Yes, I'm taking about picture books. What, like you don't read graphic novels? Just think of these as very short graphic novels. Really, really shiny and colorful short graphic novels. If it's been a while since you picked up a picture book, you may have forgotten how amazing they can be. Luckily, I'm here to remind you. These books are not just kid stuff. They are hilarious, poignant, surprisingly wise, and even controversial.
And Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
This was the single most banned book of the year - three years in a row. Yep, the most controversial book in America is a picture book. And it's about penguins! Who could ban adorable, cuddly penguins? Well, ok, they do happen to be gay. And raising an "adopted" baby penguin. Fight for your right to read about whatever kind of love and family you choose! Go! Fight! Read! (Can you tell that I think everybody should read this book?)
by Jon Muth
A giant Zen panda, Stillwater, moves in next door and shares his quiet wisdom with his new neighbors in three short tales. I'll say that again - Giant. Zen. Panda. It's hard to get more awesome than that. But pandas aside, this is a beautiful, elegant, and enlightening book for all ages. I didn't read it until I was in college, and I adored it. You'll be hard pressed to find an adult book with such a graceful and simple introduction to Zen. And did I mention pandas?
The Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein
Ok, I'll admit it. This book still makes me sob like a baby. If you're in the mood for a tearjerker, this story of the bond between an often-selfish boy and his self-sacrificing apple tree will do the trick faster than any movie. And let's face it- it's probably a good reminder to think about how we're treating the people who love us, no matter our age.
by H.A. Rey
Well, I really wanted to recommend Curious George Goes to the Library, but by some hideous twist of fate, we don't have it at the library! Still, it's hard to beat the silliness of an overly curious monkey, in any of his books. Let your inner child come out to play, and remember how much fun these are! Taking Spanish this year? Jorge el Curioso would love to play with you.
Do you have other suggestions for picture books teens will still enjoy? What are the picture books that you love?