Picture Books — Not Just For Kids!

Picture books are not just for kids! They can be highly imaginative with striking artwork that sometimes even resembles that of graphic novels. Picture books often have a second, more subtle layer of meaning that may involve allusion, humor, or situations that will appeal to an older, more sophisticated reader. The books on this list can be found in Youth Services. Fiction Books are shelved alphabetically by author, nonfiction by call number.

Fiction picture books
Nonfiction picture books

Fiction Picture Books

Banyai, Istvan. The Other Side. 2005..
Just what is it that lies on the other side? These wordless enigmatic pictures of scenes that seem familiar will keep you guessing.
Briggs, Raymond. The Man. 1995.
John is woken up one morning by a very cranky, very small man. They soon settle into an odd quarrelsome relationship that unfolds in panels somewhat like a graphic novel.
Eco, Umberto. The Three Astronauts. 1989.
It can feel threatening when people are different, but three astronauts (an American, a Russian, and a Chinese) who meet a six armed Martian and a tiny Martian bird learn their differences really aren’t that great.
Lopez, Barry. Crow and Weasel. 1999.
Curious Crow and thoughtful Weasel break from the ways of their American Plains people and set off to see the world beyond their village. On their journey they meet Badger who teaches them the importance of story.
Macaulay, David. Black and White. 1990.
Nothing is ever black and white. Four separate yet intertwined stories involving parents, trains, cows and the railroad will keep you guessing right up until the end.
McLerran, Alice. The Mountain That Loved a Bird. 1985.
Every year a small bird named Joy visits a stone mountain where nothing grows. As the seasons and years pass Joy brings the mountain both joy and sorrow. Reminiscent of Puff the Magic Dragon.
Muth, Jon J. The Three Questions. 2002.
This tale is based on a story by Leo Tolstoy. A young boy seeks answers from Leo the wise old turtle to his questions: "When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?"
Muth, Jon J. Zen Shorts. 2005.
Three children discover a giant panda named Stillwater who has landed in their backyard with a bright red parasol. Listen as Stillwater tells each child a Zen story just for them.
Scieszka, Jon. The Book That Jack Wrote. 1994.
Jack writes a picture book about a cow that sailed over the moon, an egg that fell off the wall and an assortment of other nursery rhyme characters that will seem more than a little familiar.
Scieszka, Jon. Math Curse. 1995.
Ever dreamed you’re trapped in a room full of numbers with lots of walls but no doors and no windows? You’ve entered the world of the math curse. Scieszka will show you how to put a hole in that wall and jump out.
Van Allsburg, Chris. The Stranger. 1986.
Imagine a perpetual season, great if it’s your favorite season, maybe or maybe not. A stranger comes to town who doesn’t remember anything and soon the weather begins to act peculiarly.
Van Allsburg, Chris. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. 1984.
Fourteen drawings filled with clues are discovered in the home of the mysterious Burdick. These puzzling drawings will lead you on flights of fancy.
Wiesner, David. Sector 7. 1999.
Enter the world of Sector Seven, a weather station that looks strangely like Grand Central Station where a young boy discovers he can direct cumulous clouds and angers the disdainful bureaucrats.
Wiesner, David. Tuesday. 1991.
On this particular Tuesday evening, all kinds of improbable things like frogs floating on lily pads and pigs flying leave a detective scratching his head.

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Nonfiction Picture Books

Angelou, Maya. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. 1993.
JE 811.54 A584.Li
Angelou’s powerful words accompanied by the bold paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat explore how we don’t let the shadows on the wall and the dragons we see get us down.
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. The Six Servants. 1996.
JE 398.20943 G
Take one super hero prince; six servants with super ordinary powers, throw in a princess to be rescued and you have a darkly drawn fairytale with grotesquely intriguing characters.
Noyes, Alfred. The Highwayman. 1990.
J 821.912 N952.hi
This ballad of a highwayman’s love for "Bess the landlord’s black haired daughter" is mesmerizing.
Rochelle, Belinda. Words with Wings: A Treasury of African American Poetry and Art. 2001.
J 811.008 W
An extraordinary collection of 20 poems paired with art by African American poets and artists speak to longings of the heart.
Wood, Nancy. Sacred Fire: Poetry and Prose. 1998.
J 811 W8773.sa
A rich collection of poetry and prose that evokes the ways of the Pueblo Indians as the Old Man keeps the sacred fire burning through the seasons.
Yolen, Jane. Sacred Places. 1996.
J 811.54 Y546.sa
Journey to the mysterious sacred places of standing stones, the river Ganges and other places through these dreamlike poems and images.

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