Another picture book round-up! Some new releases, biographies, and more!
What picture books have you read and enjoyed recently?
Hana’s Hundreds of Hijabs by Razeena Oma Gutta, illustrated by Manal Mirza
The illustrations are the star of this book, which is all about a young girl who loves styling her hijab. She loves it a bit too much—her hijabs are taking over the house and all her time! The vibrant illustrations show these different styles, how fashionable Hana is–and how it impacts the people around her. In the end, Hana finds a way to help others through her love of fashion. I loved the illustrations in the book, and it’s a cute way to talk about hijab’s that’s not explicitly religious, but I did think Hana read older on the page than she was supposed to be, and that the pacing of the book was a bit off. Overall, a cute book though! Girls who wear hijab or who have family members who do will especially love the way the illustrations come to life.
When the Sakura Bloom by Narisa Togo
I picked up this book because cherry blossoms are a big DC thing, obviously, and my DAR State Regent’s pin is cherry blossoms, so I try to keep an eye out for them in books. This is more of an all-ages picture book in that it doesn’t have one set protagonist, and can appeal to a broad audience. Against the backdrop of gorgeous, gorgeous illustrations, we see poeple busy with life slowly stopping to bask in the glory of nature as the seasons change and the sakura bloom. The illustrations are the real sell of this book-but it’s nice and I’ll definitely recommend it in the spring!
A Portrait in Poems: The Stories Life of Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas by Evie Robillard, illustrated by Rachel Katsaller
Admission: this is shelved in JUV Biography, but I’m counting it in this round-up regardless! It was a really well-done introduction for older elementary school kids to Stein & Toklas. If they already love art, they’ll love the illustrations, and the quiet but clear queer undertones were lovely. A great book to talk about this period of time in art/literature with kids, but the illustrations are really the selling point.
The Home Builders by Varsha Bajaj, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani
A beautifully illustrated, but otherwise kind of forgettable intro to nature books–this poem looks at builders, nature homes, and fauna families in short bits–“Snug and sheltered as nighttime falls, home is our earth shared by us all” sort of prose. The illustrations are gorgeous and well-light and the kind of stuff you want to paper a baby’s nursery in, but because the prose lacks real emotion, so do the illustrations. Overall, a cute book I’d share with kids wanting to read animal books, but not going on the top of any list.
Miguel’s Community Garden by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Samara Hardy
I’ve been doing a lot of reading about gardens this year, so of course came across this one. This stands out though–it’s not about making a garden, but rather exploring them. We start with sunflowers–what we know about them, how to find them, how to tell them apart from other parts of the garden. Miguel is adorably illustrated–looking perhaps a little older than he’s supposed to with that haircut–but the garden aspect are vibrant throughout. I especially love the peaches page. I also love that it isn’t just flowers but also vegetables–including artichokes-a really diverse garden! I think kids who are interested in where food comes from will really like this, cuz how often do you see celery growing out of the ground? It also includes a recipe for sunflower seed salad.