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Top 10 Children’s Storybooks of 2013

By Jan Parish, M.Ed.  | 

Reading a good book together is one of the most cherished gifts a grandparent can give a grandchild. A quality storybook is one that is fun to read aloud, makes young children laugh, tickles their imaginations, and teaches them something with every reading.

Here are my picks for the 10 best children’s storybooks published this year. Their familiar themes, playful language, and strong artwork are sure to capture your grandchildren’s hearts.


BenLovesBear_COMPBen Loves Bear
By David McPhail
(2–4 years)

NY Times bestselling illustrator David McPhail’s captivating watercolors and cheerful narrative capture a young boy’s special relationship with his favorite stuffed animal as the two best buddies go about their day.


FloraFlamingo_COMPFlora and the Flamingo
By Molly Idle
(4–6 years)

In this wordless wonder, with illustrations so vibrant they seem to move across the page, a round little girl and an angular flamingo engage in a comical ballet that cleverly conveys the message, “Friendship is a beautiful dance.”


NewBlueSocks_COMPHave You Seen My New Blue Socks?
By Eve Bunting & Sergio Ruzzier
(3–5 years)

This whimsical tale of a little duck searching high and low for a cherished belonging he never really lost is told with rhyming prose and lively illustrations, which also hold clues to the mystery of the lost socks.


Hooray Parade
By Barbara Joosse & Hyewon Yum
(3–5 years)

In this tongue-twisting tale illustrated with vibrant watercolors and bock prints, Gramma comes to visit and brings along a merry band of playmates, much to her precocious young granddaughter’s delight.


IfWant2SeeWhale_COMPIf You Want to See a Whale
By Julie Fogliano & Erin Stead
(4–7 years)

Fogliano’s gently undulating poem spells out all the things you’ll need in order to see a whale. Stead’s richly textured illustrations provide a window into a young boy’s imagination as he and his basset hound sail the ocean in search of whales.


My1stDay_COMPMy First Day
By Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
(4–8 years)

In this stunning new storybook by this Caldecott-winning duo, 23 newborn animals share what they can and cannot do on their first day of life. Page’s simple lyrical sentences are the perfect compliment to Jenkins’ gorgeous cut-paper collages of mother and child.


NightCooper_COMPNighty-Night Cooper
By Laura Numeroff & Lynn Munsinger
(4–8 years)

When little Cooper resists sleep, Mama Kangeroo sings charming bedtime stories set to the tunes of well-known lullabies. Munsinger’s tender illustrations capture the joy of singing a little one to sleep at bedtime.


RedHat_COMPRed Hat
By Lita Judge
(2–5 years)

With its appealing artwork and clever sound effects, this wordless treasure delightfully depicts the adventures of baby animals frolicking with a hand-knit red cap.



TeaRex_COMPTea Rex
By Molly Idle
(3–5 years)

What happens when you invite a dinosaur to a tea party? Hilarity! The juxtaposition between the prose outlining proper tea-party etiquette — “Lead him to the parlor” — and the lively illustrations depicting the ridiculous execution of those rules — is brilliant.


WhenCharleyMetGrampa_COMPWhen Charley Met Grampa
By Amy Hest & Helen Oxenbury
(3–7 years)

In this award-winning storybook, Hest has crafted an enchanting story about a young boy, his grandfather, and a bouncy puppy. Oxenbury’s pencil and watercolor illustrations beautifully express the emotions of this special moment between Henry and his grampa.




Jan Parish, M.Ed., is a nationally-known early childhood consultant and parent/grandparent educator with 25 years experience as an author, teacher, and early development specialist.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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