A Generation of Nostalgic Picture Books


Growing up in the 2000s meant a plethora of old and new children’s books. I remember my mom reading my brother and I a story almost every night; sometimes they’d repeat and sometimes a new cover would strike our attention. All I know is that there was never a story that we didn’t like. From Goodnight Moon to Guess How Much I Love You, my childhood was filled with imaginatively designed picture books that spanned decades. These books are cherished across multiple generations. Revisiting them not only fills us with a sense of nostalgia, but they bring us closer together as well. When books can bring us together, we should embrace that. Here are seven picture books that are sure to give you nostalgia!

Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd 

“Goodnight noises everywhere.”

Goodnight Moon was one of my favorite books as a child. From its vibrant colors to the rhyming scheme, it pulls your attention right away. As a kid, I used to say goodnight to everything in my room after reading this book, learning to understand the importance of appreciating everything around you. I love that this book taught, and continues to teach, children that the little things in life matter. What you surround yourself with matters. All around, this book is a lovely story of life and appreciation of it. 

The Kissing Hand written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak

“Chester loved his Kissing Hand. Now he knew his mother’s love would go with him wherever he went.” 

The Kissing Hand is the ultimate story of a mother’s love. It teaches children to be brave going to school for the first time. Whether or not their mother is with them physically, her love always is, giving them the confidence to do things alone. I think the way that this message is told is beautiful. The child raccoon starts off scared but soon understands his mother’s love will carry him, even when she’s not there. It’s heartwarming. Plus, the illustrations are stunningly crafted, full of the wondrous outdoors and bright colors of the sky and plants. It’s a truly loving and welcoming picture book. 

A Bad Case of Stripes written and illustrated by David Shannon 

“Camilla never pretended not to like lima beans again. Camilla was happy.” 

A Bad Case of Stripes follows a young girl who stops eating lima beans to fit in. Although they’re her favorite snack, she becomes blinded by the idea of acting like her friends. This is such a nuanced children’s book, highlighting the unfortunate ways people may change themselves to fit into a certain group. I appreciate that this book teaches children to stay true to who they are, even if it’s as simple as eating what they want to eat. Camilla learns that if her friends don’t accept her as she is, they were never truly friends. It’s a thoughtful message that is paired with unique illustrations that catch the eye.

The Rainbow Fish written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister

“Finally the Rainbow Fish had only one shining scale left. His most prized possessions had been given away, yet he was very happy.” 

The Rainbow Fish is a wonderful tale that teaches young children that sharing with others is an enjoyable experience. While the Rainbow Fish starts off protective over his shimmery scales, he soon learns that sharing them allows others to enjoy their beauty too. This makes him happy, seeing that he’s contributed to making other fish excited about something he loves so much. I think this is a delightful message that allows children to understand the splendor of sharing their things. Though it might be hard initially, once they see the excitement it brings their friends, sharing becomes desirable. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar written and illustrated by Eric Carle 

“Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out and…he was a beautiful butterfly.”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a classic book from childhood, with an interactive and educational premise. As the story unfolds—literally—we learn about the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. It’s a simple demonstration, but wonderful for curious young minds. The interactive aspect of the book draws you in, with slivers of pages folding into bigger pieces as the caterpillar moves. It’s a great picture book for children who are just beginning to read.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin

“Cows that type? Impossible!

Click, clack, moo. Click, clack, moo. 

Clickety, clack, moo.” 

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type is a humorous picture book that combines reality with the absurd. Featuring cows that use typewriters and request heated blankets, it is bound to make you laugh. I remember loving the repetition of “click, clack, moo” as a child, and I think this is something most children adore. This repetition is something they’re able to grasp onto as they discover how to connect sounds to certain things like typewriters or cows, allowing them to have fun reading while also learning in the process. I think this is a delightful book when you are looking for a humorous read to share with kids. 

Guess How Much I Love You written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram

“I love you right up to the MOON.”

Guess How Much I Love You is a heartening story about the love between two nutbrown hares. They compete throughout the story, telling one another how much they love each other—this love becoming more grand with each response. The little nutbrown hare eventually tires out, feeling overwhelmed with love. It’s a charming story about expressing love, which is a big emotion for a child to understand. This picture book teaches children about how love can be expressed and felt between others. Moreover, its illustrations are beautifully crafted, catching your eye immediately. 

Danielle Francesconi, Pine Reads Review Writer & Social Media Intern


1 thought on “A Generation of Nostalgic Picture Books”

  1. Jen Marshall says:

    Wonderfully written! I love the memories you shared of reading with your mom and brother. These classic books remind me of reading to my own young children.

Comments are closed.