I am a sucker for lists. I am not afraid to make a list about everything, watch:
Things to make a list about:
- Things to write about in a blog (this list seems inexhaustible when said blog is imaginary, now though…I wonder)
- Things to remember (this list actually is inexhaustible)
- Things I have forgotten (I give up)
- Meal ideas (a masterful work of fiction)
- Ideas for how to get the children to get along (it turns out reading while letting them fight it out is an ineffective strategy)
- Number of side-eyes, slight shakes of the head, tsks, and “wow, you have your hands full”s I get when going anywhere with FOUR (gasp) children.
- Books I want read (because, librarian complex)
- Books I really want to read
- Books to read first before the books I really want to read
- Books to never, ever read again (a small but strongly worded list)
See what I’m talking about? Lists! All of that to say, there are going to be some lists on this blog. I know, right?! Finally, a blog or website that will list things, it’s what the internet has been missing…oh, wait!
In all seriousness though, when dealing with the overwhelming volume of children’s books, I have found it helpful to start with a list of authors that you can’t go wrong with. To that end, here is my list of picture book authors you should know (be forewarned, I am going to exclude Dr. Seuss because he has transcended lists at this point):
- Ezra Jack Keats Snowy Day, Whistle for Willie and The Trip are a few of my favorites by Keats. His Little Drummer Boy is a must have Christmas book.
- Kadir Nelson Kadir Nelson is one of those author/illustrators who make it easy for you. If you see his name on a book, go ahead and buy said book! They are excellent. The one being read most in our house is He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.
- Jane Cabrera The illustrations in Cabrera’s books are just lovely. Many of her books are fun re-told nursery rhymes or children’s song. For something other than that, try The Lonesome Polar Bear. It is wonderful.
- Karma Wilson Her books about Bear and his friends on various adventures are guaranteed to be read and re-read and read some more. If you enjoy her books but are looking for something besides the Bear books, try Mortimer’s First Garden.
- Kevin Henkes Chrysanthemum and Owen are classics for a reason, but they are just two examples of his many excellent books. You really cannot go wrong with any of his books, especially for your sensitive child.
- Chris Raschka I have already mentioned the wonder that is Yo!Yes? (you need to read this book) but he has other very good and playful books, including Caldecott Medal winning A Ball for Daisy.
- Jan Brett Famously known for The Hat and The Mitten, Brett is a fantastic storyteller. It is her illustrations that bring her stories to life so beautifully and my favorite example of this is The Umbrella.
- Lois Ehlert The bright colors on her pages and the rhythm of her words make Ehlert’s books easy to read. You will find your kids looking at them even when they can’t read the words. Planting a Rainbow is always on my floor having just been looked through by one child or another.
- Maurice Sendak I don’t even want to think about where children’s literature would be without the brilliance of Where the Wild Things Are. For all the wild chaos Max brings, Sendak uses his illustrated character Little Bear (the series is written by Elsa Holmelund Minarik) to restore order to his collected works.
- mo willems If you do not laugh out loud reading about Pigeon and his demanding sassiness, then you are dead…your heart is just dead! While you are busy laughing, your children will be chanting “NO” at all Pigeon’s ridiculous suggestions. Fun all around. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is my personal favorite.
Who would be on your list of 10 must read authors?