Book-lovers everywhere are eagerly looking forward to the arrival of 2018 and the amazing array of picture books being published in the new year. Winnowing down the list to a manageable 18 was no small feat, but we hope you’ll find something to love in this diverse collection of books that celebrate wisdom, trailblazing, the environment, friendship, invention, exploration, imagination, and love in all its many forms.
This beautifully conceived book tells the story of a little brown rabbit who desperately wants to become the Easter Bunny, but is repeatedly scorned by the elite, city rabbits who live in fine houses. Eventually, after raising twenty-one bunnies of her own, the brown rabbit achieves her greatest dream. A story of doggedness and grace, with an underlying message of feminism and anti-racism.

Picture Book Biographies: The picture book format has proved effective for biographies, serving as an introduction to the lives of a variety of accomplished men and women. Some picture book biographies like Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone, with illustrations by Marjorie Priceman, and by Deborah Heiligman, with illustrations by LeUyen Pham, appeal to children in grade one to three.
Graeme Base brings storytelling to a whole new level with puzzles made out of illustrated animals and different layers used to create illustrations that will draw the eye to find all the hidden treasures. This is like no other children’s alphabet story, and it will amuse and entertain anyone from age 2 to 102. Colorful, exciting, and entertaining, the detail is a virtual eye feast. Each page of detailed puzzles is matched to a letter of the alphabet and will encourage the reader to take their time finding all that is hiding within the pictures. Fun to share and even more fun to enjoy alone, this is one story that will keep you coming back.
Aaron ReynoldsAmy Krouse RosenthalAtheneum Books for Young ReadersBest Kids Books of 2018Best New Kids BooksBraden LambCandlewickCarter HigginsChronicle BooksDan SantatDavid RobertsDavid W. MilesEmily HughesEnchanted Lion BooksFamiliusFirst SecondGroundwood BooksHollie MengertIan LendlerJessica KenskyJuan Martinez-NealLisa WheelerLittle Brown Books for Young ReadersMike CuratoMolly IdleOlivier TallecPatrick DownesPicture BooksRandom House Books for Young ReadersRobert SabudaSamantha BergerScott MagoonShelli ParolineSophie BlackallThomas Scotto

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.

One of Aesop’s most beloved fables, The Lion & the Mouse is retold in this brilliant and unique adaptation. Award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney tells the entire story without a single word. In short, a ferocious lion takes mercy on a tiny, scared mouse, and instead of eating him, he sets him free. When the lion later becomes ensnared in a trap, the mouse comes to his rescue. This book is chock full of awe-inspiring landscapes of the African Serengeti, and wonderful, warm characters. Without a word, this book captures the imaginations of children, adults, and anyone who turns the pages in this beautiful book.


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!
Dr. Seuss is as silly as ever with this classic that will have you and your children enjoying reading and rhyming more than ever. From flying a kite in bed, to walking around with ten cats on your head to counting and seeing new kinds of fish and creatures, you will not be disappointed. One of the most exciting things about reading a Dr. Seuss book is the never ending temptation to read it as fast as you can. With this story, you will have the rhythm and rhyme rolling off your tongue as you share it with your children. Before long they will be reading it with you. This is an easy to read book with words that are simple, and it will lead the way to reading aloud.
Every year on the night before my sons’ birthdays, I read them the same picture book. My older son’s is “Someday” by Alison McGhee and my younger son’s is “Love” by Matt de la Pena. I read “Dear Girl” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal earlier this year and plan to have that as the birthday eve book for my niece, who will be three in July. It’s such an amazing book.
Antoinette Portis has brought to the list a book that touches the heart and imagination of children of all ages, with this delightful story about a bunny and his cardboard box that is in his eyes anything but a box. As every child knows, a cardboard box can become whatever you want it to be, and the things that the bunny turns it into will open up the imagination to create many things you and your children may not have thought of creating with your own cardboard boxes. Sharing the story and sharing the ideas to create will be inspiring and fun.

Audrey Penn is the author of this truly one of a kind story. When little Chester, a young raccoon, is scared to leave his mother and go to school, she gives him something that makes everything alright. She kisses his palm and tells him that the kiss will help make school as warm and nice of a place to be as home is. When Chester begins to feel lonely or scared, he presses his hand to his chest and feels the warmth of his mother’s kiss in his heart. This is one sentimental and heartwarming story that will help even the youngest child deal with changes they have to go through.
Nancy is a little girl who loves everything fancy, and the fancier the better. If it’s frilly, fluffy, shiny, sparkling, or glamorous, Nancy wants to wear it or own it. Not only is she fancy, she tries to make her entire family be fancy too. Boring and ordinary will never do for Nancy. Dressing up means wearing her tiara and her bright jewelry. Jane O’Connor weaves a tale of laughs, glamour, and adventure, with each Fancy Nancy story. Nothing is the same once you have been exposed to a fancier way of life with Nancy and all her fancy adventures.
This story told from the perspective of the wolf who is considered the bad guy in the original story, offers another side to the classic tale. Alexander T. Wolf has a different way of telling the story, with an explanation as to what he says really happened. You see, he wasn’t huffing and puffing, trying on purpose to blow those houses down. The truth, according to him, is that he had a bad cold. All he wanted was to borrow a cup of sugar so he could bake a cake for his granny. Fun, hilarious, and a riot to compare to the original, this is one that you will enjoy reading.
In 1938, the American Library Association (ALA) began presenting annually the Caldecott Medal to the most distinguished children's book illustration published in the year. The Caldecott Medal was established as a sister award to the ALA's Newbery Medal, which was awarded to a children's books "for the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year" and presented annually beginning in 1922. During the mid-forties to early fifties, honorees included Marcia Brown, Barbara Cooney, Roger Duvoisin, Berta and Elmer Hader, Robert Lawson, Robert McCloskey, Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, Leo Politi, Tasha Tudor, and Leonard Weisgard.
More than simply childrens books, this one is actually more like a work of art. Not only is each letter of the alphabet done in 3D, some of them move and even change into the shape of the next letter. Animation in a way that may have never been done before, this is one book that will amaze you and your children. One fun thing to do is to try and figure out how it was made and how the letters work. Maybe it could even become the focus of an art project as you try to create a similar work of your own.
Mo Willems brings to life, through this charming story, the tactics of a small child to get his own way. When the bus driver has to leave the bus for a few minutes, he cautions those who are left behind (the readers) not to let the pigeon drive the bus. Asking nicely doesn’t ensure he gets what he wants so he moves from pleading, bribery, arguing, manipulating, and finally throwing a tantrum just like small children will to get their own way at times. Humor and true life comments throughout this tale will leave you laughing and offer you a sense of reality in a delightful story
Most of the information on this site is free for you to read, watch or listen to, but The Creative Penn is also a business and my livelihood. So please expect hyperlinks to be affiliate links in many cases, when I receive a small percentage of sales if you wish to purchase. I only recommend tools, books and services that I either use or people I know personally. Integrity and authenticity continue to be of the highest importance to me. Read the privacy policy here. Read the Cookie policy here. I hope you find the site useful! Thanks - Joanna

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.
Finally, this is the original not-so-scary monster book that generations of kids have enjoyed. Grover spends the story terrified about the monster at the end of the book, begging the reader not to turn the page. But kids know better—Grover himself is the monster! Plus, it’s fun to watch him sweat. As a bonus, this book introduces kids to metafiction.
The beloved story of this little rabbit boy who learns a lesson the hard way will bring you and your children a lot of entertainment, laughs, and a lesson that may last a lifetime. Beatrix Potter has brought to life a family of rabbits, their struggles with the same things every family struggles with, and their determination to love each other even when it isn’t easy. Being entertained is good, but having the addition of important life lessons is even better. This is one story that is sure to become a family favorite and be enjoyed together for many years to come
Creating stories for the youngest book-lover is not child's play. The best books have similar traits. Life-affirming messages pitched appropriately for this audience, in a way that engages, while bringing out the best in an older reader. When it all comes together the result is a book that transcends age. We feel these are the best of the best. (Many of these are available as "board books.")
×