Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

31 Days, 31 Lists: 2018 Nonfiction Picture Books

At last! It’s finally time to list the last Top Five lists of the year. This is the first of the biggies, my friends. These are the picture book nonfiction titles that truly stole my heart in 2018. The cream of the crop. The apples of my eye. The metaphors in my aphorisms.

Please bear in mind that you will see a bit of duplication on this list from the previous ones. While the other lists have broken my reading list down into different categories, these are the books that, all told, I truly believe no library (or, on occasion, bookstore) should be without. So what I shall do is summarize those that haven’t shown up on other lists. For the rest, I’ll link to the lists where you can find their different definitions.


 

2018 Nonfiction Picture Books

All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem With Stuff by Meghan McCarthy

As seen on the list: American History

AllThatTrash

Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace, ill. Bryan Collier

As seen on the list: Unique Biographies

BetweenLines

The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs by Kate Messner, ill. Matthew Forsythe

As seen on the lists: Unique Biographies & Science & Nature Books

BrilliantDeep

The Diamond and the Boy: The Creation of Diamonds & the Life of H. Tracy Hall by Hannah Holt, ill. Jay Fleck

As seen on the list: Unique Biographies

DiamondBoy

Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak, ill. Julian Frost, photographs by Linnea Rundgren

As seen on the lists: Fabulous Photography & Fictionalized Nonfiction & Science & Nature Books

DoNotLickThisBook

Drawn from Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri

As seen on the lists CaldeNotts & Science & Nature Books

DrawnNature

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Dreamers1

Technically it now occurs to me that this book should have appeared on the Unique Biographies list yesterday. And yet, this isn’t really a biography. It is, if anything, an autobiographical tale. You won’t find a timeline or anything. Instead. Yuyi tells the tale of her arrival in America and what followed with a deep and abiding sense of respect for literature, libraries, and librarians. The book can’t be categorized or slotted into a little box like so many of the other books on the list today. This is what makes it unique. This is what makes it stand out. And this is what will make it memorable for years to come.

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years by Stacy McAnulty, ill. David Lutchfield

As seen on the list: Science & Nature Books

Earth

Everything & Everywhere: A Fact-Filled Adventure for Curious Globe Trotters by Marc Martin

 EverythingEverywhere

Clutter. I’m not usually a fan. If the design of any individual page in a children’s book looks too cluttered to me, I start backing up slowly, surreptitiously glancing towards the exits. I think it took a good ten pages for Martin’s book here to win me over. Each two-page spread is a different location on Earth. I saw that and immediately flipped to NYC. I lived there for eleven years so I wanted to see how this fellow made it look. Doggone spread blew me away, it was so visually stimulating, accurate, and gorgeous. And just like that *snap!* I was hooked. Kids will be too, at least the expository nonfiction types.

Eye Spy: Wild Ways Animals See the World by Guillaume Duprat

As seen on the list: Science & Nature Books

EyeSpy

The Eye That Never Sleeps: How Detective Pinkerton Saved President Lincoln by Marissa Moss, ill. Jeremy Holmes

As seen on the lists: American History & Unique Biographies

EyeSleeps

The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finley Mosca, ill. Daniel Rieley

As seen on the lists Math Books for Kids & Unique Biographies

GirlMindMath

Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes by Wab Kinew, ill. Joe Morse

As seen on the list: Unique Biographies

GoShowWorld

Hey-Ho, to Mars We’ll Go! by Susan Lendroth, ill. Bob Kolar

As seen on the lists: Picture Book Readalouds & Rhyming Picture Books & Fictionalized Nonfiction & Science & Nature Books

HeyHoMars

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall, ill. Isabelle Arsenault

As seen on the lists: Rhyming Picture Books & Science & Nature Books

Honeybee

Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing by Nancy Churnin, ill. James Rey Sanchez

As seen on the list: Unique Biographies

IrvingBerlin

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez, ill. Felicita Sala

As seen on the list: Unique Biographies

JoanProcter

A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights by Kate Hannigan, ill. Alison Jay

As seen on the list: Unique Biographies

LadyHasFloor

Look at the Weather by Britta Teckentrup, translated by Shelley Tanaka

As seen on the lists: CaldeNotts & Science & Nature Books

LookWeather

Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth by Kate Gardner, ill. Heidi Smith

As seen on the list: Science & Nature Books

LovelyBeasts

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey, ill. Júlia Sardà

As seen on the lists: CaldeNotts & Unique Biographies

MaryWroteFrankenstein

The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel

As seen on the lists: Oddest Books of the Year

MushroomFanClub

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham

As seen on the list: Books with a Message

NotMyIdea

Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakeable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe, ill. Barbara McClintock

As seen on the lists: Math Books for Kids & Unique Biographies

NothingStoppedSophie

Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock, ill. Katherine Roy

As seen on the list: Science & Nature Books

OtisWill

Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented by Tanya Lee Stone, ill. Steven Salerno

As seen on the lists: Math Books for Kids & American History

PassGo

Paul Writes (A Letter) by Chris Raschka

As seen on the list: Books with a Message

PaulWritesLetter

Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art by Hudson Talbott

As seen on the list: Unique Biographies

PicturingAmerica

Red Sky at Night by Elly MacKay

As seen on the list: Science & Nature Books

RedSkyAtNight

The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock, ill. Claire A. Nivola

As seen on the list: Unique Biographies

SecretKingdom

Snails Are Just My Speed! by Kevin McCloskey

As seen on the list: Science & Nature Books

SnailsAreJustMySpeed

Sports Are Fantastic Fun! by Ole Könnecke

SportsFantasticFun

Imagine a book that combines the energy and attitude of a Richard Scarry creation with an odd, European love of sports. That’s what you get in this kooky but wildly enthusiastic celebration of physical games. Part of what I love so much about the book is, in fact, the European nature of the games featured. And mostly this isn’t a problem, except in one instance. American baseball is not included at all. Aside from that, the book’s a pip, and considering the lack of sports-related children’s book titles every year, I think it’s a necessary purchase for any library out there.

 

Stinkiest! 20 Smelly Animals by Steve Jenkins

As seen on the list: Science & Nature Books

Stinkiest

Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot’s World War II Story by Marc Tyler Nobleman, ill. Melissa Iwai

Thirty-Minutes-Over-Oregon

Arg! I’m kicking myself. This book, by all rights, should have been included in the American History list round-up. As it stands, it’s one of the most interesting titles of the year. Are you aware that the American mainland was bombed by a Japanese plane during WWII? Nobleman covers a fascinating history of the man that performed the bombing (where no one was hurt), his subsequent feelings, and the American people that reached out to him and befriended him long after the war. It’s a tale of forgiveness, and not just about forgiving your enemy, but also when it comes to forgiving yourself. Beautifully illustrated, and beautifully told.

This Is the Nest That Robin Built by Denise Fleming

As seen on the lists: Picture Book Readalouds & Rhyming Picture Books & Science & Nature Books

ThisIsNestRobin

Through the Window: Views of Marc Chagall’s Life and Art by Barb Rosenstock, ill. Mary Grandpré

As seen on the list: Unique Biographies

ThroughWindow

The Triumphant Tale of the House Sparrow by Jan Thornhill

As see on the list: Science & Nature Books

TriumphantTaleHouseSparrow

The Truth About Bears by Maxwell Eaton III

As seen on the lists: Older Funny Books & Science & Nature Books

TruthBears

The Truth About Dolphins by Maxwell Eaton III

As seen on the lists: Older Funny Books & Science & Nature Books

TruthDolphins

The Truth About Elephants by Maxwell Eaton III

As seen on the lists: Older Funny Books & Science & Nature Books

TruthElephants

The Truth About Hippos by Maxwell Eaton III

As seen on the lists: Older Funny Books & Science & Nature Books

TruthHippos

Warbler Wave by April Pulley Sayre with Jeff Sayre

As seen on the lists: Fabulous Photography & Science & Nature Books

WarblerWave

Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World by Christy Hale

As seen on the list: Science & Nature Books

WaterLand

When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana by Michael Mahin, ill. Jose Ramirez

As seen on the list: Unique Biographies

WhenAngelsSing

 


Interested in the other lists? Here’s the schedule of everything being covered this month. Enjoy!

December 1 – Board Books & Pop-Ups

December 2 – Board Book Reprints & Adaptations

December 3 – Wordless Picture Books

December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds

December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books

December 6 – Alphabet Books

December 7 – Funny Picture Books

December 8 – CaldeNotts

December 9 – Picture Book Reprints

December 10 – Math Books for Kids

December 11 – Bilingual Books

December 12 – Translated Picture Books

December 13 – Books with a Message

December 14 – Fabulous Photography

December 15 – Fairy Tales / Folktales / Religious Tales

December 16 – Oddest Books of the Year

December 17 – Poetry Books

December 18 – Easy Books

December 19 – Early Chapter Books

December 20 – Comics for Kids

December 21 – Older Funny Books

December 22 – Fictionalized Nonfiction

December 23 – American History

December 24 – Science & Nature Books

December 25 – Transcendent Holiday Picture Books

December 26 – Unique Biographies

December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books

December 28 – Nonfiction Chapter Books

December 29 – Fiction Reprints

December 30 – Middle Grade Novels

December 31 – Picture Books

Share
About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.

Comments

  1. In spite of the fact that Thirty Minutes Over Oregon has beautiful illustrations and an engaging text, I had serious problems with it as history. Although no one was hurt in the attempted bombing, that does not alter the fact that fascist militarists in Japan inflicted horrendous atrocities throughout Asia and in the West. Only two years later, several people, including children, were killed in Oregon by a successful Japanese balloon incendiary device. Why is this story more heartwarming because of the random circumstance of the bomber’s failure to kill anyone?
    I am also troubled by the fact that, as tragic events recede into the past, it becomes more tempting to use them as a facile lesson in forgiveness. This book has many examples of promoting reconciliation at the expense of the truth.
    The book also normalizes ritual suicide by failing to place it in an accurate historical context, or maybe simply because the author was hesitant to condemn any aspect of Japanese culture, even one so destructive.
    https://imaginaryelevators.blog/2018/11/19/flying-over-the-truth-a-sadly-misleading-story-of-world-war-ii/

Speak Your Mind

*