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“Winter always turns to spring” is something I heard growing up and while reading spring books for preschoolers. It was always used as an encouragement for when times were hard. While I know it’s obvious, sometimes it bears repeating that winter cannot last forever. Don’t get me wrong. Winter is an important season. It can even be the catalyst for fundamental growth and change. And of course it has its unique joys too. If you’re feeling like reading about it there are kids books like The Snowy Day or 25 winter books for when you want to immerse yourself in snow, ice, and cold. And if you prefer something shorter to savor, you might try these poems about winter or this cozy read quiz for more recommendations. For the latter, I chose all my answers once and then just read the whole list at the bottom too because I naturally don’t have enough books to read as it is.
However, if you’re ready for the warmth and thaw of spring – literally or figuratively in your life – you can read some inspiring spring poems to lift your mood or dip into these lovely 5 kids books about spring. After that, dig into even more spring books for preschoolers below for reading aloud to little people or just enjoying on your own.
The Best Spring Books for Preschoolers
I Sang You Down from the Stars by Tasha Spillett Sumner and Michaela Goade
This is a beautiful book told from the perspective of an expectant mother as she gathers items to give to her baby as part of the new arrival’s medicine bundle. The baby is born in the spring and with this new addition to the family comes a strong sense of identity, connection, and love. Written by Sumner, who is Inniniwak, and Michaela Goade, who is Tlingit and a Caldecott Medalist illustrator, this book is sure to please many different readers with its beauty and lyricism. If you like this, you should also look for Goade’s Berry Song that should publish in July 2022.
Bright Star by Yuyi Morales
Morales is an extremely talented author and illustrator; she has won several Pura Belpré Awards for illustration and been a Caldecott Honor recipient. You may already know Morales’s work from Niño Wrestles the World or Dreamers. Whether you’re familiar with her or not, Bright Star is a great book to pick up. It’s a mix of bright artwork and spare text that follow a baby deer as the animal makes its way from sand and cactus to a new spring-like landscape.
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I Am Loved by Nikki Giovanni and Ashley Bryan
This beautiful book includes Giovanni’s moving poems to leaves and wildflowers (among other subjects), all illustrated by the very bright and striking work of Ashley Bryan. Unfortunately Bryan passed away recently, but of course his work can still be appreciated in his many books, including his last called Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from WWII to Peace.
If you haven’t read this author before, there’s a reading pathway for Giovanni to get you started with her work.
When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee, Translated by Chungyon Won and Aileen Won
This book shows young readers the spring beauty of the demilitarized zone (or the DMZ), presenting it as both a military zone with barbed wire and a kind of unintentional wildlife sanctuary. The end papers include a very simple, unlabeled map showing a divided Korean peninsula. While the books evokes emotions in readers with a background on the conflict, it does not include a clear explanation for why the zone exists. It may serve as a starting point for telling younger readers something of the history, but the reader would need to supply that. There is a foldout near the end that suggests that perhaps the DMZ could be removed in the future, but little readers and adults unfamiliar with the history will not understand the difficulty involved so you may want to be prepared to provide some context when reading this book.
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
Hughes is an author and illustrator originally from Hilo, Hawai’i. Her book is about a tiny gardener who manages to coax a beautiful flower from his otherwise unruly garden. And that flower gives him and others around him hope, a very precious commodity that is often in short supply if you ask me. If you like this, you might also like her book Wild.
Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms by Robert Paul Weston and Misa Saburi
This is about a little girl named Sakura (which means cherry blossom) and her Obaachan enjoying the blooming cherry trees before her family moves from Japan to America. She feels sad in her new homeland, eventually becomes friends with her star-gazing neighbor Luke, and then discusses the impermanence of life as kids are apt to do. Oh wait, no they’re not. Okay, I admit that this one is a little heavy handed, but I include it because it does touch on the themes of loss and being far from loved ones that children’s books can sometimes miss.
Mardi Gras Almost Didn’t Come This Year by Kathy Z. Price and Carl Joe Williams
This book is about a family living in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in the U.S. The main character Lala and her brother notice the effect the storm had on their family and those around them, and wonder if they will celebrate Mardi Gras this year. Illustrated beautifully by New Orleans native Carl Joe Williams, this book will make space for a discussion around loss and the hope that can come after it.
The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach
Little and big readers alike will relate to the title character and his rush to just be over with the hard stuff. Inner transformation takes a lot of work and let’s face it, who wants to do all that? But some processes can’t be rushed and the little caterpillar has to go through the magical change that is the metamorphosis like any other future butterfly: by doing the hard work and waiting patiently.
The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López
Woodson’s book starts with spring storms that keep the narrator and her brother inside their apartment all day. At the urging of their grandmother, they use their brilliant imaginations to send themselves outside, flying over a whole new city bursting with flowers and beautiful color. If you like this, you should read Woodson’s The Day You Begin, which is also illustrated by Rafael López and is an excellent book for any kid starting a new school year.
Planting the Trees of Kenya by Claire A. Nivola
This book is based on the life of renowned Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai. It tells the story of how she appreciated the lush greenery of her childhood and despaired when she returned from years abroad to find her homeland barren. This discovery became the catalyst for her work reforesting and caring for the environment she was raised in.
Firsts and Lasts: The Changing Seasons by Leda Schubert and Clover Robin
This is a book for the changing of the seasons and one that many readers will enjoy. It’s interesting that there are various activities and actions associated with the change of seasons in this book, rather than a focus just on the outside environment. It’s worth taking a look at this one although the characters in the book could be more diverse.
Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring by Kenard Pak
I am sure Kenard Pak’s books have shown up on Book Riot before, and for good reason. Pak’s illustrations are so beautiful and he has published several of his own books as well, including a few that have to do with the changing seasons like this one. If you like his illustrations in particular, you should also try the Flowers are Calling and Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?
For more books for the classroom or home, try these 20 best read-alouds for kids. You can also dip into this short list of bookish things for spring or take on the longer 41 ideas for a bookish spring. Whatever you do this spring, I do hope you grow, learn, and enjoy it to the fullest.
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