L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, and Baum created a number of other successful Oz-oriented books in the period from 1904 to 1920. Frank Baum wanted to create a modern-day fairy tale since he loved fairy tales as a child. In 1910, American illustrator and author Rose O'Neill's first children’s book was published, The Kewpies and Dottie Darling. More books in the Kewpie series followed: The Kewpies Their Book in 1912 and The Kewpie Primer 1916. In 1918, Johnny Gruelle wrote and illustrated Raggedy Ann and in 1920 followed up with Raggedy Andy Stories. Other Gruelle books included Beloved Belinda, Eddie Elephant, and Friendly Fairies.

Classic Picture Books: Often, when you see lists of recommended picture books, you'll see a separate category of books titled "Classic Children's Picture Books." What's a classic? Typically, a classic is a book that has remained popular and accessible for more than one generation. A few of the best-known and best-loved English language picture books include Harold and the Purple Crayon, written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson, The Little House and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, both written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton and by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Clement Hurd.
This Caldecott Medal winner is a tale about a man named Joseph, who absolutely loves his overcoat. He loves it so much, that when it wears out, he makes it into a jacket. When the jacket wears out, well, you will have to read the book to find out, but Joseph is quite creative in saving at least a part of the overcoat to make other things that he can use and enjoy. The story is taken from a Yiddish song and contains many rhythms throughout it. Fun to share and humorous in ways you may not expect, this is one worth reading more than once.
This story, completely done in pictures by David Wiesner, is a delightful depiction of a little girl who finds a magic book and is shown the way to the place inside the book by maps, landmarks, and a boy who is in the book and shows her where she is. After school, she buys some helium filled balloons and floats away, but while she is on her way to the magical land of the book, she drops the book. As she goes higher and higher, she sees another child pick up the book. When the book is opened, the person who found it sees the girl with the balloons reach the desired area, and the cycle begins all over again. Imaginative and charming, this is one of those picture books that you will want to look at over and over again.

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.
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.
This is the delightful tale of a young boy and his struggle with believing in Santa Claus. When he goes to bed on Christmas Eve, he is sure there is no such thing as Santa. Much to his surprise, a train pulls up in front of his house to take him to the North Pole. Along with other children, he experiences the reality of Santa and Christmas, and is brought to the obvious conclusion that he was wrong. Adventurous, heartwarming, and fun to read alone or to share, this is one of those childrens books that is sure to be treasured for many years.
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.
Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

Thank you for the wonderful list! I’ve been teaching elementary learning support for 16+ years, and there are 2-3 books in particular I find myself reading over and over and over . . . The kids can’t get enough of them – Taxi Dog” and “The Baby Beebee Bird!” Thankfully, I adore these books too! Oh – and can’t forget “Room on the Broom;” it’s a favorite all year long! 🙂
A picture book combines visual and verbal narratives in a book format, most often aimed at young children. The images in picture books use a range of media such as oil paints, acrylics, watercolor, and pencil, among others. Two of the earliest books with something like the format picture books still retain now were Heinrich Hoffmann's Struwwelpeter from 1845 and Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit from 1902. Some of the best-known picture books are Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings, Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat, and Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. The Caldecott Medal (established 1938) and Kate Greenaway Medal (established 1955) are awarded annually for illustrations in children's literature. From the mid-1960s several children's literature awards include a category for picture books.

Tumford isn’t a bad cat . . . he just has a terrible time with two simple words: “I’m sorry.” We all make mistakes, but Tumford won’t apologize for them. Instead, he hides when his mischievous ways are found out about. Despite this seemingly bad behavior, Tumford’s loving owners never stop loving him. Will Tumford finally apologize? What will it take to get him to see the err of his ways? This is a book that’s both gorgeously illustrated and whimsically written, and that will remind children that everyone makes mistakes – and of how important it is to say you’re sorry.
The kids in Miss Nelson’s class know she’s the nicest teacher in the entire school. So why are they so naughty and disrespectful to her? When she suddenly is absent and nobody knows where she is, the kids get worried about her. She has disappeared! Now they are stuck with a substitute who is not nearly as nice as Miss Nelson. They want her back, and they want her back now! This is one story that may make teacher appreciation something that is an everyday art ( at least for some children). Sharing this story at bedtime or anytime will give some laughs and a lot of entertainment.

Hachette Book Group is proud to publish James Patterson, Lemony Snicket, Malala Yousafzai, Chris Colfer, Neil Patrick Harris, Grace Lin, Todd Parr, Peter Brown, and many more bestselling authors and rising literary stars. Our engaging, unforgettable children’s books have the power to inspire a love of reading that will stick with kids for a lifetime.
×