Baby & Toddler
The Best Picture Books to Read
as a Family
by Janssen Bradshaw
Reading with children of different ages is a challenge for lots of families.
Between different interests, varying attention spans, and, of course, the never-ending struggle for a spot on a parent’s lap, it’s not the same experience as reading to just a single child.
Happily, a really good book can alleviate a lot of these issues, and books that appeal to children of all ages (and even the parents!) are gold. Here are some of our favorite picture books to read as a family.
If only we could recommend a place to procure a second lap. . .
A Piglet Named Mercy
I love this picture book because it’s fun for the younger crowd and the slightly older children who already know and love Mercy from the longer books about her adventures. Plus, how can you not love a book where a piglet arrives in the middle of the night on a doorstep?
Jasper & Ollie
If you have children who are very different, this is a great book (and even if your children magically happen to be exactly the same, it’s still a delightful and fun read). Jasper is a quick fox while Ollie is a sloth, and when they decide to go to the pool together, they have very different ways of getting there.
My Papi Has a Motorcycle
I am in love with this beautiful book about a little girl and her dad taking a motorcycle ride around their immigrant neighborhood in Southern California. The illustrations are so vibrant, you’ll almost feel the wind in your hair as you zip through the streets with them.
Narwhal’s Otter Friend
The Narwhal and Jelly series is perfect for multiple children. It has the format of a graphic novel, but the length of a picture book. All four of my children, who range in age from two to nine, love these books.
How to Eat Pizza
We all love pizza, right? Well, have you ever thought about how the pizza feels about being eaten? One pizza slice is here to tell you that he has some ideas about maybe eating other things besides him.
The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle
If your older children want a little bit longer of a book, you can't go wrong with the Princess in Black series. They’re bursting with action and bright illustrations, and they’re hilarious.
The Panda Problem
The panda is the hero of the story and thus, he needs a problem. If there’s no problem, there’s no solution; and, without a solution, there is no story. Except, the panda doesn’t have a problem. Not one! And it’s making the narrator crazy.
Anya's Secret Society
Based on the author’s own experiences growing up in Russia, this book follows Anya who is scolded by her family, her neighbors, and her teacher for using her left hand. But when she discovers that many famous artists were also lefties, she feels like she’s joined a secret society where she fits right in.
Not Your Nest!
When a bird builds a perfect nest, he’s not delighted to discover that another animal has taken it over just as he’s about to give it the perfect finishing touch. But he doesn’t want to cause a fuss, so he builds a new nest. Only to have that one taken over! This book is for every child who has to share with a sibling.
The King of Kindergarten
I love school books for an audience of various ages because older children love being in the know about what school is really like and younger children are endlessly curious about the mysterious thing called school. In this fun book, the young hero is ready to start his first day of kindergarten and lets the reader in on every part of his big day.