Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative founded in 2010 by the late Dianne de Las Casas to celebrate the print picture book during the month of November. To celebrate Picture Book Month essays by authors and illustrators (“picture book champions”) on the importance of picture books are published each day in November. This year’s champions include 2017 Caldecott winner, Javaka Steptoe and Kelly Starling Lyons, a founding member of The Brown Bookshelf. You can find their essays at pictureboothmonth.com.
For Picture Book Month this year, SB&F is sharing this list of wonderful picture books that use the conventions of storytelling to engage children with science.
Ada Twist Scientist, by Andrea Beaty. (Illus. by David Roberts). Abrams, 2016. 978-1419721373.
The story of Ada, a curious young scientist, and her dogged pursuit of the explanation for a “stinky smell.” Touching on themes of never giving up and problem solving, Ada comes to learn that her questions might not always lead to answers, but rather to more questions.
Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, by Hood, Susan. (Illus. by Sally Wern Comport.) Simon & Schuster, 2013. 9781481430951
The extraordinary true tale of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash.
Family Pack, by Sandra Markle. (Illus. by Alan Marks) Charlesbridge, 2011. 9781580892179
Based on actual wolves released in Yellowstone in 1995, this lovely book follows a female cub as she learns to make her way in the wild and eventually have a pack of her own.
Here Come the Humpbacks! April Pulley Sayre. (Illus. by Jamie Hogan) Charlesbridge, 2013. 9781580894067
young readers follow along as a mother humpback whale and her calf make their annual trek from the warm waters of the Caribbean to their summer feeding grounds off the coast of New England and back again.
I Don’t Like Snakes, by Nicola Davies. (Illus. by Luciano Lozano) Candlewick, 2015. 9780763678319.
All about snakes, told from the point of view of a little girl who does not like snakes although her family loves them.
If You Were the Moon, by Laura Purdie Salas. (Illus. by Jaime Kim.) Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publishing Group, 2017. 9781467780094
This delightful book explains the importance of the moon to our world in the context of a fictional exchange between the moon and a little girl.
A Moon of My Own. By Jennifer Rustgi. (Illus. by Ashley White.) Dawn Publications, 2016. 9781584695721
Using the moon, we are introduced to many places and some of the animals that call them home as the moon takes a little girl on a tour of the world.
Moonlight Crab Count, by Dr. Neeti Bathala and Jennifer Keats Curtis. (Illus. by Veronica V. Jones.) Arbordale Publishing, 2017. 978-1628559309
In this book a young child and her mother spend a night together counting interesting critters, contributing to our understanding of horseshoe crabs. 9781628559309
My Awesome Summer, by P. Mantis. By Paul Meisel. (Illus.) New York, NY: Holiday House, 2017. 9780823436712
Paul Meisel’s My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis is an entertaining, first-person narrative of the five-month life cycle of praying mantises. Told in diary entries, P. Mantis describes the entirety of her life, sharing the fun and beauty of her world as well its little ups and downs
One Night in the Coral Sea, by Sneed B. Collard III. (Illus. by Robin Brickman) Charlesbridge, 2006. 9781570913907
The story of coral larvae's perilous journey through the sea to their home on the reef, and the animals that depend on this ecosystem for their survival.
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, by Miranda Paul. (Illus. by Elizabeth Zunon.) Millbrook, 2015. 9781580894067
An inspirational true story about how one Gambian woman found a way to recycle the countless plastic bags that littered the streets in her village and turn them into a profitable enterprise.
Otis the Owl, by Mary Holland. (Illus.) Mt. Pleasant, SC: Arbordale Publishing, 2017. 32pp. $17.95. 9781628559392
Through this lovely book, young readers can follow along as Otis, a baby barred owl, learns to eat, fights with his sister, and prepares for flight. The huge eyes and fluffy feathers will steal the hearts of readers as they learn how barred owl parents ready their young owlets for the big world outside the nest.
Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen. (Illus. John Schoenherr) Philomel Books, 1987. 9780399214578
This classic book tells the story of a little girl who went "owling" in the woods with her father. Yolen’s masterful writing and Schoenherr’s evocative illustration magically combine to create a picture perfect read aloud!
The Pier at the End of the World, by Erickson, Paul. (Photographs by Andrew Martinez.) Tilbury House, 2014. 9780884483823
This picture book follows a day in the life of the denizens lurking in the cold, tide-swept waters beneath a remote pier on the shore of a northern sea.
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea. Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor, by Robert Burleigh. (Illus. by Raúl Colón) Simon and Schuster, 2016. 9781481416009
Shares the story of female scientist, Marie Tharp, a pioneering woman scientist and the first person to ever successfully map the ocean floor.
Spit and Sticks: A Chimney Full of Swifts, by Marilyn Grohoske Evans. (Illus. by Nicole Gsell.) Charlesbridge, 2015. 9781580895880
A pair of chimney swifts arrive on a Texas farm, build their nest, lay and hatch eggs that grow into fledglings, ready to take flight. At the same time, the human family that lives in the house prepares for a baby of their own.
Trapped! A Whale's Rescue, by Robert Burleigh. (Illus. by Wendell Minor.) Charlesbridge, 2015. 9781580895590
In the icy waters of the Pacific, a massive humpback whale unexpectedly finds herself tangled in a net abandoned by fishermen. When a rescue boat and a convoy of divers arrive to help the struggling humpback, a realistic and moving encounter bridges the human and aquatic worlds.
The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever, by H. Joseph Hopkins. (Illus. By Jill McElmurry.) Beach Lane Books, 2013. 9781442414020
The story of green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens, is beautifully told and illustrated.
Wolf Island, by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read. Wolf Island. Custer, WA: Orca Book Publishers, 2017. 9781459812642
Wolf Island is the story of a lone wolf who swims to one of the small islands that dot a rainforest's coast. There he everything he needs—deer, salmon, fresh water—everything, that is, but a mate. When a female wolf arrives on the island's rocky shores, she and he start a family and introduce their pups to the island's bounty.
The Wolves Are Back, by Jean Craighead George. (Illus. by Wendell Minor) Dutton, 2008. 9780525479475
Over a century, wolves were persecuted in the United States and nearly became extinct. Gradually reintroduced, they are thriving again in the West, and this book tells that story.