November is an in-between month (Thanksgiving just doesn’t hold the same level of excitement as Halloween or Christmas); I’m often left wishing it would hurry up and be December already so that I could begin celebrating Christmas. Although the current November here in southern Wisconsin has been unseasonably warm and full of sunshine, so I’m not ready for it rush off just yet. This year I’m also appreciating the in-between time to recover from Halloween and make preparations for Advent and Christmas. My preparations  include finding lots of good picture books to read through Advent and then during the Twelve Days of Christmas (which we will be attempting to observe this year). I plan to create a post (or two) about the books we use for the holiday season, but today I’d like to share some of my favorite picture books.

  1.  I Took the Moon for A Walk – Carolyn Curtis’ poetic text is mesmerizing and has replaced Goodnight Moon as the bedtime staple in our house. The illustrations by Alison Jay are breathtaking, whimsical enough to be fun, and always contain hidden details. I’m on a mission to read every book Jay has illustrated – not only because of the beauty of her work, but also because the books she works on are always top notch. See a list of her work on Goodreads.
  2. Duck Sock Hop – “Warm-up, wiggle, stretch your beak. / Duck Sock Hop comes once a week! / The mood is high, the sun is low, / the music starts, get ready, go!” This book is fun! My boys fell in love with ducks thanks to BBC’s Sarah & Duck, so naturally I grabbed this book to share with them. It has turned out to be a family favorite and we were sad to return it back to the library. The rhyming text makes the story memorable and easy to read; the illustrations are adorable. I hope this new, young author continues writing!
  3. Mama Panya’s Pancakes – A lovely story that illustrates the beauty of community. There is no shortage of books about African folk tales, but this one deserves special recognition, in my opinion, for being a cut above the rest. The beauty of village life in Kenya shines through in both the story and the illustrations, but Mama Panya and her son Adika’s life is not idyllic. Their money is tight, and Mama is concerned about having enough to eat as the excited Adika invites everyone they know to supper. In the end the community comes together to share a simple meal of pancakes, but it is so much more than a meal that they are sharing. This is definitely a must-read, and seems appropriate for the month of November as many people come together to share what they have and be thankful.
  4. One City, Two Brothers – Amidst the conflict happening around the world, this story of selfless love and peace shines brightly and calls us to love one another. It is lengthy, but the storytelling style suits the story keeps it true to its origins. The vibrant colors of the illustrations are beautiful and enrich the story.

I look forward to discussing mine and my family’s favorite pictures books more in the future. I’m also discussing favorite books, authors, and illustrators on Twitter under the hashtag #PictureBookMonth – check it out! My handle is @funnyfacejess

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