One of my kids was born on St. Patrick’s Day so I’ve always been interested in finding good St. Patrick’s Day picture books.
Of course, because of my daughter’s birthday, we go all out decorating our house with green, shamrock decorations, pots of gold, and leprechaun characters.
Do you celebrate with the you-must-wear-green or get pinched tradition?
Let me share a quick history about this Catholic saint before we dive into the books. St. Patrick is one of Ireland’s patron saints who lived during the 5th century. He was originally a slave brought o Ireland but after escaping and returning, he’s said to have brought Christianity to Ireland. Every March 17 for over 1,000 years, the Irish celebrated with a St. Patrick feast. And today, we still celebrate.
One of the legends of St. Patrick is that he used a shamrock (a native Irish clover) to explain the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
When many Irish people immigrated to the Americas, they brought the St. Patrick’s celebration with them. Now many cities and communities celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with green beer, corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, Irish coffee, and the like.
Here are some of our favorites about this famous holiday based on the story of St. Patrick and the Irish legends of clovers and leprechauns.
Top St. Patrick’s Day Picture Books
Happy St. Patrick’s Day Curious George by H.A. Rey
It’s George’s lucky day! He dresses in green, he makes traps, he searches for gold, and learns Irish dance steps. What else does George do? And will he get into his usual mischief?
That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Three leprechauns are on their way to the end of the rainbow to bury their pot of gold. Along the way, they get up to some silly mischief because… you guessed it, that’s what leprechauns do! And even though no one found their pot of gold, they’ll be back the next time there’s a rainbow. Because that’s what leprechauns do…This is a very cute and playful story.
The Story of the Leprechaun by Katherine Tegen, illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert
Why do leprechauns bury their gold at the end of a rainbow? Well after the shoemaker leprechaun met a greedy man who tried to steal his gold, the shoemaker remembered that it’s so hard to tell where the rainbow begins and ends, that it makes the perfect hiding place. What a fun origin story of this Irish legend!
How to Trap a Leprechaun by Sue Fleiss, illustrated by Emma Randall
The rhyming text narrates how to build a sparkly, tricky trap so you can catch a leprechaun and get a wish. Will the children be able to catch the mischievous elf? You’ll love their ideas and want to make your own trap after reading this book!
The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Amy Wummer
This picture book is about the night before St. Patrick’s Day when Tim and Maureen decorate the house and set up traps to catch a leprechaun. What will they discover when they wake up?
Pete the Cat The Great Leprechaun Chase by James Dean
Pete learns about leprechauns at school, so he opens a leprechaun catching business. His friends hire him to catch them one so they’ll have good luck. At first, the leprechaun named Clover he tries to catch is too smart and too fast for Pete but when Pete does catch Clover, Pete realizes something important Pete is a very lucky cat and he doesn’t need a lucky leprechaun. He lets Clover goes and helps each of his friends.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover by Lucille Colandro, illustrated by Jared Lee
In this classic book series based on the famous song, this time the old lady first swallows a clover, then more things like a butterfly and a pot. Why does she swallow all these things? Try to guess!
Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola
In trademark folk-art style illustrations and kid-friendly language, read the history of St. Patrick, a noble-born captured by the Irish. Read how he came to found the Christian church in the country that held him captive.
Fun St. Patrick’s Day Crafts by Carol Gnojewski
I don’t love the design of this book, but there are some good craft ideas that will keep your kids happily celebrating the St. Patrick’s Day holiday with Irish-themed crafts.
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