Recently, I spent a week hanging out with my sister and her family. My adorable, energetic 4 year old niece loves books. YAY! I am enjoying sending her books, and then getting to read them to her when I visit. While there. she brought me other books for me to read. Books I haven’t heard of by authors I’ve never heard of. That wasn’t too surprising because I don’t really keep up with picture books. But, I have to admit, I was a little appalled by what I ended up reading to her. One book used the word “stupid” in a name-calling way. I’m no prude, and I have no issues with 4-letter words in YA novels, but when reading to a very young child, I don’t want to introduce name-calling, mean words. (She already knew the word, as most 4yos do, but still!) Another book talked about robbers. My niece looked up at me and asked, “What’s a robber?” She already has issues with being scared of things so I didn’t know how to answer. She basically answered it herself and said, “Probably like a monster.” I didn’t say anything else except to tell her that she didn’t have to worry about them. Ugh. And then there were a couple more books that were just so poorly written that I wanted to fling them across the room.
In the next couple of months, I’ll be featuring some great picture books. Ones I love and wouldn’t hesitate to share with my niece. I’d love to hear your recommendations for pictures books, outside of the classics we all know and love. If you would be so kind, please tell me one or two pictures books you love and buy/recommend for youngsters and why. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems – Okay, I realize that most everyone knows about this book, but I do love it. I love the artistry and I love the sweet story of a child losing beloved stuffed animal, and then being reunited. A happy ending!
2. Except If by Jim Averbeck – I’m a sucker for cute and the dino in this story is more than cute! The story is clever and simple, following an egg that could hatch into a baby bird, except if it becomes a baby snake….and so on! Kids will have fun guessing the “except if” part and being surprised.
3. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen – I love this book about a bear searching for his hat and the animals who respond. I love the fun ending. I think for picture books, I love simple and humorous with great illustrations.
4. Backseat A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout – I featured this book and author here. I’ll bet this book would keep a child entertained on long drives!
Other types of picture books I love are “story” picture books – the kind I don’t see a lot of these days. Multicultural books like those by Allen Say and Peacebound Trains by Haemi Balgassi.
And I love food-related pictures books, like Dumping Soup by Jama Rattigan
and Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park!
So, you see, there are so many wonderful pictures books out there to enjoy, to share, to buy! This is not my complete list of picture books I love/buy. I suspect that many adults buy books by celebrity name or maybe it sounds like a good book, or maybe the story seems fine. I’d love to compile a big list of picture books that are worth the read, worth the time, worth the money – and I’d love your help! Thanks!
Come back soon for interviews with picture book authors!