Great Books for Preschoolers

Here are some of our favorite books for preschoolers. When searching for books to share with preschool children keep an eye out for selections with limited text, stories that reflect young children’s life experiences, and illustrations that support little ones’ understanding of the story.
This post contains affiliate links. Blurbs are from amazon.com.

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Peep and Egg: I’m Not Hatching by Laura Gehl and Joyce Wan

Peep wants Egg to hatch so they can do fun things together, like watch the sunrise, splash in puddles, and play hide-and-seek.
But Egg is not cracking…


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Mine! by Susie Lee Jin

Who does the carrot belong to? For a bunch of adorable bunnies, that question is up for an endless debate. Each bunny stakes a no nonsense claim on the juicy orange veggie with a resounding “Mine!” But as the chase heats up and a snowman gets in on the action, the battle for the carrot begins to get out of hand. Will the bunnies find a way to stop the madness…and share?


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You Must Be This Tall by Steven Weinberg

Can this energetic duo think outside the box and figure out a way to overcome the height restriction and ride the roller coaster? Find out in this adorable picture book that celebrates the value of friendship and encourages problem solving from Steven Weinberg.


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Bob and Flo Play Hide-and-Seek by Rebecca Ashdown

Penguins Bob and Flo love to play hide-and-seek with their new friend Sam at preschool. But Bob isn’t very good at hiding! Every time, Flo and Sam find him right away. After several funny failed attempts, Bob finally gets the hang of the game—and then enjoys the cake his friends baked in the preschool kitchen corner as his reward.


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Dig In by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and Mary Peterson

Explore all of the creepy, crawly, dirty, muddy, green, and growing things that can be found outside in the garden. From pill bugs to worms to leafy green sprouts, young readers will love discovering the muddy garden habitat within the pages of this book—and outside in their own backyards!


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Maggie and Wendel Imagine Everything by Cori Doerrfeld

When it comes to playtime, Maggie and Wendel’s imaginations are limitless. Whether the elephant siblings are pretending to rescue a pal from a burning building, buying a pet dragon at the pet store, or going on a wild jungle safari, no adventure is too far-fetched.


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I Used to Be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

There are a lot of things to be afraid of in this world: spiders, the dark, being alone. In this simple, beautifully-crafted picture book, acclaimed author/illustrator Laura Vaccaro Seeger shows that what seems scary at first, can become magical. It all depends on perspective. Using die-cuts, learn that a scary spider can actually produce an intricate and gorgeous web and that sometimes the dark can transform into a magical night sky. You’ll be surprised, awed, and inspired by this clever book.


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Henry Wants More! by Linda Ashman and Brooke Boynton Hughes

More games, more races, more tickles, more books—little Henry can’t get enough! When a toddler is armed with that useful word and the world is full of brand-new things, his family just doesn’t stand a chance. Follow Henry on his exhausting and all-too-familiar day filled with play . . . and a lot of love! Buoyant rhymes and charming illustrations strike a heartwarming note that will ring true with families of energetic little ones.


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Cat Nap by Toni Yuly

Cat loves to nap. If only he could find a good resting place to hide from playful (and wide awake) Kitten!

Opposites and hide-and-seek make this a fun story for nap time — or anytime.


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A Friend for Bo by Elisabeth Zuniga

Fans of Tad Hills’s Duck & Goose books will feel right at home with A Friend for Bo,the story of a little rabbit who makes a new friend named Rollie! The only problem is that Rollie doesn’t like doing much. Not reading, not boating, and not even playing! How can Bo get his new friend to have some fun? And also . . . just what is Bo’s new friend? Well, his new friend is an egg, a fact that has gone right over Bo’s ears. Full of heart and humor, this endearing story proves that a true friendship can “hatch” at any moment!

 

We received a review copies of these book from publishers.

Our Favorites for Map Lovers

Our boys are obsessed with maps. Every night during story time, they find some reason to consult their globe, wall-decal maps, or one of their many atlases. They love to track down where authors and illustrators live, find countries or cities referenced in whatever we read, and remind us of all of the trips they have planned. Here are some of our favorite resources.
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Wall Pops makes this dry-erase world map. They also have U.S. and Canadian versions. They really brightened up the boys’ room and since we hung them at their eye level, the maps are consulted constantly.

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GeoPuzzles are a hit with our puzzle and geography loving kids. These are some of the few geography puzzles I have seen where the pieces are shaped like countries/states/provinces.

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The 50 States is our favorite U.S. atlas. It contains tons of information, contemporary references, and fun facts (who knew there was a sculpture of a spoon with a cherry on it in Minneapolis, MN?)

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Our favorite world atlas has beautiful illustrations and is full of interesting information and details. Candlewick recently released a Maps Poster Book which we wrote about here.

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I’m shocked this interactive globe didn’t get better reviews on Amazon. We’ve had ours for two years and it is still going strong despite almost daily use. It provides information about continents, countries, capitals, currency, and fun facts. It also has engaging  games that our boys love.

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Glow: Animals with Their Own Night-Lights

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Glow: Animals with Their Own Night-Lights by W.H. Beck
Grades: PreK+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Ever since seeing an exhibit on animals from the deepest sea, we’ve been fascinated by bioluminescence. When this book arrived, we gave a collective squeal of excitement and were not disappointed. The photographs are stunning and the mix of narrative and more informational text kept our mixed-age crew of boys thoroughly engaged.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Henry Wants More

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Henry Wants More by Linda Ashman and BrookeBoynton Hughes
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We all enjoyed this rollicking rhyming tale about an energetic toddler who can’t get enough play time. Henry reminded us of own Matt and his boundless enthusiasm for life and we loved that a bi-racial family was depicted in the illustrations.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Narrative Nonfiction Picture Books

Narrative nonfiction is a favorite in our household. What’s better than learning something new through engaging storytelling? Here are a few that we have loved.
Affiliate links are included. Summaries are from Amazon.com

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Anything But Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff and Iacopo Bruno
Grades: 2-4
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Some girls are perfectly happy never doing anything out of the ordinary. But Addie was anything but ordinary. She longed for thrills and excitement! At a time when a young lady appearing onstage was considered most unusual, Addie defied convention and became a dancer. And when she married the world-famous magician Herrmann the Great, she knew she had to be part of his show. Addie wanted to shock and dazzle! She would do anything to draw the crowds, even agree to be shot out of a cannon. But when Herrmann the Great died, Addie couldn’t disappoint her loyal fans — the show had to go on. What could she do? She would perform the show all by herself!


 

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Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

In the early 1900s, Robert Miller, a.k.a. “Count Victor Lustig,” moved to Paris hoping to be an artist. A con artist, that is. He used his ingenious scams on unsuspecting marks all over the world, from the Czech Republic, to Atlantic ocean liners, and across America. Tricky Vic pulled off his most daring con in 1925, when he managed to “sell” the Eiffel Tower to one of the city’s most successful scrap metal dealers! Six weeks later, he tried to sell the Eiffel Tower all over again. Vic was never caught. For that particular scam, anyway. . . .


 

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Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff and Jacopo Bruno

The day Ben Franklin first set foot in Paris, France, he found the city all abuzz. Everyone was talking about something new—remarkable, thrilling, and strange. Something called . . . Science!

But soon the straightforward American inventor Benjamin Franklin is upstaged by a compelling and enigmatic figure: Dr. Mesmer. In elaborately staged shows, Mesmer, wearing a fancy coat of purple silk and carrying an iron wand, convinces the people of Paris that he controls a magic force that can make water taste like a hundred different things, cure illness, and control thoughts! But Ben Franklin is not convinced. Will his practical approach of observing, hypothesizing, and testing get to the bottom of the mysterious Mesmer’s tricks? A rip-roaring, lavishly illustrated peek into a fascinating moment in history shows the development and practice of the scientific method—and reveals the amazing power of the human mind.


 

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Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls

Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.

Thompson’s lyrical prose and Qualls’s bold collage illustrations offer a powerful celebration of triumphing over adversity.


 

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The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls

For most children these days it would come as a great shock to know that before 1967, they could not marry a person of a race different from their own. That was the year that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loving v. Virginia.

This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington, D.C. But when they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested (in dramatic fashion) for violating that state’s laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings refused to allow their children to get the message that their parents’ love was wrong and so they fought the unfair law, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court – and won!


 

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One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul and Elizabeth Zunon

Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.

The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change.

Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.


 

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Aaron and Alexander by Don Brown

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were both fierce patriots during the Revolutionary War, but the politics of the young United States of America put them in constant conflict. Their extraordinary story of bitter fighting and resentment culminates in their famous duel. For young patriots who may not yet know the shocking and tragic story, Aaron and Alexander captures the spirit of these two great men who so valiantly served their country and ultimately allowed their pride and ego to cause their demise.


 

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Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker and Jonathan D. Voss

When Harry Colebourn saw a baby bear for sale at the train station, he knew he could care for it. Harry was a veterinarian. But he was also a soldier in training for World War I.

Harry named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his company’s home town, and he brought her along to the training camp in England. Winnie followed Harry everywhere and slept under his cot every night. Before long, she became the regiment’s much-loved mascot.

But who could care for the bear when Harry had to go to the battleground in France? Harry found just the right place for Winnie while he was away―the London Zoo. There a little boy named Christopher Robin came along and played with Winnie―he could care for this bear too!
Sally Walker’s heartwarming story, paired with Jonathan Voss’s evocative illustrations, brings to life the story of the real bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh.


 

 

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I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos and Jennifer Plecas

Fly is fed up with everyone studying butterflies. Flies are so much cooler! They flap their wings 200 times a second, compared to a butterfly’s measly five to twelve times. Their babies―maggots―are much cuter than caterpillars (obviously). And when they eat solid food, they even throw up on it to turn it into a liquid. Who wouldn’t want to study an insect like that?

In an unforgettably fun, fact-filled presentation, this lovable (and highly partisan) narrator promotes his species to a sometimes engrossed, sometimes grossed-out, class of kids.


 

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Gingerbread for Liberty by Mara Rockliff and Vincent X. Kirsch

Christopher Ludwick was a German-born American patriot with a big heart and a talent for baking. When cries of “Revolution!” began, Christopher was determined to help General George Washington and his hungry troops. Not with muskets or cannons, but with gingerbread!


 

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Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.


 

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The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet

For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions — and it wasn’t long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn’t write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and turned it to organizing ideas and finding exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.

Readers of all ages will marvel at Roget’s life, depicted through lyrical text and brilliantly detailed illustrations. This elegant book celebrates the joy of learning and the power of words.


 

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Galápagos George by Jean Craighead George and Wendell Minor

This is the story of the famous Lonesome George, a giant tortoise who was the last of his species, lived to be one hundred years old, and became known as the rarest creature in the world. His story gives us a glimpse of the amazing creatures inhabiting the ever-fascinating Galápagos Islands.


 

 

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When the Beat Was Born by Laban Carrick Hill and Theodore Taylor III

On a hot day at the end of summer in 1973 Cindy Campbell threw a back-to-school party at a park in the South Bronx. Her brother, Clive Campbell, spun the records. He had a new way of playing the music to make the breaks―the musical interludes between verses―longer for dancing. He called himself DJ Kool Herc and this is When the Beat Was Born. From his childhood in Jamaica to his youth in the Bronx, Laban Carrick Hill’s book tells how Kool Herc came to be a DJ, how kids in gangs stopped fighting in order to breakdance, and how the music he invented went on to define a culture and transform the world.


 

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The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins and Jill McElmu

Katherine Olivia Sessions never thought she’d live in a place without trees. After all, Kate grew up among the towering pines and redwoods of Northern California. But after becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, she took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego. Where there were almost no trees.

Kate decided that San Diego needed trees more than anything else. So this trailblazing young woman singlehandedly started a massive movement that transformed the town into the green, garden-filled oasis it is today. Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city.

Part fascinating biography, part inspirational story, this moving picture book about following your dreams, using your talents, and staying strong in the face of adversity is sure to resonate with readers young and old.


 

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Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox and Brian Floca

Here is the incredible story of Elizabeth, a real-life elephant seal who made her home in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. When Elizabeth decides to stretch out across a two-lane road, the citizens worry she might get hurt or cause traffic accidents, so a group of volunteers tows her out to sea. But Elizabeth swims all the way back to Christchurch. The volunteers catch her again and again—each time towing her farther, even hundreds of miles away—but, still, Elizabeth finds her way back home.


 

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Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate and G. Brian Karas

In a spare, powerful text and evocative illustrations, the Newbery medalist Katherine Applegate and the artist G. Brian Karas present the extraordinary real story of a special gorilla.
Captured as a baby, Ivan was brought to a Tacoma, Washington, mall to attract shoppers. Gradually, public pressure built until a better way of life for Ivan was found at Zoo Atlanta. From the Congo to America, and from a local business attraction to a national symbol of animal welfare, Ivan the Shopping Mall Gorilla traveled an astonishing distance in miles and in impact.
This is his true story and includes photographs of Ivan in the back matter.


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Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtmakers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel and Melissa Sweet

When Clara arrived in America, she couldn’t speak English. She didn’t know that young women had to go to work, that they traded an education for long hours of labor, that she was expected to grow up fast.

But that didn’t stop Clara. She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a shirtwaist factory.

Clara never quit, and she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers the country had seen.

From her short time in America, Clara learned that everyone deserved a fair chance. That you had to stand together and fight for what you wanted. And, most importantly, that you could do anything you put your mind to.

Great Picture Books for 2nd and 3rd Graders

Here are a few of our favorite picture books for 2nd and 3rd graders (although kids of all ages will love these).

Great Picture Books for 2nd grade and 3rd grade
Affiliate links are included. Summaries are from Amazon.com
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Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

Buckley and his Mama live in a cozy cabin by the ocean. He loves to carve boats out of the driftwood he finds on the beach nearby.
He makes:

big boats
long boats
short boats and
tall boats,

each one more beautiful than the last, and sends them out to sea. If they don’t come back, he knows they’ve found their way to his papa, whom he misses very much.


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Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul

Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup. Water is water unless…it heats up.
Whirl. Swirl. Watch it curl by. Steam is steam unless…it cools high.

This spare, poetic picture book follows a group of kids as they move through all the different phases of the water cycle. From rain to fog to snow to mist, talented author Miranda Paul and the always remarkable Jason Chin (Redwoods, Coral Reefs, Island, Gravity) combine to create a beautiful and informative journey in this innovative nonfiction picture book that will leave you thirsty for more.


 

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Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder

One night, young Anna’s mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is a heartbreakingly beautiful picture book biography perfect for aspiring ballerinas of all ages.


 

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Little Tree by Loren Long

In the middle of a little forest, there lives a Little Tree who loves his life and the splendid leaves that keep him cool in the heat of long summer days. Life is perfect just the way it is.

Autumn arrives, and with it the cool winds that ruffle Little Tree’s leaves. One by one the other trees drop their leaves, facing the cold of winter head on. But not Little Tree—he hugs his leaves as tightly as he can. Year after year Little Tree remains unchanged, despite words of encouragement from a squirrel, a fawn, and a fox, his leaves having long since turned brown and withered. As Little Tree sits in the shadow of the other trees, now grown sturdy and tall as though to touch the sun, he remembers when they were all the same size. And he knows he has an important decision to make.


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Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner

In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along. The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm greater than anyone had seen before.


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Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett

You would like being friends with Leo. He likes to draw, he makes delicious snacks, and most people can’t even see him. Because Leo is also a ghost. When a new family moves into his home and Leo’s efforts to welcome them are misunderstood, Leo decides it is time to leave and see the world. That is how he meets Jane, a kid with a tremendous imagination and an open position for a worthy knight. That is how Leo and Jane become friends. And that is when their adventures begin.


 

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Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.

Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.


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The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year. A BIG horse. A STRONG horse. A horse fit for a WARRIOR PRINCESS! But when the day arrives, she doesn’t quite get the horse of her dreams…


 

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Home by Carson Ellis

Home might be a house in the country, an apartment in the city, or even a shoe. Home may be on the road or the sea, in the realm of myth, or in the artist’s own studio. A meditation on the concept of home and a visual treat that invites many return visits, this loving look at the places where people live marks the picture-book debut of Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of the Wildwood series and artist for the indie band the Decemberists.


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Yard Sale by Eve Bunting

When a family has to leave their house and move to a small apartment, it’s hard to let go of things—but having one another is what counts.

Almost everything Callie’s family owns is spread out in their front yard—their furniture, their potted flowers, even Callie’s bike. They can’t stay in this house, so they’re moving to an apartment in the city. The new place is “small but nice,” Mom says, and most of their things won’t fit, so today they are having a yard sale. But it’s kind of hard to watch people buy your stuff, even if you understand why it has to happen. With sensitivity and grace, Eve Bunting and Lauren Castillo portray an event at once familiar and difficult, making clear that a home isn’t about what you have, but whom you hold close.


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Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker

Who could care for a bear?

When Harry Colebourn saw a baby bear for sale at the train station, he knew he could care for it. Harry was a veterinarian. But he was also a soldier in training for World War I.
Harry named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his company’s home town, and he brought her along to the training camp in England. Winnie followed Harry everywhere and slept under his cot every night. Before long, she became the regiment’s much-loved mascot.
But who could care for the bear when Harry had to go to the battleground in France? Harry found just the right place for Winnie while he was away―the London Zoo. There a little boy named Christopher Robin came along and played with Winnie―he could care for this bear too!


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Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Over the snow, the world is hushed and white. But under the snow lies a secret world of squirrels and snow hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals making their winter home under the snow. This beloved nonfiction picture book exploring the subnivean zone reveals the tunnels and caves formed beneath the snow but over the ground, where many kinds of animals live through the winter, safe and warm, awake and busy, but hidden beneath the snow.


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Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

Everyone’s a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these “upside-down puppets”? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! In brilliant collage illustrations, Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America—the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Parade.


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A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins

In this fascinating picture book, four families, in four different cities, over four centuries, make the same delicious dessert: blackberry fool. This richly detailed book ingeniously shows how food, technology, and even families have changed throughout American history.

In 1710, a girl and her mother in Lyme, England, prepare a blackberry fool, picking wild blackberries and beating cream from their cow with a bundle of twigs. The same dessert is prepared by an enslaved girl and her mother in 1810 in Charleston, South Carolina; by a mother and daughter in 1910 in Boston; and finally by a boy and his father in present-day San Diego.

Kids and parents alike will delight in discovering the differences in daily life over the course of four centuries.


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Red by Jan de Kinder

In this poignant story, a girl finds it funny when her classmate starts blushing on the school playground. Her friends laugh along with her, but one student takes the teasing too far. Torn between her sympathy for her classmate and her fear of the bully, the girl must make a difficult choice.

This heartfelt book will inspire readers to find the courage to take a stance against bullying and show compassion towards others.


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Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins

Half the earth’s surface is covered by water more than a mile deep, but most of this watery world is a mystery to us. In fact, more people have stood on the surface of the moon than have visited the deepest spot in the ocean.  Come along as we travel down, down, down, from the surface to the bottom of the sea. Along the way you can see jellyfish that flash like a neon sign, creatures with teeth so big, they can’t close their mouths, and even a squid as long as a bus, which battles to the death with a sperm whale, the largest predator on earth. It’ll be a journey you won’t soon forget!


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The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.

When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.


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Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne

Once upon a time in France, a baby was born under the summer sun. His parents named him Jacques. As he grew, Jacques fell in love with the sea. He dreamed of breathing beneath the waves and swimming as gracefully as a fish. In fact, he longed to become a manfish. Jacques Cousteau grew up to become a champion of the seas and one of the best-known oceanographers in the world.


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Where Did My Clothes Come From? by Chris Butterworth

Fun retro illustrations entice kids to follow the thread and learn where their clothes had their start—and how they were put together.

Did you know that the cotton for your jeans was picked from a bush? How did the colorful wool in your sweater get from a sheep’s back to a ball of yarn? Where did your soccer uniform, your rain boots, and your fleece jacket come from? And what does recycling plastic bottles have to do with anything? Visit farms, forests, and factories all over the world to find out how everything you wear has a story behind it.


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Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford

His white teacher tells her all-black class, You’ll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way.


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Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson

For every child who has ever looked up at the stars and asked, “What are they?” comes the story of a curious boy who never stopped wondering: Carl Sagan.

When Carl Sagan was a young boy he went to the 1939 World’s Fair and his life was changed forever. From that day on he never stopped marveling at the universe and seeking to understand it better. Star Stuff follows Carl from his days star gazing from the bedroom window of his Brooklyn apartment, through his love of speculative science fiction novels, to his work as an internationally renowned scientist who worked on the Voyager missions exploring the farthest reaches of space. This book introduces the beloved man who brought the mystery of the cosmos into homes across America to a new generation of dreamers and star gazers.


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Monster Needs Your Vote by Paul Czajak

Election season is here and Monster is ready to vote! But why cast your ballot when you can run for president instead? With speeches, debates, and a soapbox or two, Monster’s newest tale is a campaign encouraging kids to take a stand and fight for what they believe in.


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The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt

I’m not sure what it is about this kid Duncan, but his crayons sure are a colorful bunch of characters! Having soothed the hurt feelings of one group who threatened to quit, Duncan now faces a whole new group of crayons asking to be rescued. From Maroon Crayon, who was lost beneath the sofa cushions and then broken in two after Dad sat on him; to poor Turquoise, whose head is now stuck to one of Duncan’s stinky socks after they both ended up in the dryer together; to Pea Green, who knows darn well that no kid likes peas and who ran away—each and every crayon has a woeful tale to tell and a plea to be brought home to the crayon box.


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New Shoes by Susan Meyer

When her brother’s hand-me-down shoes don’t fit, it is time for Ella Mae to get new ones. She is ecstatic, but when she and her mother arrive at Mr. Johnson’s shoe store, her happiness quickly turns to dejection. Ella Mae is unable to try on the shoes because of her skin color. Determined to fight back, Ella Mae and her friend Charlotte work tirelessly to collect and restore old shoes, wiping, washing, and polishing them to perfection. The girls then have their very own shoe sale, giving the other African American members of their community a place to buy shoes where they can be treated fairly and “try on all the shoes they want.”


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One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul

Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.


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The Promise by Nicola Davies

On a mean street in a mean, broken city, a young girl tries to snatch an old woman’s bag. But the frail old woman, holding on with the strength of heroes, says the thief can’t have it without giving something in return: the promise. It is the beginning of a journey that will change the thieving girl’s life — and a chance to change the world, for good. Here is the story of a magical discovery that will touch the heart and imagination of every reader, young and old.


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Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis

Capturing an engineer’s creative vision and mind for detail, this fully illustrated picture book biography sheds light on how the American inventor George Ferris defied gravity and seemingly impossible odds to invent the world’s most iconic amusement park attraction, the Ferris wheel.

A fun, fact-filled text by Kathryn Gibbs Davis combines with Gilbert Ford’s dazzling full-color illustrations to transport readers to the 1893 World’s Fair, where George Ferris and his big, wonderful wheel lifted passengers to the skies for the first time.


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Galapagos George by Jean Craighead George

This is the story of the famous Lonesome George, a giant tortoise who was the last of his species, lived to be one hundred years old, and became known as the rarest creature in the world. His story gives us a glimpse of the amazing creatures inhabiting the ever-fascinating Galápagos Islands.

 


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Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel

From acclaimed author Michelle Markel and Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet comes this true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history. This picture book biography includes a bibliography and an author’s note on the garment industry. It follows the plight of immigrants in America in the early 1900s, tackling topics like activism and the U.S. garment industry, with handstitching and fabric incorporated throughout the art.

When Clara arrived in America, she couldn’t speak English. She didn’t know that young women had to go to work, that they traded an education for long hours of labor, that she was expected to grow up fast.

But that didn’t stop Clara. She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a shirtwaist factory.

Clara never quit, and she never accepted that girls should be treated poorly and paid little. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers the country had seen.

From her short time in America, Clara learned that everyone deserved a fair chance. That you had to stand together and fight for what you wanted. And, most importantly, that you could do anything you put your mind to.


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Firebird by Misty Copeland

In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–an every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.


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The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins

Unearth the true story of green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens.

Katherine Olivia Sessions never thought she’d live in a place without trees. After all, Kate grew up among the towering pines and redwoods of Northern California. But after becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, she took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego. Where there were almost no trees.

Kate decided that San Diego needed trees more than anything else. So this trailblazing young woman singlehandedly started a massive movement that transformed the town into the green, garden-filled oasis it is today. Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city.

Part fascinating biography, part inspirational story, this moving picture book about following your dreams, using your talents, and staying strong in the face of adversity is sure to resonate with readers young and old.


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Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson tells the story of how his grandfather taught him to turn darkness into light in this uniquely personal and vibrantly illustrated tale that carries a message of peace.

How could he—a Gandhi—be so easy to anger?

One thick, hot day, Arun Gandhi travels with his family to Grandfather Gandhi’s village.

Silence fills the air—but peace feels far away for young Arun. When an older boy pushes him on the soccer field, his anger fills him in a way that surely a true Gandhi could never imagine. Can Arun ever live up to the Mahatma? Will he ever make his grandfather proud?


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What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada

This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens.
This is a story for anyone, at any age, who s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn t going anywhere. In fact, it’s just getting started.


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Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children by Jan Pinborough

Once upon a time, American children couldn’t borrow library books. Reading wasn’t all that important for children, many thought. Luckily Miss Anne Carroll Moore thought otherwise! This is the true story of how Miss Moore created the first children’s room at the New York Public Library, a bright, warm room filled with artwork, window seats, and most important of all, borrowing privileges to the world’s best children’s books in many different languages.

 

Finding Winnie

Affiliate links included.

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Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear
Grades: 1-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
We were enthralled by this fascinating and well-told story of the real Winnie-the-Pooh. Lindsay Mattick did a wonderful job of explaining concepts and vocabulary that may be difficult for younger children and Sophie Blackall beautifully captured the feel of the WWI era in which this story is set.

Literary Gifts for Book-Loving Preschoolers

Looking for a gift for the book-loving preschooler in your life? You’ve come to the right place! Affiliate links are included.

Literary Gifts for Book-Loving Preschoolers

 

Madeline Puzzle Wheel

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MoMA String Along Books

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Todd Parr Feelings Flashcards

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Silly Little Animals Book and Puzzle Cubes Set

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Babar Finger Puppets

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Olivia Lacing Cards

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Eric Carle Shadow Puppets

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Madeline Magnetic Characters

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Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site Matching Game

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Babar Magnetic Shapes

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Olivia Paper Doll Play Set

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Eric Carle Puzzle Wheel

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Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site Lacing Cards

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Chef Olivia Cookbook and Cookie Cutter Kit

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Madeline Shadow Puppets

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Babar Learn Your ABCs Flashcards

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Literary Gifts for Book-Loving Infants

Check out these gifts for the book-loving baby in your life! Some links are affiliate links.

Literary Gifts for Book Loving Infants


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Thank You and Good Night

Affiliate links are included.

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Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
We just adore this charming little book about a first sleepover. Clement, Jean, Alan Alexander, and Maggie exemplify the meaning of friendship and remind us to be grateful for the simple things in life. Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations are enchanting as always. It’s no wonder that Cooper has asked us to read him this story every night this week.