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On the Shelf: Explore big feelings and the wide, open world

“The Smile Shop” by Satoshi Kitamura (Peachtree Publishing, ages 4 – 8)

Do you need something to make you smile? Of course you do. This sweet story celebrates connection and inspires joy. The detailed illustrations give little readers plenty to find no matter how many times this book is shared.

“While You're Sleeping” by Mick Jackson and illustrated by John Broadley (Pavilion Children’s, ages 4 – 8) 

When littles ones are nestled in their beds, the world outside keeps going. Show them the busy nighttime in this beautifully illustrated book. They can learn a few new British English words from this one as well. It makes for perfect bedtime reading.

“The Last Tree” by Emily Haworth-Booth (Pavilion Children’s, ages 4 – 8) 

“But with nothing to look at but the wall, something happened to the people, too.” Indeed. This tale isn’t meant to be subtle, but it is meaningful and well told. All ages can benefit from this story. What happens when there is just one last tree? Maybe with books like this one, kids will not have to find out. 

“The Greatest Show Penguin” by Lucy Freegard (Pavilion Children’s, ages 4 – 8)

Sometimes, we all need to find our place in the world. For many of us, that place isn’t on the stage – it’s behind the scenes. But every role is necessary and valuable. The tale of Poppy the Penguin will show those powerful quiet children how much they contribute by just being themselves. 

“Pie for Breakfast: Simple Baking Recipes for Kids” by Cynthia Cliff (Prestel Jr., ages 5 – 9, available April 6)

Not just a picture book, more than a cookbook, this baking book for children hits all its marks. It can become a prized part of your family time in the kitchen. And with an inclusive approach from illustrations to cuisine, there are ample learning opportunities here, too. This one can be in the rotation for years to come. 

“Alone!” by Barry Falls (Pavilion Children’s, ages 3 – 6)

Bill McGill lives on a hill – alone. With a buildup that will have kids giggling along the way, Billy learns that even the most solitary among us can use some time with friends. This is a great book for exploring big feelings about noise and crowds and learning to love your own company.