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As a mother of four, I am often asked for children’s book recommendations. Our family just saw the Kennedy Center’s touring production of Elephant and Piggie’s “ We are in a Play!,” so I’ve got picture books on my mind. I’ll cover chapter books in another post. I couldn’t possibly name all the books we love, but here are a few of our favorites! The photo above shows some other faves as well.
3-6 years: Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems. These books are my go-to for early readers. They’re hilarious with just a handful of words, which really builds the kids’ confidence as they sound out everything.
Another great one for this age is Press Here by Herve Tullet. Seeing kids’ faces light up when they “make” all the dots on each page move and change is priceless!
5-10 years: I know this seems like a really broad age range for one group, but so many picture books can be appreciated on multiple levels. That brings up a good point. The best picture books are written for children and adults. If you don’t love reading it to them, it’s not a good book.
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. This book’s message of just being who you are is certainly applicable to any age. Add to that the rich, textured illustrations, and you have a picture book that even my ten-year-old will read…as long as her friends aren’t around….
Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg is perfect for Type A and B kids alike. Grandma got our copy for our little perfectionist, so she’d be a little easier on herself when her artwork didn’t turn out as she’d envisioned. And it worked! It easily serves as inspiration for the easy-going kids as well.
Another fabulous one for this age group is Journey by Aaron Becker. It is composed of only pictures, no words at all, and my girls love it! The illustrations are full of gorgeous and off-the-wall things to look at, but they seem simple and familiar at the same time.
Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo are a series that I force upon all of my friends (you’ll notice none appear in the photo—all of ours are out on loan)! A very sweet couple own a very large pig named Mercy, who has her very own bed in her very own room. She loves nothing more than hot, buttered toast. And fast car rides. The end. Just read them. I promise you’ll fall in love too!
If you find your kids don’t enjoy reading, be patient and think outside the box. Try changing up who reads to whom, let them pick the craziest reading place they can think of (bonus points if it’s outside), and definitely read whatever they pick, at least until they warm up to it a bit. They’ll get to great literature soon enough, so remember that sometimes it’s okay to eat dessert first!