It’s Picture Book Month in November! My favorite thing about picture books is that they can be enjoyed by people of all ages, but there is a special thrill when you find a picture book just for adults. Adult picture books can be funny, not-quite-comics, satires of childhood favorites, or almost-graphic novels. They can also be a mix of all of these things. Some will make you laugh out loud, while others will teach you and make you want to be better. I tried to keep this list to books that were not meant for little people to read. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any real children’s picture books worth having on your grown-up bookshelves, and not just because they’re nostalgic. Check out the kids section at your local bookstore and don’t be afraid of it. Picture books are pure art!
Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cortés
Author Lish McBride has a great story about this one. When her youngest tried to stay awake, she played him Samuel L Jackson’s narration of “Go the Fuck to Sleep” in a moment of parental irony. It worked out great. We don’t know for sure what happened. This is great for anyone who has tried to get their child to go to sleep.
All My Friends Are Still Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John
After All My Friends Are Dead, this is a hilarious throwback to all the stories you used to read when you were little. It has a morbid sense of humor that makes me laugh out loud every time I flip through the pages. A little bit of existential dread is good for the soul. This is how it works: It is safe to trust me.
The Who, the What, and the When by Jenny Volvovski, Julia Rothman, and Matt Lamothe
You could say this is a “picture book.” It is a book that has pictures in it. It took 65 artists to make this book about some of History’s lesser-known sidekicks into a picture. They wouldn’t have been able to do as well as they did if they didn’t have their muses, mothers, coaches, partners, and other people who helped them along the way. You can also check out The Where, the Why, and the How for 75 artists’ illustrations of some of the most interesting questions in the world of science.
Everything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
Muldrow uses the original illustrations from the Little Golden Books that you read as a child to give real-world advice. This book is a great gift for a lot of different situations, and it will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Muldrow also has a Disney book called “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Disney Little Golden Book.”
Goodnight Mr. Darcy by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Alli Arnold
There’s also a picture book for Austen fans. There is a parody of Goodnight Moon by the people who run BabyLit, and it’s so clever. Bennetts, Darcys, and Bingleys, what a lot of people there are!
Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel
Journals aren’t usually thought of as picture books, but this one is beautiful and deserves to be on this list. Patel’s stationary and prints have a lot of fans for good reason, and her interactive journal is a great way to spend some time with yourself.
Do You Want to Play with My Balls? by The Cifaldi Brothers, illustrated by Santiago Elizalde
I can’t do this one. Young children would think it was a story about rubber balls if you read it. However, if you start reading this to anyone older than, say, five (elementary school isn’t as innocent as you think), their minds will start going down the drain. There aren’t many better ways to make a point.
Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen
Ann Shen’s art paired with badass women from all over the world, from ancient times to the present, is my idea of the perfect book. In this book, you’ll learn about FLOTUS Abigail Adams and renowned spy Mata Hari, as well as dancer Josephine Baker and author Judy Blume. 100 stories about 100 women who didn’t want to be anything but themselves.
There Is No Right Way to Meditate: And Other Lessons by Yumi Sakugawa
This is a list of the best books written by Yumi Sakugawa: I think I’m in a friendship-love with you. Thank you for your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe. I’ve used it a lot to get through some dark times. This choice will help you stop worrying about how you will de-stress. It doesn’t matter if you choose to meditate on one lesson or read through the whole book. I’m sure you’ll leave this book with a smile. 10. Cozy Classics: “War and Peace” by Jack and Holman Wang is one of them.
Cozy Classics: War & Peace by Jack & Holman Wang
I don’t know why I picked War and Peace. I could have chosen any book in the Cozy Classics series: Great Expectations, Moby Dick, Les Miserables, Emma, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, to name a few, but I chose Great Expectations. A lot of adults will love the felt-work art and the Wangs’ skill at making these books so simple that they can be read by babies. The BabyLit series is a good way to introduce babies to the classics. Bonus for Hamil fans: They’ve found Lin-Manuel. There is a book for adults called “It’s Never Too Late: A Kids Book for People.” It was written by Dallas Clayton.
It’s Never Too Late: A Kid’s Book for Adults by Dallas Clayton
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by life, this gift from Dallas Clayton will help you feel better. A lot of people think Clayton is the next Dr. Seuss because his books are filled with dreamy watercolor illustrations and upbeat stories that make you feel good. Make sure you have this one on hand when you’re having a bad case of the Mondays and wondering what you’re doing with your life.
The Taking Tree: A Selfish Parody by Shrill Travesty, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Is The Giving Tree one of your favorite books? If so, this book is for you. There’s a tree called the Taking Tree, and she’s not happy that someone took her resources. She’s going to try to get back at the person who took them. He’s not here. The book was written by Catherine Ingram and Andrew Rae.
Where’s Warhol? by Catherine Ingram and Andrew Rae
Who didn’t love this? When you look for Waldo, where are you? As a child? Or as an adult? If you had a bad brother or sister who used permanent marker to circle him. The only person who didn’t do this was my sister. I knew of a few people who did. So now people who like art, and Andy Warhol in particular, can enjoy this new look at the show. If you’re more into fashion, “Where’s Karl?” by Stacey Caldwell and Ajiri A. Aki is another good book. 14. Goodnight Unicorn by Karla Oceanak, illustrated by Kendra Spanjer, is number 14.
Goodnight Unicorn by Karla Oceanak, illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
One more good parody of Goodnight Moon, this one is for unicorn lovers. It doesn’t have anything that isn’t child-friendly. Goodnight Moon is one of my favorite books, and I love unicorns. This one will stay on this list. In order to make your parodies more fun, you can add more snark. iPad, Obama, Brew, and so many other people and things are on this list! The book is called “Ella,” and the illustrator is Marcos Chin.
Ella by Mallory Kasdan, illustrated by Marcos Chin
Fans of Eloise also get a sassy, hotel-living Ella. Her nanny, Manny, and she go on adventures and go to social events. She likes Hillary Clinton, wants to own a food truck, turns plastic bags into fashion accessories, and rides a scooter. Ella is the best six-year-old hipster, and I love her to death.
Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir by Graham Roumieu
He really wants to fit in with the other people. In spite of his size, he is just like you and me in that he has to deal with the same things we do. Even if you don’t think about casual cannibalism very often, it might not be the same. (I really hope it’s not.) This will make you laugh for sure.