Bored with Monotonous ABC Books?

Alphabet by Matthew Van Fleet

Colorful, textured, and interactive, this book feels more like an activity than simply reading a flat, odorless story. Engaging on many levels, experience multi-sensory ABCs through animals, action words, opposites and more.

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker

Part of a series about a hoard of little green friends, this book carries us through the alphabet of careers, activities, and pastimes. The rhymes and illustrations are fun to experience and elevates the book from a simple (aka, boring) compilation of letter and career that starts with the corresponding letter pairings.

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate; illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Joining in the excitement and anxieties of Kindergarten, school-bound kids will recognize their own morning routines. A rare book illustrating a wheelchair-bound kid and the spectrum of emotions around getting to school in the morning.

Z was Zapped: A Play in 26 Acts by Chris Van Allsburg

Far more captivating than most plain ABC books, watch a mystery unfold! Cloaked in theatrical wonder and intrigue, uncover the misfortunes of the letters.

Memorable, High-Quality Books for Easy Last-Minute Gifts

Splashdance by Liz Starin 

A rare story that engages both adults and children on a serious topic and told in a funny way. The characters and illustrations are detailed, captivating, and comical. Adults will understand discrimination — “No bears allowed!” and children will glom onto themes like fairness, friendship, and disappointment. You can read this book dozens of times and still have a different conversation each time. 

Elsie’s Bird by Jane Yolen; illustrated by David Small

Touching story of a resilient girl who moves to Nebraska from her urban Boston home, after her mother’s death. How will she adjust to all the changes? See how she adapts and appreciates her new home. Highly recommended story to spark conversations about appreciation, grief, and change. Great choice for Little House on the Prairie lovers.


Real Cowboys by Kate Hoefler; illustrated by Jonathan Bean

Unpack traditionally masculine cowboy traits. Reconsider what skills cowboys really need and how they really act. "Real cowboys cry." Discover how multi-dimensional cowboys can be!

Jazz of Our Street by Fatima Shaik

Join a singing, dancing, and drumming parade down the streets of New Orleans, jazz’s birthplace. Musical and celebratory, introduce your child to the excitement of a new place. The descriptive language is rich and captivating. Think about what is special where you live and celebrate it!


Georgia's Bones by Jennifer Bryant

Actually a story about artist Georgia O’Keefe’s childhood, the descriptions are vivid and illustrations colorful. Appreciate the little things around us, like leaves, sticks, stones, and flowers. What little object can you appreciate today?

5 Book Suggestions to Boost Your Preschooler’s Self-Control

Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Starring a little girl with magnificent construction aspirations. Her big plans don’t work out as expected, and she experiences a spectrum of feelings from frustration and anger. On her dog’s suggestions, she depends on her own self-control to take a refreshing walk. She perseveres to tinker again.

Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman

Katie, a lovable and exited dog, is overwhelmed with enthusiasm with three new kittens. The frenzy terrifies the kittens, so Katie must control her reaction. She doesn’t mean to panic them and must self-regulate.

Waiting is Not Easy by Mo Willems

Mo Willems’ genius hits again. This time, Elephant Gerald must wait and wait for the surprise Piggie has for him. Readers will be on the edge of their seats, practicing self-control until the big reveal along with Gerald. Kids’ capacity for self-control and waiting through the book is impressive!

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

Lilly is thrilled to show off her new treasures at her class’s sharing time. She struggles to wait, suffers the consequences and learns. She’s a delightful character who children can easily identify with on this trial.

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Little Red Chicken keeps interrupting her father’s bedtime stories. Again and again, she jumps into the story, until her father tries something clever… Apply the lessons at home for kids who interrupt!

Unexpected Stories About Friendship

Chester's Way by Kevin Henkes

By one of my favorite authors, Chester's Way follows two best friends who let in a third friend, who rocks their world and is a fabulous, independent-minded kid. My kids ask me to read it again and again.





My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald; Illustrated by Freya Blackwood

Touching "new kid on the block" story of how kids who may seem totally different from the outside can share a friendship. Tackles loneliness in concrete and specific language that young children will easily grasp.



The Monk and the Yak by Ori Avner

While it seems like a simple story of a cross-species friendship, this story shows that help can come from unexpected places. Just be open and ask!




Say Hello by Jack Foreman; Illustrated by Michael Foreman

Who will notice the lonely kid standing over there? Unique book in that it starts with the dog's perspective (which some children may more easily relate to). This story gives an explicit, easy idea for how to reach out.

Teaching Unselfishness: Books Teaching the Value of Generosity

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts; illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

Jeremy absolutely craves expensive shoes that his family doesn't want to buy. The story lovingly unpacks want vs need, and Jeremy has the chance to be generous. Highly recommended.



Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen

Annabelle's generous spirit transcends other kids' jeering, demanding-ness, and brings color to her black-and-white world. Includes wonderful silliness as we'd expect from Jon Klassen!



Leah's Pony by Elizabeth Friedrich; illustrated by Michael Garland

Transport your child to another time when times were tight, and children had to make sacrifices and pitch in. Leah loves riding her pony, but she loves her family more. Children have the power to be unselfish and help. 


The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine; illustrated by Sebastia Serra

Teaching about generosity and caring about others, this story follows a boy who brings back a cracked wok from the market instead of food for dinner. We can choose how we share our gifts!


Erandi's Braids by Antonio Hernandez Madrigal; illustrated by Tomie dePaola

Her heart set on a new yellow dress, Erandi's family has other more pressing needs. Erandi's mother loves her and wants to buy the dress but struggles with what to do. A touching story of generosity and sacrifice, Erandi must decide what to do. 

Helping Your Child Face Fears with Courage and Perseverance

Abigail the Whale by Davide Cali; Illustrated by Sonja Bougaeva

Provides a effective example of positive self-talk and visualization that is concrete enough for children to identify with. This story reveals how Abigail overcomes both mean girls and her self perception that she isn't and can't. She applies the lesson more broadly, which is a valuable lesson too! This is a gem.

Also, a fantastic choice to discuss bullying. 


Ella and Penguin Stick Together by Megan Maynor; Illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet

Ella and her penguin friend are curious to check out new glow-in-the dark stickers, but they must face their fear of the dark first. They try different ideas and when they finally overcome their fear, they get to relish the intrinsic reward with creativity and joy! 




Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel is hyper-aware and avoids from all sorts of perceived forest dangers. But, in doing so, he misses out on living. Unfortunately, such fears hold him back from all sorts of adventures. See what happens when Scaredy Squirrel is forced from his tree. 

Book #1 of a funny, applicable & thoughtful series



Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari's father takes him and his sister to the local pool, and Jabari wants to jump off the diving board. "Looks easy." But it's not. He tries again and again until he's ready. Jabari both faces unspoken fears and perseveres. Wonderful lessons.





Yuki's Ride Home by Manya Tessler  

After enjoying a wonderful one-on-one day with her grandmother, Yuki must bike home. She bravely faces her fear, while showing generosity and thoughtfulness to her grandmother.

5 Stories to Ignite Your Child's Creativity

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

Artfully, this story flip flops between a mistake and creative resolution. Inspirational story about creatively persevering. Reminiscent of Shel Silverstein, these illustrations are of the type that children will ask you to pause reading to just look. You'll notice new pieces each time.



Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

Who loves a good ol' cardboard box? Name some creative uses! This simple story shows the adventure of thinking up all kinds of fun things to turn a box into. The language is simple, and it encourages free play. 



Ten Old Pails by Nicholas Heller; Illustrated by Yossi Abulafia

A new, totally underrated, favorite, this creative, helpful, and hard working boy helps around his family's farm and collects 1,2,3 ... 10 old pails. Find out why and what he does with them! This story effectively and unobtrusively illustrates awesome character traits I want my kids to have. 

Note: this image doesn't do it justice, so don't judge this one by its cover!


Abuela by Arthur Dorros; illustrated by Elisa Kleven

Magical Realism isn't only for Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Literally fly with Rosalba and her Abuela (grandma) on a journey through her imagination and grandmother's colorful life story. Story expertly weaves in Spanish language.




Story of Noodles by Ying Chang Compestine; Illustrated by Yongsheng Xuan

This playful brother trio problem solves together and creatively devises a solution to a food contest in their village. The book includes a noodle recipe, which you can use to bring it to real life in the kitchen.

5 Picks for Naming and Expressing More Feelings than Just "Happy" and "Sad"

Today I Feel Silly Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis; Illustrated by Laura Cornell

Brilliantly conveying the wide range of emotions children (and adults!) experience, this story is awesome for naming and explaining many feelings - both physical and emotional. It's silly, serious, and totally on-point. Help children identify and experience any of their emotions and understand how they come and go. There is also an interactive spinner with feelings at the end that kids love. One of my absolute favorite books!


One by Kathryn Otoshi

Colors, feelings, and numbers roll together in this fabulous book touching on a range of deep topics, like accepting differences and speaking out when something isn't right, yet couched in very simple language. Introducing a range of normal feelings and unraveling how they change over time, this story helps name a wide variety of feelings. The colors don't know what to do until someone takes initiative!


Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox, Marla Frazee

Most children's books about feelings are about *children's* feelings, so this choice uniquely conveys adult feelings. Parents aren't always cool as cucumbers. This story showing parents' feelings is a great example of an adult feeling frustrated and then resolving it. Especially recommended to read to high-energy kids. You might recognize yourself (in a good way)!


Jack's Worry by Sam Zuppardi

Jack is nervous. He didn't think he would be when he was excited about playing in his first concert. Reassuring, this story more than unpacks worry about first experiences, it also reveals the positive side of doing something for the first time! 





Listening to My Body by Gabi Garcia; illustrated by Ying Hui Tan

Interactive and engaging book that links physical sensations to emotions. Help children listen to their bodies and acknowledge their feelings. This book effectively provides the words to name and express emotions, and more importantly that feelings are all okay!

8 Books to Introduce Immigration To Young Children, Building Empathy Along the Way

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

A wordless picture book following a man who leaves his home to venture to a foreign land, where everything is new and different. He struggles to understand and be understood. Slowly, with patience, luck, and a lot of effort, he acclimates and feel happy again. Anyone who has ever felt uncertain in new circumstances will identify, while others will learn to empathize.

This is the type of book that you'll keep looking at long after your child has fallen asleep. It's also quite long, which allows the story to unfold gradually and promotes elongated focus! A treasure. Appropriates for ages 5+.


In English, Of Course by Josephine Nobisso; Illustrated by Dasha Ziborova

Josephine tries hard to tell her story in the new language she's learning. The cultural miscommunications are engaging and make for interesting conversations with your little one. Set in the 1950s Bronx, adults will notice famous immigrants' stories integrated into the background. The way the story unravels will entertain children, while boosting their empathy. Grandparents may especially like reading this story since it takes places in the 1950s.


Azzi in Between by Sarah Garland

Azzi's plight leaving her war-torn country and starting over in a new place will touch your heart and build children's empathy.

Azzi struggles and overcomes challenges at school, but friendship helps her through. It's not too graphic or explicit for young audiences, so it's an effective way to introduce a complex topic. Different children will pick up on different details, and you can guide the conversation based on what piques their interests. 



Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say

Multi-generational story of both immigration and emigration. A Japanese man who immigrates to America, he loves both his old and new homes. Will promote empathy and practice in perspective taking. Also helpful for helping children adjust to changing environments and being flexible. 




A Day's Work by Eve Bunting

Featuring a little boy who helps his grandfather, this story teaches the value of honesty, hard work, and giving second chances. I found the story line refreshing and unexpected. This story is full of interesting conversation topics - just see what your little one is drawn to!



We Came to America by Faith Ringgold

Simple language and pictures convey the reality that America was built by immigrants, who were already here or came by various methods and for different reasons.

We are rich in diversity, with each of us bringing and offering riches, in art, culture, music, food and perspective.  Good choice for boosting acceptance. There are some good vocabulary words that can spark questions and quality conversations.



Amelia's Road by Linda Jacobs Altman; Illustrated by Enrique O. Sanchez

Amelia is a kid like any other but faces frustrations and disappointment in her migrant life on the road. While the story acknowledges her challenging reality, it features her problem solving and ingenuity in finding her own happiness in the world she lives in. The story is specific and tangible in a way that children can grasp.




A Movie in My Pillow by Jorge Argueta; Illustrated by Elizabeth Gomez

A book of bilingual poems that laud Jorgito's urban San Francisco life with his loving father and his memories of his old home in rural El Salvador. The differences and similarities will spark a child's imagination and build empathy. Dreamlike illustrations.

Practice Perspective Taking with These 5 Awesome Books

Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss

Classic tale of the Sneetches on beaches with their star-bellies. Kids will bounce between feeling empathy for different kinds of Sneetches, only to see that they all share more than separates them. Develop compassion for those different from you. This tale is always relevant, and children will relate on multiple levels.

Tip: have conversations about feeling left out with kids of all ages and about bias and commercialism with older kids



Flotsam by David Wiesner

Wordlessly, the pictures reveal a unique story. Using their imaginations, children understand and can "tell" the tale. A little boy finds a mysterious device (one that kids today won't recognize, so adults have to explain!). Grandparents will love this. The boy finds images of children from around the world. Kids can imagine what they each are seeing, feeling, and wondering about. Great book for extended conversations!


City Kid and Suburb Kid by Deb Pilutti; illustrated by Linda Bleck

Jack and Adam both figure life is better where their friend lives. Explore the differences and similarities in their homes and daily lives. Appreciate what you and others have. Flip the book over and start again! Helpful for kids who are moving to/from cities/suburbs or visiting family in other places.



Tub People by Pam Conrad; Illustrated by Richard Egielski

How do toys think and feel? Show kids bath time from a toy's perspective. Illustrations are excellent and the whole story is surprisingly realistic for a story featuring animate toys! Story is told from the toys' perspective and the listening child gets to imagine his/her reaction. What about your toys?



Kwik Kwak: Never Give Up by Nikolai Popov

Trade seeing the world from two perspectives: with the proverbial glass "half full" or "half empty." How do you see the world? Teach kids the value of optimism. The adventure teaches perseverance through the lens of two different perspectives! 

Tip: discuss how we all feel sometimes like Kwik and sometimes like Kwak



5 Amazing Pictures Books Encouraging Grit and Hard Work

Spelling Bee Before Recess by Deborah Lee Rose; Illustrated by Carey Armstrong-Ellis

Featuring "The Slugger" who practices and works hard to win the school's spelling contest. Matched against two expert spellers, the hero tries his best. Kids who have worked really hard for something but don't get it will identify. On top of those excellent lessons, some good vocabulary words and musical rhyming makes this choice a winner!


My Best Buddy by Yeshil Kim, Miguel Tanco

Touching story of an unexpected friendship across generations. A 85-year-old 2nd grader, Mamello, is committed to learning to fulfill his dreams of becoming a veterinarian.

Most children's books feature children as the ones who need to learn, but this story pivots with an adult dedicated to learning along with children, despite decades of hurdles. Sends a wonderful message about life-long learning. What do you want to learn? Share with your child!


Cow Who Climbed a Tree by Gemma Merino

Tina, the cow, is different from other cows. She believes in herself and that anything is possible! Her sisters dismiss her whimsical claims about dragons and climbing trees. She tries hard and sticks to her goals, which leaves her sisters very surprised at the end!

The illustrations augment the words in the story, which is particularly engaging for read-aloud sessions.



Just Like I Wanted by Elinoar Keller and Naama Peleg Segal; Illustrated by Aya Gordon-Noy; Translated by Annette Appel

Unique illustrations unfold as a little girl struggles to create the perfect picture. With grit and creativity, she sticks to it while accidentally coloring outside the lines and other mishaps.

Excellent choice for a kid to learn flexibility and recognize how to push through when life doesn't materialize as you expect. See what she (and your child) can do!

Crow Boy by Taro Yashima

A young Japanese child, Crow Boy, tells an inspirational story. He practices significant grit to continue attending school despite transportation difficulties and bullying school children. While the schoolchildren tease his small stature, he still works hard and a loving teacher recognizes and applauds his gifts.

3 Fantastic Picture Books For Building Resilience Through Creativity

Invisible Boy by Patrice Barton

Outstanding story following Brian, who doesn't have friends and feels "invisible" at school. Kids who have trouble speaking up or feel unnoticed will identify. Brian depends on his own creative talents to make new friends. 



Imaginary Garden by Andrew Garden

Theo is disappointed that her grandfather's new apartment doesn't have a garden like his old house. Together, they come up with a solution. Excellent choice displaying a resourceful kid who can be flexible, and using her imagination to do it. 



Emma's Circus by Candace Fleming

Emma is discouraged because she doesn't get to attend to the circus in the big city. Instead, she handles her disappointment through her imagination.  

6 Bedtime Stories The Preschooler in Your Life Will Love

Windows by Julia Denos; Illustrated by E. B. Goodale

Have you ever looked out the window and marveled at the unfolding stories? This well-composed story whisks children on a curiosity quest. I especially like how it induces children (and adults!) to focus on details.


Paper Crane by Molly Bang

A timeless, warm story, Paper Crane illustrates generosity with a twist. A restaurant owner with a slow store is generous with a stranger who can't pay. It promotes working hard, kindness, and creativity. The paper cut illustrations are unique and endearing.



Rain School by James Rumford

Awesome choice for boosting gratitude. The Chadian kids in the story have a dramatically different school experience than American children and their appreciation shows. Help your children compare their school to Thomas' school. What is different and what is similar?




Pirate Princess by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen; Illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Gender-stereotype defying and clever, this creative princess sticks with her goal despite challenges. Princess Bea follows her dream of being a pirate with its challenges and rewards. Excellent for encouraging grit. It’s funny, engaging and the rhyming makes for excellent real aloud sessions.



Push Button by Aliki

Reveals the wonder and curiosity of free play. Explore all the noises and what happens when push-button boy explores all kinds of things. Story even includes consequences and his resilience when something doesn’t go his way.





Ruby in Her Own Time Jonathan Emmett and Rebbeca Harry

Lovely, classic story demonstrating unwavering parents who accept their kid for who she is. Ruby is the last of five ducklings and is different from her siblings. Positive affirmations reveal how supportive parents make space for her to shine at her own pace.

11 Picture Books That Will Make You This Year's Gift Giving Champion

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

A rhyming masterpiece, starring a curious little girl who has questions like all preschoolers and the tenacity to investigate them. And disco 70's style.



Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco

Featuring friendship that crosses generation and culture barriers, this story is a tear-jerker and sweetly promotes helping and neighborliness. Sorely needed in society today. 




Druthers by Matt Phelan

Creatively battling "I'm Bored" comments, story raises the bar for rainy days. Not to mention, teaches an applicable new word!



Why Do You Cry: Not a Sob Story

Confidently handles accepting and importantly, naming, feelings in the context of growing up. We all cry! What about you?





Fortunately by Remy Charlip

Alternatively handles joy with frustration, this classic tale promotes grit and perseverance. And some welcome silliness. 





Not So Fast, Songololo by Niki Daly

Touching, warm story featuring a shy child who is both called out as special and is a helper. There are relatively few books starring introverts, so this book will speak to the quieter child in your life. Sweet portrayal of grandma-grandson relationship. 




Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

Layered and wildly imaginative, this book evidences how rips, smudges, and other art "mistakes" can open up new worlds. It's wonderfully interactive and surprising, especially at the end. 



Froodle by Antoinette Portis

Engaging and fun to read aloud, Froodle encourages creativity and being yourself. It's okay to be yourself and  unique. Kids love to hear all the silly sounds!




Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

Captivating, original story staring a little girl who cares too much what other people think. Well written, on point, and outstanding detailed illustrations. 




Tomo Explores the World by Trevor Lai

Adventurous, yet thoughtful, Tomo is a tinkerer with a spark of curiosity. He's brave and willing to push boundaries. His agency is clear as his passion guides him. 



Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena; Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Teaching appreciation in a repetitive narrative the way children love. Reflects a life of not having what you want in a voice not often reflected in children's books.

1,2,3 Amusing Counting Books

Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton

My copy is in absolute tatters. Boynton, in her brilliance, joyfully counts from one to ten and back in rhyme - with just the right degree of silliness (a lot). Bonus point: addresses feeling lonely too.



The Wildlife ABC and 123 Book by Jan Thornhill

Takes the usual, boring simple counting book to a whole new level with illustrations. Accompanying each number is an artful illustration of an animal or group of animals. The drawings are mesmerizing, the type that a child says “wait don’t turn the page yet!”

Numbers go much higher than most counting books. Before you start, ask how high your child can count or what animal will fit 1000 on one page!


Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar by Masaichiro Anno, Mitsumasa Anno

Not simply a linear counting book, this story begins with a jar and ends with an engaging math lesson. This book proves that you can teach “hard” concepts to little ones. It’s appropriate for 5-6-year-olds, or “mathie” 4 year-olds and promotes critical thinking and wonder.

Evocative Board Books

I’m as Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood

Detailed illustrations accompany a child who explores many different sides of himself. Actively shows children that they don’t have to fit only one mold. Kids can be both calm and wild. Use it to battle against labels on your kids (and us, adults too)!



But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

Explores what it feels like for a hippo to be left out (or maybe, shy?). The tables turn for an ending that kids just love (and gets older children and adults thinking). The book is pregnant with meaning that may go over a young child’s head, but makes for thought-provoking conversation for 4-6 year olds. All this bang with delightful rhyming, it was explored in an interesting New Yorker Article.

Interactive Favorites

The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak

Surprising and entertaining, this aptly-named book has no pictures but has kids belly laughing. It’s simple and compels the adult reader to be funny, which kids love. It’s silly yet sends a clear message that words can be powerful. Books aren’t just about neat pictures. Tip: use funny voices on this one!

Values Promoted:

  • Curiosity
  • Creativity

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

Distinctive and highly engaging, this book entices children to be active participants instead of passive listeners. Kids will feel like they are part of the story. Shows kids they are powerful and can act on their agency.


Values Promoted:

  • Heightened Agency
  • Creativity

STEM: Kids Need Non-Fiction Too

What Happens to a Hamburger by Paul Showers

Fact-filled and entertaining foray from saliva to the bathroom, this book engages readers, teaches specific terminology and concepts while holding attention. Especially clear and informative, this book helps children answer the burning questions about how the body works, without a heavy focus on potty humor. Unless you want to go there, in which case, you can.


One Grain of Rice by Desi

Wrapped in an Indian folktale, this counting book mixes the joys of words with numbers. Easily appeals to children drawn to either words or numbers and promotes curiosity in the other theme. A clever and generous village girl defeats a selfish and foolish rajah. Using math. Stunning illustrations.




My Light by Molly Bang

Clearly and evocatively explaining sun and energy concepts, this story follows the sun’s energy from light, clouds, dams, plants, and other energy sources. The illustrations are captivating, and kids love to learn about the world when described in clear ways like this. Each page or two explains a different energy source concept, using simple poetic language. Effective introduction to energy.




Pond Circle by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Stefano Vitale

Trace a pond food chain from algae to frog to coyote and more! Employing interesting word choice, the story introduces ecosystems without getting technical. If children bite and show interest in this introductory story, share a more advanced one about the same topic! Repetitive in the way children appreciate and they can enjoy finishing the sentences.



3 More Books to Read with Your Child Tonight

Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

A well-deserved classic, this book shadows a kid who struggles at school both academically and socially. It teaches grit, introduces how some topics (in this case, reading and math) can be hard, but a good teacher and hard work wins the day. The dedicated teacher helps Trisha build on her artistic talent to eventually become a reader. It also introduces bullying, without resolving it or excusing it away. It’s realistic in that the bully and bullied didn’t magically become friends in the end (no Disney ending here). It’s true to life this way, and therefore relatable. I cried.

Highly recommend for children who struggle with reading.

Values Promoted:

  • Reading

  • Handling Bullying

  • Hard work

The Lamb-a-Roo by Diana Kimpton, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Touching and wonderfully unexplicit yet clear about adoption. The story watches as an adoptive family meshes between a small and his new “maa.” He explores their physical differences and they, together, address and move past them in a humorous, loving, and definitive way.

Values Promoted:

  • Family

  • Love

  • Accepting who you are


How It Feels to Be a Boat by James Kwan

Figuratively tackling conflict in an original way, the story floats through the “smooth and stormy seas” of life. Readers dive into the hull to meet a crew of quirky characters and wonder how they will make it through. Will particularly speak to kids interested in boats. Introduces engaging words to discuss (eg, levers, writhe, sputtering).

Values Promoted:

  • Emotional Intelligence (naming feelings)

  • Handling Conflict

  • Reassurance through difficult times

5 Books You Haven’t Heard of But Need to Put on Your Preschooler's Bookshelf Today

Ish by Peter Reynolds

Lovable tale that follows little Ramon who loves to draw. Anytime. Anything. Anywhere. Drawing is when Ramon loses himself and interprets with the world. The story unfolds as Ramon overcomes a mean, offhand remark from his older brother to learn that he doesn’t have to be perfect to be worthwhile. A valuable lesson in a world where high expectations and perfectionism among children is on the rise.

On top of that, his sister open his eyes, encouraging a positive relationship between siblings.

Values Promoted:

  • Creativity

  • Persistance

  • Sibling Relationship

  • Intrinsic Motivation

Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Rhythmic sing-song story following the lovable Pete the Cat who overcomes obstacles and goes with the flow. Despite stepping in literal [whatever], “he kept walking along and singing his song.”

Value Promoted:

  • Flexibility

Magic Locket by Elizabeth Koda-Callan

This gentle story weaves the critical lesson of believing in yourself, grit and hard work. We all know grit is essential, and here’s a book that clearly teaches the lesson! Loving Great Aunt Emma’s gift reveals her own confidence. Disclaimer: as it’s quite gendered, it might be hard for a boy to identify with.

Values Promoted:

  • Believe in Yourself

  • Confidence

  • Grit

Wump World by Bill Peet

This imaginative book tracks the happy life of wumps who enjoy eating the grass on their own planet until a curious episode when pollutions descend from outer space and destroy the wumps’ paradise. What happens? Find out.

Values Promoted:

  • Environmentalism

  • Perseverance

  • Creativity

Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman

Gently written and illustrated, yet one of the most challenged books in children’s literature, this story features Heather’s family including her two mothers as she learns about various family structures in her new kindergarten class. Do you think it should he banned or lauded?

Values Promoted:

  • Love

  • Diversity of families

  • Acceptance