In My Neighborhood: Stories for Young Children

What is a neighborhood? These books encourage young children not only to think about the people and places in their neighborhood, but also to think about what turns a neigborhood into a community.

Related resources

Illinois Early Learning Project

Reading Rockets

Children’s Cooperative Book Center

Colorín Colorado

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers

Illustrated by: Luke Flowers
Age Level: 3-6

From funny to sweet, silly to sincere, the lyrics of Mister Rogers explore such universal topics as feelings, new siblings, everyday life, imagination, and more. Through these songs—as well as endearing puppets and honest conversations—Mister Rogers instilled in his young viewers the values of kindness, self-awareness, and self-esteem. But most of all, he taught children that they are loved, just as they are. Perfect for bedtime, sing-along, or quiet time alone, this beautiful book of meaningful poetry is for every child—including the child inside of every one of us.

How Do I Help?

Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish

Open this book to meet some people who help us every day. Spanish version available.

Last Stop on Market Street

Illustrated by: Christian Robinson
Age Level: 6-9

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn't he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. Winner 2016 Newbery Award.

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood

Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 6-9

What good can a splash of color do in a town that is gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine! Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation—and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big. Pick up a paintbrush and join the celebration! 

Quinito's Neighborhood

Illustrated by: José Ramírez
Age Level: 3-6

Young Quinito takes us on a tour of his neighborhood, where his relatives and friends are doing important jobs and helping each other. Children and grown-ups will appreciate the community spirit pervading the text, as well as the colorful pictures of Quinito's neighborhood. Ideal for young children learning new English and Spanish vocabulary.

Red Is a Dragon: A Book of Colors

Illustrated by: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: In this lively concept book a little girl discovers a rainbow of colors in the world around her. Red is a dragon in the Chinese New Year parade, yellow are the taxis she sees on her street, green are jade bracelets and the crunchy kale growing in her garden. Many of the featured objects are Asian in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text and an informative glossary, this colorful book will brighten every child's day!

Round Is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes

Illustrated by: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6

A girl discovers things that are round, square, and rectangular in her urban neighborhood. A gently rhyming text and crisply lined illustrations reveal many things that are universally recognizable as well as others that come from the child's Chinese background.

So Many Sounds

Illustrated by: Andy J. Miller
Age Level: 3-6

A wonderful rhyming read-aloud featuring everyday sounds and a refrain that children will love repeating. The playful text and illustrations are sure to delight little ones while also inviting them to pay more attention to the world around them.

Speak English for Us, Marisol!

Illustrated by: Enrique O. Sanchez
Age Level: 6-9

"Marisol is rushing home from school to see to her cat, but on the way she's stopped by adult family members and neighbors who need her to translate from Spanish for them so that they can communicate with shopkeepers and officials in English. Whether she's helping Uncle Tomas bargain with the poultry man, showing her neighbor how to fill out an application form, or speaking for Mama about a problem with the telephone bureaucracy, Marisol translates the words and also interprets the messages across cultures." — Booklist

Thank You, Omu

By: Oge Mora
Age Level: 6-9

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love.

The Park Our Town Built

Illustrated by: Tanja Bauerle
Age Level: 3-6

In the style of "The House That Jack Built," Diane Gonzales Bertrand offers a lively picture book that tells the story of a community coming together to build a park for the town. The story highlights key vocabulary words in English and Spanish with matching pictures, making it an excellent read-aloud choice for young children learning comprehension and predicting skills in either language.

Welcome To My Neighborhood! A Barrio ABC

Illustrated by: Shino Arihara
Age Level: 6-9

Ava is exploring her neighborhood from top to bottom and A to Z! Whether it's "C" for the Chino-Latino corner store or "V" for the vegetable plot that used to be a vacant lot, young city dwellers will see their neighborhood through a new set of eyes after joining Ava on her journey. Based on the author's memories of growing up within the Puerto Rican community in Philadelphia, the story is told in rhyme with Spanish words sprinkled throughout the text. Detailed paintings bring the neighborhood as seen through a child's eyes to life. Spanish version available.

What Can You Do With a Paleta?

Illustrated by: Magaly Morales
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: As she strolls through her barrio, a young girl introduces readers to the frozen, fruit-flavored treat that thrills Mexican and Mexican-American children. Create a masterpiece, make tough choices (strawberry or coconut?), or cool off on a warm summer's day — there's so much to do with a paleta!