tumblr site counter
childcare centres

Books for special situations

Auckland City Libraries

Sharing a book with a child is a good way to introduce a new event in their life - a new brother or sister, or moving house. Books can be used to prepare children for new situations that they might be anxious about and can make the situation less daunting. Sharing a story about a difficult situation such as bullying or the death of a loved one can show a child that they are not the only one to go through such things. These books are aimed at young children and are in picture book or simple non-fiction format.


Horrible crocodile By Jonathan Shipton

Everybody likes going to their new school except for one thing - well - person! Flora, the 'horrible crocodile' likes to BITE! A charming story about a common problem among young children which has a happy ending after Flora goes too far.

Willy the wimp By Anthony Browne

You may know Willy from great books like 'Willy the dreamer' or 'Willy's Pictures'. In this book our favourite chimp is getting bullied but ends up saving the day. A fun book where the underdog (or should be say underchimp?) wins! 


Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs By Tomie de Paola

This book tells the true story of young Tommy and his best friend, his great-grandmother Nana Upstairs. After Nana Upstairs dies Tommy's mother explains that she will never come back 'except in your memory. She will come back in your memory whenever you think about her." After the deaths of both Nanas Tommy sees a falling star - "Perhaps... a kiss from Nana Upstairs."

Feather pillows By Rose Impey

This book emphasises the comfort and joy that can be found in happy memories after the death of Sarah's Grandma.

Goodbye, Max By Holly Kelly

Ben's old dog Max finally dies. Ben doesn't want a new dog, and ignores the puppy when it comes. His best friend, Zach, helps him through his grief by remembering Max, and realising that Max was old. The illustrations are simple and cartoonlike and the language is easy and accessible to ages four and over.

Goodbye, Pappa By Una Leavy

The majority of the book deals with the relationship between Shane, Peter and their grandfather. Pappa dies soon after the boys have visited, and they go to his funeral. The book does not help explain death, nor ease the grieving process, but it does provide a good starting point for discussion.

Beginnings and endings with lifetimes in between By Bryan Mellonie

This book is a gentle introduction to the life cycle and the knowledge that every living has a beginning, and ending, with a lifetime of living in between.

The sunshine cat By Miriam Moss

The realities of death are explained well in a conversation between the children and their parents following their cat's - Sunny - death after being hit by a car. This book is highly recommended as it is one of the few books for this age group which explains the realities and finality of death. 

Frog and the bird song By Max Velhuijs

Frog finds a dead bird, but he doesn't know what death is, so his friend Hare explains to Frog and the other animals. The animals remember the lovely song of the blackbird during the funeral service they conduct. 

Grandma's Bill By Martin Waddell

This book focuses on Bill's Granny going through her photo albums, remembering her husband, the original Bill. It takes the young Bill a little while to understand the relationship between the people in the photos and the people he knows. 

Hine's rainbow By Judith Bryers Holloway

Hine, Ruby and Katie are sisters and they love each other, even though Hine lives with her mum. Hine had something wrong with her when she was born, so she uses crutches to get around. One night Hine dies and her sisters travel to Hine's marae for her tangi. The rituals are explained well in the text. Hine shows she will always be with them with her rainbow. 

The Grandad tree By Trish Cooke

Leigh and Vin have a tree in the bottom of their garden where they used to play with Grandad. The tree does different things at different times of the year, just like Grandad does different things throughout his life. But even after Grandad dies the children will remember him forever.

Divorce and Separation

Children don't divorce By Rosemary Stones

This story expresses and explores a child's feelings when parents divorce. It is honest, realistic, but also reassuring. 

Two homes for David By Jillian Sullivan

David has two homes - Mum and Dad's. This picture book shows David learning to be happy at both places. A good book for younger children.

Totally uncool By Janice Levy

Dad's new girlfriend is totally uncool and weird. But some of things she does are really cool. Maybe she'll work out after all. 

Going to hospital/ Going to the Doctors

George goes hospital By Anne Gutman

George the dog swallows a key ring and has to go to hospital. This is a simple, reassuring picture book for younger children. 

I don't want to go to hospital By Tony Ross

You may know the little princess from the book I want my potty. This time she has a lump in her nose and has to go to hospital, and she is not very keen (to say the least). It has lots of silliness and humour to appeal to preschoolers.

Going to hospital By Sandra Iversen

This book is from the early reader series 'Foundations' so is a good choice for children learning to read independently.

Tubes in my ears: my trip to the hospital By Virginia Dooley

Luke has an ear infection and has to go to hospital. The story is told from the child's point of view and expresses feelings and fears honestly.

Doctor Maisy By Lucy Cousins

The Maisy books are simple and vibrant and Doctor Maisy is no exception. A good book to get a young child familiar and confident about visiting the doctor. 

Felix feels better By Rosemary Wells

Felix doesn't feel very well and nothing Felix mummy does makes him feel better. So Felix's mummy takes him to the doctor. Felix is worried, but Doctor Duck shows there is nothing to be scared off. 

Next! By Christopher Inns

Doctor Hopper and Nurse Rex Barker work in a toy hospital making all the toys better. 


Good Manners - After you! Hello! Please! No, thank you! By Janine Amos

Here are four basic picture books on manners. They are short and simple and encompass how good and bad manners make others feel. 

Bad Habits! or, the taming of Lucretzia Crum By Babette Cole

A quirky picture book all about Lucretzia's terrible lack of manners. Babette Cole's books are irreverent and very funny. 

Moving House

Moving Molly By Shirley Hughes

Molly moves to a new house in the country and makes some new friends in the house next door. A warm and comforting picture book. 

Good-bye, house by Robin Ballard

A little girl says goodbye to all that is familiar and safe and moves to a new neighbourhood. A sensitive book that expresses the child's viewpoint. 

I'm not moving, mama! By Nancy White Carlstrom

Little mouse does not want to move house but realises the important thing is being together. 

New baby in the family

The new baby at your house By Joanna Cole

This book has great photographs of family life with a new baby. It explains all about changes when a new baby arrives and addresses the mixed feelings an older sibling may have. The text is simple and straight forward and good for the preschool and early school-aged child. 

I'm a big brother/I'm a big sister By Joanna Cole

These two titles are small, simple picture books aimed at preschoolers, all about being a 'big brother or sister'. There is a note for parents in the back about helping the older child adjust to their new role. 

The Bump By Joy Cowley

Anna is now a 'big sister' but it's not always easy. However, there's lots of humour and warmth in this book about adjusting to life when a new baby arrives in the family. 

A smile in the moon By Jenny Clay

Mum's stomach is round like the moon and when the baby arrives Saul thinks "perhaps we could be friends". A reassuring and honest picture book about the arrival of a new baby. 

There's a house inside my mummy By Giles Andreae

A young child explains his mother's pregnancy by comparing her tummy to a house. 

Potty training

I want my potty By Tony Ross

At first the little princess is no so keen on the potty. However, she learns that the potty is fun but not always close by when most needed! 

On your potty! By Virginia Miller

Bartholomew bear's favourite word is 'NAH' and potty training is no exception. A very appealing book for toddlers. 

Uh Oh! Gotta go! : potty tales from toddlers By Bob McGrath

A humorous picture book all about potty training. 

Starting pre-school or school

Dustin's big school day By Alden R. Carter

Dustin is having a busy day at school - there's music class, puzzles, and kite making. But all the kids are talking about Dave and Skippy who will visit the school during the afternoon and Dustin is particularly excited. A realistic and entertaining book about a child with Down syndrome and a special day at school. 

(You may also like to check Big brother Dustin by the same author)

Timothy goes to school By Rosemary Wells

Timothy finds it hard to settle in to school during his first week. He wears all the wrong clothes and has trouble with 'smarty pants' Claude. Will his new football shirt help? 

Off to school, baby duck! By Amy Hest

Baby duck is off to school with a new school cardigan, new shoes and a blue school bag. But is she happy? No! Poor baby duck is feeling scared about school, but her grandpa provides some reassurance. 

Where's my peg? By Jen Green

This book can help prepare children for their first day at school. The illustrations and details about a typical school day are both enjoyable and reassuring. 

Meet the Barkers: Morgan and Moffat go to school By Tomie De Paola

Morgan and Moffat are twins. Morgie's bossy and almost always goes first. Moffie's easy-going. When they start school Morgie shows she's smart and earns gold stars. Moffie makes lots of new friends. But which one is doing better at school? This book is good for reading aloud to 4-7 year olds, while 6-7 year olds could read it for themselves. 

Staying overnight away from home

Staying the night Text Lisa Bruce ; illustrations Susie Jenkin-Pearce

A fun story about a child's first time staying the night at his gran's house. A great way to make kids comfortable with the idea of staying the night away from home. 

Wearing glasses

Baby duck and the bad eye-glasses By Amy Hest

Baby Duck is not happy with her new glasses, but for a special reason Grandpa thinks they are just fine! 

Glasses for D.W By Marc Tolon Brown

This is a 'learning to read' book about Arthur and his sister D.W. D.W. is desperate to wear glasses so that she can look cool like Arthur, but discovers she can see ok after all. 

Agapanthus Hum and the eyeglasses By Joy Cowley

Agapanthus is such a busy, playful girl that she has trouble keeping her glasses on. But when her parents take her to an acrobat show, Agapanthus learns a special acrobat secret. 


Moving with children: a parent's guide to moving with children By Thomas T. Olkowski, Lynn Parker

A good guide to making moving house easy for children and their families. This book includes chapters on the feelings and problems experienced by not only children but the entire family while moving. If you need some good tips and ideas for making the moving process easy and stress free this book will be a great help. 

Kids' rooms: ideas and projects for children's spaces by Jennifer Levy

From flooring options to themed bedrooms this book could inspire you to go wild with the old paint brush and skill saw. It is well illustrated with numerous photographs . I didn't spot any bean bags either (have people forgotten the accidental bean inhaling tragedies of the 1970s?). Well worth a browse. 

Popcorn!: 60 irresistible recipes for everyone's favourite snack Text and recipes by Frances Towner Giedt ; design and illustrations by Barbara Balch

This book includes recipes for some amazing popcorn concoctions. It gives examples of heaps of different things you can do with popcorn, many of which you would never have imagined. If you want to do something creative with popcorn this is the book to look at! 

Friends of the Family By Virginia Williams

The decision to take a pet into your home is a serious one that will impact on your lives for about ten years. In this book Virginia Williams looks at both sides of pet ownership - the positive and the negative. Information about diseases, costs per year, and common problems for cat and dog owners are looked at. Before I got my dog and cats that I thought carefully about all the issues that Virginia Williams has raised. If your children are bugging you about getting a family pet, make sure that you read this book together so that you can show them what is involved. Some of the information has changed, but consultation with your local council and veterinarian will fill in the gaps. 

Baby and child vegetarian recipes: Over 150 healthy and delicious dishes for your young family By Carol Timperley

Is your child sick of tinned spaghetti and vegemite on toast? Try giving your young gourmet some Spinach and Ricotta Pasta or a Hungarian Stuffed Marrow. This book has all the relevant nutritional information, easy to follow recipes, and best of all the recipes are quick to make. (So if it all ends up in their hair or on the floor you haven't slaved for hours).

Veggie food for kids By Sara Lewis

A book is full of great ideas for vegetarian children. These recipes are fun and healthy. It is also good for children with allergies, asthma and other problems, which restrict their meals. Never be stuck for ideas again. 

Keeping small animals By Honey Anderson and Julie Boland and illustrated by Annette Dowd

Sometimes it isn't practical to have a large pet like a cat or a dog when children are little - or if you live in an apartment. There are still pets out there for the child who keeps begging for a pet. This book gives a brief overview of some of the smaller animals that can be kept by children, and this book shows most of them. From personal experience I can say that starting small is sometimes the answer - having had guinea-pigs, rabbits and rats. The basic information here can be supplemented with specific books from our selection of animal books. 

Wonderful ways to be a family By Judy Ford

Small in format but big on ideas is how I'd describe this book. I got quite absorbed by some of the issues at heart. At first I thought this book might be a cute little read but believe me it does have guts. Sections are easy to read (1-2 pages) with subject headings such as "Choose a co-operative parenting style" and "Turn off the television", "Face the enemy", and "Establish sensible guidelines". I really liked this book and recommend it to anyone trying to balance family life and trying to create great family traditions and memories. 

Family gardens By Bunny Guinness

How to create magical outdoor spaces for all ages, that's the subtitle and how true it is. The author won the coveted RHS gold medal at both the 1994 and 1995 Chelsea Flower shows, particular interest was in her Wind in the willows garden at the 1994 show. This is a deliciously visual book that proves that one can create a tasteful recreational space at home that everyone can enjoy. 

Kindly reproduced with the permission of Auckland City Libraries. Your local library is a great place to start when looking for good books. Contact your community librarian for more information.