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.


No child’s room is complete without a budding bookshelf, and we’re here to help you build your little one’s library. From classic to contemporary reads, we’ve brought together 50 of the most unforgettable picture books of all time. Knowing that most children (or babies, even!) receive The Cat in the Hat, Goodnight Moon  The Very Hungry Caterpillar  and Where the Wild Things Are as shower or birthday gifts, we bypassed those four to make room for a few other delights. (For example: have you ever heard of Fortunately? Well, fortunately, now you have!) Happy shelf-stocking!

This is a book that’s unlike any of the other best picture books out there. It all begins with a single yellow dot, and the instructions to press it. The reader is then sent on a magical journey that shows them that things are not always what they seem! This is a book full of surprises, and excitement! Kids will giggle with delight as they see the dots change direction, get bigger, and even multiply! When a unique book is needed, this is a great option – especially for kids who are used to interaction and who typically don’t get excited about flat words on a flat page.
A hilarious book about cause and effect, Fortunately relays both the unfortunate and fortunate events of Ned, a boy trying desperately to get to a surprise party. Sharks, malfunctioning planes, and pitchforks sticking out of haystacks will try their best to derail Ned’s celebratory plans, but fortunately, fate has something else in mind. Replete with laugh-out-loud illustrations.
These unforgettable words that stay with you forever. “I am Sam, Sam I am” begins with this amazing tale. Only Dr. Seuss could compose such silly, yet elegant stories, and all with a simple thought. Kids and adults alike have loved and cherished the stories that have become a part of tradition. This is just one such story. With rhythm and rhyme that is easy to follow and a story that makes you want to say, “Just try the green eggs and ham, you may like them Sam I am!”, this is one story that may take you on adventures to read more tales by Dr. Seuss. Reading this book with a child may offer you more than you bargained for, especially when you try to read it faster and faster. An “I Can Read” book, this story for young children only contains fifty words, all of which are easily read and understood.
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. 
This charming tale by Audrey Wood and Don Wood will make a wonderful bedtime or anytime story to share. Everyone in the house is napping. Everyone, that is, except one little flea. What happens when the flea decides to bite a mouse? Well, that’s when the real fun begins. Written in a flowing rhythm and rhyme, this story will be fun to read aloud and share with your children. Fun, silly, and imaginative, this is a story that will become a family favorite to share time and time again. Join Granny, the young child, the dog, the cat, and the very wakeful flea, for an afternoon of napping- or not.
In this magnificent visual and literary masterpiece, a young Native Canadian boy, who longs to see the Atlantic Ocean, carves a tiny boat and figurine from wood and sets them on a journey both dangerous and delightful through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Full of adventure, geography, and natural wonders, Paddle to the Sea belongs in every home.
Small miracles—like weedy flowers that fight for life in an unforgiving urban environment—are everywhere, if you just look. That's just one of many ideas readers can glean from Lawson and Smith's wordless tale, something of a small miracle itself, which traces a father and daughter's travels through gray city streets that gain color through acts of kindness and reverence.

Ferdinand has been one of the most beloved characters of many children over the last fifty years. He is different than other young bulls. They all love to run, jump, play, and be as rowdy as they can be, but Ferdinand likes the peace and quiet that he finds under his cork tree. Sitting in the shade while the others are out in the hot sun playing and laughing, Ferdinand is quite content. That is until he has a bad experience with a bee. Unfortunately for Ferdinand, the bee sting happens when the rodeo men have come to choose the best young bull to have in a bullfight. Ferdinand, with all of his jumping and snorting from that horrible bee sting, is just what they want. Joining him as he experiences the bullfighting arena and seeing how he handles it will be something to treasure with this fun story.
Written by Michael and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, this is one little book that will offer more fun and adventure as you reenact the bear hunt adventure with your own children. A father and his four children set out on a fine day to go on a bear hunt through the grass, through a stream, and into the wild. As they reach the end of the hunt, they come upon a bear who chases them all the way home. Was the bear real or did they pretend it into existence? Sharing this story with your children will offer you many explanations as to whether it really was a bear or not.
This charming tale by Audrey Wood and Don Wood will make a wonderful bedtime or anytime story to share. Everyone in the house is napping. Everyone, that is, except one little flea. What happens when the flea decides to bite a mouse? Well, that’s when the real fun begins. Written in a flowing rhythm and rhyme, this story will be fun to read aloud and share with your children. Fun, silly, and imaginative, this is a story that will become a family favorite to share time and time again. Join Granny, the young child, the dog, the cat, and the very wakeful flea, for an afternoon of napping- or not.
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.

When Trixie’s stuffed bunny gets left behind at the laundromat, missing-plaything panic ensues. The chaos is further heightened when Trixie, who cannot yet talk, attempts to communicate her despair with a series of meltdowns. Outrageously funny and replete with Mo Willems’s singular style of illustration, this must-own resonates with kids and parents alike.

As many parents and children know, bedtime is not usually a child’s favorite time of day. In this delightful tale of a dinosaur at bedtime, there is every excuse not to go to bed, every reaction that most parents have been given by their children at one time or another when bedtime rolls around, and it’s all done in a humorous and silly way. Human moms and dads, trying to put their huge dinosaur children to bed make this story one that will give you and your children lots of laughs, and bring home the point of making bedtime easier and more loving. Hugs and kisses, and saying a happy ‘goodnight’ wins out, even with dinosaurs.
A boy and a bear going to look for berries, and the more the better. Berry Land has as many different kinds of berries as can be imagined, and author Bruce Degen does a masterful job of imagining many. Written in poetic rhyme, this is one fun story to read aloud. You may even find that as you read about the two friends frolicking in berry land, you and your young audience begin to dance or almost sing the story. Adventure, animals, food treats, and fun, all in one story that will become a family favorite to share many times over.

A young Japanese man travels to the United States where he falls in love with California’s Sierra Mountains before returning home to marry his sweetheart. After several journeys back and forth between Japan and America, and several generations later, the young man’s grandson repeats the same path. A story about voyages, longing, and two places called home.


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.
Picture books are most often aimed at young children, and while some may have very basic language especially designed to help children develop their reading skills, most are written with vocabulary a child can understand but not necessarily read. For this reason, picture books tend to have two functions in the lives of children: they are first read to young children by adults, and then children read them themselves once they begin learning to read.

The German children's books Struwwelpeter (literally "Shaggy-Peter") from 1845 by Heinrich Hoffmann, and Max and Moritz from 1865 by Wilhelm Busch, were among the earliest examples of modern picturebook design. Collections of Fairy tales from early nineteenth century, like those by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen were sparsely illustrated, but beginning in the middle of the century, collections were published with images by illustrators like Gustave Doré, Fedor Flinzer, George Cruikshank,[6] Vilhelm Pedersen, Ivan Bilibin and John Bauer. Andrew Lang's twelve Fairy Books published between 1889 and 1910 were illustrated by among others Henry J. Ford and Lancelot Speed. Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by John Tenniel in 1866 was one of the first highly successful entertainment books for children.
Mrs. Biddlebox – This is possibly my favorite picture book of all time, and I don’t say that lightly. Unfortunately, it’s out of print. The good news is you can get a used copy in good condition on Amazon. Mrs. Biddlebox wakes up in a bad mood, but instead of sitting around like a grouch, she tackles that bad mood and turns it around in time for sleep. We reach for this book anytime my little ones and I have butted heads during the day, and it’s the perfect tool to help us process the bad mojo and end the day on a positive note.
Fun with reading takes on a new face, with this children’s book by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. There is nothing like having a story to share with your little one that is easy for them to memorize and repeat along with you. This book, full of humor and silliness, is one of those books. The easy rhyming phrases and the poetic verse make it simple to remember. Your children will think they are reading which will encourage them to read more. The brown bear sees a red bird who in turn sees a yellow duck and on and on. Not only is it fun, but there are also different textures for exploring the sense of touch along with the story
Our 2nd grader, kindergartner, and preschooler all love this app. It even works when you don’t have internet access, so this is great for those times when you are traveling, at appointments, etc. I am so pleased with this reading app and program. It reinforces the reading skills they are learning, and all in a fun and inviting format. I am thrilled to say that the kids would rather have a Speakaboos story than watch a movie. I am a happy mom.
As many little ones have experienced firsthand, bedtime can be something that is lonely and sometimes even scary. When mom or dad leaves the room, and it’s time to go to sleep, that’s when they want something. A drink, another kiss, a bedtime story, anything to get mom or dad back in the room. Baby Llama is no different. When his mama kisses him goodnight, and he wants her to bring him a drink, she is taking her time in coming. He begins to really worry and ends up crying very loudly. Mama comes running, as any mama would, and makes everything alright again. This is one of those picture books with a message, and a heartwarming story.
Ferdinand has been one of the most beloved characters of many children over the last fifty years. He is different than other young bulls. They all love to run, jump, play, and be as rowdy as they can be, but Ferdinand likes the peace and quiet that he finds under his cork tree. Sitting in the shade while the others are out in the hot sun playing and laughing, Ferdinand is quite content. That is until he has a bad experience with a bee. Unfortunately for Ferdinand, the bee sting happens when the rodeo men have come to choose the best young bull to have in a bullfight. Ferdinand, with all of his jumping and snorting from that horrible bee sting, is just what they want. Joining him as he experiences the bullfighting arena and seeing how he handles it will be something to treasure with this fun story.
When Jeremy Jacobs is building a sand castle on the beach, his parents don’t notice the ship pull up along the shore. Jeremy does though, and he also recognizes that it is full of pirates. He decides to join them and becomes one of the ship hands. He likes the pirate’s life with no bedtimes and no manners being used. He is determined, though, that he must be back home in time for his soccer team to practice. Hilarious, fun, and imaginative, this story is told from the viewpoint of Jeremy, who of course may be exaggerating, just a little.
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.
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