Reflections on the various dimensions of feminine vocation from liturgical homemaking and child rearing to education and the spiritual life.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Favorite Picture Books

We are always interested in captivating picture books around here, so I thought I'd share a few of our favorites from the last couple years. We borrow most of ours from the public library.

Jude and Katherine both love The Story of Noodles and Pond Walk. They urge me to re-request these from the library and never get tired of hearing them. As a bonus, each book comes with a recommended activity in the back. The Story of Noodles has a recipe, and Pond Walk has a craft. The Story of Noodles has changed the way we eat noodles in our family!

We also loved the books we've found on the various composers we've been studying. They are all excellent, Charlotte-Mason-quality "living books":

In January and February we discovered some great reads for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents Day. I got so carried away at the library that it kind of morphed into a mini-unit study on Lincoln, the Civil War, slavery, and the civil rights movement (with a little bit of George Washington and the War of Independence thrown in)! Here are just a few of the best reads:

This beautifully written book by Rosemary Wells is a chapter book rather than a picture book. Katherine, my kindergartener, and I read it together over several sittings and we were both engaged. However, she's a little young to fully appreciate it (and many kindergarteners probably wouldn't have the attention span to sit through it), so I'm saving this title for future reference. It's a very moving account of Abraham Lincoln through the perspective of his relationship with his two youngest sons, one of whom dies in childhood.

Henry's Freedom Box is a beautifully illustrated story of the amazing escape from slavery of Henry "Box" Brown. (His middle name tells his story!) This one was very frank about the horrors of slavery and was a bit too sad for my very sensitive girl to want to read more than once or twice. However, the copy I got from the library came with an audio CD containing read-aloud versions as well as a recording of a feet-stomping traditional African-American gospel song.

Words Set Me Free is the powerful story of how learning to read and write allowed Frederick Douglass to desire and eventually attain freedom from slavery. In addition to conveying an essential story in our country's history, it is the perfect story to read to an emerging reader and conveys the heart of what classically-informed educators mean by a "liberal education."

I love the story, the illustrations, and the layered message in Going Someplace Special. A pre-civil-rights girl finds a reprieve from the realities of racism in the public library where "All are welcome."

And here a couple other classic stories we've enjoyed recently:

Denham's lovely retelling of collected saint's lives is truly poetic at times. My favorite was the chapter on Saint Peter.

What are some of your favorite picture books?


  1. Jen, is Jude enjoying these others too? Or are the latter ones just for Katherine?

  2. Good question! He likes to look at the pictures and talk about what he sees. He will even get out books like these and "read" the pictures by himself. Sometimes he will sit for the first page or pages of me reading aloud to Katherine, but he doesn't have the attention span to listen to all the text.

  3. I love book lists! Thanks for posting.

    You have inspired me to attend a free Duke Ellington Jazz concert with the kids on Labor Day at our local university...

    I already requested some of your recommendations from the library. Thanks!