Picture books are for babies. Or so you’d think looking at children’s reading programs. Parents and teachers are pushing kids into chapter books at younger ages, while picture books languish on bookstore shelves.
Educational experts and bookstore owners are wringing their hands about this in the pages of the New York Times. The kids need their picture books, it stimulates a certain type of brain activity, etc.
Picture books also make the best memories. I can open up the beloved picture books from my childhood, many of which I still have, and bedtime comes flooding back. The same is true now with my daughters: I pick up a copy of Goodnight, Moon, and it’s like I’m holding my baby again.
Here are five picture books I wouldn’t want my kids to be without. What are your top 5 must-reads? Leave them in the comments.
- The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, by Paul Goble. I grew up with this book, and I still feel the power of playing make-believe wild horses with my best friend from kindergarten every time I open it up.
- Goodnight, Moon. The classic bedtime book to end all bedtime books. I actually did not grow up with this, but read it every night to my daughter’s as their first bedtime story.
- Many Moons, James Thurber. This is a great picture book for a slightly older kid. The story is rich and complex, the illustrations beautiful.
- Knuffle Bunny. The story of a little girl who loses her bunny and her heroic Daddy who gets it back cracks up adults as much as kids.
- The Peace Book, Todd Parr. Everything Todd Parr writes is touched with magic. His color-drenched pictures and big playful words fill you up with love, whether you’re 2, 12 or 102.
What are your must-read books? Let’s get our kids reading more of these charming stories, and making more memories. They’ll thank us when they’re grown ups and Junie B. Jones is a distant, mushy memory next to the vivid images of their favorite picture book.
Photo: Grace and Viv