Picture Book Salute to Blue

Chil­dren love to let us know what their favorite col­or is. Heck, adults do, too. And sta­tis­ti­cal­ly, all around the world that favorite col­or is more often than not: blue. Blue is beloved for the awe­some beau­ty of its var­i­ous shades on dis­play in the nat­ur­al world, and for the feel­ings of calm­ness, secu­ri­ty, loy­al­ty, and friend­li­ness, it evokes. So, with­out fur­ther ado: a col­lec­tion of ten love­ly and com­pelling books, plus one, that cel­e­brate blue.

In a Blue Room  

In a Blue Room
writ­ten by Jim Averbeck
illus­trat­ed by Tri­cia Tusa
Pur­ple House Press, 2020
(orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by Har­court Chil­dren’s Books, 2008)

Blue is Alice’s favorite col­or. She ener­get­i­cal­ly insists she can only sleep in a blue room; her yel­low room will just not do. Alice’s moth­er mag­i­cal­ly pro­vides “a blue room” in this lyri­cal and sweet­ly sat­is­fy­ing bed­time story.

The Boy and the Blue Moon


The Boy and the Blue Moon
writ­ten by Sara O’Leary
illus­trat­ed by Ash­ley Crowley
Hen­ry Holt, 2018

What would you do on the night of the blue moon when any­thing can hap­pen? A boy and his cat choose to vis­it the moon, before return­ing to a warm bed on their own blue plan­et. This bed­time sto­ry is an enchant­i­ng adven­ture or per­haps just a dream … You decide! The gor­geous mixed-media illus­tra­tions fea­ture both light and dark shades of blue cre­at­ing both tran­quil­i­ty and mys­tery in the story.

The Blue Hour  

The Blue Hour
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Isabelle Simler
Eerd­mans Books for Young Read­ers, 2017

A stun­ning bed­time book with images of herons, frogs, fox­es, snakes — a cor­nu­copia of inter­est­ing blue crea­tures wait­ing for night­fall. Chil­dren will want to dive into the sim­ple but lumi­nous illus­tra­tions that get dark­er as the blue twi­light fades. Full of peace­ful moments to savor and enjoy before sleep, what a beau­ti­ful intro­duc­tion to the nat­ur­al world.


writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lau­ra Vac­caro Seeger
Roar­ing Brook Press, 2018

Not only a pic­ture book depict­ing things in a child’s world that are shades of blue, it’s a sto­ry about the cir­cle of life for a boy and his dog. The lus­cious blue col­ors per­fect­ly reflect the emo­tions of their true blue bond. Small die cuts between spreads cre­ate sur­pris­ing con­nec­tions for read­ers to dis­cov­er. This is a book with a big blue heart.

The Proudest Blue  

The Proud­est Blue:
A Sto­ry of Hijab and Family

writ­ten by Ibti­haj Muham­mad and S.K. Ali
illus­trat­ed by Hatem Aly
Lit­tle Brown Books, 2019

An uplift­ing tale of two sis­ters and their first day of school — which is also big sis­ter Asiya’s first day of hijab. Asiya’s hijab is bright blue. A col­or that con­notes pride and strength. Which is exact­ly what the girls need when they expe­ri­ence bul­ly­ing by class­mates. Be your­self, be proud of who you are, is always a pow­er­ful message.

We Are Water Protectors  

We Are Water Protectors
writ­ten by Car­ole Lindstrom
illus­trat­ed by Michaela Goade
Roar­ing Brook Press, 2020

Stand up for envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice: that is the mes­sage of We Are Water Pro­tec­tors. Inspired by the many Indige­nous-led move­ments across North Amer­i­ca, the author and illus­tra­tor of this book issued a chal­lenge to their read­ers. Defend Earth’s most sacred resource. Pro­tect the blue oceans, rivers, lakes and streams which all liv­ing things depend on. Strong and vibrant and most­ly blue illus­tra­tions art­ful­ly pro­claim this theme.

The Bluest of Blues  

The Bluest of Blues:
Anna Atkins and the 

First Book of Photographs
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Fiona Robinson
Har­ry N. Abrams, 2019

Anna Atkins is a trea­sure hunter, an artist, and a sci­en­tist. While her gen­der holds her back in the ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry from freely pur­su­ing some projects, she per­sists in her pri­vate study of botany and learn­ing the new tech­nol­o­gy of cyan­otype pho­tog­ra­phy, which kids today will rec­og­nize as the blue paper they use to make sun prints. Anna becomes one of the first women to take a pho­to­graph with a box cam­era and the first woman to actu­al­ly pub­lish a book of pho­tographs. This biog­ra­phy is chock full of infor­ma­tion on Anna’s life and the plants and insects she stud­ied as well as the chem­i­cal process of cyan­otypes. The blue pen­cil draw­ings, blue water­col­or wash­es and orig­i­nal cyan­otypes cre­ate a total blue experience! 

Rare & Blue: Finding Nature's Treasures  

Rare and Blue: Find­ing Nature’s Treasures
writ­ten by Con­stance Van Hoven
illus­trat­ed by Alan Marks
Charles­bridge, 2020

A trea­sure hunt for nature’s won­ders both rare and blue. Dis­cov­er eight fas­ci­nat­ing blue species that are nat­u­ral­ly rare, threat­ened, or endan­gered. And why. With a sur­prise end­ing that cel­e­brates plan­et earth: the rarest and bluest of all. Dreamy water­col­or illus­tra­tions, infor­ma­tive side­bars, and exten­sive back mat­ter pro­vide infor­ma­tion to con­tin­ue the con­ver­sa­tion on dis­ap­pear­ing species.

Little Blue and Little Yellow  

Lit­tle Blue and Lit­tle Yellow
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Leo Lionni
Drag­on­fly Books, 2017
(50th Anniver­sary Reprint Edition)

First pub­lished in 1959, this sto­ry was based on a tale the mul­ti-award win­ning Lion­ni made up for his grand­chil­dren while they were on a train trip. The unusu­al and imag­i­na­tive book uses torn paper scraps to tell a sim­ple sto­ry about col­or mix­ing, with an added mes­sage of friendship.

Living Color  

Liv­ing Color
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Steve Jenkins
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2007

I had to include one book that could famil­iar­ize kids with the sci­ence of col­or as it per­tains to ani­mals. Steve Jenk­ins is known for his eye-catch­ing illus­tra­tions and fun facts. This book is no dif­fer­ent. It’s a stun­ning com­pi­la­tion packed with infor­ma­tion on how ani­mals use col­or to help them sur­vive. And yes, blue is promi­nent­ly fea­tured. Look out for the blue poi­son dart frog!

Animal Colors  

And a bonus! One more book just for fun!
Ani­mal Colors

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Christo­pher Silas Neal
lit­tle bee books, 2018

This is a board book and a mashup. It’s not specif­i­cal­ly about the col­or blue, but there’re loads of blue things in it, and plen­ty of blue tricks to keep kids guess­ing. Two ani­mals of dif­fer­ent col­ors are mixed to make a unique crea­ture. For exam­ple, “what do you get when you mix a blue whale and a yel­low lion?” Answer is: “A green whion.” And when a blue owl and a red roost­er mix, they make a “pur­ple owl­ster.” While this is a board book, slight­ly old­er kids will appre­ci­ate the chal­lenge and the humor in it. They might even come up with some of their own combos!

The Blue Table  

One to Watch For
The Blue Table

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Chris Raschka
Green­wil­low, Octo­ber 2020

A unique new pic­ture book from the mul­ti award-win­ning, Chris Rasch­ka, cel­e­brates fam­i­ly, com­mu­ni­ty, grat­i­tude and gen­eros­i­ty with only the top view of a din­ner table on each page. A blue table. What bet­ter col­or to rep­re­sent the hap­pi­ness, sta­bil­i­ty and com­fort in the heart of a home? The text is spare, but the objects on the blue table will gen­er­ate lots of dis­cus­sion with kids.


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Louann Brown
Louann Brown
3 years ago

I love My Blue is Hap­py by Jes­si­ca Young.