Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My 5 Favorite Children's Picture Books

Day 4:

Today is the first of several theme days taking place during the 2011 WordCount Blogathon. All bloggers are invited to write about the same topic: “My 5 favorite books on ……”

Since my blog is (primarily) focused on my journey into writing environmentally and socially empowering books for children, I’m sharing my 5 favorite kid's books of all time.

It should be no surprise that I am listing two Dr. Seuss books, since he has been such a great source of inspiration to me and my writing career. 

Yet, not all five of my selections go to him.  There are so many great stories out there, but I can honestly say that I could easily spend fulfilling hours with each of the books I chose.  Hope you will agree!

1. The Giving Tree,  Shel Silverstein

I absolutely love the message this story offers.  The true example of love is being willing to give of one’s self for the benefit of another. Shel Silverstein tells the story of love between a boy and a tree that is an example of this sacrificial love. Though there are many ways to interpret this story, the true message of love shines through. Even when the boy is an old man and long after the tree has been cut down, what is left of the tree is still giving. The old man, once the little boy who played under the tree, now uses the stump of the tree to rest on. 

2. The Lorax, Dr. Seuss. 

I actually found this book in college and loved it so much that I adapted it into a play that you can read here:   Dr. Seuss uses his classic rhythm and rhyme to tell a story that will make anyone who reads it think about their role in nature. The narrator, named Once-ler, has lived a life of carelessness, disregard for nature, and selfishness. By ripping away all of the truffula trees, the Lorax loses his home. The key to restoring the forest lies in the hands of a small child, who happens to have a seed, a single hopeful seed to a truffula tree. The Lorax contains the implicit ideology that children are independent thinkers and capable creatures who have the ability to create change if given the proper tools and education. 

3. Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak also puts the power in the hands of his main character, Max, in a tale of suspense, action, and fun. Max has been naughty and is sent to bed without any dinner. He defies his mother by escaping into the forest among creatures that appear wild and free. However, being wild with the wild things can be tiring, as Max quickly discovers. Sendak's illustrations grab your eye and his story will draw you and your children back again and again.

4. Stellaluna, Janell Cannon

A good friend's mother, who reads to kids at a local library, gave me Stellaluna as a gift.  After I read it, I immediately loved the message it shares as well as the educational aspects to it. Author Janell Cannon tells the story of a little fruit bat named Stellaluna, who gets separated from her mother and is found and taken care of by a mama bird. The mama bird insists that Stellaluna do everything the way ordinary birds do, which is totally different than the way bats do things. When Stellaluna can finally fly, and actually ends up finding her mother, she is told that what she feels is the right way to do things are her natural instincts, and that she should follow them. Sharing this story will not only teach you and your children about how bats look, live, and are different from birds, but also about acceptance of others even if they appear different.

5. Oh, the Places You'll Go!, Dr. Seuss

One of my very favorites, this book became part of my collection around the time I left home for college.  Dr. Seuss has taken a simple story and made it one that applies to everyone at one time or another. Each milestone in life opens new doors of opportunity, and that is what this story implies. As you read it you may even be inspired yourself. Not only does it inspire and encourage the reader about the opportunities in life, but it is also entertaining with the traditional Seuss wit and rhyme. Fun to read aloud and even more fun to share with a loved one, this is one picture book that will be passed down for generations to come!

There you have it!  My fab five kid's books. 

Please comment with any titles that you loved as a child, or as a parent reading to your children.


  1. I just read The Giving Tree to my son's kindergarten class and The Lorax is a family favorite in our home. Loved this post (and thank you for commenting on mine). It's nice to know there are likeminded writers out there.

  2. Years ago, we did a "dramatic reading" of The Lorax in our adult Sunday School class as we discussed our stewardship of the earth. Yeah, Presbyterians can get crazy-radical sometimes...

    blogging about YA books beyond the bestsellers at

  3. These are great choices. Another one of my very very favorite children's books is Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. A really fun book that helps kids (and adults, too) realize that some days are just like that.

  4. The Giving Tree's the best Kid book Eva!

  5. Fun list. Are you familiar with Karma Wilson's bear books. You might like to check them out as well, if you like rhyming stories.

  6. Thanks for the comments and suggestions!
    It is nice to know that others share some of my favorites!
    I am really looking forward to checking out the Karma Wilson books now, too! Thanks @bikelady, They sound right up my alley!
    Oh, and @Katy, I would have loved to see that radical reading!
    Thanks again for reading my blog! I love this blogathon! What a supportive group!!!

  7. loved these picks. I substitute at an elementary school and have started to focus on children's literature for the first time since my babysitting days ended more than 30 years ago. Perfect timing for your blog topic.

  8. I don't believe it, my nickname for my son (now 21) when he was a baby was Andy Panda. I decorated his room in various panda art and, for a while, collected pandas. Anyway, my favorite childrens book? No, not something about pandas. It was Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. I read that book to my son over and over...and when he was older we went to Boston and saw the statute in the Public Gardens.