Picture Books Celebrating Imagination and Friendship

Picture Books Celebrating Imagination and Friendship & GIVEAWAY

I’m delighted to have Jackie Azúa Kramer guest posting today with a picture book list that celebrates imagination and friendship. She picked some of my all time favorite picture books in her ten book list; half about Imagination and half about Friendship.

Her newest picture book is also a perfect blend of friendship and imagination. We are giving away a copy of The Green Umbrella too! Please see the giveaway at the bottom of the post.

The Green Umbrella by Jackie Azúa Kramer, illustrated by Maral Sassouni

Elephant’s green umbrella is also Hedgehog’s boat, Cat’s tent, Bear’s flying machine, and Rabbit’s cane. Elephant doesn’t limit the use of the green umbrella to keeping himself dry either; it’s his sword, balancing pole, and baseball bat. As the rain clears up, the animals each want their toy back. Instead of fighting, they come up with the perfect solution for more adventures together. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

How about you? What are your favorite books that spark the imagination, celebrate friendship or even BOTH?! Thanks for sharing!

Picture Books that Spark a Kid’s Imagination

1. The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

A little girl has an amazing idea that she’s going to make the most magnificent thing! All she has to do is make it. But making her magnificent thing leads down a frustrating path of trial and error. This book best reflects–Inspiration + motivation + passion = Endless possibilities. The girl’s emotional journey reminds a child not to quit. [picture book ages 3 and up]

2. If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

A little boy and his basset hound sits by a window and want nothing more than to catch a glimpse of a whale. As he looks, waits and wonders about the whale, there are so many beautiful things to distract him in the world of his own imagination. In this place, whale-shaped clouds swim in the sky, and an armchair becomes a boat. [picture book ages 4 and up]

3. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Harold decides to go for a walk in the moonlight. Armed with a large purple crayon, Harold draws himself a world full of wonder and imagination. There are lots of funny twists and turns, but Harold keeps his cool with imaginative solutions. A wonderful story that reflects creative problem solving. [picture book, age 4 and up]

4. The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski

Step inside the pages of a little girl’s magical book as she discovers the inspiring idea that we each bring something different to the same story. Not only is this story rich with the power of imagination, the illustrations evoke stories within stories. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

5. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Sam and Dave are on a mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find nothing. Or have they? Children are often hungry for adventure. Barnett tapped into child think and play. It takes great imagination to know that there’s always something spectacular out there. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Great Picture Books About Friendship

6. Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

Frog and Toad are always there for each other—just as best friends should be. Follow moments like writing letters to going swimming, telling stories to finding lost buttons. An ‘odd couple’ friendship where the wit, warmth and caring between Frog and Toad is undeniable. [easy reader, ages 4 and up]

7. Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

Autumn has come to the woods, and Bear doesn’t feel well. He sniffles and aches all over and can’t sleep. Worst of all, he’s feeling too poorly to play with his friends. We all need friends like this when we have the sniffles. His friends light a fire, fluff his blanket, and make him some broth and tea. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

8. The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin

A friendly lion in a small French zoo enjoys the visits of the townspeople. One day, when the zoo keeper forgets to close the lion’s door, he decides to visit his friends from the zoo. Mayhem ensues, to his surprise, until a boy saves the day. A child will learn the power of friendship, when fear and prejudice are overcome, a beautiful message. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

9. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead

A lovely friendship between a zookeeper named Amos and the animals he cares for gets turned around when Amos gets sick and the animals come to his house to comfort and care for him. I love the old fashioned feel of the book where the protagonist, Amos, is an adult. A quiet and sweet tale of good deeds is accompanied by the amazing Caldecott winning illustrations. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

10. An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni

Three frogs discover a large white egg, and they decide it must be a chicken egg. When the scaly, green creature emerges from the egg, they call it chicken. A hilarious case of mistaken identity and acceptance. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

Win a Signed Copy of The Green Umbrella!

Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of The Green Umbrella that includes a signed book plate. Due to the high cost of shipping, we can only ship to U.S.A. addresses and A.F.O. post boxes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jackie Azúa Kramer

Jackie Azúa Kramern was an actor, singer & school counselor. Now she’s an author, and wiles away her time writing children’s picture books. She lives with her husband, ‘Muti-talented Brad’ and amazing kids ‘Jazz-hands Jonah’ & big sis, ‘Free-spirited Daisy’ in Long Island, NY.

 To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Picture Books Celebrating Imagination and Friendship

I am an Amazon affiliate which means if you buy anything through my blog, I get a very small kickback at no cost to you. I use this money to pay for postage and handling for my giveaways.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Frog & Toad and Amos McGee are among my favorites too, Jackie! Congrats!! Really looking forward to reading your book. I love Maral’s art too!

  2. Alyssa Annico

    I love Sam and Dave Dig a Hole!
    The Green Umbrella looks adorable!

  3. This post makes me happy! I have a copy of Jackie’s book so if I win it, I’ll donate it to one of the Little Free Libraries in my town.

  4. I really like almost all of these, but I think Sick Amos is probably my favorite. I am not familiar with the Green Umbrella but would like to read it.

  5. Kathy

    I also love the Frog and Toad books! But others that come to mind are The Hat by Jan Brett, and Swimmy by Lionni.

  6. Okay, this is the very first time I have entered a rafflecopter. But, I really want the Green Umbrella for many reasons! Such a great cover. Have read a number of reviews and find it enchanting!
    Patricia Tilton recently posted…Every Falling Star: How I Survived and Escaped North KoreaMy Profile

  7. Have seen The Green Umbrella in a lot of places lately and am oh-so-curious… Can’t wait for a chance to read it and share with kiddos.

  8. John Smith

    I love “The Whisper” by Pamela Zagarenski–the illustrations are so beautiful!

  9. Thanks i had great time on reading this post.

  10. Making friends and using one’s imagination are important skills. (And not just for kids!)
    gayle swift recently posted…It’s Routine: Children Find Comfort & Security in RepetitionMy Profile

  11. Jennifer Oliger

    I love What do You Do With an Idea? It helps children see that their ideas are valuable and they can use their imagination to come up with new ideas.

  12. There are some truly magical picture books on this theme. The Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems is very popular in my house.
    maryanne recently posted…How To Use Stories To Teach Children Black HistoryMy Profile

  13. Cathy Ogren

    What a wonderful list of books!

  14. Those are great books, Mia! Thanks for sharing your list.

  15. What a great assortment of books.

  16. These are great suggestions for social skill building books!!

  17. I think the one I enjoy most and enjoy reading to my kids is the Giving Tree by Sal Silverstein.
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…Measure Your Fit Performance: Fit Test for Fat Loss Workouts + FREE OFFERMy Profile

  18. olga

    I love the adventures of Beekle, the unimaginary friend. It’s a cute, sweet story.

  19. Rajee Pandi

    I love Frog and Toad books Great book to rad

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