Top 10 Picture Books

I was honored when Heather from Tiny Readers recently asked me to compile my top ten picture books. As a teacher, reading specialist and mom I've come across so many meaningful books throughout the years. Any teacher will tell you that every now and then you find yourself crying while reading a particularly touching book in front of students and as a parent I feel these moments so often during bedtime stories. When first asked, I made a huge list of my favorites that immediately came to mind and then I went back and tried my best to narrow it down to only ten titles. It was a difficult task, to say the least! Here's what I finally came up with:

1. Corduroy by Don Freeman One of my favorites because I have cozy and vivid memories reading it as a child.

2. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch I love how this short and light-hearted tale gets right to the point teaching self-love and respect.

Image by Mallory Shelton

3.  A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban  Francis is a quirky and clever character so all of the books in this series are interesting and fun for both parents and children. 

4. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton – The Little House has a strong impact on even young readers. My daughter is three and wants to read it often. The illustrations are stylish and the story is powerful and timeless. I particularly appreciate that Virginia Lee Burton’s main characters are often large objects like a home, a steam shovel or a tractor but are always represented as strong female characters.  

5. A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston  – Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long books are poetically written and beautifully illustrated. They are a lovely way to teach nonfiction topics through a literary lens.

6. Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato  I could read this book everyday. It teaches friendship, acceptance, and kindness with a charming NYC and Brooklyn backdrop.

7. Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss  This one seems cliché to add to my list but I read it often. I feel it’s one of our first introductions to self-help, reminding me often that the beauty is in the journey and the determination to keep going.

8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – Well, I just can’t read this without weeping. At times every parent has a moment when they want to scream, “I’m doing everything. Can’t someone help me?” This book validates that feeling and reminds me to be gracious and that it’s all worth it.  

9. The Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert – This book has always brought to mind the start of a school year with fresh pencils, new backpacks and chill in the air. Its beautiful images will have kids wanting to go on a hike or nature walk.

10. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats – What a magical feeling to wake up to freshly fallen snow outside your window! Ezra Jack Keats was revolutionary in creating diverse characters; something that is still so needed even over fifty years after this book was first published.