I have a confession to make: Many books written by colleagues sit in a pile on my desk, half or never read. I can barely get through these well-researched, informative books, and I know the sleep-deprived, stressed out parents I work with have an even harder time than me.

To be honest, I’m not sure a parent can become better at their job by reading advice from a book (though a short column written by yours truly might be helpful now and then). I believe parenting is best learned by trusting gut feelings, asking questions, being humble, and constantly starting over again and again and again.

This column is devoted to another kind of book that may be more instructive than Parenting How-To’s, the picture book. I’m not referring to message-heavy illustrated books with obvious agendas. Rather, consider picture books that are simple and direct. Often a fun, quick read with cool illustrations is more inspiring than 200 plus pages of professionally endorsed do’s and dont’s. Good picture books can positively influence parents as well as kids, teaching without preaching.

So with or without your kids: Read, look, and enjoy!