I have a bookshelf in my house that I'm a little ashamed to have. It's a shelf full of picture books that I adore so much that ...

Picture Books for Grown Ups

Thursday, June 20, 2019 BookBairn 8 Comments

I have a bookshelf in my house that I'm a little ashamed to have. It's a shelf full of picture books that I adore so much that I have hidden them away from sticky fingers. So I thought it was time to share some more of these special picture books that tell stories which are not only wonderful for children but also have an added appeal for adults. 

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Have you ever seen the award-winning short movie based on this book? It's beautiful! 

I think most bookworms will appreciate the beauty of this story. It's about a man called Morris Lessmore who loves words, stories and books. His life story is very neat and orderly until one day a storm blows in and scatters his life and words all over. He doesn't know what to do, so lost, he wanders on and on until he happens to look up. In the sky he spots a lady being transported by a squadron of flying books and he follows her to an extraordinary building full of wonderful books. And there Morris finds his home. A magical story that will touch your heart and with illustrations that will enchant you further it's a lovely gift for all book-lovers big and small!

Because by Mo Willems & Amber Ren

This is such a powerful book about how we end up choosing the lives we choose. It's the story of a little girl who becomes a conductor of an orchestra but why does she take this path? Because an experience she had as a child changed her. Because an orchestra of people played a concert that she watched. Because they were passionate about music. Because people loved to here the music or composers. Because a man named Ludwig wrote beautiful music. In simplifying the story to explain it to you I have taken away much of the poetry of the book but let me assure you that it is poetic, and moving and inspiring. The illustrations also do a spectacular job at bringing colour and life to the magic of music! And it is a gentle reminder about inspiration, about choices, about destiny to us older readers.

Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev & Taeeun Yoo

Sometimes one of the wonderful things about reading picture books as a grown up is that they remind us about the joyous, and difficult, parts of childhood. This story is a beautiful reminder about friendship and about feeling left out. The little boy in the story has a pet elephant. And today is Pet Club Day - but the Pet Club insists on Strictly No Elephants! So the boy decides to show his tiny pet elephant that friends come in all shapes and sizes and what it means to be a true friend! This is a very simple story but the imaginative and lyrical text, with the accompanying sweet illustrations, is a wonderful reminder to grown ups to make sure that are all welcome and to help us remember that our children want to include and be included so we should follow in their (and their elephants') footsteps.

This book is a very simple but powerful narrative about how your words (and others' words) can affect your heart. The book then tells you all the wonderful things that words can do such as: describing things, explaining stuff, make you happy, make you cry (even pierce someone's heart). Because your words have power!

"Your words can actually change the way someone's heart feels."

The illustrations are very simple with only a black and red colour palette against a white page. Again this plays to the fact that this book is about the words being important. This book is perfect for helping us all see how their words affect others.

This is a wordless picture book, which solely through the illustrations tells the story of a little girl who goes out for a walk with her daddy and picks up flowers she sees growing along the footpath as they walk by. It starts predominantly in black and white with only the little girl's red coat being a vibrant red and as they pass collect flowers they stand out agains the monochrome backdrop with their vibrant colours. But the little girl doesn't just collect the flowers - she gives them to people along the way: placing them on the body of a dead bird, leaving them by a man asleep on a bench, giving them to her mummy as she returns home, placing them in her siblings hair - and as she does so more and more colour appears across the page. It's about find the joy in the little things. It's about spreading joy. It's about kindness. And it made me stop and give pause. After all sometimes a bunch of dandelions is far more beautiful than a dozen red roses because of the little hands that picked them and gave them with love.

If you like picture books as much as me, and not just for reading with your children but enjoying reading them for their own sake then check out my collection of awesome picture books for grown ups blog posts. And I have just added a Picture Books for Grown Ups section to my Amazon Shop.

Happy reading,
Kim - self-confessed picture book fanatic and proud of it. 
After all picture books are for grown ups too! x

Disclaimer: these are all my choices. None of these were sent by the publishers (they are all books I bought except for Footpath Flowers which was borrowed from or library) but I have worked with them before. Please read our review policy if you want to know more. If you click on the title or image of the book you will be sent to Amazon.co.uk using an affiliate link. This means that if you choose to purchase on Amazon.co.uk, I will receive a small sum (around 20-90p per book) from amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our 'For Our Readers' section.

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  1. If I promise not to have sticky fingers can I get a look at these books sometime?

  2. You don't think of picture books being accessable for grown ups do you. I love being able to simply look rather than read sometimes, time to relax #readwithme

    1. Absolutely! I think sometimes we write them off as for little kids but when you look at the depth of the messages they have such value to adults too. And also there is no doubt in my mind that illustration is art.

  3. This is lovely! I would never think of buying picture books for myself, but I do remember loving some of the books I read with the children back in the day - particularly The Snail and the Whale and Dogger. I did actually have a copy of Footpath Flowers, but I gave it to my niece. She's probably destroyed it now!

    1. That was very kind of you!! I have only just discovered the Snail and the Whale. And I love it!

  4. Nice idea. I know I read some of the picture book reviews and think I wish my boys were young enough to still want this #readwithme