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How are there only 4 more months left in 2017?
“Where-Has-The-Year-Gone?!” Hysteria aside, it is Book Week here in Australia.
A perfect time to celebrate the books that I think are the best picture books of 2017 (so far.)
With Christmas just around the corner, you might want to pin some of these for Christmas presents. (Yes. I just mentioned the C-word.)
In no particular order….
Gary by Leila Rudge
Awarded an Honour in the Early Childhood category for 2017, this is the story of Gary, a racing pigeon who cannot fly.
On race day when the other pigeons set out in the travel basket, he spends his time sticking mementos into his travel scrapbook. Despite never having left the safe surrounds of home.
Until one day, he finds himself far from home and creates his own adventure.
A heartwarming story about embracing your differences and challenging the norms.
Whoever would have thought a pigeon could be so endearing?!
Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann
My words will never do justice to this exquisite book.
A polar bear appears in the woods. The other animals are filled with mistrust.
Why does he keep covering himself in leaves? What does he want?
This glorious book gently highlights the plight of polar bears in a warmer world.
More importantly, we are shown how xenophobia is poisonous to us all. How outsiders need our kindness and helping hands more than our judgement.
Seems pretty apt for our current world situation, no?
Archie and the Bear by Zanni Louise and David Mackintosh
Archie is a boy who believes he is a bear. The bear is a bear who believes he is a boy.
This is a story that touches on the big emotions that children encounter when they feel they are not being taken seriously.
The genius of this book is that the reader is complicit in the knowledge that the boy is a boy, not a bear, and the bear is a bear and not a boy.
However, as readers we can fully empathise with the feeling of being misunderstood.
The two characters strike up an unlikely friendship based on this ability to accept each other as they are (or as they think they are.) They are happy to be mutually delusional together.
David Mackintosh’s mixed media illustrations are genius. As always.
This is an emotional, exquisite and wonderfully wacky book.
You can read more about Zanni Louise in this Oh Creative Lady interview.
Slow Down, World by Tai Snaith
You know that pose at the end of a yoga class where you are encouraged to just lie still and breathe for a bit? (AKA my favourite part.)
This book is like THAT.
As you turn the pages, you feel your breath slow.
In a world that glorifies Busy, this book reminds us of how much we miss by galloping through life. How important it is to stop and marvel at the world around us.
A beautiful ode to mindfulness.
The illustrations were created using clay and paper. They are out of this world.
Play by Jez Alborough
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of wordless picture books because HELLO, visual literacy!
But I hear ya, sometimes they can be hard, as a parent, to “read” to and with your littles.
It requires you to do a lot of hard work- scaffolding the reading of the images and navigating the narrative.
This book is on high rotation here.
Although not entirely wordless, it provides the perfect amount of minimal text whilst leaving enough space for littles to read the images to tell the story.
All text is presented in speech or thought bubbles- it’s a rad text for emergent readers and a great almost-intro to wordless wonders.
Here’s a list of my fave wordless books.
Parents everywhere will also empathise with the story- it’s bedtime for Bobo but all he wants to do is PLAY!
Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bell and Alison Colpoys
This is a gentle but riotously colourful celebration of the omnipresence of love.
A reminder for Smalls (and Bigs) that no matter what situations they find themselves in, whenever they are feeling anxious, alone or scared- they are shielded under somebody’s Love Umbrella.
Love really is all around.
The diversity of characters and family situations depicted in the awesome-sauce illustrations is outstanding.
ABC Pop Up by Courtney Watson McCarthy
Just when you think you don’t need another alphabet book… this is basically the alphabet book to end all alphabet books.
It will wow the kids (and big kids) with it’s amazing feats of paper engineering.
Never did the alphabet look so good.
Once Upon a Small Rhinoceros by Meg McKinlay and Leila Rudge
My sign for a good book is when I let out an audible sigh at the conclusion of the first read.
This book made me do just that.
It’s the tale of a small rhino with a big case of wanderlust.
She defies the limiting beliefs of the homebody rhinos around here, builds a boat and sets out to see the world.
A gorgeous story about ignoring the naysayers, embracing adventure and chasing your dreams.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Favallo
Malala. Yusra Mardini. Ada Lovelace. Serena Williams. Frida Kahlo.
This remarkable book introduces us to 100 amazing women from all nationalities and walks of life.
Each spread contains a mini biography on the left and a portrait on the right, illustrated by one of the sixty female artists from across the world who were commissioned to illustrate this book.
A must-have for any fierce little female’s book collection.
Doodle Cat is Bored by Kat Patrick and Lauren Marriott
Doodle Cat is an irreverent but endearing feline dude.
And he is bored.
Until he finds a thing. A doodling thing.
Doodle Cat lets his imagination run wild, and in doing so, reminds us to always seek the creative in the everyday.
You can learn more about Kat Patrick in this Oh Creative Lady interview.
A Year Full of Stories by Angela McAllister and Christopher Corr
So technically this book was published in 2016- but it’s so good it needs a mention.
We gave this one to our daughter for her 4th birthday.
Filled to the brim with fairy tales, traditional stories and illustrations that will make your eyes water at their beauty.
Double Take by Susan Hood and Jay Fleck
The best book on opposites that I have come across.
This book is all about perspective.
Check out the trailer.
For Australians – When I purchase my books, I use Booktopia.Booktopia are having their last FREE SHIPPING OFFER for 2017.
Simply enter SMART at checkout. Place an order and spend a minimum of $17 before Midnight, Wednesday November 8th (AEST and NZST.)
The promotion code field where you enter the word SMART is on the last page of the checkout just before you complete your order (Payment and Review). Under Order Summary, click the plus symbol to expand the section so you can enter the code.
Please note: You may need to click the word “Apply” next to the promotion code field to receive your free shipping discount if it has not automatically applied it.
Their prices are competitive and their delivery is prompt. The images and titles of each book will take you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. As a Booktopia Affiliate, purchases clicked through from my blog result in a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books! Commission is used to maintain Oh Creative Day. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy here.
Not Australian? The Amazon links will take you to Amazon. I am also an affiliate with Amazon and will receive a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books. Thanks for your support. Happy reading!