Picture Books That Take On the Challenge of Change
Sue Lowell Gallion | The Children’s Book Review | September 26, 2016
My neighborhood grocery store just reopened after a nine-month renovation. I walked in yesterday for the first time, and I was not happy. I’ve been shopping at that store weekly (sometimes daily!) for 20 years. Now I don’t know where to find the milk, much less the tricky items on my list like breadcrumbs or raisins.
Change can be tough, whether you’re a toddler with a new baby sibling, a preschooler switching classrooms, or an adult searching for sundried tomatoes in the store you once knew. That theme—change and how we handle it—is at the core of my debut picture book, Pug Meets Pig (illustrated by Joyce Wan, Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, releasing Sept. 27, 2016.)
In Pug Meets Pig, Pug is happy at home, with his bowl, his yard, and his bed. But one day, everything changes. Pig trots onto the scene, uninvited. Pug experiences a range of emotions as Pig makes herself at home, and ultimately he must decide whether to stay or pack up and leave his home. Then, a new doggy door gives Pug more freedom, as well as a different dilemma in his relationship with Pig. I won’t give away the twist at the end (but Pug eventually does accept the newcomer in his own innovative way!).
When I look for picture books to share, I look for books with heart. Humor always helps, too. After all, a picture book can start a conversation. It can give kids another avenue to express their feelings, to an adult and to themselves. Picture books help develop empathy in all of us. Reading about change in one arena—whether it’s a move, the introduction of a stepparent, or outgrowing a favorite sweatshirt—can be useful in other experiences, too.
Here are several of my favorite recent picture book titles that address this theme …
Written by Deborah Underwood
Illustrated by Jonathan Bean
The experience of moving means losses, but perhaps gains as well.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0547928524
Written by Ame Dyckman
Illustrated by Zachariah O’Hora
A new sibling is bad enough, but the big sister is the only one who realizes that the baby in the basket left at the Rabbits’ house is a . . . wolf!
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0316226141
Written and Illustrated by Antoinette Portis
When Little Brown Bird changes her tune, will the other birds in the neighborhood choose to change, too?
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1596439221
Written and Illustrated by Andrea Zuill
Homer can’t wait to go to Wolf Camp, but he’s not so sure about making the change to wolf-dog once he arrives.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553509120
Written by Arthur A. Levine
Illustrated by Katie Kath
When Grandpa doesn’t remember their special traditions any more, Noah has to deal with their changed relationship and find something they still share.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Running Press Kids | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0762459063
So, the next time I go to my old/new grocery store, I’ll whine less. I’ll explore more. And this time I’ll track down the doughnut case.
About Sue Lowell Gallion
Sue Lowell Gallion is a printer’s daughter, so she has a life-long love of type, paper, and the aroma of ink. Her work has been published in magazines including Highlights and High Five, and she loves sharing books with kids as a volunteer tutor. Pug Meets Pig is her debut picture book. A second Pug and Pig adventure, Pug & Pig Trick or Treat, is coming in fall 2017. Sue lives with her family in Leawood, Kansas.
Written by Sue Lowell Gallion
Illustrated by Joyce Wan
Publisher’s Synopsis: An unlikely pair—a pug and a pig!—realize that it’s better to be together.
Pug is a very happy pup. He has his own yard, his own bowl, and even his own cozy bed! That is, until Pig moves in and starts eating from Pug’s bowl, interrupting Pug’s routine, and, worst of all, sleeping in Pug’s bed. Will Pug and Pig ever learn to live together as friends?
This sweet and silly story about a darling duo celebrates the timeless themes of embracing change, being kind to others, and finding friends in unlikely places.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Beach Lane Books | September 27, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1481420662
Sue Lowell Gallion, author of Pug Meets Pig, selected these picture books that take on the challenge of change. Discover more articles on The Children’s Book Review tagged with Dogs, Pigs, Social Graces, and Picture Books.