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84+ Praiseworthy Kids Books About Problem Solving

Updated Feb. 20, 2019

Whenever my son encounters a problem—be it Duplo piece that won't fit together the way he wants them to, a door he can't open or a bucket on the playground his friend won't share—my mom heart immediately leaps to help him. I want to solve his problems for him, to help him be happy and make life easy... but the truth I know deep down is that if I always help him, I'm not helping him at all. By allowing him opportunities to problem solve himself when a problem of appropriate difficulty arises, while it may be painful for both of us at the moment, he's developing crucial problem-solving skills that will serve him well for a lifetime. To help build confidence and showcase different techniques for problem-solving, as well as to have shared references to help us through a learning moment, books can be an enormous help. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite titles about problem-solving!

Top 10 Problem Solving Books

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear book
#1
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Written and illustrated by Don Wood, Audrey Wood
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

I have long loved this book and read it literally hundreds of times. The likable Little Mouse, loaded with personality, expends great effort and imagination to protect the strawberry from the thieving bear. Use of varying font sizes cues the reader and adds to the drama and suspense as do the delightful illustrations. There is one illustration in particular, where the mouse is desperately tugging on the stem of the strawberry, in which the manner of illustrating--visual vibrations-- communicate perfectly the mouse's actions. With plenty of suspense and humor along the way, this story has a satisfying ending, although it does leave one wondering just who has been speaking to the mouse.

Little Mouse worries that the big, hungry bear will take his freshly picked, ripe, red strawberry for himself.

Appleblossom the Possum book
#2
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

To the Sea book
#3
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I absolutely LOVE To the Sea. The text is simple and relatively sparse, making it a pretty quick read while tackling the issues of loneliness and friendship in a kid-friendly and optimistic way. To help his friend get back to the sea, Tim brainstorms his best ideas and the sifts through them to find the perfect one... then puts in the hard work of pulling a whale on a bicycle to make it happen! The illustrations are fun, modern and so expressive—such a fun read aloud!

Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn't just any new friend: he's a blue whale, and he can't find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it's not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.

Dough Knights and Dragons book
#4
Dough Knights and Dragons
Written by Dee Leone and illustrated by George Ermos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I think this book is so fun! I love that the unlikely pair become friends, use their creativity and problem-solving skills, and most of all, that they stand up for what they think is right! Very cute illustrations, too! :)

In a mythical kingdom, a knight and a dragon cook up a delicious plan to save their friendship! In Dough Knights and Dragons, a curious knight and an amiable dragon meet serendipitously, and instantly bond over their shared love of baking. But the friends are filled with sadness when, according to the law, the two must duel one another. Can the unlikely pair find a way to evade the law, save their friendship, and spread good throughout the land? Kids will devour this scrumptiously clever tale!

Rosie Revere, Engineer book
#5
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this book! The fun and colorful illustrations and rhyme text are wonderful, but the story and message are the best. Rosie's a great female role-model and I love that she learns the great lesson that "the only true failure can come if you quit." Even when embarrassment or failure hold her back, she keeps on trying and recognizes that failure is a step towards success!

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck's class, is available in September 2016.

The Paper Bag Princess book
#6
The Paper Bag Princess
Written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Over five million copies in print! When the fiercest dragon in the whole world smashes Princess Elizabeth’s castle, burns all her clothes, and captures her fiancé, Prince Ronald, Elizabeth takes matters into her own hands. With her wits alone and nothing but a paper bag to wear, the princess challenges the dragon to show his strength in the hopes of saving the prince. But is it worth all that trouble? Readers the world-over have fallen in love with this classic story of girl power. Now a newly designed Classic Munsch edition will introduce the tale to a new generation of young feminists.

The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles book
#7
The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written and 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.

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#8
Duncan the Story Dragon
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

Poor Duncan. He loves to read, but because he is a fire breathing dragon he can't seem to ever get to the end of the book without it catching fire. Talk about a problem that needs solving! Instead of giving up and becoming miserable, he finds the best solution of involving someone else, creating a lasting friendship. I like that this story shows that sometimes we do need to turn outwards and ask for help for some things we can't do on our own. This can be difficult, but often creates the most rewarding experiences.

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!

Beautiful Oops! book
#9
Beautiful Oops!
Written and illustrated by Barney Saltzberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Near the very top of my list of things I want my children to learn is to not be afraid of mistakes or failure—they're simply part of the process. The interactive way multi-media mistakes are transformed in this book into quirky artwork is endearing and keeps the mood light and my little reader busy while I read the slightly more serious message present in the text. My toddler wants this "again" and "again", and thus far it's been sturdy enough to withstand toddler exploration, which is a plus!

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.

The Whale in My Swimming Pool  book
#10
The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written and illustrated by Joyce Wan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I'm a huge fan of Joyce Wan's signature illustration style (as a side note, did you know she can even make worms look cute?! I digress). This cute book combines a preposterous situation with one little boy's innovation and problem-solving to create happy humor and good feels all around.

One sunny day, a little boy heads outside for a swim, but his pool is already taken . . . There's a big whale in the water and it's not budging! The boy tries everything to get the whale to leave. Nothing seems to work. Not fetch. Not tag. Not even offering his allowance. What's a boy to do? Luckily, he comes up with the perfect solution: he decides to chill out on a spray of water over the whale's spout. This colorful whale of a tale from the talented Joyce Wan is sure to inspire giggles from little guppies!

Books About Friendship & Problem Solving

To the Sea book
#1
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I absolutely LOVE To the Sea. The text is simple and relatively sparse, making it a pretty quick read while tackling the issues of loneliness and friendship in a kid-friendly and optimistic way. To help his friend get back to the sea, Tim brainstorms his best ideas and the sifts through them to find the perfect one... then puts in the hard work of pulling a whale on a bicycle to make it happen! The illustrations are fun, modern and so expressive—such a fun read aloud!

Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn't just any new friend: he's a blue whale, and he can't find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it's not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.

Dough Knights and Dragons book
#2
Dough Knights and Dragons
Written by Dee Leone and illustrated by George Ermos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I think this book is so fun! I love that the unlikely pair become friends, use their creativity and problem-solving skills, and most of all, that they stand up for what they think is right! Very cute illustrations, too! :)

In a mythical kingdom, a knight and a dragon cook up a delicious plan to save their friendship! In Dough Knights and Dragons, a curious knight and an amiable dragon meet serendipitously, and instantly bond over their shared love of baking. But the friends are filled with sadness when, according to the law, the two must duel one another. Can the unlikely pair find a way to evade the law, save their friendship, and spread good throughout the land? Kids will devour this scrumptiously clever tale!

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#3
Duncan the Story Dragon
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

Poor Duncan. He loves to read, but because he is a fire breathing dragon he can't seem to ever get to the end of the book without it catching fire. Talk about a problem that needs solving! Instead of giving up and becoming miserable, he finds the best solution of involving someone else, creating a lasting friendship. I like that this story shows that sometimes we do need to turn outwards and ask for help for some things we can't do on our own. This can be difficult, but often creates the most rewarding experiences.

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!

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Whale in My Swimming Pool - The Book Snob Mom - I'm a huge fan of Joyce Wan's signature illustration style (as a side note, did you know she can even make worms look cute?! I digress). This cute book combines a preposterous situation with one little boy's innovation and problem-solving to create happy humor and good feels all around.

  2. Journey - The Book Snob Mom - This is a beautiful wordless picture book following a young girl through her imagination to a world where things don't always work out as she expects. She has to think fast, but with a little creative problem solving and a lot of imagination she's able to discover just what she was looking for—a friend. A fresh take on a journey with elements vaguely reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon!

  3. 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!

  4. Lulu's Party - The Book Snob Mom - All about being a good friend, making the best of situations and problem solving, this book is incredibly sweet and delightful. I love that one crucial part of the story is told ONLY with illustrations, giving parents and children the opportunity to dive in past just the words to uncover the full story. I'm also a huge fan of how the friends politely say nothing about how yucky the "special treat" tastes until their host acknowledges it, but then work together to create a new treat to help their friend feel better.

Want to see even more books about problem solving and friendship?

How about books about friendship?

Books About Coping With Failure & Problem Solving

Rosie Revere, Engineer book
#1
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this book! The fun and colorful illustrations and rhyme text are wonderful, but the story and message are the best. Rosie's a great female role-model and I love that she learns the great lesson that "the only true failure can come if you quit." Even when embarrassment or failure hold her back, she keeps on trying and recognizes that failure is a step towards success!

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck's class, is available in September 2016.

The Paper Bag Princess book
#2
The Paper Bag Princess
Written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Over five million copies in print! When the fiercest dragon in the whole world smashes Princess Elizabeth’s castle, burns all her clothes, and captures her fiancé, Prince Ronald, Elizabeth takes matters into her own hands. With her wits alone and nothing but a paper bag to wear, the princess challenges the dragon to show his strength in the hopes of saving the prince. But is it worth all that trouble? Readers the world-over have fallen in love with this classic story of girl power. Now a newly designed Classic Munsch edition will introduce the tale to a new generation of young feminists.

Beautiful Oops! book
#3
Beautiful Oops!
Written and illustrated by Barney Saltzberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Near the very top of my list of things I want my children to learn is to not be afraid of mistakes or failure—they're simply part of the process. The interactive way multi-media mistakes are transformed in this book into quirky artwork is endearing and keeps the mood light and my little reader busy while I read the slightly more serious message present in the text. My toddler wants this "again" and "again", and thus far it's been sturdy enough to withstand toddler exploration, which is a plus!

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
  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. Oliver and the Seawigs - B is for Bookworm - This adventurous and imaginary tale will keep you guessing what will happen next! When Oliver's parents disappear, Oliver goes after them on his own journey, facing problem after problem. I love the Oliver is brave and instead of just complaining when a problem arises or his idea fails, he thinks about the next step he can take solve his problem and get his parents back. Plus, he makes a wonderful friend along the way. :)

  3. Papa's Mechanical Fish - The Book Snob Mom - All about an inventor who never seems to be able to get anything just right, but who, with the help of some thought-provoking questions from his daughter, lots of iteration and oodles of family support tries and tries again to perfect one design... a mechanical fish! The illustrations are fun and quirky and the lesson that failure is just a step on the pathway to improvement is important.

  4. Lulu's Party - The Book Snob Mom - All about being a good friend, making the best of situations and problem solving, this book is incredibly sweet and delightful. I love that one crucial part of the story is told ONLY with illustrations, giving parents and children the opportunity to dive in past just the words to uncover the full story. I'm also a huge fan of how the friends politely say nothing about how yucky the "special treat" tastes until their host acknowledges it, but then work together to create a new treat to help their friend feel better.

Want to see even more books about problem solving and coping with failure?

How about books about coping with failure?

Books About Teamwork & Problem Solving

Appleblossom the Possum book
#1
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#2
Duncan the Story Dragon
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

Poor Duncan. He loves to read, but because he is a fire breathing dragon he can't seem to ever get to the end of the book without it catching fire. Talk about a problem that needs solving! Instead of giving up and becoming miserable, he finds the best solution of involving someone else, creating a lasting friendship. I like that this story shows that sometimes we do need to turn outwards and ask for help for some things we can't do on our own. This can be difficult, but often creates the most rewarding experiences.

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!

Max and Marla book
#3
Max and Marla
Written and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Oliver and the Seawigs - B is for Bookworm - This adventurous and imaginary tale will keep you guessing what will happen next! When Oliver's parents disappear, Oliver goes after them on his own journey, facing problem after problem. I love the Oliver is brave and instead of just complaining when a problem arises or his idea fails, he thinks about the next step he can take solve his problem and get his parents back. Plus, he makes a wonderful friend along the way. :)

  2. Oliver's Tree - Mom of Boys - This is such a great story about friendship and working together. Sometimes we see things differently and this book shows us how we can work through those differences and make things better for everyone involved.

  3. The Big Red Rock - When Bif finds a big red rock blocking his way, he decides it has to go. But how? Nothing he tries will move it. Bif's friend Bop knows some monsters who might be able to help. When none of their ingenious methods work, they all have to decide what to do next - with surprising results! A simple and comic tale about teamwork and problem solving.

  4. The Alcatraz Escape - Sleuthing duo Emily and James engage in a literary escape-room challenge on Alcatraz Island, but soon find that an invisible enemy is trying to sabotage the team at any cost.

Want to see even more books about problem solving and teamwork?

How about books about teamwork?

Books About Innovation & Problem Solving

Rosie Revere, Engineer book
#1
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this book! The fun and colorful illustrations and rhyme text are wonderful, but the story and message are the best. Rosie's a great female role-model and I love that she learns the great lesson that "the only true failure can come if you quit." Even when embarrassment or failure hold her back, she keeps on trying and recognizes that failure is a step towards success!

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck's class, is available in September 2016.

The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles book
#2
The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written and 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.

Beautiful Oops! book
#3
Beautiful Oops!
Written and illustrated by Barney Saltzberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Near the very top of my list of things I want my children to learn is to not be afraid of mistakes or failure—they're simply part of the process. The interactive way multi-media mistakes are transformed in this book into quirky artwork is endearing and keeps the mood light and my little reader busy while I read the slightly more serious message present in the text. My toddler wants this "again" and "again", and thus far it's been sturdy enough to withstand toddler exploration, which is a plus!

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
  1. The Whale in My Swimming Pool - The Book Snob Mom - I'm a huge fan of Joyce Wan's signature illustration style (as a side note, did you know she can even make worms look cute?! I digress). This cute book combines a preposterous situation with one little boy's innovation and problem-solving to create happy humor and good feels all around.

  2. The Templeton Twins Have An Idea - B is for Bookworm - I love how witty the Templeton twins are! This book reminds me a little bit of a Lemony Snicket tale, which I thought brought in some great humor. The twins have a great, smart, inventive father and they are kidnapped and held as ransom, as the perpetrators want their father's invention as payment. What the perpetrators don't realize is that the twins have learned a lot from their father--using the lessons and smarts they got from him, the twins save the day! I thought this book was adventurous, imaginative, fun, and clever.

  3. A Story, a Story - Winner of the Caldecott Medal Once, all the stories in the world belonged to Nyame, the Sky God. He kept them in a box beside his throne. But Ananse, the Spider man, wanted them -- and caught three sly creatures to get them. This story of how we got our own stories to tell is adapted from an African folktale.

  4. Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding - "Code is the 21st century literacy and the need for people to speak the ABCs of Programming is imminent." --Linda Liukas Meet Ruby--a small girl with a huge imagination. In Ruby's world anything is possible if you put your mind to it. When her dad asks her to find five hidden gems Ruby is determined to solve the puzzle with the help of her new friends, including the Wise Snow Leopard, the Friendly Foxes, and the Messy Robots. As Ruby stomps around her world kids will be introduced to the basic concepts behind coding and programming through storytelling. Learn how to break big problems into small problems, repeat tasks, look for patterns, create step-by-step plans, and think outside the box. With hands-on activities included in every chapter, future coders will be thrilled to put their own imaginations to work.

Want to see even more books about problem solving and innovation?

How about books about innovation?

Books About Animals & Problem Solving

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear book
#1
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Written and illustrated by Don Wood, Audrey Wood
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

I have long loved this book and read it literally hundreds of times. The likable Little Mouse, loaded with personality, expends great effort and imagination to protect the strawberry from the thieving bear. Use of varying font sizes cues the reader and adds to the drama and suspense as do the delightful illustrations. There is one illustration in particular, where the mouse is desperately tugging on the stem of the strawberry, in which the manner of illustrating--visual vibrations-- communicate perfectly the mouse's actions. With plenty of suspense and humor along the way, this story has a satisfying ending, although it does leave one wondering just who has been speaking to the mouse.

Little Mouse worries that the big, hungry bear will take his freshly picked, ripe, red strawberry for himself.

Appleblossom the Possum book
#2
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

The Whale in My Swimming Pool  book
#3
The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written and illustrated by Joyce Wan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I'm a huge fan of Joyce Wan's signature illustration style (as a side note, did you know she can even make worms look cute?! I digress). This cute book combines a preposterous situation with one little boy's innovation and problem-solving to create happy humor and good feels all around.

One sunny day, a little boy heads outside for a swim, but his pool is already taken . . . There's a big whale in the water and it's not budging! The boy tries everything to get the whale to leave. Nothing seems to work. Not fetch. Not tag. Not even offering his allowance. What's a boy to do? Luckily, he comes up with the perfect solution: he decides to chill out on a spray of water over the whale's spout. This colorful whale of a tale from the talented Joyce Wan is sure to inspire giggles from little guppies!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Oliver's Tree - Mom of Boys - This is such a great story about friendship and working together. Sometimes we see things differently and this book shows us how we can work through those differences and make things better for everyone involved.

  2. So Light, So Heavy - Elephant is so heavy, and all the other animals are so light. How will the seesaw ever go up and down? Toddlers will be drawn in by repetition, opposites, humor, and an unexpected twist in this board book story about Elephant's quest to get the seesaw to teeter. A cast of friendly animals—who are all so light—try to help move the seesaw, but Elephant's side won't budge. He's so heavy. Then what happens when a child swoops in with other plans? Short, simple, and memorable, this board book offers a satisfying story arc.

  3. Little Orange Scarf - Little Owl loves many things, including his tree house in City Park, riding his scooter, and eating ice cream. But he does not love the new orange scarf his mommy makes him wear. It’s too long. It’s too itchy. It’s too . . . orange! After several attempts to lose his orange scarf, Little Owl finally succeeds. But a trip to the yarn store provides Mommy with the perfect solution to keep Little Owl warm and happy. From the author of Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket comes another toddler-friendly—and parent-friendly—board book offering.

  4. Henry's Bright Idea - Deep in the shade of a walnut grove stands a tall tree house. A delightful group of friends gathers here. They call themselves the Walnut Animal Society. Their mission is to create and to always remain curious. Henry the Fox is a knowledgeable fellow, known for his unique inventions. Margaux the Kitty’s many books are filled with stories and poems she’s written. Ruthie the Deer loves to dance like the butterflies that flutter outside. The collection of ropes and fishing poles belongs to adventurous Chester the Raccoon. Magnolia the Bunny makes maps of the places she’s explored beyond the walnut grove. And Eleanor the Bear gathers flowers and plants to make tea for her friends. Henry is a founding member of the Walnut Animal Society, an inventor and a tinkerer. Today Henry is not inventing or tinkering. Henry has lost his idea. Follow Henry and his friend Eleanor as they search for Henry’s lost idea and discover much more in this charming picture book, the first in a series of titles, reminiscent of such classics as Winnie the Pooh, and illustrated in a rich, vintage palette.

Want to see even more books about problem solving and animals?

How about books about animals?

Books About Rescue & Problem Solving

Appleblossom the Possum book
#1
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

Stuck book
#2
Stuck
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Grammy

The boy in this story may be a little single-minded when it comes to problem-solving, but wow, does he have a strong arm! There are plenty of opportunities to anticipate and predict what might happen next; just when you think he might use an object for its intended purpose and change the trajectory of the story, he lobs it into the tree. Kids find this absolutely hilarious! I love the simply-drawn illustrations and the creative variety of the boy's resources. It is a wonderful thing to be so engaged in the resolution of a problem that one is completely distracted from the problem itself.

From the illustrator of the #1 smash The Day the Crayons Quit comes another bestseller–a giggle-inducing tale of everything tossed, thrown, and hurled in order to free a kite! When Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he’s determined to get it out. But how? Well, by knocking it down with his shoe, of course. But strangely enough, it too gets stuck. And the only logical course of action . . . is to throw his other shoe. Only now it’s stuck! Surely there must be something he can use to get his kite unstuck. An orangutan? A boat? His front door? Yes, yes, and yes. And that’s only the beginning. Stuck is Oliver Jeffers’ most absurdly funny story since The Incredible Book-Eating Boy. Childlike in concept and vibrantly illustrated as only Oliver Jeffers could, here is a picture book worth rescuing from any tree.

A Little Stuck book
#3
A Little Stuck
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

From the illustrator of the #1 smash The Day the Crayons Quit comes another bestseller--a giggle-inducing tale of everything tossed, thrown, and hurled in order to free a kite! When Floyd's kite gets stuck in a tree, he's determined to get it out. But how? Well, by knocking it down with his shoe, of course. But strangely enough, it too gets stuck. And the only logical course of action . . . is to throw his other shoe. Only now it's stuck! Surely there must be something he can use to get his kite unstuck. An orangutan? A boat? His front door? Yes, yes, and yes. And that's only the beginning. Stuck is Oliver Jeffers' most absurdly funny story since The Incredible Book-Eating Boy. Childlike in concept and vibrantly illustrated as only Oliver Jeffers could, here is a picture book worth rescuing from any tree.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Alcatraz Escape - Sleuthing duo Emily and James engage in a literary escape-room challenge on Alcatraz Island, but soon find that an invisible enemy is trying to sabotage the team at any cost.

  2. The Girl with the Dragon Heart - Silke knows how to stay out of trouble. And when your best friend is a dragon-turned-hot-tempered-girl, trouble is always right around the corner. Although Silke has found a home at The Chocolate Heart as a waitress and master promoter, nothing fills the void of her past. Years ago, her parents disappeared while traveling through the mysterious fairy land, Elfenwald. One day, the Crown Princess personally asks her to spy on the Elfenwald royal family who are visiting the kingdom for the first time. In return, Silke will have the home she's always wanted--the secure palace. But when Silke discovers the royal visitors' true intentions, she'll need all her wits to save her city from destruction.

  3. The Fourth Ruby - Jack and Gwen are back in this dynamic follow-up to The Lost Property Office. It’s been a year since Jack Buckles discovered the Keep beneath Baker Street, an underground tower no Section Thirteen was ever supposed to see; a year since his dad fell into a coma. Nothing has been the same since. Jack’s tracker abilities are on the fritz, Gwen’s not speaking to him and, what’s worse, there’s a pounding voice in his head calling for “the flame.” Then, Jack and Gwen are framed for the theft of a historic crown jewel—the Black Prince’s Ruby, one of three cursed rubies said to bring knowledge, loyalty, and the command of nations to whomever wields them all. Now, they must retrieve the other jewels before the true thief does, or risk unleashing a reign of terror unlike anything history’s ever seen.

  4. Mighty Jack - Jack might be the only kid in the world who's dreading summer. But he's got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It's a lot of responsibility, and it's boring, too, because Maddy doesn't talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk—to tell Jack to trade their mom's car for a box of mysterious seeds. It's the best mistake Jack has ever made. In Mighty Jack, what starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything...a dragon.

Want to see even more books about problem solving and rescue?

How about books about rescue?

Books About Adventure & Problem Solving

The Book of Mistakes book
#1
The Book of Mistakes
Written and 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.

Journey book
#2
Journey
Written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a beautiful wordless picture book following a young girl through her imagination to a world where things don't always work out as she expects. She has to think fast, but with a little creative problem solving and a lot of imagination she's able to discover just what she was looking for—a friend. A fresh take on a journey with elements vaguely reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon!

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship. A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

Oliver and the Seawigs book
#3
Oliver and the Seawigs
Written by Phillip Reave and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre, Phillip Reave
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This adventurous and imaginary tale will keep you guessing what will happen next! When Oliver's parents disappear, Oliver goes after them on his own journey, facing problem after problem. I love the Oliver is brave and instead of just complaining when a problem arises or his idea fails, he thinks about the next step he can take solve his problem and get his parents back. Plus, he makes a wonderful friend along the way. :)

Get ready for moving islands! Mischievous monkeys! And a splashy adventure with illustrations on almost every page. When Oliver’s explorer parents go missing, he sets sail to find them with some new friends. There’s a grumpy albatross, a nearsighted mermaid . . . even a living island! But the high seas are more exciting and strange than Oliver could have imagined. Can he and his crew spar with sarcastic seaweed, outrun an army of sea monkeys, win a fabulous maritime fashion contest, and defeat a wicked sea captain in time to save Mom and Dad? For early chapter book readers who are ready for something longer, the Not-So-Impossible Tales are packed with silly humor, action, and larger-than-life fun.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland board book - Alice in Wonderland is now ready for the toddler crowd in this delightful board book edition of Lewis Carroll’s classic Introduce the youngest readers to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with this dynamic new edition. Board book favorite Alison Jay illustrates the novel’s most iconic moments in her distinctive crackle-paint style. Each scene is paired with a descriptive verb, making this high-action concept book perfect for sharing with little ones.

  2. Clover Fields Fiasco - Princess is a show pony who is absolutely convinced that she is a cat and needs to hunt for her dinner, Blizzard (otherwise known as Snowy) is a Shetland pony who needs material for the book he is writing, and Sebastian is a draft horse who knows how to break out of the barn; so together the Tres Caballos Incognito set out for the clover fields looking for adventure--where Princess chases a squirrel and gets stuck in a tree.

  3. King Flashypants and the Toys of Terror - Something strange is afoot in Edwinland—King Edwin's arch nemesis Emperor Nurbison isn't acting like himself. He's smiling. He's cheerful. He's even making toys for the peasants! King Edwin knows he must be up to something. But what? Dangerous dolls and dastardly plots await in this latest rib-tickling adventure.

  4. Cosmic Blackout! - Zack loves everything about his new planet, Nebulon, until there is a complete cosmic blackout and he must try to function without his Indoor Robotic Assistant and hyperphone.

Want to see even more books about problem solving and adventure?

How about books about adventure?

Books About Making Friends & Problem Solving

To the Sea book
#1
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I absolutely LOVE To the Sea. The text is simple and relatively sparse, making it a pretty quick read while tackling the issues of loneliness and friendship in a kid-friendly and optimistic way. To help his friend get back to the sea, Tim brainstorms his best ideas and the sifts through them to find the perfect one... then puts in the hard work of pulling a whale on a bicycle to make it happen! The illustrations are fun, modern and so expressive—such a fun read aloud!

Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn't just any new friend: he's a blue whale, and he can't find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it's not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.

Monster Trouble book
#2
Monster Trouble
Written by Lane Fredrickson and illustrated by Michael Robertson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Nothing frightens Winifred Schnitzel—but she DOES need her sleep, and the neighborhood monsters WON'T let her be! Every night they sneak in, growling and belching and making a ruckus. Winifred constructs clever traps, but nothing stops these crafty creatures. What's a girl to do? (Hint: Monsters HATE kisses!) The delightfully sweet ending will have every kid—and little monster—begging for an encore.

Super Happy Party Bears: Bat to the Bone book
#3
Super Happy Party Bears: Bat to the Bone
Written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Steve James
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The bat-only punk rock band, Flying Blind, has a dedicated following of thousands of bats--their screechy sound really meshes with sonar hearing. While on tour to expand its fan base, Flying Blind stops at the Grumpy Woods for midnight performances. Soon tons of bat fans are keeping everyone awake at night! But when the bears start jamming with the band, its sound changes, driving away their early followers. This time it's Opal Owl who saves the day--and returns some peace and quiet to the woods. Illustrated in full color!

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Day of the Dead Mystery - The Aldens are visiting friends for a big Dia de los Muertos celebration. The kids love learning about the holiday and helping out—that is until mysterious events threaten to ruin everyone's preparations. Can the Aldens figure out what’s going on and help their friends save the celebration?

  2. Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding - "Code is the 21st century literacy and the need for people to speak the ABCs of Programming is imminent." --Linda Liukas Meet Ruby--a small girl with a huge imagination. In Ruby's world anything is possible if you put your mind to it. When her dad asks her to find five hidden gems Ruby is determined to solve the puzzle with the help of her new friends, including the Wise Snow Leopard, the Friendly Foxes, and the Messy Robots. As Ruby stomps around her world kids will be introduced to the basic concepts behind coding and programming through storytelling. Learn how to break big problems into small problems, repeat tasks, look for patterns, create step-by-step plans, and think outside the box. With hands-on activities included in every chapter, future coders will be thrilled to put their own imaginations to work.

  3. The Legend of the Howling Werewolf - The Aldens are visiting a small town known for its harvest festival. The town is beautiful in the fall, but rumors of the harvest moon and a werewolf are keeping people away. Can the Aldens get to the bottom of who—or what—is causing such a stir?

  4. It's Not Yours, It's Mine! - But what happens when the ball loses it's air? Will help arrive, and will blieka learn that sharing brings unexpected benefits?

Want to see even more books about problem solving and making friends?

How about books about making friends?

Books About Dragons & Problem Solving

Dough Knights and Dragons book
#1
Dough Knights and Dragons
Written by Dee Leone and illustrated by George Ermos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I think this book is so fun! I love that the unlikely pair become friends, use their creativity and problem-solving skills, and most of all, that they stand up for what they think is right! Very cute illustrations, too! :)

In a mythical kingdom, a knight and a dragon cook up a delicious plan to save their friendship! In Dough Knights and Dragons, a curious knight and an amiable dragon meet serendipitously, and instantly bond over their shared love of baking. But the friends are filled with sadness when, according to the law, the two must duel one another. Can the unlikely pair find a way to evade the law, save their friendship, and spread good throughout the land? Kids will devour this scrumptiously clever tale!

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#2
Duncan the Story Dragon
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

Poor Duncan. He loves to read, but because he is a fire breathing dragon he can't seem to ever get to the end of the book without it catching fire. Talk about a problem that needs solving! Instead of giving up and becoming miserable, he finds the best solution of involving someone else, creating a lasting friendship. I like that this story shows that sometimes we do need to turn outwards and ask for help for some things we can't do on our own. This can be difficult, but often creates the most rewarding experiences.

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!

Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library book
#3
Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library
Written by Julie Gassman and illustrated by Andy Elkerton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A child brings a dragon to the library and learns a valuable lesson--libraries and dragons do not mix.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Girl with the Dragon Heart - Silke knows how to stay out of trouble. And when your best friend is a dragon-turned-hot-tempered-girl, trouble is always right around the corner. Although Silke has found a home at The Chocolate Heart as a waitress and master promoter, nothing fills the void of her past. Years ago, her parents disappeared while traveling through the mysterious fairy land, Elfenwald. One day, the Crown Princess personally asks her to spy on the Elfenwald royal family who are visiting the kingdom for the first time. In return, Silke will have the home she's always wanted--the secure palace. But when Silke discovers the royal visitors' true intentions, she'll need all her wits to save her city from destruction.

  2. The Journey to Dragon Island - Reaching the edge of the world can't stop the crew of the Onion! It's westward ho in search of dragons, no matter the obstacles. And there are obstacles. Flesh-eating vines, violent locals, and mischievous magi—not to mention Marfak West's ghost—meet the pirates when they land on the Western Island, where a volcano threatens to end them all. Together, Brine and Peter might just be able to save the crew, the island, and themselves. Or they might all go up in flames. It really could go either way.

  3. The Basque Dragon - Across the vast, blue ocean, in the mountains of the Basque Country, a fearsome creature has gone missing. And the Unicorn Rescue Society are the only ones who can save it. Elliot and Uchenna—and Jersey!—have barely recovered from their first adventure with Professor Fauna when he approaches them with an all-new quest. Except this time they’re going to have to cross an ocean. In the mountains of the Basque Country, the Unicorn Rescue Society must track down a missing dragon. But how could someone even kidnap a dragon? And for what evil purpose? And is their newest, fire-breathing rescue more than they can handle?

Want to see even more books about problem solving and dragons?

How about books about dragons?

Books About Inventions & Problem Solving

Rosie Revere, Engineer book
#1
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this book! The fun and colorful illustrations and rhyme text are wonderful, but the story and message are the best. Rosie's a great female role-model and I love that she learns the great lesson that "the only true failure can come if you quit." Even when embarrassment or failure hold her back, she keeps on trying and recognizes that failure is a step towards success!

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck's class, is available in September 2016.

Papa's Mechanical Fish book
#2
Papa's Mechanical Fish
Written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

All about an inventor who never seems to be able to get anything just right, but who, with the help of some thought-provoking questions from his daughter, lots of iteration and oodles of family support tries and tries again to perfect one design... a mechanical fish! The illustrations are fun and quirky and the lesson that failure is just a step on the pathway to improvement is important.

In the summer of 1851, with encouragement and ideas provided by his family, an inventor builds a working submarine and takes his family for a ride. Includes notes about Lodner Phillips, the real inventor on whom the story is based.

Henry's Bright Idea book
#3
Henry's Bright Idea
Written by Lauren Bradshaw and illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Deep in the shade of a walnut grove stands a tall tree house. A delightful group of friends gathers here. They call themselves the Walnut Animal Society. Their mission is to create and to always remain curious. Henry the Fox is a knowledgeable fellow, known for his unique inventions. Margaux the Kitty’s many books are filled with stories and poems she’s written. Ruthie the Deer loves to dance like the butterflies that flutter outside. The collection of ropes and fishing poles belongs to adventurous Chester the Raccoon. Magnolia the Bunny makes maps of the places she’s explored beyond the walnut grove. And Eleanor the Bear gathers flowers and plants to make tea for her friends. Henry is a founding member of the Walnut Animal Society, an inventor and a tinkerer. Today Henry is not inventing or tinkering. Henry has lost his idea. Follow Henry and his friend Eleanor as they search for Henry’s lost idea and discover much more in this charming picture book, the first in a series of titles, reminiscent of such classics as Winnie the Pooh, and illustrated in a rich, vintage palette.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ethan Marcus Stands Up - Told from multiple viewpoints, well-behaved Ethan Marcus sets off a protest and leads a team in inventing a device to help students tired of sitting all day.

  2. How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens - This is an out-of-this-world funny first book in a madcap, illustrated adventure series from New Yorker cartoonist Paul Noth. Happy Conklin Jr. is the only 10-year-old who has to shave three times a day. Hap's dad is a brilliant inventor of screwball products, and being a Conklin kid means sometimes being experimented on. So Hap has his beard, and his five sisters each have their own unique--and often problematic--qualities too. And although Hap's dad has made a fortune with his wacky inventions sold via nonstop TV infomercials, all of that money has gone to Hap's tyrannical Grandma. While she lives in an enormous mansion, the rest of the family lives in two rooms in the basement. All Hap has ever wanted is to have a normal life, so when he sees a chance to get rid of Grandma, he takes it! He only means to swap out Grandma, but when he--oops!--sells his whole family to the aliens, he wants nothing more than to get them back. He just has to figure out . . . how?

Want to see even more books about problem solving and inventions?

How about books about inventions?

Books About Princesses & Problem Solving

The Paper Bag Princess book
#1
The Paper Bag Princess
Written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Over five million copies in print! When the fiercest dragon in the whole world smashes Princess Elizabeth’s castle, burns all her clothes, and captures her fiancé, Prince Ronald, Elizabeth takes matters into her own hands. With her wits alone and nothing but a paper bag to wear, the princess challenges the dragon to show his strength in the hopes of saving the prince. But is it worth all that trouble? Readers the world-over have fallen in love with this classic story of girl power. Now a newly designed Classic Munsch edition will introduce the tale to a new generation of young feminists.

Princess Smartypants book
#2
Princess Smartypants
Written and illustrated by Babette Cole
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Forced by her parents into looking for a husband, Princess Smartypants sets impossible tasks for her suitors to prove their worthiness, but when Prince Swashbuckle succeeds at every task, the Princess turns him into a frog with her kiss. Reprint.

Whiskerella book
#3
Whiskerella
Written and illustrated by Ursula Vernon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Princess Harriet Hamsterbone is not the kind of princess who enjoys fancy dresses or extravagant parties. Cliff-diving, fractions, and whacking people with swords are more her thing. So when she’s forced to attend a boring ball in honor of a visiting ambassador, Harriet is less than thrilled–until a bewitchingly beautiful stranger arrives. Who is she? And where did she come from? The mystery leads to a not-so-wicked stepsister, an incontinent lizard, and a fairy’s spell that’s really more of a curse. Luckily, Harriet knows a thing or two about curses…

Honorable Mentions
  1. Princess Truly and the Hungry Bunny Problem - Princess Truly uses her magic hair to solve a problem involving a hungry bunny.

  2. The Girl with the Dragon Heart - Silke knows how to stay out of trouble. And when your best friend is a dragon-turned-hot-tempered-girl, trouble is always right around the corner. Although Silke has found a home at The Chocolate Heart as a waitress and master promoter, nothing fills the void of her past. Years ago, her parents disappeared while traveling through the mysterious fairy land, Elfenwald. One day, the Crown Princess personally asks her to spy on the Elfenwald royal family who are visiting the kingdom for the first time. In return, Silke will have the home she's always wanted--the secure palace. But when Silke discovers the royal visitors' true intentions, she'll need all her wits to save her city from destruction.

  3. The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare - Princess Magnolia is excited. Excited and nervous. She’s going to the Interkingdom Science Fair today to present her poster about seeds and plants, and when she arrives, she sees that her friends are there too! Princess Honeysuckle made a mole habitat, Princess Sneezewort has built a blanket fort, and Tommy Wigtower has a talking volcano that’s saying “EAAAAT!” Wait, what? A surprise goo monster makes this a job for the Princess in Black, and the Princess in Blankets is on the scene to lend a hand. But will two masked heroes be enough to save the science fair? A little scientific problem-solving—and a lot of princess power—will make the sixth entry in the New York Times bestselling series a smash hit.

  4. Royal Crush: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess - Get ready for a Royal Crush in this third book in the middle-grade Princess Diaries spin-off series, written and illustrated by New York Times-bestselling author Meg Cabot. Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison is turning thirteen. Even better, she’s finally starting to get the hang of this princess thing. Just in time, too, since her half-sister, Princess Mia Thermopolis, is expected to give birth to twins any day now! It’s pretty much the worst time possible for a school field trip, but everyone is insisting that Olivia must attend the Royal School Winter Games. Between Grandmère chaperoning, Olivia’s snobby cousin Luisa complaining about her relationship woes, and everyone insisting that Olivia has a crush on Prince Khalil (even though she isn’t sure that he even wants to be friends anymore!), things are quickly turning into a royal mess! This is fun, illustrated middle grade—and this is the first series illustrated by Meg Cabot herself! The paperback features an interview with Meg Cabot and an excerpt of the next book. Praise for the From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess series: “Author Meg Cabot is ready to put her tiara back on [with] a new character.” —USA Today on From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess “The nation of Genovia gains a new resident in this amusing spin-off. . . . Cabot’s own black-and-white cartoons further enliven Olivia’s entertaining and candid notebook entries, which will have readers looking forward to her future escapades.” —Publishers Weekly on From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess “A sweet fantasy, both funny and highly satisfying.” —Kirkus Reviews on From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess “Readers will thrill to tag along on this festive adventure, presented as Olivia Grace’s illustrated diary.” —Children’s Literature on Royal Wedding Disaster “In her journal-style narrative incorporating both humorous and touching moments, likable, engaging Olivia continues to navigate the joys and challenges of being a modern-day princess.” —School Library Journal on Royal Wedding Disaster “This sweet and sassy spin-off featuring the younger half-sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis. . . . will be a perfect fit for Fancy Nancy alumni and readers not quite ready for Cabot's longer novels.” —School Library Journal on From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess Read the whole series! From the Notebooks of the Middle School Princess Royal Wedding Disaster: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess Royal Crush: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess

Want to see even more books about problem solving and princesses?

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Books About Imagination & Problem Solving

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#1
Duncan the Story Dragon
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

Poor Duncan. He loves to read, but because he is a fire breathing dragon he can't seem to ever get to the end of the book without it catching fire. Talk about a problem that needs solving! Instead of giving up and becoming miserable, he finds the best solution of involving someone else, creating a lasting friendship. I like that this story shows that sometimes we do need to turn outwards and ask for help for some things we can't do on our own. This can be difficult, but often creates the most rewarding experiences.

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!

Beautiful Oops! book
#2
Beautiful Oops!
Written and illustrated by Barney Saltzberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Near the very top of my list of things I want my children to learn is to not be afraid of mistakes or failure—they're simply part of the process. The interactive way multi-media mistakes are transformed in this book into quirky artwork is endearing and keeps the mood light and my little reader busy while I read the slightly more serious message present in the text. My toddler wants this "again" and "again", and thus far it's been sturdy enough to withstand toddler exploration, which is a plus!

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.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland board book book
#3
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland board book
Written and illustrated by Alison Jay
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

Alice in Wonderland is now ready for the toddler crowd in this delightful board book edition of Lewis Carroll’s classic Introduce the youngest readers to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with this dynamic new edition. Board book favorite Alison Jay illustrates the novel’s most iconic moments in her distinctive crackle-paint style. Each scene is paired with a descriptive verb, making this high-action concept book perfect for sharing with little ones.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Am Too Absolutely Small for School - "The children's relationship is refreshingly noncombative, with Charlie as the protective and affectionate older brother who is appreciative of, rather than annoyed by, his sister's quirkiness." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review) Lola is not so sure about school. After all, why would she need to count higher than ten when she never eats more that ten cookies at a time? Once again, it's up to ever-patient big brother Charlie to persuade Lola that school is worthwhile — and that her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen, will be welcome, too.

  2. Batneezer: The Creature From My Closet - For the first time, Rob Burnside knows when his closet is about to open—but he's not prepared for what emerges. A mash-up of Ebenezer Scrooge and Lego Batman, this new visitor's unusual antics are only one of Rob's problems.While enduring visits by the ghosts of books past, present,and future, Rob learns some shocking news: A battle is brewing, and his school needs a hero. What he gets is so much more. (Spoiler alert: All the creatures from past books come visit!)

  3. 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.

  4. Snow Dog, Sand Dog - What would you do if you were allergic but realy wanted a dog? In this whimsical picture book, a young girl uses her crafty nature and imagination to create four-legged friends each season as the weather changes. She builds a dog out of snow in winter, sand in summer, leaves in fall, and flowers in spring!

Want to see even more books about problem solving and imagination?

How about books about imagination?

Books About Food & Problem Solving

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear book
#1
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Written and illustrated by Don Wood, Audrey Wood
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

I have long loved this book and read it literally hundreds of times. The likable Little Mouse, loaded with personality, expends great effort and imagination to protect the strawberry from the thieving bear. Use of varying font sizes cues the reader and adds to the drama and suspense as do the delightful illustrations. There is one illustration in particular, where the mouse is desperately tugging on the stem of the strawberry, in which the manner of illustrating--visual vibrations-- communicate perfectly the mouse's actions. With plenty of suspense and humor along the way, this story has a satisfying ending, although it does leave one wondering just who has been speaking to the mouse.

Little Mouse worries that the big, hungry bear will take his freshly picked, ripe, red strawberry for himself.

The Giant of Jum book
#2
The Giant of Jum
Written by Elli Woollard and illustrated by Benji Davies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The Giant of Jum is feeling a bit munchy. "Fee!" he says, and "Fi!" he says, and "Fo!" he says and "Fum!" And off he goes, in search of that sweet snack of a boy named Jack. On his hunt, he ll meet children of all sorts. But before he can gobble them up, he finds himself waylaid by pleas for help. What's a hungry giant to do? Bright illustrations and sweet characters bring this fun and funny story to life a wonderful read-aloud with a chorus everyone will want to shout out together!"

Prince Not-So Charming: Happily Ever Laughter book
#3
Prince Not-So Charming: Happily Ever Laughter
Written by Roy L Hinuss
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In the fourth chapter book in the Prince Not-So Charming series, Prince Charming faces his greatest challenge yet: a fancy party. Prince Carlos Charles Charming isn’t the princeliest of princes. But he might be the funniest. Unfortunately, being hilarious won’t help much at a birthday party thrown by an evil queen with no sense of humor. And if Carlos, his pet dragon, and his friend Pinky don’t bring the right presents and fail to dance perfectly, the evil queen might declare war. Can Carlos and his friends keep the party from turning into a disaster? Who are we kidding? The real question is: After starting a food fight, can they save their kingdom? Perfect for middle school readers and filled with adorable illustrations, Prince Not-So Charming: Happily Ever Laughter is for every kid who worries about how to survive their next party. An Imprint Book

Honorable Mentions
  1. Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast - A thoroughly delicious picture book about the funniest "food fight!" ever! Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast have a beautiful friendship—until they discover that there'sONLY ONE DROP of maple syrup left. Off they go, racing past the Orange Juice Fountain, skiing through Sauerkraut Peak, and reeling down the linguini. But who will enjoy the sweet taste of victory? And could working together be better than tearing each other apart? The action-packed rhyme makes for an adrenaline-filled breakfast . . . even without a drop of coffee!

  2. Munch Your Lunch! - A new generation of children love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, inspired by the classic series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood! Daniel Tiger is the lunch helper at school and gets a sweet surprise from Mom Tiger in this 8x8 storybook based on an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood that comes with tiger-tastic lunch notes to pack in your little one’s lunchbox! It’s lunchtime at Daniel Tiger’s school. Teacher Harriet tells everyone to take a deep breath and open their lunch boxes. Daniel Tiger’s lunch box has a sandwich, strawberries, and a special surprise: A note from Mom Tiger! With the Daniel Tiger lunch notes included in this 8x8 storybook, parents and guardians can add special messages in their little one’s lunchboxes to show how much they care!

  3. The Case of the Stinky Stench - There s a stinky stench in the fridge and our favorite foodie friends must solve a smelly mystery! Inspector Croissant begs Sir French Toast and Lady Pancake for help in finding the source of the foul odor. Could it be the devious Baron Von Waffle? A fetid fish in Corn Chowder Lake? Featuring delectable wordplay there s even an actual red herring and delicious art, this tasty tale is a treat for kids!"

  4. James and the Giant Peach - From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG! After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!

Want to see even more books about problem solving and food?

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Books About Siblings & Problem Solving

Appleblossom the Possum book
#1
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

I Am Too Absolutely Small for School book
#2
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School
Written and illustrated by Lauren Child
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

"The children's relationship is refreshingly noncombative, with Charlie as the protective and affectionate older brother who is appreciative of, rather than annoyed by, his sister's quirkiness." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review) Lola is not so sure about school. After all, why would she need to count higher than ten when she never eats more that ten cookies at a time? Once again, it's up to ever-patient big brother Charlie to persuade Lola that school is worthwhile — and that her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen, will be welcome, too.

Whiskerella book
#3
Whiskerella
Written and illustrated by Ursula Vernon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Princess Harriet Hamsterbone is not the kind of princess who enjoys fancy dresses or extravagant parties. Cliff-diving, fractions, and whacking people with swords are more her thing. So when she’s forced to attend a boring ball in honor of a visiting ambassador, Harriet is less than thrilled–until a bewitchingly beautiful stranger arrives. Who is she? And where did she come from? The mystery leads to a not-so-wicked stepsister, an incontinent lizard, and a fairy’s spell that’s really more of a curse. Luckily, Harriet knows a thing or two about curses…

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed - "Whether they spot themselves in Charlie or Lola, young ones will enjoy this exuberant, hilarious spin on a bedtime story." — BOOKLIST Night owl Lola likes to stay up coloring and scribbling and wriggling and bouncing and chattering. Lola never gets tired. How can big brother Charlie convince her it's time for bed? Heralded by the WASHINGTON POST as "a delightful new voice in children's books," author-illustrator Lauren Child splashes her offbeat sense of humor and unique artwork all over this bedtime story. Laugh out loud at Lola's imaginative antics, but save a cheer for kind, patient Charlie, the big brother we'd all love to have.

  2. Cucumber Quest: The Flower Kingdom - "The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they'll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic sister, Almond, must now seek the Dream Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Queen Cordelia's Nightmare Knight. Can these bunny siblings save the world in its darkest hour...? Sure, why not?"--

  3. Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom - What happens when an evil queen gets her hands on an ancient force of destruction? World domination, obviously. The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they'll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic sister, Almond, must now seek the Dream Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Queen Cordelia’s Nightmare Knight. Can these bunny siblings really save the world in its darkest hour? Sure, why not? Adapted from the popular webcomic series, Cucumber Quest, The Doughnut Kingdom is the first graphic novel of a clever, adorable, and hilarious four-volume heroic adventure that is sure to make you hungry for sweets and action.

  4. Lucille Gets Jealous - With her grandmother's help, Lucille learns to control her jealousy toward her sister Margaret.

Want to see even more books about problem solving and siblings?

How about books about siblings?

Books About Science & Problem Solving

Rosie Revere, Engineer book
#1
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this book! The fun and colorful illustrations and rhyme text are wonderful, but the story and message are the best. Rosie's a great female role-model and I love that she learns the great lesson that "the only true failure can come if you quit." Even when embarrassment or failure hold her back, she keeps on trying and recognizes that failure is a step towards success!

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck's class, is available in September 2016.

Robot on the Loose book
#2
Robot on the Loose
Written by Henry Winkler and illustrated by Lin Oliver
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Hank, the star of the bestselling easy-to-read series, is back! This time, he has to learn the nuts and bolts of making a robot–and making a friend! Hank’s school is hosting its first-ever Build-a-Robot competition and Hank is ready to win. There’s just one problem: he completely forgot about the contest! While other kids have been working on their robots for a month, Hank has just two days to create an amazing robot that will wow the judges and win him the trophy. To make matters worse, there might be another problem, too. Hank has no idea how to build a robot! With help from Jaden, a robot expert at his school, Hank and his friends construct their robot, Stanley, just in time. But on the day of the competition, Stanley malfunctions! It will take Hank, Frankie, Ashley, and their new friend Jaden to get it back on track. Forget winning the trophy–Hank has to stop a robot on the loose!

Baby Loves Coding book
#3
Baby Loves Coding
Written by Ruth Spiro and illustrated by Irene Chan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book showcases the use of logic, sequence, and patterns to solve problems. Can Baby think like a coder to fix her train? Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby's sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin? - Coming Soon!

  2. The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare - Princess Magnolia is excited. Excited and nervous. She’s going to the Interkingdom Science Fair today to present her poster about seeds and plants, and when she arrives, she sees that her friends are there too! Princess Honeysuckle made a mole habitat, Princess Sneezewort has built a blanket fort, and Tommy Wigtower has a talking volcano that’s saying “EAAAAT!” Wait, what? A surprise goo monster makes this a job for the Princess in Black, and the Princess in Blankets is on the scene to lend a hand. But will two masked heroes be enough to save the science fair? A little scientific problem-solving—and a lot of princess power—will make the sixth entry in the New York Times bestselling series a smash hit.

  3. Ada Lace Sees Red - Ada Lace is building a new robot! She’s determined to beat Milton in the upcoming robotics competition. But she’s distracted—Ada finds her dad’s art class impossible, while Nina is the star of the class, basking in the glory of being Mr. Lace’s star pupil. When Mr. Lace suggests that Nina put on an art show, Ada becomes jealous and loses her temper. Now Ada isn’t speaking to her dad, she’s falling behind in art class, and she still doesn’t know how to fix her robot. As the competition looms closer, Ada starts to wonder if there might be a way to use both science and art to solve her problems. Will Ada make up with her father in time to test her hypothesis? Or will her hurt feelings leave her seeing red and without a medal at the end of the day?

Want to see even more books about problem solving and science?

How about books about science?

Books About Bravery & Problem Solving

The Paper Bag Princess book
#1
The Paper Bag Princess
Written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Over five million copies in print! When the fiercest dragon in the whole world smashes Princess Elizabeth’s castle, burns all her clothes, and captures her fiancé, Prince Ronald, Elizabeth takes matters into her own hands. With her wits alone and nothing but a paper bag to wear, the princess challenges the dragon to show his strength in the hopes of saving the prince. But is it worth all that trouble? Readers the world-over have fallen in love with this classic story of girl power. Now a newly designed Classic Munsch edition will introduce the tale to a new generation of young feminists.

Bug Girl: Fury on the Dance Floor book
#2
Bug Girl: Fury on the Dance Floor
Written by Sarah Hines Stephens, Benjamin Harper and illustrated by Anoosha Syed
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the sequel to "Bug Girl, " two girls with superpowers must defend their town when a villain unleashes her fury at the school dance. This funny and action-packed superhero story is filled with illustrations and sidebars featuring real bug facts.

Whiskerella book
#3
Whiskerella
Written and illustrated by Ursula Vernon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Princess Harriet Hamsterbone is not the kind of princess who enjoys fancy dresses or extravagant parties. Cliff-diving, fractions, and whacking people with swords are more her thing. So when she’s forced to attend a boring ball in honor of a visiting ambassador, Harriet is less than thrilled–until a bewitchingly beautiful stranger arrives. Who is she? And where did she come from? The mystery leads to a not-so-wicked stepsister, an incontinent lizard, and a fairy’s spell that’s really more of a curse. Luckily, Harriet knows a thing or two about curses…

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Journey to Dragon Island - Reaching the edge of the world can't stop the crew of the Onion! It's westward ho in search of dragons, no matter the obstacles. And there are obstacles. Flesh-eating vines, violent locals, and mischievous magi—not to mention Marfak West's ghost—meet the pirates when they land on the Western Island, where a volcano threatens to end them all. Together, Brine and Peter might just be able to save the crew, the island, and themselves. Or they might all go up in flames. It really could go either way.

  2. Firestorm! - Twelve-year-old Poppy is an orphan living in a bad neighborhood in Chicago, pick pocketing so that she has a place to sleep at night. Justin’s world couldn’t be more different—his father owns a jewelry store—but when he and Poppy meet, they become fast friends, thanks in part to Justin’s sweet pet goat. Through their friendship, Poppy realizes that she doesn’t want to be a thief anymore and she begins to feel like she may have a place with Justin’s family. But when Justin makes an expensive mistake at his father’s store, Poppy is immediately blamed. In response, she flees . . . right into the Great Chicago Fire. Poppy and Justin must rely on their instincts if they are going to survive the catastrophe. Will anything be left when the fire finally burns out?

  3. Cucumber Quest: The Ripple Kingdom - Adapted from the popular web comic series of the same name, this is the second book of a clever, adorable, and hilarious four-volume heroic adventure that is sure to make readers hungry for sweets and action.

  4. The Fourth Ruby - Jack and Gwen are back in this dynamic follow-up to The Lost Property Office. It’s been a year since Jack Buckles discovered the Keep beneath Baker Street, an underground tower no Section Thirteen was ever supposed to see; a year since his dad fell into a coma. Nothing has been the same since. Jack’s tracker abilities are on the fritz, Gwen’s not speaking to him and, what’s worse, there’s a pounding voice in his head calling for “the flame.” Then, Jack and Gwen are framed for the theft of a historic crown jewel—the Black Prince’s Ruby, one of three cursed rubies said to bring knowledge, loyalty, and the command of nations to whomever wields them all. Now, they must retrieve the other jewels before the true thief does, or risk unleashing a reign of terror unlike anything history’s ever seen.

Want to see even more books about problem solving and bravery?

How about books about bravery?

Books About Robots & Problem Solving

The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles book
#1
The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written and 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.

Robot on the Loose book
#2
Robot on the Loose
Written by Henry Winkler and illustrated by Lin Oliver
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Hank, the star of the bestselling easy-to-read series, is back! This time, he has to learn the nuts and bolts of making a robot–and making a friend! Hank’s school is hosting its first-ever Build-a-Robot competition and Hank is ready to win. There’s just one problem: he completely forgot about the contest! While other kids have been working on their robots for a month, Hank has just two days to create an amazing robot that will wow the judges and win him the trophy. To make matters worse, there might be another problem, too. Hank has no idea how to build a robot! With help from Jaden, a robot expert at his school, Hank and his friends construct their robot, Stanley, just in time. But on the day of the competition, Stanley malfunctions! It will take Hank, Frankie, Ashley, and their new friend Jaden to get it back on track. Forget winning the trophy–Hank has to stop a robot on the loose!

Cosmic Blackout! book
#3
Cosmic Blackout!
Written by Ray O’Ryan and illustrated by Jason Kraft
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Zack loves everything about his new planet, Nebulon, until there is a complete cosmic blackout and he must try to function without his Indoor Robotic Assistant and hyperphone.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ada Lace Sees Red - Ada Lace is building a new robot! She’s determined to beat Milton in the upcoming robotics competition. But she’s distracted—Ada finds her dad’s art class impossible, while Nina is the star of the class, basking in the glory of being Mr. Lace’s star pupil. When Mr. Lace suggests that Nina put on an art show, Ada becomes jealous and loses her temper. Now Ada isn’t speaking to her dad, she’s falling behind in art class, and she still doesn’t know how to fix her robot. As the competition looms closer, Ada starts to wonder if there might be a way to use both science and art to solve her problems. Will Ada make up with her father in time to test her hypothesis? Or will her hurt feelings leave her seeing red and without a medal at the end of the day?

  2. Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding - "Code is the 21st century literacy and the need for people to speak the ABCs of Programming is imminent." --Linda Liukas Meet Ruby--a small girl with a huge imagination. In Ruby's world anything is possible if you put your mind to it. When her dad asks her to find five hidden gems Ruby is determined to solve the puzzle with the help of her new friends, including the Wise Snow Leopard, the Friendly Foxes, and the Messy Robots. As Ruby stomps around her world kids will be introduced to the basic concepts behind coding and programming through storytelling. Learn how to break big problems into small problems, repeat tasks, look for patterns, create step-by-step plans, and think outside the box. With hands-on activities included in every chapter, future coders will be thrilled to put their own imaginations to work.

Want to see even more books about problem solving and robots?

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Books About Magic & Problem Solving

Journey book
#1
Journey
Written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a beautiful wordless picture book following a young girl through her imagination to a world where things don't always work out as she expects. She has to think fast, but with a little creative problem solving and a lot of imagination she's able to discover just what she was looking for—a friend. A fresh take on a journey with elements vaguely reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon!

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship. A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

Malala's Magic Pencil book
#2
Malala's Magic Pencil
Written by Malala Yousafzai and illustrated by Kerascoet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Malala's first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them. As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala's story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.

Prince Not-So Charming: Toad You So! book
#3
Prince Not-So Charming: Toad You So!
Written by Roy L Hinuss
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The fifth chapter book in the Prince Not-So Charming series features Prince Carlos being turned into a toad. Prince Carlos Charles Charming is finally figuring out how to be both a prince and a court jester. But then a mixed-up wizard transforms Carlos into a toad who eats bugs and croaks instead of speaks. Unfortunately, the wizard doesn’t have a spell for reversing it. Even more unfortunately, “Toad Surprise” is on the menu for today’s lunch at Fancy Castle! Can Carlos escape the kitchen and leap back into his normal life—warts and all? Perfect for middle school readers and filled with adorable illustrations, Prince Not-So Charming: Toad You So shows it’s hard to live up to the fairy tale—but the first step is letting your true self show through.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Witches - From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG! This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches. Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There’s nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma’s stories—but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!

  2. Circus Mirandus - Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather. The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn’t want to keep his promise. And now it’s up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.

  3. Freya and the Magic Jewel -

  4. James and the Giant Peach - From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG! After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!

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Books About Courage & Problem Solving

Journey book
#1
Journey
Written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a beautiful wordless picture book following a young girl through her imagination to a world where things don't always work out as she expects. She has to think fast, but with a little creative problem solving and a lot of imagination she's able to discover just what she was looking for—a friend. A fresh take on a journey with elements vaguely reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon!

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship. A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

The 91-Story Treehouse book
#2
The 91-Story Treehouse
Written by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

The "New York Times-"-bestselling team of Griffiths and Denton invites readers to hang out with them in the seventh book of their illustrated chapter book series. Illustrations.

King Flashypants and the Toys of Terror book
#3
King Flashypants and the Toys of Terror
Written by Andy Riley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Something strange is afoot in Edwinland—King Edwin's arch nemesis Emperor Nurbison isn't acting like himself. He's smiling. He's cheerful. He's even making toys for the peasants! King Edwin knows he must be up to something. But what? Dangerous dolls and dastardly plots await in this latest rib-tickling adventure.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Off & Away - How would you get mail if you lived in the middle of the sea? It's Jo's dad's job to deliver it, taking bottles wherever they need to go. He always comes home with exciting stories to tell-but Jo is far too afraid to go out on the ocean herself. Until Dad gets a bad sea cold, that is. With no one but Jo to deliver the bottles, she must find her courage and set sail alone. As she embarks on her mission, her fears just might be replaced with new friendships . . . and grand stories of her own. With beautiful, atmospheric art and endearing new characters by author-illustrator Cale Atkinson, this picturebook is a treasure.

  2. The Knight's Armor: Book 3 of the Ministry of SUITs - When twelve-year-old Jack Pease and his partner, Trudy, operatives of the Ministry of Strange, Unusual, and Impossible Things, try to find Trudy's mother, who is being held prisoner by an evil scientist named Mr. M, they uncover a nefarious scheme that involves the legend of King Arthur, Merlin, and the Excalibur.

  3. Priscilla and the Hollyhocks - Priscilla is only four years old when her mother is sold to another master. All Priscilla has to remember her mother by are the hollyhocks she planted by the cow pond. At age ten, Priscilla is sold to a Cherokee family and continues her life as a slave. She keeps hope for a better life alive by planting hollyhocks wherever she goes. At last, her forced march along the Trail of Tears brings a chance encounter that leads to her freedom. Includes an author's note with more details about this fascinating true story as well as instructions for making hollyhock dolls.

  4. The Monster's Daughter: Book 2 of the Ministry of SUITs - Terry Pratchett meets Men in Black in this hilarious sequel to The Ministry of SUITs.

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Books About Facing Fears & Problem Solving

Oliver and the Seawigs book
#1
Oliver and the Seawigs
Written by Phillip Reave and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre, Phillip Reave
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This adventurous and imaginary tale will keep you guessing what will happen next! When Oliver's parents disappear, Oliver goes after them on his own journey, facing problem after problem. I love the Oliver is brave and instead of just complaining when a problem arises or his idea fails, he thinks about the next step he can take solve his problem and get his parents back. Plus, he makes a wonderful friend along the way. :)

Get ready for moving islands! Mischievous monkeys! And a splashy adventure with illustrations on almost every page. When Oliver’s explorer parents go missing, he sets sail to find them with some new friends. There’s a grumpy albatross, a nearsighted mermaid . . . even a living island! But the high seas are more exciting and strange than Oliver could have imagined. Can he and his crew spar with sarcastic seaweed, outrun an army of sea monkeys, win a fabulous maritime fashion contest, and defeat a wicked sea captain in time to save Mom and Dad? For early chapter book readers who are ready for something longer, the Not-So-Impossible Tales are packed with silly humor, action, and larger-than-life fun.

What Do You Do with a Problem? book
#2
What Do You Do with a Problem?
Written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What do you do with a problem? Especially one that follows you around and doesn't seem to be going away? Do you worry about it? Ignore it? Do you run and hide from it? This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn't so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It's a story to inspire you to look closely at that problem and to find out why it's here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem and yourself. What are problems for? They challenge us, shape us, push us, and help us to discover just how strong and brave and capable we really are. Even though we don't always want them, problems have a way of bringing unexpected gifts. So, what will you do with your problem?

Somewhere Else book
#3
Somewhere Else
Written and illustrated by Gus Gordon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

George has absolutely no interest in exploring the world. None at all. He's far too busy enjoying his home life and baking delicious pastries. Or so he tells all his friends when they invite him along on their wonderful adventures. But when George's friend Pascal digs a little deeper, the real reason George refuses to travel away from home is finally revealed . . . From the children's book author of the acclaimed Herman and Rosie comes Gus Gordon's Somewhere Else.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I'm a Duck - I cannot swim, and that is bad. A landlocked duck is very sad. One day, an egg rolled out of a nest and right into a deep pond. Now that egg is a little duck, and the water is still very scary. Jumping into the pond at all seems impossible, never mind swimming in a line with all his brothers. “You’re a duck, and ducks don’t sink,” Big Frog points out. Practicing in a puddle helps a little, while backrubs and snacks from his mother help a little more. Big Frog offers to hold his friend’s wing and dive in together, but our little duck knows that some challenges need to be faced alone. Even when they are very scary!

  2. Tank & Fizz - When their school bus veers off course while taking the kids from Gravelmuck Elementary on a field trip, monster detectives Tank and Fizz witness a crime that brings them snout to snout with Rockfall Mountain’s oldest monster, the ancient dragon Firebane Drakeclaw. Thieves have stolen the Crown of Peace, which keeps the monster clans of the Dark Depths from fighting, and Tank and Fizz saw the whole thing. Now the detectives must track down the thieves and find the crown or their whole class will become dinner for one very hungry dragon! The Case of Firebane’s Folly is the fourth book in the Tank & Fizz series about two crime-solving monsters living under a mountain.

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Books About Silly & Problem Solving

Stuck book
#1
Stuck
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Grammy

The boy in this story may be a little single-minded when it comes to problem-solving, but wow, does he have a strong arm! There are plenty of opportunities to anticipate and predict what might happen next; just when you think he might use an object for its intended purpose and change the trajectory of the story, he lobs it into the tree. Kids find this absolutely hilarious! I love the simply-drawn illustrations and the creative variety of the boy's resources. It is a wonderful thing to be so engaged in the resolution of a problem that one is completely distracted from the problem itself.

From the illustrator of the #1 smash The Day the Crayons Quit comes another bestseller–a giggle-inducing tale of everything tossed, thrown, and hurled in order to free a kite! When Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he’s determined to get it out. But how? Well, by knocking it down with his shoe, of course. But strangely enough, it too gets stuck. And the only logical course of action . . . is to throw his other shoe. Only now it’s stuck! Surely there must be something he can use to get his kite unstuck. An orangutan? A boat? His front door? Yes, yes, and yes. And that’s only the beginning. Stuck is Oliver Jeffers’ most absurdly funny story since The Incredible Book-Eating Boy. Childlike in concept and vibrantly illustrated as only Oliver Jeffers could, here is a picture book worth rescuing from any tree.

Beard Boy book
#2
Beard Boy
Written by John Flannery and illustrated by Steven Weinberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Young Ben wants to be just like his awesome dad—bearded. Ben wants a beard. All the most boss people in his town have them. The baker, the barbers, the butcher, they’re all bewhiskered—even the old lady who waits at the bus stop has one. Most of all though, Ben wants a beard just like his dad. He tries his best to start on some scruff, but nothing works quite right. And when his dad explains he might have to wait ’til he’s older for a beard of his own, he decides to take some more permanent action—with a marker that is. In the end, Ben and his dad find the perfect solution in this hilarious and heartwarming picture book celebrating the bond between father and son.

Batneezer: The Creature From My Closet book
#3
Batneezer: The Creature From My Closet
Written by Obert Skye
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

For the first time, Rob Burnside knows when his closet is about to open—but he's not prepared for what emerges. A mash-up of Ebenezer Scrooge and Lego Batman, this new visitor's unusual antics are only one of Rob's problems.While enduring visits by the ghosts of books past, present,and future, Rob learns some shocking news: A battle is brewing, and his school needs a hero. What he gets is so much more. (Spoiler alert: All the creatures from past books come visit!)

Honorable Mentions
  1. Prince Not-So Charming: Happily Ever Laughter - In the fourth chapter book in the Prince Not-So Charming series, Prince Charming faces his greatest challenge yet: a fancy party. Prince Carlos Charles Charming isn’t the princeliest of princes. But he might be the funniest. Unfortunately, being hilarious won’t help much at a birthday party thrown by an evil queen with no sense of humor. And if Carlos, his pet dragon, and his friend Pinky don’t bring the right presents and fail to dance perfectly, the evil queen might declare war. Can Carlos and his friends keep the party from turning into a disaster? Who are we kidding? The real question is: After starting a food fight, can they save their kingdom? Perfect for middle school readers and filled with adorable illustrations, Prince Not-So Charming: Happily Ever Laughter is for every kid who worries about how to survive their next party. An Imprint Book

  2. Matilda - From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG! Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!

  3. Hector's Hiccups - Sofia's Abuela is taking her and Sophia's cousin Hector to the movies, but when Hector develops hiccups, their movie plans are put on hold until the children get their hiccup problem under control.

  4. King Flashypants and the Evil Emperor - Edwin isn't any ordinary boy. He is a king with a crown, his own suit of armor, a castle with secret passages and water slides—oh, and the most horribly evil man in the universe living next door. Emperor Nurbison is permanently up to no good. He wants Edwin's kingdom for himself, so when the Edwinland piggy bank runs out of money, he seizes his opportunity. None of this could possibly lead to a thrilling adventure with action, chocolate, and snappy crocodiles—could it?

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Books About Family & Problem Solving

Papa's Mechanical Fish book
#1
Papa's Mechanical Fish
Written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

All about an inventor who never seems to be able to get anything just right, but who, with the help of some thought-provoking questions from his daughter, lots of iteration and oodles of family support tries and tries again to perfect one design... a mechanical fish! The illustrations are fun and quirky and the lesson that failure is just a step on the pathway to improvement is important.

In the summer of 1851, with encouragement and ideas provided by his family, an inventor builds a working submarine and takes his family for a ride. Includes notes about Lodner Phillips, the real inventor on whom the story is based.

One Wave at a Time book
#2
One Wave at a Time
Written by Holly Thompson and illustrated by Ashley Crowley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

After his father dies, Kai experiences all kinds of emotions: sadness, anger, fear, guilt. Sometimes they crash and mix together. Other times, there are no emotions at all—just flatness. As Kai and his family adjust to life without Dad, the waves still roll in. But with the help of friends and one another, they learn to cope—and, eventually, heal. A lyrical story about grieving for anyone encountering loss.

Goodbye, Mr. Spalding book
#3
Goodbye, Mr. Spalding
Written and illustrated by Jennifer Robin Barr
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Set in Philadelphia during the Great Depression, this middle-grade historical novel tells the story of a twelve-year-old boy and his best friend as they attempt to stop a wall from being built at Shibe Park, home of the Philadelphia Athletics, that would block the view of the baseball field from their rooftops. In 1930s Philadelphia, twelve-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola live across the street from Shibe Park, home of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. Their families and others on the street make extra money by selling tickets to bleachers on their flat rooftops, which have a perfect view of the field. However, falling ticket sales at the park prompt the manager and park owner to decide to build a wall that will block the view. Jimmy and Lola come up with a variety of ways to prevent the wall from being built, knowing that not only will they miss the view, but their families will be impacted from the loss of income. As Jimmy becomes more and more desperate to save their view, his dubious plans create a rift between him and Lola, and he must work to repair their friendship.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Terra Nova - The city of Terra Nova was founded on a lie: that the spirits who cross over from the spirit world are evil and must be captured for the safety of humanity. But Molly Stout and her family have learned that the spirits are thinking, feeling beings, enslaved to enrich the wealthy, especially the spirit-harvesting company Haviland Industries and its founder, Charles Arkwright. With the help of her family and the aetheric spirits Ariel and Legerdemain, Molly has been fighting to free the spirits. But Terra Nova runs on spiritual machinery, and for each factory they shut down, another takes its place. As Haviland Industries and the authorities of Terra Nova tighten their nets around Molly, she begins to question whether she is really making any difference or if her rebellion puts people and spirits at risk. Terra Nova is the sequel to Dominion.

  2. James and the Giant Peach - From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG! After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!

  3. Two Problems for Sophia - Sophia and Noodle, her One True Desire, are together at last. But Noodle comes with two gigantic problems, and those problems are tearing Sophia’s family apart! Can a little creative experimenting save Noodle? Or will Sophia have to bid him adieu?

  4. The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon - What do you do with a curmudgeon that just won't budge? Why, shake off the grumpy 'tude and embrace the fun! Have you ever seen a curmudgeon that looks like your brother, but is in such a bad mood you hardly recognize him? You can try all the peanut butter sandwiches and brownies you have, but he is not moving. Nothing works, especially nudging, and he just makes you so grumpy that eventually you have no choice but to fight back--and then... Have you ever become a curmudgeon that just won't budge? Matthew Burgess's playful depiction of bad moods and sibling rivalry is matched perfectly by Fiona Woodcock's unique childlike art style.

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