People all over the world are celebrating their graduations this summer so here’s a list of inspiring picture books that make great gifts for new graduates regardless of age.
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Miguel Tanco
46 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919170 | Tundra Books
A pup and his father contemplate his grand future while looking at other Great Dogs in their family. Will he be a marathon runner like Uncle Tibor, the fastest dog in the family? Will he be an astronaut like Aunt Yuki, who reached for the stars? Or maybe a teacher like Uncle Scooter, respected by all? No matter what, says his father, he will be a GREAT dog!
Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
By Dr. Seuss
56 Pages | All Ages | Hardcover
ISBN 9780679805274 | Random House BFYR
From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. In a starred review, Booklist notes, “Seuss’s message is simple but never sappy: life may be a ‘Great Balancing Act,’ but through it all ‘There’s fun to be done.’” A perennial favorite and a perfect gift for anyone starting a new phase in their life!
She Persisted: Around the World
By Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525516996 | Philomel BFYR
In this companion book to She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to a group of thirteen incredible women who have shaped history all across the globe. She Persisted: Around the World is a book for everyone who has ever aimed high and been told to step down, for everyone who has ever raised their voice and been told to quiet down, and for everyone who has ever felt small, unimportant or unworthy.
The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country
By Amanda Gorman
Foreword by Oprah Winfrey
32 Pages | All Ages | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593465271 | Viking Books
On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe with her call for unity and healing. Her poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country” can now be cherished in this special gift edition, perfect for any reader looking for some inspiration. Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this remarkable keepsake celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.
This Is Ruby
By Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Alea Marley
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263611 | Tundra Books
Ruby is a little girl with a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm that’s too big to contain! Ruby is always busy – she loves to make things, watch things grow and figure out how things work, with her dog Teddy by her side. And Ruby has lots of ideas about what she wants to be: maybe an animal conservationist? Or an archaeologist? She’s great at excavating (i.e. digging holes). Or maybe an inventor? She’s already invented a book with smells instead of words (so dogs can read it) and a time machine (the dinosaurs did have feathers after all, and the future is looking wild). This is Ruby, and this is her world.
In 2006, Dolly Parton expanded her Imagination Library program to include Canada. The Imagination Library is a free book gifting program devoted to inspiring a love of reading in children. Children enrolled in the program receive an age appropriate book in the mail every month free of charge and new titles are added every year. We’d like to congratulate the newest authors to be included in the Imagination Library!
Albert’s Quiet Quest By Isabelle Arsenault 48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover ISBN 9781101917626 | Tundra Books There are so many distractions in Albert’s Mile End neighborhood, what’s a book-loving introvert to do? Desperate for a quiet place to read, Albert storms out to the alley behind his house where his friends and neighbors often meet to play. Lucky him — not only is no one around today, but he finds an old painting of a beach scene that someone’s left for the trash. The painting sparks Albert’s imagination, spurring him on a zen-like quest for a quiet reading break on a sunset beach, a moment to unplug and find peace. And he almost does too, except for those meddling Mile End kids . . . who just want to have some fun, as LOUDLY as possible. Will Albert ever find a moment of quiet to enjoy his book? Or could his friends be looking for a book break of their own?
Count On Me By Miguel Tanco 48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover ISBN 9780735265752 | Tundra Books Everyone has a passion. For some, it’s music. For others, it’s art. For our heroine, it’s math. When she looks around the world, she sees math in all the beautiful things: the concentric circles a stone makes in a lake, the curve of a slide, the geometric shapes in the playground. Others don’t understand her passion, but she doesn’t mind. There are infinite ways to see the world. And through math is one of them.
Encounter By Brittany Luby Illustrated by Michaela Goade 40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover ISBN 9780735265813 | Tundra Books Based on an actual journal entry by French explorer Jacques Cartier from his first expedition to North America in July 1534, this story imagines the first encounter between a European sailor and a Stadaconan fisher. As the two navigate their differences (language, dress, food) with curiosity, the natural world around them notes their similarities. The seagull observes their like shadows, the mosquito notes their equally appealing blood, the mouse enjoys the crumbs both people leave behind. Debut author Brittany Luby’s background in social justice and history brings a breathtaking depth of insight and understanding to this story and Michaela Goade’s expressive art brings equal life to the creatures and landscapes. An author’s note outlines the historical context as well as situates the story in the present day.
Fairy Science By Ashley Spires 40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover ISBN 9780735264250 | Tundra Books Esther the fairy doesn’t believe in magic. But fairies are all about magic, despite Esther’s best efforts to reveal the science of their world. No matter how she and her bird, Albert, explain that rainbows are refracted light rather than a path to gold, or that mist is water evaporating rather than an evil omen, or the importance of the scientific method, her fairymates would rather just do magic. So when the other fairies’ solution to helping a dying tree is to do a mystical moonlight dance, Esther decides to take it upon herself to resuscitate the tree . . . with the scientific method, some hypothesizing, a few experiments and the heady conclusion that trees need sunlight to live! But while Esther manages to save the tree, she can’t quite change the minds of her misguided fairymates . . . or can she?
King Mouse By Cary Fagan Illustrated by Dena Seiferling 40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover ISBN 9780735264045 | Tundra Books A sweet, thoughtful tale of friendship, sharing and play, King Mouse begins when a mouse comes upon a tiny crown in the grass. The mouse puts the crown on his head, and when a bear subsequently comes upon him and asks if he’s king, the mouse responds “Yes.” This diminutive monarch settles into his new role very comfortably . . . until a snake comes upon a crown and claims she is queen. The mouse is not amused, especially when one by one the other animals find crowns and claim they are kings too. But when the bear can’t find a crown, King Mouse make a most surprising decision.
Teddy Bear of the Year By Vikki VanSickle Illustrated by Sydney Hanson 40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover ISBN 9780735263925 | Tundra Books Ollie is a regular bear with a regular job. He listens to his girl’s stories about her days, he snuggles her to sleep and he is there waiting when she gets home from school. Just your typical teddy bear stuff. So when he is whisked away to the annual teddy bears’ picnic, he feels insignificant compared to the other bears who do daring and daunting things: sleepovers, hospital stays–even a night in the lost and found! After small talk with a regional stuffing manager, a department of cuddling official and a stitchery inspector; a stop at the snack table; and even some team building activities, it’s time for the teddy bear service awards . . . and Ollie feels even more small and unimportant. But he soon learns that it’s not just the big things that matter, it’s the little things too.
The Not-So Great Outdoors By Madeline Kloepper 40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover ISBN 9780735264175 | Tundra Books What’s so great about the “great outdoors”? A grumpy urban kid begrudgingly accompanies her family on a summer camping trip, missing all the sublime sights right under her nose as she longs for the lights and stimulation of the city. But as she explores forests, lakes and mountains, and encounters bears, beavers and caribou, she slowly comes to realize that the simpler things are just as sparkly, that the sky is its own majestic light show, and the symphony is all around. The Not-So Great Outdoors is a humorous and richly imagined reminder of the beauty and magic that can be found away from the city and our screens.
Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink By Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein, and Bram Morrison, with Randi Hampson Illustrated by Qin Leng 40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover ISBN 9780735264069 | Tundra Books What does “skinnamarink” mean? You may not find its definition in a dictionary, but the meaning is clear to the generations of children who sang along: friendship, happiness, sharing, community and, ultimately, love. This song has been sung in weddings and in classrooms. It can be fun and silly – especially with the accompanying actions! And it has a way of bringing people together. Through Qin Leng’s wonderfully imaginative illustrations, this delightful picture book tells the story of a community coming together. Young and old, from little mice to a big elephant, people and animals gather into a spontaneous parade as they follow the sound of music.
Where’s Baby? By Anne Hunter 40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover ISBN 9780735264984 | Tundra Books In this clever introduction to prepositions, a near-sighted Papa is looking for his baby. Is Baby up in the tree? Is Baby under the log? Is Baby around the corner? Where could Baby be? Readers will delight in spotting the little fox on every page as Papa wanders the forest, encountering other animals all along the way, but never quite able to spot his own baby. Anne Hunter’s delicate and lovely illustrations with their limited palette highlight the humor of this adorable hide-and-seek tale.
You’re In Good Paws By Maureen Fergus Illustrated by Kathryn Durst 40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover ISBN 9780735264663 | Tundra Books Slightly distracted parents accidentally take their son, Leo, to the animal hospital to get his tonsils out. Luckily, taking care of a human doesn’t ruffle any feathers among the hospital staff. The chicken at the admissions desk is welcoming, the bear orderly is friendly and wise Dr. Stan inspires tremendous confidence despite being a mouse. Is the plastic cone really necessary, though? In this sweet and hilarious story, a child discovers that a trip to the hospital can be a positive experience–even when the hospital isn’t quite up to code . . .
The Mathical Book Prize aims to inspire a love of mathematics in children of all ages. It is awarded by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and in coordination with the Children’s Book Council. We would like to congratulate Miguel Tanco whose beautiful book, Count On Me, has been named an honor book in the Grades K-2 category.
Count On Me By Miguel Tanco ISBN 9780735265752 | Hardcover Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books Everyone has a passion. For some, it’s music. For others, it’s art. For our heroine, it’s math. When she looks around the world, she sees math in all the beautiful things: the concentric circles a stone makes in a lake, the curve of a slide, the geometric shapes in the playground. Others don’t understand her passion, but she doesn’t mind. There are infinite ways to see the world. And through math is one of them.
Since 2006, the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) has put together an honor list of international books for young people. The list is published each year in February and highlights international books that are deemed to be outstanding in their field. We would like to congratulate Miguel Tanco whose beautiful book, Count on Me, was included on this year’s Outstanding International Books list!
Count on Me
By Miguel Tanco
Hardcover | 48 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9780735265752 | Tundra Books
A young girl sees the world differently in this beautiful picture book celebration of math.
Everyone has a passion. For some, it’s music. For others, it’s art. For our heroine, it’s math. When she looks around the world, she sees math in all the beautiful things: the concentric circles a stone makes in a lake, the curve of a slide, the geometric shapes in the playground. Others don’t understand her passion, but she doesn’t mind. There are infinite ways to see the world. And through math is one of them.
This book is a gorgeous ode to something vital but rarely celebrated. In the eyes of this little girl, math takes its place alongside painting, drawing and song as a way to ponder the beauty of the world.
The Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide is back again! For the last two years, we put together gift guides inspired by Travis Jonker’s The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide 2017 featuring Tundra’s illustrators from 2019! This list has something for everyone from some of the best children’s book illustrators in the world – treat your family and friends (or yourself!) to a beautiful piece of art this holiday season.
Abigail Halpin is an illustrator living in southern Maine, a few miles from the sea. Her illustrations are a blend of traditional and digital media, mixing watercolor, ink, pencil and more. She has created illustrations and lettering for a range of clients including Galison/Mudpuppy, Simon & Schuster, Disney Publishing, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Penguin Books. Inspired by vintage textiles, all things Slavic, mystery novels, the ocean and long-forgotten ephemera, Halpin also creates mixed media artwork that blends drawing and embroidery, portraiture and needlework.
Ben Clanton is an author and illustrator whose picture books include Mo’s Mustache; Rot, the Cutest in the World!; Boo Who?; It Came in the Mail; Something Extraordinary; Rex Wrecks It! and Vote for Me! He lives with his family in Tacoma, Washington.
Cale Atkinson is an author-illustrator and animator whose books include Unicorns 101, Where Oliver Fits, To the Sea, Off and Away, and Sir Simon: Super Scarer. He lives lakeside with his family in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. See more of Cale’s work at Cale.ca, and follow him on Twitter at @2dCale.
Dena Seiferling graduated with a BFA and Visual Communications Degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 1999. She works as an instructor at ACAD while pursuing her illustration and needle-felted art. Dena lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband and two children. King Mouse is her first picture book.
Elly MacKay is a paper artist and a children’s book author and illustrator. She wrote and illustrated the picture books If You Hold a Seed, Shadow Chasers and Butterfly Park, among others. She studied illustration and printmaking at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her distinctive pieces are made using paper and ink, and then are set into a miniature theatre and photographed, giving them their unique three-dimensional quality. Elly lives in Owen Sound, Ontario, with her husband and two children.
Esmé Shapiro grew up in Laurel Canyon, California and Ontario, Canada. Currently she and her dog, Chebini Brown, split their time between Brooklyn and New York’s Hudson Valley. A graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design, Esmé is a past recipient of both the Nancy Lee Rhodes Roberts Scholarship and The SILA West 53 Gold Award-Phillip Hayes Scholarship. She has exhibited at The Society of Illustrators and her work has been featured in Taproot and Plansponsor magazines. Connect with her online at esmeshapiroillustration.com, on twitter and Instagram @esmeshapiro.
Once upon a time, Gina Perry picked wild blueberries, floated on lakes in her inner tube and was always on the lookout for a real moose in the woods. Now she writes and illustrates books for young readers from her New Hampshire home, where she lives with THREE monsters: her husband and two kids. She is still on the lookout for moose.
Holman Wang is a lawyer who also finds time to make children’s books. He and his brother, Jack, are the twin powers behind the board book series Cozy Classics and Star Wars Epic Yarns, which abridge literary and cinematic classics into just twelve words and twelve needle-felted images. Their unique artwork has been exhibited around the world, including at The Original Art exhibition in New York, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and the National Museum of Play. Holman lives with his wife and kids in Vancouver, Canada, and is a board member of the Vancouver Writers Festival.
Isabelle Arsenault is a graphic-design graduate who has applied her skills to illustration. She contributes to magazines and newspapers across the US and Canada, and has been the recipient of major illustration awards such as the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Awards for Illustration, Communication Arts Illustration Annual, and the National Magazine Awards of Canada. Arsenault lives in Montreal.
Janet Hill is a painter and children’s book author/illustrator. Her work is both elegant and whimsical, and her painting style evokes a sense of nostalgia, mystery, and humor. She has written and illustrated two picture books: Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess and Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess. Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House is her first novel. Janet lives in Stratford, Ontario, where she paints in a small in-house studio and lives with her husband, John, the manager of an independent bookstore, and their cat and dog.
Julie Morstad is an author, illustrator, and artist living in Vancouver. Her books have all received great acclaim; most recently, How To was a 2013 Governor General’s Award finalist and received starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal.
Kass Reich works as an artist and educator and has spent the majority of the last decade travelling around the world. She earned a degree in Art Education from Concordia University and was an early childhood educator in Beijing, which inspired her to start making picture books for very young readers. She now lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.
Kathryn Drust is a graduate of Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. With a background in animation, she has interned with Pixar Animation Studios in addition to working with various children’s book publishers. When she is not illustrating books like Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire and Hey Grandude!, she may be found playing the accordion, growing vegetables, folk dancing, or putting on shadow puppet shows. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her grumpy mini dachshund named Chili Dog.
Kelsey Garrity-Riley is an illustrator living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in Germany and Belgium before moving to the US to pursue her love of art at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, graduating in 2010. She has illustrated several books, including The Whirlpool: Stories by Laurel Croza (Groundwood) and the forthcoming Born to Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face (Abrams). Frankie’s Favorite Food is her debut as both author and illustrator.
Up-and-coming illustrator Madeline Kloepper, a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, brings wise-beyond-her-years illustrations full of sweetness and curiosity to her debut picture book. Madeline grew up in the lower mainland of British Columbia amidst a sea of humans and spent a few years in Vancouver; she has since migrated northward to Prince George. Her work is influenced by childhood, nostalgia and the relationships we forge with nature, no doubt inspired by her love of exploring the Pacific Northwest.
Michaela Goade is a designer and illustrator living and working in Juneau, Alaska. Her childhood was spent in the forests and on the beaches of Southeast Alaska and her artistic style is rooted in the depth and beauty of its landscapes. At the heart of her work is a love for nature, the beautiful region she calls home and a passion for evocative storytelling. Forever inspired by the coastal wilds of Southeast Alaska, she works to capture its magic and honor its vibrant cultures. Michaela, a Tlingit woman, has illustrated a few picture books for an Alaskan nonprofit organization, the Sealaska Heritage Institute; Encounter is her debut with a trade publisher.
Award-winning artist Miguel Tanco is a children’s book author and illustrator. He teaches illustration and organizes creative workshops for kids in Spain, where he was born and raised, and in Italy. He has published over forty children’s books including Great Dog; You and Me, Me and You; Les Farfelus; and The Story of Cyrano de Bergerac. He lives in Milan with his wife, Federica, and their two sons, Pablo and Javier.
Throughout her career, Qin Leng has illustrated picture books, magazines and book covers with publishers around the world. Recent picture books include her author/illustrator debut I Am Small (to be published in fall 2018); Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah Hopkinson; and Family Is a Family Is a Family written by Sara O’Leary. Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, written by Chieri Uegaki, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and received the APALA Award for best picture book. She lives in Toronto, with her husband and her son.
Rilla Alexander is an Australian designer and illustrator whose work has appeared on everything from toys and tea cups to buses and buildings. She designed the children’s products for Madrid’s Museo del Prado, teaches Character Design at the Pictoplasma Academy in Berlin and her work has been showcased at Paris’ cultural mecca Colette and at the Musée de la Publicité/Louvre. Her books celebrate creativity, reading, making and doing. She currently lives in Portland, OR.