I’ve been a long-time fan of children’s and YA books. Now that I’m at home reading more than ever while simultaneously clinging to my sanity, working kid and teen books into my rotation has added some great variety to my bookshelf. Below are my picks for fun picture books to enjoy!
Strega Nona and Quiet, Tomie dePaola
It’s a wonderful time to explore (or revisit) Tomie dePaola’s work as he unfortunately passed away a few weeks ago. As a kid, I adored all of his Strega Nona books which are magical, funny, and ultimately heartfelt. Strega Nona means grandmother witch in Italian and these stories feature this sorceress’s adventures in her Italian village alongside lovable sidekicks like Big Anthony and Bambolina.
dePaola’s work features a variety of cultures and time periods. Quiet is a more recent book that readers can especially appreciate now. In Quiet, a grandfather teaches his grandchildren about sitting calmly outside together. Anyone who’s beginning to practice mindfulness or wants to introduce meditation to little kids should read Quiet. Who couldn’t use a little more calm today?
Be Quiet and We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, Ryan Higgins
I love the sense of humor Higgins’ books portray! Be Quiet is excellent for slightly older kids who still like having a story read to them (or are starting to read to the grownups). The book features Rupert, a mouse who aspires to create a ‘very serious and artistic’ picture book with no words. Unfortunately, his friends cannot stop talking! Much of the humor relies on wordplay so it could be a fun addition to at-home English classes.
Younger kids can enjoy Higgins’ We Don’t Eat Our Classmates. Penelope the dinosaur learns about going to school and how to be empathetic in this cute tale. Look for its sequel, We Will Rock Our Classmates, to be released July 7th.
Don’t Feed the Coos, written by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Heather Fox
Don’t Feed the Coos is a crowd-pleaser that follows the structure of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. If you feed a flock of pigeons, hilarity and chaos will ensue! The story pairs delightfully with Fox’s illustrations, admirably capturing the antics of those pesky coos! Stutzman and Fox have previously collaborated professionally on the Llama Destroys the World books and are spouses as well!