Saturday, October 23, 2021

Tis’ the Fandom Gift Guide Season: Picture Books Edition

We are officially in the Christmas season and that means it is time to our plan gifts for this year. Oftentimes that is easier said than done, especially when you’re looking for a gift for a child in your life. There are SO many options! Toys, blankets, clothes, media… all of it cute and oh so tempting, but have you considered gifting them with a new book (or books)? There are a lot of awesome picture books out there, but here are a selection of our favorites from the last year:

I Found a Kitty, written and illustrated by Troy Cummings 

Image Courtesy of Random House Books for Young Readers

This adorable book is the follow up to Cummings’ New York Times bestseller Can I Be Your Dog? and is a wonderful story about a dog, Arfy, who finds a homeless kitten, Scamper, and works to find the Scamper a home. Arfy does so through letters written to various neighbors explaining what Scamper needs in a home and why he would be a good fit in that neighbor’s home. Each neighbor sends their own letter in reply, listing the reasons Scamper doesn’t fit. After a few tries Arfy finds Scamper the perfect home. Not only is it a beautifully written and illustrated story about helping others find their place, but in a year where children are unable to see their extended families this book provides a wonderful example of what writing letters can do.

You can purchase I Found a Kitty here.

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, written by Sarah S. Brannen and illustrated by Lucia Soto

Image Courtesy of Little Bee Books
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This book is a great story on a few different levels. First, it features an openly gay, racially diverse couple who are not treated specially in anyway; they are simply another couple. Second, the story is told from the perspective of a little girl dealing with the fact that her favorite uncle is getting married and is worried that she will lose him when that happens. This book demonstrates a positive, love-filled, diverse family environment which reassures children that adding people to the family, in this case via marriage, does not mean that family dynamics have to change. This a beautifully illustrated story of family that would be a wonderful addition to any child’s library.

You can purchase Uncle Bobby’s Wedding here.

Joey: The Story of Joe Biden, written by Jill Biden and illustrated by Amy June Bates 

Image Courtesy of Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Current events are important, even from a young age, so why not invest in a book about the new United States President Elect Joe Biden, written by his wife? This book makes Biden a relatable character for kids by telling anecdotes about his childhood to explain how he became the man he is today. Not only does Dr. Biden’s storytelling draw you in, but Amy June Bates illustrates the story in such a way that the stories just jump off the page. Children and adults alike will enjoy reading this book and learning more about the new world leader.

You can purchase Joey: The Story of Joe Biden here.

Extraordinary Ordinary Ella, written by Amber Hendricks and illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell

Image Courtesy of Amicus Ink
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This book is beautifully illustrated and tells the story of a young girl who cannot figure out what her talent is for the upcoming talent show. Ella is excited about the talent show, but compared to her diverse and talented classmates she just feels too ordinary. Each thing she tries doesn’t turn out quite right for her, but for every one of her failures she is able to help one of her classmates. The story shows a little girl learning that sometimes all it takes to be extraordinary is to be yourself. It is a simple but beautiful lesson about how simple kindnesses can make all the difference, and that is a lesson every child could use.

You can purchase Extraordinary Ordinary Ella here.

Violet Shrink, written by Christine Baldacchino and illustrated by Carmen Mok

Image Courtesy of Groundwood Books

As an introvert with minor social anxiety issues, this book means a lot to me, because it shows a child who is a lot like me. Violet is a young girl being raised by a single dad who likes going out to parties, but Violet isn’t so sure about them. She’d much rather be at home with her headphones on making use of her active imagination, but her dad keeps coming up with new words for party so she doesn’t suspect that’s where they’re going. However, when Violet finally tells her dad she doesn’t want to attend the family reunion, she and her dad find a way to deal with her anxiety. The illustrations and words work beautifully together to normalize social anxiety and introversion, while proving to kids that it is okay to be the quiet one in a group.

You can purchase Violet Shrink here.

Dirt Cheap, written and illustrated by Mark Hoffmann

Image Courtesy of Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

This is the perfect book for the young entrepreneur in your life. It tells the story of Birdie, a little girl who wants a new soccer ball but doesn’t have enough money, so she goes into sales. She tries selling her stuff, but no-one wants it for her prices. She finds something everyone in her neighborhood seems to need: dirt, and she sells it cheap. The story is told equally by the words and illustrations, as Birdie learns the value of money and discovers why planning ahead is important when her dirt sales mean that when she gets her ball she has no-where to use it.

You can purchase Dirt Cheap here.

My Brother the Duck, written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

Image Courtesy of Chronicle Books

Stella is confused. She thought she was getting a regular little brother, but her observations of him so far make it seem like he may actually be a duck. This book follows Stella as she proves herself a true scientist and begins testing her hypothesis to see if her brother is really a duck or not. The illustrations show every detail along the way as Stella observes all the traits that might make her new brother a duck, making this a fun and comic tale about new siblings and basic STEM principles that will appeal to readers of all ages.

You can purchase My Brother the Duck here.

Memoirs of a Tortoise, written by Devin Scillian and illustrated by Tim Bowers

Image Courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press

The final book on today’s list tells the story of Oliver the tortoise whose human Ike has stopped coming to visit after almost 80 years together. Oliver and Ike were the same age and Oliver isn’t sure what happened to Ike, so he goes to visit his mother 10 gardens over hoping she will have the answer. Through absolutely beautiful illustrations and comforting words this book helps children understand that sometimes people, and pets, go away and don’t come back, so we need to cherish every moment we have with those we love.

You can purchase Memoirs of a Tortoise here.

Find more of our gift guides here, and keep an eye out for more upcoming!

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LeeAnn
LeeAnn is children's librarian who joined Nerds and Beyond in 2020 as a way to stretch her writing skills and connect with others who have the same pop culture passions as she does. She loves music, reading (obviously), and any TV show that can grab and hold her attention. Currently some of her favorite things to nerd out over include Supernatural, Prodigal Son, Louden Swain and Percy Jackson (books, theater, or upcoming show - lets leave the movies out of it).

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