Top 10 Picture Books for Kids

Top 10 Picture Books for Kids

I’m going to take a moment to list my 10 favorite picture books for kids.  I feel like a good picture book can be picked up at any time in your life and you appreciate it! I remember how fun it was when I had my first child and got to go to the children’s section of the bookstore and pick out stories and books to read at night.  It’s a different journey to read a picture book than to sit and invest yourself in a novel.  So I wanted to make a list of my 10 current favorite children’s picture books that I think any adult or child can enjoy 🙂All of these books have been favorites in our house and read out loud with the kids … though now we’re onto more novel-like books as the kids get older (though they still ask for these on the regular!) … but what a joy it’s been to go back to board books with my littlest – maybe I’ll post a 10 favorite board book in the near future, along with my 10 favorite young adult novels.

Some of these have beautiful messages, others have so much to learn from, others are just plain beautiful and yet others had us talking about their story for years after.   These are highly recommended by me for reading with your kids or just to pick up and look through for yourself … some short; some longer … but all of them worth the time spent with their pages!

Virginia Wolf book cover

1. Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault

This book is one of my all time favorites, it sits on top of all the other books in our bookshelf as a reminder to read it every so often.  It’s the story of Virginia who’s having a bad day and doesn’t feel good and how her sister listens, creates and helps her turn it around … in true art therapy style!  I love love love this book!  I feel like every family should own this one.

How the Cat Swallowed Thunder book cover

2. The Cat that Swallowed Thunder by Lloyd Alexander illustrated by Judy Schachner

A friend gifted this book to us.  It’s just magical and reads like a folktale.  It’s fun and a bit of a longer read for a picture book, so as the kids got older it was perfect!  It’s a tale about how the cat got its purr … I love some of the beautiful imagery and personification of things like April showers and May winds.

Illustrated Stories from the Greek Myths book cover

3. Usborne’s Illustrated Stories from the Greek Myths and Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare

These books are just wonderful to develop an interest in both greek myths and Shakespeare.  The Greek Myths book is what got our family started on Percy Jackson and now the Heroes In Training Series of Greek Gods.   My daughter, in particular, has developed an interest in A Midsummer Night’s Dream due to the story in the Shakespeare book.  I actually really loved reading these as I had forgotten a lot of what I learned in school and it was fun to be reminded

Giants Beware book cover

4. Giants Beware by Jorge Aguirre illustrated by Rafael Rosado

This was our first introduction to graphic type novels for both the kids and myself.  It has a bunch of fun and silly stuff going on in it, but at its core, it’s a great way to introduce the graphic novel and the characters are totally relatable but with a bit of magic … which I always welcome. We read the whole series at least 3 times each!

Any Questions book cover

5. Any Questions by Marie-Louise Gay

This is an awesome book that outlines how to write a story in it and has so many places to stop and talk about the process with your own kids … It’s like a story in a story in a story!  And what’s even better is that in morning after reading ti you can take the process from this story and use it for their own story!   I also love the way the author weaves around different ways to get inspiration for a story!

Children of the Forest book cover

6. Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow

I will just say now … anything by Elsa Beskow is magical to read … just the way she uses words and images and tells a story!  I love to read her words out loud … I just feel a little closer to nature every time I do!

When You Are Happy book cover

7. When You Are Happy by Eileen Spinelli illustrated by Geraldo Valerio

I found this book in the corner of a bookshop on sale for like $2.00 … it was one of my best buys.  My kids ask for it all the time and I often change the words and have fun with the rhymes and images for them, they love it!  It’s a playful read that also lets them know what unconditional love looks like … plus the illustrations are absolutely brilliantly colorful and beautiful!

Rosie Revere book cover

8. Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty illustrated by David Roberts

We started this series when it first came out before they started adding to it … but all of the books are great!  Aside from the fact that Rosie in the book now just reminds us of my littlest, Piper with her hair in her eyes … this book is just such a beautiful reminder that we all have inspirations that should be followed even if we fail the first time!  Incidentally, there’s another book by the same illustrator … called The Dunderheads by Paul Fleiscman, which is a wonderful read about how kids outsmart the adults with their own personal kid gifts!  Another fantastic read that we borrowed from the library for months at a time!

Ish book cover

9. Ish by Peter H Reynolds

Let me just put this out there … I love Peter Reynold’s illustrations and will buy any book he illustrates and I have yet to be disappointed, even if it’s written by someone else!  But Ish, in particular, is about making art and how everything doesn’t have to look perfect … It is a needed book for any child who’s beginning to draw and draw things he/she sees around them! I think that every adult that was graded in an art class in school also needs to read this one!

The Princess Knight book cover

10. The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke illustrated by Kerstin Meyer

Cornelia Funke is one of my favorite authors right now.  She writes both children’s and young adult/new adult novels … she’s wonderful!  We started with the Princess Knight but quickly graduated to her other books including Dragon Rider and we’re finishing the last audiobooks of the InkHeart Trilogy now (each Inkheart book is 16-18 discs … so it’s been a journey and the fact that my kids have held interest this long is AMAZING!)  But … The Princess Bride is an essential for any daughter particularly … such a power girl read! Though even my son has enjoyed reading it over and over again 🙂

Some last mention books:

  • Odd Velvet by Mary E. Whitcomb illustrated by Tara Calahan King
  • My Blue is Happy by Jessica Young and Catia Chien
  • Have You Filled Your Bucket Today by Carol McCloud and David Messing
  • Princess Hyacinth (the surprising tale of a girl that floated) by Florence Parry Heide and Lane Smith

Please comment with some of your favorite picture books!  I am always looking for recommendations!!  And let me know if some of these books are on your bookshelf!

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