Each page of Breathe and Be offers a miniature poem to tune the mind to the pitch of that which is nourishing and beautiful. “There’s a quiet place in my head like an egg hidden in a nest.” The clever and delicate drawings are not to be rushed through. My eight-year-old daughter declared, “Wow, this is my favorite one.” Breathe and Be is, to put it simply, classy. It would be as much a gorgeous book to give to my daughter as a gift as to give to my mother. It has a lovely timeless quality about it. I could see having this one on my shelf for generations.

One way to know your day is going to be bad is waking up with gum in your hair. Alexander finds himself seeing more and more problems as the day goes on. From the gum in his hair to dropping his sweater in the sink to tripping on his skateboard, he finds himself in the midst of one of the worst days ever. Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz tell this tale of a little boy and all the things that go wrong for him both in story and in pictures in a way that will make you sympathetic for this little boy and how his day is going and appreciate life as it goes well. Children and adults alike will love this tale of a boy, his bad day, and the hilarity that comes with the story. Bad days happen to everyone. Sharing a funny story about a bad day will help learn to see the humor in life even when things don’t go right.
An alphabet story that is amusing and funny with a twist that is sure to bring laughs, this is one little story that you will never tire of reading with your little ones. As each little letter (lower case) invites another to the top of the coconut tree, and each next letter follows along, the tree ends up getting heavier and heavier, and finally results in the tree being bent. That is, until all the letters are shaken off as the tree snaps back to standing tall, and they are tossed in a heap underneath. Charming and delightful, this is one tale to share time and time again.

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.
This story by Alison McGhee and Peter Reynolds is one that will touch the heart of any mother and child. A mother reflecting on her love for her child, and imagining each milestone with beautifully illustrated watercolor pictures, will draw you in. From that first meeting at the moment of birth to holding hands as they cross the street to riding a bike for the first time to seeing her grown up daughter waving goodbye, this story will keep you reading and maybe touch a part of you that has been hiding. Reading it with your children may offer both of you a sentiment that is only brought on by being deeply moved.
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.
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.
Japanese author and illustrator Mitsumasa Anno has published a number of picture books beginning in 1968 with Mysterious Pictures. In his "Journey" books a tiny character travels through depictions of the culture of various countries. Everyone Poops was first published in Japan in 1977, written and illustrated by the prolific children's author Tarō Gomi. It has been translated into several languages. Australian author Margaret Wild has written more than 40 books since 1984 and won several awards. In 1987 the first book was published in the Where's Wally? (known as Where's Waldo? in the United States and Canada) series by the British illustrator Martin Handford. The books were translated into many languages and the franchise also spawned a TV series, a comic strip and a series of video games. Since 1989 over 20 books have been created in the Elmer the Patchwork Elephant series by the British author David McKee. They have been translated in 40 languages and adapted into a children's TV series.

This was Mayer’s first book, published in 1975, and it was an instant classic, thanks to the honesty with which it portrays a common phenomenon: a kid trying to help his mom out, but goofing up the job. “I wanted to wash the floor just for you, but the soap was too bubbly,” he says, as soap bubbles fill the floor and fly up into the air and his mom has a weary look that many of us can relate to. Even though Little Critter’s mom is frequently exasperated in this book, she’s more often amused by his missteps, and in the end enjoys his bedtime kiss.
One of the most beloved books for boys and girls is the story of Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne- his steam shovel. Mary Anne is an old steam shovel, and isn’t as shiny and pretty as some of the newer models are. Mike Mulligan still uses her though, and insists that she can do just as good a job as those more modern models can. When he insists on using her in Popperville, Mike and Mary Anne are put to the test, with the entire town watching. An inspiring story that is fun to share with little ones, this one is a true classic.
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.
Even the youngest children love to know that they can do the things that other kids can do. This story shows young children how two kids, named Paul and Judy, can do many things. It is an encouragement to young children to do the same things. Smelling flowers, interacting with the world around them, and seeing the delightful illustrations will have your youngsters moving and discovering in no time. Dorothy Kunhardt brings to life a story that will help open your children’s eyes to the beauty in the world around them. Sharing it will be something to treasure. Adults and children alike are sure to adopt this as a family favorite. Curling up in a chair together, exploring the things around you with your child, and watching as they learn and discover the world will be what you get out of this endearing tale. Interaction and imagination are packed into this one storybook
A baby's head fills the circular pages of this board book, and the baby is not happy. When its mother realizes what her child is after—it's time for breastfeeding—the genius of the book's design is revealed (among other things). Breastfeeding in public remains a touchy subject and children's books can be skittish around nudity, but neither is an issue for this smart, defiant book.
The half-wall next to my eight-year-old daughter’s desk is filled with post-it notes marked with mis-spelled positive affirmations: “you got ths” and “you r luvd,” they say. I could easily sneak one in there that says, “I m a worior godiss.” The book, I Am a Warrior Goddess feels as simple as a collection of pages of encouraging self-talk for my daughters. The illustrations are fun and lively, telling us the story of a sweet little redhead who talks to herself wisely and affirmatively— the way we are teaching our young girls to speak to themselves.

Children love animals and learning animal sounds with such a fun and whimsical picture book is one way to help develop a love of reading. The sing-song style and the rhythm and rhyme make this a delightfully humorous book to share with any toddler or preschool age child. Not only will they learn about the sounds animals make, but the addition of having some of the animals say “La, la, la!” makes it into a game as well. Catching the wrong sound and telling the right sound become a part of this hilarious story. This is a great anytime book to break boredom and have some fun. Written by Sandra Boynton, this is one great book for sharing

This story, winner of a Caldecott Medal, was written by David Wiesner. The word ‘flotsam’, simply means something that floats on water and may eventually be found on the beach. Anyone who reads this book may find himself becoming a treasure hunter of sorts. Wiesner brings things into perspective that will be educational and inspiring to adults and children alike. Becoming more aware of the hidden things on the beach will offer hours of fun and excitement. This is one of many childrens books he has written that will be something special to share whether at home or on a family vacation

Tumford isn’t a bad cat . . . he just has a terrible time with two simple words: “I’m sorry.” We all make mistakes, but Tumford won’t apologize for them. Instead, he hides when his mischievous ways are found out about. Despite this seemingly bad behavior, Tumford’s loving owners never stop loving him. Will Tumford finally apologize? What will it take to get him to see the err of his ways? This is a book that’s both gorgeously illustrated and whimsically written, and that will remind children that everyone makes mistakes – and of how important it is to say you’re sorry.


In 1937, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), at the time a successful graphic artist and humorist, published his first book for children, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. It was immediately successful, and Seuss followed up with The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins in 1938, followed by The King's Stilts in 1939, and Horton Hatches the Egg in 1940, all published by Random House. From 1947 to 1956 Seuss had twelve children's picture books published. Dr. Seuss created The Cat in the Hat in reaction to a Life magazine article by John Hersey in lamenting the unrealistic children in school primers books. Seuss rigidly limited himself to a small set of words from an elementary school vocabulary list, then crafted a story based upon two randomly selected words—cat and hat. Up until the mid-1950s, there was a degree of separation between illustrated educational books and illustrated picture books. That changed with The Cat in the Hat in 1957.
Classic Picture Books: Often, when you see lists of recommended picture books, you'll see a separate category of books titled "Classic Children's Picture Books." What's a classic? Typically, a classic is a book that has remained popular and accessible for more than one generation. A few of the best-known and best-loved English language picture books include Harold and the Purple Crayon, written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson, The Little House and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, both written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton and by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Clement Hurd.

A boy and a bear going to look for berries, and the more the better. Berry Land has as many different kinds of berries as can be imagined, and author Bruce Degen does a masterful job of imagining many. Written in poetic rhyme, this is one fun story to read aloud. You may even find that as you read about the two friends frolicking in berry land, you and your young audience begin to dance or almost sing the story. Adventure, animals, food treats, and fun, all in one story that will become a family favorite to share many times over.
Everyone loves lovable grandmothers, but this is no ordinary grandma. Strega Nona actually means ‘Grandma Witch’. The lovable and magical things she can do with her magic pasta pot will amaze, astound, and humor you and your children as you share this story. Everyone in the village comes to her for help and advice, even the priest and the nuns in the convent. Her powerful pot is put to the test and the hilarity that results will leave you laughing. This is a wonderful book to share with little ones at bedtime or any time. Winner of the Newberry Award, Tomie dePaola has created a classic.
In this magnificent visual and literary masterpiece, a young Native Canadian boy, who longs to see the Atlantic Ocean, carves a tiny boat and figurine from wood and sets them on a journey both dangerous and delightful through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Full of adventure, geography, and natural wonders, Paddle to the Sea belongs in every home.
Nancy is a little girl who loves everything fancy, and the fancier the better. If it’s frilly, fluffy, shiny, sparkling, or glamorous, Nancy wants to wear it or own it. Not only is she fancy, she tries to make her entire family be fancy too. Boring and ordinary will never do for Nancy. Dressing up means wearing her tiara and her bright jewelry. Jane O’Connor weaves a tale of laughs, glamour, and adventure, with each Fancy Nancy story. Nothing is the same once you have been exposed to a fancier way of life with Nancy and all her fancy adventures.

Today, the number of well-written, thought-provoking children’s picture books with a mindful component is growing by the moment. Adding a mindful book or two to the current cannon of bedtime stories feels like adding an extra nutrient to the meal. We are planting seeds of empowerment in our youngsters to grow into young adults who can appreciate their world from the inside out.
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