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Children's Picture Books for Adults

As we come to the end of the summer, things can get busy. Maybe you don't have time to concentrate on longer books, but you don't want to sacrifice your reading time, or high-quality content. The following picture books are all intended for children, but hold appeal for adult readers as well. They won't take you as long to get through, but still offer some laughs or plenty to think about.

After falling off the wall, Humpty Dumpty is very afraid of climbing up again, but is determined not to let fear stop him from being close to the birds. Beautiful illustrations and inspiring message.

The book of mistakes by Corinna Luyken
Also available in: e-book

As an artist creatively incorporates her slipups into a drawing, readers see the ways in which 'mistakes' can provide inspiration and opportunity, and reveal that both the art and artist are works-in-progress. We could all use this refreshing take on mistakes.

The journey by Francesca Sanna

A family must leave their home. As refugees, their journey is heartbreakingly rendered. A story to appeal to the humanity in everyone.

Eli the dog has been with Astrid since she was a baby, and now that Eli is getting older and slowing down, Astrid wants to make fun memories with him, but knows what is most important to Eli is the time he spends with Astrid. A charming reminder to spend time with those you love.

Also available in: e-book

All the fruits gather together and enjoy a rhyming party, but poor Orange feels left out because he does not rhyme with anything--until Apple invents a new word. A great way to be inspired to try new fruits.

Be quiet! by Ryan T Higgins

Rupert the mouse wants to star in an artistic, wordless picturebook, but his animal friends cause problems by talking too much. Genuinely hilarious.

Based on a set of unfinished Mark Twain notes for a children's story, this is the tale of Johnny, a young boy with a magical ability to speak to animals who sets off to rescue a stolen prince. A Twain-y adventure with a Michigan twist.

A biography of Grace Hopper, who played a prominent role in the early days of computers. Eye-catching illustrations with a dose of "did you know?"

Presents the fates of six ocean dwellers, jellyfish, orcas, sea turtles, tuna, corals, and blue-green algae, and describes how each of them is affected by human actions which are making the ocean warmer and more polluted. Impressively compelling for such a simple book.

Tidy by Emily Gravett

A badger realizes that being too tidy could be disastrous. A nice reminder for anyone who gets overwhelmed by cleaning their house.

From the Kingdom of the Backyard, Rock searches for an adversary that might best him, meanwhile Paper and Scissors set off on their own quests for competitors. Who doesn't like Rock, Paper, Scissors?

Also available in: e-video

Presents a collage-illustrated treasury of poems and spirituals inspired by the life and work of civil rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer. A great nonfiction read that's not overwhelming.

This house, once by Deborah Freedman

Asks readers to think about ways in which the natural world has provided for them by exploring all the different elements of a house and where each came from.

Are You An Echo? folds poetry and history into recent events, resurrecting the work of Misuzu Kaneko and bringing the gentle grace of her poems to a new generation. 

Examines the life of Peter Mark Roget and his invention of the thesaurus. Nothing like diving into the categorization of words with delightful illustrations.

Bug in a vacuum by Mélanie Watt

When a fly gets sucked up into a vacuum he goes through the five stages of grief as he explores his new surroundings. 

Presents the journey of a book's creation, from its initial writing and illustrating to its misadventures with pirates and an angry tiger.

A child of books by Oliver Jeffers

A young reader introduces a boy to the many imaginative worlds that books bring to life. A beautiful work of art.

Their demise came about in part because of their anatomy. They could swim swiftly underwater, but their small wings meant they couldn't fly and their feet were so far back on their bodies, they couldn't walk very well. Still the birds managed to escape their predators much of the time...until humans became seafarers. 

Float by Daniel Miyares

A boy who loses his paper boat in the rain. Not related in any way to the horror book IT by Stephen King.

Leave me alone by Vera Brosgol

Grandmother wants so badly to be left alone to finish the knitting for her grandchildren that she leaves her tiny home and her big family to journey to the moon and beyond to find peace and quiet to finish her knitting.

Selection and adaptation of seventy-five Grimm's fairy tales, as translated by Jack Zipes, and newly illustrated by Shaun Tan.

Fifteen children's book artists, including Lauren Castillo, Frann Preston-Gannon, and Melissa Sweet, share their favorite colors and explain why they love them.