A Friendly Book Series: Looking With // Seek + Find Booklist

ALERT! Are you guys ready to talk about our faaaavorite books that facilitate a coordinated gaze with your child? Coordinated gaze or as I call it, "looking with," is one of the most rewarding and easiest ways to build empathy in children. Training them to look along your gaze, or to notice what you notice, lays the cognitive foundations for learning, compassion, and social engagement. Yes, really.

Plus, if you have already completed my LOOKUP CHALLENGE - you might be ready for the next step, yeah? Then let's get to "looking with!" (Haven't taken the challenge? Click here to learn more). If you want to pin an exhaustive and ever-growing book list of my favorite seek-and-finds, click below and pin for later! The post that you're currently in has a lot of great tips about reading these books with your child, but this post here, is just a long and pretty comprehensive booklist that you can come back to!

Exhaustive booklist for your Pinterest!

Exhaustive booklist for your Pinterest!

Looking along your child's gaze, while offering interpretation or wonder, encourages attachment, builds social skills, and creates feelings of warmth and safety. So much of raising kind and empathic children involves parental instinct and environment - stuff thats hard to teach. But #lookingwith is a practical discipline that you can actually be taught. It will make a difference in your family, how your kids engage the world, and whether compassion becomes a strong muscle they can easily flex.

So who's with me? Who wants to learn exactly what looking with might look like and how you can easily create these moments in your family?

Here are some of our FAVORITE Seek + Find // Looking With books...

**This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting the site!


Cycle City // Alison Farrell

This is one seek and find that you're going to love with all your heart. Coming out March 20 from @alisondraw and @chroniclebooks. I like a seek and find that has several plots, a little humor, and great illustration (i.e. NOT iSpy). This is good stuff that will make you laugh and keep you wanting to track each of the book's characters on their voyage.

Purchase Cycle City Here!

Coordinated gaze (looking with) not only builds valuable brain connections that will encourage life-long learning, it also is a really warm, nurturing, and mutually enjoyable activity. Did I mention it encourages secure attachment? Plus, when you get finished, you can leave the child with the book for another hour while you pour yourself a glass of wine. Uh, yes please!


Mamoko // Aleksandra Mizielinska + Daniel Mizielinski

Books give us an opportunity to feel what our kid is feeling, model empathy, and subtly affirm their budding self (this is called affective attunement, btw). "Looking With" or coordinating your gaze to study, enjoy, experience, or feel together is an absolute powerhouse parenting tool. You know why? Because affective attunement does a ton to build the important brain structures that will determine a child's school readiness and relational success. Way more than any flash card, coding tutor, or mandarin lessons...

Mamoko - if you're not there yet - is a great place to be. Open the cover and you'll get a small fact/story for each of the many characters. Then you can follow them each from page to page, watch their day and their story unfold. My kids love it + the multiple story lines gives me an opportunity to join with them and "return" any number of emotions during our time searching together! // thanks @ourbookbag for the great pic! My kids were running around the house - and so I just gave up taking my own here.

Purchase Here>> Welcome to Mamoko // Mamoko 3000 // Mamoko Dragons


The Walkabout Orchestra // Chloé Perarnau

I love that so many of ya'll jumped into this series on Insta and shared some of your favorite seek + find books that help you be intentional about "looking with" your children and build those big empathy, compassion, and relationship skills! Summer over at @readingisourthing shared some of her favorite seek-and-finds and I am smitten with this little ditty! Thanks for the pic, mama. Your flatlays rule the school - we are all your students ;)

Purchase The Walkabout Orchestra Here


Over and Under the Pond // Kate Messner

Over and Under isn't your traditional seek and find. It is actually a traditional story-driven book. But the book has a lot for you and your child to find and learn. PLUS the book is actually about a powerhouse wonder-mom that is just doing something ordinary and life changing. Hint: she is showing, telling, noticing, and looking with. @chroniclebooks 

Purchase a book from the Over and Under series here >> The Pond // The Snow // The Dirt

Coordinated gaze (looking with) not only builds valuable brain connections that will encourage life-long learning, it also is a really warm, nurturing, and mutually enjoyable activity. Did I mention it encourages secure attachment? Plus, when you get finished, you can leave the child with the book for another hour while you pour yourself a glass of wine. Uh, yes please!


Find Me // Richard Scarry + MORE, MORE, MORE!

A few other excellent seek and find books for our #afriendlybookseries // LOOKINGWITH. Richard Scarry and Find Me (big eyes) have fun stories to explore and follow. The other two are appropriate even for the youngest of viewers because of their very clear, bold illustrations. One Thousand Things from @quartokids even has words beside each object, so that as your child ages, they can begin simple word association and lay the foundation for reading!

Purchase Here >> Find Me // One Thousand Things // Richard Scarry


Cars and Trucks and Things that Go // Richard Scarry


Eeeeek! Look inside this Richard Scarry. How many of you ladies LOVED these books as a child? I have so much fun enjoying them all over again with my son who is absolutely enthralled with them. Plus, he really enjoys joining with me to notice, and then showing off how well he can find things. Building attachment, confidence, and empathy? Looking with totally rocks - What joy!

Purchase Here! // Also check out his book "Rhino's Search and Find" - just as cute!


Pattern-tastic Treasure Hunt // Nan Na Hvass + Sofie Hannibal

Hellllllo beautiful pattern board book! You all know how much we love our board books at the Penry house (because what's more portable + durable to throw in your bag to keep your little one entertained at the doctor's office or on a road trip). This @quartokids tabbed board book entertains + stimulates for hours of fun. Each page features vibrant patters and colors paired with beautiful flora and fauna that help your child learn to coordinate and recognize the colors and patterns in nature.

A little extra engagement tip with this one: encourage your children to find and pair similar patters in your own backyard or on a nature walk and see what they come up with!

Purchase Here!


One Thousand Things // Anna Kövecses

I mentioned this one earlier but honestly, it deserves it's own shout out! This @quartokids seek-and-find is loaded with fun everyday objects AND pairs each object with words to further enhance all the learning + educational goodness of seek-and-find books. This is a perfect pick for looking with + engaging children of different ages at the same time. My older Lois gets to practice her words + reading while my little Frank gets to find + name the objects his sister recites. Perfect engagement tool not only for you to "look with" but for your children of different ages to "look with" and learn together!

Purchase One Thousand Things here! 

That's a wrap!

You guys know that I LOVE talking about (and helping you meet) your child's most critical needs. Well, attuned and responsive caregiving is one of your child's fundamental needs, and "looking with" is a valuable skill in the attuned parent's toolbox.

I hope you've found these books inspiring and go checkout these + other seek-and-finds for yourself! Thank you to everyone who participated in this series + all the insta love following the #afriendlybookseries

If you are ready to get serious about Looking With AND Looking Up... take my FREE #LookUpChallenge here >>> 

Join me + hundreds of other caregivers for 7 days of building better, intentional habits to fulfill your child's fundamental need to BE SEEN. Learn tips + tricks on how to love better and engage deeper in the age of technology + cell phones.