I’m Erin Dealey, and I write books for kids. I’m a teacher, presenter, rhymer, blogger, and proud Drama Mama.

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3 NEW Picture Book Pairings

May 9, 2018

These picture book pairings are for busy PreK-2 Teachers and Librarians:

I’m sure you’ll agree that pairing picture books on a similar topic is a fabulous way to introduce new genres to students. With the school year winding down, and your summer book lists growing, here are three pairings of new and upcoming picture books for your TBR stacks:

Topic–Education for all 


by award-winning author Patricia Newman

Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

(Lightswitch Learning/ May 2018)  

Neema wants to go to school, but Mama cannot afford the uniform or supplies. Neema saves her money and dreams big dreams, until one day hope skips down the street… Back matter includes primary source interviews from students in Kenya.

Lyrical and lovely, Neema’s Reason to Smile reminds us that education is the greatest gift we can give a child, and that with enough love and determination, dreams sometimes do come true. Moving, important, and inspiring.

Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medal Winning Children’s Author

Pair this with…


By Baptiste and Miranda Paul 

Illustrated by Isabel Muñoz

(Little Bee Books/ Simon & Schuster / May 2018)

This well-researched picture book is also both fiction and non-fiction. The book follows thirteen students from different countries as they head to school via very diverse ways. Sidebars add details about each country.

Publishers Weekly: The accounts…based on the commutes of actual children, are told in vivid first-person narratives...Images made to resemble snapshots show each child in class and ready to learn, but readers will grasp the subtle message about how profoundly different a universal experience can be. 


Topic–Women and girls in #STEM/ #STEAM


By Jim Averbeck

Illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail

(Margaret K. McElderry Books/ June 2018)

Sophia quickly learns her new pet comes with two giraffe-sized problems in this enterprising sequel to One Word from Sophia, which was named one of the Best Picture Books of 2015 by Kirkus Reviews.

Starred Review from KIRKUS: Sophia proves she’s not only a gifted linguist and negotiator (One Word from Sophia, 2015), but a brilliant engineer, as well… Fun, clever, and empowering, this is the rare case of a sequel that outshines its predecessor

Pair this with…

COUNTING ON KATHERINE–How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13

By Helaine Becker

Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

(Henry Holt BYR / June 2018)

This is an important picture book biography of mathematician Katherine Johnson, who worked for NASA during the space race, and whose notoriety increased after the film, Hidden Figures.

Starred review from KIRKUS“A picture-book biography of a humble genius who excelled in a career once out of reach for most African-Americans. An excellent biography that will inspire young readers, especially girls, to do what they love.”


Topic–Getting Ready for Kindergarten


By Mike Ornstein

Illustrated by Kevin M. Barry

(Sleeping Bear Press/ July 2018)

The bus driver is a pirate! Arrrr you ready for this fun read? Using humor and pirate-speak, Kindergarrrten Bus addresses some of the concerns and anxiety that many children feel on their first day of school or at the start of any new undertaking.

Pair this with…


By Erin Dealey

Illustrated by Joseph Cowman

(Sleeping Bear Press/ August 2017)

Full disclosure: I wrote this one, which is why I feel qualified to suggest you consider it as a non-fiction pairing, with A to Z information about what to expect in Kindergarten. 

 School Library Journal: PreS-K—The alphabet frames this collection of activities for kindergarten, highlighting 26 (and more) words and challenges for youngsters anticipating the highlights of a school day. As rhyming verse introduces each activity, a sidebar lists Countdown and Challenge activities for more adventurous readers and their parents… this well-organized book will encourage readers to practice new words, learn through hands-on creativity, and face new challenges.  

Leave a reply and let me know what you think. Or use the comment section to add your own new pairing suggestions.

Happy End of the School Year, my friends.

You’re almost there…


Happy Summer Reading! 

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