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Self-reliance: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about self-reliance?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to self-reliance. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about self-reliance.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

We hope this list of kids books about self-reliance can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Island of the Blue Dolphins
Written & illustrated by Scott O'Dell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicholas. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kep beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches.

Here, in the early 1800s, according to history, an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adventure filled with drama and heartache, for not only was mere subsistence on so desolate a spot a near miracle, but Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs that had killed her younger brother, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply.

More than this, it is an adventure of the spirit that will haunt the reader long after the book has been put down. Karana’s quiet courage, her Indian self-reliance and acceptance of fate, transform what to many would have been a devastating ordeal into an uplifting experience. From loneliness and terror come strength and serenity in this Newbery Medal-winning classic.

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My Side of the Mountain
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Written by Ken Kesey
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 18-

Ken Kesey’s bracing, inslightful novel about the meaning of madness and the value of self-reliance, and the inspiration for the new Netflix original series Ratched Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Written by E.L. Konigsburg
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away… so she decided not to run FROM somewhere, but TO somewhere. And so, after some careful planning, she and her younger brother, Jamie, escaped– right into a mystery that made headlines!

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Imogene's Last Stand
Written by Candace Fleming & illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet Imogene Tripp, a plucky girl with a passion for history. As a baby, her first words were “Four score and seven years ago.” In preschool, she finger-painted a map of the Oregon Trail. So it’s not surprising that when the mayor wants to tear down the long-neglected Liddleville Historical Society to make room for a shoelace factory, Imogene is desperate to convince the town how important its history is. But even though she rides through the streets in her Paul Revere costume shouting, “The bulldozers are coming, the bulldozers are coming!” the townspeople won’t budge. What’s a history-loving kid to do? Filled with quotes from history’s biggest players–not to mention mini-bios–and lots of humor, this is the perfect book for budding historians. “This girl-power story succeeds as an energetic–and funny–against-all-odds tale.” –“The Horn Book Magazine, “ Starred “From the Hardcover edition.”

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  • A Step from Heaven - When four-year-old Young Ju Park first hears the words Mi Gook – Korean for “America” – she is sure that they mean “Heaven.” But when her family moves to Southern California the following year, she finds the transition from life in Korea far from easy. The countless unexpected challenges – from learning English, to finding work, to attending school – put more and more pressure on the Park family until its fragile construction begins to splinter. Yet as Young Ju grows from child to adolescent in her new home she finds a surprising new voice – neither Korean nor American, but uniquely her own. That voice allows her to make sense of her world, and gives her the strength to succeed. A Step from Heaven is the stunning debut of an equally unique writer.

  • Fever 1793 - An epidemic of fever sweeps through the streets of 1793 Philadelphia in this novel from Laurie Halse Anderson where “the plot rages like the epidemic itself” (The New York Times Book Review). During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out. Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie’s world upside down. At her feverish mother’s insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.

  • The Secret - Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. In this book, readers will learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of life - money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction they have in the world.

  • The Summer of the Swans - A Newbery Medal Winner All summer Sara Godfrey has fretted over herself, her impossible body, her terrible new haircut. One moment she’s elated, the next, she’s in tears. And she can’t figure out why. Maybe her wildly changing moods are tied to the sudden and unaccountable appearance of the swans, which hold the rapt attention of Charlie, Sara’s mentally handicapped brother, who she loves far more than herself these days. In fact, it will be the sudden disappearance of Charlie that will compel Sara to abandon her own small, annoying miseries, and lose herself in searching for him. In her anguish, Sara turns to Joe Melby, whom she has long despised, and together they search through the dense woods and rough fields to find him. Sara knows that she will never be the same again. “A compelling story.”—Publishers Weekly

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The Paper Bag Princess
Written by Robert Munsch & illustrated by Michael Martchenko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Over five million copies in print!

When the fiercest dragon in the whole world smashes Princess Elizabeth’s castle, burns all her clothes, and captures her fiancé, Prince Ronald, Elizabeth takes matters into her own hands. With her wits alone and nothing but a paper bag to wear, the princess challenges the dragon to show his strength in the hopes of saving the prince. But is it worth all that trouble?

Readers the world-over have fallen in love with this classic story of girl power. Now a newly designed Classic Munsch edition will introduce the tale to a new generation of young feminists.

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Save Rafe!
Written by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts & illustrated by Laura Park
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

Join Rafe as he survives white-water rafting, camp counselors, and rock climbing in this hilarious New York Times bestseller from the Middle School series.After a rough summer, Rafe is heading back to the dreaded Hills Village Middle School, the site of the very worst years of his life. And as if that’s not bad enough, he’s learned that he’s going to be held back a year unless he can prove himself on an outdoor survival excursion-complete with dangerous white-water rafting, dizzying rock climbing, and fanatical counselors. Rafe and the rest of the pack of delinquent trainees are forced to cooperate as they prepare for the final test: a solo excursion in the deep woods. Can Rafe come out of the experience in one piece? And if he does, will he go home as the same insecure kid?Both heartwarming and hilarious, Save Rafe! is a story of perseverance and courage as only James Patterson could tell it.

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Wind May Blow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

This stunning picture book, which features peek-through pages, engaging artwork, and gentle, lyrical text, celebrates every parent’s wish for his or her child in the face of life’s challenges. Every parent wishes for his or her child to be able to handle the challenges that life presents. Sometimes, our life experiences will not be smooth; there will be times when fierce winds blow, storms rage, and rain falls, making the situation feel hopeless. Through lyrical text and inviting illustrations, children are reminded that they are strong and smart and can figure out a solution to every tricky situation that they may face. Features peek-through pages throughout.

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Say Something!
Written & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the creator of the New York Times bestseller The Word Collector comes an empowering story about finding your voice, and using it to make the world a better place.A New York Times Bestseller The world needs your voice. If you have a brilliant idea… say something! If you see an injustice… say something! In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voices. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are… what you are thinking… and what you believe. And how you’ll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING! A motivational must-have for every collection. – School Library Journal

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DogFish
Written by Gillian Shields & illustrated by Dan Taylor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Everyone has a dog. Except for one little boy. He has a goldfish. He needs a dog. Mom says, “Why do you need a dog when you have such a nice goldfish?” But goldfish can’t catch sticks or go for walks or wag their tails…. Can they? Maybe they can…

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  • All by Myself - In this simple, sweet, and very human picture book, Mercer Mayer’s popular Little Critter shows us all the things he can do by himself, from tying his shoes (almost) to pouring his own juice (and only spilling a little). The wry illustrations often point up the fact that Little Critter doesn’t do everything perfectly, but he makes an effort to do the best he can.

  • I Like Me! - I have a best friend. That best friend is Me! Meet Nancy Carlson’s peppy pig—a character who is full of good feelings about herself. Her story will leave little ones feeling good about themselves, too!

  • Dear Girl,: A Celebration of Wonderful, Smart, Beautiful You! - A #1 New York Times bestseller which Today show co-anchor Hoda Kotb calls, “a beautiful, beautiful book” New York Times bestselling author of I Wish You More, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and her daughter Paris Rosenthal collaborate to bring you the heartwarming and inspiring Dear Girl, Dear Girl, is a remarkable love letter written for the special girl in your life; a gentle reminder that she’s powerful, strong, and holds a valuable place in the world. Through Amy and Paris’s charming text and Holly Hatam’s stunning illustrations, any girl reading this book will feel that she’s great just the way she is—whether she enjoys jumping in a muddy puddle, has a face full of freckles, or dances on table tops. Dear Girl, encourages girls to always be themselves and to love who they are—inside and out. Dear Girl, This book is for you. Wonderful, smart, beautiful you. If you ever need a reminder, just turn to any page in this book and know that you are special and you are loved. —Amy and Paris A perfect gift for all occasions.

  • Eliza and Her Monsters - “A love letter to fandom, friendship, and the stories that shape us, Eliza and Her Monsters is absolutely magical.”–Marieke Nijkamp, New York Times-bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona in this acclaimed novel about art, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself. “A must-have.”–School Library JournalIn the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built–her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity–begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.Young Adult Library Services Association Best BookBest Fiction for Young Adults Top TenKirkus Best Book Texas Tayshas Pick

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A Blind Guide to Normal
Written & illustrated by Beth Vrabel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Richie “Ryder” Raymond has a gift. He can find the punchline in any situation, even in his limited vision and prosthetic eye. During the past year at Addison School for the Blind, Ryder’s quick wit earned the respect and friendship of his classmates. Heading to mainstream, or “normal” school for eighth grade is going to be awesome.

After all, what’s not to like? At Addison, Ryder was everyone’s favorite person. He could make anyone laugh, especially his best friend Alice. So long as he can be first to make all of the one-eyed jokes, Ryder is sure he’ll fit in just as quick at Papuaville Middle School, home of the Fighting Guinea Pigs. But Alice warns him fitting in might not be as easy as he thinks.

Turns out, Alice was right. In just the first hour of “normal” school, Ryder is attacked by General MacCathur II (aka, Gramps’s cat), causes his bio teacher to pass out cold, makes an enemy out town hero Max, and falls for Jocelyn, the fierce girl next door who happens to be Max’s girlfriend. On top of that, Ryder struggles to hold onto his dignity in the face of students’ pity and Gramps’s non-stop practical jokes.

Ryder quickly sees the only thing worse than explaining a joke is being the punchline. But with help from his stuck-in-the-70s Gramps and encouragement from Alice, Ryder finds the strength to not only fight back, but to make peace.

This exciting sequel to A Blind Guide to Stinkville weaves humor, recovery and second chances into an unforgettable story, with characters who will hook you from page one.

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A Blind Guide to Stinkville
Written & illustrated by Beth Vrabel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Before Stinkville, Alice didn’t think albinism—or the blindness that goes with it—was a big deal. Sure, she uses a magnifier to read books. And a cane keeps her from bruising her hips on tables. Putting on sunscreen and always wearing a hat are just part of life. But life has always been like this for Alice. Until Stinkville.

For the first time in her life, Alice feels different—like she’s at a disadvantage. Back in her old neighborhood in Seattle, everyone knew Alice, and Alice knew her way around. In Stinkville, Alice finds herself floundering—she can’t even get to the library on her own. But when her parents start looking into schools for the blind, Alice takes a stand. She’s going to show them—and herself—that blindness is just a part of who she is, not all that she can be. To prove it, Alice enters the Stinkville Success Stories essay contest. No one, not even her new friend Kerica, believes she can scout out her new town’s stories and write the essay by herself. The funny thing is, as Alice confronts her own blindness, everyone else seems to see her for the first time.

This is a stirring small-town story that explores many different issues—albinism, blindness, depression, dyslexia, growing old, and more—with a light touch and lots of heart. Beth Vrabel’s characters are complicated and messy, but they come together in a story about the strength of community and friendship.

Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

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Brian's Winter
Written by Gary Paulsen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-17

In Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian Robeson learned to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness, armed only with his hatchet. He was rescued at the end of the summer. Brian’s Winterbegins where Hatchet might have ended: Brian is not rescued, but must build on his survival skills to face his deadliest enemy–a northern winter. “From the Hardcover edition.”

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Have I Ever Told You?
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

“Have I ever told you that, for me, there is no one more special than you? That for me, you are the most special child in the world, and that I love you now and will love you forever? Have I ever told you that?” Shani King wrote Have I Ever Told You? as a note to his children, to remind them that they are amazing in their individuality and that they have the power to choose who they want to be in this world. The illustrations create a masterful visual narrative: warm, witty, simple, profound, and as ferociously empowering as a children’s book can be.

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The Haymeadow
Written by Gary Paulsen & illustrated by Ruth Wright Paulsen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fourteen-year-old John comes of age and gains self-reliance during the summer he spends up in the Wyoming mountains tending his father’s herd of sheep.

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  • Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen - I can pop a wheelie, I can touch the sky, I can pedal backwards, I can really fly!Sally Jean was born to ride. And her bicycle, Flash, is just about her best friend. But one day something terrible - and wonderful - happens. Sally Jean grows. Suddenly she finds herself too bigfor Flash. What’s a Bicycle Queen to do? Finally, by collecting old bicycle parts to make a new bike - and giving Flash to a young friend who longs for a bigger bike of his own - she ridesagain!With exuberant art that’s just the right match for Sally Jean’s new found freedom, this joyous text celebrates growing up, learning new skills, and giving back to the community.Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year.

  • Teacup - A boy must leave his home and find another. He brings with him a teacup full of earth from the place where he grew up, and sets off to sea. Some days, the journey is peaceful, and the skies are cloudless and bright. Some days, storms threaten to overturn his boat. And some days, the smallest amount of hope grows into something glorious. At last, the boy finds land, but it doesn’t feel complete . . . until another traveler joins him, bearing the seed to build a new home. With lyrical text and gorgeous artwork, this poignant picture book is perfect for discussing all of life’s toughest challenges—a big move, a divorce, long-distance separation, or even the current refugee crisis—in a way that’s reassuring and inspiring for children and adults alike.

  • Hattie Big Sky - Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle’s homesteading claim.For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie’s been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle’s homestead claim near Vida, Montana. With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends–especially Charlie, fighting in France–through letters and articles for her hometown paper. Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a Loyal American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie’s determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home. From the Hardcover edition.

  • Good Job, Little Bear - While exploring in the forest with Big Bear, Little Bear sets out on his own adventures. All by himself, he finds a rock to climb and a branch to bounce on. And every step of the way, Big Bear is nearby to praise him for a job well done. But when Little Bear tries to cross a stream, he finds himself in trouble. Of course, Big Bear is always there to lend a reassuring hand. Now, the award-winning team of Waddell and Firth tell another classic tale about the love and support that all Big Bears give their Little Bears.

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Goodbye Brings Hello: A Book of Firsts
Written by Dianne White & illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

There are many ways of letting go. With each goodbye, a new hello. From being pushed on a swing to learning how to pump your legs yourself, from riding a beloved trike to mastering your first bike ride, from leaving the comforts of home behind to venturing forth on that first day of school, milestones are exciting but hard. They mean having to say goodbye to one moment in order to welcome the next. Honest and uplifting, this cheerfully illustrated ode to change gently empowers readers to brave life’s milestones, both large and small.

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Puppy Mind
Written & illustrated by Andrew Jordan Nance
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In this picture book for children and adults, illustrated by Jim Durk, who is adored by thousands of children for his many Clifford the Big Red Dog and Thomas the Steam Engine books, a young boy discovers his mind is like a puppy, always wandering away, into the past or the future. He sets about learning to train his puppy mind to heel to the present moment. Through remembering to breathe, the boy becomes a stronger and more caring master of his puppy mind, keeping it in the present, if only for a moment. Includes a link to a discussion guide for parents and teachers.

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Tintinnabula
Written by Margo Lanagan & illustrated by Rovina Cai
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

In wild times and in wartime, in times of fear and illness, I go to Tintinnabula, where soft rains fall. Tintinnabula is a story about moving from discomfort to peace, from violence and uncertainty to a still, sure place. It reminds us that our best friend in hard times can often be ourselves.

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Everything on a Waffle
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A Newbery Honor Book By the author of “The Trolls,” a National Book Award Finalist. My name is Primrose Squarp. I am eleven years old. I have hair the color of carrots in apricot glaze (recipe to follow), skin fair and clear where it isn’t freckled, and eyes like summer storms. Readers will know right from the start that the narrator of” Everything on a Waffle” is going to tell her story straight and pull no punches. Primrose’s parents have been lost at sea, but she believes without an iota of doubt that they are still alive, somewhere. She moves in with her Uncle Jack, but feels generally friendless. Her only real refuge is a local restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, where the owner, Miss Bowzer, serves everything on waffles – except advice and good sense, which come free of charge and are always reliable. Food in general plays an important role in Primrose’s journey toward peace and understanding (a recipe dictated in her unmistakable voice is appended to each chapter), and readers will eagerly cheer her on through this funny, bittersweet novel.

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Go Get 'Em, Tiger!
Written by Sabrina Moyle & illustrated by Eunice Moyle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-18

This very first picture book from the Hello!Lucky team celebrates milestones reached and challenges overcome!

The award-winning Hello!Lucky team brings their bold style and surefire laughs to a picture book about an exuberant tiger tackling life’s challenges and coming out on top. Perfect for celebrating any big milestone, from the first day of preschool to college graduation, and every goalpost in between.

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  • The Book of Lost Things - Newbery medalist Cynthia Voigt presents a rollicking mystery in three acts! Max’s parents are missing. They are actors, and thus unpredictable, but sailing away, leaving Max with only a cryptic note, is unusual even for them. Did they intend to leave him behind? Have they been kidnapped? Until he can figure it out, Max feels it’s safer to keep a low profile. Hiding out is no problem for a child of the theater. Max has played many roles, he can be whoever he needs to be to blend in. But finding a job is tricky, no matter what costume he dons. Ironically, it turns out Max has a talent for finding things. He finds a runaway child, a stray dog, a missing heirloom, a lost love. . . . So is he a finder? A detective? No, it’s more. Max finds a way to solve people’s problems–he engineers better outcomes for them. He becomes Mister Max, Solutioneer. Now if only he could find a solution to his own problems . . .

  • All by Myself! - An award-winning author celebrates childhood independence! Button, zip, scrub, rub, paint and write -these are just a few of the things independent children can do. Aliki′s fun rhyming text and lively illustrations celebrate the joys of mastering these skills, morning, noon, and night. Ages 3-6

  • The Pout-Pout Fish, Far, Far from Home - An exciting new adventure starring the New York Times-Bestselling Pout-Pout Fish! Mr. Fish has prepped and packed, And he’s made big plans to roam.He’s ready for adventureOn his trip away from home!But sometimes trips have detoursAnd not everything goes right.Without his favorite toy, Can he fall asleep at night?Swim along with Mr. Fish as he explores new places and meets new friends in THE POUT-POUT FISH, FAR, FAR FROM HOME. He might just learn that a few bumps along the way are all part of the journey. Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna are back with everyone’s favorite grumpy fish, to show that love doesn’t have to be packed, it travels with you always.

  • Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie - When nine-year-old Eleanor’s beloved babysitter Bibi moves away to care for her ailing father, Eleanor must spend the summer adjusting to a new babysitter while mourning the loss of her old one.

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Fishbone's Song
Written by Gary Paulsen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

An orphan reflects on the lessons he was taught by the wise old man who raised him in this lyrical novel that reads like poetry from three-time Newbery Honor-winning author Gary Paulsen. Deep in the woods, in a rustic cabin, lives an old man and the boy he’s raised as his own. This sage old man has taught the boy the power of nature and how to live in it, and more importantly, to respect it. In Fishbone’s Song, this boy reminisces about the magic of the man who raised him and the tales that he used to tell–all true, but different each time.

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Brown Bear Starts School
Written by Sue Tarsky & illustrated by Marina Aizen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Brown Bear is nervous. Today is his very first day of school. What if his classmates don’t like him? What if he can’t hear the teacher? What if he doesn’t have the right clothes? His mother does her best to reassure him but it isn’t until Brown Bear learns that he can do things for himself that he relaxes and helps his friends, too.

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Twilight's Grand Finale
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Twilight shares her creativity in the fifth book of this sparkly new chapter book series that follows the trials and triumphs of young foals attending Unicorn University–perfect for those who love magic, happiness, and My Little Pony! Unicorn University is putting on a carnival for past students and their families, and Twilight has been chosen to be in charge of the decorations! She can’t wait to show her family, who’s attending the celebration, how far she’s come since her first day of school. In addition to designing the booths and banners, Twilight’s also tasked with arranging a grand finale that’s supposed to be a magical end to a magical day. And what could be better than a fireworks display put on by a famous dragon? But when Twilight finds out the fireworks show must be cancelled, she fears the whole day is ruined. Her visiting sisters aren’t making things easier, either. Can Twilight take charge and show them she’s capable of saving the carnival?

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It Was Just Right Here!
Written by Bryan Smith & illustrated by Lisa M. Griffin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Braden’s brother Blake is ALWAYS losing things and everyone acts like it’s his fault. What’s the big deal? He’s just a kid! But when Blake’s lack of organization leads to a forgotten field trip permission form, and the missing class pet is found dwelling in his desk debris, Blake starts to realize that maybe it’s more a problem than he thought. With the help of Blake’s teacher and support of his parents, he’s taught the steps to getting organized by using his favorite sport: baseball! Will Blake hit a home run by getting organized? Find out in another of Bryan Smith’s hilarious tales of teaching life skills for children in grade K through 5, part of the Executive Function series. Children and parents alike will find this comical, colorful storybook helpful in understanding why everything has its place. Tips for teaching organizational skills are included at the end of the storybook for parents and educators. The series also includes: What Were You Thinking?My Day Is RuinedOf Course It’s a Big Deal!Time To Get StartedWhat’s The ProblemHow Did You Miss That?I’ll Never Get All of That Done!Fix It with FocusHow Do I Remember All That?

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How Did You Miss That?
Written by Bryan Smith & illustrated by Lisa M. Griffin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-11

After an exhausting night of baseball, the last thing Braden wants to hear is Mom and Dad harping about everything he must finish on his to-do list. Of course, they wouldn’t be on his case if he actually paid attention and did what he needed to do. From chores at home to questions on a quiz, Braden never checks his work for mistakes or to see if he missed anything. Is there a solution to his sloppiness? Yes… but will Braden be willing to try it? Can he become a master of self-monitoring? Self-monitoring can be challenging to understand for children and skills such as completing work accurately and completely, staying on task, following instructions the first time, waiting to be called on, and getting the teacher’s attention appropriately can be challenging to master. Award-winning author, happy father, and popular school counselor Bryan Smith highlights the importance of slowing down, being accurate, and double-checking one’s work in the seventh picture book of the Executive Function series written for students in grades K through 5. Tips for parents and educators are included at the end of the story to help children develop their abilities to self-monitor. The series also includes: What Were You Thinking?My Day Is Ruined!It Was Just Right Here!Of Course It’s a Big Deal!Time to Get Started!What’s the Problem?I’ll Never Get All of That Done!Fix It with FocusHow Do I Remember All That?

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  • I'll Never Get All of That Done! - Blake’s baseball team is doing a bake sale fundraiser. He just can’t wait for his mom to whip up a batch of her famous chocolate chip cookies! That is, until Mom reminds Blake that it is HIS fundraiser, so he needs to help. Blake has a to-do list that’s just too long. How can his parents and teachers expect him to finish his homework, clean his room AND bake cookies for the baseball bake sale? Don’t they know there’s something urgent he has to do now - like play video games?! When Mom encourages Blake to follow the 3 Ps - prioritizing, planning and posting a reminder of what needs to be done - he’s unimpressed. But as his responsibilities pile up and his deadlines quickly approach, he has to figure out what needs doing now. Can following Mom’s advice and using the 3 Ps really make a difference? School counselor and award-winning author Bryan Smith reveals the answer in the relatable story about the power of preparation and planning. It’s the latest tale from the author’s Executive Function series written for students in grades K through 5. Tips for parents and educators to help reinforce the message of time-management and self-reliance in children are included. The series also includes: What Were You Thinking?My Day Is Ruined!It Was Just Right Here!Of Course It’s a Big Deal!Time to Get Started!What’s the Problem?How Did You Miss That?Fix It with FocusHow Do I Remember All That?

  • You Can! Words of Wisdom From The Little Engine That Could - The classic character that has inspired generations of children to believe in themselves will now inspire readers of every age in this book filled with encouraging words of wisdom. Everybody needs a little downtime for maintenance. There will always be obstacles you don’t anticipate. Wake up ready for an adventure. The Little Engine That Could is one of the most popular and enduring children’s stories of all time, and for more than eighty-five years, this classic character has encouraged readers to try their hardest to achieve their dreams. This story of determination and inspiration has now been reimagined in a charming, illustrated gift book that will speak to readers no matter what the age and no matter what the challenge. This is the perfect gift for graduation, and for everyone who may need to be reminded, “You Can!”

  • Of Course It's a Big Deal - When children don’t get what they want or expect, they often get upset and angry. Reacting calmly and appropriately during these times is an important skill for children to learn and use to be successful at home, school, and with others. Braden brings the drama to every minor misunderstanding and annoyance in his life! What was supposed to be a carefree afternoon of go-cart racing and putt-putt golfing quickly turns sour when Braden shouts and pouts about the rules. When homework interferes with Braden’s plans, he overreacts again, and makes things even more difficult on himself. But Mom and Dad are there to teach Braden the best way to react calmly. Will Braden ever learn to keep his cool in the face of disappointment? Will every discouraging moment send him into an emotional meltdown? Find out what lessons are learned in this fast-paced story about the perils of overreacting and losing self-control. This is Bryan Smith’s third title in the Executive Function series. Tips for parents and educators are included at the end to help set children up for success by reacting calmly and appropriately when upset or angry. The series also includes: What Were You Thinking?My Day Is Ruined!It Was Just Right Here!Time To Get StartedWhat’s The ProblemHow Did You Miss That?I’ll Never Get All of That Done!Fix It with FocusHow Do I Remember All That?

  • Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up - From the author of Wild One and A Good Day for Ducks, an enchanting story of about slowing down to notice the world and speaking up when it matters No matter how hard she tries, little Queenie Quail can’t keep up with her Mama and her Papa and her nine bobbing, tapping siblings. “Hurry, hurry, hurry!” they exclaim as Queenie lags behind. But how can Queenie hurry when there are so many interesting things to look at? One day when she stops to admire a fascinating feather, a flash of orange catches Queenie’s eye. Spotting danger among the greenery, Queenie springs into action, hurry, hurry, hurrying to warn her family just in the nick of time. From Jane Whittingham, the celebrated author of Wild One and A Good Day for Ducks, Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up is a story about the value of slowing down to take notice of the world around us. Whittingham’s bouncy prose is filled with lovely wordplay and musicality, pairing perfectly with debut illustrator Emma Pedersen’s whimsical illustrations in this tale that young readers will identify with and ask for again and again.

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Mindset Matters
Written by Bryan Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Amelia is her name and conquering new challenges is her game! She takes up skateboarding with gusto and feverishly builds a swing set for her kid brother. But at the first sign of trouble tumbling off her skateboard and whacking her thumb with a hammer she’s done. Her confidence shattered, Amelia frets she’s a failure. But after a little self-reflection and some loving advice from dear-old Dad, Amelia learns she needs a GONNA-GET-IT-DONE mindset. With her new outlook, she discovers success has many definitions]]more than she ever imagined. Mindset Matters teaches children how to see problems and dilemmas as opportunities to learn and grow, and reveals why failing doesn’t make them failures.

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Way Past Lonely
Written by Hallee Adelman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Macy is way past lonely. What will she do?It’s a weekend. Two whole days. Dez is away, Keya and Hooper can’t play. Her mom is busy and her brother Luke doesn’t need her help. Even Princess Paws rushes away. What will Macy do?

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The Boxcar Children: Fully Illustrated Edition
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The classic story of four orphaned siblings, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, who find an abandoned boxcar in the forest and decide to make it their home. Since its initial publication in 1942, The Boxcar Children has captivated many generations of readers. This fully illustrated edition commemorates the 75th anniversary of Gertrude Chandler Warner’s timeless novel. Featuring all-new full-color artwork as well as an afterword about the author, the history of the book, and the Boxcar Children legacy, this volume will be treasured by first-time readers and longtime fans alike.

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Isabel and the Hungry Coyote
Written & illustrated by Keith Polette
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little girl on her way to Grandma’s house. A basket of goodies. A lurking scoundrel. Sound familiar? Yes, but this time, the Chihuahua Desert of the American southwest is the setting for a spiced-up retelling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood story. Spunky Isabel outwits the cunning coyote with self-reliance and daring. Fiery tamales and chili sauce are the villain’s downfall. Also available in bilingual editions.

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Stanley the Sock Monster Goes to the Moon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Here’s a new picture book from the successful and popular Jedda Robaard. It’s a story about perseverance and reaching for your dreams, no matter how high they seem! Stanley is a little monster that has a big dream: his one big wish is to visit the moon. Stanley’s dad tells him that he can do anything he sets his mind to. So one night, Stanley comes up with a plan. He gathers up all his space books, notes, and sketches. After a few failed attempts, Stanley’s wish comes true!

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