Best Children's Books About Arizona

26 of the Best Arizona Books

Updated Apr. 16, 2019

Arizona may appear to be just a dry desert to some with miles and miles of dirt and sage brush and an occasional cactus, is that it? Well, we hope as you read these books you will see, as we have, how interesting these cacti can be! As well as lots of interesting animals to learn about.

Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry? book
#1
Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?
Written by Tish Rabe and illustrated by Aristides Ruiz, Joe Mathieu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Learn about deserts, what they are, and what animals live in them with the Cat in the Hat.

Desert Night Desert Day book
#2
Desert Night Desert Day
Written by Anthony D. Fredericks and illustrated by Kenneth J. Spengler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Rhyming text describes how desert animals live around the clock.

Cactus Hotel book
#3
Cactus Hotel
Written by Brenda Z Guiberson and illustrated by Megan Lloyd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This is such an interesting story. It tells all about the life of a cactus. Can you guess how long it takes for one of these cacti to grow to full height? I was very surprised to learn the facts. It is told in a very fun way. This story makes me want to visit the desert!

Describes the life cycle of the giant saguaro cactus, with an emphasis on its role as a home for other desert dwellers.

Good Night Arizona book
#4
Good Night Arizona
Written by Adam Gamble and illustrated by Joe Veno
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Goodfather

We have enjoyed the Good Night book series. We've found they're generally well researched and do a good job of highlighting some favorite attractions and features of a place. Good Night Arizona is no exception and is sure to please young readers familiar with Arizona.

Good Night Arizona includes the Grand Canyon, Colorado River, wildlife, desert flowers, ancient rock art, rodeo cowboys, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Merrick Butte, Cathedral Rock, Arizona sports teams, Petrified Forest National Park, mariachi music, and more. Hop on your mule and let's explore the magnificent state of Arizona as this charming board book highlights this region's most visited sights and natural wonders.

Roxaboxen book
#5
Roxaboxen
Written by Alice McLerran and illustrated by Barbara Cooney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Marian called it Roxaboxen. (She always knew the name of everything.) There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill -- nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo -- but it was a special place: a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops. Come with us there, where all you need to gallop fast and free is a long stick and a soaring imagination. In glowing desert hues, artist Barbara Cooney has caught the magic of Alice McLerran's treasured land of Roxaboxen -- a place that really was, and, once you've been there, always is.

Way Out in the Desert book
#6
Way Out in the Desert
Written by Jennifer Ward, T.J. Marsh and illustrated by Kenneth J. Spengler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

This toe-tapping text will have you singing along with the lovable creatures of the desert in no time! Filled with vibrant illustrations of many of the charming plants and animals that call the Sonoran Desert home, Way Out in the Desert is a wonderful teaching tool that takes you on a trip down memory lane. If you remember singing Over in the Meadow as a child, now you can give your children their own memories of this timeless tune. So take a child on a trip where Way out in the desert having fun in the sun lived a mother horned toad and her little toady one...

The Three Little Javelinas book
#7
The Three Little Javelinas
Written by Susan Lowell and illustrated by Jim Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This book is fun! It's just a "three pigs and big bad wolf" story, but desert style. The illustrations are fun, but the best part is the amount you can learn about the desert and its wildlife from this story. It is definitely worth reading.

Into English ESL Library Level F/Grade 5 title

Desert Giant book
#8
Desert Giant
Written and illustrated by Barbara Bash
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Documents the life cycle and ecosystem of the giant saguaro cactus and the desert animals it helps to support.

Where Is the Grand Canyon? book
#9
Where Is the Grand Canyon?
Written by Who HQ, Jim O'Connor and illustrated by Daniel Colon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Presents an introduction to the Grand Canyon, including how it formed, its end-to-end exploration in the late 1860s, the early native people who lived there, and its varied wildlife.

Art & Max book
#10
Art & Max
Written and illustrated by David Wiesner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Max wants to be an artist like Arthur, but his first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind trip through various media, with unexpected consequences.

A Cowgirl and Her Horse book
#11
A Cowgirl and Her Horse
Written and illustrated by Jean Ekman Adams
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-11

A young cowgirl demonstrates her unique way of caring for her horse, from feeding him hay sandwiches to helping him pick out new shoes.

Rattlesnake Rules book
#12
Rattlesnake Rules
Written by Conrad Storad and illustrated by Nathaniel Jensen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-5

Uh-oh! Was that a rattle I heard? Maybe it was a rattlesnake just following the rules. Rules? Rattlesnakes have rules?! If these babies shake their rattles, you d better pay attention! Much maligned primarily because they are too often misunderstood, rattlesnakes have gotten a bad rap over the years.Conrad J. Storad, an award-winning author of more than 40 science and nature books for young readers, wants to do something about that. Available in paperback for the first time, Rattlesnake Rules demystifies the world of rattlesnakes and introduces children to such topics as who, when, and what rattlesnakes eat. He shows readers why rattlesnakes have rattles and what it means if you hear one. You will learn how the snakes forked tongues help them survive. The delightful and colorful illustrations of Nathaniel P. Jensen help bring the story alive. A long-time resident of the Sonoran Desert, Conrad has long been fascinated by the diversity of animals and plants that call the desert home.

Good Night Grand Canyon book
#13
Good Night Grand Canyon
Written by Mark Jasper, Adam Gamble and illustrated by Cooper Kelly
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Young discovers are invited to venture deep into one of the most spectacular canyons in the world. Your young reader will explore all aspects of canyon life while being lulled into a peaceful night s rest. From mule riding to canyon wildlife, little ones recognize their most cherished sites and activities including hiking, mule riding, camping, the Colorado River, white-water rafting, fishing, park rangers, Mather Point, Grand Canyon Railway, Havasu Falls, Skywalk, Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon Visitor Center, helicopter tours, off roading, and canyon wildlife. "

Fang and Stinger book
#14
Fang and Stinger
Written and illustrated by Conrad Storad
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This story is the friendship of a tarantula and a scorpion who are picked on by a tarantula hawk wasp and learn to stand up themselves.

A Is for Arizona book
#15
A Is for Arizona
Written by Trish Madson and illustrated by David W Miles
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

A is for Apache Trout . . .B is for Bola . . .C is for Cactus Wren . . .With F for the Four Corners, N for Navajo Bridge, and T for Turquoise, going from A to Z has never been more fun! Take an alphabetized field trip around the Grand Canyon State and discover the plants, animals, foods, and places that make it, well, Arizona!

Don't Call Me Pig! book
#16
Don't Call Me Pig!
Written by Conrad Storad and illustrated by Beth Neely, Don Rantz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

Don't Call Me Pig!uses a delightful rhyme and clever colorful illustrations chock full of detail to tell the javelina's story. What exactly is a javelina? The hairy little animal is shaped much like a pig. It has a snout like a pig. It makes grunting noises like a pig. But is it really a pig? No way. Is it some type of large, hairy rodent? Nope. Not at all. Not even close! Javelina is just one name for a creature that lives in large families and roams in herds across the Southwestern deserts. Collared Peccary is another. One thing is certain, after reading this amusing story, readers of all ages will know why they should never, ever call them pigs!

The Seed and the Giant Saguro book
#17
The Seed and the Giant Saguro
Written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Mike K Rangner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It all begins with the tiniest of seeds. Here you will discover how a pack rat, a rattlesnake, a roadrunner, a coyote, and even the clouds above all play a role in helping a small seed grow into a giant saguaro. This wonderful read-aloud brings the wild desert to life and will spark a child's interest in the fascinating creatures that live there. As an added bonus, a timeline, glossary, and fun facts about this gentle giant and the amazing desert are included in the back.

Bedtime in the Southwest book
#18
Bedtime in the Southwest
Written by Mona Hodgson and illustrated by Renee Graef
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Various desert animals have different ways of trying to avoid bedtime.

Cindy Ellen book
#19
Cindy Ellen
Written by Susan Lowell and illustrated by Jane Manning
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Once upon a time, there was a sweet cowgirl named Cindy Ellen, who lived with the orneriest stepmother west of the Mississippi and two stepsisters who were so nasty, they made rattlesnakes look nice! But when a fast-talkin' fairy godmother teaches Cindy Ellen a little lesson about gumption, Cindy lassos first place at the rodeo and the heart of Joe Prince.... You may think you've heard the story before-but you'll get a side-splittin' bellyache after you're through with this hilarious rendition told Wild West-style!

Coyote book
#20
Coyote
Written and illustrated by Gerald McDermott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Coyote, who has a nose for trouble, insists that the crows teach him how to fly, but the experience ends in disaster for him.

A is for Arizona book
#21
A is for Arizona
Written and illustrated by J.S. Monroe-Daley
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Take an alphabetical journey—A through Z—while learning fun facts about the University of Arizona. The rhymes and facts from A is for Arizona are wonderful for learning the alphabet and a whole lot about Arizona sports. A great book for Wildcat fans of all ages!

G Is for Grand Canyon book
#22
G Is for Grand Canyon
Written by Barbara Gowan and illustrated by Katherine Larson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

People, places, animals, and characteristic things of Arizona are represented by the letters of the alphabet, with information about them presented in rhyme and explanatory notes.

Zackary Z Packrat Backpacks the Grand Canyon book
#23
Zackary Z Packrat Backpacks the Grand Canyon
Written by Brooke Bessesen and illustrated by Jenny Campbell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Looking for fun and adventure? Zachary Z. Packrat backpacks the Grand Canyon takes you on an interactive expedition to discover the spectacular nature of America s grandest national park. Hike with Zachary into this geologic wonder to search for small treasures, and you are in for some humorous and heart-stopping surprises.

Desert Digits book
#24
Desert Digits
Written by Barbara Gowan and illustrated by Irving Toddy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Topics such as the insects, mountain peaks, saguaro, coyotes, cacti, and more found in Arizona are introduced using numbers and poetry combined with detailed expository text for more in-depth information.

Hello Arizona book
#25
Hello Arizona
Written and illustrated by Martha Zschock
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Welcome to Arizona! Parent and child eastern collared lizards tour Arizona in best-selling author-illustrator Martha Day Zschock's Hello! board book series for children. In Hello, Arizona! join the pair as they explore the Grand Canyon, Tucson, Phoenix, and Slide Rock State Park. Along the way, saddle up at a dude ranch, paint at the museum, visit an old pueblo home, and peek at the stars at the Lowell Observatory! For ages 2-5. Made in the USA.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.