One of the posts that I enjoy writing each year but the one that is without a doubt the most work is my Most Anticipated Books of the ...

Most Anticipated Picture Books 2020

Monday, January 06, 2020 BookBairn 1 Comments

One of the posts that I enjoy writing each year but the one that is without a doubt the most work is my Most Anticipated Books of the Year posts! And I always find it extremely interesting to see what books are planned for the next six months or so (much research after that becomes a bit tricky as their isn't always information available or, critically for picture books, there is no artwork available). I also find it really interesting looking back on the previous year's post (2019s list can be found here) and seeing which books lived up to their expectations but also which ones we decided not to buy in the end. The other thing that has changed quite a lot in the last year is that BookBairn is now interested in reading early chapter books and The Wee Page Turner has definitely moved away from baby books and primers to more books with an actual story (thank goodness - I much prefer a story book!). So the sorts of books we are thinking about adding to our collection have changed quite a lot and it will be interesting if the books I'm listing here are ones that really capture our imaginations as I think they will or whether our book pennies will be spent on different titles. Without further ado, here are the books that I'm excited about... 

Vote for Our Future by Margaret McNamara (14 January)

There is definitely a strong theme in the release of many picture books this year about democracy and elections which is no coincidence given that this is the year of the American presidential election. So having looked at quite a few titles, this one really appealed to me. Every two years, Stanton Elementary School closes so that it can transform itself into a polling station. People can come from all over to vote for the people who will make laws for the country. Sure, the Stanton Elementary School students might be too young to vote themselves, but that doesn't mean they can't encourage their parents, friends, and family to vote! After all, voting is how this country sees change--and by voting today, we can inspire tomorrow's voters to change the future. And the illustrations look utterly charming. Not long to wait for this one!

Everybody Counts by Kristin Roskifte  (4 February)

I was definitely drawn to this one thanks to the striking cover art! It's a book about teaching you to count from 0 to 7.5 billion, but it's also pitched to be so much more. Follow the characters’ stories through the book and see how their lives collide with those of others. There are a lot of secrets to be discovered for the sharp-eyed! You’ll see that everyone is different, everyone has their own life, and that – most importantly – everybody counts. At the end, a spotting section allows you to go back and have even more fun. Everybody Counts is critically acclaimed for its unique approach to visual communication, and has been awarded some of the world's highest honours for children's literature. So I can't wait to see a copy!

My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan & Francesca Sanna (25th February)

I absolutely adore the artwork of Francesca Sanna and have found her previous books to be quite hard-hitting so I'm hoping that this one is a slightly gentler read to enjoy at bedtime (although I do think it addresses environmental themes). Our friend Earth does so many wonderful things! She tends to animals large and small. She pours down summer rain and autumn leaves. She sprinkles whisper-white snow and protects the tiny seeds waiting for spring. Readers of all ages will pore over the pages of this spectacular book. Its enticing die-cut pages encourage exploration as its poetic text celebrates everything Earth does for us, all the while reminding us to be a good friend in return. Well that sounds right up our book street! 

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima (5 March)

This is a book that you might well have seen before but I discovered that it was finally going to be available in the UK! I think I flipped through this one in a bookstore in the States whilst on holiday and I regretted not picking it up (although I'm note sure it would have fit in our baggage allowance!). Growing up in the ocean, Kelp has always assumed that he was a narwhal like the rest of his family. Sure, he’s always been 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. Then one night, an extra strong current sweeps Kelp to the surface, where he spots a mysterious creature that looks just like him! Kelp discovers that he and the creature are actually unicorns. The revelation leaves him torn: is he a land narwhal or a sea unicorn? But perhaps, if Kelp is clever, he may find a way to have the best of both worlds. And isn't Kelp just adorable looking? BookBairn loves all things unicorn and is quite fascinated by narwhals so I think this will be a fun story for her.

The Song of the Tree by Coralie Bickford-Smith (5 March)

This is one for me! One of my favourite books (I have it listed in my picture books for grown ups section) is The Fox and The Star so when I saw that Coralie Bickford-Smith had a new picture book coming out this year I just know I will be desperate to get a copy! Her artwork is truly stunning and the poetry of her writing and the deeper symbolism are just a joy to read. Bird loves to sing in the towering tree at the heart of the jungle. It feels like home. When the season changes she must say goodbye, but she isn't ready to let go. As she listens to the other animals, Bird learns to sing a new song. Sounds magical!

The Seedling That Didn't Want to Grow by Britta Teckentrup (5 March)

If you've followed my blog for a while you will know that I really adore the artwork of Britta Teckentrup and she is treating us to multiple new books this year but this one looks particularly charming.This story about a reluctant seedling packs a powerful message about the benefits of being different. It's early spring and below the earth's surface seeds are just starting to sprout. One by one they stretch through the dirt and towards the sun, extending their shoots and leaves and growing tall. All except for one seedling, who isn't quite ready. Each page of this gentle but powerfully evocative book demonstrates how some of us are different. As most of the seeds transform into strong flowers, they block out the sun from the one left behind. But the little seedling persists, twisting and turning until, with the help of bird and insect friends, it finds its own place to grow and blossom. In the end, this little seed turns into a flower that's just as beautiful and healthy as all the others. I am excited to see anything new from this talented artist and I love the idea of a story with a plant as the main character! And sounds like it might also teach a little something about the plant life cycle.

Hello Scottish Animals by Kate McLelland (19 March)

We really enjoy Kate McLelland's books about life in Scotland for little ones - Weather, Colours etc - but I'm delighted that she has created a book for slightly older children. Starring leaping red squirrels and hungry highland coos, to jumping dolphins and playful otters, the bairns are just going to love this! children will love the fun and friendly illustrations. And who could be splash, splash, splashing in Loch Ness? This bright and bold picture book, packed with lively pictures and simple, clear words, is the perfect memento of a trip to Scotland. Kate McLelland brings Scotland's animals to life in bright, dynamic illustrations and we can't wait to add this to our shelf!

The Perfect Shelter by Clare Helen Welsh & Asa Gilland (14 May)

One of my favourite books last year was The Tide by Clare Helen Welsh dealing with the emotional topic of having a loved one living with dementia. So I'm sure this new book from her will be equally as delicately dealt with: a beautiful, powerful and uplifting story, exploring the complicated emotions we feel when someone we love is diagnosed with cancer. A story that will be a difficult read for some, but as it is reality for others, it's one that is essential and will, no doubt, help children understand and build empathy.

Don't Wake the Dragon by Bianca Schulze & Samara Hardy (19 May)

We love a dragon story! And we love a story that goes beyond it's pages and becomes one we can interact and play with. This bedtime story features a sound-asleep dragon who under no circumstances is to be woken up! Children are tasked with checking in on the sleeping dragon as the castle cook drops his pots and pans and when the knights throw a loud birthday party. It isn't until the whole kingdom settles down that the dragon wakes up. What is the kingdom to do? Designed to be read aloud and interacted with, parents will take pleasure in the playful text as much as children will enjoy gently rocking the book from side to side as they sing the dragon a lullaby. When the story finally comes to an end, and the gentle lullaby is repeated, the dragon (and the child!) is encouraged to drift off to sleep. This sounds like a delightful bedtime read and I know the bairns will enjoy tucking a dragon in at bedtime.

Disney Block by Peskimo (28 July)

Unfortunately, there is no cover artwork available for this one yet but as it's by the team behind the previous 'Block' books and it features Disney characters it's bound to be good! Disney’s classic animated films come to life in the latest title in the Abrams Block Book series! Each magical spread showcases beloved characters and unforgettable moments every fan should know, making this book perfect for the youngest Disney fans as well as seasoned collectors. I just wish it would have been released before our family trip to Disney World - so basically what I'm saying is I can't wait for this one!

When doing my research, there really were so many great books being released next year and doesn't the 5th March look like a great date for new picture books? With lots of work from old favourites adn ones from new creators I'm excited that we will certainly have our work cut-out to blog about as many of these great new releases as we can in 2020!

What are you most looking forward to in 2020?

Happy New Year, 
Kim, BookBairn and The Wee Page Turner xxx

*Release dates are for UK release provided by publisher but may be subject to changes.

Sections in italics from Amazon description.

1 comment:

  1. It’s great to see both BookBairn and the Wee Page Turner developing more advanced book tastes. These coming books for 2020 look great and I hope are very successful for the creators.