Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to community helpers. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about community helpers.
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.
When it comes to children’s stories about community helpers, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Here Come the Helpers to popular sellers like Sofia Valdez, Future Prez to some of our favorite hidden gems like The House That Jane Built.
We hope this list of kids books about community helpers can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
Once there was a Prince who was afraid of the dark–like so many children are. But this boy became King and actually did something about it: he banned the dark completely! Soon, the sleep-deprived, exhausted citizens are ready to revolt. Can the people help the King face his fears and see that you can’t appreciate the light without having the dark, too?
This is the story of Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, who transformed a poor neighborhood in Chicago by opening up her house as a community center.
A grandpa’s memories of brilliant night skies inspire a little girl to take action in a tale for budding community organizers and star lovers alike.
Mabel loves stars. She counts five from her window and thirty-seven from her backyard. But her grandfather tells her that, as a child, he could see thousands. Could it be true? Mabel climbs a hill looking for more stars – only to discover that the glow from the nearby town makes them hard to see. What would it take for her neighbors to turn off their lights, just for one night, so that everyone could see the starlit sky? Sue Soltis’s tale of a young activist and Christine Davenier’s luminous illustrations will leave readers curious about the dark-sky movement – and the wonder that is waiting for them just up the street.
When devastating news rattles a little girl’s community, she struggles to know how to cope. Her normally attentive parents are suddenly exhausted and distracted, and nothing she does seems to cheer them up. At school, her teacher tells her to look for the helpers-the good people working to make things better in big and small ways. She wants more than anything to help in a BIG way, but maybe she can start with one small thing instead… and then another, and another? Those small things can compound, after all, to make a world of difference.Both timely and timeless, this beautifully illustrated picture book from debut author/illustrator Sarah Lynne Reul touches on the themes of community, resilience, and optimism with an authenticity that will resonate with readers young and old.
This heartwarming picture book (based on a true story) depicts a day in the life of Hosea Taylor, a musician who—with his charm, talent, and generosity—brought joy to everyone he met.
Every day, Hosea takes the Number 42 bus into the city to play his shiny brass saxophone—and to hopefully earn enough money. Setting up in his favorite place, Hosea makes sweet music as people greet him with a smile, a little girl dances, and crowds surround him. A surprise ending reveals what the money is really for. Kathleen Blasi’s delightful text and Shane Evan’s colorful images capture the real-life closeness between the much-loved Hosea—who shared his passion for music and life with everyone—and his community.
An Author’s Note explains how Blasi learned about Hosea Taylor (1948-2016), and what compelled her to write his story.
Here Come the Helpers - Look for the Helpers is a shaped board book that highlights the emergency vehicles that help make our world a better place. It’s a big, beautiful world, filled with awesome adventures. But sometimes emergencies happen. When they do, look for the helpers! Helpers are all around you. Fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, and more crowd the pages of this shaped board book that teaches children to look for helpers wherever they go. With a search-and-find twist, each scene highlights different types of emergency vehicles in action. Look for the Helpers is an adventurous book that introduces little ones to the caring helpers who make the world safer.
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez - 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.
Bird Count - A young girl eagerly identifies and counts the birds she observes around her town during the New England Christmas Bird Count. Young Ava and her mother prepare to participate as “citizen scientists” in the Christmas Bird Count. She is excited when Big Al, the leader of their team, asks her to record the tally this year. Using her most important tools―her eyes and ears―and the birding ID techniques she’s learned, Ava eagerly identifies and counts the birds they observe on their assigned route around the town. At the end of the day, they meet up with the other teams in the area for a Christmas Bird Count party, where they combine their totals and share stories about their observations. This informative story by author Susan Edwards Richmond, coupled with Stephanie Fizer Coleman’s charming depictions of birds in their winter habitats, is the perfect book to introduce young readers to birdwatching. The text offers simple explanations of the identification methods used by birdwatchers and clear descriptions of bird habitats, and a section in the back provides more information about the birds featured in the book and the Christmas Bird Count.
Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood -
“An inspiring picture book for youngsters with meaningful ties to the environment, sustainability, and community engagement.” —Booklist
“Hartland’s gouache illustrations wobble endearingly, colorfully capturing the children’s triumph, and the kinetic energy and colorful vibrancy of the city neighborhood.” —Publishers Weekly Discover the incredible true story of Harlem Grown, a lush garden in New York City that grew out of an abandoned lot and now feeds a neighborhood. Once
In a big city called New York
In a bustling neighborhood
There was an empty lot.
Nevaeh called it the haunted garden. Harlem Grown tells the inspiring true story of how one man made a big difference in a neighborhood. After seeing how restless they were and their lack of healthy food options, Tony Hillery invited students from an underfunded school to turn a vacant lot into a beautiful and functional farm. By getting their hands dirty, these kids turned an abandoned space into something beautiful and useful while learning about healthy, sustainable eating and collaboration. Five years later, the kids and their parents, with the support of the Harlem Grown staff, grow hundreds of pounds of fruits and vegetables a year. All of it is given to the kids and their families. The incredible story is vividly brought to life with Jessie Hartland’s “charmingly busy art” (Booklist) that readers will pore over in search of new details as they revisit this poignant and uplifting tale over and over again. Harlem Grown is an independent, not-for-profit organization. The author’s share of the proceeds from the sale of this book go directly to Harlem Grown.
Who’s waiting at the stops? Preschool fans will be thrilled to climb aboard for a bus ride with Maisy.
Maisy and her friends act out the lively adventures young children have — or dream of having — every day. In Maisy Drives the Bus, Maisy visits each bus stop to pick up passengers. Here’s another very good reason to be crazy for Maisy!
The first picture book about the inspiring life of humanitarian Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth president of the United States and a Nobel Prize winner—from Alabama Spitfire author Bethany Hegedus.
Even before Jimmy Carter became president, he knew the value of hard work. Living on his family’s peanut farm, Jimmy saw how hard work yielded strong results.
At least it did for some people. But growing up in the segregated South, Jimmy also saw firsthand how white people and black people were not treated equally. None of it was right. None of it was fair.
So Jimmy created a list of Good Mental Habits to help him navigate life’s challenges. The list guided his thoughts and actions and helped him fight for change, whether working with civil rights leaders to end racial discrimination in his home state of Georgia, helping to negotiate peace in the Middle East, or building homes for the poor through Habitat for Humanity.
From the statehouse to the White House and beyond, Jimmy has worked to make change for all people, devoting decades to public service and becoming one of the most respected humanitarians of our time. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.
This new adventure with Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends uses simple prose and radiant illustrations to shine a light on the joy of reading and the importance of working together. One day Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends discover a hollow tree in the middle of the forest. What can be done with one ordinary tree? “I will keep my book in this nook so everyone can read it,” Red Knit Cap Girl says. But the tree isn’t only for books. Little by little, one by one, the animals share their unique gifts and turn the ordinary tree into a special spot for everyone to enjoy!
A long, long time ago, before email and texting, the mail was delivered in a much slower way-it was called Snail Mail (because some thought it was delivered by a snail). Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that letters were a little more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail. They might be handwritten. They might include a drawing. They might even contain a surprise inside! One such letter was sent by a Girl to the Boy she loved, and it was up to four special snails to deliver her card across the country. The snails trek across the country-through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests-and along the way, they find that taking time to slow down and look around makes the journey all the more beautiful.
Snail Mail’s playful and educational story encourages kids to have slow living, and to approach life with determination and wonder. Julia Patton’s rich illustrations showcase America’s diverse terrain and national monuments from coast to coast. Kids and parents alike will delight in this celebration of America’s beauty and the power of a simple handwritten letter.
From Senator Kamala Harris comes a picture book with an empowering message: Superheroes are all around us–and if we try, we can all be heroes too.
Before Kamala Harris became a district attorney and a United States senator, she was a little girl who loved superheroes. And when she looked around, she was amazed to find them everywhere! In her family, among her friends, even down the street–there were superheroes wherever she looked. And those superheroes showed her that all you need to do to be a superhero is to be the best that you can be.
In this empowering and joyful picture book that speaks directly to kids, Kamala Harris takes readers through her life and shows them that the power to make the world a better place is inside all of us. And with fun and engaging art by Mechal Renee Roe, as well as a guide to being a superhero at the end, this book is sure to have kids taking up the superhero mantle (cape and mask optional).
Home Sweet Neighborhood - Picture a busy avenue. Now plant trees along the boulevard, paint a mural by the empty lot, and add a community garden. Set up benches along the sidewalks and make space for kids’ chalk drawings, and you’ve set the scene for a thriving community. Placemaking—personalizing public and semi-private spaces like front yards—is a growing trend in cities and suburbs around the world, drawing people out of their homes and into conversation with one another. Kids are natural placemakers, building tree forts, drawing on sidewalks and setting up lemonade stands, but people of all ages can enjoy creative placemaking activities. From Dutch families who drag couches and tables onto sidewalks for outdoor suppers to Canadians who build little lending libraries to share books with neighbors, people can do things that make life more fun and strengthen neighborhoods. Home Sweet Neighborhood combines upbeat text, fun facts and colorful photos to intrigue and inspire readers.
Hoorade Day! - It is the Fourth of July, and a young girl and her parents are off to see the town’s big parade–Hoorade Day! Boosted up on daddy s shoulders, the girl excitedly waves to her family members in the parade and joyfully describes each section. From the bleats and bangs of the marching band to the graceful twirls of the ribbon dancers, the little girl spots it all, reciting simple, rhyming cheers that complement the bright illustrations of the diverse community on each page. Narrated in jolly, lively verse, Hoorade Day! celebrates the birthday of a nation founded on principles of unity and hope. It will delight children and adults alike, keeping them smiling to the very last page.
Most People - Michael Leannah wrote Most People as an antidote to the scary words and images kids hear and see every day. Jennifer Morris’s illustrations provide the perfect complement to Leannah’s words, leading us through the crowded streets of an urban day in the company of two young children. We see what they see: the hulking dude with tattoos and chains assisting an elderly lady onto the bus; the business man helping the girl who has fallen from her bike; the family showing concern for the homeless woman; all the myriad interactions of daily life. Most People is a comforting response to the dreadful news reports that surface far too often in our world today.
Harlem Charade - WATCHER. SHADOW. FUGITIVE.<br></br>Harlem is home to all kinds of kids. Jin sees life passing her by from the window of her family’s bodega. Alex wants to help the needy one shelter at a time, but can’t tell anyone who she really is. Elvin’s living on Harlem’s cold, lonely streets, surviving on his own after his grandfather was mysteriously attacked.<br></br>When these three strangers join forces to find out what happened to Elvin’s grandfather, their digging leads them to an enigmatic artist whose missing masterpieces are worth a fortune – one that might save the neighborhood from development by an ambitious politician who wants to turn it into Harlem World, a ludicrous historic theme park. But if they don’t find the paintings soon, nothing in their beloved neighborhood will ever be the same…<br></br>In this remarkable tale of daring and danger, debut novelist Natasha Tarpley explores the way a community defines itself, the power of art to show truth, and what it really means to be home.
Valentina was born on an island formed by fire, surrounded by blue-green sea. As a Galapagueña, Valentina spends her days observing the natural world around her. She greets sea lions splashing on the shore, scampers over lava rocks with Sally-lightfoot crabs, and swims with manta rays. But Valentina also understands the fragility of this wondrous world, and she makes a solemn promise to protect the islands and her animal friends.
This delightful bilingual story was inspired by the childhood of Valentina Cruz, whose family was one of the first permanent inhabitants of the Galápagos. Valentina is now a biologist and naturalist guide who has dedicated her life to the conservation of the islands. Whimsical illustrations by Pura Belpré Honor recipient Angela Dominguez transport readers to these unique islands, which shelter a diverse number of plant and animal species, many found of which can be found nowhere else on the planet. Come discover this beautiful world with Valentina and her animal friends!
The Tinyville Town series, new from New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Brian Biggs, launches with three books: Tinyville Town Gets to Work!, a world-establishing picture book that introduces the town and its many residents, and two board books, I’m a Veterinarian and I’m a Firefighter. The series is set in a cozy community where the people are kind, everyone says hello when they’re walking down the street, the bus is always on time, and all the townsfolk do their part to keep things running smoothly. Everyone has a job to do in Tinyville Town. With a nod to the busy world of Richard Scarry and the neighborhood feel of Sesame Street, this new series will become a favorite read for preschoolers and is ideal for story time and class discussions about occupations and community helpers. Tinyville Town is a growing, thriving city full of interesting people. The townsfolk can’t wait to show readers around! In Tinyville Town Gets to Work!, we see the evolution of a construction project to solve a problem. When there is a traffic jam on the Tinyville Town bridge, the residents decide to work together to build a new one. By following the hard work of the engineers and construction workers, readers will get to meet many different people in the town while watching the exciting new bridge take shape. The large picture book format and Biggs’s bright art brilliantly show the bridge, which was extensively researched to make it authentic for readers. Every town has a bridge, and a trip over Tinyville’s new one will be fun for kids time and time again.
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