Get a free SCARS short story. Sign up for News & Goodies from YA Author Cheryl Rainfield

My Books
See Next Book
STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

SCARS book cover

Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself--before it's too late.

Awards: #1 in the Top 10 ALA Quick Picks, ALA's Rainbow List, a Governor General Literary Award Finalist, Staff Pick for Teaching Tolerance.

Yes, it's my own arm on the cover of SCARS.

HUNTED book cover

Caitlyn, a telepath in a world where having any paranormal power at all can kill her, must decide between saving herself or saving the world.

Awards: A finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award.


Kate sees visions of the future--but only when she has an asthma attack. When she "sees" her sister being beaten, and a schoolmate killing herself, Kate must trigger more attacks--but that could kill her.

Awards: 2013 Gold Winner, Wise Bear Digital Awards, YA Paranormal category.

STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

See Previous Book

Love my books?
Join my Street Team!

You'll have my deep gratitude, hear book news first, get swag, and enter to win private contests

Uplifting Picture Books That Don't Preach
Ordered by Title

Great Reads: By Subject, Title, Author, or Illustrator

All book reviews on this site are written and revised by Cheryl Rainfield.

By Title  |  By Author  |  By Illustrator  |  By Category

Good picture books—books that are well-written, have engaging art, and contain encouraging messages—can be nurturing and healing for both children and adults.

Picture books can offer comfort, encouragement, gentle guidance, and positive messages through story—a method that makes messages easier to absorb. Books are powerful. They can help bring good feeling, boost self-esteem, remind the reader of what's important in life and how to cope with problems, all while entertaining and uplifting the reader.

I pick books that, to me, contain the most delight and healing. I hope you'll check them out.


A Bad Case of Stripes (written by David Shannon)
A Friend (written by Anette Bley)
A Good Day (written by Kevin Henkes)
Alligator Boy (written by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Diane Goode)
And Tango Makes Three (written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole)
Another Perfect Day (written and illustrated by Ross MacDonald)
Art (written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell)
Augustus and His Smile (written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner)


Billy's Bucket (written by Kes Gray, illustrated by Garry Parsons)
Bobbie Dazzler (written by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Janine Dawson)
Born to Read (written by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Marc Brown)


Chester (written and illustrated by Melanie Watt)
Chester's Back! (written and illustrated by Melanie Watt)
Chicken, Pig, Cow (written and illustrated by Ruth Ohi)
Chickens to the Rescue! (written and illustrated by John Himmelman)
Chowder (written by Peter Brown)
Clara and Asha (written by Eric Rohmann)
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (written by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin)
Courage (written by Bernard Waber)
Courage of the Blue Boy (written and illustrated by Robert Neubecker)


Dear Fish (written by Chris Gall)
Dex: The Heart of a Hero (written by Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner)
Do Not Open This Book (written by Michaela Muntean, illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre)
Dog Eared: Starring Otis (written and illustrated by Amanda Harvey)
Dog Loves Drawing (written and illustrated by Louise Yates)
Duck at the Door (written and illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic)


Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct (written and illustrated by Mo Willems)
Ella, Of Course! (written by Sarah Weeks, illustrated by Doug Cushman)
Estelle Takes a Bath (written by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma)


Five Little Fiends (written by Sarah Dyer)
Flotsam (written by David Wiesner)
Fly, Little Bird (written by Tina Burke)
Flyaway Katie (written by Polly Dunbar)


Go to Bed, Monster! (written by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz)
Good Boy, Fergus! (written by David Shannon)
Goodnight, Sweet Pig (written by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Josée Masse)
Green as a Bean (written by Karla Kuskin, illustrated by Melissa Iwai)
Guji Guji (written and illustrated by Chih-Yuan Chen)


Hip, Hip, Hooray for Annie McRae! (written by Brad Wilcox, illustrated by Julie Hansen Olson)
Hippo! No, Rhino (written by Jeff Newman)
How the Moon Regained Her Shape (written by Janet Ruth Heller, illustrated by Ben Hodson)
How to Heal a Broken Wing (written and illustrated by Bob Graham)


I Like Myself! (written by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow)
I'm Special, I'm Me! (written by Ann Meek, illustrated by Sarah Massini)
If You Were a Parrot (written by Katherine Rawson, illustrated by Sherry Rogers)
Imagine a Day (written by Sarah L. Thomson, illustrated by Rob Gonsalves)
Is a Worry Worrying You? (written by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz, illustrated by Marie Le Tourneau)
Ish (written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds)


Jane and the Dragon (written and illustrated by Martin Baynton)
Jay and the Bounty of Books (written by Randall Ivey, illustrated by Chuck Galey)
Jeffrey and Sloth (written by Kari-Lynn Winters, illustrated by Ben Hodson)
Jitterbug Jam: A Monster Tale (written by Barbara Jean Hicks, illustrated by Alexis Deacon)


Katie Loves the Kittens (written and illustrated by John Himmelman)


Learning to Fly (written by Sebastian Meschenmoser)
Leonardo, the Terrible Monster (written and illustrated by Mo Willems)
Library Lion (written by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes)
Lights Out (written by Arthur Geisert)
Like a Windy Day (written by Frank Asch, illustrated by Devin Asch)
Little Blue Truck (written by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry)
Love is a Handful of Honey (written by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Vanessa Cabban)
Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating (written by A. W. Flaherty, illustrated by Scott Magoon)


Mama, If You Had a Wish (written by Jeanne Modesitt, illustrated by Robin Spowart)
Marc Just Couldn't Sleep (written by Gabriela Keselman, illustrated by Noemi Villamuza)
Martha Speaks (written by Susan Meddaugh)
Max (written by Bob Graham)
Max's Words (written by Kate Banks, illustrated by Boris Kulikov)
McDuff Moves In (written by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Susan Jeffers)
Monkey Business (written and illustrated by Wallace Edwards)
Monkey with a Tool Belt (written by Chris Monroe)
Mrs. Biddlebox (written by Linda Smith, illustrated by Marla Frazee)
Mrs. Crump (written by Linda Smith, illustrated by David Roberts)
My Beautiful Child (written by Lisa Desimini, illustrated by Matt Mahurin)
My Book Box (written by Will Hillenbrand)
My Cat Copies Me (written by Yoon-duck Kwon)
My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World (written by Gilles Bachelet)
My Favorite Sounds from A to Z (written by Peggy Snow, illustrated by Brian Barber)
My First Flip-Flap Book of Numbers (written by , illustrated by Robert Salanitro)
My First... (written by Eva Montanari)


No Matter What (written by Debi Gliori)
No! That's Wrong! (written by Zhaohua Ji, illustrated by Cui Xu)
Not a Box (written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis)
Not So Tall for Six (written by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Frank W. Dormer)


Octavia And Her Purple Ink Cloud (written by Donna Rathmell and Doreen Rathmell, illustrated by Connie McLennan)
Oliver Has Something to Say! (written by Pamela Edwards, illustrated by Louis Pilon)
Once Upon an Ordinary School Day (written by Colin McNaughton, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura)
Oscar and the Mooncats (written by Lynda Gene Rymond, illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli)


Peanut (written by Linas Alsenas)
Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley (written by Aaron Blabey)
Penguin (written by Polly Dunbar)
Princess Smartypants (written and illustrated by Babette Cole)
Pssst! (written by Adam Rex)


Rainstorm (written by Barbara Lehman)
Red Sled (written by Patricia Thomas, illustrated by Chris L Demarest)
Ryan's Mom is Tall (written by Heather Jopling, illustrated by Allyson Demoe)


Scaredy Squirrel at Night (written and illustrated by Melanie Watt)
Sebastian (written by Jean de Deu Prats, illustrated by Francesc Rovira)
Silly Billy (written by Anthony Browne)
Sink or Swim (written by Valerie Coulman, illustrated by Roge Girard)
Skinny Brown Dog (written by Kimberly Willis Holt, illustrated by Donald Saaf)
Slugs in Love (written by Susan Pearson, illustrated by Kevin O'Malley)
Some Dog! (written by Mary Casanova, illustrated by Ard Hoyt)
Some Helpful Tips for a Better World and a Happier Life (written and illustrated by Rebecca Doughty)
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (written by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Paul Yalowitz)
Sometimes Bad Things Happen (written by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Shelley Rotner)
Space Boy (written by Leo Landry)
Splat the Cat (written and illustrated by Rob Scotton)
Spuds (written by Karen Hesse, illustrated by Wendy Watson)
Superhero (written and illustrated by Marc Tauss)
SuperHero ABC (written and illustrated by Bob McLeod)


The Bears We Know (written by Brenda Silsbe, illustrated by Vlasta van Kampen)
The Best Book to Read (written by Debbie Bertram and Susan Bloom, illustrated by Michael Garland)
The Blue Day Book for Kids: A Lesson in Cheering Yourself Up (written by Bradley Trevor Greive)
The Boy from the Sun (written by Duncan Weller)
The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians (written by Carla Morris, illustrated by Brad Sneed)
The Child Cruncher (written by Mathilde Stein, illustrated by Mies van Hout)
The Day Leo Said I Hate You! (written by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Molly Bang)
The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum (written by Kate Bernheimer, illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli)
The Incredible Book-Eating Boy (written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers)
The Kiss That Missed (written by David Melling)
The Lamb Who Came for Dinner (written by Steve Smallman, illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy)
The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear (written by David Bruins, illustrated by Hilary Leung)
The Louds Move In! (written by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Regan Dunnick)
The Mole Sisters and the Moonlit Night (written and illustrated by Roslyn Schwartz)
The Pink Refrigerator (written by Tim Egan)
The Red Book (written by Barbara Lehman)
The Red Tree (written by Shaun Tan)
The Searcher and Old Tree (written and illustrated by David McPhail)
The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing (written by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger)
The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley (written by Colin Thompson, illustrated by Amy Lissiat)
The Zoo (written by Suzy Lee)
There Is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me (written by Alice Walker, illustrated by Stefano Vitale)
There's NO Such Thing as a Dragon (written by Jack Kent)
Tudley Didn't Know (written and illustrated by John Himmelman)


Un-Brella (written by Scott E. Franson)


Walk On!: A Guide for Babies of All Ages (written by Marla Frazee)
What Elephant? (written by Geneviève Côté)
When Giants Come to Play (written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes)
When I Feel Sad (The Way I Feel Books) (written by Cornelia Maude Spelman, illustrated by Kathy Parkinson)
Willow (written by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan, illustrated by Cyd Moore)


You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum (written by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser)
You're Mean, Lily Jean (written by Frieda Wishinsky, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton)

back to top