Am I the only one who thinks books make the very best gifts for all ages? I think not! And with Christmas fast approaching, if you have some littles on your list and would like to add to their mini-library with some meaningful titles, I have done the groundwork (it was no hardship whatsoever for one who adores all things picture books!) and have created a delightful PICTURE BOOK GIFT GUIDE just for you…
“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” — Kate DiCamillo
This gift guide is comprised of a few of my personal favorites, along with recommended reads from picture book authors, and tried-and-trusted titles from moms who know their kidlit!
So, here are 12 recommendations with my mini-reviews… I’ve included my Amazon affiliate links in case you want to grab a copy now (full disclosure here) which means I get a tiny commission while you pay the regular price for any of the books:
LITTLE WOMEN: A BABYLIT PLAYTIME PRIMER by Jennifer Adams & Alison Oliver
BabyLit board books are a beautiful way to introduce little ones to the world of classic literature, and Little Women just happens to be my all-time favorite book! With simple snippets from the novel and darling illustrations for each activity, young readers will become familiar with the March family’s lifestyle in preparation for eventually reading the beloved story of Little Women.
THE ROCK FROM THE SKY by Jon Klassen
This humorous tale about a turtle, an armadillo, a snake, and a rock, will leave some readers laughing out loud and others scratching their heads! We see not a whole lot of action (mainly a rock falling from the sky) but it’s the underwhelming interactions that are so wonderfully Jon Klassen! His illustrations are always sparse and subdued yet speak volumes, and he doesn’t “talk down” to young readers, which I’m sure they notice and appreciate.
THE GRUFFALO by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
This delightful “modern classic” is an absolute treat to read aloud!
A short rhyming story, The Gruffalo features a smart-and-savvy mouse who talks his way out of danger with a fox, an owl, a snake… and then an actual Gruffalo! Fun, inspiring, and full of quick whit and fantastic illustrations, this is a great addition to my kidlit collection. I especially love the sturdy board book edition.
CLARIS THE CHICEST MOUSE IN PARIS by Megan Hess
This gorgeous picture book caught my eye in the bookstore immediately—a fashionable little mouse named Claris—in Paris, what could be cuter? The illustrations are absolutely stunning from start to finish, coupled with a sweet rhyming tale of a courageous mouse fashionista who shows compassion and kindness to a long-suffering cat. This is acclaimed fashion illustrator Megan Hess’ first children’s book in a beautiful series and will appeal to readers young and old with its attention to detail throughout. Fabulous!
THE BARNABUS PROJECT by The Fan Brothers
The Fan Brothers have created an absolute delight in this tale of an imperfect creature in a perfect pet world, creating space for conversations about inclusion, bullying, freedom, self-image, and more. The illustrations are detailed, delightful, and humorous with Barnabus, the half-mouse, half-elephant as the sweet yet courageous protagonist. A book to be read time and again, equally as appealing to both adult and child, I highly recommend adding The Barnabus Project to your bookshelf!
OLIVIA by Ian Falconer
This humorous book about everyone’s favourite pig is simply adorable! Olivia is busy, fun, and relatable to many with her adventurous antics and mischievous spirit. From making skyscraper sandcastles to trying on every outfit in her closet to painting a masterpiece on the wall at home (and getting a time out), Olivia is loved—even though she wears everyone out. With plenty of whitespace on the pages and bold hits of red that pack a punch, the illustrations are perfect for this Caldecott Honor Book and #1 New York Times bestseller!
EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
A story about Anabelle, a kind little girl who finds a magical box of yarn and promptly begins knitting… and knitting… and knitting. She knits sweaters for everyone in her town, as well as the houses, structures, and animals, bringing color to an otherwise drab, dull backdrop. The yarn never runs out, which causes a great deal of excitement—and jealousy. A muted palette and fabulous illustrations in true Jon Klassen style are brought to life with the colorful yarn in this unique book for knitting lovers, kind people, and those who enjoy a happy ending!
GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU by Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram
“I love you right up to the moon—and back.”
This beloved children’s book is the perfect bedtime read! Little Nutbrown Hare asks Big Nutbrown Hare the title, “Guess how much I love you,” and from there, the story goes on in a sweet attempt to quantify love. The illustrations are peaceful and endearing, the story lends itself for readers to follow the actions, and best of all, it assures Little Nutbrown Hare he is loved deeply. The padded board book is so precious and I know it will be read over and over for many years to come!
KING MOUSE by Cary Fagan & Dena Seiferling
King Mouse has the winning combination of stunning illustrations with thoughtful story—a must for any child (or adult’s!) bookshelf. Set in the forest, a tiny mouse comes across a tiny crown and when other animals ask if he is king, he is happy to assume the role. However, he soon discovers there are more crowns up for grabs—but not for everyone. In a beautiful moment of selflessness, the mouse goes above and beyond when he acts on the treasure of friendship. With gorgeous muted earth tones throughout and a dose of humor yet overall sense of calm, this tale is sure to spark conversation with a young reader. And perhaps it serves as a reminder for us all to look out for those who may be hurting, to love selflessly, and to enjoy every sunset.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak
Max, a wild and naughty boy who dresses in a wolf costume, is sent to bed without supper for misbehaving. His bedroom curiously transforms into a forest and then before Max knows what’s happening, he is sailing on the ocean to a place where the wild things are— and where he gets to be king. But does Max really want to be there, too? This book, written in 1963, shows the power of imagination—and that there’s no place like home. Even for those who are a little wild…
THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein
This tender story (published in 1964!) about the relationship between a tree and a boy is sure to pull on the reader’s heartstrings. The tree is happy to give and give and give again, but the boy is only interested in taking from the tree. As he grows up, he wants more from his tree, and she is willing to give her all for him. Poignant and thought-provoking, this book continues to stand the test of time in a moving tale of unconditional love.
THE CRIPPLED LAMB by Max Lucado & Liz Bonham
This beautifully illustrated book is about a crippled lamb named Joshua, who feels sad when he is left out and can’t keep up with the other sheep—until one very special night. In Joshua’s stable, a baby boy is born and the little lamb not only witnesses this special moment, but he is able to help and feel part of something very precious. A heartwarming Christmas story with a reminder that God has a plan for each of our lives.
“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!” Neil Gaiman
I hope this gift guide is helpful for you, friend! If you have any favorites to add to our list, feel free to mention them in the comments. Happy shopping… and happy reading,
P.S. It would be remiss of me not to mention my own books for gifts or to treat yourself! You can find my books for children, teens, and adults HERE!