5 Picture Book Mini Reviews

From August 3rd to August 16th, I’ll be participating in Story Embers’ Support the Writing Community Challenge. (Use the link to visit their website to learn more and join in.) #SupportTheWritingCommunityChallenge

Do you enjoy picture books?

It’s wonderful when words and illustrations come together to tell a story. Even better when the story leaves an imprint on your heart. It’s why I enjoy picture books. And for today’s challenge, I’m sharing five mini reviews of picture books.

I typically post books in alphabetical order by author name. But there’s one special book that was turned into an animated short—which is how I first discovered it. Both the book and film are unforgettable, so I’ve saved the first for last. (Grab a tissue before you watch the short film.)

Daniel and Ismail

Written by Juan Pablo Iglesias
Illustrated by Alex Peris

Daniel and Ismail is beautiful in it’s simplicity. The story opens the door for important conversations about cultural conflict and loving others. I really enjoyed the right-to-left formatting and multiple languages.

Available on Amazon.

About Daniel and Ismail

Daniel and Ismail, one Jewish and the other Palestinian, don’t know each other yet, but they have more in common than they know. They live in the same city and have the same birthday, and this year they get the same presents: a traditional scarf―for Daniel a tallit and for Ismail a keffiyeh―and a soccer ball. Taking their gifts out for a spin, they meet by chance on a soccer field, and they soon begin to play together and show off the tricks they can do.

They get so absorbed in the fun that they lose track of time and mix up their gifts: Daniel picks up Ismail’s keffiyeh and Ismail takes Daniel’s tallit. When they get home and discover their mistake, their parents are shocked and angry, asking the boys if they realize who wears those things. That night, Daniel and Ismail have nightmares about what they have seen on the news and heard from adults about the other group. But the next day, they find each other in the park and get back to what really matters: having fun and playing the game they both love.

Bad Seed

Written by John Jory
Illustrated by Pete Oswald

Bad Seed is a funny and heartwarming tale about a a bad seed who decides to change. I like that his effort to reform is respected and shown in a realistic light. This story provides a great opportunity to talk about situations and circumstances outside of our control and the choices we make as a result.

Available on Amazon.

About Bad Seed

This is a book about a bad seedA baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know? 

He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember! This seed cuts in line every time, stares at everybody and never listens. But what happens when one mischievous little seed changes his mind about himself, and decides that he wants to be—happy?

With Jory John’s charming and endearing text and bold expressive illustrations by Pete Oswald, here is The Bad Seed: a funny yet touching tale that reminds us of the remarkably transformative power of will, acceptance, and just being you. Perfect for readers young and old, The Bad Seed proves that positive change is possible for each and every one of us.


Written by Anna Kang
Illustrated by Christopher Weyant

Eraser is an uplifting story about loving ourselves. While this is not a unique message in a children’s book, I like that the message here comes within a story that also highlights the beauty of diversity. So really, it’s about loving ourselves while appreciating how each of us are different.

Available on Amazon.

About Eraser

Eraser is always cleaning up everyone else’s mistakes. Except for Ruler and Pencil Sharpener, none of the other school supplies seem to appreciate her. They all love how sharp Pencil is and how Tape and Glue help everyone stick together. Eraser wants to create so that she can shine like the others. She decides to give it a try, but it’s not until the rubber meets the road that Eraser begins to understand a whole lot about herself.

We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

Written by Traci Sorell
Illustrated by Frame Lessac

We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga shares a message about being grateful for our blessings. I love that this book showcases modern-day Cherokee culture and includes Cherokee words for key story concepts—written both pheonetically and with Cherokee characters.

Available on Amazon.

About We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.

Hair Love

Written by Matthew A. Cherry
Illustrated by Vashti Harrison

I adore the relationship between the father and daughter in Hair Love. It’s what drew me to this book. The illustrations enhance the playful and loving dynamic, but it’s the ending that really anchored this story in my heart.

Available on Amazon.

About Hair Love

Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.

Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair — and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.

What’s your favorite picture book?

Published by K.A. Cummins

K.A. Cummins is an award-winning author and artist. Her publications include Havok Publishing, Rattle, Blue Mesa Review, and her middle-grade series, Snow Globe Travelers.

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