The best picture books about bears, buddies, and writing. Oh my!

Why am I passionate about this?

I once spotted a mama black bear and her cubs on a camping trip in Manitoba, Canada. I kept a safe distance watching in awe as the cubs climbed trees. I’ve been fascinated with bears ever since. Most of the books I publish center around strong themes of family, friendship, making a difference in the world, and many have a bear as a secondary character. I think there’s always room for more bear stories in the world, don’t you?


I wrote...

Bears Make the Best Writing Buddies

By Carmen Oliver, Jean Claude (illustrator),

Book cover of Bears Make the Best Writing Buddies

What is my book about?

I wanted to write a book that showcased the fun and freedom of writing stories only you can tell. There’s nothing you can’t say when it comes from your heart. Because your voice is your voice—no two are the same. In this book, Adelaide and Bear love writing but Theo does not. Thankfully Adelaide and Bear are ready to team up and convince the entire class, including Mrs. Fitz-Pea, why bears make the best writing buddies? After all, who better to teach you how to fish and forage for new ideas than a bear? If you like this book check out the other books in the Bears Make the Best…series.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear

Carmen Oliver Why did I love this book?

This story is based upon a man, Harry Colebourn, who lived in my hometown of Winnipeg, Canada who rescued a baby bear and named her Winnie after Winnipeg. Funny story, I was actually researching Harry Colebourn and the real bear that inspired the character Winnie-the-Pooh when Colebourn’s great-granddaughter Lindsey Mattick came out with her book Finding Winnie. After reading Lindsay’s story, I knew that it was remarkable and anything I wrote would pale in comparison. So if you like friendship stories, like me, and want to understand the history of how the fictional character Winnie-the-Pooh was inspired by the real bear Winnie—then this book is for you! It’s an inspirational journey from the prairies of Canada to the London Zoo in England.

By Lindsay Mattick, Sophie Blackall (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Finding Winnie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



A #1 New York Times Bestseller and Winner of the Caldecott Medal about the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.
In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.

Harry Colebourn's real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey--from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England...

And finally to…


Book cover of S Is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet

Carmen Oliver Why did I love this book?

Like my book, this book is filled with tips and terms from A to Z to connect readers to the writerly process and life. There are inspiring quotes sprinkled throughout and the illustrations by Pullen are bright and vivid. It’s the perfect backdrop to the beautiful poetry and prose written by author Hershenhorn. 

H is for Hero and Heroine, 

   their journey grand tales to be told,

      of beaten foes, 

         and bested woes,

            of triumps, alas, to behold.

I return to this book time and time again for inspiration and to spark my imagination.

By Esther Hershenhorn, Zachary Pullen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked S Is for Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

What is a first draft? What is a narrative? In S is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet, author and writing coach Esther Hershenhorn uses the alphabet to help explain, explore, and examine the tools, techniques, and strategies for those hoping to live the literary life. Writing terms and topics are explained using a two-tier format. C is for the Character, every story's star, the one for whom we cheer, we care, with whom we travel far. Specific genres, story elements (setting and plot), and the mechanics of how to write (including editing and revision) are covered, while quotes from famous…


Book cover of Noodle & Lou

Carmen Oliver Why did I love this book?

I adore friendships stories that showcase buddies who have each other’s back and who are the cheerleaders in our life. Noodles and Lou, told in rollicking rhyme, is that kind of story. In the opening pages of the book, we understand Noodle is having an off-putting start to his day.

Some days don’t go well, right from the start

Noodle woke up with a rain-cloudy heart.

But before the story ends, Noodle is cheered up by his best buddy and sees his many wonderful strengths through his friend’s eyes.

By Liz Garton Scanlon, Arthur Howard (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Noodle & Lou as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Noodle and Lou are unlikely friends. One is a worm and one is a bird. When Noodle is having a bad day, Lou knows just what to say to cheer up his wormy friend and help him see what it means to be liked just the way you are.


Book cover of Found

Carmen Oliver Why did I love this book?

It’s a tender story about the length a friend will go to make sure that their new found friend is taken care of and loved. It’s a book that celebrates love and friendship and it’s one of those books you’ll return to and want to read again and again. It’s a perfect storytime or bedtime book!

By Salina Yoon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Found as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

An NPR Best Book * Winner of the SCIBA Book Award for Best Picture Book

Geisel Honor-winning author/illustrator Salina Yoon introduces adorable duo Bear and his bunny Floppy in Found--a charming picture book that celebrates love and friendship in its many forms.

When Bear finds a lost stuffed toy bunny in the forest, he begins to worry. After all, the stuffed bunny must feel lonely and want to return safely to its owner and home! But as Bear diligently searches for the bunny's owner, he grows attached to his newfound friend. What will happen when the bunny's owner finally comes…


Book cover of A Visitor for Bear

Carmen Oliver Why did I love this book?

Before I was a published author, I had a critique with author Bonny Becker on one of my works-in-progress. She’s a generous writer who knows a lot about creating characters readers truly care about. I love her comedic writing style and this is one of my favorite books. I love the persistence of Mouse in winning over curmudgeonly Bear in this unlikely tale of friendship. If you like this book, check out the other adventures in the series.

By Bonny Becker, Kady MacDonald Denton (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Visitor for Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

"A Visitor for Bear has the feel of a classic, and it’s so cozy no parent could object to reading it aloud every night." — The New York Times Book Review (starred review)

Bear is quite sure he doesn’t like visitors. He even has a sign. So when a mouse taps on his door one day, Bear tells him to leave. But the mouse — who keeps popping up in the most unexpected places — just won’t go away! Cheery persistence wears down the curmudgeonly Bear in a wry comedy of manners that ends in a most unlikely friendship.


You might also like...

A School for Unusual Girls

By Kathleen Baldwin,

Book cover of A School for Unusual Girls

Kathleen Baldwin Author Of Sanctuary for Seers: A Stranje House Novel

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Loves God Mother to Many Wilderness Adventurer History Enthusiast

Kathleen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A spy school for girls amidst Jane Austen’s high society.

Daughters of the Beau Monde who don’t fit London society’s strict mold are banished to Stranje House, where the headmistress trains these unusually gifted girls to enter the dangerous world of spies in the Napoleonic wars. #1 NYT bestselling author Meg Cabot calls this exciting historical series "completely original and totally engrossing."

A School for Unusual Girls

By Kathleen Baldwin,

What is this book about?

A School for Unusual Girls is the first captivating installment in the Stranje House series for young adults by award-winning author Kathleen Baldwin. #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot calls this romantic Regency adventure "completely original and totally engrossing."

It's 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England's dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society's constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young…


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Interested in bears, friendships, and toys?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about bears, friendships, and toys.

Bears Explore 73 books about bears
Friendships Explore 1,425 books about friendships
Toys Explore 30 books about toys