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52 Picture Books to Read with The Elementary Grades

52 Picture Books to Read with The Elementary Grades

I worked as a librarian teacher before I got married. I love picture books a lot. Reading to the children is one of the happy teaching moment I had with my students. Looking at their eyes when they were listening to the story and observing the picture was very fascinating. Picture books might be too simple in words, but they can speak deeper meaning than they look like.

Today I would like to share 52 picture books to read for the lower elementary grades. They are the best books I found in the library where I worked and the winning books I find in Amazon. All oh the links are affiliated with Amazon. From these books, I hope that you can explore each of them weekly so that they will make a year stock of deeper reading.

52 Picture Books to Read with The Elementary Grades

Owl MoonOwl Moon

Owl Moon

Jane Yolen writes a gentle, poetic story that shows the special relationship of a young child and her father to the natural world. This book is illustrated by John Schoenherr with soft, exquisite watercolor.  This book is a verbal and visual treasure, perfect for reading aloud and sharing at bedtime.

Where the Wild Things AreWhere the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are

There are a lot of messages you can share with your 4-8 years old kids from this picture book. However, you might also get some wonderful analogy to other character development areas regarding obedience and gratitude.



Looking at the cover, we will know clearly that this story has France as the setting of place. There are a lot of messages and discussions you can do with children in the elementary grade ages.

The story is about 12 girls growing in a kind of dormitory. Madeline is the youngest one who likes to do some mischievous things.

Paddle-to-the-Sea (Sandpiper Books)Paddle-to-the-Sea (Sandpiper Books)


This is a wonderful picture book for children age 10-12 years old. The book is about the journey of a young Indian boy with a little canoe named Paddle-to-the-Sea. Paddle’s journey, in text and pictures, through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean provides an excellent geographic and historical picture of the region

The Story of FerdinandThe Story of Ferdinand

The Story of Ferdinand

This is our favorite picture book that is read for many times. This book is about a young bull called Ferdinand. While all of the other bulls snort, leap, and butt their heads, Ferdinand feels happy to just sit and smell the flowers under his favorite cork tree.

Related to the matador, this is a wonderful book to use.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DayAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

This is a must have book in every house. There are times we have no-luck-at-all day like what Alexander experiences. This book remains us that not every bad day is always that bad. There should be something good to get.

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler Some Monkeys and Their Monkey BusinessCaps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business

Caps for Sale is an excellent easy-to-read book that includes repetition, patterns, and colors, perfect for early readers. The story is about a peddler that sells caps. The monkeys take the caps while he is sleeping. Kids are excited how the peddler solves the problem. This is a timeless classic book for children.

Love You ForeverLove You Forever

Love You Forever

This is a very touching story about the love and bond of a mother to a child. The tear might fall when you read this story to your son. The story is telling how a mother sing the love song to her baby until he grows up a lot.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give...)If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give…)

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give…)

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is one of the most beloved children’s books of all time, from the #1 New York Times bestselling team Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond. This book has patterns that are perfect for early readers. However, you can discuss the message behind the story with kids as well.

You might also lead kids to other writing prompt of: If you give …. a …

Dragons Love TacosDragons Love Tacos

Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of taco

Crictor (Reading Rainbow Books)Crictor (Reading Rainbow Books)


Crictor is an innocent boa constrictor pet of Madam Bodot. Well, she loves this pet a lot and treats it as a child that can learn and behave. Even, it becomes a hero in the end.

The Enormous CrocodileThe Enormous Crocodile

The Enormous Crocodile

Roald Dahl is one of my favorite children book authors. The Enormous Crocodile is the biggest picture book he write so that it is comfortable to read together or read to children. The story is about a greedy and cruel crocodile that tries hard to eat children.

Chester's WayChester’s Way

Chester’s Way

Chester and Wilson have the same ways of doing many different things. One day, Lily comes to their neighborhood and she does everything differently. They try hard to adjust each other and finally become friends. This story tells readers to be able to receive and respect others with different things from us.

Amazing Grace (Reading Rainbow Books)Amazing Grace (Reading Rainbow Books)

Amazing Grace

This book is a story of a girl that loves stories. Grace even always tries to perform the characters she likes in the stories she knows. Later on she becomes famous for that. The main message of the story is about being passionate with our passion.

The Biggest Pumpkin EverThe Biggest Pumpkin Ever

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever

If you celebrate Halloween with Jack O Lantern, this is a perfect story to read. Although I don’t celebrate Halloween, I still like sharing he story of Clayton and Desmond the mice who share and work together to make the biggest pumpkin. Wonderful story about cooperation.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Irma S and James H Black Award for Excellence in Children's Literature (Awards))Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Irma S and James H Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Awards))

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. I am also curious with this one.

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris LessmoreFantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

This story is about a man who really love books. One day there was a kind of disaster that made all of his books fly around. What happen after that?

The Little Engine That Could: An Abridged EditionThe Little Engine That Could: An Abridged Edition

The Little Engine That Could

This classic story will always be loved by readers for the message about being perseverance to never stop helping others. I like the beautiful illustration of the story that reflex the strong spirit of the message.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Little Golden Book)The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Little Golden Book)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

The classic story about Peter, a rabbit who doesn’t obey his mom, is presented to more modern readers with more detail arts. There are some pros and cons about the detail description in the pictures, but this book is still interesting. With the bigger size, we can show and share with children more comfortably, in my opinion.

The Carrot Seed (Rise and Shine)The Carrot Seed (Rise and Shine)

The Carrot Seed

The story is very simple. With less words and dominant pictures, it teaches readers to be patience in planting seeds. I like this story integrated with our science lessons about plants.

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain ForestThe Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest

This book brings a clear and beautiful message about the importance of the rain forest towards the living things inside that depends on each other. The main character of the story is a man who wants to chop down the great Kapok Tree. With some influence from the rain forest’s inhabitants, he finally cancelled it.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (A Click, Clack Book)Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (A Click, Clack Book)

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

This book tells a story about Farmer Brown whose barn with cows that can type. The cows wrote a letter to the farmer demanding some condition for them to work on. Even they did some rebellions. The story tells message about compromise and negotiation.

Leo the Late BloomerLeo the Late Bloomer

Leo the Late Bloomer

Leo cannot read, write, draw, and other things that other little animals can do well. His father really concerns about this, but his mother believes that he will be able to that one day. This story book gives motivation to parents and a message for children to respect others that are “late bloomer”.

Snowflake BentleySnowflake Bentley

Snowflake Bentley

This book tells a story about a boy who loves to take pictures of snowflakes and observes them. He found that the snowflakes are unique. None of them is the same. The main message of the story is about being perseverance.

Llama Llama Red PajamaLlama Llama Red Pajama

Llama Llama Red Pajama

This is the first book of the Llama Llama Series. My younger son loves the chant a lot. This is a bed time story of Baby Llama that was scared to sleep alone. When you read this story to your child, they will be assured by Mama Llama that sleeping alone is safe.

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's DairyHairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

This is the first book of the Hairy Maclary series. The series is very popular with the cumulative rhyming and illustration. This international favorite chronicles tell about the escapades of our hero Hairy and his crew of five kooky canines.

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You AreSpaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are

Spaghetti In A Hot Dog Bun: : Having the Courage to Be Who You Are

We should never think that kids don’t have any problem. Well, especially for the schooled kids, they have more possibility to face the bullying problems. They can be a victim, a doer, or a witness. This story tells readers to threat others fairly as everyone is basically similar inside.

The Paper Bag Princess The Paper Bag PrincessThe Paper Bag Princess The Paper Bag Princess

The Paper Bag Princess

A princess usually looks gorgeous, but Elizabeth doesn’t look that good since a dragon attack to the castle. The dragon also kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald—who is less than pleased at her un-princess-like appearance.

Sleep Like a Tiger (Caldecott Medal - Honors Winning Title(s))Sleep Like a Tiger (Caldecott Medal – Honors Winning Title(s))

Sleep Like a Tiger

It is a hard work for many parents to get little kids sleep at night as they still want to be awake and play. This book show children how other animals also need some rest. Kids will try to sleep like what the animals do.

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary FriendThe Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

I have an imaginary friend on an island far away. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.

I'll Follow the Moon — 10th Anniversary Collector's EditionI’ll Follow the Moon — 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition

I’ll Follow the Moon

This is a story of how  baby green turtle hatched and wanted to go to the sea to meet its mother. The mysterious night time journey is not easy as there are more challenges and obstacles.

Curious George: 75th Anniversary EditionCurious George: 75th Anniversary Edition

Curious George

This is the first book of the classical series. George is a monkey who is always curious on any things that attract him. This story is also available in cartoon. The smart monkey was very lucky to be able to avoid some problems arise in the story as a result of his curiosity.

The Little House 70th Anniversary Edition with CDThe Little House 70th Anniversary Edition with CD

The Little House

The Little House tells a story about how a countryside cottage changed to be a house in the city. Virginia Lee Burton makes the main character, a little house, think, watch, feel, and observe like a human. The change of a countryside is very tragic for the little house. How does it happen and how does t end finally?

Grandfather's JourneyGrandfather’s Journey

Grandfather’s Journey

This book has big pictures with simple sentences. When you just read with your children, you might find that it is not interesting at all, but when you read it deeply with discussion in any aspect, you will be amazed of how this book has revealed the cultural mix facts between the Japanese and American

Jumanji 30th Anniversary EditionJumanji 30th Anniversary Edition


I watch the movie of Jumanji with main actor Robin William before I read this book. Jumanji is a name of a board game with 4 players and 2 dice. They should play the game until it finishes. Like Snake and Ladder, each square on the board has frightening challenges. In the story the game was played by 2 small children 30 years before and it should be finished with other 2 new players lived 30 years after the games was started. Love the story a lot.

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid TalesThe Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

This book has mixed and tweaked fairy tales characters. There are no lessons to be learned or morals to take to heart–just good, sarcastic fun that smart-alecks of all ages will love. You can use this book to build a creative writing about fairy tales.

The True Story of the Three Little PigsThe True Story of the Three Little Pigs

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

This book is told based on the classical story of The Three Little Pigs. The interesting thing about this book is the contrast version of the story since the source is from the point of view of the Big Bad Wolf. If ou want kids to learn about the term p”point of view”, this is the best book to read and discuss. You can also make some tweaks for other fairy tales from different point of view.

Polar Express 30th anniversary editionPolar Express 30th anniversary edition

The Polar Express

This is story of a young boy in a Christmas Eve journey to he North Pole using a magical train. He went through the dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice. the Polar Express made its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.

Locomotive (Caldecott Medal Book)Locomotive (Caldecott Medal Book)


This book tells a story about the early railways with the locomotives after the American Civil War about 150 years ago. The availability of trains as the means of transportation along the west to the east of the land has changed a lot of things.

Frog and Toad Are FriendsFrog and Toad Are Friends

Frog and Toad Are Friends

This is a classical picture book in series. They give wonderful messages for readers. The main message of friendship shows the readers about the values of being friends in some situation and condition.

The Seven Chinese Brothers (Blue Ribbon Book)The Seven Chinese Brothers (Blue Ribbon Book)

The Seven Chinese Brothers

This book has similar features with the other more simpler book, The Five Chinese Brothers (Paperstar), but it has 7 brothers as the main characters and it has longer sentences. Margaret Mahy, the narrator of this story, is one of my favorite author.

The story told about 7 brothers who had different abilities. They worked together to solve some problems.

Strega NonaStrega Nona

Strega Nona

Strega None, which also means Grandma Witch, could make magical potion to cure people in the Town of Calabrian. One day, she made a pot of pasta and it made Big Anthony misuse the chant. As a result, the town was in chaos. This story has an Italian setting. We love the unique chant.

Tikki Tikki TemboTikki Tikki Tembo

Tikki Tikki Tembo

This is an old Chinese folktale about how the people of China give their children short names after traditionally giving their “first and honored” sons”huge” and long names. Tikki tikki tembo (which means “the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world”) and his brother Chang (which means “little or nothing”) get into trouble with a well, are saved by the Old Man with the Ladder, and change history while they’re at it. You will be surprised when you and your children enjoy the rhymes in the book.

Sylvester and the Magic PebbleSylvester and the Magic Pebble

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Sylvester Duncan is a donkey who collects pebbles “of unusual shape and color”. He experiences just such a lucky find. But before he can make all his wishes come true, the young donkey unexpectedly meets a mean-looking lion. He makes an unthoughful wish that makes him separated from his family. This fable is quite thrilling for kids.

Harold and the Purple Crayon (Purple Crayon Books)Harold and the Purple Crayon (Purple Crayon Books)

Harold and the Purple Crayon (Purple Crayon Books)

Full of funny twists and surprises, this joyful story shows just how far your imagination can take you. Harold and the Purple Crayon has delighted readers of all ages since 1955.

This very simple adventure will be great to read with guessing and discussion of “what if” cases. In the end, older children can practice their creative writing by modifying the story.

Blueberries for Sal (Picture Puffin) by McCloskey, Robert (1976) PaperbackBlueberries for Sal (Picture Puffin) by McCloskey, Robert (1976) Paperback

Blueberries for Sal

Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk go the blueberries into the pail of a little girl named Sal who–try as she might–just can’t seem to pick as fast as she eats. Robert McCloskey’s classic is a magical tale of the irrepressible curiosity–not to mention appetite–of youth. Sal and her mother set off in search of blueberries for the winter at the same time as a mother bear and her cub. A quiet comedy of errors ensues when the young ones wander off and absentmindedly trail the wrong mothers

Mr. Wuffles! (Caldecott Medal - Honors Winning Title(s))Mr. Wuffles! (Caldecott Medal – Honors Winning Title(s))

Mr. Wuffles!

A cat named Mr. Wuffles doesn’t care about toy mice or toy goldfish. He’s much more interested in playing with a little spaceship full of actual aliens. There are several scenes in a paper so we can have some poisonous food out there without any menu. There should be a lot of discussion with other kids for this one.

Sector 7 (Caldecott Honor Book)Sector 7 (Caldecott Honor Book)

Sector 7

The story is about an unusual friendship between a boy and a cloud. The cloud gets bored with the common shapes it has from time to time so that it will try to change it.

All the World (Classic Board Books)All the World (Classic Board Books)

All the World

The title of the book sounds exaggerated to mention all the world. Well, this is a great picture book to depict activities of families from early in the morning to evening in some different places. This book also asks the readers to think of everything from the smallest to the bigger.



This is a story about when the light went out. I love this book a lot. It tells the readers that we can do something without the electricity. The modern children have a tendency to depend on the electricity. They need to know that they can do something without it sometimes.

One Cool FriendOne Cool Friend

One Cool Friend

I haven’t read this one, but I think it is a good book to read with children. Here is the review I read in Amazon:

“When well-mannered Elliot reluctantly visits the aquarium with his distractible father, he politely asks whether he can have a penguin–and then removes one from the penguin pool to his backpack. The fun of caring for a penguin in a New England Victorian house is followed by a surprise revelation by Elliot’s father.”

A Sick Day for Amos McGeeA Sick Day for Amos McGee

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

This is a story of friendship between Amos McGee, an elderly man who works in a zoo, with the animals. For his love to the animals, they return to him when he got sick. The animals accompany him at home. What a beautiful story.

This post is a part of the 5+1 Days to Enjoy Fictions with Children. Click the Picture below to read other related posts:5+1 Days To Enjoy Fictions with Children This post is also linked to The Massive Guide to Homeschool Reading List in iHomeschool Network. Click the picture below to check out other posts:

3 thoughts on “52 Picture Books to Read with The Elementary Grades

  1. Leslie says:

    You’ve listed some of my favorite picture books as well as a few I want to try. One of the best new picture books I’ve read is The Day The Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers. We’d love to have you link up with us at Literacy Musing Mondays #LMMLinkup.

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