A selection of gorgeous new picture books celebrating new life, hope, nature, and mindfulness.
Outside, You Notice, by Erin Alladin, illustrated by Andrea Blinick
About the book: A lyrical nonfiction celebration of the outdoors pairing childlike observation with facts about the natural world
you notice things.
Time spent in the outdoors stirs a child’s imagination. Nature sparks wonder, wonder leads to curiosity, and curiosity brings about a greater knowledge of the world and one’s self. In Outside, You Notice, a meditative thread of child-like observations (How after the rain / Everything smells greener) is paired with facts about the habits and habitats of animals, insects, birds, and plants (A tree’s roots reach as wide as its branches).
Author Erin Alladin invites young scientists and daydreamers to look closely and think deeply in this lyrical nonfiction text, celebrating all the kinds of “outside” that are available to children, from backyards to city parks to cracks in the sidewalk. Illustrator Andrea Blinick portrays these spaces bursting with small wonders with a child’s-eye view, her naïve and nostalgic style capturing the joy of endless discovery.
Easter Morning, Easter Sun, by Rosanna Battigelli, illustrated by Tara Anderson
About the book: A family of cats’ spirited celebration of Easter traditions from the creators of Pumpkin Orange, Pumpkin Round
Easter morning, Easter sun,
Easter breakfast, Easter bun.
What would Easter be without family traditions like hot cross buns for breakfast, a gleeful egg hunt, and a special dinner with loved ones? In infectious rhyme, a family of cats celebrates the holiday with feline fun. The festive bonnets are out, the meadow is alive with spring, and even a tumble and an emptied basket can’t dampen the joy this family of charming cats share.
From the creators of Pumpkin Orange, Pumpkin Round, this buoyant picture book is perfect for read-alouds and lap sharing. An egg-decorating activity on the endpapers will add extra fun for little hands. With Rosanna Battigelli’s bouncing rhyme and Tara Anderson’s cozy art, Easter Morning, Easter Sun is sure to become a tradition of its very own
Wingmaker, by Dave Cameron, illustrated by David Huyck
About the book: A mix of humor and fact keep the interest high in this creative take on the ever-popular subject of metamorphosis, in which a curious—and inventive—old caterpillar has an unusual technique for transforming into a moth.
Gramma Tinker is an old, old caterpillar who lives at the end of a cherry tree branch. Leaf and Lou, ant friends who live and work nearby, like to visit her to hear about her latest inventions. One day, Gramma Tinker shows the friends what she calls her greatest invention yet: the Wingmaker 77. Gramma is busy preparing for an upcoming adventure, and Leaf and Lou can't imagine what it might be—especially when Gramma mysteriously explains that she'll rest inside the Wingmaker for two weeks, and when she emerges she'll be “changed.” Leaf and Lou don't understand. Why does Gramma Tinker need to make wings? And why is she studying flying creatures to learn about flight? What's going on with Gramma Tinker?
In this fun, unconventional picture book on the subject of metamorphosis, award-winning magazine writer Dave Cameron stokes children's imaginations about one of nature's wonders. Award-winning illustrator David Huyck's playful imagery of the cheerful and enterprising caterpillar adds to the appeal. The story highlights an intergenerational relationship, featuring a strong older character with an intense scientific curiosity and who delights in inventing. The final page explains the science behind the real Gramma Tinker: a tent caterpillar who lives about 77 days before making its cocoon and emerging two weeks later as a lappet moth. This is a great choice to add levity to life science lessons on growth and changes in animals, and also on the idea of being an inventor.
Stand Like a Cedar, by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Carrielynn Victor
About the book: When you go for a walk in nature, who do you see? What do you hear?
Award-winning storyteller Nicola I. Campbell shows what it means “to stand like a cedar” on this beautiful journey of discovery through the wilderness. Learn the names of animals in the Nle7kepmxcín or Halq’emeylem languages as well as the teachings they have for us. Experience a celebration of sustainability and connection to the land through lyrical storytelling and Carrielynn Victor’s breathtaking art in this children’s illustrated book.
Discover new sights and sounds with every read.
I Am a Peaceful Goldfish, by Shoshana Chaim, illustrated by Lori Joy Smith
About the book: I Am a Peaceful Goldfish teaches kids and families about playful breathing techniques that we can use to overcome our anxiety and feel calm and grounded.
When we are overcome with emotions, our breath—and a bit of imagination—can bring us back to a peaceful place. In this simple story, two children learn how to settle their feelings with imaginative breathing techniques, pretending they are elephants, flowers, even dragons!
This charming book teaches even the youngest readers fun ways to be mindful, relieve anxiety, and regain control over their bodies and actions—an essential and easy-to-learn life skill.
Wildflower, by Briana Corr Scott
About the book: A stunning, modern reimagining of Thumbelina with an environmental message from the author/illustrator of The Book of Selkie and She Dreams of Sable Island.
You cannot own a wildflower.
An old woman's wish for a child is granted in the form of a thumb-sized girl born inside a flower. Though the child brings the woman much joy, Wildflower cannot be planted in one place; she must go where the wild wind blows. And if her mother really loves her, she must let her go.
In Wildflower, artist Briana Corr Scott (The Book of Selkie) brings her whimsical illustrations and gentle poetry to the beloved Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, "Thumbelina." Maintaining the original spirit of Andersen's tale, celebrating love between mother and child, kinship between humans and animals, and bravery—no matter your size or shape—this refreshing retelling gives newfound agency to Wildflower, and offers young readers a tender lesson about the importance of respecting nature.
Barnaby, by Andrea Curtis, illustrated by Kass Reich
About the book: A vain blue budgie flies the coop only to find that there's no place like home.
Barnaby is a blue budgie who’s got it all: a golden cage, bells to jingle-jangle, and an owner who gives him all the snacks and attention he wants. Until his owner brings home a “friend” for Barnaby: a little yellow canary.
Barnaby is not happy. When his tantrums don’t convince his owner to get rid of the canary, Barnaby flies away and ends up hopelessly lost. While stopping for a rest, he encounters a flock of wild sparrows. At first, he looks down his beak at the drab, brown birds. But, growing hungrier and thirstier, he realizes he has a lot to learn from them.
Soon Barnaby is a part of their flock, scavenging for seeds and riding on the wind. But Barnaby can’t forget his former home, and every night he searches for his owner’s house using tricks the sparrows taught him. Finally, he finds it, and Barnaby returns home a changed bird. With subtle messages about sibling rivalry and jealousy, readers will enjoy Barnaby’s antics and the sweet conclusion to this story.
Frogness, by Sarah Nelson, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
About the book: An exuberant frog hunt, full of mud, muck, and wonder, leads to a playful exploration of mindfulness.
As rain clouds bloom across the sea and the first stars wink, Sammy and Chocolate tiptoe into the marsh behind their house in search of frogs. They can hear frogs everywhere—croaking, chirping, clucking, burping—but though they poke and peek, wriggle and sneak, they can’t spot even one. It’s only after Sammy and Chocolate stop looking, flop onto the grass, and fade into frogness—no thinking, just being—that frogs come flying. Plink! Plop! Splatter! Splash! Too slippery and fast to catch!
Written in lively, lilting free verse, Frogness invites curiosity and energetic play while also highlighting mindfulness and the hidden rewards of patience. Lush paintings and buoyant language immerse readers in the rich atmosphere of a marsh at sunset. This joyful summer read celebrates being part of nature and soaking up all the sounds and sensory details of our environment, whether we are active or at rest.
We All Play, by Julie Flett
About the book: From Julie Flett, the beloved author and illustrator of Birdsong, comes a joyous new book about playtime for babies, toddlers, and kids up to age 7, perfect for fans of But First, We Nap.
Animals and kids love to play! This wonderful bookcelebrates diversity and the interconnectedness of nature through an Indigenous perspective, complete with a glossary of Cree words for wild animals at the back of the book, and children repeating a Cree phrase throughout the book. Readers will encounter birds who chase and chirp, bears who wiggle and wobble, whales who swim and squirt, owls who peek and peep, and a diverse group of kids who love to do the same, shouting:
We play too! / kimêtawânaw mîna
A beautiful ode to the animals and humans we share our world with, We All Play belongs on every bookshelf.
The Secret Fawn, by Kallie George, illustrated by Elly Mackay
About the book: A little girl is always missing out on the wonderful things her family gets to see and do, just because she is the youngest and smallest. She misses seeing shooting stars because she goes to bed too early; she can't pick the first apple of autumn because she's too short; and, this morning, everyone else got to see a deer . . . except her. She goes into her backyard in search of the deer, a sugar cube tucked in her pocket. She sees a flick of brown in the orchard—is that the deer? No, it's just the neighbor's friendly dog (Shhhhh, Nala!). Is that it by the pond? No, that's just a bird, playing in the water. Just when she's about to give up, she spots a fawn, beautiful, quiet and small . . . just like her.
The Secret Fawn beautifully captures the power of nature to inspire children and shows how connecting with animals can help kids who feel left out or overlooked.
Forest Magic, by Sarah Grindler
About the book: A beautifully illustrated, compact, interactive nature guide to exploring the forest for young readers.
What do you notice when you walk in the forest? Different types of trees, plants, and mushrooms? Maybe you hear a squirrel chattering or birds singing. Can you feel all the different kinds of moss? And look there! Hidden animal homes and interesting bugs.
With this compact non-fiction guide, young readers will be equipped to seek out, identify, and appreciate the woodland magic that exists all around them. Featuring rich vocabulary words like "nurse log," "lichen," and "sapling," this beautifully illustrated book is the ideal companion for little forest explorers. Incorporating all five senses and encouraging imaginative play, it even includes pixies and fairies (pixie cup lichen and fairy slipper wildflowers)! Forest Magic will be the book you reach for on the way out the door to explore your own backyard.
There's so much to see in a forest. What will you discover?
Malaika’s Surprise, by Nadia L. Hohn, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher
About the book: When Malaika finds out she is going to have a new baby brother or sister, she worries that her mother will forget about her. But a surprise arrives on Malaika’s birthday that gives her more reason to celebrate her family’s love.
It’s summertime, and Malaika and Adèle are enjoying playing carnival in their bright costumes, dancing and laughing in the sunshine. But when Mummy announces that they will soon have a new baby brother or sister, Malaika is unsure how to feel about another change in her family. Will Mummy forget about me?
Back at school, Malaika is excited to see her teacher and classmates, and makes friends with a new girl who has recently arrived from a faraway country, just like Malaika. Then on her birthday, a surprise arrives to remind Malaika of the importance of family, and the story ends with a celebration of her family’s love.
Malaika’s Surprise is filled with the same warmth and charm as the first two books in the series, with Nadia L. Hohn’s enchanting prose, written in a blend of standard English and Caribbean patois, and Irene Luxbacher’s colorful collage illustrations.
Sunny Days, by Deborah Kerbel, illustrated by Miki Sato
About the book: Morning sun, golden skies/ Softly waking sleepy eyes
For preschoolers, sunny days are full of possibility. A sunbeam on the ground is the perfect place to curl up with a furry friend, and warming weather means seeds in the garden, mud pies in the yard, adventures at the beach, and ice cream in the shade. Evening brings the silly fun of watching little shadows stretch out long, and there’s nothing so cozy as watching the sun set as a family.
In Sunny Days, author Deborah Kerbel once again weaves a spell of early childhood magic with couplets as bright as a summer afternoon. Illustrator Miki Sato’s textural collage art nearly rises from the page with fascinating features made from paper, felt, and embroidery silk.
Hello, Rain!, by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Chris Turnham
About the book: A picture book celebrating all the reasons to love the rain! Flowers bloom in the garden. Umbrellas bloom on the streets. There are puddles for jumping and, later, a cozy home for hot chocolate and books.
• The ultimate rainy day read!
• Full of bright, eye-catching illustrations
The air is full of waiting. The sky is full of breeze. The trees gust and billow. All before it rains.
Rumble, rumble. Distant thunder. Rain is coming, rain is coming.
No matter what kind of weather you prefer, Hello, Rain! is a great reminder of the natural beauty all around us.
Percy’s Museum, by Sara O'Leary, illustrated by Carmen Mok
About the book: A young boy moves from the city to a new home in the country. He misses his friends, but at least it’s summertime—flowers are blooming, baby birds are hatching, and caterpillars are transforming into butterflies. Enraptured by the natural world, Percy climbs trees, tastes wild strawberries and tries to catch fish in the river with his bare hands.
Percy also likes to draw pictures of what he has seen that day. He collects interesting leaves and rocks, and insects in jars. Percy discovers that being alone doesn’t have to be lonely, but explorers often share their findings. So, he creates a way to share his collection with others …
Percy’s Museum is a sweet story about embracing change, the excitement of discovery and the wonder of nature and new friends.
On the Other Side of the Forest, by Nadine Robert, illustrated by Gérard DuBois
About the book: What’s on the other side of the forest? A young rabbit and his father are determined to find out in this modern picture book that feels like a classic, calling to mind the tender work of Beatrix Potter.
Some say that wolves, ogres, and giant badgers live in the forest beside Arthur’s house. That’s why no one ever goes in there, to see what’s on the other side. But one day, Arthur’s dad has an idea—a magnificent idea! Build a tower to look over the treetops! But a magnificent idea takes a lot of work. Will the villagers join and help them? And when the tower takes shape, what will they see on the other side?
This wonderful, heartwarming story by Nadine Robert—with illustrations by Gérard DuBois reminiscent of classic children’s books—shares the importance of community and cooperation to achieve a big dream.
We Adopted a Baby Lamb, by Lori Joy Smith
About the book: An adorable and rascally lamb is the latest addition to the family in this sweet picture book based on a true story. An irresistible and unique twist on the pet story and for fans of cute baby animals.
Ila is excited about her family's move to the country—mostly because it means she can have more pets! But no one expected their next addition to be a lamb. When Albert first comes home, he sleeps a lot, he eats a lot . . . and he pees on the floor A LOT. Ila and her sister and parents quickly learn how to care for a baby sheep—they must feed him and protect him. It's not easy because Albert gets into everything! He eats the tulips from the flower bed, chews on car bumpers, chases the dog (and hides from the cats). Ila and her family does everything to make Albert happy and healthy, but she can't help feeling like her little lamb might be missing something from his life. Maybe he needs a friend? But Ila soon realizes that she doesn't need to look for a friend for Albert—he already has his flock.
I Sang You Down from the Stars, by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, illustrated by Michaela Goade
About the book: An #OwnVoices love letter from an Indigenous mother to her new baby, new from celebrated author Tasha Spillett-Sumner and 2021 Caldecott winning illustrator Michaela Goade, that honors the beauty of a little one's arrival
Drawing from Indigenous creation stories and traditional teachings and illustrated in dazzling watercolors, I Sang You Down from the Stars is a tribute to the bond between mother and child.
The narrator gathers gifts for a medicine bundle in anticipation of her baby’s birth; a fluffy white eagle plume, bunches of cedar and sage, a quilted star blanket, and a small stone from the river. When the baby arrives, the mother shares the bundle with her child and reveals the importance of each item inside. But when her family comes to meet the new arrival, she realizes the baby arrived with gifts of its own and that the baby is also a sacred bundle: a baby bundle.
Writing in simple, lyrical text, author Tasha Spillett-Sumner draws from her cultural heritage in order to celebrate Indigenous traditions and the universal nature of a mother’s love, with stunning art by the 2021 Caldecott medal winner for We Are Water Protectors, Michela Goade.
The Wind and the Trees, by Todd Stewart
About the book: A gentle meditation on the cycle of life, told by two trees.
One day, a tiny pine seedling strikes up a conversation with a nearby tree. As the seedling grows larger, the older pine shares what it has learned about the strong wind that blows through the forest. Wind stretches trees and dries them out, but it also scatters seeds, spreads messages across the forest, and helps trees grow strong as it pushes against their trunks.
As time passes, the wind takes its toll on the older tree. It loses needles and starts to droop as the young tree grows fuller and stronger. When a fierce storm rolls in, the heavy winds take down the older tree, leaving the younger one all alone. Or so it thinks. Soon after, a new seedling blown in by the wind lands on the spot where the old tree fell, and the cycle begins again.
This moving picture book poignantly honors intergenerational relationships and the exchange of wisdom, while also opening up conversations about loss and environmental stewardship.
The Dog's Gardener, by Patrica Storms, illustrated by Nathalie Dion
About the book: A dog delights in a summer day spent in the garden with his owner, an avid gardener.
When a dog named Dutch hears the gardener going down the stairs each morning, he anticipates her every move. But most of all, he waits for the beautiful words, “Okay, Dutch. Let’s go outside.”
It’s a bright summer day. Dutch stands back from the dark, dusty toolshed, but the rest of the day is blissful — rolling in the dewy grass, waiting for a scratch behind his ears, napping on the gardener’s boots at midday and playing in the hose.
An amusing story about taking pleasure in the things we love, especially in the company of a good friend, written by Patricia Storms, with gorgeous illustrations by Nathalie Dion.
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