Off The Shelf: Celebrate National Picture Book month


In recognition of National Picture Book month, I thought I would share a handful of my favorites published in 2020.

Though picture books are particularly good for one-on-one sharing with the children in your lives (introducing new vocabulary, helping build a love of reading), they are also great for all ages; replete with art and poetry.

The following suggestions include books that I think have a shot at the prestigious Caldecott Medal for best illustration, as well as a few that are just plain fun!

Timely and powerful, “All Because You Matter,” written by Tami Charles and illustrated by the talented Bryan Collier was written “to provide parents with a starting point about the racial climate in our country” and to remind all children that they matter. It reads as a love letter from parent to child about their worth in the world. Collier’s collage illustrations don’t disappoint and the title is destined to be on Caldecott shortlists. Stunning.

For something a little lighter, is Chris Grabenstein’s “No More Naps,” about a common argument … naptime. Toddler Annalise Devin McFleece does not want to take a nap under any circumstance, but everyone else around her does! Will she cave? Bright, cheery illustrations by Leo Espinosa highlight the witty text and story. This one is a classic!

Inspired by events at Standing Rock in 2016-17, “We Are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade depicts protests by Native American Tribes against the implementation of a pipeline through tribal lands. Beautiful illustrations and poetic text mirror the power of water and encourage activism.

“Swashby By The Sea” by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal is a delicious beachy read about a curmudgeon sailor who wants to be left alone and his new, decidedly enthusiastic neighbor. Joyous illustrations take the reader to the ocean, which plays a central role. Delightful distraction perfect for a gray day.

Fans of “Llama Destroys the World,” created by husband and wife author and illustrator Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox, will rejoice in the sequel, “Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse.” I’m not sure how much detail I need to give here— the title makes you smile just reading it. And cartoon llamas and alpacas? Amazing. When Llama realizes that he should pick up his messes, he decides that he will clone Alpaca, who is good at cleaning up … only to discover that having an army of alpacas comes with its own set of unique problems. Hilarious fun.

Astrophysicist Ray Jayawardhana’s “Child of the Universe,” illustrated by the talented Raul Colón is an out-of-this-world bedtime book. A father putting his daughter to bed tells her how she is connected to all things in the universe and that, as Joni Mitchell put it, “we are stardust.” Stellar.

More info

For more picture book suggestions, visit, call 360-683-1161 or email to

The Sequim Library is located at 630 N. Sequim Ave. Throughout the month of November, check out the library’s Facebook page at for daily recommendations

Jennifer Knight is Youth Services Librarian for the North Olympic Library System.

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