Hugs: Picture Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about hugs?

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

Our list includes picture books. 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. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about hugs, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Cedric and the Dragon to popular sellers like Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug to some of our favorite hidden gems like Nobody Hugs A Cactus.

We hope this list of kids books about hugs 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.

Nobody Hugs A Cactus book
#1
Nobody Hugs A Cactus
Written and 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.

Time for a Hug book
#2
Time for a Hug
Written by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by David Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A little rabbit receives hugs around the clock.

Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug book
#3
Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug
Written by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Jay Fleck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Tiny T. Rex has a HUGE problem. His friend Pointy needs cheering up and only a hug will do. But with his short stature and teeny T. Rex arms, is a hug impossible? Not if Tiny has anything to say about it! Join this plucky little dinosaur in his very first adventure—a warm and funny tale that proves the best hugs come from the biggest hearts. Introducing an unforgettable character on the picture book scene, Tiny T. Rex will stomp into the hearts of readers in this winning new series.

The Runaway Hug book
#4
The Runaway Hug
Written by Nick Bland and illustrated by Freya Blackwood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“Mommy,” said Lucy. “Can I have a hug before I go to bed?” When Mommy jokes that she only has one hug left, Lucy decides she must keep Mommy’s last hug safe. As Lucy shares the hug with everyone in her large and loving family, she is always careful to get it back . . . until the canine member of the family refuses to play along!

Highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling picture-book creators Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood collaborate for the first time on this charming story, which celebrates the imaginative powers of children and the extraordinary love to be found in ordinary bedtime routines.

If Animals Said I Love You book
#5
If Animals Said I Love You
Written by Ann Whitford Paul and illustrated by David Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

If animals said “I love you” like we do…how would they say it? Whale would make bubbles shoot from her spout. Boa would give her hatchlings a hug. Gorilla would snuggle his child to sleep. And across the animal kingdom, every creature would show love in a special way. Ann Whitford Paul and David Walker are back with If Animals Said I Love You, a sweet imagining of love in the animal world.

  1. Hugga Bugga Love - A little boy has had enough of his mom giving him hugs, kisses, and cuddles. She calls it “hugga bugga love,” and it’s a special love that the son eventually accepts because he learns his mom’s hugga buggas show him how much she loves him. Please, Mama! No more kisses. I get kisses all day through! I need some space! And it’s MY face. One hug and kiss will do! Mom loves kissing, hugging, and cuddling her precious little boy. She calls it hugga bugga love—but he has had enough! From lunchtime to playtime to bath time to nighttime, there’s no escaping her hugga bugga love. He isn’t even safe just pulling off his socks! But he learns to accept his mom’s affection, because he realizes that he’s hers and she’s all his, and her hugga buggas show him how much she loves him.

  2. The Giant Hug - How do you give your granny a hug when she lives far away? Send it through the mail, of course! Owen’s hug travels across the country in a series of hilarious, sometimes awkward, always heartfelt embraces between animals of different shapes and sizes. Valeri Gorbachev’s adorable artwork pairs beautifully with Sandra Horning’s charming text, and makes for a fun, funny, and educational read-aloud. An unexpected twist at the end will delight readers and have kids asking for this book again and again.

  3. No Hugs! - Zara loves hugs, so she is confused and upset when her friend Alice doesn’t want a hug. When the tables are turned, she appreciates her friend’s perspective and realizes that a hug takes two willing individuals.

  4. Cedric and the Dragon - Prince Cedric is slow to walk, has a tough time with reading and math, and fails miserably at dragon slaying school. But with kindness and bravery, and his love for hugs, Cedric saves the kingdom. This cheerful picture book teaches kids that there are many ways to solve a problem and reinforces the idea that everyone has something special to offer.

Cuddle Monkey book
#10
Cuddle Monkey
Written by Blake Liliane Hellman and illustrated by Chad Otis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little monkey looks for the perfect cuddle while his parents are busy with his new baby brother in this insanely adorable picture book about learning to be an older sibling.

Lewis loves to cuddle. But ever since his baby brother Owen was born, cuddle time with his mom and dad has been in short supply. Lewis, however, remains undaunted! He wants his cuddles! So:

He cuddles his favorite book. He cuddles his stuffed animals, Hedwig, Lamby, and Monster Dude. He even cuddles a puddle, just because it rhymes!

But cuddling the bus driver turns out to be a little dangerous. Cuddling at dinner is too messy. And cuddling Owen is wiggly and squiggly. Then Lewis finds that a cuddle doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be just the cuddle you need.

Grandma's Purse book
#11
Grandma's Purse
Written and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Spend the day with a grandma and granddaughter in this charming picture book about the magic found in their favorite accessory, perfect for readers who love How to Babysit a Grandma!

When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats…and her purse. You never know what she’ll have in there—fancy jewelry, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it’s pure magic!

In this adorable, energetic ode to visits from grandma, beloved picture book creator Vanessa Brantley Newton shows how an ordinary day can become extraordinary.

A Hug Is for Holding Me book
#12
A Hug Is for Holding Me
Written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Lisk Feng
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A Hug Is for Holding Me is a sweet, cozy book about love and affection and invites children to engage with the natural world in a fresh, new way. Some hugs are tight and some hugs are snug . . . but guess who gives the BEST hugs?

How to Build a Hug book
#13
How to Build a Hug
Written by Jacqueline Tourville and Amy Guglielmo and illustrated by Giselle Potter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Giselle Potter come together to tell the inspiring story of autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin and her brilliant invention: the hug machine. As a young girl, Temple Grandin loved folding paper kites, making obstacle courses, and building lean-tos. But she really didn’t like hugs. Temple wanted to be held—but to her, hugs felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world; like a tidal wave of dentist drills, sandpaper, and awful cologne, coming at her all at once. Would she ever get to enjoy the comfort of a hug? Then one day, Temple had an idea. If she couldn’t receive a hug, she would make one…she would build a hug machine!

Bugs Don't Hug book
#14
Bugs Don't Hug
Written by Heather L. Montgomery and illustrated by Stephen Stone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Meet the mamas and papas of the insect world in this fresh and funny nonfiction look at how bugs are like us from popular science author and teacher Heather Montgomery. Most insects don’t take care of their young, but some do—in surprising ways. Some bugs clean up after their messy little ones, cater to their picky eaters, and yes—hug their baby bugs. A fun and clever look at parenting in the insect world, perfect for backyard scientists and their own moms and dads.

  1. Operation Rescue Dog - This sweet story about a girl named Alma and a stray dog named Lulu shows how a girl and a dog can rescue each other. Lulu’s ears flap in the wind as the rescue truck rolls into the lot. Lulu’s tail thumps— Everything smells . . . new. Lulu sleeps under the moon, drinking from mud puddles and is covered in ticks until she is rescued. She waits for the Operation Rescue Dog truck, scared and uncertain. Alma misses her Mami, who is far away in Iraq. Alma wears Mami’s scarf around her like a hug. She wonders: Can a dog feel like a hug? In this heartwarming and moving picture book, a lonely child and a lonely dog come together and find warmth, companionship, and love in each other.

  2. Hug Me Please - When Daddy Bear tells Little Bear that the best thing is to hug someone, Little Bear has an idea: let’s give Mr Beaver a hug! And Miss Weasel! And the Hares! And the Big Bad Wolf! Before long, they’ve hugged nearly everyone in the forest. But aren’t they forgetting someone? Hug Me, Please! is an irresistible picture book that will warm the hearts of parents and children alike, from a brand-new, hugely talented picture book duo. Perfect for Father’s Day – and any day you need a hug.

  3. Hugs and Kisses for the Grouchy Ladybug - From the World of Eric Carle comes a brand-new book starring the Grouchy Ladybug, a favorite character for over 40 years! Perfect for fans of Love from the Hungry Caterpillar, this reminds us that that hugs and kisses truly make the world go ‘round and that we all need love, even when we’re grouchy! With Eric Carle’s signature bright collage illustrations featuring an array of charming animals, this is the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, or any time you want to share love with someone special. With its universal message of friendship, this little gift book is perfect for all ages! Hugs and kisses for the grouchy ladybug will make you smile, clap, and jump for joy!

  4. Sloppy Takes the Plunge - Everyone loves a good hug and a good bath! Sloppy the tree dragon doesn’t want to take a bath. “Being mucky is what a tree dragon is all about.” Could it be that getting clean is nearly as fun as getting dirty?

Baby's Firsts book
#19
Baby's Firsts
Written by Nancy Raines Day and illustrated by Michael Emberley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Told in rhyming text, the story traces the development of a baby from birth to his first birthday.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!