A Bunch of Board Books

Here are some great recently-released board books to embrace this summer:

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrations by Ashley Lukashevsky (9780593110416)

To raise an antiracist baby, you must understand that’s it’s all about showing them that society can transform. This is not a space to be neutral, but one to be an activist. This board book explores what it takes to raise a child who is not racist in our society. First, see all skin colors, don’t be artificially color-blind. Second, talk about race. Third, politics are the problem, not people. Fourth, there is nothing wrong with people, no matter their race, sex, gender, orientation or faith. Fifth, celebrate differences. This book continues through number none which is believing that we can overcome racism. With bright illustrations, this book takes a firm stand of hope and optimism as long as hard work is done and children are raised to see themselves as part of the solution.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Kokila. 

Pride 1 2 3 by Michael Joosten

Pride 1 2 3 by Michael Joosten, illustrated by Wednesday Holmes (9781534464995)

Join in the happiness of a pride parade in this counting board book. There is one parade in June with two DJs playing music. Three families, four activists, five motorcycles. Six floats go by with seven divas posing. Eight signs are held high with nine people standing together in unity. The final ten are people waving a variety of pride flags. Incredibly inclusive, this board book welcomes everyone to pride parades and celebrations with open arms. The illustrations are bold and bright, featuring all sorts of characters and families who are part of the LGBTQIA+ family.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Little Simon. 

Wake Up, Let's Play by Marit Tornqvist

Wake Up, Let’s Play by Marit Tornqvist (9781782506263)

This dreamy board book invites children to join in the fun that two friends find together. They play all sorts of things, like birthday party and restaurant. They build sandcastles and play stormy seas in the bath. Busy towns with wooden tracks fill the room, and sometimes art wanders onto the walls. They play through snow and even into the night. Then it’s time to figure out what to play tomorrow! Told in very simple sentences, this board book has marvelous illustrations that are quirky and fantastical. At the same time, these are exactly the games that small children play, so it is rooted in reality. A marvel of a little book.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Floris Books.

Play with Your Plate! by Judith Rossell

Play with Your Plate! by Judith Rossell

Play with Your Plate! by Judith Rossell (9781419739071)

This clever board book opens to reveal four separate sections, all done in sturdy board pages. Little ones are encouraged to play with the sections, as each one has an engaging question on it. Can you make a plate of only circles or triangles? Can you make one of only one color? Can you find a plate with all your favorite foods? Start turning the pages and you will discover a multi-topped pizza, Japanese sushi and miso soup, tacos, sandwiches, mac and cheese, and various fruits and veggies.

This book asks children to play with it. Families will be able to come up with their own challenges for one another since the book has 4,000 combinations. Turn all the way to the end and all of the sections end with empty plates and a few crumbs.

Clever and fun, you won’t be able to stop playing with this one. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Abrams Appleseed.

Best Books for Babies & Toddlers 2019

ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing

ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing, illustrated by Paulina Morgan

From the very first page, this board book grapples with social justice issues and demands that even tiny children start to think about our world in a more open way.

B Is for Baby by Atinuke

B Is for Baby by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Once again, Atinuke shows the beauty of Africa through a small child’s eyes.

Baby Day by Jane Godwin and Davina Bell

Baby Day by Jane Godwin and Davina Bell, illustrated by Freya Blackwood

Godwin and Bell show exactly what happens when you get a group of toddlers together.

Hush Little Bunny by David Ezra Stein

Hush Little Bunny by David Ezra Stein

Caldecott Honor-winner Stein has rewritten the classic song of Hush Little Baby into a rabbit-filled delight.

Jump! by Tatsuhide Matsuoka

Jump! by Tatsuhide Matsuoka

A delight of a board book sure to get everyone jumping.

Love You Head to Toe by Ashley Barron

Love You Head to Toe by Ashley Barron

The book contains many similes and metaphors and even the smallest child will enjoy looking at the animals and the ways that they are just the same.

My Art Book of Sleep by Shana Gozansky

My Art Book of Sleep by Shana Gozansky

An intelligent look at art for the youngest of children.

Up, Up, Up, Down! by Kimberly Gee

Up, Up, Up, Down! by Kimberly Gee

A toddler’s day is filled with opposites in this adorable picture book.

Why by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Why? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Simple and just right for toddlers and their questions.

Wild Baby by Cori Doerrfeld

Wild Baby by Cori Doerrfeld

The pacing is exciting and fast and the book is filled with just enough danger and plenty of love.

You Are Light by Aaron Becker

You Are Light by Aaron Becker

The poetry is effective and evocative, speaking to the power of light in our world. Still, it is the design and colors that truly make this book something particularly special.

Review: All Around Bustletown: Winter by Rotraut Susanne Berner

All Around Bustletown Winter by Rotraut Susanne Berner

All Around Bustletown: Winter by Rotraut Susanne Berner (9783791374154)

Large picture-book-sized pages made of board book stock invite even the youngest of children to explore Bustletown. In these busy pages, the life of an entire village plays out. The wordless format lets each reader make up their own stories about the people in town. Some of the story arcs include an escaped parrot, a lost key and wallet, a cat on a jaunt around town, buying a Christmas tree, and heading to ice skate with a friend. It’s a delightful mix of Where’s Waldo chaos with real stories about a diverse little town.

A German import, readers will enjoy the distinct European feel of the setting in the book. Care was taken to be inclusive with the members of the town, including people of different skin colors, faiths and abilities. The busyness of the pages is at just the right level, making it a pleasure to find the character you are searching for, rather than a frustration.

Bright and friendly, this wordless picture book is great fun to explore. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Prestel.

Review: ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing

ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing

ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing, illustrated by Paulina Morgan (9781786037428)

From the very first page, this board book grapples with social justice issues and demands that even tiny children start to think about our world in a more open way. A here is for ability. This book doesn’t stop with just the associated word though, it offers a definition that is accessible for small children, taking each concept and building on it throughout the book. Ewing uses great skill in distilling large and complicated subjects such as race, gender and xenophobia. Her text is uplifting and inspiring to read.

The illustrations are filled with characters of different races, religions, abilities and genders. They are small and friendly, clambering around on the letters and shapes and bringing a bouncy and joyous energy to the entire board book.

A board book that advocates for diversity and inclusion. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: My First Busy World by Eric Carle

My First Busy World by Eric Carle

My First Busy World by Eric Carle (9781534443914)

Beloved author, Eric Carle, brings us a board book to explore and touch. The pages are filled with special cut outs, a mirror to look at yourself in, and textures. There are flaps to lift, sparkly elements, and windows to look through. The book is also filled with elements that are labeled. These are basic things like different foods, what you see outside, and what is in your bedroom. Parents can also talk about colors, the child’s own family members, and much more along the way.

Just right for the youngest of children, this board book is done in a larger format than most. The design is one that invites talking about what is on the page with little children. They are encouraged to count stars, touch different items, and explore the universe inside the book fully. Done in a robust format, the book will stand up nicely to use in a public library setting too.

An inviting book to explore. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Little Simon.

Review: Jump! by Tatsuhide Matsuoka

Jump! by Tatsuhide Matsuoka

Jump! by Tatsuhide Matsuoka (9781776572311)

Leap into this great board book for toddlers! On one page, the animal is sitting waiting to jump, then with the turn of the page the animal launches into the air. Each jump is accompanied with a merry and silly noise that is some version of “boing!” Sometimes there are additional syllables to create even more fun. The format turns the book lengthwise so that the animals can jump even higher. The illustrations are simple and joyous.

A delight of a board book sure to get everyone jumping. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Gecko Press.

Review: My Art Book of Sleep by Shana Gozansky

My Art Book of Sleep by Shana Gozansky

My Art Book of Sleep by Shana Gozansky (9780714878652)

This is the second board book in a series that links fine art to a single concept. In this case, the book is focused on sleep. In the book, you will find 35 images of art works from a variety of time periods and cultures that depict sleeping in a number of different ways. The book explores naps and also getting ready for bed and bedtime. It also looks at dreams and what you might see in them. The book also shows sunsets and night skies.

Accompanying the art is a simple set of sentences that cleverly tie together the disparate pieces of art. It offers a loose connectivity to the images that makes the book able to be shared aloud. The use of the connecting words is a critical element here that makes more than an art collection and turns it into a bedtime story with amazing art. Each piece of art is also labeled with its title and artist. The book ends with more information on each piece of art.

An intelligent look at art for the youngest of children. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: You Are Light by Aaron Becker

You Are Light by Aaron Becker

You Are Light by Aaron Becker (9781536201154)

Caldecott Honor winner Becker has created his first board book and what a beauty it is! The book almost glows with light and comes fully alive when raised toward the sun or a lamp where the colored circles shine. As the pages turn, light is celebrated. The way that it warms land, sips the sea, makes the rain, makes crops grow, and lights the moon. Particularly though, the light in each person is celebrated.

This board book is wonderfully simple and exceptionally designed. As pages turn, the primary colors overlap to form secondary colors and a complete rainbow, yet another way that light enters our lives. The poetry is effective and evocative, speaking to the power of light in our world. Still, it is the design and colors that truly make this book something particularly special.

Just right for learning colors and seeing a little one’s connection to the world. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Candlewick.