There are so many beautiful picture books out there in the world.
Books make lovely gifts that become part of a family’s story world.
So how to choose?
Board books always make wonderful gifts but so do picture books that will be part of a child’s collection of read again and again stories. Not every book gift needs to be given thinking only about babyhood and the first few years. Give a book that can be grown into. A book that tells a story families will want to share repeatedly. Stories to be savoured and talked about and wondered about.
These suggestions have a definite theme of being in the moment and noticing the world – the big moments, the small things, the important feelings. Because childhood soars by. These titles remind us to experience it as fully as we can.
Here are 20 titles I would gift new parents and why they need to be on the family book shelf:
Listed in alphabetical order by author.
Yard Sale written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Lauren Castillo
No matter what the journey, no matter what is possessed along the way, family matters most of all.
Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo
Facing fears is a lot easier with a Nana by your side. I love what this book says about home, family and the wisdom of grandparents.
A Good Night Walk by Elisha Cooper
Simple and reassuring. The power of walking in the neighbourhood: being, noticing, connecting.
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson
A wise nana. A regular bus ride. The importance of neighbourhood and noticing.
The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty
This book reminds us that everyone needs to be read to. A life with bedtime stories is rich indeed.
Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley
A book about a problem that needs solving and having wonderfully, persistently, kind intentions.
If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead
The ins and outs of waiting. And wondering. And hoping. Patience is underrated in life but celebrated in this beautiful little book.
A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries. Four Families. One Delicious Treat. written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall
An opportunity to talk about cooking together over time. Tradition. Changes. Savouring of sweet treats.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
Read this book early and often and send the message – our life is going to be a life where we are surrounded by books and reading and all of the magic that will guarantee.
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith
What is at eye level for our little ones? Flowers and many other interesting things. Children notice many things and give so freely.
Wave by Suzy Lee
There is nothing like the joy of a big expanse of beach and the waves that roll in and out. This wordless book captures all of the all the excitement, fear and wonder of a child’s beachside experience.
Sleep Like a Tiger written by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Such a beautiful book for those who appreciate the soothing power of bedtime books. Sleep is a wonderful thing!
This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad
Sadie is enchanting. She embraces life – both the real and the imagined parts with gusto. Wonderful connections to favourite book characters.
The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett
There is kindness and then there is putting others’ happiness before your own. Kindness between siblings is very special.
I Wish You More written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
This book captures hope and love in a sweet, endearing way.
Blackout by John Rocco
Time. Time together. Time together as a first priority. This book reminds us of how very important this is. Because everything can get in the way. But only if you let it . . .
All the World written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee
Simple rhyming text pays tribute to the small simple things our world has to offer like a tomato blossom or a fire to take away a chill.
Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman
A wonderful story about siblings, mistakes, owning up and doing what’s right.
The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić
This is an important story of what we miss by not being in the moment. How many beautiful experiences are lost on us as we rush through our days?
Happy by Mies van Hout
What could be better than a bright and bold celebration of our emotions?