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8 Books Worth Maxing Out Your Library Cards For

There are lots of great things about having multiple children.

I love that my older girls play together really well most of the time, I love that I get a lot of use out of any child item I buy, and I really am glad for someone to run and grab a diaper or a pacifier when the baby needs one.

But maybe the best perk was when we went to the library week to pick up a big stack of holds and I discovered that both my card and Ella’s card were maxed out.

I marched up to the desk and said, “I’d like a library card for my child.”

And just like that I Ani had 50 more great picture books we could check out.

Never mind that I only let her pick two.

Picture books both you and your child will love!


great picture books to max out your library cards for

Huff and Puff by Claudia Rueda – I basically never get tired of Three Little Pig stories and this is a new favorite. It’s very simple and interactive. With each pig, when the wolf arrives, there is a die cut in the page so you can huff and puff to blow the house down. But on the last pig, when you huff and puff, the house doesn’t fall down, of course. But what does happen is sweet and delightful.

Waiting by Kevin Henkes  I got an advanced unbound copy of this book, which means I want to frame all the super sweet illustrations and hang them in Star’s bedroom. Five toys stand on the windowsill, looking outside and waiting for the moon or rain or wind or snow. Along the way, other toys join them (I died laughing when a ceramic elephant joins them: “He stayed a while, then he left and never returned,” accompanied by a drawing of him smashed on the floor with one of the animals looking over the edge at the pieces). This one just came out yesterday, so it is brand-spanking-new.

Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson – At this point, I basically believe Mac Barnett can do no wrong (it doesn’t hurt that he MCed a Chronicle event I attended with my mom back last summer and he was so delightfully charming). This one is about a little ghost who lives alone in a house. Until a family buys the house, moves in, and are horrified to discover a ghost trying to serve them mint tea and honey toast. So Leo moves on, invisible, in the big city. But then he finds a little girl who seems like she can see him.

Bug in a Vacuum by Mélanie Watt – This story about a bug who gets sucked up by a vacuum and proceeds to go through the five stages of grief. I thought it might be a little beyond my girls, but they LOVE this book, and we’ve probably read it 20 times in the last two weeks. Mélanie Watt, I never should have doubted you.

Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali, illustrated by Raphaëlle Barbanègre – Snow White is on the run from the witch when a houseful of kind dwarfs invite her to live with them in exchange for helping out. Of course, packing 77 lunches, trimming 77 beards, and telling 77 bedtime stories (every dwarf wants his own, of course) starts to get pretty wearing. Pretty soon, she decides she’ll take her chances with the witch – after all, an enchanted sleep is sounding pretty great right about now. Not only did this version make me laugh, but I especially love the super-colorful illustrations.

The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory, illustrated by Mark Cleary – When a baboon came to take a photo of giraffes, everyone wanted it to be perfect. But Geri is the shortest giraffe that ever lived and they can’t figure out how to get him in the photo. After a bunch of failed solutions, a tiny caterpillar offers a suggestion that results in the best photo of all time (assuming you think a photo of giraffes is the best photo of all time, obviously).

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett – I discovered Emily Gravett when we lived in London and now I can’t get enough of her books. This might be my favorite of hers, with a simple bouncy rhyme of a little girl and her monkey who pretend to be different animals. I loved trying to guess what animal they were imitating on each page, and you can imagine that if I enjoyed that, my girls liked it 10000 times more.

Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison 
– Some books I read and it isn’t until the end that I think, “Oh, that was pretty good.” This one I liked from the first page. Bernice is a grumpy-faced cat at a birthday party on a super gray and dreary day, which is fine by her because her mood is gray and dreary too. She gets a piece of cake with no flower frosting, a warm soda in the most unpopular flavor, and then when it is piñata time, she finds “one lousy gumdrop . . .that someone had stepped on.” And the gradual change of saturation and color in this book absolutely delighted me.

And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!

P.S. I share more book recommendations every day or two on Instagram, so if you’re looking for more suggestions, feel free to follow along!

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  1. Hi! I always love your book suggestions! I immediately copy and paste them into my library's website to reserve them. I just wanted to point out that in your post "Snow White and the 77 Drawfs" is spelled incorrectly. I still found it, though! I only have a 9-month-old son, but he's listening to books WAY above his reading and comprehension level (for mama's sake!)!

  2. I get sad when some of your suggestions are not available at my library. Ho hum. But the rest have already been requested!

  3. I'm in with the others, I always instantly go to my library site and request all your suggestions, the kids always love the books you recommend. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Our library won't let kids get a card unti they are 6, so only one of my three has a card right now. And yes, they are regularly maxed out.

  5. Quick question, how do you transport your books back and forth? This is always a struggle and I have broken bags doing so. Any suggestions???

    1. I have a double stroller but only one toddler, the rest of the kids are all too big, I put her in the front and then a square laundry basket that fits perfectly in the back seat. I know, it's awkward and a little crazy but it saves me having to carry all the books. The basket goes in the living room, making it easy to gather books. We might eventually graduate to a wagon with the same basket set up bc I will always check out more books than I can (or want to) carry!! 🙂

    2. I've also ripped through several bags in an attempt to squeeze in one more book. Now I use my large heavy-duty backpack that I've had since college when I used it to lug around heavy textbooks.

      I also recently heard someone suggest using a rolling file box for library books. That was a new idea for me, but it sounds like it might work!

    3. I usually take my big stroller and put them in the bottom seat and basket. Or I take a pretty strong canvas bag (not one of those thin reusable grocery bags). And I generally have to carry some in my arms even with a bag.

  6. I just don't think there are words to express how impressed I am with your capacity to have 100 books out at once. That is serious library goals right there!

  7. Whoa! That is a lot of books out all at once, but I love it. We're still in the board book stage, but I love keeping a list for future reference 🙂 Also, how do you make your graphics? They are always so visually appealing, and big!

  8. I'm dying over all of the new releases you've already read! Our library is always super slow to process new books. 🙁

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