kevin henkes

15 Phenomenal Kevin Henkes Books

kevin henkes mice 


Kevin Henkes Books Belong on Every Child's Bookshelf

For more than three decades, Kevin Henkes has been writing and illustrating some of the most beloved children's and middle grade fiction books. With over thirty books and counting, Henkes has won numerous prestigious book awards and is a favorite amongst teachers, librarians, parents and kids alike. 

Kevin Henkes books teach children timeless morals and lessons around bullying, inclusivity, respect, friendship and being true to oneself. A cute mouse frequents many of his children's picture books learning lots of life's little lessons, much like what kids experience on the playground, in the classroom, and at home. 



Any preschooler who has a special stuffed animal, favorite blanket, or any other kind of lovey will know exactly how Owen feels. It is time for our little buddy to start school but he refuses to give up his soft yellow blanket.  Just like every other parent who is worried about a child who is not quite ready to give up a babyish habit, Owen's parents must dig deep and creatively outwit a smart and stubbon todder. Winner of the Caldecott Medal and the California Young Reader Medal.Starred reviews from the School Library Journal, Booklist, and acclaim from many other children's literary organizations.



julius the baby of the world

Julius: The Baby of the World

A must-read for children who are adjusting to the addition of a new baby sibling or just dealing with some jealousy issues at home. Lilly thinks her baby brother Julius is quite gross until a little encouragement from her cousin convinces her otherwise. An ALA notable book and popular story time selection for kids who adore Lilly and relate to her feelings when a baby threatens her status as an only child. This is a classic book for siblings adjusting to a new baby brother or sister with many laugh out loud moments.



lilly's purple plastic purse

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

It is impossible not to fall in love with feisty heroine Lilly, a mouse with a big personality. She absolutely adores everything about school, including her teacher and her friends.In fact, when she acquires some fancy new accessories, including her infamous purple plastic purse, she is bursting with excitement. She cannot wait to show her friends at school! Despite the fact that her teacher asked her to wait until show- and-tell time, LIlly disrupts classroom time by sharing her flashy new things. For every exuberant child who has broken a rule or two, Lilly is a fun read aloud. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse is one of our favorite Kevin Henkes books that has been recognized with numerous awards.





One of Kevin Henkes' best-selling classics about a little girl who excitedly embarks on her first day of school, only to be disappointed by bullies in the classroom. Chrysanthemum shrivels into a self-defeated puddle when a few mean kids make fun of her unusual name. Fortunately, with the help of a kind-hearted teacher, she learns an invaluable lesson about facing mean classmates and feeling pride in being unique. For a more information about this popular story, read a book review about Chrysanthemum.


 the year of billy miller

The Year of Billy Miller 

An ALA Notable book, a Newbery Honor book, and making many "best books of the year" lists, The Year of Billy Miller is a story of friendship, self-awareness, and maturity. Billy is about to start second grade, but due to an unfortunate mishap, he must face his first day of school with a big bump on his head. The year proves to be one of growth for little Billy as he juggles school, his relationship with his younger sister, and a busy household. A great introductory chapter book with fun illustrations and a storyline that will keep a child's attention to the very last page.



grandpa and bo

 Grandpa & Bo

For every little boy who is fortunate enough to spend his days with his grandfather, this beautiful book captures the essence of the quality time together. The watercolor illustrations and poetic words elicit a sense of timeless contentment. Explore more wonderful children's books about grandfathers to share with your little readers.



old bear

 Old Bear

Starred Reviews and lots of awards, including a Parents Choice, are fitting for a book that recognizes the beauty of the world through the eyes of a gentle, giant bear. A recommended  book for toddlers and young readers. 


sheila rae the brave

 Sheila Rae the Brave

Sheila Rae is used to taking the lead as the older sister to Louise. But the tables are turned one day when she finds herself in a situation. Niether the thunder nor her neighbor's scary black dog every frightened Sheila, but her nerves are tested when she ventures on a new path on her way home from school. Fortunately, Louise comes to her rescue when Sheila finds herself lost and afraid. She learns the valuable lesson that "older" does not always mean "better, smarter, or braver".  A great book for children learning all about sibling relationships and how they can help each other no matter their pecking order. 




olive's ocean

Olive's Ocean 

A beautiful and haunting story of adolescence, Olive's Ocean is a story of friendship, tragedy and coming of age. An American Library Association notable book and Newbery Honor book, this is a book that particularly resonates with pre-teen girls. It's the story of two twelve year old girls who should have been the best of friends, but they were not. Haunted by secrets, a terrible accident, and adolescent emotions, the protagonist, Martha Boyle, must come to grips with the fact that life may never be the same.




bailey goes camping

Bailey Goes Camping 

For every little kid who feels left behind by older siblings, Bailey Goes Camping is a sweet, reassuring story about making lemonade out of lemons. Bailey is not old enough to go campingwith his older brother and sister, and he feels sad about missing out on all the fun. So, with the help of his mother, he finds a way to participate in his own way! Camping within the comfort of your own home can be just as exciting as the outdoor adventure. All it takes is a little creativity and imagination. Join Bailey as he learns that his time will come, but for now, he needs to adapt and do things a little differently than the older kids.


sheila rae's peppermint stick


 Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick

Sheila Rae makes an appearance in this funny board book perfect for toddlers- especially those who have experienced a dose of sibling rivalry! Big sister Sheila Rae mercilessly teases her little sister Louise with a delicious peppermint stick. Jealousy, rivalry, bickering and finally reconciliation are all wrapped up in a book that every kid with an older or younger sibling will enjoy!


penny and her sled

 Penny and Her Sled

We highly recommend this picture book divided into a few short chapters. Perfect for children beginning to read on their own, Penny and her Sled is a story of patience, perseverance and a little imagination that goes a long way. Penny has received the slickest, shiniest red sled that will be absolutely perfect for wintertime fun. There is only one problem- it doesn't seem to ever snow! Penny swallows her disappointment every day that comes and goes without a single snowflake.  Soon she decides that her beautiful new sled may offer other playtime entertainment since the weather won't cooperate!



 sweeping up the heart

Sweeping Up the Heart

Kevin Henkes continues to branch out in writing beautiful, coming--of-age novels for the adolescent audience. In this novel that pulls at the heartstrings, a seventh grade girl lives with her father since her mother passed away ten years earlier.Amelia forms a special friendship with Casey as they begin a journey to connect with the spirit of Amelia's mother. Sweeping at the heart is a deeply emotional story with layered themes of grief, new beginnings, loyalty, and family.



 protecting marie

Protecting Marie

Marie's heart has already been broken once when her father decided they had to get rid of their new puppy. It was simply too chaotic at their house and the dog required too much. She loved this dog and resented her father for not allowing them to keep it. Her father replaced the puppy with a new, much older dog that he believed would be a better fit for the family. Can Marie open her heart and risk falling in love with this dog? What if her father decides re-home this one as well?  For every girl who loves a dog, add this book to her reading list.



billy miller makes a wish

Billy Miller Makes a Wish

A heartfelt chapter book about a little boy who makes a birthday wish he quickly regrets. Hoping for something exciting to happen, a medical emergency next door is not what Billy has in mind. This short and sweet illustrated book follows the trials and tribulations of a little boy's misplaced love notes, some interesting interactions with little animals, and other mishaps.


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All the Best Kevin Henkes Stories

Kevin Henkes has drawn upon his midwest upbringing and his own family life to write and illustrate numerous children's picture books and chapter books for middle-grade readers. Life lessons are almost always a central theme to his books, shared masterfully through a blend of humorous characters. He has been contributing to the children's lit world for decades and is showing no signs of slowing down.  


kevin henkes mouse


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