Best Children's Books About Parenting

When they want a glimpse into the life of a parent!

Updated Jan. 26, 2019

Parenting books are great for the young readers, but they can be helpful to parents as well. It can be comforting to read about crazy lives, wild schedules, and parenting mistakes that we all make. These are fun reads that let our little ones get a feel for the life that we try to live as their mentors and protectors, and the craziness we experience along the way. Most of all, these books offer a reminder that we love our little readers, no matter the mistakes we make.

Jabari Jumps book
#1
Jabari Jumps
Written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This was a fantastic book about conquering your fear. The illustrations are so fun—I love all of the different angles and perspectives the illustrator shows Jabari's situation from and how that really pulls you into the story. Jabari's dad is patient and understanding, and doesn't tell Jabari to just hurry up and jump, but waits for him to be ready and coaches him through a technique that might help him be ready to make the leap.

Thoughts from Grammy

This is a delightful book about being ready to take the next step. Jabari has finished his swim lessons and tests and is (almost) ready to try the high dive. His father is reassuring and encouraging, but not pushy as Jabari works up his courage. The story plays out in beautiful illustrations in washed-out hues, like a hazy, humid summer day, at a public pool in a sprawling park with skyscrapers in the background. With multiple illustrations on some pages and abundant white space around them, Cornwall builds suspense as Jabari climbs the many rungs of the ladder and walks out to the edge of the board. This gentle and reassuring book is perfect for reading aloud.

Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash. Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

1-2-3, You Love Me book
#2
1-2-3, You Love Me
Written and illustrated by Jill Howarth
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is anything but your average counting primer and is filled with charming illustrations, great rhymes and twelve ways to show love to friends and family, be it hugs, treats, or quality time.

From one bear hug to twelve pretty red roses, 1-2-3, You Love Me will foster lots of hugs, kisses, and affection between parent and child while teaching young ones to count from one to twelve. With charming love-filled illustrations, sturdy pages, and clever rhyming text, this is the perfect gift for baby for Valentine's Day or any time of year. Sipping on yummy shakes, cuddling puppies, counting the colors in a rainbow, and making music with friends are all ways that children can express their love for their friends and family with Jill Howarth's delightful board book.

Little House in the Big Woods book
#3
Little House in the Big Woods
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

I still remember reading this great story when I was little. I love the way it portrays family and the sacrifices that family members make for each other, especially parents. The stories are intriguing for the suggested age group, with morals and stories that are sure to induce a desire to treat the ones we share our "little houses" with.

Laura Ingalls's story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa's fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep. And so begins Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America's frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

No! book
#4
No!
Written by Tracey Corderoy and illustrated by Tim Warnes, Tracey Corderoy
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a great book for the "No!" stage, which seems to be a fairly universal thing for toddlers, unfortunately. May you be the lucky one who is spared! ;) The message that, while it's initially pretty fun and powerful to say no, you actually miss out on some pretty fun stuff if you don't actually vary your vocabulary is important... there are natural consequences to always saying No! The illustrations are cute and the facial expressions are extremely expressive, making this a book you can read with your emotions as well as your words.

Everyone thinks Otto is adorable. But then Otto learns the word no -- and now he says it all the time! At first, it's fun to refuse to eat, take a bath, and go to bed. But when Otto has a bad day at school, Daddy has the perfect solution.

Littles book
#5
Littles
Written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by A.G. Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

In the beloved tradition of Robert Munsch's Love You Forever and Emily Winfield Martin's The Wonderful Things You Will Be comes a beautiful rhyming ode to babies from a New York Times bestselling author/illustrator duo--perfect for baby showers, first birthdays, and anytime babies are celebrated. In this unforgettable, squeal-filled, tear-inducing love song to babies and how quickly they grow up, author Kelly DiPucchio's heart-tugging rhyme meets the gorgeous, dimple-cheeked, multicultural babies of illustrator AG Ford. With adorable scenes from the busy life of a "little"--peekaboo, feedings, tantrums, giggles--and a final scene that reminds us how they become big kids all too soon, this is the ideal gift for any new parent and their child.

Monster & Son book
#6
Monster & Son
Written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Joey Chou
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Mr. Stacatto

Despite having monsters in the title, this is a rather gentle going to bed book. I enjoyed the author's incorporation of language such as "chase you into bed" and "gobbled down a snack" that shows a tender side of fatherhood while still reminding you of their monster side.

Romp along with parent and child yetis, werewolves, giant lizards, and more as they stir up some monster-sized fun! Readers big and small, young and old, wild and tame, will roar with laughter and take this book by the horns, teeth, and fur...discovering that monsters and humans aren't so different—especially in the ways they love each other.

Wolfie the Bunny book
#7
Wolfie the Bunny
Written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book has such fun illustrations and it's actually quite funny! This would be a great book for the topics of new siblings, foster children, or adoption.

Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

A cute book about coping with a new sibling with an incredibly unique illustration style.

Families of all kinds will delight in this sweet tale of new babies, sibling rivalry, bravery, unconditional love...and veggies! The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realizes Wolfie can--and might--eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to, and when (in a twist of fate) it's Wolfie who's threatened, can Dot save the day?

Bear Likes Jam book
#8
Bear Likes Jam
Written and illustrated by Ciara Gavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I really like this series! This lovable blended family of ducks and a bear is humorous while simultaneously tackling real-life issues... in this case picky eating. The illustrations are fantastic and the love of a family seeps through every page in a delightful way.

Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Such a great book about picky eating! I love Bear and his personality. You also know he has a pretty great mom for helping him learn to balance out his diet. :)

In their blended family, Mama Duck worries when Bear eats too much jam, but when the ducklings play a game with their vegetables, Bear starts to eat the strange green things on his plate.

Babymoon book
#9
Babymoon
Written by Hayley Barrett and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This is a fun book for little families that are expanding or for little ones that are just curious about life with newborn babies. The story is very sweet and loving, with equally fun and sweet illustrations. The story is sure to make anybody ponder on the joys- and forget the struggles- of welcoming newborns into the family.

In a perfect gift for new and expectant parents (and siblings), a gentle story pays tribute to the wonder and emotion of a family's first quiet days with a newborn. The house is hushed. The lights are low. We're basking in a newborn glow. Inside the cozy house, a baby has arrived! The world is eager to meet the newcomer, but there will be time enough for that later. Right now, the family is on its babymoon: cocooning, connecting, learning, and muddling through each new concern. While the term "babymoon" is often used to refer to a parents' getaway before the birth of a child, it was originally coined by midwives to describe days like these: at home with a newborn, with the world held at bay and the wonder of a new family constellation unfolding. Paired with warm and winsome illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal, Hayley Barrett's lyrical ode to these tender first days will resonate with new families everywhere.

On the Night You Were Born book
#10
On the Night You Were Born
Written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

On the night you were born, you brought wonder and magic to the world. The moon stayed up till morning. Polar bears danced. Here is a book that celebrates the one and only ever you! Now available in its entirety in board book format, Nancy Tillman’s masterpiece is perfect for acknowledging the special people in our lives that they are loved.

All of Baby, Nose to Toes book
#11
All of Baby, Nose to Toes
Written by Victoria Adler and illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, Victoria Adler
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

From eyes to ears, tummy to nose, legs to toes, there’s a lot for baby to discover – and even more for a family to love. Bright, buoyant art and a roly-poly little baby are sure to inspire plenty of giggling and grabbing and feet-in-the-air-ing. For every baby – and every parent who loves that baby to bits – here’s the perfect first book.

Go, Pea, Go! book
#12
Go, Pea, Go!
Written and illustrated by Chris Sonnenburg, Joe Moshier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Pea Junior has to go, go, go, go! The end feels so far away, but with his family and friends cheering him on, Pea knows he can make it and go number one! A potty chart, a sheet of stickers, and the lyrics and music notation for the "Go, Pea, Go!" song are included to make an easy, all-in-one, go-to book for parents to help ease the pressure of the race to the Pea Bowl.

Bear of My Heart book
#13
Bear of My Heart
Written by Joanne Ryder and illustrated by Margie Moore
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

There are so many bears in the world dear, but there's no other one that will do. You are the bear of my heart, dear, and I am the one who lives you. Every mother makes promises to share the joys and wonders of the world with her children and Mother Bear is no exception. As Mother Bear introduces her child to the hills, lakes, caves and starry nights, she reminds Baby that no matter what, he will always remain the bear of her heart and she will always be there for him. With Joanne Ryder's heartfelt lyrical text and adorable illustrations by Margie Moore, this beautiful hardcover is now available in board book and is perfect book for sharing on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or any day of the year!

Guess How Much I Love You book
#14
Guess How Much I Love You
Written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Sometimes, when you love someone very, very much, you want to find a way of describing how much you treasure them. But, as Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare discover, love is not an easy thing to measure! For two decades, Sam McBratney’s timelessly endearing story, beautifully rendered in Anita Jeram’s exquisite watercolors, has captured the deep and tender bond between parent and child. Guess How Much I Love You is one of the world’s best-loved picture books.

Take Heart, My Child book
#15
Take Heart, My Child
Written by Ainsley Earhardt and illustrated by Jaime Kim, Ainsley Earhardt
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Now available as a giftable board book, popular FOX news anchor Ainsley Earhardt’s New York Times bestseller Take Heart, My Child is a lyrical lullaby that inspires children to follow their dreams and passions. FOX and Friends cohost Ainsley Earhardt shares precious life lessons parents can pass onto their children so that they can follow their hearts, dreams, and passions. Take Heart, My Child is a lyrical lullaby in which Ainsley shares her own hopes and dreams and lets her child know that whatever challenges life brings, “Take heart, my child, I will—or, my love will—always be there for you.” It’s a universal message, one that all readers will relate to.

Potty  book
#16
Potty
Written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-3

A new toddler title charts a crucial achievement. There comes a point in a toddler’s life when going in one’s diaper is only one possible option, and the question must be raised: "Should I go in my potty?" With pitch-perfect humor and pacing, Leslie Patricelli follows the inner dialogue (sure to have little ones shouting responses) and hilarious actions of everyone’s favorite Baby, winding up with an over-the-top look of surprise and delight that will have both parents and offspring laughing out loud--"I did it!"

I've Loved You Since Forever book
#17
I've Loved You Since Forever
Written by Hoda Kotb and illustrated by Suzie Mason
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lyrical text and illustrations of baby animals and their mothers show the love of a parent.

Made for Me book
#18
Made for Me
Written by Zack Bush and illustrated by Gregorio De Lauretis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Of all the children that ever could be, You are the one made just for me. From a child's first uttered "Dada" to his or her first unsteady steps, nothing can adequately convey the joy and awe of watching the birth and growth of a new child. Filled with adorable illustrations and the refrain, "You are the one made just for me," Made for Me is a winning presentation of tender moments that tie a father and his new child together--forever.

The Picky Eater book
#19
The Picky Eater
Written by Betsy Parkinson and illustrated by Shane Clester
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Piper the piglet is a very picky eater, who will only eat food beginning with the letter "P"--and somehow her parents must break her of this strange quirk, and get her to eat other good foods.

Goldilocks and the Just Right Potty book
#20
Goldilocks and the Just Right Potty
Written and illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

"While most potty books strike readers as too old or too young, here's one that almost everyone can agree is (you guessed it) just right." - Kirkus Reviews Little Goldilocks wants to wear underwear -- big-girl underwear that's not too silly and not too frilly, but just right. But that means she also needs to find the "just right" potty. Will she know when she needs to go? And will she get to the potty in time? Find out in this lighthearted story that will have parents and their little ones feeling ready to tackle toilet training.

Even Firefighters Go to the Potty book
#21
Even Firefighters Go to the Potty
Written by Naomi Wax, Wendy Wax and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Clang! Clang! Clang! The fire truck is pulling out of the station. But wait! Where is the firefighter going? To the potty! Even firefighters go to the potty! Toddlers are uneasy about toilet training. And in most cases, even if they know they have to go, sometimes they are too busy to bother. In this hilarious gate-fold story, each person--from a firefighter on the way to answer a fire alarm to a zoo keeper on the way to feed the polar bears--stops what they are doing to go to the potty. With humor and no pedantics, toddlers learn that everybody uses the potty.

Everyone Poops book
#22
Everyone Poops
Written by Taro Gomi and illustrated by Amanda Mayer Stinchecum
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Shows how creatures throughout the animal world--including humans--deal with the products of digestion.

My Little Chick book
#23
My Little Chick
Written by Geraldine Elschner and illustrated by Eve Tharlet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A fresh combination of story and pictures weaves a great deal of information about eggs and chicks into this charming tale Lena liked to sit in her mother's garden and watch the chickens. But something is missing in this happy group of hens . . . A sweet little chick! How fortunate that plump little Alma had just laid an egg. But to Lena's surprise Alma does not seem interested in hatching it. Lena makes a snap decision and attempts to surprise everyone by hatching the chick herself. However, hatching an egg is more difficult than Lena thinks, and the journey from egg to chick is a long one. This is a sweet book about the challenges and joys of being a parent.

If I Could Keep You Little book
#24
If I Could Keep You Little
Written and illustrated by Marianne Richmond
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

IF I COULD KEEP YOU LITTLE exemplifies Marianne's real insights into the human spirit and her beautiful illustrations that will touch children and adults and that are sure to be cherished for generations to come. Taking the reader on a journey of memory and expectation, IF I COULD KEEP YOU LITTLE showcases the fleeting little moments that reveal how a child changes and grows.If I could keep you little,I'd decide on matching clothes.But then I'd miss you choosingdots on top and stripes belowIf I could keep you littleI'd cut your bread in shapes.But then I'd miss you finding"Hey! I like ketchup with my grapes!"

In Aunt Lucy's Kitchen book
#25
In Aunt Lucy's Kitchen
Written and illustrated by Cynthia Rylant
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

All six books in the Cobble Street Cousins series are now available together in a collectible boxed set! Meet the Cobble Street Cousins: Lily, who wants to be a poet, Tess, who wants to be a Broadway star, and Rosie, who wants a little cottage with flowers by the door. Right now, though, the cousins are sharing an attic bedroom in their Aunt Lucy’s light blue house on Cobble Street, and happily making plans for the summer. This paperback boxed set includes: In Aunt Lucy’s Kitchen A Little Shopping Special Gifts Some Good News Summer Party Wedding Flowers

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.