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Balloons are happy, right? They just make you smile, especially if you are a kid. So you might be surprised to learn that many of these picture books about balloons deal with hard topics like negative thoughts, Alzheimer’s, or depression. But don’t worry. There are plenty of imaginative books and even a few non-fiction on this list as well.

These picture books about balloons are wonderful ways to broach these challenging topics with your kids or just cuddle up and dream. After all, who doesn’t love a balloon?

Balloons Books about Challenging Topics

The Remember Balloons by Jessie Oliveros illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

In this touching story about Alzheimer’s, balloons are memories. James worries when his grandfather begins letting some slip through his fingers. Little by little, Grandfather loses almost all his balloons, and James is heartbroken. But then he sees that some of the balloons he now has are memories his grandfather shared with him. Those memories aren’t lost as long as James cares for them.

Catching Thoughts by Bonnie Clark illustrated by Summer Macon

A negative thought follows a little girl like a gray balloon, and there’s nothing she can do to get rid of it. You can’t unthink a thought. Finally, she realizes can catch new thoughts that are hopeful, lovely, and true, which make that negative thought seem small. (Find a review of Clark’s other book in this post about books about kindness.)

Arthur Wants a Balloon by Elizabeth Gilbert Bedia illustrated by Erika Meza

This book may only be out in ebook (for now) and the UK, but it’s worth your notice. It can be hard for kids to deal with parents who are sad, sick, or depressed, and this book deals honestly with those feelings in a child-friendly way. And the gorgeous illustrations make this book all the more inviting. You’re going to want to hug your kid tight after reading this together.

Imaginative Picture Books about Balloons

Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip C. Stead

Sebastian is bored, so he packs up all the things he will ever need and sets out in a balloon for an adventure. Along the way, he meets new friends, and they help each other. This sweet, imaginative tale will have kids wondering if the adventure really happened or if it was all in Sebastian’s mind.

Please Bring Balloons by Lindsay Ward

When Emma finds a note that reads “please bring balloons” under the polar bear’s saddle on the carousel, she decides to play along. They fly on an adventure through the night sky to the north pole and a polar bear party. This story is delightfully imaginative with gorgeous mixed media illustrations.

Bird Balloon Bear by Il Sung Na

This is a lovely story about being shy and making friends. Bird sees bear, but before she can work up the courage to say hello, Bear has already seemed to make friends with a balloon. Bird watches from a distance, and when the balloon floats off, she tries to help. When the balloon pops, Bird seems to realize that Bear does need a friend after all.

Non-Fiction with Balloons

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

This award-winning book is the true story of Tony Sarg. Tony was an immigrant and a puppeteer, originally in charge of Macy’s window displays. But when they asked him to take on the challenge of their new parade, he created the iconic balloons we naw associate with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sweet’s collage illustrations are simply stunning. (Find a longer review of this and other Thanksgiving books HERE.”

Rice from Heaven: The Secret Mission to Feed North Koreans by Tina Cho illustrated by Keum Jin Song

This is a true story about a group of South Korean Christians sending sending rice over the border to feed the starving people of North Korea. “I am a little grain of rice, how can I help?” Yoori asks. But her help and compassion are able to chance the hearts of some who oppose their mission to “feed the enemy.”

Do you have a favorite picture book with balloons?

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