Looking for some great picture books with a message to learn from or just a magical read for your youngsters? I have gathered some wonderful picture books that fill this desire. All are good for ages three through seven unless otherwise indicated.

When an Elephant Hears NO, by Dazzie No and colorfully illustrated digitally by Estrella Lourenco, showcases the many different scenarios that “No” can mean. A young elephant is learning that “No” could mean not yet. Or it could mean Be Careful! The several examples displayed are a powerful reminder for youngsters who need to understand this powerful word.

What a Map Can Do, by Gabrielle Balkan and brightly sketched with a pencil and created with Photoshop by Alberto Lot, teaches kids how to look and learn from many different maps. A cute furry raccoon narrates how to read and navigate simple maps as well as understand their purpose. It begins with showing a map of a house and expanding to the neighborhood and beyond. There are even maps of inside your body and a weather map. Keys are all included on each map. (Penguin)

Between Two Windows, by Keisha Morris, heralds back to the classic “Harold and the Purple Crayon” book. This highly imaginative story begins with a clothesline strung between two windows. Two kids become friends as they draw pictures to exchange them using the clothesline. But when the clothesline breaks, they take their creative drawings outside and create a whole new world. The delightful illustrations were made digitally using collaged tissue paper and Photoshop. (Harper)

Hedgehog and the Log, by Pam Fong, has Hedgehog dealing with a big problem when a huge part of a tree ends up falling on his newly built house. He thinks he saves the problem when he moves to another location. However, he is presented with another big problem when another tree log falls again. How he solves this big problem will help youngsters learn to look at their challenges from different perspectives. The illustrations are delightful. Be sure to check out the wonderful end pages. (Unionsq)

Billy and the Beast, by Nadia Shireen, is a story that demonstrates the heroine who is smart, resourceful, and brave. Young Billy and her loyal kitty, Fatcat, are walking through the forest when they come upon a horrible mean beast who holds some cute little critters captive to put in his soup for a meal. Billy immediately comes up with a brilliant plan to save the animals and even her little kitten. The illustrations are bold with color. There are two other books featuring Billy and Fatcat: Billy and the Dragon and Billy and the Pirates. (Kane Miller)

Ways to Play, by Lyn Miller-Lachmann and delightfully illustrated and richly woven with expression and color by using pen, ink, and watercolor and digitally layering by Gabriel Alborozo, has a powerful message that should help inspire children to play at their own desire and not what is expected. Riley’s bossy cousin tells him that his way to play is boring. But he doesn’t react in an upset way. He just quietly shows her that his way is good too. The examples showcase that there are many ways that kids use their imagination and all should be acceptable. (levinequerido.com)

The Door that Had Never Opened Before, by Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod, is exhilarating with attempting to try new things exploring curiosity and discovering the joys in imagination. Geraldine had opened every door presented to her. But she is about to discover a door she had never opened before. What she discovers opens a whole new world. The illustrations are a delight and the children are rich in personality and expression. Be sure to check out the first book by this tack: How to Eat a Book. (UnionSq)

Jump for Joy, by Karen Gray Ruelle and wonderfully illustrated using brush and ink by Hadley Hooper, is a heartwarming story about a girl, Joy, who desires a dog. And a dog, Jump, wants a human child. Through many attempts to create her little dog out of flowers, ferns, and more, she finally meets her dog meant for her. The ending illustrations are vibrant and add to the climax of this joyous meeting. (Astra)

Lonely Bird, by Ruth Whiting, is a unique story about a paper bird who makes friends out of paper too. When she loses a new friend in a vacuum, she ventures into the long tunnel of the tube and saves him. The full open-page illustrations are breathtaking and done in oil paint with cut-paper collage. I’m betting after reading this imaginative book, many more stories will spring from the minds of little ones! (Candlewick)

The Red Fruit, by Lee Gee Eun, is a simple story with minimal words. Yet the message is strong showing a young bear on an adventure to locate more fruit that he has found from a tree. As he sets off, he climbs up a very high tree and meets little critters on the way, the colors found throughout are also simple: black, white, and red. However, these illustrations are rich in expression and move the story along. (LQ)

365: How to Count a Year, by Miranda Paul and brightly illustrated digitally by Julien Chung, is a fabulous example to show youngsters the time element of a year. There are analogies of different amounts of time that children can relate to. For example, One trip around the sun also means 365 flavors of the day. The illustration is an ice cream truck featuring sunshine scoops. The book breaks down the months and weeks of the year and even into 52 sleep-in Saturdays. (Simon)