When looking for holiday reading, such as Easter books, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices. To make things easy for you, here are 10 of the best Easter books to read this holiday.
Titles include cute Easter board books for toddlers and preschoolers, classic Easter picture books you may remember from childhood, a few soon-to-be-classics, and a pair of beautiful books focused on the Christian story of Holy Week and Easter.
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Easter Board Books
Use these Easter board books to share the cheerful celebrations of spring. They are perfect to tuck into a colorful Easter basket.
Happy Easter Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton
This recent addition to Boynton's oeuvre of delightful rhyming books is perfect for bedtime reading the night before a big Easter egg hunt. Little Pookie is getting ready for Easter! His mom sets up a playdate with Bean, his bunny friend, in which they engage in Easter-y activities like hopping around in bunny ears and making a mess decorating eggs. When the playdate is over, Pookie's mom tucks him into bed so he can dream of chocolate.
We're Going on an Egg Hunt by Martha Mumford, illustrated by Laura Hughes
This charming reworking of the classic "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" is sure to be a hit. As the bunnies go on an egg hunt, they must find a way past lambs, chicks, bees and ducks to find the big Easter egg. Once they've found it they hurry back all the way to home. Each page has flaps that little hands can lift, giving this already delightful read aloud book an interactive and counting feature! Five stars plus!
The Easter Bunny's Assistant by Jan Thomas
Every one needs a little silliness in their Easter reading, don't you think? Easter Bunny is going to dye some eggs with the help of his assistant, Skunk. There's just one issue. Skunk makes a certain skunk-like smell whenever he gets excited. And making Easter eggs is eggs-tremely exciting. Kids will love this one!
Owen's Marshmallow Chick by Kevin Henkes
Owen, the hero of the eponymous picture book, whose blanket-loving antics I can totally relate to, has is own Easter board book. This Owen story is quite short but still adorable. Owen gets a basket of Easter candy. He gobbles it down, one variety at a time, until he comes to the yellow marshmallow chick. It's not identified as a Peep, but let's face it, we all know it's a Peep. However, he can't bring himself to eat the bewitching
Peep marshmallow chick, which happens to be the same color as his beloved blanket.
MORE: Tips for an eco-friendly Easter
Classic Easter Picture Books
This collection of Easter picture books includes a pair old classics, and a pair of future classics.
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward, illustrated by Marjorie Flack
Oh, how I loved this 1939 book when I was little, and I insist you put it on your Easter book reading list right now. Cottontail aspires to the elite position of Easter Bunny, but she is ridiculed by the large, posh male rabbits who insist a small, girl bunny would never be up to the job. After teaching her enormous brood of children to be responsible, kind, creative and polite bunnies, she once again tries for the job of Easter Bunny. And this time, it is precisely the same qualities that she honed as a mother that earn her the coveted job of Easter Bunny. Not only that, because of her kind heart, Grandfather Bunny entrusts her to deliver the most important egg of all.
Fun fact: Author Dubose Heyward authored, with his wife, the play, Porgy, which he later adapted into the musical Porgy and Bess! The Country Bunny is is only children's book.
Pick a Perfect Egg by Patricia Toht, illustrated by Jarvis
Come for the lively rhymes, stay for the cheerful illustrations. With a springtime bounce, the story takes us from the first plucking of an egg from the henhouse, through the dyeing and decorating process, culminating in a festive egg hunt. This book is one big celebration of the secular traditions of Easter, and it's also lovely to look at.
Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda
This book was a delightful surprise. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's a wonderful read aloud, perfect for holiday story time. Cat decides that he should be the Easter mascot. The narrator asks the Cat questions, who communicates his responses with handheld signs, facial expressions and body language. The narrator asks Cat questions, like how he will get around (by motorcycle), what he will wear (a sparkly vest), how many naps he's had (seven). Then, when an exhausted Easter Bunny shows up, Cat has the perfect solution.
The Bunny Who Found Easter by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Helen Craig
Helen Craig did the updated illustrations for Zolotow's 1959 Easter classic. A boy bunny is all alone and is looking for Easter. A wise owl tells him that there are always bunnies at Easter and so he thinks it's a place. He searches high and low through the changing seasons, and after a year meets a girl bunny. He and his new companion have a family. The sweet message of the story is that Easter isn't a place, but a time when "everything lovely begins once again." Young listeners will love to spot the little mouse who follows the bunny on his journey.
Religious Easter Books
I find most overtly religious holiday books a little tedious when all they do is dutifully recount a Biblical story. However, I really enjoyed these two books, and they are especially beautiful, too!
Bare Tree and Little Wind: A Story for Holy Week by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Khoa Le
I liked the way Perkins integrates nature into the telling of her story. The anthropomorphized Little Wind is eager to see the Real King and asks questions of Bare Tree, a palm tree, whose fronds can "clap," even without the wind. Together, they observe the events of Holy Week. The star of the show here is the illustrations, as well as the layers of meaning. However, those layers may not be apparent to readers unfamiliar with the Easter story, and Quiet Man's appearance on the cross may seem overly sudden. That said, this is a terrific book for families looking for a picture book about the Biblical story of Easter.
Fun Fact: Artist Khoa Le also illustrated Jane Yolen's Miriam at the River, one of my Passover book recommendations!
MORE: Passover books for children
At Jerusalem's Gate: Poems of Easter by Nikki Grimes
Regular readers of this blog will have noticed how much I love Nikki Grimes' poetry. This collection of Easter poems will be best appreciated by ages 9 and up, including teens and adults. Grimes has written twenty-two contemplative poems about the circumstances leading up to and after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Along with the poems, Grimes supplies introductory information about the events and thoughtful questions that will no doubt encourage discussion. Marvelous woodcut illustrations add to the meditative spirit of the collection. Back matter includes Scripture references for each poem. I recommend it for families to enjoy together.
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