The best children’s picture books that are great fun and happen to be educational

Who am I?

I write books for children of all ages but I began with picture books, and they will always have a special place in my heart. I like all different types of picture books. Sometimes we read for pure entertainment, and sometimes to find out about the world, but the books on this list hit the sweet spot between the two. They are all books that will inspire further conversation and might even lead to related projects at school or home.


I wrote...

Book cover of The Leaf Thief

What is my book about?

Squirrel is so cross. Yesterday there were loads of beautiful leaves on his tree, but today? Today some are missing. Squirrel is convinced that someone has stolen them. Is there a leaf thief on the loose?

Confused Squirrel and wise Bird form the perfect partnership in this brilliantly funny story, with a fact page at the back which helps explain the changing of the seasons.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Poo! Is that You?

Alice Hemming Why did I love this book?

"Poo! Is that you?" It’s a funny question, and a funny title for a book, which always has little ones holding their noses and flapping their hands in front of their faces—great for interaction. But, as well as being a fun story, this book also has an educational side, as Lenny the lemur learns everything there is to know about smells. I, for one, had never heard of the Stinkbird before I read this book. There are some Super Stinky Facts at the end and there are more books in the series to keep you entertained/educated…

By Clare Helen Welsh, Nicola O'Byrne (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poo! Is that You? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Lenny the Lemur is on holiday in the Amazon rainforest. He's just settling down for a nice snooze, when a very yucky smell wafts past . . .Poo-ie! What or who could it be?

Lenny sets off to track down the source of the nasty niff . . . Along the way, he meets lots of stinky creatures, finding out about the different smells they make and why.

Learn about sloths, skunks, stinkbugs and more in the whiff-tastic Poo! Is That You? written by Clare Helen Welsh and illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne. Cleverly interweaving facts throughout, it also contains an…


Book cover of The Rabbit Problem

Alice Hemming Why did I love this book?

I love rabbits. We have our own free-range rabbit at home who hops up and down the garden as I work away in my writing shed. I also think rabbits make great picture book characters, so any bunny-based book will always be a hit with me. But this one isn’t just any bunny-based book. These bunnies live in Fibonacci’s field and keep multiplying…With its calendar format and quirky visual jokes, it’s great fun. It’s also a good way to introduce younger (and older) children to some maths (and biology)!

By Emily Gravett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rabbit Problem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Hop along to Fibonacci's Field and follow Lonely and Chalk Rabbit through a calendar year as they try to handle different seasonal challenges each month, from the freezing cold of February to the wet of April and the heat of July, all while coping with their rapidly expanding brood.

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett is an extraordinary book, packed with funny details and novelty elements including a baby rabbit record book, a rabbit newspaper and a surprise pop-up ending!


Book cover of Betsy Buglove Saves the Bees

Alice Hemming Why did I love this book?

A must for all bug lovers (as well as those who need convincing)! This is a sweet book with a traditional feel to the illustrations, and the only rhyming book on my list. I love it because it captures a child’s perspective on the world so beautifully. It has great messages about enjoying the outside world and making a difference no matter how small you are. There are fun fact pages too about various minibeasts!

By Catherine Jacob, Lucy Fleming (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Betsy Buglove Saves the Bees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Meet Betsy Buglove in this magical picture book - a girl who
LOVES bugs more than anything else in the world!
In a big, bustling town lived a girl who loved bugs,

from earthworms to ladybirds, woodlice and slugs.

While spiders or ants might make some scream in fright

to her, creepy crawlies were such a delight!

If there's anything to know about Betsy Buglove, it's
that, when she's around, no bug ever has to worry
about getting in trouble. Betsy's not afraid of sticky
goo, tangled webs, or even muddy
boots, no!

On her sixth birthday she receives a…


Book cover of Circle

Alice Hemming Why did I love this book?

This is a difficult book to describe! It’s about shapes (the main characters are a square, circle, and triangle), friendship, fear of the dark, and imagination. As a picture book writer (but not illustrator), I love to see a book where a writer makes space for an illustrator to tell part of the story. This book does that really well, particularly in the part where it’s just Jon Klassen’s signature eyes in the dark! There are three books in this series but this one’s my favourite.

By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Circle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

From the dynamic, dream team of Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett comes the final instalment in the hilarious shape trilogy.

"Simple shapes and succinct story express big ideas. Makes us consider fear of strangers, the power of the imagination, being brave and standing by friends" Sunday Times

Triangle and Square are visiting Circle, who lives at the waterfall. When they play hide-and-seek, Circle tells the friends the one rule: not to go behind the falling water. But after she closes her eyes to count to ten, of course that's exactly where Triangle goes. Will Circle find Triangle? And what OTHER…


Book cover of Zed's Bread

Alice Hemming Why did I love this book?

This book was a real favourite when my children were small, and like all favourite books, I probably read it about a million times. It’s a simple story about two brothers baking bread. The children loved the rhythm of the text, the repeated refrain, and the gentle ‘twist’ at the end. Like some of my other book picks, this one has facts at the back: this time about different types of bread from around the world. There’s also a recipe. Did we ever bake Zed’s bread? Of course we did! It was delicious.

By Mick Manning, Brita Granstrӧm,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zed's Bread as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Six brand new titles in the exciting new pre-school reading programme. Reading Together is a hugely successful learn-to-read series of high-quality picture books for young children and parents to enjoy together. There are four levels, each consisting of six books and offering a variety of reading experiences: stories, poems, rhymes and songs, traditional tales and information books, created by top authors and illustrators. Each book contains its own set of illustrated support notes - at the front and back - outlining qualities in the text, giving reading pointers and suggesting a range of follow-up activities. More detailed guidance is available…


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The City Sings Green & Other Poems About Welcoming Wildlife

By Erica Silverman, Ginnie Hsu (illustrator),

Book cover of The City Sings Green & Other Poems About Welcoming Wildlife

Erica Silverman Author Of Wake Up, City!

New book alert!

Who am I?

I am an award-winning author of picture books and early readers. I have set my stories in many kinds of locations, including a haunted house, an Eastern European shtetl, an English Renaissance village, and a working cattle ranch. For Wake Up, City, I turned to the setting I know best, the city. I drew on memories of walking to kindergarten in early morning Brooklyn. This book is my love song to cities everywhere. As a lifelong city dweller, I worry about the impact of urban spread on the planet, but I feel hopeful, too, because many cities are becoming more nature and wildlife-friendly. The books I'm excited to share celebrate city wildlife. 

Erica's book list on celebrating cities

What is my book about?

A unique and artful blend of poetry, science, and activism, this picture book shows how city dwellers can intervene so that nature can work her magic.

In Oslo, Norway: citizens create a honeybee highway that stretches from one side of the city to the other, offering flowerpots, resting spots, bee boxes, and beehives—even water fountains—every eight hundred feet.

In the Bronx, New York: a community rallies to clean their river and cheers at the return of the long-lost beaver population.

In Busselton, Australia: people make a rope bridge that swings high above speeding cars, creating a safe path for tree-hopping possums and squirrels alike.

Through a mix of lyrical poems, real-life success stories, and bouquet-bright artwork, The City Sings Green explores the environmental impact of humans and showcases the many ways that we can rewild cities across the globe. Together, we can welcome nature back!

The City Sings Green & Other Poems About Welcoming Wildlife

By Erica Silverman, Ginnie Hsu (illustrator),

What is this book about?

A unique and artful blend of poetry, science, and activism, this picture book shows how city dwellers can intervene so that nature can work her magic. Perfect for fans of The Curious Garden and Harlem Grown.

In Oslo, Norway: citizens create a honey-bee highway that stretches from one side of the city to the other, offering flowerpots, resting spots, bee boxes and beehives-even water fountains-every 800 feet.

In the Bronx, New York: a community rallies to clean their river and cheers at the return of the long-lost beaver population.

In Busselton, Australia: people make a rope bridge that swings high…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in hide and seek, the Amazon rainforest, and bread?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about hide and seek, the Amazon rainforest, and bread.

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