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I often look to picture books for nuggets of wisdom, so here are ten with life advice found in their themes. May they be your literary fortune cookies for the new year!
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith (2015).
A masterful wordless story wherein a girl and father walk home through a city. Only she notices the little blooms of color, collecting them for what becomes a special purpose.
My Pen by Christopher Myers (2015).
Even when you don’t have much influence or money or age, you have the power of your own pen to create something all yours, something limitless.
Tough Guys Have Feelings Too by Keith Negley (2015).
This book cracks me up while hitting at something astute. Superheroes, lucha libre wrestlers, and race car drivers all cry sometimes, just like you.
Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato (2016).
Weddings are wonderful opportunities to embrace tradition and change. Meet worm and worm, a lovely couple who knows top hats and veils don’t define them.
Little Kunoichi The Ninja Girl by Sanae Ishida (2015).
A ninja girl who isn’t quite a ninja yet. A little samurai who’s not quite a samurai yet. They help each other. They practice. They aren’t perfect, but that’s not really the point.
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mallick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (2015).
A historical story inside a bedtime story for a boy. A soldier and a bear cub. An enduring character based on a real life friendship.
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet (2014).
A treasure box of a book about finding the right word and following your passion/obsession/preoccupation/fixation.
Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea (2015).
A brilliant picture book with a message for those of us who don’t like to speak up for fear of upsetting others’ feelings. After all, a good friend wants to hear what you have to say!
Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison (2015).
Poor Bernice. This birthday party is not going her way. And then it takes her up, up, and away! On the way down, she figures out how sharing with others brings its own happy.
My Red Balloon by Kzuaki Yamada (2014).
After a day spent searching for a balloon, a girl, a bus driver, and animal passengers lose it just as they’ve found it. But then, the sunset! Another red balloon that is there day after day, a constant to count on.
You might also like 15 Creative Lessons on Creativity from Picture Books.