Blue Spruce Nominees

Reading to children is critical to their literacy development. But reading is so much more than learning letter sounds and word recognition. Picturebooks encourage conversations with children about what the characters might be feeling and how those feelings may relate to the child. They encourage empathy and understanding and provide awareness about the world around them.

The Blue Spruce category of the Forest of Reading program highlights ten different picturebooks that showcase important themes from bullying to cultural awareness to building self-esteem.

— Lesley L.

Bad Dog by Mike Boldt

Rocky is a bad dog. He doesn’t come when he’s called. He won’t fetch either. At least he doesn’t bark at the mail carrier. In fact, he doesn’t bark at all. He does like to nap in the sun though. And climb trees. Wait a minute…..

Fast Friends by Heather M. O’Connor

Tyson has one speed: fast. Everything he does is speedy-quick. Suze wears a red helmet and travels in a red wheel chair. She looks just like a race car driver. Tyson and Suze’s friendship is meant-to-be.

Grandmother School by Rina Singh

In India there is a special school just for grandmothers. When they were young they never had the opportunity to go to school. Now for the first time they have the chance to learn letters, numbers and how to write their own names.

Going Up by Sherry J. Lee

Sophie is going to a birthday party on the tenth floor. As the elevator goes up, more and more party guests get on. The guests reflect the diversity within our communities.

The Truth About Wind by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert

Jesse finds a wooden horse that can gallop as fast as the wind. All day long they play together, splash together and race together but the horse doesn’t really belong to Jesse. A bad feeling starts creeping in his stomach when he thinks about the horse’s true owners.

Be You! By Peter. H. Reynolds

There are billions of people on the planet, but there’s only one YOU. Being YOU means be staying positive and surrounding yourself with love.

The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Asiya picks the brightest blue for her first-day hijab. Not everyone understands her hijab but Asiya knows her hijab is beautiful. She stays strong even when other children are unkind.

Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan

Salma has a plan to cheer up her mama. She’s been sad ever since they left Syria. Salma is going to cook a homemade Syrian meal – with a little help from some friends.

My Day with Gong Gong by Sennah Yee

May is spending the day with her Gong Gong but she’s worried – he only speaks Chinese while May speaks English. How will they communicate? May discovers the only language you need is love.

Boxitects by Kim Smith

Boxes are extraordinary. Meg is extraordinary. Meg can build extraordinary things out of boxes that no one else can. That is, until Simone shows up. Simone builds extraordinary things out of boxes too. After disaster strikes, they learn to work together to build the best box creation of all.

For great reads for older kids check out the Red Maple and Silver Birch nominations.