Preschool and Picture Books

Theme: People Just Like You?

Abraham Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books - (ISBN: 978-0689825545)

by Kay Winters

This biography focuses on Lincoln’s early years growing up in poverty in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. Although he did not have much chance to go to school, he loved reading and always carried a book with him. How does reading fit into your daily life?

Dreamer from the Village: The Story of Marc Chagall - (ISBN: 978-0805063738)

by Michelle Markell

Bright illustrations reminiscent of Chagall’s style fill the pages of this amusing and poetic biography of a great and original artist. From his birth in a remote Russian village to his triumphant opening at the Louvre when he was 90, this life story springs forth in an offbeat and often capricious style. Get out your finger paints after reading this, and encourage your children to use colors and shapes to portray their feelings.

Grandfather's Journey - (ISBN: 978-0547076805)

by Allen Say

This biography of the writer’s grandfather captures the conflict of a young man when he wanted to travel, travel, travel, but kept feeling the pull to return home. Although the grandfather comes from a foreign country and goes back to Japan to marry, his feelings of love for his wife and child are universals we can all identify with. Why did he return to Japan a second time after raising his family in the U.S.?

The Art Lesson - (ISBN: 978-0698115729)

by Tomie dePaola

Young Tommy loves to draw and paint and looks forward to his art class when he is finally old enough to start school. Although the art teacher wants Tommy to imitate her work, she quickly realizes his interest and perseverance indicate real talent, so she and the school encourage and feed his inclinations. Take a few minutes and some crayons or washable markers to expose your children to the art of creation. Better yet, have your children dictate some words to go with their pictures, and create your own books together!

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers - (ISBN: 978-0312368784)

by Mordicai Gerstein

Although the famous funambulist Phillipe Petit walked between the World Trade Centers in New York on a tightrope as an inspiration to this book, the last page serves as a tribute to the memory of what happened there by portraying the towers as invisible entities rising silently. Petit shows what determination and creativity do to help people fulfill their dreams, no matter how unusual. As you view Petit’s joy portrayed the pages of this beautifully illustrated book, talk about what might spark the same joy in members of your family.

When I Was Young in the Mountains - (ISBN: 978-0140548754 )

by Cynthia Rylant

All readers will relate to this writer’s memories of an idyllic youth when she grew up with family in a beautiful setting. Her joys of growing up in the country simply portray a different time. How would you feel about doing some of the things she did, like taking a bath in the kitchen, or finding your own place to swim in nature?

Call Me Marianne - (ISBN: 978-0802852427)

by Jennifer Bryant

What To Do about Alice - (ISBN: 978-0439922319)

by Barbara Kerley

Activities for this Theme

Look at family photos from recent events and have your child talk about what happened at these events. Be sure to listen carefully for emotional reactions to the particulars of the things you've done together.


If you like using computers, upload photos and have your child narrate them using Voicethread.


Start a file of the papers and coloring sheets your child creates. When you look at these together, ask the child why they’re important. Write down what he/she says on the back to help preserve the memory.