Ferdinand has been one of the most beloved characters of many children over the last fifty years. He is different than other young bulls. They all love to run, jump, play, and be as rowdy as they can be, but Ferdinand likes the peace and quiet that he finds under his cork tree. Sitting in the shade while the others are out in the hot sun playing and laughing, Ferdinand is quite content. That is until he has a bad experience with a bee. Unfortunately for Ferdinand, the bee sting happens when the rodeo men have come to choose the best young bull to have in a bullfight. Ferdinand, with all of his jumping and snorting from that horrible bee sting, is just what they want. Joining him as he experiences the bullfighting arena and seeing how he handles it will be something to treasure with this fun story.
A boy and a bear going to look for berries, and the more the better. Berry Land has as many different kinds of berries as can be imagined, and author Bruce Degen does a masterful job of imagining many. Written in poetic rhyme, this is one fun story to read aloud. You may even find that as you read about the two friends frolicking in berry land, you and your young audience begin to dance or almost sing the story. Adventure, animals, food treats, and fun, all in one story that will become a family favorite to share many times over.
Dr. Seuss has done it once again, with a classic tale of rhythm and rhyme along with a story that will make anyone who reads it think about their role in nature. The narrator, named Once-ler, has lived a life of carelessness, disregard for nature, and selfishness. Now, with the natural beauty of the truffula trees taken away, the Lorax has moved up and away. How can it be restored? The key to restoring the natural beauty of the area lies in the hands of a small child- who happens to have a seed, a single hopeful seed to a truffula tree
Most of the Moomin books by Finnish author Tove Jansson were novels, but several Moomin picture books were also published between 1952 and 1980, like Who Will Comfort Toffle? (1960) and The Dangerous Journey (1977). The Barbapapa series of books by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor was published in France in the 1970s. They feature the shapeshifting pink blob Barbapapa and his numerous colorful children. The Mr. Men series of 40-some books by English author and illustrated Roger Hargreaves started in 1971. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs was published in Britain in 1978 and was entirely wordless. It was made into an Oscar nominated animated cartoon that has been shown every year since on British television.

What better combination story for children than one that weaves a delightful tale with a lesson? Teaching the days of the week and counting, Eric Carle’s imaginative illustrations and dramatic storytelling in this book unfold the life of a caterpillar from the moment it is in an egg to the transformation it makes into a beautiful butterfly. With such wonderful text, magnificent illustrations, and attention grabbing detail, it’s no wonder that this story has won numerous awards and has been recognized in many countries as being among the best in children’s literature. Everyone loves a great children’s picture book, but this one goes to the top of the list when looking at the most loved by children and adults alike. Warmth, a winning storyline, and lessons that can be shared and observed in nature itself will bring you and your child together as you share this amazing story. Reading together is something to cherish especially when it happens to be with a story that you will keep in your hearts and one of the top 100 children’s books of all-time.
One of the most beloved books for boys and girls is the story of Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne- his steam shovel. Mary Anne is an old steam shovel, and isn’t as shiny and pretty as some of the newer models are. Mike Mulligan still uses her though, and insists that she can do just as good a job as those more modern models can. When he insists on using her in Popperville, Mike and Mary Anne are put to the test, with the entire town watching. An inspiring story that is fun to share with little ones, this one is a true classic.
Publisher’s Synopsis: Norma and her parents are going to her great-uncle Frank’s funeral, and Norma is more excited than sad. She is looking forward to playing with her favorite cousin, Ray, but when she arrives at the church, she is confronted with rituals and ideas that have never occurred to her before. While not all questions can be answered, when the day is over Norma is certain of one thing ― Uncle Frank would have enjoyed his funeral.
The German children's books Struwwelpeter (literally "Shaggy-Peter") from 1845 by Heinrich Hoffmann, and Max and Moritz from 1865 by Wilhelm Busch, were among the earliest examples of modern picturebook design. Collections of Fairy tales from early nineteenth century, like those by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen were sparsely illustrated, but beginning in the middle of the century, collections were published with images by illustrators like Gustave Doré, Fedor Flinzer, George Cruikshank,[6] Vilhelm Pedersen, Ivan Bilibin and John Bauer. Andrew Lang's twelve Fairy Books published between 1889 and 1910 were illustrated by among others Henry J. Ford and Lancelot Speed. Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by John Tenniel in 1866 was one of the first highly successful entertainment books for children.
Cassie Louise Lightfoot wishes to freely go wherever she wants in life, and one night, on the tar roof of her Harlem apartment building, her dream comes true. She flies over Manhattan and claims the buildings as her own, imagining a different future for her and her family. A story of courage and hope, Tar Beach melds African American history with young literature.

We have a wide range of ages in our family, from toddler to grade-schooler – and a healthy variety of reading tastes, too. And so I can’t guarantee that every kid will love every book on these lists of the best picture books, but I can tell you that every one of these books wowed my test audience of three very different kids, plus me and my husband. I’m also pretty annoying about telling friends and family to give these books as birthday and holiday and “just because” presents, and every single time they report back: Everyone loved the book! The kid and the parents.


A young Japanese man travels to the United States where he falls in love with California’s Sierra Mountains before returning home to marry his sweetheart. After several journeys back and forth between Japan and America, and several generations later, the young man’s grandson repeats the same path. A story about voyages, longing, and two places called home.
When self esteem, or the lack of it, tells Vashti that she can’t draw, her teacher encourages her to try. Just making one dot on the page, and seeing where it will lead, opens up a new world of being artistic. That is some of the best advice she could have given her. When Vashti finds that she can mix some colors to create other colors, she begins to experiment and see just how much she can do. This is one of the most encouraging childrens books to read aloud or even alone. Trying in the midst of doubt can help anyone find hidden talent, and reach places they would have never made it to.
Tumford isn’t a bad cat . . . he just has a terrible time with two simple words: “I’m sorry.” We all make mistakes, but Tumford won’t apologize for them. Instead, he hides when his mischievous ways are found out about. Despite this seemingly bad behavior, Tumford’s loving owners never stop loving him. Will Tumford finally apologize? What will it take to get him to see the err of his ways? This is a book that’s both gorgeously illustrated and whimsically written, and that will remind children that everyone makes mistakes – and of how important it is to say you’re sorry.

Everyone loves lovable grandmothers, but this is no ordinary grandma. Strega Nona actually means ‘Grandma Witch’. The lovable and magical things she can do with her magic pasta pot will amaze, astound, and humor you and your children as you share this story. Everyone in the village comes to her for help and advice, even the priest and the nuns in the convent. Her powerful pot is put to the test and the hilarity that results will leave you laughing. This is a wonderful book to share with little ones at bedtime or any time. Winner of the Newberry Award, Tomie dePaola has created a classic.

A hilarious book about cause and effect, Fortunately relays both the unfortunate and fortunate events of Ned, a boy trying desperately to get to a surprise party. Sharks, malfunctioning planes, and pitchforks sticking out of haystacks will try their best to derail Ned’s celebratory plans, but fortunately, fate has something else in mind. Replete with laugh-out-loud illustrations.


Janell Cannon tells the story of a little fruit bat named Stellaluna. This little one gets separated from her mother and is found and taken care of by a mama bird. The mama bird insists that Stellaluna do everything the way ordinary birds do, which is totally different than the way bats do things. When Stellaluna can finally fly, and actually ends up finding her mother, she is told that what she feels is the right way to do things are her natural instincts, and that she should follow them. She is very relieved to be able to do all the things bats naturally do once again. Sharing this story will teach you and your children about how bats look, live, and are different from birds.

Most of the information on this site is free for you to read, watch or listen to, but The Creative Penn is also a business and my livelihood. So please expect hyperlinks to be affiliate links in many cases, when I receive a small percentage of sales if you wish to purchase. I only recommend tools, books and services that I either use or people I know personally. Integrity and authenticity continue to be of the highest importance to me. Read the privacy policy here. Read the Cookie policy here. I hope you find the site useful! Thanks - Joanna


Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways.
×