The best picture books for parents to read to their children

Susan Marie Chapman Author Of Grumpy the Iguana
By Susan Marie Chapman

The Books I Picked & Why

Owl Babies

By Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson

Book cover of Owl Babies

Why this book?

This book was a favorite of my children who are now adults themselves. They still remember reading this book. This year, in fact, is the 25th Anniversary of the publication of Owl Babies. The story is about a very big emotion for children and that is the promise that mommy and daddy will always come home. It is about three baby owls who worry that their mom may not return. She has been gone for a very long time and the babies are trying to be brave by imagining where she is and what she must be doing. The illustrations are beautiful and capture the emotions of the three baby owls. I love this book because it features babies, which babies can relate to. Babies worry and they depend on their parents to take care of them. The moral of this story is, “Parents, don't break your promises. Follow through and do what you say you are going to do.” Our children are depending on us.

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By Janell Cannon

Book cover of Stellaluna

Why this book?

This is another favorite book of my children when they were young. Also a 25-year anniversary book, the words and illustrations are both done by the author. This story covers a few big emotions for children. It begins with separation and loneliness but ends on a positive note of courage and an unlikely friendship.

Stellaluna is a baby fruit bat who is not old enough to fly. One day she unexpectedly falls from her nest. Now she is alone and lost. She clutches onto a branch but ends up falling again, this time into a bird's nest. Can a bat become a bird? Do they eat the same things and do they like to sleep at the same time? This is a wonderful book and the illustrations are divine. I recommended this book because it is a book that I will be reading to my grandchildren.  It is a book of survival and strength and never giving up. This book makes me feel like nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough.

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I Don't Like Rain!

By Sarah Dillard

Book cover of I Don't Like Rain!

Why this book?

I love this book. It brings back so many memories of growing up in the country for me. The illustrations in this book are very expressive and literally speak for themselves, no words necessary.

The day starts out pretty nice for a young bunny who is trying to get a game of kickball started.

He calls out to his neighboring animal friends to come out of their homes and play. They all step outside. There is the hedgehog, the skunk, the fox, the raccoon, and many more. All of a sudden, clouds roll in and everyone goes home except the bunny. He loves rain. This is a big book full of fun. I really enjoyed this book. For me, it's all about the illustrations. I do not like the rain. Getting caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella is no fun. But, this book reminded me of a time in my childhood, when a rainstorm meant running outside to jump in the puddles, get soaking wet, and not care at all. This book makes me feel like a kid again.

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A Bed for Bear

By Clive McFarland

Book cover of A Bed for Bear

Why this book?

This is a great tale of a Bear named Bernard who thought there must be a better place to hibernate for the winter than a bear den. He has the perfect sleeping arrangement in mind. He wants a quiet, dry, not windy, extra room and some company, kind of place. Well, Bernard thought it would be easy, not so. He tried the frog’s lily pad and it was too wet. He sat in a bird’s nest with a bird but it was very windy, and so on. He finally meets a mouse who asks Bernard to describe the perfect sleeping arrangements. The mouse leads Bernard to the only place that would be perfect for a bear to sleep in. I love the message of this bear tale. It is about being yourself and not trying to be like everyone else. When you try to fit in, you realize that you are perfect just the way you are. Sometimes it takes one smart bunny to let you figure it out all by yourself.

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A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars

By Seth Fishman, Isabel Greenberg

Book cover of A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars

Why this book?

What child isn’t curious about the night sky and all the stars that live up there? Did you know that the Sun is a giant star?  This book is full of fun facts, not just about stars but about our planet. It helps to put things into perspective, so to speak. It talks about gravity and how many miles away the moon is from the earth. I think kids will learn a lot from reading this book and will even be able to impress their friends with all of their newly acquired knowledge. Did you know the earth looks green because it’s covered in 3,000,000,000,000 trees?? I love this book because learning new things is fun and this book is all about fun. I felt very smart after reading this book.

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