It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New Picture Books for the New Year – Part 1


It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week.  Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Well – it’s the beginning of a new year and I thought I’d celebrate with sharing some newly released picture books that I’m very excited about! There are too many to share in one post – so I’ll complete the list next week!  Here we go….


The Mischievians – William Joyce

Oh, the connections I made to this book!  Have you have ever wondered who is responsible for all the things that happen around your house that nobody seems to be able to explain?  Like where the remote control went, what happened to homework, why there are so many single socks in the laundry and why songs stick in your head.  Well, this book has the answer –  It is the pesky little “Mischievians” at work again!  This book is classic Joyce – funny, clever and fun!  I can’t wait for my students to think up some of their own “mischievian” happenings!


The Colourblind Chameleon – Laura Kantor

How can you not smile at this adorable little face?   And how can you not laugh when you read that this poor wee chameleon is colorblind so while his fellow chameleon’s are changing color for camouflage, his color changes results in the exact opposite!  Because he cannot distinguish colors, he ends up changing into some outrageous shades where he stands out instead of blending in.  Poor thing!  He is left feeling alone and discriminated against.  I loved this book and have developed a huge case of reptile love! The book is bright and colorful with a rhyming text that makes it a perfect read-aloud for younger children.


Dot – Randi Zuckerberg

This past summer, I discovered a few books that shared a similar theme of breaking free of being “plugged in” to electronic devises – Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino and Hello, Hello! by Matthew Cordell.  Meet Dot – she is a spunky, device savy gal – who knows how to tweet, swipe, tag and tap her way through just about every electronic device she can get her hands one!   One day, she is sent outside on a technology-free adventure to re-connct with her friends.  What I loved about this book is the realistic message about enjoying BOTH life and technology.  I also enjoyed the author’s clever double meanings to the words “tweet”, “tap” and “surf”!  And in case you were wondering, yes, the author Randi Zuckerberg is the sister of Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg!


Paul Meets Bernadette – Rosy Lamb

My, oh my, this is one for my special shelf.  This is a book about seeing the world in a different way.  simple, imaginative, beautiful. The oil painting illustrations are remarkable.  Paul is a fish who swims around his fish bowl in circles.  Enter Bernadette – who shows him a different perspective on the world and helps Paul see things in a whole new way.  This is a gentle love story that I fell in love with.


The Nowhere Box – Sam Zuppardi

So much to love about this book!  What child cannot relate to being constantly bugged by a sibling?  And what child has at some point used a large cardboard box to create a secret fort, space ship or castle.  George is constantly being followed by his younger brothers.  His solution?  The Nowhere Box!  In it, he can be a pirate, a king, a pilot!  In the end, playing alone turns out to be not so fun.  The illustrations in this book are extraordinary – there is something very textural about them and I kept wanting to run my hands over the pages to “feel” them!


ABC’s From the Whippety Wood: The Magic in Nature – Pamela Harden

From Acorn Fairies to Zillo the Zebra Unicorn – this is a whimsical, wonderful ABC book to add to your Alphabet book collection!  A celebration of nature with beautiful illustrations and creative characters for each letter of the alphabet.   Lovely!


Fossil – Bill Thomson

Wow! Wow!  So so so so good!  A boy and his dog discover some stones while out walking. When one of the stones breaks open to reveal a fossil from a prehistoric plant the boy gathers as many stones as he can find and begins breaking them apart. The result is magical!   This is a wordless picture book with extraordinarily detailed and life-like illustrations.  It almost feels as if you are wearing 3D glasses!  I loved Bill Thomson’s last wordless picture book Chalk and found it a wonderful anchor book for practicing questioning and inferring.  This book has the added bonus of being a Segway into discussions about fossils, dinosaurs, and other aspects of science.  This is a must have for your wordless book collection!


Once Upon a Memory – Nina Ladin

My students, family and friends roll their eyes whenever I say “This is my FAVORITE new book” because I tend to say it a lot.  But this is TRULY my FAVORITE new book!  LOVE LOVE LOVE this book SO SO MUCH!  Why do I love it so much?  First, the images are captivating, soft, gentle, quiet, sweet.  I want to climb inside the book and stay for a while.  Second – this is a story about memory – but gifts us with so much more – questions about nature, about life, about transitions, about the origins of objects, about life.  This book is begging to be used in a classroom – a treasure for lessons on inventions or discussing imagination and asking the question:  What will you remember?  I will certainly remember this book for a long time.

There you have it – part one of my “new books for a new year”!  Hope you found a few titles you might want to read and share.

What have you been reading this week?


Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Lesson Ideas, New Books, Picture Book

14 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New Picture Books for the New Year – Part 1

  1. Great picture books. I am most interested in Paul meets Bernadette. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think ONCE UPON A MEMORY is a popular book this week. I just finished reading it a few minutes ago. 🙂 Renata Liwska is one of my favorite illustrators. If you haven’t read any of her other picture books, check her out.

    • Thanks for your comment, Beth! I also love Renate Liwska – her illustrations in “Quiet Book” and “Loud Book” are very similar to this book – adorable animals! I was tempted to read Once Upon a Memory to my class today but held back as I want to savor it a little longer and think about how best I’m going to use it! Have a great week!

  3. Love your list! These are all new-to-me PBs and now I want to read all of them! Isn’t Bill Thomson’s work amazing? I love Chalk too.

    • Thanks for stopping by! Happy you found some new titles to read! Yes, Bill Thomson is AMAZING! I also loved Chalk – although I did have little girl start to cry when the dinosaur came! The pictures were so real- they frightened her! Have a great reading week!

  4. Hi there Adrienne! I gave a little squeal when I saw The Mischievians. I so love William Joyce! I followed closely his Guardians of Childhood picture book series, would you know if this is part of that? It sounds like it is! I’ve also been a fan of Thomson’s work since “Chalk” I love his wordless picture books. Do join us for the CORL reading challenge and #mustreadin2014, Adrienne! Will respond to your Sharing the Sunshine soonest!!! 🙂

  5. Hi Myra! I am not sure if this Joyce book is part of the series – but it certainly “fits” the theme. You must check it out – it’s wonderful! I am definitely joining into #mustreadin2014 – will be posting my list very soon! Looking forward to reading your Sunshine Post! Have a great week!

  6. How fun – I could just look at those books all day.

  7. I would like to figure out how to invade this post and just be able to read all of the pages of each of these books. Thanks for sharing such fantastic titles! I want to get Chalk for my class – I can’t help but collect wordless titles But then I also have started collecting picture book biographies and great fairy tales and . . . yikes! I want to read your new favourite book! And if it makes you feel any better, my students say to me always – “Every illustrator is your favourite illustrator!” often. Lots of picture book love is a good thing! Can’t wait for your Must Read post!

    • It is a pleasure to share these books with you! Three cheers for picture book love! I feel your pain about collections – wordless, alphabet, biography… ahhh! I started a fairy tale unit with the grade 2’s and 3’s today – oh what fun we will have! But now I need to search for great fairy tale titles for the younger crowd (that aren’t dumbed down or silly!) Any suggestions? You MUST get Once Upon a Memory- it is a definite “Carrie” book! Will be posting my MUST READ post tomorrow – it keeps changing every time I read someone’s blog! Will send you my link tomorrow. xo

  8. This post was quite… expensive, exciting, and fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing about Dot, Paul Meets Bernadette, and gosh I can’t wait to get my book delivery so that I can enjoy Once Upon a Memory… I just adore Nina Laden… Happy reading week to you!

  9. Yes, there are SO many great new books to explore! Paul and Bernadette is so beautiful and I know you will love Once Upon a Memory! I also have major art love for Nina Laden!

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