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Change: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about change?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to change. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about change.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about change, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Messy One to popular sellers like The Road Not Taken to some of our favorite hidden gems like Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut.

We hope this list of kids books about change can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Change

#1
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Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!
Written & illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From the creator of The Rabbit Listened comes a gentle story about the difficulty of change . . . and the wonder that new beginnings can bring. Change and transitions are hard, but Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! demonstrates how, when one experience ends, it opens the door for another to begin. It follows two best friends as they say goodbye to snowmen, and hello to stomping in puddles. They say goodbye to long walks, butterflies, and the sun…and hello to long evening talks, fireflies, and the stars. But the hardest goodbye of all comes when one of the friends has to move away. Feeling alone isn’t easy, and sometimes new beginnings take time. But even the hardest days come to an end, and you never know what tomorrow will bring.
#2
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Nobody Hugs A Cactus
Written & illustrated by Carter Goodrich
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Celebrated artist and lead character designer of Brave, Ratatouille, and Despicable Me, Carter Goodrich, shows that sometimes, even the prickliest people—or the crankiest cacti—need a little love. Hank is the prickliest cactus in the entire world. He sits in a pot in a window that faces the empty desert, which is just how he likes it. So, when all manner of creatures—from tumbleweed to lizard to owl—come to disturb his peace, Hank is annoyed. He doesn’t like noise, he doesn’t like rowdiness, and definitely does not like hugs. But the thing is, no one is offering one. Who would want to hug a plant so mean? Hank is beginning to discover that being alone can be, well, lonely. So he comes up with a plan to get the one thing he thought he would never need: a hug from a friend.
#3
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Little Home Bird
Written & illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Little Bird loves everything about his home. He's surrounded by his favourite branch, his favourite food, his favourite view and his favourite music. Why on earth would he ever want to change, even when his brother tells him that they must? Discover how Little Bird ends up finding happiness in his new home from home in this beautifully illustrated picture book. Perfect for all children who love home, however many they may have.
#4
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Grandma
Written & illustrated by Jessica Shepherd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Told in diary form, Oscar relates how his grandmother becomes less able to look after herself and enters a nursing home, with information about dementia to help children discuss their feelings and adjust to the changing relationship.
#5
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Growing Season
Written & illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
El and Jo are the smallest students in class--and best friends, too. But in springtime, something BIG happens: Jo starts growing like a weed . . . and El doesn't. When their teacher asks every child to pick a plant to care for over the summer, poor El ends up with a tiny, flowerless aster. But slowly, the aster blooms--and so does El! A sweet picture book about the joys and challenges of growing up.
#6
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Three Pennies
Written & illustrated by Melanie Crowder
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A girl in foster care tries to find her birth mother before she loses her forever in this “tender tale” (School Library Journal, starred review) about last chances and new opportunities. For a kid bouncing from foster home to foster home, The Book of Changes is the perfect companion. That’s why Marin carries three pennies and a pocket-sized I Ching with her everywhere she goes. Yet when everything in her life suddenly starts changing—like landing in a foster home that feels like somewhere she could stay, maybe forever—the pennies don’t have any answers for her. Marin is positive that all the wrongs in her life will be made right if only she can find her birth mother and convince her that they belong together. Marin is close, oh so close—until she gets some unwelcome news and her resolve, like the uneasy earth far beneath the city of San Francisco, is shaken
#7
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Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
Written by Derrick Barnes & illustrated by Gordon C. James
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR, the Huffington Post , Publishers Weekly , Kirkus Reviews , the Los Angeles Times , the Boston Globe , the Horn Book Magazine , the News & Observer , BookPage , Chicago Public Library, and more The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices. A fresh cut makes boys fly. This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair—a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That’s where it all begins. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.
#8
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Caspian Finds a Friend
Written by Jacqueline Véissid & illustrated by Merrilees Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Caspian lives in a lighthouse surrounded by a cold gray-blue sea. Every day, he watches, wishing for a friend. But no one comes. So, Caspian decides that wishing is not enough. What follows is an imaginative journey that will inspire readers to reach out to others and remind us all that the power to change our world lies within ourselves.
#9
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Little Tree
Written & illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
For graduates, for their parents, for anyone facing change, here is a gorgeously illustrated and stunningly heartfelt ode to the challenges of growing up and letting go. A story of the seasons and stepping stones as poignant for parents as for their kids, from the creator of Otis the tractor and illustrator of Love by Matt de la Pena. “Long’s gentle but powerful story about a young tree who holds tight to his leaves, even as everyone else lets theirs drop, takes on nothing less than the pain and sorrow of growing up. . . . As in Long’s unaccountably profound books about Otis the tractor, a pure white background somehow adds to the depth.”—The New York Times Book Review In the middle of a little forest, there lives a Little Tree who loves his life and the splendid leaves that keep him cool in the heat of long summer days. Life is perfect just the way it is. Autumn arrives, and with it the cool winds that ruffle Little Tree’s leaves. One by one the other trees drop their leaves, facing the cold of winter head on. But not Little Tree—he hugs his leaves as tightly as he can. Year after year Little Tree remains unchanged, despite words of encouragement from a squirrel, a fawn, and a fox, his leaves having long since turned brown and withered. As Little Tree sits in the shadow of the other trees, now grown sturdy and tall as though to touch the sun, he remembers when they were all the same size. And he knows he has an important decision to make.
#10
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Sofia Valdez, Future Prez
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
The newest picture book from the creators of *Iggy Peck, Architect*; *Rosie Revere, Engineer*; and *Ada Twist, Scientist* stars Sofia Valdez, an activist and community leader who stands up for what she believes in! Every morning, Abuelo walks Sofia to school . . . until one day, when Abuelo hurts his ankle at a local landfill and he can no longer do so. Sofia misses her Abuelo and wonders what she can do about the dangerous Mount Trashmore. Then she gets an idea—the town can turn the slimy mess into a park! She brainstorms and plans and finally works up the courage to go to City Hall—only to be told by a clerk that she can't build a park because she's just a kid! Sofia is down but not out, and she sets out to prove what one kid can do.
Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Change and...

Books About Change and New Experiences

Add to list
Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!
Written & illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From the creator of The Rabbit Listened comes a gentle story about the difficulty of change . . . and the wonder that new beginnings can bring. Change and transitions are hard, but Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! demonstrates how, when one experience ends, it opens the door for another to begin. It follows two best friends as they say goodbye to snowmen, and hello to stomping in puddles. They say goodbye to long walks, butterflies, and the sun…and hello to long evening talks, fireflies, and the stars. But the hardest goodbye of all comes when one of the friends has to move away. Feeling alone isn’t easy, and sometimes new beginnings take time. But even the hardest days come to an end, and you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Add to list
Grandma
Written & illustrated by Jessica Shepherd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Told in diary form, Oscar relates how his grandmother becomes less able to look after herself and enters a nursing home, with information about dementia to help children discuss their feelings and adjust to the changing relationship.
Add to list
Growing Season
Written & illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
El and Jo are the smallest students in class--and best friends, too. But in springtime, something BIG happens: Jo starts growing like a weed . . . and El doesn't. When their teacher asks every child to pick a plant to care for over the summer, poor El ends up with a tiny, flowerless aster. But slowly, the aster blooms--and so does El! A sweet picture book about the joys and challenges of growing up.
Honorable Mentions
Little Tree book
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Ice in the Jungle book
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Cat Knit book
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Goodbye Brings Hello: A Book of Firsts book
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  1. Little Tree - For graduates, for their parents, for anyone facing change, here is a gorgeously illustrated and stunningly heartfelt ode to the challenges of growing up and letting go. A story of the seasons and stepping stones as poignant for parents as for their kids, from the creator of Otis the tractor and illustrator of Love by Matt de la Pena. “Long’s gentle but powerful story about a young tree who holds tight to his leaves, even as everyone else lets theirs drop, takes on nothing less than the pain and sorrow of growing up. . . . As in Long’s unaccountably profound books about Otis the tractor, a pure white background somehow adds to the depth.”—The New York Times Book Review In the middle of a little forest, there lives a Little Tree who loves his life and the splendid leaves that keep him cool in the heat of long summer days. Life is perfect just the way it is. Autumn arrives, and with it the cool winds that ruffle Little Tree’s leaves. One by one the other trees drop their leaves, facing the cold of winter head on. But not Little Tree—he hugs his leaves as tightly as he can. Year after year Little Tree remains unchanged, despite words of encouragement from a squirrel, a fawn, and a fox, his leaves having long since turned brown and withered. As Little Tree sits in the shadow of the other trees, now grown sturdy and tall as though to touch the sun, he remembers when they were all the same size. And he knows he has an important decision to make.

  2. Ice in the Jungle - When Ice’s mother tells her that they’re going to move to an exciting new place, Ice isn’t so sure. She likes her home and her friends, and the fun they have together. The journey takes forever, and their new home is very strange. Everything is different – the weather, the food, the people and the language. Ice tries to make friends, but everyone seems too busy and preoccupied to care.Will anything happen to help Ice feel more at home?A charming debut picture book about the anxieties and hardships of moving, with a heart-warming, positive ending.

  3. Cat Knit - Cat and Yarn are the best of friends. They have so much fun playing together, the two are inseparable. Until the day Girl takes Yarn away. When Yarn returns, he is completely changed, no longer Cat’s bright and rolly friend. Cat is mad! Soon, Cat begins to miss his best friend, and he just might realize that a little change isn’t so bad after all.

  4. Goodbye Brings Hello: A Book of Firsts - There are many ways of letting go. With each goodbye, a new hello. From being pushed on a swing to learning how to pump your legs yourself, from riding a beloved trike to mastering your first bike ride, from leaving the comforts of home behind to venturing forth on that first day of school, milestones are exciting but hard. They mean having to say goodbye to one moment in order to welcome the next. Honest and uplifting, this cheerfully illustrated ode to change gently empowers readers to brave life’s milestones, both large and small.

Books About Change and Family

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Little Home Bird
Written & illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Little Bird loves everything about his home. He's surrounded by his favourite branch, his favourite food, his favourite view and his favourite music. Why on earth would he ever want to change, even when his brother tells him that they must? Discover how Little Bird ends up finding happiness in his new home from home in this beautifully illustrated picture book. Perfect for all children who love home, however many they may have.
Add to list
Three Pennies
Written & illustrated by Melanie Crowder
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A girl in foster care tries to find her birth mother before she loses her forever in this “tender tale” (School Library Journal, starred review) about last chances and new opportunities. For a kid bouncing from foster home to foster home, The Book of Changes is the perfect companion. That’s why Marin carries three pennies and a pocket-sized I Ching with her everywhere she goes. Yet when everything in her life suddenly starts changing—like landing in a foster home that feels like somewhere she could stay, maybe forever—the pennies don’t have any answers for her. Marin is positive that all the wrongs in her life will be made right if only she can find her birth mother and convince her that they belong together. Marin is close, oh so close—until she gets some unwelcome news and her resolve, like the uneasy earth far beneath the city of San Francisco, is shaken
Add to list
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
The newest picture book from the creators of *Iggy Peck, Architect*; *Rosie Revere, Engineer*; and *Ada Twist, Scientist* stars Sofia Valdez, an activist and community leader who stands up for what she believes in! Every morning, Abuelo walks Sofia to school . . . until one day, when Abuelo hurts his ankle at a local landfill and he can no longer do so. Sofia misses her Abuelo and wonders what she can do about the dangerous Mount Trashmore. Then she gets an idea—the town can turn the slimy mess into a park! She brainstorms and plans and finally works up the courage to go to City Hall—only to be told by a clerk that she can't build a park because she's just a kid! Sofia is down but not out, and she sets out to prove what one kid can do.
Honorable Mentions
It Takes a Village book
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Things That Go Away book
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The Last Great Adventure of the PB & J Society book
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Cody and the Heart of a Champion book
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  1. It Takes a Village - “It Takes a Village offers a universal, unifying message. It captures perfectly Clinton’s vision of a multicultural America working toward a constructive goal. So hopeful and forward-looking.” —The Washington Post “Inspired by her 2006 book of the same name, Clinton’s unadorned text celebrates how civic spirit emerges…Most of the storytelling is found in Frazee’s delicately textured images, which exude energy, hope, and emotional authenticity.” —Publishers Weekly “This work is a welcome reminder that all people ‘are born believers. And citizens, too.’” —Shelf Awareness “What does it take to change the world?” Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first book for young readers, inspired by the themes of her classic New York Times bestselling book It Takes a Village, and illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee, asks readers what can they do to make the world a better place? It Takes a Village tells the heartwarming and universal story of a diverse community coming together to make a difference. All kinds of people working together, playing together, and living together in harmony makes a better village and many villages coming together can make a better world. Together we can build a better life for one another. Together we can change our world. The book will resonate with children and families and through the generations as it encourages readers to look for a way they can make a difference. It is a book that you will surely want to read again and again, a book you will want to share and a book that will inspire.

  2. Things That Go Away - A playful ode to things that come and go in life—and the one special bond that never fades There are many things that go away: leaves fall, tears dry, music lasts only for a few moments, and bubbles pop, vanishing without a trace. Everything in life passes, moves on, or transforms—except one thing that never fades. With her signature warmth, playfulness, and beautiful illustrations, Beatrice Alemagna reminds us that in a changing world, the love between parent and child remains constant.

  3. The Last Great Adventure of the PB & J Society - When her best friend’s house is threatened with foreclosure, young Annie Jenkins is full of ideas to save the home: selling her appendix on eBay, winning the lottery, facing down the bankers . . . anything to keep Jason from moving. But Jason’s out-of-work dad blows up at the smallest things, and he’s not very happy with Annie’s interventions, which always seem to get them into more trouble. But when Annie tracks a lost treasure to Jason’s backyard, she’s sure the booty will be enough to save Jason’s family. Pirate treasure in the Midwest seems far-fetched, even to Annie, but it could be the answer to all their problems. Now all she has to do is convince Jason. As the two hunt for answers and the pressure gets to Jason and his family, Annie discovers that the best-laid plans aren’t always enough and there are worse things than moving away.

  4. Cody and the Heart of a Champion - In Cody’s life, some people keep her on her toes—just like Mother Nature, who is warm one day and snowy the next. Or like Cody’s brother, Wyatt, who has started wearing collared shirts because his girlfriend likes them. Meanwhile, Pearl has begun playing soccer and it’s all she can talk about. Spencer is busy creating a mysterious museum underneath GG’s house and he’s never around to play. And Spencer’s mom doesn’t look any different. . . . Could she really have a baby growing inside her? Maybe the baby is like Cody’s beloved ants, waiting patiently inside the earth for spring to arrive. It seems like everything around Cody is changing—from seasons to friendships—but if she can just navigate it all with her trademark enthusiasm and charm, maybe the most important things will stay the same.

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Books About Change and Feelings And Emotions

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Nobody Hugs A Cactus
Written & illustrated by Carter Goodrich
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Celebrated artist and lead character designer of Brave, Ratatouille, and Despicable Me, Carter Goodrich, shows that sometimes, even the prickliest people—or the crankiest cacti—need a little love. Hank is the prickliest cactus in the entire world. He sits in a pot in a window that faces the empty desert, which is just how he likes it. So, when all manner of creatures—from tumbleweed to lizard to owl—come to disturb his peace, Hank is annoyed. He doesn’t like noise, he doesn’t like rowdiness, and definitely does not like hugs. But the thing is, no one is offering one. Who would want to hug a plant so mean? Hank is beginning to discover that being alone can be, well, lonely. So he comes up with a plan to get the one thing he thought he would never need: a hug from a friend.
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Sleepytime Rhymes: Fox
Written & illustrated by Kelly Oriard and Callie Christensen
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-5
Fox’s story provides a resource for both parent and child when coping with family transitions. By encouraging children to express their feelings, they are able to find comfort through the challenges of change.
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Small Bunny's Blue Blanket
Written & illustrated by Tatyana Feeney
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Small Bunny does everything with Blue Blanket. Blue Blanket helps him paint the best pictures, go the highest on the swings, and read the hardest words. They need each other. But one day, Small Bunny’s mother insists Blue Blanket needs to be washed. She says Blue Blanket will be as good as new after. But Bunny isn’t sure he likes new. Will his friend ever be the same?
Honorable Mentions
Same Way Ben book
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The Bad Seed book
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Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean book
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Anxious Charlie to the Rescue book
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  1. Same Way Ben - Ben likes things the same way every day at school—he sits at the same table, eats the same lunch, and likes the daily class routine. But when his teacher leaves to have her baby and a substitute teacher comes and changes everything, Ben gets upset. He liked everything the way it was before! But soon Ben starts to think differently about change and realizes that doing things another way can be fun.

  2. The Bad Seed - From the New York Times bestselling author of the Goodnight Already! series This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know? He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember! This seed cuts in line every time, stares at everybody and never listens. But what happens when one mischievous little seed changes his mind about himself, and decides that he wants to be—happy? With Jory John’s charming and endearing text and bold expressive illustrations by Pete Oswald, here is The Bad Seed: a funny yet touching tale that reminds us of the remarkably transformative power of will, acceptance, and just being you. Perfect for readers young and old, The Bad Seed proves that positive change is possible for each and every one of us.

  3. Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean - Glee actress Jane Lynch takes a look at bullying head-on in her first picture book. Marlene is the self-appointed queen of the playground, the sidewalk, and the school. She is small but mighty . . . intimidating! Known for her cruel ways, the little Queen of Mean has kids cowering in fear—until big Freddy stands up to her and says what everyone has been too fearful to say. In Seussian rhyme, actress Jane Lynch, clinical psychologist Lara Embry, and former children’s book editor A. E. Mikesell gently and comically depict the undoing of a bully and her efforts to reform. Tricia Tusa’s charming illustrations make the story an even more accessible conversation starter for all ages.

  4. Anxious Charlie to the Rescue - A friend in need causes an anxious pup to confront his fear of change in this thoughtful and encouraging tale. Charlie follows the same routine every day: he hops out of bed in the morning, walks the same route to the market, and lines up his stuffed animals just so in the evening. If anything is slightly different, Charlie worries that something bad might happen. But when friends call one morning asking for Charlie’s help, he forgets to follow his usual routine. Will something bad happen, as Charlie fears? Or will he learn that change can be good? In this touching story by Terry Milne, readers will fall in love with the nervous little dog named Charlie and his ability to overcome his fear of change.

Books About Change and Friendship

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Caspian Finds a Friend
Written by Jacqueline Véissid & illustrated by Merrilees Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Caspian lives in a lighthouse surrounded by a cold gray-blue sea. Every day, he watches, wishing for a friend. But no one comes. So, Caspian decides that wishing is not enough. What follows is an imaginative journey that will inspire readers to reach out to others and remind us all that the power to change our world lies within ourselves.
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Lubna and Pebble
Written by Wendy Meddour & illustrated by Daniel Egneus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
In an unforgettable story that subtly addresses the refugee crisis, a young girl must decide if friendship means giving up the one item that gives her comfort during a time of utter uncertainty. Lubna's best friend is a pebble. Pebble always listens to her stories. Pebble always smiles when she feels scared. But when a lost little boy arrives in the World of Tents, Lubna realizes that he needs Pebble even more than she does. This emotionally stirring and stunningly illustrated picture book explores one girl's powerful act of friendship in the midst of an unknown situation.
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Night on Fire
Written by Ronald Kidd
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13
Thirteen-year-old Billie Simms doesn’t think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the town’s residents share her opinion. As equality spreads across the country and the Civil Rights Movement gathers momentum, Billie can’t help but feel stuck—and helpless—in a stubborn town too set in its ways to realize that the world is passing it by. So when Billie learns that the Freedom Riders, a group of peace activists riding interstate buses to protest segregation, will be traveling through Anniston on their way to Montgomery, she thinks that maybe change is finally coming and her quiet little town will shed itself of its antiquated views. But what starts as a series of angry grumbles soon turns to brutality as Anniston residents show just how deep their racism runs. The Freedom Riders will resume their ride to Montgomery, and Billie is now faced with a choice: stand idly by in silence or take a stand for what she believes in. Through her own decisions and actions and a few unlikely friendships, Billie is about to come to grips with the deep-seated prejudice of those she once thought she knew, and with her own inherent racism that she didn’t even know she had.
Honorable Mentions
Amina's Voice book
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Rosetown book
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  1. Amina's Voice - A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this “compassionate, timely novel” (Booklist, starred review) from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns. Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized. Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani-American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

  2. Rosetown - From Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant comes the charming story of nine-year-old Flora Smallwood and the eventful year she spends in the quiet community of Rosetown, Indiana. For nine-year-old Flora Smallwood, Rosetown, Indiana, is full of surprises, many of the best of which happen at the Wing and a Chair Used Book Shop, where she loves to read vintage children’s books after school in the faded purple chair by the window. But lately, those surprises haven’t been so good. Her dear old dog, Laurence, recently passed away. Not long after, her parents decided to take a breather from their marriage, and now Flora has to move back and forth between their two houses. Plus, she’s just begun fourth grade, and it is so much different than third. Luckily Flora has two wonderful friends—one old and one new. And with them around to share thoughts and laughs and adventures big and small, life in Rosetown still has many sweet moments—and even some very happy surprises!

Books About Change and Self-esteem

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Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
Written by Derrick Barnes & illustrated by Gordon C. James
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR, the Huffington Post , Publishers Weekly , Kirkus Reviews , the Los Angeles Times , the Boston Globe , the Horn Book Magazine , the News & Observer , BookPage , Chicago Public Library, and more The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices. A fresh cut makes boys fly. This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair—a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That’s where it all begins. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.
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I Sleep in a Big Bed
Written & illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Babies sleep in cribs. Do big kids? No! Big kids sleep in a big bed. Every child's life is filled with milestones. Some happen easily; others need a little extra support. Artist and mom Maria van Lieshout has been there. Drawing upon her own experiences, she has created an engaging series of books that are just right for children on the brink of major changes and the caregivers who encourage them.
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Tiny Infinities
Written & illustrated by J. H. Diehl
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
When Alice's dad moves out, leaving her with her troubled mother, she does the only thing that feels right: she retreats to her family's old Renaissance tent in the backyard, determined to live there until her dad comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to swim freestyle fast enough to get on her swim team's record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets an odd new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school's science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice's best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mute—until Alice hears her speak. A funny and honest middle-grade novel, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice's determination to prove herself—as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person—rings loud and true.
Honorable Mentions
Karma Khullar's Mustache book
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The Amazing Idea of You book
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Husky book
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  1. Karma Khullar's Mustache - In the tradition of Judy Blume, debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this “sparkling and triumphant tale of a middle school misfit” (Heather Vogel Frederick). Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip. With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

  2. The Amazing Idea of You - Fans of Emily Winfield Martin will delight in this loving, gorgeously illustrated story that celebrates new life. Hidden inside every living thing is an idea. That idea can sprout, sing, wriggle, take wing . . . into something amazing! Exploring beginnings both small and great, The Amazing Idea of You bonds the human and natural worlds in a lyrical burst of celebration. So dig deep, fly high, look around, and find the extraordinary inside everything . . . including YOU!

  3. Husky - Twelve-year-old Davis lives in an old brownstone with his mother and grandmother in Brooklyn. He loves people-watching in Prospect Park, visiting his mom in the bakery she owns, and listening to the biggest operas he can find as he walks everywhere. But Davis is having a difficult summer. As questions of sexuality begin to enter his mind, he worries people don’t see him as anything other than “husky.” To make matters worse, his best girlfriends are starting to hang out with mean girls and popular boys. Davis is equally concerned about the distance forming between him and his single mother as she begins dating again, and about his changing relationship with his amusingly loud Irish grandmother, Nanny. Ultimately, Davis learns to see himself outside of his one defining adjective. He’s a kid with unique interests, admirable qualities, and people who will love him no matter what changes life brings about.

Books About Change and Animals

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Tractor Mac: Autumn Is Here
Written & illustrated by Billy Steers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Tractor Mac and his vehicle and animal friends return in a jacketed hardcover about the seasonal changes of autumn. Fergie the calf does not like change, so when his pleasant routine on Stony Meadow Farm begins to change as summer turns to autumn. Fergie is not happy. Luckily his pals on the farm help him acclimate to, and even embrace, the change of seasons.
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Lizzie Flying Solo
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A lyrical, poignant middle grade novel about embracing change, accepting help from others, and finding a place to call home. Perfect for fans of Raymie Nightingale. Lizzie St. Claire wants to be invisible. Forced to move out of her home, she and her mom now live in a transitional housing shelter, Good Hope, until they can get back on their feet. Lizzie just wants to keep her head down at Good Hope and her new school, so she doesn’t have to admit the real reason she and her mom lost everything. But when Lizzie finds herself at the nearby Birchwood Stables, some new friends—along with the arrival of a frightened pony named Fire—help Lizzie to open up and accept help from those around her, even if it means she’ll have more to lose if things change again.
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The Someone New
Written by Jill Twiss & illustrated by EG Keller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From Jill Twiss and EG Keller, the author and illustrator team behind the #1 New York Times bestselling picture book John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, comes The Someone New, a fresh and timely story about how it feels when someone new comes knocking at your door. Jitterbug the chipmunk likes it when things stay the same. So when one day Pudding the snail comes into her woods, Jitterbug worries that everything will be different. What if Pudding spoils everything? What if there’s no more room for Jitterbug? With the help of her friends, can Jitterbug welcome the newcomer and learn that kindness is stronger than fear?
Honorable Mentions
Before I Leave book
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The Messy One book
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The Fox on the Swing book
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We Are Not Friends book
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  1. Before I Leave - How do you say goodbye to your best friend? When a little hedgehog’s family tells her they’re moving far away, she and her anteater best friend decide to play one last time, like nothing is changing. And though it’s hard, they discover that while some things have to change, the most important things find a way of working out.

  2. The Messy One - Vivienne really enjoys being messy, but when she loses her favorite necklace she is determined to tidy up her room to find it.

  3. The Fox on the Swing - Once upon a time a boy called Paul lived in a treehouse with his mother and father. One day a fox appeared in Paul’s life - and when a fox comes into your life, Anything can happen. This sensitive story about friendship, dreams and happiness was written by Evelina Daciute and illustrated by Ausra Kiudulaite. It tells the story of Paul and the fox, whom he encounters one day when out buying bread for the family, and how their relationship begins, develops and shifts as life forces change on them both. The book’s themes are friendship, change, loss and the importance of seeking happiness in the little things of life

  4. We Are Not Friends - Two fuzzy friends are having a fun playdate when a new pal hops in. As the day continues, each friend feels left out at times. It isn’t so easy to figure out how to act when everything seems to change. With humor and heart, the beloved characters from Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small navigate a friendship triangle as only they can.

Want to see books about animals?

Books About Change and Social Themes

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Bye-Bye Binky
Written & illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Babies use a binky. Do big kids? No! Big kids say, "Bye-bye, binky!" Every child's life is filled with milestones. Some happen easily; others need a little extra support. Artist and mom Maria van Lieshout has been there. Drawing upon her own experiences, she has created an engaging series of books that are just right for children on the brink of major changes and the caregivers who encourage them.
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Hey, Wall
Written by Susan Verde & illustrated by John Parra
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A boy takes on a community art project in order to make his neighborhood more beautiful in this empowering and inspiring picture book by Susan Verde, stunningly illustrated by award-winning artist John Parra. One creative boy. One bare, abandoned wall. One BIG idea. There is a wall in Ángel’s neighborhood. Around it, the community bustles with life: music, dancing, laughing. Not the wall. It is bleak. One boy decides to change that. But he can’t do it alone. Told in elegant verse by Susan Verde and vibrantly illustrated by John Parra, this inspiring picture book celebrates the power of art to tell a story and bring a community together.
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The Very Last Leaf
Written by Stef Wade & illustrated by Jennifer Davison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
Lance Cottonwood is the best and brightest of the leaves, but even the top students on the tree have worries. Can Lance conquer his fear of falling and just let go when the time comes for his final exam, or will he let his worries take over? In this funny and encouraging picture book, best-selling author Stef Wade (A Place for Pluto) tells an engaging story and deftly addresses social and emotional struggles many kids encounter each day...feeling anxious, wanting to be perfect, facing fears, etc. These themes combined with illustrator Jennifer Davison's delightful characters and rich autumnal colors make The Very Last Leaf a perfect book for the start of a new school year, the arrival of autumn, or any period of transition in life.
Honorable Mentions
Ella and Monkey at Sea book
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The Cat from Hunger Mountain book
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  1. Ella and Monkey at Sea - Ella’s best friend, Monkey, doesn’t like good-bye hugs. He doesn’t want to say good-bye to Oma. And he doesn’t want to move away forever. Neither does Ella. But Papa is waiting for them in New York. So Ella and Monkey must board the ship with Mama and leave their old home in Holland for their new home in America. Along the way, there is fish for dinner (Monkey hates fish), a playroom full of new kids (Monkey doesn’t like strangers), and stormy seas that leave everyone feeling sick. Can Ella and Monkey find a way to weather the storm? Will they ever feel at home again? This sweetly illustrated picture book will appeal to anyone who has left home behind— and to children who find creative ways to share their emotions

  2. The Cat from Hunger Mountain - In a place called Hunger Mountain there lives a lord who has everything imaginable yet never has enough. To satisfy his every desire, he hires builders to design the tallest pagoda; a world-famous tailor to make his clothing from silk and gold threads; and a renowned chef to cook him lavish meals with rice from the lord’s own fields. What more could he possibly want? Yet when drought plagues the land, Lord Cat is faced with his first taste of deep loss, he ventures down the mountain and what he discovers will change his life forever. Rendered in exquisite mixed-media collage, Caldecott Medalist Ed Young’s deceptively simple fable is a deeply affecting tale about appreciating the value of treasures that need not be chased.

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