Book Hooks: Board Book and Picture Book Series

dad daughter readI admit, when someone says “book series,” I think about chapter books with longer stories and endless adventures. Truth be told, there are plenty of great picture book series, too.

In fact, picture are books are a reader’s FIRST book hook. Listening to and talking about stories create myriad opportunities to engage children in building literacy skills. This explanation from The Spoke (Australia) says it better than I ever could.

Picture books support children’s understanding of the thoughts, feelings and motivations of other people, and teach them new facts about their world, which plays an important role in their linguistic, social, emotional and intellectual development.

Picture books are usually shared by an adult with a child, creating an excellent opportunity for conversation. Letting kids ask questions, or asking some of your own – Can you see the x? What is happening? What do you think will happen next – is all part of the learning-to-read process.

Adults are often surprised by young children’s comments and questions, as they show that children interpret books in ways that are different from adults’ interpretations. Such conversations are an important, and very enjoyable, way in which children learn about reading. ~ Dr. Jane Torr

The list below includes some of our favorite picture books for toddlers, preschoolers, and children up to 8 years old. To tap into your child’s curiosity – as well as their love of all things silly – there are both fiction and nonfiction collections. We have lots more. Just include “series” in your subject search at www.thereadingtub.org.


Please note: The Reading Tub has an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com and the Reading Tub can (at no additional cost to you) receive income from your purchase. All income from this source is used for operational funding of the Reading Tub, a 501(c)(3). Book titles, book covers, and series titles listed below link to Smile.Amazon.com.

Nonfiction Picture Book Series

Adventures of Riley written by Amanda Lumry. Each story in this award-winning series for elementary-aged kids (Grades 2 to 5) blends a fictional story with lots of nonfiction content. Thanks to Uncle Max and Aunt Martha (both scientists!), Riley has traveled the world to help them with their work. Each story offers insight into conservation, animals and their habitats, geography, history, biology, and scientific processes. Sample selected:

adventurs of riley amanda lumryAdventures of Riley: Mission to Madagascar

From information for exploring your own backyard to learning more about the world, this book is packed with fun stuff to do and learn. Reading Tub review here.

Great choice for: adventure lovers; kids who love exploring, travel, and science; eco-minded readers; animal and adventure lovers; and those not afraid of being grossed out by animal behaviors.

See all the books in the series here.


My Little Book of … written by Hope Marston. Wood ducks, burrowing owls, whitetails, timber wolves are among the animals in this nature series for preschoolers. The author chose species that aren’t found in other children’s books, adding to their knowledge of animals and their habitats. Selected sample:

painted turtles hope marstonMy Little Book of Painted Turtles

Each book discusses the lifestyles of various animals, in a very informative and age appropriate way. They are great launching pads for pretend play. Reading Tub review here.

Great choice for: kids who love nature, being outside, and animals.

See all the books in the series here.


Over in the … written by Marianne Berkes. In this series for preschoolers, rhymes are set to the tunes of classic children’s songs. Young readers learn about animals and their habitats, and also practice counting to 10, too. Selected Sample:

over in the arctice marianne berkesOver in the Arctic: Where the Cold Winds Blow

Lots of action words will have preschoolers wanting to imitate the baby animals described in this rhyming poem. Reading Tub review here.

Great choice for: kids who love animals, rhymes, colorful pictures; as well as those who don’t like to sit still when you read.

See all the books in the series here.


Seasons by Ailie Busby. This 4-title board book series introduces toddlers and preschoolers to each season of the year. There isn’t a story, per se, but each page explains something about the season. Note: This series is also available in a bilingual (Spanish/English) edition. Selected sample:

seasons ailie busbyWinter

Use the illustrations to point out things that are unique to the season. Talk about how the book relates to seasons where you live.

Great choice for: toddlers, preschoolers, and first graders.

See all the books in the series here.


Fiction Picture Book Series

Alphabet Kids! created by Allegra Joyce Kassin, written by Patrice Samara, et al. These are the stories of a classroom of children who attend the Alphabet Afterschool Center. Allegra, Elena, Isaac, Oni, Umar, and Yang come from different cultural backgrounds. Each book not only is an opportunity for preschoolers and kindergartners to learn more about them and their culture, but presents a life skills challenge with lessons for readers. Selected sample:

alphabet  kids bookOni’s Good Hair Day

Readers of color will see themselves in the children. The story is realistic and thinks out loud the way a preschooler does. The story lends itself to building self-esteem, practicing social skills, and learning how to say “I’m sorry.”

Great choice for: cultural awareness, social skills, acceptance, responsibility, and boundaries


Peekaboo! written and illustrated by Cocoretto. Play peek-a-boo on the farm, in the jungle, at the ocean, even at the snow! These lift-the-flap board books are sturdy enough for toddlers to handle and encourage lots of interactive play. Selected sample:

peekaboo cocorettoPeekaboo! In the Snow

Toddlers will love reading this with you and then playing with the book on their own.

Great choice for: families (siblings 5+ can read), kids who love animals, and curious toddlers. Reading Tub review here.

See all the books in the series here.


What Does It Mean? written by Rana DiOrio. Abstraact and multi-faceted concepts like “being safe,” “being present,” “being green,” “being an entrepreneur,” and others, are each explained in an age-appropriate and helpful way in this series for elementary-aged kids. Selected sample:

american by rana diorioWhat Does It Mean to Be American?

Readers will see themselves in the diversity of cultures represented in pictures. The authors describe various elements that comprise American-ness, blending abstract and concrete ideas. With help from the guided questions at the back, readers can deepen discussions about Constitutional concepts and conservation, as well as citizenship and personal conduct. Reading Tub book review here.

Great choice for: the Fourth of July, children in elementary and middle school, as well as adults trying to explain complex concepts


Surely we are missing some great series you and your child love. Please let us know what they are by adding yours in the comments.

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