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For the Love of Kid Lit: Our 50 Favorite Picture Books

I need you to know that I poured my heart into this post. I’ve made lists and recommendations for many things, but this one took more time and thought than all the others. This is my holy grail because I do not take my love of children’s literature lightly. Kids’ books are my treasures.

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I collect and cherish them like people collect and cherish jewelry or music boxes or snow globes, and I buy them for me as much as for my children because not only do I love words and books, but I love art and have been getting lost in children’s book illustrations since my mom introduced me to Jessie Wilcox Smith and Eloise Wilkin as a child.

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I’ve been told the process of editing a children’s book is more arduous than editing a 22-chapter book for adults because when you’re dealing with simplifying big themes into a short stretch of words, that choice of words is critical. Picture books allow us to get lost in stories, to imagine worlds beyond ours, but they also have the power of introducing big life lessons and important social themes in ways children can understand and remember. Many of the books on my list do just that.

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And then the illustrations–giving us an alternate and perhaps even more intimate way of entering a story. As Maurice Sendak said, “An illustrator in my own mind – and this is not a truth of any kind – is someone who so falls in love with writing that he wishes he had written it, and the closest he can get to is illustrating it. And the next thing you learn, you have to find something unique in this book, which perhaps even the author was not entirely aware of. And that’s what you hold on to, and that’s what you add to the pictures: a whole Other Story that you believe in, that you think is there.”

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As my kids grow and we weed out things we don’t need anymore, their libraries are the toughest place for me to pare down–how do you choose only the best of the best when every one of them is a treasure in its own right? This list is the group of books I’ll never give away–the ones we’ll keep displayed, revisit and eventually pass on to grandkids (who am I kidding, I’m keeping them all for myself). I could have easily made it a list of 100, and I know I’m leaving out some other greats. Some classics like Dr. Seuss are so well known and loved that I didn’t even bother putting them on here–they’re a given. I did try and include as many new books I’ve discovered over the past five years that I feel are timeless. Honestly, making this list was like choosing names for my kids. I picked three I love but still have a place in my heart for Tru, Henry and Sawyer and Edith, Penny and Millie.

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With no further ado…our top 50 picture books for kids (randomly ordered):

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1. All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan. This is the book I fell in love with before I had kids and the book I knew would become my “one.” Mike Wimmer’s paintings are warm and dreamy and make you feel the freedom and delight of childhood, and I love the theme of collecting and cherishing all the special places that make us come alive. In our copy, I keep a list of what those places are for our family from our Isles of Capri to the dock at the lake in Michigan, but we continue to add places as we experience new memories together. I love to buy this book for baby showers as well and write a letter in the front about what this book means to us and how we love to share it.

2. Kiki & Coco in Paris and Lulu & Pip by Nina Gruener and Stephanie Rausser. This is Nella’s favorite book, and it’s no wonder why. Every time I recommend it to a friend (and I’ve recommended it to many), they text me after they receive it, “Oh my God, this book! I can’t stop looking at the pictures!” The photography is so dreamy and brings to life such a precious story about a girl and her doll. We love this book so much, we did a project to recreate the theme in our own version, Nella & Maude.

3. Today by Julie Morstad. This book is simply charming. Julie Morstad is one of my favorite illustrators–her pictures can stand alone with very little text, but the words in this book are just enough to give young readers guidance in making fun choices, something every kid loves to do (remember going through JC Penney and Speigel catalogues as a kid, circling your favorite thing on the page?)–from choosing a favorite ice cream treat given a spread of adorable illustrations of popsicles and sundaes to choosing which pajamas to wear, what to eat for breakfast and what to do on a rainy day. Delightful.

4. This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World by Matt Lamothe. We just discovered this book, and I’m obsessed with it and love the concept behind it. With beautiful illustrations and simple text, this book profiles seven different kids from around the world and presents what they eat, how they dress, what their families look like, how they play, learn, etc. in page spreads that compare them all to each other (more alike than different theme, again). The end is the best though–a two page spread of the night sky they all share. Informative, insightful, delightful.

5. Let’s Go Home: The Wonderful Things About a House by Cynthia Rylant. I want to crawl into the pages of this book and live there. In one word, this book is COZY. Cynthia Rylant (another favorite, but are you tired of me saying that?) dissects a home and digs in to each and every room and the magic that happens there from toy-filled bathtubs made for long bubble baths in the bathroom to the best room in the house, the kitchen, where yummy things are baked and friends sit and talk. I feel like this book is a secret gem no one talks about, and I know that because when I googled it, one of the only images that came up among buy listings is an old blog post I wrote about how much I loved it. Think quilts and cinnamon rolls and cozy fires and lemonade with friends on the front porch, things we all need a little more of.

6. What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada. The first time I read this book to my kids, I teared up.  It’s challenging to present a powerful concept adults have taken years to understand in a way that kids can relate and feel it, and this book does it perfectly. It’s a book about confidence and the incredible things that can happen to our ideas when we listen to them, feed them and don’t let the world squelch them. It’s a great book for teens and adults as well.  Also check out the follow-up book What Do You Do With a Problem? which presents the idea that if you ignore problems, they will grow, but if you face them, you’ll find they might not be near as bad as you imagined.

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7. This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary and also Where You Came From and When You Were Small. I have every children’s book Sara O’Leary has written, and there’s no way I can pick a favorite. I stumbled upon her books when I found Where You Came From in our favorite children’s book store off the charming Main Street in Rochester, Michigan and loved them so much, I came home and bought the rest and then Internet-stalked her. She’s written more books since then and with one of her latest, You Are One, she wrote me to tell me that she asked the illustrator to include a baby with Down syndrome in the book (it’s beautiful, by the way). This is Sadie is a wonderful celebration of a child’s imagination and creativity (and illustrated by Julie Morstad so winner-winner-chicken-dinner).

8. The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman (illustrated by Marla Frazee). I don’t always love rhyming books, but this one is perfection–such a blast to read aloud…and funny! There’s a delightful twist at the end of the book, and every mom will relate to poor exhausted Mrs. Peters, brought to life by the cheerful illustrations of the one and only Marla Frazee.

9. Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers (illustrated by Marla Frazee). I love just about every book Marla Frazee puts her hands to, and this one is extra special. Little ones love books with pictures of babies, but this one captures everyone’s attention. The text is simple, but the illustrations pull you in and you’ll find yourself scanning every detail on the page. The unspoken magic though lies in the diversity Frazee presents in her drawings that represent all kinds of families from biracial and same sex couples to single parents.

10. Mrs. Muddle’s Holidays by Laura F. Nielsen. I discovered this book when Nella was a toddler, and I felt like I found my literary soul sister. Mrs. Muddle loves holidays like I do! She does rain dances for the first shower in April, hosts a roller skating parade to celebrate the birthday of the roller skate inventor, bakes birdseed cookies for the First Robin Day. I want to be Mrs. Muddle when I grow up. She looks for every opportunity to celebrate life in meaningful ways and brings so much joy to those around her by doing so. This book will make you smile and encourage you to have fun with the calendar.

11. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. What is it about Stellaluna? It has the kid book “it” factor–everyone loves it. You get completely sucked in to the story, rooting for this little bat to find his mama, and the illustrations bring it all to life in the most charming way. And of course, I love any book with a deep underlying theme of more alike than different: “How can we be so different and feel so much alike?”

12. The Rainbabies by Laura Krause Melmed. The Rainbabies brings to life one of those crazy far-fetched dreams you wish could become real–tiny babies that fit in the palm of your hand. And Jim LaMarche takes something that could be a little creepy and spins it into pure magic (do a Google image search for The Rainbabies, and you’ll see what I mean)–tiny babies in colored tights! And paisley dresses! I discovered this book when I took children’s lit in college and became so obsessed with Jim LaMarche’s drawings (the light!), I researched and started ordering everything he illustrated.

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13. Hailstones & Halibut Bones by Mary O’Neill. This book is the perfect introduction to poetry for kids and a descriptive example of how colors aren’t just something we see, they are things we feel, hear, smell and taste (“If you stand in an orchard in the middle of Spring, you can hear pink sing, a darling, whispery song of a thing.”). Reading this book aloud is a beautiful sensory experience, and when you’re finished, you’re all going to want to write your own color poem. I used this book a lot when I taught fifth grade to get the kids to have fun writing freely.

14. Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo. A darling biography of the life of Audrey Hepburn, this book pairs facts about her life and the things that made her a determined, successful woman with sweet colorful illustrations. It’s a little work of art, and I love seeing it show up on so many bookshelves in pictures of little girls’ and boys’ rooms alike. Plus, the author is a real life friend of mine as she used to live in Naples, and our books were published around the same time.

15. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. Oh the imagination and creativity inside Drew Daywalt’s head. Kids will absolutely love the way he personifies all the crayon colors and the imaginative story behind what happens in a crayon box (Orange and Yellow aren’t speaking to each other because they both think they are the true color of the sun and Blue is exhausted from coloring all those bodies of water). Hilarious–you will smile through the entire thing.

16. Snuggle the Baby by Harry N. Abrams. This is one of the best interactive books I’ve seen (think Pat the Bunny but better) that fosters little kids’ nurturing instincts. The simple text in the book invites kids to diaper, swaddle, feed and care for the sweet baby cutout in the back that can be tucked into all the little pockets throughout the pages. All three of my kids love this book.

17. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin. The illustrations in this book kill me. They remind me of a modern day Eloise Wilkin–capturing the sweet wonder and innocence of childhood. Similar to the theme of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You Will Go, the text of this book celebrates all the wonderful things a child will become, making it the perfect book for baby showers and birthdays. A timeless classic with pictures so pretty, you could buy a second copy just to cut the pages out, frame them and decorate a child’s room with them.

18. Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color by Julia Denos. Another book celebrating colors–the whimsical illustrations in this book (from the illustrator of Just Being Audrey) capture the wild spirit of little Swatch who attempts to tame colors that cannot be tamed. And the color descriptions will roll off your tongue with delight…”rumble-tumble pink”.

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19. You Were the First by Patricia MacLachlan. Read this book to your oldest child, and I dare you not to cry. Every parent needs this book for their firstborn, no matter how old they are. A touching and important reminder of just how special those first milestones are–and how nobody can steal that title of “you did it first”. Firstborn needing some extra love after those high expectations we hold for them? Read them this…they’ll feel it. (plus it’s by the author of my favorite book, All the Places to Love)

20. The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken. This book was just published in April, and it’s a work of art, celebrating the creative process and how accidents can inspire us and mistakes can transform into our brightest ideas. The minimal text guides the real prize here–the illustrations that invite you to follow along the artist’s process, mistakes and all. A definite WOW book.

21. Double Happiness by Nancy Tupper Ling. Not only is this a great book for kids dealing with moving to a new place, it’s wonderful for any life transitions, reminding us how to create and notice happiness around us when it’s hard to find. In poetry form, this book tells the story of two kids moving to a new home who make a happiness box to fill with objects that help them make the transition.

22. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. There are so many new wonderful books I wanted to include in this list that I knew I’d be leaving some beloved classics out, but I had to include Maurice Sendak. He was a wordsmith, a true artist, and this book takes both young and old on a journey through imagination and stands as a classic that will forever represent the magic of childhood. “Let the wild rumpus start.”

23. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson. I wanted to include some important social issues on our list, and while there are several great ones dealing with race, this is my favorite. Woodson paints such a beautiful story with her words and relays the history of segregation appropriately for kids while emphasizing the powerful theme of friendship and sameness with the two little girls in the story. The last line, though: “Someday somebody’s going to come along and knock this old fence down.”

24. All My Friends Are Planets: The Story of Pluto by Alisha Vimiwala.  I recently discovered this book by way of @kaleidoscopeca on Instagram (the BEST source for kids’ book recommendations, by the way), and it’s brilliant–pairing scientific facts about Pluto’s loss of its planet title with the theme of inclusion and the story of how he no longer felt part of a group because he was different. Powerful.

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25. The Dead Bird by Margaret Wise Brown. I didn’t discover this classic (from the author of Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny) until it was reillustrated for a contemporary audience and published again last year, and though the title is a little straightforward Debbie Downer, it’s a beautiful story that presents the reality of dealing with death in nature in simplistic terms children can understand.

26. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas. This book tells the story of a man who lives alone and takes very seriously his job of uncorking messages in bottles and delivering the messages inside. It has all the elements of a good story–a little mystery, inviting illustrations, and the words–oh, the words! They’re spun together to create magic: “Sometimes the messages were very old, crunchy like leaves in the fall. Sometimes the messages were written by a quill dipped in sadness.” This is a new addition to our library this year, and it’s a treasure.

27. The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. Another Cynthia Rylant book (she’s so good!), you can feel the celebration of the family reunion in both the story and the illustrations. And I’m jealous…they have a rainbow colored station wagon.

28. The Big Book of Bugs by Yuvan Zommer. This non-fiction book will keep your little bug-lovers busy for hours. It’s packed full of informative facts about every kind of bug you can imagine, the illustrations are breathtaking, and little “Can you find..” prompts will up the fun factor and have you digging through detailed illustrations to find that hidden praying mantis on the page.

29. Things to Do by Elaine Magliaro. Ah, the literacy lessons and word patterns in this books, presenting a buffet of beautiful adjectives and juicy verbs that help kids learn how to recognize and write good sentences. And, it gives a great take on perspective: “Things to do if you are rain. Polka dot sidewalks. Freckle windowpanes. Whoosh down gutter spouts. Gurgle into drains. Patter ’round the porch in slippers of gray.”

30. The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. This book belongs in every nursery and every child’s room, and when you’re weeding out books as your little kid turns into a big kid, this book stays, okay? Through college. In fact, it should be lying on the coffee table of every frat house in America. And then first apartment, first home and finally recycled with the first kid. It’s timeless. It’s happy. It’s kittens in pinafores and geese in bonnets, and how can that not make you feel good? Besides, the character names alone–Jemima Puddleduck, Tabitha Twitchet, Mrs. Tiggy-winkle? I mean, come on.

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31. Good Night, Yoga & Good Morning, Yoga. You don’t have to be a yoga fanatic to love this book. In fact, it introduces yoga to kids in such a simple pleasant way, you’ll all want to try the poses even if you’ve never done them before. Paired with sweet poetry and easy-to-mimic illustrations, this book is great for encouraging a fun before-bed bonding routine. I’ve found Nella with this book open in front of her while she practices her tree pose, and I love it.

32. Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear. There isn’t a book Julie Morstad’s illustrated that I haven’t fallen in love with, and this one’s no exception. It pairs her delightful illustrations with the story behind Julia Child. I love our library to be stocked with books about strong determined women (and men!).

33. The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts. I love this book so much–a wonderful creative telling of how, no matter how small we think we are, we can use our voice to stand up against injustice. Although Sally is the tiniest girl in her grade, she finally learns to speak up about the bullying she sees at school, and it makes a difference.

34. Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky. A story of resilience, the power of creativity and how art can carry us through grief. This book tells the story of French artist Louise Bourgeois and her relationship with her beloved mother who taught her so much about art. When her mother dies, Bourgeois finds comfort in making art and finding ways to repair her heart: “I came from a family of repairers. The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it.” A heartwarming lesson for anyone dealing with grief.

35. If I Wrote a Book About You by Stephany Aulenback. When I first read this book, I thought, ‘YES! YES! That’s how I love my kids! She captured how much I love them!” A mama uses the rays of the sun, the branches of trees, the sprinkles on a birthday cake to write love notes to her child. The simple illustrations and color palette in the story are so soft and sweet, and kids will love finding words hidden in the pictures.

36. Amelia Bedelia (the original) by Peggy Parish. Another classic from my own childhood. It’s been republished and has many spin-offs now, but you can still buy a version of the original from 1963. Kids are always amused and delighted by Amelia’s literal interpretations of the English language (draw the drapes, dress the chicken). When I told my sister I was working on creating a list of my 50 favorite picture books and was having a hard time whittling down classics from my own childhood, she said, “You got Amelia Bedelia, right? You have to have Amelia.”

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37. Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds. Another book that captures the theme of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You Will Go, this one specifically celebrates staying true to ourselves and not reigning in our dreams despite what the world may tell us.

38. Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love by Amy Krause Rosenthal. This book feels extra special after reading Amy Krause Rosenthal’s letter about her husband in the New York Times before she passed away earlier this year. Thankfully, she left us a wealth of her words for children. This book is like a poetic picture dictionary that tells little stories through baking about all the wonderful characteristics we want our children to have–compassion, authenticity, consideration, etc.

39. Eloise by Kay Thompson. Another classic I had to include. The wild spirit and outspokenness of Eloise is a childhood treasure, not to mention the dream of living in New York City’s Plaza hotel.

40. Lately Lily: The Adventures of a Travelling Girl by Micah Player. This book will plant seeds of wanderlust for the tiniest of readers. The illustrations are charming and combined with the storytelling, capture the spirit of adventure and discovering the world around us.

41. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard Jr. and James Marshall. This book is all kinds of nostalgic for me as it was published the year before I was born, and I think every elementary school teacher I had read it aloud. A cute humorous lesson about appreciating what you have.

42. The Invisible Boy by Tracy Ludwig. This book is for every little quiet kid who feels overlooked or not included. A precious story about kindness and feeling included.

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43. Home by Carson Ellis. A picture treasure, put this book on your coffee table. It celebrates all the different places we call home and how unique and special each one is.

44. If I Had a Little Dream by Nina Laden. A book about appreciating the beauty and joy in the world around us–it combines lyrical poems with darling illustrations in a simple color palette of pinks, browns and blues. A feel good book about love and beauty.

45. All The World by Liz Garton Scanlon. That Marla Frazee’s at it again with these pictures. This book is my life mantra–an invitation to love and enjoy our world from tiny treasures like finding seashells to the biggest gifts…like loving the people we’ve been given.

46. Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess by Janet Hill. Kids love dogs. Kids love dogs with cool names. Kids love dogs who are treated like people in a story. I just discovered this book this year and was mesmerized by both the charming illustrations and the creativity buried in this book. Every dog pupil has a name in this book (Cora Lace, Sister Effie, Victor, Storm, Pippy, The Count, Baron Rupert the Third, Finnegan Elliot Woodward–the names alone will have you diving right in), and kids will be humored by all of it.

47. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. For every child who ever had an imaginary friend. This book tells the story from the imaginary friend’s perspective as he sets out to find a child who will choose him. A brilliant tale of friendship and belonging. A must for every child’s library.

48: Sonya’s Chickens by Phoebe Wahl. I fell in love with Phoebe Wahl’s art before I found this book, and I don’t know what I love more–the pictures or the story. Another great book for dealing with death in nature, this story beautifully ties together the reality of loss with the circle of life and interconnectedness of everything on earth.

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49: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin. I’ll be honest, every time my kids bring me this book to read, I think, “Dear God, please pick a different one” because I’m so tired of reading it, and Pete doesn’t really do anything for me. But Nella and Dash love it. They love the repetition and jump in to read with me on all the parts they know. Also, this is what Heidi says about Pete: “Is it just me or or does Pete the Cat come across as, like, you know–a skater dude living in his parents’ basement? Because he’s a little too laid back for me, if you know what I mean.” Let’s just say we exaggerate this theme greatly when we voice Pete in our read-alouds.

50: Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner as well as Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt and Over and Under the SnowGorgeous illustrations and descriptions of what happens under the surface of a pond that create such beautiful imagery with words (light-dappled leaves, whirligig beetles that loop and twirl like skaters, sleepy dragonflies that rest on the water…it’s like nature poetry). An absolute delight to read aloud.

…and if you want this all in a simple list without my blah-blah-blah explanations and gushing, here you go:

1. All the Places to Love
2. Kiki & Coco in Paris and Lulu & Pip 
3. Today
4. This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World
5. Let’s Go Home: The Wonderful Things About a House
6. What Do You Do With an Idea? and What Do You Do With a Problem?
7. This Is Sadie and When You Were Small
8. The Seven Silly Eaters 
9. Everywhere Babies
10. Mrs. Muddle’s Holidays
11. Stellaluna
12. The Rainbabies 
13. Hailstones & Halibut Bones 
14. Just Being Audrey
15. The Day the Crayons Quit
16. Snuggle the Baby 
17. The Wonderful Things You Will Be
18. Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color
19. You Were the First
20. The Book of Mistakes
21. Double Happiness
22. Where the Wild Things Are 
23. The Other Side
24. All My Friends Are Planets: The Story of Pluto
25. The Dead Bird
26. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
27. The Relatives Came 
28. The Big Book of Bugs
29. Things to Do 
30. The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit
31. Good Night, Yoga & Good Morning, Yoga
32. Julia, Child
33. The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade
34. Cloth Lullaby
35. If I Wrote a Book About You
36. Amelia Bedelia
37. Happy Dreamer
38. Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love
39. Eloise
40. Lately Lily: The Adventures of a Travelling Girl 
41. Miss Nelson is Missing
42. The Invisible Boy
43. Home
44. If I Had a Little Dream
45. All The World
46. Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess
47. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
48: Sonya’s Chickens
49: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes 
50: Over and Under the Pond and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt and Over and Under the Snow

For all things kid lit, check out @kaleidoscopeca on Instagram–. Also, I stalk Chronicle and Tundra Books for new releases as they are my favorite kid book publishers and always choose the best gems to put into the world.

If you’re appalled  I left off a gem that can’t be ignored, please tell me in the comments. There’s nothing I love more than discovering a new children’s book.

Comments

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  1. Patricia Polacco books. Every one is great. You’d love The Keeping Quilt, especially.

  2. Stacie Nelson says:

    “Giraffes Can’t Dance” by Giles Andreae, Illustrations by Guy Parker-Rees has become a family favorite. I bought it for my niece when she was little along with a stuffed giraffe (named Gerald after the main character); she bought it for my son for Christmas when I was pregnant along with his own stuffed giraffe (naming him Gerald Jr. and melting my heart obviously). I love any children’s book with a great moral and this one has it: inclusion, “never judge a book by it’s cover”, and don’t put limits on yourself – you can be anything you want to be.

  3. Lindsey says:

    This definitely falls in the category of classics, but HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON.
    We read this four times a week before bed and we never tire of clever Harold, of his simple but magical story, keeping his wits about him and yet indulging in nine kinds of pie (the deserving porcupine!!!!)
    It’s the perfect length and it has the perfect ending and every child and parent needs it.

  4. Danielle says:

    The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant! Love the story, love love the illustrations.

  5. Thank you. Truly, THANK YOU for this list. I love children’s books as well and, even more, discovering new ones with my daughter. Can’t wait to check these out!

  6. Amy Hoskins says:

    Lovely list! I echo the obsession with Cynthia Rylant. I would add a couple Patricia Polacco books, especially a favorite like Mr. Lincoln’s Way. Also, if you love beautiful illustrations, I am in complete awe of Jerry Pinkney! (I love his Aesop’s Fables illustrated picture book.) A couple favorites by Robert D. San Souci~ Sukey & the Mermaid and The Talking Eggs. My students vote these as their favorite picture books almost every year. And, I’m a sucker for any picture book with a Cinderella theme as I own dozens of Cinderella fractured fairy tales.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you! This felt like a feast. Read your post and promptly ordered some of these.

    A few recommendations for you (all British – because we lived in London when my kids were small and I got introduced to these).

    Every single thing by Shirley Hughes (especially the Alfie and Annie Rose series).

    The Tiger Who Came to Tea

    Dear Greenpeace by Simon James
    (It’s a collection of letters between Emily who has a whale in her pond and Greenpeace).

    One of my favourite things is reading Peter Rabbit aloud. Magic in her choice of words and cadence.

  8. I’m so excited that you shared this!! I wrote so many of these down on my list of books to find for my daughter–we only have three of these so far! And she’s 15 months! I must hurry up!
    If there is one book I would add that you didn’t have: Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran and illustrated by Barbara Cooney. Miss Rumphius is marvelous also…I hope you’ve read these and they just didn’t make your list, but if not, get thee on Amazon and buy them!! :) Thanks for sharing.

  9. Shannon says:

    Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooley was one of my favorites as a child. The illustrations transported me to another place. One Morning In Maine by Robert McCloskey is another all time favorite.

    • Yes! I was just about to comment with “Miss Rumphius” – all the way at the top of my picture book list.

  10. getting there says:

    I recommend Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. The story is just lovely and the illustrations pull on the heart strings. I get a copy for every little one that comes in to my life.

  11. Caroline says:

    Thank you for the list! With summer vacation, and the eventual “I’m bored’s ” to come, I’ve printed out this list and will be directing the children to a new book when they can’t entertain themselves.

  12. All of the Frances books: A Bargain for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances, A Baby Sister for Frances, etc. by Russell Hoban. Beautifully written with sweet, caring dialogue and such darling illustrations!

  13. Thank you so much for this post. I am proud to say we already have a LOT of these books. I live in Maine and “Visiting Aunt Sylvia’s” is an undiscovered gem of a book! The author only wrote this one book as far as I can tell. I have been trying to find out more about her since she lives(lived) very close to us, but she seems to have disappeared. It has a Maine theme, but is definitely for every child (and reader), no matter the location. I highly recommend it. It is such a cozy, lovely book. It can be a little hard to find, but I see it is available used on Amazon. I promise you will love it. It is right up your alley!

  14. Beautiful list, Kelle. SO honoured to be on it and to be part of your children’s imaginative world!

  15. Thank you for this amazing list and for your wonderful reviews! I can’t believe we only own one of your top 10. Heading over to Amazon as soon as I finish typing.

  16. Love, love, love me some pictures books! My kids each know they get at least one book for their birthday and at Christmas. AT LEAST one. 😉 A few worth mentioning that we love:

    Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
    The Mr. Magee books (there are 3) by Chris Van Dusen
    Building Our House by Jonathan Bean
    Anything written by Robert McCloskey

  17. We LOVE The Seven Silly Eaters! So happy to see it on your list. We still haven’t bought it, but check it out of the library all the time.

    We are constantly discovering wonderful books, how you can you possibly narrow it down? And yes, especially because of the classics.

    One of my favorites growing up was Judy Blume’s The Pain and the Great One. I also love Mercer Meyer’s East of the Sun and West of the Moon (wonderful illustrations, and interestingly, this is the same author who writes the Little Critter books). I still have these copies from my childhood.

    Let’s not forget The Velveteen Rabbit.

  18. Love this list! I often get inspiration from you on Instastories or snapchat and then check those books out of the library for my kids. But you need to give Pete the Cat another chance! As a former preschool teacher, it was one of the best read-aloud books. My preschool kids and my four kids at home love it so much because of the repetition and the songs he sings. Take out “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” from the library and try that one. As the mother of a kid who’s a perfectionist, that book is really good fun but also good for talking about letting things go. Also there’s math skills in that one! Another favourite author for letting kids join in on parts they know is Karma Wilson: “The Bear Snore On”, “Frog in a Bog” and “The Cow Loves Cookies” are all fantastic.

  19. Are you familiar with Charlotte Zolotow! If not, acquaint yourself with her… you won’t be disappointed! http://charlottezolotow.com/

  20. You forgot “Old Turtle” by Douglas Wood! Love it!

  21. Kristi n says:

    A Sick Day for Amos McGee would fit on your list. The illustrations are sweet and you’d love Amos and his zoo friends.

    Anything by Mo Willems gets thumbs up in this house!

  22. Great list! Just making sure you’ve seen The King of Little Things by Bil Lepp. For lovers of tiny shit. My eldest has been a collector his entire life, a decade. I gifted him this book and it really just empowered him to collect more tiny shit.

  23. We love all of these! Setting up a Book Registry is a great way to build up that bookshelf for baby! https://booksnotcards.com/

  24. I’m SO excited to check these out because the majority of them are completely new to me. Thank you for putting this together! That said, I can’t believe that there’s no Julia Donaldson on here! Americans are really missing out (we know of her from good British friends of ours). The Snail and the Whale makes me cry every time, we absolutely adore The Gruffalo, I also cry at The Smartest Giant in Town, and A Squash and a Squeeze is hilariously witty. They’re all so smart, so funny, so full of kindness and wonder. Oh, and my daughter is obsessed with Stick Man (which is more of a Christmas book but we definitely read it year-round).

    • Elizabeth says:

      We are Julia Donaldson fans, too. So many good ones: The Highway Rat, Room on the Broom, Tyrannosaurus Drip, and Monkey Puzzle.

      If you love reading books with really excellent rhyming cadence and funny story lines these are for you.

    • Dianne Spatafore says:

      I agree, we love Julia Donaldson and are so glad we found the Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and the Snail on the Whale! The Gruffalo is such a clever story!

      I do love that Swatch was included as the writer is a former student of mine and just a wonderful person. She is as delightful as her beautiful words and illustrations.

    • popping into the comments to suggest Julia Donaldson and the glorious illustrations of Axel Scheffler everyone a read aloud treasure that wont disappoint.

  25. I really enjoyed reading this post. My mom and dad both worked for the library when I was growing up and my mom would bring home the new books to me and my sister. I didn’t really appreciate it at the time but looking back I was really lucky! As my son was growing up I love, loved taking him to the library to get books. Then when I started working in the school system I loved working in the school library! My son just graduated two weeks ago and I have been accumulating books the last few years for this milestone. I wanted to pass along those titles.
    ‘I wish you more’ by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. ‘Let me hold you longer’ by Karen Kingsberry.
    ‘I love you more than rainbows’ by Susan E Crites.
    ‘If I could keep you’ little by Marianne Richmond .

  26. All the Barbara Cooney books. Roxaboxen. Miss Rumphius. Island Boy. So many great books!

  27. If you are ever driving near Findlay, Ohio on your way to Michigan, there is a treasure of a museum called the Mazza Museum on the campus of the University of Findlay that is dedicated to original art from children’s books. It is magical. And the gift shop is almost too much to handle. https://www.mazzamuseum.org/

  28. Amy parris says:

    “Guess How Much I Love You” made me cry the first time I read it. Little Nutbrown and Big Nutbrown are precious. Beautiful sentiment and beautiful illustrations make it my go to gift at baby showers.

    ANYTHING by Sandra Boynton! If you don’t love rhyming, you may not agree, but I promise your kids will eat these up. They are the perfect read aloud stories.

    “Tuesday” by David Weisner. Illustration perfection!

    “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”, because some days are just like that…”even in Australia”.

  29. Love this list! As a kindergarten teacher, mom of two young girls & daughter of a compulsive book lover, I understand the treasure of children’s literature. I remember I could always get my mom to buy me whatever I wanted…as long as we were at the bookstore!!!! I read this FB post the other day and thought of it when I saw “Where the Wild Things Are” on here.

  30. Kelle,

    I am thrilled to see THINGS TO DO included on this list of wonderful picture books for children. Although I have had a number of my poems published in anthologies over the years, THINGS TO DO is my first book.

  31. so wonderful! The thought-I-wanted-a-Master’s-in-Children’s-Lit part of me loves this so much. Beautiful list and I’m so glad to see these, and have great future gifts. My little one is 2 and I tell him daily how much I like reading with him. Well done keeping it to 50 as I’m sure you have so many more favorites.

  32. The Judy Dunn books from my childhood are classics, read over and over to my kids. Especially “The little goat” and “The little rabbit”

  33. Julia Donaldson. I love all of her stories, and my boys read them so often they can recite them by heart. The Gruffalo is funny and mysterious, The Snail and The Whale has a little-guy-makes-a-big-difference adventure, and for twists and turns and love of books Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book gives me goosebumps everytime. Donaldson’s words and Axel Scheffler’s illustrations pair perfectly and keep everyone hanging on to the last page.

  34. Marianne says:

    i adore “i WISH YOU MORE” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld. Despite being in my late 40’s and having no children, I bought this book just for ME!

  35. Margaret says:

    What a great list Kelle. You won’t give the books to your grandchildren, because they will become Grandma’s Books, and the grandchildren will love visiting your house for all the wonderful books.

  36. Oh, I LOVE lists like this! I just posted yesterday about the required summer reading lists I did for my kids this year: http://theirchronicles.blogspot.com/2017/06/summer-reading-2017.html

    As someone who got a graduate degree in English just so I could do more reading, and then had six kids so I could totally immerse myself in children’s books forever, I am super duper passionate about my picture books. My list of favorites only overlapped with six of yours, so I’m excited to check these suggestions out! And I’ll leave a link to my book posts to return the favor. :-) I’ve got them divided by genre, seasons, level, the ones preferred by my sons/daughters, and of course a huge fairy tale roundup because those are awesome. :-)

    http://theirchronicles.blogspot.com/p/childrens-books.html

  37. Christina says:

    Love, love, love your list!

    A couple of beloved Canadian authors:

    http://robertmunsch.com/
    http://barbarareid.ca/

    And then …

    The 100 Dresses by Eleanor Estes
    Rabbit’s New Rug by Marc Tolon Brown
    Time For Bed by Mem Fox
    Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
    You Are Special by Max Lucado

    :)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Kelle – you will love Barbara Reid illustrations (all plasticine). We have The Party and it is one I don’t mind reading over and over and over….it captures so many emotions and moments of a big inter-generational family reunion.

  38. Laura Eier says:

    Parts by Tedd Arnold and King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood. Love Cynthia Rylant too. A great book for you is Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

  39. Kirsten says:

    Oh my goodness… you left out Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey! My favorite!! The illustrations and sweet story are beloved by my kids. I also love Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine by Allison Wortche. Check it out if you’ve never read it. Love all your lists!!

  40. Shannon Talbott says:

    Apparently I also take this VERY seriously. I was about halfway down and thinking, “if ‘All the World’ isn’t on there, we will have to stop being friends. Phew!

  41. Maggie mcginty says:

    Flora and a flamingo is an absolutely beautiful book with no words! However the illustrations are absolutely amazing and my children love reading and acting out the movements! The texture of the pages is different and just plain fun!

  42. This is fantastic, thank you so much!!!
    We get Wally a book each month for his “month birthday” (the 8th of every month, since his birthday’s on the 8th). So far, it has all been board books, but I can’t wait to start adding some of these beautiful books to his library!

  43. So many great suggestions in your post and in the comments! I echo “Roxaboxen” — our house has a great “wild” outdoor area and as soon as my sister saw it, she said, “Your kids will have their own Roxaboxen!” That was the nicest thing anyone could have said about our place :)

    I also recommend The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood, Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, The Jolly Postman…or Other People’s Letters by Janet & Allan Ahlberg, everything by Leo Lionni (Frederick, Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, and Swimmy especially). Always loved The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch too. More to add to your home library :)

  44. Virginia Wolf by Kyo Mclear. Really beautiful illustrations and a great story. It’s about depression, at its core, but it is very age appropriate.

    One of my favourite of my daughter’s books. I can’t emphasize enough how gorgeous it is.

  45. Thank you 😊 This is a beautiful list. I would appreciate your advice on chapter books for little one, my six year old is moving out of the ‘baby book’ faze and onto ‘big girl books’. I’m devastated and proud all at the same time. I love the magic of picture books and want it to carry through to the next stage

  46. Carol Zink says:

    Thank you for this list! I will be buying some of these for my grandchildren. I kept nearly all my daughters’ books and have been doling them out for my grandkids, and buying more of course. A couple others – the Francis books by the Hobans, ALL the Beatrix Potter books (especially the ones that come in tiny hand size), Miss Nelson is Back (so much fun to read with different voices for the principal and the “Swamp”)…Thank goodness for libraries too or I’d go broke buying kid books!

  47. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox…!!! Gotta have Mem Fox!!! And looking at the list I get the feeling you really love the tender books..the books that reach deeply into you. You’d love the picture books by T.A.Barron…HIGH AS A HAWK, WHERE’S GRANDPA, GHOST HANDS, THE DAY THE STONES WALKED.
    We just launched abookandahug.com yesterday…it’s the librarian’s website made by librarians for librarians…no charge…we just love what we do.
    So excited to see you celebrating books with so many people. Books really make a difference in a life.

  48. Jennifer says:
  49. Oh how I love The Seven Silly Eaters !! I have been reading this book to my 5 children for years. My oldest is 18 the youngest is 5….this book has been read in our home thousands of times. So happy to see it on your list! It is one of our favorites . Thank you so much for compiling this amazing list!!

  50. Amy Caster says:

    I love love love this list. So many books that I haven’t had the chance to read yet-I’m going to enjoy reading these with my 3 year old niece. One of my all time favorite children’s books is Just in Case you Ever Wonder by Max Lucado- I have had this book memorized since I was a little girl. It’s storyline of how you come into your family and how special you are from the very beginning sticks with you no matter how old you are!

  51. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! is always a big hit with my kiddos

    The Book Without Pictures – So I guess not technically a “picture book” but the words are the pictures and my boys laugh every.single.time

    Wherever you are, my love will find you by Nancy Tillman. Hot tears every time I read any of her books, but particularly this one. So so so good.

  52. The very fist book on your list has always been my favorite. The story, the artwork…love it.

  53. Check out Pamela Zagarenski’s illustrations. They are absolute magic. We love ‘Sleep Like A Tiger’ by Mary Logue, ‘Red Sings From the Treetops’ by Joyce Sidman, both illustrated by Zagarenski, and ‘The Whisper’ and ‘Henry and Leo’ that she wrote and illustrated. All spellbinding. I have been so caught up in the pictures that I forget to read the words. I get gently reminded with a loud “Mama! Read!”

  54. Super Happy Magical Forest is a must- read!

  55. Any chance you’d consider doing a list for the slightly older kids? My 7 year old is a voracious reader and I’m having trouble finding age-appropriate books and series to introduce her to.

    • Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series is one of my favorites for that age group. Loved them when I was a kid and still do!

  56. Some of my very favorites are those by Martin and Alice Provenson, including “Our Animal Friends”, and “the Year at Maple HIll Farm”.

    And for older children, getting into chapter books, “Meet the Austins” and “The 24 Days of Christmas” by Madeleine L’Engle (my VERY favorite author!)

  57. Jennifer machin says:

    Sorry Kelly,
    I love your list, and I love children’s books (I’m a mom & a teacher) so I keep thinking or more that I know you would love too. Apologies if you already know them.
    Must read: Fireflies by Julie Brinkloe

  58. My mother passed away a few years ago from complications of dementia. It was then that I discovered Mem Fox’s Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge lives next door to a nursing home. When he finds out that his special friend, Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper is losing her memory he sets out to find what a memory is and help her find hers. It’s a touching, loving book with gorgeous illustrations and made me ugly cry when I first read it. I loved it so much I sent a copy to all 4 of my much older brothers. Years ago when my young son, Ian, was being bullied, I discovered Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. It became a favorite read for both of us during this tumultuous time. Julius, Baby of the World was another keeper by Kevin Henkes. This was gifted to my sister in law who was pregnant with her third child and her 2nd born was not happy about no longer being the baby of the family. A Small Miracle by Peter Collington is a lovely picture book with no words. It’s about wooden figures in a Christmas crèche that come to life to save a poor old woman in this truly original, deeply moving contemporary parable. These have all been some of my favorite books. Thank you for your list of 50. Some I’d heard of and some I plan to check out immediately. I, like you, share a deep love of children’s literature. Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert was a poetry book about a cat stalking birds for his lunch and at the end has an educational list of birds and their characteristics. It was one my daughter’s favorite poem books (she’s now 30 and has 2 of my grandchildren and reads it to them!)

  59. What a great list! I bought 6 that we didn’t have through your links and am anxious to add them to our library!
    A few of our favorites that haven’t been mentioned:
    Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs
    The Old Woman Who Lived In A Vinegar Bottle
    The Accident (Carrick)
    Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
    Jamiaca’s Find
    Boxes for Katje
    Dog Heaven
    Tikki Tikki Tembo

  60. Yes, yes and more yes!! I always wonder about the people who come to my house & ask me why I need so many books!
    Some of our faves: Each Peach Pear Plum, Peepo & The Jolly Postman, all by Janet & Allan Ahlberg…..in fact, most of their books are perfection, Cops & Robbers!
    Anything by Shirley Hughes; Alfie Gets in First & Dogger are a good place to start.
    Imagine & Magic Beach by Alison Lester.
    I could go on for days….!

  61. Some wonderful and beautifully illustrated books are coming from the magical hands of Ben Hatke, including “Julia’s House for Lost Creatures,” “Mighty Jack,” and the “Zita the Spacegirl” series.

  62. Courtney says:

    These are so great! A favorite at our house is You Can Do It Sam by Amy Hest. It’s part of a series of Sam books but this one is our favorite. The coziest, loveliest book. A bear who takes cakes to his neighbor with his mama cheering him on and at the end they wriggle their toes in fat socks and drink cocoa. It is just so sweet.

  63. Well….thanks…so many of our favorites on our list…but so many more now in my amazon cart…some will be delivered tonight…and I just can’t wait for bedtime.

    A few of our favorites you might like: The Last Stop on Market Street; Red, A Crayon’s story,

  64. We love Iggy Peck Architect, Ada Twist Scientist, and Rosie Revere Engineer.

  65. AMAZING!! Thank you for compiling this list Kelle! I just went to my library’s website and put ALL of these books on a list for me to check out, a few at a time. Wonderful, thanks again!!

  66. Just returned from the library after arming myself with your list. Thank you for all the thought and effort you put into this–it was so fun to discover new treasures for my 3 and 4 year olds. We especially loved The Seven Silly Eaters and have already read it 4 times! I’ve saved this list so I can return to it as the kiddos get older for fresh inspiration. Happy reading to you and your family :)

  67. I love “We were tired of living in a house” !

  68. Oh, oh, but you must include Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney!

  69. Love your list. I have a children’s library started when I taught Kindergarten. I needed a monster book to read at the public library for young children and happened upon Monster Trouble! by Lane Fredrickson. It was love at first read. I have always thought it would make a lovely monster theme quilt with the beautiful little girl with the big eyes.

  70. Any book by Lorna Balian… but I especially love “The Aminal” and “Humbug Witch”. The detailed hand drawn illustrations are amazing!

  71. Great list! We’ve read quite a few of them and will have to search for the others on our library trips this summer. My 4 year old son loves Press Here, The Day the Crayons Came Home, and Dragons Love Tacos. We got Dragons Love Tacos 2 but it’s hard to beat the original. I too love Cynthia Rylant. She came to my elementary school when I was 8 or 9 and signed a copy of The Relatives Came for me. I also love November (especially since I am a November baby and it’s my favorite time of year) and Dog Heaven (sniff!).

  72. A couple of our favs…..I Love You Because You’re You, and Peedie, but there are so many! Our family gets a box of books from Santa every year, and it’s a highlight of the season. Inside, at least one book chosen for each person, but no names are assigned. We make sure to have some time with hot chocolate enjoying them during Christmas week.

  73. Goodnight Moon, Little Fur Family (preferably with the furry cover), anything Steven Kellogg wrote or illustrated, and Never Too Little to Love

  74. Michelle says:

    Great list, many I’ve never read and look forward to! But have to give a shout out to the favorite at our house: Mo Willems, my four kids can never get enough of finding the pigeon at the back of the Piggie and Gerald books.

  75. Jen Lopez says:

    I Already Know I Love You by Billy Crystal…my dad gave it to my daughter when she was born. No one can get through it without crying. So sweet and simple.

  76. Melissa says:

    This is an awesome resource!! Thank you! I bought a book to read to my sons first grade class right before summer break and it made me think of your blog posts last summer documenting Dash and his dinosaur. Have you seen Hattie and Hudson by Chris Van Dusen? I think you would like it.

  77. Vicki turner says:

    I’ve been a children’s librarian for 23 years. From day 1 I’ve said that i can’t believe they pay me to do this! A few of my all time favorite read alouds: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, The Little Mouse,the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Don Wood, The Talking Eggs, by Robert San Souci, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig, and my all time favorites, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi and The Widow’s Broom by Chris van Allsburg.

  78. Pleased check out The Day Louis Got Eaten by John Fardell. We borrowed this from the library, before I bought five copies because I loved it so much – one for us, and the rest to give away as gifts. We just loved the story of Louis being eaten by a creature, who’s then eaten by another creature, and so on, all the while being pursued by his sister who has a rescue plan. I loved how Louis later gets his own turn to rescue his sister, as well as the fantastic illustrations that had my kids following every step of the adventure. A really great read.

  79. I’m sorry that Richard Scarry’s books weren’t on the list. I loved his picture book of places. My kids loved to make up stories about the different places.

  80. Katherine says:

    Hi Kelle! Thank you SO MUCH for this list! I love some of these same titles and have added the rest to my Amazon wish list. I have a question. What do you do to preserve the books for a long time? Do you let the kids access them whenever they want, or do you keep them away from them? My kids are professional book destroyers and I worry about having expensive hardcovers around them…So i’m just wondering if you have a good system that you can share with me. Thanks!

    • We have books everywhere in our house–in almost every room, mainly for easy access and to keep us reading. There’s a stack of kids’ books next to my bed for when they read in bed with me, some under our coffee table and then the kids each have book shelves in their rooms. I try and rotate them out when I can to keep it new and fresh. The best ones–like the ones on this list–are usually kept on the good shelves for when I read aloud to them. Books I don’t mind them wearing out (and really, that’s what books are for) I keep in baskets next to their beds.

      • Katherine says:

        Thank you so much for replying! I really appreciate it and love what you said. I forgot to mention my favorite book – Laura Charlotte by Kathryn O. Galbraith. You would love it especially because it is a story about a girl and her grandmother AND great-grandmother and it makes me think of you when I see it. My mom used to read it to me as a little girl and now I do the same for my girls. I think it’s out of print, but if you can snag an old copy from Amazon you won’t regret it!

  81. Thanks for information i like it.

  82. Cinderstella: A tale of planets, not princes (Brenda Miles & Susan D. Sweet). An incredible story of being your own person and finding confidence in your own passions!

  83. “The Dot” and “Ish” by Peter Reynolds. Great stories!

  84. I highly recommend listening to Mr. Eric read and sing “Pete the Cat” through the Harper-Collins website. A fair warning, the song will get stuck in your head. A whole new level of fun!

  85. Ema Urbanski says:

    Loved this list! Thank you! I placed this list on our fridge for the upcoming summer library visits! I do have a recommendation too–anything by Oliver Jeffers! He was an illustrator for the book The Day the Crayons Quit, but his own books are great! My kiddos especially love his book, STUCK. Such a fun and silly story and no doubt you will hear giggles the entire time!

  86. Best list of anything I have read in a long time!! Thank you for putting in so much effort and for your beautiful descriptions

  87. Hi Kelle, I’m a Nana who has followed your site for years and years. I frequently purchase the books (and other things) you recommend for my now 4 and 7 year old grandchildren. I don’t recall seeing recommendations by you for read-aloud stories for older kids (7-11) that have fewer pictures but engaging stories. Would you recommend a few of those? My grands still love the read-aloud picture book stories (i just purchased What to Do with an Idea, Problem, and Day the Crayons Quit), but i’m eager to read the longer stories to them too. Thank you for a recommendation for for sharing your life with us!

  88. I promise, I’m not trying to be an over-commenter, ha! I wanted to mention one very old book that I read and loved as a child. The illustrations are sweet and endearing, but the book, I believe is only in black and white, illustrations included. It’s called “Hurry Up, Slowpoke.” by Crosby Newell. The book was written in 1961 and I was born in 1963. (yeah, I’m an old lady! :) ) It’s about a little mouse named Simon who has a very bossy sister. He is on his way to grandma’s house but as most little children do, he gets distracted and goes on a wild adventure. I know your kids would love it! I should have included it in my original list but forgot all about it!

  89. oh wow these are great.. thanks for sharing!

  90. We LOVED
    “Library Lion”
    by Michelle Knudsen (Author), Kevin Hawkes (Illustrator)

  91. I love this list! I also enjoyed your list of Christmas/holiday/winter books – in fact, I bought several of them!

    Two more children’s books we love:

    Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells
    Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burns

  92. I really cry every time I come to this site. I mean, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME! But, all drama aside, I am sure you have read Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, right? I read it for the first time in 1999 when I was teaching school in Washington DC in a housing project. I was in a book store and I started crying hysterically. I called my Mom and read it to her over the phone. I took it to my classroom and we read it almost every day. At our Christmas program we read it to the parents. Everyone cried.

    I love your list and I LOVE the reader recommendations also. I will be sure to check these out at the library even though my 17 year old baby will have no interest in reading them with me. I am praying for another baby, Kelle. I need someone little in my life.

    Happy Summer. I don’t write comments any more when I come every time, because all of them sound exactly the same. I cry. I love your adventures. I think you are a great mom who rocks out parenting. Just pretend I write that every post because that is what I am thinking.

    I want to go visit the Mazza Museum in Findlay, Ohio now. I miss your Dad! I can’t wait until you can all be together again. He always just makes me smile. Thank you for this therapy session.

  93. Okay, stop right and write this date in your calendar. June 7-9 2018. You need to come to Abilene Texas these days for the Children’s Art and Literacy Festival. Bring your kids, this is the best kids festival. Next year we are celebrating Oliver Jeffers who illustrated The Day the Crayons Quit. Today I sat the dramatic readings of Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and the Three Little Pigs since we are celebrating Garth Williams this year. You would love it.

  94. Please tell me you know Henry Hikes to Fitchburg? It was written for you as far as I can tell. Also we love Inside Outside, In the Town All Year Round and Squeak Rumble Whomp Whomp Whomp.

  95. Janet Fudge says:

    So many favs on your list. my own “littles” are now in their twenties, and these books still stay within my reach for their emotional punch.

    The Big, Big Sea by Martin Waddell: story of a quiet moment between parent and child which becomes a cherished memory with amazing illustrations (need to credit the illustrator, Jennifer Eachus1)

    Waiting for the Whales, by Sheryl McFarlane: beautiful story of the yearly return of the orcas with a parallel in the generations of a family

    All the Colors of the Earth, by Sheila Hamanaka, “Children come in all the colors of the Earth…” a gorgeous story highlighting diversity

    Fly Away Home by K.D. Plum

    Angel in Blue, by students at an elementary school in Temperance, MI, available through Scholastic, written when they couldn’t find a book about supporting a young classmate who was living with cancer. It’s a serious book but beautiful and from children’s viewpoints.

    Mama Zooms, by Jane Cowen-Fletcher

    Two Eyes, A Nose, and A Mouth, by Roberta Grobel Intrater: another beautiful story celebrating our differences and highlighting how boring the world would be if we all looked alike.

  96. I have a book instagram as well if you want to follow along, @lovely.little.reads. books are my love language!

    Some of our favorites include: The Curious Garden, Before You (you will love this one!), Bunny’s Book Club, Boo La La Witch Spa, King Baby, Bunnyroo I Love You, Ada Twist Scientist, Cinnamon Baby, If You Happen To have a Dinosaur, too many to list!

  97. Ooh LOVE this list & of course I wanna add my .02;)

    Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury -makes me cry every time

    Currently LOVING Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins -too cute!

    Maple and Willow books are favorites here at our house too!

  98. Love this list!
    And here is a few of my favorites that I read to my preschool class and they love them:
    If All the Animals Came Inside by Eric Pinder
    My Dinosaur by Mark Weatherby (they love this!)
    If I Built a Car and If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen (these are awesome and should be a part of every kids collection!)

  99. We love love so many of these! And Roxaboxen is truly a favorite. Recently, we’ve enjoyed Marilyn’s Monster, Not Quite Narwhal, Mouse Mansion, and a chapter book called Twig which is one of my girls’ favorite books ever. Reads like a picture book but longer, and so so clever and lovely.

  100. Would love to leave a little aussie suggestion for your future browsing…
    Anything Enid Blyton there is so many so please start with Five on a Treasure Island.
    Anything Julia Donaldson.
    Anything Mem Fox possibly start with Where is Green Sheep?
    Anything Aaron Blabey Pig the Pug is a definite introduction.

    I have recently discovered the Books Between podcast for books suggestions for my school age readers.

    Thank u for your list I have order a bunch and popped even more on my wishlist xx

    • Love this! Thank you! I actually found some great Aussie books that are hard to get here on Amazon…I think Scribe Publications is the publisher? Several great ones they put out.

  101. As a child I loved any book by Frank Asch. Sand Cake was my absolute favorite as a child.

    As a teacher and mom I have three must-own books that are not on your list. All are great when you sign up to be a guest reader in your child’s class, and are frequently requested bedtime stories-
    Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag, Caps for Sale, and Gerald McBoingBoing by Dr.Seuss.

    Andrea (a fellow Michigan summer devotee)

  102. Jenny Stefanek says:

    Anything by Oliver Jeffers.

  103. The Quiltmaker’s Journey and The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau are such amazing tales of bravery, discovery and beauty. And they are beautifully illustrated by Gail de Marken. I love the tales and all the quilt patterns especially now as my daughter is learning to quilt with my mother.

  104. Patricia Polocko books, Llamas in Pajamas, The Very hungry caterpillar, the giving tree, the tale of 3 trees, the story of Ferdinand

  105. Thank you for another wonderful compilation of children’s books! Although my children are now grown, I am still buying children’s books for our library (at my house since I can’t part with them) and for gifting my little great-nieces and nephews. I am looking forward to checking out many of the titles you’ve recommended. Two of my very favorites books that you might like to try are Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman and Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. Happy reading!!

  106. Kelle,

    Have you listened to Jeanne Birdsall’s ‘The Penderwick’s’? We picked up the first book on audio at the start of last summer. I had previoulsy tried to get our elder to read one within this series. Selecting the first, of four, on audio was fantastic! After the first, it lead to both girls (ages 7 3/4 & 11) to request the other three books, which we did on our upstate NY trip, etc.. I enjoyed it as much as they did. We cannot wait for the fifth (& final) book to be released later this year. All three of your children might enjoy the listen! Thank you for your favorites within this post.

  107. Jemma Thomas says:

    What a great list, we love so many of these too! And some new ones we will now check out! Some fun books you might enjoy, if you don’t already, Sir Pancake and Lady French Toast (I’m tired and could have that backward) and it’s new follow-up. Anything Fancy Nancy (you must love those!)! Pickle Chiffon Pie and lots of other books under the same publishing house I can’t remember now. And the Good Knight series for Dash! My girls love every book in the series and my husband loves to read them! Oh, and When Dinosaurs Came with Everything is so so good!

  108. Oh, what a lovely list! I found some new books I am eager to check out with our daughter.
    Like you, there are few things I treasure and find more magical than children’s books! A few favorites, in case you haven’t already discovered them:
    You Belong Here
    The Sea Serpent and Me
    Augustus and His Smile
    The Dot
    Ish (both The Dot and Ish are Peter Reynold’s books)
    Sophie’s Squash (this may be my all-time favorite!)
    Sleep Like a Tiger
    They All Saw a Cat
    How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
    Miss Rumphius
    Uni the Unicorn
    Oh, and I could go on for days and days! Happy reading to you and your babes!
    Jen

  109. Natalie says:

    I loved this list I’m going into my second year of teaching preschool and I’ve maxed out my library card with your recommendations!!!

  110. Candice Fehrman says:

    Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev. Beautiful artwork, and sweet, sweet message about friendship and acceptance. Love it.

  111. THANK YOU! Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller is super-sweet and the illustrations in Du Iz Tak by Carson Ellis are incredible.

    Thanks again!

  112. AMeldrum says:

    It’s literally impossible to find my favorite book anywhere. I have a copy from my childhood (I’m 38) it’s called “Jellybeans for Breakfast” by Miriam Young. If by some off chance you find it in a thrift store you have scored BIG TiME. I can promise you it’s exactly the type of book you will love. I look for it at every garage sale and estate sale. It’s my unicorn! Haven’t found it yet!

  113. And my to buy/check out from the library/read with my kids list just exploded! A couple more – Forever Young, Titch, Corduroy, Madeline, and The Bare-Footed, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade.

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