Stacey Loscalzo

Oct 01

Picture Books: Why We Should All Be Reading Them

by Stacey

There are a few things I wish I could be paid to do. Being a student is first on the list. I would have degrees in literature and writing, art history and photography and on and on and on. My other ‘wish it was a career’ is ‘reader of book lists.’ I love, love, love book lists. I read them all the time and create my own lists from them. Books I want to purchase, books I want to borrow from the library. Books I think the girls would like. Books that would make good gifts.

I recently stumbled upon a great list at a new-to-me blog called Heise Teachers & Writes. This post is written by the middle school language arts teacher all of our children should have. This teacher plans to read a picture book every single day of the school year. And her students will be so much the better for it.

Picture books get such a bad reputation once children can read on their own and for the life of me, I do not know why. There are many, many picture books that are amazingly important for all readers to know. There are books full of important messages. Books that provoke thoughtful dialogue. Books that ask and answer tough questions. Books that are funny and make us laugh out loud. And these books come in small packages, wrapped up to be loved in short stretches of time.

The picture book should become the best friend of every busy parent. So in other words, picture books should become the best friend of every parent. I love reading aloud and we make time to read aloud chapter books whenever possible but I know once the school year, soccer season, dance classes and nightly independent reading homework begin, there just won’t be the time we need to enjoy a chapter book. Too many nights will be lost in-between readings. We will loose touch with the characters and forget the plot. Once this happens, I dive in to picture books in the morning if there is a second at breakfast, in-between math and word study homework if we need a break. In other words, whenever we have a quick five to ten minutes of time.

When I read Mrs Heise’s list, I knew I would find some new favorites. Here are a few that we have  particularly enjoyed:


Pardon Me! by Daniel Miyares is a story with limited text but a big story. You think you have this little parrot figured out but just wait. There is a surprise ending…


Picture Day Perfection by Deborah Diesen is the perfect read for picture day or any day. This one will make you laugh out loud and then smile softly at the end.


Flight School by Lita Judge is ‘follow your dreams’ penguin-style. I loved the story but it is possible that I loved the illustrations even more. Who knew that a penguin could be so expressive!


The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat is a celebration of imagination and who doesn’t need that every now and then.


This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris shows us that we can do anything we put our minds to- even if we are a moose.


Fireboat by Maria Kalman is the true story of the John J. Harvey, a fireboat brought out of retirement to fight the fires in the Twin Towers. Katherine told me this is the kind of non-fiction she likes, “You know, the kind that’s like a story.”


  1. Lindsey says:

    Love this. We still read picture books too, and we all love them. Just last night, in fact, Grace picked out 3 picture books for me to read to her. Looking forward to checking some of these out.

  2. Nina says:

    Awesome to have these suggestions! Three of my four kids still love picture books, but I would like to bring some new ones into the mix. 

  3. I love picture books! the illustrations in some of them are just breath-taking — they deserve to be in a museum! Thanks for sharing some new favorites.

  4. Caroline says:

    It’s funny you should post about this today, on my Hannah’s 16th birthday. I almost didn’t pull out the picture book that we read every year on the girls’ birthdays, On The Day You Were Born. Your post reminded me that they’re never too old for it! Also, with the bear attack in NJ and the bear running loose in town this week, coupled with the fact that my Katie is hiking in the Wyoming wilderness right now, very much in bear territory, I’ve had bears on my mind! My thoughts have jumped to all of the bear stories I raised the girls on: Blueberries for Sal, the Little Bear books by Maurice Sendak, the Little Bear stories by Martin Waddell, and Bearskin, the fairy tale so beautifully illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. On your prompting, I pulled them out and read them myself, and found it very calming, very therapeutic. So, thank you!

    • Stacey says:

      Ok. First- how is Hannah possibly 16!? Please wish her a happy year for us! And I am so glad you have read so many pictures lately. I was at the library the day of the bear here in Ridgewood and checked out a few bear titles to bring home!

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