Children's Books For The Start Of Spring

As life teeters with uncertainty right now, I see people taking solace in the arts. I see authors, illustrators, publishers, musicians, and libraries reaching out to the public, providing free resources to families. Webinars and storytelling sessions, lunchtime art doodles and sing-a-longs—all efforts to combat this unknown period of social distancing. Indeed, turning towards stories as a means of connection is one of humanity’s oldest coping mechanisms. I am reminded of Thoreau’s simple, yet instructional admonition to “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each.” May we take solace in nature through the coming weeks, seeing bits of spring from our windows and on walks. And if you're looking for several good books to share with loved ones, these ten spring-filled picture books are certain to lighten your heart.

Editor's Note: The links below don't direct to Amazon, but rather to a startup company (Hey! We know about those!) called Bookshop, which is aiming to loosen Amazon's grip on the publishing industry and give independent bookstores a fighting chance. Always, but especially while indie bookstores are hurting from retail shutdowns forced by Covid-19, we think that's a pretty noble aim. Check them out for your next book purchase - a portion of all profits go directly to independent book stores like the one down the street from you.
 

A Big Garden by Gilles ClementA Big Garden
By Gilles Clément, Illustrated by Vincent Gravé
Follow the gardeners through a month-by-month journey of sowing, searching, waiting, watching, and harvesting. With winsome watercolors and witty text, this book will astound readers with the tiny miracles of creatures and earth, ever entwined. A marvelous oversize book (really, it’s HUGE) for children of all ages.
Ages 4+


A Way With Wild Things, By Larissa Theule
A Way with Wild Things
Larissa Theule, Illustrated by Sara Palacios
Poppy Ann Fields is a friend to all bugs. She coaxes shy ones from their shells and spends many afternoons observing the daily activities of ants, spiders, and other tiny creatures. However, when people come around Poppy prefers to blend into the background. At Grandma Phyllis’s 100th birthday party Poppy stays hidden until a dragonfly lands on the birthday cake and then darts over to Poppy’s open hand. With a glossary of scientific bug names at the back, this book is ideal for budding entomologists.
Ages 4-8


Can I Keep It? By Lisa Jobe
Can I Keep It?
By Lisa Jobe
The sweetest story about a little boy who keeps finding critters (a squirrel, frog, and bird) to call his own. However, his astute mother, when asked “Can I keep it?” always turns the question back on her son in thoughtful teachable moments. Lush illustrations propel the story and inspired us to create a frog made out of foam and found objects.
Ages 2-5


Hundred Feet Tall, By Benjamin Scheuer
Hundred Feet Tall
By Benjamin Scheuer, Illustrated by Jemima Williams
Under a tree a young rabbit finds a little brown seed which is taken home and planted in a small jar. With love and light the little seed starts to grow, cared for and nurtured the seed starts to sprout, roots branching into the soil. Soon the jar is too small and the tree is taken outside, ready to soar to a hundred feet tall. A rhyming nod to how small things (or people) can become great. 
Ages 3-6


My Friend Earth, By Patricia MacLachlan
My Friend Earth
By Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Francesca Sanna
“My friend Earth wakes from a winter nap,” enveloped with a canopy of peach and aqua toned flora and fauna. Earth notices the silent creatures, the underground creatures, and the soaring birds crossing the sea. It’s impossible to not be swept away by both the text and stunning peek-through illustrations of this book, each spread featuring the timeless message to care for and be good stewards of Mother Earth.
Ages 4-8


The Big Book of Blooms, by Yuval Zommer
The Big Book of Blooms
By Yuval Zommer
When it comes to creating engaging nonfiction books, Yuval Zommer has proved a true master time after time. The latest instalment in the Big Books series looks at flowers’ anatomy and covers everything from exotic plants to wildflowers that grow in sidewalk cracks. Can’t make it to a local Botanic Garden? The Big Book of Blooms is the next best thing! In truth, it might be my favorite book on this list. 
Ages 3-7


The Earth Gives More, By Sue Fliess
The Earth Gives More
By Sue Fliess, Illustrated by Christiane Engel
Feel the wind, run barefoot through the grass, shape the sand, and float in the ocean. Hibernate in winter and stretch into the warmth and light of spring. With a cast of diverse characters, children cavort through each season, while the Earth continues to showcase surprise after surprise. 
Ages 2-5


The Honeybee, by Kirsten Hall
The Honeybee
By Kirsten Hall, Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Did you know honeybees change the chemical makeup of nectar? That “nectar-plaster” then gets stuffed into honeycomb walls in one of the multiple steps towards making honey. A wonder of nature, the tireless honeybees are expertly captured in this striking nonfiction book.
Ages 5+


The Lost Egg by Brenna Burns Yu
The Lost Egg
By Brenna Burns Yu
Hazel and Twig are sitting together in the meadow when they discover an egg. Together they decide to sit on the egg until it hatches. However, waiting proves difficult and they decide to take the egg home for further care. When Appa (dad) appears, he launches into a series of questions about how the sisters will actually care for their new egg. This book is perfect for tucking into Easter baskets and pairs adorably with a variety of the Danish Maileg mice toys
Ages 4-8


Under The Lilacs, By E. B. Goodale
Under the Lilacs
By E. B. Goodale
Kate feels ignored by both her mother and sister, which is why she has the idea to run away with her cat, Mango, and create a new home for herself in the fragrant lilac bushes next door. Soon she realizes that her sister may want to visit and so she expands her cardboard creation. An empathic read for all seasons, and one that will certainly conjure that unmistakable intoxication scent. 
Ages 4-8

 

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Miranda Rosbach is a librarian turned children’s book reviewer and freelance writer. In her spare time she likes scouting new restaurants and colorful murals. She also loves reading middle-grade novels and memoirs. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and two daughters. You can find her book reviews on her blog or on Instagram as @bookbloom.