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Strangers: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about strangers?

As you can see, this list of kids books about strangers is a work in progress! We’re currently exploring the best books available, and we’d love your input. If you have a title you’d suggest including on our list of kids books about strangers, please share it with us!

We’ll be featuring a variety of titles on our list, from well known classics to popular bestsellers to lesser known titles that deserve a bigger audience. We’re also including books for a range of ages, from board books for babies and toddlers, to picture books for preschool and kindergarten age kids, to chapter books for early elementary age kids.

We’d love to hear any book suggestions you have—you can comment below or email us at [email protected].

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

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

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

Nothing in Common
Written by Kate Hoefler & illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A tender and timely story of compassion and finding common ground with others, perfect for fans of _I Walk With Vanessa _and Thank You, Omu!

Two neighbors both love to watch the old man and his dog from their windows, but they never wave to each other. After all, they have nothing in common. But everything changes when they are the only ones who notice that one day is different—there is the old man, but where is the dog?

In this lyrical picture book, two strangers learn about the many ways the world connects us—even if the only thing we have in common is how much we care about someone else. Filled with whimsy and warmth, Nothing In Common is a tender friendship story that reminds us to always lead with compassion.

Tap Tap Boom Boom
Written by Elizabeth Bluemle & illustrated by G Brian Karas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

As a thunderstorm sweeps into the city, the people of the neighborhood rush into the subway to wait out the wind and weather.

Don't Touch My Hair!
Written by Sharee Miller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An entertaining picture book that teaches the importance of asking for permission first as a young girl attempts to escape the curious hands that want to touch her hair. It seems that wherever Aria goes, someone wants to touch her hair. In the street, strangers reach for her fluffy curls; and even under the sea, in the jungle, and in space, she’s chased by a mermaid, monkeys, and poked by aliens…until, finally, Aria has had enough! Author-illustrator Sharee Miller takes the tradition of appreciation of black hair to a new, fresh, level as she doesn’t seek to convince or remind young readers that their curls are beautiful—she simply acknowledges black beauty while telling a fun, imaginative story.

The Visitor
Written & illustrated by Antje Damm
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Elise was frightened―of spiders, people, even trees. So she never went out, night or day. One day a strange thing flies in through the window and lands at her feet. And then there comes a knock at the door. Elise has a visitor who will change everything. The Visitor is a story about friendship and shyness that plays out in a mini theatre, as a child unwittingly brings light and color―literally―into a lonely person’s life. The unique artwork has a doll’s house appeal. Damm creates a diorama from cardboard and photographs the scenes, giving the illustrations a special luminosity and depth. A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book!

  • My Town's (Extra) Ordinary People - This smart and whimsical portrait of the inhabitants of a town reveals the joys of discovering what makes each person unique and extraordinary. Nico lives in a small coastal town, a place like any other, with ordinary neighbors and friends. But are they really ordinary? As Nico meanders through his town he introduces readers to his friends. There’s Josean, who works on the docks and who could be an Olympic rower. Peru recites all different kinds of poetry to his son. Nico’s best friend, Telmo, is a skateboarder with a wild imagination. Eva plays a mean jazz guitar and gives lessons so she can pay her rent and go to school. There’s Keiko, a potter; Dave, who is really tall; Sara, who owns a bookstore; Claud, a waiter whose real passion is astronomy. Each of these people, twenty-one in all, is depicted in charming, colorful drawings that celebrate quirkiness and individuality. This book encourages young readers to get to know the people around them and discover how everyone is different in their own wonderful way.

  • Visiting You - Setting out to visit a loved one, a child curiously asks a fellow commuter, “Who are you going to visit?” In answer to this simple question, the child learns about the love and loss in the life of a stranger: a father who lives apart from his small daughter, a husband who has lost his wife, a granddaughter who is forgotten by her grandfather, and a mother who fears for her son’s recovery. After each conversation, the child understands that the other commuters have someone in their lives that they love “as much as I love you,” and it is this understanding that allows the child to explore the most universal of human experiences: the power of love in the many different forms that it can take. Visiting You also explores a sense of community. Under her mother’s supervision, a young child reaches out and connects with the people around them; they’re not scared of strangers, or people who might ‘look’ scary, or people who are different to them. Sometimes it can take conscious decision and determination to look past outward appearances. Visiting You encourages us to find the similarities between people instead of focusing on differences, to recognize some part of ourselves in the life of a stranger.

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