My ten-year-old is the youngest child, and so all the picture books ended up on the shelves in his room...so many, many picture books. But now that shelf space is needed for books of his own choosing (he wants his own copies of all the Ranger's Apprentice books, for instance) and the picture books have to go. Of course I had already deaccessioned many of them--Thomas the Tank Engine bit the dust years ago, but there were still lots and lots. I couldn't stand to just bundle them off the shelves like they were dead fish, so instead, I have been reading them to him again one last time, one or two books a night, snuggling in bed together the way we used to.
We are both find it very comforting. Ten is a tricky age to be---the prospect of Growing Up is looming on the horizon, but in many ways you are still a child who wants to be little and loved and safe. It seems to me that re-reading the picture books of his childhood to my son is a way of saying that just because you are older, it doesn't mean you can't love the things you loved when you were little, and also a way of saying to him that even though he is much bigger now, I am still the same Mama that I was back in the day (more or less, and give or take). It has also struck me that many of the books on his shelves were about little kids facing change, like starting school or making new friends. The uncertainty of sixth grade in a new school with new kids is distressing, and I like to imagine he is being reassured, just as he was when he started kindergarten, especially since that worked out just fine (we read Wemberly Worried last night).
It is also very nice indeed to read picture books to an older child for more intellectual reasons--you can have little chats about the fourth wall, artistic technique, how the words and the pictures are used together, and other little critical divertissements. Plus at a certain point I stopped bringing picture books into the home, and I have been enjoying reading them again so much I am thinking of getting fresh ones from the library (and this will also beautifully model the fact that grown-ups are allowed to like "childish" things, which is a soothing thought).
Though many of the books are now going to go up to the attic, or on to the library book sale, some he has made the decision to keep in his room (for now, at least). And I think that's one of the best parts of growing-up (if you are lucky enough to have had a happy childhood, of course, and the marketing surveys I conduct every so often seem to indicate that mine are) --the chance to look back at your past, and pick for yourself the memories that you want to keep, so that going forward you can still have a sense of love and warmth and safety.
(NB: I never ever ever read my kids Love You Forever. Just saying.)
So here's my ten year old's best loved picture book from his youth: Archie and the Pirates, by Marc Rosenthall.
Here's the post I wrote about it, back when my son was six and the book arrived in our house.
I myself still have two picture books from my own childhood--The Sun Shone on the Elephant, and I Had Trouble In Getting To Solla Sollew. (Both these books are about the failure of escapist fantasy to bring comfort, which disturbs me a tad...).