Corduroy (1968) by Don Freeman.
I’ve got to include this classic. This is one of the too few books from my own childhood that had people of color in it. I love that it is a universal story where Lisa happens to be African American.
I found this quote from Don Freeman to his editor, Linda Zuckerman on his website:
“Just possibly you would like to hear something of the background of Corduroy as I first came upon it… Of course I can’t remember exactly how it started, but I do recall wanting to do a story about a department store in which a character wanders around at night after the doors close. Then I also wanted the story to show the vast difference between the luxury of a department store [and] the simple life [most people live]. The idea of simple basic values was another theme that was running around in the back of my head. I don’t remember how or when a toy bear came into my life, but he must have come from way out of my past. You know, I could just see a bear wearing corduroy overalls with one button missing … the minute I settled on Corduroy and Lisa, everything came together.”