A new year is upon us – and, I’m told, a new decade. When the 2010s began I was nervously looking forward to my second baby girl; now at the close I am a blessed mother of five. We’ve read a lot of books and celebrated many changes in the last ten years, as every day we learn to become the saints God intends us to be.

Perhaps it’s the farmer in me, but I have always treasured observing with the children the changing seasons of the year; and observing myself how much more aware they become as each one passes. Here are our favorite picture books for discovering the cycles and seasons of every year.

The Year at Maple Hill Farm, by Alice and Martin Provensen

This laughable, lovable journey through the year is a favorite with every age. There are many fun details to spot in the illustrations, and the antics of the animals are spot-on. It’s a playful tribute to living in harmony with the seasons.

Around the Year, by Tasha Tudor

A rhyming book with couplets for each month, this somewhat more restrained trip around the sun is a charming way to teach young children the months and the attributes of each. Tasha Tudor’s nostalgic images depict both the changes in the natural world and the way they were observed in rural 19th-century America.

The Money Tree, written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

This thoughtful story follows a Miss McGillicuddy through the months of a momentous year when she notices an unusual tree growing in her garden. She has no use for its valuable foliage, but offers it to strangers and quietly goes about her work in this gentle tale about the most important things in life.

Tap the Magic Tree, by Christie Matheson

This brilliant book is so much fun. Even very young readers can follow the instructions to tap, kiss, and shake the vibrant illustration of an apple tree, and then watch the changes that result as the tree alters through the seasons. Get the board book version – this one will see a lot of vigorous use!

The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton

A little house is built in the country on a hillside covered with daisies, and she watches the countryside change: first with the seasons, then with the march of time. Eventually a great city is built around her, and the sweet little house wonders if she will ever be a home again. The loving message of this cozy classic never gets old.

May you be blessed in the coming year as you work to make your own house a home – hopefully filled with good books!