One of our goals as librarians, teachers, and parents is that the children in our lives develop a love of books– and become skillful readers who understand what they read and engage with stories in life-changing ways.
Today, I’m sharing my favorite picture books about readers, reading, and books. Share these with your children, read with your students, or give them as gifts to your bookish friends with kids. I hope they inspire lots of reading!
Picture Books About Reading and Books
How to Read a Story by Kate Messner, illustrated by Mark Siegel
In simple steps, learn how to become a reader — from finding a story and a reading buddy to reading the story out loud to your buddy in a loud, clear voice.
How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
A luminous, whimsical celebration of the reader’s life with lyrical text, evocative images, and captivating typography. “Squeeze every morsel of each plump line until the last drop of magic/drips from the infinite sky.” Sweet’s layered collages pop with neon color and vibrant images while Alexander’s prose creates rich mental images. This is a dazzling book you’ll want to savor again and again.
Wolf by Becky Bloom
Wolf can’t believe that the farm animals aren’t scared of him. They don’t even look up from their books to see that Wolf is about to eat them! So, upon further investigation, Wolf tries to learn to read, too. He practices and starts out with just the basics. Then Wolf decides to go to the library and buy a book for himself. Soon Wolf discovers that practice makes him better and reading books makes him new friends.
How to Teach Your Slug to Read by Susan Pearson
If you can teach a slug to read, you can teach anyone to read. Surprisingly, slugs learn to read just like people do. First, you read out loud to him. Then, you point to repeated words. Then, you can attach labels to the slug’s favorite things. The most important part of the process is to have patience with your slug.
How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills
Rocket is a dog who accidentally becomes a bird’s reading student when he’s nearby the bird’s “school.” Rocket isn’t interested in learning to read until he hears the bird read a story about an unlucky dog missing his favorite bone. Rocket learns the alphabet, letter sounds, and how to read words. Eventually, the bird must fly south for winter but will return for more reading.
The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley and Katie Berube
Nick does everything with his cats — except read books. That’s why Nick decides to teach his cats to read, too. Verne, the cat, is interested but Stevenson, the cat, is not. Until . . . Nick discovers Stevenson’s drawing. All Stevenson needs are words, and he’s written his own story to read.
The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers
Henry doesn’t like to read books–he likes to EAT them! And the more he eats, the smarter he gets. But he gets sick from eating too fast. Will Henry learn to READ the books instead? Silly, clever, and poignant– we love this book!
Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora Foxy’s book specifically says that lemmings (small, fuzzy, illiterate rodents) do not jump off cliffs. As soon as he tells the lemmings who are on his arctic ship, they all JUMP off the boat. EVEN THOUGH THE BOOK SAYS they don’t jump off cliffs. Foxy realizes that they’ll never understand lemming behavior if they don’t read the book. Clearly, he needs to teach them how to read. Quirky and hilarious.
Little Red Reading Hood and the Misread Wolf by Troy Wilson, illustrated by Ilaria Campana
Red likes to read, and she uses the knowledge from her books on how to handle life’s situations. For example, when you encounter a wolf, maintain eye contact and slowly back away! And in this retold fairy tale, Red reads a story to Grandma, Wolf, and the Woodcutter.
I Do Not Like Books Anymore by Daisy Hirst
Natalie and Alphonse are siblings who love books… until Natalie gets her first reading-by-herself book which is boring. Her frustration is relatable — both with the often boring easy readers (gak!) as well as the patience and practice required for improving. Natalie makes up her own story which her dad writes down.
Let Me Finish! by Minh Le, illustrated by Isabel Roxas
Don’t you hate it when people interrupt you when you’re reading? Worse yet, when they ruin the story by telling you what happens!? If so, then you’ll love this hilarious story about just that. Unfortunately, this harassed reading boy just can’t escape the animals who want to tell him everything. And the ending? Well, I won’t tell you. Wouldn’t want to spoil it now would I?
Wild About Books by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Marc Brown
Molly the bookmobile librarian drives to the zoo and helps all the animals find a book they’ll like. And soon, the animals are wild about books! Rhyming and playful.
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp
What a sweet story of love and success learning to read! (Okay, I admit to shedding a tear or two. Because dogs. And books. . .) Madeline really wants to be a better reader, but reading just doesn’t click until she meets a beautiful, white dog named Bonnie who helps Madeline build her confidence in reading.
Read! Read! Read! by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke
The poet celebrates a child’s life filled with reading and the culture of reading! “A book gives you a double life. / It builds a treehouse in your head / a haven you can climb to / when you wish to get away.” The poems show kids reading while eating and at school, readers transported and affected by stories, and readers researching and remembering. “And as I chew I read. / And as I read I chew.“
The Highest Mountain of Books in the World by Rocio Bonilla
In a wonderful example of books taking us places, Lucas discovers that even though he can’t fly physically, stories take him to other countries, discover interesting things about history, and imagine worlds that don’t exist.
Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss
Thesaurus Has a Secret by Anya Glazer
Thesaurus is a dinosaur who loves words — and something secret, too: reading. When the other dinosaurs find Thesaurus reading, he’s worried about what they will think but they want to hear the rest of the story– and it helps them become readers themselves.
Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t) by Barbra Bottner, illustrated by Michael Emberley
Miss Brooks the library loves books A LOT. Missy says she’ll never love books like Miss Brooks. And she doesn’t. Even the books her mom reads to her. UNTIL…she reads a book about a warty ogre called Shrek–she loves it! Apparently, even ogres like Missy can find something at the library.
Franklin’s Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell, illustrated by Katie Harnett
Franklin the dragon scares everyone he meets until he meets Luna, a girl who loves books and stories just as much as him. Together they decide to open a flying bookshop on Franklin’s back. They show people the wonder of stories.
Give Me Back My Book! by Travis Foster and Ethan Long
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, illustrated by Joe Bluhm
Morris Lessmore loved books and his orderly life. But, a wild wind blows everything topsy-turvy, including the words in his books. He meets a flying lady pulled by books who gifts Morris a good book that leads him to a library of winged books. These flying books read to him and are his faithful companions as he writes stories and grows older. Pensive, whimsical, and emotionally resonant.
This Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne
Bella takes her dog for a stroll across the page –when the dog disappears into the book! Bella investigates because this book is very naughty. Your kids will laugh through this entire story, and help get everything out of the book.
Make Way for Readers by Judy Sierra and G. Brian Karas
The animal readers and their books join Miss Bingo, the storytime flamingo, for a rollicking time of story and movement. Even when little Annabelle’s toe is stepped on, her friends make her smile again by telling her a story. Younger children will enjoy this sweet celebration of storytime and stories!
Bear’s House of Books by Poppy Bishop, illustrated by Alison Edgson
Book-loving friends, Fox, Rabbit, Hedgehog, and Mouse, go on a book hunt and low and behold, find a book, a fantastic story about a dragon. They realize it belongs to Bear so they take it to his house where they discover — MORE BOOKS and no Bear– so they curl up and start reading. But what will happen when Bear returns home?
Have a Look, Says Book. by Richard Jackson, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
A girl and her father sit in a cozy chair and open a book then, travel through the pages where all the book things introduce themselves, describing what they’re like. The girl and her father meet everything and are cozy.
Hug This Book by Barney Saltzberg, illustrated by Fred Benaglia
BookSpeak! Poems About Books by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Josee Bisaillon
I love this book! Salas writes 21 fun, funny, delightful poems about books. You’ll read poems from the perspective of a character, about what happens in the bookstore at night, or how the book sees the reader.
Hooray for Books by Brian Won
The Book of Gold by Bob Staake
A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers, illustrated by Sam Winston
Travel over mountains of make-believe, lose yourself in forests of fairy tales and live in a home of invention. This is a whimsical trip showing you belong to the stories you read. Captivating illustrations are made from words and phrases– big, small, curvy, cave-like –from familiar stories adorn each page along with book spines, watercolor art, and ink drawings.
Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt, illustrated by Sarah Massini
A beautifully illustrated book about books! Book wide, book tall, . . . book start, book stop, . . . book rainy, book sunny. Reading this feels like I’m in a wonderful library or bookstore. Lovely.
We’re Going on a Book Hunt by Pat Miller, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Hunting for books means you need one that is not too hard or too easy but just right. This could be a decent introduction for a lesson on book choice and/or just-right books.
Read Island by Nicole Magistro, illustrated by Alice Feagan
In this rhyming story, see a welcoming island of stories. Animals from the Pacific Northwest area of British Columbia arrive to read and listen to stories.
Good Night Little Bookstore by Amy Cherrix, illustrated by E.B. Goodale
Sweet, rhyming, and gentle — say goodnight to the bookstore– to the door chime and picture books, the mysteries and recycling, the cat and the keys. This would make a lovely gift for any book-loving friend.