100 books like On a Magical Do-Nothing Day

By Beatrice Alemagna,

Here are 100 books that On a Magical Do-Nothing Day fans have personally recommended if you like On a Magical Do-Nothing Day. 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 This Is Sadie

Talitha Shipman Author Of Finding Beauty

From my list on inspiring childlike wonder for all ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning children's book author-illustrator. I’ve spent the last fifteen years dreaming up stories that I hope will inspire curiosity and wonder in kids of all ages. I’m also a life-long learner! I can’t get enough info about this amazing world we live in. The more I learn, the more I realize that being a noticer, someone who slows down to observe the tiny details around them, will inspire questions and the need to find some surprising and fascinating answers. When my daughter asks a question (and there are many), my mantra has become, “I don’t know, let’s find out!” I hope this list inspires your own adventurous inquiries.

Talitha's book list on inspiring childlike wonder for all ages

Talitha Shipman Why did Talitha love this book?

Of course, I’m going to have some picture books on this list, and This is Sadie is one of my all-time favorite books. It makes me feel like a kid again.

With spare yet thoughtful words from O’Leary and whimsical illustrations by Morstad, you are transported to a time and place where adult worries and preoccupations don’t exist. Sadie is a hero, a mermaid, an archer in a fairy tale, and was also raised by wolves.

Oh, and she has wings! It’s a magical and powerful portrayal of childhood imagination.

By Sara O’Leary, Julie Morstad (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked This Is Sadie 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?

Now in board book, the beloved story about a little girl with a big imagination from the award-winning team of Sara O'Leary and Julie Morstad.

Sadie is a little girl with a big imagination. She has been a girl who lived under
the sea and a boy raised by wolves. She has had adventures in wonderland and
visited the world of fairytales. She whispers to the dresses in her closet and talks
to birds in the treetops. She has wings that take her anywhere she wants to go, but
that always bring her home again. She likes to make things…


Book cover of Frederick

Bethanie Deeney Murguia Author Of Do You Believe in Unicorns?

From my list on seeing magic in the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and illustrator of picture books who is always seeking magic in the world around me. I love to daydream, wander, wonder, and get lost in nature as much as possible. I’m also an avid reader of books that celebrate the natural world, animals, and imagination. Happy reading!

Bethanie's book list on seeing magic in the world

Bethanie Deeney Murguia Why did Bethanie love this book?

Frederick is a classic that continues to speak to me. Frederick is a creative mouse who gathers beauty from the world—he’s a daydreamer and a poet. His talents aren’t appreciated by the other mice at first. By the end of the story, though, they realize that his talents are essential to their survival. I love how this book celebrates creativity and difference.

By Leo Lionni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Frederick 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?

Leo Lionni’s Caldecott Honor–winning story about a little mouse who gathers something unusual for the long winter is turning fifty! Celebrate this beloved favorite, which now includes a special introduction from noted children’s book historian Leonard Marcus.
 
Winter is coming, and all the mice are gathering food . . . except for Frederick. But when the days grow short and the snow begins to fall, it’s Frederick’s stories that warm the hearts and spirits of his fellow field mice. Winner of a 1967 Caldecott Honor, Frederick has been cherished by generations of readers.
 
“A splendid achievement.” —School Library Journal, starred…


Book cover of If You Want to See a Whale

Bethanie Deeney Murguia Author Of Do You Believe in Unicorns?

From my list on seeing magic in the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and illustrator of picture books who is always seeking magic in the world around me. I love to daydream, wander, wonder, and get lost in nature as much as possible. I’m also an avid reader of books that celebrate the natural world, animals, and imagination. Happy reading!

Bethanie's book list on seeing magic in the world

Bethanie Deeney Murguia Why did Bethanie love this book?

This is a book about the importance of looking and wondering. It speaks to patience while seeking magic—in this case, a whale. It’s beautifully illustrated in wood block carvings that echo the quiet, meditative quality of the text. It perfectly captures the simple pleasures of looking and the sublime joy of discovery.

By Julie Fogliano, Erin E. Stead (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If You Want to See a Whale 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?

If you want to see a whale, you will need to know what not to look at.
Pink roses, pelicans, possible pirates...
If you want to see a whale, you have to keep your eyes on the sea, and wait... and wait... and wait...

In this quiet and beautiful picture book by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead, the team that created the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor book And Then It's Spring, a boy learns exactly what it takes to catch a glimpse of an elusive whale.


Book cover of They All Saw a Cat

Isabella Kung Author Of No Fuzzball!

From my list on children's stories with extraordinary animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I am a self-acclaimed cat expert, I have been an animal lover since I could remember. In fact, my favorite childhood memories are of me running barefooted through grass, catching bugs, and chasing birds. I wasn't allowed big pets growing up, but I'm pleased to say I now have two furbabies that fill my heart with love and inspiration! I am still fascinated by nature and the animal kingdom, often indulging in books, podcasts, and especially David Attenborough’s natural documentaries. I think they are all extraordinary and this passion influences my work too, as evident in my body of work. I really enjoy observing and painting animals, as well as illustrating animal characters.

Isabella's book list on children's stories with extraordinary animals

Isabella Kung Why did Isabella love this book?

This book is brilliantly and creatively illustrated, featuring a black cat (which I have a soft spot for) from the point of view of a boy, a dog, a mouse, a bee, a bird, a snake, and more! This seemly simple concept not only scientifically showcases the difference in each animal's capabilities of vision and sense perception, but it also demonstrates that things can be perceived very differently depending on the perspective of the viewer. It’s has a really lovely and subtle message for young children while introducing them to the extraordinary word of zoology in a fun and creative way. A great book for children and adults alike.

By Brendan Wenzel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked They All Saw a Cat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel - New York Times bestseller and 2017 Caldecott Medal and Honor Book

"An ingenious idea, gorgeously realized." -Shelf Awareness, starred review
"Both simple and ingenious in concept, Wenzel's book feels like a game changer." -The Huffington Post

The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws . . . In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?

If you and your child…


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 We All Play

Danica Novgorodoff Author Of Alexander von Humboldt: Explorer, Naturalist & Environmental Pioneer

From my list on playing in nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was growing up, my favorite books were about kids getting lost in the wilderness. Now, as an artist and writer, I love to create stories about people’s connection to land and the plants and animals that inhabit natural spaces. The inspiration for my picture book biography, Alexander von Humboldt: Explorer, Naturalist & Environmental Pioneer, came after hiking many of the volcanoes that Humboldt had climbed some 200 years earlier in South America. Besides hiking, I occupy myself with drawing and watercolor painting, climate activism, and looking at bugs and rocks with my daughters. I’ve published four graphic novels, two picture books, and a cookbook about rice.

Danica's book list on playing in nature

Danica Novgorodoff Why did Danica love this book?

So simple and yet so poetic (both visually and lyrically), We All Play is a catalog of human and more-than-human animals delighting in movement and sound in the outdoors.

This book is great for a younger (baby and toddler) readership, and highlights our connection with all living beings. It also peppers in some Cree language words, which are fun to explore. I love the adorable drawings of animals and children that Flett created with the ochres and umbers of her earthy palette. 

By Julie Flett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We All Play as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A BEST CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR: New York Times, Washington Post, New York Public Library, Kirkus Reviews, Globe and Mail, Horn Book, and Boston Globe

STARRED Reviews in Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, The Horn Book, School Library Journal

From Julie Flett, the beloved author and illustrator of Birdsong, comes a joyous new book about playtime for babies, toddlers, and kids up to age 7.

Animals and kids love to play! This wonderful book celebrates playtime and the connection between children and the natural world. Beautiful illustrations show:

birds who chase and chirp!
bears who wiggle and wobble!
whales who swim…


Book cover of Scaredy Squirrel

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’m a creature of habit. So is Scaredy Squirrel. We both know the comforts of feeling safe in perfect routines where nothing is left to chance, where nothing can go wrong…right?  

Scaredy writes lists of his emergency procedures, draws grids of his safety equipment, diagrams his secret exit strategies. I feel this poor squirrel’s pain. How many nights have I lain awake before a school visit mulling over my presentations? No plan is fool proof. So when Scaredy accidentally falls from his tree, he does what he must: thinks quickly and improvises. And discovers a secret ability he never knew he had. 

In the end, Melanie Watt gives Scaredy most of his old routine back, but now it’s balanced with a healthy dose of adventure. Perfectly balanced, I’d say.

By Mélanie Watt,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Scaredy Squirrel 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?

The first book in the Scaredy Squirrel series is a comical story of an endearing squirrel who learns what can happen when he’s brave enough to take a risk.


Book cover of Sidewalk Flowers

Lauren Stringer Author Of Yellow Time

From my list on the magic of being outside in the natural world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began as a picture book illustrator and gradually started writing my own stories, but I still love illustrating other people’s stories. From their manuscripts, I learn to look at the world in new and unexpected ways. As a visual artist, I learned from a young age to pay attention and really look at the world around me. When I have days full of errands and chores and forget to look and be present, the day becomes gray and boring. All of these books in words and pictures offer nature and the act of paying attention and celebrating as transformation and connection.

Lauren's book list on the magic of being outside in the natural world

Lauren Stringer Why did Lauren love this book?

This picture book with no words and minimal color follows the path of a distracted father and attentive child through a city. Every time I open this book I am reminded to keep my eyes open and pay attention; gather beauty where you find it and share it with others. The illustrator is a master of stories within stories and by the end, I promise, you will want to step outside and pick flowers, even from cracks in the sidewalk.

By Jonarno Lawson, Sydney Smith (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sidewalk Flowers 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?

Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustrated Book

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year

In this wordless picture book, a little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays her little attention. Each flower becomes a gift, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter.

“Written” by award-winning poet JonArno Lawson and brought to life by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an ode to the importance of small things, small people and small gestures.


Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in…


Book cover of Over and Under the Snow

Lynn Brunelle Author Of Life After Whale: The Amazing Ecosystem of a Whale Fall

From my list on awaken curiosity in nature for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Lynn Brunelle, and for as long as I can remember, I have been at least two things—a bookhound and an outdoorsy girl. Ever since I was little, I have explored trees, insects, tadpoles, snowflakes, tidepools—whatever I discovered in my home in the woods by the beach. I had so many questions, which led to books. So it seems only natural that I LOVE books—lots of different genres of books, but mostly books for kids and mostly books that make me wonder about science and nature. Bringing this curiosity to others and making the amazing things in nature accessible to kids is what I do. 

Lynn's book list on awaken curiosity in nature for kids

Lynn Brunelle Why did Lynn love this book?

Great books reveal new worlds. I am crazy about books that wake up curiosity. These books are fabulous. They make exploration and observation accessible to anyone.

I love the illustrations and the information that introduces readers to the notion that a lot is going on beneath the surface in nature. There always is! It may be hushed and white up top, but beneath is a secret world where animals have different strategies to survive the cold, dark winter. It makes me wonder about all the other things that are happening that we don’t always see.

By Kate Messner, Christopher Silas Neal (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Over and Under the Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the snow, the world is hushed and white. But under the snow lies a secret world of squirrels and snow hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals making their winter home under the snow. This beloved nonfiction picture book exploring the subnivean zone reveals the tunnels and caves formed beneath the snow but over the ground, where many kinds of animals live through the winter, safe and warm, awake and busy, but hidden beneath the snow.


Book cover of When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

Matt Forrest Esenwine Author Of Flashlight Night

From my list on children’s poetry collections about nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my parents gave me a copy of Dorothy Aldis’ The Secret Place and Other Poems, I have enjoyed a lifelong love of poetry. Now, as a traditionally-published children’s author, I have had numerous books and poems published over the years, including books that began as poems, like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) and Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021). My poems can be found in various anthologies including The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children's Books, 2015).

Matt's book list on children’s poetry collections about nature

Matt Forrest Esenwine Why did Matt love this book?

This is a very unique and beautiful book, all the way through. The poems are uniquely written. They present a unique perspective on their subjects. And the entire book is structured to read almost as diary entries – quite unique! Julie’s concept and execution are brilliant, with unusual wordplay and imagery (in springtime, “rushing daffodils / wished they had waited” and birds poke “a tiny hole / through the edge of winter”) and the varying tone of her poems – from joyful to contemplative to eager – keeps the collection fresh and keeps the pages turning. 

By Julie Fogliano, Julie Morstad (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked When Green Becomes Tomatoes 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?

december 29
and i woke to a morning
that was quiet and white
the first snow
(just like magic) came on tip toes
overnight

Flowers blooming in sheets of snow make way for happy frogs dancing in the rain. Summer swims move over for autumn sweaters until the snow comes back again. In Julie Fogliano's skilled hand and illustrated by Julie Morstad's charming pictures, the seasons come to life in this gorgeous and comprehensive book of poetry.


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