Get book recommendations, tips & advice, and more tailored to your child's age.

Thank You!

The perfect book picks are on their way.

You're all set!

All Ages

Brightly’s Monthly Themes

by the Brightly Editors

forgiveness-books
Illustration credit: Penelope Dullaghan

Nothing brings families together quite like story time, so Brightly is encouraging parents and young readers alike to dive into books surrounding a particular theme each month. We’ll reveal our latest theme and a list of curated book recommendations for each age & stage at the beginning of every month — so there’s no shortage of great reads for you to share with the kids in your life. Be sure to update your preferences so you never miss an email!

  • Current Theme: FORGIVENESS

  • Like adults, kids sometimes feel wronged by others – when a sibling swipes their favorite toy or a friend uses unkind words, for example. In such moments when emotions run high, it can be challenging for kids to practice forgiveness.

    Forgiveness is beautiful, but it’s also difficult. As the saying goes: It takes a strong person to say sorry, and an even stronger person to forgive. When it comes to understanding the value of forgiveness, children need patience, modeling, instruction, and, of course, a few good books on the topic. From sweet board books about feelings to relatable reads for teens, we hope these selections inspire you and yours to move past feelings of hurt and anger toward those of love and compassion.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    These sweet board books can help introduce babies and toddlers to the power of forgiveness and the impact of a genuine apology.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    These picture books provide heartfelt examples of characters apologizing and offering forgiveness for a variety of mistakes and misdeeds.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 9

    These books about forgiveness can help kids tap into the feelings of others and try to see things from their perspective.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    As the characters in these middle grade books discover, forgiveness frees us from the weight of anger and allows us to move forward.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    From tumultuous relationships to friendship drama, these books model forgiveness in a way that encourages teens to let go and move on.

  • TOGETHERNESS

  • As parents and caregivers, our days revolve — almost entirely — around our kids. If we’re not carting them off to school or tucking them into bed, we’re making mental notes to research summer camp or planning their meals for the week. But for the time and energy we give to our children, how often are we truly connecting with them?

    Luckily, you don’t need to devote hours upon hours to bond with the kids in your life. One of our favorite, everyday ways to connect is through reading together. Whether it’s a beloved picture book your toddler can’t get enough of or a YA novel both you and your teen can appreciate, take time to connect with your kids through books.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    From classics to modern favorites, these board books are a great way to bond with babies and toddlers over the joy of reading.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    Whether you and your little one need a laugh, a cuddle, or an escape from reality, these picture books offer clever, silly, and sweet ways to connect with your child.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    Pass a book back and forth, let them take the lead, or travel through these picture books side by side. No matter how you read together, you’ll be glad you did.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    Reading together helps stave off boredom, gives us something to talk about, and allows us a quiet moment to connect as a family.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    Tuck into these engrossing YA novels that span across genres and appeal to adults and teens alike.

  • PATIENCE

  • Raising kids requires a lot of patience, but it’s not always easy to stay calm. It can be hard to practice patience when your toddler is throwing an epic tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, when your kids are in yet another sibling squabble over the iPad, when they don’t eat dinner, or refuse to go to bed. And with teens pushing back to establish their independence, having patience certainly doesn’t come easy.

    We try so hard to keep cool, but understandably, our patience often runs thin. So how do we teach our kids to be patient when even we, as adults, sometimes have a hard time exercising this valuable trait? Books are ideal resources for cultivating patience in ways that end up being meaningful for our kids and for ourselves. These recommendations are a great place to start.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    As caregivers and teachers, we can help young children implement a few simple strategies for practicing patience with the help of these great board books.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    Check out these lovely, funny, and poignant books on patience that help preschool-aged kids realize that some things are worth the wait.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    If your child struggles to practice patience, these kids’ books are a great way to help teach them the importance of this valuable character trait.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    If your tween is feeling impatient and irritable, these middle grade books on patience may help them to find their inner Zen and keep frustration at bay.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    These YA books can help teens understand that even if things aren’t perfect right this moment, they might work out in time with hope, luck, and patience.

  • WELLNESS

  • This past year has been tough on everyone — including, and especially, kids. In a time that’s testing everyone’s mental and physical well-being, it’s even more important to remember to take time for ourselves — time to de-stress, reset, and be a little more mindful.

    Books are great resources to help kids learn how to take care of their mental and physical health — from eating right and exercising to meditating and taking a break from electronics. Starting a wellness ritual at an early age can lead to a lifelong commitment to health for the kids in your life. These books about different aspects of wellness are a great place to begin.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    Whether encouraging mindfulness, helping toddlers understand their feelings, or fostering good sleep habits, there are plenty of fun books to light the way.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    From breathing exercises to exploring nature, these fantastic picture books will help you and your child focus on wellness during unpredictable and stressful times.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    These children’s books will encourage little readers to eat right, move more, practice mindfulness, and make peace with ever-changing emotions.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    Guide tweens into a life of physical, mental, and social wellness with these health-inspired books that focus on each of these dimensions.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    Ranging from novels about teens struggling with mental illness to a guide on physical health from a fitness coach, these books will help teens feel more connected, no matter what they might be facing.

  • RESILIENCE

  • The strength kids have shown over the past year has been truly admirable. It hasn’t been easy for any of us to have our lives upended, but children and teens who rely on routine, social engagement with peers, and other in-person activities for growth and development have arguably been some of the most affected.

    Through it all, they’ve shown their resilience. Kids’ ability to adapt, despite all these challenges, is incredibly commendable. These books showcase this special strength — from picture books that tell true stories of overcoming adversity to YA on facing loss, these reads will remind kids of their own capacity for resilience.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    These board books can help fill our babies and toddlers with emotional strength and the conviction that they can do hard things, persevere, and ultimately succeed.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    From inspirational true stories to characters exhibiting determination and grit, the books listed below are an excellent way to encourage children to become resilient.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    These books on resilience for 6- to 8-year-old readers highlight that determination, adaptability, and perseverance can change the world.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    Here are 13 middle grade reads spanning multiple genres that offer excellent models of resilience in action. Plus, they are all page-turning stories that readers won’t want to put down!

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    These 14 books for teens help them see different facets of resilience — and in particular, how it’s a muscle that they can grow and develop.

  • LOVE

  • Love can take many forms. It can be felt between parents and children, friends, and other family members. As kids grow older, they’ll start to develop more romantic feelings of love for each other. No matter what stage of life kids are currently at, books can help them navigate all their feelings of love. From a picture book about a father’s love to YA novels about first romances, children and teens can read these stories whenever they need a little something to believe in.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    We’ve collected some of our favorite books about love for the babies and toddlers in your life. You can save them for Valentine’s Day, but we encourage you to start reading them right away because we can always use a little more love.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    From the unbreakable bond between family members to the kindness and adoration found through friendship, the stories below exemplify the uplifting power of one of our strongest emotions.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    These books on love for kids ages 6 – 8 offer an opportunity to talk to children about positive affirmations, self-confidence, self-care, and self-love.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    From crushes to friendship, familial bonds to devotion to a pet, these middle grade novels will have kids thinking about what it means to really connect.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    For teens just starting to dream about finding their person and all that it entails, YA books about love offer a glimpse of what’s to come — from the light, funny, and sweet to the heartrendingly tragic.

  • HOPE

  • During the last 10 months, it’s been challenging to be optimistic. With so much tragedy, being hopeful was the last thing on our minds. But a new year brings a renewed sense of hope: Hope for an end to the pandemic and racial injustices, hope for humanity.

    The kids in our lives have suffered greatly during this past year, between the confusing nature of education and a loss of social interaction or any sense of normalcy. 2021 offers them something to look forward to, and these books are no different! Share with them stories of hope and remind them of all the good there is in the world, despite what it may seem like at times.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    These books on hope will fill your little reader’s shelves with possibility – the possibility of a better and brighter future.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    In a time when we need them most, these picture books are here to brighten your day. So, grab a stack of these cheerful stories and enjoy every colorful page.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    Let’s fill children’s lives with hope by sharing books that sparkle with promises of a brighter future, a future of good things where anyone, including kids, can make a difference in their own lives and in the world.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    What better way to help our young readers start the year off on the right foot than delving in to a collection of stories about overcoming adversity and leaning into hope no matter the situation.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    Hope is running through the veins of so much YA. Even when a plot turns on loneliness, loss, or other anguish, what pulls the story forward is a belief that things will change, and for the better.

  • BRAVERY

  • Being brave isn’t easy. It takes courage, strength, and often the love and support from the people we care about most. In the face of adversity — like the global pandemic, injustices, and other challenges we’re faced with daily — it’s important to be brave and have hope for the future.

    Books can help kids learn to be brave — from stories of heroes and heroines on epic quests for the littlest of readers to realistic fiction that deals with relatable topics for teens. We hope these books inspire you and yours to be brave, and remind readers that they can handle whatever comes their way.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    These seven books showcase a variety of ways real-life people, pets, and characters demonstrate bravery in everyday life.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    The stories on this list are full of brave characters — from bears to superheroes to spunky preschool kids themselves — perfect for showing 3- to 5-year-olds that bravery comes in all shapes and sizes.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    These 10 stories will inspire and encourage kids to be brave.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    These 12 kid-approved stories with brave and heroic characters span genres — including contemporary fiction, historical fiction, adventure, and nonfiction.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    Being brave can be as simple as being who you really are – which, perhaps not surprisingly, is a common theme in some of today’s best YA.

  • GROWING UP

  • Kids are constantly growing and changing. One minute, they’re babies learning to crawl; the next, they’re off to elementary school. Childhood and adolescence are incredibly important times in a person’s life, and it’s vital kids and teens get the tools they need to continue developing — both physically and mentally — especially in the face of an unsettled world around them.

    Books are a great way to introduce little and big kids alike to all the ups and downs of growing up — from losing their first tooth to forming their first crush. Dive into these age-appropriate reads and celebrate the wonders of growing up.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    From immobile, squawky newborn to busy, opinionated toddler, ages 0 to 2 are full of nothing but growing. All along the way, of course, are plenty of snuggly opportunities to celebrate both the everyday and the momentous milestones through sharing books together.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    Kids between the ages of 3 and 5 are building so many skills. It’s a wonderful time of development that you can aid with enriching, relevant picture books that will support all the ways they’re growing.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    These eight books on growing up are a great way to show kids ages 6 to 8 the magic of this journey, while also letting them know that growing pains are totally normal.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    Kids can use all the help they can get as they navigate this transitional time, and books that address all the complexities of their lives provide a great refuge from the confusion and frustration of middle school.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    In a lot of ways, every young adult book is about growing up — finding yourself, finding love, leaving childhood, and its innocence, behind. But these nine books put the experience of growing up center stage.

  • FRIENDSHIP

  • Friendships look different now than they ever have before. This separation is especially hard on kids, who look forward to spending more time with their friends (and even making new ones) during the summer through camps and other fun activities that have been largely cancelled or greatly scaled back this year.

    Though maintaining these important friendships with the people who see kids through life’s many changes isn’t as easy as it used to be, there are still ways kids can keep in touch — including social distancing, video chatting, and beyond! These books celebrate friendship in all its forms and remind kids just how meaningful friendships are.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0-2

    Sensitive, vibrant, and compassionate, these heart-warming tales will introduce the littlest of readers to the power of true friendships.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    We hope this collection of silly, touching, funny, and honest stories help your children learn the value of friendship and give them tools to build happy healthy relationships with the people they decide to let into their lives.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    These books teach growing readers that we can be friends with people who are different from us, and that friendship requires compromise, kindness, and problem-solving.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    Some fictional friendships serve as a “mirror” for young readers and help them relate to the characters or reflect on their own relationships. Others can be a “window” into how a friend might feel and help them build empathy for peers or classmates.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    Friendship is everything in your teens. Part of that is simply developmental — it’s the time when we begin to develop our own sense of self, apart from our families, and friends are a vital part of that shift.

  • POSITIVE THINKING

  • Life is challenging right now. But despite all these challenges, the best in humanity – as it always does – finds ways to shine brightly. Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen people come together, dig deep, donate generously, and set a shining example for our young ones. Help your children channel positivity this month with these spectacular stories!

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    Ranging from beloved classics to contemporary favorites, these board books are an ideal way to introduce babies and toddlers to the power of positivity.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    Picture books that will make kids smile, give them a boost of positivity, and help keep your family’s spirits up.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    These picture books will inspire growing readers to stay positive and always look on the bright side of things.

  • Tween: 9 - 12

    No two of these books tell the same story, but they all promote the value of a positive outlook ­— whether through seeking connection, embracing a challenge, processing grief, or weathering life-upending change.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    Being a teenager is no cakewalk. These comforting novels, uplifting memoirs, and expert guidebooks are perfect to remind teens of the power of positive thinking.

  • IMAGINATION

  • A child’s imagination is open to so many possibilities. From playing make-believe to storytelling, they’re always creating something far beyond our wildest dreams. As parents and caregivers, it’s important to encourage that ingenuity — and books can help! From classic tales like The Wizard of Oz to the story of telekinetic Matilda, there are few places the imagination can grow more than within the pages of a brilliant story. Join Brightly as we celebrate imagination all month long with these whimsical books that’ll inspire the children and teens in your life.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    While babies and young toddlers aren’t yet developmentally able to dive deeply into imaginary worlds themselves, books are the perfect gateway to begin exposing them to imaginative ideas. These beautiful board books introduce the wondrous magic of imagination to the youngest of readers.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    Creativity and imagination are an enormous part of what makes childhood so magical. If you’re looking to get your kids’ imaginations going and spark their creative sides, these books provide perfect jumping off points.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    Spark your child’s imagination with these books about creative characters (and real people) that show the many possibilities of a rich, active imagination.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    More often than not, the dreamy, creative thinking that was so fun when they were younger becomes something they’re unsure about. But the world needs writers and artists, thinkers and inventors. These books will help ignite their creativity and show tweens that there’s nothing quite like a little imagination.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    Here are young adult books for teens that will pique curiosity, inspire ingenuity, and make them believe in the power of imagination again. In these stories, adherence to the rules of reality is far less important than the universal truths the narratives reveal.

  • EQUALITY

  • This month, we’re reading books that champion Equality! When it comes to making the world a more equal place, we still have a long way to go. That’s why it’s meaningful to teach the children in your life about the importance of equality from an early age! From racial to gender equality and beyond, what better way to share this wonderful message than through books? Join Brightly as we read these inclusive stories.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    These books are ideal for helping us chart the course toward a more inclusive future by showing young children the importance of equality and beauty in diversity.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    Promoting equality at school and home is essential for helping children understand the diverse and inclusive world we live in today. These books for kids ages 3-5 can help.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    From stories about voter rights to those about LGBTQIA+ equality, use these books as helping tools to raise children who are understanding and compassionate towards all people, regardless of our differences.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    In order for our children to truly care about equality, they need to be able to see inequality in action – in all different forms. These books are an excellent starting point for tweens to dive into the struggles of equality through both fiction and non-fiction.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    Through the powerful storytelling within these books, readers can begin to imagine how we might arrive at a more equal, more just future.

  • KINDNESS

  • Our first theme of the month is Kindness! It can be challenging sometimes to show children examples of this virtue in the real world, but that’s where these books come in. Our recommendations for every age and stage offer both heartwarming stories and helpful tools to teach the children in your life about the importance of kindness.

  • Baby & Toddler: Ages 0 - 2

    While teaching our children concepts like kindness and empathy can be tricky, there are plenty of books that provide those ever-helpful guideposts.

  • Pre-K: Ages 3 - 5

    In addition to being positive role models in the home, it’s also valuable to provide intentional opportunities to teach and practice kindness so children are even better prepared to exercise this virtue in the real world. That’s where these books come in.

  • Growing Reader: Ages 6 - 8

    These 10 books provide both a firsthand look at how powerful kindness truly is and a resource for caregivers hoping to teach it to their young ones.

  • Tween: Ages 9 - 12

    When kids get to that oh-so-tricky tween age, it can be a little bit harder to teach kindness and empathy. Sharing stories that feature kids their age modeling or encountering kindness is a great way to sneak lessons in there.

  • Teen: Ages 13+

    Kindness is more or less free — and yet we deny it — both to ourselves and to others. That’s why we need reminders — like these seven books for young adults, which reveal kindness, as well as its compatriots: compassion, care, and hope.