I have checked out several Advanced Reading Copies of books coming out in 2020. Also, I have looked at sites announcing upcoming releases. I am always on the look out for fun interactive picture books to read in my various storytimes. Here are 20 that look like surefire storytime winners with a quick sentence or two explaining why I think so. I have seen 16 of them in ARC form; if I have not seen the book I put that in the write-up.
Brick by Brick, illustrated and written by Heidi Woodward Sheffield, published by Nancy Paulsen Books, ISBN: 978-0525517306, to be released: May 5, 2020.
Inventive art and a lyrical bilingual (Spanish/English) text shine in this loving story about a construction worker father and his imaginative child. And it all leads to a terrific, satisfying ending.
Brown Baby Lullaby, illustrated by AG Ford, written by Tameka Fryer Brown, published by Farrar Straus Giroux, ISBN: 978-0374307523, to be released: January 14, 2020.
A warm, comforting book that will work splendidly in a Jammie Time storytime. Cozy, charming illustrations, a text that sings.
The Button Book, illustrated by Bethan Woollvin, written by Sally Nicholls, published by Tundra, ISBN: 9780735267152, to be released: January 14, 2020.
Raise your hand if you know a child who loves buttons. I thought so. This silly romp offers buttons galore and the chance to make all kinds of goofy sounds.
Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots, illustrated and written by Michael Rex, published by Nancy Paulsen Books, ISBN: 978-1984816269, to be released: February 11, 2020.
Rex does an outstanding job making the whole facts vs. opinions concept easy for younger children to understand. And that’s a fact. Or is that my opinion? I need a robot to help me out! Excellent fun…and some highly opinionated adults, ahem, might want to check it out too.
A Girl Like Me, illustrated by Nina Crews, written by Angela Johnson, published by Millbrook, ISBN: 978-1541557772, to be released: February 4, 2020.
Crews’ innovative photographs mix beautifully with Johnson’s inspirational words in this vibrant ode to girl power. Transcendent.
Hat Tricks, illustrated and written by Satoshi Kitamura, published by Peachtree, ISBN: 9781682631508, to be released: March 1, 2020.
I cannot wait to hear a group of preschoolers yell “Abracadabra, katakurico” and then squeal with delight when they see which unexpected animal pops out next from rabbit’s hat.
I Got the School Spirit, illustrated by Frank Morrison, written by Connie Schofield-Morrison, published by Bloomsbury, ISBN: 978-1547602612, to be released: July 7, 2020.
This promises to be a rollicking follow-up to I Got the Rhythm by the same talented team. I have not seen it yet but as a fan of the first book I am positive this will be one that will have kids cheering.
My Best Friend, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Julie Fogliano, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, ISBN: 978-1534427228, to be released: March 3, 2020.
Beautiful and unique illustrations join forces with always surprising words in a book that will definitely be mentioned in every “what will win the 2021 Caledecott Award” conversation.
Nesting, illustrated and written by Henry Cole, published by Katherine Tegen Books, ISBN: 978-0062885920, to be released: March 3, 2020.
Henry Cole does not receive enough acclaim for the beautiful art he creates. This realistic, highly detailed nature book looks at a robin couple taking care of their newborn offspring.
Old Rock (is not boring), illustrated and written by Deb Pilutti, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, ISBN: 978-0525518181, to be released: February 4, 2020.
If the stone from Brendan Wenzel’s fabulous A Stone Sat Still had a feistier, rock and roll cousin it would resemble the rock starring in this funny yet informative book. Yes, it’s a history lesson of sorts, but also a witty allegory about sitting down with your elders and learning about their eventful past.
Roy Digs Dirt, illustrated and written by David Shannon, published by The Blue Sky Press (an imprint of Scholastic), ISBN: 978-1338251012, released on January 7, 2020.
The great David Shannon loves chronicling naughty behavior, introducing readers to such characters as the canine Fergus, the hammer-happy Mr. Nogginbody, and, of course, David. The pooch Roy happily joins Shannon’s mischievous world.
Smart George, illustrated and written by Jules Feiffer, published by HarperCollins, ISBN: 978-0062790996, to be released: June 2, 2020.
I love doing the 1999 Bark, George in storytime (in fact I just read it my big preschool last week). Now 20 years later Feiffer finally honors readers with a sequel which has George dreaming about numbers. I have not seen this yet and wonder if there will be any allusions to The Phantom Tollbooth, the mathematical classic Feiffer illustrated back in the early ’60s.
Smashy Town, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, written by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha, published by HarperCollins, ISBN: 978-0062910370, to be released: May 19, 2020.
Another sequel to a 1999 book! Put on your hard hats and your earplugs, this sequel to Trashy Town will definitely have preschool crowds shouting out the sound effect noises. If you look up the term “audience participation” I wouldn’t be surprised if a picture of this book’s cover appeared next to the definition.
Snail Crossing, illustrated and written by Corey R. Tabor, published by Balzer + Bray, ISBN: 978-0062878007, to be released: February 4, 2020.
I love surprise endings, and this dangerously funny romp serves up two twists on its final pages. It’s funny but also suspenseful–you fear for the snail’s safety but happy to be along for the ride.
Spacebot, illustrated and written by Mike Twohy, published by A Paula Wiseman Book (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), ISBN: 978-1534444362, to be released: March 31, 2020.
A strange, cosmic wonder from an ace picture book creator working at the top of his game. Delightful illustrations, lots of action, and a fun conclusion will most likely lead to kids yelling “read it again! read it again!”.
That’s Life!, illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld, written by Ame Dyckman, published by Little, Brown and Company, to be released: March 31, 2020.
A lot of picture books try to dish out life advice, but feel adult-driven. This allegorical charmer will intrigue the preschool and younger elementary set thanks to Dyckman’s clever approach and Doerrfeld’s depiction of Life as a fluffy mischievous playmate who can cause trouble.
We Will Rock Our Classmates, illustrated and written by Ryan T. Higgins, published by Disney-Hyperion, to be released: July 7, 2020.
Penelope, the dinosaur star of We Don’t Eat Are Classmates, returns in what promises to be a rockin’ and noisy new favorite. I’m also willing to bet (I haven’t seen it yet) that Higgins will mix in some (not overly cloying) sweetness, too.
Wheels, illustrated by Brian Lovelock, written by Sally Sutton, published by Candlewick, ISBN: 978-1536211085, to be released: June 2, 2020.
The team behind Roadwork, Demolition, and Construction (three of my favorite preschool storytime books) team up again–whoo hoo! I haven’t seen it yet but I am guessing that there will be action and sound effects galore that will encourage audience participation.
When My Brother Gets Home, illustrated and written by Tom Lichtenheld, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN: 978-1328498052, to be released: March 3, 2020.
Tom Lichtenheld remains one of the most consistently fab artists working in the picture book world today. Here a young kid cannot wait for an older brother to return home from school and the result is a delight that will add warmth to storytimes about families.
The Yawns Are Coming!, illustrated and written by Christopher Eliopoulos, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, ISBN: 978-1984816306, to be released: April 28, 2020.
Oh my heavens the Yawns cause quite a ruckus in this surreal giggle-inducing bedtime book. I love the characters’ expressions, the eye-catching lettering, and the wacky creatures who haphazardly guide our heroes to sleep.