I know that as soon as I publish this post, I’m going to think of at least 5 other picture books that should appear on this list.
Here are my top 15 picture book choices for 2015.
It was a good year for picture books…
I’ll remember 2015 as the year that I discovered picture books published by minibombo in Italy.
MiniBombo books use simple design to create “little books buzzing with big ideas.”
Praise be to Walker Books who have brought these magnificent books to Australia.
The following minibombo title is a wordless wonder.
The White Book by Silvia Borando, Elisabetta Pica and Lorenzo Clerici
A little painter faces a blank white wall and amazing creations appear with each new layer of paint.
An utterly charming story about the surprises hidden within the pages of a book.
You can watch the book trailer here and see the associated games and activities.
Black Cat, White Cat by Silvia Borando
A lovely tale of how others can introduce us to a whole new world of experiences.
Black Cat only ever goes out in the day. White Cat only ever goes out in the night.
When they decide to explore the world of the other, their paths cross.
A palette of black, white and grey illustrations lead to a surprise colourful ending.
You can watch the trailer here.
Where’s the Elephant? By Barroux
2015 was the year of many magnificent wordless picture books.
This book technically has 9 words contained within it’s pages.
Where’s the elephant? Where’s the parrot? Where’s the snake?
These words appear on the first double-page spread. The rest of the book is wordless.
This book starts as a colourful, cheerful Where’s Wally-esque book.
As you turn the pages, it becomes apparent that it actually very seriously addresses the issue of deforestation.
It took my breath away.
Float by Daniel Miyares
Another wordless wonder, told with a simple palette of greys, whites, blacks and yellows.
It follows the adventures of an imaginative little boy and his paper boat in a downpour.
(The endpapers show you how to fold your own paper boat.)
It is a tale that transcends words.
Footpath Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson and Sydney Smith
A little girl follows her distracted dad as they walk through an urban landscape.
He fails to take in the beauty around him as he rushes around. She stops to pick wild flowers.
Each flower becomes a gift for a person or animal that she encounters.
This book celebrates the small acts that make a big difference in the every day.
Possibly my favourite of ALL the books of 2015. (Big call!)
This wordless book was selected to be gifted to every Syrian refugee family entering Canada as a gift of welcome and support.
The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade by Davina Bell and Alison Colpoys
Anxiety is a tough emotion for kids to deal with.
This book gently and exquisitely explores the anxiety that little Alfie deals with on the day before the underwater fancy-dress parade.
The illustrations are grey with pops of fluorescent colour.
This is a masterpiece- a book that lingers with you long after you’ve read the final word.
The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty by Beatrice Alemagna
Beatrice Alemagna is one of my favourite illustrator/ authors. Her work is charming and quirky.
Eddie thinks she isn’t very good at anything.
On the morning of Mum’s birthday, she hears her sister say, “Fluffy…. Squishy… Itty… Bitty.”
So Eddie sets off on an adventure through the streets of Paris to find the perfect Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty for mum (without knowing what a Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty is- nor do the shopkeepers she visits.)
It turns out that Eddie is very good at finding a Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty.
Watch a clip of it here.
Frank by Connah Brecon
I grabbed this book off the library shelf purely based on it’s cover.
I was wooed by that funky-looking teddy.
This book contains not 1, but 2, dance-offs.
If that’s not reason enough to seek it out, then I don’t know what is!
Frank’s problem is that he is never on time.
He is always stopping to help and connect with others.
This is a whimsical read, with a good dose of wacky thrown in.
What’s Up, MuMu? by David Mackintosh
David Mackintosh is a legend in his own right. But this book came with an endorsement from Oliver Jeffers on the cover. OLIVER JEFFERS, people!
MuMu is having one of those days where he just feels blah.
His friend Lox thinks he can help shake the blah feeling by taking MuMu to do all of his favourite things.
Nothing seems to work and in the process, this makes Lox feel blah.
At which point MuMu steps in to try and help Lox shake his blah mood.
This is a story about friendship, patience and skyscrapers.
Quirky, fun and filled with amazingly awesome, graphic illustrations.
It Might Be An Apple by Shinsuke Yoshitake
A boy walks into a room and sees an apple on a table.
Is it really an apple?
Maybe it’s his grandma in disguise?
Maybe it’s a star from outer space containing a space ship of aliens?
How many alternative uses can you come up with for an apple?
This book encourages us to use our imagination and promotes deep questioning.
This wild and wacky tale encourages readers to be curious about the world around them.
It’s a visual feast with a limited colour palette and super cool layouts.
After reading it for the first time, I went back and re-read it 3 times.
A book that can be used across age groups. Younger children will find it amusing.
It could be used for older children for discussions around philosophy and lateral thinking.
Being Agatha by Anna Pignataro
This is a gorgeous book about celebrating differences.
Agatha, with her bear daddy and pig mummy, is different from the other kids.
This is reinforced when she begins kindergarten.
Miss Tibble leads a discussion on what makes each one of us special.
As each student highlights their own unique qualities, Agatha employs very impressive avoidance strategies to get out of the discussion.
With a little help from her friends, Agatha realises that being Agatha is what makes her special.
There is no one else more Agatha than Agatha.
A gorgeous and gentle story accompanied by beautiful, whimsical illustrations.
Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers
Where do imaginary friends go when their real-life friend moves on?
Fred appears when he is needed and the conditions are just right.
He is the best imaginary friend one could ask for.
What happens when he is summoned by Sam?
How are things different this time round when Sam finds a real-life friend?
A quirky, heart-warming ode to friendship.
Because friendship is friendship, real or imaginary.
The Colfers/ Jeffers combo is as dynamite as you’d expect.
Little Kunoichi the Ninja Girl by Sanae Ishida
A tale about perseverance and hard work.
As soon as I saw these illustrations I knew I would love this book.
It’s quirky, it’s charming and the girl protagonist is delightful and endearing.
Little Kunoichi goes to Ninja School where she struggles with her lessons.
She teams up with equally hapless ninja trainee, Chibi Samurai to “shugyo” (train like crazy.)
They train like crazy and showcase their skills at the Island Festival.
There is a gorgeous, subtle humour underpinning the story, but we also feel great empathy for Little K and Chibi.
At story’s end, there is an end note filled with information about the Japanese cultural references within the text.
I felt a bit bitter about having to return this to the library.
Jill and Dragon by Lesley Barnes
Does everybody really live happily ever after in a picture book?
Jill notices that the dragon at the end of her book is unhappy.
He is unhappy because the King resents him for always burning everything and setting things on fire.
Jill takes him under her wing and devises a plan to earn Dragon favour with the King.
(It involves toast and is ingenious/hilarious.)
The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith
The tale of a fox whose way is lit by his only friend, a star in the night sky.
Until one night, Star is not there and Fox must face the darkness alone.
An incredibly moving story about opening your eyes an always looking at the world with fresh eyes.
The elegant and intricate illustrations are other-worldly (as you’d expect from the legendary Bickford-Smith.)
(I actually bought this book as a birthday present from myself to myself. It’s that good.)
What books made your heart sing in 2015?
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