The most beautiful picture books that inspire reading and writing

Who am I?

I am an award-winning author and illustrator of 20 board books and over 20 picture books, who very occasionally illustrates books for other authors too. I was born in Czechoslovakia, but have spent the second half of my life in England. 


I wrote...

A Best Friend for Bear

By Petr Horacek,

Book cover of A Best Friend for Bear

What is my book about?

A heart-warming picture book about two bears. Black Bear is feeling lonely, so he decides to look for a friend. Walking through the woods he meets Brown Bear, who is also looking for a friend. What a coincidence! Both bears decide to search for a friend together and help each other on this adventure. They look everywhere. They even practise looking for a friend by playing hide and seek. All these adventures bring them quite close together, but will they finally find the friend they are both longing for? Can you find a friend where you least expected? 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Rosie's Walk

Petr Horacek Why did I love this book?

Rosie’s Walk is a perfect example of what a picture book should look like. The text and the illustrations are in perfect harmony, although the text tells us one story and the pictures another. 

The story is about a hen who goes for a peaceful walk across the yard, around the pond, across the field... and back home for dinner. But through the beautiful illustrations you can see a different story. The hen is followed by a naughty fox all the way. The hen was lucky and purely by luck escaped unharmed from the fox, who stepped on the rake, fell into the pond, got stuck in the haycock, and was chased away by bees. 

The book gives the child a chance to participate, take over and become the narrator who tells the story.

By Pat Hutchins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rosie's Walk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Rosie the hen is going for a walk. But she'd better watch out - there's a sneaky fox on the prowl . . .

This timeless classic is the perfect combination of funny, witty, child-friendly humour and iconic retro artwork. The spare text is cleverly complemented by pictures that tell more than the words give away - ideal for building visual literacy for the very youngest readers. This is one of the must-have books for any child's library.


Book cover of Dream Snow

Petr Horacek Why did I love this book?

I could choose any of Eric Carle’s books purely for his beautiful, timeless illustrations, but my choice this time is Dream Snow. It is a lift-the-flap book about a farmer who falls asleep on Christmas Eve and wakes up just in time to deliver Christmas presents to his animals. They are called One, Two, Three, Four, and Five. The book has a lovely festive atmosphere and anyone who has come home tired from playing in the snow and fallen asleep in front of the fire will immediately recognise the cosy feeling of this book.  

By Eric Carle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dream Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's December 24th, and the old farmer settles down for a winter's nap, wondering how Christmas can come when there is no snow! In his dream he imagines a snowstorm covering him and his animals—named One, Two, Three, Four and Five—in a snowy blanket. But when the farmer awakens, he finds that it has really snowed outside, and now he remembers something! Putting on his red suit, he goes outside and places gifts under the tree for his animals, bringing holiday cheer to all.

"Few in number are the parents who have made it through their toddler's years on just…


Book cover of Goodnight Moon

Petr Horacek Why did I love this book?

Goodnight Moon is a timeless classic bedtime story. It’s hard to believe that the book was first published in 1945. The rhyming poem together with the graphically strong, atmospheric illustrations create a beautifully structured book. 

It is a book you finish reading and your eyes will close themselves, and with a smile on your face, you will fall fast asleep.

By Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Goodnight Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A beautiful anniversary edition of the classic bedtime story with shiny gold cover flourishes - the perfect gift for christenings and birthdays.

Featuring a look at the fascinating story behind the creation of one of the most famous children's books in the world, beloved by Michelle Obama and Neil Gaiman alike, as well as tips on how to get your child to sleep.

In a great green room a little bunny is tucked up snugly and safely in bed and is getting ready to say goodnight to all the familiar things in his room, one by one.

Margaret Wise Brown's…


Book cover of Penguin

Petr Horacek Why did I love this book?

Penguin is a beautifully designed picture book. It is a book with unexpected surprises, a book about feelings, empathy, and understanding. I think every child can find something in this book with which they can identify. The book is funny and the illustrations are lovely. 

By Polly Dunbar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Penguin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Ben is delighted when he rips open his present and finds a penguin inside. "Hello, Penguin!" says Ben. Penguin says nothing. Ben tickles Penguin; he pulls his funniest face; he puts on a happy hat, sings a silly song and does a dizzy dance. "Can't you talk?" says Ben. Penguin says nothing. It isn't until a passing lion intervenes that Penguin finally speaks...and when he does, Ben discovers something that was really worth the wait.


Book cover of I Want My Hat Back

Petr Horacek Why did I love this book?

I Want My Hat Back is a book that makes everybody smile. The dialogue is very funny and it is one of the books which makes children engaged right from the beginning. Due to the great illustrations the children will work out the funny story much quicker than the bear who is the main character in the book.  

By Jon Klassen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked I Want My Hat Back as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A bear searches for his missing hat in the bestselling, multiple award-winning picture book debut of Jon Klassen.

In his bestselling debut picture book, the multiple award-winning Jon Klassen, illustrator of This Is Not My Hat and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, tells the story of a bear who's hat has gone. And he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no (some more elaborately than others). But just as it he begins to lose hope, lying flat on his back in…


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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 bears, farms, and bedtime?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about bears, farms, and bedtime.

Bears Explore 71 books about bears
Farms Explore 58 books about farms
Bedtime Explore 36 books about bedtime