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Posted Monday, December 16, 2013 by Team Northwoods

Our Favorite 9 (and a half) Children’s Books Starring Bears

The night before a visit to Northwoods, my kiddo pulled out a couple favorite books featuring bears as the main characters (because we love bears at Northwoods). It got me thinking that my family’s personal book collection stars a lot of bears. Why is that?

If you look up the symbolic meaning of the bear, you’ll find many meanings including strength, courage, protection, and love. These are certainly things that every child needs, but especially children who live in abusive homes or get stuck in the foster system, like those social services agencies serve.

In honor of children who embody the strength and courage of the bear during this holiday season and all year long, here are our nine (and a half) favorite books featuring bears.

1. Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson

This story stars a bear who feels sick, and has great friends ranging from a mouse to a raven who take care of him by bringing him tea and tucking him in. It shows the importance of caring for others, but also that family can be anyone who loves you.

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2. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Based on the song, "We're Going On a Bear Hunt," a father and his four children takes off on a bear hunt with nothing more than the clothes on their back. They face adversity on the road to discovering a real, live bear, but keep pushing on and stick together. This is a good lesson for kids about perseverance, bravery, and loyalty.

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3. Corduroy by Don Freeman

This is a fantastic book about an imperfect bear in a department store found and adopted by a little girl named Lisa who doesn’t mind that he’s missing a button. This book communicates a great message for any child waiting to find a forever home.

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4. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

First published in 1948, this story of a little girl and a baby bear who accidentally swap mothers while picking blueberries teaches kids about patience, planning (they are picking berries for the long winter ahead), and the dangers of not paying attention!

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5. The Berenstain Bears: Too Much Junk Food, by Stan and Jan Berenstain

The always insightful Mama Bear notices that Papa Bear and the cubs are getting a little rotund, and works with the local doctor, Dr. Grizzly, to show them how to eat right and exercise to take care of their bodies.

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6. The Biggest Bear by Adam Relf

A little bear learns to be patient and trust in his father as he searches for the biggest bear in the world. This one is good for today’s instant gratification kids (which is pretty much all of them) to learn that the best things in life sometimes come to those who wait.

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7. You're All My Favorites by Sam McBratney

In this story, bear parents work to convince their three little bears that they are all loved the same amount no matter how different they are from each other. This book has a fun, light way of showing kids that parents have room in their hearts to love many people, regardless of size, color or gender – a message many foster kids would love to hear.

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8. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle

This well-known book for very young kids is a great way to teach kids the basics, like letter sounds and colors. No strong message with this one, but little kids love it!

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9 – 9 ½. Winnie the Pooh Storybook Collection by A.A. Milne

No collection of bear books would be complete without Winnie the Pooh. Because the bear full of fluff and stuffing has been a childhood favorite for decades, we couldn’t pick just one story. Hence the list being 9 ½ books long. Here are two from this collection that seem to really be kid favorites.

Say Ahh, Pooh!

Pooh learns how to avoid “bumps and weasels” by getting a shot at his “animal checkout” as Christopher Robin and the Hundred Acre Wood friends teach Pooh about the importance of good health.

Pooh's Neighborhood

Pooh visits all the special places in his “neighborwood” on a trip to deliver a neighborly present to his friend Piglet in this cute story about making memories with friends.

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