I pulled together seven mindfulness-based illustrated children’s books published over the last year that are worthy of a closer look. I lugged them around in a canvas bag on a road trip with my eight-year-old and two-year-old daughters, who were more than happy to add their insights and judgments. We gave them each multiple read-throughs in a range of places, times and environments, allowing the message of mindfulness to sink in deeply, and giving the books more than one chance to impress us. Here’s what we discovered.
Author Maurice Sendak offers a tale of suspense, action, and fun, with this story about a young boy named Max who wears a wolf suit to bed. Max has been naughty and is sent to bed without any dinner. The real adventure begins with the forest growing and creatures appearing as wild and free. Being wild with the wild things can be tiring, as Max discovers on his adventure. As things begin to happen in his room, creatures appear that are a cross between scary and funny. Winner of the Caldecott Medal and listed in the ‘Best Illustrated Children’s Books” for many years, this is a winner worth a look. Illustrations that will grab your eye and a written tale that will draw you and your children back again and again are what this story has to offer. Adventure, artwork, and fun are all wrapped up in one small package here.
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.

The kids in Miss Nelson’s class know she’s the nicest teacher in the entire school. So why are they so naughty and disrespectful to her? When she suddenly is absent and nobody knows where she is, the kids get worried about her. She has disappeared! Now they are stuck with a substitute who is not nearly as nice as Miss Nelson. They want her back, and they want her back now! This is one story that may make teacher appreciation something that is an everyday art ( at least for some children). Sharing this story at bedtime or anytime will give some laughs and a lot of entertainment.
The most fun types of children’s books, are those with story lines that will help you participate. This is one of those types of stories. It is interactive enough to give the reader a voice of his own and even allow you to take part in being one of the characters. A little mouse has found a yummy, ripe, red, strawberry, and he is not willing to part with it. You, the reader, take on the voice of the bear and try to get the mouse to hand over the strawberry. Fun and exciting, getting into this story is easy and will keep you coming back for more.
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!
The book Pink Tears is really cute, I love how it teaches about emotions and how to not bottle them up. My son really liked the book as well and kept pointing at Lolly! I wish the book would have gone into some more detail about how or why the others were not playing with Lolly and then the end was a little sudden with her just going back out and everything was fine.
This is one story that will offer encouragement to anyone. Grace is a little girl who loves stories, and she loves to pretend. When the opportunity comes for her or one of her classmates to play Peter Pan in a play at school, Grace really wants to be Peter Pan. Her friends discourage her. After all, Peter is a boy, and Grace is a girl. With the encouragement and support of her mother and grandmother, Grace decides that she can do whatever she sets her mind to do. The surprises that await are many, and the illustrations will offer even more to the reader.
Author Virginia Lee Burton has made this story a Caldecott Medal winner. Originally published in 1943, the moral of the story is even more relevant now than it was then. The little house is happy living way out in the country. When she eventually notices things changing, roads being made, and other buildings and houses being built closer, while trees and fields are being replaced with them, she begins to worry. By the end of the story, she is all alone in the middle of all the newer development. There is a happy ending, though. Her past owner comes and rescues her from the new and unwelcome city life, and takes her back to the country where they were both happier.
The definition of children's picture book was greatly expanded when Brian Selznick won the 2008 Caldecott Medal for picture book illustration for his book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The 525-page middle-grade novel told the story not only in words but in a series of sequential illustrations. All told, the book contains more than 280 pages interspersed throughout the book in sequences of multiple pages.
There is nothing like reading and sharing a story that is educational, interactive, and funny, all at the same time. Robin Page and Steve Jenkins have created such a story with this factual and entertaining book. Learning together about the different body parts of animals and what they do will even teach the most educated adults some things they didn’t know. For instance, a cricket’s ears are located on his knees. Learning fun facts makes for a fun time for all. Eyes, ears, tails, legs, mouths, and noses, will all be something that you and your children may be surprised at when you learn some of the functions different animals have for them.
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.
Graeme Base brings storytelling to a whole new level with puzzles made out of illustrated animals and different layers used to create illustrations that will draw the eye to find all the hidden treasures. This is like no other children’s alphabet story, and it will amuse and entertain anyone from age 2 to 102. Colorful, exciting, and entertaining, the detail is a virtual eye feast. Each page of detailed puzzles is matched to a letter of the alphabet and will encourage the reader to take their time finding all that is hiding within the pictures. Fun to share and even more fun to enjoy alone, this is one story that will keep you coming back.
A new year brings new opportunities, new possibilities, and, yes, plenty of brand-new books. If you’re excited for a fresh year of reading with your young ones, take a minute to look through some of the picture books we’re looking forward to in the months ahead. 2017 boasts new offerings from bestselling authors, funny debuts, poetry collections, inspirational biographies, and much, much more. This list couldn’t possibly include all the amazing titles being published in 2017, but we think it’s a good start.
As parents and children all know, there are many times during the growing up years that children hear the word “No!” David Shannon took this story from one he wrote when a small boy and made it into something that is amusing to children and brings a reminder to parents about what it’s like to be a mischievous child who is always being told “No!”. David may not be every parent’s vision of the perfect child, but he will give you a lot of laughs while you share this endearing tale with your little ones at bedtime or anytime.
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.

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.
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.
Cal and his best friend, the tactless but loyal Soy, learn that the frog (who prefers the name Deli) has sought them out for a reason. When a school administrator named Ream reveals himself to be a dragon, the boys discover that fairytales are real, and that there is magic afoot in Stagwood. With Ream on their tail, the trio must unearth a powerful tool protected by riddles and rile (the magic that fuels nightmares) to save the fate of all fairytales past. Their only means on conveyance, Cal's now-flying bed, takes them on a journey beyond the home of the fairies (a cloud floating somewhere over Iceland) to set things right. But, before Cal can defeat Ream and his kidnapped army of fairies, he has to deal with Soy's knack for arguing with magical creatures, discover the truth about Deli's identity, and earn his place as the hero of the story. 
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