Gift Ideas for Families: Picture Book Edition

Yesterday I posted some great chapter books to read together as a family. Each book was a different genre, but family relationships were part of the story. Today its time for some picture books with that same idea.

Couch Llama leah gilbertA Couch for Llama by Leah Gilbert
| animals, humor, creative problem solving |

After countless times reading, sitting, playing and jumping on the couch, the Lago family needed a new one. As they were bringing home the perfect couch, it fell off their car and landed in Llama’s field. Llama wasn’t quite sure what to do. It didn’t talk or eat, but Llama discovered it could play! When the Lago family returned, Llama was sound asleep. On their couch. What are they going to do?

This is a story my daughter would have asked for a 100 times. An adorable llama is just the start! Kids will see themselves (or get ideas) on all the fun you can have with a couch. A great read aloud to share any time of day.

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Pair with stuffed llama and/or reading/lap blankets.

grandma gives lemon tree jamie deenihanWhen Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L. B. Deenihan 
| gifts, gratitude, grandparent, life lessons |

A little girl’s birthday wish list is filled with gadgets. A lemon tree was NOT on her list. But that is the gift her grandma gave her. With the help of the invisible narrator, she learns the appropriate way to accept such a unique gift. Then she learns about how to care for her new lemon tree, which she names Lola. The girl realizes she can open a lemonade stand and use the money to buy the gadgets on her list … but is that what she really wants?

Rare is the picture book that can effectively layer so many themes and create a seamless story. Just like the adage, the little girl learns to make lemonade of her “lemon” gift – figuratively and literally. Readers will instantly connect with the young girl, as her expressive face mirrors their thoughts. We quickly learn how NOT to respond to a gift that we didn’t ask for / don’t think we want. A lesson much better coming from an invisible narrator than Mom or Dad!

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Pair with a plant or picture frame (for taking a family photo)

bucket filler carol mccloudWill You Fill My Bucket: Daily Acts of Love Around the World by Carol McCloud and Karen Wells
| cultural awareness, inspiration, love |

Children from 12 countries share an activity that makes them happy. One by one they ask an adult (some parents, some grandparents) if they can do something together.

It’s hard to say what I like more: the children from around the world or the illustrations with father and child. Be prepared for your child to ask for a hug, a kiss goodnight, and to hear the words “I love you.”

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Pair with something to be shared: a small bucket with two shovels/spoons; matching mittens for adult and child; cocoa and 2 mugs; et al

blackout john roccoBlackout by John Rocco
| life lessons, problem solving |

A young boy wants to play a board fame with his family, but they are too busy. So he goes off to play a video game by himself. Then the lights go off. Now everyone can play a board game! The family has a great time together until it gets too hot. They head to the roof and discover a neighborhood party. Everyone enjoys the break from the electricity and the company of their friends. Eventually the lights come back on and the family goes back to their electric activities only to realize that they were having more fun before.

Blackout has a great message that just might lead to your family turning off your devices and enjoying an evening together. The pictures are great. Our volunteer read it with her 4-year-old daughter, who loved the book and “got” the concepts.

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Pair with flashlight(s) and board or other small games (e.g., cards, dominoes)

golden domes hena khanGolden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan
| cultural awareness, diversity, grandparent, learning colors, love |

A young girl introduces us to her family (parents and grandparents), as well as the traditions and customs of her Muslim faith by connecting them with colors in the world around her. A glossary explains the concepts and Arabic words introduced in the story.

Rich illustrations create a warm engaging backdrop to a book that is much more than an introduction to colors. The colors are exquisite, and readers will just enjoy looking at the images. Rare is the book that executes rhyme and concept (especially one as basic as colors) in perfect harmony.

Personal note: This is on my permanent shortlist of books to give as gifts.

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Pair with a mandala (patterns) coloring book and coloring tools (pencils, crayons) or the companion book Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes

moldilocks zombie tale marie lynnMoldilocks and the Three Scares: A Zombie Tale by Lynne Marie
| adoption, fantasy, fractured fairy tale, humor |

The Scares live in a big haunted house. Each has their own reasons for wanting a fourth person in their family: Papa’s recipes serve 4 people; Mama wants an assistant with her experiments; and Baby wants someone to play with. While they wait for their soup to cool, the Scares take their monster pet for a walk. Little did they know that the aroma of that soup would lure Moldilocks into their home. Uh oh, she fell asleep in Baby’s bed!

Fans of Goldilocks and the Three Bears will think they know this story. But they don’t! This is a fun, remake of the classic children’s story. Although this is most likely seen as a Halloween book, it is a story that can be read all year long. For adoptive families, there is the added bonus of having a fun book where your children can see themselves in the story.

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Pair with? We’re not sure what you pair with a zombie!

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