I’m always a bit skeptical when a new celebrity-written children’s book pops up at my local library. I mean, just because you’re gorgeous with great pipes and can cry on cue does not automatically make you an author.
But every so often, a celebrity really does have the magic touch for telling stories to kids. Sometimes, these superstars are parents themselves who love channeling their creativity in a G-rated way they can share with their own families.
Here are 10 picture books you’d enjoy reading aloud even if you’d never heard of the author. Consider the celebrity pedigree a fun bonus.
Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods that Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis – Bet you didn’t know that the beloved star of True Lies and Trading Places has written a dozen or so acclaimed children’s books, did ya? This one teaches kids about their many feelings–from excitement to anger–with funny and poignant examples.
Everything is Mama by Jimmy Fallon – The Tonight Show host admits he wrote his first children’s book, Your First Word Will Be Dada, to influence his own kids. But, hey, this is Mumtastic, so we’re recommending his funny follow-up, Everything is Mama, about babies who label everything in their world—from noodles to waffles—“Mama.”
The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak – Even a book with no pictures can be really funny, says B.J. Novak (best known as Ryan on The Office), because whoever reads it aloud will be forced to say whatever words are on the page, like “My head is made of blueberry pizza” and “Boo Boo Butt!” If you’re ever invited to read a book to your child’s class, you cannot lose with this howler.
Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore – It’s not easy looking different from all the other kids at school, and famous ginger Julianne Moore would know. In this series’ first story, Freckleface Strawberry goes to great lengths to hide her eye-catching face and hair–even wearing a ski mask at the playground–before learning to love herself the way she is.
Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee – A parent begs a young toddler to go back to bed, not dump cereal on her head, and otherwise just behave in this charming rhyming story with the catchy refrain “please, baby, please.” Filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife Tonya clearly wrote it from experience and heart.
I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black – Best known for comedic turns in Wet Hot American Summer, Reno 911 and The State, Black is also a very funny children’s author. In this story, a little girl must defend the coolness of kids to a potato who thinks human children make boring playmates.
Goodnight Numbers by Danica McKellar – Winnie from The Wonder Years wants your daughters to love math and science as much as she does. Goodnight Numbers gives kids a great introduction to counting with this sweet rhyming bedtime story that invites lots of reader participation.
She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton – The former First Daughter wrote this inspirational storybook about 13 American women who broke barriers and changed the world, from Harriet Tubman to Sonia Sotomayor. “They persisted, and so should you,” writes Clinton. You go, girls.
Naughty Mabel by Nathan Lane and Devlin Elliott – Pampered pooch Mabel enjoys the finer things in life and uses her considerable charm to get away with making mischief. (My 7-year-old daughter considers Mabel a role model because “she talks like she’s a grown-up lady but she’s only 5. And she’s a dog!”) Broadway star Nathan Lane and husband Devlin Elliott based the story on their real-life pet.
Pillowland by Laurie Berkner – The best-selling children’s recording artist makes a natural transition from lullabies to bedtime stories with this soothing and lyrical night night book about a magical journey to Pillowland. Bet your kids are asleep by the end.