Picture Books for Adults
1. Nostalgia. Just about everyone remembers a handful of their childhood favorites, and now, there are parodies that imitate the familiar art styles and themes of popular stories while adding in a little something new, to hilarious results. If you loved Goodnight Moon, The Giving Tree, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar back in the day, why not try Goodnight iPad, The Taking Tree, or The Very Hungry Zombie?
2. Fantastic Art. Here are some picture books with such lovely and expressive art, there is no need for words to tell the story. Enjoy each page and let your imagination fill in the rest:
3. Empowering twists on classic tales. Like the nostalgic parodies above, here are some stories that give a fresh take on well-known story tropes. These are great for fans of fairy tale-inspired series like Once Upon a Time and The Lunar Chronicles.
- Sleeping Cinderella
- The Princess and the Pony (by Kate Beaton, the same artist behind the webcomic Hark, A Vagrant)
- The Princess Who Had No Kingdom
- My Rules for Being a Pretty Princess
- Interstellar Cinderella (especially recommended for fans of Cinder!)
4. Comfort, Inspiration, Life Lessons. Many picture books have messages meant to teach children life lessons, from having good manners to always working hard and never giving up on your dreams. While the former has (hopefully!) become second nature to most adults, the latter might require some reminders from time to time. This is why Oh, the Places You’ll Go! can be an appropriate gift for someone graduating college as much as one graduating from kindergarten. Here are a few more books to comfort or inspire:
- Instructions by Neil Gaiman is another great “growing up” book.
- The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein can apply to more than one kind of relationship and growing beyond dependency.
- French Ducks in Venice by Garret Freymann-Weyr is a beautifully illustrated story about healing after a break-up.
Try re-reading your old favorites and see if you get a different message from them than you did as a kid. You might be surprised at what you find!
Browse more of our picture books here, and enjoy!