Picture books perfect for story time

A collection of recent releases celebrates the joy of connecting with a grandparent, remembering the Moon landing, and slowing down to appreciate life, and much more.

Illustration by Renata liwska

When a boy visits his grandfather, they struggle to connect in Minh Le’s book Drawn Together, illustrated by Dan Santat. But they discover a shared love for making art. As they draw dragons and warriors, wizards and wands, their images take life, igniting a bond between the pair that transcends language. Illustrated with a level of detail that makes the images pop off the page, this sweet tale reminds us that all humans can connect, regardless of background, so long as we open our hearts and our minds. 

Earthrise, by James Gladstone and illustrated by Christy Lundy, demonstrates that 1968 was a year of political and social unrest. Against this backdrop, the Apollo 8 crew was about to go farther into space than anyone had gone before – to the moon! This book describes their amazing journey, reminding children to remain in awe of our planet as well as of what we have accomplished.

In Dreamers, written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, a mother and her infant son find their new home in America. At first there are plenty of barriers to overcome. But then the pair stumble upon a library, and it becomes the perfect place “to speak, to write, and to make our voices heard.” The multimedia illustrations by the author are gorgeous, and Morales’s wonder rings clear throughout the story. 

In The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down, by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Vivienne To, Amy has the fastest family in the world. But one day, Amy brings home a sloth she found in the park, and everything slooooows down. With Sloth around, the family learns to appreciate the little things: talking to the neighbors, knitting hats, and even admiring the moon. The author keeps the tone goofy and light, and her story reminds us what can be lost when we don’t pay attention – a particularly salient message for our time. 

Writers Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville come together with illustrator Giselle Potter for How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine to tell the inspiring story of animal welfare advocate Dr. Temple Grandin and her invention: the hug machine. As a child on the autism spectrum, Temple felt uncomfortable at the touch of others, but after watching a farmer calm a skittish calf with a squeeze chute, she was inspired to build her own hug machine. After using it for a while, Temple had a realization:  She didn’t need it anymore. A hug from people felt just as good. This kindly story gently informs readers that it’s OK to be different.

In Crafty Llama, by Mike Kerr and illustrated by Renata Liwska, Llama doesn’t know what to do on a beautiful, warm day. So she thinks and she knits. Soon many of her animal friends have joined to take part in the fun by making things of their own. With adorable illustrations, this story is all about the joy of creating simple crafts. Sometimes the best activities are those that help us come together.

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