The Best Picture Books

The best picture books contain both artwork that could actually hang in an art gallery along with a story that flutters off the page impacting the life of the reader.

These can touch both the emotions and imaginations of the reader through the illustrations and text.  They stand out among the rest and withstand the test of time.  Their characters become our childhood friends and our lifetime companions.

best picture books

4 Benefits of The Best Picture Books:

  1. Art Education: The best picture books expose a child to numerous art techniques and mediums as well as beauty.  Not every child may have the opportunity to visit an art museum, but through the eyes of a book, they can see amazing art!
  2. Visual & Auditory:  For some children, it's hard to sit still and just listen to a story.  Picture books provide both visual and auditory stimuli connecting the reader to the story.
  3. Shorter Length:  Most picture books can be read in one sitting with usually a ten minute time period or less.  This is beneficial for the shorter attention span of younger children and also for the time restraints of older kids or the adults reading to them.
  4. Educational Content:  Many of the best picture books contain educational material from other content areas such as history.  They can be excellent choices to introduce subjects in other areas even for young adults or adults. 
  5. Shaping:  They impact our emotions and intellect.  They become a part of our life experiences and even fond memories.

The Best Picture Books

best books

Caldecott Award 

You may or may not be familiar with the Caldecott Award.  This award is given annually to the picture book deemed to have the best illustrations.  A gold medal is given to the first place and a silver is given to at least one other of the best picture books published in that year.

Always remind your kids that illustrators are true artists! Have them notice and appreciate the variety of styles used in each book.

Another huge positive about Caldecott Award books is most public libraries make sure they offer these in their children's sections.  They are made available freely to the public to borrow!

A few of my favorites include:

pigeon books

Mo Willem's Pigeon books are fun for just about any age!  Don't let the Pigeon Ride the Bus! won the Caldecott Honor Medal in 2004.

blueberries sal

Having won the Caldecott Honor Medal back in 1949, Blueberries for Sal is still a favorite among children, parents and teachers.  The illustrations are superb and the sweet story of a small child and small bear will capture your heart.

Snowflake Bentley

Snowflake Bentley is a wonderful biography of Wilson A. Bentley who was the first to capture photos of individual snowflakes and have them published.

Best Picture Books -
Through the Test of Time

antique books

Even as the years pass, there are some of the best picture books that have stood the test of time.  These may have been loved by you, your parents, grandparents or even great grandparents.  What a wonderful reason to read them to your own children as a way of connection.  

Here are several classic picture books definitely worth reading!

Wordless Picture Books

wordless books for preschool

It has been said that a picture paints a thousand words; well then, a picture book that is capable of telling a complete story through pictures alone is truly thought of as one of the best picture books!

Wordless picture books are able to engage a child's imagination and perception to details of the illustrations.  

Discover a few of my favorite wordless books and how to get the most of the read.

The Best Picture Books with Life Lessons

Even though picture books by their very title are known for their illustrations, it's the message and lessons of a story that remain with us.

Think of the children's picture books you most remember from your own childhood.  You may vaguely remember what the illustrations looked like, but most likely it was the story that remained with you and became a part of your life.

Best Picture Books for the Soul

Beyond offering a life lesson, this type of picture book speaks to our soul. They touch our emotions deep within and change us in some way.

Wow! Did you realize stories found within the pages of a children's book have the power to do that?!  Words are powerful and some authors have been given the skill and talent to wield them in a way that can be therapeutic; this is called Bibliotherapy.

You don't have to be a Bible scholar to impact a child's spiritual life.  Christian books for kids can be used in creative ways to impart important Bible and life truths.  There's just something about a story; even Jesus used the parable stories to teach and remind.

"Hand-Picked" Picture Books

Of course the best picture books for your child may be vastly different from that of another child.  Picture books that are "hand-chosen" specifically for a child according to their age and interests will be the "best picture books" for them.

When choosing books for children, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would my child understand this book at their age? Are they able to sit and listen to this length of book?
  • Would my child enjoy this book?
  • Will the subject or characters of this book interest my child?
  • Do I enjoy this book enough to transfer that enjoyment of reading to my child?
  • Will this book add value to my child's life whether through an enjoyment of reading, learning, or the message of the story?

Best Christian Picture Books

Best Books for Toddlers

Best Books for Preschoolers

Best Picture Books for Elementary

Best Picture Books for Young Adults

Best Picture Books for Content Areas (coming soon)