Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to acting. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about acting.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about acting, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Star of the Show to popular sellers like Ballet Shoes to some of our favorite hidden gems like Audrey Hepburn.
We hope this list of kids books about acting can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
The Legendary Miss Lena Horne - Celebrate the life of Lena Horne, the pioneering African American actress and civil rights activist, with this inspiring and powerful picture book from award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford. You have to be taught to be second class; you’re not born that way. Lena Horne was born into the freedom struggle, to a family of teachers and activists. Her mother dreamed of being an actress, so Lena followed in her footsteps as she chased small parts in vaudeville, living out of a suitcase until MGM offered Lena something more—the first ever studio contract for a black actress. But the roles she was considered for were maids and mammies, stereotypes that Lena refused to play. Still, she never gave up. “Stormy Weather” became her theme song, and when she sang “This Little Light of Mine” at a civil rights rally, she found not only her voice, but her calling.
Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe - Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. On the outside, you couldn’t find two girls who looked more different. But on the inside, they were alike—full of hopes and dreams and plans of what might be. Ella Fitzgerald’s velvety tones and shube-doobie-doos captivated audiences. Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington couldn’t wait to share the stage with her, but still, Ella could not book a performance at one of the biggest clubs in town—one she knew would give her career its biggest break yet. Marilyn Monroe dazzled on the silver screen with her baby blue eyes and breathy boo-boo-be-doos. But when she asked for better scripts, a choice in who she worked with, and a higher salary, studio bosses refused. Two women whose voices weren’t being heard. Two women chasing after their dreams and each helping the other to achieve them. This is the inspiring, true story of two incredibly talented women who came together to help each other shine like the stars that they are.
Milo's Hat Trick - Milo the Magnificent’s magic act isn’t so magnificent after all, until he meets a bear who teaches him the secret to the perfect hat trick in this classic and critically acclaimed picture book, perfect for fans of Oliver Jeffers and Jon Klassen Milo the Magnificent is the world’s least magnificent magician. He can’t even pull a rabbit out of his hat! When Mr. Popovich gives him one more chance, Milo knows he has no choice: he has to go out and catch a rabbit for his act. Instead, he catches a bear. And the bear promises to help! Into the hat he dives. Milo rides the train home, sure his act will go off perfectly tonight. But when he arrives in his dressing room, he discovers that he left his hat—and the bear!—on the train. Meanwhile, across town, a man in a restaurant has a very familiar hat . . . Can Milo get his hat back in time for his act?
The Fix-It Friends: The Show Must Go On - In the third adventure in Nicole C. Kear’s sweet chapter book series, it’s up to the Fix-It Friends to help the star of the school play prepare for opening night. Because reading isn’t always as easy as ABC. It’s a dream come true! Veronica’s playing the Queen of Hearts in the school play. It’s perfect: She gets to be a star and scream her head off! Even better, she makes an amazing new friend. Liv, who’s playing Alice, is a natural—it seems there’s nothing she can’t do! That is, until she reveals to Veronica that reading is really hard for her. To learn her lines, she’s going to need a lot of help. That’s the cue for the Fix-It Friends! With Jude working on sets, Cora on costumes, Ezra on stage lights, and Veronica by her side on stage, Liv is surrounded by just the right crew to help her get ready for opening night. After all, the show must go on! Told in Veronica’s charismatic, enthusiastic, and funny voice, The Show Must Go On is the third book in The Fix-It Friends series, which makes childhood issues accessible for chapter book readers. Includes a toolbox of expert advice on how to approach reading challenges! Don’t miss the other Fix-It Friends adventures: The Fix-It Friends: Have No Fear! The Fix-It Friends: Sticks and Stones The Fix-It Friends: Wish You Were Here The Fix-It Friends: Eyes on the Prize The Fix-It Friends: Three’s a Crowd An Imprint Book Praise for The Fix-It Friends: Have No Fear!: “Fears are scary! But don’t worry: the Fix-It Friends are here with step-by-step help —and humor too.”—Fran Manushkin, author of the Katie Woo series “Full of heart and more than a little spunk” —Kathleen Lane, author of The Best Worst Thing An empowering resource for kids — and they’re just plain fun to read.” —Lauren Knickerbocker, Ph.D., Co-Director, Early Childhood Service, NYU Child Study Center “Hooray for these young friends who work together; this diverse crew will have readers looking forward to more.” —Kirkus Reviews “The humor is spot-on, and the stories pull kids in, teaching without preaching, encouraging children to be active problem-solvers in their own lives.” —Dr. Dawn Huebner, Ph. D., child psychologist and creator of the What-to-Do Guides for Kids series
Jack & Louisa Act 2 - Cast opposite each other when their middle school stages a production of Guys and Dolls, Jack and Lou find their ambitions of stardom threatened by a mysterious new director, a Broadway-level dance call and a new stage competitor.
Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy - A moving biography of the late Leonard Nimoy, the iconic Spock from Star Trek, whose story exemplifies the American experience and the power of pursuing your dreams.
Boo Crew (Nancy Drew Clue Book) - Help Nancy and her friends find the truth behind a haunted theater in the tenth book in the interactive Nancy Drew Clue Book mystery series. The hit TV show Twinkle Little Stars is coming to River Heights to audition contestants for their upcoming Halloween show. They’ll choose talented kids from all over the country to compete for prizes. Nancy, Bess, and George are dressing up as witches and are planning to create a special potion onstage for the judges. The recently renovated Heights Theatre has opened its doors for the auditions. The old theatre had been abandoned for fifty years but is now restored to its original beauty. But on the day of the auditions, everything seems to go wrong; the girls’ cauldron over bubbles, a werewolf mask makes its owner sneeze, spider webs fall on the dancers. That’s when the clue crew learns the Heights Theatre is rumored to be haunted—people say ghosts are the reason it stayed empty for so long. But Nancy knows better than to believe in ghosts. She’s sure that the culprit is of the human variety. Then Bess sees monsters dancing around a piano playing on its own—the keys moving but no is playing it. Could the rumors be true? Is the Heights Theatre really haunted? It’s up to the clue crew—and you—to find out!
Ballet Shoes - In the tradition of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess come Noel Streatfeild’s tales of triumph. In this story, three orphan girls vow to make a name for themselves and find their own special talents. With hard work, fame just may be in the stars! Originally published in 1937.
Magic Molly - After going to a magic show, Molly decides that she wants to be a real magician, and she hopes that her father’s old magic kit may help her master some real magic in time to put on a show for Sharing Time at school—aiming big, she would really like to be able to saw her best friend in half (and of course put her back together).
Stink: Hamlet and Cheese - It’s spring break, and Stink is faced with a difficult choice: hang out at home with his sister, Judy, or become a Shakespeare Sprite with his friend Sophie of the Elves. Hanged be! When Sophie tells Stink that there will be swordplay and cursing at Shakespeare camp, his choice is made. But wait! How now? The eager young thespian hadn’t counted on Riley Rottenberger being a Sprite, too. And he positively had not counted on being the only boy! Fie upon’t!
The Fantastic and Terrible Fame of Classroom 13 - When famous agent Lucy LaRoux drops by the 13th Classroom, she makes an offer no one can refuse—she wants all of the students to be FAMOUS. You might think this was unselfish, but it was not. It was very selfish. (Lucy just wants money.) With great fame comes stage fright, broken bones, reality television, and other awful accidents. As the students of Classroom 13 are about to learn, being famous (or infamous) isn’t always fun.
Nancy Drew 39: The Clue of the Dancing Puppet - When the eerie performances of a life-size puppet begin to haunt the old Van Pelt estate, where an amateur acting group – The Footlighters – have their theater, Nancy Drew is called upon to unravel the baffling mystery. From the moment the detective and her friends Bess and George arrive at the mansion, the dancing puppet puzzle is further complicated by Tammi Whitlock, the Footlighters’ temperamental leading lady, and Emmet Calhoun, a Shakespearean actor. Nancy’s search of the mansion’s dark, musty attic for clues to the weird mystery starts a frightening chain reaction. A phone call from a stranger with a witchlike, cackling voice warns her to “Get out!” Next an encounter with two jewel theft suspects adds another perplexing angle to the puzzle. When Nancy finally sees the life-size puppet flitting across the moonlit lawn and chases it, she learns that someone with a sinister motive is determined to keep her form solving the case. Is it one of the Footlighters? Or is it an outsider?
Shai & Emmie Star in Break an Egg! - From Academy Award–nominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis comes the first story in a brand-new series about best friends Shai and Emmie, two third graders destined for superstardom. Shai Williams was born to be a star (or a veterinarian—and maybe a dentist). She attends a special elementary school for the performing arts, and her grandma Rosa and aunt Mac-N-Cheese are both actresses. So Shai is shocked when she doesn’t get the lead role in the third-grade musical. Instead, the part goes to the new girl, Gabby Supreme, who thinks she is better than everyone else. To add insult to injury, Ms. Gremillion has now asked Shai to help Gabby with the role. Shai reluctantly agrees and enlists Emmie to help, but Gabby isn’t going to make it easy. As opening night draws near, Shai discovers that making a new friend is sometimes like putting on a show—it requires dedication, patience, and lots and lots of practice.
Shai & Emmie Star in Dancy Pants! - From Academy Award–nominated actress Quvenzhané Wallis comes the second story in a brand-new series about best friends Shai and Emmie, two third-graders destined for superstardom. Shai Williams—third-grader and superstar in the making—loves to act, sing, and dance. So when her teacher, Ms. Englert, signs their class up for a major dance competition, Shai’s fancy moves are put to the test. Paired up with her best friend Emmie and classmate Rio, Shai plans to settle her competition jitters by just having fun. That is until her rival, Gabby Supreme, challenges her to a bet: whoever loses the dance competition has to bring the winner one cupcake every day for a month. Now Shai has to win.
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