The tradition continues! One of my favourite Jbrary posts to write all year is my round-up of favourite storytime books published in the last 12 months. Missed the past two years? Check them out here:
I do storytimes primarily for children ages 0 -5, but I also serve school-age children on occassion. This list includes books for them all. Please let me know your favourites in the comments, espeically if it’s a book I missed. Without further ado, I present my favourite picture books from 2015 that work well in a storytime setting!
15 Things Not to do With a Baby by Margaret McAllister; illustrated by Holly Sterling. Perfect for a storytime about babies, families, or siblings. A little girl lists the Do’s and Don’ts of having a baby in the home. The family is interracial though they only appear on one page.
Baby Love by Angela
Baby Party by Rebecca O’Connell; illustrated by Susie Poole. One of my babytime favourites this year. On each page we practiced the social skill of clapping. Happy to see more and more books coming out with a diverse cast of babies and this one joins the ranks. Shapes are another theme of the book which you can point out to caregivers for 1-1 reading time.
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Recommended for preschool – Grade 2. An unnamed narrator recounts the exciting story of what happened to your sandwich. A surprise ending is what makes it a storytime winner. If I worked with older children more it’d be a great choice for leading into a writing exercise about tall tales or unreliable narrators.
Bear Counts by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. Bear and Mouse observe the natural world around them and learn to count to five. I like how the text invites the reader to count with them which is helpful in storytime. Because it’s only to five, the counting is not overwhelming and makes it a great choice for toddlers.
Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley; illustrated by John Rocco. Three adorable robots refuse to let a little boy go to sleep in this pyjama time keeper. I loved the refrain of “beep! beep!” – you can definitely get kids to do it with you. Try giving each robot its own voice to help the kids distinguish who is speaking.
Boats Go by Steve Light. The newest addition to Light’s board book series on things that go. Lots of great noises to make in storytime. It’s a large, long board book that works with small to medium sized groups.
Book-O-Beards by Donald Lemke; illustrated by Bob Lentz. Buy the whole dang series! My friend Angela alerted me to these storytime gems. Read the page and then “wear” the book. Only a picture will do it justice.
Bulldozer’s Big Day by Candace Fleming; illustrated by Eric Rohmann. Did everyone on the construction site forget its Bulldozer’s birthday? Lots of great verbs fill this construction and birthday themed book that is a perfect read aloud for preschoolers.
Bunny Roo, I Love You by Melissa Marr; illustrated by Teagan White. My colleague Jane tipped me off to this one. I agree with her assessment that it’s a gentle bedtime book to share with caregivers at babytime. White’s illustrations stole my heart.
The Bus is for Us by Michael Rosen; illustrated by Gillian Tyler. A transportation-filled gem. I loved the rhyming text and the repetitive chant. The pages are nice and big, working well for a large group. Hooray for public transportation!
Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay. A lovely story of a girl who transforms the neighbourhood park into a butterfly garden. MacKay’s paper-cut illustrations are outstanding though smaller groups will get the chance to study them better. Great for preschool to Grade 2.
The Ducks Says by Troy Wilson; illustrated by Mike Boldt. Preschoolers will get a kick out of all the sounds duck makes as he roams around the farm and interacts with the other animals. I had the kids make the sounds with me after reading each sentence.
Everything by Emma Dodd. A babytime standout! Short, sweet sentences illustrate everything about a baby koala that the parent koala loves. When I read it at storytime, we mimicked the actions of the book. Some of the pages have a metallic sheen that catches baby’s eye. Perfect for a small group. Don’t miss the companion book, When You Were Born.
Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang and Max Lang. The message here is that if you love one another, you’re family. This book means so much to me because my niece Sophie is my adopted family and this book reflects all the diversity in the world. Read it to my toddlers and they loved it.
Fire Engine No. 9 by Mike Austin. Told almost entirely in sounds, follow firefighters over the course of their action-packed day. Use in babytime to talk about phonological awareness or introduce to your transportation-loving toddlers and preschoolers.
Fish Jam by Kylie Howarth. Reminiscent of I’m The Biggest Thing in the Ocean, this book follows a scat-loving fish who just wants to jam. A great addition to a music themed storytime. Toddlers on up will enjoy the rhythm and surprise ending.
The Fly by Petr Horacek. Betsy Bird called this book “the best readaloud picture book of 2015.” I love the creative use of flaps and the fly’s personality. A great choice for preschoolers to school-age kids.
Get Out of My Bath! by Britta Teckentrup. Ellie the elephant enjoys a good bathtime splash, but other animals try to join in the fun. This one reminded me of other interactive books where you have to tilt and shake the pages. The pages have a sheen to them which I loved to touch.
Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor; illustrated by Jean Jullien. I love the language in this book; it’s almost poetic. Hoot Owl puts on various disguises in order to catch some prey, but a pizza filled ending ensures no animals are harmed. Preschool to Grade 2 students will thoroughly enjoy.
How to Draw a Dragon by Douglas Florian. This book combines art and imagination. It leads very well into a post-storytime art activity involving dragons. With just one sentence per page and big pages, it’s perfect for those wiggly toddlers.
I Can Roar! by Frank Asch. Using a circle cut out, Asch invites the reader to take on the characteristics and sounds of different kinds of animals. If you have a small group, try going around and having each baby or child put their face behind the book and make the animal noises together.
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson. This one’s all about kindness. I like how Nelson first shows the destructive power of greed before ending on a happy note. A great addition to a storytime about gardening, plants, or friendship.
If You’re a Robot and You Know It by David A. Carter. The only new pop-up book that caught me attention this year. It includes the classics like clap your hands and stomp your feet alongside some silly robot actions such as jump and beep and shoot laser beams out of your eyes. Sure to get your audience up and moving.
In by Nikki McClure. McClure’s signature high contrast images help tell the story of a child who goes from playing inside to outside. You could read at babytime and talk about about babies’ developing vision or use in a toddler storytime and point out the owl guide at the back of the book.
In a Cloud of Dust by Alma Fullerton; illustrated by Brian Deines. Great for a K-3 audience, this story, set in Tanzania, shows how one little girl helps her friends explore the world on bicycles. Only 1-2 sentences per page make it a good read aloud length.
Little Bird Takes a Bath by Marisabina Russo. This one works for so many themes – the city, bath time, rain, birds. Little bird searches for the perfect puddle. I loved the sound effects, the repetition, and the inclusion of singing. Use with preschoolers on up.
Love Always Everywhere by Sarah Massini. Big, bright colourful pages showcase a diverse group of children as they express all the ways they love – quietly, loudly, with a kiss, with a tickle, etc. Each page only has two words – perfect for toddlers or for a storytime about love or emotions. Published in late 2014 so sneaking this one in!
My Bike by Byron Barton. I almost didn’t include this one because CLOWNS, but my toddlers loved it and I read it to a preschool group studying the circus and the teacher was overjoyed. It’s got all of Barton’s trademarks – simple sentence structure, bright, bold colours, and toddler concepts.
My Cousin Momo by Zacharian OHara. One of two appearances OHara makes on my list. A great story for preschoolers about how being different isn’t a bad thing. Plus, flying squirrels!
Night Animals by Gianna Marino. This one made me LOL. Perfect for a pyjama storytime, this book features a cast of animals scared of “night animals” which bat informs them they are. The bold illustrations work well.
Nose to Toes, You are Yummy! by Tim Harrington. A perfect choice for babies and toddlers as this book encourages movement and interaction. Very brightly illustrated pages are eye catching and there’s a song version available on their website.
No, Silly! by Ken Krug. This fun title shows lots of giggle worthy scenarious like sleeping on a pile of cookies that are met with the refrain, “No, silly!” It kind of reminds me of Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Bed? Great for toddlers or preschoolers. I love the repetition of sentence structure and catch phrase.
One Family by George Shannon; illustrated by Blanca Gomez. Books about families were on point this year. This one includes a counting element up to ten while noting all the different elements of the city. A beautifully diverse landscape also lends itself well to solo reading.
Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry by Vern Kousky. If you’re looking for a way to introduce poetry into storytime, look no further! Great for preschoolers – Grade 3 students. A little owl struggles to fit in because he’d rather recite poetry than hunt mice. Lovely book from a debut author.
Pepper and Poe by Fran Preston-Gannon. A sibling tale featuring two adorable cats. This one works great in a mixed age storytime because the sentences are short but the older kids will get the comic relief. And the cats really are super cute.
Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony. A super adorbs panda fills the pages of this lesson in manners. Panda would like to give away doughnuts but no one remembers to say please. Funny without being preachy. My toddlers and preschoolers loved it.
Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera. Underwear stories never get old with kids, do they? This one had my storytimers in a hoot. A Japanese design firm brings us the story of Polar Bear in search for his underwear. Clever design cutouts work well. It would make a great felt story too! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and had multiple holds placed after storytime.
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton. Warrior princess? Check. Farting pony? Check. An all-star choice for preschoolers to grade schoolers. Princess Pinecone didn’t get the horse of her dreams for her birthday, but she finds an unlikely ally in her new pony friend. My niece demanded multiple readings of this book when I brought it home.
Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre. Sayre is a non-fiction queen and this new one explores rain and the water cycle. I read it during a fall themed outreach storytime and the kids were fascinated with the real-life photographs. Text is poetic and rich with new vocabulary.
Say Hello! by Linda Davick. The perfect book to use at the beginning of baby or toddler storytimes. Bright, colourful pictures depict a group of racially diverse children saying hello with different gestures and actions. After reading practice saying hello in sign language.
Sea and Rex by Molly Idle. This is a perfect book for summer storytimes. Cordelia and her friend dinosaur spend a memorable day at the beach. Recommended for toddler or preschool storytime.
Sometimes We Think You are a Monkey by Johanna Skibsrud and Sarah Blacker; illustrated by Julie Morstad. A super sweet story for babytime or toddler time. The narrator makes comparisons between a newborn and all sorts of animals. I like the repeating sentence starters and Morstad’s stunning illustrations.
Spectacular Spots by Susan Stockdale. Big pages with animal spreads fill this toddler storytime hit. Minimal text and bold illustrations accompany lots of new vocabulary such as grazing, dozing, dashing, scouting, clinging. The end pages are good to point out to caregivers.
Supertruck by Stephen Savage. A truck book with a superhero theme = storytime gold! I used this with my toddlers and they all wanted to take home a copy. Perfect for the winter too as the little garbage truck transforms into a snowplow to save the city.
Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure by Derek Anderson. So funny. One little pig just wants to take a relaxing bath when more pigs decide to join in. A cute ending that preschoolers will enjoy. Perfect for storytimes about pigs, baths, or bedtime.
Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson. Matheson is back with another wonderfully interactive book. I’ve been taking this one to all my outreach storytimes and we practice taking turns and watching the nighttime sky transform. Magical.
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner; illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. Longer text makes this a better school-age storytime choice, but you could also just read a few of the pages to younger children. I love the long, tall pages and Neal’s stunning illustrations. Great for a spring, garden, or plant themed storytime.
Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman. Works best with smaller groups due to the size of the pages, but it truly capitalizes on the silliness of this article of clothing. Rhyming text works well in this case. Giggles will abound.
Welcome Home, Bear: A Book of Animal Habitats by Il Sung Na. My love of Il Sung Na has been well documented, so I was so stoked to see a new one come down the line this year. Bear decides to search for a new home but finds the other habitats out of sorts. An absolute gem that works for toddlers and older.
The Whale in My Swimming Pool by Joyce Wan. I busted this one out for a summer storytime and it was great for the mixed aged group of kids I had. The older kids got the humour while the younger kids were engaged with the shorter text. Bright, big pages bring this silly story to life. Based on the last page, I also smell a sequel!
Who Wants a Hug? by Jeff Mack. I read this to a kindergarten class and they thought it was hilarious. Skunk tries various different methods to keep bear from giving away hugs. A happy ending included. Colourful pictures and animated animals draw in the audience.
Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Zachariah OHara. I loved this story of a paranoid bunny who suspects her adopted wolf brother is up to no good. The kindergarten class I shared it with enjoyed the build up to the end when the bunny and wolf siblings stick together. The art is different but it works well to convey the characters’ emotions.
You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple; illustrated by Melissa Sweet. I know Yolen from her How Do Dinosaurs series, and I’m continually impressed. This rhyming book is a sweet bedtime story that would work great in a pyjama storytime. All the different bird names included is a real triumph in vocabulary building. End pages with additional bird information is nice to point out to caregivers.