Use Books to Spark Heart-to-Heart Conversations

Picture books can teach lifelong lessons about identity, feelings, friendship, and other aspects of social and emotional learning. Each month, Big Heart World partners, including First Book and School Library Journal, are hand picking books that can help parents, caregivers, and educators introduce children to different social and emotional learning topics that help them grow big hearts. See the full lists — with links and discussion questions — here.

Identity and Belonging

Hair Love, by Matthew Cherry and Vashti Harrison

Julián is a Mermaid, by Jessica Love

Not Quite Narwhal, by Jessie Sima

Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

Bob the Artist, by Marion Deuchars

Little Blue and Little Yellow, by Leo Leonni


Valentina and Monster, Written and illustrated by Ángeles Ruiz Reycraft

Toasty, by Sarah Hwang

I Talk Like a River, by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog, by David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka

Magnificent Homespun Brown, by Samara Cole Doyon and Kaylani Juanita

I Do Not Like Yolanda, by Zoey Abbott

Similarities and Differences


Alma and How She Got Her Name, by Juana Martinez-Neal

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, by Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal

Bilal Cooks Daal, by Aisha Saeed and Anoosha Syed

Mommy’s Khimar, by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and Ebony Glenn

Drawn Together, by Minh Lê and Dan Santat

Home is In Between, by Mitali Perkins and Lavanya Naidu

Paletero Man, by Lucky Diaz and Micah Player

Opposites: Bilingual Firsts, by Susie Jaramillo

Nana Akua Goes to School, by Tricia Elam and April Harrison

¿Cuál es diferente? / Which Is Different? By Jagger Youssef and translated by Cecilia González Godino


Hello, Friend, Hola, Amigo!

Hello, Friend, Hola, Amigo!, by Andrés Salguero and Sara Palacios

What if, Pig?, by Linzie Hunter

Friendbots: Blink and Block Make a Wish, by Vicky Fang

Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market, by Raúl Gonzalez III

Best Friend in the Whole World, by Sandra Salsbury

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away, by  Meg Medina and Sonia Sánchez

The Kindness Book, by Todd Parr

Ways to Welcome, by Linda Ashman and Joey Chou

Thank You, Omu!, by Oge Mora

We’re All Wonders, by R.J. Palacio

Jenny Mei is Sad, by Tracy Subisak


We Don't Eat Our Classmates

I Love You, Baby Burrito, by Angela Dominguez

Grandpa Across the Ocean, by Hyewon Yum

Watercress, by Andrea Wang and Jason Chin

Woodpecker Girl, by Chingyen Liu, I-Tsun Chiang, and Heidi Doll

They Only See the Outside, by Kalli Dakos and Jimothy Oliver

The Cot in the Living Room, by Hilda Eunice Burgos and Gaby D’Alessandro

The Rabbit Listened, by Cori Doerrfeld

I’m New Here, by Sibley O’Brien

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, by Ryan T. Higgins

Milo Imagines the World, by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson

Sam Is My Sister, by Ashley Rhodes-Courter and MacKenzie Haley

Problem Solving


Jingle Dancer, Written by Cynthia L. Smith, Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

Beach Toys vs. School Supplies by Mike Ciccotello

My Friend, Written by Taye Diggs and Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Danbi Leads the School Parade by Anna Kim

A House in the Woods by Inga Moore

The Good Stranger’s Sancocho, Written by John J. McLaughlin and illustrated by Ruddy Nuñez

One is a Piñata, Written by Roseanne Greenfield and illustrated by John Parra

Something’s Wrong: A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear by Jory John

Bunny Will Not Jump, Written and illustrated by Jason Tharp

Isobel Adds it Up, Written by Kristy Everington and Illustrated by A.G. Ford

It Began With Lemonade, Written by Gideon Sterer and illustrated by Lian Cho

Ten Steps to Flying Like a Superhero, Written and illustrated by Deb Pilutti

Thank you to our partners, School Library Journal and First Book, for picking books help families and educators grow big-hearted kids!

School Library Journal