Best of the Year at All the Wonders

All the Wonders

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The team at All the Wonders has been hard at work over the last month or so, finishing up pages and tallying our favorites. We read a whole lot this year. And so this week, we bring to you four end-of-the-year-best-of-the-year lists, a monster-sized batch of top-notch books.

Head over for lists celebrating picture books, nonfiction picture books, chapter books through young adult, and comics.

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Perfect for last minute gifting!



Over the Ocean


by Taro Gomi (Chronicle Books, 2016)

There’s no better time to stand face to face with the ocean than summer, and I’ve spent a lot of time doing just that.

It asks you to feel small.

It asks you to watch with wide eyes.

It asks you to hope.


And that’s what Taro Gomi does in this book. The original text is from Japan, from 1979, and yet it is timeless. Wishful. Dreamy.

Of course it is. Isn’t that what oceans are all about? And isn’t that what big questions are about too?

What is over the ocean?

She wonders. That small she. I imagine she’s watching with wide eyes. And we hope with her, right here at the edge of the sea.

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The passage of time over these pages is marked by the big ship, making its way from right to left on the horizon. It’s always in sight, bridging the physical and metaphysical worlds of this story. Interesting that it moves opposite the page turn, right? As a reader, this slowed me down. Swayed and bobbled my eye from left to right, balancing somewhere between the question and the answer.

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And visually, the lower third of each spread is anchored by that ship and the wide blue ocean, leaving more room for hope above. I like that.

A lot.


And let’s talk about the trim size of this book–how it opens to a rectangle to represent the seas, but closes small enough to feel like something you can grasp and tuck tightly into your pocket. A perfect visual representation of the concept of the book itself. Perfect for the picture book’s form.


I love how this book ends without an answer. Our heroine doesn’t move from her spot by the shore. Her heart, though? Her imagination? Her questions? Big and beautiful and open.

Let’s all be like this girl. Windswept, but not weary.


PS: The team at All The Wonders is proud to spearhead the #BooksForBetter initiative, whose goal is to give families and teachers a resource to find great read aloud books that celebrate diversity, compassion and inclusiveness. We envision a movement that will grow well beyond our efforts, but we’re getting it started with a monthly Twitter chat and Instagram campaign. 

Join us the first Monday of each month (beginning August 1, 2016) at 8pm EST for an #ATWchat about children’s books that showcase the human potential for goodness. Then post your favorite books on this topic on social media under the hashtag #booksforbetter. We’ll be compiling and sharing your ideas, making it simple for every family to find #booksforbetter.

More here.

I love Over the Ocean as a #booksforbetter selection. Let’s take a long look at what might be on the other side of the ocean. Or our neighborhood. Let’s wish them closer. Let’s hope for our world together. 


All the Wonders + #littlelitbookseries

4 Well, hello! Happy Friday!

My blog had a bit of a scraped-knee-and-bandaid-situation over the last week, so no new posts from me this week here. I’ll be back next week with a look at a blue-crowned ruler, a real thinker of a picture book.

For now, how about some other stuff I’ve written around the web? Okay.

A big C H E E R S to the launch of All the Wonders! Hope you’ve joined our party over there. Here’s a look at a series I’m doing called Then and Now, pairing well-loved and modern classics. This week we looked at different kinds of bravery in two beautiful books.

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And on Instagram, check out the #littlelitbookseries! A collective of bookish Instagrammers gather up picture books on a theme once a month, and today we’re taking a look at food. Take a look for some new books to add to your stack and some new folks to follow.

Happy weekend!


All the Wonders



All the Wonders

Have you ever read a book and wanted to squeeze every ounce of celebration out of it you could? Talk about it, sing about it, read it over and over, learn about its creator, make stuff?

We did too.

We’re launching soon, but in the meantime watch this space. Or join us on Facebook and Twitter!


Get to know the rest of the team behind All the Wonders:

Danielle Davis + This Picture Book Life

Emily Arrow

Matthew Winner + The Let’s Get Busy Podcast

Blake Hamilton

Mike Ciccotello

Brian Won

We are looking forward to this journey, and hope you will join us for the trip! More soon.