The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - Outstanding October Books

First off - the winner of the giveaway of When Your Daddy's A Soldier is:


BETH GALLAGHER


Congratulations Beth!


Now back to this post. There was NO way I could highlight all the wonderful authors and illustrators and their amazing books which release in October. So I decided to do a quick shout out for a few of the books I wish I had space for. Each of these four books are absolutely worth a read and a place in one's library.

Shoshi's Shabbat by Caryn Yacowitz, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Candlewick Press 10/11/2022) - Even ox understand the need and benefits of taking a break for Shabbat. After working six days in their field, Shoshi and her owner would rest and spend time with his grandchildren. Beautifully soft, and expressive illustrations, show Shoshi playing hide-and-seek with the children, Unfortunately, when she gets a new owner, he doesn't understand and practice Shabbat. After a bit, Shoshi's adamant refusal to work on the seventh day introduces Yohanan and his kids to the wonderful traditions of Shabbat. A gentle reminder of the importance of resting, reflection, and time with family.

Synopsis:: The virtues of taking a break—and of being thankful—are extolled in the gentle story of a stubborn ox, an impatient farmer, and a day of rest.


Long ago, in the hills near Jerusalem, lived a young ox. For six days each week, she and her owner would toil in the fields, and on the seventh day both would rest. Then it came to be that this young ox was sold. For six days, she toiled in her new owner’s fields, and on the seventh day the farmer brought out the yoke and plow, expecting to spend another day hard at work. But Shoshi the ox had a different idea. In a warm, friendly narrative and vivid, humorous art, author Caryn Yacowitz and illustrator Kevin Hawkes bring to life a tale drawn from the ancient Jewish stories known as the Midrash, a story as relevant today as it was long ago. It’s a tale of encountering other cultures and learning from them, of paying attention to the world around you—sun, breeze, animals, people—and above all, of learning to slow down and take a break.

The Winter Bird by Kate Banks, illustrated by Suzie Mason (Candlewick Press 10/11/2022) - Opening with an amazing lyrical line, "It was the time of year when the sun went to bed early," this gorgeously illustrated book follows a little nightingale who can't fly south with the other birds because of a broken wing. Offering friendship and help surviving through the winter, owl, rabbit, squirrel, and the woodpeckers offer shelter and food. Until the little nightingale's wing heals and spring, in all its intense green glory, arrives again. I adore Kate Banks' books and this one is such a sweet book of friendship, compassion, and discovering the wonders of winter.

Synopsis: Forest animals help an injured nightingale survive the winter in a comforting story of friendship and resilience, lyrically told and gorgeously illustrated.


As the days grow shorter and the air becomes colder, the spring birds fly south for winter—all except for a nightingale with a broken wing. Unable to fly, the nightingale worries about how to prepare for weather it’s never had to experience before. Luckily, the forest animals who are used to frosty conditions help the nightingale navigate the cold as its wing heals. Though the unfamiliar season proves challenging, and even a little scary at times, the nightingale discovers there’s beauty to be found in even the harshest weather—and with that comes newfound gratitude for the return of spring. Kate Banks weaves a story of perseverance and kindness, brought beautifully to life by Suzie Mason’s stunning artwork.

I Can't Draw by Stephen W. Martin, illustrated by Brian Biggs (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon and Schuster 10/18/2022) - Many kids have no problem drawing...until they get to school and begin comparing their drawings to others. When Max looks at Eugene's drawings, Max is convinced he can't draw. So, he asks Eugene for help and leads the reader through his adventure in discovering "how" to draw, with humorous (snide) commentary from their drawings. This is a hillarious, tongue-in-cheek book on self-discovery and learning to appreciate and have fun with different styles of art.

Synopsis: Max loves to draw, but he’s not very good at it. No, seriously, just look at some of his drawings. Ouch. So he asks his best friend, Eugene, for help. Working side by side, it’s pretty obvious there’s no hope for Max. Until Eugene has a brilliant idea, and they find a way to use Max’s unique talents to turn up the awesome and have some fun! A lot of fun!


Brian Bigg’s hilarious illustrations join Stephen W. Martin’s conversational text to create a laugh-out-loud read about embracing your talent and creativity that budding artists everywhere will relate to!

Building an Orchestra of Hope: How Favio Chavez Taught Children to Make Music from Trash by Carmen Oliver, illustrated by Luisa Uribe (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (10/25/22) - Favio Chávez took his degrees in environmental science and music to Cateura, Paraguay intending to help the gancheros (recyclers) and their families who lived “a small village built on a landfill” to recycle more efficiently. When He decided to teach the kids to play music, he discovered he had more students than instruments. So, he asked his ganchero friend, Nicolás “Colá” Gómez, to help build recycled instruments. Cola repurposed “old drain pipes, door keys, metal forks and spoons, X-ray films, bottle caps, glue canisters,” and many more items recycled instruments and the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura was created. Wonderfully soft illustrations realistically depict the children's life and the joy which music brought. The orchestra brought not just hope to Cateura, but to the world. It is an uplifting and empowering true story.

Synopsis: An exuberantly illustrated true story about innovation, community, and the power of music.


In Cateura, Paraguay, a town built on a landfill, music teacher Favio Chavez longed to help the families living and working amid the hills of trash. How could he help them find hope for the future? Favio started giving music lessons to Cateura’s children, but soon he encountered a serious problem. He had more students than instruments!


But Favio had a strange and wonderful idea: what if this recyclers’ town had its own recycled orchestra? Favio and Colá, a brilliant local carpenter, began to experiment with transforming garbage into wonder. Old glue canisters became violins; paint cans became violas; drainpipes became flutes and saxophones. With repurposed instruments in their hands, the children of Cateura could fill their community—and the world—with the sounds of a better tomorrow.


Based on an incredible true story, Building an Orchestra of Hope offers an unforgettable picture of human dignity reclaimed from unexpected sources. Carmen Oliver’s inviting words and Luisa Uribe’s dynamic illustrations create a stirring tribute to creativity, resilience, and the transformative nature of hope.

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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