The best picture books beyond good and bad, right and wrong

Who am I?

Unburdened with prejudice or beliefs, children are open to the world. I find great joy in books that reflect the child’s fresh perception and playful spirit. Such books have no intention to teach a moral lesson. They rejoice in freedom. In the non-stereotypical, not yet molded to conform reality of the child. Books beyond good or bad may shine with the light of freshness, the unfiltered seeing. In times of great political divisions, non-didactic books can be a window to the glorious amoral way of perceiving.


I wrote...

Beyond the Fence

By Maria Gulemetova,

Book cover of Beyond the Fence

What is my book about?

Piggy lives in a large house with Thomas. Thomas knows exactly what Piggy needs. But a chance meeting with a wild pig changes everything, and Piggy finds out what lies outside the four walls, beyond the fence. A gentle book about freedom and friendship.

The books I picked & why

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Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai'i

By Gerald McDermott,

Book cover of Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai'i

Why this book?

This is one of my favorite picture books. To me, the main character is life itself. A mischievous, greedy, daring, vulnerable, colorful aliveness. The strong colors and the bold shapes of the illustrations demonstrate the raw intensity of life. And the theme of Grandmother loving Pig-Boy unconditionally is one mothers would resonate with. Such a treat!


Alphonse, That Is Not Ok to Do!

By Daisy Hirst,

Book cover of Alphonse, That Is Not Ok to Do!

Why this book?

I would highly recommend any of Daisy Hirst’s books. To me Daisy Hirst’s books have both the ease and the force of natural phenomenon. They are like a gust of wind, rain, or sunshine. Immaculate expressions of the child’s experience. A seamless flow through the ordinary beauty of the surroundings, the thoughts and the emotions of the child. They represent the joy of creativity and play alongside the feelings of confusion, loneliness or guilt. Simply put, they are brilliant!


Guri and Gura's Magical Friend

By Rieko Nakagawa, Peter Howlett, Yuriko Yamawaki (illustrator), Richard McNamara

Book cover of Guri and Gura's Magical Friend

Why this book?

Guri and Gura’s books shine with the energy of childlike wonder and vitality. Children would delight in Guri and Gura’s adventures. For the parents these books present an opportunity to tap into a possibly dormant, yet present sense of wonderment, magic, and the joy of eating, running, nature, friendship and discovery.


The Big Princess

By Taro Miura,

Book cover of The Big Princess

Why this book?

It seems to me that the kind of imaginative senseless play (beyond good/bad, right/wrong), feels similar to the way a small kid would tell stories. A wonderful fantastic tale with joyful illustrations. Plus children and adults find very, very, very big things fascinating. Enjoy this masterpiece! (As well as Taro Miura’s other books.)


Paul and Antoinette

By Kerascoët (illustrator),

Book cover of Paul and Antoinette

Why this book?

Two siblings with very different personalities. The fun of following these two characters grows with every scene. A very skillful, beautiful depiction of the richness of life and creative collaboration. A funny and endearing book.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in life satisfaction, play and playing, and folklore?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about life satisfaction, play and playing, and folklore.

Life Satisfaction Explore 120 books about life satisfaction
Play And Playing Explore 10 books about play and playing
Folklore Explore 172 books about folklore

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like An Ordinary Age, Bravey, and A Thousand Names for Joy if you like this list.