Libraries feel like memories. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been there before, it just has to have the rows of books and I feel at home. I remember the magic of finding and rereading Strawberry Girl, They Loved to Laugh, Nancy Drew, and Frog from the middle grade section at the library. I remember the two-stairs at a time jaunt to the teen balcony when I was old enough, looking for just a few more books to fill the already bulging denim bag I’d made myself. I’m surprised my hand-sewn stitches held for all the books that bag held over the years. I remember the stacks my family brought home after each visit. I can’t even imagine how many, since my little family of five routinely has about 50 physical titles checked out at a time.
I have no idea of the fines we incurred, but I’d argue they were a worthwhile investment in our futures.
These days I specifically remember looking over the railing of the teen balcony and seeing my dad pushing a tall heap of picture books in front of him as he gleaned the illustrated shelves for some of the best stories we hadn’t heard yet. The piles and hours spent reading aloud to all of us has made him a bookish expert. I wish we had a list of those favorite library finds so I would have a shortcut since now I’m the one gathering heaps of wordy and picture-filled potential to read-aloud to my kids.
But maybe part of the joy for me is the art of the hunt.
Often I have the excellent luck looking at the places where the brilliant librarians feature books facing out. Every now and then one of the kiddos will get something great. But, more often then not, a visit to the library will find me sitting in front of the picture book shelves with a bag of books next to me, scanning the titles first, and then the illustrations and words to find a little bit of magic.
My heap grows faster than we have time to read and I’m forever devoted to my library method. In case you don’t have the time to scan the shelves here are a few recent favorites. Fun stories, beautiful illustrations, and a joy to read aloud, they’re all worth putting on your library hold list or requesting at the bookstore!
Maurice, the Unbeastlyby Amy Dixon
A story of a beast who can’t roar, is dreadfully photogenic and loves organic snacks. His parents send him to school to reform, but his unusual skills are soon proved more valuable than anyone guessed.
Lucía the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza
The boys on the playground tell Lucía girls can’t be superheros, but her abuela tells her the secret of the Luchadoras. Lucía’s powers are revealed and all the kids are inspired to be luchadors and luchadoras. I particularly appreciated the cultural and spanish language opportunity in this lovely all-the-people story.
The Cow Who Climbed a Tree by Gemma Merino
A cow named Tina who is a dreamer. Her sisters say her ideas are ridiculous, but that doesn’t stop her from going for it and pulling them along, too.
Splash, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia
Anna wants someone to play with her, but her family is all busy so she finds a friend in the waves and soon everyone joins in. Such a happy book, and I love her multi-racial family.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
The mouse has figured out a crafty way to trick all the animals who want to eat him, but can he trick the gruffalo? I was so entertained by his solution.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Angelina feels different in a room where everyone is not quite like her, but after beginning to tell her stories she realizes “every new friend has something a little like you – and something else so fabulously not quite like you at all.” I like how this book makes room for the lonely feeling and glimpses of more.
Señorita Gordita by Helen Ketteman
Amazon calls it a Tex-Mex retelling of the little gingerbread man. It is perfect and hilarious and she gets eaten in the end and all the kids laughed after looking kind of shocked. I was surprised by the ending too, and completely loved the Spanish vocabulary used throughout.
How to Trick the Tooth Fairy by Erin Danielle Russell
Mischievous Kaylee decides to trick the tooth-fairy and finally meets her match for mischief. Ice cream fights, raining cats and dogs, and a chance for new friends. Adorable.
Do you remember any particular magical book you read as a kid? Which of these looks best to you? I’m all ears for library and bookish memories! :)
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More Pictures books to love:
- Three Gorgeous Picture Books
- 10 Delightful Picture Books
- A Book for the Toddlers in Your Life
- Noah’s Car Park Ark (And a few others!)
And just for fun: One typical visit to the library.
(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. :)