Book Corner: These Picture Books Celebrate Life’s Simple Truths

Like many people, I’ve got Thanksgiving on my mind. Among the thoughts of turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, I keep thinking about what I’m most thankful for - at Thanksgiving and every other day - and the answer is always the same: my friends and family.

Our loved ones share our moments of joy and help prop us up during hard times.

As a youth services librarian, I read a lot of books written for children, and, even though the intended audience is elementary-aged or younger, I am always amazed by how much picture books hit home with me.

Astro Girl by Ken Wilson–Max
Astrid has always loved the stars and outer space. As she and her dad play and laugh together, her dad reminds her of all the things she’ll need to do as an astronaut: eat food out of a tube, get used to zero gravity, and conduct science experiments. The love between Astrid and her father is evident not only in his words but in his smiles, hugs and cuddles.

Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! by Cori Doerrfeld
Life is all about change, even for children. Changes can be easier to handle with a friend to help usher out the old and say hello to the new. Here, two best friends are side by side through many changes: they say goodbye to playing in piles of leaves outside and say hello to building indoor forts. They say goodbye to melting snowmen and hello to splashing in puddles. When one of the friends moves away, it leads to the hardest goodbye. But even this goodbye leads to saying hello to new friends.

Jasper & Ollie by Alex Willan
Jasper and Ollie are best friends, even though they are very different. Jasper talks as fast as he runs. Ollie is slower and more thoughtful. On the way to the pool, Jasper runs ahead and loses track of Ollie, then gets worried and sets out looking for him. He goes to great extremes searching for Ollie, irritating everyone at the pool with rapid-fire questions. Jasper finally finds Ollie, just as the lifeguard is making him leave the pool, and they decide that going to the beach may be a better idea.

Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell
When upbeat Norris meets Elba, he finds her sad and burdened by a heavy block she takes everywhere with her. As Norris talks more with Elba, he convinces her to go to the beach with him and let him help carry her block. As they walk and talk, Elba shares her feelings about losing her best friend. Norris’ empathy helps Elba feel a little better, and, by the time they reach the beach, Elba’s block is smaller and lighter. Though Elba knows her block of sadness will always be present, Norris reassures her that he will be there to help her carry it.

My Papi Has A Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero
Daisy’s father works hard building houses. When he gets home, he is tired and covered with sawdust. But he still makes time for Daisy’s favorite part of the day: riding with Papi on his motorcycle. They drive through town, saying hello to the people they know. On their rides, Daisy and her father share their love for their hometown and for each other.

Why? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Bear and rabbit are best friends. Bear is steady and calm, gently answering all of rabbit’s unceasing questions about the world: Why does bear eat honey? Why is bear lying down? Why doesn’t bear come in the tunnel with rabbit? But when bear begins to prepare for hibernation, rabbit says, “Don’t go.” Now, it is bear who asks, “Why?” Rabbit explains, “Because then I would miss my friend.”

Darcie Caswell is the Youth Services Coordinator at CRRL. This column originally appeared in The Free Lance-Star newspaper.