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Illness: Picture Books For Kids

This list of the best picture books about illness is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life!

Madeline book
#1
Madeline
Written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines the smallest one was Madeline.” Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not mice, not even getting sick. With its endearing, courageous heroine, cheerful humor, and wonderful, whimsical drawings of Paris, the Madeline stories are true classics that continue to charm readers even after 75 years!

Finding Granny book
#2
Finding Granny
Written by Kate Simpson and illustrated by Gwynneth Jones
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Every two seconds, someone in the world suffers a stroke. In Finding Granny, that someone is Edie’s beloved grandmother. When Edie comes to the hospital, she is confronted by the physical changes in her grandmother: muddled words, a crooked face, a woman confined to bed. This isn’t the ‘playtime, bedtime, story-time pantomime Granny’ that Edie knows. "That’s not my Granny," she says, as she waits outside in the corridor during her mother’s visits. But when her mother takes Edie to watch one of Granny’s art therapy sessions, Edie starts to understand that the Granny she loves is still there. Finding Granny is a heart-warming story of changing relationships and the bond between children and grandparents. It’s also a sensitive exploration of coping with illness and disability that will offer children much-needed comfort.

The Promise book
#3
The Promise
Written by Margie Wolfe, Pnina Bat Zvi and illustrated by Isabelle Cardinal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The night that Rachel and Toby’s parents are taken away by the Nazis, they give their daughters three gold coins. “Use these wisely to help save your lives,” they tell them. They also ask the girls to promise that they will always stay together. This compelling true story follows the girls as they confront the daily horrors of Auschwitz, protecting one another, sharing memories, fears and even laughter. Always together. But when Rachel becomes ill and is taken away by Nazi guards, likely forever, Toby risks her life to use the wellhidden gold coins to rescue her little sister.

How Tickles Saved Pickles book
#4
How Tickles Saved Pickles
Written and illustrated by Maddie Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Esther the Wonder Pig meets Little Book of Sloth in this charming true story about the adorable Instagram stars, Pickles the pig and his friend—the hog-turned-hero—Tickles. Pickles the Pig (@LivingwithPickles) has been featured on The Dodo, Inside Edition, and People! Pickles is a pig, rescued as a wee one and now living it up at his forever home. But one day Pickles becomes very sick. His only hope? One big sow with an even bigger heart on a faraway farm…but will she get to Pickles in time? Learn the true story about one extraordinary pig and his savior in this inspiring photographic picture book!

On Our Street book
#5
On Our Street
Written by Jaime Casap, Jillian Roberts and illustrated by Jane Heinrichs
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A gentle introduction to the issue of poverty, On Our Street explores the realities of people living with inadequate resources. Using age-appropriate language, this book addresses mental illness, homelessness and refugee status as they are connected to this issue. Insightful quotes from individuals and organizations such as unicef are included to add further perspective on the issue. A section on how kids can help empowers readers to take what they have learned and use it to make a difference. Child psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts created this series to guide parents/caregivers through conversations about difficult issues in a reassuring and hopeful manner and help children understand their expanding awareness of the world around them.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!