10 May Children’s Books to Wake Your Brain Cells

Here is a list of some of the children’s books coming out in May with starred reviews and lots of positive attention. Enjoy!

Boy from Buchenwald by Robbie Waisman and Susan McClelland

Da Vinci’s Cat by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Finding Junie Kim by Ellen Oh

Force of Fire by Sayantani DasGupta

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend by Dawn Quigley

Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly

Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga

Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L. D. Lapinski

Sunshine by Marion Dane Bauer

Have You Ever Seen a Flower? by Shawn Harris

Cover image.

Have You Ever Seen a Flower? by Shawn Harris (9781452182704)

Award-winning illustrator Harris makes his authorial debut in this bright and flowery picture book. A little girl is the only colorful spot in her drab, gray city. She travels by car out to the hills that are covered with flowers, the same hues as her streaming hair. With her dog at her side, she asks the reader if they have ever seen a flower. Have they crawled deep in the clover to find one? Have they breathed deeply and figured out exactly what they are smelling? Have they found a flower so deep that they shouted into it and listened for an echo? The question then shifts to whether the reader has ever been a flower? With their torso as their stem, rooted in the ground, growing to the sun? Try it and see!

Harris brings young readers directly into his story with his string of questions that ask them to use all of their senses to experience nature around us, in particular flowers. He draws deep connections between flowers and children while also inviting in creativity and imagination. His wording reads aloud brilliantly, playing with near rhymes and repeating structures.

The illustrations are stunning. Done in colored pencil, the colors are neon bright while still having real depth. Harris evokes the flowering hills of California, filling them with a variety of plants and also having pages of the same plant repeating in patterns. He shifts perspective beautifully, moving from close ups of plants and the little girl to broad landscapes of color.

Perfect for spring, this is one to pluck from the shelves and share. Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from copy provided by Chronicle Books.