100 books like Lena's Shoes Are Nervous

By Keith Calabrese, Juana Medina (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Lena's Shoes Are Nervous fans have personally recommended if you like Lena's Shoes Are Nervous. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ 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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Coming on Home Soon

Laura Renauld Author Of Fred's Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers

From my list on emotions from a child’s perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was one of Mister Rogers’ television neighbors. During Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he empowered children to name their feelings and act on them appropriately. Every show ended with his signature affirmation that each viewer was special. As an elementary teacher, I learned about “emotional intelligence” and “social and emotional learning”, terms that emerged in the fields of psychology and education in the 1990s. Fred Rogers was ahead of his time. I hope my stories follow Mister Rogers’ example: affirming big feelings, building self-esteem, and emphasizing positive relationships.

Laura's book list on emotions from a child’s perspective

Laura Renauld Why did Laura love this book?

Woodson and Lewis weave a rich tapestry of lyrical text and lush watercolors to give readers a glimpse into the life of Ada Ruth, a girl growing up in the Midwest during World War II. Her mama has to leave home to find work. Ada Ruth and Grandma wait for word while caring for a stray kitten. This story overflows with longing, loneliness, empathy, worry, and, above all, love.

By Jacqueline Woodson, E.B. Lewis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coming on Home Soon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Ada Ruth's mama must go away to Chicago to work, leaving Ada Ruth and Grandma behind. It's war time, and women are needed to fill the men's jobs. As winter sets in, Ada Ruth and her grandma keep up their daily routine, missing Mama all the time. They find strength in each other, and a stray kitten even arrives one day to keep them company, but nothing can fill the hole Mama left. Every day they wait, watching for the letter that says Mama will be coming on home soon. Set during World War II, Coming On Home Soon has…


Book cover of Sometimes I'm Bombaloo

Laura Renauld Author Of Fred's Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers

From my list on emotions from a child’s perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was one of Mister Rogers’ television neighbors. During Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he empowered children to name their feelings and act on them appropriately. Every show ended with his signature affirmation that each viewer was special. As an elementary teacher, I learned about “emotional intelligence” and “social and emotional learning”, terms that emerged in the fields of psychology and education in the 1990s. Fred Rogers was ahead of his time. I hope my stories follow Mister Rogers’ example: affirming big feelings, building self-esteem, and emphasizing positive relationships.

Laura's book list on emotions from a child’s perspective

Laura Renauld Why did Laura love this book?

Katie Honors is a happy preschooler, most of the time. She’s proud of all the things she can do independently, like picking up her toys and brushing her teeth. But sometimes, like when her baby brother knocks over her block castle, Katie’s happy self vanishes and she becomes Bombaloo. Vail’s description of a tantrum is spot on and reflects both the strong feelings of the moment and the frightening feelings in its wake. As Katie says, “It’s scary, being Bombaloo.”

By Rachel Vail, Yumi Heo (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sometimes I'm Bombaloo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A delightful tale of learning how to deal with anger follows Katie, who occasionally loses her temper and becomes Bombaloo, as she learns that a little time-out and a whole lot of love can pacify Bombaloo and make her feel like herself once again.


Book cover of Jabari Jumps

Jeff Mack Author Of Scaredy Cats

From my list on children’s picture books about facing your fears.

Why am I passionate about this?

If you want to live your best life, you’ll need to face some fears. I’ve faced a lot of my fears: great white sharks, sky-diving, caves, spiders, meat sauces. I’m still scared, but what else can I do? Stay in bed my whole life? I love writing and illustrating for kids. It’s how I’ve spent the last twenty years. I’ve written and/or illustrated almost fifty books. The scariest part is figuring out how to start. Thinking of an ending is scary too. Then there’s all that stuff in the middle. Ugh! My first books about facing fears were Hippo and Rabbit. Now, Scaredy Cats. Fear gives me ideas!

Jeff's book list on children’s picture books about facing your fears

Jeff Mack Why did Jeff love this book?

I feel like I lived this story as a kid. I’ll bet a lot of kids do. A young boy overcomes his fear of the high dive. 

Step by step, Gaia Cornwall takes us through Jabari’s jump. Jabari starts by telling his dad he’s not scared at all. He clearly is. He delays, makes excuses. Dad never pushes. He wants this to be Jabari’s decision, Jabari’s victory. It’s so relatable, the perspective even changes to first person once Jabari is high above the pool. 

Everything rings true. It’s exactly what a scared kid would say and do. It’s exactly what I said and did when I was Jabari’s age trying to summon my own courage on the high dive. Except when I hit the water, my swim trunks fell off.

By Gaia Cornwall,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Jabari Jumps 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?

Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.

In a sweet tale of overcoming your fears, debut author-illustrator Gaia Cornwall captures a moment at the swimming pool between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can't help but root for. Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He's finished his swimming lessons and passed his swimming test, and he's a great jumper, so he's not scared at all. "Looks easy," says Jabari, watching the other kids take their…


Book cover of Breathe Like a Bear

Mary Angus Author Of Max's Fuzzy Feelers

From my list on illustrations for your highly sensitive little one.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an illustrator who has been captivated by the whimsy of children’s books since I was a child myself. The wonder and enchantment with the world of narrative illustrative has never worn off and I still love getting lost in a beautiful picture book. I hope my illustrations are able to inspire others the way they have inspired me. 

Mary's book list on illustrations for your highly sensitive little one

Mary Angus Why did Mary love this book?

Breathe Like a Bear is part of a series of seven books called Mindfulness Moments for Kids. I absolutely love this book as a way to immediately have real and effective tools to calm your toddler. The exercises in this book are simple, quick, and effective. Breathe Like a Bear is also illustrated so beautifully with vibrant colors to really keep young kids really engaged in the process. If you are looking to go further than identifying feelings and want to move into practices and tools to help regulate your child’s emotions, this is an excellent option. 

By Kira Willey, Anni Betts (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Breathe Like a Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Breathe Like a Bear is a beautifully illustrated collection of movements and breathing exercises designed to teach kids techniques for managing their bodies, breath, and emotions. Best of all, they can be performed anywhere: in the backseat of a car, at home, or even at a child's deskat school. Based on Kira Willey's Parents'Choice GOLD Award-winning CD, Mindful Moments for Kids, this is the first book of its kind and is the perfect tool to help children and parents develop a fun and consistent mindfulness practice.


Book cover of Ruby Finds a Worry

Lisa Katzenberger Author Of It Will Be OK: A Story of Empathy, Kindness, and Friendship

From my list on facing your fears.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a picture book writer who struggles with anxiety. Some things that seem like no big deal to most people can become a very big worry for me (like Giraffe worries about Spider in It Will Be OK). I found that identifying and naming our emotions—in this case fear—makes it easier to address our feelings and work through them. I want to share my experience of being fearful of things, both big and small, with children to let them know they are not alone and they can have power over scary emotions.

Lisa's book list on facing your fears

Lisa Katzenberger Why did Lisa love this book?

As an expert worrier, I really related to this book about a spunky girl named Ruby who one day discovers a worry. What I love about this book is that the worry is illustrated, so we can see its intimidating facial expression and watch it grow in size. The worry follows Ruby to all her favorite places—the school bus, the swing set, the movies—and it prevents her from doing what she loves. But it’s not until she spots another worry sitting with a boy that she is able to face her fear about the worry and do the best thing ever – talk about it. I love how this story shows children that talking about our feelings gives us power and strength to work through them.

By Tom Percival,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ruby Finds a Worry 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?

The beloved picture book about what to do when a worry won't leave you at alone -- perfect for reassuring young readers in times of stress.

Meet Ruby -- a happy, curious, imaginative young girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a Worry. It's not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger . . . and a little bigger . . . . Until eventually, the Worry is ENORMOUS and is all she can think about.

But when Ruby befriends a young boy, she discovers that everyone has worries, and not only…


Book cover of The Whatifs

Jennifer E. Morris Author Of Much Too Much Birthday (Maud the Koala)

From my list on worried or anxious children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a children’s book creator and a parent. Raising an anxious child can be challenging. Events that many children find fun and exciting can be overwhelming and scary for your child. Seemingly small changes in their daily routine can throw some youngsters into a swirl of emotions that is upsetting to them and to those who love them. When I was searching for picture books to help the young worrier in my life, I looked for books that acknowledged their distressing feelings while giving them some strategies with which to cope with their overwhelming emotions. That premise became the theme of my Maud the Koala book series. 

Jennifer's book list on worried or anxious children

Jennifer E. Morris Why did Jennifer love this book?

Cora has a bad case of the whatifs, whimiscal bug-like creatures that follow her everywhere. They fill her head with worries like “what if the dog runs away?” or “what if I forget my homework?” The whatifs become almost unbearable as Cora prepares for her big piano recital. What if no one comes? What if she makes a mistake? But through the help of her friend, Cora learns there are also happy whatifs. A good introduction to replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. 

By Emily Kilgore, Zoe Persico (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Whatifs 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?

"Persico's atmospheric illustrations aptly reflect Cora's shifting emotions, and Kilgore successfully balances the whimsical with a tale grounded in reality." -Publishers Weekly

"Cora and her Whatifs have a charming appeal beyond their focus on tackling anxious thoughts, making an enjoyable read-aloud for wide audiences. . . . A thoroughly welcome addition to growing collections of socio-emotional development materials." -Kirkus Reviews

Cora is struggling with her Whatif questions ahead of a big piano recital in this timely picture book about overcoming anxiety.

What if my dog runs away?
What if I forget my homework?
What if the sun stops shining?
What…


Book cover of Suki's Kimono

Janelle Diller Author Of Mystery of the Thief in the Night: Mexico 1

From my list on with diverse and spunky characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

My dad was an adventure traveler, so I floated down the Amazon, rode chicken busses in rural Guatemala, and stepped on the Russian Steppes before I ever saw Big Ben. All that adventure as a kid engendered an insatiable curiosity about the amazing diversity of people and cultures in this world. Sadly, when I was growing up, most children’s books didn’t reflect this diversity. Not only should all children be able to see themselves on the pages of the books they read, it’s equally important that kids see children who aren’t just like they are. Consequently, adding cultural and ethnic diversity into kids' lit has become a passion for me. 

Janelle's book list on with diverse and spunky characters

Janelle Diller Why did Janelle love this book?

Suki is a treasure. She’s courageous and irrepressible and a perfect role model for every young girl of any nationality. Suki decides to wear a kimono to school on her first day of first grade. The kimono, a gift from her grandmother, is full of warm memories. As you can imagine, some of the other kids initially laugh at her—including her own sisters. But in the end, she wins her classmates over with an impromptu dance that captures the joy of a summer festival with her grandmother. I love how this spirited story teaches kids of any culture to embrace who they are. Stephane Jorisch’s playful watercolor and ink illustrations capture the spirit of the book perfectly.

By Chieri Uegaki, Stéphane Jorisch (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Suki's Kimono as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Suki's favorite possession is her blue cotton kimono. A gift from her obachan, it holds special memories of her grandmother's visit last summer. And Suki is going to wear it on her first day back to school --- no matter what anyone says.When it's Suki's turn to share with her classmates what she did during the summer, she tells them about the street festival she attended with her obachan and the circle dance that they took part in. In fact, she gets so carried away reminiscing that she's soon humming the music and dancing away, much to the delight of…


Book cover of Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress

Richard Thompson Ford Author Of Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History

From my list on how fashion shaped our history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a law professor and the son of a very well-dressed man. My father was a university Dean, a community organizer, a Presbyterian minister, and a social worker. But he also trained as a tailor and knew clothing—both how it is (or should be) constructed and also how it communicates. I became interested in the importance of clothing because of his influence. Then, in law, I noticed a lot of disputes that involved clothing: high school dress codes, workplace dress codes, dress codes used on public transportation. I wanted bring these two together to give a better idea of why we still fight and struggle over clothing.

Richard's book list on how fashion shaped our history

Richard Thompson Ford Why did Richard love this book?

I’ve long felt more powerful, confident, and chic wearing a well-cut suit. But why? Sex and Suits expressed and explained my own vague intuitions about the power of significance of clothing. Hollander explains that the suit is perhaps the most ubiquitous symbol of modernity. Discussing the evolution of fashion—particularly men’s fashion—she shows how the suit is both a practical, streamlined, and unassuming garment and the ultimate status symbol.

By Anne Hollander,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since the dawn of western fashion in the Middle Ages, women's dress has never stopped evolving, yet menswear has seen far fewer style revolutions. At the centre of the male wardrobe is the suit: relatively unchanged since the 17th century, its cut and cloth suggest athleticism, seriousness, sexuality and strength - qualities which contrasted with the perceived superficiality and frivolity of female dress, and eventually led to the adoption of the suit into the female wardrobe where it remains to this day.

In Sex and Suits brilliant essayist and art critic Anne Hollander charts the development of men's and women's…


Book cover of Exquisite Slaves: Race, Clothing, and Status in Colonial Lima

Robert S. DuPlessis Author Of The Material Atlantic: Clothing, Commerce, and Colonization in the Atlantic World, 1650-1800

From my list on innovations in the first consumer revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always wanted to know why people acquire the things they choose, how they get them, and what they do with them. For years, too, I’ve been fascinated by the period when modernity was being born, a time full of worldwide exploration, the founding of new nations and societies, and the invention of new ways of making, transporting, and distributing all sorts of goods and services. I discovered that studying consumers, consumer goods, and trade from the mid-seventeenth to the late eighteenth century was the perfect way to satisfy my curiosity. The Material Atlantic is my report about what I’ve learned.

Robert's book list on innovations in the first consumer revolution

Robert S. DuPlessis Why did Robert love this book?

Luxury is not usually associated with slavery. But in the colonial Americas, it could be. Sometimes, because some enslaved men and women were tailors and seamstresses, and some of the clothing they created was costly. More often, however, because some enslaved people got their hands on expensive, fashionable clothing.

Historians have begun to tell this story, and few do it better than the young scholar Tamara Walker. In this superb study, Walker tracks down all sorts of sources, written and pictorial, to describe the many ways that enslaved individuals acquired fine clothing in Lima, Peru, a Spanish-American colonial capital renowned for its residents’ opulent apparel.

Exquisite Slaves adds a fresh dimension to the exciting scholarship that is revealing how marginalized groups have obtained goods usually forbidden to them.

By Tamara J. Walker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Exquisite Slaves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Exquisite Slaves, Tamara J. Walker examines how slaves used elegant clothing as a language for expressing attitudes about gender and status in the wealthy urban center of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Lima, Peru. Drawing on traditional historical research methods, visual studies, feminist theory, and material culture scholarship, Walker argues that clothing was an emblem of not only the reach but also the limits of slaveholders' power and racial domination. Even as it acknowledges the significant limits imposed on slaves' access to elegant clothing, Exquisite Slaves also showcases the insistence and ingenuity with which slaves dressed to convey their own sense…


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Interested in clothing, anxiety, and first day of school?

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