100 books like Bird Hugs

By Ged Adamson,

Here are 100 books that Bird Hugs fans have personally recommended if you like Bird Hugs. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Hug

Jessica L. Borelli Author Of Nature Meets Nurture: Science-Based Strategies for Raising Resilient Kids

From my list on people who want to connect with their child.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by relationships since I was a kid. I grew up a keen observer of the relationships in my own family, mostly focused on the way in which the dynamics were difficult for me. This led me to develop a strong interest in psychology, a passion I pursued in my undergraduate education. I became acutely intrigued by an idea a professor exposed me to early on – that experiences of safety and security within attachment relationships are essential in order for children to thrive, and that without safety/security, they can experience chronic struggles. This early interest paved the way for what developed into my career as a psychology professor and therapist.

Jessica's book list on people who want to connect with their child

Jessica L. Borelli Why did Jessica love this book?

This is a children’s book that tells the story about a sweet chimp who is looking for a hug from a variety of different animals and can’t seem to get one.

The story evokes strong feelings from young children about rejection, the need to be connected to other people, and the need to belong. I love this book because there are very few words in it, so it gives you and your child the opportunity to fill in the gaps with what you think is happening. 

Also, talking about experiences of rejection can be very difficult for children, and this experience can create opportunities for your child to speak with you about times when they have wanted comfort and haven’t received it.

By Jez Alborough,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Hug as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

A tiny chimp invokes the universal language, uniting his friends in a group hug to end all group hugs. Just try to resist Jez Alborough's latest charmer!

Ever feel like you need a hug? A really big hug from someone who loves you? That's how Bobo, the little chimp in this book, feels. Walking through the jungle he passes lots of creatures enjoying a cuddle together: elephants, chameleons, lions, giraffes, hippos - even the snakes have got someone special to squeeze. But poor Bobo is alone. Will he ever find the hug he needs? Using only the single word "hug"…


Book cover of Hugs and Kisses for the Grouchy Ladybug

Sandra Horning Author Of The Giant Hug

From my list on children’s books about hugs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a children’s author of board books through picture books (Baby Code series, Chicks!, Bizarre Birds, and The Biggest Pumpkin) and as a librarian, I love books that make children feel good and loved. When I was working on my picture book The Giant Hug, I researched what other hug books had been published. There weren’t many back in 2002, but I continued to be on the lookout even after mine was published. I’m happy to report that there are quite a few hug books out there now, spreading love, hugs, and kindness to readers of all ages. We all need them!   

Sandra's book list on children’s books about hugs

Sandra Horning Why did Sandra love 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. 

By Eric Carle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hugs and Kisses for the Grouchy Ladybug as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller!

“A charming tale that shows how love can move even the grumpiest among us. A welcome addition to both the ever-popular Carle collection as well as books for Valentine’s Day.” —School Library Journal

From the World of Eric Carle comes a brand-new book starring the Grouchy Ladybug, a favorite character for over 40 years!

Perfect for fans of Love from the Hungry Caterpillar, this reminds us that that hugs and kisses truly make the world go 'round and that we all need love, even when we’re grouchy.

With Eric Carle’s signature bright collage illustrations featuring…


Book cover of How to Hug a Pufferfish

Sandra Horning Author Of The Giant Hug

From my list on children’s books about hugs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a children’s author of board books through picture books (Baby Code series, Chicks!, Bizarre Birds, and The Biggest Pumpkin) and as a librarian, I love books that make children feel good and loved. When I was working on my picture book The Giant Hug, I researched what other hug books had been published. There weren’t many back in 2002, but I continued to be on the lookout even after mine was published. I’m happy to report that there are quite a few hug books out there now, spreading love, hugs, and kindness to readers of all ages. We all need them!   

Sandra's book list on children’s books about hugs

Sandra Horning Why did Sandra love 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! 

By Ellie Peterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Hug a Pufferfish 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 picture book about a group of underwater friends who learn to ask for permission before showing their prickly, pufferfish pal some love.

So, you want to hug a pufferfish...

Who could blame you? That friendly, gap-toothed grin is hard to resist! Only, when Pufferfish is hugged or touched unexpectedly by their friends, things can get a little…spiky.

It’s not that Pufferfish doesn’t ever want hugs—it’s just that they need to have a say in when and how they’re hugged. Luckily, they have great friends who are willing to listen and learn the best ways to show Pufferfish some love…


Book cover of Group Hug

Sandra Horning Author Of The Giant Hug

From my list on children’s books about hugs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a children’s author of board books through picture books (Baby Code series, Chicks!, Bizarre Birds, and The Biggest Pumpkin) and as a librarian, I love books that make children feel good and loved. When I was working on my picture book The Giant Hug, I researched what other hug books had been published. There weren’t many back in 2002, but I continued to be on the lookout even after mine was published. I’m happy to report that there are quite a few hug books out there now, spreading love, hugs, and kindness to readers of all ages. We all need them!   

Sandra's book list on children’s books about hugs

Sandra Horning Why did Sandra love 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. 

By Jean Reidy, Joey Chou (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Group Hug as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

What do we all need when we're feeling down? yes, that's right, a group hug!
A slug is the unlikely hero of this feel-good tale: "You need a hug? I have one," said Slug, "to keep your heart snug!" More and more sad-looking animals arrive, and one by one slug persuades each to join the group hug until a scary looking bear turns up. But who will be brave enough to hug bear?
A wonderful read-aloud book with irresistible rhyme, vibrant nature scenes and huggable animals.


Book cover of Janine

Norene Paulson Author Of What's Silly Hair Day with No Hair?

From my list on children’s picture books on inclusion.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former middle school language arts teacher, I’ve witnessed firsthand the struggles some students face trying to be accepted and the heartbreak they experience when they are not. Every child deserves to be seen and appreciated for who they are and not be excluded or ostracized due to factors over which they have little control. I write and promote picture books about friendship, acceptance, and inclusion because everyone deserves to be included…always. 

Norene's book list on children’s picture books on inclusion

Norene Paulson Why did Norene love this book?

As a middle school teacher, I knew a lot of Janines. Janine has her own style and isn’t afraid to be herself even if the “cool” kids think she’s odd. However, add in invites to a “cool” kids’ party and Janine has a problem. To attend, the “cool” kids want her to change. How far will Janine go to be included? To be included is a powerful desire but at what cost? Unfortunately, scenarios like this occur every day in classrooms across the country, but this book shines a light on the importance of looking at each person’s uniqueness through the lenses of kindness, compassion, and empathy. 

By Maryann Cocca-Leffler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

ILA 2016 Teachers' Choices Reading List

Meet Janine. She is one of a kind! Janine dresses a little different, remembers random facts, reads the dictionary for fun, and has her own style of cheering. Nobody does things the way Janine does things! One girl in Janine's class is throwing a party and all the COOL kids are invited. But Janine is not cool. Some kids think she is strange and want her to change. Will Janine try to be different or just be her spectacular self? In this charming story, Maryann Cocca-Leffler uses her own daughter as inspiration for a…


Book cover of A Tale of Two Sloths

Renee Kurilla Author Of The Flower Garden

From my list on children's books that celebrate the joys of friendship, exploration, and imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi there! I am a children’s author, illustrator, and designer living in MA. I spend a lot of time thinking about how important friendship is to me; both the good and bad times, and how I could have handled certain scenarios differently. Books give us the opportunity to act out scenarios without having to live them. Books can teach us mannerisms and coping skills, making us more prepared for life. They also give us an opportunity to take a break from reality and sneak off into other worlds from time to time. Every book on my list highlights the importance of friendship and the thrill of adventure, I hope you enjoy them!  

Renee's book list on children's books that celebrate the joys of friendship, exploration, and imagination

Renee Kurilla Why did Renee love this book?

This book has the perfect sense of humor to grab your attention, but then slips in notes on being a good friend, bravery, trusting others, and general appreciation for the world we live in. 

Peter and Ernesto are so relatable (I truly think there is a little bit of my own personality in each of them). Peter is content to experience life right where he is, Ernesto wants to explore. When Ernesto leaves their shared tree home to see more “pieces of the sky,” Peter panics and tries to catch up with him to make sure he doesn’t get hurt. In doing so, nervous Peter has unknowingly been as brave as Ernesto! In the end, they reunite (in the most hilarious way) and realize how much they need each other. 

I can see kids re-reading this one a lot, and also grabbing one of the other 2 books in the…

By Graham Annable,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Tale of Two Sloths 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?

Peter and Ernesto are sloths. Peter and Ernesto are friends. But Peter and Ernesto are nothing alike. Peter loves their tree and never wants to leave, while Ernesto loves the sky and wants to see it from every place on Earth. When Ernesto leaves to have a grand adventure, Peter stays behind and frets. The two friends grow even closer in separation, as Peter the homebody expands his horizons and Ernesto the wanderer learns the value of home. With ridiculously cute art and simple, funny text, their reunion is even more adorable than you are imagining.

Laika Studios superstar artist,…


Book cover of I'm a Hare, So There!

Natasha Wing Author Of The Legend of Lop-eared Larry

From my list on bunny books by a bunny lover.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a thing about bunnies! My first plush toy was a rabbit named Boing Boing and I had a pet lop-eared bunny named Br’er. The first book I wrote in my series was The Night Before Easter because I wanted to write a story for kids who love bunnies and Easter - like me! When I was a child I also liked to read books by Beatrix Potter and hope to one day visit her house in England.

Natasha's book list on bunny books by a bunny lover

Natasha Wing Why did Natasha love this book?

This is another book about appreciating differences told with in-your-face humor using a case of mistaken identity. When a chipmunk accuses a hare of being a rabbit, the hare stands up for itself. In doing so, hare describes the traits of a hare versus a jackrabbit. It’s a simple way to show kids the difference between animals that seem alike but are not. Like a turtle and a tortoise. Turns out chipmunk is not who hare thinks he is! A fun way to learn about desert creatures.

By Julie Rowan-Zoch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I'm a Hare, So There! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An exasperated hare and plucky squirrel engage in a battle of wits to determine who's who in this hilarious author-illustrator debut for fans of I Yam a Donkey and Grumpy Monkey. When a chipmunk mistakes Hare for a rabbit, Hare puts him in his place. But actually, the chipmunk is a SQUIRREL. Or so he says. Ever wondered about the difference between a turtle and a tortoise? Or a sheep and goat? So have Rabbit and Chipmunk-er, I mean, Hare and Squirrel! This hilarious look at dynamic duos in the animal kingdom pokes fun at the lookalike animals we all…


Book cover of Every Body Shines: Sixteen Stories About Living Fabulously Fat

Christen Randall Author Of The No-Girlfriend Rule

From my list on young adult books that put fierce, fabulous fat girls front and center.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up as a fat kid, I hardly ever saw myself reflected in the media I consumed. If I did, it was by someone relegated to the side character status as the funny fat friend or the cautionary tale. Now, it’s my great joy to spread the word about books that put fat people in the spotlight—living our best lives, falling in love, and just having our much-deserved Main Character Moments.

Christen's book list on young adult books that put fierce, fabulous fat girls front and center

Christen Randall Why did Christen love this book?

I’m an author by day, but by night, I’m a library worker, and as a library worker, I absolutely love a good anthology. They’re the perfect place to try a lot of authors on for size and find your next fave, and Every Body Shine has some gems on offer. I found two of my new favorite fat authors, Sheena Boekweg and Kelly deVos, thanks to this anthology.

I love how easy this book is to pick up and put down—nice little one-sitting packages of fat girls (and folks of all genders!) being fantastic for any genre or mood craving I have.

By Cassandra Newbould (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Every Body Shines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

An intersectional, feminist YA anthology from some of today's most exciting voices across a span of genres, all celebrating body diversity and fat acceptance through short stories. A Junior Library Guild Selection Fat girls and boys and nonbinary teens are: friends who lift each other up, heroes who rescue themselves, big bodies in space, intellects taking up space, and bodies looking and feeling beautiful. They express themselves through fashion, sports and other physical pursuits, through food, and music, and art. They are flirting and falling in love. They are loving to themselves and one another. With stories that feature fat…


Book cover of We're All Wonders

Leslie Kimmelman Author Of The Eight Knights of Hanukkah

From my list on more elusive than ever kindness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am no expert on kindness—though more than twenty years at Sesame Workshop, working on a TV show that focuses on kindness, may give me a slight edge. And I am not unfailingly kind, though I try my hardest. But I am passionate about nurturing this quality in children. At the risk of sounding naive, I feel that it’s our last best hope of solving some of the world’s biggest problems.  

Leslie's book list on more elusive than ever kindness

Leslie Kimmelman Why did Leslie love this book?

Adapted by the author from her bestselling Wonder, this book is more of a wish for kindness than an actual portrayal of kindness. Auggie looks different from anyone else, but inside he wants the same things: to have friends, to go on adventures, to be loved for himself. Besides, isn’t everyone different in one way or another? It’s a lovely book to read with young children, leading them to the realization that acceptance is not only the best choice, but also the choice that opens up an enormous world of possibilities. As the author concludes, Look with kindness and you will always find wonder.

By R.J. Palacio,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We're All Wonders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

I know I can't change the way I look. But maybe, just maybe, people can change the way they see...

For younger readers, the unforgettable story of August Pullman and Wonder reimagined in this gorgeous picture book.

With spare, powerful text and richly-imagined illustrations, We're All Wonders shows readers what it's like to live in Auggie's world - a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he's not always seen that way.

We're All Wonders taps into every child's longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It's the perfect way for families…


Book cover of Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

Christine J. Ko Author Of Sound Switch Wonder

From my list on promoting curiosity about our differences.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love reading, partly because I believe in the power of books to feed curiosity, promoting understanding, inclusivity, and belonging. While growing up, my favorite books didn’t have anyone that looked like me. Through reading diverse books to my kids, I realized I’d missed out on this meaningful experience as a child. Even more, I wanted my son, who has bilateral cochlear implants, to be able to read a picture book with a main character with cochlear implants. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as, in unique ways, they all celebrate curiosity about our differences.

Christine's book list on promoting curiosity about our differences

Christine J. Ko Why did Christine love this book?

This book is about different abilities and being inclusive, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor herself, partially based on her own lived experience of being diagnosed with diabetes as a child.

I love the thread of respect that infuses the book – a gentle push that we can stay curious and ask about things that we don’t quite understand when others seem different from us. As a bonus for the nerd in me, there is a baked-in deliberate practice component because many pages incorporate questions that each reader can answer for themselves.

By Sonia Sotomayor, Rafael López (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges - and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to…


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