• Helping Kids Rise

5 Diverse Children's Books about Family, Friendships, and Feelings (Book Reviews)


One of the reasons I love books so much is because they fill so many needs in our lives. Books can help enhance our daily lives or sometimes even help us escape our daily lives. Books can teach us about people and cultures we normally would never interact with.

Lately, I've been counting on books to encourage kindness and connections. I want the children I share books with to learn positive values from the stories. These five books all share that theme while still being fun and full of adventure.

Not Norman by Kelly Bennett

This is a fun story with a great message: don't be so quick to judge people (or pets).

Norman the goldfish isn't quite what the boy wanted as a pet. He wanted a pet that could run and catch or chase strings and climb trees - but definitely not a goldfish!. The boy tries to convince his friends to take Norman, but learns along the way that maybe Norman is a better pet than he thought.

We loved this fun book!

Rain by Sam Usher

Sam wants to go out but it's pouring with rain, so he and Grandpa decide to stay inside until the rain stops. Sam drinks hot chocolate and reads his books and dreams of adventures while Grandpa gets on with his important paperwork. Grandpa seems to have a VERY important letter to write. Then that very important letter has to be posted, despite the rain and floods. As they finally go outside, Sam and Grandpa have a magical adventure.

The beautiful illustrations complement the story and bring the words to life. I really loved the raindrops on the cover, which are raised and glossy and create a beautiful effect.

Ladder to the Moon by Maya Soetoro-NG

From Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of President Obama, comes a lyrical story relaying the loving wisdom of their late mother to a young granddaughter she never met.

Little Suhaila wants to know what her Grandma Annie was like. "She was like the moon," her mother replies. "Full, soft, and curious. Your grandma would wrap her arms around the whole world if she could."

Ladder to the Moon is sweet tale of love that lives on even after we lose the ones we love. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales, this beautiful book one every child will love.

The New Small Person by Lauren Child

What a fun book! Little Elmore is happy being an only child. He is well loved and his very own room. Then a new small person comes along that knocks things over and changes everything! Worst of all, this new small person seems to be liked more than Elmore.

We loved taking the journey with Elmore as he discovers that having a new small person hanging around just might not be as bad as he thought.

Lauren Child does a wonderful job sharing the good and the bad of sharing life with a sibling.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Peter H. Reynold's mission was to create a book that inspired all kids to reach their potential. He hit the mark with The Dot!

Readers are quickly connected to Vashti (the main character) as she struggles with self doubt and her ability to draw. Vashti's teacher encourages Vashti to start with just one small dot, which she reluctantly does.

As the story unfolds we cheer for Vashti as her self doubt grows into confidence and belief in herself.

The Dot has been so well received that it's been published in many different languages and even has an entire day dedicated to it. International Dot Day is a day to "make your mark" and encourage others to do the same. Read more here.

Thanks to our friends at Candlewick Press for sharing these fun children's books with us

You might also enjoy:

The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Books, Activities, and More

Same But Different by Holly Robinson Peete

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