Crab and Whale tells us the simple story of a crab that helps a whale make it through a tough day by using calming breathing and encouraging awareness of his senses. When the whale is washed up onto the shore, the crab tells him, “I’ll stay with you until the tide comes in.” I was touched by this gesture, and the profound significance of staying withour loved ones when they are going through a hard time. Readers will find this tiny tale helpful in that it shows how mindfulness can be an offering not only to ourselves, but to others when they may need it most.
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.
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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

When I was a kid back in the eighties, we had lots of cool books. We had Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, and The Berenstain Bears. There were countless stories with morals and endearing, memorable characters, but I can’t recall a single example that suggested mindfulness: awareness of breath, conscious self-talk, slowing down the moments, tapping into the senses as a way to come into the present moment for ourselves as well as for others.
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.
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.
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.
Because of the success of The Cat In The Hat an independent publishing company was formed, called Beginner Books. The second book in the series was nearly as popular, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, published in 1958. Other books in the series were Sam and the Firefly (1958), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), Are You My Mother? (1960), Go, Dog. Go! (1961), Hop on Pop (1963), and Fox in Socks (1965). Creators in the Beginner Book series were Stan and Jan Berenstain, P. D. Eastman, Roy McKie, and Helen Palmer Geisel (Seuss' wife). The Beginner Books dominated the children's picture book market of the 1960s.
Dr. Seuss has done it once again, with a classic tale of rhythm and rhyme along with a story that will make anyone who reads it think about their role in nature. The narrator, named Once-ler, has lived a life of carelessness, disregard for nature, and selfishness. Now, with the natural beauty of the truffula trees taken away, the Lorax has moved up and away. How can it be restored? The key to restoring the natural beauty of the area lies in the hands of a small child- who happens to have a seed, a single hopeful seed to a truffula tree

The poor bear can’t find his hat – and he wants it back! He sets off on a journey to ask every animal he finds if they’ve seen his precious hat. The animals all say no, they have not seen his hat – in increasingly elaborate ways. Just when the bear is ready to give up, a friendly deer bounds along and asks an intriguing question that gets the bear on the right track. This is a book that’s told entirely in dialogue, and is a new twist on the classic repetitive tale. Visual humor and clever illustrations abound.
Dr. Seuss has done it once again, with a classic tale of rhythm and rhyme along with a story that will make anyone who reads it think about their role in nature. The narrator, named Once-ler, has lived a life of carelessness, disregard for nature, and selfishness. Now, with the natural beauty of the truffula trees taken away, the Lorax has moved up and away. How can it be restored? The key to restoring the natural beauty of the area lies in the hands of a small child- who happens to have a seed, a single hopeful seed to a truffula tree

Toy books were introduced in the latter half of the 19th century, small paper bound books with art dominating the text. These had a larger proportion of pictures to words than earlier books, and many of their pictures were in color.[7] The best of these were illustrated by the triumvirate of English illustrators Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Kate Greenaway whose association with colour printer and wood engraver Edmund Evans produced books of great quality.[8] In the late 19th and early 20th century a small number of American and British artists made their living illustrating children's books, like Rose O'Neill, Arthur Rackham, Cicely Mary Barker, Willy Pogany, Edmund Dulac, W. Heath Robinson, Howard Pyle, or Charles Robinson. Generally, these illustrated books had eight to twelve pages of illustrated pictures or plates accompanying a classic children's storybook.
Hilarity rules, as this mighty storm comes to pass. Nothing beats a good downpour, especially when it consists of fun and yummy treats, right? Maybe that sounds good as a treat now and then, but when food raining from the sky takes a turn for the bigger portions and the messier things we love to eat, it can be quite messy and scary. Judy and Ron Barrett bring this fantasy to life with a spin that you might be surprised at. When there is orange juice rain, hamburger hail, and mashed potato snow, there is no need to cook or shop, only the need to eat all that comes down and not get hit by any giant food- such as the huge pancakes that might crush you. Fun to read and even more fun to think about as you discuss the story with your children, this is one story that you will want to share over and over again
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.

Expansive yet intimate, Ellis's study of what makes a home recognizes that there's no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Ellis whisks readers around the world (and into the realms of the fantastical and strange) as she moves from cozy Russian kitchen to nursery-rhyme shoe and city apartment, inviting children to contemplate what home means to them.

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