Children's Lit: 4 Picture Books I'm Loving This Month / by Madeleine Riley

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One of my goals for Top Shelf Text in 2018 is to expand my children's literature content. When I first started blogging four years ago, my blog content was pretty fairly split between adult and children's literature. In the past couple years, I've leaned more towards adult literature, but kid lit still has my heart. 

When I do read children's literature, I mostly enjoy middle grade novels. These are books that are written for 8-12 year olds, and some of my favorites are just as entertaining and enthralling as adult fiction novels! (I'll share some of those in another post.)

Despite my love for all things middle grade, one thing that teachers stress in the upper elementary grades is the need for both middle grade and picture books in the classroom. Picture books aren't just for little kids, and much of the time, they can be better appreciated by older readers. 

I've pulled four picture books that I've been loving this month to share with you all. Whether you're a teacher, parent, homeschooling parent, or just love children's lit, I hope you enjoy these picks!


Julia, Child written by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Julie Morstad

Interest level: Grades 1-4

I picked this book up at a local indie bookstore after the cover illustration caught my eye. I love the simple, gorgeous illustrations within and the message inside. I'd love to see this in the hands of little girls, as a reminder that food and friendship are a source of joy.

Synopsis: Julia and Simca are two young friends who agree that you can never use too much butter -- and that it is best to be a child forever. Sharing a love of cooking and having no wish to turn into big, busy people who worry too much and dawdle too little, they decide to create a feast for growing and staying young. A playful, scrumptious celebration of the joy of eating, the importance of never completely growing up, and mastering the art of having a good time, "Julia, Child" is a fictional tale loosely inspired by the life and spirit of the very real Julia Child - a story that should be taken with a grain of salt and a generous pat of butter.


I Am Famous written by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Interest level: Grades PreK - 1

NOTE: I received this title c/o Blue Slip Media.

I was instantly charmed by the character of Kiely, who reminds me so much of one particularly sassy and charming little in my own life. If you have a dramatic little who dreams of being a star, this is such a fun story to share.

Synopsis: Kiely knows she is famous! The paparazzi (her parents) follow her every move, documenting with cameras. It’s exhausting being famous, but someone has to do it! She even gets to perform a big song at her grandfather’s birthday. When she messes it up, she’s worried she’s lost her audience forever, but it turns out that no one is as loyal as her fans who love her.


The Boo-Boos that Changed the World written by Barry Wittenstein, illustrated by Chris Hsu

Interest level: Grades 2 - 5

NOTE: I received this title c/o Blue Slip Media.

I was so fascinated by this story about the origin of the band-aid! As a teacher, I spend a good deal of time doling out band-aids post-recess, so I think this title will appeal to parents, teachers, and kids alike. When I was little, I had a book all about accidental inventions, and it was my favorite source for fun facts. This true story is told in a humorous way. Added bonus: the inventor came up with the idea because he had an accident prone wife. As a relatively clumsy human, I identified with that and found it to be very endearing.

Synopsis: Did you know Band-Aids were invented by accident?! And that they weren't mass-produced until the Boy Scouts gave their seal of approval? 1920s cotton buyer Earle Dickson worked for Johnson & Johnson and had a klutzy wife who often cut herself. The son of a doctor, Earle set out to create an easier way for her to bandage her injuries. Band-Aids were born, but Earle's bosses at the pharmaceutical giant weren't convinced, and it wasn't until the Boy Scouts of America tested Earle's prototype that this ubiquitous household staple was made available to the public. Soon Band-Aids were selling like hotcakes, and the rest is boo-boo history.


The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath written by Julia Finley Mosca, illustrated by Daniel Rieley

Interest level: K - 5

NOTE: I received this title c/o The Innovation Press

This is one of my favorite picture books so far this year. It's the second book in the Amazing Scientists Series and it comes from a publisher dedicated to diversity in children's literature. This biographical picture book focuses on Dr. Patricia Bath, an African American female scientist who made amazing strides in medicine and science during the era of Civil Rights. This is one book I'd put in the hands of all young readers, as proof that big dreams can be realized, even in the face of adversity.

Synopsis: As a girl coming of age during the Civil Rights Movement, Patricia Bath made it her mission to become a doctor. When obstacles like racism, poverty, and sexism threatened this goal, she persevered―brightening the world with a game-changing treatment for blindness! 
The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath is the second book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists! In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you'll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Dr. Bath herself!

I'd love to hear about your experience reading children's lit! Are you a parent, teacher, or librarian? What level of kid lit do you most enjoy reading? What kinds of kid lit content would you like to see here on TST?

Let me know in the comments below!