The Books

What makes a Picture the Books book special? Each one is the first picture book from a rising star in children’s literature!! Remember how great it feels to discover a new band, a new restaurant, a new artist  – and then to tell all your friends about it? Picture the Books helps you discover new talents as they emerge on the picture book scene! Which books will you rave about? You can pre-order many of these books today to show your excitement and support for debut book creators.

heretothereA BOOK OF BRIDGES: HERE TO THERE AND ME TO YOU, illustrated by Celia Krampien (Sleeping Bear Press, February 2017) is Cheryl Keely’s debut picture book. Bridges are some of the most fascinating structures in our landscape, and they come in all forms.  From towering suspension bridges to humble stone crossings, this book visits them all in sweet, bouncing text with expository sidebars. But while bridges can be quite grand, this reminds us that their main purpose is bringing people together. Pre-order Here to There and Me to You from IndieBound or wherever you buy your favorite books.


A SYMPHONY OF COWBELLS (Sleeping Bear Press, March 2017) is Heather Preusser’s debut picture book. Petra just loves spring in Gimmelwald. Each season she and her family lead their prize dairy cows into the pastures to graze and each cow wears her own jingling, jangling, clanging bell. What a symphony! But when Petra’s favorite cow, Elfi, loses her bell the whole herd is out of harmony and refuses to move. Will Petra be able to find Elfi’s bell before it’s too late? With charming illustrations by Eileen Ryan Ewen, this whimsical story is sure to delight children and adults alike. You can pre-order A SYMPHONY OF COWBELLS at Indiebound or your favorite bookstore. 

(Frances Lincoln Books, May 2017), is Patricia Toht’s debut picture book. Illustrated by Sam Usher, this collection of fun, child-friendly poems follows a family of four as they explore London, visiting well-known landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, and enjoying iconic experiences like riding the Tube and taking tea. This celebration of London will be loved by both tourists and those who call the city home. ALL ABOARD THE LONDON BUS is available for pre-order, or request it at your favorite bookstore. 

badguyBAD GUY, illustrated by Mike Yamada, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, May 2017) is Hannah Barnaby’s debut picture book . Being a bad guy can be lots of fun. You can trap all of the superheroes in a cage with hungry lions or sail the ocean and keep all the treasure for yourself. You can even eat your little sister’s brain… But this aspiring bad guy is about to learn a valuable lesson from an unlikely culprit. Hannah Barnaby’s humor and spare text are brought to life by Mike Yamada’s bold illustrations in this charming picture book about the special bond between brothers and sisters. Request BAD GUY at your local book store, or pre-order today. 

batcountBAT COUNT, illustrated by Susan Detwiler, is Anna Forrester’s debut picture book (Arbordale, February 2017). Jojo loves the bats that live on her family’s farm, and knows a lot about them. She is excited to curl up by the campfire with her parents and brothers to count bats flying out from their barn, but worried, too, because so many in the colony have fallen prey to white nose syndrome. BAT COUNT introduces the empowering practice of citizen science with a story of action, reassurance, and hope. You can order BAT COUNT from Indiebound or your favorite book seller today! 


BEAR AND CHICKEN, (Running Press Kids, November 2017), is Jannie Ho’s debut picture book as an author/illustrator. When Bear finds a chicken frozen in the winter snow, he brings it home to try to defrost it. As Chicken thaws—um, awakens—he fears that Bear is actually prepping to eat him. Oh no! All signs are pointing to a fateful end for Chicken—being wrapped like a burrito, chopped basil and veggies sitting on the counter, the huge pot on the stove that’s just the right size for a chicken to fit inside. It’s almost time for lunch, so Chicken makes a run for it! But in the end, Chicken learns that perhaps he too quickly jumped to conclusions. This funny and clever friendship tale teaches kids that things are not always as they seem, while learning a thing or two about making soup with a friend!

bobandjossgetlostBOB AND JOSS GET LOST! is Peter McCleery’s debut picture book (HarperCollins, February 28, 2017). Illustrated by Vin Vogel, this fun, comic escapade follows the misadventures of best friends, yes, you guessed it, Bob and Joss. A classic comedy duo, in the vein of Abbott and Costello, and Elephant and Piggie, Bob and Joss couldn’t be more different. After being shipwrecked on a deserted island, Bob makes a plan. Joss makes do. Bob makes shelter. Joss makes coconut milkshakes. Will they be rescued? The answer will surprise you. Request BOB AND JOSS at your favorite bookstore or order a copy today.


BunnyBear.pngBUNNYBEAR (Albert Whitman & Company, January 31, 2017) is a picture book by debut author Andrea J Loney, illustrated by Carmen Saldana. Bunnybear prefers bouncing in the thicket to tramping in the forest, and in his heart he’s fluffy and tiny, like a rabbit, instead of burly and loud, like a bear. The other bears don’t understand him, and neither do the bunnies. Will Bunnybear ever find a friend who likes him just the way he is? This sweet woodland tale is great for discussions on diversity, acceptance, and friendship. You can order BUNNYBEAR now, or ask for it at your favorite bookseller or library. 


bunnysbookclubBUNNY’S BOOK CLUB, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss, is Annie Silvestro’s debut picture book (Doubleday, February 7, 2017). It tells the story of a book-loving bunny who sneaks books from the library and shares them with his forest friends. A true celebration of the power of books and the one-of-a-kind magic of reading. BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB is available to order online now, or purchase it at your favorite bookstore. 


charlottethescientistissquishedCHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST IS SQUISHED, illustrated by Brianne Farley, (HMHKids/Clarion, March  2017) is Camille Andros’ debut picture book. Charlotte is a serious scientist who solves important problems using the scientific method. With her essential scientific equipment-protective glasses, lab coat, magnifying glass, and clip board-Charlotte tries to solve the problem of not having enough space to conduct her experiments and being squished by her many brothers and sisters(she is a rabbit, after all). This funny, satisfying story is a playful introduction to the scientific method and perfect for sparking an interest in STEM subjects. You can pre-order CHARLOTTE on Indiebound or wherever you buy books.

daddydepotDADDY DEPOT is a debut picture book by Chana Stiefel, illustrated by Andy Snair (Feiwel & Friends, May 16, 2017). Lizzie loves her dad, but he tells the same old jokes, falls asleep during snuggle time, and gets distracted by football while Lizzie does her ballet twirls. When she sees an ad for a store called Daddy Depot, she decides to check it out—and finds dads of all kinds! Will Lizzie find the perfect dad? Join her on this sweet and silly shopping spree that celebrates fathers with lots of love. Pre-order DADDY DEPOT at Indiebound or your favorite book site.


FOUND DOGS (Dial, summer 2017) is a picture book by debut author and illustrator Erica Sirotich. Babies and toddlers will delight in counting each wriggly, wraggly rescue pup, and then counting back down as each doggie is lovingly adopted. A bright, bouncy rhyme, jubilant art, and scads of adorable dogs will have wee ones giggling for more. Pre-order FOUND DOGS today.



(Charlesbridge, March 14, 2017) is a debut picture book by Michelle Schaub, illustrated by Amy Huntington. Spend a day at the farmers’ market with food, fun, and a fresh harvest. Through eighteen lively poems in a variety of formats, follow the adventures of two new friends and their canine companions as they discover how much their is to love at the market. Order FRESH PICKED POETRY online or request it from your local bookstore!  




GARCIA & COLETTE GO EXPLORING, illustrated by Andrew Joyner (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, June 2017) will follow Hannah Barnaby’s debut, BAD GUY. Best friends Garcia and Colette are eager to go exploring, only they can’t agree on where to go. Garcia loves everything about space (Stars! Planets!)­ and Colette is obsessed with the sea (Waves! Fish!). So Garcia builds a rocket ship that’s snazzy and silver, and Colette constructs a shiny submarine that’s perfect for deep-sea dives. And even though the Milky Way really is amazing and the ocean floor is truly spectacular, Garcia and Colette both realize they left something very important back home. 

grandmotherthornGRANDMOTHER THORN (Ripple Grove Press, September 2017) is Katey Howes’ debut picture book. Set in a quiet Japanese village, it explores friendship, nature, and the sweetness found when you let go of the desire for control. This folktale-style story lends itself to discussions of perfection, balance, and beauty. Artist Rebecca Hahn also makes her picture book debut with meticulous, layered and sewn fabric illustrations reminiscent of origami. Pre-order GRANDMOTHER THORN online or request it from your favorite local bookstore!


heretothereA BOOK OF BRIDGES: HERE TO THERE AND ME TO YOU, illustrated by Celia Krampien (Sleeping Bear Press, February 2017) is Cheryl Keely’s debut picture book. Bridges are some of the most fascinating structures in our landscape, and they come in all forms.  From towering suspension bridges to humble stone crossings, this book visits them all in sweet, bouncing text with expository sidebars. But while bridges can be quite grand, this reminds us that their main purpose is bringing people together. Pre-order Here to There and Me to You from IndieBound or wherever you buy your favorite books.


I HAVE A BALLOON, illustrated by Scott Magoon, is Ariel Bernstein’s debut picture book (Simon and Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Fall 2017). Owl has a red balloon. Monkey wants her big, shiny red balloon. Monkey offers to trade Owl every possession he can find until, in desperation, he’s left offering a sock. But when Owl points out that this sock has a star and a perfectly shaped hole, Monkey has a pretty tough decision to make. Pre-Order I HAVE A BALLOON from Simon and Schuster or your favorite bookseller!  




I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES is Alison Goldberg’s debut picture book, illustrated by Mike Yamada (Farrar Straus Giroux, December 2017). This sweet story compares a parent’s love to the size and strength of trucks, boats, planes, and trains. Pre-order I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES online or request it at your favorite bookstore!



ItsGreatBeingADad.pngIT’S GREAT BEING A DAD, written by Dan Bar-el, (Tundra, April 2017) is Gina Perry’s debut picture book. In DAD, a gang of mythical creatures is roaming around a magical land having a great time, until Bigfoot gets his foot stuck in a tree trunk and Unicorn gets her horn impaled on a table and Robot’s saw-arm gets rusted into position. But have no fear! Dad is there to fix things–even when a Sneaky Flying Alligator Pirate steals the Fairy Queen Ballerina Doctor’s wand. Pre-order IT’S GREAT BEING A DAD from Amazon or wherever you buy books.

JabariJumpsJABARI JUMPS, written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall, (Candlewick Press, May 2017) is her debut picture book. Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for. You can pre-order JABARI JUMPS from Amazon or wherever you buy books.

littleredrollsawayLITTLE RED ROLLS AWAY
(Sleeping Bear Press, April 2017) Illustrated by Jennifer Morris, is Linda Whalen’s debut picture book. When Little Red Barn wakes one morning, he finds he is empty and alone. Noisy machines lift him up and put him on a truck. As Little Red is transported across the countryside, down a major river, and through city streets Little Red finds he doesn’t like this trip one bit. When he finally reaches his new home he is surprised and pleased. The story of the little barn’s relocation and adjustment to a new place will reassure and comfort young readers facing changes in their own lives.

lovetriangleLOVE, TRIANGLE, illustrated by Bob Shea (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, Fall 2017) is Marcie Colleen’s debut picture book. Ever since they were a dot and a speck, Circle and Square have been the best of friends. Then someone new comes along: a cool, exciting Triangle. And three starts to feel like a crowd. With their friendship bent out of shape, can they put it back together again?


MagnoliaMudd.pngMAGNOLIA MUDD AND THE SUPER JUMPTASTIC LAUNCHER DELUXE, illustrated by Valerio Fabretti (Sterliing, Fall 2017), releases just after Katey Howes‘ debut book, Grandmother Thorn.  Irrepressibly inventive Magnolia Mudd lives for Fridays, when she and her rocket-scientist uncle create incredible new contraptions. But when adorkable Uncle Jamie announces his engagement to oh-so-fancy Miss Emily, Mags must find a Mudd-powered way to be part of the big day – or end up flinging flowers in a frilly dress. A perfect book to inspire young inventors and mighty girls, Magnolia Mudd weaves together STEM concepts and wedding traditions from around the world. It’s available for pre-order now.


MARIGOLD BAKES A CAKE (Philomel, June 2017) is Mike Malbrough’s debut picture book. Marigold is a fussy cat that likes everything just so. He sets aside a special Monday for what he loves to do most… bake fancy cakes…alone. When unexpected visitors show up, this proper puss has to hold it together or risk ruining his recipe, and his perfectly planned day. Pre-order MARIGOLD online or from your favorite bookseller.



MartisSong.pngMARTÍ’S SONG FOR FREEDOM, a biography of Cuban poet and national hero José Martí, is Emma Otheguy’s debut picture book. José Martí is celebrated throughout Latin America for his poetry and his leadership in the fight for Cuban independence, but few people know that Martí lived much of his adult life in New York, and was moved by the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley. Today, José Martí’s statue stands at the southern entrance to Central Park, honoring everyone who fights tyranny, and who, like José Martí, has loved both Latin America and the United States. Beatriz Vidal will illustrate.



MICE SKATING, illustrated by Teagan White (Sterling, Fall 2017), will follow Annie Silvestro’s picture book debut, Bunny’s Book Club. Lucy the mouse loves winter. Her friends do not. Lucy finds a creative way to convince her friends to brave the cold and have a whole lot of fun in this humorous and heartwarming story.



MonsterTrucks.pngMONSTER TRUCKS, illustrated by Misa Saburi, is Joy Keller’s debut picture book (Henry Holt, 2017). Where do monsters go when their Halloween antics are through? They drive monster trucks, of course! The skeleton crew fixes roads, the vampire hangs out on a cherry-picker, the witch sweeps the streets, and kids realize that these creepy creatures are as interested in hard work as haunting.  You can pre-order MONSTER TRUCKS or request it wherever you buy books. 



MRS. MCBEE LEAVES ROOM 3, illustrated by Grace Zong (Peachtree, April 1, 2017) is Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan’s debut picture book. It’s the end of the school year and time for everyone to say good-bye, even to Mrs. McBee who will not be returning to teach at Mayflower Elementary in the fall. Everyone cooperates to help pack up the classroom, except William, who is, to bossy Jamaika’s irritation, too sad to help. But William surprises them all with a unique and heartfelt contribution to the bittersweet ending of a very special year. Join in the McBeehive hug and celebration by ordering MRS. MCBEE LEAVES ROOM 3 here.

notquitenarwhalNOT QUITE NARWHAL (S&S BFYR, February 14,2017), is Jessie Sima’s debut picture book. Growing up in the ocean, Kelp has always assumed that he was a narwhal like the rest of his family. Sure, he’s a little bit different—his tusk isn’t as long, he’s not as good of a swimmer, and he really doesn’t enjoy the cuisine—but Kelp doesn’t mind. That is, until a strong current carries him away, and Kelp encounters some mysterious, sparkling creatures who leave him wondering if maybe he isn’t a narwhal at all. Join Kelp on his journey across land and sea as he tries to figure out where he belongs, and what it means for him to be not quite narwhal. You can order Not Quite Narwhal, or request it at your local bookstore or library.


OLD TRACKS, NEW TRICKS (The Innovation Press, March 2017) is a picture book by debut author/illustrator Jessica Petersen. Wooden train tracks Trixie, Tracky, and Tinker are thrilled to finally join a train set of their own. Their excitement derails when they discover the bossy wooden trains blaring orders while the old tracks snore on the floor. But with a little creativity, the three new tracks work together to prove that you really can teach old tracks — and trains! — new tricks. Visit the little tracks at or on Instagram for more track-tastic adventures. You can order OLD TRACKS, NEW TRICKS at IndieBound or from your local bookstore.

paxandbluePAX AND BLUE
is illustrator Lori Richmond’s authorial debut (Simon and Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Fall 2017). Pax is the littlest everywhere he goes. In school. At playtime. On the train. Then Pax meets a pigeon at the park—he names him Blue and makes a friend who knows what it’s like to be small. And understanding each other can lead to the best friendships. You can purchase Pax and Blue now, or ask for it at your favorite bookseller.



PICK A PINE TREE, illustrated by Jarvis (Walker Children’s Books/Candlewick Publishing, Fall 2017) follows Patricia Toht’s debut, All Aboard the London Bus. Join a family as they select a plain pine tree and endeavor to create a Christmas wonder. The lyrical verse and whimsical illustrations will warm your heart in this adventure in holiday decorating.



RenatoAndTheLion.pngRENATO AND THE LION (Viking Children’s Books, Summer 2017) is written and illustrated by Barbara DiLorenzo. This is her debut book about a boy named Renato, during World War II. Renato loves his home in Florence, Italy. He loves playing with his friends in the wide piazza. He loves walking home by the beautiful buildings and fountains with his father in the evenings. And he especially loves the stone lion who seems to smile at him from a pedestal in the piazza. The lion makes him feel safe. But one day his father tells him that their family must leave. Their country is at war, and they will be safer in America. Renato can only think of his lion. Who will keep him safe? With luminous water-color paintings, Barbara DiLorenzo captures the beauty of Florence in this heartwarming and ultimately magical picture book. Find out how to pre-order a signed copy of Renato from The Bear and the Books, or find it anywhere you love to buy books.


SMALL (little bee books, August 2017) is Gina Perry’s debut picture book as author and illustrator. A spunky heroine realizes she is anything but small in this story of a little girl in a big city. Tall buildings, noisy cars, and hungry ducks all make her feel small until she takes one brave step that leads her on a big, empowering journey. You can pre-order SMALL from Amazon or wherever you buy books.


SnowSistersSNOW SISTERS, illustrated by Teagan White, (Knopf, November 2017) is Kerri Kokias’ debut picture book. Two sisters enjoy a snow day in their own unique ways. The first sister’s story unfolds on the left side of each spread as the second sister’s story reveals itself on the right. Each sisters’ story is told with the exact same words, only in opposite order. The illustrations portray ways the sisters connect even when they are apart. Kerri Kokias has created a multilayered story using deceptively simple text, with the story truly being revealed in Teagan White’s sweetly detailed illustrations.

sweetdreamsSWEET DREAMS, SARAH: FROM SLAVERY TO INVENTOR, illustrated by Chris Ewald, is Vivian Kirkfield’s debut picture book that brings history alive for young children. Sarah E. Goode was one of the first African-American women to get a U.S. patent. With freedom in her pocket and dreams swirling in her head, Sarah worked in her husband’s Chicago furniture store. She recognized a need for a multi-use bed. With hard work, ingenuity, and determination, Sarah built more than a piece of furniture. She built a life far away from slavery, a life where her sweet dreams could come true. You can preorder a copy from Amazon or, if you’d like an autographed and/or inscribed copy of SWEET DREAMS, SARAH, please visit The Toadstool Bookshop. *Update: the release date for SWEET DREAMS,SARAH has been delayed until February 2018.


TAKE A PICTURE OF ME, JAMES VANDERZEE!,  (Lee & Low, May 2017) is a New Voices Award-winning debut picture book illustrated by Keith Mallett. It’s a picture book biography of James VanDerZee, an African American photographer best known for his portraits of famous and little known New Yorkers during the Harlem Renaissance. From a young age, James VanDerZee longed to share his vision of the world with others. When he discovered photography, this dream became a reality. Over many years, James worked hard to build his own business, where he specialized in highlighting the black middle class of Harlem, an aspect of American society rarely showcased at the time. TAKE A PICTURE OF ME, JAMES VANDERZEE! is a heartwarming story of how one man’s compassion and artistry transformed the narrative of an entire community.

thisisnotanormalanimalbookframeTHIS IS NOT
A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK, illustrated by Brian Biggs, is Julie Segal-Walters’s debut picture book (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Fall 2017). A stroll through the animal classifications evolves into a disagreement between the author and illustrator over how to draw the animals, in particular, the blobfish. Based on a Yiddish proverb, the book is a behind the scenes look at the picture book creation process, the importance of collaboration and compromise in the face of different opinions, and the beauty of both words and art. With a sprinkle of snark. THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK is a commercial story that breaks the fourth wall, while remaining appropriate for classroom use. (Includes nonfiction back matter). You can pre-order SIGNED books from Politics and Prose, buy it on Amazon, or request it from your favorite bookseller!

ThisIsNotAValentineTHIS IS NOT A VALENTINE, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins, is Carter Higgins’s debut picture book (Chronicle, Fall 2017). It doesn’t have red glitter or swoopy cursive or fancy chocolates. There are no lacey edges or sugary hearts or diamond rings. Valentines are sweet and gooey and chocolatey, and this book is definitely not delicious. But it does have lucky rocks and drippy glue. Waiting in line and wishing for cinnamon buns. Secret hiding spots and gumball machine treasures. And isn’t that exactly what love is all about?

WhobertWhover.pngWHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, illustrated by Jess Pauwels, is Jason Gallaher’s debut picture book (Margaret K. McElderry Books, July 18, 2017). Help Whobert Whover, Owl Detective, keep his woods safe in this hilarious who-who-dun-it. What happened to Perry the Possum? Whobert Whover, Owl Detective, is on the case! Did Debbie the Duck whack Perry with her wicked wings? Or did Freddie the Frog soak Perry in his sickening slime? And what if the culprit is closer to home than Whobert expects?