I remember many children’s books fondly, but the ones that my mother read aloud to me (or with me, sounding out the words as we went) have a special place in my heart. These are the books I buy for friends’ baby showers to make sure they start off their libraries on the right foot. They contain the art I have decorated my home with. And the one story that has a more recent publication date touched my heart, even as an adult. I believe that picture books have the power to inspire imagination, and I hope I never stop reading them.
Top Ten Favorite Picture Books
1. Corduroy by Don Freeman – The story of a teddy bear lost in a department store overnight probably speaks to all anxious children who worry that their parents will forget them. It certainly did to me, as did the reunion and love between Lisa, her mother and Corduroy.
2. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman – According to my mother, I spent my very early childhood asking question after question after question. It makes sense that I loved this story.
3. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats – This book is full of beautiful art, and the wonder of a snowy day in an urban landscape. An absolute classic.
4. Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky – I don’t know how many times I checked this book out of the library (it was a lot). I do remember reverently opening the cover, and being impressed every time by the beauty and detail on each page.
5. Black Dog by Levi Pinfold – I found this recent picture book while browsing for a gift for my young cousins. Pinfold’s story of courageous Small made me laugh, and I think the use of perspective and size was fantastic.
6. The Jolly Postman, or Other People’s Letters by Janet & Allen Ahlberg – Possibly the book that launched my letter-writing career! And a charming story besides, with extra goodies inside the cover (flaps, envelopes, removable pieces) for the inquisitive child in all of us.
7. A Christmas Card for Mr. McFizz by Obren Bokich, illustrated by Dan Lane – Hands-down my favorite picture book of all time! It features small woodland creatures, neighborly shenanigans, and more letter-writing.
8. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans – What can I say? Madeline’s adventures in an orphanage in Paris have appealed to generations of children (and they did to me, too!).
9. Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird, illustrated by Helen Craig – When I was very young I went to ballet classes, and I LOVED them. I wasn’t very good, but I loved dancing. As you can imagine, this story about a dancing mouse was a huge hit!
10. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish, illustrated by Fritz Siebel – Amelia Bedelia is special character (you may have noticed my blog title riffs on her name?), and has a special place in my heart because it was one book that BOTH of my parents helped me learn to read with.