Both of my kids are off at school these days and it’s meant that at the end of the day they don’t have quite the stamina for the multi-book bedtimes that we’ve been used to. More than once this fall, both kids have been softly snoring by the time the six o’clock bells chime across the street. Still, reading picture books before bed remains the most beloved time of our day. Lately we’ve been reading lots of simple, quiet books. Just by chance, or perhaps not at all, lots of these titles follow kids on simple walks around their worlds, pointing out everyday magic, or making it themselves. A lot of these books hit the sweet spot of capturing the comfort of routine and the thrill of discovery. Childhood, in a nutshell, in other words. I hope they offer a bit of quiet comfort to your families. And, as always, I want to know what you’ve been reading, too.
+ DOOR, words and pictures by Jihyeon Lee
A little bit strange, a lot-a-bit magical, this wordless story is transporting and fanciful and just a lot of fun to look through. My kids love mimicking the facial expressions of the make-believe characters and imagining what they’re up to.
+ WINDOWS, words by Julia Denos, illustrations by E.B. Goodale
This book has been a favorite of ours since last winter. The story follows a little kid on an evening walk around their urban neighborhood. Walking around the city at dusk and getting to peek into other people’s lives is the best thing about this time of year and our ever shorter days. This book helps remind us of that magic.
+ CITY MOON, words by Rachael Cole, illustrations by Blanca Gomez
We’ve reached full-on moon mania with Silas. In addition to our beloved and oft-mentioned THE MOON IS GOING TO ADDY’S HOUSE, this book is a near nightly read for us. It follows a parent and child out for a nighttime walk, spotting the folks in their neighborhood and, of course, looking out for a bright full moon.
+ TODAY, words and pictures by Julie Morstad
I love the simultaneous sense of comfort and possibility that this book gives little kids. It’s a perfect before bedtime book, especially for little ones getting used to new routines and looking for a bit of choice in the matter.
+ GROW, words by Cynthia Platt, illustrations by Olivia Holden
A kid, a garden, and a whole community of people working to make a tired place in a gray city a whole lot greener. I have a soft spot for city books, as you can see, and this one is especially nice.
+ YOU BELONG HERE, words by M.H. Clark, illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault
Another lovely read for kids who might be experiencing changes, or tumult, or who are just in a need of a reminder that they’re right where they’re supposed to be.
+ BACKYARD FAIRIES, words and pictures by Pheobe Wahl
A big dose of magic, if you need some. (And you do.)
+ HOMEMADE LOVE, words by bell hooks, illustrations by Shane W. Evans
This is such a sweet reminder, for parents and kids, of the love kids should feel at home. We’ve been so lucky to have a really smooth and decidedly fun transition to full-day school for both of our kids this year, but it’s nice to have a simple reminder of the particular reassurances of home and family.
+ TINY PERFECT THINGS, words by M.H. Clark, illustrations by Madeline Kloepper
This is my very favorite new book. It perfectly captures the joy that is kids finding treasures on their weekday walks. A red bottle cap, a yellow leaf… It’s been the perfect thing to read this fall, but the illustrations are delightfully seasonless. It’s Faye’s very favorite right now, too.
Now your turn! I need to fill up my library bag!
Plus: lots more book recommendations in case you need them!
PS. We borrow many of our books from our public library, but when we buy new books, we love to always support our local bookstores—Stories Bookshop, Books Are Magic, Greenlight Bookstore, and Community Bookstore, to name a few. I’ve provided links above to where you can find these titles from independent bookstores near you.
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