There has been an interesting theme in some of my recent favorite picture books: food! We have a handful from the library currently and are just adoring them. And bonus, several of them include recipes too! So this week, I’m going to take some time to review our favorites (and hopefully we’ll try the recipes too!)
First up today is a book for noodle lovers! This is the story of Momofuku Ando who persistently experimented for over a year to invent instant ramen. Grab a bowl of delicious noodles and take a look at Magic Ramen by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz, 2019.
It is apparently the year of Mister Rogers, and I’m completely OK with it. While the HBO documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor came out late last year, 2018; the newest Mister Rogers’ movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, arrived in theaters November 22 with Tom Hanks in the role of Mister Rogers. The picture book world is not be left out of a trend, and I’m so grateful it is following this one! I have two new picture books this year celebrating this wonderful man and the legacy of an amazing show he created. First up today is a sweet biography about Rogers from his childhood and some of the inspiration that led him to create his famous show. Take a peek at You Are My Friend by Aimee Reid, pictures by Matt Phelan, 2019.
It is a rare and beautiful moment when a book takes my breath away. A few months ago, I stopped to look at this one in a beloved local bookstore. I was hearing good things about it from other reviewers and I was delighted by the cover that greeted me in the store. I started to flip through it, ended up sitting down to read it, and then proceeded to the register to take it home. This book is captivating from end page to end page. A beautifully narrated and breathtakingly illustrated biography about Pura Belpré – the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City. This book is a must see: Planting Stories The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrations by Paola Escobar, 2019.
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Dr. King would be 90 years old if he were alive today. With the memorial holiday reminding us to reflect and continue to press on in the civil rights movement Dr. King helped orchestrate, this book is an excellent addition to the day. Here is Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier, 2001.
It is December 30 and I’m squeaking in my last of the 25 New Favorite Picture Books. Another new one from 2018, this is an interesting book to end the year on, but I love it for many different reasons. A book about the Apostle Paul and the many letters he wrote for the New Testament which, as the book claims, changed the world. Take a look at Paul Writes (a letter) by Chris Raschka, 2018.
Oh. How do I even begin to explain the clever, fantastic, intense work of art that is the storytelling in this book? I have been wanting to share it for so long and I am so excited to present it as this Friday feature in this food picture book week. A story about an elephant, obsessed with noodles and community, who takes on the towns bossy kangaroos and their unjust noodle laws. Come learn from the puns and pasta that make up Noodlephant by Jacob Kramer and K-Fai Steele, 2019.
Today’s food picture book is a “Native American Family Story.” It is a powerful and poetic book about fry bread – a food full of shape, flavor, art, family, diversity, history and tradition. Take a look at Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, 2019.
Today’s book in our picture books about food week is about a traditional Pakistani food: daal! A delightful story about young Bilal who excitedly and also a bit nervously introduces his friends to a family favorite meal. Come share the table with Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed, illustrated by Anoosha Syed, 2019.
Next up in our week of food picture books is a fantastic story about a little girl and her grandmother making a holiday feast of traditional soup and sharing in the cooking as well as the history of their family and their Haiti. Dance along to the lyrical tale of Freedom Soup by Tami Charles, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara, 2019.
First up today is a book for noodle lovers! This is the story of Momofuku Ando who persistently experimented for over a year to invent instant ramen. Grab a bowl of delicious noodles and take a look at Magic Ramen by Andrew Wang, illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz, 2019.
How do you talk to a kid about losing someone? How do you explain what it feels like to grieve? I’m relieved to say: there’s a book for that. This beautiful, heart-wrenching, clever, thoughtful book is an excellent handling of grief for children, but really for adults too. Grab a few tissues and take a look at My Big Dumb Invisible Dragon by Angie Lucas, illustrated by Birgitta Sif, 2019.
I had hoped to post this book for Valentine’s Day yesterday; but it is never too late to talk about love, friendship and wonderfully sweet books. And that is exactly what this book is: a charming story about three best friends, a lost letter, a big mix-up, and a realization about friendship and the impact of words. Settle in with The Love Letter by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins, 2019.