We have a wide range of ages in our family, from toddler to grade-schooler – and a healthy variety of reading tastes, too. And so I can’t guarantee that every kid will love every book on these lists of the best picture books, but I can tell you that every one of these books wowed my test audience of three very different kids, plus me and my husband. I’m also pretty annoying about telling friends and family to give these books as birthday and holiday and “just because” presents, and every single time they report back: Everyone loved the book! The kid and the parents.
Writer Robert McCloskey knows that one of the highlights of summer is picking berries, and this tale makes that a reality for children of all ages. When little Sal and her mother go out to pick blueberries to can for winter, they run into a little problem. Sal loves picking the berries, but she loves eating them even more. That is not the problem though. As Sal and her mother pick their berries, there is also a mama bear and her cub picking berries. Sal isn’t paying as much attention to her mother as she is to eating the berries, and eventually ends up following the bear rather than her mother. The problems they face and the adventures they share with the bears will be entertaining and fun to share.
Mattick provides a lovely and intimate account of how her great-grandfather Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian during WWI, acquired and cared for the bear that would inspire Winnie-the-Pooh. Playfulness and tenderness go hand in hand in both text and art, as Mattick and Blackall reveal the real-life backstory behind one of the most beloved characters in children's literature.
Dr. Seuss has brought many winning books to the world of reading, and this is another to add to the list. Not only is it a simple story that is fun to read, as all Seuss books are, but it is also very helpful in teaching kids to read. The words are simple and the phrases have a lot of word play, such as rhyming. The wild illustrations are fitting with traditional Seuss style, and will keep you looking with wonder as you turn each page. Sharing this story with children of any age will be something to treasure as they grow up.
There are several subgenres among picture books, including alphabet books, concept books, counting books, early readers, calendar books, nursery rhymes, and toy books. Board books - picture books published on a hard cardboard - are often intended for small children to use and play with; cardboard is used for the cover as well as the pages, and is more durable than paper. Another category is movable books, such as pop-up books, which employ paper engineering to make parts of the page pop up or stand up when pages are opened. The Wheels on the Bus, by Paul O. Zelinsky, is one example of a bestseller pop-up picture book.
As many little ones have experienced firsthand, bedtime can be something that is lonely and sometimes even scary. When mom or dad leaves the room, and it’s time to go to sleep, that’s when they want something. A drink, another kiss, a bedtime story, anything to get mom or dad back in the room. Baby Llama is no different. When his mama kisses him goodnight, and he wants her to bring him a drink, she is taking her time in coming. He begins to really worry and ends up crying very loudly. Mama comes running, as any mama would, and makes everything alright again. This is one of those picture books with a message, and a heartwarming story.
This Caldecott Medal winner is one of the sweetest kitten stories ever. The kitten, seeing the full moon for the first time, is convinced that it’s a bowl of milk that was put there just for her. The fun begins when she decides to try to drink it. Trying to lick it from her place in the universe makes for a fun and silly story with pictures that will bring delight and giggles. Watching as a bug lands on her tongue, and even the rest of the funny antics that kitten takes part in while trying to reach that bowl of milk in the sky will give you and anyone else who is paying attention, a good laugh.
Orbis Pictus from 1658 by John Amos Comenius was the earliest illustrated book specifically for children. It is something of a children's encyclopedia and is illustrated by woodcuts. A Little Pretty Pocket-Book from 1744 by John Newbery was the earliest illustrated storybook marketed as pleasure reading in English. In Japan, kibyoshi were picture books from the 18th century, and are seen as a precursor to manga. Examples of 18th-century Japanese picture books include works such as Santō Kyōden's Shiji no yukikai (1798).
Keep creeping that price up more and more. I understand all phones are doing it, but the percentage that OnePlus devices have increased over the years is just getting out of hand. Comparing the lowest models, the OnePlus phones have seen an increase in price of 83% over the years. In the same amount of time, the lowest iPhone models have increased 16%.Comparing the highest model, OnePlus has increased 79% and iPhone has increased 70%.
It has been said that the true example of love is being willing to give of one’s self for the benefit of another. Shel Silverstein tells the story of love between a boy and a tree that is an example of this sacrificial love. From the time the boy is young and needs shade as he plays to growing up and being allowed to climb in her branches to the time when he is older and wants something that may mean the end of the tree, the tree keeps on giving to him- out of love. Though there are many ways to interpret this story, the true message of love shines through. Even when the boy is an old man and long after the tree has been cut down, what is left of the tree is still giving. The old man, once the little boy who played under the tree, now uses the stump of the tree to rest on.
These fairly stupid tales are not like the fairy tales you may have known while growing up. They are, rather, a total mockery of them, similar to the other books by Jon Scienszka, written with sarcasm and humorous scandal. Taking the originals apart and interjecting characters who belong in other fairy tales into some old favorites, the humor and hilarity may amaze you. Kids love to read stories that offer the unexpected, and bring in sarcasm and surprises. This one will not disappoint, and may become a favorite to share whenever you want a laugh or a new look at the way things should be, and the way things could be.
Cassie Louise Lightfoot wishes to freely go wherever she wants in life, and one night, on the tar roof of her Harlem apartment building, her dream comes true. She flies over Manhattan and claims the buildings as her own, imagining a different future for her and her family. A story of courage and hope, Tar Beach melds African American history with young literature.
Many more picture book biographies appeal to upper elementary school age kids while still others appeal to both upper elementary and middle school age kids. Some recommended picture book biography titles include and A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, both of which were written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet and The Librarian of Basra: A True Story of Iraq, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter.
Between 1957 and 1960 Harper & Brothers published a series of sixteen "I Can Read" books. Little Bear was the first of the series. Written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by a then relatively unknown Maurice Sendak, the two collaborated on three other "I Can Read" books over the next three years. From 1958 to 1960, Syd Hoff wrote and illustrated four "I Can Read" books: Danny and the Dinosaur, Sammy The Seal, Julius, and Oliver.
Every child loves to hear stories of another child, even if that other child happens to be a little pig named Olivia. Precocious and energetic, Olivia has a way of wearing her mother out. Each night as her mother puts Olivia to bed, she tells her that she loves her- even though she wears her out. With a message of parental love and devotion, as well as a child who is being their naturally curious and active self, this story will touch your heart, and may become one of your family’s favorite children’s books ever. Ian Falconer has brought together reality and fantasy in a way that will touch your heart and give you a laugh.
What do you get when you put together a peddler, some monkeys, and the story telling gift of Esphyr Slobodkina? You get a classic story that has been around for decades and is still just as entertaining and fun as it was when first published in 1938. Generations of children have grown up with this and other classics that have made storytelling an art. With the humor and warmth found only in the past, this is one children’s book that will continue to amuse, delight, and inspire many families for many more years to come. Family classic and a treasure to share – what more could you want in a story?
Watty Piper and Loren Long brought us this inspiring story of a little train engine many years ago and it is still inspiring and encouraging millions of people, children and adults alike. When the little train gets stuck at the bottom of a hill, the little engine keeps his focus, and keeps telling himself “I think I can, I think I can” until eventually he makes it to the top of the hill. The message this leaves the reader with is one of how important it is to be determined, persevere, and never stop trying. One of the most inspirational children’s books ever, this one is a classic.
The Grinch isn’t really bad, he just has a heart that is too small. Dr. Seuss has given us this heartwarming tale of the Grinch and his heart problem. When the Whos of Whoville begin to celebrate, the efforts of the Grinch to take Christmas from them fails because Christmas doesn’t depend on the things they do, and the presents they share. It depends on what is in the heart. When he finally realizes that the heart is what holds Christmas, the Grinch finds his own heart growing and becoming warm. He begins to see the true meaning of Christmas, and brings all the things he took from the Whos back to them.
This spoof on the three little pigs will have you laughing and wanting to know more within the first few pages. When the three little wolves go out on their own, they build a house that should stand up to the big bad pig. But the pig is armed with more than simply his huffing and puffing. He has dynamite! Sharing this hilarious tale will make a family reading time more fun than ever. And the ending may surprise even those who think they can tell what will happen next. This anytime story will be one to read over and over again.
Pictures books are some of the earliest reading experiences for many children. We love how they introduce kids to storytelling and provide a rich multi-sensory experience perfect for reading aloud. The picture books we selected for our Best Books for Kids of 2017 list include a new version of Humpty Dumpty, a Langston Hughes picture book, and a Mixtec-inspired story. Have other picture books you love? Let us know in the comment section below.
Dr. Seuss is as silly as ever with this classic that will have you and your children enjoying reading and rhyming more than ever. From flying a kite in bed, to walking around with ten cats on your head to counting and seeing new kinds of fish and creatures, you will not be disappointed. One of the most exciting things about reading a Dr. Seuss book is the never ending temptation to read it as fast as you can. With this story, you will have the rhythm and rhyme rolling off your tongue as you share it with your children. Before long they will be reading it with you. This is an easy to read book with words that are simple, and it will lead the way to reading aloud.
A hilarious book about cause and effect, Fortunately relays both the unfortunate and fortunate events of Ned, a boy trying desperately to get to a surprise party. Sharks, malfunctioning planes, and pitchforks sticking out of haystacks will try their best to derail Ned’s celebratory plans, but fortunately, fate has something else in mind. Replete with laugh-out-loud illustrations.
100 Great Children’s Books has been published on the occasion of The New York Public Library’s acclaimed exhibition The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter, on view at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The list was selected by The New York Public Library’s Jeanne Lamb, Coordinator, Youth Collections, and Elizabeth Bird, Supervising Librarian.