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.

It’s everyone’s favorite precocious piglet—Olivia! The red-only-wearing, brother-scaring darling who hates naps and loves exhausting everyone makes an unforgettable name for herself in this howl that pays homage to Eloise. Full of expertly rendered charcoal drawings that deliver zinger after zinger, Olivia is perfect for energetic kids and their exhausted grown-ups.

This Caldecott Medal winner is a tale about a man named Joseph, who absolutely loves his overcoat. He loves it so much, that when it wears out, he makes it into a jacket. When the jacket wears out, well, you will have to read the book to find out, but Joseph is quite creative in saving at least a part of the overcoat to make other things that he can use and enjoy. The story is taken from a Yiddish song and contains many rhythms throughout it. Fun to share and humorous in ways you may not expect, this is one worth reading more than once.

Cows may seem quite boring to most people, especially when they are plain old ordinary cows. The way Doreen Cronin tells it with pictures by Betsy Lewin that prove it to be true, Farmer Brown’s cows are no ordinary cows, at least not after they find an old typewriter that someone left in the barn. When the cows begin to learn how to spell and write, they insist on being treated differently and end up going on strike when Farmer Brown refuses their demands. Funny, delightful and entertaining, this is a great book for the entire family to share.
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.
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.
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.
This beautifully conceived book tells the story of a little brown rabbit who desperately wants to become the Easter Bunny, but is repeatedly scorned by the elite, city rabbits who live in fine houses. Eventually, after raising twenty-one bunnies of her own, the brown rabbit achieves her greatest dream. A story of doggedness and grace, with an underlying message of feminism and anti-racism.

Manasa Ramakrishnan is a Bangalorean. She loves learning new languages and watching off-beat movies. She started off as a broadcast journalist with CNN-IBN and then completed her Teach for India Fellowship in Chennai. Post the fellowship she started-up in the education space and founded a company called Curricooler. She currently works at Amazon as a Content Editor. Manasa is an Asian College of Journalism Alumnus. She is crazy about animals and spends a lot of time with her pets.

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