Staff Picks Genre Study – Summertime Reads, Picture Books About Togetherness

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Summer is a time for adventure, exploration, and spending time with loved ones. It's a time when families and communities come together to create memories and share experiences. In this picture book list of reads, we explore the theme of "all together now" through stories that celebrate togetherness, teamwork, and inclusivity. From a wombat offering his home to unexpected guests to learning to say hello in different languages, these books are sure to inspire children to appreciate the beauty of working together and the importance of being kind and supportive of one another. So, grab a picnic blanket, some sunscreen, and settle in for a summer full of reading and learning!

Wombat Said Come In by Carmen Agra Deedy

While wildfire is raging above, Wombat stays safe in his cozy burrow. What might he do when trouble -- in the form of an unexpected guest -- comes knocking at his door? After an instant's hesitation, he opens the door and says, "Come in, my friend, come in!" Soon others come a-knocking. One by one, five uniquely Australian animals -- Wallaby, Kookaburra, Platypus, Koala, and Sugar Glider -- appear. Wombat welcomes them all, with growing anxiety. Before long, Wombat's peaceful burrow becomes a pandemonium of messy and unruly guests who take his favorite chair and wear his slippers. What, of what, is a bighearted Wombat to do? But trouble doesn't last forever, and once the fire passes, Wombat is relieved to finally find himself alone. Or is he?

You Matter by Christian Robinson

A sensitive and impactful picture book about seeing the world from different points of view by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honoree Christian Robinson. In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they're feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.

Be a Bridge by Irene Latham

Two children head to school, eager to find ways they can each be a bridge. Beginning with a friendly greeting for a new student, acts of kindness ripple through the class. Students invite a classmate to join in at music, they speak up when another classmate is teased, they listen respectfully when someone else is speaking, and they comfort a friend when things go wrong. The day culminates with an art project that build connections between the students and their community.

All of Us by Kathryn Erskine

Friends can help us understand the world and ourselves, opening our eyes to unique cultures and ideas. In a story that travels the globe, it's easy to see how the world is a community made up of people who are more similar than we are different.

Group Hug by Jean Reidy

When Slug happens upon a lonely beetle, he knows just what to do. He gives him a big hug and then the two friends decide to pass it along. They meet Mouse, who's down in the dumps, Skunk, who's a bit smelly, and more and more animals, until their group hug stretches wide and tall. But when Bear comes along, will there be enough hug to share?

The Mouse Who Carried a House on his Back by Jonathan Stutzman

Vincent, a mouse who roams the world carrying his house on his back and stopping where he knows he should, offers food and shelter to animals in need. After setting up his house, he invites a weary bullfrog and a hungry cat inside. Each initially declines the offer, saying his house is too small. But after entering, they find that it is bigger than it looks. Others soon join them: deer, hedgehogs, badgers, rabbits, and a fox. Just as they are sitting down to dinner, a large, hungry bear knocks on Vincent's door. Fearful, the other animals urge their host to turn him away, but Vincent opens his home to the gentle bear, and all is well.

Mary Had a Little Plan by Tammi Sauer

Fashion-forward Mary is known for adding flair everywhere she goes. When she spots an abandoned lot in her neighborhood, Mary is certain she can use her stylish talent to spruce it up. Soon she's rallying neighborhood shops and calling on her friends to help. With Mary leading the way, this group carries out a plan that is the perfect balance of glam and communal pride.

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes by Mary Lee Donovan

Family, friends and neighbors; travelers and strangers from near and far are greeted with hospitality, kindness, compassion, warmth, and fellowship in this timeless picture book about the universal birthright of all people.

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