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12 Great Children's Books Exploring Difficult Issues

Posted 10 months ago by Heather W

Posted in Children and Parenting and eBooks and Audiobooks | Tagged with animals, behavior, books for young children, bullying, childhood, compassion, courage, death and dying, divorce, emotions, friendship, grandparents, Grief - Fiction, imagination, individuality, life changes, news, picture books, popularity, schools, self-acceptance, stories in rhyme and tough topics

These books help to make sense of, and deal with, challenging times in life.

Picture Books Dealing With Tough Topics

1. “Ben Rides On” by Matt Davies

Ben Rides On by Matt Davies

Ben rides his new bicycle the very, very long way to school but Adrian Underbite, perhaps the world's largest third-grader, takes the bike anyway and later, when Ben finds Adrian in trouble, he must decide whether or not to help the larcenous bully.

2. “Big Friends” by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies

Big Friends by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies

Best friends Etho and Birt love going up Sudden Hill and sitting in simple cardboard boxes imagining they are kings, soldiers, astronauts, or pirates until Shu asks to join them, and their "two-by-two rhythm" is disturbed.

3. “Come With Me” by Holly M. McGhee ; illustrated by Pascal Lemaître

Come With Me by Holly M. McGhee ; illustrated by Pascal Lemaître

Frightened by news of angry people around the world, a young girl gets her parents' help in learning to be compassionate and brave a little at a time.

4. “Dot.” by Randi Zuckerberg ; illustrated by Joe Berger

Dot. by Randi Zuckerberg ; illustrated by Joe Berger

In her fascination with technology, a confident and spunky girl pays little attention to the outside world before learning how to make room for real things in ways that help her make the most of her savvy technical expertise.

5. “Eddie the Bully” by Henry Cole

Eddie the Bully by Henry Cole

Eddie enjoys being mean and bullying his fellow students until a new girl arrives and shows him how good it can feel to be nice.

6. “Ida, Always” by Caron Levis ; illustrated by Charles Santoso

Ida, Always by Caron Levis ; illustrated by Charles Santoso

A polar bear grieves over the loss of his companion. Based on the real-life Gus and Ida of New York City's Central Park Zoo.

7. “Monday, Wednesday, and Every Other Weekend” by Karen Stanton

Monday, Wednesday, and Every Other Weekend by Karen Stanton

Although Henry enjoys the time he spends at his mother's apartment and his father's house, his dog Pomegranate gets confused about which place is home.

8. “The Goodbye Book” by Todd Parr

The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr

A pet fish who has lost his companion imparts a gentle, age-appropriate message about saying goodbye while touching on the emotions commonly experienced by children in the face of loss.

9. “The Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig ; illustrated by Patrice Barton

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig ; illustrated by Patrice Barton

Brian has always felt invisible at school, but when a new student, Justin, arrives, everything changes. Also available in eBook.

10. “What a Beautiful Morning” by Arthur A. Levine ; illustrated by Katie Kath

What a Beautiful Morning by Arthur A. Levine ; illustrated by Katie Kath

Sharing beautiful mornings enjoying French toast and dog walks with his grandfather, little Noah is challenged to find ways to reconnect with him when the elder man's memory is affected by Alzheimer's.

11. “Where Do They Go?” by Julia Alvarez ; illustrated by Sabra Field

Where Do They Go? by Julia Alvarez ; illustrated by Sabra Field

Alvarez’s picture book is a beautifully crafted poem for children that gently addresses the emotional side of death. It’s a beautiful and comforting meditation on death, asking questions young readers might have about what happens to those they love after they die.

12. “Wild About Us!” by Karen Beaumont ; illustrated by Janet Stevens

Wild About Us! by Karen Beaumont ; illustrated by Janet Stevens

From Elephant's long nose to Kangaroo's huge feet to Monkey's stick-out ears, everyone is worth celebrating, no matter what they look like.


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