The best children’s books about hugs

Sandra Horning Author Of The Giant Hug
By Sandra Horning

The Books I Picked & Why

Hug

By Jez Alborough

Book cover of Hug

Why this book?

Hug, an almost wordless picture book by author-illustrator Jez Alborough, shows Bobo the monkey saying “Hug” over and over again as he watches his jungle friends embrace. The expressive animals make it clear that they’re enjoying their cuddles. At the end, Bobo finally gets the big hug he desires. The board book edition makes a wonderful present for little ones who like to look at books and bite them too. Plus, “hug” is a great word to add to a toddler’s growing vocabulary. 


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Bird Hugs

By Ged Adamson

Book cover of Bird Hugs

Why this book?

I couldn’t resist a title with two of my favorite things, hugs and birds. (In fact, I’ve written early readers about birds.) Bird Hugs, by author-illustrator Ged Adamson, tells the story of Bernard, a sweet little bird with wings too long to fly. He tries to fly many times, but isn’t successful. He feels useless and lonely until he meets an orangutan who needs a hug. It turns out Bernard’s long wings are just perfect for hugging. One hug leads to another and soon all the animals come to Bernard when they need comfort. Bird Hugs tells a lovely story with a positive message about fitting in when you’re different and, of course, how a hug can brighten your day. 


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Hugs and Kisses for the Grouchy Ladybug

By Eric Carle

Book cover of Hugs and Kisses for the Grouchy Ladybug

Why this book?

I was delighted when Eric Carle wrote Hugs and Kisses for The Grouchy Ladybug because I read many of his books during my preschool story time at the library. They are just right for the under-five age group. Hug and Kisses for The Grouchy Ladybug is a small and cute book, perfect for little hands to hold. Like many of Carle’s stories, each page has a different animal that young children can proudly identify. Each animal shows what happens when they receive hugs and kisses. They smile, clap, and jump across the page. Fans of The Grouchy Ladybug will enjoy learning that even the grouchy ladybug smiles when she receives hugs and kisses. 


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How to Hug a Pufferfish

By Ellie Peterson

Book cover of How to Hug a Pufferfish

Why this book?

Author-illustrator Ellie Peterson’s recently published book How to Hug a Pufferfish is much needed in today’s world. It’s a story not only about giving hugs, but also about asking permission to give a hug. In an engaging and fun way with cartoonish illustrations, Peterson uses the prickly pufferfish to humorously show that not everyone wants to receive a hug all the time. If you’re a pufferfish, you need to be asked. It’s a book about consent for the youngest readers, presented in the sweetest age-appropriate way you can imagine. I will definitely be reading this at my story time, and might even gift this to a few prickly adults! 


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Group Hug

By Jean Reidy, Joey Chou

Book cover of Group Hug

Why this book?

Jean Reidy’s Group Hug begins with a slug “needing someone to hug.” Slug offers a hug to a lonely beetle and together they then offer a hug to a mouse. The circle of comfort grows with animals of different sizes and emotions. When a bear comes along, the group is afraid, but slug presses on to include the bear. Reidy’s rhyming text and Chou’s bright art beautifully show that both the hugger and huggee experience joy from the hug. This makes another great story time read to spread kindness and understanding. 


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