Themes, themes, themes

We have plenty of themes in our 2016 debut picture books, so this post is a monster list of themes.

EMPATHY abounds in:


Focusing on ENVIRONMENTAL themes:



TRANSPORTATION leaps off the page in these three titles:


FOOD, both real and imaginary, features in these picture books:


SPORTS are highlighted in:


HEALTH AND FITNESS themes are strong in:



RHYMING books include:


CONFLICT/RESOLUTION goes head-to-head  in:



HOLIDAYS sparkle in:


BEDTIME is front and center in:



And, BOOKS/STORIES as a theme in picture books stars in:



Picture books about Family

Family is important and our picture books reflect that. As Michelle Lee says in her post about families at the New York Public Library blog, all families “share the same universal value: love.” Several of our 2016 picture book debuts showcase this.

From Preschool Education, here’s an action poem about families:

Some Families added 8-22-01 Original Author Unknown
Some families are large. (spread arms out wide)
Some families are small (bring arms close together)
But I love my family (cross arms over chest) best of all!


Picture Books with Animals

Picture books about animals or with animals as characters always resonate with kids. Animals can be friends.


Image courtesy of THE GREEN UMBRELLA by Jackie Azúa Kramer

Helping animals can build empathy. Sometimes we relate best to animals, and of course, pets can be very important parts of our lives. Here are our 2016 picture book debuts that centre around animals:


Humourous Books

Yes, they are funny, but humourous books are more than that. They can entertain, heal with laughter, educate and turn young people into lifelong readers. Seriously, funny books do something special. Check out this list from Megan Daley on Children’s Books Daily:

Five Reasons Children Should Read Humour

  1. Humour engages young people (particularly reluctant readers) as they are naturally playful and generally laugh far more than adults do.
  2. Humorous literature harnesses the exuberance and wonder of youth with words and ideas.
  3. Young people interact with their peers and foster friendships through humorous literature as they enjoy sharing the laughs with their peers.
  4. Humorous books reflect reality, which, in reality, is a mixture of sad and funny, joy and pain, highs and lows.
  5. Far from being an ‘easy option’, humorous literature encourages critical reading as young people learn to read between the lines and develop an awareness of subtly and sarcasm, right and wrong.


Humour was a big theme in our 2016 picture books. Check out how many of our books celebrate HUMOUR:

Read them all! Then try a few of these humour inducing activities, such as replacing a key word in a funny song.

Books about Friendship

To wrap up our debut year, we are going to celebrate our books by theme.


Image courtesy of Sylvia Liu

First up is FRIENDSHIP. As 2016 picture book debut authors and illustrators, we’ve made lots of friends over the year, and so have our characters.


Image courtesy of Liz Wong

Friendship was the most common theme that brought our books together. Take a look at our books celebrating friendship:

Here’s a little poem from CanTeach:


Friends care
Friends share
We need friends


Image courtesy of  Bats Langley

And if you have a child nearby who wants to celebrate their friend, here’s a printable booklet to personalize.


Image courtesy of Claire Lordon


Halloween Picture Book Event

Two 2016 Picture Book Debuts will be at Bank Street Bookstore today, October 29, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. Meet Robin Newman and Diana Murray and their witchy characters Hildie Bitterpickles and Grimelda, the very messy witch.


From Bank Street Bookstore’s FaceBook page:
Bank Street Bookstore  has a weekend line-up full of seasonal tricks and treats. On Saturday, October 29 at 10:30 a.m., author Lese Dunton reads her book “Charlotte’s New York Adventure.” At 1:00 p.m. that day, authors Diana Murray and Robin Newman present their books “Grimelda the Very Messy Witch” and “Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep.” Author Tamara Bower stops by on Sunday, October 30 at 2:00 p.m. to share her book “The Mummy Makers of Egypt.” Brain candy all!”
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