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31 Days, 31 Lists: 2019 Nonfiction Picture Books

Here it is! My standouts! My stalwarts! The books that I just can’t get out of my mind, that have been swimming around in my cranium all year. The great works of picture book nonfiction of 2019! And by complete coincidence, this list is coming out the same day as the 2019 Nerdies list of picture book nonfiction as well. Go check that list out to, if you get a chance.

Expect some duplication on today’s list, since a bunch of these titles may have already appeared on the Unique Biographies, Science & Nature Books, and American History lists (to name but a few). Fortunately, there are a bunch of newbies as well. For example, there’s a book that’s like Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics but for readers of a much younger ilk. There’s a handbook for kids who don’t just idly want to become firefighters but need a comprehensive plan on making that occupation happen. There’s a book on inventing instant ramen and one on the water cycle and one on refugees. They’re all good and worthy and need to be discovered by you.

For me, these are truly the best of the best of a given year.

2019 Nonfiction Picture Books

Beware of the Crocodile by Martin Jenkins, ill. Satoshi Kitamura

Though it bears quite a few similarities to the new Maxwell Eaton III book The Truth About Crocodiles (see below), I think this book, while less silly, has a strange little humor and beauty of its own. Plus, it’s just fantastic to see Kitamura back and doing nonfiction. His crocs looks so oddly satisfied with themselves, it’s hard not to root for them.

Cells: An Owner’s Handbook by Carolyn Fisher

Meet one of the 37 trillion high-performance cells in an animal’s body. Take an eye-popping trip through what cells do, what they’re made of, and why we’re lucky to have them. This is interesting. At first, I was disappointed by the reading since the author is mildly obsessed with repeating that the cell speaking is on a dog’s butt. But once you get away from the whole dog thing, the book becomes this wildly eclectic and interesting breakdown of what a cell really is and what it consists of. Certainly worth more reads.

Comics: Easy as ABC! The Essential Guide to Comics for Kids by Ivan Brunetti, edited by Françoise Mouly

Sort of like Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics (a book referenced in the excellent Bibliography) but for kids. Using not just Brunetti’s know-how but also the talented art of a whole host of artists, the book is a step-by-step explanation of how to make comics. It shows different styles, techniques, and even prompts. Sort of reminded me of Andrew Arnold’s Adventures in Cartooning (with which it would pair splendidly). As Liniers says in the intro, “Oh, Ivan Brunetti, where was this book when I was a kid and wanted to become a cartoonist? . . . You lucky, lucky 21st-century kids!”

The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons by Natascha Biebow, ill. Steven Salerno

I love Salerno’s art already, but that doesn’t mean I like every book he does. What were the odds that I’d go goofy over the biography of the guy who invented the Crayola crayon? Shouldn’t this book just read like a great big advertisement for Crayola? There’s a bit of that, but this Natascha Biebow lady KNOWS how to pen a really good picture book biography. I loved the little inserted facts in boxes on the sides. I loved how she was able to make the story fun and fabulous without fake quotations. And the Backmatter, oh the Backmatter! Gorgeous full-color photographs of the process (which gave me flashbacks of old Mr. Rogers episodes), a one-page author bio, and the MOST impressive Bibliography I’ve seen in any picture book this year (with the exception of Fry Bread, of course). Can’t believe that this is Beibow’s first nonfiction picture book. Clearly we need to hook her into doing more.

Elvis is King! by Jonah Winter, ill. Red Nose Studio

There are some nonfiction topics that look simple on the outside and are amazingly complex inside. Jonah Winter’s no newbie to the nonfiction picture book game. The man’s been in the business for years, and the books vary wildly. When I heard he was doing Elvis, though, I was worried for him. Why? Because in Elvis you have a difficult subject. On the one hand his is a very inspirational story. Poor, shy, Southern boy becomes “The King” through talent. Inspires lots of kids. What’s not to love? But then there’s the whole aspect of how he took his style and songs from the Black community. Does Winter address this? He does! Both in the text of the book and, with a lot more detail, in the back. He says it straight out, “Sam Phillips of Sun Records, absolutely was looking for a white musician to play ‘black music’ for white teenagers… Elvis gave Phillips exactly what he was looking for.” In the meantime, Red Nose Studio might have just done more work on this book than I’ve ever seen before. I was just looking at the image of his mama in the hardware store and the crammed shelves are worth a Caldecott alone. It won’t get a Caldecott, of course. Models never do. But it would deserve it just the same.

Finding Narnia: The Story of C.S. Lewis and His Brother by Caroline McAlister, ill. Jessica Lanan

Considering all the Tolkien picture book bios I’ve seen, my hopes were not high for this tale of Jack (the actual name of Lewis) and his brother Warnie. Then I opened the book and found myself looking at endpapers that portray what may be the keenest map of Ireland, England, and Scotland I’ve ever seen in a book for kids. Seriously, I just want to make my children look at it so that they have a better sense of their own ancestry. Then I read through the story and found that McAlister found the perfect hook for this book. The emotional center rests on the relationship between these brothers. Warnie, and I did not know this, actually typed up all of Jack’s Narnia books because the man only wrote in longhand. It comes by its emotional beats honestly and the backmatter is astounding. Includes an in-depth Author’s Note, a listing of the books (both in the order of publication and the books’ chronology), an intense Illustrator’s Note that accounts for every single detail, and a Bibliography. Oh, and remember how the endpapers on the front were of Great Britain and Ireland? The back endpapers are a map of Narnia. A truly impressive bio that should stand as a standard bearer.

Firefighters’ Handbook by Meghan McCarthy

Oh man, oh man, oh man, I am SO on board for this! I mean, I liked McCarthy’s The Astronaut Handbook lo these many years ago, but this takes a similar concept and then jacks it up to eleven. Did you know that there is a difference between a fire engine and a fire truck? In this book she delves really deep into the reality of being a firefighter, so that any kid with a serious love of the occupation is going to get hit with more information than they’ll find anywhere else (and I should know because my kid went through his own firefighter phase for a while). Interestingly her style has become sleeker, more detailed, and her paints seem to be rendered more delicately. Not quite sure what to make of that, but all told the end result is really gorgeous. I think it’s her best book to date.

Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate by Sara Levine, ill. Masha D’Yans

No color choice is random. Your host, a purple prickly pear gives a cantankerous rundown of the job that each color has when a flower wears it and how it uses that color to attract different kinds of critters. A mighty clever way of showing that nature’s a lot smarter than we humans ever give it credit for. Loved D’Yans’ watercolors at work here. If anyone ever tries to tell me that all watercolor art looks the same, I’m pulling this puppy out. It’s really the perfect accompaniment to all the crazy cool facts inside. I’m still sort of reeling from some of the revelations in here.

Go for the Moon: A Rocket, a Boy, and the First Moon Landing by Chris Gall

Someday I’m going to make a booklist of picture books about authors and big moment in their youth. Things like Billy’s Booger by William Joyce and Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down by Mark Alan Stamaty. This would fall under the same auspices and it’s really nice! I’m rather enamored of Brian Floca’s Moonshot, but Gall manages to weasel into all the nooks and crannies that Floca didn’t cover. Technical stuff, like the weight of the engine, the height of it, and how the heck you get from the Columbia to the Eagle at all. Gall’s art is the most realistic I’ve ever seen it, and there’s this keen bit he puts at the end where he sort of shows that if you start off making models of planes, the logical last step would be to build your own in adulthood. Fun Facts, a Glossary, Sources, and Websites round it all off. I know we’re seeing a LOT of moonwalk books this year, but this one is a standout.

Hello, Crochet Friends! by Jonah Larson with Jennifer Larson

Adopted from Ethiopia, Jonah had a hard time concentrating in school. So when his 5th grade teacher suggested he bring in his crochet work, which always calms him down, it led to an amazing transformation. So on first glance this looks like it’s just a crafting book of some sort. Delve a little deeper, though, and you see how it’s actually a rather fascinating story about how crochet took a kid from a form of ADD to quiet contemplation. As one patron (who wanted to check this book out when I was preparing to write this up) put it, “It’s a crafting fidget spinner!”

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

The more I’ve examined this book, the more I’ve come to really love it. A librarian pointed out to me that with the words in bold you can read it for very very young people and then the text for the just slightly older. Honestly, if they don’t turn this into a board book in a couple years they’ll be missing a trick. Portis is at her best here, and look at how she pulls her focus in and out as she displays water in its myriad forms. I love it when it collapses from an ocean to a dewdrop to a tear and then back out as steam and rain. This book is masterful. 

How Did I Get Here? by Philip Bunting

What a treat! We’ve seen a whole slew of picture books talking about the beginning of the universe and how it relates to you directly (heck, last year I think I saw three different titles on the subject). This cover looks awfully goofy so I was all set to disregard it in some way. Instead, it’s a hoot! Super funny. My favorite page, without a doubt, has to be the one where you see all the critters and Bunting writes in a footnote, “Our ancestors first developed eyes at about this stage in our journey. All peepers on creatures and creations before this point in the book have been gratuitously added for comic effect.” So it may just be my overwhelming love of googly eyes that tips the balance, but honestly the writing is great and the art darned peppy.

I Am Billie Jean King by Brad Meltzer, ill. Christopher Eliopoulos

Withhold your sneers, friends! Withhold your judgement. Yes, this is yet another entry in the Meltzer/Eliopoulos juggernaut that is the “Ordinary People Change the World” series. Yet let me draw your attention to a couple facts going on here. First off, as far as I can ascertain, this is the first Billie Jean King picture book biography from a major publisher to be released (this came out February 5th while Mara Rockliff’s Billie Jean! How Tennis Star Billie Jean King Changed Women’s Sports wasn’t out until late August). Think about that a little. The first picture book biography of the woman and it was part of a series. How did it take this long? And why is this one so good? Because crazy as it sounds, this is a really smart take on the woman’s life. It might even be my favorite Meltzer has done to date. Crazy, no?

I’m Trying to Love Math by Bethany Barton

While I wouldn’t normally push a book in a series, this latest Barton title (she already wrote I’m Trying to Love Spiders and Give Bees a Chance) stands alone. First off, finding ANY good math books published in a given year is a near impossible feat. But I’m always secretly hoping I’ll find at least one great one. This year, this might be my math book of choice. It breaks down all the reasons you’re supposed to hate math, shows how it infiltrates every aspect of your life, and is really funny along the way. Who could ask for anything more?

It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear, ill. Julie Morstad

Defying the odds wasn’t just something Gyo Fujikawa did once in a while. This children’s book artist did it her whole life. A stunning encapsulation of the Japanese-American woman who fought racism, sexism, and more through the power of her art. Don’t mind me. I’m just going to raid the children’s room for every book by Gyo Fujikawa now that I know who she was and what she accomplished in her life. Through Gyo’s story we learn about the Japanese internment camps (that image of her mom burning her possessions is amazing), WWII prejudice against Asian-Americans, sexism, and even racism in the publishing industry. Maclear uses Gyo’s life as a template for the wider world, but never loses focus. The premise is that this person is extraordinary, and she really and truly is.

Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines by Sarah Aronson, ill. Robert Neubecker

Two years ago my family bought a Rube Goldberg calendar and my daughter hasn’t stopped talking about it since. I was so pleased with the look, the feel, and the telling of this tale. I adored the endpapers! And yeah, we’re going to get complaints about the gun, but I don’t care, it made me laugh out loud. Beautifully rendered and a wonderful encapsulation. Plus, Neubecker clearly put his heart and soul into the art.

Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet by Curtis Manley, ill. Jessica Lanan

I’m giving this extra points for really clarifying, and making kid-friendly, the parameters for a habitable planet. Kids wonder about whether or not there are aliens out there, so this book gives the scientifically minded amongst them a concrete explanation of what it would take. I didn’t know anything about the “habitable zone” (where a planet can have liquid, but it’s just the right distance from its sun). And I kind of geeked out over the different planets that we’ve ruled out or the fact that a star twinkles because a planet has passed between us and its light (so cool!!). Yeah. I like this book.

Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando by Andrea Wang, ill. Kana Urbanowicz

After the devastation of WWII, Momofuku Ando became obsessed with the notion of creating cheap, delicious, nutritious food for the poor. Behold! The birth of ramen as we know and love it today! See, this is why I love nonfiction so freaking much. Books like this one. They take a subject that I’m not particularly interested in (the invention of ramen) and make it FASCINATING. It grabbed me right at the title page, where you see this devastated post-WWII Japan, just leveled and crumbling. The story is incredibly fun, vibrant, and written so well. Did I mention I love this? I love this!!!

Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch, ill. Teresa Martínez

What do you do when you can see a looming disaster that could wipe out all life on earth and nobody will listen to you? A stellar bio of Nobel Prize winner Mario Molina, who discovered the dangers of CFCs. This is the book that dropped David Diaz as its illustrator when the #MeToo stuff about him broke. And you know what? I think I like the art by Martínez more than I ever did the art by Diaz. One reason might be the fact that Diaz is all about otherworldly looks and Martínez is all about emotion. You actually like Mario quite a lot in this version. You feel for the guy. I just felt more tied into the material and his struggles to get the world to listen to something they didn’t want to hear. It’s also realistic while remaining hopeful. Mario says that now he’s looking to warn the world about global warming, and you are left hoping that maybe  he’ll succeed. There is some fake dialogue in the front but the author addresses this, saying it came straight from interviews from Mario himself, so I think that covers her bases. Worthy, necessary stuff.

Monument Maker: Daniel Chester French and the Lincoln Memorial by Linda Booth Sweeney, ill. Shawn Fields

“A sculptor is nine-tenths mechanic, and one-tenth poet.” – Daniel Chester French. This book has to fight an uphill battle. First off, it’s almost entirely done in black and white. Second, the subject matter sounds boring. Oh goody. Another book about making a sculpture. Haven’t we had enough Statue of Liberty/Mount Rushmore books to last us a good long while? And then, at the beginning, I thought I was reading fake dialogue so I was out. But then, as I read the book I was stunned by the elasticity of the writing, the imagination in the art, and the fact that almost every single piece of dialogue (save one at the beginning and I can let it slide) is accounted for with meticulous notes in the back. The story turns out to be thrilling! The backmatter is hugely informative and downright interesting. Add in the fact that Sweeney mentions multiple times the contributions of black laborers (and the fact that they were not allowed to attend the dedication in a proper location making it “a stain on that day”) and ties the memorial to three pivotal points in history (Marian Anderson, MLK, and Obama). This is a jaw-dropper of a book. Give it a look.

Moth: An Evolution Story by Isabel Thomas, ill. Daniel Egnéus

Oh, lovely lovely, how lovely this book is. The story of the peppered moths that adapted and then un-adapted to pollution on the trees has always stood as sort of the quintessential evolution story but until now no one’s ever tried to turn it into a picture book. I remember when parents would wander into the library looking for ANY kind of book that contained an explanation of evolution (still happens, I hear). This book is as good a recounting of natural selection as ever you could find. Plus the cover is shiny. Soooo shiiiiny….

Our World Is Relative by Julia Sooy, ill. Molly Walsh

Well, this breaks down the concept of relativity to its most basic form and in a comprehensible way that kids can understand. Also, and this is important, the book isn’t afraid of numbers. I cannot tell you how many books with mathical leanings avoid the presence of numbers like the plague. Throughout the book it shows how something you see one way could be flipped and seen another way. It reminded me quite a bit of that bookabout opposites, Double Take! A New Look at Opposites by Susan Hood and Jay Fleck.

Out of This World: The Surreal Art of Leonora Carrington by Michelle Markel, ill. Amanda Hall

Markel and Hall paired previously on a picture book biography of Henri Rousseau that I adored (The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau), so I was predisposed to like this one. It most certainly doesn’t disappoint. First off, I didn’t even know there was a female surrealist painter. After reading this book I immediately set off to find out more about her. Second, Markel plays fair with the text and Hall does a marvelous job of invoking Carrington’s art without copying it, which is a difficult trick. It’d call this one a stellar bio of a little known name.

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein, ill. Jerry Pinkney

King’s speech at the 1963 March on Washington is legendary now, but creating it was no easy task. In this wholly original true story, kids learn about the collaboration and last minute inspiration that led to the “I Have a Dream” speech we know today. It is incredibly difficult to come up with a Martin Luther King Jr. book that (A) Is any good and (B) Has a new way to present information about his life for a young audience. Yet I ended up so impressed with this title that I started searching about to see if Wittenstein had done other works of nonfiction in the past. He had, but I feel like he’s stepped it up considerably with this title. Now you know how crazy I get when it comes to fictionalized elements in nonfiction stories. The quotes in this book are all cited with their sources at the end, and there is a kind of dreamy moment with King thinking about the ones who came before as he tries to write, but I found it forgiveable and unspecific enough that it doesn’t louse everything up. The construction of the book is expert, the art some of Pinkney’s best, there’s a nuance to the character of King that’s rare in a book for children, and it’s honestly a story about the man that I didn’t know before.

Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by Bethany Hegedus, ill. Tonya Engel

Small and vulnerable, young Maya moved from place to place with her brother Bailey, enduring abuse and ultimately rising above it all to become a national treasure. Sumptuous art and brave writing tell her story with honesty and love. It isn’t enough for the subject of a book to be interesting or even to have had an interesting life. In every picture book biography the story needs a hook. Something you can grab onto, that takes that person and that life and makes it more than just a rote set of facts. You have to be emotionally engaged with the material. Now I had to wonder, walking into a biography of Maya Angelou, how the author was going to handle the sexual abuse. Would she shy away from it or face it head on? I think the balance found here is extraordinary. It’s presented in such a way where it’s appropriate for younger kids, but for those who are older there’s backmatter that contains websites “for those who may be affected or wish to support someone affected by sexual violence.” There’s also an impressive Bibliography and (my favorite) where all the quotation sources come from. Oh. And did I mention that the art is AMAZING? Who is the Tonya Engel and how can we see more of her work?

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. Frank Morrison

Reviewers get sort of hooked on the use of the same words over and over. If I ever did a wordcloud of my own adjectives and descriptors, “vibrant” would probably come up as overused. But boy oh boy oh boy, if any book deserved the term it would be this one. This is, without a doubt, the best thing Frank Morrison has ever done. From the moment he won a John Steptoe Award back in 2004 for Jazzy Miz Mozetta I’ve been hoping for a book like this. Likewise, you get the distinct feeling that he’s been waiting his whole life to do this book, and it shows.

Skulls! by Blair Thornburgh, ill. Scott Campbell

“Skulls are safe and snug, like a car seat for your brain.” The kickiest little human body book you ever did see. First off, killer cover, so I have to give it points right there. Then there’s the fact that Scott Campbell was an ideal choice for the art. He manages to present these skulls in a really non-creepy way. Well.. okay, they’re still creepy but they’re FUN creepy! Great backmatter (“Cool Skull Facts!”) and just a lovely paean to your own strong body.

Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution by Rob Sanders, ill. Jamey Christoph

I think we could not have had this book, in its current form, anytime before this moment in time. I did like the conceit of centering Stonewall on its location and base, from stables to bar. The artist also did good research, so it looks accurate. I used to walk by the Stonewall Inn on my way to work in Greenwich Village, so that’s nice. All told, I think this is a strong bit of writing with really remarkable art. I’ve never really ever seen anything like this book before.

The Truth About Crocodiles by Maxwell Eaton III

I don’t suppose it’s very fair to keep putting Eaton’s books in this series onto my lists. I wouldn’t, honestly, if it weren’t for the not insignificant fact that they’re all brilliant. This Croc book is no exception. Tons, LOADS, of good information all told with humor. One of my favorites in the series, to be perfectly frank.

Two Brothers, Four Hands: The Artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, ill. Hadley Hooper

One was a dedicated, quiet artist determined to make his mark on the world. The other, a vagabond no-goodnik, dedicated to his brother. Together, the Giacometti brothers would revolutionize the art world, but first they had to figure out their own individual styles. Greenberg and Jordan have been working on these kinds of unusual picture book biographies for years. This one is deep and rich, but at its heart it’s about the connection between two brothers who are also artists. One of the things I liked the most about it was how well it shows how no artist knows what they want to do or whom they want to be when they’re starting out. And sometimes it can take decades. A strangely supportive work of encouragement for young artists everywhere. Oh, and the art is keen.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, ill. Kadir Nelson

I’ve always said that Kadir Nelson just needed the right author to reach his full picture book potential. So why did it never occur to me that Kwame Alexander would be his perfect match? This is pure Kwame and pure Kadir mixed in the best possible way. It’s a poem extended into a book, which could be completely prosaic but instead ends up gorgeous and meaningful. I feel like the author and the illustrator did exactly what they set out to do. Plus, check out how Kadir changed up his style in some of these spreads! I absolutely love the list of “Historical Figures and Events Featured In The Undefeated” at the back, because there were a couple people here I didn’t recognize. Yeah, this is gold.

Wait, Rest, Pause: Dormancy in Nature by Marcie Flinchum Atkins

When the going gets tough, the tough wait, rest, and pause. Magnificent photography introduces dormancy to the youngest of readers. I don’t even know where to begin in my praise of this. All you need to see is the cover with its frozen ladybugs to see how the photography is just jaw-dropping. Then there’s the simplicity of the text, which makes dormancy (not hibernation) understandable to the youngest of readers. The backmatter distinguishes between Plant Dormancy, Diapause, Hibernation, Torpor, Brumation, and Estivation and look at that Bibliography!! Teachers, your favorite book has arrived. One of my clever co-workers even noticed that you could use this book with kids to get them to take a moment, stop, and slow down. She suggested pairing it with Quiet by Tomie de Paola and A Stone Sat Still by Brenden Wenzel. Brilliant.

What Is a Refugee? by Elise Gravel

The simplest explanation of all things refugee you’ve ever encountered. Gravel turns her attention from mushrooms to people, and just happens to take on one of the most serious topics imaginable. It’s the simplicity of this that I liked. Yes, it sort of brushes over some pretty complicated topics (like why countries have closed borders to refugees) in an effort to cull everything down to the most essential parts. I was particularly taken with the interviews at the end with real refugee children. Also, this is the second nonfiction book I’ve seen including Freddie Mercury this year.

What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barrett, ill. Diana Sudyka

In the 1840s Maria Mitchell was taught to “sweep the sky” using her father’s telescope. Being the first to spot a comet wasn’t the plan. A marvelously wrought tale, gorgeously rendered, of an early woman scientist. There are a lot of things I like about this book, actually. I like that it’s nonfiction and fun but that the dialogue, when it appears, is in the art and not the text (and sounds like it’s real anyway, but there you go). I like that this is, without a doubt, the best art I’ve seen from Sudyka to date (and she’s an Evanston local, so woohoo!). And though this is entirely personal, I like that the heroine is a Quaker. Not a lot of Quaker bios out there for kids. Oh! And did I mention that Barrett is a REALLY good writer? See, this is what I mean when I’m talking about picture book biographies that are above average. Beautifully rendered with excellent writing.

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

December 1 – Great Board Books

December 2 – Board Book Reprints & Adaptations

December 3 – Transcendent Holiday Picture Books

December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds

December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books

December 6 – Funny Picture Books

December 7 – CaldeNotts

December 8 – Picture Book Reprints

December 9 – Math Books for Kids

December 10 – Bilingual Books

December 11 – Books with a Message

December 12 – Fabulous Photography

December 13 – Translated Picture Books

December 14 – Fairy Tales / Folktales / Religious Tales

December 15 – Wordless Picture Books

December 16 – Poetry Books

December 17 – Easy Books

December 18 – Early Chapter Books

December 19 – Comics & Graphic Novels

December 20 – Older Funny Books

December 21 – Science Fiction Books

December 22 – Informational Fiction

December 23 – American History

December 24 – Science & Nature Books

December 25 – Unconventional Children’s Books

December 26 – Unique Biographies

December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books

December 28 – Nonfiction Books for Older Readers

December 29 – Older Reprints

December 30 – Middle Grade Novels

December 31 – Picture Books

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.


  1. Sharon Verbeten says

    What about Nine Months by Miranda Paul, with illustrations by Jason Chin? One of my faves, on a great and much-needed topic, by an outstanding author and Caldecott Honor illustrator.

    • Apparently I put that one (which I also love) on the Informational Fiction list because of the side story of the girl and her parents. It could probably go here too without a single eyebrow raised.