Holy guacamole, folks. You all know I love writing book round-up posts. Evidence can be seen here, here, here, and here. But this is the first time I’ve been able to write a post about books that haven’t even been published yet in Canada! A few weeks ago I attended a Library Bound book preview event where I learned all about 2016 picture book releases. I’ve also been avidly scouting Twitter for news of upcoming publications. Put the two together and presto!
Because I work in a large library system with centralized purchasing it can be hard to stay on top of forthcoming titles. If you’re like me, I hope this post is a collection development resource for you. I’ve chosen to highlight fiction. The maple leaves indicate a Canadian author, illustrator, or publisher.
I’ve organized them into (very scientific) categories. I hope you enjoy! Please leave a comment with any I missed or don’t know about yet.
The Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson; illustrated by David Roberts. Author of Rosie Revere, Engineer is back with what Kirkus calls a quirky, appealing title about a child who braves the great outdoors to find some bears. The child has brown skin and is of ambiguous gender.
Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Zachariah OHora. The duo behind Wolfie the Bunny brings us a tale of the power of words and the nature of forgiveness.
Bedtime and Sleeping
Cat Nap by Toni Yuly. This one will be great for storytime. Cat is ready for a nap, but Kitten has other ideas! Lots of opposites and a mouse that hides on every page. A definite buy if you like Yuly’s other books.
Cricket Song by Anne Hunter. I loved the illustrations in this bedtime story that incorporates the sounds and animals of the night. There is a bottom panel showing how children all over the world are connected.
Good Night Like This by Mary Murphy. Another hit from Murphy, author of A Kiss Like This! Perfect for a pyjama storytime, different animals tuck their little ones in to bed.
Rock-A-Bye Romp by Linda Ashman; illustrated by Simona Mulazzani. Kirkus says, “A fine addition to the nursery bookshelf for baby and all” about this extension of the classic nursery rhyme Rock-a-Bye Baby. I’m excited to share it in baby storytime!
Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley; illustrated by Lauren Castillo. An award winning duo created this bedtime tale with twenty yawns sprinkled in for children to discover and count.
Duck and Goose, Let’s Dance! by Tad Hills. Duck and Goose are back with a quack-filled song and dance. You can download the song on their website.
Hamsters on the Go by Kass Reich. Another book in the Hamsters series by Canadian author and illustrator Reich. In this board book, the hamsters show all the different ways they travel from here to there.
Books That Didn’t Fit Into Any Of the Other Categories
A Hungry Lion, Or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins. This is a debut picture book that is reminiscent of I Want My Hat Back and other darkly funny tales. A hungry lion is ready for a fun day with friends until they all start disappearing.
Frank and Laverne by Dave Whamond. What caught me about this one was the interesting format. You can read the book from either end and get two perspectives – one from Frank and one from Laverne – about what really happened. A cat vs. dog tale with a twist.
Peep and Egg: I’m Not Hatching by Laura Gehl; illustrated by Joyce Wan. A new series for toddlers that is cute and funny. Egg overcomes her fears and hatches just in time for the fun to start. I’m marking this as storytime potential. The second book is already set to come out in August and it’s about Halloween!
Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to be in the Book) by Julie Falatko; illustrated by Tim J. Miller. Reminiscent of Mo Willems’ Pigeon, Snapsy is a funny story of an alligator whose day is interrupted by a pesky Narrator who tries to make the story more interesting by adding in some giggle worthy claims.
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy; illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Gorgeous illustrations help tell this true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California. Inspiring and transformative.
Duck, Duck, Dinosaur by Kallie George; illustrated by Oriol Vidal. George is a fellow Vancouverite so this one immediately caught my attention. Three eggs hatch revealing a duck, a duck, and a dinosaur! A cute story about sibling rivalry with a diverse animal family.
Exploration and Adventure
An Armadillo in New York by Julie Kraulis. A follow up to An Armadillo in Paris. This time Arlo uses his grandfather’s travel journal to visit famous landmarks throughout the Big Apple.
Buddy and Earl Go Exploring by Maureen Fergus; illustrated by Carey Sookocheff. This is a sequel to Buddy and Earl which earned a starred review from Kirkus in 2015. Two unlikely friends show that you don’t have to go far to have an epic adventure.
Scribble by Ruth Ohi. Circle, Square, and Triangle always know which way to go. But along comes Scribble who takes them on a new adventure! Earmarking this one for storytime.
Friendship and Love
Be a Friend by Salina Yoon. Yoon is no stranger to friendship books, and this one features a unique character – a mime! It’s being praised for its acceptance of difference and expression of self-acceptance.
Hoot and Peep by Lita Judge. A loving sibling relationship between two owls set against a Parisian background. The little sister, Peep, makes lots of funny sounds that remind me of the book Froodle.
Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian; illustrated by Mike Curato. The only book I saw with any LGBTQ themes. Two worms defy tradition and what’s expected in their marriage ceremony. A celebration of love.
If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle; illustrated by Cale Atkinson. The brown skinned main character, Sam, yearns for an exciting pet like the ones in her book of mythological creatures. There’s a drooling hamster that sold me.
Spare Dog Parts by Alison Hughes; illustrated by Ashley Spires. A Canadian duo bring us this story of a a dark-skinned child with dark, curly hair who wonders what odd collection of parts made her beloved canine companion.
Violet and Victor Write the Most Fabulous Fairy Tales by Alice Kuipers; illustrated by Bethanie Deeney. A celebration of storytelling is the heart of this sibling story. Kirkus says, ‘” jam-packed view of the creative process of two imaginative siblings.”
Libraries and Literacy
Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer. If you follow me on Twitter you know how much I love poetry so I was ecstatic to see this story of a young African American boy who discovers poetry in nature. Kirkus agrees.
The Lending Zoo by Frank Asch. Known for his Moonbear series, Asch brings us a story about a zoo-brarian and the hunt for a missing tiger. A diverse cast of characters included.
Library Day by Anne Rockwelll; illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell. Part of a series called My First Experience, this book shows an up-to-date visit to the library. There are male and female librarians and a child who uses a wheelchair using a computer. Score!
Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me by Danielle Marcotte; illustrated by Josee Bisaillon. The love of reading is celebrated to the max in this book from Montrealers. A young boy encounters family and neighbours who all read what they like.
Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run!: An Alphabet Caper by Mike Twohy. What a unique alphabet book. Each letter stands for a word that helps the story of a mouse and a dog progress. Lot of opportunities for encouraging talking with children as you read.
Yaks Yak: Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park; illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt. I’ve loved Park since my niece was obsessed with Bee-Bim Bop! In this new one animals act out the verbs made from their names. Funny, clever, and I see teachers asking for this one a lot.
Loss and Leaving
Always Remember by Cece Meng; illustrated by Jago. An elegant, for-sure-will-make-you-cry book about a group of ocean friends who remember Turtle after he dies. No religious messaging, just gorgeous illustrations and a lyrical story of death. See the Kirkus review.
Before I Leave by Jessixa Bagley. Bagley wrote the critically acclaimed Boats for Papa and is back with this tale of a hedgehog who has to move away from her anteater best friend. A friendship story that hits home.
Harry and Walter by Kathy Stinson; illustrated by Qin Leng. Four-year-old Harry and ninety-two-year-old Walter are best friends, but can their friendship last when Harry has to move away? So happy to see more intergenerational stories being published!
How to Mend a Heart by Sara Gillingham. A diverse cast of characters lead us through many instances of a broken heart and how to heal in this beautifully illustrated book from a B.C. author.
Ida, Always by Caron Levis; illustrated by Charles Santoso. Another tear jerker about a pair of polar bears who live in a zoo and what happens when one of them dies. I loved the large pages and bright colours used to depict a solemn topic.
Maya by Mahak Jain; illustrated by Elly MacKay. MacKay has been busy! But this is Toronto’s Mahak Jain’s first picture book about the power of story in helping a young girl deal with the death of her father.
Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals; illustrated by Patrice Barton. I’m not surprised the author is from B.C. because this book is all about getting outside! A celebration of dirt, nature, and play that gets kids up and moving featuring a diverse cast of children.
When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes; illustrated by Laura Dronzek. Big, bright pages showcase the joy and language associated with spring. Henkes and Dronzek deliver another nature title that would be great for storytime.
Gator Dad by Brian Lies. Author of the Bats series, Lies shows us how a gator dad and his kids have a fun-filled day doing every day things like grocery shopping and trip to the park. Looks like a lovely male caregiver depiction.
Mamasaurus by Stephan Lomp. I’m eyeing this one for storytime. A baby dinosaur gets lost and has to find his mama with the help of his prehistoric friends. Reminiscent of Are You My Mother?
Monster and Son by David LaRochelle; illustrated by Joey Chou. LaRochelle’s Moo! and It’s a Tiger! are storytime staples, so I’m excited to try out this new one featuring a slew of monsters and how they love their children.
My New Mom and Me by Renata Galindo. A picture book debut by Galindo who lives in Mexico City. Told from the perspective of a puppy adopted by a cat, this sweet story of adoption is an honest and heartwarming take on the topic.
Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee; illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. It’s about time someone wrote a picture book about tattoos! This one is framed as a modern father-son love story. “The father tells his little son the story behind each of his tattoos, and together they go on a beautiful journey through family history. ”
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexi; illustrated by Yuyi Morales. An award-winning duo pair up in this touching father-son book that a young boy searching for a name of his own. So happy to see this book get published!
Go, Little Green Truck! by Roni Schotter; illustrated by Julia Kuo. This one was tagged with storytime potential. It stars Little Green Truck who loves to help out on the farm and deliver food to the farmer’s market.
Joseph’s Big Ride by Terry Farish; illustrated by Ken Daley. Inspired by the author’s interviews with refugee children from Sudan, this story highlights one boy’s journey to finding a bike after moving to America.
Maxi the Little Taxi by Elizabeth Upton; illustrated by Henry Cole. A sound effect infused ride through the city. Maxi gets all dirty riding through the city which leads to a tickly bath in the car wash. Cole illustrated And Tango Makes Three.
Mighty Truck by Chris Barton. Author of Shark vs. Train brings this Cinderella tale of a truck who is transformed through a mysterious car wash.
The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal, illustrated by Jess Golden. Roam through the streets of India in a three-wheeled taxi on this rendition of the popular children’s song. I can’t wait to sing this one in storytime.
Well-Known Authors and Illustrators (That Aren’t Already on this List)
Frankencrayon by Michael Hall. Though it got a just okay Kirkus review, kids who liked Red will be drawn to another crayon saga this time about some mysterious scribbling that threatens to end the story.
Hooray for Kids! by Suzanne Lang; illustrated by Max Lang. Described as an “ode to diversity” this book follows up the Lang’s 2015 Families, Families, Families! A celebration of children at its best.
Hop by Jorey Hurley. Author Nest and Fetch brings us another one-word wonder that tells the story of a rabbit family. Lots of great interactive verbs that would work well in a toddler storytime.
I Want a Monster by Elise Gravel. I love Gravel’s Disgusting Critters series and am glad to see her enter the picture book market. This story features a girl named Winnie who buys a baby Oogly Wump from the Monsterium and watches him grow.
Let’s Play! by Herve Tullet. Tullet is back with another interactive winner this time focused on emotions. A book that supports social emotional learning in addition to covering topics such as colour, motion, and shape.
Listen to our World by Bill Martin; illustrated by Melissa Sweet. A variety of animals – whales, lions, kangaroos – are featured in this celebration of sound. Another great storytime choice illustrated by a Caldecott Honour illustrator.
Maggie and Michael Get Dressed by Denise Fleming. Fleming is back with a clothing themed story that introduces toddlers to colours as well. Based on the cover there’s a cute dog included.
My House by Byron Barton. Toddlers rejoice! Barton has got another book filled with bold colours and simple sentences. Follow Jim the cat through all the rooms of a house.
The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na. I may be biased because Il Sung Na is one of my favourite writers and illustrators, but this opposite-filled book is going to be a great addition to storytime shelves. Monkey visits all the animals in the zoo describing them along the way.
Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert. Mixed media collage illustrations fill this story about the collections of materials that float on rain water during storms. There is an author’s note about recycling. A great jump off for creating art using found objects.
Ten Kisses for Sophie by Rosemary Wells. Two-year-old Sophie gets ready for a party and practices her counting in this new book from Wells featuring her cute toddler.
You are One by Sara O’Leary; illustrated by Karen Klassen. O’Leary wrote This is Sadie, my favourite picture book of 2015, so I am looking forward to this new book series which speaks directly to the child. It showcases common milestones of a baby’s first year and includes a diverse cast of babies to boot.
Wordless Or Nearly Wordless
Skunk on a String by Thao Lam. In this wordless wonder, a skunk has been tied to the tail of a balloon. As he soars, he takes in a diverse city and eventually figures out how to help himself.
Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole. Detailed and intricate illustrations. Follow Spot as he travels around the city while his owner tries to hunt him down.
Treat by Mary Sullivan. This is a companion book to Sullivan’s Ball. Using just one word, a little dog does everything in his power to find a delicious treat. An interesting picture book/graphic novel hybrid with a diverse family.