I’m striking while the iron is hot! Don’t expect these posts to come in quite this pace throughout the remaining 24 letters of the alphabet! If you’re just joining, I’ve begun a shelf-by-shelf tour of the picture book section as a way to systematically expose my kids to the canon of children’s literature, both timeless classics and newcomers alike.
We’ve actually been immersed in the authors of the “B” shelf for months. We’ve rediscovered amazing classics, marveled over creatively designed concept books, revisited favorite board books, and all in all just enjoyed a variety of great literature! We’ve also met our fair share of duds that I slightly lamented having carried all the way home in our overflowing library bag. I’ll chalk those up to a real life workout. But never fear! This list contains only the titles we’ve found to be of excellent caliber. I hope you discover some new favorites!
(Psst. If you missed my “A” Shelf post, you can find that right here.)
For a printable version to take to your library or bookstore, click here. This printable includes the featured authors below as well as more than a dozen others that time and space simply didn’t allow me to expound upon.
Brilliant Authors from the “B” Section
Banyai, Istvan. Older preschool, all elementary. Banyai’s books are so clever! Zoom and Re-Zoom are wordless books filed under the “visual perception fiction” classification in the library… each presents a series of scenes that are connected to each other in ways you wouldn’t expect. For example, in Zoom Banyai recreates the effect of a camera zooming out farther with each turn of the page: what begins as a picture of a boy on cruise ship then shows the entire ship, and next reveals that he’s an image on a poster on the side of a bus, which is being shown on a television screen in a desert scene. I used this book when teaching Preschool Bookworm our street address (house number, part of the larger street, part of the larger state, part of the larger country, etc. Me On the Map is another excellent book to pair with this concept.)
Barton, Byron. Baby, toddler, preschool. Classic board books and beginning picture books from a master! Barton uses bright colors, clean lines, and basic, tangible concepts (often transportation) to engage the youngest readers. Preschool Bookworm’s first book that he memorized was a Barton classic: Machines That Go. His simple retelling of The Three Bears has caused tantrums from Toddler Bookworm that have ceased all kitchen chores until an immediate recitation of the story was completed.
Bean, Jonathan. Older preschool, early-mid elementary. Bean is a newer discovery in our home, but we’re hooked. Preschool Bookworm is fascinated by Building Our House (and I am, too); it’s semi-autobiographical and as the title suggests, it details each step involved in building a house. My construction obsessed kids love it, and I love the close knit family that is portrayed (and that the mom is so so strong, building a house while carrying children both on her hip and in her womb!). Oh, and it won a bunch of accolades and awards. 🙂 I shared in a Loving These Lately post about his picture book featuring homeschooling: This Is My Home, This Is My School. And he also illustrated one of our favorite Christmas nativity stories, One Starry Night.
Becker, Aaron. Older preschool-mid elementary. The Journey trilogy is both captivating and beautiful. I included Journey in my post Books About Strong Girls that I Read With My Sons: this Caldecott Honor book is a masterpiece. Armed with a magical red crayon (in the tradition of Harold), a bored girl makes an adventure for herself, finding her way into a dangerous and exciting world. Witnessing a villain’s act, she responds with compassion and bravery, landing herself in danger in turn. An exciting tale featuring a clever, kind, and courageous heroine. Oh, and it’s a wordless book! I also have used it on our kitchen easel because the illustrations are so worth lingering over.
Bemelmans, Ludwig. Preschool, early elementary. Madeline series. I adore Madeline- the girl, and the books! I featured her in a Throwback Thursday post with some trivia and reading tips, and also in my post Books About Strong Girls that I Read With My Sons.
Blechman, Nicholas. Toddler, preschool. Night Light is the only children’s picture book to his name that I am aware of, but he has quite a long and impressive list of design work! You can tell he’s a graphic designer at heart in Night Light. It’s a cleverly designed counting/transporation/guessing game book with die-cut pages. We paired it with our light pad play– some transportation do-a-dot pages along with transparent, colored bingo chips.
Bond, Michael. Older preschool-elementary. We love Paddington so much that Toddler Bookworm brought him to life as his Halloween costume this year.
The original Paddington was published in 1958 as a full length chapter book, A Bear Called Paddington (which is the beginning of Paddington’s story, including how he got his name and came to live with the Brown family). Each chapter is a story unto itself, making it a nice early read aloud. We listened to the audiobook of A Bear Called Paddington when Preschool Bookworm was 3 –he begged for more each time we got the keys to head to the car. Bond published thirteen full length novels of Paddington’s adventures spanning from 1958-2012; in 1972 he began writing shorter picture book offerings. The picture book illustrated by R.W. Alley is the version we read with our young Bookworms and it includes several episodes from the first novel. (It’s still text heavy for the preschool crowd but we enjoyed “putting a bookmark in it” when attention spans waned.) Note: we haven’t seen the movie yet! I was warned by some older moms that my sensitive 3yo may not do well with the taxidermist. Eeek! (We also haven’t read the junior novels, board books, leveled readers or novelizations….)
Buzzeo, Toni. Baby-mid elementary. I was familiar with author/librarian Toni Buzzeo as a school librarian in connection with her resources for educators (including her picture book series which teaches media literacy skills, like evaluating sources in But I Read It On The Internet). We have rediscovered her as an author for the littlest bookworms in her board books, Whose Tools? and Whose Truck? On each page a clue is given alongside a picture, and a fold-out spread reveals the answer with a larger illustration: “Lots of workers all around use their trucks to help our town. The weather changes. Strong winds blow. Whose truck is this?” “The lineworkers’!” (I personally feel a great appreciation for the use of the plural possessive.) The pictures offer enough detailed information that older preschoolers have plenty to learn (aerial bucket, stabilizer, boom), while the bright pictures and novelty of the fold-outs catch the eyes of baby bookworms, too. (And, the illustrations feature a nice diverse crowd of workers.) We’re working our way through some of her picture books for slightly older readers; her Lighthouse Christmas made my list of Christmas Books with Meat On The Bones.
I’ve included 23 brilliant “B” authors on my printable booklist found here.
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Books mentioned in this post should be readily available at your library, or at the affiliate links provided. Thanks for supporting the blog if you choose to purchase!