Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

favorite kids' books

Oh Hello Again on Capitol Hill offers a comfortable browsing experience for all ages. (Photo by Joshua Huston)

Favorite kids’ books of people who really know young readers

Picks from a Seattle-area early-childhood educator, a bookstore owner and more.

Favorite kids’ books: It’s a cozy time of year to curl up with a book and a blanket! Here are some of the top picks from a few adults who really need to know what children and babies  enjoy. 

Annie Garrett

Parent education faculty, South Seattle College

Ages 0-2: “At this age, children are learning through their bodies. If the book isnt squeezable, crunchable, singable, bangable, or edible, I question who it was really made for. Here are a few that engage the little ones without losing the big ones (that’s us): There’s a Monster in Your Book by Tom Fletcher, Press Here by Hervé Tullet and good old Jamberry by Bruce Degen.” 


Ages 2-4:  “If you’re having fun, your kid probably is, too. The prolific Sandra Boynton brings the generations together via her silly, playful board books. If play is the work of children and silly is their language, then her books are more than just a good time. They’re a tutorial in modern parenting. Although you can’t go wrong with Boynton, my personal favorite is Belly Button Book.”

Christy McDanold

Owner, Secret Garden Books, Ballard



Black & White

by Tana Hoban

 “Some brilliant designer had the idea of folding it into a frieze that you can prop up for your child on the floor around their playmat. Very striking black and white art of common everyday things, and that’s what they respond to in the early months.” 

Picture books


Negative Cat

by Sophie Blackall

“The first part of the book is all about the child begging and begging and begging [for a cat]. They bring a cat home and the cat is really a stinker! … It’s a great read-aloud.”

Age 9 and up


Ophie’s Ghosts 

by Justina Ireland

Ophie’s family flees Georgia in the 1920s South. “As she gets to know her up north family, she learns her aunt also has the gift of seeing dead people … It’s mystery. It’s historical fiction. It’s adventure. It’s really good.” 

Favorite kids’ books: Kari Ferguson

Owner, Oh Hello Again, Capitol Hill

Ages 4-6


This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World

by Matt Lamothe

“A really great book to introduce children to the lifestyles of other cultures around the world.”


Chirri + Chirra

by Kaya Doi

This super-adorable duo goes on a lot of fun adventures.”


Mia Mayhem
by Kara West; illustrated by Leeza Hernandez 

“Perfect superhero adventures for little readers.”

Ages 6-8


A History of Music for Children

by Mary Richards and David Schweitzer; illustrated by Rose Blake

“A perfect primer for young musicians.”

Princess in Black
by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale; illustrated by LeUyen Pham

“A princess AND a superhero.”


How to Make Friends With a Ghost

by Rebecca Green 

“A beautiful, super-sweet read-aloud picture book.”

Ages 8-10


Snow & Rose

by Emily Winfield Martin

“A sweet, beautifully illustrated fairy-tale chapter book by a Pacific Northwest author.” 

Mr. Wolf’s Class series

by Aron Nels Steinke

“A fun graphic novel series by an Oregon-based teacher.” 

Age 10 and up


The Chronicles of Prydain series

by Lloyd Alexander

“A classic fantasy series that entertained both me and my kids.” 


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

by Dusti Bowling 

“A great novel tackling physical disabilities.”



by Louis Sachar

“A perfect classic for boys and girls.”


More book recommendations and news in Seattle’s Child


About the Author

Jillian O’Connor