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Our Children's Bookshelf is updated each month with a curated list of exciting reads, compiled by a trusted librarian from one of Connecticut's invaluable public libraries.  

Children's Bookshelf - November 2019

View Previous Children's Bookshelf Articles

Small Acts of Kindness
by Martha Simpson

Sometimes the world can be an unfriendly place. Reading books that demonstrate small acts of kindness can be comforting to children and the people who read with them. The following books feature diverse characters conducting simple acts of kindness throughout the year. Hopefully, these picture books will inspire readers to do good deeds for others, as well.

If You Plant a Seed
by Kadir Nelson

A rabbit and a mouse plant seeds in the spring. When their vegetables come up, they refuse to share the food with other animals. Their selfishness grows into a heap of trouble. But when they plant seeds of kindness, they discover the results are sweet.

Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña

Nana teaches CJ how to appreciate the beauty around them while they ride the bus down Market Street. Even though they can’t afford a car or other luxuries, they find happiness in listening to a busker and helping out at the soup kitchen. 

Maybe Something Beautiful:

How Art Transformed a Neighborhood
by F. Isabel Campoy


It’s summer now, and in the heart of a gray city, Mira paints pictures to give away. A man with a pocketful of paintbrushes sees her art, and they start to paint colorful pictures on the gray walls. Soon, everyone around joins them. Together, they cover the city with beautiful murals.

Because Amelia Smiled
by David Ezra Stein


In New York City, Amelia’s joyous smile is noticed by a neighbor. The woman is inspired to bake cookies to send to her grandson in Mexico. He plays the kind action forward, as do others, causing a chain reaction of good deeds all around the world. Eventually, these loving acts circle back to New York, where one more act of kindness makes Amelia smile.

The Rabbit Listened
by Cori Doerrfeld


A boy is proud of the wall he built with blocks. But when some birds knock it down, he is too sad to move. Many animals come by offering well-intentioned or even vengeful advice, but the boy doesn’t feel like doing anything. Only when a rabbit sits quietly by him, can the boy open up about his feelings and begin to heal. A timeless allegory that can also be read to children to help them cope with an upsetting situation.

I Walk with Vanessa
by Kerascoët


Fall brings the start of another school year. In this wordless picture book, a girl goes to a new school for the first time. She has no friends and is bullied on the way home. Another girl notices and wonders how she can help. The next morning, she meets the new girl so they can walk to school together. Other children join them, so the new girl is no longer alone.

Pine and the Winter Sparrow
by Alexis York Lumbard


In this retold Native American tale, a sparrow with an injured wing can’t fly south for the winter with the other birds. As the weather becomes colder, the sparrow asks an oak, maple, elm and aspen tree to shelter him. They all send him away. Finally, a pine tree offers to share his branches. Because of his kindness, the Creator allows the pine to stay green all year, while the other trees must lose their leaves in the fall.

What’s Happening at the Library

The Stratford Library Children’s Department will be located temporarily in the first floor Lovell Room at the start of 2020. We ask you to kindly bear with us while our second floor home is being renovated. Because of space constraints, we will have a limited collection of books, but we will still offer lots of programs for children of all ages, including:

  • Morning programs for toddlers, preschool kids and babies

  • Class visits for local schools

  • Hands-on programs such as Science Kids and Junior Scientists, Crazy 8s Math, Library LEGO® Club and crafts

  • Book discussion groups, Read Around Stratford and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

  • Read to therapy dog Missy or Drago

  • Kindness Club — service projects for kids in grades 4-6

  • Special events such as Take Your Child to the Library Day on February 1

Parents and caregivers, ask us how:

  • Stratford residents can register children under age 5 to receive a

  • free book delivered to their home every month from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

  • You can check out Leading to Reading early literacy kits, Gardening kits and Healing Library kits

  • To check out Playaway audiobooks, launchpads and Wonderbooks

  We hope everyone will celebrate with us as we re-open our completely redesigned area in the spring!

  The Stratford Library is located at 2203 Main Street. Check our website for a complete listing of events and times at www.stratfordlibrary.org or call 203-385-4165.

Martha Simpson is the Head of Children’s Services at Stratford Library.