My Favorites Reads: 2012 Picture Books

It’s no secret that I LOVE giving books as gifts to kids in my world, so I was happy to oblige the request of several family and friends to make a list of some of my favorite books of the year. This might be a handy gift-giving guide or list to keep handy when you head to the library. I’m kicking off my series of “My Favorite Reads” with my favorite picture books published in 2012. Stay tuned for my lists Chapter Books and Graphic Novels for Younger Readers and Books for Middle Graders and Teens.

I knew this would be hard, but this was really hard to choose my favorites and keep this post to a reasonable length! I’ve read a lot of books, including a lot of great books that aren’t on this list. You can always head over to Goodreads to my shelf for even more great titles . . . you usually can’t go wrong with one of my 4-star or 5-star books, and I try to categorize the books as picture books, middle grade books, etc., so it’s easier to sort! I’ve tried to organize the books here loosely by theme, though obviously there are crossovers. For example, a book on friendship might be infused with humor.

And a note on my age recommendations–they are just guidelines. There might be a preschooler you know with the stamina to sit down to a longer book, and many older kids will enjoy the books targeted for younger kids. Watch how fascinated a ten year old will be with Green, or listen to a seventh grader read Oh, No! to a younger sibling or cousin.

All of the book covers will link to a more thorough synopsis of a book over at Goodreads!

Beautiful and inspiring books

These are books that you think about later, or maybe swell your heart a bit

A book created to follow up the Academy-award winning short film. A loving celebration of books. Beautiful. Ages 8 and up.

Sparse in words and illustrations, but a powerful message about finding joy in the unexpected. Ages 9 and up.

A new country and new home are hard, but a girl finds her voice by spending time reflecting in her special Quiet Place. Ages 8 to 12.

Another inspiring biographical tale from Patricia Polacco, as she recounts a very special teacher who saw and enabled her talents. Ages 8 to 12.

A book that celebrates kindness, generosity, friendship, patience and yes, knitting! Ages 7 and up.

Gorgeous, bright illustrations and a tale about taking just what you need. Ages 7 and up.


Friendship and Family

Books that celebrate the highs and challenges of friendships and family

The terrible monsters are surprised by the very nice, kind monster they create. A favorite filled with great messages. Ages 6 – 12.

Bear is so busy helping others that he forgets the story he wanted to share with friends. Bear’s friends are finally able to prompt him to start his tale. A loving celebration of generosity in friendships from a favorite author/illustrator pair. Ages 7 and up.

Boy and Bot are two unlikely friends who are very eager to help each other as they know best. So sweet and filled with humor. Kindergarten and up

Lovely illustrations and a tale about a reluctant big sister and beloved family quilt. Preschool – age 9

Davy is tired of all his siblings, but when he wishes they’d leave him alone, he’s surprised by the result. Celebrates the joys of family. Kindergarten – and up



Books that are great for sharing and laughing together

A humor-packed alphabet book with many appearances from an interrupting moose. Preschool and up.

One by one, a group of animals get stuck in a hole, and all the meanwhile, the mean tiger is getting closer. The repetative phrase of Oh, No! will have the audience of this read aloud chanting along, and the illustrations are terrific. Preschool and up.

A dog is put in charge of a group of cats and is quite frustrated to find they don’t act very dog-like. Animal lovers of all kinds will delight in this one. Preschool – Age 10.

Mo Willem’s pigeon is back and pointing out the world’s injustices. Funny stuff. Preschool – Age 8.

This is my favorite Olivia book since the first one. Olivia is tired of confirming to the girly-girl world. Preschool – Age 9.

An overly confident small fish steals the hat of big fish and is certain that he’ll get away with it. But will he? Older readers will enjoy this one and the discussion on the perceived outcome. Second grade and up.

Pete rocks. Truly. Told in a sing-songy, chant style text that is fun to read, or you can download the free companion song which is great. I love Pete’s flexibility when things go a miss. Great for preschool – third grade.


Books that entertain & teach!

A book about nature that is filled with anticipation and beauty. Lovely. Kindergarten – Age 10

A look at the roles of leaves throughout the year. Told in poetic form. Preschool – Age 8.

Amazing artwork will have you thinking about “color” books in a whole new way. Preschool and up.

Gorgeous illustrations and a fun storytelling pattern. Preschool – age 8.

A super fun lift, spin and explore book. Preschool.

Hooray for girls! Terrific biography picture book about the founder of Girl Scouts. Even non-Scouts will enjoy the empowering story. Age seven and up.

A sweet tale about Julia Child’s cat, Minette, that infuses interesting facts about Child’s life along the way. Age 8 and up.

A great story about Teddy Roosevelt’s meeting with John Muir that ultimately led to the establishment of our National Park system. Some stunning page spreads await the reader. Age 7 and up.


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