by Mac Barnett
I love everything from the Barnett / Klassen collaboration, so I had a hard time choosing just one. This is the story of a young girl who transforms her community by knitting everyone gifts from a magical, never-ending box of yarn. It's sweet and adorably quirky.
If you like their brand of humor, also check out This Is Not My Hat, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, and the Shape trilogy
Rosie Revere, Engineer
by Andrea Beaty
Young Rosie may be shy, but she's an aspiring inventor who learns to never give up. I love the message of turning a failure into an opportunity to learn and improve.
Others from the series: Iggy Peck, Ada Twist, and Sofia Valdez
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
by Peter Brown
Mr. Tiger leads a civilized life, dressing in a suit every day and exchanging pleasantries with his neighbors. But he is growing tired of always having to be so proper. One day he decides to go wild, and some feel that he takes it too far. This hilarious book has a great message about being yourself and makes for a very fun read aloud.
Maybe Something Beautiful
by F. Isabel Campoy
Young Mira and her neighbors soon discover the power of color. Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, this delightful book reveals how art can inspire transformation and bring a community together. Sometimes one small act can have a lasting impact.
Wolf in the Snow
by Matthew Cordell
This wordless picture book quickly became a favorite after bringing it home from the library, and we read it no less than 17 times in two weeks. With each reading, I noticed a new detail that made me love it even more, and I was so excited when I heard it had won the Caldecott! A beautiful and simple story of kindness repaid.
by Gaia Cornwall
A sweet and inspiring story about facing your fears. We can all relate to that moment right before taking a giant leap, whether literal or metaphorical. I love Jabari's determination and his dad's patience and encouragement.
by Matt de la Peña
This book beautifully depicts the many ways we experience the universal bond of love, and gave me goosebumps the first time I read it. With a lyrical text and powerful illustrations, this tender tale will resonate with readers of every age.
Also by Matt de la Peña: Last Stop on Market Street
Wolfie the Bunny
by Ame Dyckman
Hilarious story about a rabbit family who adopts a baby wolf. Dot, the older bunny sister, is convinced Wolfie is going to "eat them all up," but no one will listen. A sweet ending teaches that stereotypes can turn out to be false.
Also funny, also by Ame Dyckman: You Don't Want a Unicorn
Drum Dream Girl
by Margarita Engle
With vivid illustrations and melodic prose, this book is a real treasure. Inspired by Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, the girl who broke Cuba's taboo against female drummers. The ending holds an encouraging message for dreamers everywhere.
The Night Gardener
by Eric & Terry Fan
One day, William discovers that the tree outside his house has been sculpted into an owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear - but where did they come from? His quiet little town will never be the same.
by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman'ss strange sense of humor really comes to life in this hilarious picture book with Adam Rex's detailed illustrations. If you like this one, there's also Chu's First Day of School or Chu's Day at the Beach.
Little Fox in the Forest
by Stephanie Graegin
This wordless picture book follows a young girl whose favorite stuffed fox has been stolen... by an actual fox. Her quest to get her beloved toy back leads her to a enchanting animal village in the woods and an unexpected discovery.
Red: A Crayon's Story
by Michael Hall
"He was red... but he wasn't very good at it." What happens when you aren't who society thinks you were meant to be? This story works on so many level and teaches readers to be accepting and open-minded to those who are different.
More by Michael Hall: My Heart Is Like a Zoo, Perfect Circle, and It's an Orange Aardvark
We Don't Eat Our Classmates
by Ryan Higgins
It's Penelope Rex's first day of school, but she's shocked to find out that all of her classmates are CHILDREN. This book is hilarious, but also teaches a deeper lesson about empathy and the golden rule.
Here We Are
by Oliver Jeffers
Written as a letter to his newborn son, this book is full of sweet and simple explanations of complex concepts, such as outer space, the human body, or our planet's terrain. Beautiful statements about humanity.
by Jess Keating
The book is about Eugenie Clark, who fell in love with sharks from the moment she first went to an aquarium. She quickly discovered that most people believed sharks were scary, and they didn't think women should be scientists. Jess Keating does a great job of making nonfiction accessible for kids.
Families, Families, Families!
by Suzanne & Max Lang
This beautiful story is all about inclusivity, and ensures that every child will see their own family situation represented on the pages. The wide range of cartoon animals and easy rhymes will appeal even to the youngest of children.
by Minh Lê
A boy visits his grandfather, and their lack of a common language leads to frustration and silence. But when they start to draw together, something magical happens... with a shared love of art and stories, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.
by Yuyi Morales
Yuyi Morales left her home in Mexico and came to America with her infant son. She may have left everything behind, but she didn't come empty-handed. She brought strength, passion, dreams, and stories. The message is beautiful, the illustrations are stunning, and of course, I love the role the library plays in her journey!
Not A Box
by Antoinette Portis
With minimal text, Not a Box is all about the magic of a child's imagination. This book is a celebration of discovering extraordinary in the ordinary, and takes all of us back to a time when life was simple and all we needed to have an adventure was an empty box.
by Peter H. Reynolds
Ramon loves to draw. At least, he did... until one day his brother made fun of his pictures. Ramon decides to end his art career, but then he finds out that his work has been secretly inspiring someone else. A beautiful story about finding support in unexpected places.
Check out his other books: The North Star, The Word Collector, and The Dot
The Ok Book
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
This book is full of simple and reassuring lessons about not giving up, and teaches that we can still enjoy our hobbies and actives, even if we're not naturally gifted.
Also by Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Spoon, Chopsticks, Little Pea, Duck! Rabbit!, Dear Girl, and I Wish You More
Dragons Love Tacos
by Adam Rubin
This laugh-out-loud book talks directly to the reader, giving advice about how to become friends with dragons. The secret: tacos! But be sure to avoid any spicy salsa, or you're in for a real disaster.
After the Fall
by Dan Santat
Everyone knows about Humpty Dumpty's great fall... but what happened next? After "the incident," he develops a crippling fear of heights and needs to figure out ways to cope so he can start to feel like himself again. So clever, so heartwarming.
My Pet Book
by Bob Staake
We own a lot of Bob Staake's books at my house, but this is my personal favorite. A little boy decides that a book would make a perfect pet... but what happens when it goes missing??
Where would a pet book hide?
Other Bob Staake favorites: Hello Robots, The Donut Chef, and The Red Lemon
Leonardo the Terrible Monster
by Mo Willems
Mo Willems is known for his hilarious Pigeon series and Elephant & Piggie books, but Leonardo and Sam's story really tugged at my heartstrings (in addition to making me laugh). Beautiful lesson about empathy as Leonardo decides whether to be a terrible monster or a wonderful friend.