Motherhood

Sweet Book for Kids

Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal

I’ve never seen my husband cry. Even at our wedding. Even when his dad died. “I was taught early on that boys don’t cry,” he told me. But these days, we try to encourage our boys to feel comfortable expressing any kind of emotion — including disappointment and sadness.

So, I love this new children’s book, Everyone, which comes out tomorrow. Illustrator Christopher Silas Neal wanted to convey the range of emotions — joy, frustration, sorrow — in the same way he talks about them with his two young sons. His illustrations of a little boy in the city are sweet and playful, and he shows the importance of thinking about other people’s (and animals’) feelings, too. Here’s a peek inside…

Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal

Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal

Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal

Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal

What other children’s book having you been enjoying? The Storm Whale and Make Way for Ducklings are also on heavy rotation for us these days.

P.S. Five books that teach kindness, and 18 children’s books with female characters.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my goodness, thank you for letting me know!!

  1. Rachel says...

    I’ll have you know I compiled a library list of all the suggestions in the comments section!!! Awesome recommendations, maybe consider having a permanent list on your page!

  2. Brittany says...

    This is lovely. :)

  3. Lem says...

    A really lovely book on emotions and feeling scared and alone is The Rhino Who Swallowed A Storm. Those who were Reading Rainbow Kickstarters got this book – it was written by Levar Burton.

  4. Allison says...

    What a sweet book. I am getting a masters in psychology so I love any book that teaches kids to talk about their feelings, ideally that’ll make for less work of it when they”re adults. :)

    I also love In My Heart for talking about feelings and extra plus, a girl is the main character, which I know you’e mentioned before tends to be rare in kids books. http://www.amazon.com/My-Heart-Feelings-Growing-Hearts/dp/1419713108

  5. This looks like such a beautiful book. It still feels very true that boys are pressured to push down certain emotions. Now that I’m a raising a son, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. This looks like a wonderful book for boys and girls to learn about emotions in an open and encouraging way.

    http://www.typeatypeb.com

  6. Susan says...

    15 years together and I’ve never once seen my husband cry either! And I Just. Don’t. Get. It. I cried this morning watching a video on my Facebook newsfeed of a bulldog puppy tumbling down a hill.

  7. Mac says...

    Make Way for Ducklings! My maiden name is Mallard, I’m Mac, I have a brother Jack and a brother…Scott. So when we read it and listed all the ducklings by name we always shouted “and Scott!” ❤️

    • Mac says...

      And a favorite book at our house is Snatchabook, which I love reading aloud. I get pretty into it. And Ferdinand. Both have great illustrations.

  8. Amanda says...

    The book A is for Adventure is a really great one for kids AND parents. All the activities are do-able and there are some great life messages snuck in amongst the rhymes.

  9. Katie says...

    Orion and the Dark as well as Knuffle Bunny Free are two current faves :)

  10. Jessie says...

    My youngest loves Charlie and Lola books. My older two are into The Berenstein Bears and Fancy Nancy. This book you recommended would be great for my oldest.

  11. The book that my four year old really likes reading is “Orlando’s Little While Friends.” It’s an older book by Audrey Wood about making friends and feeling shy. I will definitely check out this one and the “Tough Guys” one mentioned in the comments.

    We really enjoyed the book “One Sunday Morning” that Toby loves, “Library Lion” and “Make Way for Ducklings.” We have talked about how fun it would be to go on a trip to Boston and NYC to see the places featured in our favorite stories! ^_^

  12. Erica B. says...

    Anything by Mo Willems – any of the Knuffle Bunny stories (Set in Brooklyn! You and the boys should check it out!) and the Pigeon stories.

    Good call on the Make Way for Ducklings, from a Bostonian here!

  13. Jessica says...

    On feelings: My many colored days by Dr. Seuss–it’s great. The other day my two year old said, “Today I’m kind of brown and low low down but maybe tomorrow I’ll be happy pink” It uses colors, feelings, animals, and rhymes.

    On The Storm Whale: My British aunt who teaches primary school brought that from London and it is a hit. Other books that she brought that have a similar pace, beautiful drawings, and have been on high rotation are–Gorilla by Anthony Browne; One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth (main character is Percy…So British!); and The Way to The Zoo by John Burningham. Also the classic Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy (Also so British!)

  14. Rebecca says...

    Love reading your book recommendations! We recently bought “Cookies: Bite-Sized Life Lessons,” which describes character traits by talking about cookies – patience (waiting for them to bake), respect (offering the first cookie to your grandmother), generosity (sharing your cookies with friends), etc. Our 2-year-old loves it.

  15. I love this! I think so many of us were taught not to cry, just like Alex. This is a beautiful way to talk about the range of human experience. It’s silly for us to try and deny ourselves (and tiny humans we care for) the full depth of our human experience.

  16. Angela J. says...

    We love – In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek, which we simply refer to as “the feelings book”. At the end I always ask my son how his heart felt today :)

  17. yael steren says...

    I LOVE the book: The Day the Crayons Quit. I bought it for my nephews and niece and I think it’s fantastic!!! I will definitely look into this book as well! Thanks for the recommendation! xx yael

    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

  18. Melissa says...

    Extra Yarn
    by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen is my all time favorite. My daughter is 10 and she still loves for me to read it to her.

  19. Jane says...

    Very sweet. Are there any books you, Joanna, or readers would recommend for an expectant first-time mom and dad to read to their newborn? I want to get books they can read to the child, but don’t know what genre that would be since board books seem to be for slightly older babies who will be grabbing for the actual book!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Congratulations on your baby news! :) We read sing-songy books, like Brown Bear and Good Night, Moon. xoxo

    • Jane says...

      Thanks, Joanna! Those are great recommendations — now I know what to get for my friend’s baby shower. :) Love reading the Motherhood Monday content even though I’m not a parent – wonderful insights into friends with children. :-D

    • Laura says...

      I have been reading “Hand Hand Fingers Thumb” to my son since the very start, and he still loves it 2 years later! Now he knows the words and claps which is cute and funny. Congratulations!

  20. J says...

    I’ve been reading “Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts to my almost 6 year old. Everytime we read it, we get something new out of it. It’s very special.

  21. Elizabeth says...

    I adore your site and I visit every day but every once in a while it would be wonderful to see posts about older children, or parents with older children. I have an 8 year old girl and a 13 year old boy. I would love book recs for smart 13 year olds, for instance, or clothing for tweens etc. thanks!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good idea, thank you! mostly i write about what we’re going through in our lives, as parents of a two- and five-year-old, but we can definitely start featuring more parents of older kids, too. this woman had some lovely thought on teens: http://cupofjo.com/2016/05/jess-brown-dolls-house-tour/

  22. Oh my goodness this is so sweet. I love children books, and can’t wait to start a mini library of them! (read: I can’t wait to have children so I can justify owning a mini library of children books :-)

    – Dara // http://www.peoniesandhoneybees.com

  23. Nicole says...

    I love reading my toddler the Little Blue Truck books… the truck (a typically masculine character) is really nice and caring and I think is a good example, especially for a little boy.

    …Though in reality I most of the time am reading a LOT of Thomas the Train books on heavy rotation… :)

  24. This looks amazing! Really inspiring and with lovely visuals :)

    Lii

  25. chelsea says...

    for little, little ones: ‘Happy Hippo, Angry Duck’. it’s a Sarah Boynton board book about moods. My favorite line, ‘a difficult mood is not here to stay, everyone’s moods can change day to day.’ Sometimes I don’t know who’s benefitting more from hearing that line: me or my one year old.

  26. Patricia says...

    Best kids book ever … Bark, George! My boys are 16 & 13 and it still makes us laugh.

  27. Alice says...

    One more thing and I’ll be quiet – what this author manages to do is not push the idea too hard, by using simple language. I hate it when children’s books are overtly pushy with their morals. Or, when they’re aimed (often through illustration or tone) at the parents delight, rather than the child’s.

  28. Alice says...

    This is fantastic. I like that the story doesn’t mention gender itself, it’s unnecessary, but has a boy as the central character. I write children’s books and two sons who I get to test them on! Someone mentioned Rosie Revere – Iggy Peck Architect is amazing, by the same author. My eldest son and I both love All The World by Liz Garton Scanlon, and The Rain Train by Elena de Roo rhymes and flows perfectly and is so much fun to read aloud. It’s one of my favourites. Anything by Il Sung Na (so beautiful) is great, and Julia Donaldson’s The Snail and the Whale is a touching story. She gets rhythm so right, too. A Hole in the Botoom of the Sea is fun, and Bear and Bird is a lovely story of friendship.

    Non-fiction – the Usborne lift the flap books are so so fun! Seriously, they’d be perfect for Tony and Anton right now. So much to discover and really well made.

    My eldest son adores wordless books too, like the Red Shoes and David Wiesner’s Flotsam. Those books let children create their own story somewhat, and express their own experiences and feelings at arm’s length.

    I could go on for so long…

  29. Kim H says...

    Red: A Crayons Story by Michael Hall

  30. Erika says...

    I Like Myself, and No Matter What — two books we are loving right now!

  31. Deb says...

    This book makes me think about when my son was younger and we would read Mem Fox’s ‘Tough Boris’ about a tough pirate (spoiler) who cries when his parrot dies. My son is a little older now and we just started reading Harry Potter. I never read the series (or saw the movies) and we are having fun experiencing it together.

    • We have Tough Boris and I cry every time. Its so sweet.

  32. Rita says...

    Mother Bruce is a favorite around here. As well as the Berenstain Bears. Also the old Sesame Street library series is a nice blast from the past with Herry monster and Mr Hooper and Sherlock Hemlock.

  33. Katherine says...

    I will have to check that one out, I think my 4yr old would really like it.

    We are loving William Steig books right now – Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Rotten Island (best pictures ever!), and Amos & Boris – the sweetest story about a friendship between a whale and a mouse.

  34. I hadn’t ever seen my husband cry until the night we had to have our beloved 14-year-old dog put to sleep. I was so shocked, because after many years of marriage, with some serious highs and lows (infertility, IVF when IVF was a really big deal, and then the birth of our healthy son), I had come to think that he just wasn’t capable of crying. The tears just streamed down his face. I will never forget that night.

  35. Just bought Granddad’s Island. It’s by the same author as The Storm Whale and it’s the sweetest story about the passing of a grandparent. It made me tear up at the bookstore, so I knew I had to have it (and the illustrations are so gorgeous)!

  36. My kids love “thank you octopus” by Darren farell and “naughty Mabel” by Nathan lane. Tho mine are girls, they are the same age as your boys and I bet they will love them too!

  37. What a sweet book.

    On a side note but kinda on a similar note–I notice Luna connect with “emotions” even more so after watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. My husband and I always joke “Ohhhhh meow meow I’m sad…” haha!

    xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  38. On my bus ride to work into downtown Vancouver (which goes through the city’s troubled Downtown Eastside) I saw a young, seemingly broken man get on the bus as we passed through this area and start crying. I felt horrible and wanted to help him, but then another kind (and also young) man quickly went to him, put his hand on his back and quietly asked him what was wrong and if he needed help. He stayed with him until he got off the bus. I can only hope my son grows up to be like that man, who tried to help without drawing attention to the situation. It is nice to see two men in touch with their sensitive sides.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That is so so sweet.

    • Alexis says...

      I live in Vancouver as well and there have been many a times when I’ve driven down Hastings and cried myself. The look of desperation on so many faces. It’s so wonderful to hear about the compassion of others in our own community. I was in the ER one evening and was totally blown away by the benevolence of the doctors. There were two patients who were drug addicts and the doctors didn’t treat them with one ounce of disdain. They were so respectful and caring. Every time I think about it, I realize what a privilege we have to live in a part of the world that values life.

  39. Melissa says...

    This is amazing! I’ve only seen my boyfriend cry once, when his parents were in Nepal during that awful earthquake and we didn’t know if they were okay for almost a week. He said the same thing as Alex. This is such an important topic! The same as teaching girls that strength is not a bad trait, boys need to know that vulnerability isn’t either.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you!!!

    • Caitlin says...

      I’m a librarian too and I checked that one out the moment it came in. My little dude loves it so much we bought our own copy.

  40. So sweet! Emotions can be such a challenge, especially in the young years when they feel everything so intensely! Our favorite book lately is ‘Rosie Revere, Engineer!’ which addresses disappointment, frustration and embarrassment, explain how to turn those feelings into positivity and motivation to try again! Truly recommended to all children (and parents!!)

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  41. Meggles says...

    It amazes me that you’ve never seen your husband cry, particularly because at one point I think you shared that he is an INFP (or am I imagining that?). We INFP’s are known for being a pretty sensitive, idealistic bunch. Just goes to show how powerful nurture, over nature, can be.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      It funny because he will tell me his feelings and is an open book in that way, but he cannot cry!

  42. Laura says...

    The first part, “little boys are taught not to cry” is part of the premise of a great doc I just watched- The Mask You Live In. It’s by Jennifer Siebel Newsom who did MissRepresentation. Both show the negative effects gender stereotyping has on our society and are very well done. Lots of food for thought- especially for parents raising boys or girls!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      So fascinating, thank you!

  43. How darling! My kids aren’t into kids fiction right now. They’re big into National Geographic Little Kids Big Books. My two year old daughter loves the bug book can name every bug and their parts and my son (4) loves the big book of the world.
    I’m sure in a few weeks it’ll be something new!

  44. jeannie says...

    Looking forward to reading this book!

  45. Reminds me of Tough Guys Have Feelings Too: http://www.amazon.com/Tough-Guys-Have-Feelings-Too/dp/1909263664?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00 a picture book that I recently purchased as a child-free thirty-something (I *am* also an illustrator and can claim I bought it for professional research — but really it’s just so damn cute.) Incredible illustrations with a very sweet and tough-little-boy-friendly message. I *might* re-gift if for my nephew’s birthday this fall. If I can part with it.

  46. Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal (UK) is a beautiful and inspiring book – google it as take a peak x

  47. Alice Quin says...

    Love this.

  48. This looks great! I have 3 boys and trust me, they cry more than anyone ever warned me they would! We love Tough Guys Have Feelings Too:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/11/books/review/tough-guys-have-feelings-too-by-keith-negley-review.html?_r=0

    My 4-year-old is fascinated by the expressions on these tough guys’ faces and looks at the book often on his own, in addition to requesting us to read it to him. I think acknowledging the whole range of emotions is so important to do from early on. Great recommendation! Thank you!

  49. Lilly says...

    This book is darling!

  50. This is so sweet. I look forward to picking it up. We always try to chat about emotions in a neutral way so it’s not considered “bad” to be mad or sad. A little parenting on my blog today too. Cheers!

    http://www.thewefiles.com

  51. Tawny says...

    This is very sweet. Even at the age of 32, I know sometimes when I’m sad, I feel all alone. So not true. Looking forward to using this in the therapy setting in my job. This book is good for EVERYONE!