The best monkey books

4 authors have picked their favorite books about monkey and why they recommend each book.

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Little Monkey

By Marta Altes,

Book cover of Little Monkey

If you're small you have to prove yourself even more. I am 1.94m tall. My wife is 1.5. So I have first-hand experience. But like in real life, you don't need to prove anything. Being small or the smallest doesn't matter to the people who love you.

Who am I?

I'm a Belgian illustrator and author of children's books. My mother works in a library so I was constantly in contact with books, especially children's books. Stories with beautiful pictures were always a big fascination of mine. Drawing keeps me looking for stories and stories keep me drawing. Everything is an inspiration: a funny moment, a good conversation, or just life. In my university, I renewed my passion for children's books thanks to my teacher Kris, also a children's book illustrator. In my final school years I got the chance to work with one of the best publishers in Belgium: De Eenhoorn (the unicorn) they gave me the chance to grow and...tell stories. 


I wrote...

Crocodile's Crossing: A Search for Home

By Yoeri Slegers,

Book cover of Crocodile's Crossing: A Search for Home

What is my book about?

Crocodile is tired, scared, and hopeful as he searches for his new home. Everything will be better where I’m going! he thinks. But where is that?

Crocodile’s Crossing: A Search for Home introduces children to the complex topic of immigration. Featuring bright artwork packed with playful details, this thoughtful tale sensitively portrays the challenges faced by refugees and other newcomers.

Curious George at the Parade

By H.A. Rey,

Book cover of Curious George at the Parade

Curious George seems to find trouble wherever he goes, and a parade is a prime place to find trouble. There are plenty of laughs to be had as George wanders away from the Man in the Yellow Hat and gets carried away with curiosity.

Who am I?

Parades are a truly happy place for people of all ages. The inspiration for Everyone Loves a Parade!* came from the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles Superbowl Championship Parade - a spectacle the entire city enjoyed, drawing people with Philadelphia roots from all over. The communal nature of putting together a parade that carries on traditions and gives people a reason to share a celebration drove my interest in writing this book. The beautiful illustrations by Guilherme Franco bring the pages to life and allow readers to enjoy the wonder of parades from their living room couch - (where it’s much less messy).


I wrote...

Everyone Loves a Parade!*

By Andrea Denish, Guilherme Franco (illustrator),

Book cover of Everyone Loves a Parade!*

What is my book about?

Music, costumes, food, and fun. The sights and sounds of a parade are exciting! From Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year to St. Patrick's Day and LGBTQ+Pride, each celebration is a joy for kids, and most adults. With rhyming text and bold illustrations, children will love this festive and humorous look at some of the country's most well-known parades.

Fourteen Monkeys

By Melissa Stewart, Steve Jenkins (illustrator),

Book cover of Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme

I love how master children’s nonfiction author Melissa Stewart instantly engages readers with two rhyming lines introducing each of fourteen rain forest monkeys. Each spread, beautifully illustrated by Steve Jenkins, includes additional facts and a clever rain forest silhouette keyed to show where each species dwells (there’s room for all!). Well-organized, kid-friendly back matter offers many more facts and resources about pygmy marmosets, capuchins, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, and more from Peru’s Manú National Park. They are all different, but all can live together — a great lesson from the rainforest!


Who am I?

I am an award-winning children’s author who has always been fascinated by the natural world. My many published children’s books include ones about animals and ocean life. Scholastic Book Clubs and the Children’s Book of the Month Club have featured my work, and translations of my fiction and nonfiction titles can be found in several languages, including Spanish, Japanese, and Hebrew. My National Geographic title Ocean Counting was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers Association and Walrus Song has been named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.


I wrote...

Walrus Song

By Janet Lawler, Timothy Basil Ering (illustrator),

Book cover of Walrus Song

What is my book about?

Walrus Song is a lyrical nonfiction picture book about a unique arctic mammal. Dive right in with noisy Walrus as he plays with puffins, lounges on ice, devours clams, and makes lots of noise! Honk, honkkkk! HOOO, HOOOOT! Squee! Squee, SQWEEE! Toot, TOOT! 

Did you know that a walrus can eat more than four thousand clams in a feeding frenzy? That some walruses weigh more than a car? That walrus tusks sometimes grow more than 3 feet long? Timothy Basil Ering’s stunning art takes you right into Walrus’s arctic world to learn more in Walrus Song.

Caps for Sale

By Esphyr Slobodkina,

Book cover of Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business

This book has my favorite mischief-makers: monkeys! But what I love about these little imps is that, like all great antagonists, their actions are not out of malice; they are just being themselves. This book is also a great lesson to humans, teaching us that, in times of great frustration, sometimes to overcome our obstacles, we just need to take a different approach. It’s no wonder Ms. Slobodkina’s book has been a classic for over 80 years.


Who am I?

As the father of a (currently) 11-year-old boy, and having been a boy once myself, I understand that mischief-makers can be a pain in the neck and drive adults crazy. But today’s little mischief-makers are tomorrow’s independent thinkers. And we cannot expect children to channel their rambunctious energies into positive outcomes without first giving them the tools to do so. That’s why I wrote Stop and Smell the Cookies, so that readers can actually take control before their emotions get the better of them. It’s also why I compiled this list. Perhaps, if the main characters in these stories had stopped and smelled the cookies, some of them might have avoided their literary fates. Enjoy!

I wrote...

Stop and Smell the Cookies

By Gibson Frazier, Micah Player (illustrator),

Book cover of Stop and Smell the Cookies

What is my book about?

A picture book about a rambunctious boy who learns to manage his big feelings.

Sometimes Dash gets so excited that his chest feels warm and fuzzy, his toes dance, and his fingertips tickle the air. When that starts, he can’t seem to control what he does next, and often, trouble follows. Luckily, with a little help, Dash finds a way to slow himself down when big feelings threaten to take over. This joyous book engages the imagination and relaxes the mind, perfect for those who are impulsive like Dash, those who hold in their feelings, and everyone in between.

The Monkey's Paw

By W.W. Jacobs,

Book cover of The Monkey's Paw

The Monkeys Paw is one of those short stories we either read or heard someone tell us about it. And so it goes overlooked. If you havent read it, do yourself a favor and read it. If you have read it, do yourself a favor and revisit it. Its short, its available, its a horror classic, and its very likely what Stephen King had in mind when he wrote Pet Sematary


Who am I?

I grew up reading dark fiction, and the only two books I kept from that period were The Wicked Heart and Whisper of Death, both by Christopher Pike. Though both were categorized as horror, the first is a crime mystery that partly follows the murderer, while the latter feels like an episode out of The Twilight Zone. I never cared for pure horror, and a book doesn’t have to scare me for me to find them enjoyable. What I often wanted was a tangible sense of dread paired with insight into the human psyche, which I believe makes for a more potent reading experience. 


I wrote...

Lesath

By A.M. Kherbash,

Book cover of Lesath

What is my book about?

Amateur journalist Greg travels to a remote mountain area to investigate rumors of a sinister building only to find himself imprisoned there. As he tries to escape, he evinces symptoms of a strange affliction and struggles to remain conscious while maintaining an uncertain hold on reality.

Grumpy Monkey

By Suzanne Lang, Max Lang (illustrator),

Book cover of Grumpy Monkey

One wonderful day, Jim Panzee wakes up grumpy. Although he denies it, and despite the other animals’ attempts to cheer him up, Jim remains grumpy until the end. This book is a rollicking reminder that we all have emotions, and that’s okay. It affirms that we, as humans, (or monkeys, as it were,) are entitled to our own feelings. The book ends with a hopeful blossoming of a new friendship. Children will love the lively illustrations. It’s a fun read that sends an important message with a dash of subtlety and big helping of humor.


Who am I?

I have always been an artist and avid reader, but my passion for picture books began while reading them with my children. That passion grew into a career as an author/illustrator. For me, the best picture books speak honestly and with integrity. They affirm children’s feelings and help them deal with those feelings. Children are incredibly perceptive and unflinchingly honest. All of my picture books are different, but honest emotions are at their core. After I lost my husband—and my children lost their father—I experienced firsthand how strong and emotionally complex children are. I believe the books on my list effectively and honestly address children’s feelings, and are wonderful resources for caregivers.


I wrote...

Little Grump Truck

By Amanda Driscoll,

Book cover of Little Grump Truck

What is my book about?

When Little Dump Truck is in a good mood, she's the happiest member of her construction crew. But when things don't go her way, she becomes Little Grump Truck. This bright, playful book shows kids that meditation and mindfulness can banish even the most serious case of the grumpies. 

"Should appeal to all the little grump trucks hauling their feelings about." – Kirkus Reviews

Quit Monks or Die!

By Maxine Kumin,

Book cover of Quit Monks or Die!

Quit Monks or Die! is something else indeed. It’s a mystery novel and a good one. It is set, yes! in academia, where a scientist and a graduate assistant are both found murdered. The scientist was working on an experiment involving monkeys. Does that have to do with why he was killed? Its cracker-jack plot, which involves animal rights, is complex but lucidly and expertly laid out. It's not just who done it, but what was done? This is not Kumin’s only novel but I believe it’s her only mystery.


Who am I?

Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published over 25 books of fiction and poetry. His newest novel, The Diminishment of Charlie Cain, is from Livingston Press. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On, which won The Memphis Film Prize in 2017. With his wife he runs Burke’s Book Store (est. 1875) in Memphis. I have a fondness for novels written by writers who are primarily poets. These five books are my favorites in that contracted genre.


I wrote...

Memphis Movie

By Corey Mesler,

Book cover of Memphis Movie

What is my book about?

Memphis Movie concerns a middle-aged filmmaker named Eric Warberg, an ex-Memphian who went to Hollywood and made it big. For many years he was a success out there until, after directing a few box office bombs, he found himself essentially out of work. Then the opportunity presents itself for a return to his hometown of Memphis to direct an independent film, a return to his roots in more than one way. With mixed feelings he returns home where he is greeted like a returning star.

Overall, the novel reads like a Robert Altman film, with many story strands making up the tapestry. One of the questions the novel asks is, Will Eric lose or find his soul, in his hometown, where soul has many meanings?

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