Here is a collection of picture books geared for ages four to eight which celebrates the importance of reading [with the exception of the last book].

N_Under_the_OceanMiss Smith Under the Ocean, by Michael Garland, is an adventure that takes reading to a level that actually becomes real.  When Miss Smith reads out loud to her class, her stories take them to parts of famous books and the students are caught completely up in the story.  As the class goes on a field trip to an aquarium, Miss Smith begins to read adventures “on the high seas.” Her stories, such as “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Swiss Family Robinson”, are just a few of the exciting books the children experience. Check out more books about Miss Smith’s great reading adventures.

Josias, Hold the Book, by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren, and beautifully painted with soft water-colors by Nicole Tadgell, is a fascinating look inside the life of a Haitian boy, Josia, as he works in his family’s garden.  He can’t seem to get his beans to grow and he asks a friend who gets to “hold the book”, which means in Haitian that the friend is able to attend school, to help him. If Josia can’t grow his beans, he worries what his family will eat. His friend convinces him that he can find the answers at school where books will be helpful to him. This book showcases life in a third world country and the difficulties of life for the many children who aren’t able to go to school. The author’s note found in the back discusses further what Haitian school children do at school and what they eat while there.

Homer The Library Cat, by Reeve Lindbergh, and perfectly painted with a combination of water-color and collage by Anne Wilsdorf, has Homer curled up in his quiet house after his owner leaves for work. But when loud noises from outside drives him in search for a quiet peaceful place, he finally arrives where his owner works: the library. The rhyming text makes for a delight-ful read.

N_Miss_DorothyMiss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile, by Gloria Houston, and painted with soft pastel hues by Susan Condie Lamb, is a story based on the author’s own librarian who travelled all over the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina delivering books to families who were always waiting anxiously for her arrival. This book takes many of us back to our childhood days where book-mobiles were used where libraries were hard to reach. Be sure to read the author’s note at the back telling more about her years growing up with this experience.

Book Speak!  Poems About Books, by Laura Purdie Salas, and brilliantly illustrated with a unique blend of mixed media by Josee Bisaillon, is full of magic, the kind of magic that only words blended on paper and brewed with majestic illustrated wonder. “Paper Sky” has pens falling off of branches of a tree along with paper words. The poem:  “My Limbs wrote on the sky with orange leaf pens. / Now I will be your sky. / Are you ready?” This book is exquisite in both poem and picture and celebrates the beauty of our language!

N_Mark_TwainThe Adventures of Mark Twain, by Huckleberry Finn, and with considerable help from Robert Burleigh, and painted with ink and watercolor by Barry Blitt, is a fun and humorous account of one of America’s most renowned authors. It’s told through Huck’s accounts and is hilarious and full of the twang so that you can almost hear Twain himself in the dialogue. This book is best when read aloud!

Story County Here We Come!, by Derek Anderson, is an imaginative and brightly painted story that demonstrates how clever and ingenious stories can be. A farmer and his crew (a chicken, pig, cow and dog) are getting ready to create their farm in one day.  What they use and how they paint the barn will have kids smiling and most likely desiring to create their own interesting story.

I Will Not Read This Book, by Cece Meng, and digitally illustrated by Joy Ang, is aimed at the reluctant reader as a youngster tells his parents he needs to do everything he can think of before reading his book. Finally, time is running out and he tells his parents all the many ways he won’t read the book. But, alas, it all works out and the chance to read with support is accepted willingly.

Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed, by Eileen Christelow, has the same characteristics of the cute little monkeys we’ve grown to love from the author’s previous books. The book has the same iambic pentameter rhythm that begs to not only be read out loud – but sung as well!  Mama is tired and reads them stories then turns off the light.  But the little monkeys want more, so they read to themselves.  The story is fun and funny to read out loud but maybe not before bedtime or the little ones might become wide awake!

N_InkblotInkblot:  Drip, Splat, and Squish Your Way to Creativity, by Margaret Peot, is one of the most remarkable books of delving into ways to motivate and achieve uniqueness!  There are many amazing ways demonstrated and indicated in this book that will surely create some unique stories that are just on the ridge waiting to be discovered.  The book is written for ages ten and up, but would be especially effective for parents to help their children write their own masterpieces!