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Monday, January 26, 2015

Storytime: New and Notable Picture Books (11)

Storytime is a new(ish) feature at The Hiding Spot in which I share some of my favorite new, old, & overlooked picture books.
Not a parent, teacher, or librarian? Picture books make fantastic gifts, from baby showers to birthdays and holidays. As bookworms, we all know how important books are – be the one who hands that special kid in your life the book that will make them fall in love with the magic of reading!

New & Notable
Emmanuel's Dream
Written by Laurie Ann Thompson; Illustrated by Sean Qualls

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Emmanuel's Dream tells the story of a young boy born in Ghana who overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to prove that disabled does not mean unable. In Ghana, individuals who are differently abled are often seen as useless or cursed, but Emmanuel never let that stand in his way. Despite having only one leg, he attended school, hopping two miles each way, earned money to support his family, without having to beg, and bicycled 400 miles in just ten days in an attempt to change the conversation about disabilities in Ghana. Emmanuel's Dream is an inspirational story about a young man who recognized injustice and set out to fix it, refusing to take no for an answer.

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat
Written by Emily Jenkins; Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

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In A Fine Dessert readers follow the evolution of blackberry fool through four centuries, from 1710 to 2010. In each century, readers explore how the dessert was prepared, by whom, and for who - three elements that chronicle vast changes in culture and society. This title will be best for slightly older readers, perhaps 6 through 10, and can easily be used as a starting point when discussing technological advancements (especially in relation to foodstuffs), changes in social and class structure, and more.

A Poem in Your Pocket
Written by Margaret McNamara; Illustrated by G. Brian Karas

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Elinor can't wait to meet Emmy Crane, a visiting poet, but her excitement wanes when she has trouble writing the perfect poem. A Poem in Your Pocket is a wonderful story about poetry and creativity in which one student must learn to let go of perfection to find the poem in her heart. This read aloud will fit seamlessly into Poetry Month lesson plans and discussion, but its themes about creativity make it appropriate for any time of year!

Sick Simon
Written & Illustrated by Dan Krall

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Blech, the pictures in this book just make me cringe - just like they're supposed to! Simon loves going to school, but he does not love covering his mouth when he coughs, washing his hands, or resting when he's ill. We all know what's bound to happen next. Germs loooove Simon; he's the perfect way for them to take over the world!

This funny and undeniably gross picture book is sure to be an effective way to talk about germs and preventing the spread of illness. I highly recommend this one for the classroom!

I Am Jackie Robinson
Written by Brad Meltzer; Illustrated by Chris Eliopoulos

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These are all so well done. The big themes in this one? Acceptance and bravery. There were moments that I found myself getting a little teary when reading this one, but it could have been because I read it on the heels of a story about one of the first African American basketball players and his experiences. This one did have a bit more text than I remember the others in the series having, but I would need to go back and reread to be 100% sure. Regardless, Jackie Robinson is a fantastic addition to the series. Next up? Lucille Ball!

Love any of the books featured this week? Want to see a certain theme, author, or illustrator explored in an upcoming Story Time post? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Nice list! Will look forward to all of them coming into my library! :)

  2. Thanks for mentioning Emmanuel's Dream, Sara! I'm so glad you liked it. I love your writeup, too!

  3. I adored Emmanuel's Dream and am so happy to be able to share it with readers! I may have just received a galley of your new book from Macmillan too. I'm very much looking forward to reading it after I return from ALA. :D

  4. Your comment makes me want to head over to my library first thing tomorrow and check out a ginormous stack of picture books.


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