Adulting is a mighty tough business. Add parenting to the mix and life gets hectic. Sometimes we need an escape. Surprisingly, children’s picture books can be a nice reprieve. Books written for kids often tell a simple story, but that’s what makes them extraordinarily relevant for grown-ups.
With few, if any, words, and pages filled with artistic illustrations, picture books allow our minds to wander and forget about the bills we need to pay or what time Tommy has to be at soccer practice in the morning. (Don’t forget to set the alarm!)
With or without the kiddos, curl up and prepare for a pictorial excursion. Here are eight children’s picture books even adults will love:
by Lynea Gillen
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Award, Teacher’s Choice, and Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, “Good People Everywhere” is a visual masterpiece for children and adults. The pages pop with vibrant illustrations containing heartwarming examples of generosity, compassion, and gratefulness. “Good People Everywhere” is a much-needed and uplifting reminder that there’s goodness within each of us and everywhere we look.
by Matt de la Peña
Winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal, a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book, and a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book, among other awards, “Last Stop on Market Street” is a humble story about a boy and his wise nana as they ride the public bus and find beauty in all they see.
It has an important message and a hint of mystery as well. What is the last stop on Market Street? The book teaches children compassion and to look for good and beauty in people and their surroundings. Each page comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.
by Marla Frazee
“The Farmer and the Clown” is a moving, wordless picture book from two-time Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee. When a baby clown is accidentally bounced off a circus train, he lands right in the middle of a lonely farmer’s pasture. From there, an unlikely friendship, and unbreakable bond, form. School Library Review says, “Frazee’s controlled palette of subdued golds, browns, and grays offers a fitting backdrop for the hard-working farmer foregrounded in this wordless tale.”
by Marianne Dubuc
Internationally acclaimed illustrator, Marianne Dubuc brings to life an exquisite and enchanting tale about friendship. A lion discovers a wounded bird and nurses him back to health, knowing full well that one day, his dear new friend would take flight and leave him. Can he let him go? Note from the author: “The blank pages are not a defect but part of the storytelling. The snow increases until all the animals can see is white.”
by JonArno Lawson
While on a walk with her dad in the city, a little girl, “described as a bright spot of red in a mostly black-and-white world,” collects wildflowers growing in the pavement cracks. Her dad is completely distracted and unaware until the little girl presents each as a gift. Their lives are forever changed in this wordless book about small things and big gestures.
“Sidewalk Flowers” has won many prestigious awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustrated Books and School Library Journal Best Picture Book of the Year.
by Aaron Becker
“Return” is “the much-anticipated finale of Caldecott Honoree Aaron Becker’s wordless trilogy—a spectacular, emotionally satisfying story that brings its adventurer home.” When a lonely girl cannot get the attention of her distracted father, she returns to an imaginary world for friendship and adventure.
Full of suspense and action, “Return” is a one-of-a-kind wordless fantasy picture book that you’ll be talking about long after the cover is closed. “A fantastic final leg to a reading journey that altered, expanded, and enriched the landscape of children’s literature—and surely many young people’s lives,” says Kirkus Reviews.
by Brian Floca
Another Caldecott Medal Winner and a “New York Times” bestseller, “Locomotive,” is a breathtaking visual journey rich in color and history. Follow one family as they ride from Omaha to Sacramento on the new Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Along the way, you’ll catch a glimpse of what they see out the window and learn all about the new train. History and art rolled into one fabulous book!
by Jihyeon Lee
Kirkus Reviews says, “The message is wordless but clear: don’t stay safely on the surface but dive deep to find friendship and wonder… a delight.” “Pool” depicts what happens when two shy children meet at a crowded public pool. Friendship forms and imagination bounds when they dive in and discover a fanciful world of aquatic sea creatures and plants. See the make-believe come to life in gorgeous, rich illustrations.