Motherhood

12 Beautiful Children’s Books

12 beautiful children's books

What great children’s books have you read recently? This fall, at the library and our neighborhood bookstore, the boys and I have come across some great new stories. Here are a few from 2018 that have stolen our hearts…

What would you add? What stories captivate the children in your life?

P.S. 18 books with female characters, and children’s books that foster acceptance.

(Photo of Sandra Ajanaku by Lena Corwin.)

  1. sarah says...

    The Magic Tree House series, by Mary Pope Osborne. My 5-year-old is obsessed. We borrow them from the library and have read nearly all of them. x

  2. Kristin says...

    So many great suggestions! One of our longtime household favorites (daughters, 2 and 4) is Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. It’s adorably illustrated, a fun cadence to read, and a great message about individuality and confidence in yourself.

  3. Kate says...

    You should check out the book “The Remember Balloons”. I cried for the first time reading the kids book.

    • Toronto says...

      Yes! I just got this book and it is so beautiful and such a lovely simple way to explain memory loss. Hopeful, sad and lovely.

  4. Sasha L says...

    Good old Frog and Toad are favorite in my preschool class. Also anything by Kevin Henkes, especially Chrysanthemum.
    For the coming season, The Night Tree by Eve Bunting is so quietly wondrous.
    And the most fun we’ve all had lately was Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravette. The grown up points to the picture and the children can say the word, the only words in the book are the words in title. So fun for pre readers, with lovely illustrations and rhymes and just a cute story line. It’s a delight.

  5. Kim says...

    Thanks for linking to an independent bookstore! I personally don’t mind the Amazon links, but it’s nice to see links to Powell’s as well

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      our pleasure! we did a mix of powells, amazon and books are magic. xo

  6. A friend gifted my four year old “Julian is a Mermaid” when our new baby was born this summer. It’s SO beautiful.
    A current favorite board book in our home is “Dream Big, Little One.” Yesterday my son said, “This is a good read for a day like today.” I melted.

  7. salima says...

    Very nice books 😊

  8. Maiz says...

    I am in love with the new book, Quiet, by Tomie dePaola. It is absolutely beautiful.

    • Kristin says...

      Yes! My 4 year old often chooses this book and it feels surprisingly emotional to read. All the quiet moments in a kid’s life, for all sorts of happy or sad or confusing moments. I love reading it to her.

  9. Rosemary Griffin says...

    The book “The Bomb” has just come out in New Zealand, about a young maori boy who wants to perfect the art of leaping into water and “bombing” (making a big splash) and really captures what summer is like for kiwi kids. The story celebrates how important it is to trust yourself, and learn from others but making your own way in the world. It’s poetic and touching, with beautiful bright illustrations. https://www.huia.co.nz/huia-bookshop/bookshop/the-bomb/

  10. Laura says...

    My daughter is called Alma and she just turned 3, I always loved this name as it means soul in Spanish (my mother tongue) and young women in Hebrew (my husband’s language). Her second name is Estela because it was my mum’s name. My mum passed away less than a year before she was born. So my daughter’s name in Spanish means: Estela’s soul…I always thought that this might be a little heavy to bear or explain. But thanks to you I might have found a book that could help me explain all that beautiful luggage she owns.

  11. I can’t wait to get my hands on Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave by Jessica Hische. I loved reading Parachute by Danny Parker to my kids and the illustrations are fantastic. And Aaron Becker’s Wordless Trilogy is stunning – the three books are called Journey, Quest and Return. I love children’s books so much and am always at the public library picking out the ones with illustrations I love to show my kids!

  12. Shilo Parisian says...

    We were able to meet Cori Doerrfeld (author of The Rabbit Listened) at a local book event this summer and we love her new book Good Dog, highly recommend!!!!

  13. Arlene Schusteff says...

    Check out Made by Maxine, it’s my new go-to book for gifts! It’s about a creative girl who likes to make things (and what girl doesn’t?) but the best part is that sometimes her inventions don’t work, but she keeps trying until she succeeds. It’s funny and clever, but also sets a great example about not giving up. The author, Ruth Spiro, also has a series of books that introduces STEM to very young children…in a fun way. Check out Baby Loves Quarks, Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering…super unique. You can find them on Amazon or go to Ruthspiro.com for more info.

  14. Sarah says...

    I have to get my hands on The Wall in the Middle of the Book! Other Jon Agee books that we love are It’s Only Stanley and The Incredible Paintings of Felix Clousseau. Currently into Duck for Turkey Day, Gracias the Thanksgiving Turkey and Shelter.

  15. Ramona says...

    I have added several of these to my list of Christmas ideas for my daughter, thanks for the recommendations! The Rabbit Listened sounds perfect for her because she is 3 and at an age of very big emotions, and her best friend in the whole world is her stuffed bunny.

    For people looking for other recommendations–we recently had a book out of the library called Applesauce Season by Eden Ross Lipson (a longtime children’s book editor at the NY Times, now deceased) that my daughter LOVES. We’ve been reading it nonstop (also making applesauce nonstop!)

  16. We just got Eva Chen’s Juno Valentine today. My 3 yo daughter loves it!

  17. Elizabeth says...

    Jabari Jumps! (the pictures are so lovely!!)
    and
    Goldfish on Vacation (so great for NYC kids!)

  18. shade says...

    Love this list.
    I would add:
    The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton – it’s the best!
    AND
    The Storm Whale
    The Storm Whale in Winter
    Beautiful stories with even more beautiful illustrations.

  19. shade says...

    Love this list.
    I would add:
    The Storm Whale
    The Storm Whale in Winter
    Beautiful stories with even more beautiful illustrations.

  20. Katie says...

    We have an almost 1-year old, and this year has been such a transition for our family. I became pregnant right after we moved from New York to Seattle, and we just moved back to New York last week to be closer to my parents and build our “village” up. It has been quite a year! In Seattle, my baby and I went to our local library almost every day for a fresh stack of children’s books and to attend story time. Over time, it was such a relief to start to recognize familiar faces in other caregivers and get to know others who were home during the day. Back in New York, I’m looking forward to doing the same thing: building community and meeting people through my (and what I hope will be one of my son’s) favorite hobby: reading.

    Our favorite children’s books so far are: “Du Iz Tak?” by Carson Ellis, “City Moon” by Rachel Cole and Blanca Gomez, and “They All Saw A Cat” by Brendan Wenzel. “City Moon,” especially is one I’ve given to three sets of new parents who are ex-Brooklynites. It’s a sweet story and has a fun tradition I hope to share with my little boy one day.

  21. Betsy says...

    One of my favorite books as a child was Mousekin’s Golden House by Edna Miller. It’s a sweet story about a little mouse making a home out of a discarded jack-o-lantern. The illustrations are absolutely lovely!

    Another family favorite among my siblings, and now all of my cousins, is Possum Come a-Knockin’ , by Nancy Van Laan. It’s about a possum wearing a top hat who keeps knocking on the door of a family’s house, but everytime the little boy tries to tell the family that it’s a possum, the lil guy hides. It’s SO silly and so much fun to read aloud. I am honestly getting teary-eyed thinking about my mom reading this to me and my brother as kids- we LOVED it.

  22. Emily says...

    I have a friend who is a pediatric oncologist at St Judes Hospital. There’s an attending there who read “Rabbit Listened” at a conference on pediatric hospice care. I’ve always felt that book is just as much for adults as it is for kids, but thinking of it in terms of helping to provide better palliative care to a sick kid makes the book even more special

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s really beautiful, emily. xo

    • Holly says...

      Emily, I SO agree! We just got this book a couple of weeks ago and I fell in love with it. It is now my go-to gift for new parents. As the parent of a 5 and 7 year old, I now realize the philosophy in that book is all you need to get through the toddler/preschool years. And probably the teens!!

  23. Rebeccah says...

    One of our all time favorites is the Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc. It ALWAYS makes me cry.

  24. Marissa says...

    Adrian Simcox does Not Have a Horse was excellent- a girl is convinced a boy is lying about owning a horse, and when she goes to catch him out on his lie she realizes that she is correct in one sense but quite wrong in another. I think fans of Last Stop on Market St. will enjoy it.

    I loved the Jon Agee book but I love most of his! Life on Mars was great as was It’s Only Stanley. His books are fully of dramatic irony. If you like Jon Klassen, you’ll probably enjoy Agee’s books.

    Also good is Sleepy, the Goodnight Bunny, by Drew Daywalt (author of The Day the Crayons Quit). It made me laugh out loud but I haven’t tried it on my kids yet. It has a very Piggy and Gerald vibe to it. :)

    Looking forward to reading a few others on the list (Alma, Treehouse) and those mentioned in comments like All the Ways to Be Smart and Cycle City. Thanks everyone!

  25. Loesie says...

    This book forever and always:

    The jolly postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg.

    It’s magical, beautifully drawn and just perfect in so many ways.

    I’ve had it since I was a little kid. I still love it.

    • Marissa says...

      Yes!

  26. NGC says...

    We love The book of Moomin, Mymble, and Little My from Tove Janssen’s Moomintroll series. So fun to read and the illustrations/layout are beautiful.

    We don’t eat our Classmates is also a favorite with my two and four year olds.

    For Christmas I’m eyeing the dreamers and The Visitor by Antje Damm.

    • Ann-Marie says...

      Moomins are the best! :)

  27. sarah says...

    We just checked out ‘Fangsgiving’ from the library. It is a laugh out loud funny one for my 5 year old boy. In the same library haul- ‘Goldfish on Vacation’-also very good!

  28. Jean Beattie says...

    Check out The Cow said Neigh by Rory Feek. Rory lost his wife Joey to cancer and is raising his special needs daughter on his farm. He has recently built a school on the property for her and other special needs children to attend. It is a sweet book and an even sweeter life. This website talks about the book, his life and has a clip of him reading the book aloud:

    https://www.roryfeek.com/the-blog/the-cow-said-neigh

  29. Lindsay Jarrett says...

    I’ve always loved One Morning in Maine and Blueberries for Sal. I think there’s some sort of nostalgia with those stories between Maine, my mother’s name is Sally, and losing your first tooth (which I also did in Maine).

    They’re so beautifully illustrated – a true classic.

  30. Jessica Rubinstein says...

    Anything written or illustrated by Jon Klassen has been our household jam! “I Want My Hat Back” continues to be one of the greatest books to read and his stories are so unique. My husband and I find ourselves often asking each other Klassen-esque questions or comments like “Does it look good on me?” “Yes that looks good on you.” If you’ve read his books you’d get it haha.

    • Kelli says...

      Hahaha my husband and I have the same exchange All. The. Time!!! Love Jon Klassen!

    • Adèle says...

      Yes!! My partner and I are expecting our first baby any minute and the first book we bought was I Found A Hat. Hopefully the kiddo will like it as much as we do :)

  31. Carrie says...

    Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue is beautifully illustrated! The story is cute. too. :)

  32. Julia says...

    I love Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson. Really, anything that Christian Robinson illustrates is magical. Last Stop on Market Street makes me tear up.

    A favorite in our house is Little Tree by Loren Long. So, so lovely. Long’s Otis series is also wonderful.

  33. Tori says...

    This may be morbid but after the recent shootings I re-visited an old favorite from when I was little – maybe around 4th or 5th grade. It’s called The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. It’s set after WWI or WWII? Anyway, it deals with bullying and prejudice about a little poor girl whose last name is different than everyone else’s (she’s Polish). It reads more like a chapter book – lots more words than pictures but the watercolor illustrations are magnificent and I always appreciated the message. It made me feel a little better about the world after reading.
    I also love Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen. I remember buying this at a Scholastic Book Fair (was that the highlight of anyone else’s young life??!!) and buying because the colors were SO vibrant. It’s about a magic farm that grows balloons (!) and how a little girl finds out how the farmer (Harvey Potter) grows them ;) It’s also delightful when you read it out loud it almost forces you to speak in a Southern accent!

    • Poppy says...

      oh man i loved the hundred dresses

  34. Meg says...

    A plea to Cup of Jo – can you please do a post on the best gifts for kids of different ages? I have a lot of occasions for which I need to purchase gifts for kids (friends’ children’s birthday parties, holiday toy drives for needy families), and as a childless person I am always stumped. What is cool these days with the youths? What are the best books, games, toys, clothes, gear, etc. that will be a good addition to a kid’s life instead of more clutter, and will be age appropriate? Please help me be the cool auntie!

    • Heather says...

      I was just thinking, I have no idea what is a great kid’s gift for a particular age. Agreed!

    • Yes! I’m always stumped when gift shopping for older kids :-)

  35. SK says...

    Thank you for all of the wonderful recommendations! My Mother-in-Law was just asking us to compile a list of things we think our daughter wants for the holidays, and as we steer away from piles of toys, a list of books is a great way to still allow Grandma the joy of gift giving without giving me the anxiety of unappreciated excess.

    Our two year old daughter LOVES and knows by heart all of the Little People Big Dreams series, highlighting life stories of important women in history. Both the board books and the ones geared towards older kids. They all emphasize that each of these women were different from other children and how they went their own path. History and meaningful lessons! And the best part is hearing a toddler chatter about Frida Kahlo and Coco Chanel!

    https://www.waterstones.com/booklist/377114/little-people-big-dreams-series

    • Indeed this is a wonderful series and each of these titles is also available in the States and Canada (worldwide in fact)–wherever books are sold!!

  36. Rachael says...

    Oh, I live for posts like this! Six kids plus a master’s degree in literature means our house is overflowing with beautiful picture books. I had so many people asking me for recommendations that I finally just made a list here: https://theirchronicles.blogspot.com/p/childrens-books.html?m=1

  37. Anonymous says...

    For older children (my boys and girl love it! Mature 10 yo+), we love Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu. It’s a fun graphic novel with a wide compilation of biographies about amazing women from all over the world and throughout history. All my kids have re-read it!! It’s our go-to gift right now. Heads up though-some of the stories are a little risqué. But that just adds to the high interest level for future Brazen Ladies ;).

  38. Any of Shaun Tan’s books! I LOVE his artwork and the stories are always beautiful :) I got to see an exhibit of his recently that walked through the behind the scenes of his new book Cicada and his thought process is just amazing.
    His book The Lost Thing is a must read as is watching the short film. I would say his books are for kids ages 5 and up but they are definitely worth reading.

  39. Mina says...

    All the ways to be smart by Davina Bell

    It’s a lovely book that illustrates that book smarts isn’t the only type of smart and how important all other types of smart are!

  40. leathermansgal says...

    We love Florette! I would add: Mouse Mess and The Storm Whale. 💙

  41. Bea says...

    The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren, can be read at any age (also adults) and is a classic, so beautiful and authentic it’s like a dagger to the heart – in a good way! It’s about courage, about love and loss of loved ones and adventure and family reunion and all of life’s beauty and glory and also darkness. All of Astrid Lindgren’s books are treasures. She always sees the child’s perspective, never discounts their feelings and never shies away from the dark and difficult subjects of life. This sets her apart as a storyteller, this, and her respect, depth of feeling and loving empathy.

    • Caro says...

      Yes!!! To all of her books!

  42. Jennifer says...

    Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller is the sweetest story and makes me tear up each time I read it. It’s lesson feels extra important these days.

  43. Kay says...

    When the Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge (ill) Matt James – I’m giving copies of this book to everyone this Christmas. Nighttime skating in the woods and waiting for the perfect ice…I read it over and over just loving the images.

  44. Sara says...

    This list is great but why have you selected these books? What was the criteria? What makes them beautiful? What research inspires your selection of content for children? What personal parenting goals? Your readers are all highly intelligent, passionate and dedicated. Given them more than just endless lists with pretty pictures and links to shopping sites. The comments section has more thoughtful reflections and insights than your actual article

  45. Lauren Jones says...

    I teach ESL – are most of these approptiate for learners of English as a second language?

  46. Sarah says...

    Yay for Alma and How She Got Her Name! It’s a favourite of ours. Another fav not on your list is Love Is by Diane Adams. It is so sweet- I actually bawled the first time I read it to my daughter. The illustrations are beautiful too!

  47. Thanks for giving The Very Last Castle a shout-out, Joanna!

  48. Malverna Streater says...

    A great book for children is entitled, “Pots, Pots, Pots” by William Alexander. It is a Bible story told from a child’s perspective. Colorful with wonderful illustrations!

  49. Ciara and Bark Bark Discover Numbers (Bark Bark Speaks Irish) is a very cute book about a girl & her dog. Ciara is learning how about numbers and Bark Bark tells her how to say the numbers in Irish.
    A must have for parents introducing their children to the Irish language.
    Can be found an Amazon (search by title).

  50. Julie says...

    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. It’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Highly recommend. My students adore it.

  51. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

    Good Rosie! By Kate DiCamillo

    Also by DiCamillo, the Mercy Watson series (and spin offs) are great first chapter books!

    • Molly says...

      The Mercy Watson series are our favorites! Kids and parents can enjoy them. I just love Mercy, Francine Poulet, and all the funny characters. Kate DiCamillo is fabulous.

  52. Molly says...

    After the fall by Dan santat!!!

    It’s all about what happens to Humpty Dumpty after the fall. Thought provoking with gorgeous illustrations. :)

    • YES! That book gave me actual goosebumps. I gasped out loud at the end.

  53. Mary says...

    John Oliver wrote a book called Marlon Bundo (and yes it has political undercurrents). I don’t know if it qualifies as “beautiful” but its sweet and funny and the basic premise is that love is love. My four year old tells everyone that “boy bunnies can marry boy bunnies and girl bunnies can marry girl bunnies”. Such a sweet message for children to understand.

  54. Jennifer Parker says...

    I just read “franny’s father is a feminist” it is so so cute!

  55. Cheryl says...

    Rise and shine by Ara Elizabeth, a mom that wrote and illustrated this beautiful book encouraging all of us to keep shining. It reads like a lullaby and feels like a prayer.
    https://www.araelizabethart.com/rise-and-shine

  56. Grace says...

    Julián Is a Mermaid was my top children’s book in 2018! The most beautiful illustrations and story.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I loooooved that book!

  57. Val says...

    Some of the books my daughter has recently loved:
    Island born (my favorite)
    Julian is a mermaid (so beautiful)
    Circus ship (about a wrecked circus ship off Maine)
    Rock, paper, and scissors (hilarious)

  58. Deanna Arndt says...

    Maahh me I lost my tooth! By Deanna Arndt. Amazon.com please read and give an review. Thank you!

  59. YES. Charnaie’s blog and instagram are amazing resources!!

  60. Ooh I have chapter book recommendations!

    “Jasmine Toguchi” series by Debbie Michiko
    http://debbimichikoflorence.com/jasmine-toguchi/
    Kara LaReau has a couple series: The Bland Sisters and The Infamous Ratsos
    Renee Lute’s Winicker series:
    https://reneebeauregardlute.com/books/
    Super Happy Party Bears series by Marcie Colleen
    Derrick Barnes’ (who also wrote Crown) series: Ruby and The Book Boys! (illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton, who is a favorite of mine! Actually all these have great illustrations.)

    • Carol Hinz says...

      Holy moly, can I fangirl for a second? My boys (ages 8 and 5) both LOVE Jabari Jumps! So awesome to see you in the comments section here!

  61. Evie says...

    Recently we checked out (and renewed 2 times), a book titled: “The Pickwick’s Picnic”. My son, an early emerging reader, finds the book fun and engaging, (not his words).

  62. Laura says...

    We stumbled on “bear and Wolf” a few weeks ago when the author visited my son’s school. My son was so amazed to meet an actual author and hear a bit about his creative process. Now my son is drawing like crazy and determined to write and illustrate his own book.
    And this book is so lovely. Like “A Snowy Day” he really evokes a wild, winters night with his gorgeous prose and lovely illustrations. It’s such a pleasure to read!

  63. I’m loving reading Dr.Seuss “Oh the places you’ll go” to my new baby- it’s so relatable…even to grownups!

  64. “Adventures On The Twelve Acre Lake ” by S.w. Garcia available on Amazon or 12 acrelake.com

  65. How old is your daughter?

    I taught second/third grade, and other popular books included:

    Just Grace (series)
    Elray Jakes (series)
    Magic Treehouse (series)
    Spiderwick Chronicles (series)
    Who Was/What Was nonfiction series
    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
    Charlotte’s Web

    I don’t recommend Clementine or Series of Unfortunate Events – which are other popular books recommended for this age group (Clementine’s is more humorous to the adult than the kid – they don’t quite pick up on what’s so funny about her and what she does). In the first book of Series of Unfortunate Events, Count Olaf tries to marry one of the children and it was just gross and unnecessary.

  66. Kathleen says...

    Sometimes it’s Storks by L.J.R. Kelly. A lovely book about a baby’s adventure to her family after many (mis) adventures stemming from a hungry stork that was supposed to deliver her. Perfect for those of us who have had to be patient for our family addition be it because fertility issues, adoption, etc. “and this is how it came to be, that you adventures here to me, to our home where you belong, where the stork was headed all along.”
    Sometimes It’s Storks https://www.amazon.com/dp/0399256822/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_A4n4BbHGWGE5R

  67. Samantha says...

    I am currently reading (and loving!) The Lighthouse Family series by Cynthia Rylant with my five year old son and two year old daughter. It is the sweetest series with beautiful vocabulary and imagery.

  68. Jenna says...

    The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton. Its about a girl warrior who gets a pony instead of a horse….it is hilarious and so so cute. Gppd for kids and parents!

  69. Ingrid says...

    Fox in the Dark by Alison Green is our absolute favourite book to read our two. The rhyming scheme makes it enjoyable for an adult to read, and the story is sweet.

    I also love reading Oliver Jeffer’s Stuck to my 4 year old.

    If I got to choose the bedtime books, those two would be my first picks.

  70. Kristen Johnson says...

    My boys are currently in love with George and Martha. The stories are short and hilarious, and have great messages about friendship — but with a little more edge than Frog and Toad. (It’s surprising how often we refer to them in daily life. My 4 year old’s teacher recently showed the class a picture of himself without a beard and asked if anyone knew who it was. I didn’t have the heart to admit that my son was quoting Martha when he answered “I recognize your bright smiling eyes!”)

  71. Cheryl says...

    Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
    Illustrated by Jon Klassen
    A book about a girl who defies expectation and follows her own voice.
    In a time of Me Too, it feels very relevant.

    • Marcie says...

      I love this book! Fun read aloud for elementary kids.

  72. My husband wrote and we self-published a children’s book this year so, although we are very biased, it’s the new favorite book at our house. It is titled, “Make America Grape Again” and tells the story of a misguided orange who almost ruins the whole fruit nation. Kids love it, and it’s sweet and hopeful. My daughter loves to recite the rhyming lines by heart, and the toddler loves to point at all the fruit and screams “NANA!” when he sees a banana. Plus, we are donating a portion of all proceeds to charity, so everyone wins!

    http://www.makeamericagrapeagainbook.com (Also available on Amazon if you search by title, though it’s cheaper on our website :)

  73. Megan says...

    Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall (of Missed Connections fame… :)

  74. Marion says...

    All The Ways To Be Smart by Davina Bell had me crying by the third page. It’s a simple, beautiful book about how being smart is not just reading or math, or ticks and crossed. Being smart is about compassion, imagination, kindness, knowing about dinosaurs, knowing how to fold a paper airplane, knowing when someone feels shy and needs a hug … WAAAAAH so beautiful!

    https://scribepublications.com.au/books-authors/books/all-the-ways-to-be-smart

    And the illustrations are stunning.

    • Melinda says...

      Agree agree agree! It’s an incredible book. Future classic! ✨

  75. Shauna says...

    I’ve been digging a whole host of books by indigenous authors and illustrators.

    We Sang You Home
    My Heart Fills With Happiness
    You Hold Me Up
    Wild Berries
    Little You

    Check them out! So quiet and profound. And stunning illustrations.

  76. At our house, we are reading Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes right now. It’s about a young black boy who is killed by a white police officer, and it also deals with Emmett Till’s story. I’m reading it to my 8 and almost 10-year-old sons, and it’s an important book. I have to do my best not to cry while I’m reading to them. Our neighbor friends who are educators recommended it.

  77. Charlotte says...

    Don’t miss LOVE by Matt de la Pena. He has such a beautiful way with words. LOVE captures love in its many forms in a way littles can understand.

  78. laura k says...

    My mama earth by susan b katz- beautiful words, beautiful pictures, appreciation for our planet- what could be better

  79. Tract says...

    For older children, anything by Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate.

  80. Right now we are really into The Bad Seed (by Jory John). We are overdue at the library for it! It’s hilarious and really fun, and also kind of subverts a lot of the “good” and “bad” messaging a little kid receives (my toddler was getting lots of notes home about behavior, so I feel like this was timely for us!)

  81. Anne says...

    My boys are obsessed with Bear and Wolf! A House That Once Was and The Rabbit Listened are also two favorites.

    We also recently discovered and love :
    Little Brown by Marla Frazee (I got a little choked up the first time I read it) Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
    Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne J Naden (my older son is loves astronauts)

  82. Lynsey says...

    The Word Collector is such a good book. We read it in our classroom and now have a board on which we collect words!

  83. Zara says...

    Have you all found the Gardener, by Sarah Stewart? I adored it as a child, and it made me think Florette would be delightful.

  84. Jay Anna says...

    “Night Job” by Karen Hesse is a really sweet story about a boy who accompanies his father during one of his night shifts. I found it to be warm and quite original!

    https://www.amazon.com/Night-Job-Karen-Hesse/dp/0763662380

    On a similar note, “Tell Me A Tattoo Story” by Alison McGhee was heartwarming. So many parents have tattoos and it was fun to see a picture book acknowledge it.

    https://www.amazon.com/Tell-Tattoo-Story-Alison-McGhee/dp/1452119376/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1541457438&sr=1-1&keywords=tattoo+story

    • Marissa says...

      I loved Night Job…and it inspired me to make an egg sandwich for myself.

  85. Anne says...

    My boys are obsessed with Bear and Wolf. The Rabbit Listened and A House That Once Was are also two favorites.

    We also recently discovered and love Little Brown by Marla Frazee (I got a little choked up the first time I read it), Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora, and Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne J Naden.

    • michaela says...

      What is The Rabbit Listened about? I have a sister-in-law who collects children’s books, and she also loves rabbits and owns two as pets, so I am thinking this might be a lovely gift for her.

    • mcf says...

      Michaela, The Rabbit Listened is a very sweet book about a little kid who needs some comfort. All the animals want to talk it out or make a big deal over it, except for the rabbit, who just listens. I think it would especially resonate with little ones (and adults!) on the shyer or quieter side.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      and it’s such a good book in terms of teaching empathy. xoxo

  86. Earlier this year I met a blogger who runs an IG featuring children’s book. Her IG handle is @hereweeread. She showcases wonderful books on inclusion and diversity, a definite must!

    • YES. Charnaie’s blog and instagram are amazing resources!!

  87. Christie says...

    These are all beautiful. Jo (or anyone else), I’d love to hear recommendations for chapter books. As my daughter gets older she is moving away from picture books and more toward chapter books. So far she is loving these series:

    – The Bad Guys
    – 13 Storey Treehouse
    – Billie B Brown
    – Ivy and Bean
    – Zita the Spacegirl

    Anyone else have recommendations I should add to our Christmas list?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh i’d love to hear this answer, too!

    • Ellen says...

      We read a trilogy by Grace Lin (all middle grade chapter books) to our kindergartener this fall. The first–Where the Mountain Meets the Moon–was perfect for her. Simple language, not too scary–but a complex and wonderful story. The second and third books weren’t quite as strong, but I’d still recommend them.

    • Wendy says...

      I would put in a plug for My Father’s Dragon. It’s actually the first of a series of three small chapter books, written in 1951, that are also great for reading aloud to four or five-year-olds. They have a few illustrations to keep it interesting and I would say they fall into the fantasy/adventure category. I loved them all!

    • We LOVE the Violet Mackerel Series. Excellent for new chapter book readers. They are a bit like the Ramona books, only sweeter, shorter, and with more pictures.

    • Julia says...

      Based on that list, I’d add the Judy Moody series! There’s also a “spinoff” series about her little brother, Stink, that my students can’t get enough of.

    • Lydia says...

      Have you read the book “goodnight stories for rebel girls”? There is a podcast too that goes along with it and digs into the women’s stories even deeper and is read by other “famous” living women. My daughters request it daily! Amazing!!! My son and husband love listening to them too, which is a plus!

      The other book that I’m loving is “the sloth who slowed us down”. Oh my goodness I sat down to read it in Barnes and Nobel and just cried. It’s about a little girl who has a super busy family and she finds a sloth in the park and brings it home. The illustrations are perfection and the story, well it’ll make you cry on the floor in Barnes and noble

    • Abbie says...

      My first grader love love love love loves the Captain Underpants and Dogman series. While they are by no means literary classics, anything that gets kids LOVING to read is a win in my book.

    • Celine says...

      I also have a daughter, here’s what she’s been reading lately:
      – first graphic novels: Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez, the Amulet serie by Kazu Kibuishi, Hildafold by Luke Pearson, Dogman by Dav Pilkey

      – chapters book: Clover’s luck by Kallie George, Beatrice tinker upside down thinker by Shelley Johannes, Jasmine Toguchi serie by Debbi Michiko Florence, Zinnia and the bees by Danielle Davis, the Matilda effect by Ellie Irving, the breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

      I did not know Zita the spacegirl, thanks for the recommendation!

    • Juliette says...

      We have been reading all the Moomin Books (by Tove Janson), the secret garden, Pipi Longstocking, and anything Roal Dahl (the witches were a big success right before Halloween!)

    • Alex says...

      We’ve recently started shorter chapter books and my girls love The Princess in Black and the Dory Fantasmagory series. Really fun books with strong and creative girl characters.

    • Steph says...

      The Lighthouse Family series by Cynthia Rylant is lovely. Both of my girls have read through all the Magic Treehouse Series, too. For a little older (elementary age), the Penderwicks series is fabulous.

    • Ooh I have chapter book recommendations!

      “Jasmine Toguchi” series by Debbie Michiko
      http://debbimichikoflorence.com/jasmine-toguchi/
      Kara LaReau has a couple series: The Bland Sisters and The Infamous Ratsos
      Renee Lute’s Winicker series:
      https://reneebeauregardlute.com/books/
      Super Happy Party Bears series by Marcie Colleen
      Derrick Barnes’ (who also wrote Crown) series: Ruby and The Book Boys! (illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton, who is a favorite of mine! Actually all these have great illustrations.)

    • Ali says...

      Any book from the Magic Treehouse series is great. We also love Diary of a Whimpy Kid. It’s funny, relatable and easy to read. My son loves spooky stuff so has also been into the Goosebumps series. Would love to hear other recommendations too!

    • Melkorka says...

      My daughter loved having “Princess Pulverizer” books read to her. Cute storyline where the princess is brave and courageous.

    • Meghan says...

      Dog Man
      Narwhal and Jelly
      Mercy Watson
      Holly Heckelbeck

      Those have all been super popular with my students, especially the ones that are moving into chapter books.

    • Enid Blyton’s books are amazing – The Faraway Tree series and The Wishing Chair were childhood favourites of mine.
      The Chronicles Of Narnia are classics.
      Shannon Hale has written a series of 4 books called the Books of Bayern (Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets and Forrest Born) which are beautiful almost like fairy tale books. Also her books Princess Academy and Book of a Thousand days are good.
      I have been told Diary of Wimpy Kid are good books.
      Also when I was younger I loved the Animal Ark books :)

    • Kerianne Taves says...

      Dory Phantasmagory!
      Lulu series by Judith Viorst
      Rosie Revere new chapter books!
      Violet Mackerel
      Tales of Sasha

    • Marissa says...

      All great suggestions, esp those that are humorous (Dory F, Mercy W, Princess in Black, Narwhal, the Judy Moody books and Friends, Dogman, Wimpy Kid). They should resonate well with her ( BTW, love 13 Story Treehouse and Bad Guys!!)

      I work at a library and suggest all mentioned above as well as those below to patrons frequently. It is a common question!

      Here are more series suggestions, just in case you need more:

      – Pet Rescue Adventures by Holly Webb
      -Rainbow Fairies
      -Wellie Wishers from American Girl
      -Scholastic Branches books are also geared toward kids starting to read chapter books, like Owl Diaries and also the Dragon Masters.
      -Stinky Spike
      -Princess Posey
      -Franny K Stein

    • Alison says...

      We’ve loved the Grace Lin books and Violet Mackerel too!
      Also all of Kate DeCamillo’s books, from Tales from Deckawoo Drive to The Tale of Despereaux, Tiger Rising, and Because of Winn Dixie.

      My 4th grader just started the Penderwick series and is hooked.

  88. Michaela says...

    We LOVE all three chirri and chirra books! Peaceful, magical, nature-filled books with beautiful illustrations.

    • C says...

      Best books ever!
      Phoebe Wall also has amazing books.