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.
Wordless Picture Books: Picture books that tell the story completely through illustrations with no words at all, or only a very few embedded in the artwork, are known as wordless picture books. One of the most stunning examples is The Lion and the Mouse, an Aesop's fable, retold in illustrations by Jerry Pinkney. Pinkney received the 2010 Randolph Caldecott Medal for picture book illustration for his wordless picture book. Another wonderful example, which is often used in middle school writing classes as a writing prompt is A Day A Dog by Gabrielle Vincent.
This is the tale of Max and Arthur, who are wonderful friends who share a common hobby: painting. Arthur is quite the accomplished artist, while Max is just starting out. When Max’s initial attempt at painting is less than he desires, the two friends embark on a journey through the numerous artistic media options – which leads to hilarious and unexpected challenges. Max may be inexperienced, but he’s a fast learner and is willing to try new things. The energy and enthusiasm he shows adds adventure and leads to a wonderful, triumphant end. This is a book that shows kids that practice really can make perfect.
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.
This story brings to life part of the adult world to children who want to know what people do all day. There are examples of jobs and a connection made from one person to another. It gives the reader the sense that we are all connected, and the each profession is not only important to itself, but is dependent on and supportive of the other jobs out there. Reading it together may offer windows of opportunities to discuss with even the youngest children the importance of work, money, and being helpful to others. Richard Scarry has a way with connecting pictures and stories to keep the interest and draw the reader back again
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.