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84+ Intriguing Children's Books About Imagination

Looking for fabulous kids books to foster your child's imagination?

This book list is the one-stop shop for the most imaginative kids books to inspire creativity and flexible thinking. Psychology research has long discovered that imagination affects children’s cognitive development, leading to better problem solving skills and creativity. We think Albert Einstein sums it up pretty well in just a few significant sentences:

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

Try filtering our book list for specific ages. Select board books to find well-known books like “Not a Box” and classic stories like “Peter Pan” that are tailored specifically for little minds. Filter for picture books for gems like “The Magical Life of Mr. Renny” and “The Nowhere Box” that will encourage young readers to try their own creative ideas and improve their creative play. Check out our chapter book section of the list for new imaginative characters and worlds that also work great as read-alouds for younger ears.

We’re sure you’ll rediscover old favorites and find new treasured titles enjoyable for every age (even for you, parents!). Let us know what books you would add to our list!

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Top 10 Books About Imagination

#1
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Where the Wild Things Are
Written & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Where the Wild Things Are is fifty years old! Maurice Sendak’s Caldecott Medal-winning picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children’s books of all time. A must for every child’s bookshelf.

Introduce a new generation to Max’s imaginative journey with this special anniversary edition. Let the wild rumpus continue as this classic comes to life like never before with new reproductions of Maurice Sendak’s artwork.

Astonishing state-of-the-art technology faithfully captures the color and detail of the original illustrations. Sendak himself enthusiastically endorsed this impressive new interpretation of his art before his death in 2012. This iconic story has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations.

#2
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Harold and the Purple Crayon
Written & illustrated by Crockett Johnson
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book is a wonderful example of imagination and the joy it brings! Harold can do anything he imagines. I love the simplicity of this book--all it takes is a purple crayon.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Essential Picture Book Classics—timeless stories for every child to treasure. “One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.” Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement. Full of funny twists and surprises, this joyful story shows just how far your imagination can take you. Harold and the Purple Crayon has delighted readers of all ages for over fifty years.

#3
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Max's Castle
Written by Kate Banks & illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers
Max's Castle is a really clever book and sure to fascinate any early reader. The book brilliantly explores words by mixing around or swapping the letters in one word to create an amalgamation of similar words and anagrams. Early readers are sure to enjoy, for example, that by simply adding an "l" block to the word "adder," Max and his three brothers smartly create a ladder to escape from the dangerous adder in the dungeon of the castle. Kate Banks and Boris Kulikov have some fun with the illustrations and anagrams surprising us with threatening pirates in one page before turning "pirates" into harmless "rat pies" in the next page. This book is sure to delight readers with its wit and imaginative exploration of letters.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Max finds a pile of forgotten toys under the bed, his brothers Benjamin and Karl wonder what’s so special about some old blocks. So Max shows them. With some clever twists of both blocks and imagination, he constructs not only a castle but an entire adventure, complete with pirates and knights, a dark dungeon and a dragon. This ingenious sequel to Max’s Words and Max’s Dragons shows readers just how much fun wordplay can be.

#4
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A House That Once Was
Written by Julie Fogliano & illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The dynamic duo of Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Award–winning illustrator Lane Smith team up to tell a delightful story about a boy and a girl who explore an abandoned house and imagine who might have lived there in A House That Once Was. Deep in the woods is a house just a house that once was but now isn’t a home. Who lived in that house? Who walked down its hallways? Why did they leave it, and where did they go? Two children set off to find the answers, piecing together clues found, books left behind, forgotten photos, discarded toys, and creating their own vision of those who came before.

#5
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Written by Roald Dahl & illustrated by Quentin Blake
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the author of The BFG and Matilda!

Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

#6
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The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
If I could, I'd rate this book higher! This has been my favorite chapter book for the past year, and is the perfect book to ignite and strengthen a reader's imagination, all while going on an incredible, courageous journey.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals — the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, “oily” Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with “peace, love and a sense of fun”— apart from and forgotten by people. But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland. With the Professor’s help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart’s desire. Julie Andrews Edwards, star of stage and screen, has written a unique and beloved story that has become a modern classic. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is sure to continue to delight readers everywhere. This edition includes a new foreword by the author.

#7
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The Magical Life of Mr. Renny
Written & illustrated by Leo Timmers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When he is unable to sell his paintings and has no money for food, Mr. Renny meets a man who is able to make his paintings come to life.

#8
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I Spy with My Little Eye
Written & illustrated by Paula Vasquez
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Mouse and Little Bear take readers on a journey with each page. Start with a color, point out a shape, and then use your imagination. Is that blue square an open window? Brrr! It’s chilly outside. And is that a red triangle? No, it is a scary volcano. Perfect for bedtime or playtime, this fun and unique primer puts a new spin on a classic game, teaching colors, shapes, and creative play.

#9
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Dog Loves Drawing
Written & illustrated by Louise Yates
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
Such a cute book about imagination and the fun adventures it will take you. :) I love that this book starts with the dog unsure of what to think up next, and that it gives the idea to doodle to gain some inspiration. :)
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dog loves books, but one day he receives a strange one in the mail—it’s blank! Soon, Dog realizes that this book is not for reading, but for drawing. Before long, Dog is doodling and drawing himself into a new world, full of friends and surprises.

#10
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The Book of Mistakes
Written & illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Zoom meets Beautiful Oops! in this memorable picture book debut about the creative process, and the way in which “mistakes” can blossom into inspiration

One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake. The weird frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush. And the inky smudges… they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky.

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

Fans of Peter Reynolds’s Ish and Patrick McDonnell’s A Perfectly Messed-Up Story will love the funny, poignant, completely unique storytelling of The Book of Mistakes. And, like Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, it makes the perfect graduation gift, encouraging readers to have a positive outlook as they learn to face life’s obstacles.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Imagination and...

Books About Imagination and Siblings

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When Charlie McButton Lost Power
Written by Suzanne Collins & illustrated by Mike Lester
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
A wonderful book about unplugging and using your imagination and spending time with those you love! :) I didn't love the illustrations at first, but they've really grown on my and I think they, and the rest of this book, are so fun! I especially think all of the wording and rhyme is fantastic.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Charlie McButton likes computer games so much, he never plays with anything else. When a thunderstorm knocks out the electricity, his tech empire comes tumbling down, and his whole world loses power. Charlie needs batteries?FAST! But the only triple- A?s he can find are in his little sister?s talking doll. Will he resort to desperate measures and cause his sister to have a meltdown of her own? Or will he snap out of his computer craze long enough to realize his sister might be fun, even if she doesn?t come with batteries? Collins and Lester team up for a hilarious and timely tale that will crack up young computer addicts and those who love them!

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The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
If I could, I'd rate this book higher! This has been my favorite chapter book for the past year, and is the perfect book to ignite and strengthen a reader's imagination, all while going on an incredible, courageous journey.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals — the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, “oily” Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with “peace, love and a sense of fun”— apart from and forgotten by people. But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland. With the Professor’s help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart’s desire. Julie Andrews Edwards, star of stage and screen, has written a unique and beloved story that has become a modern classic. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is sure to continue to delight readers everywhere. This edition includes a new foreword by the author.

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Dory Fantasmagory
Written & illustrated by Abby Hanlon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Move over, Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean! Here comes a lovably energetic little sister with a BIG personality—and an imagination to match!

As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for.

With plenty of pictures bursting with charm and character, this hilarious book about an irresistible rascal is the new must-read for the chapter book set.

Honorable Mentions
Maggie and Wendel: Imagine Everything! book
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The Nowhere Box book
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Fort on the Moon book
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I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato book
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  1. Maggie and Wendel: Imagine Everything! - In this charming picture book, brother and sister elephants come together for an afternoon of epic adventures as they let their big imaginations take them to the wildest of places! When it comes to playtime, Maggie and Wendel’s imaginations are limitless. Whether the elephant siblings are pretending to rescue a pal from a burning building, buying a pet dragon at the pet store, or going on a wild jungle safari, no adventure is too far-fetched. Perfect for young siblings of any age, this beautifully illustrated story with minimal text will enchant young readers and show every brother and sister that, with a little imagination, it is possible to get along.

  2. The Nowhere Box - Frustrated by little brothers who follow him everywhere and wreck his toys and games, George commandeers an empty washing machine box for an imaginative escape that is free of pirates, dragons and bothersome younger siblings.

  3. Fort on the Moon - A boy and his older brother hatch a plan to return to the moon for the fourth time in their homemade rocket. This time, they’re going to build something extra-special. Using a bunch of “junk” their mom left in a heap by the back door, brothers Fox and Dodge Wilder blast off by night for their fifth trip to the moon. They strap into their old car-seats and put on their protective bike helmets and winter coats. Ready for lift off! When they land, they set to work on a magnificent fort. It’s hard work, and sometimes they face setbacks, but Dodge knows he can always turn to his older brother for inspiration. When they’re done, they return to the comfort of home and breakfast Did the trip really take place, or was it only in the kids’ imagination? A Fort on the Moon will resonate with any child with a passion for fantasy, adventure, and invention, and parents are sure to love the heartwarming bond of two brothers in a world of their own.

  4. I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato - Lola is a fussy eater. A very fussy eater. She won’t eat her carrots (until her brother Charlie reveals that they’re orange twiglets from Jupiter). She won’t eat her mashed potatoes (until Charlie explains that they’re cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji). There are many things Lola won’t eat, including - and especially - tomatoes. Or will she? Two endearing siblings star in a witty story about the triumph of imagination over proclivity.

Want to see books about siblings?

Books About Imagination and Drawing

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Harold and the Purple Crayon
Written & illustrated by Crockett Johnson
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book is a wonderful example of imagination and the joy it brings! Harold can do anything he imagines. I love the simplicity of this book--all it takes is a purple crayon.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Essential Picture Book Classics—timeless stories for every child to treasure. “One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.” Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement. Full of funny twists and surprises, this joyful story shows just how far your imagination can take you. Harold and the Purple Crayon has delighted readers of all ages for over fifty years.

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Dog Loves Drawing
Written & illustrated by Louise Yates
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
Such a cute book about imagination and the fun adventures it will take you. :) I love that this book starts with the dog unsure of what to think up next, and that it gives the idea to doodle to gain some inspiration. :)
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dog loves books, but one day he receives a strange one in the mail—it’s blank! Soon, Dog realizes that this book is not for reading, but for drawing. Before long, Dog is doodling and drawing himself into a new world, full of friends and surprises.

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Chalk
Written & illustrated by Bill Thomson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Three children discover a magical bag of chalk on a rainy day

Honorable Mentions
Sam & Eva book
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Draw! book
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Flora's Tree House book
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  1. Sam & Eva - Harold and the Purple Crayon meets Tom and Jerry in this sweet and funny picture book about a boy and girl who must balance their creativity and figure out how to cooperate after their drawings come to life. When Sam starts drawing a super cool velociraptor, Eva decides to join in. But Sam isn’t too happy about the collaboration. Soon Eva and Sam are locked in an epic creative clash, bringing to life everything from superhero marmots to exploding confetti. But when their masterpieces turn to mayhem will Sam stay stubbornly solo or will he realize that sometimes the best work comes from teamwork?

  2. Draw! - Based on his own childhood, beloved and award-winning artist Raúl Colón’s wordless book is about the limitless nature of creativity and imagination. A boy alone in his room. Pencils. Sketchbook in hand. What would it be like to go on safari? Imagine. Draw… A boy named Leonardo begins to imagine and then to draw a world afar—first a rhinoceros, and then he meets some monkeys, and he always has a friendly elephant at his side. Soon he finds himself in the jungle and carried away by the sheer power of his imagination, seeing the world through his own eyes and making friends along the way.

  3. Flora's Tree House - Flora entertains herself by drawing and painting. Will leaps from trees and swings branches like they’re swords. The two siblings have always played separately, until Will is curious about what exactly Flora is putting in her sketchbook. Flora reveals that she has been drawing—and enhancing—all of Will’s imaginary adventures, and making up some of her own. In one joyful afternoon, brother and sister discover that playing together is always more fun. This irresistible and thoughtful story about siblings has expressive, vibrant art as stunning as the adventures the children go on. It is perfect for fans of Jonathan D. Voss’s Brave Enough for Two and Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers.

Want to see books about drawing?

Books About Imagination and Playing

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Max's Castle
Written by Kate Banks & illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers
Max's Castle is a really clever book and sure to fascinate any early reader. The book brilliantly explores words by mixing around or swapping the letters in one word to create an amalgamation of similar words and anagrams. Early readers are sure to enjoy, for example, that by simply adding an "l" block to the word "adder," Max and his three brothers smartly create a ladder to escape from the dangerous adder in the dungeon of the castle. Kate Banks and Boris Kulikov have some fun with the illustrations and anagrams surprising us with threatening pirates in one page before turning "pirates" into harmless "rat pies" in the next page. This book is sure to delight readers with its wit and imaginative exploration of letters.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Max finds a pile of forgotten toys under the bed, his brothers Benjamin and Karl wonder what’s so special about some old blocks. So Max shows them. With some clever twists of both blocks and imagination, he constructs not only a castle but an entire adventure, complete with pirates and knights, a dark dungeon and a dragon. This ingenious sequel to Max’s Words and Max’s Dragons shows readers just how much fun wordplay can be.

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What To Do With a Box
Written by Jane Yolen & illustrated by Chris Sheban
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I love how this book encourages creativity and imaginative play. This book doesn't have a lot of text, but I like that it's simple and shows how many different things you can do with a box.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

If you give a child a box, who can tell what will happen next? It may become a library or a boat. It could set the scene for a fairy tale or a wild expedition. The most wonderful thing is its seemingly endless capacity for magical adventure, a feature imaginatively captured in cardboardesque art by Chris Sheban and rhythmically celebrated in this poetic tribute by renowned children’s author Jane Yolen.

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Dressing Up
Written & illustrated by Carol Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

We’re amazing! We can dress up, sing, dance and make music. There’s nobody quite like us! Enjoy the antics of this inclusive and diverse group of friends, as they celebrate the natural and boundless creativity to be found in every child.

Honorable Mentions
Penny and Penelope book
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The Fort book
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Ruby's Sword book
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Roxaboxen book
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  1. Penny and Penelope - Two girls on a play date learn there’s more to each other than meets the eye with a little help from their dolls in this exciting picture book adventure. Penny and Penelope are very different dolls. Penelope is a sweet princess, while Penny is a fierce secret agent. Penelope wants to ride her pony through the countryside, while Penny wants to wrestle alligators. How can they possibly get along playing in an imaginary kingdom? Luckily, Penny and Penelope are more than their packaging. After all, you can’t judge a doll by its outfit.

  2. The Fort - Can a pirate and a prince learn to share? In the fort in the woods, a prince is preparing his castle for a lively feast for the royal kingdom. Unbeknownst to him, a pirate uses the same fort as her ship, planning to venture out to the open seas in search of treasure. But when a treasure map appears on the prince’s party invitations, and the pirate finds that her sword has turned into a scepter, they realize there is an intruder in the castle―no, ship! Soon, a battle over the fort between the adversaries ensues, leading to a humorous showdown. When they make amends, their amazing imaginations come up with a new adventure…together. Kids will revel in the spirited and imaginative battle and be thrilled by the turn of events. Dynamic and charismatic illustrations bring this witty tale and its celebration of sharing and teamwork to life.

  3. Ruby's Sword - Ruby is always racing after her big brothers. But no matter how hard she tries, she can never catch up. Then one day, she discovers some sticks in the grass. Not just any sticks—swords! And suddenly the world is her kingdom. Readers will cheer on Ruby’s perseverance and creativity as they delight in the antics of the adorable animals that join her along the way. Anyone who has ever imagined themselves the star of their own swashbuckling adventure will find this sweet book irresistible.

  4. Roxaboxen - Marian called it Roxaboxen. (She always knew the name of everything.) There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill — nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo — but it was a special place: a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops. Come with us there, where all you need to gallop fast and free is a long stick and a soaring imagination. In glowing desert hues, artist Barbara Cooney has caught the magic of Alice McLerran’s treasured land of Roxaboxen — a place that really was, and, once you’ve been there, always is.

Books About Imagination and Bravery

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Written by Roald Dahl & illustrated by Quentin Blake
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the author of The BFG and Matilda!

Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

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Lionheart
Written & illustrated by Richard Collingridge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Richard hears something in his room before bedtime. Is it a monster? He doesn’t wait to find out and sets off running through the streets, over the hills, through the forest, and into the fields until he finds himself in a magical jungle. With the help of his stuffed lion Lionheart, Richard finds the courage he needs to face his fears.

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Circus Girl
Written & illustrated by Clare Pernice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a little girl plays dress up in her leotard and socks she becomes Circus Girl star of the show. Even her toys morph into her dreamscape of circus acts. At each page turn she jumps and tumbles, flies through the air, juggles, spins, balances and contorts. Vibrant and winsome, modern and timeless the illustrations and words convey a captured childhood moment with directness and simplicity.

Honorable Mentions
Brave Molly book
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The Red Boat book
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  1. Brave Molly - What do you do when no one can see your monsters but you? At first, Molly runs from them. But they follow her down the sidewalk, getting in the way when she tries to make a new friend, popping up unexpectedly out of shadows, and multiplying. Until finally…Molly faces her fears. Author-illustrator Brooke Boynton-Hughes delivers a modern classic in this moving adventure that honors everyday acts of bravery and the power of friendship to banish the monsters that haunt us.

  2. The Red Boat - Posy is afraid of her new house and all the unknown that comes with it, but when she and her dog find a red boat in the garden, she imagines all kinds of adventures and gains confidence despite being the new kid.

Want to see books about bravery?

Books About Imagination and Magic

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The Magical Life of Mr. Renny
Written & illustrated by Leo Timmers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When he is unable to sell his paintings and has no money for food, Mr. Renny meets a man who is able to make his paintings come to life.

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Two of Everything
Written & illustrated by Lily Toy Hong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When old Mr. Haktak digs up a curious brass pot in his garden, he has no idea what use it can be. On his way home, Mr. Haktak decides to carry his coin purse in the mysterious pot. But when Mrs. Haktak’s hairpin accidentally slips into the pot and she reaches in to retrieve it, the magic of the pot is revealed. Not only are there two hairpins inside, but there are also two purses!

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Day Dreamers
Written & illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Emily Winfield Martin shows little ones that letting their imaginations run free will lead them into fantastical day dreams. Whether cloud-gazing or wandering through a museum, reading a book or playing in a tide pool, the children in this board book encounter magical creatures such as dragons, unicorns, griffins, and jackalopes.

Honorable Mentions
Mary Poppins book
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Julian Is a Mermaid book
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The Secret Garden book
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Yellow Submarine book
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  1. Mary Poppins - An extraordinary English nanny blows in on the East Wind with her parrot-headed umbrella and magic carpetbag and introduces her charges, Jane and Michael, to some delightful people and experiences. Children’s BOMC.

  2. Julian Is a Mermaid - In an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world. While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.

  3. The Secret Garden - Join Mary, Dickon, and Colin on their heartwarming journey of friendship and gardening magic. Filled with interactive wheels and pull-tabs, and lavishly illustrated, The Secret Garden is an unprecedented kid’s introduction to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved classic novel. Unlike many board books that tackle the classics, Lit for Little Hands tells the actual story in simple, engaging prose. Gorgeous springtime illustrations transport the reader to the gardens and halls of Misselthwaite Manor, while tons of interactive elements invite kids to help Mary discover the secret garden, make friends, and help Colin walk! Fans of the novel will be delighted by the book’s attention to detail and clever use of original text and dialogue. And the book’s super-sturdy board means everyone can enjoy this tale over . . . and over . . . and over again! The magic of the secret garden will return each time you read!

  4. Yellow Submarine - A whole new generation will be climbing aboard this sunny, psychedelic storybook, while nostalgic Beatles fans of all ages will be clamoring for a ticket to ride. Once upon a time (or maybe twice), some 80,000 leagues beneath the sea, there lay a colorful land of song and laughter called Pepperland, where Sergeant Pepper’s Band was always playing your song — until the Blue Meanies burst on the scene and chased all the music and magic away. So began the classic 1968 film Yellow Submarine, inspired by a song and hailed as an avant-garde amalgam of pop art, Beatles music, and highly innovative animation. Now that film’s dazzling images — and its lighthearted, witty tale — is showcased in a glorious picture book sure to be savored by fans and readers of all ages.

Books About Imagination and Books And Reading

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This Is Sadie
Written by Sara O'Leary & illustrated by Julie Morstad
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Sadie is a little girl with a big imagination. She has been a girl who lived under the sea and a boy raised by wolves. She has had adventures in wonderland and visited the world of fairytales. She whispers to the dresses in her closet and talks to birds in the treetops. She has wings that take her anywhere she wants to go, but that always bring her home again. She likes to make things — boats out of boxes and castles out of cushions. But more than anything Sadie likes stories, because you can make them from nothing at all. For Sadie, the world is so full of wonderful possibilities … This is Sadie, and this is her story.

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A Week Without Tuesday
Written by Angelica Banks & illustrated by Stevie Lewis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A charming adventure full of magic and mystery, set in the land where stories come from.

Something is broken in the land of story. Real and imaginary worlds are colliding—putting everything and everyone in grave peril. Tuesday and Baxterr, at the request of the Librarian, and with the help of Vivienne Small, venture to find the Gardener—the one person who can stop this catastrophe. On their way, they’ll meet friends and foes, and discover strengths they didn’t know they had. Will they be able to save the land of story?

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Ruby Starr
Written & illustrated by Deborah Lytton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ruby Starr has a big imagination and an even bigger love of books in this funny, authentic series starter Ruby Starr has always loved books. She loves them so much that her favorite day of school is when her lunchtime book club, The Unicorns, meet. So when Charlotte, the new girl in town, wants to turn the book club into a drama club, Ruby thinks her life is pretty much over. Not to mention that Charlotte is spending a lot of time with Ruby’s best friend… Is she stealing books and her BFF away from her? Ruby’s going to have to use her imagination and love of reading to solve this big problem.

Honorable Mentions
Duncan the Story Dragon book
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Don't Push the Button! book
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Lola Loves Stories with Daddy book
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A Child of Books book
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  1. Duncan the Story Dragon - Duncan the Dragon loves to read. When he reads a story, his imagination catches fire! Unfortunately . . . so does his book. Fire breath is great for roasting marshmallows, but it’s not so great for reading. Duncan just wants to get to those two wonderful words, like the last sip of a chocolate milk shake: The End. Will he ever find out how the story ends? This bright, warm tale champions determination, friendship, and a love for books. And milk shakes!

  2. Don't Push the Button! - The only rule in Larry’s book is that the reader not push the button, but when no one is looking, it may be irresistible.

  3. Lola Loves Stories with Daddy - Bookworms big and small will be charmed by lovable Lola in this delightful sequel to LOLA AT THE LIBRARY that celebrates imagination and the love of reading. Lola loves to go to the library with her daddy. Every night she reads a new story, and the next day, she acts it out. One day she’s a fairy princess, the next day she goes on a trip to Lagos! She becomes a tiger, a farmer, a pilot. . . . what will Lola be next? Children and adults will love following along with Lola’s adventures. LOLA LOVES STORIES is a wonderful introduction to the power of reading and how it can inspire young minds at the earliest ages.

  4. A Child of Books - A young reader introduces a boy to the many imaginative worlds that books bring to life.

Books About Imagination and Parents

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Where the Wild Things Are
Written & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Where the Wild Things Are is fifty years old! Maurice Sendak’s Caldecott Medal-winning picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children’s books of all time. A must for every child’s bookshelf.

Introduce a new generation to Max’s imaginative journey with this special anniversary edition. Let the wild rumpus continue as this classic comes to life like never before with new reproductions of Maurice Sendak’s artwork.

Astonishing state-of-the-art technology faithfully captures the color and detail of the original illustrations. Sendak himself enthusiastically endorsed this impressive new interpretation of his art before his death in 2012. This iconic story has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations.

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Poppy Pickle
Written & illustrated by Emma Yarlett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Poppy gets into a major pickle when her imagination comes alive!

Poppy has the most extraordinary imagination. When she is sent upstairs to clean her room, she just can’t help imagining, and suddenly . . . her imagination literally comes alive. Soon her room is jam-packed with all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures. There are a few problems, though: the mammoth puts his foot through the floor, and the hungry crocodile thinks Poppy would make a tasty snack. Poppy needs to get rid of all these creatures fast. But how?

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The Day I Lost My Superpowers
Written by Michael Escoffier & illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When a young superhero-in-training gets hurt, she discovers that mothers have superpowers, too.

Honorable Mentions
Mommy's Khimar book
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Things to Do with Dad book
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On a Magical Do-Nothing Day book
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Our Car book
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  1. Mommy's Khimar - Selected as a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Shelf Awareness! A young Muslim girl spends a busy day wrapped up in her mother’s colorful headscarf in this sweet and fanciful picture book from debut author and illustrator Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow and Ebony Glenn. A khimar is a flowing scarf that my mommy wears. Before she walks out the door each day, she wraps one around her head. A young girl plays dress up with her mother’s headscarves, feeling her mother’s love with every one she tries on. Charming and vibrant illustrations showcase the beauty of the diverse and welcoming community in this portrait of a young Muslim American girl’s life.

  2. Things to Do with Dad - Can a young boy figure out how to turn an obstacle into an opportunity in this nearly wordless picture book? A morning of fun with Dad takes a turn for the boring when a long to-do list interferes. At first content to let Dad cross things off his list, the boy in the story soon realizes that the whole day will be spent on chores — unless he can come up with a solution. In his singularly expressive, kid-friendly style, author-illustrator Sam Zuppardi crafts a colorful celebration of the fun that can be had with just a little imagination — and a trusty green crayon.

  3. On a Magical Do-Nothing Day - A compelling, magical picture book with whimsical, stunning art and heartfelt, charming text, from award-winning illustrator Beatrice Alemagna. “Hands down, Beatrice Alemagna is my favorite contemporary illustrator,” said the Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator of Last Stop on Market Street, Christian Robinson. All I want to do on a rainy day like today is play my game. My mom says it’s a waste of time, but without my game, nothing is fun! On the other hand, maybe I’m wrong about that… While reading On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, one gets the sense that the illustrator became lost in her drawings, and as a reader, you will want to do the same. Perfect for fans of picture books by Julie Morstad, Carson Ellis, Jon Klassen, and Tomi Ungerer. From the creator of The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy and A Lion in Paris!

  4. Our Car - This unique picture book for the youngest of car lovers celebrates driving, family, and imagination in a vibrant and simple tale with surprising heart. Full color.

Want to see books about parents?

Books About Imagination and Bears

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Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear
Written & illustrated by Monica Carnesi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Beatrice & Bear meet one spring day and become best buddies. They play together through summer and fall. Then winter comes and Beatrice can’t find Bear anywhere. She hears he’s gone to hibernate — but where on earth is that? When Beatrice learns that hibernation is not a place and that Bear will be sleeping all winter long, she fears it will be a lonely season…unless she can come up with a brilliant plan. This delightful story of an irrepressible bunny will engage readers on many levels as it celebrates creativity, making the best of circumstances, and the joy of the changing seasons.

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The Best Birthday Present Ever
Written & illustrated by Ben Mantle
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
I still remember the anxiety I felt as a child of having the birthday gift I brought to a party unwrapped and wondering what their reaction would be, so as Squirrel watches Bear unwrap fancier and fancier presents and questions the carefully chosen stick he'd brought, I felt with him, but Bear's reaction is utterly perfect and priceless and teaches a great lesson about imagination, graciousness and the power of friendship. The illustrations are adorable too!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Squirrel is super excited: he’s been invited to Big Bear’s birthday party! Now he just has to find the perfect present for his friend—but what can you give a bear who already has EVERYTHING? Squirrel searches and searches and chooses . . . a stick! As Bear unwraps his stack of gifts Squirrel begins to worry: is it enough? But with a little imagination, and a good friend, even the simplest stick can become magical. This funny, heartwarming story of friendship is a great gift—and not just for bears!

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Please Bring Balloons
Written & illustrated by Lindsay Ward
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Emma finds a note tucked into the saddle of a carousel polar bear asking her to bring balloons, and soon she is off on an amazing adventure.

Honorable Mentions
Loved to Bits book
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The Bear on the Stair book
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When I Draw a Panda book
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Pine & Boof: Blast Off! book
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  1. Loved to Bits - Ted and his boy do everything together.They fight beasts and have feasts.They tickle monsters then flee on rafts, They search, explore, escape. . . . and laugh.But sometimes things get rough, and Teddy loses an ear.He’s still got his best one though, never fear! And an eye? PING!It’s nothing-he didn’t feel a thing!A leg, then the other. An arm, and then the next.What do you do with a broken Ted?You lay down with him at night and snuggle in bed.

  2. The Bear on the Stair - Look over there! A bear on the stair. Why is he there? Read on…if you dare!

  3. When I Draw a Panda - From the acclaimed author and illustrator of The Big Umbrella comes a delightful celebration of creativity and gumption about a girl and her panda that’s Calvin and Hobbes meets If You Give a Mouse a Cookie! Sometimes when they say to draw a perfect circle, mine turn out a little wonky.
    I can draw a perfect fluffy cloud, a perfect scoop of ice cream, and a perfect flat tire.
    So when I draw a panda, I keep drawing more and more not-perfect circles until I see a panda.
    Then I step back and think, Does it need something else? He probably needs a hat, and then he is my panda.
    When a girl draws a panda, it comes to life and helps her embrace her own creativity and unique way of seeing the world.

  4. Pine & Boof: Blast Off! - Frog and Toad meets Elephant & Piggie in the second installment of a humorous and heartfelt picture book series about the adventures of Boof the bear and Pine the porcupine, from the acclaimed author-illustrator of There’s a Giraffe in My Soup and I Am Not a Chair! There’s no one Boof the bear would rather spend the day with than his best friend—Pine the porcupine. And there’s nothing he’d rather do than collect things, which is his favorite hobby of all time. So one day, when Boof is collecting rocks with Pine, he doesn’t think the day could get any better, until . . . An egg falls on Boof’s head—all the way from outer space! Now it’s up to Pine and Boof to return the space egg to its space nest . . . before it hatches. They’ll need a rocket ship, space training, and plenty of sandwiches for the trip. But most important, they’ll need each other to complete a mission that’s out of this world! Pine & Boof: Blast Off! tells the story of an unlikely friendship through highly original characters and vibrant illustrations that are impossible not to love.

Want to see books about bears?

Books About Imagination and Colors

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Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire
Written by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville & illustrated by Brigette Barrager
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Brigette Barrager team up to tell the joyful and unique story of the trailblazing Disney artist Mary Blair.

Mary Blair lived her life in color: vivid, wild color.

From her imaginative childhood to her career as an illustrator, designer, and animator for Walt Disney Studios, Mary wouldn’t play by the rules. At a time when studios wanted to hire men and think in black and white, Mary painted twinkling emerald skies, peach giraffes with tangerine spots, and magenta horses that could fly.

She painted her world.

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I Spy with My Little Eye
Written & illustrated by Paula Vasquez
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Mouse and Little Bear take readers on a journey with each page. Start with a color, point out a shape, and then use your imagination. Is that blue square an open window? Brrr! It’s chilly outside. And is that a red triangle? No, it is a scary volcano. Perfect for bedtime or playtime, this fun and unique primer puts a new spin on a classic game, teaching colors, shapes, and creative play.

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Written by Jennifer Adams & illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

There’s more to the story than just lions, tigers, and bears – there are also so many colors to explore! From the wicked witch and her evil black dress, to the good witch Glinda and her bright pink socks, you’ll find all of the familiar characters of Oz decked out in brilliant technicolor!

Honorable Mentions
The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse book
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Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color book
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Pirate Nap book
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Press Here book
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  1. The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse - Every child has an artist inside them, and this vibrant picture book from Eric Carle will help let it out. The artist in this book paints the world as he sees it, just like a child. There’s a red crocodile, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a polka-dotted donkey. More than anything, there’s imagination. Filled with some of the most magnificently colorful animals of Eric Carle’s career, this tribute to the creative life celebrates the power of art.

  2. Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color - A vibrant picture book featuring an irrepressible new character—perfect for fans of The Dot and Beautiful Oops!—from acclaimed illustrator Julia Denos. In a place where color ran wild, there lived a girl who was wilder still. Her name was Swatch, and color was her passion. From brave green to in-between gray to rumble-tumble pink . . . Swatch wanted to collect them all. But colors don’t always like to be tamed. . . . This is an exuberant celebration of all the beauty and color that make up our lives.

  3. Pirate Nap - Two brothers use their imaginations to turn their surroundings—from a white bandana and yellow coins to a red blanket and even their baby sister— into a colorful pirate adventure before naptime.

  4. Press Here - PRESS HERE, MIX IT UP!, LET’S PLAY! and now SAY ZOOP! Collect all four interactive books from Hervé Tullet! Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size! Especially remarkable because the adventure occurs on the flat surface of the simple, printed page, this unique picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages!

Want to see books about colors?

Books About Imagination and Problem Solving

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The Book of Mistakes
Written & illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Zoom meets Beautiful Oops! in this memorable picture book debut about the creative process, and the way in which “mistakes” can blossom into inspiration

One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake. The weird frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush. And the inky smudges… they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky.

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

Fans of Peter Reynolds’s Ish and Patrick McDonnell’s A Perfectly Messed-Up Story will love the funny, poignant, completely unique storytelling of The Book of Mistakes. And, like Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, it makes the perfect graduation gift, encouraging readers to have a positive outlook as they learn to face life’s obstacles.

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The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written & illustrated by Dave Wasson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Buster Bickles’s big ideas are always getting him into trouble. But when Buster gets to test the newly invented What-if Machine, anything Buster imagines becomes reality. Packed with rivers of chocolate, robot dinosaurs, and eggs-ray vision, the world becomes Buster’s creation in this fantastically creative picture book by debut author-illustrator Dave Wasson.

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Beautiful Oops!
Written & illustrated by Barney Saltzberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

A life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator. An award winning, best-selling, one-of-a-kind interactive book, Beautiful Oops! shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.

Honorable Mentions
Max and Marla book
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Raj and the Best Day Ever book
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How to Trap a Leprechaun book
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Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble book
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  1. Max and Marla - Two fearless Olympians sled to victory in this delightful new picture book Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it’ll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories! With delightful illustrations and charming text, Alexandra Boiger brings to life the story of two unstoppable pals—true Olympians who never give up!

  2. Raj and the Best Day Ever - Best-selling illustrator Sebastien Braun introduces new character Raj in this celebration of the relationship between father and son. Raj and Dad are going on an adventure. They plan a list of all the things they will do. But then disaster strikes! Dad has left his wallet at home, and Raj thinks their day will be ruined. But maybe Raj and Dad can still have a great day—all they need is their imaginations and each other’s company!

  3. How to Trap a Leprechaun - Legend has it that if you catch a leprechaun, he’ll grant you a wish. But, be careful! Leprechauns are full of trickery. To catch one, you’ll need to be clever in crafting your trap. Grab some glitter and glue and get prepared for your wily holiday visitors! On the night before St. Patrick’s Day, leprechauns show up to steal your treasures and then disappear as quickly as they came. However, if you’re careful you might be able to catch one and then he’ll grant you a wish. You’ll have to be sneaky and set just the right trap to trap a leprechaun. Sue Fliess’s read-aloud text and Emma Randall’s whimsical illustrations will provide much fun for young readers eager to catch their very own leprechaun! But beware: leprechauns may leave you with nothing but a cardboard box and a shoe or two. Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

  4. Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble - El Skippito is back! His doggy pals want to visit the Under Mundo—the underworld—where mummitos rest in peas. But they need El Skippito’s brains and courage to answer the riddle of the Finx and enter the mummy’s tomb. Our hero is up to the task, and he’s in for another whirlwind adventure.

Books About Imagination and Imaginary Friends

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We Forgot Brock!
Written & illustrated by Carter Goodrich
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Phillip and Brock are best friends, although everyone else thinks Brock is imaginary, so when Phillip gets tired out at the Big Fair while Brock is still having fun, they are separated and it will take a very special twosome to bring them back together again.

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The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
Written & illustrated by Dan Santat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Winner of the 2015 Caldecott Medal This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle. New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat combines classic storytelling with breathtaking art, creating an unforgettable tale about friendship, imagination, and the courage to find one’s place in the world.

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Rumple Buttercup
Written & illustrated by Matthew Gray Gubler
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 0-12

A charming and inspiring story written and illustrated by Criminal Minds actor/director, Matthew Gray Gubler. Rumple Buttercup has five crooked teeth, three strands of hair, green skin, and his left foot is slightly bigger than his right. He is weird. Join him and Candy Corn Carl (his imaginary friend made of trash) as they learn the joy of individuality as well as the magic of belonging.

Honorable Mentions
Dory and the Real True Friend book
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Dory Dory Black Sheep book
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Dotty book
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The Wishing-Well Spell book
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  1. Dory and the Real True Friend - The star of Dory Fantasmagory is heading to school. Her older siblings, Luke and Violet, warn her to leave her imaginary friend, Mary, at home—or better yet, leave her whole imagination at home! But on her very first day she meets a new friend, a girl whose imagination and style are just about as wild as her own. Now she just has to convince her siblings that she’s not making it all up!

  2. Dory Dory Black Sheep - Ever since Dory met Rosabelle, a real true friend whose imagination and high spirits match her own, school has been pretty good. But now the class is learning to read, and it’s proving to be a challenge for Dory. While Rosabelle can read chapter books in her head, Dory is stuck with baby books about a happy little farm. Dory wishes for a potion to turn her into a reader but things don’t go as planned. Suddenly, a naughty little girl who looks an awful lot like Dory’s imaginary nemesis, Mrs. Gobble Gracker, shows up. And a black sheep leaves the pages of the farm book to follow Dory to school. It really needs her help–this seems like a job for a superhero! And it would help if she knew how to read.

  3. Dotty - It’s Ida’s first day of school. She carries her new lunch box and a long, blue string with her special friend Dotty attached to it. A big, colorfully spotted pal with horns, Dotty just happens to be invisible. On that first day of school, Ida and Dotty find out there are plenty of other imaginary friends in attendance. But as the year passes and fewer and fewer imaginary friends come to class, Ida begins to wonder if Dotty is welcome at school anymore . . . Perceptive and warmly funny, with charming art from exciting illustrator Julia Denos, Dotty is a celebration of the power of friendship and imagination.

  4. The Wishing-Well Spell - Remember me? Daisy Dreamer? Of course you do, silly! Well, Posey my totally true imaginary friend just cast a special wishing well spell. And you won’t believe what came true! Have you ever wished a wish? Do you remember what you wished for? Wait, don’t tell me, because then your wish might not come true. My made a wish once. They threw a coin down a well, but it never came true. At least not until my totally true imaginary friend Posey came along with a special wishing-well spell. And guess what? It wasn’t only their wish that came true. Almost everyone in town had cast wishes down that well. Sounds great, right? Well, maybe not. Let’s just say be careful what you wish for because with Posey around, it might just come true. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Daisy Dreamer chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Books About Imagination and Self-esteem

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What If...
Written by Samantha Berger & illustrated by Mike Curato
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Creativity, the power of imagination, and the importance of self-expression are celebrated in this inspiring picture book written and illustrated by real-life best friends. This girl is determined to express herself! If she can’t draw her dreams, she’ll sculpt or build, carve or collage. If she can’t do that, she’ll turn her world into a canvas. And if everything around her is taken away, she’ll sing, dance, and dream… Stunning mixed media illustrations, lyrical text, and a breathtaking gatefold conjure powerful magic in this heartfelt affirmation of art, imagination, and the resilience of the human spirit.

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When You Need Wings
Written & illustrated by Lita Judge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In the tradition of Where the Wild Things Are, beloved author-illustrator Lita Judge brings us a soaring story about the power of imagination.

On a day when you feel like no one is listening, and you wish you could just disappear, shut your eyes and listen. Do you hear it? That isn’t your heart. That is the sound of your very own wings beating within.

Acclaimed author-illustrator Lita Judge takes readers on a wonder-filled exploration of a child’s imagination, thoughtfully weaving in a gentle suggestion of how to explore that bountiful inner world and let it help them shine with courage in the real one.

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The Long Island
Written & illustrated by Drew Beckmeyer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Some of us like the comfort of familiarity—staying close to the home we’ve always known, making a life, building a community. For some, the intimacy of the old routine is satisfaction itself. But the known is not for everyone. When our 5 protagonists get to wondering what’s on the other side of their island, they can’t stop until they find out. What follows is an epic journey of discovery, danger, imagination, and ultimately, bittersweet fulfillment. Is this sophisticated picture book about man versus earth? Man versus man? Or man versus self? Like our protagonists, every reader will find their own right answer in this haunting and deceptively simple modern fable.

Honorable Mentions
Oh, the Places You'll Go! book
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Future Astronaut book
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Incredible You book
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Do Not Go in There book
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  1. Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss’s wonderfully wise Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is the perfect send-off for grads—from nursery school, high school, college, and beyond! From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. In a starred review, Booklist notes, “Seuss’s message is simple but never sappy: life may be a ‘Great Balancing Act,’ but through it all ‘There’s fun to be done.’” A perennial favorite and a perfect gift for anyone starting a new phase in their life!

  2. Future Astronaut - Ground Control to Major Baby: Could you be an astronaut? Does baby have what it takes to become an astronaut? That’s an affirmative, Houston! Discover all the incredible ways that prove baby already has what it takes to become an astronaut — from growing healthy teeth to eating from plastic packs to working in small spaces. Includes lots of fun astronaut facts to help prepare little ones for takeoff! Future Baby is an adorable new board book series that takes a playful peek into an assortment of powerful careers and shows little ones how their current skills match up with the job at hand. With Future Baby, babies can be anything!

  3. Incredible You - Ever had a bad day and wished that you were someone else? Perhaps a mountain gorilla? Or a fierce tiger? But wait . . . just think of all the amazing things that you can do! You can sing, you can write, and you can dream. And never stop being incredible you! This picture book brings a breath of fresh air for young children, filled with positivity, zest, and energy.

  4. Do Not Go in There - Do Not Go in There! is an encouraging picture book from debut author Ariel Horn and illustrator Izzy Burton that highlights the power of imagination while touching on themes of anxiety, curiosity, and bravery. Monsters Morton and Bogart are best friends. But they don’t always see eye to eye. So when they encounter a closed door, anxious Bogart wants to keep it closed, because there must be something really bad on the other side. But Morton thinks it’ll be something amazing! Which is it? Through bright, expressive illustrations, readers learn that, while not knowing can be frightening, being brave can lead to new discoveries. And even though your imagination can make it easy to worry, it can also make life better, less scary, and more fun. An Imprint Book

Books About Imagination and School

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Make-Believe Class
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon and Fran Manushkin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

One cold, gray, winter day, Miss Winkle leads Katie Woo and the rest of her class on an imaginary journey, challenging them to find ways to complete their lessons on a sunny island, under the sea, or on the moon.

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Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse
Written by Marcy Campbell & illustrated by Corinna Luyken
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This book is just beautiful: the story itself, the message, and of course the illustrations! The way that Adrian Simcox's white horse with the golden mane emerges from the white space, again and again, is amazing and truly captures the power and reality of imagination. Reminiscent of the oft-posed question of which is better—a lie that brings a smile or a truth that brings a tear—this story lands soundly on the side of the beauty of imagination and our power to create our own world.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A classic in the making, this heartwarming story about empathy and imagination is one that families will treasure for years to come.

Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse—the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.

But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?

The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.

Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.

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Super Manny Stands Up!
Written by Kelly DiPucchio & illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Stephanie Graegin bring a lionhearted new hero to life in this tender, sparkling story about standing up for what’s right—and finding your inner superpowers. Every day after school, Manny saves the world from formidable foes. I AM FEARLESS! I AM STRONG! I AM BRAVE! I AM POWERFUL! I AM INVINCIBLE! Zombie bears, evil cloud monsters, and alien robots with laser beam eyes are no match for Super Manny. But when Manny encounters a real-life nemesis in the school cafeteria, will he be able to summon his superhero strength to save the day?

Honorable Mentions
Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair book
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I Will Be Fierce book
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Posey, the Class Pest book
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  1. Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair - Polly and her magic book, Spell, have all kinds of adventures together because whatever Polly writes in Spell comes true! But when Polly and Spell join forces to make the school fair super spectacular, they quickly discover that what you write and what you mean are not always the same. Filled with the familiar details of home and school, but with a sprinkling of magic, this book is just right for fans of Ivy + Bean, Judy Moody, and Dory Fantasmagory, as well for aspiring writers, who, just like Polly, know the magic of stories.

  2. I Will Be Fierce - Today, I will be fierce! It’s a brand new day, and a young girl decides to take on the world like a brave explorer heading off on an epic fairytale quest. From home to school and back again, our hero conquers the Mountain of Knowledge (the library), forges new bridges (friendships), and leads the victorious charge home on her steed (the school bus). Written by Bea Birdsong and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani, I Will Be Fierce is a powerful picture book about courage, confidence, kindness, and finding the extraordinary in everyday moments.

  3. Posey, the Class Pest - Daisy brings her totally true imaginary friend, Posey, to visit her totally real school in this seventh Daisy Dreamer chapter book! Nerd alert! Guess what? I, Daisy Dreamer, have a big confession. I love school. You know what else I love? Posey. He’s my totally true imaginary friend. So if I were to mix school and Posey together, then I would have the absolutely, most perfect day. Obviously. Unfortunately, sometimes mixing two great things together makes for an absolutely huge mess, like grape juice and fluffy carpets, or lollipops and long hair. Well, I would not recommend mixing school and Posey together, unless you love having a classroom pest. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Daisy Dreamer chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Want to see books about school?

Books About Imagination and First Concepts

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Lines
Written by Sarvinder Naberhaus & illustrated by Melinda Beck
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Lines are all around us. They create squares. They form circles. They make up buildings within towns, and towns on Earth, and the Earth within the universe.

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Who Was That?
Written & illustrated by Olivier Tallec
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

This fresh, visually sophisticated follow-up to Who Done It? and Who What Where? tackles the topic of memory, as each page asks the reader to remember a detail about the characters featured on the page before. With die-cuts, clever folds, and imaginative illustrations, this book requires the sharpest readers’ keen attention! The call to action on every page makes this a wonderful lap read or read-aloud, and kids of all ages will love the memory games.

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Mix It Up!
Written & illustrated by Herve Tullet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Accept Hervé Tullet’s irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist’s simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page. Tullet prompts plenty of giggles in addition to a profound understanding of colors, and once again displays his unique genius and vision in a work that is a glorious and richly satisfying companion to Press Here.

Honorable Mentions
The Wim Wom from the Mustard Mill book
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Fairy Friends: A Colors Primer book
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Fairy Friends: An Opposites Primer book
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Can You Make a Scary Face? book
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  1. The Wim Wom from the Mustard Mill - What is a Wim Wom? It will eat beans, steal socks, and wipe its nose on coats, but what does it look like? Join the children as they try to imagine it form the clues their parents and grandparents give them. Eventually they decide that the Wim Wom does doesn’t really exist…or does it?

  2. Fairy Friends: A Colors Primer - From the creators of BabyLit(R) . . . Parents and children alike will be swept away by the whimsical imaginings of Merilee Liddiard’s board book Fairy Friends: A Colors Primer. Sunny fairy is yellow like a canary; Violet fairy is purple like a floral ring; Armanth fairy is pink like roses; Persimmon fairy is orange like a monarch. What color of fairy would you be? Merrilee Liddiard grew up in a splendid home filled with delightful artistic chaos and ample creativity. She spent most of her youth making things like lions out of oatmeal boxes and drawing little humans or animals and telling the tales that went along with them. She is known in the blog world for her love of kids design, toys and DIY crafts via her popular blog mermagblog.com. She has authored and illustrated the book PLAYFUL: Fun Projects to Make With + For Kids and sells many of her illustrations and designs as prints, and paper play things in her online shop.

  3. Fairy Friends: An Opposites Primer - From the creators of BabyLit(R) . . . Parents and children alike will be swept away by the whimsical imaginings of Merilee Liddiard’s board book Fairy Friends: An Opposites Primer. Reaching high and low; feeling hot and cold; dressing simple or fancy: discover, play, and spark your imagination with the Fairy Friends series enchanting illustrations to lead the way. Merrilee Liddiard grew up in a splendid home filled with delightful artistic chaos and ample creativity. She spent most of her youth making things like lions out of oatmeal boxes and drawing little humans or animals and telling the tales that went along with them. She is known in the blog world for her love of kids design, toys and DIY crafts via her popular blog mermagblog.com. She has authored and illustrated the book PLAYFUL: Fun Projects to Make With + For Kids and sells many of her illustrations and designs as prints, and paper play things in her online shop.

  4. Can You Make a Scary Face? - What kind of a face would you make if a tickly green bug were sitting on your nose? Or if it were—eek!—inside your shirt? Could you make a scary face to frighten it away? Or, even better, stand up and do the chicken dance? Yes? Then better get to it! This exuberant, interactive picture book starring a bossy little ladybug and a GIANT hungry frog will have kids leaping up and down and out of their seats to dance and make silly scary faces of their own.

Books About Imagination and Mythical Creatures

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Today I'll Be a Unicorn
Written & illustrated by Dana Simpson
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Who wouldn’t want to be a unicorn?

In this charming, super-sparkly board book, the stars of Phoebe and Her Unicorn celebrate the magical and enchanting world of being a unicorn, along with reminding young readers that being yourself is pretty great, too.

Who wouldn’t want to be a unicorn? You get to trot majestically through meadows, perch high up on rainbows, and wear tiaras made of starlight. Phoebe lists all the wonderful things she’ll get to do and can hardly contain her excitement about having a tail and magic horn. That is, until she learns that unicorns like to eat hay instead of pizza. Maybe she’ll be a unicorn tomorrow instead!

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King Jack and the Dragon
Written by Peter Bently & illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Jack, Zack and Caspar build a castle fort, then spend a day fighting dragons and beasts, but at day’s end giants carry away first Sir Zack, then Caspar, and only King Jack is left to face the night creatures alone.

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The Book of Dragons
Written & illustrated by Stella Caldwell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the glittering peaks of frozen mountains to dripping caverns hidden deep underground, The Book of Dragons brings mighty and ancient dragons to life. Read exciting tales of legendary dragons, pore over detailed maps of mythical lands, explore a dragon’s treasure hoard and marvel at lavish collections of dragon teeth, talons, scales and eggs. This richly illustrated book is a sumptuous treasury of a magical lost world and fulfils the desires of every young dragon enthusiast.

Honorable Mentions
Animobiles book
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Snared: Lair of the Beast book
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  1. Animobiles - Some vehicles go VROOM! Some animals say ROAR! Put them both together and find out what’s in store Imagine a different kind of hybrid on wheels: animalvehicle! The subway-snake slithers for commuters, the cowcars stop to graze in the field, the bear-bus scoots to the den for hibernation. What could be better than a mash-up of two of the best things: animals and things that go vroom!

  2. Snared: Lair of the Beast - Thanks to a crew of misfit treasure-seekers, Wily Snare has assumed his rightful place as King of Panthasos. Wily knew how to be a great trapsmith—devising and building various contraptions to keep plunderers at bay—but he has no idea how to be a good king. And he hasn’t escaped his past. Stalag, the Cavern Mage who once kept him locked away, is amassing an army of stone soldiers to seize the kingdom. Wily’s only hope is to tame a lair beast—the one creature that stands a chance against Stalag’s army. But first, Wily and his friends will need to survive the journey to the fabled “Below”—where the lair beast dwells. This action-packed fantasy adventure is filled with snappy dialogue, dangerous creatures, spirited adventure, and inventive magic to appeal to readers 8–12.

Books About Imagination and Science And Nature

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Ocean Meets Sky
Written by Terry Fan & illustrated by Eric Fan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s a good day for sailing. Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float. Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself! And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

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Heal the Earth
Written by Julian Lennon and Bart Davis & illustrated by Smiljana Coh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Take a journey to help the Earth in the second book of the New York Times bestselling trilogy by Julian Lennon! Jump aboard the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go wherever you want. This time, Lennon’s interactive book immerses children in a fun and unique journey where they can: Bring medicine to people in need! Dive below the ocean to bleached coral reefs! Visit the city to cultivate green spaces! Help the rain forest return and give its animals a home! Explore the planet, meet new people, and help make the world a better place! The Flier’s mission is to transport readers around the world, to engage them in helping to save the environment, and to teach one and all to love our planet. Just press a button printed on the page, and point the plane up in the air to fly, or down to land it! An inspiring, lyrical story, rooted in Lennon’s life and work, Heal the Earth is filled with beautiful illustrations that bring the faraway world closer to young children. The book includes words to a new, special poem written by Julian Lennon, specifically for Heal the Earth. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to support the environmental and humanitarian efforts of the White Feather Foundation, the global environmental and humanitarian organization that Lennon founded to promote education, health, conservation, and the protection of indigenous culture.

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Something Extraordinary
Written & illustrated by Ben Clanton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Amazing things are happening all around you. You just need to know where to look—and this whimsical picture book is the perfect place to start.

Have you ever wished for something extraordinary? Like the ability to fly? Or to breathe underwater? What if you could talk to animals?

It’s fun to wish for amazing things. But take a look around, and you just might find that the most “ordinary” things…can be extraordinary.

Honorable Mentions
There Is a Tribe of Kids book
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The Bear's Garden book
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The Invisible Garden book
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Sun Flower Lion book
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  1. There Is a Tribe of Kids - If Lane Smith’s Caldecott Honor Book Grandpa Green was an homage to aging and the end of life, There Is a Tribe of Kids is a meditation on childhood and life’s beginning. Smith’s vibrant sponge-paint illustrations and use of unusual collective nouns such as smack and unkindness bring the book to life. Whimsical, expressive, and perfectly paced, this story plays with language as much as it embodies imagination, and was awarded the 2017 Kate Greenaway Medal.

  2. The Bear's Garden - Inspired by the true story of a community garden in Brooklyn, New York, The Bear’s Garden by Marcie Colleen is a testament to how imagination and dedication can transform communities and create beauty for everyone in unexpected places. A little girl sees an empty lot in a city and imagines what it can be. She sees a place to grow, a place to play, and a place to love. With the help of her stuffed bear, the girl brings her community together to create a beautiful garden. An Imprint Book

  3. The Invisible Garden - A young girl and her family travel from the city to the country to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday. Someone suggests that Arianne, as the only child at the party, might enjoy exploring the garden more than listening to the adults chat. Arianne is unsure what to do in the quiet garden, and she soon lies down out of boredom. But then she spots a pebble…and a grasshopper…and flies away on a dandelion seed pod into the cosmos as she discovers the freedom of her imagination.

  4. Sun Flower Lion -

Books About Imagination and Family

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Madame Badobedah
Written by Sophie Dahl & illustrated by Lauren O'Hara
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Who is Madame Badobedah? Mabel sets out to prove that an eccentric new hotel guest is really a supervillain in this witty storybook about an intergenerational friendship.

There’s a strange new guest at the Mermaid Hotel — a very old lady with a growly voice, bags stuffed with jewelry and coins and curiosities, and a beady-eyed pet tortoise. Mabel, whose parents run the hotel, is suspicious. Who is this “Madame Badobedah” (it rhymes with “Oo la la”) who has come to stay indefinitely and never has any visitors? To find out, Mabel puts on her spy costume and observes the new guest. Conclusion? She must be a secret supervillain hiding out from the law. The grown-ups think Madame Badobedah is a bit rude — and sad — but when she invites “dahlink” Mabel for a cup of forbidden tea and a game of pirates, the two begin a series of imaginary adventures together, and Mabel realizes that first impressions can sometimes be very wrong. Conjuring two quirky heroines that young readers will love, Sophie Dahl adds her talented voice to a grand tradition of books that celebrate the alliance of the old and young in the face of humdrum adults, while Lauren O’Hara’s illustrations are as packed with intriguing details as Madame Badobedah’s suitcases.

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Jinx and the Doom Fight Crime!
Written by Lisa Mantchev & illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Instead of fighting each other, Jinx and her little brother The Doom spend their days fighting crime, protecting the planet, defending the innocent, and taking lunch breaks.

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Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?
Written by Dan Richards & illustrated by Jeff Newman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dan Richards teams up with celebrated artist, Jeff Newman, to share a funny and vibrant picture book about how powerful a child’s imagination can be…with a little encouragement.

Evan asks a simple question, “Can one balloon make an elephant fly?”

At first, his mother is too busy to answer. But when she takes the time to play the game with her son…magic happens.

Honorable Mentions
Imagination Vacation book
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A Couch for Llama book
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I Will Love You book
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My Mama Is a Mechanic book
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  1. Imagination Vacation - Sam has a very busy family. Mom works late, Dad’s projects pile up. Even Sam’s younger sister Marla is always doing something. Everyone in Sam’s family has their own idea of what the perfect vacation would look like. But there’s one thing they all agree on: they just can’t get away right now. So Sam comes up with a different kind of getaway. With a little planning, a few supplies, and a touch of creativity, she finds that her family’s dream vacation wasn’t so far away after all.

  2. A Couch for Llama - When a family finds a surprising new home for an old couch, a llama becomes the happiest creature of all. The Lago family really loves their couch. It’s perfect for reading, snuggling, playing, and jumping. But all good things must come to an end, and, one day, the family realizes the time has come to replace it. As they drive home with their brand-new bright-red couch, though, it gets knocked off the top of their car into a field . . . where a llama tries to make sense of this new thing. At first confused—It doesn’t talk! It doesn’t taste good! It doesn’t budge!—the llama soon realizes how comfy the couch is and settles right in. Can the family get its furniture back—and keep llama happy, too? Leah Gilbert has written and illustrated a warm picture book that touches both the heart and the funny bone.

  3. I Will Love You - Author of the bestselling Biscuit series, Alyssa Satin Capucilli, tells a magical tale of parental love that every parent will want to share with their little one! In the very first moment, when you came to be, I looked at you, and you looked at me. I whispered these words as I held you near, for all time, for all space, for the world to hear I will love you.” Capucilli’s text is lyrical, touching, and makes for a great read-aloud, while illustrator Lisa Anchin brings this story to life through magical, detailed landscapes and precious mother/daughter moments. Every parent wants to reassure they will always be loved. Like Nancy Tillman’s On the Night You Were Born, this book is sure to become a tried-and-true bedtime story.

  4. My Mama Is a Mechanic - Snuggle with Mom for this sweet book about a mother as seen through her son’s eyes. To him, she is a surgeon when she repairs his favorite stuffed animal, a weightlifter when lugging in groceries, and a monster truck diver when driving him. But no matter what happens, she is always his mama, and that’s the most important thing of all!

Books About Imagination and Feelings And Emotions

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Heart and the Bottle
Written & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play.

But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play.

Oliver Jeffers delivers a remarkable book, a tale of poignancy and resonance reminiscent of The Giving Tree that will speak to the hearts of children and parents alike.

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You've Got Dragons
Written by Kathryn Cave & illustrated by Nick Maland
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Worries, fears, and anxieties are all dragons that sneak up on most of us at one time or another.

Lots of people get dragons. Even really really good people get them. And sometimes they are hard to get rid of. So what can a young boy with a bad case of the dragons do? He can pretend they are not there, or that they are really quite harmless. Hugs from his mom help. Looking his dragon straight in the eye at least once every day helps even more. But most reassuring of all is the reminder that dragons don’t stay forever.

Kathryn Cave’s lighthearted writing style and illustrator Nick Maland’s appealing pen-and-ink drawings exaggerate the humor of the text without minimizing the seriousness of the underlying themes. It is the perfect read-aloud story for young children whose fears can sometimes get the better of them.

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On a Windy Night
Written by Nancy Raines Day & illustrated by George Bates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

On a windy Halloween night, as a little boy makes his way home after trick-or-treating, he hears a voice: “Cracklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours—if you look back.” As his heart flip-flops with fear, the boy dashes through woods and fields that seem full of haunting shapes—owls, ghosts, skeletons, and more. The detailed illustrations are packed with visual tricks for children to discover. Are those skeletons or cornstalks? Ghostly hands or tree branches? The playful tone of the text makes this a perfect, not-too-scary read-aloud, with an enjoyable surprise ending.

Honorable Mentions
Happy Dreamer book
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Big Sibling Getaway book
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Sandcastle book
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Dinosaur Parade book
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  1. Happy Dreamer - A “dreamer maximus” describes the many ways one can dream, and the importance of being a happy dreamer.

  2. Big Sibling Getaway - First came the boxes. Then the baby. Then the loud, nonstop crying! Desperate to get away, new big sister Cassie climbs into one of the empty boxes and sets off. She drives, she sails, and she soars…but she still hears whimpers. How far will Cassie have to go to finally get some peace and quiet? Perfect for families with new babies, this imaginative picture book lets big siblings escape—and makes them want to come back.

  3. Sandcastle - Step inside a sumptuous sandcastle packed with amazing and amusing visual details for a beach day that’s fit for royalty. A young girl loves building sandcastles. But not just any sandcastles. She builds one so big and grand and lovely that all the royals of the world come to visit. There are banquets and balls and tournaments, a greenhouse for cacti, a staircase for skateboarding, and ice cream around the clock. Everyone seems to be having fun, until they discover sand in the royal almond strudel . . . and the fig milk bath . . . and everywhere! With a keen eye for the absurd, author-illustrator Einat Tsarfati invites readers beyond the crocodile moat to explore the intricately detailed, increasingly wild festivities that echo the arc of a day at the beach, from euphoria to gritty discomfort. The diverse cast of regal guests, from a Rapunzel-esque princess in pj’s and unicorn slippers to a pair of knights playing badminton, is just as inspired. A visual treat of a tale, Sandcastle opens the doors to a world by the sea where wit and imagination reign.

  4. Dinosaur Parade - A short and sweet mini-adventure especially created to introduce the youngest guppies to the popular Pout-Pout Fish. It’s Halloween under the sea! Mr. Fish is wearing his costume, but what is he dressed as? A goblin? An astronaut in space? A pirate at the helm of the spooky submarine? Tiny tots will love swimming along with Mr. Fish as he turns little pouts into big smiles. With just one line of text per page, this simple, 12-page board book will send Debbie Diesen and Dan Hanna’s much-loved Pout-Pout Fish flippering and swishing into the hearts and minds of very young children.

Books About Imagination and New Experiences

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Brave Enough for Two
Written & illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

In the spirit of “Goodnight Moon” and “The Night Gardener” comes a heartwarming picture book about a little girl, her stuffed-animal owl, and their loving friendship from debut author-illustrator Voss. Full color.

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One Time
Written by Sharon Creech
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Imaginative, eleven-year-old Gina, her mysterious new neighbor, Antonio, and their classmates are inspired by an unusual young teacher to see who they are and envision who they are meant to become.

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Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow
Written by Michelle Cuevas & illustrated by Sydney Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A brave shadow finds a more colorful life in this joyous picture book by the acclaimed author of The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles and illustrator of Sidewalk Flowers.

Smoot the shadow has been living a yawn-filled life for years. His boy never laughs and never leaps, so Smoot never does either . . . until the day he pops free, and decides to hit the road in search of the life he dreams about. And as he enjoys his first colorful day—singing, dancing, and playing—other shadows watch him, and they become brave, too. The frog’s shadow takes the shape of a prince, the dragonfly’s shadow that of a dragon. Even the rock’s shadow gets in on the excitement. But what will become of the timid beings their shadows have left behind? Will they finally be inspired to find their own daring?

Honorable Mentions
What's Next? book
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The Whisper book
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Roar and Sparkles Go to School book
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  1. What's Next? - An inquisitive baby badger is drawn to discover the world outside his den in an endearing, delightfully illustrated father-and-child story. Baby Badger sleeps all day in his snuggly burrow. When he wakes, he explores every nook of his home and wants to know “what’s next?” So Daddy takes him to the dark forest above to roll in soft moss and snuffle in bluebell bulbs and watch the silvery moon setting, a signal that night is ending and it’s time to go home. But if daytime is “what’s next,” how can Baby Badger sleep without seeing that? So he slips out alone to see the brilliant flowers and birds and to feel the yellow sun hot on his fur. Cozy illustrations and a child-friendly text depict a curious little creature dazzled by the world’s natural wonders — and a doting father who is there to guide him back if “what’s next” turns out to take him a bit too far.

  2. The Whisper - Her magical book of stories is wordless until a whisper in the wind tells a little girl to imagine a story for each page.

  3. Roar and Sparkles Go to School - Roar is worried about his first day at school. He’s worried that he’ll have to do really hard things, like molt his scales and fly over a volcano. His big sister Sparkles reassures him, but Roar still worries. The first day of school arrives and Roar is pleasantly surprised! Instead of having to breathe fire, he gets to kick fireballs in gym class. He also gets to make popsicle-stick caves in art and to listen to stores about Johnny Apple-dragon and Cinder-dragonella during circle time. And when he’s asked to draw something he loves before the day is over, he figures out just how to thank Sparkles for her sisterly support. Roar and Sparkles is a sweet story about the anxieties children may feel about attending school for the first time, as well as a comforting tale about the bond between siblings. Sarah Beth Durst’s imaginative and playful script is enhanced by Ben Whitehouse’s modern and fresh illustrations to create a book that’s sure to squelch first-day-of-school worries for children.

Books About Imagination and Pets

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If I Had a Dinosaur
Written by Gabby Dawnay & illustrated by Alex Barrow and Gabby Dawnay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A witty and charmingly illustrated bedtime story about a little girl who imagines what it would be like to have a dinosaur of her very own

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Spencer's New Pet
Written & illustrated by Jessie Sima
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Spencer gets a new pet, he’s excited to do all the things that pets do—taking walks in the park, going to the vet, and attending parties together. There’s just one hitch: Spencer’s new pet is a balloon. And that means No. Sharp. Objects. No drooling dogs at the park. No prickly porcupines at the vet. And absolutely no pinning tails on any donkeys! Spencer’s New Pet is a story of pure fun about a boy, his dog, and a friendship that endures life’s sharpest…and most unexpected twists.

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All about Cats
Written & illustrated by Monika Filipina
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A hilarious look at what cats get up to when humans aren’t around. Contrasting personality traits are put side by side to show how cats - like people - are diverse. The book celebrates positive relationships and the power of the imagination.

Honorable Mentions
Caring for Your Lion book
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Great Bunny Escape book
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  1. Caring for Your Lion - We know you ordered a kitten, but we ran out of those. SURPRISE: you’re the new owner of a lion! Fortunately, the big cat comes with instructions like, try very hard NOT to look like a zebra. And give your lion PLENTY of space to play. But when the feathers and fur start flying and everything s in chaos, can a lion be a child s purr-fect pet?”

  2. Great Bunny Escape - When a friend’s pet bunny escapes into the World of Make-Believe, Daisy and Posey have to track him down in this ninth Daisy Dreamer chapter book! Have you ever heard the phrase “quick like a bunny?” People say it all the time about me. It means that I am fast. But I just met something that’s even faster than me. And guess what? It’s a cute and fluffy bunny! I am bunny-sitting for my friend, Lily. Bunny-sitting means I am caring for her bunny—not sitting on it. Obviously. Watching a bunny is easy, unless you have an imaginary friend named Posey who draws doors to the World of Make-Believe and leaves them open. Because Lily’s pet is quick like a bunny, and it loves to run through open doors. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Daisy Dreamer chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Want to see books about pets?

Books About Imagination and Bedtime

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Steam Train, Dream Train
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

An unabridged board book version of the bestselling hardcover, perfect for small hands! The dream train pulls into the station, and one by one the train cars are loaded: polar bears pack the reefer car with ice cream, elephants fill the tanker cars with paints, tortoises stock the auto rack with race cars, and kangaroos stuff the hopper car with balls (while zebras referee). Dreamy illustrations and gentle rhyming text make this a beloved bedtime favorite for budding train enthusiasts everywhere.

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Bedtime for Batman
Written by Michael Dahl & illustrated by Omar Lozano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

“Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.”

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Moonlight Bear
Written & illustrated by Rosie Wellesley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A gentle soothing story for young children at bedtime with lovely soft artwork by the popular illustrator of The Very Helpful Hedgehog and The Very Best Sheepdog. A special glow-in-the-dark moon on the cover adds to the fun. Eva drifts off to sleep with her favourite teddy bear. When she wakes in the night. Bear is gone. She looks all over her room only to find that her teddy has turned into a real bear.

Honorable Mentions
Flashlight Night book
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I Love You, Blankie book
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Tomorrow Most Likely book
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When I Grow Up book
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  1. Flashlight Night - Flashlight Night is an ode to the power of imagination and the wonder of books. Three children use a flashlight to light a path around their backyard at night; in the flashlight’s beam another world looms. Our heroes encounter spooky woods, a fearsome tiger, a time-forgotten tomb, an Egyptian god, a sword-fighting pirate, and a giant squid. With ingenuity, they vanquish all, then return to their tree house—braver, closer, and wiser than before—to read the books that inspired their adventure.

  2. I Love You, Blankie - A flowing sail, a hot air balloon, a fluffy cloud, a glowing moon… with a little imagination, a blankie can be anything! This sweet and playful board book will encourage little ones to think big as they head off into dreamland. On each page, a young child uses his cozy yellow blankie in a new way, taking him everywhere from under the sea to high among the stars. As bedtime nears, the blankie turns into a balloon, a cloud, and a shooting star, eventually placing him safely into bed where he can keep dreaming and snuggling, too. Debut author Sheryl Haft and artist Jane Massey have crafted an adorable story around a universal bedtime theme. Featuring a soft padded cover, this is the perfect book to inspire sweet dreams.

  3. Tomorrow Most Likely - Rather than focusing on going to bed—and what kid wants to think about going to bed?—this book explores all of the dreamy, wonderful, strange things the next day might bring. Whimsical, witty, and hopeful, this revolutionary rewriting of a classic goodnight book from bestselling author Dave Eggers and award-winning illustrator Lane Smith is a bedtime story for tomorrow ever after.

  4. When I Grow Up - “A small child muses about the future as Mom guides the bedtime routine…Winning text and illustrations for bedtime.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “The whimsical pictures fill every page with happiness and variety as Chen presents exuberant ideas for the big dreams and wishes of childhood.” —Booklist “As a mother helps her young son get ready for bed…Mom assures him that the future is wide open, and ‘No matter what, I will always be there for you.’” —Publishers Weekly A little boy shares with his mom his dreams of what he might be when he grows up in this tender picture book from Julie Chen the host of Big Brother and formerly the host of The Talk and New York Times bestselling artist and Caldecott Honor recipient Diane Goode. One night while getting ready for bed a little boy starts to wonder what will life be like when he grows up. He could be a painter, a musician, a mountain climber, a mayor… He tells his mother all about his big ideas…and all of the other things he wants to do. But when will he grow up? And why does it take so long?

Want to see books about bedtime?

Books About Imagination and Outer Space

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The Stuff of Stars
Written by Marion Dane Bauer & illustrated by Ekua Holmes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Before the universe was formed, before time and space existed, there was . . . nothing. But then . . . BANG! Stars caught fire and burned so long that they exploded, flinging stardust everywhere. And the ash of those stars turned into planets. Into our Earth. And into us. In a poetic text, Marion Dane Bauer takes readers from the trillionth of a second when our universe was born to the singularities that became each one of us, while vivid illustrations by Ekua Holmes capture the void before the Big Bang and the ensuing life that burst across galaxies. A seamless blend of science and art, this picture book reveals the composition of our world and beyond—and how we are all the stuff of stars.

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Out There
Written & illustrated by Tom Sullivan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This stunning picture book will have young readers wondering about outer space and life on other planets while imparting a surprising and profound message of empathy. From the author/illustrator of Blue vs. Yellow and I Used to Be a Fish. Do you ever look up at the night sky and wonder if there is anybody else out there? Are there evil robots or cool aliens? Do they fly in UFOs or live in futuristic cities? Or maybe . . . they are just like us. Out There is a wonder-filled, surprising journey of imagination and empathy, a book that will inspire readers of all ages to reflect on how much we all have in common, despite our differences.

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Space
Written by Heather Alexander & illustrated by Andres Lozano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

How big is the universe? What would it be like to live on Venus? Is there life on another planet? What was the Big Bang? How does space travel work? Find out the answers to these and many more questions in this interactive lift-the-flap fact book. Embark on an epic journey through space and see the amazing Milky Way, find out what life is like for astronauts and take a closer look at life outside our galaxy … could aliens really exist?

Honorable Mentions
How to Be on the Moon book
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Skippyjon Jones-- Lost in Spice book
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  1. How to Be on the Moon - In the follow-up to How to Find Gold, best friends Anna and Crocodile are going on another intrepid adventure — this time, to the moon. It’s almost impossible to get to the moon. It’s out in space, which is dark and empty, and it’s very far away. If Anna and Crocodile are going to make it to the moon, they’ll need some special skills, like being able to do math and having a lot of patience. They’ll also need to build a rocket. Not to mention the sandwiches for the journey. Luckily, when Anna and Crocodile put their minds together, nothing can stand in their way. Full of the same cheerful charm that made How to Find Gold so endearing, Viviane Schwarz’s pitch-perfect text and wonderfully colorful illustrations launch this story off the page in a true celebration of curiosity and the magic of imaginative play.

  2. Skippyjon Jones-- Lost in Spice - The New York Times bestselling kitty boy blasts off into another hilarious adventure. Buckle up, amigos— everyone’s favorite kitty boy is about to lift off. You’ll want to be there when the brave Skippito gets lost in spice! That’s right, spice. Skippy knows— from his big ears to his toes—that the planet Mars is red because it’s covered in spicy red pepper. To prove it, he’s off on a space jaunt replete with craters, crazies, and creatures from Mars. His new adventure is packed with witty wordplay, Spanish phrases, and Judy Schachner’s trademark hilarity. This rollicking romp is simply out of this world.

Epilogue

13 books that are just too good to leave off of our imagination list.
Lily Wool book
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Oh, the THINKS You Can Think! book
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What Do You Wear? book
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Peter Pan book
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  1. Lily Wool - B is for Bookworm -

    The story of one little sheep with a big imagination is delightfully told and the illustrations are lovely and whimsical. While Lily Wool is a little reckless in her exploration (resulting in some consequences for others), I love that once she becomes aware of this she uses her imagination again to solve the problem she created, leading her to find her passion as a creator and entrepreneur. We don't have to be perfect, just try our best!

  2. Oh, the THINKS You Can Think! - Young readers will delight in Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! which celebrates the imagination and encourages young readers to think . . . about thinking! “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the Thinks you can think up if only you try.” Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.

  3. What Do You Wear? - When it comes to getting toddlers dressed, the struggle is real. Enter: Taro Gomi! The bestselling author/illustrator offers a creative and colorful look at animals, reimagining their fur, feathers, and fins as…clothes! A sheep wears a fluffy jacket, a zebra sports striped PJs, a snake is snug in a stocking, and a penguin looks dapper in a classic suit. Young children will be amused by the spirited take on animals, and they’ll very likely be convinced that getting dressed is best!

  4. Peter Pan - BabyLit is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature, and little ones will love Peter Pan: A BabyLit Adventure Primer. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and adorable illustrations by Sugar’s Alison Oliver, this book is a must for every savvy parent’s nursery library. Collect all of the classic literature-inspired BabyLit primers!

Beyond the Pond book
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If You Come to Earth book
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The Watermelon Seed book
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The Old Truck book
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  1. Beyond the Pond - A stunning picture book about the power of imagination, perfect for fans of Extra Yarn and Journey, from debut author-illustrator Joseph Kuefler. Just behind an ordinary house filled with too little fun, Ernest D. decides that today will be the day he explores the depths of his pond. Beyond the pond, he discovers a not-so-ordinary world that will change him forever.

  2. If You Come to Earth - From two-time Caldecott Winner author-illustrator Sophie Blackall! If You Came to Earth is a glorious guide to our home planet, and a call for us to take care of both Earth and each other. This stunning book is inspired by the thousands of children Sophie Blackall has met during her travels around the world in support of UNICEF and Save the Children. - An engaging storybook about a single curious and imaginative child
    - Simultaneously funny and touching
    - Carries a clear message about the need to care for the earth and each other If you come to Earth, there are a few things you need to know. . .
    We live in all kinds of places.
    In all kinds of homes.
    In all kinds of families.
    Each of us is different. But all of us are amazing.
    And, together, we share one beautiful planet. This masterful and moving picture book is a visually comprehensive guide to the earth, imbued with warmth and humor. - Ideal for children ages 3 to 5 years old
    - Resonates year-round as a go-to gift for birthdays, holidays, and more
    - A great pick for teachers looking for a crowd-pleasing picture book about the world for little students
    - Perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers
    - Add it to the shelf with books like The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Kids, Atlas of Adventures by Rachel Williams, and If You Lived Here: Houses of the World by Giles Laroche.

  3. The Watermelon Seed - With perfect comic pacing, Greg Pizzoli introduces us to one funny crocodile who has one big fear: swallowing a watermelon seed. What will he do when his greatest fear is realized? Will vines sprout out his ears? Will his skin turn pink? This crocodile has a wild imagination that kids will love. With bold color and beautiful sense of design, Greg Pizzoli’s picture book debut takes this familiar childhood worry and gives us a true gem in the vein of I Want My Hat Back and Not a Box.

  4. The Old Truck - When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family's young daughter.After long days and years of hard work leave the old truck rusting in the weeds, it's time for the girl to roll up her sleeves. Soon she is running her own busy farm, and in the midst of all the repairing and restoring, it may be time to bring her faithful childhood companion back to life.With an eye-catching retro design and cleverly nuanced illustrations, The Old Truck celebrates the rewards of determination and the value of imagination.

Henri's Walk to Paris book
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Sloth Slept on book
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The Almost Impossible Thing book
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Willow book
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  1. Henri's Walk to Paris - Henri’s Walk to Paris is the story of a young boy who lives in Reboul, France, who dreams of going to Paris. One day, after reading a book about Paris, he decides to pack a lunch and head for the city. “Like many of us Henri wants to see Paris. In Paris, there are thousands of buses. In Reboul, where Henri lives, there is only one bus. In Paris there are many parks and rows and rows of trees. The park in Reboul has only five trees. In Paris there are many zoos full of animals for the people to see. So one fine day Henri packs up some lunch and starts off to see all the things he had read about.” Along the way, Henri gets tired and falls asleep under a tree. And this is when the story gets really charming. What Henri sees, we see, in a flowing panorama of pictures conceived by the eminent graphic designer Saul Bass.

  2. Sloth Slept on - Who’s that sleeping in our tree? When a group of kids finds an animal happily napping in their backyard, they set out to discover what it is and where it belongs. As they search and search—never noticing the posters and articles about a sloth that’s fled the zoo—they finally discover the identity of the snoozing creature. When sloth wakes up, it’s in for a BIG surprise!

  3. The Almost Impossible Thing - Nothing is so impossible that it shouldn’t be tried. Even if you’re a bunny hoping to fly. A tribute to teamwork, big dreams, perseverance, and those who don’t listen when others say their goals are unreachable. The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.—Chinese Proverb Most of us want to fly—even if we know we’re rooted to the ground. Especially if we know we’re rooted to the ground! So when a rabbit spots a bird soaring in beautiful, colorful loop-de-loops, a dream is born. Though her friends tell her “You can’t do that!” our rabbit is undeterred. Through comical ski jumps, trampoline bounces, swings on the trapeze, and experiments with kites . . . somehow, some way, there must be a way to fly. And there is! Teamwork. Debut author/illustrator Basak Agaoglu delivers a story of faith, persistence, and humor—along with some of the most adorable, child-friendly art ever seen. For fans of Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery.

  4. Willow - Miss Hawthorn’s room is neat and tidy, not a pencil or paintbrush is out of place. And that’s how she likes it. And she likes trees that are colored green and apples that are painted red. Miss Hawthorn does not like things to be different or out of the ordinary. Into Miss Hawthorn’s classroom comes young Willow. She doesn’t color inside the lines, she breaks crayons, and she sees pink trees and blue apples. What will Miss Hawthorn think? Magical things can happen when your imagination is allowed to run wild, and for Miss Hawthorn the notion of what is art and what is possible is forever changed.Willow is the first joint writing effort for sisters Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan. Denise’s other Sleeping Bear Press books include Someday Is Not a Day of the Week and My Grandma Likes to Say. She lives in Howell, Michigan. Rosemarie Brennan juggles careers as a writing teacher and an author. She lives in Brighton, Michigan. Cyd Moore studied graphic design and fine arts at the University of Georgia. Her work includes posters, billboards, books, newspaper and magazine articles, and cassette and CD covers. She is the illustrator of I Love You, Stinky Face and I Miss You, Stinky Face. She lives in Commerce, Michigan.

CookieBot! (Harry and Horsie Adventures) book
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  1. CookieBot! (Harry and Horsie Adventures) - The Problem: Harry and Horsie want cookies, but the jar is way out of reach. The Solution: Build CookieBot—the most amazing cookie-grabbing robot ever! What could go wrong?

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