I work at an indie bookstore, and one of the things I enjoy doing when I have some free time at work is looking at picture books.
Understandably, this is a division that becomes even more chaotic, so we have to constantly reconstruct it, which is a great excuse to immerse ourselves in those amazing stories again.
Having been working in the store for two years, I noticed two things most people want in a picture book. The first is animals: I think we can easily make sure that kids are usually obsessed with animals, even when they have more specific obsessions. The other is books to help kids deal with something in their lives: be it the fear of the dark, the difficult discovery of sadness, the first time in a hairdresser, or even a book that helps them – and their parents – with bathroom shenanigans.
One of the things I learned from reading picture books was that they always had something to teach – and not just children.
The parables, of course, are what make them so popular and so valuable; Some of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen are picture books, and when the stories unfold through the text, the pictures make the original book come alive. In fact, some picture books simply say that: pictures, without including any text. You are free to create your own stories, or enjoy the images for what they are
If you want to appreciate the artwork of some of the new painters’ picture books, check out these headlines, which were their painter’s debut!
That’s it! Text by Kathy Ellen Davis, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
That’s it! A story that speaks of working together to make magical things happen.
It’s a lesson in the power of storytelling and what makes a good story.
Kaylani Juanita is known for her focus on drawing and diversity.
Promised Land Text by Adam Reynolds and Chase Harris, illustrated by Christine Luiten and Bo Moore
This is the first in the series with a strange character! Promised land Tells the story of falling in love with a prince and a farm boy. This is an adorable weird fairy tale.
This is the debut of Bo Moore’s picture book, an illustrative collaboration in which Luiten draws characters and Moore in the background.
Encounter Text by Brittany Luby, illustrated by Michaela Goade
This photo book is based on a real story from a journal kept by the French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1534.
The story focuses on finding our common ground with those who are different from us.
The book was created by two native artists, and illustrator Michaela Goade was a Kirkus Award finalist in 2020. His recent work focuses mostly on Indigenous children.
Hug? By Charlene Chua
The story begins with a girl comforting her cat with a hug… but then everyone wants a hug, and she’s done!
The book has a funny story with a clever approach to demarcation, a humorous tone and a situation where many children will find themselves. (Hard to hug.)
Chua was born and raised in Singapore and now lives in Canada. In addition to books, his art can be found in magazines and even in packaging.
Guild of Genius By Dan Santat
In a world where humanity has found a quick cure for everyday ailments, such as feeling under the weather, Fred knows exactly how to make his friend Mr. Pip feel better. But it turns out that the solution to this particular problem was easier to fix than Fred expected, and it didn’t take a genius.
Santat is a Caldecott Medalist and he made ReplacementAn animated series for the Disney Channel.
Honeymoon: Finding your color Text by Monique Fields, illustrated by Yesenia Moises
This is a book about a biracial girl who tries to figure out her colors, just to find out that she is free to create her own identity.
Yesenia Moises is an Afro-Latin painter who loves to draw people from different backgrounds and create beautiful drawings full of color.
Mother goose Text by Susan Middleton Elijah, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neil
It’s a book of nursery rhymes, and it’s bilingual.
Based on the classic Mother gooseThe rhymes contain both English and Spanish words, the pictures help in the translation of the words
Martinez-Lille is a Peruvian-born artist living in Connecticut, and his first photo book as both a painter and a writer. Alma and how she got her name.
Little Leaders: Brave Women in Black History By Bhasati Harrison
This book tells the story of 40 real American black women.
It highlights well-known names and lesser-known ones, such as Maya Angelo, Alice Ball, or Bessie Coleman.
Born in Virginia, Bhasati Harrison is a writer, illustrator and filmmaker and some of her art focuses on her Caribbean heritage.
How to catch a star By Oliver Jeffers
It’s a story about literally reaching out to the stars, not always being able to get what we want, and finding out that, sometimes, they’re not exactly what we need.
Oliver Jeffers writes and illustrates for both adults and children.
Saliva Sayings: The Story of Planting Compassion By Gracie Zhang
How much energy do kind words have? In this book, they are the most powerful thing out there.
It is good to take care of plants with water and sun, but it is important to talk to them kindly.
Gracie Zhang is a painter and animator. He is Canadian, currently based in New York.
Little Blackbird of Harlem Renee Watson’s text, illustrated by Christian Robinson
Inspired by the true story of Florence Mills, it is a book about equality and justice.
Born to formerly enslaved parents, Florence’s performance took her to Broadway in the 1920s, where she inspired others to fight for a more just world.
Christian Robinson is a writer, illustrator, animator and designer, and a Caldekt honor winner.
Julian is a mermaid By Jessica Profit
Julian appears in two books: the title mentioned above, and Julian at the wedding.
Julian is surprised when he sees three women dressed as mermaids. When he goes home, he puts together a homemade garment. But soon doubts arose: what would Grandma think of this dress, and what would she think of the way Julian saw herself?
Jessica Love studied printmaking and illustration and then drama. After working as an actor, he created Julian, beginning his painting career.
Absolutely not By Jesse Sima
This is a book about a unicorn called Kelp who was born into a family of narcissists.
One day, Kelp comes to the surface of the sea and sees someone like him. It tore him apart; She didn’t really look like her family, in fact she didn’t really pay much attention, but now there are questions to consider.
Jesse Sima lives in New York State, and in addition to his work as a writer-illustrator, he has collaborated with Christian Timmer on the book. Snow Pony and Seven Miniature Pony.
Thanks, Omu! By Oge Mora
It is a book about community, sharing and food.
Omu makes a delicious stew and everyone around wants to taste it. Omu is happy to share, but soon his pan is empty. So what happens next?
Ogg Mora’s debut is a Caldekt honors book, and he made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list last year.
Recharge time By Marielle Lamothe
Productivity is important, but rest is important, if not more!
This book talks about the importance of taking time for yourself, relaxing and calming down: a little meditation every day.
Marielle Lamothe lives in New York and you can see her illustrated process for her debut on social media and on the website.
Moccasins Text by Earl Ainerson, illustrated by Julie Flatt
This is the story of an aboriginal foster child, and his relationship with his foster mother.
It is a positive book about parenting and the gift of thoughtfulness.
Julie Flatt is a Cree-Metis illustrator and author, and has several books where she wrote and illustrated the story.
It’s interesting to see how artwork has evolved from an author’s first book to his most recent work, and how, after reading enough picture books, we can easily begin to recognize someone’s art style.
I hope this list will help you find more interesting books as well as illustrators you can follow
To learn more about photo books, check out these posts: