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Writing: Picture Books For Kids

This list of the best picture books about writing is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From A Poem for Peter to King Alice there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about writing? Let us know!

A Poem for Peter book
#1
A Poem for Peter
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Lou Fancher, Steve Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day. The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and despite Keats’s obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, jobs followed with the WPA and Marvel comics. But it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book. For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical narrative tells the inspiring story of a boy who pursued a dream, and who, in turn, inspired generations of other dreamers.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles book
#2
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
Written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles has a job of the utmost importance. It is his task to open any bottle found at sea and make sure that the message is delivered. He loves his job, although he always wishes that one of the letters would someday be addressed to him. Then one day he finds a bottle with the most intriguing note inside, and no name attached. As he devotes himself to the mystery, he ends up finding what his heart wanted all along."

Malala's Magic Pencil book
#3
Malala's Magic Pencil
Written by Malala Yousafzai and illustrated by Kerascoet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Malala's first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them. As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala's story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.

The Jolly Postman book
#4
The Jolly Postman
Written by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by Janet Ahlberg, Allan Ahlberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

This gorgeously illustrated, full-color classic celebrates a time before email by depicting amusing correspondence between fairy tale and Mother Goose characters. What could possibly be in a letter from Goldilocks to the Three Bears? Who would write to the Wicked Witch? Open this book, take out the letters, and discover what favorite characters would write to each other--and reimagine best-loved tales together.

Chicken Lily book
#5
Chicken Lily
Written by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Nina Victor Crittenden
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

"Through puns and poetry, Chicken Lily overcomes her fears and reads a poem onstage at her school poetry jam"--

  1. Follow Follow - Once upon a time, Mirror Mirror, a brilliant book of fairy tale themed reversos–a poetic form in which the poem is presented forward and then backward–became a smashing success. Now a second book is here with more witty double takes on well-loved fairy tales such as Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid. Read these clever poems from top to bottom and they mean one thing. Then reverse the lines and read from bottom to top and they mean something else–it is almost like magic! A celebration of sight, sound, and story, this book is a marvel to read again and again.

  2. The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems - Be they practical (how to mix a pancake or how to bird-watch) or fanciful (how to scare monsters or how to be a snowflake), the poems in this book boast a flair and joy that you won’t find in any instruction manual. Poets from Kwame Alexander to Pat Mora to Allan Wolf share the way to play hard, to love nature, and to be grateful. Soft, evocative illustrations will encourage readers to look at the world with an eye to its countless possibilities.

  3. Ike's Incredible Ink - Cleaning his room and talking to his best friend while preparing to write what he knows will be an incredible story, little Ike discovers that he is missing just the right ink to get his project underway, a need that requires extraordinary effort to fulfill.

  4. Mirror Mirror - What’s brewing when two favorites—poetry and fairy tales—are turned (literally) on their heads? It’s a revolutionary recipe: an infectious new genre of poetry and a lovably modern take on classic stories. First, read the poems forward (how old-fashioned!), then reverse the lines and read again to give familiar tales, from Sleeping Beauty to that Charming Prince, a delicious new spin. Witty, irreverent, and warm, this gorgeously illustrated and utterly unique offering holds a mirror up to language and fairy tales, and renews the fun and magic of both.

Bear's Book book
#10
Bear's Book
Written by Claire Freedman and illustrated by Alison Friend
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A story about stories, writing, reading, and friendship When Bear's favorite book of stories falls apart, he is determined to write one of his own. He ventures into the forest for inspiration, but writing is harder than he thinks, and he soon discovers that he needs help from his friends. See how Bear transforms their day into a wonderful adventure in this story about creativity and friendship.

Poppy's Best Paper book
#11
Poppy's Best Paper
Written by Susan Eaddy and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Fans of Olivia and Lilly will delight in Poppy, a little rabbit with big dreams—and an even bigger personality. More than anything, Poppy wants to be a verrrry famous writer. She's sure Mrs. Rose will pick her paper to read to the whole class! Trouble is, she has tall ambitions but is short on effort, and her jealousy takes over when her best friend's paper is chosen instead. In the end, Poppy discovers that she has to get out of her own way if her big dreams are going to come true. Rosalinde's adorable, expressive illustrations make memorable, quirky Poppy a real star!

The Night Before My Birthday book
#12
The Night Before My Birthday
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

In rhyming text based on "The Night Before Christmas," a child is filled with excitement and anticipation while helping with preparations for the next day's birthday party, and even an ice cream emergency cannot spoil the day.

The Road Not Taken book
#13
The Road Not Taken
Written by Robert Frost and illustrated by Vivian Mineker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

For all of life's adventures comes this beautifully illustrated companion inspired by Robert Frost's perennial poem "The Road Not Taken." Heartwarming illustrations of a young boy journeying through a yellow wood accompany the original text of the poem. When a fork in the road arises for the boy, so too does the first of life's many choices. And as the poem progresses, so does the boy's life: college, career, marriage, family, loss, and, by journey's end, the sweet satisfaction of a life fully lived. The first children's book ever made of Frost's famous poem, this moving presentation makes an inspiring gift for graduation, marriage, career moves, and all of life's exciting roads.

Woke book
#14
Woke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-11

Historically poets have been on the forefront of social movements. Woke is a collection of poems by women that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to speaking out. With Theodore Taylor’s bright, emotional art, and writting from Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood, kids will be inspired to create their own art and poems to express how they see justice and injustice.

  1. Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections - Clever poems tell the story of one inquisitive child's quest to start just the right collection to share at school. While everyone else is excited about presenting their treasures, one creative elementary schooler is stressed about her class's show-and-tell assignment. How is she supposed to share her collection if she doesn't collect anything? Polling her parents, gathering with Granny and Grandpa, and searching for the secret behind her siblings' obsession with baseball cards, she discovers she does, in fact, have something to share: a collection of stories and poems!

  2. Dear Dragon - A sweet and clever friendship story in rhyme, about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath. George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and science fair projects. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face?

  3. Rufus the Writer - Rather than a lemonade stand, Rufus sets up a story stand one summer and makes a series of trades with his friends--a story for a shell, for a kitten, for a surprise, and one more as a special birthday gift for his sister.

  4. Polly Diamond and the Magic Book - Polly loves words. And she loves writing stories. So when a magic book appears on her doorstep that can make everything she writes happen in real life, Polly is certain all of her dreams are about to come true. But she soon learns that what you write and what you mean are not always the same thing! Funny and touching, this new chapter book series will entertain readers and inspire budding writers.

Trick-or-Treat book
#19
Trick-or-Treat
Written by Debbie Leppanen and illustrated by Tad Carpenter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This frighteningly funny collection of Halloween poems is perfect for sharing! It’s that time of year again... The wind is howling, the leaves are blowing. A sliver of moon is barely showing. And the happy haunters are ready for a monstrous good time! In this collection of fifteen sweet, silly, and seriously fun rhyming poems, young readers will meet hungry ghouls, sneaky ghosts, and frisky skeletons, all who love partying in the moonlight. It’s a Halloween spook-tacular like no other!

Trees book
#20
Trees
Written by Verlie Hutchens and illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Every tree has its own story to tell in this evocative collection of poems celebrating the many varieties—from maple to willow to oak. There are so many different kinds of trees in the world, and each has special qualities that make it unique. This lyrical, fanciful collection of poems celebrates the singular beauty of each tree, from the gnarled old apple tree to the tall and graceful aspen.

Kindergarten, Here I Come! book
#21
Kindergarten, Here I Come!
Written by D.J. Steinberg and illustrated by Mark Chambers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Get ready for school with these fun poems! This adorable picture book celebrates all the familiar milestones and moments shared by every single kindergartener. Whether it’s the first-day-of-school jitters or the hundredth-day-of-school party, every aspect of the kindergarten experience is introduced with a light and funny poem–not to mention charming illustrations.

I Have an Idea! book
#22
I Have an Idea!
Written and illustrated by Herve Tullet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

From one of the true creative geniuses of this generation comes a unique meditation on and celebration of the magic of the birth of a simple idea. Sparkling with visual wit and bubbling with imagination, this is a richly emotional exploration of the creative process: from an initial tentative inkling, to the frustration of chasing the wrong notion, to finally the exhilaration of capturing—and nurturing—just the right idea. I Have an Idea! is a scrumptious cloth-spined package of color and inspiration equally at home on a child's bookshelf, in a new graduate's backpack, or atop a creative's desk.

Also an Octopus book
#23
Also an Octopus
Written and illustrated by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Even the most totally awesome story starts with a little bit of nothing. What happens next is up to you! A delightfully meta picture book that will set imaginations soaring. It begins with an octopus who plays the ukulele. Since this is a story, the octopus has to want something—maybe to travel to faraway galaxies in a totally awesome purple spaceship. Then the octopus sets out to build a spaceship out of soda cans, glue, umbrellas, glitter, and waffles. OK, maybe the octopus needs some help, like from an adorable bunny friend, and maybe that bunny turns out to be . . . a rocket scientist? (Probably not.) But could something even more amazing come to pass? Debut author Maggie Tokuda-Hall, with the help of illustrator Benji Davies, sets up an endearingly funny story, then hands the baton to readers, who will be more than primed to take it away.

  1. Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys - The wind and I play tug-of-war with my new kite. The wind is winning. When you’re a guy, nature is one big playground—no matter what the season. There are puddles to splash through in the spring, pine trees to climb in the summer, maple seeds to catch in the fall, and icicles to sword fight with in the winter. Nature also has a way of making a guy appreciate important stuff—like how many rocks it takes to dam up a stream, or how much snow equals a day off from school. So what kind of poetry best captures these special moments, at a length that lets guys get right back to tree climbing and kite flying? Why, guyku, of course!

  2. Basho and the River Stones - The great poet Basho lives in the woods and shares the cherries from his cherry tree with the local foxes. But one tricky fox becomes greedy––He uses his magic to turn three river stones into gold coins, and then tricks Basho into giving up all of the cherries. When the fox returns to gloat over his victory, he discovers that Basho is content. Wiser than the fox, Basho knows that a poem inspired by the beauty of the river stones is more valuable than gold. Oki S. Han’s watercolors evoke ancient Japan in this sequel to the New York Times bestseller Basho and the Fox.

  3. Forever or a Day - What does time mean to you? Sometimes it feels like it could last Forever or a Day. The seconds that count in catching the bus; The idyllic hours that slip by so quickly during a perfect day on the lake; The summer days that disappear into blissful happiness . . . Sarah Jacoby's debut picture book as an author and illustrator is as elegant as a poem and as perfectly paced as a mystery. This beautiful picture books follows an unassuming narrator through a meditation on time through the course of a single day. Inviting comparisons to Virginia Lee Burton and Margaret Wise Brown, this book's musings on time are at once simple, peaceful, and profound—the work of a truly genius picture book maker.

  4. Water Sings Blue - Come down to the shore with this rich and vivid celebration of the ocean! With watercolors gorgeous enough to wade in by award-winning artist Meilo So and playful, moving poems by Kate Coombs, Water Sings Blue evokes the beauty and power, the depth and mystery, and the endless resonance of the sea.

Fania's Heart book
#28
Fania's Heart
Written by Anne Renaud and illustrated by Richard Rudnicki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Ten-year-old Sorale discovers a tiny heart-shaped book among her mother’s belongings. Its pages are shaped like four-petaled flowers, upon which are written words in languages Sorale does not understand. Who wrote these words? Where did the heart come from? Why has her mother never mentioned this tiny book before? Fania’s Heart reveals the story of the crafting of the heart, against all odds, within the confines of Auschwitz, and of the women of immeasurable resilience, courage and loyalty who risked their lives for Sorale’s mother, their friend.

Boom! Bellow! Bleat! book
#29
Boom! Bellow! Bleat!
Written by Georgia Heard and illustrated by Aaron DeWitt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

This playful collection of poems--peppered with an astounding variety of animal sounds--is meant to be read aloud together. These poems for two or more voices explore the myriad sounds animals make--from a frog's jug-o-rum to a fish's boom! to an elephant's bark. Laced with humor, the poems are a delight to read aloud and cover all major classes of animals: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, even a crustacean! Readers will learn how to estimate the temperature by counting a cricket's chirps and see how creatures make sounds at specific pitches and frequencies, so that they can be heard despite other noise around them. Extensive end notes provide more information on the animals and how and why they make the sounds they do. Written by noted children's poet Georgia Heard, this is an ideal collection for parents and children to share, or for a fun, interactive classroom read-aloud.

Emily Dickinson book
#30
Emily Dickinson
Written by Susan Snively, Emily Dickinson and illustrated by Christine Davenier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Let your children discover the works of poet Emily Dickinson in "Emily Dickinson." As the premier title in the Poetry for Kids series, " Emily Dickinson" introduces children to the works of poet Emily Dickinson. Poet, professor, and scholar Susan Snively has carefully chosen 35 poems of interest to children and their families. Each poem is beautifully illustrated by Christine Davenier and thoroughly explained by an expert. The gentle introduction, which is divided into sections by season of the year, includes commentary, definitions of important words, and a foreword.

Hey Black Child book
#31
Hey Black Child
Written by Useni Eugene Perkins and illustrated by Bryan Collier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Six-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and four-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier brings this classic, inspirational poem to life, written by poet Useni Eugene Perkins Hey black child,Do you know who you are?Who really are? Do you know you can beWhat you want to beIf you try to beWhat you can be? This lyrical, empowering poem celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young people to dream big and achieve their goals.

Flower Fairies of the Summer book
#32
Flower Fairies of the Summer
Written and illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

This beautiful reissue of the well-loved classic Flower Fairies title is complete with Barker’s original poems and exquisite artwork. Each page features her recreation of nature’s beauty and the enchanting world of the fairies. Essential background readings to the bestselling Fairyopolis, this book provides a glimpse into the enchanting world of the Flower Fairies.

  1. Dear Santa, I Know it Looks Bad, But it Wasn't My Fault - In a series of letters to Santa, Scalawag the cat explains his recent misadventures, including an incident involving a small house fire, a visit from the paramedics, and broken Christmas tree ornaments.

  2. The Hideout - It’s time to go, but no one can find Hannah! That’s because she’s in the park with much to do. She needs to collect caterpillars and sticks, make a bow and arrow, and build a bed out of leaves. Deep in the shrubs, she sets up a secret hideout for herself and her companion, an Odd Furry Creature. Together, they hunker down over the campfire, lost in their own little world. But then a voice cuts through the branches and clearly says, “Where are you?” Hannah brushes off her paper, and the reader learns that Hannah was lost—not in the woods—but in her drawing. This dreamlike, lyrical picture book with shades of Where the Wild Things Are illustrates the power of imagination to transport us to new worlds.

  3. Can I Be Your Dog? - A dog looking for a home sends letters to prospective owners on Butternut Street, with surprising results.

  4. Ode to an Onion - Sad about the subject of a poem he is writing, Pablo Neruda visits his friend Matilde who shows him, through a simple onion, that happiness can be found even through tears. Includes facts about Pablo and Matilde, and Neruda's Ode to the Onion in Spanish and English.

Brave Jane Austen book
#37
Brave Jane Austen
Written by Lisa Pliscou and illustrated by Jen Corace
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

This picture book biography of the groundbreaking female novelist Jane Austen, recognized as one of the most important and influential writers of all time, is ideal for Women's History Month. Full color.

Poetree book
#38
Poetree
Written by Shauna Lavoy Reynolds and illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A girl writes a poem to a tree, but then is surprised when the tree writes back in this wondrous and warm picture book about friendship, nature, and the power of poetry. The snow has melted, the buttercups are blooming, and Sylvia celebrates winter's end by writing a poem. She ties her poem to a birch tree, hoping that it doesn't count as littering if it makes the world more beautiful. But when she returns, a new poem is waiting for her. Could the tree really be writing back? Sylvia decides to test her theory, and so begins a heartwarming poetic correspondence...as well as an unexpected new friendship. Lyrical and sweetly satisfying, Poetree is about finding beauty in the world around you, and new friends in unlikely places.

Ice Cream Summer book
#39
Ice Cream Summer
Written and illustrated by Peter Sis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little boy writes a letter to his grandfather about all the reading and studying he is doing this summer--but all his activities revolve around ice cream.

Little Plane Learns to Write book
#40
Little Plane Learns to Write
Written and illustrated by Stephen Savage
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The best thing about flight school is that Little Plane gets to learn how to sky-write! He adores practicing ARCS! He excels at practicing DIVES! But not everything is easy and fun. Little Plane loathes practicing LOOPITY-LOOPS. They make him dizzy. Find out what it will take to make Little Plane learn how to write in this little book about big dreams from award-winning author Stephen Savage.

Alphabeasts book
#41
Alphabeasts
Written and illustrated by Maree Coote
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A brand new collection of illustrations by this award-winning illustrator. Every image is a typographic portrait of each animal subject, created using only the letters of each animal's name. Remarkable likenesses and body language. A great way to learn the alphabet, improve spelling, letter-recognition and observation, and discover typography and design.

  1. Where Are the Words? - Period wants to write a story but can't find the words, so his friends offer their help. Question Mark asks around and Exclamation Point finds some enthusiastic words from some unexpected place. Now all Period needs is an idea, but from whom?

  2. Abuela's Special Letters - Sofia is on a mission to make a family time capsule. The whole family contributes pictures and special items. Abuela even writes a letter to each of her grandchildren to be opened in fifteen years. Can Sofia really wait fifteen years to find out what that letter says? Adorable art, a table of contents, writing prompts, discussion questions, and an English/Spanish glossary are all included in this early chapter book.

  3. The Case of the Missing Chalk Drawings - The chalks are drawing flowers on the chalkboard, but someone keeps stealing their artwork! Who could the thief be? Fortunately, Sergeant Blue is on the case and determined to solve the crime. It's a fun and funny read-aloud mystery with a colorful cast of characters, from This book just ate my dog! author-illustrator Richard Byrne. Godwin Books

  4. No Boring Stories! - A group of misfits takes a stand against sweet, cuddly, boring stories in this picture book by the critically acclaimed author of the Snappsy the Alligator series, Julie Falatko. The unpopular animals have had enough. They want to be in a picture book! Stories about mommy-loving kitties and cuddly bunnies at bedtime are boring. Wouldn’t you rather hear about yeti crabs in robo suits and fierce babirusa princesses who fight giant grape monsters?! This group of misfits has a unique story to tell, but they’ll never finish writing it if their over-eager bunny neighbor won’t GO AWAY! Julie Falatko, critically acclaimed author of the Snappsy the Alligator books, brings her signature humor to this stand-alone picture book about finding your tribe and writing the stories you want to see, no matter how weird or wild they are!

Dear Bunny book
#46
Dear Bunny
Written by Katie Cotton and illustrated by Blanca Gomez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A little girl writes to her bunny, telling him all the things she likes when they're together, from how he blows on her porridge to cool it down to playing in the park and holding hands at the zoo. As they adventure the world, they see big things, small things, creatures, colours and wonderful surprises wherever they go, but at the end, the little girl realises that the thing she loves most is her bunny! With a simple message about learning to be grateful for the things we have, most especially our loved ones, this is an ideal bedtime picture book.

Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of the Arts book
#47
Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of the Arts
Written by Bob Cooper and illustrated by Greg Paprocki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of the Arts is a great way to encourage kids' interests in all manner of artistic pursuits that they might aspire to. This volume introduces children to the many different types of creative fields in the arts including drawing and painting, music and dance, writing, design, architecture, and photography."--Publisher's description.

King Alice book
#48
King Alice
Written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A young girl wakes her father by informing him that she is Queen Alice, then draws him and other family members into her imaginative activities, from writing a book to a sleepover with fairies.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!