Heart-Warming Picture Books
“Mom, this is such a good book,” my 10-year old shared, handing it to me. Sure enough, she was right for the sweet friendship with the formerly scary DARK and the captivating collage-like illustrations. Orion and the Dark is a book that humanizes the dark making him a kind and adventurous friend for Orion, who was downright terrified of the DARK. But one night, the Dark came to visit. The Dark wasn’t at all what Orion expected. Now that the Dark is his friend, Orion knows he’ll never be scared again.
Vincent and the Night by Adele Enersen
Remember the creative mom who took photographs of her baby girl (who was sleeping) in various staged settings? She’s back with her baby boy, Vincent and this picture book is about his nighttime play with . . . the night! First he unravels it like a string, and then uses it to play. It’s such an adorable book and perfect for young children who might be afraid of the dark. They’ll see Vincent use the dark to make it into a violin, an elephant, a monkey with a bottle, and finally back to the dark around his crib.
Henry Holton Takes the Ice by Sandra Bradley, illustrated by Sara Palacios
Fred by Kalia Eunhye Seo
Jessica’s Box by Peter Carnavas
Jessica is in a wheelchair and her first day at school is very disappointing. She thought she’d make lots of friends with her box and her bear so the next day she put cupcakes in her box. Not even a thank you. Jessica just wanted to disappear into her box. Which turned out to be a great way to start a hide and seek game with a new friend.
Pirate, Viking & Scientist by Jared Chapman
Scientist (the boy) was friends with Viking. He was also friends with Pirate. But, Scientist’s two friends don’t get along. Scientist hypothesizes what could make the two get along. Finally, after experimenting with cake and birthday games he gets it – they both like to pillage and plunder. Oh, happy day. Group hug! Or maybe group sword fight?
The New Small Person by Lauren Child
Did You Know That I LOVE YOU? by Christa Pierce
Knit Together by Angela Dominguez
The mother knits and the daughter draws, but the daughter wants to knit only it’s hard for her. Together they collaborate — the daughter draws something that the mom knits. I love the solution of this story.
Anna’s Heaven by Stian Hole
This is one of those picture books where the illustrations tell more of the story than the words. Or at least are AS important as the words. We know Anna’s mother is in heaven and she and her father are sad. Anna remembers how her mom said birds were flowers that could fly and she sees swallow made of clouds while her dad sees nails shooting out of the clouds. She and her dad jump through the hole in the sky and sky swim. In the end, it’s enough to remember her mom and to make her dad smile.
Stone Angel by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Katie May Green
A historical fiction picture book set during the Nazi occupation of Paris during World War II, we follow a little girl and her family as they flee for their lives. Initially, the family stays in caves in the forest, but finally they get to England where they are safe. Throughout, the little girl thinks about her guardian angel, a stone angel on her Paris building, which she hopes is keeping her family safe. I like how Yolen portrays the emotions of the girl and the threat of concentration camps in an age-appropriate way. The muted illustrations match the somber but also hopeful tone of the story. Added to Picture Book About WWII and the Holocaust.
Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer by Tonya Bolden, illustrated by Eric Velasquez
The little boy considers all of the people around the world and says a prayer for each — the people with no homes, the sick, the soldiers fighting wars, his teacher, his turtle, and more. It’s a beautiful reminder to think of others accompanied by gorgeous pictures.
Matilda in the Middle: a Bunny Ballet Story by Cori Doerrfeld
It’s not easy being the middle child — especially with so many other brothers and sisters who are always so busy and in the way. Will they be too busy to see her dance in her big ballet performance? Of course not! A lovely book for kids who sometimes feel invisible.
The Song of Delphine by Kenneth Kraegel
We loved this story about a servant girl in an African palace who sings to help with her loneliness. When the giraffes hear her songs, they befriend her. But the princess has her locked up — until the Queen hears her sing. Delphine finds her happily ever after with her new friend, the apologetic princess.
Maple & Willow Together by Lori Nichols
The illustrations are adorably perfect for this sweet story about sisters who love to play with each other. Until they start fighting. But they don’t stay upset for long, they love each other too much. A wonderful sister story!
Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins
Rude Cakes have no manners. Kind of like kids who are rude. But this isn’t about kids, it’s about cakes, one particular rude cake. And giant cyclopses who think that Rude Cake is a hat. So Rude Cake will have to learn to say please or he’ll be a cyclops hat forever. My daughter thought this was hilarious while I found it just so-so. (Picture Books About Manners)