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

The Books I Picked & Why

Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawai'i

By Gerald McDermott

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!


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Alphonse, That Is Not Ok to Do!

By Daisy Hirst

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!


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Guri and Gura's Magical Friend

By Rieko Nakagawa, Yuriko Yamawaki, Peter Howlett, Richard McNamara

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.


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The Big Princess

By Taro Miura

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.)


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Paul and Antoinette

By Kerascoët

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.


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