As those of you who shop at the Open Book Bookstore know, we choose our book selection very carefully. When we opened the store, we had to learn more about certain categories of books, and children’s picture books was one of them. Although it hadn’t been that long since we were reading them to our own children, we still needed to brush up on what the best new books were and what the trends were.
As it turned out, I fell in love with this category. I found books filled with spectacularly beautiful art in a range of styles. I found innovative formats and design. And best of all, I found enjoyable stories that were truly self-empowering. “I wish I had had this to read when I was a kid,” I thought. “I could have used this lesson in believing in yourself. In fact, I could still use it!”
Out of this realization was born my idea to have an event at the store where a group of adults got together and talked about their favorite children’s books and read them to each other. We did this, and it was great fun. This event was led by two local children’s authors and illustrators, Julia Rix and Heather Devlin Knopf. Later that season, Heather gave a workshop at the store about what goes into creating a children’s picture book, and shared her knowledge and insights. She’ll be teaching this class again this coming fall.
Given my love of children’s picture books, I was interested to read a review recently of Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, a new book about the pleasures for adults of reading children’s picture books. Author Bruce Handy takes a close look at some of his favorites including Dr. Seuss and Sam McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You, a book that brings tears to my eyes no matter how many times I read it. How many children and parents must tell each other they love one another “to the moon and back” because of that book!
Even without little children in the house to read these books to, they can provide great pleasure and meaning for adults. Here’s a short list of just a few of my favorite children’s picture books, old and new. Come on in to Open Book Bookstore and have a look. If you catch me at the right time, I’ll even read them aloud to you!
The Dot by Peter Reynolds
Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (I have a copy of this one in Hebrew too!)
What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
What are your favorite children’s books? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know and I’ll add them to our collection!