Looking for some fresh new picture books for Summer 2021 and beyond? Here are some of my favorites that have just been published – or are due out soon. Thanks to advanced copies from the publishers and a visit to my local bookstore, I’ve been able to look through each of these completely for you.
I weeded out at least twice as many titles as you see here. These are my very favorite new picture books for summer 2021. I hope you find something new that you love too!
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Paletero Man by Lucky Diaz (illustrated by Micah Player)
This bright and vividly illustrated new book is my top pick so far this summer. It has perfect rhythm and rhyme, in a mixture of both Spanish and English. The storyline has a familiar theme – a quest through a neighborhood – but with a fresh take. A little boy is looking for the popsicle cart man! The story has a strong sense of place, setting you into a colorful Los Angeles neighborhood.
I think if you’re going to read this one aloud you’d like to have some basic knowledge of Spanish pronunciation. The Spanish words themselves are not translated directly, but most of them are restated or given context in English, or they are cognates.
Ship in a Bottle by Andrew Prahin
Mouse wants to move to a safer home, away from Cat. She bravely embarks on a journey aboard her ship in a bottle and meets a series of challenges. I think that this charming quest story will be one of those stories that gets requested often, but that you won’t mind reading aloud each time.
Oakley the Squirrel: The Search for Z by Nancy Rose
I’m obsessed with the photos in this soon-to-be-released alphabet book! The author-photographer created miniature scenes in her backyard and attracted real wild squirrels to it with strategically placed peanuts. She then wrote an adorable (and educational) alphabet book to go along with it.
What If, Pig by Linzie Hunter
Put this cute new title on your social emotional learning booklist!
Pig, who is much-loved by all his friends, wants to have a party. Then, he starts to worry about everything that could go wrong. I love the cheerful illustrations and message of talking about your worries. This would be an excellent choice for any preschool or kindergarten classroom.
Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad by Liz Climo
Rory the dinosaur decides to set out on an adventure all by himself. Observant readers will notice the illustrations showing that his dad is actually following along and helping to keep him safe. This is a sweet father’s day choice for little dino lovers.
Except Antarctica by Todd Sturgell
Kids who have experience with nonfiction animal books or nature documentaries will giggle through this lighthearted storybook. A turtle decides to challenge the narrator’s pronouncement that turtles live on every continent except Antarctica. He gathers together a menagerie of animal friends, and off they head to the “frozen continent. Everyone will enjoy the clever ending, as well as the fun facts and background information in the afterward.
Something Stinks by Jonathan Fenske
Kids who love everything stinky and gross will be rolling with laughter as you read this engaging, silly new book. A skunk looks for the source of a terrible smell, oblivious that it is coming from him. I’d love to read this aloud to a group of preschoolers or kindergartners.
Moon Camp by Barry Gott
Top off your moon or space unit with this fun new fantasy adventure story about a boy who blasts off to summer camp on the moon. He has a terrible time until he finds a friend. I loved the fanciful moon versions of typical summer camp activities, such as low gravity canoeing and a bonfire in a crater, and I think kids who have a bit of background knowledge will enjoy this book immensely.
Oddbird by Derek Desierto
The colorful cover on this title drew my attention in the bookstore recently, but the real charm is the story inside. In fact, the story is about just that – how what’s on the inside of us is more important than what’s outside. Oddbird shows all the showily feathered birds that jumping in a cool pond on a hot day is well worth mussing up their colorful plumes.
Oh Look, a Cake! by J.C. McKee
In this funny new book, a sloth and a lemur convince each other that they can eat a cake that’s not theirs – without even sharing it. The most sensitive young readers might not like the surprise ending in this book, but I think most children will adore it. Use this story as a jumping-off point for talking about sharing and handling disappointment.
I hope one of these wonderful new picture books for summer 2021 strikes your fancy. It’s so much fun meeting new stories – almost like meeting new friends!