books," she once recalled. "Now I try to recreate that feeling of believing that the imaginary place I'm drawing really exists."
To Dare Mighty Things, by Doreen Rappaport, brings Theodore Roosevelt to rough-riding, "Bully!"-shouting life, showing what made America's 26th president such a captivating figure.
The Book With No Pictures might sound boring to children. I mean, no pictures means no fun, right? Balderdash! B.J. Novak's first children's book may lack illustrations, but it makes up for it by being one of the silliest read-alouds ever.