How to Pick Children’s Books You’ll Adore as Much as They Do


10 Tips for Choosing Kids' Books that You'll Like Too

Do your kids
ever get stuck on Repeat with a book that annoys you? Maybe you even liked it
the first five or ten times, but the 97th time? Ugh.

We have a
few books that I flat-out won’t read anymore. (We have plenty of other
choices.) Is that mean? I figure I’m teaching them that having preferences
about books is perfectly fine.

The Wonderful Ones

Then there are those other books, the wonderful ones, which you still love, even after seemingly hundreds of readings.

Have you discovered Blueberries for Sal*, Owl Moon, or Elephant and Piggie books? I’m happy to read and re-read these stories.There are some fantastic less-well-known books too. I’m sure you have a few favorites yourself. Mine include Nora’s Chicks  and Tiptoe Joe, which I wrote entire posts around (HERE and HERE).

How did you find your favorites? Did you choose them deliberately, or stumble onto them?

Selection Tips

How do you know, when you’re thinking of buying your kids a new book, whether it will be eternally pleasing or ultimately annoying?
Here are a few tips I want to share with you:
10 Tips for Picking Kids Books that Parents Will Love Too
1. Start with what you already like.
Search for other books by the same author, or go to Amazon
and look up a title you love, then scroll down to “Explore Similar
2. Ask the experts.
Ask a friend with kids a bit older than yours, or chat with your
local children’s librarian.
3. Check out award winners. 

Caldecott books are a great starting place for fantastic titles that stand the test of time.
4. Look for a storyline you love.If the premise captures your imagination, it’s more
likely to become a favorite with you as well as your kids.

5.  Illustrations set the mood. If you love how the book looks, it adds another level of enjoyment to the experience.
6.  Language matters.

Remember learning about figurative language and sensory imagery in school? Many great picture books are chock full of wonderful metaphors, similes, and more.Even on my zillionth time through Owl Moon, I still appreciate Jane Yolen’s masterful use of language. Reading about a “train
whistle long and low like a sad, sad song” and a night “as quiet as a dream” makes me feel mellow and happy.

7.  Rhythm moves you. When a book has an easy flow and rhythm, it’s pleasant to read aloud. It doesn’t have to rhyme to have a satisfying pace, but some of my favorites do rhyme, such as Sandra Boynton’s board books.
8.  Don’t confuse Early Readers with Picture Books. Early Readers (like Dr. Seuss) are accurately named, and they have their place. They’re meant to be read by children, not adults. You may need to read them a few times, until your non-readers memorize them and begin to “read” them to you. If your kids aren’t at that stage yet, then sneak it up to the high shelf until they’re ready.

9.  Symmetry is pleasing, but watch out for too much repetition.
When a story has parts that are symmetrical, like Little Sal and Little Bear in Blueberries for Sal, the story can engage your adult brain and feel satisfying.

When it is overly repetitive, it might make you want to run away screaming, or at least try to get
away with skipping lines or even entire pages. (Please tell me you’ve done that too!)

10.  Humor helps. I adore Mo Willem’s  Elephant and Piggie books . The characters are cute and the simple stories just plain crack me up and make my kids giggle. If
you find something that tickles your funny bone, you may have a winner.

Consider Your Kids

Of course, Murphy’s Law means that your children aren’t going to love every book you do. And Aunt Ethel will give them a completely annoying book that they love. Go with it — at least the first 96 times.

*Books and Giggles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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