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On the shelf: Children's books about concepts and feelings and weather – oh my!


There are some beautiful books out now that help little readers learn about everything from the wild concept of time zones to grief and even war. Books make ideal holiday gifts. Your local bookseller can help you find a match.

“The Day Time Stopped” by Flavia Ruotolo (Prestel Junior, age 5 and older)

How many of us adults still have to count time zones on our fingers? Introducing the concept to kids can be a huge task, but this sweet little book makes it a breeze. They can see what is happening at the same moment all around the world, as time stops – and is different – for children in different countries.

“Dragons Are the Worst!” by Alex Willan (Simon & Schuster, ages 4 – 8)

If your kids loved “Unicorns Are the Worst!,” this new tale will be a big hit. This book is loaded with giggle potential and can, ever so subtly, teach little readers not to jump to conclusions about someone they don’t know. 

“The Longest Letsgoboy” by Derick Wilder, illustrated By Catia Chien (Chronicle Books, ages 5 – 8)

Parents, this is an important book if your family has an elderly pet. Please read it first without your children, so that you know the content and also so you can stop and sob approximately every two pages. It is a beautiful, peaceful story about a beloved good boy’s end of life and his last “let’s go” with his person. 

“The Weather: Pop-up Book” by Maike Biederstädt (Prestel, ages 5 and older)

This is an old-school pop-up book with a modern day understanding of climate change. Each page features a detailed 3D pop-up that can captivate the imagination and inspire readers to learn beyond this one book. 

“The Book of Labyrinths and Mazes” by Silke Vry, illustrated by Finn Dean (Prestel Junior, ages 7 and older)

If your family loves corn mazes or if your children walk or trace a labyrinth for its calming effect, this beautiful book is a must. Learn about the history of these paths and how they touch every culture in every part of the world.

“I Saw a Beautiful Woodpecker” by Michał Skibiński, illustrated by Ala Bankroft (Prestel Junior, ages 6 and older)

This journal, translated and paired with rich, simple illustrations, is based on the sentence a day written by Michal in the summer of 1939 in Poland. It captures the time when war came home and changed a young boy’s life. Today, Michal is still alive and living in a retirement house for elderly priests. I think this book skews older than the recommended age and would be a welcome addition in classes of all ages studying World War II. 

Extra reads:

“When I See Red” by Britta Teckentrup (Prestel, ages 4 and older) This is a beautiful book to help little ones release anger in a healthy way. 

“Is There Life on Your Nose? Meet the Microbes” by Christian Borstlap (Prestel, ages 6 and older) Learn about the many unseen microbes that make life as we know it.

“Paint by Sticker Kids: Mermaids and Magic” (Workman) Create 10 detailed pictures, one small sticker at a time.