Sound Advice From the Picture Book World

Picture books have long answered the important questions in life. “Are you my mother?” “Chicka chicka boom boom, will there be enough room?” With a little whimsy and a lot of heart, picture books can sneakily impart all sorts of wonderful advice to readers. Whether it’s teaching kids to respect personal space, to take what life throws at them in stride, or to enjoy the journey not just the destination, picture books have wisdom to spare (with no shortage of fun to be had along the way). So, if you’re looking to entertain your young readers and perhaps teach them a few life lessons at the same time, check out these fantastic read-alouds! You can laugh and learn together as you read.


You Don’t Want a Dragon!

by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Liz Climo

Our protagonist wishes (much to the narrator’s continued chagrin) for a pet dragon. Though initially thrilled, the kid quickly discovers that dragons aren’t quite as awesome as they originally thought. From the scooting to the digging to the fire-breathing, our Kid is dismayed that they still haven’t found their perfect pet. Little do they know, that pet might just be right around the corner…


How to Potty Train Your Porcupine

by Tom Toro

Two children bring home a pet porcupine, but they can only keep her if she’s house-trained! After a whirlwind of increasingly zany approaches, the kids learn that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to ask nicely. With Tom’s wit and dynamic artwork, this delightful story about learning to pee will bring joy and heart to young readers.


Don’t Touch My Hair!

by Sharee Miller

It seems that wherever Aria goes, someone wants to touch her hair. In the street, strangers reach for her fluffy curls; and even under the sea, in the jungle, and in space, she’s chased by a mermaid, monkeys, and poked by aliens…until, finally, Aria has had enough! Author-illustrator Sharee Miller takes the tradition of appreciation of black hair to a new, fresh, level as she doesn’t seek to convince or remind young readers that their curls are beautiful–she simply acknowledges black beauty while telling a fun, imaginative story.


That’s Life!

by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld

After Life literally knocks on their door, one kid discovers that Life is truly what you make it. It’s weird and may not always cooperate, but Life’s beauty becomes apparent when it’s embraced for all of its quirks. This story is filled with tongue-in-cheek idioms that will appeal to readers of all ages and will impart deeper wisdoms about the many milestones and stages of life.


Are We There Yet?

by Dan Santat

Let’s face it: everyone knows that car rides can be boring. And when things get boring, time slows down. In this book, a boy feels time slowing down so much that it starts going backward–into the time of pirates! Of princesses! Of dinosaurs! The boy was just trying to get to his grandmother’s birthday party, but instead he’s traveling through Ancient Egypt and rubbing shoulders with Ben Franklin. When time flies, who knows where–or when–he’ll end up.


If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t!

by Elise Parsley

If your mom says to get ready to play at the beach, she means with a boat, or a Frisbee, or a shovel. She is NOT talking about the piano. But Magnolia is a little girl with a big idea, determination, and one very heavy upright piano that, she insists, she needs to take with her. What’s the worst that can happen? In a riotous series of mishaps, Magnolia quickly learns that–not surprisingly–a piano doesn’t mix well with sand, sun, and seagulls!