Children’s Books Review: My Top 10 Picks for Young Readers and Their Parents

Children's Books I Love: My Top Picks for Young Readers and Their Parents

I have been reading to my daughter since the day she was born. Or maybe the day after that. I think I was a bit out of it on the first day. So, we have gone through quite a lot of books together.

I read her at least one book as part of her bedtime routine, and I love the bond it’s created between us. I get to share something I love with her and she gets to learn all the wonderful messages in the books we pick together.

The stories I like best are multi-dimensional and appeal to both children and adults. This is a list of my favourite 10!


I Love All of Me, by Lorie Ann Grover and Carolina Buzio

Ages 0-3

From head to toe, this book highlights all the things that are to love about you. My daughter’s completely outgrown this book but I love it so much, I have saved it for myself. The rhyming words, the sweet message, the adorably drawn characters, and the diversity, all make it a precious read. It greatly inspired my first book, How to Show Love, and I still flip through the pages occasionally just to admire the illustrations.


Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

Ages 4-8

Like the name suggests, this book features a giraffe who can’t dance like the other animals. I am a grown woman but I am so moved by the deeply meaningful book. There is so much sadness and loneliness in the story, but it’s balanced perfectly by joy and creativity. The protagonist is sweet, lovable, and relatable. If he wasn’t a giraffe in a picture book, I would totally give him a hug.


Lola: The Bracelet of Courage by Sarah Cullen, Carmen Ellis, and Zuzana Svobodova

Ages 2-6

This book’s main character is a mermaid who learns that courage is stronger than fear. I am in LOVE with Zuzana’s illustrations. This is how I want to be able to draw one day. Her work is full of intricate details and characters that make you go “aw” with each page turn. I have the full collection of Ocean Tales books and they are all fantastic, but the message in this book makes it our favourite.


The Balcony by Melissa Castrillon

Ages 4-8

A homesick child spreads joy by growing plants and changing the lives of those around her. The most unique part of this book is that it has no words. I was momentarily stunned when I opened it. A book without words? What?!

But the illustrations are so fantastic, there is no need for words. The book encourages you to get creative and tell the story differently every time. Sarrah made me ‘read’ it so many times, I had to hide it.


Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Ages 2+

This book 98.34% guarantees that no matter how low you get (and I’ve gotten pretty low), you can get back up and try again. The flawless rhyming, the funny made-up words, and the whimsical illustrations make this book truly inspirational. My heart fills with hope everytime I read it.


SnoozeFEST by Samantha Berger and Kristyna Litten

Ages 3-5

A sleepy sloth goes to a snooze fest, an event for champion snoozers. The plot, the characters, the scenarios… they will make you laugh every time you open the book. It’s just pure silliness. I enjoy studying the illustrations and love the way the words sound on my tongue. This is one of the few books that I never get tired of reading.


Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

Ages 2-5

In a cave in the woods,
in his deep, dark lair,
through the long, cold winter
sleeps a great brown bear.

A whole host of animals have a party in his cave as the “bear snores on”. I have memorized the entire book. The rhyming makes it so catchy! And there’s a very funny ending (which I won’t ruin for you). The plot is deceptively simple but it’s laced with universal themes of friendship and kindness. I’m so inspired by the creativity it took to illustrate a story that takes place in a cave!


Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Ages 1-3

A baby llama calls out for his mother, but she doesn’t come. So baby llama gets more and more fearful and worried.

We’ve read this book a hundred times, but my daughter goes along on the emotional roller coaster with the baby llama every time. When the baby llama is finally reassured that he is loved and his mama isn’t going anywhere, Sarrah also feels finally at peace. This puts her to sleep right away. I am grateful to both the author and the illustrator for this blessing!


PRESS HERE by Herve Tullet

Ages 3-5

This book doesn’t have a plot and the main character is a yellow dot. It’s fun and it’s interactive, kind of like a book version of a video game. It’s another one I’ve had to hide. I bought it a year ago and if I didn’t hide it, I would have had to read it every single night for the last year. It is a total hit with Sarrah, which is why I have all of Tullet’s books on our shelf. It’s a joy to read. But maybe not every single night!


How to Show Love by Tasneem Dairywala

Ages 0-3

How to Show Love shows young readers simple everyday acts of love and affection. I’m giving myself permission to cheat here. If you aren’t already familiar with my work, How to Show Love is my first children’s book. I created it to represent diverse characters. and to encourage kindness, empathy, and compassion in the youngest of children.

I’m not going to review it because I’m obviously biased but I will say this… A bunch of kids I know have it memorized, which has changed the way they interact with the world around them. It’s true! You can read the reviews here.

I hope this list will make it easier for you to choose which books to read with your little one. In an era of Youtube and Netflix (both of which I love), it feels amazing to slow down and admire words and pictures on a page.

I would love to know which books are your favourites. I’m always on the hunt for new ones to add to our shelf!

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