Soon after I had my second baby, my older daughter started having acting out. We tried the recommended parenting tricks, from enlisting her help with infant care to scheduling “special time” with Mom, but she still tantrummed and squeezed baby sister way too tightly. Then we found a picture book that put into words everything my daughter was feeling but couldn’t quite express. The relief of being understood was a magic balm. As we read that book, and others like it, she began to accept life as a big sister. 

When I’m grappling with a little kid problem, my first stop isn’t the doctor; it’s the children’s bookstore.  My kids don’t want to hear my lectures about why they need to eat their vegetables, sleep in their own beds or share toys on play dates. But they will absolutely sit on my lap and listen to a story about a bunny or a bear who — what a coincidence! – has the exact same problem.  We have used picture books to work through so many issues, from mean girls at the playground to fear of making mistakes. Of course, some of our favorite books don’t have any subtext at all–they are just laugh-out-loud funny, the best medicine.

I’m always thrilled when I find a great new picture book, one that ends with my child shrieking “again!” and gets so much play that we wind up having to tape the pages back together. Here are 7 stories we’re loving right now and I know you will too. 

Lean more about these great picture books