Picture Books to Celebrate Spring Beginnings and Traditions
The start of a new season often feels rejuvenating and hopeful, especially when we’re transitioning from a long, cold winter in the Midwest to a sunny and warm spring. While it still feels like spring is just out of reach for us, so many special springtime celebrations and traditions have already begun!
This collection of books showcases all types of spring beginnings, including ones about various holidays celebrated during this time of year, and plenty of ones about nature waking up. Many of these books are both joyful and educational, and will inspire you to spend more time in community with others and in the great outdoors.
Visit our Bookshop for a full list of our favorite springtime reads. You can also find a instructions on how to do a fun flower painting activity for all ages by reading our post with the Monroe Street Arts Center.
Festival of Colors
Author: Surishtha Sehgal & Kabir Sehgal | Illustrator: Vashti Harrison | Publisher: Beach Lane Books
Festival of Colors is a gorgeous board book that celebrates community, tradition and new beginnings during Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. The story follows two siblings who gather flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the celebration. It includes specific details about the types of flowers used, the process, and the celebration itself. It is equally joyful and enlightening for readers who celebrate Holi and those who may be learning about the special holiday.
Holi is typically celebrated in February or March. The specific date each year depends on the Hindu calendar.
Love Makes a Garden Grow
Author/Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo | Publisher: Simon and Schuster
From the publisher:
"When I am as small
as a sprout,
Grandfather’s garden feels
A young girl observes the bugs and blooms and the rich smell of the soil of her grandfather’s garden. Her grandfather hums as he waters his treasured plants. And when he gives the girl a flower of her own, caring for it teaches her to feel her grandfather’s love.
Even as time passes and her grandfather’s garden grows smaller and the girl grows up, she never forgets what she learned or loses her closeness with her nurturing grandfather.
When my daughter is as small
as a sprout, we visit Grandfather
Inspired by the author-illustrator’s own family, this beautiful and personal story celebrates the love that binds families and makes us who we are."
Little Seeds of Promise
Author: Sani Rafi | Illustrator: Renia Metallinou | Publisher: The Innovation Press
Little Seeds of Promise is a beautiful book about Maya, a Pakistani girl who moves to a different country, and feels lonely and lost. At first, she is hesitant to plant seeds that her grandmother sent with her. She is afraid that they may bloom somewhere new, and that she may, too. This book is about the courage it takes to hold onto your roots while also developing your wings to fly. Little Seeds of Promise will especially resonate with immigrant children who are balancing the anxiety and emotion that comes with searching for belonging.
I’ll Hold Your Hand
Author: Maggie C. Rudd | Illustrator: Elisa Chavarri | Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Step aside, Love You Forever and Goodnight Moon, I’ll Hold Your Hand is the quintessential book to give new parents and caregivers of babies and small children. It is beautifully inclusive and authentically represents the world we live in. I’ll Hold Your Hand is about the millions of big and small ways that families care for, support and love a child through the phases of their lives. The bright and floral illustrations feel like a breath of fresh air - perfect for spring!
Spring is for Strawberries
Author: Katherine Pryor | Illustrator: Polina Gortman | Publisher: Schiffer Kids
"There’s nothing like the sounds and smells of the first farmers market of the year. The sweetness of fresh fruits and local vegetables permeates the air and breathes new life into our recipes just as the spring brings new life to the earth. This illustrated tale follows the budding friendship between two girls who meet at their local farmers market and reminds us that food is the great unifier of all humankind.
When a farm family brings their spring crops to a city farmers market, the farmer’s daughter befriends the daughter of a neighborhood family doing their weekly shopping. Over the course of a year, the girls explore the bounty of each season. Sweet spring strawberries and crisp, fresh greens make way for corn on the cob, peppers, and a rainbow of tomatoes. Fall brings pumpkin patches and the crunch of apples. The friends part at the final winter market, already looking forward to the sweet red strawberries that will unite them again next spring.
Katherine Pryor’s lyrical celebration of seasonal local foods is brought to life by Polina Gortman’s portrait of a growing friendship between two children from seemingly different worlds. Spring Is for Strawberries reminds us to seek pleasure in the changing harvests around us, and that all things—even friendships—have seasons worth waiting for."
The Gift of Ramadan
Author: Rabiah York Lumbard | Illustrator: Laura K. Horton | Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
From the publisher:
"Sophia wants to fast for Ramadan this year. Her grandma tells her that fasting helps make a person sparkly―and Sophia loves sparkles. But when her attempt at fasting fails, Sophia must find another way to participate. This lovely multigenerational family story explores the many ways to take part in the Ramadan holiday."
Ramadan takes place every year during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Since the Islamic calendar year is shorter than the Gregorian calendar year, Ramadan begins 10-12 days earlier each year - it falls in every season throughout a 33 year cycle. Currently, it takes place each Spring.
You Are a Beautiful Beginning
Author: Nina Laden | Illustrator: Kelsey Garrity-Riley | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
You Are a Beautiful Beginning is a magical story that is both deeply affirming and wholly uplifting. It is a wonderful story for discussing friendship, community, self-love and potential. This book showcases inclusive characters, and is full of lively and whimsical illustrations. You Are a Beautiful Beginning reminds us that we are all worthy of living joyful and passionate lives.
Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up
Author: Sean Taylor and Alex Morss | Editor: Emily Pither | Illustrator: Chinyee Chiu | Publisher: words + pictures
Follow two children and their dad as they observe nature waking up from a long winter. This joyous celebration of the season includes plenty of new vocabulary words and non-fiction information so that kids can learn the science behind spring!
Opal's Springtime Birdhouse
Author: Emily Matheis | Illustrator: Albert Arrayas | Publisher: Yeehoo Press
From the publisher:
"Bang! Whack! Whirr!
It’s time for a birdhouse-building contest!
Opal’s friends all have endless ideas on how to make their constructions stand out. There are bells, pom-poms, basketballs, and many more materials to use―and yet Opal still feels stuck.
Maybe a simple, sturdy piece wood…a few nails and screws will be just right. But when the judges don’t pick Opal’s birdhouse, she may still discover that her humble home is just right for someone else.
In this charming picture book tale, creators Emily Matheis and Albert Arrayásor showcase how the rewards of our efforts can come from the most unexpected of places."
Apple and Magnolia
Author: Laura Gehl | Illustrator: Patricia Metola | Publisher: Flyaway Books
This is a beautiful story about friendship and how we can be caretakers of our environment. Britta is sure that the trees she visits every day are best friends - after all, Apple and Magnolia live right next to each other! One day though, Magnolia’s branches begin to droop and she looks unwell. Britta enlists help from Apple in an effort to save Magnolia - will they both survive winter to enjoy another spring?
In a Garden
Author: Tim McCanna | Illustrator: Aimee Sicuro | Publisher: Simon and Schuster
This rhyming picture book celebrates a year in the life of a beloved community garden. It details the transformations that plants and wildlife experience in a soft and poetic way that is sure to captivate young readers. In a Garden also beautifully illustrates how a community can come together to care for something that is special to them.
Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement
Author/Illustrator: Stephanie Roth Sisson | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
This non-fiction book celebrates the life and achievements of Rachel Carson, the iconic environmentalist who developed a love for nature and all its sounds at a very young age. She loved observing all the sounds in nature and one day, observed that everything was starting to get quieter. This book details her journey of becoming one of the pioneers of the environmental movement, and while it’s full of lots of facts and information, it’s still accessible and engaging for young readers of various ages.
Here is the World: A Year of Jewish Holidays
Author: Leslea Newman | Illustrator: Susan Gal | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
From the publisher:
"Here is the world, ever changing and new,
Spinning with joy at the wonder of you!
Here Is the World is a joyous celebration of the Jewish holidays throughout the year for young children. Beginning with the weekly observance of Shabbat, readers join a family through the holidays and the corresponding seasons. From sounding the shofar on Rosh Hashanah to lighting the menorah for Chanukah to rattling a grogger for Purim, and on through the Jewish year, the joy and significance of each holiday beautifully come to life. In addition to the narrative text, there is a description of each holiday in the back matter along with an easy craft or recipe."
Passover is a Spring festival, though the exact date changes each year.
Author/Illustrator: Ellie Sandall | Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Everybunny Dance! is such a fun story to read aloud! It will have the littles in your lives jumping, dancing and singing along with the cheerful and spirited bunnies. This book was also featured as part of our collaboration with the Downtown Madison Storywalk. Make sure to visit the shop windows downtown for a family reading experience and to help us “hop into spring!”