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.
Akbar & Birbal – Birbal who was an advisor in the court of the Emperor Akbar, was known for his intellect, wit and sense of humour. In all the stories, Akbar places a problem in front of Birbal, and Birbal cleverly finds a solution. He wins hearts and admiration every day. Children can learn a lot about the Mughal dynasty and Indian rulers too, through these stories.
This bright, bold, biology book of sorts has entertained and educated kids and parents for decades. Maybe it’s the array of images of animals and people going about their business (pun intended) that delights. Or maybe it’s the unapologetic honesty of the text that readers find refreshing and fun. Whatever the case, this classic that brings new meaning to the term “potty humor” belongs in every young library!
I Am Peace (one of three books in a series, between I Am Yoga and I Am Human) reads more like an aspiration than a tale. It takes us through one, slowed-down moment with a child who is using mindfulness to bring about peace when his thoughts are worrisome. “I give myself a moment. I take a breath. And then I tell myself, it’s alright.” Peter Reynolds’ illustrations are simple and endearing, peace signs abound. In a perfect world, people of any age will have access to the same sanity and peace that the child in this book has.
What better way to teach babies and toddlers where each body part is than with a game and a book? Karen Katz has created one of the most interactive and teachable peek-a-boo type of stories that will help you as you and baby have fun learning. It is one of the best children’s books. Finding the belly button, the eyes, and other parts of baby’s anatomy will be exciting and fun as you make a story into a game. Interacting with the baby and the story will be one of the easiest ways to teach simple concepts. Play time, nap time, any time, this story will keep you and baby having fun for a long time
Today, the number of well-written, thought-provoking children’s picture books with a mindful component is growing by the moment. Adding a mindful book or two to the current cannon of bedtime stories feels like adding an extra nutrient to the meal. We are planting seeds of empowerment in our youngsters to grow into young adults who can appreciate their world from the inside out.
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.
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.
Janell Cannon tells the story of a little fruit bat named Stellaluna. This little one gets separated from her mother and is found and taken care of by a mama bird. The mama bird insists that Stellaluna do everything the way ordinary birds do, which is totally different than the way bats do things. When Stellaluna can finally fly, and actually ends up finding her mother, she is told that what she feels is the right way to do things are her natural instincts, and that she should follow them. She is very relieved to be able to do all the things bats naturally do once again. Sharing this story will teach you and your children about how bats look, live, and are different from birds.
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.
P.D. Eastman has used one of the favorite animals of all time to create a story that is fun, engaging, and fast paced. Dogs, dogs everywhere, and ending in a dog party in a tree. Reading this with your children, and watching the ease with which they can read it on their own, will both be something to enjoy. Dog lover or not, this is one tale that will bring you back for more when you want to share a story that will be silly and entertaining with your children. Colorful, and enjoyable for all, this is one fun story to share.
Two bored children sitting in the window with nothing to do, and mother has gone out for the day. Oh, no, here comes the cat in the hat, and he is full of mischief and unwelcome surprises. It’s a good thing Dr. Seuss knows just how to make him clean up his messes in this fun story that will keep you and your children coming back for more. In classic Seuss style, with all the humor anyone could want, you will see the tricks that the cat has up his sleeve, and the results that follow. When mother is coming home, the clean up must be extremely fast, and thing one and thing two are just the ones to handle it. Cat, hat, and things, all make this story one to treasure.
A classic story full of sentiment and humor, this is one that you will want to share over and over again. Whether you are a mom or a dad, this story of a mother and her son will strike a chord with you, and you may find yourself saying to your own children, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” In this story, a mother sings those words to her own son each night even after he’s an adult. In the end, when roles switch, it’s the son declaring his love to his mother, and then to his own baby girl. An endearing story that touches the heart each time it’s read, this is one tale that will remain at the top of the list for a long time to come. Sharing it with your children or even with a parent will be something special that you will treasure forever. Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw bring home the sentiment that the love between a parent and child really is endless.
100 Great Children’s Books has been published on the occasion of The New York Public Library’s acclaimed exhibition The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter, on view at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The list was selected by The New York Public Library’s Jeanne Lamb, Coordinator, Youth Collections, and Elizabeth Bird, Supervising Librarian.