2018 was a terrific year for picture books. Looking back, there are some trends and common themes from this year’s best books. Immigration, diversity, empathy and kindness all seemed to take the top spots. What do you think 2019 will look like?
There were SO many great books about what it is like to come to America, to assimilate, and to experience generational differences in immigrant families. For me, this was the top trend for this year. With so many books this year, I wonder if this trend will continue in 2019?
Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
A Different Pond by Bao Phi
Islandborn by Junot Díaz
Drawn Together by Minh Lê
Books about Acceptance/LGBTQ:
I read Julián is a Mermaid to my kids and was first struck by the evocative, beautiful illustrations. But what I liked most about the book was that it didn’t preach. The message is shown through the grandmother’s gentle acceptance of Julián.
Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack
This is a theme that never goes out of style for picture books. I loved Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse. It led to a wonderful conversation with my kids about understanding other people’s situations and that not everything in life has a right or wrong answer.
Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell
Love by Matt de la Peña
I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët
The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
Children Being Eaten:
O.K. – I am only being half-serious here. But in the span of three weeks – I read two great picture books and watched a Pixar animated short about children being eaten. I don’t know – maybe it’s a thing?
Eat Pete! by Michael Rex
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
Bao – (If you saw Incredibles 2, this Pixar short was screened before the movie)
Our Family’s Favorites:
For me, the time I spend reading to my kids at night is often the sweetest, quietest, calmest part of my day. We are always looking for a funny, lighthearted story. Our favorites this (and every year!) are the stories that makes us laugh – dragons that like spicy tacos, crayons escaping the crayon box, and anything involving a nervous elephant and a gregarious pink pig. I think my favorite book this year was The Wall in Middle of the Book. For my kids, it was silly and fun, while feeling new and fresh. For adults, it had a sweet winking humor.
What about 2019? Do you think these trends will continue? What kinds of picture books do you want to see published in the coming year?