Wednesday, July 9, 2014


My sons Luke and Jesse were prolific readers from the beginning, and I remember two picture books in particular that captured the fancy of the boys (and their parents). Jesse had a few books in the Jesse Bear series by Nancy White Carlstrom and Bruce Degen—I particularly recall Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? And Luke and I both enjoyed a book called Luke’s Way of Looking by Nadia Wheatley and Matt Ottley. It’s the story of a kid whose art teachers and classmates don’t have the imagination that he has—and don’t like it. So Luke discovers his own world filled with colorful and crazy pieces of art, and knowing about that place changes the rest of the world for him.

Well, Jesse’s now on the cusp of adolescence, but once in a while he’ll still answer to Jesse Bear. And Luke, the one who saw his name in a book about a child who embraces his imagination? At age 13, he’s the published author of Dragon Valley and a soon-to-published fantasy novel called Griffin Blade and the Bronze Finger.

Maybe every child deserves a book title, a lead character of their own. With the publication of our picture book Francis and Eddie in 2013, we at Why Not Books tried to help the cause, Any four-year-old Francises out there? Any eight-year-old Eddies? Yeah, not so much.

Well, I found another way to help—by simply locating the top baby names of 2013 (according to the half a million parents who shared the information with and finding at least one book for almost every one of them.
I focused on picture books specifically. That means no Charlotte’s Web, no Amelia Bedelia, and no Sarah, Plain and Tall. And, of course, personalized book series don’t count either. Sure, I cheated a bit by using titles like Hello, Brooklyn and Queen Victoria’s Christmas. And a few remain elusive—names that desperately need to be immortalized by somebody in the title of a picture book. Keira, anyone? Aaliyah? Aubrey? Adalyn? Alaina? How about Kennedy and Reagan? Or girls named Harper and Charlie?

Still, I found a whole lotta books. So what follows are 68 picture books for 68 of the most popular girls’ names today. Gift-givers, you’re welcome.

1.     Sophia—Princess Sophia and the Frog (Suzy Liebermann)
2.     Emma—Emma Dilemma (Kristine O’Connell George)
3.     Olivia—Olivia (Ian Falconer)
4.     Isabella—My Name is Not Isabella (Jennifer Fosberry)
5.     Mia—Mia’s Quest for Courage (Karen Yadid)
6.     Ava—Ava’s Poppy (Marcus Pfister)
7.     Lily—Lulu Lily Gets Smart (Sally Huss)
8.     Zoe—Zoe’s Hats (Sharon Lane Holm)
9.     Emily—Emily Brown and The Thing (Cressida Cowell)

10.  Chloe—Chloe, Instead (Micah Player)
11.  Layla—Layla’s Head Scarf (Miriam Cohen)
12.  Madison—Madison and the Two Wheeler (Vanita Braver)
13.  Madelyn—Madeline (Ludwig Bemelmans)
14.  Abigail—Abigail and Her Pet Zombie (Marie F. Crow)
15.  Charlotte—Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
16.  Amelia—Because Amelia Smiled (David Ezra Stein)
17.  Ella—Ella the Elegant Elephant (Carmela and Steven D’amico)

18.  Kaylee—Kaylee the Caterpillar in the Adventure of Life (Peggy Hunt)
19.  Avery—Avery and Cousin Ella’s Adventure (Frederic and Sonia Mendelsohn)
20.  Hailey—Hailey’s Halloween (Lisa Bullard)
21.  Hannah—Hannah on the Farm (Marjan Van Zeyl)
22.  Addison—Holly and Addison’s Adventures at Doggie Daycare (Betsy Manchester)
23.  Riley—The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley (Colin Thompson)
24.  Aria—Aria the World Traveler (Anna Kim)
25.  Arianna—Arianna and the Strawberry Tea (Maria Fasal Faulconer)
26.  Mackenzie—Mackenzie’s Gift (Cari Poock)
27.  Lila—What Lila Loves (Bronwen Scarffe)

28.  Evelyn—That Evelyn Margaret! (Christina K. Hanrahan)
29.  Grace—Grace for President (Kelly S. DiPucchio)
30.  Brooklyn—Hello, Brooklyn (Martha Day Zschock)
31.  Ellie—Ellie’s Bad Hair Day (Jerome Keane)
32.  Anna—Anna’s Table (Eve Bunting)
33.  Kaitlyn—I’m Kaitlyn! (Crystal Bowman)
34.  Isabelle—My Friend Isabelle (Eliza Woloson)
35.  Sophie—Sophie’s Squash (Pat Zietlow Miller)
36.  Scarlett—The Bravest Cat: The True Story of Scarlett (Laura Driscoll)
37.  Natalie—Natalie & Naughtily (Vincent X. Kirsch)
38.  Leah—Leah’s Voice (Lori DeMonia)

39.  Sarah—Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving (Laurie Halse Anderson)
40.  Nora—Nora’s Ark (Eileen Spinelli)
41.  Mila—Maks and Mila on a Special Journey (Merel Bakker)
42.  Elizabeth—My Name is Elizabeth (Annika Dunklee)
43.  Lillian—Princess Lillian & the Creature (Erica de Muir)
44.  Kylie—Kylie’s Song (Patty Sheehan)
45.  Audrey—Audrey Bunny (Angie Smith)
46.  Lucy—Lucy Goosey (Margaret Wild)
47.  Maya—Maya and the Turtle (John C. Stickler)
48.  Annabelle—Annabelle’s Wish (Susan Korman)

49.  Makayla—Makayla Cares About Others (Virginia Kroll)
50.  Gabriella—Gabriella’s Song (Candace Fleming)
51.  Elena—Elena’s Serenade (Campbell Geeslin)
52.  Victoria—Queen Victoria’s Christmas (Jackie French)
53.  Claire—Ollie and Claire (Tiffany Strelitz Haber)
54.  Savannah—Savannah’s Swim Lessons (Pamela Baker)
55.  Peyton—Peyton Penguin Prefers Peas (Tammy Fitzherbert)
56.  Maria—Maria Had a Little Llama (Angela Dominguez)
57.  Stella—Stella: Star of the Sea (Mary-Louise Gay)
58.  Liliana—Liliana’s Grandmothers (Leyla Torres)

59.  Allison—Alison Investigates: Does Chocolate Milk Come from Brown Cows? (Colette Omans Nicoletta)
60.  Samantha—Samantha on a Roll (Linda Ashman)
61.  Alyssa—Alyssa and the Spider (Alan St. Jean)
62.  Molly—Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon (Patty Lovell)
63.  Alexandra—Dear Alexandra (Helen Gudel)
64.  Violet—Goodnight My Sweet Violet (Heather Young)
65.  Julia—Mikolay & Julia in the Attic (Magda M. Olchawska)
66.  Sadie—Sadie’s Dream (Charlotte Perry)
67.  Ruby—Ruby’s Cupcakes (Rosemary Wells)
68.  Eva—Eva and Sadie and the Worst Haircut Ever (Jeff Cohen)

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