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


  1. Great tips, fortunately mine are all quite fickle and move on from books quite quickly. Although the 4 year old does always come back to the same princess book!! x #twinklytuesday

    1. Count yourself lucky. Mine find favorites. Even with library books, they want the same story every day for the whole two weeks. I go along if I like it too. Otherwise, I start suggesting alternatives!

  2. Great post! I'll definitely be taking a few of these tips on board. Two of my favourites, that I don't mind reading repeatedly when my children request them for the twenty hundredth time are "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" and "Green eggs and Ham". However, there are some that I've read so often that just the title being mentioned sends my head spinning!
    I, also going to grab a few of the ones you've mentioned liking on our next library tip, so thanks for the heads up 🙂

  3. I love to read aloud – as long as the story isn't annoying! I definitely agree that illustrations, rhythm, storyline and language make a huge difference. We have a ton of favorites, and I look forward to checking for Nora's Chicks and Tiptoe Joe at our library.

    1. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. We first discovered Nora's Chicks at the library and liked it so much I bought a copy for us, plus two for gifts!

    2. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. We first discovered Nora's Chicks at the library and liked it so much I bought a copy for us, plus two for gifts!

  4. Great tips. We find when we like a book by a certain author, we get searching for more. We never fail with Julia Donaldson, the Pip & Posy books and pop up books always delight, too. #LetKidsBeKids #Shine

  5. Good tips. I like Julia Donaldsons books as they are rhyming and very easy to read and enjoy…my children like them too.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  6. As a former early childhood educator, I can honestly say I'm obsessed with children's books. There's nothing like finding a great book that has impact with kids.

    I love Mo Willems!! One of my favourite authors.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great post. For the past few months I've been trying a new strategy picking out pictures books: grab 10 random ones off a shelf without looking at the titles until we get home. We've found a few good ones that way, but mostly not. At least it keeps things interesting.

  8. Wow, definitely adding Owl Moon to our list — and so key about the difference between repetition and symmetry. There are only so many authors who can do repetition justice (like Robert Munsch!)

  9. Great tips! We definitely have books that have to be read continuously and every now and then I will hide them so he picks a different one (I did that tonight!). Great ideas here about buying them though, Owl Moon looks like a lovely one! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  10. Thank you for the tips! These are adorable books we also own! I also love the book "Thank You Bear", I didn't really like it at first, but after a few hundred times, I saw the deep meaning in it. It's a beautiful book, even if it's only about fifty words. 😉

  11. Good tips, Heather! Books that make me laugh are my favorite to read aloud. Thanks for sharing a great selection. Stopping by from the #KidLidBlogHop

    1. Wow — what a great list! I see a lot of favorites plus quite a few I've never heard of — always a good mix for a "best books" list. Thanks again.

  12. Thanks for these great tips! It's always a shame when the kids don't like the books you've brought home. I also found Kathleen Odeon's Great Books for Boys and Great Books for Girls to be a great resource … we read most of the picture books to great reviews by my kids!

  13. We have great book addicts in our house as well as one reluctant reader. I love your tips.

    I’ve linked to your great tips on my Friday ‘Links I love’ post. I’ve click through from the Practicingnormal Pinterest Parenting Group Board and thought it was a great post with encouragement for parents that want to find great reading material for their kids. I’ve used your Pinterest photo and share one sentence of your post with a link to click through to your site. You can see the link here:

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