The Goat Lady (2008) by Jane Bregoli
An elderly French Canadian drew criticism from her neighbors who thought her animals were noisy and her house unkempt. After children befriended the old women and painted portraits of her, the paintings helped others in the community to look past the old woman’s mismatched clothes and odd ways and recognize her humble goodness. Recipient of the Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award, Humane Heroes. Ages 9-12
Hey, Little Ant, (2005) by Phillip and Hannah Hoose,
“If you were me, and I were you, what would you want me to do?” This is the question the ant asks the kid as the shoe is about to come down upon the ant! Questions of power and perspective-taking are delivered in a delightful story. Music and verses appear on the last page. Ages 4-8.
Lost (1993) by David McPhail
A lovely story about a boy who befriends a lost bear and the reciprocal kindness that the bear gives the boy when he, in turn, gets lost. Ages 3-8.
Making Friends (1996) by Fred Rogers
Fred Rogers does his usual brilliant job of helping children learn to face those first experiences of childhood. Making friends offers straightforward answers to the many questions children have about the process. Ages 3-8.
Many Hands: A Penobscot Indian Story, Angeli Perrow (2011). Down East Books
Inspired by a dream featuring her grandmother, Lily weaves a traditional Penobscot basket and proudly shows it to various family members. Each of them repeats her grandmother’s words, “many hands make the basket.” Stung at first, Lily finally understands that while she made the basket, others played a part in creating it. This beautifully illustrated book teaches concepts of community, humility and caring. Ages 4-8
Roxaboxin (2004) by Alice Mclerran,
Roxaboxen celebrates the imagination of children who, no matter the time or place, can create whole worlds out of what they find around them–here, rocks and boxes, cacti and sand. Marian and her friends find a “special place” in the desert where in time-honored fashion, they play the games that will prepare them for their grown-up lives. They make houses, drive pretend cars, bake bread, ride stick ponies, fight their wars and bury their dead. Ages 4-10.
Stone Soup (2003) by Jon J Muth
Muth has taken this old tale to a setting in China where three Buddhist monks draw reluctant and selfish villagers from their huts to add ingredients to a pot of soup. The result is that the villagers become enlightened about the rewards of sharing and building community. As usual, Muth’s illustrations are lovely. Ages 4-10.
The Three Questions (2002) by Jon J Muth
This is a retold story by Leo Tolstoy about a young boy who goes to the wise turtle for answers to some life questions and discovers that his own caring response to the cry of a stranger provides answers to these questions. Ages 4-10.
Tough Boris (1998) by Mem Fox
Even scruffy, greedy, massive pirates have a heart, and can cry. Wonderful vocabulary, delightful illustrations. Ages 3-5.