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Hello, Neighbor! The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers

Matthew Cordell (Holiday House/Porter)

Caldecott Medalist Cordell’s authorized picture book biography begins on the TV set of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood before circling back to the television host’s youth and building to his unexpected discovery of television’s possibilities for speaking to children. Cordell creates an open, affectionate atmosphere perfectly in keeping with Rogers’s quiet strength and generous heart.


Jules vs. the Ocean

Jessie Sima (Simon & Schuster)

The forces of nature and impermanence may be beyond our control, but Sima finds the funny in it. When Jules starts building her sandcastle right at the water’s edge, the sea seems determined to thwart her—its waves take not only her castles, but her green-handled bucket, too.



Minh Lê, illus. by Dan Santat (Little, Brown)

The creators of Drawn Together return, mixing a tale about sibling rivalry with a classic fantasy quest about a child whose small, special pleasure is pushing the button in her building’s elevator. Santat’s comedic versatility and theatrical use of light give the story cinematic momentum, while Lê’s insight into Iris’s conflicting emotions adds depth and warmth.


Outside In

Deborah Underwood, illus. by Cindy Derby (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

“Once/ we were part of Outside/ and Outside was part of us/ There was nothing between us,” begins Underwood in plainspoken lines. “Now/ sometimes even when/ we’re outside.../ we’re inside.” Derby portrays this tension in a gentle series of illustrations and visualizes moments—indoors and out—when “outside reminds us” of its abiding presence.


Prairie Days

Patricia MacLachlan, illus. by Micha Archer (S&S/McElderry)

Elaborate sun-filled spreads by Archer illuminate Newbery Medalist MacLachlan’s farm-life memories, which unfold over one long day, beginning with an orange sun rising, ending with a yellow summer moon, and creating a sense of endless space and ample time. Childhoods as free as this one are not as common as they once were; borrowing MacLachlan’s is the next best thing.


You Matter

Christian Robinson (Atheneum)

Under Caldecott Honoree Robinson’s broad gaze, everything in the cosmos has a part to play. Whether a massive asteroid blazing Earthward, the planet spinning in space, ants dining on crumbs, or a child gazing at an antlike cityscape below: “You matter.” By seeing all life as intertwined—ancient and new, minuscule and gargantuan, “The first to go and the last./ The small stuff too small to see”—Robinson represents life as both interconnected and precious. It’s a profound thought expressed with singular focus and eloquence.


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