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Summer Reading 2021 Picture Books Recommendations

See the full list of great reading recommendations for Summer 2021 here.

What Will You Be? Written by Yamile Saied Méndez Illustrated by Kate Alizadeh

Available in English & Spanish

A child whimsically wonders what she will be when she grows up. Her abuela points to the child’s heart and says, “Listen.” With that, Abuela, a painter and storyteller, takes the child’s hand and leads her to herself. I want every child to have an abuela who hands them a paintbrush so they can “discover the way colors come alive on a blank canvas, just for me.” A simple but soulful story, with sparkling illustrations. Made me feel good. — Noreen

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What Will You Be? Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062839954
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - May 4th, 2021

The Boy and the Sea Written by Camille Andros Illustrated by Amy Bates

The Boy and the Sea is a beautiful story of growth, depicted through stunning watercolor imagery. As someone who grew up by the sea, this story feels so close to home. It’s carefully orchestrated to use the ocean as both a setting and a metaphor. The spreads alternate in style but maintain repetition through words. This is a great read-aloud for younger children, a place for them to be able to talk about growing up. — Andrea

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By Camille Andros, Amy June Bates (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781419749407
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - May 11th, 2021

Anita and the Dragons Written by Hannah Carmona Illustrated by Anna Cunha

Anita, a young Dominican princesa, has spent her life watching the dragons (or airplanes) fly over her island. But when it is her turn to fly with them, Anita must summon her bravery to venture into the unknown. The poetic text, inspired by Carmona’s mother’s immigration story, is accompanied by dreamy illustrations awash in pastels. This narrative about courage is a wonderful choice for talking about moving and change with young people. — Molly

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By Hannah Carmona, Anna Cunha (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781911373636
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lantana Publishing - April 6th, 2021

Fred Gets Dressed by Peter Brown

A young boy named Fred loves being naked while he romps around the house, but stumbling upon his parent’s closet inspires him to play dress-up. Peter Brown delivers this sweet and silly tale in a stylish palette dominated by olive green, neon pink, and eggplant purple. This is a perfect read-aloud for kids who love fashion, and it offers an affirmative take on makeup, style, and gender expression. — Molly

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ISBN: 9780316200646
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 4th, 2021

This Is Ruby Written by Sara O’Leary Illustrated by Alea Marley

Ruby likes an awful lot of things, and that’s the delight of this book. We are the fortunate ones; we hear her ruminations as she goes back and forth in time to imagine dinosaurs and her parents’ first meet-up, and we see the crazy antics the future may hold. For this second outing, This Is Sadie author Sara O’Leary has teamed up with illustrator Alea Markey, who shows us wildly colorful glimpses of Barbados, her childhood home. Meet Ruby! — Michelle

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By Sara O'Leary, Alea Marley (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780735263611
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tundra Books - May 25th, 2021

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