Valentine’s Day Picture Books

There is nothing I love more than an excuse for a good picture book! Picture books, despite popular belief, are for all ages. I think more middle school and high school teachers should incorporate more picture books into their curriculum, but that’s another conversation for another day. 

Here are the three Valentine’s Day books that we’re reading on repeat this year! 

The Love Letter by Anika Aldamuy Denise

A cute book that teaches us the impact we can have on one another in our small acts of kindness.

The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond

I love the illustrations in this book! So simple but so beautiful. And a fun, cute Valentine’s Day book, too.

This Is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins

I love that this book shows that Valentine’s Day is so much more than sending cards to one another.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov:

Graphic Novels: Is It Really Reading?

The other day I spent some time in Barnes & Noble just browsing, picking up books, and flipping through pages aimlessly. It was so nice! 

One section caught me a little off guard in the children’s section, a whole wall of graphic novels! My first thought was that to my knowledge, there weren’t really enough graphic novels out there for a whole wall of these books, so I explored more. There were the classics, Dog Man, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Captain Underpants. And then there were more. 

The Secret Garden as a graphic novel. The Babysitter’s Club. A modern telling of Little Women as a graphic novel. 

There may be some out there who have a “bah humbug” attitude about graphic novels in the hands of children, “It’s just all pictures! It’s not real reading!” they claim. But flipping through the books on the shelf, I was so excited about this new phenomenon! 

First, it’s showing the world that graphic novels aren’t just for boys. When I was growing up, only boys read comic books/ graphic novels. It was such a boy thing. But now the options of books for both boys and girls are endless! Books are gender-neutral by default, but with the vast options available now, there’s certainly a book for everyone to connect with. 

Graphic novels are an incredible resource for reluctant readers. The pictures do a great job of helping tell the story, leaving fewer words on the page. For struggling readers or readers with anxiety, fewer words on the page is extremely helpful. They are also smaller, bite-sized wording on a page instead of paragraph after paragraph like a chapter book. It’s so much less overwhelming and feels doable to read one speech bubble and move on to the next. 

from The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat

Are graphic novels still reading though? 

Oh, absolutely! Reading is reading, my friends! There are words on the page that brains are working hard to piece together and figure out. Their brains are working hard to take in the input of information between the pictures and the words on the page and create a story in their minds. It is absolutely reading! 

Is there an age limit for reading graphic novels? No. Absolutely not. Reading is reading!! So if you see a high school-aged kid reading a graphic novel, celebrate the reading happening!

Graphic novels are a great resource in the reading world and I am so excited that they are gaining more and more traction as time goes on. Yay for graphic novels! 

Be honest, what are your thoughts on graphic novels? 

Final Kid’s Chapter Book List 2023

Recently I posted my 2023 book list, but these books were specifically the books I read by myself. Here’s a list of chapter books I read to my kids in 2023. For reference, my kids are 6 years old, 4 years old, and 1 year old. Obviously, the listening levels of the three different ages were not all the same. But learning a love for reading is more important than actually knowing the storyline at this age!

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

This was our first chapter book read together and of course, I bawled my eyes out at the end. I always do.

Stuart Little by E. B. White

We decided to keep up with the classics, you cannot go wrong with two E. B. White books in a row! This book was a fun read and we enjoyed comparing the book and the movie!

Matilda by Roald Dahl

I won’t lie, this book mostly went over my kid’s heads. It was a little too advanced for their ages and the British English took a lot of explaining. But we’ve been very into Matilda the Musical at our house, so it was fun to read the book and the background context of knowing the movie well made it a little easier for them to understand. It’s on our list to read together again a few years from now when they can understand it better!

Luna’s Rescue by Erica Richardson

I cannot sing this book enough praise! It was the perfect academic level for a read-aloud given my kid’s ages, and the storyline had us all hooked! There is a second book in the series and it’s on our list to read in 2024 because we are dying to know what happens to Luna’s friend, Hoover.

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows

Starting the Ivy and Bean series was a great choice for us. There are a lot of books in this series and Ivy and Bean are fun kids to read about. Again, another book that led to more books added to our “To Be Read” list.

The True Gift by Patricia MacLachlan

I was on a mission to find a Christmas/winter-themed book for the Christmas season that was age and developmentally appropriate for the ages of my kids. There are SO many good kid’s Christmas chapter books out there, but I needed something simple. This book was the ticket, it checked all of the boxes perfectly and was a cute story. I can see us reading this book together again next Christmas season.

Final Book List for 2023

My final number for books read in 2023 came in at 58 books. I always set a goal to read 50 books in a year, so accomplishing 58 felt great! Here is my list of books read. Please note that not all of these books will be appropriate for everyone. Please do your research on whether a book is right for you or not. Please also feel free to comment to ask about any particular book, I’d love to chat about it and give insight.


👂🏼 Audiobook
📕 Physical book
📘 eReader

1The Summer I Turned PrettyJenny Han👂🏼
2Crying in H MartMichelle Zauner👂🏼
3The Case of the Missing MarquessNancy Springer👂🏼
4The Hotel NantucketElin Hilderbrand👂🏼
5The Last Chance LibraryFreya Sampson👂🏼
6House of GoldNatasha Solomons📕
7A Court of Thorns and RosesSarah J. Maas📕👂🏼
8Hiroshima DiaryMichihiko Hachiya👂🏼
9It Ends With UsColleen Hoover👂🏼
10Thank You For ListeningJulia Whelan👂🏼
11Mad HoneyJodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan👂🏼
12HitchhikersBernard Poduska📕
13Beach ReadEmily Henry📕
14A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and MayhemManda Collins👂🏼
15EdenbrookeJulianne Donaldson📕
16The Beach ClubElin Hilderbrand👂🏼
17Maybe SomedayColleen Hoover📕
18Maybe NotColleen Hoover📕
19A Corner of the UniverseAnn M. Martin👂🏼
20Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneJ. K. Rowling👂🏼
21The Tattooist of AuschwitzHeather Morris👂🏼
22It Starts With UsColleen Hoover👂🏼
23Maybe NowColleen Hoover📕
24Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsJ.K. Rowling👂🏼
25We Were DreamersSimu Liu👂🏼
26Tomorrow and Tomorrow and TomorrowGabrielle Zevin📕
27Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanJ. K. Rowling👂🏼
28Enders ShadowOrson Scott Card📕👂🏼
29We Were LiarsE. Lockhart📕
30The Bookish Life of Nina HillAbbi Waxman👂🏼
31The Revised Fundamentals of CaregivingJohnathan Evison👂🏼
32Turtles All The Way DownJohn Green📘
33Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireJ. K. Rowling👂🏼
34The UnhoneymoonersChristina Lauren📕
35Britt Marie Was HereFredrick Backman👂🏼
36Hello BeautifulAnn Napolitano📕👂🏼
37Beneath a Scarlet SkyMark Sullivan📕
38A Place to Hang the MoonKate Albus👂🏼
39The Rent CollectorCameron Wright👂🏼
40This is Your Life, Harriet Chance!Johnathan Evison📕
41The Last Thing He Told MeLaura Dave📕
42The Ballad of Songbirds and SnakesSuzanne Collins👂🏼
43Good Man, DaltonKaren McQuestion📕
44The MeasureNikki Erlick👂🏼
45The Pumpkin Spice CafeLaurie Gilmore📕
46Demon CopperheadBarbara Kingsolver👂🏼
47One For the Murphy’sLynda Mullaly Hunt👂🏼
48Tokyo Ever AfterEmiko Jean👂🏼
49Forever, InterruptedTaylor Jenkins Reid👂🏼
50Tokyo DreamingEmiko Jean👂🏼
51The Mostly Invisible BoyA. J. Vanderhorst📕
52Counting the CostJill Duggar👂🏼
53The Cheat SheetSarah Adams👂🏼
54The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightJennifer E. Smith👂🏼
55Resting Scrooge FaceMeghan Quinn📘
56Little Fires EverywhereCeleste Ng📘
57A Return to ChristmasChris Heimerringer📘
58Found in a BookshopStephanie Butland📘

I cannot wait to see what 2024 has in store for my reading journey! What books would you recommend I add to my reading list for the year?

Christmas Picture Book List 2023

It’s here, it’s finally here! The Christmas picture book list of 2023. To see past Christmas picture book lists, head here

A Creature Was Stirring by Heather S. Pieczynski 

“‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a— MOUSE! He had never heard of a mouse not stirring. It was the most glorious night of the year! So he stirred. Squeaked! Eeked! Anything but sleep.” -Goodreads  

This book had us giggling on every page! The small, loveable mouse also felt relatable to how my children act on Christmas Eve. 

How Does Santa Go Down The Chimney? By Mac Barnett

“Mac Barnett’s iconic talent for earnest deadpan humor and Jon Klassen’s irresistibly funny art honor the timeless question with answers both ridiculous and plausible, mounting in hilarity as the night continues.” -Goodreads

This book is exactly what every child asks at some point. How exactly does Santa go down the chimney? We loved the illustrations and the humor of the book. 

The Nutcracker by Jan Brett
“Jan Brett makes this classic her own by setting it in snowy Russia and adding whimsical touches to the favorite elements of the traditional ballet. Enjoying this book will be an instant Christmas tradition for families who love the ballet and those new to the story.

As perfect a gift as Jan Brett’s classics The Mitten and The Night Before Christmas.” -Goodreads

The illustrations along with the changed setting of this book gave the classic story of The Nutcracker a fun, exciting new change. 

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas poem by Clement Clark Moore, Illustrated by Mr. Boddington

“Mr. Boddington’s Studio provides a fresh take by using the same poem and updating the style” -Goodreads

We were oohing and ahhing with every page flip because of the amazing illustrations. The color palette used in the pictures flowed incredibly well and the bright colors drew us into each page. 

Christmas Book Lists of Christmas Past

I’ve been working on my 2023 Christmas Picture Book list for almost a month now, there are SO many good Christmas picture books out there and this is my favorite post I write all year! Picture books are magical year-round, but for some reason, the magic seems to double around Christmas. We’re not quite ready to roll out the red carpet for our 2023 list, so to hold us all off, here are all of the links to past year’s Christmas picture book lists.

Find the very first Christmas book list here:

My second year of writing a Christmas picture book lists almost felt wrong because it seemed like so many incredible holidays and celebrations were left out. Thus came the Christmas Book List as well as several other lists of holiday books!

By my third year of writing my Christmas Book lists, it felt like a tradition.

Last year’s Christmas book list almost felt like it couldn’t be topped, but maybe this year I’ll say the same thing.

Stay tuned! The Christmas Picture Books of 2023 will be hitting the blog soon! Which books are you hoping to see on the list?

Christmas Reading Bingo Chart: FREE Downloadable PDF

Our reading bingo charts have become pretty popular with the reading crowd around our town! Each holiday and season I’m getting new requests for more. You can see our past reading bingos here:

Summer Reading Bingo

Fall Reading Bingo

As always, these are FREE to download. We love sharing this free resource for those who need or want it. These bingo charts have been great for readers who want a challenge and for readers who need some motivation or direction to get started.

On the bingo chart, there are several squares for reading books about different winter celebrations and holidays. If you don’t know where to find these books, look no further! We did the work for you last winter! Check out our winter holiday book lists:

The bingo charts are available in both color and black and white, for whatever your preference is. Download them here!