There are some books that just capture the wonder and innocence of childhood better than others. They are classics. With just a glimpse of the cover, they bring back the sweetest memories of those unhurried days when we first discovered the beauty and magic of books. Check out this list of 28 of our all-time favorite classic picture books.
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1. Petunia by Roger Duvoisin
Proud and silly Petunia waddles around the farmyard dispensing well-intentioned but misinformed wisdom.
2. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk! Sal and her mother gather berries and meet a mama bear and her cub.
3. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
The timeless story of a gentle bull who prefers sitting under his favorite cork tree smelling the flowers to running and fighting. Check out these eight fun activities to use in conjunction with the movie Ferdinand, which was released last year.
4. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
This darling Caldecott winner was a trailblazer, as it was one of the first children’s books to feature a main character of color.
5. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Let the wild rumpus begin! For generations, kids have been enthralled by Max and the wild creatures in this story.
6. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Who can forget naughty Peter Rabbit and his adventures in Mr. McGregor’s garden?
7. Corduroy by Don Freeman
The delightful tale of a small teddy bear waiting on a department store shelf for a child’s friendship.
8. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
One of the most imaginative stories written, we follow Harold as he creates a world of wonder with this big purple crayon.
9. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
The classic tale of a young duck family that makes its home in the Boston Public Garden, staying safe and sound with the help of a local police officer.
10. Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban
Frances procrastinates by doing a host of things before finally settling down for bed.
11. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
A lost little bird searches for his mother and encounters a kitten, a hen, a dog, and a Snort!
12. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
The little engine’s mantra, “I think I can, I think I can,” still resonates in the minds of each generation.
13. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines …,” we meet the spunky heroine Madeline.
14. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
A young girl and her father take a moonlit walk on a chilly night in search of an owl.
15. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
This delightful tale of a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys is a timeless classic.
16. Paddington by Michael Bond
A charming little bear stows away on a ship and sails across the ocean to London’s Paddington station where he finds a loving family.
17. Strega Nona by Tomie DePaola
Trouble is at hand when Strega Nona leaves Big Anthony to watch over her magic pasta pot.
18. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Burton
Mike Mulligan and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Anne, show that even when times change, persistence and heart are what matter most.
19. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Harry hates to take baths, so he turns himself from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots to trick his family.
20. Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
This beloved tale of a lonely old couple searching for the perfect feline companion was a Newbery Honor book.
21. The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
This story of a little boy who hopes for a carrot to sprout from his seed, despite everyone else’s doubts, teaches a valuable lesson about faith.
22. A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
When you blend in everywhere you go, how can you ever stand out? This beautifully illustrated story teaches a sweet lesson about friendship.
23. The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
A classic tale of hard work paying off, the Little Red Hen enjoys the fruits of her labor, while the lazy animals who didn’t help get nothing.
24. Little Bear by Elsa Holmelund Minarik
The heartwarming classic of sweet Little Bear and Mother Bear, who is always there to care for him.
25. Curious George by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey
Curious George tries so hard to be good after he leaves the jungle and comes home with the Man in the Yellow Hat.
26. The Little House by Virginia Burton
A sweet little house in the country watches as things around her change and grow. A charming tale of finding your place in changing times.
27. Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by Bernard Waber
Lyle is a fine young crocodile, but for some reason, people don’t understand his gentle heart. A delightful tale about the importance of not judging people (or crocodiles).
28. Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman
“Where are they going? To the tree! To the tree!” With the busy antics of its comically illustrated dogs, this hilarious story has delighted kids for generations.
What are the classic picture books that make you nostalgic for your own school days? Come share in our WeAreTeachers Chat group on Facebook. WeAreTeachers Chat is a place to post questions, share a laugh or an idea, and connect with new teacher friends.