XOXO Children’s Picture Books

a young child hugging a mailbox with a pink background.

February is the month of love! Below is a curated list of titles that are not specifically Valentine’s Day but more focused on the most popular ways to show affection – hugs and kisses! If you have read any of the titles below, I would love to hear what you thought of them!

porcupine on a blue backgroundI Need a Hug by Aaron Blabey
Porcupine wants something simple, a hug. After asking many other animals for a hug, Porcupine is told time after time no. Downtrodden and about to give up, Porcupine finds an unlikely friend.

This story is sweet and written in rhyme! You can share this title to teach empathy and inspire your young poets.

a young child hugging a mailbox with a pink background.The Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
The Hug Machine loves to give hugs, there is nothing that the Hug Machine will not hug. Yes, you can hug the Hug Machine, the Hug Machine is always open for business.

I enjoy sharing this title each year with young people. It is fun to spot the unlikely animals and objects that the Hug Machine hugs.

seal on a rock with a small birdSealed with a Kiss by Beth Ferry
Seal is new to the zoo after arriving from a zoo in France. While sitting in her enclosure, Seal is greeted by a little bird who plants a sweet peck on her cheek. After her snack of sardines, Seal sets out to greet the other zoo animals and give them each a smackeroo. Little does she realize, the sardines that she had for snack gave Seal terrible breath.

This story teaches compassion with a side of silly!

a grumpy cactus in a windowsill Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich
Hank is a cactus who lives in a pot in the windowsill who enjoys his quiet life. Hank’s quiet life is interrupted by a coyote, a tumbleweed named Rosie, a tortoise, and more who cause Hank to get crankier and crankier. Finally, after being chastised for stepping on his lawn, a man tells Hank that he needs a hug. Hank scoffs at first but later decides that maybe a hug is just what he needs. Now who will hugs a cactus?

This is such a sweet book and I hope that you enjoy it as well!

birds hugging outsideDuck & Goose: Goose Needs a Hug by Tad Hills
Goose is feeling sad. Hoping to cheer up their friend, Goose’s friends perform a series of acts hoping to garner a smile.

Sometimes, all we need to do with our loved ones is to ask them what they need instead of assuming. What they say might surprise you!

Two kitties hugging in a heart. Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell
There once was a kitten who was so full of love who wanted nothing more than to hug the entire world. The dreamer makes a list and embarks on a quest that takes him to Africa to hug the unhuggable.

This book is perfect for the little lovebug in your house!

animals hugging one anotherGroup Hug by Jean Reidy
One little slug causes a series of adorable animal hugs.

Full of gorgeous artwork and adorable characters, this story is a treat!

 

 

dinosaur running Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein
Little Dina hatches from her egg and discovers the magic of the kiss. Trying desperately to kiss everything in sight, Dina struggles because it isn’t easy for a t-rex to give a kiss!

This silly book is sure to delight young readers.

TV6 Book Club December Read Wrap-Up and Introduction to February Reads!

Woman sitting in a windowsill and looking out yonder.

In December, Morgan and I read The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo to celebrate Thank a Soldier week December 24th– 30th. Here is what I have to say about the book:

Told in alternating viewpoints of 2 nurses serving in World War II, “The Fire by Night” tells in vivid detail the horrors of war. Jo stationed on the Western front in a makeshift hospital tent caring for six men alone and Kay, taken prisoner in the Pacific. Trying to survive while keeping others alive, the two women separated by war and bound by duty show the reader what a hero looks like.

I will not lie, there were many scenes in this book that were hard to read. This was very much a war book and not typically something that I would read. In the end, I am so grateful for the opportunity to dive in.

Our January plans were foiled for book club as our region received large amounts of snow. Below are our 4 options for February including our winning title! Feel free to check them out from Davenport Public Library!

a woman sitting in a martini glass

Mickey Chambers Shakes it Up by Charish Reid (in honor of Do a Grouch a Favor Day on February 16th)

Mickey Chambers is an expert at analyzing modern literature. But when it comes to figuring out her own story, she’s feeling a little lost. At thirty-three, she’s an adjunct instructor with a meager summer class schedule and too many medical bills, courtesy of her chronic illness. Picking up a bartending gig seems perfect. Sure, Mickey’s never done this before, but the gorgeous, grumpy bar owner, Diego Acosta, might be the perfect man to teach the teacher…if he wasn’t so stressed. – provided by Goodreads

 

 

pink cover four womenThe Most Likely Club by Elyssa Friedland (in honor of Galentine’s Day on February 13th)

In 1997, grunge is king, Titanic is a blockbuster (and Blockbuster still exists), and Thursday nights are for Friends. In Bellport, Connecticut, four best friends and high school seniors are ready to light the world on fire. Melissa Levin, Priya Chowdury, Tara Taylor, and Suki Hammer are going places.

Fast forward twenty-five years and nothing has gone according to plan as the women regroup at their dreaded high school reunion. When a forgotten classmate emerges at the reunion with a surprising announcement, the friends dig out the yearbook and rethink their younger selves. Is it too late to make their dreams come true? – provided by Goodreads

 

Man and woman on a fire escape passing a bookThe Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest (in honor of Make a Friend Day on February 11th)

Lily is stuck in life and currently on the subway in 90+ degree heat. In a moment of delirium, she stumbles across a newly created website for the author of one of her favorite books. Before knowing what she is doing, Lily sends an email to the author through the website divulging her life and accidentally hits send before passing out.

Surprised beyond belief, the author writes back and a connection is formed. The pair exchange a series of emails until the author, Strick puts an end to them crushing Lily.

Flash forward, Lily is living with her sister and shares an elevator with her dreamy new neighbor. In hopes of scoring a date to her sister’s wedding, Lily enlists the neighbor to help her find a date. What she doesn’t realize is that she will in turn get so much more. -Brittany

 

red cover silhouette of a woman and a man*** February Pick!
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (In honor of National Wedding Month)

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…
– provided by Goodreads.

Cozy Up with These Picture Books!

small cartoon child under a grey blanket

January to me is always a time to snuggle up with a good book under an ultra-soft blanket. With great amounts of snow currently falling and more forecasted for our region the next few days, I am excited to share some cozy books with you!  Below are some picture books in our collection that celebrate the cozy season!

The Lumberjack’s Beard by Duncan Beedie

Big Jim Hickory begins his day with exercises and a large stack of pancakes before heading out to chop down trees. After a long day of chopping, Jim is home resting when someone begins pecking at his door. Upon opening, Jim discovers that his job has sent some animal neighbors into a flurry of frustration. Ever the problem-solver, Jim is ready for the challenge of creating a safe home for his disgruntled neighbors.

This book is an absolute delight!

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small cartoon child under a grey blanket

Blanket: Journey to Extreme Coziness by Loryn Brantz

You may be wondering how to reach maximum level coziness. Your wait is over my friend, all you need is this book and your favorite blanket to achieve the blanket cocoon – epic level of cozy!

The artwork is delightful as is the content of this title, I hope that you enjoy!

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Narwhal with a yellow blanketBlankie by Ben Clanton

If you have decided to climb out of your blanket cocoon and looking for fun activities with your blanket. This book will give you some suggestions! Will you turn your blanket into a cape or take it on a living room picnic with waffles? The sky is the limit!

This adorable board book is fun for littles and bigs alike!

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Black hairy monster holding a small child

Wilfred by Ryan T. Higgins

Wilfred was a humungous, hairy, monster who only wanted one thing, a friend. One day, Wilfred discovers a peculiar town full of bald townspeople. With hope in his heart, Wilfred hopes to find friendship on a playground but sends most of the children running in fear. One brave child remained and thus began a beautiful friendship until the townspeople came up with a nasty plan.

This story teaches children empathy while making grownups cry. If you read this title, be sure to have your tissues ready. That said, it is one of my favorites and I share it every year when performing storytimes.

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cartoon child pulling a baby in a red sweater across a room.

That’s My Sweater! by Jessika von Innerebner

There are few things that Olivia loves more than her red sweater. This is why when Olivia comes to find that she has grown out of her beloved garment, she has some things to say. To add to her dismay, Olivia’s baby sibling inherits the sweater and is covering it in unspeakable bodily fluids! On a hunt for justice, Olivia makes a discovery, her parents love a hand-me-down.

For all of the older siblings out there, this is the perfect read!

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2 cartoon pirates and o monkey in a boat next to a sea monster

Ned the Knitting Pirate by Diana Murray and Illustrated by Leslie Lammle

Pirates are a fierce and rugged lot. As they sing their pirate song, it is ruined (made better) each time by Ned the knitting pirate.

Written in rhyme, this book is an absolute blast to read aloud! I enjoy singing and donning a Scottish accent as I read aloud. Like Wilfred, this is a yearly read teaches young people to be proud of who they are and that heroes come in all shapes and forms!

Celebrate Humbug Day with Picture Books Featuring Characters with Big Feelings

Blue book with a grumpy expression

December 21st is Humbug Day, a day to feel your feelings and allow yourself to be grumpy. As someone who loves the complexity of moody main characters, I wanted to share some of my favorites! By sharing stories of characters with big feelings, it helps children learn empathy and better understand the world around them.

Below is a short list of titles featuring characters with big feelings for you to share with the young people in your life!

 

Red cover with a character showcasing an angry face

Little Mad by Nadine Brun-Cosme and Marion Cocklico (Illustrator)  

Little One feels so upset that playtime is over that…poof! She becomes Little Mad!

In this reassuring board book about first feelings, little ones will be able to relate and learn from Little Mad as she learns how to calm down after getting upset. The perfect book for parents and little ones to share, this story proves that sometimes, when you’re feeling mad, all you need is a friend to be by your side.– provided by Goodreads.

 

a red panda, narwhal, and monkey all containing different emotions.

 

A Day Full of Feelings: Beginning Baby by Chronicle Books

New in the Beginning Baby board book Join an adorable group of animal friends for a day at school that’s full of feelings! Whether they are sad or glad, shy or excited, the friends know it’s important to express their many emotions.-provided by Goodreads.

 

 

A sad blue fish

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna (Illustrator)  

Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading “dreary wearies” isn’t really his destiny.– provided by Goodreads.

 

 

 

Blue book with a grumpy expression

A Very Cranky Book by Angela DiTerlizzi and Tony DiTerlizzi

Cranky doesn’t want to be read. He just wants you to leave him alone. After all, there are so many other things you can do–ride a bike, play a game, or draw a picture. There’s no reason for you to be bothering him! But when other books show up for story time, will Cranky change his mind?-provided by Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

Bear, bunny, and mouse holding onto an umbrella flying away.


Bruce’s Big Storm
by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce’s home is already a full house.

But when a big storm brings all his woodland neighbors knocking, he’ll have to open his door to a crowd of animals in need of shelter-whether he likes it or not. Readers will love this next installment of the uproarious, award-winning Mother Bruce series.-provided by Goodreads.

a grumpy bear with 3 geese


1 Grumpy Bruce
by Ryan T. Higgins

Long-suffering Bruce once again contends with an increasingly crowded household, this time in an original board book where young ones can count the never-ending party guests. Full of fun characters and humor, 1 Grumpy Bruce is just right for our littlest readers.-provided by Goodreads.

 

 

A blue pigeon

The Pigeon Has to Go to School by Mo Willems

Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! And what if he doesn’t like it? What if the teacher doesn’t like him? What if he learns TOO MUCH!?!provided by Goodreads.

 

 

 

Large bear and a small duck.

Goodnight Already! by Jory John and Benji Davies (Illustrator)

Meet Bear. He’s exhausted. All he wants is to go to sleep. Meet Duck, Bear’s persistent next-door neighbor. All he wants is to hang out . . . with Bear.- provided by Goodreads.

TV6 Book Club November Read Wrap-Up

Woman wearing glasses with a book on her head topped with a tiara

Woman wearing glasses with a book on her head topped with a tiaraIn October, Morgan and I read The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson. I presented this book to celebrate National Book Lovers Day on November 4th.

Here is a little bit about the book:

Charlotte only agreed to attend her twin sister’s beauty pageant as an excuse to take a much-needed vacation in Orlando – home of Harry Potter World. The vacation is cut terribly short when her twin develops an allergic reaction. Unable to tell her sister no, Charlotte agrees to impersonate her sister and compete in the Miss American Treasure Pageant until her sister recovers.

There were times when I got annoyed with Charlotte’s self-sacrificing nature but she redeemed herself in the end! This was a fun read and I really enjoyed it!

Each month, I gather 4 options. The titles are below including the winner! Feel free to check them out from Davenport Public Library!

Damaged home with a ladder and cat on the counter with spilled paint.

 

Fatal Fixer-Upper by Jennie Bentley (in honor of National Roof Over Your Head Day on December 3rd)

Avery Baker was once a New York designer, but inheriting her aunt’s old Maine cottage has led her down a new career path-home renovation. Now, with help from hunky handyman Derek Ellis, Avery starts learning the ABCs of DIY. But when the designer-turned-renovator finds clues that lead to a missing professor, she wonders if she can finish the house-without getting finished off in the process.– provided by Goodreads.

 

 

 

the back of a woman standing among palm trees looking at the sky.The Codebreaker’s Secret by Sara Ackerman (in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on December 7th)

 

As war in the Pacific rages on, Isabel Cooper and her codebreaker colleagues huddle in “the dungeon” at Station HYPO in Pearl Harbor, deciphering secrets plucked from the airwaves in a race to bring down the enemy. Isabel has only one wish: to avenge her brother’s death. But she soon finds life has other plans when she meets his best friend, a hotshot pilot with secrets of his own.

1965.Fledgling journalist Lu Freitas comes home to Hawai’i to cover the grand opening of the glamorous Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Rockefeller’s newest and grandest project. When a high-profile guest goes missing, Lu forms an unlikely alliance with an intimidating veteran photographer to unravel the mystery. The two make a shocking discovery that stirs up memories and uncovers an explosive secret from the war days. A secret that only a codebreaker can crack.-provided by Goodreads.

A woman's torso wearing a pink apron and nametag.

The Devine Doughnut Shop by Carolyn Brown (In honor of National Pastry Day on December 9th

Three women are torn between traditions of the past and unexpected new beginnings in a warmhearted novel by Carolyn Brown about family, romance, and the best pastries in Texas. For Grace Dalton, her sister, Sarah, and her cousin Macy, the Devine Doughnut Shop is a sweet family legacy and a landmark in their Texas town. As the fourth generation to run the Double D, they keep their great-grandmother’s recipe secret and uphold the shop’s tradition as a coffee klatch for sharing local gossip, advice, and woes. But drama brews behind the counter, too. Grace is a single mother struggling with an unruly teenage daughter. Heartbroken Sarah has sworn off love. Macy’s impending wedding has an unexpected hitch. And now charming developer Travis Butler has arrived in Devine with a checkbook and a handsome smile. He wants to buy the shop, expand it nationally, and boost the economy of a town divided by the prospect. With the family’s relationships in flux, their beloved heritage up for grabs, and their future in the air, it’s amazing what determination, sass, a promise of romance, and a warm maple doughnut can do to change hearts and minds.– provided by Goodreads

Woman sitting in a windowsill and looking out yonder.

*December Read!! The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo (in honor of Thank a Soldier Week December 24th-30th)

A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight—a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.

In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.

Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.– provided by Goodreads.