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The Best Problem-Solving Books

Looking for great books for teaching problem solving through children's literature?

Whenever my son encounters a problem—be it building block pieces 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, I know he’s developing crucial problem-solving skills, and problem-solving is one of those essential skills that, once developed, will serve children their entire lifetime. To help showcase different techniques for problem-solving, and hone metacognition for kids, we’ve collected here on this list the very best books for teaching problem solving through children’s literature! Reading these problem-solving books with your child provides an unparalleled opportunity to have shared references to help you as a team through a learning moment when it arises, plus you’ll get to enjoy the bonding moment of reading together!

Some books are absolute classics, such as “The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear,” that take a more humorous approach to problem-solving; others are popular titles you may be familiar with that take a more direct approach to flexible thinking techniques, such as New York Times Bestseller “What To Do With a Problem”; and some are hidden gems you may be discovering for the first time. There are books that teach social problem solving, highlight out-of-the-box thinking in innovation, speak to the role of teamwork in overcoming obstacles, and address the very real possibility that problem-solving may be needed to cope with failure at many stages of the process.

Because problem solving is important in all of life’s stages, this list includes board, picture and chapter books. Board books are best for infants and toddlers. Picture books are excellent for toddlers and also include stories for kindergarten and early elementary students (although we think picture books are great for all ages!). Chapter books are great for elementary- and middle school-age readers. If you know your target age group, feel free to filter to a single category, or just browse the entire list.

Without further ado, enjoy this problem-solving list, and let us know what titles you would include!

Top 10 Books About Problem Solving

#1
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The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Written & illustrated by Audrey Wood and Don Wood
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.
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
First published in 1984, a picture book in which the Little Mouse will do all he can to save his strawberry from the Big, Hungry Bear, even if it means sharing it with the reader. The Little Mouse and the Big Hungry Bear are known and loved by millions of children around the world. Little Mouse loves strawberries, but so does the bear...How will Little Mouse stop the bear from eating his freshly picked, red, ripe strawberry.
#2
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To the Sea
Written & illustrated by Cale Atkinson
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!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
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.
#3
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Dough Knights and Dragons
Written by Dee Leone & illustrated by George Ermos
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! :)
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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!
#4
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Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
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!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.
#5
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Solutions for Cold Feet
Written & illustrated by Carey Sookocheff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
What do you do when you're missing a shoe? When you're caught in the rain? Or when your ice cream melts? Solutions for Cold Feet is a sweet and gently humorous look at practical and creative answers for all the little daily problems in one young girl's life, including her exuberant and pesky dog. Will her dog, who starts out as a problem, end up as solution?
#6
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The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written & illustrated by Dave Wasson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Buster Bickles's big ideas are always getting him into trouble. But when Buster gets to test the newly invented What-if Machine, anything Buster imagines becomes reality. Packed with rivers of chocolate, robot dinosaurs, and eggs-ray vision, the world becomes Buster's creation in this fantastically creative picture book by debut author-illustrator Dave Wasson.
#7
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Duncan the Story Dragon
Written & illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
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.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
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!
#8
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The Paper Bag Princess
Written by Robert Munsch & 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.
#9
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Russell the Sheep
Written by Rob Scotton
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
This is Russell. Sometimes Russell is just a little bit out of step with the rest of the flock. All the sheep are falling asleep -- except Russell. What's a sheep to do? Russell tries everything ... until, at last, he falls asleep.
#10
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The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written & illustrated by Joyce Wan
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.
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
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!
Table of Contents
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Books About Problem Solving and Coping With Failure

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Beautiful Oops!
Written & illustrated by Barney Saltzberg
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!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
A life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator. An award winning, best-selling, one-of-a-kind interactive book, Beautiful Oops! shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.
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What Do You Do with a Problem?
Written by Kobi Yamada & 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?
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Papa's Mechanical Fish
Written by Candace Fleming & illustrated by Boris Kulikov
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.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.
Honorable Mentions
Oliver and the Seawigs book
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Lulu's Party book
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Max and Marla book
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Beard Boy book
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  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. 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.

  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. Beard Boy - 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.

Books About Problem Solving and Dogs

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Solutions for Cold Feet
Written & illustrated by Carey Sookocheff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
What do you do when you're missing a shoe? When you're caught in the rain? Or when your ice cream melts? Solutions for Cold Feet is a sweet and gently humorous look at practical and creative answers for all the little daily problems in one young girl's life, including her exuberant and pesky dog. Will her dog, who starts out as a problem, end up as solution?
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Black Dog
Written & illustrated by Levi Pinfold
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
In a modern fairy tale about the power of fear and how it distorts our view of the world, the Black Dog that appears outside the Hope family's home seems to grow larger and larger as each frightened member of the Hope family sees it, but the youngest member of the household is not afraid and is able to break the spell.
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The Most Magnificent Thing
Written & illustrated by Ashley Spires
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato
One of the concepts in The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown is that sometimes when we fail, our reaction is to blame ourselves, "I'm no good." The more positive response to failure, though, is to blame our actions, "there was something wrong with the process." This book presents a similar idea as it follows a young girl and her assistant as they attempt to create the most magnificent thing ever. Try as she might, though, the girl can't quite get it right. Eventually, frustration sets in and she loses her cool. Thankfully, her trusty sidekick helps her go for a walk and get a new perspective on things. This is a great book for not giving up and learning from "failure".
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
A little girl and her canine assistant set out to make the most magnificent thing. But after much hard work, the end result is not what the girl had in mind. Frustrated, she quits. Her assistant suggests a long walk, and as they walk, it slowly becomes clear what the girl needs to do to succeed. A charming story that will give kids the most magnificent thing: perspective!
Honorable Mentions
The Poky Little Puppy book
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Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble book
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Snow Dog, Sand Dog book
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Juana and Lucas: Big Problemas book
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  1. The Poky Little Puppy - Five little puppies dug a hole under the fence and went for a walk in the wide, wide world… . The Poky Little Puppy was one of the original twelve Little Golden Books published in 1942, and went on to become the bestselling picture book of all time. The story of a curious puppy, who digs holes under fences and who has to go to bed without any strawberry shortcake, has delighted families for generations. it is, quite simply, an icon. Delightful to read aloud, The Poky Little Puppy is a cherished story that every child should know.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. Juana and Lucas: Big Problemas - When her mami meets someone new, Juana worries that everything will change in a humorous, heartwarming follow-up to the Pura Belpré Award-winning Juana & Lucas. Juana’s life is just about perfect. She lives in the beautiful city of Bogotá with her two most favorite people in the world: her mami and her dog, Lucas. Lately, though, things have become a little less perfect. Mami has a new hairdo and a new amigo named Luis with whom she has been spending a LOT of time. He is kind and teaches Juana about things like photography and jazz music, but sometimes Juana can’t help wishing things would go back to the way they were before. When Mami announces that she and Luis are getting married and that they will all be moving to a new casa, Juana is quite distraught. Lucky for her, though, some things will never change — like how much Mami loves her. Based on author-illustrator Juana Medina’s own childhood in Colombia, this joyful series is sure to resonate with readers of all ages.

Want to see books about dogs?

Books About Problem Solving and Teamwork

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Duncan the Story Dragon
Written & illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
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.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
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!
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Oliver's Tree
Written & illustrated by Kit Chase
Thoughts from 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.
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
A board book about three adorable best friends! Oliver, Charlie, and Lulu love to play outside together. Their favorite game is hide-and-seek, but it’s not fun for Oliver when his friends hide in the trees—he can’t reach them! So the friends set off to find a tree that Oliver can play in. But there’s a reason we don’t see elephants in trees, and just when Oliver is ready to give up the search, Charlie and Lulu surprise him with the perfect tree for them all to play in together!
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Appleblossom the Possum
Written by & 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.
Honorable Mentions
The Perfect Picnic book
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The Big Red Rock book
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Charlie & Mouse Even Better book
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Team Players book
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  1. The Perfect Picnic - A hilarious story from the author of Those Pesky Rabbits about friendship, perfectionists, and losing your sandwiches. Squirrel and Mole are the best of friends, and they do everything together, including going on picnics. But while Mole doesn’t really mind where they have a picnic, Squirrel is very determined that this picnic will be PERFECT, and that means finding the perfect place. But does such a thing exist?

  2. 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.

  3. Charlie & Mouse Even Better - In this heartwarming follow-up to Laurel Snyder’s awardwinning beginning chapter book Charlie & Mouse, the two brothers prepare to celebrate one very special birthday: their mom’s! Follow along as they choose the best pancakes, hunt for presents, decorate with snakes, and more. Things don’t go exactly as planned . . . but with plenty of humor and heart, Charlie and Mouse prove that sometimes when things aren’t perfect, what they turn out to be is even better.

  4. Team Players - Cassie must learn that you can’t “fix” someone else after a girl with Aspergers joins her softball team in the fourth and final book of the Home Team series from New York Times bestselling author and sports-writing legend Mike Lupica. Cassie Bennett is great at being in charge. She always knows what to do to lead her teams to victory, keep her many groups of friends together, or fix any problem that comes her way. So when Sarah Milligan, an autistic girl with unreal softball skills, joins Cassie’s team, Cassie’s sure she can help her fit in with the team. But before long it’s obvious that being around so many people is really hard for Sarah, and the more Cassie tries to reach out and involve her, the more Sarah pushes her away, sometimes literally. It doesn’t help that Cassie’s teammates aren’t as interested in helping Sarah as they are in making sure they make it to the new softball All-Star Tournament that’ll be televised just like the Little League World Series. Soon no one besides Cassie seems to even want Sarah on the team anymore, and the harder Cassie tries to bring everyone together, the worse things seem to get. Cassie Bennett never backs down from a challenge, but can she realize that maybe the challenge isn’t fixing a problem in someone else, but in herself? Or will her stubbornness lead her to lose more than just softball games?

Want to see books about teamwork?

Books About Problem Solving and Imagination And Play

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The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written & illustrated by Joyce Wan
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.
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
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!
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Journey
Written & illustrated by Aaron Becker
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!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.
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Charlie's Boat
Written & illustrated by Kit Chase
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Best friends really are the best when they use their imaginations to help each other. Charlie, Oliver, and Lulu love to play outside together. One fine day they all go fishing, but Charlie doesn’t have much fun—all he can catch are sticks. Next, they build little boats and have a race, but, once again, things don’t go very well. Charlie’s boat comes in last. Things seem pretty gloomy until Oliver comes up with a plan. They build a special boat they can all play on, together! Kit Chase offers a sweet ode to friendship in this tale of three best friends who can count on each other to always make play time fun.
Honorable Mentions
Chilly Penguin book
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Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding book
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Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad book
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Hello Ruby: Journey Inside the Computer book
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  1. Chilly Penguin - How can a chilly little penguin get warm? Themes of perseverance, problem-solving and friendship give caregivers and children lots to talk about, while the penguin’s amusing antics and the story’s sweet ending make for a fun storytime for toddlers.

  2. Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding - Meet Ruby—a small girl with a huge imagination, and the determination to solve any puzzle. As Ruby stomps around her world making new friends, including the Wise Snow Leopard, the Friendly Foxes, and the Messy Robots, kids will be introduced to the fundamentals of computational thinking, like how to break big problems into small ones, create step-by-step plans, look for patterns and think outside the box through storytelling. Then, these basic concepts at the core of coding and programming will be reinforced through fun playful exercises and activities that encourage exploration and creativity. In Ruby’s world anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

  3. Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad - The Bug Squad is back in a story about playing together, problem solving, and saying you’re sorry in this hardcover picture book from the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series. This book was a Jumpstart Read for the Record Book. The Bug Squad – Bumblebee Boy, Dragonfly Girl, and Butterfly Girl – are coming to Lulu’s house for a play date and she know exactly what they are going to do all day. They use their big imaginations to create their own fun games right in Lulu’s backyard. But when some things don’t go just the way Lulu planned, Dragonfly Girl’s feelings get hurt. This is a job for Ladybug Girl! When Lulu is Ladybug Girl, she knows that even if it isn’t easy, it is important to apologize. For fans of Fancy Nancy and Betty Bunny, the Ladybug Girl series honors individuality, friendship, and a love of nature!

  4. Hello Ruby: Journey Inside the Computer - What exactly is a computer? How does it work? What is it made of? Learn all this and more with Ruby! In Ruby’s world anything is possible if you put your mind to it—even fixing her father’s broken computer! Join Ruby and her new friend, Mouse, on an imaginative journey through the insides of a computer in search of the missing Cursor. From bits and logic gates to computer hardware, in Journey Inside the Computer, Ruby (and her readers!) will learn the basic elements of the machines that power our world. Then future kid coders can put their knowledge and imaginations to work with fun activities. Praise for Linda Liukas and the Hello Ruby series: “[Linda Liukas] wants kids to understand and embrace basic computer logic, so that they later formulate code in the same effortless and creative way they build structures with LEGO.” —The Wall Street Journal “Hello Ruby by Linda Liukas is half picture book and half activity book rolled into one adorable package. What I love about it is that it introduces programming without requiring a computer at all.” —GeekMom.com

Books About Problem Solving and Transportation

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Stuck
Written & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
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.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
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.
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A Little Stuck
Written & 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.
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Off & Away
Written & illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
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.
Honorable Mentions
Pedro's Monster book
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Little Taco Truck book
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Tow Truck Joe book
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The Real Boat book
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  1. Pedro's Monster - Despite his father’s reassurances, Pedro is frightened by the monsters in his dreams—until he finds a way to use his love of monster trucks to defeat his dream monsters.

  2. Little Taco Truck - Little Taco Truck loves serving workers on Union Street, but when Ms. Falafal takes his spot, then more and bigger food trucks arrive, he fears no one will want his tacos anymore.

  3. Tow Truck Joe - Joe the Tow and his pup, Patch, are on the go—and always there for a car or truck in need—in this rhyming board book sure to appeal to fans of Little Blue Truck and Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site! One for all! All for one!
    We can fix it! Let’s have fun!
    Welcome to Drivedale, a busy little town full of cars and trucks to meet! Joe the Tow and Patch the Pup are there twenty-four hours a day to help friends in need and keep everyone rolling along smoothly. When a cookie-crumbling fender-bender brings traffic to a halt, Joe knows just how to turn the sticky situation into a delicious solution: by working together!

  4. The Real Boat - When a paper boat learns about the ocean, he is determined to go there so he can be a real boat. On his journey he meets all sorts of friends, from the strong little tugboat to the glittering ocean liner. But he also learns that the real ocean is huge and deep and full of dangers. A lyrical text and magical illustrations combine to create a modern fable with an important message about striving for what you want and escaping your comfort zone.

Books About Problem Solving and Princesses

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The Paper Bag Princess
Written by Robert Munsch & 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.
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Princess Smartypants
Written & 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.
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Whiskerella
Written & 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
Princess Truly and the Hungry Bunny Problem book
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Tales of Sasha 7: The Royal Island book
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Tales of Sasha 8: Showtime! book
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Cucumber Quest: The Flower Kingdom book
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  1. Princess Truly and the Hungry Bunny Problem - Princess Truly, the clever princess with magical hair, is playing outside when she hears a very sad sigh. Ever the curious girl, she decides to investigate and her beloved pug, Sir Noodles, follows her. They soon discover a very sad Lola Little. Lola’s bunny friends are hungry because her garden will not grow any carrots. Princess Truly and Sir Noodles are happy to help her with her hungry bunny problem. This enchanting tale features the delightful and whimsical illustrations of Amariah Rauscher.

  2. Tales of Sasha 7: The Royal Island - In book seven of the Tales of Sasha series, Sasha, Wyatt, and Kimani travel to the royal island of flying horses! Sasha, Kimani, and Wyatt are flying to the island of royal flying horses where the King and Queen are waiting to meet Sasha! The journey is going well until a powerful storm forces them to take shelter on a small island until the next morning. But the King and Queen have to leave the royal island in a few hours, and the trio is off course and without their map! Will Sasha find a way to get to the island before the King and Queen leave?

  3. Tales of Sasha 8: Showtime! - In book eight of the Tales of Sasha series, Sasha throws a party for the horses of Verdant Valley and Crystal Cove! The King and Queen have put Sasha in charge of planning a Summer Solstice celebration for the horses of Verdant Valley and Crystal Cove! Sasha has never planned a big party before, and there are so many details! Will she find a way to pull this party off?

  4. 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?”—

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Books About Problem Solving and Science

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Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
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!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.
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Marsha Is Magnetic
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
It turns out that the best way to draw others to you is by being yourself in this sweet, STEAM-minded picture book from <i>New York Times</i> bestselling author Beth Ferry. Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn't solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped. Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method. With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to <i>attract</i> as many friends as she can--what could possibly go wrong? In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.
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The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin
Written by Julia Finley Mosca & illustrated by Daniel Rieley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
If you’ve ever felt different, if you’ve ever been low, if you don’t quite fit in, there’s a name you should know… Meet Dr. Temple Grandin—one of the world’s quirkiest science heroes! When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe! The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin is the first book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Temple herself!
Honorable Mentions
Patricia's Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight book
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The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare book
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Baby Loves Coding book
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Many: the Diversity of Life on Earth book
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  1. Patricia's Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight - The inspiring story of Dr. Patricia Bath, a groundbreaking ophthalmologist who pioneered laser surgery—and gave her patients the gift of sight. Born in the 1940s, Patricia Bath dreamed of being an ophthalmologist at a time when becoming a doctor wasn’t a career option for most women—especially African-American women. This empowering biography follows Dr. Bath in her quest to save and restore sight to the blind, and her decision to “choose miracles” when everyone else had given up hope. Along the way, she cofounded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, invented a specialized laser for removing cataracts, and became the first African-American woman doctor to receive a medical patent.

  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. Baby Loves Coding - 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!

  4. Many: the Diversity of Life on Earth - The more we study the world around us, the more living things we discover every day. The planet is full of millions of species of plants, birds, animals, and microbes, and every single one including us is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern. When humans interfere with parts of the pattern, by polluting the air and oceans, taking too much from the sea, and cutting down too many forests, animals and plants begin to disappear. What sort of world would it be if it went from having many types of living things to having just one?

Want to see books about science?

Books About Problem Solving and Technology

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The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written & illustrated by Dave Wasson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Buster Bickles's big ideas are always getting him into trouble. But when Buster gets to test the newly invented What-if Machine, anything Buster imagines becomes reality. Packed with rivers of chocolate, robot dinosaurs, and eggs-ray vision, the world becomes Buster's creation in this fantastically creative picture book by debut author-illustrator Dave Wasson.
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Balloons Over Broadway
Written & illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Presents a tribute to the creator of the giant balloons that fill the sky during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, tracing the work of artist Tony Sarg, whose innovative "upside-down puppet" creations have become the parade's trademark.
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The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl
Written & illustrated by Keith Negley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
**Inspired by the work of wind pioneer Poul la Cour, *The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl* is the imagined story of the invention of wind turbines, featuring themes perfect for Earth Day.** Everyone thought the wild blue girl was a nuisance. Everyone, that is, but Poul. This is a clever and inspiring story of how curiosity and observation can bring about change in the world.
Honorable Mentions
Mousetronaut book
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How to Build a Car book
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Ada Lace Sees Red book
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  1. Mousetronaut - A heartwarming picture book tale of the power of the small, from bestselling author and retired NASA astronaut Commander Mark Kelly. Astronaut Mark Kelly flew with “mice-tronauts” on his first spaceflight aboard space shuttle Endeavour in 2001. Mousetronaut tells the story of a small mouse that wants nothing more than to travel to outer space. The little mouse works as hard as the bigger mice to show readiness for the mission . . . and is chosen for the flight! While in space, the astronauts are busy with their mission when disaster strikes—and only the smallest member of the crew can save the day. With lively illustrations by award-winning artist C. F. Payne, Mousetronaut is a charming tale of perseverance, courage, and the importance of the small!

  2. How to Build a Car - Learn about car mechanics and teamwork as three unlikely friends work to build a miniature racer. In How to Build a Car, three unlikely friends—Eli, a mouse; Phoebe, a sparrow; and Hank, a frog—decide to build a small motorcar together. The story follows the friendly trio as they learn all about how a car works and how it is constructed. Detailed illustrations show the inner workings of the car, teaching children the basics of how each part works together to get the car moving. Through hard work and perseverance, Eli, Phoebe, and Hank learn about both car mechanics and teamwork as they build a miniature racer. With the help of this sweet story, children will learn the different parts and functions of a car.

  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 books about technology?

Books About Problem Solving and Feelings And Emotions

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To the Sea
Written & illustrated by Cale Atkinson
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!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
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.
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Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark
Written by Jonathan Stutzman & illustrated by Jay Fleck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
The adorable and indomitable Tiny T. Rex from the critically acclaimed Tiny T. Rex and The Impossible Hug is back in a tale about friendship and overcoming your fears. Tiny T. Rex and his friend Pointy are having a campout in the backyard! It is what best friends do. But without their nighty-lights, the dark outside suddenly seems VERY dark . . . and very full of spooky things. Good thing Tiny has a super-secret plan to keep the dark at bay! Full of warmth and plenty of laughs, this new adventure starring Tiny T. Rex shows that friends will always find a way to face their fears together—even when those fears are not what they seem! • A great read-aloud book for parents and children • Hip, colorful art and delightful text make Tiny T. Rex an instant favorite of any dinosaur-loving toddler. • A perfect book to help toddlers and children overcome a fear of the dark Fans of silly picture books like Dinosaur vs Bedtime, We Don't Eat Our Classmates, and Llama Destroys the World will love the sweet spirit and continuing adventures of Tiny T. Rex.
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The Guild Of Geniuses
Written & illustrated by Dan Santat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Are you having a bad weather day? You should try Dr. Lancaster's Portable Weather Machine. Want to rise above it all? Check out Dr. Torrance's Anti-Gravity Belt. Yes, THE GUILD OF GENIUSES has created many fantastic inventions to satisfy humanity's most pressing needs... So when Fred's best friend Mr. Pip seems a little down, Fred knows just who to call. The Guild introduces Mr. Pip to other monkeys (in case he was lonely) and throws him a parade (so he can feel important). But it turns out Fred may hold the solution after all -- and he doesn't have to be a genius to be a good friend.
Honorable Mentions
Giraffe Problems book
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Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow book
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I'm a Duck book
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  1. Giraffe Problems - Can you guess what’s making this giraffe self-conscious? Could it be . . . HIS ENORMOUS NECK?? Yes, it’s exactly that–how on earth did you figure it out? Cyrus the giraffe can’t understand why his neck is as long and bendy and, well, ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He’s tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes–honestly, anything you can think of, he’s tried. Just when he has exhausted his neck-hiding options and is about to throw in the towel, a turtle swoops in (well, ambles in, very slowly) and helps him understand that his neck has a purpose, and looks excellent in a bow tie.

  2. Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow - In this hardcover picture book from the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series, Ladybug Girl and Bingo need to look on the bright side of things to make their snow day adventure as much fun as it should be. Lulu and her dog Bingo wake up to a snow-covered yard and decide to have the best snow day ever. They make penguin tracks and taste the frosting-like snow. But the snow is deep and cold, and when Lulu tries to build a fort or make a snowball, her mittens are too wet and snow falls down the back of her neck. This is not the day she planned. And then Lulu remembers that she is Ladybug Girl and Ladybug Girl can do anything! With another determined look at the snow, Ladybug Girl overcomes her frustration and sees the yard in a whole new light. She and Bingo are now ready to use their imaginations to create their own snow games, snow animals, and snow adventures! For fans of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow honors the magic of the outdoors and creativity!

  3. 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!

Books About Problem Solving and Siblings

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The Templeton Twins Have An Idea
Written by Ellis Weiner & illustrated by Jeremy Holmes
Thoughts from 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.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let's say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometime confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins—adults—named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. Yes, kidnapped. Wouldn't it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Now in paperback, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn't?!). And now, there's more!
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The War That Saved My Life
Written & illustrated by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.
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Star in the Jar
Written by Sam Hay & illustrated by Sarah Massini
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
What would you do with a fallen star? When a little boy stumbles across a lost star, he decides to take care of it, putting it in a jar and carrying it with him everywhere. But when the sky calls out for its missing star, can the little boy and his sister figure out a way to return the star to its friends in the sky...even if it means saying goodbye forever? This warm-hearted and enchanting bedtime story celebrates the rewards of true friendship.
Honorable Mentions
Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children: Time to Read, Level 2) book
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The Missing Mouse book
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Lucille Gets Jealous book
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The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon book
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  1. Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children: Time to Read, Level 2) - The Aldens spend the summer on Grandfather’s island! Joe, the island’s friendly handyman, helps them with anything they need, but as the children continue to explore their summer home, they realize there is more to the island—and to their new friend—than meets the eye. Adapted from the feature film of the same name, this early reader allows children to step into reading with a Boxcar Children classic.

  2. The Missing Mouse - Sofia is temporarily entrusted with Snowflake the class mouse—but he escapes, and she and her sisters must figure out a way to catch him.

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

  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.

Books About Problem Solving and Resolving Conflict

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Enemy Pie
Written by Derek Munson & illustrated by Tara Calahan King
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy! In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipe for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.
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Max and Bird
Written & illustrated by Ed Vere
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Max, a kitten, and Bird, a very young bird, want to be friends but Max also wants to eat Bird, so they strike a deal.
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The Wall in the Middle of the Book
Written & illustrated by Jon Agee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A knight who feels secure on his side of the wall that divides his book discovers that his side is not as safe as he thought, and the other side is not as threatening.
Honorable Mentions
The Story of Ferdinand book
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Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type book
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The Hueys in It Wasn't Me book
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That's Not How You Do It! book
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  1. The Story of Ferdinand - A true classic with a timeless message! All the other bulls run, jump, and butt their heads together in fights. Ferdinand, on the other hand, would rather sit and smell the flowers. So what will happen when Ferdinand is picked for the bullfights in Madrid? The Story of Ferdinand has inspired, enchanted, and provoked readers ever since it was first published in 1936 for its message of nonviolence and pacifism. In WWII times, Adolf Hitler ordered the book burned in Nazi Germany, while Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, granted it privileged status as the only non-communist children’s book allowed in Poland. The preeminent leader of Indian nationalism and civil rights, Mahatma Gandhi—whose nonviolent and pacifistic practices went on to inspire Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.—even called it his favorite book. The story was adapted by Walt Disney into a short animated film entitled Ferdinand the Bull in 1938. Ferdinand the Bull won the 1938 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons).

  2. Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type - When Farmer Brown’s cows find a typewriter in the barn they start making demands, and go on strike when the farmer refuses to give them what they want.

  3. The Hueys in It Wasn't Me - What’s all the arguing about? There are plenty of Hueys to go around in this hilarious story from the #1 bestselling illustrator of The Day the Crayons Quit! The Hueys are back! Oliver Jeffers’ jelly bean-shaped creatures may look the same, think the same, and even do the same things, but that doesn’t mean they always agree. The only problem is, they can’t seem to agree on what they disagreed on in the first place! Which ultimately leads to an even bigger disagreement! Confused? Well, so are the Hueys. Which only adds to the fun and hilarity. Anyone who has ever had to referee an argument among siblings or friends will appreciate the absurdity Oliver Jeffers reveals in the every-day trials of getting along.

  4. That's Not How You Do It! - Lucy knows how to do everything. All her friends ask her for help if they need to know the right way to do something. When Toshi arrives, Lucy thinks he can’t do anything properly at all. She can barely hide her frustration. When she finally tries to teach Toshi the right way to do things, she learns a very important lesson herself.

Books About Problem Solving and Art

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The Book of Mistakes
Written & illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Zoom meets Beautiful Oops! in this memorable picture book debut about the creative process, and the way in which "mistakes" can blossom into inspiration One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake. The weird frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush. And the inky smudges… they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky. As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too. Fans of Peter Reynolds’s Ish and Patrick McDonnell’s A Perfectly Messed-Up Story will love the funny, poignant, completely unique storytelling of The Book of Mistakes. And, like Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, it makes the perfect graduation gift, encouraging readers to have a positive outlook as they learn to face life’s obstacles.
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My Life as a Youtuber
Written by Janet Tashjian
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Book 7 of the much-loved My Life series that has the irrepressible Derek Fallon starting his own Youtube web series! Derek Fallon finally found something to get excited about at school—an extracurricular class on making videos! Together with his friends Carly, Matt, and Umberto, Derek can’t wait to create his own Youtube web series. But he soon realizes Youtube stardom is a lot of work. On top of that, it’s time for his foster monkey Frank to go to monkey college so Derek must scramble to find a reason for Frank to stay with his family—if only a little while longer. Can Derek solve both problems at once? What if Frank became a part of Derek's Youtube videos? Here's another funny and thoughtful novel in the series that centers around most every tween today’s pastime—Youtube! A Christy Ottaviano Book
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Violet and the Eggplant Painting Problem
Written by Cynthia Wylie and Courtney Carbone & illustrated by Katya Longhi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
In Violet and the Eggplant Painting Problem, Professor Sage holds a contest between the young Bloomers, where each must choose their favorite vegetable to grow and care for. Here, young readers are introduced to the character of Violet, a painter who loves purple. So of course she chooses to grow eggplants, and decides to make paintings of them to track their progress. But she runs into a problem—there’s no more purple paint! Violet quickly learns that she can gather blackberries to make her own purple paint, and she is able to paint her vegetables after all. Bloomers Island Garden of Stories picture books take young readers and listeners to Bloomers Island to experience the world of plants, flowers, and gardens through lively stories and lush illustrations.
Honorable Mentions
DIY Pet Shop book
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The Case of the Missing Chalk Drawings book
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  1. DIY Pet Shop - Emily finally convinces her parents to get a puppy—but soon realizes she’s allergic! Can her friends help her figure out the perfect pet? Find out in this fifth book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series. Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. Emily is desperate to get a puppy. She’s worked really hard to convince her parents that she’s responsible and ready and they’ve finally agreed. But first, Emily’s going to volunteer at the local animal shelter to get some practice caring for the animals. She’s loving it until—ah-ahhh-CHOOO!—she discovers that she’s allergic to them! Emily is devastated. Luckily, her creative friends just might have the perfect solution to cheer her up. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

  2. The Case of the Missing Chalk Drawings - The chalks are drawing flowers on the chalkboard, but someone keeps stealing their artwork! Who could the thief be? Fortunately, Sergeant Blue is on the case and determined to solve the crime. It’s a fun and funny read-aloud mystery with a colorful cast of characters, from This book just ate my dog! author-illustrator Richard Byrne. Godwin Books

Want to see books about art?

Books About Problem Solving and Girls And Women

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Cinder Edna
Written by Ellen Jackson & illustrated by Kevin O'Malley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Cinderella and Cinder Edna, who live with cruel stepmothers and stepsisters, have different approaches to life; and, although each ends up with the prince of her dreams, one is a great deal happier than the others.
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Malala's Magic Pencil
Written by Malala Yousafzai & 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.
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Team BFF
Written & illustrated by Stacia Deutsch
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
After signing up for a "hackathon" day of coding, Sophia and her coding club friends welcome a robotics expert into their group, but find their teamwork challenged by conflicting opinions.
Honorable Mentions
Karma Khullar's Mustache book
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Little Red book
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Nina Soni, Former Best Friend book
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Fearless Mary book
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  1. Karma Khullar's Mustache - In the tradition of Judy Blume, debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this “sparkling and triumphant tale of a middle school misfit” (Heather Vogel Frederick). Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip. With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

  2. Little Red - Alba loves her life just as it is. She loves living behind the bakery and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon. She loves drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends. The only problem is she’s overlooked a few teeny details. Like, the guy she thought long gone has unexpectedly reappeared. And the boy who has been her best friend since forever has suddenly gone off the rails. Even her latest comic book creation is misbehaving. Also, the world might be ending— which is proving to be awkward. As doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Alba’s life is thrown into chaos. Whatever happens next, it’s the end of the world as she knows it. But when it comes to figuring out her heart, Armageddon might turn out to be the least of her problems.

  3. Nina Soni, Former Best Friend - The first title in a new series featuring a lovable, distractible Indian-American girl and her family and friends. Nina tried as hard as she could, but still somehow she forgot about her school project. Fortunately, a class lesson about Alexander Fleming suggests how she might make a great discovery—and thus a great project! But with little sister Kavita’s birthday party right around the corner, and her longtime friendship with Jay on the rocks, Nina has a lot to keep track of. Readers are sure to relate to author Kashmira Sheth’s endearing Nina Soni and her slightly scatter-brained efforts to manage her life with lists, definitions, and real-life math problems.

  4. Fearless Mary - “The true story of Mary Fields, aka “Stagecoach Mary,” a trailblazing African American woman who helped settle the American West.”—Provided by the Publisher.

Books About Problem Solving and Parents

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Raj and the Best Day Ever
Written & illustrated by Sebastien Braun
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Best-selling illustrator Sebastien Braun introduces new character Raj in this celebration of the relationship between father and son. Raj and Dad are going on an adventure. They plan a list of all the things they will do. But then disaster strikes! Dad has left his wallet at home, and Raj thinks their day will be ruined. But maybe Raj and Dad can still have a great day--all they need is their imaginations and each other's company!
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I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed
Written & illustrated by Lauren Child
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
"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.
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My Quiet Ship
Written by Hallee Adelman & illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Whenever the yelling in his house starts, Quinn runs to a special hiding place. There he becomes captain of the Quiet Ship, where he can get far, far away from the yelling that hurts his ears and makes him feel scared. But one day the Quiet Ship is broken and Quinn needs a new plan, one that requires him to be brave. A thoughtful treatment of a difficult topic, this story is for any child who faces fighting in the home.
Honorable Mentions
Poppy Pickle book
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Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life book
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  1. Poppy Pickle - Poppy gets into a major pickle when her imagination comes alive! Poppy has the most extraordinary imagination. When she is sent upstairs to clean her room, she just can’t help imagining, and suddenly . . . her imagination literally comes alive. Soon her room is jam-packed with all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures. There are a few problems, though: the mammoth puts his foot through the floor, and the hungry crocodile thinks Poppy would make a tasty snack. Poppy needs to get rid of all these creatures fast. But how?

  2. Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life - A life on the prairie is not all its cracked up to be for one girl whose mom takes her love of the Little House series just a bit too far. Charlotte’s mom has just moved the family across the country to live in Walnut Grove, “childhood home of pioneer author Laura Ingalls Wilder.” Mom’s idea is that the spirit of Laura Ingalls will help her write a bestselling book. But Charlotte knows better: Walnut Grove is just another town where Mom can avoid responsibility. And this place is worse than everywhere else the family has lived—it’s freezing in the winter, it’s small with nothing to do, and the people talk about Laura Ingalls all the time. Charlotte’s convinced her family will not be able to make a life on the prairie—until the spirit of Laura Ingalls starts getting to her, too.

Want to see books about parents?

Books About Problem Solving and Birds

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Somewhere Else
Written & 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.
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Little Orange Scarf
Written & illustrated by Tatyana Feeney
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
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.
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Penguin Problems
Written by Jory John & illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
This penguin has come to tell you that life in Antarctica is no paradise. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have a ton of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mom in a big ol’ crowd of identical penguins? No, thank you. Yes, it seems there is no escaping the drudgery of your daily grind, whatever it might be. Or perhaps we’ve just learned that grumps are everywhere. . . .
Honorable Mentions
Don't Feed the Coos! book
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A Bucket of Blessings book
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  1. Don't Feed the Coos! - The dynamic team behind Llama Destroys the World returns with a laugh-out-loud tale about the dangers…of feeding pigeons! When you see a coo, you will be tempted to give it a treat. Coos are adorable, peaceful, kind of silly. But DON’T FEED THE COO! If you feed one, they will ALL come… So begins Don’t Feed the Coos, a cautionary tale that details the fallout when a little girl decides to share some bread with a coo (aka pigeon). From the park to home to the arcade to karate practice, the coos follow the generous-but-foolish girl who didn’t heed the warning. Because when you give a coo a crumb…the entire population of coos will come! But fret not: our spunky little heroine will discover that even the biggest of problems can be solved with a little determination. In the grand tradition of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Don’t Feed the Coos reminds us that the most disastrous of reactions can come from the most innocent of actions. Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox deliver another ridiculous and hilarious story, sure to delight fans of The Bad Seed and I Want My Hat Back.

  2. A Bucket of Blessings - A beautiful myth from India comes to life in this enchanting, New York Times bestselling picture book. Near a majestic mountain in a vast jungle with many mango trees, it has not rained for weeks and weeks. The village well and pond are dry. Monkey and his friends look everywhere for water, but they have no luck. And then Monkey remembers a story his mama used to tell him, a story about how peacocks can make it rain by dancing. So he sets out to see if the story is true… This little-known legend, told with dramatic rhythm and illustrated with the colors and textures of India, is sure to delight and inspire.

Want to see books about birds?

Books About Problem Solving and Helping Others

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Mission Farmers' Market
Written by Marsha Qualey & illustrated by Jessica Gibson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6
Beatrice "Bumble B." Flinn loves the farmers' market, where her parents sell honey, and this time she is going to help out at her friend Kalia's family flower stand, but Bumble B is rather clumsy and easily distracted, so things do not go as well as she hoped--but in the end she finds a way to put her skills as an artist to good use.
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Maisy's Pool
Written & illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Maisy's fun and familiar world reflects the lively adventures young children have every day. In Maisy's Pool, Maisy and her friends splash in a wading pool. As always, toddlers, preschoolers, and parents will find the ordinary extraordinary with Maisy!
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The Giant of Jum
Written by Elli Woollard & 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!
Honorable Mentions
The Eleventh Trade book
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Ask Emma (Ask Emma Book 1) book
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Peg + Cat: the Eid Al-Adha Adventure book
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Bear Needs Help book
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  1. The Eleventh Trade - From debut author Alyssa Hollingsworth comes a story about living with fear, being a friend, and finding a new place to call home. They say you can’t get something for nothing, but nothing is all Sami has. When his grandfather’s most-prized possession—a traditional Afghan instrument called a rebab—is stolen, Sami resolves to get it back. He finds it at a music store, but it costs $700, and Sami doesn’t have even one penny. What he does have is a keychain that has caught the eye of his classmate. If he trades the keychain for something more valuable, could he keep trading until he has $700? Sami is about to find out. The Eleventh Trade is both a classic middle school story and a story about being a refugee. Like Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree, Alyssa Hollingsworth tackles a big issue with a light touch.

  2. Ask Emma (Ask Emma Book 1) - Emma Woods knows just how to fix all her peers’ problems-or so she thinks-in this first book in the brand-new middle grade series Ask Emma, from the bestselling creators behind the Cupcake Club series! When 13-year-old Emma Woods gets that tingling feeling in her fingertips, she knows she’s on to a great idea-and starting an advice blog for her classmates at Austen Middle may be one of her most brilliant ones yet! Who better to give advice on friendship, style, school, and even crushes than someone who’s going through it too? But when Ask Emma goes live, she quickly realizes not everyone sees it that way. Suddenly, Emma is bombarded with peers asking her to help them postpone quizzes, get out of detention, and cut gym class short. This wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. . . .What’s worse, someone is posting hurtful comments, telling her to mind her own business. Despite her good intentions, Emma’s blog seems to only be getting her-and her friends—deeper and deeper into trouble. Will Ask Emma come to an end before it’s really begun? Or can Emma find her voice, write what’s in her heart, and truly stand up for what she believes in? This book will include an appendix on cyberbullying resources.

  3. Peg + Cat: the Eid Al-Adha Adventure - While visiting their friends Yasmina and Amir, Peg and Cat learn about the Eid al-Adha holiday where families celebrate with presents and food and by giving to others.

  4. Bear Needs Help - A lumbering little polar bear has one shoe untied, and he needs some help! Sadly for him, though, the other animals are all too scared of him- the lemmings, rabbits, and seals all run away as he approaches them for assistance. What’s Bear going to do? Luckily, two plucky birds are more than happy to help out and offer advice — though probably not quite in the way that readers anticipate. In this sweet and funny book about asking for help (and receiving it), expectations are flipped in a simple but clever way.

Books About Problem Solving and Science And Nature

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The Little Green Hen
Written & illustrated by Alison Murray
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
A timely retelling plays off "The Little Red Hen" with an environmental slant. On top of a hill, inside an old and very fruitful apple tree, lives Little Green Hen. She prunes the tree's branches, rids it of pests, and sows its seeds so that more trees will grow. But soon the work proves too much, and Little Green Hen seeks some help. Dog (who loves sticks), Sparrow (who loves bugs), and Squirrel (who loves burying things) are glad to pitch in. But Peacock, Fox, and Cat have far more important things to do -- until the storms roll in, the rain comes down, and the waters rise. . . . With contemporary flair, Alison Murray offers another engaging adaptation of a traditional children's tale.
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Tomie Depaola's The Quicksand Book
Written & illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Funny and informative--and on a really cool topic. This is TOMIE DEPAOLA nonfiction at its best. A match of humor and information in which Jungle Girl lands in the quicksand and Jungle Boy offers advice and information about quicksand, rather than rescue her. This being DEPAOLA, the tables are turned until Jungle Boy has to take his own practical advice about quicksand while Jungle Girl gets her revenge.
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If Polar Bears Disappeared
Written & illustrated by Lily Williams
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
What would happen if polar bears disappeared from the planet? Find out in this gorgeous, accessible nonfiction picture book that imagines the consequences of a world without polar bears.
Honorable Mentions
Trapped!  A Whale's Rescue book
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Hurricanes! (New Edition) book
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Disasters book
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  1. Trapped! A Whale's Rescue - In the icy waters of the Pacific, a massive humpback whale unexpectedly finds herself tangled in a net abandoned by fishermen. When a rescue boat and a convoy of divers arrive to help the struggling humpback, a realistic and moving encounter bridges the human and aquatic worlds.

  2. Hurricanes! (New Edition) - Imagine a force that can toss boats around like toys, wash away bridges, create waves as high as eighteen feet, and change the shape of a shoreline. With fierce winds and torrential rains, hurricanes can do all of these things. In this newly revised edition, GAIL GIBBONS introduces readers to the concepts of hurricane formation, classification, weather preparedness, and the ever-evolving technology that helps us try to predict the behavior of these powerful storms. Extensive updates include refined definitions for hurricane-related vocabulary, updated information about the wind speeds that define hurricane categories, information on emergency preparedness, and more. As these weather disturbances become more frequent and more powerful, Hurricanes is the perfect introduction for children to this important and timely topic.

  3. Disasters - A history of 10 well-known disasters—from the great Chicago fire to Hurricane Katrina—explores the causes and effects of the devastation as well as with the power of humankind to persevere in the face of adversity.

Books About Problem Solving and Cooking And Food

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What Does an Anteater Eat?
Written & illustrated by Ross Collins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Anteater is hungry, but he has completely forgotten what anteaters eat. Baffled, and with his tummy rumbling, he consults the other animals. Sloth is too busy, Toucan is clueless, and Crocodile has his own mouth full. Whatever will Anteater do? It isn't until the ants all run for their lives that Anteater remembers what he should be eating . . . and it's not what you think! A delightfully silly tale that little ones will return to again and again.
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Bread Pet: A Sourdough Story
Written by Kate DePalma & illustrated by Nelleke Verhoef
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Cora promises to keep Uncle JB’s Bread Pet alive but didn’t anticipate its exponential growth! She needs to come up with a solution -- and fast! This whimsical STEM story of family, creativity and community will inspire young makers to experiment and share their gifts with others. Includes sourdough starter and sourdough bread recipes.
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Bizz & Buzz Make Honey Buns
Written & illustrated by Dee Leone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Following Bear's recipe for honey buns, bees Bizz and Buzz are confused by homophones, causing them to use a "flower" instead of "flour" and tell a buttercup how much they "need" it instead of "kneading" the flower and butter together.
Honorable Mentions
The Case of the Stinky Stench book
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Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast book
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The Secret Recipe book
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  1. 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!”

  2. 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’s ONLY 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!

  3. The Secret Recipe - Sofia helps her abuela make arroz con leche for the church dinner, but things don’t go as planned. Find out if Sofia is able to fix the recipe so her grandma isn’t embarrassed in this early chapter book.

Books About Problem Solving and Cats

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The Fox Chase
Written & illustrated by Sven Nordqvist
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Meet Findus--the adorable, clever little cat--and Pettson--the loving forgetful farmer--in this indelibly charming series of illustrated storybooks filled with humor and heart. In this adventure, Findus cooks up a plan to save the fox from being hunted.
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Pete the Cat: I Love My White Socks
Written by Eric Litwin & illustrated by James Dean
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand-new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as he steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries, and other big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are, Pete keeps movin' and groovin' and singing his song . . . because it's all good.
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A Ruckus in the Garden
Written & illustrated by Sven Nordqvist
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Pettson and Findus are back in this uproarious tale about gardening! When Pettson announces that it’s time to plant seeds in the garden, Findus, his cat, plants a meatball. The hilarity continues as each night their hard work is undone by hungry chickens, then a rogue pig. When cows set up shop, Pettson and Findus must hatch a plan to protect their garden and Findus’s meatballs.
Honorable Mentions
Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat book
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Drat That Fat Cat! book
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  1. Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat - Klawde is not your average cat. He’s an emperor from another planet, exiled to Earth. He’s cruel. He’s cunning. He’s brilliant… and he’s about to become Raj Banerjee’s best friend. Whether he likes it or not. Klawde had everything. Sharp claws. Fine fur. And, being the High Commander of the planet Lyttyrboks, an entire world of warlike cats at his command. But when he is stripped of his feline throne, he is sentenced to the worst possible punishment: exile to a small planet in a quiet corner of the universe… named Earth. Raj had everything. A cool apartment in Brooklyn. Three friends who lived in his building. And pizza and comics within walking distance. But when his mom gets a job in Elba, Oregon, and he is forced to move, all of that changes. It’s now the beginning of summer, he has no friends, and because of his mother’s urgings, he has joined a nature camp. It’s only when his doorbell rings and he meets a furball of a cat that Raj begins to think maybe his luck is turning around… Heavily illustrated, with a hilarious, biting voice that switches between Raj and Klawde’s perspectives, Klawde is the story of an unlikely friendship that emerges as two fish out of water begin to find their footing in strange new worlds.

  2. Drat That Fat Cat! - Cornelius prefers life on the quiet side. He’s orderly and neat and doesn’t have time for any ruckus. But his meticulous life soon spins into utter chaos when a suspicious package appears on his doorstop and out pops a wild and crazy fat cat! This fat cat is stinky, mischievous, messy, and loud! With every new and not-so-fun adventure, Cornelius’s patience begins to fray. Will the cat have enough convincing power to win over the heart of Cornelius, or will he need to look elsewhere for a forever home?

Want to see books about cats?

Books About Problem Solving and Multicultural

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Ban This Book
Written & illustrated by Alan Gratz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
You’re Never Too Young to Fight Censorship! In Ban This Book by Alan Gratz, a fourth grader fights back when From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is challenged by a well-meaning parent and taken off the shelves of her school library. Amy Anne is shy and soft-spoken, but don’t mess with her when it comes to her favorite book in the whole world. Amy Anne and her lieutenants wage a battle for the books that will make you laugh and pump your fists as they start a secret banned books locker library, make up ridiculous reasons to ban every single book in the library to make a point, and take a stand against censorship. Ban This Book is a stirring defense against censorship that’s perfect for middle grade readers. Let kids know that they can make a difference in their schools, communities, and lives! “Readers, librarians, and all those books that have drawn a challenge have a brand new hero.... Stand up and cheer, book lovers. This one’s for you." —Kathi Appelt, author of the Newbery Honor-winning The Underneath “Ban This Book is absolutely brilliant and belongs on the shelves of every library in the multiverse.”—Lauren Myracle, author of the bestselling Internet Girls series, the most challenged books of 2009 and 2011 “Quick paced and with clear, easy-to-read prose, this is a book poised for wide readership and classroom use.”—Booklist "A stout defense of the right to read." —Kirkus Reviews “Gratz delivers a book lover’s book that speaks volumes about kids’ power to effect change at a grassroots level." —Publishers Weekly
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Two Problems for Sophia
Written by Jim Averbeck & illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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?
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Cody and the Rules of Life
Written by Tricia Springstubb & illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Doing the right thing can be hard! When prized possessions start going missing, Cody gets a crash course in the most important rules of all — the rules of life. In Cody’s life, many things are hard to predict. Like why her older brother, Wyatt, is obsessed with his new bicycle called the Cobra, or why her best friend Pearl suddenly wants to trade favorite toys. Pearl says she will trust Cody with Arctic Fox because Cody is a trusty person. But Cody doesn’t want to give up her beloved Gremlin, and she regrets it as soon as she hands him over. When the Cobra goes missing, Cody has to decide for herself who is trusty and who is not. If only she had Gremlin to talk to! Surely Pearl wouldn’t mind if she secretly traded back . . . it’s not stealing if it belonged to you in the first place, right?
Honorable Mentions
Ice Cream Summer book
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Lions & Liars book
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  1. Ice Cream Summer - Lizzie and Sarah, neighbors and best friends, look forward to running the ice cream stand at Lizzie’s family’s New England orchard, but their plans go awry.

  2. Lions & Liars - Holes meets The Goonies in the highly anticipated second middle-grade novel from the author of Gertie’s Leap to Greatness!

Books About Problem Solving and Health And Daily Living

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Do Not Lick This Book
Written by Idan Ben-Barak & illustrated by Julian Frost
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From highly respected microbiologist, Idan Ben-Barak, and the creator of the YouTube sensation Dumb Ways to Die, Julian Frost, comes Do Not Lick This Book, an ingenious, interactive book about the germs that occupy real estate on all of our bodies.
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The Messy One
Written by Christianne C. Jones & illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6
Vivienne really enjoys being messy, but when she loses her favorite necklace she is determined to tidy up her room to find it.
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The Great Googlini
Written by Sara Cassidy & illustrated by Charlene Chua
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9
Filip, the ten-year-old son of Croatian immigrants, lives in a boring suburb of the big city,where he passes his time either at school or in his cozy kitchen, googling everything from dinosaurs to the Hubble Space Telescope. When his favorite uncle gets sick, Filip turns to Google for answers. Instead he receives a visit from the Great Googlini, a tiny woman in Converse sneakers who swirls out of the computer vents. She’s not really a genie, she explains: “I’m more of an archivist.” Her visit is a little bit of magic that lets Filip see the magic all around him. Ultimately about the things we can know and the things we can’t, this is a smart, touching, funny chapter book about growing up, braving tough times and looking for answers.
Honorable Mentions
Hector's Hiccups book
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Harry's Hiccups book
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  1. 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.

  2. Harry's Hiccups - Poor Harry can’t get rid of his hiccups in this charming picture book written by Jean Little. Harry tries and tries to get rid of his hiccups. He tries drinking a glass of water upside down, he tries putting an ice-cold key down his back, he gleefully tries eating a spoonful of sugar. But nothing works! In this charming picture book, written by children’s literature legend Jean Little and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Joe Weissmann, Harry is afflicted with a case of the hopeless hiccups. It’s not until Harry has a surprise encounter with a different sort of neighbor that it seems like Harry might finally get some relief…hiccup, hiccup…

Books About Problem Solving and America

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Yasmin the Fashionista
Written by Saadia Faruqi & illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6
While her parents are out to dinner, a bored Yasmin decides to try on some of her mother's clothes, including her new shalwar kameez, which gets ripped--but with the help of Nana, Nani, and a glue-gun, the garment gets fixed, and Yasmin puts on an impromptu fashion show when her parents get home.
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Yasmin the Explorer
Written by Saadia Faruqi & illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6
When Yasmin's father explains to her about explorers and maps, Yasmin decides to make a map of her neighborhood and she brings it along on a trip to the farmers' market with her mother--but will the map help her when they are separated?
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Sophia's War
Written by Avi
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She’s young, she’s a girl, and she’s running out of time. And if she fails, she’s facing an execution of her own. Master storyteller Avi shows exactly how personal politics can be in this “nail-biting thriller” (Publishers Weekly) that is rich in historical detail and rife with action.
Honorable Mentions
Yasmin the Zookeeper book
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All Three Stooges book
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Shoo Fly! book
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  1. Yasmin the Zookeeper - Yasmin’s class is going on a field trip to the zoo, and Yasmin is thrilled when she is chosen to help feed the monkeys; but when she trips and spills their food both she and the monkeys are upset—until she remembers that she has fruit in her lunch bag to share with her new “friends.”

  2. All Three Stooges - While preparing for their bar mitzvahs, comedy-obsessed Noah and Dash find their friendship threatened by a personal tragedy.

  3. Shoo Fly! - In this illustrated version of a familiar song, a mouse tries to get rid of a pesky, unwanted playmate.

Want to see books about America?

Epilogue

8 books that are just too good to leave off of our problem solving list.
Henry's Bright Idea book
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Gus's Garage book
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Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn't Fit book
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Phileas's Fortune book
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  1. 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.

  2. Gus's Garage - Gus’s workshop is chock-full of odds and ends. When his friend Rico comes over with a problem—his scooter seat is way too small for a rhino—Gus finds just the thing to fix it. One by one Gus’s friends bring him their vehicles and Gus solves their troubles with ingenious solutions. No job is too difficult for Gus! Soon the workshop is almost empty. Is anything left to solve Gus’s own problem at the end of a long day? Gus’s Garage is Leo Timmers at his best: effortlessly simple text, intricately detailed illustrations, and vehicles galore.

  3. Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn't Fit - Ernest is a rather large moose with a rather large problem. He is so big he can’t fit inside his book! Luckily, Ernest is also a very determined moose, and he and his little chipmunk friend aren’t going to give up easily. With some tape, odd bits of paper, and plenty of enthusiasm, the pair constructs an enormous gatefold page by themselves, and everything fits together in the end.

  4. Phileas's Fortune - In a strange land where people must buy and swallow the words they wish to speak, Phileas hopes to communicate his love to Cybele using the small vocabulary he has been able to afford.

Monster Trouble book
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The Little I Who Lost His Dot book
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Baghead book
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Circle book
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  1. Monster Trouble - 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.

  2. The Little I Who Lost His Dot - Little i can’t wait to meet his friends at school, but there’s just one problem: he can’t find his dot anywhere? Each letter offers a replacement—an acorn from Little a, a balloon from Little b, a clock from Little c—but nothing seems quite right. Adorable illustrations teach alphabet letters and sounds with a surprising and satisfying ending to Little i’s search.

  3. Baghead - From the author of Good Night, Monkey Boy, the hilarious tale of a haircut gone awry! One day Josh had a big, brown bag idea: to wear a paper bag over his head. He thought it was a good idea. His mother did not. Neither did his bus driver, his teacher, or his soccer coach. What could Josh possibly be hiding? A surprise ending will keep kids giggling–and from taking haircuts into their own hands!

  4. Circle - Multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen deliver the final wry and resonant tale about Triangle, Square, and Circle. This book is about Circle. This book is also about Circle’s friends, Triangle and Square. Also it is about a rule that Circle makes, and how she has to rescue Triangle when he breaks that rule. With their usual pitch-perfect pacing and subtle, sharp wit, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen come full circle in the third and final chapter of their clever shapes trilogy.

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