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: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers
As 2014 comes to an end, many book bloggers are reflecting on the year of reading and highlighting books that made their “best of” list. And so as we come to the end of the year, I am happy to do the same. I have divided my list into categories: Favorite Read-Alouds, Favorite Friendships, Favorite Adventures, Favorite Characters, Favorite Family stories, Favorite Wordless, Favorite Thought Provoking, Favorite Mindful, and Favorite Author.
How do I chose which books make the list? My criteria is simple: these books lingered.
Here is my list of my favorite picture books from 2014:
Favorite Read – Alouds
Hooray for Hat! – Brian Won
This book is a perfect read-aloud for an early primary class. It is colorful, infectious and a true treat to read aloud. Your children will be chanting “Horray for Hat” after only a few pages!
The Book with No Pictures – B.J. Novak
B.J. Novak, actor on the hit TV series The Office, has created a simple and ingenious book. This book will make you laugh and leave children saying “Read it AGAIN!” Delightful and a joy to read out loud! Watch the author share the book with a group of children: http://thebookwithnopictures.com/
The Lion and the Bird – Marianne Dubuc
A quiet, tender story of friendship told through simple text and soft, beautiful illustrations. After a lion helps a wounded bird, they become instant friends and spend the winter together. Spring comes and bird is able to fly. Wonderful message of the need to give friendship wings.
The Farmer and the Clown – Marla Frazee
In this touching ,wordless picture book, a baby clown falls off the circus train and lands in a farmer’s field. An unexpected friendship develops as the farmer and clown spend the day together and discover some surprising things about each other and the world. Reminded me of Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman. I don’t really like clowns but I LOVED this book! Whimsical and moving.
Three Bears in a Boat – David Soman
Three Bear siblings set off on an adventure to try to replace their mother’s blue shell that they broke. On the way, they encounter whales, sailors, islands and a huge storm. This is a classic picture book filled with adventure, breath-taking illustrations and a message about honesty and taking responsibility. LOVE!
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole – Mac Barnett
Clever, brilliant, quirky, witty, unique, understated, open-ended, thoughtful – there are not enough words to describe this book! Two boys decide to dig a hole and try to find something spectacular. “It’s right there!” you will be shouting! The ending will have you scratching your head and starting the book all over again!
Dolphin SOS – Roy Miki
Based on true events, Dolphin SOS recounts the story of local children who rescue three dolphins trapped in an icecovered cove off the coast of Newfoundland. Gorgeous illustrations, this book will have you holding your breathe and then cheering when the dolphins are finally set free.
Favorite Characters (I hope will be made into stuffies!)
Little Elliot in the Big City – Mike Curato
This is a sweet, simple story about an adorable little elephant named Elliot trying to make his way in the Big City. Life is not easy for a small elephant but Elliot has a big heart and makes friends with someone even smaller than himself. An adorable story of friendship and finding ones place in the world, not to mention cupcakes! Amazing illustrations!
Sparky – Jenny Offill
This delightful story about an animal-loving girl who orders a sloth from a catalogue. When the creature arrives, she names it Sparky – but sadly it does not live up to its name. Sparky is not good at tricks or hide-and-seek or anything really. But you, as I did, will fall in love with this charming, irresistible sloth!
Favorite Family Stories
Nana in the City – Lauren Castillo
Wonderful story of a young boy who spends the night at his grandmother’s house in New York City. He is afraid of the noise and business of the city but Nana takes him for a walk and he soon sees the city through her eyes. A heartwarming story of reassurance, family and being brave. Love the illustrations in this book.
The Troublemaker – Lauren Castillo
This book (yes, same author as Nana in the City!) is about family and sibling rivalry. A young boy gets into trouble when he hides his sister’s bunny. But when it goes missing a second time, they discover he is not the only troublemaker around. Delightful story with a bit of a surprise ending, unless you have noticed the clues!
Favorite Thought – Provoking
The Promise – Nicola Davies
Haunting, powerful, moving. This story follows a child thief who lives in an empty, colorless place. She steals a bag from an old lady and plants the seeds she finds inside, after making a promise, and in doing so, begins to change the world. A story of hope and of promise.
I Know a Bear -Mariana Ruiz Johnson
Wow – I think this just might be my favorite of my favorites and certainly the most thought-provoking. Told in sparse text and gorgeous illustrations (I’ve been saying that a lot, it seems!) a young girl listens as a bear tells her of the wonderful place he used to live. But he doesn’t experience the sweet berries or the cool water anymore; he lives in a zoo. This is a book about listening, about caring and about doing what’s right. Such a wonderful book for promoting discussions about animals in captivity. AMAZING!
What Do You Do With An Idea? – Kobi Yamada
Inspiring and motivating story of nurturing ideas no matter how small and insignificant they may seem. Great book to teach personification as the “idea” in the story is personified as an egg. Brilliant!
Fox’s Garden – Princesse CamCam
Breath-taking illustrations tell the touching story of compassion and friendship. A dreamy, wordless story about a boy who feeds a mother fox on cold winter’s night after she is lost and chased away by grown-ups. Simple, wintery and wonderful.
Flora and the Penguin – Molly Idle
We first met Flora when she learned to dance ballet with a pink Flamingo. In this follow-up, Flora delights us once again with her twirling, leaping, gliding and spinning her friend penguin as they skate their friendship across the ice. Innovative, clever, captivating, charming.
Favorite Mindful/ Gratitude Books
100 Things That Make Me Happy – Amy Schwartz
Written in the rhyming lyrics of “Raindrops on Roses” – this book celebrates the joy that can be found in everyday things. A wonderful book to share with younger children and inspire them to make their own list of “happy” things! Lovely, whimsical illustrations!
Breathe – Scott Magoon
Follow a young whale exploring the ocean and finding joy in simple pleasure. But remember – pause and breathe. Sparse, lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations – this inspiring book is a delight to read and helpful to teach children how to be calm and relax.
Taan’s Moons: A Haida Moon Story – Alison Gear
This book was written by my sister and so OF COURSE it is on my list of favorite books! But aside from the fact that my sister wrote it, it is an exceptionally beautiful book! The story follows the Haida moon cycle through a year in the life of Taan (Haida for “bear”). We follow Taan as she experiences the changing of the season and the changes in the moon. The felt illustrations were created by a local artist and the children of Haida Gwaii. Read the story of this remarkable book here: http://www.kikivanderheiden.com/taans-moons.html
Well, there you have it! There were SO many other books I could have included! Thanks for stopping by! Please leave me a message to tell me what are your favorite picture books from 2014?