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Parental Behavior: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about parental behavior?

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

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

When it comes to children’s stories about parental behavior, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like No Matter what to popular sellers like Snuggle Puppy to some of our favorite hidden gems like Bunny Roo, I Love You.

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

Top 10 Books About Parental Behavior

More Than Balloons book
#1
More Than Balloons
Written by Lorna Crozier & illustrated by Rachelle Anne Miller
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Balloons love the moon, and a tuba loves a tune, but these don’t compare to the love we have for you. Award-winning poet Lorna Crozier uses evocative rhyme, complemented by Rachelle Anne Miller’s whimsical imagery, to provide babies and toddlers with common concepts that explain just how great love is.

Bunny Roo, I Love You book
#2
Bunny Roo, I Love You
Written by Melissa Marr & illustrated by Teagan White
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A warm and tender welcome to the world!

In a gorgeous picture book that’s playfully sweet and visually captivating, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr and talented new illustrator Teagan White celebrate the many ways parents make their new babies feel at home.

The world can seem like a big, bewildering place for new babies—fortunately, their mamas know just how to soothe and comfort them. Through enchanting scenes portraying all kinds of mama animals looking out for their little ones, the mother in this story reassures her baby, and young children everywhere, that their caretakers will always love them and keep them safe. This beautiful picture book has the feel of a classic and its heartwarming premise should make it a family favorite.

I Heart You book
#3
I Heart You
Written by Meg Fleming & illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

This tender, rhyming picture book is a lively celebration of love.

Little ones adore being independent and trying new things. But they also need Mom and Dad’s reassurance and snuggles. With her spare, lyrical text, debut author Meg Fleming captures the exuberance, the affection, and the tender push-and-pull of life with a child. And illustrator Sarah Jane Wright’s evocative illustrations infuse the story with generous helpings of warmth and love.

The Best Mother book
#4
The Best Mother
Written by C. M. Surrisi & illustrated by Diane Goode
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

After interviewing mothers at the park, the toy store, and the zoo, Maxine decides that her own mother is worth keeping.

I'll Love You Till the Cows Come Home book
#5
I'll Love You Till the Cows Come Home
Written by Kathryn Cristaldi & illustrated by Kristyna Litten
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

I will love you till the cows come home from a trip to Mars through skies unknown in a rocket ship made of glass and stone. I will love you till the cows come home. Love knows no bounds in this lyrical, gentle lullaby, a tender tribute to the depths of family love. Filled with warm, funny art, I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home is a perfect read-aloud for curling up with your little one at the end of the day . . . or anytime you want to express just how much you love them.

Like the Moon Loves the Sky book
#6
Like the Moon Loves the Sky
Written by Hena Khan & illustrated by Saffa Khan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A lyrical and heartwarming celebration of a mother’s love for her children by the award-winning author of Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

In this moving picture book, author Hena Khan shares her wishes for her children: “Inshallah you find wonder in birds as they fly. Inshallah you are loved, like the moon loves the sky.” With vibrant illustrations and prose inspired by the Quran, this charming picture book is a heartfelt and universal celebration of a parent’s unconditional love.

• A reassuring bedtime read-aloud for mothers and their children. • A perfect book for sharing Muslim family traditions and for families teaching diversity and religious acceptance. • Hena Khan’s books have been widely acclaimed, winning awards and honors from the ALA, Parent’s Choice, and many others.

For families who have read and loved Under My Hijab, Yo Soy Muslim, and Mommy’s Khimar.

A sweet and lovely bedtime book to help let children know they are loved and precious.

Love Matters Most book
#7
Love Matters Most
Written by Mij Kelly & illustrated by Gerry Turley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for Valentine’s Day and a heartwarming read for the cold winter months, this cozy animal story explores the universal theme of a mother’s love for her child. When a polar bear leaves the safety and warmth of her cave to travel all over a frozen wonderland, she must be looking for something very important. Could it be delicious silver salmon? A view of the swirling winter sky? A bit of gold? Of course, she is in search of the most precious thing of all: her lost little cub. In this touching story, readers will instantly be enamored with the sweeping illustrations of winter landscapes, endearing polar bear characters, and the resonant message that a mother’s love matters most.

Hand in Hand book
#8
Hand in Hand
Written & illustrated by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

A little hand holds on tight! Celebrate the special relationship every parent has with their child in this lovely New Books for Newborns board book!

Me You We, two Hand in hand Through and through

In this sweet New Books for Newborns book, a parent and their child set out for a fun-filled day of adventure. Whether it’s having fun at the park, or letting your child learn something new, this sweet, rhyming board book is the perfect way to tell your little one that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, all that really matters is doing it together, hand in hand.

The New Books for Newborns series is “just right” for parents to read to their babies. With short, lilting and lullaby-like texts, these board books help parents introduce reading to their children with snuggly, soothing read-alouds perfect for first story times.

Say What? book
#9
Say What?
Written by Angela DiTerlizzi & illustrated by Joey Chou
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

With an interactive text and bright, playful illustrations, explore what baby animals really mean when they make their adorable baby animal sounds. When a lion says ROAR, does he really mean MORE? When a cow says MOO, does she really mean YOU? How do we know what animals say when they say what they say with their sounds everyday? With an interactive text and bright, playful illustrations, Angela DiTerlizzi and Joey Chou explore what baby animals really mean when they make their adorable baby animal sounds.

Snuggle Puppy book
#10
Snuggle Puppy
Written & illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A great big hug in book form, Snuggle Puppy is a year-round valentine from parent to child. It is bright, chunky, a pleasure to hold, and has a die-cut cover that reveals a glimpse of the joy inside before it’s even opened. Best of all, it’s packed, of course, with pure Boynton: her inimitable language, her inimitable illustrations, her inimitable sense of fun.

OOO, Snuggle Puppy of mine! Everything about you is especially fine. I love what you are. I love what you do. Fuzzy little Snuggle Puppy, I love you. Featuring a sweet and cuddly doggie cast and rhyming verse, Snuggle Puppy is the perfect bedtime book to read last, because of an ending that kids will want again and again: I started with OOO. . . . Now we’ll end like this: [BIG SMOOCH!]

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Parental Behavior and...

Books About Parental Behavior and Feelings And Emotions

More Than Balloons
Written by Lorna Crozier & illustrated by Rachelle Anne Miller
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Balloons love the moon, and a tuba loves a tune, but these don’t compare to the love we have for you. Award-winning poet Lorna Crozier uses evocative rhyme, complemented by Rachelle Anne Miller’s whimsical imagery, to provide babies and toddlers with common concepts that explain just how great love is.

I Heart You
Written by Meg Fleming & illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

This tender, rhyming picture book is a lively celebration of love.

Little ones adore being independent and trying new things. But they also need Mom and Dad’s reassurance and snuggles. With her spare, lyrical text, debut author Meg Fleming captures the exuberance, the affection, and the tender push-and-pull of life with a child. And illustrator Sarah Jane Wright’s evocative illustrations infuse the story with generous helpings of warmth and love.

Like the Moon Loves the Sky
Written by Hena Khan & illustrated by Saffa Khan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A lyrical and heartwarming celebration of a mother’s love for her children by the award-winning author of Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

In this moving picture book, author Hena Khan shares her wishes for her children: “Inshallah you find wonder in birds as they fly. Inshallah you are loved, like the moon loves the sky.” With vibrant illustrations and prose inspired by the Quran, this charming picture book is a heartfelt and universal celebration of a parent’s unconditional love.

• A reassuring bedtime read-aloud for mothers and their children. • A perfect book for sharing Muslim family traditions and for families teaching diversity and religious acceptance. • Hena Khan’s books have been widely acclaimed, winning awards and honors from the ALA, Parent’s Choice, and many others.

For families who have read and loved Under My Hijab, Yo Soy Muslim, and Mommy’s Khimar.

A sweet and lovely bedtime book to help let children know they are loved and precious.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Love Matters Most - Perfect for Valentine’s Day and a heartwarming read for the cold winter months, this cozy animal story explores the universal theme of a mother’s love for her child. When a polar bear leaves the safety and warmth of her cave to travel all over a frozen wonderland, she must be looking for something very important. Could it be delicious silver salmon? A view of the swirling winter sky? A bit of gold? Of course, she is in search of the most precious thing of all: her lost little cub. In this touching story, readers will instantly be enamored with the sweeping illustrations of winter landscapes, endearing polar bear characters, and the resonant message that a mother’s love matters most.

  2. Hand in Hand - A little hand holds on tight! Celebrate the special relationship every parent has with their child in this lovely New Books for Newborns board book! Me You We, two Hand in hand Through and through In this sweet New Books for Newborns book, a parent and their child set out for a fun-filled day of adventure. Whether it’s having fun at the park, or letting your child learn something new, this sweet, rhyming board book is the perfect way to tell your little one that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, all that really matters is doing it together, hand in hand. The New Books for Newborns series is “just right” for parents to read to their babies. With short, lilting and lullaby-like texts, these board books help parents introduce reading to their children with snuggly, soothing read-alouds perfect for first story times.

  3. Snuggle Puppy - A great big hug in book form, Snuggle Puppy is a year-round valentine from parent to child. It is bright, chunky, a pleasure to hold, and has a die-cut cover that reveals a glimpse of the joy inside before it’s even opened. Best of all, it’s packed, of course, with pure Boynton: her inimitable language, her inimitable illustrations, her inimitable sense of fun. OOO, Snuggle Puppy of mine! Everything about you is especially fine. I love what you are. I love what you do. Fuzzy little Snuggle Puppy, I love you. Featuring a sweet and cuddly doggie cast and rhyming verse, Snuggle Puppy is the perfect bedtime book to read last, because of an ending that kids will want again and again: I started with OOO. . . . Now we’ll end like this: [BIG SMOOCH!]

  4. No Matter what - Small, a little fox, seeks reassurance that Large will always provide love, no matter what.

Books About Parental Behavior and Infancy

Bunny Roo, I Love You
Written by Melissa Marr & illustrated by Teagan White
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A warm and tender welcome to the world!

In a gorgeous picture book that’s playfully sweet and visually captivating, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr and talented new illustrator Teagan White celebrate the many ways parents make their new babies feel at home.

The world can seem like a big, bewildering place for new babies—fortunately, their mamas know just how to soothe and comfort them. Through enchanting scenes portraying all kinds of mama animals looking out for their little ones, the mother in this story reassures her baby, and young children everywhere, that their caretakers will always love them and keep them safe. This beautiful picture book has the feel of a classic and its heartwarming premise should make it a family favorite.

Little Monkey
Written by Julie Abery & illustrated by Suzie Mason
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Little Monkey swings through the jungle until—Oops!—he falls out of a tree. Mama catches him and comforts him and all becomes right again. A sweet story of youthful adventure and motherly love, told with short rhyming lines and warm illustrations.

Daddy Honk Honk!
Written & illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An arctic fox adopts a baby goose in this heartwarming read-aloud perfect for dads and their little ones

When Aput the fox finds an abandoned goose egg, he has no idea what’s in store for him. He doesn’t know anything about babies and he certainly doesn’t know what to do when the gosling hatches and mistakes him for its daddy. So he decides to find the gosling a home. But with each page turn, Aput learns more about caring for a baby and, with a little help from his friends, he discovers what a baby needs most is love.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Little Tiger - Little Tiger goes on an adventure in the jungle, but mama is always close by her cub. Short rhyming lines in this illustrated board book tell a sweet story of youthful adventure and motherly love.

  2. Mama Loves You So - With lilting lullaby text and lovely illustrations, the New Books for Newborns stories are the perfect first books for new parents to share with their little ones right from the start! Start here. If only raising a child was that easy. It can be difficult in the first year to figure out what’s just right for your baby. But with this new line of books—New Books for Newborns— story time is really that simple. Designed as the first books to start reading with your baby, these just-right stories hit all the right notes with soothing texts, lovely art, and, most importantly, stories meant for sharing any time of the day. Start here. Snuggle up. It’s story time! This book celebrates a mother’s love trumping even majestic mother nature…a mama’s love is higher than a mountain and deeper than any stream.

  3. Little Panda - Little Panda goes on an adventure in the jungle, but mama is always close by her cub. Short rhyming lines in this illustrated board book tell a sweet story of youthful adventure and motherly love.

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

Want to see books about infancy?

Books About Parental Behavior and Moms

The Best Mother
Written by C. M. Surrisi & illustrated by Diane Goode
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

After interviewing mothers at the park, the toy store, and the zoo, Maxine decides that her own mother is worth keeping.

Mom and Me, Me and Mom
Written & illustrated by Miguel Tanco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The joy of being a mom is palpable in this touching tribute to parenthood. Whimsical illustrations capture the poignant moments that make motherhood so special: pinning up a daughter’s hair, getting messy during playtime, reading quietly side by side, and, above all, cherishing precious moments together. Bright pops of Pantone coral infuse each spread, and a cloth spine adds an irresistible specialness. At once a treasured Mother’s Day gift and a year-round “I love you,” this book will delight parents and children in a celebration of a supremely meaningful relationship. This lovely testament to the inimitable mother/daughter bond goes straight to the heart.

I Love You, Mommy
Written & illustrated by Beatrix Potter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A wonderful new Peter Rabbit book with a heart-warming rhyme that celebrates moms everywhere. This heart-warming book is the perfect way to tell Mom “I love you” on Mother’s Day—or on any other day of the year! With a little help from Peter Rabbit himself, a beautiful rhyme, contemporary design and gorgeous illustrations capture the charm of Beatrix Potter’s drawings, ensuring the book will appeal to Beatrix Potter fans old and new.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I'll Love You Till the Cows Come Home - I will love you till the cows come home from a trip to Mars through skies unknown in a rocket ship made of glass and stone. I will love you till the cows come home. Love knows no bounds in this lyrical, gentle lullaby, a tender tribute to the depths of family love. Filled with warm, funny art, I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home is a perfect read-aloud for curling up with your little one at the end of the day . . . or anytime you want to express just how much you love them.

  2. Peter Rabbit, I Love You - Say “I love you” with this rhyming board book with a peekaboo mirror! This lovely book features classic Beatrix Potter characters, including Peter Rabbit, accompanied by sweet rhyming text. Celebrating all the lovable and adorable things little ones do, and ending with a mirror surprise, this book is perfect for reading with the little bunny you love the most.

  3. Love Makes a Family - This fun, inclusive board book celebrates the one thing that makes every family a family . . . and that’s LOVE. Love is baking a special cake. Love is lending a helping hand. Love is reading one more book. In this exuberant board book, many different families are shown in happy activity, from an early-morning wake-up to a kiss before bed. Whether a child has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each, this simple preschool read-aloud demonstrates that what’s most important in each family’s life is the love the family members share.

  4. Ol' Mama Squirrel - Caldecott Honor winner David Ezra Stein’s lively tale is a fantastic read-aloud, and feisty Mama Squirrel will have fierce mamas everywhere applauding! Ol’ Mama Squirrel has raised lots of babies, and she knows just how to protect them. Whenever trouble comes nosing around, she springs into action with a determined “Chook, chook, chook!” and scares trouble away. Her bravery is put to the test, however, when a really big threat wanders into town and onto her tree. But no matter what, Mama’s not about to back down!

Books About Parental Behavior and Animals

Say What?
Written by Angela DiTerlizzi & illustrated by Joey Chou
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

With an interactive text and bright, playful illustrations, explore what baby animals really mean when they make their adorable baby animal sounds. When a lion says ROAR, does he really mean MORE? When a cow says MOO, does she really mean YOU? How do we know what animals say when they say what they say with their sounds everyday? With an interactive text and bright, playful illustrations, Angela DiTerlizzi and Joey Chou explore what baby animals really mean when they make their adorable baby animal sounds.

Wild Orca
Written by Brenda Peterson & illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mia, her family, and friends gather in the San Juan Islands for Orca Sing, hoping that 105-year-old Granny, the oldest orca, will return with the pods she watches over. Includes facts about Granny and orcas.

Wild About Dads
Written by Diana Murray & illustrated by Amber Alvarez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

See lions snuggle on the savanna and groundhogs play on the prairie in Diana Murray’s Wild About Dads, a heartwarming picture book that celebrates dads of all kindsfeaturing illustrations by Amber Alvarez!

Dads can help you reach up high,
and help to keep you warm and dry.
Dads are strong, dads are brave,
but sometimes dads could use a shave.

Everyone loves dads―humans, lions, frogs, prairie dogs, and even pelicans! See all these animals snuggle their little ones in this sweet, rhyming picture book that celebrates fatherhood in its many forms.

Perfect for Father’s Day and showing dads how much they mean to you every day of the year.

An Imprint Book

Honorable Mentions
  1. Wild Honey from the Moon - In an epic adventure like no other, an unflappable mother will stop at nothing to find a cure for her ailing young son — even if it means traveling to the moon itself. “Where are you going?” “To the moon. A quick trip.” “But you can’t fly.” “Darling, I am your mother,” she said, and gave him one last kiss. On a cold winter’s eve, deep in the woods, a mother shrew frets about her sick young son. His head is cold and his feet are hot, and there is only one thing that can cure him: wild honey from the moon. Mother Shrew does not stop to wonder how she will make such an impossible journey. Instead, she grabs her trusty red umbrella, gives her darling son a kiss, and sets out into the unknown. Along the way, Mother Shrew encounters one obstacle after another, from a malevolent owl to a herd of restless “night mares” to an island humming with angry bees. But each can prove no match for a mother on a mission. From the mind of the uniquely talented Kenneth Kraegel comes an utterly original ode to the limitlessness of maternal love.

  2. The Goose Egg - From the author of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record pick Quackers comes the story of Henrietta the Elephant, whose life goes from calm to chaotic when a baby goose comes to stay.

Books About Parental Behavior and Baby Animals

Pup and Bear
Written by Kate Banks & illustrated by Naoko Stoop
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7

This deeply emotional read-aloud about a lost wolf pup who is raised by a loving polar bear is sure to resonate with families - particularly non-traditional ones.

You are not my mother, said the wolf pup. I am not your mother, said the polar bear, but I can cuddle you and keep you safe.

Here is a picture book that celebrates differences and promotes kindness, sure to resonate with the many fans of the beloved classic, Mama Do You Love Me? During the ice melt that follows an Arctic winter, a wolf cub finds himself spinning out to sea on a sheet of ice. He awakes lost and alone to an unfamiliar smell: a polar bear. And while the polar bear is not the wolf’s mother, she takes him on her back to her den, where she feeds him, keeps him warm, and does everything a mother would do. Time passes, the cub grows into a wolf, and soon it’s time for him to venture out into the wide world alone. Years later, the now grown wolf comes upon a tiny lost polar bear cub—and the cycle begins again. With poetic prose this beautiful picture book about the love and kindness of a stranger is sure to touch a deep chord, particularly with parents and children who have found each other in unexpected ways.

Little Hippo
Written by Julie Abery & illustrated by Suzie Mason
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Little Hippo grazes on African plains, falling behind his herd, when a flock of oxpecker birds won’t leave him alone. Mama helps him and all becomes right again. A sweet story of youthful adventure and motherly love, told with short rhyming lines and warm illustrations.

Mommy Hugs
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Animal and human mothers hug in different ways, but they all show love.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Heart You - Little ones adore being independent and trying new things. But they also need Mom and Dad’s reassurance and snuggles. With her spare, lyrical text, Meg Fleming captures the exuberance, the affection, and the tender push-and-pull of life with a child. And illustrator Sarah Jane Wright’s evocative illustrations infuse the story with generous helpings of warmth and love.

  2. Trunk to Trunklet - A graphically gorgeous book about how different animals live and the lively, loving relationships they have with their babies.

  3. A Father's Love - This heartwarming book celebrates the love that fathers and children share in the animal kingdom, while also teaching young readers about colors. Perfect for new babies, new fathers, baby shower gifts, Father’s Day gifts, and for kids who love their dads on any old day. Throughout the animal kingdom, in every part of the world, fathers love and care for their babies. This book takes readers around the globe and across the animal kingdom, showcasing the many ways fathers have of demonstrating their love. Whether it’s a penguin papa snuggling with his baby in the frosty white snow, a lion dad playing with his cub in a yellow field, or a seahorse father protecting his young inside his pouch in the deep blue ocean, we see that a father’s love comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. With beautiful art that brings all of the dads and babies, and the love between them, to vivid, colorful life, this book is a celebration of the special bond that a father shares with his children.

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