Best Children’s Picture Books of 2016

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It’s that time of year again — the big reveal of my favorite picture books; picture books I thought were the best of 2016. These are books that kids, parents, teachers, and families will love and enjoy for multiple readings.



Which ones are your favorites?


(Stay tuned for the best nonfiction books of the year coming up in the next blog post.)


Best Children’s Picture Books of 2016

Best Children's Picture Books of 2016
Old McDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban
Calling all truck fans — this is the book for you! Because Old McDonald has a lot of trucks — a bulldozer, front loader, motor grader, dump truck, and more. E-I-E-I-O! This is sure to be a family favorite read and sing along book.


Best Children's Picture Books of 2016
From Here to There
by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Christiane Engel
Here and There are best friends, pen pals who write each other all the time. And it seems they’ll never meet because Here is well, here, and There is over there. Luckily, There is a problem solver and figures out a genius way to visit his friend! Kids will love the play on words, the problem solving, and the sweet friendship. You will, too.


Best Children's Picture Books of 2016
One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
When a snake eats him, the boy (from inside the snake’s tummy) encourages the snake to eat more — which he does. From grapes to bears, to a cat, to a beehive, . . . the list goes on (think Old Lady Swallowing a Fly) until just a small fly makes the snake burp everything all out. Good thinking on the boy’s part, eh!? The diversity of main character plus the use of repetition makes this one of the best books I’ve read this year.


Best Children's Picture Books of 2016
Leave Me Alone
by Vera Brosgol
Any harried mother will relate totally to this grandmother’s never-ending struggle to be LEFT ALONE! She just wants to finish knitting her grandchildren sweaters for the winter. In peace. Even in the woods, she’s not left alone. Finally, she finally finds a quiet, dark place to finish her knitting. And then returns to gift her family with her loving work. Kids will enjoy this funny and sweet story.



Best Children's Picture Books of 2016
Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter
by Eugenie Doyle, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander
This picture book has a cozy feel with the words and illustrations. The author’s repetition of “good night” as the farming family buttons up for winter feels like a lullaby. “Good night, fields, peaceful and still.” Watch as the family works together to cut wood, fix the chicken coop, store equipment, and do these things that get the farm ready for “down quilts of snow.” It’s beautifully written and illustrated.


Best Children's Picture Books of 2016
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Curious Ada loves questions and thinking just as much as she loves science experiments. Even when in time out, Ada is thinking and wondering . . . all over the wall. I love this spunky science-loving character of color and know you will, too.


Best Children's Picture Books of 2016
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Use this beautiful book to talk about perspective. The cat walks through the world. And is seen by different creatures, each seeing the cat differently. It’s SUCH a cool book on point of view that it’s a must-read, must-own book, especially for classrooms. LOVE.


Best Children's Picture Books of 2016
My Favorite Pets by Gus W. for Ms. Smolinski’s Class by Jeanne Birdsall, illustrated by Harry Bliss
Sheep are Gus’ favorite pets. Which is why he writes this hilarious report for his class. . . You’ll laugh as he explains the basics with a bit of elaboration. “A boy sheep is a ram. He has horns. They do not come off.” This text is paired with an illustration of Gus trying to pull off the horns with a rope lasso. This is a super funny picture book and even a little informational . . .


Best Children's Picture Books of 2016
We Found a Hat
by Jon Klassen
Two turtles. One hat. What will they do? Klassen shows the friends together, one turtle’s internal struggling with wanting to sneak back for the hat and the other friend sharing a dream about them both having their own hats. Illustrations tell much of this story so pay close attention to this important sharing life lesson!


Best Children's Picture Books of 2016
Little Bo Peep and Her Bad, Bad Sheep a Mother Goose Hullabaloo by A.L. Wegwerth & Luke Flowers
Nursery rhymes pay little attention as Little Bo Peep tries to find her sheep — pigs are off to market, the spider is trying to swallow a fly, and so much craziness is happening that your kids will love looking at all the nursery rhyming details of each illustration. I think this picture book is hilarious.


Best Children's Picture Books of 2016

Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Lucy yawns while her mother reads her a bedtime story and soon drifts off to sleep. Later, she wakes up in the dark, realizing that she doesn’t have her special stuffed bear Molasses. As she makes her way back to bed with Molasses and her other plush friends, readers will help count her yawns. Can you count all twenty? Beautiful illustrations perfectly set the tone for this cozy, comforting bedtime story.


best children's picture books of 2016
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