5 picture books that inspire young readers to reach high

These illustrated stories foster the hopes and dreams of readers of all ages. 

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    'Ada Twist, Scientist' is by by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts.
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What’s your wildest dream? Can you ever fulfill it? Take a cue from the very charming protagonists of these picture books aimed at children ages 1 to 8.

The inquisitive heroine of Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty with illustrator David Roberts, longs to solve problems by scientific deduction and lets nothing stop her. Beaty’s zippy rhymes and Roberts’s stylish illustrations speed her on her way.

In Pond, written and illustrated by Jim LaMarche, a group of children restore a neglected pond to a landscape of beauty, depicted in gorgeous acrylic drawings.

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Lord Cat, living “high above everyone” in an opulent pagoda, didn’t know he had a dream till he lost everything and found contentment instead. Caldecott Medalist Ed Young tells Lord Cat’s story in The Cat From Hunger Mountain using stunning collages of patterned paper and photos.

In The Bossier Baby, by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee, all the Boss Baby (eponymous star of Frazee’s earlier book) wants is to learn to live with his awful little sister. Frazee tells the story of Boss Baby’s demotion from CEO of his home – and his eventual redemption – in hilarious pencil-and-gouache drawings.

Meanwhile, five little penguins need to learn how to enjoy the first snowfall of the year. In Little Penguins, by Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Rylant with Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Christian Robinson, the baby birds don tiny mittens and scarves and head out into a winter’s day, rendered wonderfully in acrylic and cut-paper illustrations. They finally return home, because sometimes a soft bed, a warm cookie, and a good night kiss from mom are the sweetest dreams of all.


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