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Missouri Literacy Association

An Affiliate of International Literacy Association

The mission of the Missouri Literacy Association is to empower educators, ensure equity, inspire students & encourage leaders with the equitable resources they need to make literacy accessible for all in our diverse community.

Picture Books

Organized by topic, category or theme.

Simply scroll through the books in the DETERMINATION THEME column to get to books about kindness and friendship.

Click on book cover to go to Goodreads for more information on the book.

Click on title, if underlined, for review of book.


Donut Feed the Squirrel

By Mika Song

Published Sept 29, 2020

A hilarious graphic novel for young readers.  Must read to appreciate.  Adult and child alike will laugh at this book.

I Am a Tiger

By Karl Newson

Published 2019

Children's Choice 2020 Selection

Children will love this laugh-out-loud book about a mouse who believes it is a tiger. The mouse convinces other animals that because of its “Grrr,” ability to climb trees, and need to hunt for lunch that it is indeed a tiger. Isolating each animal’s characteristics, the mouse dubs each as something else, including calling the raccoon a caterpillar.

Help Wanted Must Love Books

By Janet Sumner Johnson

Published March 2020

An adorable romp through fairy tales that celebrates reading aloud!

This is a must read!

Knot Cannot

By Tiffany Stone

Published April 2020

This hilarious read-aloud is packed with lots of puns & tells a wonderfully humorous yet sweet story about not being jealous & appreciating your own special gifts.

Pacho Nacho

By Silvia Lopez

Published February 2020

Hilarious story that begs to be read aloud. 

It’s about a family that has two sons, the oldest son has a VERY long name that his parents insist everyone use, Pacho-Nacho-Nico-Tico-Melo-Felo-Kiko-Rico.

Based on an old Japanese folktale with the retelling set in Mexico.

Cat Dog Dog:  The Story of a Blended Family

By Nelly Buchet

Published April 28, 2020

Here is the oh-so-hilarious and adorable story of a blended family-- using just a few words in various configurations-- from the pets' point-of-view!

Chapter Two Is Missing

By Josh Lieb

Published 2019


An investigation is launched to find the missing chapter. Milo, the book’s janitor, offers to help, but he ends up not really helping. This comical mystery is a favorite that will prompt readers to talk to the book in order to help solve the mystery.

That Is Not a Good Idea!

By Mo Willems

Published 2013

Stephanie's Ponytail

By Robert Munsch

Published 1996

Interrupting Chicken

By David Ezra Stein

Published 2010

Chicken Cheeks

By Michael Ian Black

Published 2008

7 Ate 9: The Untold Story

By Tara Lazar

Published 2017

Show Me Award Nominee 2019-20

Dragons Love Tacos

By Adam Rubin

Published 2012

The Riot Brothers: Take the Mummy and Run

By Mary Amato

Paperback Published 2020

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Frog

By Lucille Colandro

Paperback Published 2014


By Jenny Offill

Published 2014

The narrator orders a sloth through the mail, the creature that arrives isn't good at tricks or hide-and-seek . . . or much of anything.  A hilarious, touching picture book that is perfect for young animal lovers.

A Bad Case of Stripes

By David Shannon

Paperback Published 2004


By Michael Ian Black

Published 2014

A hilarious book about a boy who doesn't want to wear clothes.

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors

By Drew Daywalt

Published 2017

Show Me Award Winner 2019-20

This is a laugh-out-loud funny picture book about the classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.


The Old Truck

By Jarrett Pumphrey

Published 2020

A simple story of a truck that worked “long” on a farm and then “grew weary and tired.” 

A young girl grows up watching the truck help her family and when it is time for her to take over the farm, she rebuilds the truck and once again it becomes a working member of the farm. This book celebrates the rewards of determination and the value of imagination.


By Adam Rex

Published 2020

Readers will love the humorous text in this picture book about celebrating the ways you're unique, and using all your resourcefulness to accomplish your goals.


The Invisible Boy

By Trudy Ludwig

Published 2013

The story line centers around school and school activities. Plot has both kind and unkind events that happen to our main character, Brian.  It also includes unkind acts that a person might commit simply because he is not aware of the effect of his words. Fantastic book!

The Power of One:  Every Act of Kindness Counts

By Trudy Ludwig

Published 2020

After a hurtful act before the story begins, the story shows how every act of kindness counts and helps.  Fantastic book!

Each Kindness

By Jaqueline Woodson

Published 2012

The storyline is centers around a new girl to a classroom. She is friendly and wants to be friends with the other girls in class. However, they do not want to be friends with her and treat her in an unkind manner.  Once the new girls moves away, one girl regrets her actions.

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed

By Emily Petersen

Published 2017

The entire book is centered around a kind act that Mary does which causes another kind act, etc.  This is a circle story where Mary begins the kind acts which go full circle and come back to end with a kind act which Mary is the recipient of.  The entire book is filled with kind acts.  There are no unkind acts.  The story shows the ripple effect of being kind to someone who in turn is kind to another person and on and on. Wonderful book for helping children understand how kindness makes the world a better place in which to live.


This Way Charlie

By Caron Levis

Published April 2020

A story about a friendship that grows between a blind horse and a gruff goat.

Unicorn Day

By Diana Murray 

Published 2019

Children's Choice 2020 Selection

Happy Unicorn Day! The unicorns are all celebrating! They soon realize one of their friends is not a unicorn but a horse. He turns to go, but the unicorns stop

him, realizing that keeping a friend is more important.

Bruno, the Standing Cat

By Nadine Robert

Published 2019

Children's Choice 2020 Selection

Bruno the Cat is anything but ordinary. He rides skateboards, serves tea, and even stands like a human. His owner, Peter, is overjoyed to have a pet cat. Friends begin to inquire about Bruno’s odd behaviors, but true friendship will prevail.

Zero Local: Next Stop: Kindness

By Ethan Murrow & Vita Murrow

Published April 2020

One small act of kindness turns into more kindness, spreading friendship and love in this near-wordless picture book.

Snapsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be In This Book)

By Julie Falatko

Published 2016

Funny with a great message of friendship.

Ballet Cat Dance! Dance! Underpants!

By Bob Shea

Published 2016

Themes of friendship as well as judgment.

Pete & Pickles

By Berkeley Breathed

Published 2008

Themes of friendship & change.

Elwood Bigfoot:  Wanted Birdie Friends

By Jill Esbaum

Published 2015

Themes of friendship & staying true to ourselves.

Be A Friend

By Salina Yoon

Published  2016

Theme of friendship and finding our place in the world.

The Sandwich Shop

By Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah

Published 2010

Themes of friendship as well as acceptance and tolerance of another's culture and food.

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