The best hope-filled children’s books

The Books I Picked & Why

A Flood of Kindness

By Ellen Leventhal, Blythe Russo

A Flood of Kindness

Why this book?

I appreciate the gentle way Ellen Leventhal empowers children in this picture book—showing even the youngest child can do small things to help others. Charlotte, the main character, her parents, and her toy bear arrive at the shelter after evacuating their home because of flooding. Charlotte watches people at the shelter and in the community share acts of kindness with the flood victims. Even though she is sad and upset, she follows their example. When Charlotte sees a younger child crying because his teddy was lost in the flood, she gives her stuffie to the little boy. It reminds me of how attached my two-year-old grandson is to his teddy bear. These small gestures shine a light of healing and hope during a natural disaster. 


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Mimic Makers: Biomimicry Inventors Inspired by Nature

By Kristen Nordstrom, Paul Boston

Mimic Makers: Biomimicry Inventors Inspired by Nature

Why this book?

I purchased this book for my own little inventor—my second-grade granddaughter. She pores over the pages of this book soaking in the stories of the biomimicry inventors who solved problems by observing the natural world. Kristen Nordstrom’s stories encourage her to wonder. Her favorite invention stories come from activities she pursues herself outside—watching birds and chasing propeller maple seeds. I particularly like the resources and suggestions for how children can be mimic makers in the book. Mimic makers are our hope for finding solutions to problems.


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A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela's Hope for His Nation

By Lindsey McDivitt, Charly Palmer

A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela's Hope for His Nation

Why this book?

Lindsey McDivitt’s lyrical language and Charly Palmer’s powerful illustrations go hand in hand drawing me into the storytelling of this picture book biography. I need to read books and be inspired by ordinary people who do extraordinary things. The story tells us how Nelson Mandela missed his wife and five children after being unjustly imprisoned for 27 years but continued his education during his years in prison. Nelson Mandela is an example for all of us showing the characteristics of leadership—courage, love, understanding, patience, sacrifice, hard work, and a passion for freedom from an unjust apartheid system for non-white citizens. His desire was for unity and freedom for everyone. Nelson Mandela’s example gives us hope for the world.


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Branches of Hope: The 9/11 Survivor Tree

By Ann Magee, Nicole Wong

Branches of Hope: The 9/11 Survivor Tree

Why this book?

The true story of the survivor tree—the pear tree that survived the 9/11 attack—is tenderly told by Ann Magee. As a mom of a veteran, it takes me back to that time. After this tragedy, my youngest son enlisted in the National Guard and was eventually deployed. His motivation? “There’s all the more reason now,” he replied. The tree’s resilience represents the strength of our nation and its helpers. This picture book is a beautiful tribute to all first responders and gives us hope for the future.


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Outside in

By Deborah Underwood, Cindy Derby

Outside in

Why this book?

During the pandemic, I seek refuge outdoors. I walk from my home to a metro park in my neighborhood. The woods are soothing in their peacefulness and beauty. When I read Deborah Underwood’s Outside In, that same peacefulness surrounds me. Cindy Derby’s watercolor illustrations are stunning. The lyrical language and illustrations in the book are comforting and exhilarating at the same time. The beauty of nature is our hope for healing.


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