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.
Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog — it’s the family business, after all. When he gets the news that he’s better suited to being a service dog, he’s worried that he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she’d imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. And it turns out that Rescue can help Jessica see after all: a way forward, together, one step at a time. An endnote from the authors tells more about the training and extraordinary abilities of service dogs, particularly their real-life best friend and black lab, Rescue.
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.
2 years & up. Get ready for bedtime with Llama Llama! The Llama Llama Large Plush makes a great companion for little ones and ideal for comforting hugs and snuggles. In the book, Llama Llama is ready for bedtime in his red pajamas and gets tucked in by his mama. She goes downstairs and she doesn't come back right away so Baby Llama begins to worry and fret until she returns. This story of Llama Llama relates to children and the need for their mother's comfort. Hardcover book includes 40 pages.… More »
For my needs I recently created - Best Popular Picture Books on Goodreads with pretty limited criteria - that is 5000 ratings and shelved at least 500 times as "picture book". Sure it won't be as long as this list - and if people ever start voting on it, I'll probably end up doing a lot of deletion. But it will always be a good starting place for picture books.
Joanna, thanks so much for this fantastic article. I now have lots of homework and a new author to follow as well. I’m one of the people who has been bugging you for more info on indie publishing for children’s books and I really love that you listen to the requests of your listeners. Love your podcast and blog. You’re really inspiring, and so is Darcy!
Remember picture books are not just for tiny tots, some of these stories are much more suited to children in the early and even middle years of primary (elementary) school. Each title is linked to an Amazon page where you can find reviews and age recommendations for those you might not be personally familiar with (I certainly haven’t read them all…or at least I don’t remember reading them all!) I hope this list re-connects you with a story or two that you had forgotten all about and that you will take pleasure in re-visiting with the children in your life.
Horse is brown. Horse is plain. And Horse can’t stand the unicorn he shares a pen with. Unicorn dances. Tra la la! Horse does not. Blah blah blah. But when robbers kidnap Unicorn for a local circus, what will Horse decide to do? Packed with forty-eight pages of hilarious illustrations and deadpan wit, Unicorn (and Horse) is a funny yet endearing lesson on envy with one important truth: We are sometimes unicorns. We are sometimes horses. And happiness doesn’t always come from pink cupcakes for breakfast.
From picture books to graphic novels, fantasy to family fun, these must-read books have the power to hook both boys and girls. Some are cultural touchstones that belong in every kid's library. Others open kids' minds to cultures beyond their own. And some are modern releases that have the timeless quality of classics -- the kinds that get handed down to siblings and passed around classrooms. Whether you have a reluctant reader or budding bookworm, check out these surefire, kid-tested titles. (We've included a few rated best for 12 and up for the precocious readers out there!)
In 1931, Jean de Brunhoff's first Babar book, The Story Of Babar was published in France, followed by The Travels of Babar then Babar The King. In 1930, Marjorie Flack authored and illustrated Angus and the Ducks, followed in 1931 by Angus And The Cats, then in 1932, Angus Lost. Flack authored another book in 1933, The Story about Ping, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. The Elson Basic Reader was published in 1930 and introduced the public to Dick and Jane. In 1930 The Little Engine That Could was published, illustrated by Lois Lenski. In 1954 it was illustrated anew by George and Doris Hauman. It spawned an entire line of books and related paraphernalia and coined the refrain "I think I can! I think I can!". In 1936, Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand was published, illustrated by Robert Lawson. Ferdinand was the first picture book to crossover into pop culture. Walt Disney produced an animated feature film along with corresponding merchandising materials. In 1938 to Dorothy Lathrop was awarded the first Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in Animals of the Bible, written by Helen Dean Fish. Thomas Handforth won the second Caldecott Medal in 1939, for Mei Li, which he also wrote. Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline was published in 1939 and was selected as a Caldecott Medal runner-up, today known as a Caldecott Honor book.
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.
One of the most beloved books for boys and girls is the story of Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne- his steam shovel. Mary Anne is an old steam shovel, and isn’t as shiny and pretty as some of the newer models are. Mike Mulligan still uses her though, and insists that she can do just as good a job as those more modern models can. When he insists on using her in Popperville, Mike and Mary Anne are put to the test, with the entire town watching. An inspiring story that is fun to share with little ones, this one is a true classic.
A story with a moral to learn is something to treasure, and this is one such story. These educational stories are very easy to add to the best children’s books of all-time. The rainbow fish happens to be the most beautiful fish in the ocean, and he knows it. His beauty has gone to his head and has even made him become proud and rude to his friends. When his friends all abandon him, he knows that there is something wrong, but can’t imagine what it is. He finds the wise old octopus and asks for some advice. The octopus tells him to share some of his beauty with others, and to begin looking at the beauty that comes from the inside as being what really makes someone beautiful. Though it is shiny and colorful, this is one story that offers more than outer beauty.
This is one of the classic board books for babies through preschool age. Christopher Santoro has created a flap book that will help your children learn about farm animals and help them with motor skill development as they learn how to open and close the flaps. Hiding behind each flap will have a different animal hiding behind it for your child to find. Making a peek-a-boo game with this book will offer you and your child an interactive way to enjoy it together. Since this is a board book, it’s easy for little hands to hold and handle, and durable enough for the rough way the younger child will handle it.
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.
This story by Alison McGhee and Peter Reynolds is one that will touch the heart of any mother and child. A mother reflecting on her love for her child, and imagining each milestone with beautifully illustrated watercolor pictures, will draw you in. From that first meeting at the moment of birth to holding hands as they cross the street to riding a bike for the first time to seeing her grown up daughter waving goodbye, this story will keep you reading and maybe touch a part of you that has been hiding. Reading it with your children may offer both of you a sentiment that is only brought on by being deeply moved.
In 1913, Cupples & Leon published a series of 15 All About books, emulating the form and size of the Beatrix Potter books, All About Peter Rabbit, All About The Three Bears, All About Mother Goose, and All About Little Red Hen. The latter, along with several others, was illustrated by Johnny Gruelle. Wanda Gág's Millions of Cats was published in 1928 and became the first picture book to receive a Newbery Medal runner-up award. Wanda Gág followed with The Funny Thing in 1929, Snippy and Snappy in 1931, and then The ABC Bunny in 1933, which garnered her a second Newbery runner-up award.

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!
This story will help children and adults alike look at their part in the world around them in a more productive way. Miss Rumphius shows how much difference one person can make in the beauty of the world they occupy. Even if you can’t travel far, or spend a lot of money, you can do simple things like plant flowers. Miss Rumpius finds ways to touch those around her with beauty. Sharing this book may offer you and your children ideas about what you can do in your part of the world. Inspiring and encouraging, this book may become a favorite.
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