A Year of Picture Books (January & February)

Here are some of our favorite picture books that we read in the months of January and February.

Ocean Meets the Sky is a beautiful book that tells the story of a young boy who goes searching for a magical world that his grandfather told him about where the ocean meets the sky. The artwork is just beautiful in this story. There are boats, whales, jellyfish and all kinds of amazing things that the boy sees on his way.

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World

Nikola Tesla is probably one of my favorite inventors of all time. He was a man way ahead of his time and the world sadly didn’t really know his genius until after he passed away. This book features amazing artwork and retells the story of how Tesla prevailed over the doubters (including Edison) and brought his own brand of electricity to the world. **Fun fact: Tesla was actually the first person to invent the radio based on patent history, but surprisingly Marconi is the one the world remembers when it comes to the discovery of the radio.

Dare the Wind: The Record-breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud

Dare the Wind tells the amazing story of how a female navigator helped to beat the world record on how fast a ship could travel from New York City to San Francisco around the famous Cape Horn.

Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre and His World of Insects

I love science! I was happy to find this treasure at the library. Small Wonders tells the story of how an inquisitive young boy fell in love with insects and became the first biologist to be nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature. The pictures are amazing in this book and the reader gets introduced to a lot of fun facts about why insects act the way they do. Plus….you get to learn the names of a lot of new insects. It also was a moving story and just beautiful to look at and read. My favorite quote from the book, “We have all of us, men and animals, some special gift. One child takes to music…another is quick with figures. It is the same way with insects. One kind of Bee can cut leaves, another builds clay houses. In human beings, we call the special gift genius. In an insect, we call it instinct. Instinct is the animal’s genius.”

Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire

If you love Disney, then you will love this book. Pocket Full of Colors tells the story of Mary Blair who was one of the first women illustrators at Disney. She loved colors so much that she kept a notebook full of her favorite shades she found during her travels. Ms. Blair was the one who told Walt Disney that Cinderella’s pumpkin coach just had to be teal…and it was! She also personally designed the “Its a Small World” ride because Walt Disney loved her choices of color so much. Once again, this book was filled with beautiful colors and had an amazing story to tell as well.

This Land Is Your Land

The artwork is probably the best part of this book because the words are just the lyrics to the song, “This Land is Your Land”. While it is a great song, I generally like a story to read in picture books. However…..the illustrator does an amazing job of painting all the different parts of America and even works in scenes of how we should come together as a community and work together. Ben loved looking at all the landmarks that were showcased in this book.

I love books about artists. This book follows the life of Josef Albers who single handedly taught the world that colors were so much more than what they appeared to be. Using simple shapes, Albers illustrated how colors can interact with each other and have their own personalities. I especially loved that the author grew up next door to Albers and never realized how famous he was until many years later. One Christmas, the author’s mother received hand painted cards from Albers for Christmas and had them framed. The little girl didn’t understand why her mother cared so much about those colorful squares until after she grew up and realized that the little old man was a world renowned artist!

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner

Charles Henry Turner was a little boy who loved insects so much that he devoted his entire life learning their habits and teaching others to see the tiny miracles in God’s smallest creations. This was a delightful story. We loved learning how he proved that bees see colors and prefer red. And how he trained cockroaches to find their way through a maze. He suffered with discrimination throughout his life, but didn’t let that stop his thirst for knowledge. Turner’s colleagues only had nice things to say about him and were always amazed at his kindness and his willingness to collaborate with anyone on any project (something that most scientists do not do as graciously).

**Like always, we found all of these books at our local library, so make sure you check out your library for these gems if you want to learn more about these amazing people!

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