20 New August Picture Books to Wake Your Brain Cells

Here are 20 picture books coming out in August that have gotten stars from review journals. Enjoy!

Birrarung Wilam: A Story from Aboriginal Australia by Aunty Joy Murphy & Andrew Kelly, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy

The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl

A Bowl Full of Peace by Caren Stelson, illustrated by Akira Kusaka

Claude: The True Story of a White Alligator by Emma Bland Smith, illustrated by Jennifer Potter

Dance Like a Leaf by Aj Irving, illustrated by Claudia Navarro

Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson’s Journey to the Stars by Gary Golio, illustrated by E. B. Lewis (9781524738884)

The Egg by Valerio Geraldo

Every Color of Light by Hiroshi Osada, illustrated by Ryoji Arai

The First Fire: A Cherokee Story by Brad Wagnon, illustrated by Alex Stephenson

Girl versus Squirrel by Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Renee Andriani

Holiday! by Natalie Nelson

The Invisible Bear by Cecile Metzger

Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747 by Chris Gall

Little Fox by Edward van de Vendel, illustrated by Marije Tolman

Me & Mama by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Not an Alphabet Book: The Case of the Missing Cake by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Marc Boutavant

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow

The Run by Barroux

A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead by Evan Turk

Where Are You, Agnes? by Tessa McWatt, illustrated by Zuzanna Celej

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (9781419739828)

Published August 18, 2020, after being delayed in April. 

Tarisai was raised in luxury but kept at a distance from everyone lest she steal their stories through her touch. Only her mother, The Lady, touches her, but she is always away and visits rarely. Tarisai is sent to the capitol of the Empire to compete to become a member of the heir’s Council. Only eleven children are selected, one from each part of the realm. But Tarisai is part ehru and has been ordered to kill the heir when she gets close to him and has his trust. The magic of the wish binds Tarisai to comply, but her destiny is not that simple.

The depth of this teen novel is remarkable, particularly for a debut novel. It is a book that submerges the reader into a world they have never seen or experienced before. The world building is incredibly detailed, each element supporting the entirety, woven together into a complex but whole pattern. Based on the author’s Nigerian roots, the book is filled with African notes, settings and tributes.

The characters are so well drawn, particularly Tarisai, who is just as complex as the world she inhabits. As she learns more about herself, she transforms in front of the reader yet never leaves her lonely little girl beginnings behind. The result is an organic growth that makes sense and will leave the reader entirely satisfied.

One of the best fantasy novels this year, give this one to fans of Tomi Adeyemi. Appropriate for ages 13-18.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Amulet Books.