Preschool and Picture Books

Theme: Giving to Make a Difference

A Mother for Choco - (ISBN: 978-0698113640)

by Keiko Kasza

Who will take care of the homeless Choco, the lost yellow bird wonders? After being rejected by the other birds, he happens on Mrs. Bear, who welcomes him into her virtual menagerie. Choco settles in with his new brothers and sisters, a pig, a hippo, and an alligator. Do you really have to look like your parents to feel their love and caring?

Don’t Need Friends - (ISBN: 978-0440415329)

by Carolyn Crimi

Can a rat find friends in a junkyard after his best pal Possum moves away? When a newcomer pup moves in to the trashy setting, he and Possum share many battles of the wits. Rat learns that sometimes friends turn up in the most unexpected places! Talk about how and when you met the people who became your best friends.

Here Comes Darrell - (ISBN: 0618416056)

by Leda Schubert

What wouldn’t Darrell do to help the people in his community? Who is always shoveling others’ snow, raking the leaves from their yards, fixing machinery, and getting people out of fixes? Read about Darrell and how his community says thank you when his own barn needs repairs. Talk about the people in your community who assist everyone else.

Trashy Town - (ISBN: 978-0060271398)

by Andrea Zimmerman

The clear illustrations and well-organized text somehow make this tale of Mr. Gilly, the garbage collector, seem less smelly and more dignified. The rhyming refrain will make toddlers chant along as Mr. Gilly cleans up the messy village with the help of two rats!

Tsunami - (ISBN: 978-0399250064)

by Kimiko Kajikawa

Ojiisan, an elderly rice farmer, senses the coming quake and tsunami before anyone else in the village. He acts quickly to create a fire in his mountainous fields, luring the villagers to run up the hill to his aid. This timely story, based on a real Japanese folk hero, Hamaguchi Gohei, shows the difference one person with foresight can make in saving his community. In the aftermath of the 2011 real quake and tsunami, this tale has even greater significance.

Arthur Turns Green - (ISBN: 978-0316129244)

by Marc Brown

Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope - (ISBN: 1416971440)

by Nikki Grimes

Digger Man - (ISBN: 978-0805082036)

by Andrea Zimmerman

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey - (ISBN: 978-0142403624)

by Maira Kalman

Horton Hears a Who - (ISBN: 978-0394800783)

by Dr. Seuss

I Got Community - (ISBN: 978-0805031799)

by Melrose Cooper

My Mom is a Firefighter - (ISBN: 0060586400)

by Lois Grambling

Activities for this Theme

Help your children make “gift cards” to offer their time and effort for other family members. For example, a gift card might say, “I will dry the dishes for two days.”


To help your children develop an appreciation for planting and gardening, try some free games and activities for Arbor Day!


Take your preschooler along as you visit an older friend in the community or help a neighbor with a difficult chore.


Talk to your children about the jobs your friends, families, and coworkers do. Look for books similar to My Mom is a Firefighter to reinforce their knowledge about those jobs.