Because my middle grade novel, Zinnia and the Bees, features a main character who’s a knitter and yarn bomber, I always notice picture books with knitting and yarn (and have great admiration for knitters and crocheters in real life!). So, since I’ve got yarn on the brain, I thought it would be fun to round up a bunch of great picture books featuring yarn and knitting—perfectly cozy reads for winter and good fits for crafters of all kinds.
Plus, because knitting a gift for someone is often a sign of love and friendship, many of these are perfect for Valentine’s Day too. As you’ll see, knitting is often synonymous in story with showing kindness and the connections characters make.
Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon (2012).
One of the sweetest books ever with a scarf-wearing penguin who finds a pinecone, knits it a scarf, and then finds its new friend’s proper home.
Knit Together by Angela Dominguez (2015).
A story of a mother and daughter, one who knits, one who draws, and how they combine talents in an artistic collaboration that connects them—so sweet!
Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius by Katie Harnett (2016).
I adore all the humans in this book, and the way the community comes together over this neighborhood cat. And I adore Mrs. Murray, who knits, and who shares a kinship with Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius that is meant to be.
Last Stop on Market Street, words by Matt De LA Peña, pictures by Christian Robinson (2015).
This wonderful book’s beating heart is Nana and a bus ride she takes with her grandson. Nana demonstrates generosity to CJ, as well as the ability to see beauty. Also, she spends part of the bus ride with needles and yarn.
Bertolt by Jaques Golstyn (2017).
The way knitting figures into this one at the close is kind of a surprise, so I’ll leave it at that. (Hint: yarn bombing!)
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards and G. Brian Karas (2016).
A girl who wants to do a kindness for the kindest person (and knitter) she knows. A super sweet story, plus pom poms!
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen (2012)
A knitter-yarn bomber is at the center of this fairy-tale-esque book with a surprise ending. If you like the idea of covering anything and everything with colorful yarn and a bit of magic, you’ll like this book.
Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop (2012).
The main character here doesn’t knit, but is known for her signature knit cap as her name. It’s a quiet, meditative quest story of looking to connect with others and the moon.
Edmund Unravels by Andrew Kolb (2015).
This one stars an actual bundle of yarn (and joy) who longs to explore. The only thing is, exploring can mean needing to return home in order to feel whole again.
Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranza and Margaeet Chamberlain (2014).
A creative main character discovers knitting and eventually completes a fantastic project for the school play. A positive portrayal of being yourself and pursuing your passions.
Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol (2016).
The wildly unexpected story of someone who wants to knit sweaters in peace, and is wiling to go as far away as possible to find it.
Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip C. Stead (2014).
Sebastian, in a balloon made of quilts and blankets, goes on an adventure to avoid boredom in this story of encounters and twists and turns. And, of course, three knitting sisters!
Cat Knit by Jacob Grant (2016).
Cat is good friends with Yarn, but not so sure about that when Yarn becomes Sweater.
The Story Blanket by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz, illustrated by Elena Odriozola (2008).
A story about story, and kindness—the story blanket is a precious place, but is soon needed for its yarn in order to give warm gifts to the community.
Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu (2012).
A set of four stories about sea creature friends, one of whom—Squid—is a knitter. Complete with socks, mittens, tea, and cake, this one delights! Author-illustrator Tao Nyeu even came up with a knitting pattern to go along with the book!
Three Balls of Wool by Henriqueta Cristina and Yarn Kono (2017).
A family must flee their home country and the new place they live feels bleak and uniform—people wear sweaters in only one of three solid colors. A resourceful mother unravels the sweaters in order to make new sweaters, patterned ones that express joy and individuality, and she starts a kind of revolution come spring. This is “…based on the story of a Portuguese family that fled the dictatorship in the late 1960s and lived in exile in Algeria, Romania, and finally Czechoslovakia.”
Please add any titles I missed to the comments!