A picture book combines visual and verbal narratives in a book format, most often aimed at young children. The images in picture books use a range of media such as oil paints, acrylics, watercolor, and pencil, among others. Two of the earliest books with something like the format picture books still retain now were Heinrich Hoffmann's Struwwelpeter from 1845 and Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit from 1902. Some of the best-known picture books are Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings, Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat, and Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. The Caldecott Medal (established 1938) and Kate Greenaway Medal (established 1955) are awarded annually for illustrations in children's literature. From the mid-1960s several children's literature awards include a category for picture books.
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.

One of Aesop’s most beloved fables, The Lion & the Mouse is retold in this brilliant and unique adaptation. Award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney tells the entire story without a single word. In short, a ferocious lion takes mercy on a tiny, scared mouse, and instead of eating him, he sets him free. When the lion later becomes ensnared in a trap, the mouse comes to his rescue. This book is chock full of awe-inspiring landscapes of the African Serengeti, and wonderful, warm characters. Without a word, this book captures the imaginations of children, adults, and anyone who turns the pages in this beautiful book.
Author Kira Willey is a children’s music and yoga expert. You can feel her wide-awake energy in the pages of Breathe Like a Bear. Thirty bite-sized mini-meditations—with names such as “Candle Breath” and “Wake Up Your Face”—are accompanied by fanciful, super-inviting animal images. The author has sectioned off the meditations by energy: “Be Calm,” “Focus,” “Imagine,” “Make Some Energy,” and “Relax.” But I could easily see this as being a family-friendly coffee table book that adults and children alike can pick up, open to any random page, do the tiny practice and be a just a bit more mindful and centered because of it.
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.
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My Magic Breath is a colorful manual on how to use breath as a tool that can be practiced alongside specific visualizations in order to work with negative, unwelcomed thoughts. Personally, I’m not a fan of the notion that we need to blow sad thoughts completely “off the page,” as I believe there is a place for them in the holistic narrative as well. But, using breath with positive imagery is a very effective way to create space in the psyche for more pleasant thoughts. My two-year-old—who adores blowing out fake birthday candles—really resonated with this one. Regardless of the specifics, I’m a big fan of bringing awareness to the breath, as this book most certainly does.
Five sheep driving a jeep? Only in this classic tale by Nancy Shaw Seussian. Not only are the sheep hilarious and driving wild, but the story is rhythmical and rhyming, making it very easy to read and follow. Sharing a laugh will be the highlight of the day when you read this story to your little ones. Over the hill, through a mud puddle, and forgetting to steer, all go together to make this story one that will be enjoyed many times over. If you are looking for a story that is fun, silly, and entertaining, this may be the one for you.
Antoinette Portis has brought to the list a book that touches the heart and imagination of children of all ages, with this delightful story about a bunny and his cardboard box that is in his eyes anything but a box. As every child knows, a cardboard box can become whatever you want it to be, and the things that the bunny turns it into will open up the imagination to create many things you and your children may not have thought of creating with your own cardboard boxes. Sharing the story and sharing the ideas to create will be inspiring and fun.

Above you will find some of our favorites! Short Stories for kids online that are perfect as bedtime stories or anytime stories. With Themes of Cooperation, Friendship, Kindness, and a little magic, these short bedtime stories for kids are sure to please your little one as they drift off into pleasant dreams. What better way to teach morals then through magical short stories which entwines the message within the confines of the tale.
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