100 books like Boats for Papa

By Jessixa Bagley,

Here are 100 books that Boats for Papa fans have personally recommended if you like Boats for Papa. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Rabbit Listened

Dan Saks Author Of We Share This School: A Community Book

From my list on proving humans are more creative than AI.

Who am I?

I make music. I write books. I’m drawn to scenarios in which people make music or books or art collaboratively, often spontaneously. I enjoy making music with kids because of how they can be creative spontaneously. Sometimes adults pretend to be creative in a way that a child might relate to, but a child can generally sniff out a pretender. And a pretend pretender can be unpleasant company for children and adults alike. These books were written by adults who know their inner child. Wonder, play and a tangential regard for social norms are their baseline to share the stories they’ve chosen to share.

Dan's book list on proving humans are more creative than AI

Dan Saks Why did Dan love this book?

Simple drawings, simple text, nails the moral with an absolute gut punch that feels just right. It’s got expert pacing! It’s got animals!

This book has won a million awards for a reason. The plot? Taylor builds a thing with blocks. It gets knocked down. Different animals present different strategies for coping, but ultimately Taylor just needed someone to listen to him. Enter rabbit.

So simple! And sooooo human. AI wishes it could distill an essential human experience like this. But it can’t - yet - I don’t think. So prbtrbrtb.

By Cori Doerrfeld,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Rabbit Listened as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With its spare, poignant text and irresistibly sweet illustrations, The Rabbit Listened is a tender meditation on loss. When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn't know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn't feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that's not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs. Whether…


Book cover of The Heart and the Bottle

Robin Hall Author Of The Littlest Weaver

From my list on picture books for healing from loss.

Who am I?

All my life, books have been a safe space for me to explore emotions, recognize that what I’m experiencing is universal, and see that we can cope with difficult situations. As I pursued my MFA in Writing, I studied and wrote books that address heavy topics in hopeful ways. As Matt de la Pena says, “I can’t think of a safer place to explore complex emotions … than inside the pages of a book.” The picture books I have chosen address the heavy topic of loss in sensitive, hopeful, and empowering ways. I hope these books will touch your life as much as they’ve touched mine.

Robin's book list on picture books for healing from loss

Robin Hall Why did Robin love this book?

Oliver Jeffers is a master storyteller. Like the girl in this story, when I lost my father, I wanted to build walls to protect myself from the pain of grief so my heart could never hurt so much again. It took time to find a way to open my heart again and continue to find wonder.

Reading The Heart and the Bottle felt like reading my own story, like Jeffers understood me. With sparce text and simple, but poignant, illustrations, Jeffers clearly shows the process of healing from loss.

By Oliver Jeffers,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Heart and the Bottle 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?

Award-winning picture book star Oliver Jeffers explores themes of love and loss in this life-affirming and uplifting tale.

Once there was a girl whose life was filled with wonder at the world around her...
Then one day something happened that made the girl take her heart and put it in a safe place. However, after that it seemed that the world was emptier than before. But would she know how to get her heart back?

In this deeply moving story, Oliver Jeffers deals with the weighty themes of love and loss with an extraordinary lightness of touch and shows us,…


Book cover of Two Naomis

Tamara Ellis Smith Author Of Here and There

From my list on helping kids rethink home after divorce.

Who am I?

When my sister got divorced, she and my nephew, Jordy, moved in with our parents. My mother was—and still is—a big music fan, and she decided to play the same music in her house that Jordy’s dad played in his. The music became a bridge; a way for Jordy to feel like he was at home in both places. I loved this and kept it tucked away for years before Here and There came to me. I feel passionate about helping kids find a way to feel safe and comfortable in themselves—no matter where they are or what they’re going through—and all the books on my list do this brilliantly.

Tamara's book list on helping kids rethink home after divorce

Tamara Ellis Smith Why did Tamara love this book?

I’m cheating and throwing in a middle grade novel! It’s that good! This one can be read independently or as a read-aloud. (Side note: I still read every night to my 14- and 10-year-olds and plan to for as long as they’ll let me.) A story about redefining family, Two Naomis explores the growing relationship—first antagonistic and slowly becoming loving—between Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith, whose parents become seriously involved. Hilarious and full of heart, this story is a great contemporary take on divorce and blended families. And Audrey and Olugbemisola are brilliant human beings and make a kick-ass writing team to boot!

By Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Audrey Vernick,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Two Naomis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A realistic contemporary story of two girls whose divorced parents begin to date—perfect for fans of Lisa Graff, Sara Pennypacker, and Rita Williams-Garcia. “A smart, endearing story about two girls who are blending families, growing up, and building a friendship.” (Kirkus starred review)

Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn’t mind keeping it that way.

Naomi Marie starts clubs at the library and adores being a big sister. Naomi Edith loves quiet Saturdays and hanging with her best friend in her backyard. And while Naomi Marie’s father…


Book cover of Cry, Heart, But Never Break

Robin Hall Author Of The Littlest Weaver

From my list on picture books for healing from loss.

Who am I?

All my life, books have been a safe space for me to explore emotions, recognize that what I’m experiencing is universal, and see that we can cope with difficult situations. As I pursued my MFA in Writing, I studied and wrote books that address heavy topics in hopeful ways. As Matt de la Pena says, “I can’t think of a safer place to explore complex emotions … than inside the pages of a book.” The picture books I have chosen address the heavy topic of loss in sensitive, hopeful, and empowering ways. I hope these books will touch your life as much as they’ve touched mine.

Robin's book list on picture books for healing from loss

Robin Hall Why did Robin love this book?

“In the far north, in a small snug house, four children lived with their beloved grandmother,” begins this gentle tale. I’ve never made it through this book without crying. I bet you’ll cry, too.

Translated from Danish, Glenn hits the chord of loss with universal truths shared by a visit from Death himself. He’s a respectful visitor who leaves his scythe outside to not scare the children when he comes for their grandmother.

Death has a “heart as red as a beautiful sunset and beats with the great love of life.” He tells them of opposites, of dark and light, of sorrow and delight, of grief and joy. “What would life be worth if there was no death?” 

By Glenn Ringtved, Charlotte Pardi (illustrator), Robert Moulthrop (translator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cry, Heart, But Never Break as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Aware their grandmother is gravely ill, four siblings make a pact to keep death from taking her away. But Death does arrive all the same, as it must. He comes gently, naturally. And he comes with enough time to share a story with the children that helps them to realize the value of loss to life and the importance of being able to say goodbye. Glenn Ringtved is a best-selling and award-winning Danish children's author, whose books have been widely translated. Charlotte Pardi is a well-beloved Danish illustrator, who has created numerous books since her first picture book in 2000.…


Book cover of The Ring Bearer

Tamara Ellis Smith Author Of Here and There

From my list on helping kids rethink home after divorce.

Who am I?

When my sister got divorced, she and my nephew, Jordy, moved in with our parents. My mother was—and still is—a big music fan, and she decided to play the same music in her house that Jordy’s dad played in his. The music became a bridge; a way for Jordy to feel like he was at home in both places. I loved this and kept it tucked away for years before Here and There came to me. I feel passionate about helping kids find a way to feel safe and comfortable in themselves—no matter where they are or what they’re going through—and all the books on my list do this brilliantly.

Tamara's book list on helping kids rethink home after divorce

Tamara Ellis Smith Why did Tamara love this book?

The Ring Bearer is a celebration of a blended family. Jackson has a big job: he must carry the ring in his mother’s wedding ceremony. He’s nervous. What if he drops it? What if he trips? The simple action of this story is relatable for kids and, even more importantly, they will connect with the deeper fears Jackson faces—big changes, new family dynamics, and sharing love. Also, Floyd Cooper’s illustrations? Stunning.  

By Floyd Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ring Bearer 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?

Jackson's mama's getting married, and Jackson's going to be the ring bearer - but what if he trips? Or walks too slowly? Or drops the rings? And what about his new step-sister, Sophie? She's supposed to be the flower girl, but Jackson's not sure she's taking her job as seriously as she should. In a celebration of blended families, this heartwarming story, stunningly illustrated by the award-winning Floyd Cooper, is a perfect gift for any child who's nervous to walk down the aisle at a wedding.


Book cover of A Kids Book About Divorce

Tamara Ellis Smith Author Of Here and There

From my list on helping kids rethink home after divorce.

Who am I?

When my sister got divorced, she and my nephew, Jordy, moved in with our parents. My mother was—and still is—a big music fan, and she decided to play the same music in her house that Jordy’s dad played in his. The music became a bridge; a way for Jordy to feel like he was at home in both places. I loved this and kept it tucked away for years before Here and There came to me. I feel passionate about helping kids find a way to feel safe and comfortable in themselves—no matter where they are or what they’re going through—and all the books on my list do this brilliantly.

Tamara's book list on helping kids rethink home after divorce

Tamara Ellis Smith Why did Tamara love this book?

A Kids Book About Divorce is a brilliant book for parents and children to read together. It gives voice to questions kids might be scared to ask and illuminates feelings they’ve kept in the dark. Like all of the A Kids Book About books—written and published by the awesome and innovative kids media company, A Kids Company About—this is a great place to initiate an honest discussion about a tough life change. I love how clear it is, in both subject and design. It gets to the heart of divorce.

By Ashley Simpo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Kids Book About Divorce as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Help kids to know what to expect when their parents divorce.

When divorce happens, it happens to everyone in the family and kids are left with a lot of questions. This is a tough conversation to have, and some of the answers can hurt. This book is meant to help start an honest discussion with kids about what to expect when parents go their separate ways - written by a parent who has been there. 

Ashley Simpo is a writer, mother, and wellness advocate, writing about motherhood and civic issues through the lens of race, culture and politics. She lives…


Book cover of Grief Is an Elephant

Dana Wulfekotte Author Of Where Is Poppy?

From my list on picture books about loss when you need a good cry.

Who am I?

I’m a children’s book author-illustrator who loves picture books that can tackle difficult topics in a unique way. Along with Where Is Poppy?, I’ve also illustrated The Remember Balloons, written by Jessie Oliveros, which helps to gently explain Alzheimer’s and memory loss to kids without sugarcoating the realities of the illness. I think books can be a great tool for helping kids understand and process ideas that can be a little heavy or overwhelming, even for adults.

Dana's book list on picture books about loss when you need a good cry

Dana Wulfekotte Why did Dana love this book?

As an illustrator, it's always the artwork of a picture book that first draws me in.

In this book, lots of double-page spreads allow the beautiful, painterly illustrations to shine. But the text is equally moving. I love the way the author uses animal metaphors to describe the different ways grief can take form.

This book feels like a warm, comforting hug.

By Tamara Ellis Smith, Nancy Whitesides (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An imaginative and heartfelt book that reminds us that there is no loss without love. When Grief first arrives, it is like an elephant-so big that there is hardly room for anything else. But over time, Grief can become smaller and smaller-until it is a fox, then a mouse, and finally a flickering firefly in the darkness leading us down a path of loving remembrance. This lyrical work is an empathetic and comforting balm for anyone who is experiencing grief-be it grieving the loss of a loved one or the losses in the world around us.


Book cover of An Ordinary Day

Caroline Kusin Pritchard Author Of Where Is Poppy?

From my list on talking about death and loss with your kids.

Who am I?

I’m a children’s book author who typically centers humor at the heart of my books but who dipped into heartache to tell this specific story. As a former educator with four kiddos of my own, I’ve been able to witness the myriad ways kids cope with grief, everything from hiding out in blanket forts to holding a backyard funeral service for a beloved pet roly-poly. I hope my book, Where is Poppy? offers kids comfort, peace, and preparation for their own unique journeys with loss. I studied creative writing and political science at Stanford University and hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. 

Caroline's book list on talking about death and loss with your kids

Caroline Kusin Pritchard Why did Caroline love this book?

This book isn’t just powerful because of how it allows kids to think (and ask) about death, but because of the staggering beauty in the storytelling itself.

We see two stories play out in neighboring houses—in one, a child is born; in the other, a dog is put to sleep. These parallel scenes help children see the circle of life in a way that is both accessible and, at times, heartbreaking.

I’ve read this story to our kids no less than 20 times, and each time, there’s an unmistakable silence as we witness the first and last breaths take place. It’s an absolute stunner and one that I’ve turned to time and again in my own processing of loss.  

By Elana K. Arnold, Elizabet Vukovic (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked An Ordinary Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An ordinary day in an ordinary neighborhood turns out to be quite extraordinary in this moving story about the circle of life.

It’s an average day in the neighborhood—children play, roses are watered, and a crow watches over it all. But then two visitors arrive at two houses, one to help a family say hello to a new baby and one to help a family say goodbye to a beloved pet. This sensitive picture book takes a gentle look at life, death, the bonds of family, and the extraordinary moments that make ordinary days so special.


Book cover of Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids

Scott Bedford Author Of Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff: Projects You Can Build for (and With) Your Kids!

From my list on getting dads making and creating with their kids.

Who am I?

I am an author, illustrator, and award-winning creative director. I have loved to draw and make things since a young age, mostly wacky contraptions (inspired by my love of the Hanna-Barbera Wacky Races cartoons). I’m particularly passionate about making the process of creating fun, the five books below definitely achieve that, each in its own unique way.

Scott's book list on getting dads making and creating with their kids

Scott Bedford Why did Scott love this book?

Todd Davis, the author of Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads was a competitive snowboarder and a stuntman, and this is reflected in the choice of some of his projects, like the half-pipe, skate longboard, zip line, and climbing wall. Somewhat similar to Mike Adamick's Dad's Book of Awesome Projects, this book has a much more adventurous feel. I know my boys would have loved the bike jump and who wouldn't love a Jumanji-style rope bridge. The cover doesn't quite do justice to what's inside, which includes plenty of colour photography and nice design touches.

By Todd Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Handy Dad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Skate ramps, zip lines, go-carts, and more! In this super-fun book, Todd Davisextreme sports athlete and host of HGTV's Over Your Head presents 25 awesome projects for dads to build with their kids. Busy dads can choose projects that range from simple to challenging and take anywhere from five minutes to a full weekend. Readers are given all the directions they need to grab materials that can be found around the house or at the local hardware store and get to work banging up a sweet BMX ramp or half-pipe, building a tree house or tire swing, or throwing together…


Book cover of Dad's Book of Awesome Projects

Scott Bedford Author Of Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff: Projects You Can Build for (and With) Your Kids!

From my list on getting dads making and creating with their kids.

Who am I?

I am an author, illustrator, and award-winning creative director. I have loved to draw and make things since a young age, mostly wacky contraptions (inspired by my love of the Hanna-Barbera Wacky Races cartoons). I’m particularly passionate about making the process of creating fun, the five books below definitely achieve that, each in its own unique way.

Scott's book list on getting dads making and creating with their kids

Scott Bedford Why did Scott love this book?

Mike Adamick's book zeroes in on make-ability, projects that kids can actually make with their Dads. To this end, no project is overly ambitious, also, and this is something I like a lot, each project is photographed and presented as it would look if you were to tackle the project for real with your kids. There's a certain nostalgic charm to many of the projects, which include, rope swings, circus stilts, balance boards, and an ol'-fashioned fruit crate scooter, and while some of the more eye-catching projects involve working with wood, the designs are kept simple, favouring ease of construction over fancy design flourishes. 

By Mike Adamick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dad's Book of Awesome Projects as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's time for serious family fun!

Get ready to take playtime to the next level with Dad's Book of Awesome Projects! Inside, you;ll find step-by-step instructions and photographs detailing projects so imaginative and fun, no one will complain about turning off the TV. From wooden "swords" to slay the most vicious of dragons to circus stilts that will send you soaring to new heights, these projects are sure to spark everyone's creative spirit. And the fun doesn't stop there! This book shows you and your kids how to build:
Comic book shoes Rope swings Homemade goo slime Eggshell cupcakes Ol'-fashioned…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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