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12 Amazing Picture Books for Tumultuous Times

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)

As we navigate these unprecedented times, I've been thinking a lot about how to help the young people in our lives to cope with all of the changes and uncertainty swirling around them. As I always do when struggling or trying out something new, I find myself turning to books. If you're looking to pick out some books, some of my favorite kid lit authors include Peter H. Reynolds, Susan Verde, and Jo Witek (all pictured above), and some of my favorite illustrators include Rafael López, Loren Long, and Christian Robinson. You can't go wrong with any of those! My girls also love Mo Willems's Elephant and Piggy books, and if you're just getting started with him, the Biggie book ( is a great place to start.

As far as these particular times, I think there are lots of ways we can help our kids. I've grouped the books pictured above by area based on some of the topics I think are important to address.

Books to encourage patience and quiet contemplation:

Susan Verde's I Am Peace, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (

Brendan Wenzel's The Stone Sat Still

Mo Willems's Waiting Is Not Easy (

Books to encourage love and compassion:

Susan Verde's I Am Love, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (

Harris J’s Salam Alaikum, illustrated by Ward Jenkins (

Books to consider the past and the future:

Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing, illustrated by Loren Long ( |

Matt de la Peña’s Love, illustrated by Loren Long ( |

Books to promote expression of feelings, to celebrate difference, and to encourage acceptance of self and others:

Sonia Sotomayor’s Just Ask illustrated by Rafael López ( |

Susan Verde's I Am Human, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (

Jo Witek's In My Heart, illustrated by Christine Roussey (

Grace Byers’s I Am Enough, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo ( |

Books to promote activism and awareness:

Peter H. Reynolds's Say Something ( |

Susan Verde's The Water Princess, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)

Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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