International Bear Day is an annual event on the first Saturday of April, this special day is dedicated to the conservation of the world’s eight species of bears.
We put together a list of eight fantastic books about bears for you and your child to explore.
Written by Isabella Paglia
Illustrated by Paolo Prioetti
Translated by Laura Watkinson
A sensitive book about reaching out to a new friend, perfect for fostering social-emotional learning.
One day a mysterious box arrives in the woods. Bear, Fox, Rabbit, Squirrel, and Owl can all see that something—someone—is hiding inside. But why won’t that someone come out? Maybe the stranger is scared or having a horrible day. Maybe they’ve been hurt in the past and don’t know who to trust anymore. Who is the creature inside the box? How can the animals reassure them and introduce them to their amazing new home?
Told through playful, pastel-colored illustrations, The Box is a gentle story about meeting others where they are. Kindness, patience, and a little creativity can help us find the most wonderful friends.
Written by Gauthier David
Illustrated by Marie Caudry
Ages: 5 to 9
Bear can’t imagine a whole winter without her friend, so when Bird migrates south, Bear decides to follow. She’s never left the forest before, but that won’t stop her from crossing oceans and mountains—and sending letters along the way. But a surprise is waiting for Bear on the beach…
Richly told in amusing letters and lush illustrations, this adventurous story invites readers to consider just how far they’d go for their friends.
Written and illustrated by May Angeli
One late winter day, a strange noise startles Bear out of his slumber. Grumpily searching for the source, he finds Duck, trapped in the thicket—but not for long. Bear frees Duck with a few scoops of his big paws, and their friendship begins. The more time the two spend swimming, exploring, and telling stories, the less Bear wants to go back to his lonely old life. As spring turns to summer, and summer turns to fall, what else will change?
Stunning woodcut engravings illustrate this gentle story about kindness, the four seasons, and the joy of an unexpected friend.
What do you do with a bear who won’t leave? When a bear comes to stay, no one expects him to stay too long! But his arrival changes everything, from sleeping to shopping to hanging out with friends. If even dinosaurs and math problems can’t drive him away, what are you supposed to do?
Featuring quirky, energetic illustrations, this amusing tale suggests we can learn to live with even the most unbearable company.
Bibi Dumon Tak
Translated by Laura Watkinson
Winner of the 2012 Batchelder Award
Based on a real series of events that happened during World War II, Soldier Bear tells the story of an orphaned bear cub adopted by a group of Polish soldiers in Iran. The soldiers raise the bear and eventually enlist him as a soldier to ensure that he stays with the company. He travels with them from Iran to Italy, and then on to Scotland. Voytek’s mischief gets him into trouble along the way, but he also provides some unexpected encouragement for the soldiers amidst the reality of war: Voytek learns to carry bombs for the company, saves the camp from a spy, and keeps them constantly entertained with his antics.
Always powerful and surprising, Bibi Dumon Tak’s story offers readers a glimpse at this fascinating piece of history.
S. D. Schindler
A clever tale that will charm book lovers
Brother Hugo can’t return his library book — the letters of St. Augustine — because, it turns out, the precious book has been devoured by a bear! Instructed by the abbot to borrow another monastery’s copy and create a replacement, the hapless monk painstakingly crafts a new book, copying it letter by letter and line by line. But when he sets off to return the borrowed copy, he finds himself trailed by his hungry new friend. Once a bear has a taste of letters, it appears, he’s rarely satisfied!
Brother Hugo and the Bear is loosely based on a note found in a twelfth- century manuscript — and largely on the creative imaginings of author Katy Beebe. Lavishly illustrated by S. D. Schindler in the style of medieval manuscripts, this humorous tale is sure to delight readers who have acquired their own taste for books.
Ages 4 to 8
A funny and imaginative read- aloud
A mother is surprised when her son tells her that there is a bear standing outside their door. How did the bear get all the way from his cave in the forest to their eleventh-floor apartment? And what is it doing here in the middle of the city?
This sweet story of a wacky chain of events will appeal to young readers who like to make up their own tall tales.
Ages 4 to 8
An emotionally stirring book about kindness and friendship
Life isn’t easy for a bear. Not when he has to sleep on the sidewalk among cardboard boxes and old clothes. Not when he lives in a city full of people who are repulsed by him. Not when he’s hungry and homeless. But one day a young girl smiles at the bear, and he realizes that maybe there is something that could make life a bit easier — a friend.
This poignant, heartwarming tale will move readers of all ages and inspire them to be more compassionate and empathetic towards others.