Monday, October 15, 2018

Top 5 Picture Book Authors

I read A LOT of picture books these days (like, really, a lot!)  And since I read so many, I obviously have my favorites.  If I want to read so many books with my kiddos, I want to be able to enjoy the books that I know are teaching them.  Today I want to share my top 5 FAVORITE picture books with you, why I like them, & what I am looking for in a picture book.Favorite Picture Book Authors- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
What do I look for in a picture book?  I am not interested in twaddle.  I know that there is a time and a place for twaddle, but that is not what I want to be reading to my kids over & over again.  I know that children will often pick twaddle at the library and I do not want to squash their love for reading by rejecting their selections, but that is not what I am going to read over and over again.  I allow them to pick a few twaddle books, but I will assist them in picking the rest.  I am always on the hunt for books that are educational in some way.  Teaching a subject, character, life/Bible lesson, etc. are my main goals for content.  I also want beautiful illustrations that we can linger over well after we have finished reading the page.  There are many authors that fit my stipulations, but I want to share my favorites with you today. So, here we go:

Paul Galdone:  We all absolutely LOVE how he tells a story. I very much enjoy his illustrations of some truly classic stories.  We own the books in the images below, but we have also checked out The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Rumpelstiltskin, & The Monkey & The Crocodile from the library and love those as well.  The Gingerbread Boy was Ellis' favorite last winter.  I probably read it 4 bazillion times.
Chris Van Dusen: It's no surprise that The Circus Ship was such a big hit; it was such a wonderful book filled with a beautiful message, great art, & stellar rhymes.  We have loved it in our home! But did you know that Van Dusen has many other books?!  All of his books have great character elements like pride in King Hugo's Huge Ego & friendship in Hattie and Hudson.  I love all of the "If I Built..." series because it provides a lot of opportunities for conversations on critical thinking & creativity.  And lastly, the Mr. Magee Books, while we do not own any, we have read all of them from the library and they are so funny. I promise you can't go wrong with a Van Dusen book!

Gail Gibbons: I have not found a Gibbons books I did not instantly fall in love with!  Almost anything by Gail Gibbons I love, and so do my kids!  I love that these stories are so educational.  Gibbons clearly does her research before all of her books and each book can easily be used to teach children so much about so many topics.  She will base almost all (if not, all) of her books on nonfiction and then use a story to teach something about the nonfiction topic.  These are the ones we picked up this summer for lessons this fall.  I already have several of her books on my wish list for the spring!
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Dianna Aston & Sylvia Long:  I heard a lot about these books over the summer so I purchased one just to see if I would like it.  Once I saw it, I knew I had to have all of them.  When they arrived my kids saw me open the package and we sat on the floor and read every single one, cover to cover. They are so beautifully written to teach science and character at the same time.  And honestly, you can't help but linger on the pages!  The illustrations are stunning, and the attention to detail and color is paramount.
National Geographic Kids Books: I need to clarify, that these books are not like the magazine or the short reader books, they are National Geographic's Picture the Seasons Series.  National Geographic publishes them, but they are a bit different in the story telling aspect.  However, they are the same in that they have a similar style in the beautiful real photographs like the magazine.  I would say that these books are very educational, like the Gail Gibbons books, but these are completely nonfiction.  They are short and simple, but jam packed with educational information. Last year, I started with A Tree for all Seasons, but quickly realized that we needed the rest.
Cynthia Rylant: If you're keeping track, this is my "Plus 1". I found it impossible to cap my favorite authors at five.  #sorrynotsorry Rylant is a brilliant writer that I know many of you probably know about, but I couldn't have a list with her not on it! We actually do not own a lot of her books, but we have checked out many from the library.  The Relatives Came made me cry because it reminded me of what our lives are like now living away from family & how precious those reunions are.  We loved the Mr. Poppleton series; such funny, clever, & engaging stories for little ones.
These are my favorites (for now hehe).
What are your favorites?
What are your kids loving right now?
What are YOU enjoying reading with your kids now?
xoxo Darby

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