I read one of my favorite children’s books to our littles last night, and was reminded mid-story that I’ve intended nearly forever to put a list on here of picture books we love. My mental list is long, so I think I’ll dole it out in mini posts of 5 titles at a time.
I think loving a picture book is to be able to read it over and over again with pleasure, whether you’re the adult or the child. I’ve read these 5 for years and enjoy them every time, even though reading to my kids is a struggle. The descriptions I’m giving are my own, the links are affiliate to Amazon, and the books are listed in no particular order.
Written by Mem Fox, Illustrated by Julie Vivas
A little boy lives next door to “an old people’s home.” He is best friends with the residents, but loves Miss Nancy more than all the rest. When Miss Nancy loses her memory, Wilfrid Gordon sets out to find it. My SIL introduced me to this one and it never fails to make me cry!
Written by Cynthia Rylant, Illustrated by Diane Goode
A woman remembers her childhood in the mountains, living with Grandfather, Grandmother, and little brother. Frogs at dusk, baths in the kitchen, revivals in the river, and so much love.
Illustrated by Tim Ladwig
I don’t know how to describe this book. The Psalm comes to life through breathtaking pictures of two children navigating inner-city life within the loving care of grandparents. The only text is the Psalm, and the pictures haunt me every time I close the cover. Perhaps even more meaningful to an adult than to a child!
Written by M. Christina Butler and Illustrated by Tina Macnaughton
Most frequently found as a board book, Snow Friends is geared toward a younger set than the ones listed here before, but my first grader still loves it. It’s not the same kind of literature as the others on this list, but it’s sweet and delightful and I enjoy reading it aloud. The snowman is made of glittery, textured snow, and my kids like to rub his tummy on every page. We like Butler’s other books, One Winter’s Day and One Snowy Night as well.
Written by Holly Davis and Illustrated by Valerie Sokolva
One of the best Christian children’s books, in my opinion. The text is beautifully rich and the imagery captivating. A mother goes through her day with her child, doing all the normal things a mother does: brushing hair, making oatmeal, taking her child outside to play. I love it for its depiction both of normal life and the hushed holiness that accompanies everything we do; when I read the words my heart grows soft toward my children. Even now as I write this post, three different kids have walked over to my stack of books and grabbed this one saying, “I like this book.” Havilah asks if I can put it on her wishlist so she can have it all her life!