A classic story full of sentiment and humor, this is one that you will want to share over and over again. Whether you are a mom or a dad, this story of a mother and her son will strike a chord with you, and you may find yourself saying to your own children, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” In this story, a mother sings those words to her own son each night even after he’s an adult. In the end, when roles switch, it’s the son declaring his love to his mother, and then to his own baby girl. An endearing story that touches the heart each time it’s read, this is one tale that will remain at the top of the list for a long time to come. Sharing it with your children or even with a parent will be something special that you will treasure forever. Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw bring home the sentiment that the love between a parent and child really is endless.
A story with a moral to learn is something to treasure, and this is one such story. These educational stories are very easy to add to the best children’s books of all-time. The rainbow fish happens to be the most beautiful fish in the ocean, and he knows it. His beauty has gone to his head and has even made him become proud and rude to his friends. When his friends all abandon him, he knows that there is something wrong, but can’t imagine what it is. He finds the wise old octopus and asks for some advice. The octopus tells him to share some of his beauty with others, and to begin looking at the beauty that comes from the inside as being what really makes someone beautiful. Though it is shiny and colorful, this is one story that offers more than outer beauty.
When self esteem, or the lack of it, tells Vashti that she can’t draw, her teacher encourages her to try. Just making one dot on the page, and seeing where it will lead, opens up a new world of being artistic. That is some of the best advice she could have given her. When Vashti finds that she can mix some colors to create other colors, she begins to experiment and see just how much she can do. This is one of the most encouraging childrens books to read aloud or even alone. Trying in the midst of doubt can help anyone find hidden talent, and reach places they would have never made it to.
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.
This tricky tale tells the story of hungry soldiers who outsmart villagers unwilling to share their food. The soldiers concoct a soup made of stones, that little by little requires vegetables and meat, until the soldiers ultimately cook up a hearty meal. A book about sharing and cleverness, Stone Soup also featuring drawings that reveal something new with each view.
A World of Pausabilities pulls us into a neighborhood on a summer day that could be any neighborhood on any day. There, we see both children and adults applying mindfulness to everyday moments by taking a pause. The illustrations are crisp and active, depicting all sorts of people delving into the richness of moments like eating an apple and taking a slow, silent walk. The words rhyme, child-like in their simplicity. After reading this book, I started noticing pausabilities all over the place in my world—little bursts of extra mindfulness while brushing my teeth and walking the dog.
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.
This story brings to life part of the adult world to children who want to know what people do all day. There are examples of jobs and a connection made from one person to another. It gives the reader the sense that we are all connected, and the each profession is not only important to itself, but is dependent on and supportive of the other jobs out there. Reading it together may offer windows of opportunities to discuss with even the youngest children the importance of work, money, and being helpful to others. Richard Scarry has a way with connecting pictures and stories to keep the interest and draw the reader back again

Amos McGee is a kind, friendly older gentleman who works at the zoo. Each day he finds time to spend with his five special animal friends: the elephant, penguin, rhino, owl, and tortoise. Until one day, when Mr. McGee is too sick to make it to work. After waiting patiently, his friends decide to hop on the bus and visit him. Each animal finds their own unique way to help make Amos feel better, whether it’s playing chess with him or keeping his feet warm. This is one of the best children’s books for teaching kids the importance of compassion and taking care of one another.

More than just a storybook, this is an instruction manual of sorts. Written by Alona Frankel for her own child originally, it has become a must have for parents and toddlers everywhere. There is a version of this childrens book for boys and one for girls. Each version has a child learning to use their own potty chair and is a great help in both helping the parent potty train a toddler, and helping the toddler develop the confidence needed at this point in life. Fun, charming, and helpful, this is sure to be one that every parent and young child will want to own.
For my needs I recently created - Best Popular Picture Books on Goodreads with pretty limited criteria - that is 5000 ratings and shelved at least 500 times as "picture book". Sure it won't be as long as this list - and if people ever start voting on it, I'll probably end up doing a lot of deletion. But it will always be a good starting place for picture books.
In 1942, Simon & Schuster began publishing the Little Golden Books, a series of inexpensive, well illustrated, high quality children's books. The eighth book in the series, The Poky Little Puppy, is the top selling children's book of all time.[9] Many of the books were bestsellers,[9] including The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, Scuffy the Tugboat, The Little Red Hen. Several of the illustrators for the Little Golden Books later became staples within the picture book industry. Corinne Malvern, Tibor Gergely, Gustaf Tenggren, Feodor Rojankovsky, Richard Scarry, Eloise Wilkin, and Garth Williams. In 1947 Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd was published. By 1955, such picture book classics as Make Way for Ducklings, The Little House, Curious George, and Eloise, had all been published. In 1955 the first book was published in the Miffy series by Dutch author and illustrator Dick Bruna.
Written by Michael and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, this is one little book that will offer more fun and adventure as you reenact the bear hunt adventure with your own children. A father and his four children set out on a fine day to go on a bear hunt through the grass, through a stream, and into the wild. As they reach the end of the hunt, they come upon a bear who chases them all the way home. Was the bear real or did they pretend it into existence? Sharing this story with your children will offer you many explanations as to whether it really was a bear or not.

In 1942, Simon & Schuster began publishing the Little Golden Books, a series of inexpensive, well illustrated, high quality children's books. The eighth book in the series, The Poky Little Puppy, is the top selling children's book of all time.[9] Many of the books were bestsellers,[9] including The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, Scuffy the Tugboat, The Little Red Hen. Several of the illustrators for the Little Golden Books later became staples within the picture book industry. Corinne Malvern, Tibor Gergely, Gustaf Tenggren, Feodor Rojankovsky, Richard Scarry, Eloise Wilkin, and Garth Williams. In 1947 Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd was published. By 1955, such picture book classics as Make Way for Ducklings, The Little House, Curious George, and Eloise, had all been published. In 1955 the first book was published in the Miffy series by Dutch author and illustrator Dick Bruna.
Sharing a cookie may be fun, but when you share it with a mouse, be prepared to be put to work. In this charming tale of a boy and his mouse, Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond have created a story that will give good attention to cause and effect, consequences to actions, and offer enough fun and entertainment to keep you coming back again and again. The illustrations will give you an even bigger picture about the hilarity behind the story, and make reading this tale even more fun. This one is sure to become a family favorite, and one that you will keep coming back to.
Wordless Picture Books: Picture books that tell the story completely through illustrations with no words at all, or only a very few embedded in the artwork, are known as wordless picture books. One of the most stunning examples is The Lion and the Mouse, an Aesop's fable, retold in illustrations by Jerry Pinkney. Pinkney received the 2010 Randolph Caldecott Medal for picture book illustration for his wordless picture book. Another wonderful example, which is often used in middle school writing classes as a writing prompt is A Day A Dog by Gabrielle Vincent.
This precious 1942 book tells the story of a little country cottage that bides its time on a hillside, watching the seasons pass. After many generations, urban sprawl surrounds the little house and its original owner’s great-great-granddaughter sets out on a mission to return the house to the countryside. Complete with detailed illustrations and the happiest of endings.
Maurice Sendak has brought to families everywhere the story of a little boy named Mickey who dreams that he is floating in the Baker’s Kitchen. Or is it a dream at all? Mickey finds himself falling out of bed and out of his night clothes after hearing some noise downstairs. When he yells “Be quiet!”, he is suddenly floating past the moon, and past his mom and dad’s room where they are sound asleep. As you enjoy this story of Mickey and the Night Kitchen, you will be taken back to your own childhood dreams and share the humor of dreaming with your own little ones.

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.

Wordless Picture Books: Picture books that tell the story completely through illustrations with no words at all, or only a very few embedded in the artwork, are known as wordless picture books. One of the most stunning examples is The Lion and the Mouse, an Aesop's fable, retold in illustrations by Jerry Pinkney. Pinkney received the 2010 Randolph Caldecott Medal for picture book illustration for his wordless picture book. Another wonderful example, which is often used in middle school writing classes as a writing prompt is A Day A Dog by Gabrielle Vincent.
Written by Michael and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, this is one little book that will offer more fun and adventure as you reenact the bear hunt adventure with your own children. A father and his four children set out on a fine day to go on a bear hunt through the grass, through a stream, and into the wild. As they reach the end of the hunt, they come upon a bear who chases them all the way home. Was the bear real or did they pretend it into existence? Sharing this story with your children will offer you many explanations as to whether it really was a bear or not.

This tale of Chinese folklore is one that will amuse you and may leave you humming or repeating the little rhyme that many children enjoy after reading it. Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent have done an amazing job at bringing a classic story of a little boy who falls into a well. The rescue takes longer than it should because his name is so long and must be completely said before he can be rescued. This story is sure to be loved by young and old alike and will be treasured by many as something to savor as they read and enjoy it together with loved ones.
The only thing better than curling up with a good book is curling up with your little one and a good book. Introducing reading to children at a very early age has numerous educational benefits, such as rapidly increasing their vocabulary and their understanding of sentence structure. But the benefits of reading with your children don’t end there. Books can be a helpful tool for parents who are trying to instill important values and morals in their children.
Mo Willems brings to life, through this charming story, the tactics of a small child to get his own way. When the bus driver has to leave the bus for a few minutes, he cautions those who are left behind (the readers) not to let the pigeon drive the bus. Asking nicely doesn’t ensure he gets what he wants so he moves from pleading, bribery, arguing, manipulating, and finally throwing a tantrum just like small children will to get their own way at times. Humor and true life comments throughout this tale will leave you laughing and offer you a sense of reality in a delightful story
This story about a little boy who is looking for the perfect pet will open doors to your child’s learning (no pun intended). As he looks for a pet, each flap can be lifted to see a different animal inside. Making a game out of it with guessing what lies behind the flap, or even learning animal sounds along with reading the book, will be something that will make it even more loved. Easy for little hands to hold, and fun with looking under the flaps make this one of the best picture books for young children. It’s educational and fun all in one.
This is a great bedtime story that will help children as they prepare to go to sleep. Animals of all kinds are saying goodnight to their little ones, and bed time is pleasant through the world. The verse is rhyming and flows easily off the tongue, and the pictures are portraying bedtime rituals that will be familiar to you and your children. From taking a bath to brushing teeth to giving a kiss and a hug, all the parents and children offer something that you will cherish. It is one of the best bedtime stories to help little ones settle easily for the night.
This story told from the perspective of the wolf who is considered the bad guy in the original story, offers another side to the classic tale. Alexander T. Wolf has a different way of telling the story, with an explanation as to what he says really happened. You see, he wasn’t huffing and puffing, trying on purpose to blow those houses down. The truth, according to him, is that he had a bad cold. All he wanted was to borrow a cup of sugar so he could bake a cake for his granny. Fun, hilarious, and a riot to compare to the original, this is one that you will enjoy reading.
In 1931, Jean de Brunhoff's first Babar book, The Story Of Babar was published in France, followed by The Travels of Babar then Babar The King. In 1930, Marjorie Flack authored and illustrated Angus and the Ducks, followed in 1931 by Angus And The Cats, then in 1932, Angus Lost. Flack authored another book in 1933, The Story about Ping, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. The Elson Basic Reader was published in 1930 and introduced the public to Dick and Jane. In 1930 The Little Engine That Could was published, illustrated by Lois Lenski. In 1954 it was illustrated anew by George and Doris Hauman. It spawned an entire line of books and related paraphernalia and coined the refrain "I think I can! I think I can!". In 1936, Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand was published, illustrated by Robert Lawson. Ferdinand was the first picture book to crossover into pop culture. Walt Disney produced an animated feature film along with corresponding merchandising materials. In 1938 to Dorothy Lathrop was awarded the first Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in Animals of the Bible, written by Helen Dean Fish. Thomas Handforth won the second Caldecott Medal in 1939, for Mei Li, which he also wrote. Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline was published in 1939 and was selected as a Caldecott Medal runner-up, today known as a Caldecott Honor book.
Unfortunately the children gobbled up the treats so fast that the old woman had a hard time keeping her supply of flour and spices to continue making the batches of gingerbread. Sometimes she suspected little hands of having reached through her kitchen window because gingerbread pieces and cookies would disappear. One time a whole gingerbread house vanished mysteriously. She told her husband, "Those naughty children are at it again. They don't understand all they have to do is knock on the door and I'll give them my gingerbread treats."
This story will help children and adults alike look at their part in the world around them in a more productive way. Miss Rumphius shows how much difference one person can make in the beauty of the world they occupy. Even if you can’t travel far, or spend a lot of money, you can do simple things like plant flowers. Miss Rumpius finds ways to touch those around her with beauty. Sharing this book may offer you and your children ideas about what you can do in your part of the world. Inspiring and encouraging, this book may become a favorite.
Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann tell the tale of a little girl who loves pink. She loves it so much, in fact, that she only wants to eat pink, yummy treats. The pinker, the better and the gooier, the yummier. When she begins to turn pink, her parents take her to the doctor who insists that she begin to eat more green in the form of vegetables- yuck! After her parents insisting that she eat more vegetables so she can return to normal, she sneaks just one last pink treat and turns even darker- almost red! That’s when she decides that vegetables aren’t so bad after all and finally returns to normal. The only problem is her little brother has now decided that he loves pink food! Oh no! Here we go again!
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