Welcome to the picture Books Tegang podcast.
And Corey Haim.
From Kelly and we are the picturebooks.
Gang, we invite you to join us here every other week while we discuss amazing books and issues in children’s literature as well as early literacy, education and parenting as it relates to reading, we can’t wait to dig in deep and get nerdy about picture books with you. Hello and welcome back to the picture books. Tlking podcast. My name is.
Kale and my pronouns, are she her, and I’m here with my 2 Hustler Co hosts Allie and Coco.
Hello, I’m Allie.
My pronouns are she they.
Hello I am Coco and my pronouns are also Shiva.
Amazing so this.
Right here is our biggest episode of the Year.
I know that in 2021 we have only posted a few episodes, but we.
Actually have some banks.
This has been quite a year.
I moved across the country.
Coco finished building her house and moved in.
There’s been a panda.
It’s been a year.
So many things have happened so we have some episodes.
Banks that are going to go.
Up after this episode, but we do need to punctuate 2021 talking about the books of gangs.
Best of 2021 list which just released two days ago on Friday, December 3rd.
For those of you who are just joining us recently, you may not know that the books tegang best picture books of the year is something that we, the three of us and several other picture book influencers.
Have been doing.
For I guess this is our third year.
And this is our second year doing it in a pandemic.
Which yeah, I think we deserve an award, frankly.
Well, we can start, give ourselves a trophy.
It’s a tiny plastic one.
I don’t want a big.
One now I have too much stuff.
That’s true if it could be made of.
Felt that would be great.
And on that note, this year we actually have majorly updated.
Or look for the awards we’ve brought on our books.
Gang friend Jenna at Kidlet Brain and she has worked her magic with little tiny paper cutouts to make a little trophy logo for us.
And we look more professional than ever, but we should look professional regardless because we read nearly 400.
Folks this year a lot.
Of our new judges brought a bunch of publishers I had never even heard of, and I am really, really pleased with having heard of them because some of my favorite books are.
Publishers that just.
It’s never been on my radar before and that is one of my favorite things about doing this event.
It’s getting all these books that I would never have requested because it’s not something that I immediately knew that I was going to like, and I think that’s one of the things that that we’ve talked about and.
With all of our other.
Judges is that everyone says that that’s one of the coolest things about doing this.
What happens is publishers sub.
It their best books, and they’re not necessarily the books that we ourselves would have chosen for our own feeds, so we get to look at all of these things that just.
We’re not on our radar at all and just the surprises that you get the delightful surprises.
It’s just a wonderful thing.
Hey Ali, I am so sorry to interrupt you here, but this is future cocoa and I just wanted to let everybody know.
We decided to make the Aussie contingent of the books tegang its own episode.
Code and so instead of hack it all to pieces.
It’s all brilliant, so we will be releasing that in the next few weeks and you can look forward to that.
And so if you hear in a few minutes us chatting about the Aussie books to again insert.
Just know you’ve already heard what future Coco has to say and you know the real deal all right now we are going to go back to Kelly and she is going to tell us about what all of the categories are then.
So I’ll go down the categories and then I’ll let Allie take over for a moment and talk about our special guests.
And then maybe we’ll just let them have their their moment.
But we have 8 categories this year.
We have always had six standby categories, and last year we had two special categories that we just had a few books in.
This year things have kind of changed.
We have eight solid categories with ten winners each.
There are 80 picture books here.
There is something for everyone, best board books, future classics best read aloud, best illustration and we have updated our biography category to be best.
History books because we found that biography wasn’t kind of encapsulating a lot of different books that have a lot more complexity to them.
So we have best history books, most innovative nonfiction, and then returning.
We have best foodie books, but as a full category this year.
And our final and very exciting new category is conversation starters.
So we’re going to talk about those in that same order, so we’ll end off the episode talking about our conversation starters because we’re I.
Think we’re all pretty excited about that?
And I just wanted to say one thing about how the categories have changed when people or when publishers submit to this.
We know what the 1st 5 categories.
Are going to be more or less, but as we get the books we get a really good picture of the trends for the year.
And they tend to evolve as trends do and you get different things, and so we are responsive to what is coming out, what’s popular, or what’s exciting and that’s why we make changes.
Like last year it was Best Biography book and this year it’s best history book because.
I feel like last year we had a lot of focus on really exciting new biographies and there wasn’t so much history in the way that we’re seeing this year with multiple stories being told in one book, whereas this year it’s really it’s evolving towards.
History in in that sense, rather than just the straight forward biography of one life, so it’s really interesting for us to see.
The trends evolving Kimberly.
Thank you for laying it out.
It is super interesting to see how things evolve and change, and also I guess unintentional.
Trends, and I think some of them are both intentional and unintentional.
And I think that the evolution that has brought us this conversation started category.
I think that’s evolved out of a lot of events.
Over the last two years and and a change in consciousness and a change.
Much to how we think about children education and in general consciousness and society.
So let’s start things off by introducing our special guests.
Three of us and the judges of the year in North America.
Do the North American awards.
Have a satellite.
8 judging team in Australia they get together and they do the same thing but with Australian book and we’ve invited them on again to give us a little look at what is happening in Australian kidlit.
Well, that was such a lovely explanation of the Australian book list, so I think.
We should get right into board books.
This is one of my personal favorite categories board books and I think maybe it’s because I still have a 3 year old.
Home and so board books are still a hot commodity in our household, and something that we’re using on a daily basis in in different ways and different spaces.
And so while we’re judging, the best Ford Book category, we’re looking for a board book that not only holds up durability wise, because that is really important.
Or a board book?
People who read them tend to rip them up and.
Throw them at you.
The books that we are.
Looking for with this category are.
They are well made, they’re durable.
But also they.
Have something interesting happening and that can be in a lot of different ways that can be with interactive elements like lift the lift, the flap, pull the tab sort of thing it can be in the format.
Or it could.
Just be in the actual content of the book.
Especially if there’s an element of diversity happening.
We really love that.
My own favorite this year from this category.
Is by an illustrator slash author who won last year in illustration category and I deeply love you Tom Schamp.
Where is everyone by Tom Schamp from Prestal?
Uhm, I just get happy when I say his name.
I’ve never met him.
And does he know he holds?
I hope he holds my heart.
So this beautiful board book is also available in Spanish, which is important to note.
It’s an odd book which I love.
It’s so the lift the flap book where you see regular household items in different areas of the house, like a refrigerator, and then you open the refrigerator and it’s.
Not a refrigerator.
It’s like a weird animal.
Stuffed into the shape of.
It’s it’s fantastic.
I love it so much.
And my younger, my younger.
Daughter, this three year old doesn’t let anybody else pull those flaps, but her because that is her book.
You know, we actually had.
We had a good list of a lot of very interactive books this year and and you know, I’ll just quickly rhyme them off.
But go go album, my first recycling book.
What’s her wreck?
Uh, where do you poop and fire truck tales all have an interactive elements to them.
In fact, fire truck tales is literally a rolling vehicle that has three.
Books inside of it.
But my personal favorite board book I kind of have a tie, but my personal favorite is probably bedtime, not playtime.
By Lawrence General so and the reason I love that book so much is because.
Has incidental representation of an LGBTQIA family and there’s, uh, there’s two in the series.
Only one actually made the list, unfortunately, but you know, one of them has two dads.
The other one is.
Two moms in the story, but it’s it’s not at all.
About that, it’s about.
Mischief and fun, and it’s just a cute.
Adorable story where there happens to be 2 dads and I just love that.
That book is super cute.
Oh OK, I also have a time I do like the baby, young, gifted and black by injury pippens.
It also has a really cute mirror in the back where the baby can look at themselves.
And but I think my ultimate favorite is together, really.
I know, I know.
I’m not shocked.
You’re all shocked, everyone surprised, but I like this one.
Yeah, it’s just a foot.
I love it too.
The art is so beautiful, like innocent and agarra.
Please please just be my friend.
Teach me your ways.
It’s it’s a gorgeous book and I think it also is a bit genre, defying defying, I should say.
Because it truly is a book that can be read to older children as well, and I think that we sometimes discount the value of board books as being only for babies, but they’re actually they’re great in settings where children might be rough on books even older, and they’re great if you need books that you need to be able to wipe down and sanitize, and they’re amazing.
For emerging readers for being able to turn pages easily.
Fine motor issues.
Anything like that, but board books are for everyone so I love books like this that you can read to a baby and then older children can also get complexities out.
Of it as well.
That’s true, much like where do you poop?
The whole family loves this one.
Not necessarily because it’s more.
Complex, but much like you know.
There is a fascination with scatological humor.
So we have a.
Uniform fascination with that.
Yes, my husband loves this one.
OK, OK, we could talk about word books all day, but I think we should move on to.
What has turned out to be?
Basically all hits for me.
All of my favorite books of the year in this.
Category and it’s future classics.
This is always your category though.
It I think it kinda is.
Yeah, it’s just the kind of book that ends.
Up being a future classic is your bag.
It’s my bag.
It’s totally my thing.
And this year in particular, if I haven’t already, I will be posting every single one of these books with detailed reviews.
But I have actually posted most of them.
Absolutely you have done already several.
I’m going to kick it off because my number one favorite book of the year, which I am normally never able to actually pinpoint what that book is, but my number one favorite book of the year is Grandad Camper by hearing.
I know exactly.
I didn’t know that.
Such a surprise I may have said this about 6:00 or 700 times already on the Internet, so nobody surprised. But Harry Woodgate, they’ve just.
They they’ve created something so beautiful it it’s it’s such a touching story.
It’s so sublimely illustrated, the book just mirrors my life in such a an eerie, wonderful way that it’s just like they went inside my head and like pulled my story out.
I bawled my eyes out.
The first time I read this.
Story and I still bawled my eyes out just about every time I read it since so my love for this story is just transcends the universe.
So I was delighted when it was undoubtedly a list topping.
Highly, highly loved book amongst the judges. So one of Harry Woodgate’s aims with this particular book was about addressing the elder generation of queer people who are so instrumental in the lives that we leave now but grew up with a gay dad and now.
My child has a gay grandfather, so there’s just so much that means so much to me because it’s just not a topic that’s addressed very much and certainly not in such a wonderful way that doesn’t challenge who they are as people.
The story is about beautiful intergenerational love.
And you know what?
I think that that is so key in what we’re looking for in the future classics category.
All of the books that we pick for this category tend to be about love and relationships and friendship especially.
Family relationships and intergenerational.
Love or self affirming love were really just all about the love in this category.
Really could have named it.
Just love but.
There’s a familial tie to everyone.
There’s still a yeah like in 48 grasshopper states, which I think is.
I mean, it’s hard to say I like they’re all wonderful books, but river really likes this one because it’s about a little girl who is living in an apartment building that’s very like community oriented with a lot of seniors living there.
And she’s cared for by possibly a neighbor or something, uh?
Elderly woman and she this.
The girl in the store.
Mary loves to create stuff just like finds random recyclable objects and and makes friends and she makes connections with all of these elderly people in her building.
I agree it’s like found family.
There’s so much family in community and.
This book very beautiful.
He demonstrates how you sometimes don’t even realize it’s happening Coco.
What was your favorite book?
Magic like that is beautiful. I love Geneva Bowers’s artwork and she also did curls and glow that came out this year that.
Were bored books but.
So good, I feel like maybe the standout for me was the spectacular.
Yeah, just such a delightful story. I love the main character. I love the main character’s siblings and how they just want her Frankie to have a delightful birthday and so they do a bunch of special things that they know that she likes. It’s just so sweet and I love it.
And you know what, Frankie?
Just wants to look dapper and I can relate to that.
Frankie wants to look super dapper.
And I you know, there was a lot of subtle things in this book that really struck me like she has an older brother and an older sister, but it’s her older brother who makes her a beautiful cake and arranges flowers for her like there’s just like little weed, tiny sort of gender stereotypes.
Smashing moments that like aren’t.
Notable and I I I kind of love that subtle.
Key and that color palette is so beautiful.
It’s gorgeous, but it honestly, if it wasn’t win here it.
Was gonna win.
It was an illustration because this book is just stunning and I love.
Pretty much whatever scribble kids sends us is always beautiful.
Scribble does amazing things, and they’re.
One of those people that we’ve really.
Developed a wonderful relationship with through doing this list over over the years.
Now couple of other notable ones.
One of our other top winners.
Two of our other top winners for the year.
Overall Isaac is from the corners by Joanna Ho, which has made every single best of the year list that there is.
And I can’t say enough incredible things about it.
And I’m so excited.
For the companion book to that coming out in the New Year, and then the second companion book coming out to that the year after so.
Outstanding, and Joanna, who is a machine and I just she’s.
Slaying this, she’s killing it, and everything is better than the next.
She’s killing it.
So and and we also need to highlight our actual books to gang friend Michelle Sterling and Winload visits, which is a stunningly gorgeous book.
It is a stunningly gorgeous book and really it could have also won in the food category.
This one because there’s some.
Beautiful food and fun it.
It could have one in every category, it’s.
Could have won in any category.
You’re gonna be one straight, beautiful.
Lovely intergenerational story as well.
Skin future classics.
About a little girl visiting her grandmother who that she calls Lola and what they do together and just like very visceral, like the sensory experiences of of of her.
Huge sensory experience app.
Her own memories and it really it pulls you in and it gets you thinking about.
How you remember seasons and the memories?
That you have.
So we have to move on to what I know is Allie’s actual favorite category. Best read aloud.
This is this is my big category and I could not be happier.
Everyone is like settling themselves in their seat.
Because I’m about to go.
On a rant and my rant.
Is that what happened to you?
Is the number one scoring winner of the whole year just takes.
Home all of the cake.
It got 9.87 average. This isn’t just me yelling about it on the Internet, although I will. I will yell about it on the Internet.
Until Kingdom come.
I will yell about it on the Internet ’cause.
It is the.
Best book but 15 judges.
All scoring with numbers and it was number one.
Of all of the books.
And I do have to commend Alice.
She was not up in the group chat for the last four months, telling everybody that they had to score it.
Well, genuinely, she actually kept her motion I.
It did not.
Kept my mouth.
She did because.
Lucy Kashkol would not have appreciated that from me.
And she is Queen also.
I love you Lucy.
Catchpole I will give a quick rundown of what happened to you.
Well, well, Alec catches her breath. But what happened to you is is the let’s let’s say the the counter narrative to books like just ask. It’s written by James Catchpole who is A1 legged man.
Let’s, let’s be clear, he is actually disabled and he is writing a story about a child with one leg who is tired of being pestered.
But what I actually think is quite remarkable about what happened to you is, even though that’s what the story is truly.
Road, my kid calls it the pirate book.
It’s so fun to read.
And that’s what’s lacking in a lot of books, like just ask on top of the problematic narrative.
They’re not really that fun to read, so there’s a really entertaining story about interpersonal relationships between kids and just wanting to play pirate and.
And it’s a great book that is own voiced and.
I just love it and I I have also yelled about it so much on the Internet over the past over a year and but since it came out, it’s.
It’s just stunned me every time and every time somebody sent me a message and said that they’ve picked it up on my recommendation and it.
Blew them away.
I’m just thrilled every single time.
I am also thrilled every time somebody tags me in a review of what happened.
I love that people do that, by the way.
He needs to do that fast.
You’re the ambassador.
I I just I feel so strongly about this book, even aside from the fact that I just love James and Lucy and we’re personally have become friends.
It’s it’s funny number one which I I need a book to be funny or I I have a hard time relating to it.
It’s the palette is wonderful.
It’s engaging and it is a really important message on top of all of that.
And it’s something that.
I had never thought of before, which is on me I guess, and also that we live in a nebulous.
World, but the fact is it introduces these concepts that most adults in their life have not even really come across themselves.
And it explains it in this really gentle.
But firm way that I think everyone walks away from it, whether it’s a child or an adult saying, oh, wow, I never thought.
Of how a disabled child feels about the way they’re being talked to, and I think it’s just a masterpiece, and you should probably buy it for everybody.
You know I’m gonna let Coco pick her favorite book from this and I feel like I can guess but.
You know, yes you can.
And I guess listen, I know I’m predictable and that’s fine.
We agree on this one.
We do agree on this one.
Best read aloud.
Not only is it queer representation, not only is it crucial chicken representation in this world.
The underrepresented characters.
It’s entirely facetious.
But it has the dialogue is so funny.
There are so many good queer Easter eggs in the illustrations.
It’s just utterly delightful.
And oh, it’s just so good.
So so good.
And the author, the author, is a musician, I believe, which I think really lends itself to the lyrical nature of it.
As a read aloud, and the fact that the chickens actually like play.
In a band.
It’s absurd. It’s absolutely absurd. At some point there’s over 400 chickens.
In in Mr. Watson and Mr. Nelson’s house.
There you go.
See, that’s a very important number and and you know the cross section of the entire house is like something out of a where’s Waldo book, but with query strings hidden all over the place.
Actually, one thing that I keep forgetting to talk about whenever I talk about this book, there’s no children in this.
Book, which is bizarre.
They write their arms.
You’re so right, there aren’t.
I saw what queer Easter eggs.
Oh my gosh.
There there are so many, so uhm.
The illustrator if you go look on their Instagram lists a whole bunch of the different hidden details that are like built into the scenes in the house references.
So as an adult looking at this, there’s like a bazillion references.
Built into all of the illustrations, they’re incredibly detailed.
They’re so good.
The blowing alley is mine right in front of our eyes right now.
I read this with.
My kids and I read it to my kids and I didn’t, I I now I’m struggling.
I mean I did.
Am I not an observer?
We’re going to link it in the show notes for everyone and for Allie and but no, it it’s it’s actually very strange to see children picture book that doesn’t include any characters that are children.
You definitely won’t.
The chickens are kind of the children, right?
Yeah, yeah, there’s a bit of chickens.
It’s actually kind of wild.
They sing they’re in like a doo-wop band, yeah?
Allie is losing it with completely blown her mind.
I’m still thinking about this Easter egg thing.
I literally I just featured this book.
I love the book I, although for me it’s the illustrations.
With this one I just like, you know, I love the stock.
It’s got a retro vibe.
It has a retro vibe but also like it’s a really interesting like if you notice the background texture is really flat.
And then the contour lines.
Of the chickens are just really evocative.
So like the chickens will like have an angle and it’ll look like a finger and it and it just.
Like gives it this.
Weird sort of quirky personality that’s really infused and it really makes me feel like nobody but Andrew Terumi could have done this in this way.
And I have something on my.
Of their favorite book.
Because I’m trying to keep us on track or this is going to be a 7 hour out.
My favorite read aloud.
Two and two favorites that have not been mentioned ’cause the first two are also my favorites, but Gideon Quebec is the one that I’ve got to talk about.
The the author Caroline Pritchard is.
An actual ray of sunshine, she is the most lovely human being ever.
But the dollar?
But the book itself.
Is so fun to read out loud.
It’s Jewish representation that is joyful.
That is not about holidays, that is, it has all of these wonderful Yiddish words built into it.
What about food either?
It’s also not about a food ’cause that is the other theme.
That is a good thing.
In most Jewish children books they are about food and food is one of my favorite topics.
I’m not shirking anything, but we need other stories as well, and you know it’s a tale about a girl named giddy with some very iconic purple.
Overalls and A and a bird named kvetch.
Who’s a little?
More gloomy and they have this wonderful interplay between the two of them.
It feels good in your mouth to read the Yiddish.
I love kiddish.
We get ish words.
This is me growing up with very Jewish family even though I am not Jewish myself and I I just I.
I have told people about this book that weren’t asking about picture books.
I did a lot too, yeah.
So with what happened to you?
Man telling the people about picture books that did not ask.
He’s just basically my tagline at this point.
That could be my new Instagram bio, absolutely.
And I’m going to toss a dimension everybody in the red brick building by Anne Winter, which is one of our new favorite bedtime books.
And I love this version apartment building.
I love that it’s a baby.
That kind of wakes everyone out.
But it’s filled with so many of these automatic paedo words.
You know, I think.
All four of those, the books that we’ve talked to it so far in this category they really just.
They embody what it means to be a great read aloud.
They’re fun to read.
They have good rhythm, they have joyful stories.
Everything that’s in that cut this category, really.
More than any other year, in my opinion, represents what it means to be a really solid read aloud.
I totally agree and this I just look at this whole list and it’s so hard to just talk about a few of them because all of them are excellent and all of them are worth going out.
And buying and.
All of them are books that kids are going to ask to read again and again, and that you’re going.
To enjoy reading too, you know.
Best read aloud category.
Good job writers slash.
Good job writers.
Good job everybody.
Great job folks to gang on choosing this year.
Like we really, you know, these were all the books that are judging.
Group were like they were really abuzz about them.
So let’s move on to the next category.
Best illustration, so for best illustration, surprise, surprise you.
Have to have really good illustration.
Hold on, thank you.
Well, for that stunning.
Follow up questions.
Well, as much as that we’re looking for exciting illustrations, not just.
Oh yeah, that’s pretty.
We’re looking for stuff that you would like hang in a gallery and be like, Oh yes, this belongs here.
Stuff that’s doing exciting work with different mediums, different different ways of representation.
I think we’re really looking for books.
Where the illustrations carry the story in a very big way, which would be why the two?
The only two wordless books on this list, and maybe the only two wordless books that.
Have possibly ever made our best of the year list are both in this category.
I some people may know I do not.
Care for the wordless?
Category it’s not my favorite, but I actually really like.
Over the shop.
I have to.
Admit I enjoyed it.
It was kind.
Of like watching a.
The whole idea of like someone goes in this dirty but really cool looking.
Building and then they make it beautiful and I’m.
Like yeah, I’m into this.
Say wordless picture books.
We have many discussions about this are like salon.
Girl that you either love them or you hate it.
I am not the biggest fan.
Some are fine but.
We really got to be in the right mood, but over the shop is definitely one that really really stuck out to me.
It’s one of the few wordless books that drew me in immediately.
I think it’s hard for me to choose, but I really love my city speaks and Ashley Barron actually has two books on the list.
And my city speaks is a follow up to my ocean is blue.
They all have incidental disability representation built into the story, yeah?
Yeah, it’s a series and the first one is actually called my forest is green and I believe.
That one actually does not have disability representation.
It is more incidental representation of an API family and my ocean speaks is a child with a physical disability and then my city speaks is a child who is blind.
They are navigating the city and of Toronto.
Yes, I do love all of the Toronto landmarks in this book.
It really warms my heart, OK?
I’m gonna give you.
I’m going to give you my top four, but then I’m going to only elaborate on one of them bright star because UE Morales is just absurdly talented. Jaguars and butterflies so stunningly beautiful we all play like Julie fled. I would.
Die for you.
Yeah, Julie Flett themed household items.
I would buy them personally.
Sheets wallpaper prints everything.
All of them, every herd thing.
All of it.
I would buy everything.
But then dream St.
I also is so beautiful too because I love Ekua Holmes.
Her artwork is beautiful and also it’s based in a place I used to live its eyes on.
Yeah, a neighborhood in Boston called Roxbury Lee and I lived there for two years and we very much enjoyed it.
We loved living in Roxbury and so that’s always like.
Nice to have a book about a place that you recognize.
Uh, yeah, we’ve we’ve got it.
With my city speeds and you’ve got it with dream streets so that’s that’s our special thing and the best illustration category this year I have to elaborate on one that you mentioned, which is Jaguars and butterflies.
Very enamored with this book and I know that when we all first write it.
Alley definitely expressed.
How beautiful and validating it felt to her which.
Which means so much to me to.
Hear that, but.
It is a really interesting book in that it is.
It’s written by Kathleen Ressler.
It is a poem, a love letter to her daughters who are indigenous Mexican children, and she.
She has created a book that has employed numerous indigenous Mexican women and it is a book that she is.
Working very, very hard to translate into multiple languages that are.
At risk of dying out in Mexico, so it is currently available for purchase in both English and Spanish, but she is using the proceeds from those two editions to help fund the other translations so that she can then provide the books for free into.
Her more local.
Community so I just love the book.
The illustrations are.
Out of this.
World Gorgeous and the illustrator.
I think she’s done campaigns for Disney.
She’s done amazing things outside.
Of this, but this is her first book, so.
Of an incredibly beautiful color palette.
Very graphic style.
I just adore it.
You really sold that as an excellent summary.
I think yeah you did.
Why we love about the Jaguars and butterflies illustration is how it really blends traditional elements of Mexican art and design and.
With Ellie, Ellie own.
Personal style and also with sort of the clean look of today so it really feels like it’s part of this grand tradition, but also something that’s modern and involving and I just think that it really belongs on this best illustration category because it does so many things and it’s within the context of this.
Wonderful beautiful picture book and I just love it.
All right, folks, I hope you’re ready for my favorite category, which if you’ve been playing along with the drinking game, when one of us is, it’s our favorite category.
Good luck friends.
Good luck for the end.
I’m a giant nerd.
This is well established so.
I think all of us are guilty of that.
But this is where you’re the most nerdy.
It casts about picture books like come on guys.
My whole life.
I have 500 picture books in this.
Room in boxes on the floor.
Yeah all right. OK so I think I think my number one alright. Alright it’s a tie for two alright my top two tie are the ABC’s of black history and we are still here. OK not only is the.
ABC’s of black.
History beautiful it is so beautiful.
Full, it has a surprise under the book jacket it goes.
It’s it is an ABC book, but it’s like not really an ABC book and it connects like black history and culture events in history in the United States and we are still here.
Also does that, but the book is framed as like a school presentation for Indigenous People’s Day, and so it talks a lot about.
Looked legislation that impacted Native Americans and also about protests and activism in in different indigenous communities.
And it’s just so brilliant.
Yeah, the vehicle that they kind of used to tell the story there like it’s broken up into different parts, so they’re kind of their whole own separate stories, which is nice ’cause you can kind of condense it depending on the audience or break it up into different lessons.
If you’re an educator.
But because they’re using this sort of a format that it’s kids at, you know an indigenous school talking about their own history within the context of colonizers and how they’ve persisted and brings context for little people like that.
It might be really hard with them to connect with something so big, right?
So I that book really.
Impressed me, my personal favorite is 2 grams on a cake though my favorite too.
I knew it would be your favorite.
To order the cake you.
Know it’s I’m I’m an easy mark.
So that the aesthetic is.
It’s over the top gorgeous and and it’s a it’s such a wonderful way to tell a story because it is about.
Because it’s beautiful.
It’s about the two.
The first two men who were legally married to each other.
In the unite.
And states through an incredibly clever loophole, the mode of storytelling of like actually baking it cake to kind of move the narrative of this story along of their relationship.
And they’re, you know they’re real life guys that are still married today and and they were married over 40 years.
Ago, although it took.
Until gay marriage was legalized in all of the US before it was registered with their particular county, so.
But it’s a beautiful story.
It’s beautifully told in a really unique way, and the illustrations are out of this world.
So I just love.
It I have nothing more to add to that I loved it, but for much shallower reasons.
It’s a black who grooms on a cake.
One is also very good.
They’re all very good.
They’re all wonderful books.
I think this is our best group that we’ve ever had for this category, and I love the change that we’ve made.
From Best Biography Books to Best History Books, ’cause I think it gives us a much more inclusive picture of the depth of history that you can get from picture books and.
And yeah, great inclusions this year.
Let’s go onto my other favorite category.
Yes, most innovative nannf.
Action because listen.
I have always been this person.
I was this person when I was two feet tall.
I am this person at a whopping 5 feet 5 inches tall so.
So my 5 year old exactly like you Coco and this is definitely one of our favorite categories at home.
We love our nonfiction sciencey nature E especially books.
So from the get go this year, one of our favorite books.
Was busy spring, which is the follow up to winter sleep, so it’s by Sean Taylor and Alex Morris and.
It’s more of a narrative nonfiction book, but it has tons of detail about the garden, sort of sprouting up in spring, waking up after the winter.
It’s so beautiful the whole book, but it’s also one that it’s.
It’s a nonfiction book that you can still read at bedtime.
It’s not just 1000 tiny.
Totally, and I think that one of the things about this category, the most innovative nonfiction category, is that you’ll notice that we choose books.
That tend to be a little bit unusual like that.
There’s narrative nonfiction.
There’s pop outs.
One of the great things about this category is that I am not a nonfiction person and my kids aren’t really nonfiction people either.
So far I mean, there’s room to grow into.
It I guess.
This when we choose for this category, we’re really going for nonfiction books.
That are unusual that are innovative that have a narrative element in some cases or do really interesting things with the mechanics of the books.
So like pop out or the size of a book.
Some that have really gorgeous illustrations that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see in a nonfiction book because there are so many nonfiction books that come out every year.
A lot of them tend to do kind of the same thing like.
Oh, we’re going to put out a book about Penguins and then it’s just like a pamphlet about Penguins.
And there’s not a lot happening there.
I mean, it might be a good book about Penguins.
You might learn a lot of stuff about Penguins, but it’s not innovative.
And So what we’re looking for with this category.
The winners in this category, the category.
They’re not just, Oh yes, I learned something.
It has to be.
This is a beautiful book that.
It is non fiction but it’s trying new things and it’s exciting and it’s really it’s drawing people in, not just people who love to sit down and read facts and so for me, my favorite one this year was chicken allergy and I almost bought real chickens because of this book like I got really, really close.
And we were like looking up where we could like buy a coop and then like the like zoning regulations.
Anyways, I didn’t end up getting chickens.
Which is probably for.
The best, but this book had.
Me inspired to buy chickens.
Just the best. Absolutely not.
It’s really everything you want to know about chickens, but it’s not in like a just a text format.
It’s like this.
Like visual exploration on everything, you might want to know about.
A chicken and the like from the.
Palette to just the whole style it is.
It is a joy to explore and I love it.
They also have a there’s another one out this year pieology.
Which technology just such a delight?
Silver delight very good.
And I hope cow aladji comes out next year.
They have not announced anything, but I would.
I would dive, or a koala Gee.
I really AM.
Hoping that Emma Julia Giuliani does something with them next year.
So last year they did in the garden with her PA press PR.
US is is on are not best or most innovative nonfiction for a second year in a row because they just.
They do really interesting stuff with nonfiction, and it’s always a delight to see what they come up with.
Last year they had like lift the flaps and I I can’t wait until next year and what they’re going.
Us very visually driven.
Uhm, beautiful books that you know every page could be framed.
In every book, no matter what the subject is, including chickens and chickens, belong on the wall anyway.
I you know what?
Yeah, even the dignity of the way they’re illustrating this chicken.
Like if you go go look at this cover, it has this beautiful portrait of a chicken we like and it’s just this really proud, dignified looking chicken.
And I I have to say, not just.
Anybody can do that.
It’s a skill and it’s innovative, innovative.
Check it’s true.
And also I don’t know if it has something to do with the personality.
Of the chicken.
It’s a barred rock check in that that’s on the front.
I also have a barred rock and she is the proudest and the nosiest we called you before hen because she’s all up in your business.
Judging you watching you do it.
She’s got business.
The forehand has business to attend.
To and you’re catching it correctly.
I will say, you know we’re talking about innovative nonfiction and fun to read.
And all those things but the world most pointless animals which.
Came out from kordo.
Uhm, this year is so funny.
To read, we have read it cover to cover multiple times, which a lot of these really, really really text heavy books like we read them.
Trust me, we read them, but we don’t often sit in one sitting and read and incredibly have to book cover to cover and just laugh the entire time.
It’s a book built on sarcasm, but you end up learning things about animals like against your will.
It’s so funny and it’s filled with hilarious, weird animals and ah.
Just I can’t say enough good things about it and you know it.
It’s a book that I could see a lot of kids that are into stand, but they’re sort of a reluctant reader.
They can get really, really into a book like that, so definitely want to check out.
And if we go past this category and I think Coco can talk about it without talking about the weather.
Pop up book.
Then I’m canceling the podcast.
He loves the weather pop.
Up books so much and through all of your delightful chatterings of your favorite innovative nonfiction.
I’m sorry it’s my brain is melting.
I was like, OK Cory, you can do it.
You can narrow it down to one.
I was like.
Well maybe I’ll.
Just mention five.
Weather pop up book Absolutely incredible.
I love that it.
You can see the illustrations like 360 degrees, it’s not like.
One side of the cardboard is like light.
You like it’s it’s very immersive.
It pops up over and under the Canyon.
Obviously we know I love Christopher Silas Neal.
Everybody loves Christopher Silas.
A little another one, just like Julie Flett.
I would buy all the things.
Well, he’s also.
Just a lovely man.
I just I also just don’t understand how that series just keeps getting better.
Like I the first one I ever read was over and under the snow from the library.
And then I bought over and under the.
And which I adore, and we read all time.
But every subsequent book.
I also bought that.
One with money, yeah, which means a.
Lot from it it.
Does I I have?
I have purchased those books with money and and and over and under the Canyon is absolutely another one.
Absolutely worth the money.
Every single penny.
It’s so good, it’s gorgeous and it’s another one that it’s.
It’s a narrative nonfiction.
It has a human element.
They change the characters and have diverse representation through each iteration of the book over of the series of books.
So good also my book of butterfly.
I love that you open it like butterflies are so small, but this book is gigantic and the butterflies are impeccably detailed.
Like the size of dinner plates, it’s amazing.
The colors are so bright and beetles for breakfast also delightful.
They’re just all delightful.
They are delighted great.
Every single book in this category is.
A winner every single one Allie actually said she liked and is so not her favorite category, so.
I am keeping them.
I am keeping all of these books.
I don’t actually keep a lot of nonfiction ’cause we get so many books.
We don’t keep the ones that like we.
Really want to like have forever.
We donate in our community and and and also stuff.
Yeah, we give them children and.
And I mean, yeah, we conclude this.
You know, right before the holidays.
So it’s a great time for us to pass along to all kinds of people.
And an organization so you know that that’s wonderful, but I think it also says a lot when we’re like, no, I’m keeping.
Every single one of these ’cause I need?
I need them.
They’re important for me for me.
I need to have them on my shelf.
Absolutely and and.
We we do have to move on though, to Ali’s second favorite category third.
Why isn’t my I like Facebook?
How he loves all the categories?
I don’t know.
No, not all the cat my 3 categories are read aloud, board books and food and sometimes all three are in one or.
I was gonna say you really you really prefer when it’s all together in one book.
Both of them.
Yeah, it’s a great read aloud board.
Book that has food in it.
I’m just I’m there.
No, you’re you’re buying 15 copies and passing it out in the corner and hailing its name over and over again when that happens.
No, all right.
Best foodie books.
So with this one, OK, we’re really looking for.
Illustrations and food are really important in this.
It has to be a food illustration in this book that makes you want to just stare at it and also maybe like salivate a little bit.
Like you have and part of this comes from, I think a lot of us who really love picture books and had experiences really powerful experiences with picture books as children.
Belts there’s something about illustrated food in some of these books that sticks with you, and you think in your mind of that one book with the food that you always wanted to try.
And it like being something in your head, and these are the books that were in this category with this beautiful celebration of food, huh?
Such a good category, all right?
My favorite this year in this oh, it’s a.
Awesome, I really love OK just three. My three think wait four OK 337.
Love so the whole.
World inside man soup is the is from me.
Hope you press and the illustrator for this one is Vicki Shank and the style and this one is really unexpected and it plays a lot with like.
Reality and fantasy.
And there’s all this food everywhere.
And there’s soup and the steam, and oh, it’s wonderful.
The other one of the other two that I just I just love love, love our chiwala, which is another one.
By Ashley Barron.
She’s great and this one is about a girl and her mum who’ve gone on a train journey India and they stop.
And there’s this tea cart and it’s like this, the smells and.
And the the preparation of the the Chihuahua.
T it’s it’s just it’s wonderful and inviting and all right.
My third favorite one on this list is probably tastes of the Lunar New Year and they have that that also the board book series.
Last year they did.
Big cities, little foodies yeah.
Yes, basically it’s just all about beautiful, delicious.
Asian food and it’s just the illustrations are impeccable.
The quality is impeccable, just makes me want to go out and get some dim sum.
Always the same, always in the mood for dim sum.
Not in the mood 100% I. I love every book in this category and.
You know, I.
I will say that without a doubt, two of our most asked for books this year have been halal hot dogs.
And a newer 1 to us, but just as loved is Kalamatas kitchen and both of those are ones that my little one has asked to read over and over and over again.
It is no surprise with tillou hot dogs that that is also a favorite food for my 5 year old.
I don’t know how that happened.
I’m going to be honest, but.
But it is so the the exuberance.
In this book the the how fun it is to read out loud the joyfulness
The the small amount of absurdity.
It’s so fun to read loud, and it’s also just joyful representation of a Muslim family who is.
Practicing their faith in.
This and is joyfully living in their life and he just wants a Dang good hot dog.
I really indentify.
So yeah, exactly.
Uh, my God hot dog.
Yeah, and Chihuahua.
Another one it.
It is really really fun to read out loud but something you know on a on a.
On the note of the messages that I’ve gotten from people that have read it since I first shared it and said, oh I found out about this book from you.
This is all of my memories from growing up in India and I can’t believe how beautiful this book is and it’s it’s a joyful memory.
It it you.
You kind of set it like you time memory sometimes to food that you eat at a time and the Chihuahua.
Is that for so many people and for us it was kind of a peek into another world, but we keep going back to it over and over and over again ’cause it’s just.
So fun to read so.
And calamaties kitchen.
It’s kind of the same thing.
And actually I love the element that the spices kind of give her power in that story.
I don’t know.
I love every book in this category.
Pizza with everything on it.
Is nuts, though, and I can’t get enough of it.
It’s a little bonkers.
It’s bonkers, I.
It’s in the boxes.
It’s bonkers, but it’s could not be funnier.
Also, the illustrators name is Andy JP.
I was typing that out and I was like, wait, how did I miss that? The illustrator’s last name is beats fake name.
I just have.
A lot of questions.
So many question.
I support it, but it has to be a face.
Do you need a?
Fake name to illustrate so anyways.
The author, Kyle Scheele hilarious on tick tock to you.
You have to follow Kyle Scheele on tick tock.
You will never stop laughing, so no surprise that.
This book is hilarious.
A pizza with everything on it is delightful.
I love the illustrations 2 kids can bake, excellent.
Yeah, that’s beautiful.
Such a beautiful.
They’re so intricate, but they’re not overwhelming the whole world inside.
Nam Soup is sort of like that.
Studio Ghibli effect where you just want everything, because everything that you see in Studio Ghibli is like.
Peak temperature, texture, shininess, deliciousness like everything is so good, I.
Think Amara farm might be my.
Fave? It’s so cute.
It’s so cute here.
And it’s kind of.
It’s like a little bit non fiction me, but it’s definitely a narrative and it’s definitely about food.
And it kind of brings in this element of like where your food actually comes from and.
What it takes to be there?
Look here omaris.
Was on her little tractor trying to find a pumpkin for a potluck saying same girl.
We’ve all been there.
I don’t have a tractor.
You been on a tractor I I need.
I don’t have a factor.
Little evidence would get this woman a.
Anyone from the tractor company listening spawn con?
Any activist tractor?
I got a tiny activist tractor, oh boy.
You mean the tiny tractor wyst?
Oh my God.
Hello John Deere oh.
Please somebody sponsor me get me a tractor.
OK, so now we have to move on to.
I think the star of the show which is our brand new category, UM?
You know we had some top top winners this year and we just we didn’t know how to fit them into our existing categories, but there’s such important books.
They are so beautifully done, so thoughtfully done, and and I, you know, I think this list for.
A lot of people could be a very well rounded list to start, you know, a more conscious home library, and so this brand new category is called conversation starters, and I think every single one of these books can start.
I just want to stop for a second and say that the geniusness of this category Kelly came up with just it just came to.
Her in a.
In a vision.
I guess it came in the.
Were really struggling though, because you know, they’re so, you know I’m going to read out the books on this list really quick.
We have not done that because there’s 80 books, but so we’ve got the bare naked book.
Saturday at the food pantry.
When we say Black Lives Matter, hold that thought, don’t hug Doug, hear my voice.
It’s when I see red the proudest color, zanya rainforest and the many shapes of clay.
A story of healing so we are touching on issues of consent we are touching on issues of race.
We’re touching on multiple social emotional issues.
We are talking about the environment we are talking about.
Human rights atrocities we are talking about food insecurity.
And we’re talking.
About bodies and you know we’re talking and the bare naked book has some incredible inclusions in it of visibly trans bodies.
And normalization of body parts and things like that hold that thought.
It’s not only about.
Talking about fostering creativity and all kinds of things like that, but it also has a character that uses they them pronouns and it is not a central part of the story.
It is just beautiful incidental inclusion.
Every one of these books has such an important message and we didn’t want to.
We didn’t want to bother them because they didn’t fit in a category.
We needed to give them a place that.
Gave them honor.
But I think also it it takes a little while to see the zietgeist of of kidlit in this particular moment in time.
And really like we were talking about.
Before being responsive to that with creating categories that make sense for what people are producing and what people want to read right now.
And I think more than any year before, social emotional big topics and talking to kids openly about.
Their world and about their bodies and about, you know, mental health.
All of these things are really becoming more mainstream or at the forefront.
And it’s it’s showing up in Kidlit and it’s sort of a new genre in a way that it it.
Hasn’t existed before and it’s it’s not, you know like a 90s pamphlet, type.
Let’s talk about this.
You know what I mean?
This is beautiful.
Well thought through art that is meant to explore giant ideas and I really think that this is what 2021 is bringing.
That is so completely different and new and exciting.
You know in so many ways and and it speaks to.
Our society evolving, and I think that’s really cool.
On that same note, though, like of evolution, and that’s one thing I really want to point out.
The bare naked book was.
Originally published like in.
The early 80s and at the time it was revolutionary and widely bad.
Plus I have this plan.
And you know, I think the reception to this new version has been great, but Annick Press brought on multiple subject matter experts and and consultants, trans educators and and transparents to come on and make sure that the language was thoughtful.
And that the illustrations were right and they really got it right?
I I can’t say enough good things about this as a first body book, we actually legitimately read it at bedtime and have conversations.
It is it’s very friendly.
There’s enough left unsaid in the pages of the book that you can fill in with conversation at the level that everyone in your family is comfortable with, but there’s still enough said in both texts and the pictures to really.
Be affirming that everybody is OK, it’s one of the only picture books this year that came out that actually has like.
Beautiful dimply fat bums just like mine I love.
It you know, I’m just sitting here looking at this and I’m thinking about change and evolution of Kidlet and I’m also looking at this and realizing that I think it also a lot of these books speak to a change in the way that we see.
Children and the respect that we have for children as tiny people who are capable of complex thoughts of making choices of thinking something through critically and not just being.
Hold of even the concept of children having consent over and control of their own body is not something that is you know was widely like.
Don’t hug Doug, don’t hug, don’t have Doug, you know like until fairly recently.
Doug is so great.
Children have been expected to just sort of be dolls for for adults like you know, you have to give people hugs.
You have to, you know that kind of thing is now changing and the idea that children should be able to say no.
This I I’m not comfortable with that and being able to treat children.
With the respect that they can make those decisions for themselves, and I think that this these books, the books that you find in in this list all treat children with a lot of respect.
And they don’t patronize them.
No, and I think actually the many shapes of clay is another incredible example.
Of that, it is a.
Gorgeous bark but.
It is filled.
With such a respect for a child dealing with grief in their own way in in their own time and and it is not didactic or or preachy.
In fact, none of the books in this category I find to be that way, which has often been the case with similar books in the past.
We’re really reaching kind of a new.
A new world of enjoyable to read books that are important that respect children as human beings that give parents and caregivers and educators tools to expand conversations.
And actually I want Coco to talk about proudest color.
For that reason.
Oh yeah, I have been planning what I’m gonna say.
Although I relate to Doug on an elemental level, because I also do not hug.
Doug is an icon.
Doug is an icon.
There’s like a very short list.
Listen, I would hug you too and that is not a phrase that I say lightly because I don’t like to promise what I.
Can when I can’t keep up?
It’s like single digit amounts of people that I will hug willingly, uhm?
So anyway, that’s this is what I pay my therapist for, not you too.
Doug is an icon.
I would die for Bree Galbraith.
When we say Black Lives Matter, gorgeous.
Oh my gosh funny yeah.
Absolutely effervescent, just.
Brilliant, powerful, poetic, gorgeous.
I would frame any spread.
Oh, it’s beautiful.
The proudest color.
I did a live with both of the authors that’s on my Instagram.
Uhm, they are both in the mental health field and they developed this as a resource to develop positive identities in a time when.
The media doesn’t.
Always portray all identities in any sort of nice way.
They’ve designed them.
Book to really foster conversations in a positive way and remove shame from a lot of conversations, which I think is really important because I think as parents especially, I think in our sort of.
Elder millennial space.
You know our parents maybe had a lot of shame around some of these conversations.
And we’re trying to move into a new era with our children.
That removes a lot of shame around difficult conversations.
That’s something I really appreciated about this book is is I could tell how thoughtfully designed the story was to remove that element of shame and and foster positive conversations.
And Saturday at the food pantry is another book that I I deeply feel does that in a really incredible way.
And you know, not everything, even though there are challenges in life, the entire narrative of a story doesn’t have to be this didactic.
Thing is wrong because X is happening, but I guess I’ll overcome it like that.
Doesn’t really help move the narrative forward.
Uhm, working on these narratives that remove shame.
And go hey everybody needs help sometimes.
Sometimes I get things wrong but we can talk about it and we can do better in the future like kids get it, they’re smart.
Full stop children are way stuff.
You feel like.
Though OK, when I see red is like definitely a top five book of the entire year for me.
I love it so much.
It’s beautiful, but also it’s super empowering because people that are cultured female are not allowed to experience anger, and we’re always supposed to be, like, quote, unquote, good and be nice and nurturing and kind, and this book is just all about being mad and like.
Sitting with your feelings, but then also recognizing that.
The feelings will pass and that you’ll be better for experiencing the anger and that anger is incredibly powerful.
I just think that’s a great message for everybody, but especially for people who are cultured female.
The couple others we haven’t really mentioned but hear my voice is about family separation at the border and and specifically about children.
Every single spread is illustrated by a different artist.
It is beautiful.
It is powerful.
You need to be on the right frame of mind and be prepared to have a conversation with your children.
It’s not a fly by night book that you should just read and walk away from, but I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Also important to realize is that the text in this book is quotes from children who are.
Who were detained at the moment of taking their statements?
There’s obviously no follow up info, but it’s like it amplifies the voices of people who are directly experiencing the family separation and the unlawful detainment, which again I could go on 80 years.
I honestly I don’t even.
I don’t even.
Know how to speak about.
This book because.
Just when you read it and you realize that this is happening in our world in the United States, which is the place where like I don’t know?
I kind of grew up feeling like the United States is a developed nation and it’s a.
Democracy and blah.
Blah blah and then you read this about what’s happening down there and it’s.
Just like continuing.
It’s so unjust and horrific.
It’s mind blowing and I did read this to my 5 year old and she was pretty horrified and it was a tough conversation for everybody.
But it was also a really important one.
It’s a tough conversation.
There’s no way for it not to be a tough.
Conversation it isn’t.
A horrifying and heartbreaking situation.
We can’t pretend it’s not happening so, and our children are going to find out about these things, and I think we can empower our kids when we give them knowledge.
That’s how we.
Raised and I’m.
Borrowing your name, but that’s how we raise tiny.
Activists so so.
So, and you know a primary goal of mine is to raise a human who gives a crap.
These are books that need to exist.
Every book in this category for that exact reason and.
I’m just I, I’m very proud of what?
What we as a group voted as the best books and then how we have tried to give every book the best spotlight and overall baby books.
I think it’s our best list yet.
Lost a lot and you know what?
A lot of books that each of us like the lot didn’t make it onto this because all of the books that are on here had to score up higher because everybody scored.
It was all averaged out.
It’s all done fair and square so.
So it’s kind of funny like this is this is the top that all 15 of us from our with our different perspectives and our different preferences have all decided all right.
This is our longest episode to date.
I already know it.
Is it crap we had?
So yeah, you know what?
Like an hour and a half.
We can’t help it and we haven’t talked about.
Every single book on this.
List, so go check out the show.
Notes we will have all of the information in there. We’re going to link information about Mr Watson’s chickens just for Ali.
We’re all over this and you know we have some more episodes coming out for season 2 which is going to extend into 2022 because we’ve only released a few episodes this year. This year been quite a year.
Yep, it’s a.
Very busy year and if you made it all the way through this episode, we’ll tell you a secret now ’cause we appreciate you.
What’s the secret?
My secret is I don’t know.
I tooted on my dog.
I don’t think we’re good, it’s just the.
And on that note.
First thing I could think of.
You can find the picture Books Reading podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Please check us out on Instagram at picture.
And thank you for joining us for the longest episode.
Of the picturebooks
Again, ever in history.
Love you so much.
You did it.