Even as an adult, when I read picture books to my young child I smile with delight and joy. Sometimes I even catch myself reading some of our favorite picture books after my daughter goes to sleep. In honor of the pictures books that make us giddy, give us an education and teach us how to become better people, here are 35 amazing picture books for adults that will warm your heart.
1. The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, by Peter Sis
Sis’s book illuminates the life of French pilot and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, creator of The Little Prince. This epic tale of adventure follows Saint-Exupéry as he grows from a fatherless child to pioneer of flight.
2. The Heart and the Bottle, by Oliver Jeffers
For anyone who has ever suffered the loss of a close person, Jeffers’s book captures the journey from loss of innocence to the revitalization of the soul.
3. LaRue Across America: Post Cards From the Vacation, by Mark Teague
Gertrude LaRue and her canine companion, Ike, take a road trip through the heartland of American with two cats in tow. The delightful illustrations give us a fun sense of wonder and show us some of the great landscape and adventures found throughout the United States.
4. New Big House, by Debi Gliori
It is never fun outgrowing a small house. But Gliori’s story guides us through the great adventure of searching for a new house, renovating a small house, and settling into a big, new, wonderful home.
5. Seasons, by Blexbolex
This boldly illustrated book takes the reader through the symphony of the four seasons. It captures the great moments of winter, spring, summer and fall with fascinating simplicity.
6. MAPS, by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski
MAPS is an aesthetically pleasing, antique-type depiction of various countries’ borders and topography. The book also includes interesting information about various countries’ culture
7. Slim and Miss Prim, by Robert Kinerk, illustrations by Jim Harris
Slim, a strong but shy cowboy, is secretly in love with ranch owner Marigold Prim. After both Slim and her cattle are stolen, Miss Prim travels through the majestic imagery of the Wild West to rescue them. After his rescue, Slim gets up the courage to marry Miss Prim.
8. Bentley and Blueberry, by Randy Houk
Blueberry is a lonely stray dog sitting in a shelter waiting for a family. Bentley is loved but lonely puppy. When the two meet, it brings mayhem and happiness to their owner Ms. Moody’s life. This book is based upon a true story.
9. Olivia, by Ian Falconer
Every Olivia book is a delightful journey into the mind of a young girl. With simple but character-filled illustrations, every one of Olivia’s adventures – whether real or imaginary – are fun.
10. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
This poetic tale of a day at the zoo depicts Eric Carle’s amazing creativity, coupled with Bill Martin’s sense of rhyme for an enjoyable exploration through the eyes of animals.
11. Corduroy, by Don Freeman
Corduroy – a little bear all alone on a department store shelf – finds the love of a young girl, only to be abandoned because of his broken overalls. Corduroy ventures off his shelf to find a button to fix his overalls, but despite his escapades through the department store, he cannot fix them. In the end, the young girl’s love brings her back to buy the broken bear. This heartwarming tale has been loved by generations.
12. Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg
Jumanji – the only board game that literally sucks you in – is an amazing jungle adventure that comes to life and symbolizes a son’s conflict with his father and his transformation into adulthood.
13. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
In its 50th year, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is still celebrating the unlikely friendship between Charlie Bucket – a boy living in abject poverty – and Willy Wonka – the successful chocolatier without a family. This tale of love, triumph and family continues to amaze children from five to 95.
14. Give Thanks for Each Day, by Steve Metzger, illustrated by Robert McPhillips
This heartwarming poem illustrates the beauty of giving thanks for the simple things in life.
15. Little Bea and the Snowy Day, by Daniel Roode
Little Bea and her friends show us the many ways we can have fun playing on a snowy day.
16. A Fine Picnic, by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Leon Baxter
When the family picnic gets rained out, Jack’s family doesn’t let the showers spoil their outing. With the picnic basket, thermoses, rain jackets and a bit of imagination, Jack’s family makes their home into a perfect park land for a picnic.
17. The River, by Alessandro Sanna
The very talented Alessandro Sanna takes us through the seasons with divine watercolor pictorials of each season’s special burst of color and flair.
18. Fox, by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Ron Brooks
Another amazing illustrated book, this story explores the wonderful side of friendship and the dark side of jealousy.
19. FArTHER, by Grahame Baker-Smith
FArTHER is a heartwarming story about how the bonds between father and son are hard to break, even when death tears them apart. Yet another amazing illustrated book, the story follows a young man who loses his father during the war and then proceeds to honor his father’s dream of flying.
20. Voices in the Park, by Anthony Browne
Sometimes seeing the world from another person’s point of view can be difficult. Voices in the Park enlightens adults and children alike on how to see life from another person’s perspective and how to look beyond our own prejudice.
21. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce, illustrated with Joe Bluhm
An amazing book about loving books made for book lovers of all ages.
22. Frankenstein, by Rick Walton, illustrated by Nathan Hale
Walton’s parody of Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline features a not-so-scary Frankenstein encompassing the fun spirit of Halloween.
23. Goodnight iPad: a Parody for the Next Generation, by Ann Droyd
A parody of Goodnight Moon, Goodnight iPad pokes fun at the human race’s inability to unplug – ever. It’s also a good reason to put down the mobile device and pick up a book.
24. Lights Out!, by John Himmelman
Himmelman’s book is for moms, dads and sisters who have always wanted to know what really goes on at Boy Scout Camp, or for Boy Scouts who want to remember the silly stuff that makes camp so memorable.
25. What Moms Can’t Do, by Douglas Wood, illustrated by Doug Cushman
This heartwarming tale is about the everyday tasks that moms can’t seem to accomplish – such as keeping the house clean or hearing herself think – told from a kids’ point of view. But in the end, every kid knows that what mom does best is love them.
26. The Littlest Pilgrim, by Brandi Dougherty, illustrated by Kirsten Richards
Mini the pilgrim is a kind soul looking to help out those she loves, but she cannot seem to find anyone who is in need of her help. Eventually, Mini finds a girl who is in need of her friendship.
27. When Lucy Goes Out Walking, by Ashley Wolff
We follow lovable puppy Lucy through her first year of life, month by month. Each month illustrates not only Lucy’s growth, but also the enjoyable aspects of the month, such as the cool April wind and October’s colorful leaves.
28. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, by Charles Schultz
Every year, Linus van Pelt dutifully waits for the Great Pumpkin in the most sinister pumpkin patch, hoping his hero will arrive with lots of toys. And every year, the Great Pumpkin disappoints. But what keeps us in love with this tale is that we get the see the otherwise surly Lucy van Pelt’s love for her brother as she picks him up from the pumpkin patch at four in the morning, puts him to bed and gets extra candy for him while trick or treating.
29. The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
One day, Duncan goes looking for his crayons only to find out they have left him a list of grievances and they have gone on strike. Duncan must figure out a way to fix each of their grievances before they will work again. Much like real life, Daywalt and Jeffers illustrate the complexity of relationships and how we can work to make them better.
30. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
A simply beautiful story about a young boy named Peter who wakes up to find the delight of the first snow fall of the season. Peter’s adventures of making snow angels and throwing snowballs are reminiscent of the innocence of a snowy day as a child.
31. The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson
Ferdinand is a gentle bull who would rather smell flowers than butt heads. Ferdinand’s life of contentment and gentle being reminds us all how to be happy with ourselves – as we are—even if we aren’t the same as others.
32. The Story about Ping, by Marjorie Flack, illustrated by Kurt Wiese
Ping the duck lives on a boat in the Yangtze River with his family. One night, Ping becomes separated from his family and through some misadventures figures out just how much he loves them. Ping’s genuine love of his family encourages readers to cherish time with their own families.
33. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
Eric Carle’s classic story follows a caterpillar as he evolves from an egg into a beautiful butterfly. This boldly illustrated story is captivating even as an adult.
34. The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd
The Runaway Bunny’s story is perhaps one of the most symbolic stories of how far a parent’s love will travel to keep a child safe. The simple illustrations make the book whimsical and enchanting.
35. The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
Before Tom Hanks starred in the movie version of this renowned Christmas story, parents and children had been enjoying the tale for over 20 years. This story fills us all with the love and hope of the Christmas season, even if you don’t believe in Santa anymore.
Featured photo credit: Books/Marin Resnick via flickr.com