Picture Books for Children: What Are English Children Reading?

There are so many wonderful picture books for children that it is difficult to know where to start when trying to pick favourites.

I decided to ask around amongst British friends and family to come up with a few ideas. These books below are perfect for children from 2 to 7 years.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

What it’s about: Anyone in the UK who hasn’t heard of the Very Hungry Caterpillar has been living in a cave! Eric Carle’s colourful classic helps children learn about colours and counting, not to mention the life cycle of a caterpillar. This is a great book to start children on a journey of reading. Children younger than 2 will enjoy this book and will start to grow out of it by about aged 6.

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

It is quite amazing that a book that was written over 52 years ago is still so popular today but this book is another classic that is enjoyed again and again.

What it’s about: When Max is sent to bed without his dinner, he imagines an adventure to the land of the “Wild Things”, where he meets a crowd of strange Wild Things, that look like scary monsters. When he starts wanting to go home, he wakes up in his bedroom to find his warm supper waiting for him. Sendak tackles the themes of anger and loneliness and children just love meeting all the wild beasts and relate to Max’s feelings of anger. This is perfect for 3 years upwards. The older children will enjoy the illustrations as much as the text.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter loved nature and her drawings of realistic animals wearing clothing are simply delightful. The whole series of Potter books are so quintessentially English that it’s hard not to enjoy them. They could be considered a little old fashioned for some (hey isn’t vintage on trend?) but parents also love these picture books for children. These books are perfect for 5 upwards.

There’s a bird on your head by Mo Willems

Ok hands up, I’ll admit I’m a little obsessed with Mo Willems and his Piggie and Elephant books, basically because they are so funny. My kids giggle and laugh aloud whenever we read this particular book, There’s a Bird on Your Head. Reading should be fun after all. The story is told entirely in speech bubbles, with a repetitive use of familiar phrases, making this highly original book perfect for children just learning to read.

Willems is American and he is among the most popular book author/illustrators of all time. I think one of the reasons Elephant and Piggie is so popular with children is the theme of friendship and the silliness of Piggie and Elephant’s conversations. These books can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

What are your favourite picture books for children?