The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
I thought this was just the sweetest picture book I’ve read in a long time. The illustrations are darling and the rhymes flow so easily it almost doesn’t even sound like rhyming. I think it would be great for young kids who like looking at other kids’ faces as well as talking about individuality.
We Forgot Brock! by Carter Goodrich
I always love picture books where kids have imaginary friends because when I was little I tried to convince myself I had an imaginary friend but I never could. This one is a little long for a read aloud in my opinion, but I think it would make a great bedtime story. Whether or not the child reading it has an imaginary friend, it’s always nice to find a book about being taken seriously.
The Whale In My Swimming Pool by Joyce Wan
It’s picture books like this one that make me wish, as much as I love my infant storytimes, that I did storytimes for toddlers, too. This would make an excellent read aloud book–there are plenty of opportunities for asking silly questions like, “what would you do with a whale in your swimming pool?” or “do you think a crane will get that whale out of the pool?”. Plus, I always love a picture book with a silly ending.
Beach House by Deanna Caswell
This was another really lovely picture book. The watercolor illustrations go really well with the simple rhyming text. This would be a great book for bedtime or before going on vacation–it shows a trip that would be very familiar to a lot of kids.
Papa’s Backpack by James Christopher Carroll
I don’t think I’ve ever seen picture book illustrations quite like these. It’s so hard to find simple picture books about parents deploying overseas, much less ones that discuss feelings in such a child-friendly way. I also always like when illustrators choose to use animals instead of humans to make the characters relatable to all types of kids. If the child is being read aloud to, I think it would be easy to replace “Papa” with “Mama” if mom is the deployed parent.
William & the Missing Masterpiece by Helen Hancocks
I am such a fan of really clever picture books. Obviously it’s most important for kids to enjoy their picture books, but I think it’s also very important for parents to enjoy them. Plus, who doesn’t love a picture book full of great illustrations and cheese jokes? I’m not sure it would make a great read aloud, but it would be a wonderful read-together.
And because I enjoyed this one so much:
Seaver the Weaver by Paul Czajak
I think this book would work well as both a read aloud and a read together. Kids will like repeating “what is that?” and identifying the shapes in Seaver’s webs. It’s also a nice way to talk about appreciating differences and being independent.