21 Elementary school picture books recommended by librarians for 2018

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Sakura Medal Nominees

The Sakura Medal Winning Books

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The 2018 Sakura Medal picture book nominees for elementary school students. Chosen by librarians and students from international schools in Tokyo.
Cry, Heart, but Never Break by Glenn Ringtved (Author), Charlotte Pardi (Illustrations), Robert Moulthrop (Translation)
A beautiful, sensitive picture book about being able to say goodbye to those we love, while holding them in memory.
The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski (author and illustrator)
Her magical book of stories is wordless until a whisper in the wind tells a little girl to imagine a story for each page.
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt (Author), Adam Rex (Illustrator)
You’ve played the game. Now read the legend of the three great warriors who started it all...ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS!
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton (Author-Illustrator)
Fall in love with a teeny-tiny, roly-poly, cutie pie of a farting pony in this wickedly funny tale from Kate Beaton, the artist behind the comic phenomenon 'Hark!'.
Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer (Author), Oliver Jeffers (Illustrations)
Did you know that sometimes, with a little electricity, or luck, or even magic, an imaginary friend might appear when you need one? An imaginary friend like Fred.
The Water Princess by Susan Verde (Author), Georgie Badiel (Author), Peter H. Reynolds (Illustrator)
Follows the experiences of a young girl who dreams of bringing clean drinking water to her African village as she rises early every morning and makes long journeys to the well with a heavy pot that she carries on her head.
Penguin Problems by Jory John (Author), Lane Smith (Illustrations)
Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it s a land free of worries and responsibilities! All of your problems will surely be blown away by the icy winds of that lawless paradise! . . . Won’t they?
Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano (Author), Kellen Hatanaka (Illustrations)
Tokyo lives in a small house between giant buildings with his family and his cat, Kevin. For years, highways and skyscrapers have been built up around the family s house where once there were hills and trees. Will they ever experience the natural world again?
School's First Day of School by Adam Rex (Author), Christian Robinson (Illustrations)
It's the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone's just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he's not the only one going through first-day jitters.
Chicken Nugget by Michelle Robinson, Tom McLaughlin (Illustrations)
Chicken Nugget is a hilarious new picture book by Michelle Robinson and Tom McLaughlin. My name is Nugget. Chicken Nugget. This is my family. I'm the smallest. And when you're the smallest, nobody ever listens. When Nugget's long-lost-cousin Franz turns up, all isn't quite as it seems. There's definitely something fishy - or foxy - about this chicken. This is Nugget's chance to save the day, because sometimes the bravest hero of all is just a little chicken.
Circle by Jeannie Baker (Author-Illustrator)
Each year, bar-tailed godwits undertake the longest migration of any bird, flying from Australia and New Zealand to their breeding grounds in the Arctic and back again. They follow invisible pathways pathways that have been followed for thousands of years while braving hunger and treacherous conditions to reach their destination. In Circle,Jeannie Baker follows the godwit s incredible flight, taking us over awe-inspiring scenes as the birds spread their wings above such beautiful landmarks as the Great Barrier Reef and China s breathtaking cityscapes.
The Black and White Factory by Eric Telchin (Author), Diego Funck (Illustrations)
Welcome to the Black and White Factory! Penguin, zebra, and panda will take you on a top-secret tour to see some black and white products that are made here, like salt and pepper shakers, dice, half decks of playing cards (only spades and clubs!), chess pieces, and tuxedos, in addition to a few special experimental projects. There are a few rules, though: No messes; No colors; No surprises allowed; EVER. But when the tour gets to the bar code room, some color has seeped in! It's up to the reader to try and rub it off and tilt the book so that it comes off, but nothing works!
Life Without Nico by Andrea Maturana, Francisco Javier Olea (Illustrations)
Maia and Nico are the very best friends, spending all of their time together. When Nico and his family move far away for a little while, Maia is left with a hole in her life that she thinks will never be filled.
Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff (Author), Iacopo Bruno (Illustrations)
Relates the story of Benjamin Franklin's involvement in the early development of the scientific method during a visit to France during the American Revolution to drum up support for the colonists. When asked to determine if the invisible force that Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer claimed he was using to cure patients was genuine, Franklin devised a series of tests that provided the answer in clear results.
The Secret Subway by Shana Corey (Author), Red Nose Studio (Illustrations)
From an acclaimed author and a New York Times Best Illustrated artist comes the fascinating, little-known and true! story of New York City s first subway. New York City in the 1860s was a mess: crowded, disgusting, filled with garbage. You see, way back in 1860, there were no subways, just cobblestone streets. That is, until Alfred Ely Beach had the idea for a fan-powered train that would travel underground. On February 26, 1870, after fifty-eight days of drilling and painting and plastering, Beach unveiled his masterpiece and throngs of visitors took turns swooshing down the track.
Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark by Heather Lang (Author), Jordi Solano (Illustrations)
This picture book biography follows the life of Eugenie Clark, the Japanese-American scientist, researcher, and diver, who became famous as The Shark Lady for her groundbreaking discoveries about shark behavior.
The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito (Author), Julia Kuo (Visual Art)
"Do you have a favorite sound?" little Yoshio asks. The musician answers, "The most beautiful sound is the sound of ma, of silence." But Yoshio lives in Tokyo, Japan: a giant, noisy, busy city. He hears shoes squishing through puddles, trains whooshing, cars beeping, and families laughing. Tokyo is like a symphony hall! Where is silence? Join Yoshio on his journey through the hustle and bustle of the city to find the most beautiful sound of all.
One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom (Author), Brendan Wenzel (Illustrations)
One Day in the leaves of the eucalyptus tree hung a scare in the air where no eye could see, when along skipped a boy with a whirly-twirly toy, to the shade of the eucalyptus, eucalyptus tree.
Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul (Author), Jason Chin (Illustrations)
A spare, poetic picture book exploring the different phases of the water cycle in surprising and engaging ways.
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel (Author-Illustrator)
In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see.When you see a cat, what do you see?