Thank you to SuperMom Kat for sharing her “must read” preschool book list with the SuperMommy readers.
Now that you have read the books in Part 1 of the “Top 20 ‘Must Read’ Picture Books for Preschoolers” reading list, get ready to check out Part 2 which includes fun-filled stories that teach children life lesson themes with modern twists, and classic themes that remain heartwarmingly timeless. I hope you get a chance to experience, laugh, and enjoy these top picks with your preschooler. Clear your bookshelves and make space for these fantastic children’s books!
#11 – Nana in the City (2014)
Written by and Illustrated by : Lauren Castillo
Meet Nana! She is the coolest, trendiest , hipster grandma in town. Nana has a new apartment in the city that she LOVES. With her fun feather hat, awesome red specs, yellow trench coat, and red boots, this Nana is ready for fun and adventure. Her little grandson comes for a visit, and thinks that the city is “no place for a Nana to live.” The busy traffic and crowded subways, scary graffiti, tall and intimidating buildings, and loud city noises keep him worried through the day, and up all night. Nana knits her grandson a fancy red cape, so he can feel brave when they venture out into the city. Together, they enjoy fun at the the park, watch street performing musicians and breakdancers, pet city dogs on their walks, hand a fresh pretzel to a homeless man, and visit the city center. Nana shows her grandson that the city can be wonderful, bustling, booming, and extraordinary – a perfect place for a Nana to live. This is one of my little one’s favorite reads. This story’s illustrations tell a unique and sweet story in themselves, and will have your little one happily you to “Read it again please.”
#12 – There’s a Big Beautiful World Out There (2002)
Written and Illustrated by: Nancy Carlson
I loved this book even before I read the touching tribute that makes this book even more special. Carlson wrote this inspiring book on September 12, 2001, the day after the September 11th devastation. Carlson’s beautiful story depicts a little girl who feels scared about lots of things in the world; from snakes, creepy bugs, mean looking dogs, and roller coasters, to the haunting news, stage fright, mean clowns, and unfamiliar people. Sure, the little girl could stay and hide under her covers… but there is a big, beautiful world still out there waiting to be discovered. There are so many fun and interesting things to learn, enjoy, and love. Carlson points out the rainbows after a storm. She shows the joy of making new friends. The little girl experiences the fun thrills of a roller coaster, and performing a solo part on stage. Carlson’s reassuring story unveils what beautiful things can happen when we all brave the unknown. She shows readers that it can be well worth it to overcome fears and obstacles, and say yes to life and new things.
#13 – Families, Families, Families (2015)
Written by: Suzanne Lang, Illustrated by: Max Lang
This book embraces the structure of ALL different families and their uniqueness, with fun cartoon animals and entertaining, rhyming words. Meet a duck family full of siblings, an octopus family with one mom, otters who live with their grandparents, pig families with stepchildren, lions with both parents, hippos with lots of pets, a tiger family with just a plant, a moose that just lives with his father, and koalas who live with two moms. This book has all kinds of different families, from a family of slugs and frogs, to llamas. What do all of these awesome animal families have in common? There is a common theme of LOVE in each. Whether your child is part of a traditional family or modern family, this wonderful story will heartwarmingly clear up MANY explanations of family tree variations.
#14 – Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages (2006)
Written by: Marla Frazee, Designed by: Scott Piehl
Frazee sums up some of the most valuable life lessons with humor and love, in a picture book for all ages. The illustrations show a little toddler first learning to walk, but the book itself is really about anyone and everyone. This story is about walking through life and finding your stride, and it’s genius. It’s about standing on your own two feet, needing support, staying away from wobbly things that will fall on top of you, getting a grip, pulling yourself up, and standing. It’s about knowing that sometimes your knees may buckle, finding your balance, remembering to breathe, feeling the sway, and letting go. It’s about knowing that you may fall and cry sometimes, and realizing it’s okay. It’s about running through life’s checklists, fixing what you can, starting over, taking another first step, clearing obstacles in your path. It’ emphasizes finding your courage to walk again when you are ready- and not when other people tell you that you are. When you look toward your future and imagine yourself already there, you are on your way to what can be a beautiful journey. Frazee dedicates this book to her son who is off to college, and most parents, including myself, have to just LOVE that.
#15 – How Do You Love Me? (2013)
Written and Illustrated by Lulu Delacre
From cover to cover, this gorgeous story’s illustrations and words are poetry in motion of just how much a parent loves a child, from continent to continent, and to the moon and back. Visit Arizona’s Grand Canyon and the caves in Yucatan, Mexico. See eagles soar in the mountains of Machu Picchu, Peru, or take a boat ride past Antarctica glaciers. Glimpse rainbows in Tanzania’s Serengeti, or the sand dunes in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. Find lavender and flowers in Provence, France. Cross the river bridges in the Alps of Switzerland. Traverse Himalayan mountaintops, and row past the water lilies of Vietnam’s Mekong River. See the Kangaroo Island’s eucalyptus trees, or snorkel through the Great Barrier Reef. Love between parent and child can transcend borders, languages, space, and time. It’s as good as any travel story. The theme was inspired by Delacre’s world travels, and the “How far do you love me?” game that she played with her own daughters. This book is worth it’s weight in gold, and globe-trotting.
#16 – Pajamas Anytime (2005)
Written by: Marsha Hales, Illustrated by: Hiroe Nakata
It’s time for pajamas! This fun read may have you and your child chanting and singing the words. A little boy with boundless energy, wears his variety of colorful “jammies” throughout the months and seasons of the year. He is snowed inside his house in January, and bundled up while sick in February. When spring hits, this little boy ops on his grandpa for piggyback rides, wearing his pajamas. In summer, he is in his pajamas in a tree house on Fourth of July, fanning himself on a hot August night, enjoying Pajama Day at school, and during ghost stories in October. In winter, he is getting tucked in with his cousins during a Thanksgiving family get-together. He even enjoys the New Year’s countdown in his beloved pajamas. This little boy’s exciting year in pajamas is a fantastic sleepytime adventure that your child and you will love reading through, again and again.
#17 – Ollie’s Class Trip (A Yes-and-No Book) (2015)
Written by: Charlotte Zolotow, Illustrated by: Tiphanie Beeke
Ollie is taking a class trip to the aquarium! Who will be Ollie’s trip buddy, and how will the class get there? What will his class see at the aquarium, and how they should behave? What should the class do if someone gets lost? This story includes a comically funny set of options that encourage the enthusiastic responses of yes or no. At the end of the book, the class trip checklist of do’s teach some valuable lessons. Make sure you can always see a teacher or parent. Listen to the teacher and follow directions. Holding a buddy’s hand while walking. Tell a teacher right away if a trip buddy goes missing. Tell a grown-up and stay put when getting separated from the class. Most importantly, have fun! From beginning to end, this will have your little one laughing hysterically at the pictures and amusing yes or no questions. Best of all, it teaches children what to do when they embark on their own class trip, and just much fun a class trip can be.
#18 – Changes : A Child’s First Poetry Collection (2015)
Written by: Charlotte Zolotow, Illustrated by: Tiphanie Beek
It’s never too soon to expose a child to poetry, and this age appropriate collection of poems will delight readers and celebrates the wonderful seasons throughout the year. Parents can read through a poem or two each day, and will enjoy the lovely illustrations that accompany each page. It highlights nature’s changes, and how a child also changes as he or she experiences each season’s wonders. Charlotte Zolotow’s distinguished children’s literature career includes a list of picture book classics and awards for her writing. This book of poetry was published on Zolotow’s 100th birthday. Her poetry and this collection is a true gift for anyone who loves poetry, and wants children to appreciate and enjoy poetry too.
#19 – Grace For An Island Meal (2006)
Written by: Rachel Field, Illustrated by: Cynthia Jabar
This story was written by Field long ago, and was copyrighted in 1924. Jabar loved the story so much that she wanted to bring Field’s story to life again with her illustrations. This story is an oldie but goodie that is certainly worth preserving and sharing with the world. The love of island life experiences and life’s simple blessings are weaved throughout this story in a colorful and breathtaking way. The story blesses the sky and the trees, the seagulls and trees. It blesses the chanterelles, cows, and fresh milk, and fresh berries and newly laid eggs. It blesses the sweet smells of hay and island teas. Younger and older generations will be reminded of just important it is to appreciate the blessings that are simple and true,right in front of you, and all around you.
#20 – Stormy Weather (2009)
Written and Illustrated by: Debi Gliori
In this engaging story, animal parents read bedtime stories about frogs, kings, and gingerbread , and say good night around the world while tucking their children in for a good night’s sleep. Animal parents watch their young ones sleep at night. Various animals hold their little ones tight through high tides, rainstorms, and snowstorms. From north to south, east to west, and caves to nest, parents aren’t much different from the foxes, rabbits, owls, snails, and polar bears throughout this story’s illustrations. Snuggle up with your mini-me with this night-time lullaby story. Find sweet dreams with this book, through any type of weather.
Still eager to read more? Don’t forget to check out my “Top 20 Must Read Toddler Board Books“.