Knit 1, Purl 2, Read 6: Knitting Picture Books

Bookendsimg_0122Cindy: Lynn tried to teach me to knit a few years ago, but I didn’t stick with it. I tried again last spring and despite my wonky-looking first effort—see the dishcloth, pictured—I kept at it, and now I’m obsessed and much improved. It may have been T. S. Easton’s Boys Don’t Knit that renewed my interest (check out this post we stitched together about it), or maybe it was our middle-school knitting club. I can’t be the only one obsessed with knitting, as new yarn shops are popping up everywhere, and Pinterest is overflowing with knitting projects for all ages. There’s knitting everywhere, including these delightful picture books.

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by hat-for-mrs-goldman-by-michelle-edwardsMichelle Edwards is a charming story about a girl named Sophie who has decided that she likes making pom poms for the hats that Mrs. Goldman knits for the keppies (Yiddish for heads) of babies, children, and older friends. Keeping keppies warm is their mitzvah. Sophie’s own knitting is full of holes and dropped stitches, so she is sticking to pom poms. But as the weather turns colder, Sophie realizes that Mrs. Goldman doesn’t have a hat to keep her own keppie warm. Sophie pulls out her old knitting and gets to work. Sophie knits and knits and knits. Eventually, she has a hat that gives my wonky dishcloth some competition, but Sophie has just the answer to camouflage all of the holes and mistakes: pom poms! The jacket flap says that G. Brian Karas learned to knit in preparation for creating his heart- and keppie-warming illustrations. I wonder if he has become obsessed, too? Bonus: The knitting pattern and directions for making a yarn pom pom are included.

Leave Me Alone by Vera BrosgolLynn: I’ve been knitting since I was a child, and I’m really excited at the resurgence of this wonderful craft! There were years when I could hardly find supplies, but now my biggest challenge is in finding time to knit, so Vera Brosgol’s Leave Me Alone! (2016) struck a chord.

Winter is coming, and a cranky old lady has many sweaters to make for a lively crowd of grandchildren. But she just can’t get anything done with her curious brood interrupting, playing with the yarn, and unraveling her stitches. Finally, in exasperation, she packs her things and stomps out. But finding a place to knit in peace proves extremely difficult. Bears, mountain goats, and even little green moon-men pester her—until she steps through a wormhole and finally finds the perfect, quiet place.

Brosgol’s text and warm illustrations have a folktale feel to them, while skeins of comic details bring fun to each page. An out-of-this-world solution provides a pattern for giggles. This book is a delight for reading aloud.

Do you yarn for more new knitting-themed picture books? You’re in luck:

The Best Sweater, by Lynn Garner

Some ungrateful children open a gift to find a handmade sweater and are disappointed—but not Spindle the mouse. The sweater his grandma made for him is the best gift ever. He wears it everywhere and has grand adventures in it. But what happens when he tears it and later outgrows it? Grandma to the rescue!

Cat Knit by Jacob GrantCat Knit, by Jacob Grant.

“Cat and Girl had always been good friends,” then one day, Girl brings home  what must be a new friend—a bright, round, rolly friend named Yarn. Cat loves to play with Yarn. Then Girl wants to play too, and Yarn changes! Preschoolers will love this funny story about friendship and change. Grant’s charcoal and crayon illustrations are hilarious, and wide-eyed Cat will win every reader’s heart.\

Ned the Knitting Pirate, by Diana Murray

Real pirates don’t knit…or do they? When Ned saves the day for the crew aboard the Rusty Heap with his knitting, the pirates change their tune.

Cindy and Lynn: Consider this another Knitting WIP (work in process) and leave a comment if you have a favorite book that features knitting. Did we mention we’re obsessed?

pumpkinP.S. Cindy’s knitting has improved with a lot of practice. Here’s one of her miniature pumpkins she’s been knitting this fall.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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