Check out these dazzling children’s books about library and reading perfect for teaching library rules and the joys of reading!
Looking for some new and captivating children’s books about library and the joys of reading? These books about librarians, readers, and books both real and fantastical are sure to dazzle and delight your elementary students. Whether you are a school librarian looking for new read aloud books to teach library rules, a classroom teacher looking to celebrate reading or a homeschooling parent nourishing a lifelong reader, these books are for you!
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The Oldest Student by Rita Lorraine Hubbard
In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. Finally at 116, she learned to read. From Rita Lorraine Hubbard and rising star Oge More comes the inspirational story of Mary Walker, a woman whose long life spanned from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, and who–with perseverance and dedication–proved that you’re never too old to learn. This book checks all of the boxes of a great mentor text also making my list the best children’s books for Black History Month and picture books for Women’s History Month.
You can get a sample lesson and activities for The Oldest Student by signing up here:
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories. He loved books. But every story has its ups and downs. Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds. But the power of story will save the day. Stunningly brought to life by William Joyce, one of the preeminent creators in children’s literature, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a modern masterpiece, showing that in today’s world of traditional books, eBooks, and apps, it’s story that we truly celebrate—and this story, no matter how you tell it, begs to be read again and again and sometimes even you yourself do the writing for someone else to read.
A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers
A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Now a lifetime of magic and adventure lies ahead of him . . . but who will be next? For lovers of Oliver Jeffers and reading alike!
How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander
Find a tree—a, black tupelo or, dawn redwood will do—and, plant yourself.
(It’s okay if you prefer a stoop, like Langston Hughes.)
With these words, an adventure begins. Kwame Alexander’s evocative poetry and Melissa Sweet’s lush collage artwork come together to take readers on a sensory journey between the pages of a book. A truly amazing book about reading that is also one of my favorite children’s books of poetry.
That Book Woman by Heather Henson
Cal is not the readin’ type. Living way high up in the Appalachian Mountains, he’d rather help Pap plow or go out after wandering sheep than try some book learning. Nope. Cal does not want to sit stoney-still reading some chicken scratch. But that Book Woman keeps coming just the same. She comes in the rain and in the snow. She comes right up the side of the mountain, and Cal knows that’s not easy riding. And all just to lend his sister some books. Why, that woman must be plain foolish—or is she braver than he ever thought?
That Book Woman is a rare and moving tale that honors a special part of American history—the Pack Horse Librarians, who helped untold numbers of children see the stories amid the chicken scratch, and thus made them into lifetime readers. An author’s note provides more context to the situation and explains the role of the Pack Horse Librarians.
Waiting For the Biblioburro by Monica Brown
Ana loves stories. She often makes them up to help her little brother fall asleep. But in her small village there are only a few books and she has read them all. One morning, Ana wakes up to the clip-clop of hooves, and there before her, is the most wonderful sight: a traveling library resting on the backs of two burros‑all the books a little girl could dream of, with enough stories to encourage her to create one of her own.
Inspired by the heroic efforts of real-life librarian Luis Soriano, award-winning picture book creators Monica Brown and John Parra introduce readers to the mobile library that journeys over mountains and through valleys to bring literacy and culture to rural Colombia, and to the children who wait for the BiblioBurro.
Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter
Another story about Luis Soriano: the man, who with his burros and his books bring joy to children in remote Colombian villages.
Luis loves to read, but soon his house in Colombia is so full of books there’s barely room for the family. What to do? Then he comes up with the perfect solution—a traveling library! He buys two donkeys—Alfa and Beto (as in Alphabet)—and travels with them throughout the land, bringing books and reading to the children in faraway villages.
Complete with an author’s note about the real man on whom this story is based.
The Right Word by Jen Bryant
For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions — and it wasn’t long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn’t write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and turned it to organizing ideas and finding exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.
Readers of all ages will marvel at Roget’s life, depicted through lyrical text and brilliantly detailed illustrations. This elegant book celebrates the joy of learning and the power of words. The book is best suited to upper elementary students, but the beautiful artwork by Melissa Sweet is also sure to draw in even younger readers.
Balderdash! by Michelle Markel
This rollicking and fascinating picture book biography chronicles the life of the first pioneer of children’s books—John Newbery himself. While most children’s books in the 18th century contained lessons and rules, John Newbery imagined them overflowing with entertaining stories, science, and games. He believed that every book should be made for the reader’s enjoyment. Newbery—for whom the prestigious Newbery Medal is named—became a celebrated author and publisher, changing the world of children’s books forever. This book about his life and legacy is as full of energy and delight as any young reader could wish.
This book is best suited for upper elementary students who by and large will be able to independently read different Newbery Medal and Honor winners. Too bad a book about Caldecott is still, as of yet, unwritten.
Planting Stories by Anika Aldamuy Denise
An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.
When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.
A Spanish-language edition, Sembrando historias: Pura Belpré: bibliotecaria y narradora de cuentos, is also available.
How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett
Beloved, bestselling creators Mac Barnett and Adam Rex team up again, this time to reveal the nitty gritty process of making a book…with a few unexpected twists along the way!
You may think you know how this book was made, but you don’t. Sure, the author wrote many drafts, and the illustrator took a long time creating the art, but then what? How’d it get into your hands? Well, open the cover and read through these pages to find out. Just beware of the pirates and angry tiger. Budding writers and artists will laugh at the mix of reality and the absurd as the story makes its way to a shelf…and eventually, to a reader.
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut by Dr. Seuss
The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
In this Seuss classic, the Cat in the Hat can read in purple and in brown, in a circle and even upside down! Can he teach Young Cat to do the same? A perfect stepping stone for emerging readers to show off their skills, this book will show kids all the wonderful ways and wonderful things you can read.
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Yuyi Morales brought her hopes, her passion, her strength, and her stories with her, when she came to the United States in 1994 with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn’t come empty-handed.
Dreamers is a celebration of making your home with the things you always carry: your resilience, your dreams, your hopes and history. It’s the story of finding your way in a new place, of navigating an unfamiliar world and finding the best parts of it. In dark times, it’s a promise that you can make better tomorrows. The library is an essential element of their finding the best parts of their new world.
A parallel Spanish-language edition, Soñadores, is also available.
Lost in the Library by Josh Funk
Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude is the first picture book about Patience and Fortitude, the two lion statues that faithfully guard the New York Public Library. When Patience goes missing, Fortitude realizes the secret to Patience’s disappearance may be within the library itself.
Dear Mr. Blueberry / Dear Greenpeace by Simon James
It’s vacation time, so Emily has to write to her teacher to help when she discovers a blue whale living in her pond. Mr. Blueberry answers that she must be mistaken, because whales live in the ocean, not in ponds. Throughout the summer, Emily and Mr. Blueberry exchange letters, until Emily has a happy surprise to share with her teacher. In the process, Emily learns a lot about whales. And Mr. Blueberry learns even more about imagination, faith, and love.
The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers
Like many children, Henry loves books. But Henry doesn’t like to read books, he likes to eat them. Big books, picture books, reference books . . . if it has pages, Henry chews them up and swallows (but red ones are his favorite). And the more he eats, the smarter he gets—he’s on his way to being the smartest boy in the world! But one day he feels sick to his stomach. And the information is so jumbled up inside, he can’t digest it! Can Henry find a way to enjoy books without using his teeth?
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, is very particular about rules in the library. No running allowed. And you must be quiet. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren’t any rules about lions in the library. As it turns out, though, this lion seems very well suited to library visiting. His big feet are quiet on the library floor. He makes a comfy backrest for the children at story hour. And he never roars in the library, at least not anymore. But when something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.
For the Right to Learn by Rebecca Langston-George
She grew up in a world where women were supposed to be quiet. But Malala Yousafzai refused to be silent. Discover Malala’s story through this powerful narrative telling, and come to see how one brave girl named Malala changed the world all for the right to learn. A truly inspiring story about how not everyone around the world has the right to learn and it is often based on gender and social class. This is also one of my favorite children’s books for Women’s History Month.
Richard Wright and the Library Card by William Miller
As a young black man in the segregated South of the 1920s, Wright was hungry to explore new worlds through books, but was forbidden from borrowing them from the library. This touching account tells of his love of reading, and how his unwavering perseverance, along with the help of a co-worker, came together to make Richard’s dream a reality.
The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
In the Spring of 2003, Alia Muhammad Baker was the city of Basra’s real-life librarian. She was the keeper of cherished books and her library was a haven for community gatherings. But with war imminent in Basra, Iraq, what could this lone woman do to save her precious books?
This true story of one librarian’s remarkable bravery reminds us all how, throughout the world, the love of literature and the respect for knowledge knows no boundaries.
I Will Not Read This Book by Cece Meng
This is the story of how the ultimate reluctant reader became a book lover. The little boy in I Will Not Read This Book has a lot of excuses, because if there is one thing he doesn’t want to do, it’s read this book. He won’t read it even if you hang him upside down by one toe, over a cliff, with sharks down below. And you know what? You. Can’t. Make. Him. In this book illustrated with wit and whimsy by Joy Ang, Cece Meng delivers once again with a pitch-perfect reluctant reader who is finally convinced to read the book if—and only if—someone he loves will read it with him.
Best Children’s Books About Library and Reading
What are some of your favorite children’s books about library and reading? Is there a must read children’s books about library and reading that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!
Remember: You can get a sample lesson and activities for The Oldest Student by signing up here: