It’s the holiday season, and the hustle and bustle of shopping and preparing for the festivities is in full swing. With just a few days until the new year, I can’t help but look back on the year and be grateful for all the memorable events and magical moments, both big and small. With that in mind, this month I wanted to look into picture books about appreciating the small things in life. Sometimes, it’s those small things that bring about the most unexpected changes.

PicturePandora, written and illustrated by Victoria Turnbull, is a beautifully illustrated book featuring an adorable fox with a big heart. This book, illustrated in colored pencil and watercolor, create touching moments in soft textures and intricate details that almost brought me to tears. A story about discovering friendship in an unexpected place is illustrated with Turnbull’s deliberate use of muted colors and expressive characters. One can’t help but get lost in the details of the world Turnbull creates, with expanding foliage taking over the page, and the stark contrast of the dark shadows against the brightness of the daylight.

PicturePearl, written and illustrated by Molly Idle, is another gorgeously illustrated book with soft textures, brimming with emotion. Pearl, the youngest mermaid in her family, looks to her older sisters, with the important duties of taking care of the coral and guarding the giant creatures of the sea, and yearns for a purpose of her own. Pearl soon discovers that a seemingly small task could have the biggest impact on the world around her. Idle’s illustrations also captivate the viewer, with her vivid use of color for Pearl’s underwater world.

The Man with the Violin, written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić, illustrates the importance and enchanting power of music, even if, sadly, most of us miss it or let it pass us by. The Man with the Violin is loosely based on renowned violinist Joshua Bell’s experiment of playing a concert in a metro station. Dressed in regular clothes, Bell plays his violin, while hundreds of people walk past without so much as a glance. The magic of the music nevertheless captures the heart of a young boy. You can almost hear the music and feel the emotions the little boy feels through Petričić’s delightful illustrations, full of movement and color.

As we go (or run around) about your day, with the last minute shopping and gift-giving of the season, let’s not forget the most important part of this time of year, the moments to appreciate with family and friends. Have a wonderful holiday, and best wishes for a very happy and creative new year!


Sarah Momo Romero is a Japanese Peruvian American artist, a graphic designer by day and children's book author and illustrator by night. She’s loved drawing and painting since she was a chiquita and now crafts stories of adventure and wondrous creatures. Sarah is an active SCBWI member who draws inspiration from her life in sunny Los Angeles with her husband/creative partner and dog/infamous escape artist, Peanut. Her debut picture book, "Wake Up, Little Bat!" is out now!

You can find more of Sarah's musings and drawings here:

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