7 Favorite Children’s Picture Books

Books have been an important part of my life from a young age. Both of my parents are educators. My mom is a retired high school librarian and my dad is a retired college professor, who taught children’s literature courses.

Every morning before school and every evening at bedtime, my sister and I would read books with our parents. This was a special bonding time, we would discuss the books and illustrations, and voice our young ideas about the content.

This is a listing of my favorite children’s picture books! Some are well known, others are not, but these books bring back many sweet childhood memories. Also, while researching the books I did notice a few (even though award-winning) have been banned from some libraries for various reasons.

Book cover for Where the Wild Things Are, Story and Pictures by Maurice Sendak, a Caldecott Medal-winning picture book. Illustration features a wild thing beast sleeping under a tree under a starry night with a sailboat in the distance.


Maurice Sendak’s Caldecott Medal-winning picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children’s books of all time. A must for every child’s bookshelf.

This iconic story has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations. When Max dresses in his wolf suit and causes havoc in the house, his mother sends him to bed. From there, Max sets sail to an island inhabited by the Wild Things, who name him king and share a wild rumpus with him. But then from far away across the world, Max smells good things to eat…

Let the wild rumpus continue as this classic comes to life like never before with new reproductions of Maurice Sendak’s artwork. Astonishing state-of-the-art technology faithfully captures the color and detail of the original illustrations. Sendak himself enthusiastically endorsed this impressive new interpretation of his art.

Front book cover of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, a Caldecott Medal-winning picture book. Young boy in a red snowsuit outside in the snow by a stop light in the city.


The magic and wonder of winter’s first snowball is perfectly captured in Ezra Jack Keat’s Caldecott Medal-winning picture book. This celebrated classic has been shared by generations of readers and listeners, a must-have for every child’s bookshelf.

I was surprised to discover that The Snowy Day is the New York Public Library’s #1 book on the list of “Top Check Outs of All Time”.

Front book cover of George and Martha, The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends, Written and Illustrated by James Marshall, with a Foreword by Maurice Sendak. George is a hippo wearing a green  hat with a yellow ribbon and Martha is a hippo with a red flower tucked behind her ear.


The books describe the activities and adventures of best friends George and Martha. These activities include taking dance classes, going to the beach and the amusement park, and playing practical jokes on each other. In a humorous way, the series teaches about friendship. George and Martha sometimes argue, but always make up.

I have discovered that there are a total of 35 George and Martha books, a children’s television show, and a musical!

Front cover of Strega Nona, An Original Tale Written and Illustrated by Tomie dePaola, a Caldecott Medal-winning picture book. Illustration of a grandmother holding a magic pasta pot outside of her home with one peacock sitting in a tree, and one bird sitting on the roof of her home, and a rabbit next to Strega.


Strega Nona—”Grandma Witch”—is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results.

In this retelling of an old tale, author-illustrator Tomie dePaola combines humor in the writing and warmth in the paintings as he builds the story to its hilarious climax.

Front book cover for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Written by Judi Barrett and Drawn by Ron Barrett. A man standing under a cloudy sky with an umbrella and coffee cup in one hand and a plate with a bouncing meatball falling from the sky in the other hand.


An imaginative story of amazing food weather that inspired the hit movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is a favorite of grown-ups and children everywhere.

The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town—except for its weather which came three times a day, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

But it never rained rain and it never snowed snow and it never blew just wind. It rained things like soup and juice. It snowed things like mashed potatoes. And sometimes the wind blew in storms of hamburgers.

Life for the townspeople was delicious until the weather took a turn for the worse. The food got larger and larger and so did the portions. Chewandswallow was plagued by damaging floods and storms of huge food. The town was a mess and the people feared for their lives.

Something had to be done, and in a hurry.

There is a video game based on this book too!

Front cover design for The Funny Little Woman, Retold by Arlene Mosel and Pictures by Blair Lent, a Caldecott Medal-winning picture book. Woman standing in the doorway of a small structure with overgrown roots on the roof and a monster hiding in the structure.


In this Caldecott Medal-winning tale set in Old Japan, a lively little woman who loves to laugh pursues her runaway dumpling—and must outwit the wicked three-eyed oni when she lands in their clutches.

Front cover of the Maggie B., by Irene Haas. Illustration of young lady painting a portrait of her baby brother, James, as they sail away on a boat named the Maggie B. with chickens, birds, a goat, and a toucan.


A little girl’s wish to sail for a day on a boat named for her” with someone nice for company”.

The plot summaries are by Amazon. 

I hope you all enjoy this list of my favorite children’s books from my childhood. 

Please leave a comment below or email me directly.

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I’m Jen Huppert
Over the course of my design career I’ve learned that at the root of all great work is human understanding. We all want to feel seen, heard, and appreciated. Designs that make an impact start from recognizing our audience’s desire to be fully understood in a way that is both coherent and visually impressive.

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