Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to aviation. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about aviation.
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 aviation, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like I Am Amelia Earhart to popular sellers like Rosie Revere, Engineer to some of our favorite hidden gems like Mayday.
We hope this list of kids books about aviation 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.
Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck’s class, is available in September 2016.
Meet Amelia, the fearless female flier! Now available as a board book in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of Amelia Earhart, from her childhood as a tomboy to becoming the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean to her eventual disappearance. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!
Once, there was a pig who admired birds. But he could never join them. Or could he? Thus begins the journey of a pig with big dreams, and the perseverance to make them come true. He develops flight plans, builds experimental contraptions, and has far-flung adventures, but at the end of the day, his favorite thing to do is still to sit and watch for those he loves best: the birds. Il Sung Na creates a world at once whimsical and aspirational, where anything is possible and, yes, even pigs can learn to fly.
What’s it like to travel by plane for the first time? Little flyers are in good company with Maisy leading the way.
Maisy is going to visit her friend Ella, and she is taking a plane to get there. She’s very excited! Join the mouse as she checks in at the airport, finds her seat (by the window!) and makes some new friends on her flight. From the whoosh at takeoff to waiting in line for the bathroom, from buckling seat belts to arriving in a whole new wonderful place, flying is more fun with a friend like Maisy on board.
An Inspiring True Story about One Family’s Escape from Behind the Berlin Wall!
Peter was born on the east side of Germany, the side that wasn’t free. He watches news programs rather than cartoons, and wears scratchy uniforms instead of blue jeans. His family endures long lines and early curfews. But Peter knows it won’t always be this way. Peter and his family have a secret. Late at night in their attic, they are piecing together a hot air balloon—and a plan. Can Peter and his family fly their way to freedom? This is the true story of one child, Peter Wetzel, and his family, as they risk their lives for the hope of freedom in a daring escape from East Germany via a handmade hot air balloon in 1979.
• A perfect picture book for educators teaching about the Cold War, the Iron Curtain, and East Germany
• Flight for Freedom is a showcase for lessons of bravery, heroism, family, and perseverance, as well as stunning history.
• Includes detailed maps of the Wetzel family’s escape route and diagrams of their hot air balloon
For fans of historical nonfiction picture books like Let the Children March, The Wall, Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon.
• True life escape stories
• For picture book readers age 5–9
• For teachers, librarians, and historians
Kristen Fulton is a children’s book author. She can always be found with a notebook in hand as she ventures through historical sites and museums. Most of the time she lives in Florida—but she can also be found traveling the country by RV.
Torben Kuhlmann is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. Starting in kindergarten he became known as “the draftsman.” Flying machines and rich historical detail often adorn his work. He lives in Hamburg, Germany.
Mayday - In the tradition of Counting By 7s and The Thing About Jellyfish, a heartwarming coming-of-age story about grief, family, friendship, and the importance of finding your voice Wayne Kovok lives in a world of After. After his uncle in the army was killed overseas. After Wayne and his mother survived a plane crash while coming back from the funeral. After he lost his voice. Wayne has always used his love of facts to communicate (“Did you know more people die each year from shaking a vending machine than from shark attacks?”). Without his voice, how will he wow the prettiest girl in school? How will he stand up to his drill-sergeant grandfather? And how will he share his hopes with his deadbeat dad? It’s not until Wayne loses his voice completely that he realizes how much he doesn’t say. Filled with Karen Harrington’s signature heart and humor, Mayday tackles an unforgettable journey of family and friendship.
Heal the Earth - Take a journey to help the Earth in the second book of the New York Times bestselling trilogy by Julian Lennon! Jump aboard the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go wherever you want. This time, Lennon’s interactive book immerses children in a fun and unique journey where they can: Bring medicine to people in need! Dive below the ocean to bleached coral reefs! Visit the city to cultivate green spaces! Help the rain forest return and give its animals a home! Explore the planet, meet new people, and help make the world a better place! The Flier’s mission is to transport readers around the world, to engage them in helping to save the environment, and to teach one and all to love our planet. Just press a button printed on the page, and point the plane up in the air to fly, or down to land it! An inspiring, lyrical story, rooted in Lennon’s life and work, Heal the Earth is filled with beautiful illustrations that bring the faraway world closer to young children. The book includes words to a new, special poem written by Julian Lennon, specifically for Heal the Earth. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to support the environmental and humanitarian efforts of the White Feather Foundation, the global environmental and humanitarian organization that Lennon founded to promote education, health, conservation, and the protection of indigenous culture.
Violet the Pilot - Violet is a science-loving girl inventor with a flair for the air! Fans of Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer will love this classic underdog story by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Steve Breen. By the time she’s two years old, Violet Van Winkle can engineer nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she’s building elaborate flying machines from scratch—mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she’s capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen—something involving her best-ever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself!
Pop-Up Things That Go! - The illustrator of the oversize hit Animals offers a pair of eye-catching miniature pop-up books sure to make waves and transport imaginations. Modes of transportation are exciting and ever popular — and here they get an attractive makeover in a kid-friendly pop-up with pages of things that go, from ice-cream trucks to helicopters, fire engines to tricycles. Bright colors and clean graphics set this attractive little book zooming ahead of the pack.
A chant-along companion to Monkey Truck features a heroic, fire-fighting elephant who bravely patrols the skies above the Savannah with her fire-hose nose, putting out fires and rescuing her fellow animals.
National Geographic spins off its best-selling Little Kids First Big Book series into engaging new board books to introduce even the littlest kids to high-quality nonfiction. These sturdy pages explore the basics of the solar system with amazing photographs, super-simple facts, and lively, age-appropriate language to keep babies and toddlers—and their grown-ups—fascinated by every colorful page. With stunning photos of the Earth and other planets, this beautiful book introduces the very youngest explorers to the wonders of the space, beginning right here on Earth and expanding into the universe beyond. Designed to be the stepping stone to the Little Kids First Big Book series, the National Geographic Little Kids First Board Books take similar subjects and drill them down to the simplest nonfiction concepts for the youngest audience. Not only will readers learn about planets and our solar system, they can also find recurring shapes and patterns in the design; occasional callouts will add humor for adults, and sidebar text offers additional learning for older siblings or those ready for more complex information.With their square shape, bright and playful design, awesome photography, clear text, and cues to encourage interactive learning, the Little Kids First Board Books mirror the beloved First Big Books while taking a fresh new approach to excite a baby’s sense of wonder and make learning about nature and science fun.
Soar in a BEARplane, take a ride in a taxiCRAB, and enjoy more animal and vehicle puns in Planes, Trains, and Animobiles!
In the cockpit Captain Bright Makes sure everything works right. Wing flaps open. Wing flaps close. Lights shine bright on tail and nose.
Susanna Leonard Hill’s rhythmic text and Ana Martin Larranaga’s simple but enticing art will take young readers on an exciting airplane ride! Kids can lift the10 flaps throughout the book to make their flying and reading experience more fun! Fasten your seatbelt and fly above the sky with this interactive book that’s shaped like an airplane. This format is perfect for young children who are going on a plane for the first to one-hundredth time!
For the 50th anniversary of the Boeing 747’s first commercial flight, a picture book about the development of the iconic passenger plane and how it changed the history of air travel.
In 1968, the biggest passenger jet the world had ever seen premiered in Everett, Washington. The giant plane was called the Boeing 747, but reporters named it “the Jumbo jet.”
There was only one problem. It couldn’t fly. Yet.
Jumbo details the story of the world’s first wide body passenger jet, which could hold more people than any other plane at the time and played a pivotal role in allowing middle class families to afford overseas travel. Author and illustrator Chris Gall, himself a licensed pilot, shows how an innovative design, hard work by countless people, and ground-breaking engineering put the Jumbo jet in the air.
On January 22, 1970, the Boeing 747 made it’s first transatlantic flight, taking passengers from New York to Paris in seven hours.
I Am Amelia Earhart - Presents the life of the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, who mysteriously disappeared in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world.
Amazing Airplanes - Buckle up to learn all about flying! Amazing Airplanes follows the animal crew, as they become pilots, baggage handlers, and air stewards. Each page is filled with details that machine-mad kids love, such as the cockpit, landing gear, and much more. This book now in chunky board book format is perfect for budding pilots or happy vacationers! From airplanes to fire engines, the internationally bestselling Amazing Machines series is the perfect way for children to learn about all sorts of vehicles! Each book introduces a new vehicle and the jobs it can do. Bright, engaging artwork and simple, rhyming text combine to make these fantastic books for young children. Kids will love getting to know the friendly, animal characters who feature throughout the series and reading about their fast-paced adventures!
Push-Pull-Turn! Up in the Air! - Up, up, and away! Get ready for takeoff! Up in the Air takes kids up in the air as they are introduced to a variety of flying vehicles. Each page features a different interactive element such as spinners, flaps, and tabs. While reading the rhyming story, kids can use the interactive elements to bring the story to life. Whether it’s a jet, helicopter, or hot-air balloon, Up in the Air is the perfect introduction to flying vehicles for youngsters.
Planes Go - The helicopter goes, “PITTATATATA PITTATATATA PITTATATATA.” The jumbo jet goes, “Wheeeeeeeee VRRRRRRRRRRUUUHHHHHHHHHMMM.” The propeller plane goes, “HUK HUK HUK WHIRRRRRRR WHIRRRRRR.” Prepare for liftoff with 8 exciting aircraft and the noises they make in this irresistible board book! The long, oversized format lends itself to the shape of the vehicles and stands out on the shelf, and the boisterous text begs to be read aloud.
Nadya Skylung paid a high price when she defeated the pirates on the cloudship Remora- She lost her leg. But has she lost her nerve too? When Nadya and the rest of the crew of the cloudship Orion reach the port of Far Agondy, they have a lot to do, including a visit to Machinist Gossner’s workshop to have a prosthetic made for Nadya. But though the pirates are far away across the Cloud Sea, Nadya and her friends are still not safe. A gang leader called Silvermask is kidnapping skylung and cloudling children in Far Agondy. When Nadya’s friend Aaron is abducted, Nayda will stop at nothing to save him and the other missing kids, and put a stop to Silvermask once and for all.
When a teacher gets stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel at the fair, cranes and planes can’t reach her. The only one who might have a chance is Yellow Copter!
With a rollicking rhyme and candy-colored illustrations, this is the perfect read-aloud for any fan of machines that are big, make loud noises, or fly—or all three at once.
Have you ever looked up and wondered what’s going on high up in the skies above your eyes? Take a journey up into the air, through the atmosphere, way out into space, and back down to Earth in this richly illustrated concertina book. Readers will zoom past the technology that fills our skies, from helicopters, fighter jets, weather balloons, and satellites, hang-gliders and hot-air balloons. They’ll also discover the insects and animals that whizz through the skies, explore the layers of the atmosphere, and travel through the solar system and out to the galaxies far beyond. Following on from The Street Beneath My Feet, which dug down to the centre of the Earth, this expansive concertina book opens out to an impressive 2.5 metres, perfect for inquisitive young minds.
Sisters Jaundice and Kale Bland are flown to Egypt, where they are reunited with their parents, whose real identities they learn, and seek to uncover the mysteries of a magical scarab.
Nathan Hale tackles a topic fans have been asking about for years: World War II. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, officially bringing the United States into World War II. A new generation of pilots were recruited to fly bombing missions for the United States, and from that group, volunteers were requested for a dangerous secret assignment. For the first time in American history, Army bombers would be launched from an aircraft carrier. Once at sea, they were told their mission was a retaliation strike against targets in Tokyo. But on the day of the raid, a Japanese patrol boat spotted them and they had to launch early, with barely enough fuel to get them past their target. After the bombing, some pilots crashed, some were captured, and many ended up in mainland China and were carried to safety by Chinese villagers, being hunted by Japanese forces all the while. With tales of high-flying action and bravery, Raid of No Return is a story of heartbreak and survival during wartime.
Death by Airship - Prince Conn will never be king. And that’s just fine with him. He’s ninth in line for the pirate throne and is quite happy to sail the skies in his airship with his crew of cheery misfits, plundering as they go. But one by one his siblings are being murdered, in tragic fires, violent cannon attacks or mysterious poisonings. Soon all fingers are pointing toward Conn as the mastermind. To prove his innocence, Conn must make his way to Skull Island, navigating his airship through a gauntlet of villains, explosions and betrayals. Can he reach his father’s kingdom before it’s too late? Or will he suffer the same fate as the rest of his family?
All Aboard! the Airport Train - Hop on board to explore the airport in this accordion-style book with flaps to lift on every page All aboard! This accordion-style book folds out car by car, taking readers on a tour of an airport train—inside and out. Readers are asked to help a girl bound for summer camp find her missing plane ticket, and as they search, they are introduced to all the passengers on the train. There are vacationing penguins, glamorous movie stars, traveling musicians, and other silly surprises sure to delight on every read. When readers flip the book over, they’ll discover a panoramic view of the airport—the control tower, runways, and parking lots—dotted with objects for readers to find and count. A fun, interactive ride from beginning to end!
Little Guides to Great Lives: Amelia Earhart - The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart was a superstar of aviation in the 1920s and 1930s and a pioneer of women’s rights. Her disappearance in 1937, while attempting to fly around the world, remains an unsolved mystery. From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way. Launching with Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela, and Amelia Earhart, Little Guides to Great Lives tells the stories of the most amazing people from all over the world and across history, with full-color illustrations and fresh design to bring their incredible stories to life.
Planes Soar - Take a trip in a plane with this photographic board book.
Follows Henry and his father through an airport as they see and talk about different forms of air transportation, including airplanes, helicopters, and hot air balloons.
Beastologist-in-training Nathaniel Fludd and his Aunt Phil nurse a mysteriously ill unicorn, try to stop Obediah from taking the unicorn’s horn, and finally get a solid lead on the whereabouts of Nathaniel’s parents.
Profiles Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who made great strides in the invention of flight.
The best thing about flight school is that Little Plane gets to learn how to sky-write! He adores practicing ARCS! He excels at practicing DIVES! But not everything is easy and fun. Little Plane loathes practicing LOOPITY-LOOPS. They make him dizzy. Find out what it will take to make Little Plane learn how to write in this little book about big dreams from award-winning author Stephen Savage.
Maisy flies her plane to a special party and passes hot air balloons and clouds along the way.
A Dream of Flight - Years before the invention of the modern airplane, Alberto Santos-Dumont dreamed of flying. As a boy, he was mesmerized by the machinery on his father’s coffee plantation in Brazil and went on to study science and engineering in France. Soon his groundbreaking—and sometimes silly—inventions became the talk of Paris, especially after he set his sights on building an airship that could bring the world’s people together. His small stature and big ideas earned him the nickname “Le Petite Santos.” This is the story of Santos’s successful race for the Deutsche Prize, and his many failures along the way. Chock-full of cool diagrams, charming Parisian scenes, and graphic novel-style spot illustrations, A Dream of Flight will have young readers looking to the sky and scheming up their own aerial inventions.
The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving into History - A hilarious nonfiction look at two of history’s most epic “failures”: the Wright brothers, whose countless crashes and biggest failures led to ultimate success. Although the Wright Brothers are now celebrated as heroes for their groundbreaking contributions to science and engineering as the first men to successfully manage powered, piloted flight, their eventual success was built on the back of a lot of nosedives. It took the self-taught engineers years of work and countless crashes before they managed to remain airborne for a mere twelve seconds! In this hilarious first installment of the Epic Fails series, Ben Thompson and Erik Slader take readers through the the Wright Brothers’ many failed attempts at flight before achieving their groundbreaking success, laying the foundation for aviation as we know it today.
The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in France in 1900, when airplanes were just being invented. Antoine dreamed of flying and grew up to be a pilot―and that was when his adventures began. He found a job delivering mail by plane, which had never been done before. He and his fellow pilots traveled to faraway places and discovered new ways of getting from one place to the next. Antoine flew over mountains and deserts. He battled winds and storms. He tried to break aviation records, and sometimes he even crashed. From his plane, Antoine looked down on the earth and was inspired to write about his life and his pilot-hero friends in memoirs and in fiction. Peter Sís’s remarkable biography celebrates the author of The Little Prince, one of the most beloved books in the world. This title has Common Core connections.
Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot: Candlewick Biographies - “Smith tells Sophie’s inspiring story with a buoyant sense of wonder, fitting for a woman who was happiest in the air. Her accomplishments and passion for flight are brought beautifully to life by Tavares.” — Booklist (starred review) Take to the skies with the story of Sophie Blanchard, an extraordinary woman who is largely forgotten despite her claim to being the very first female pilot in history. In eighteenth-century France, “balloonomania” has fiercely gripped the nation . . . but all of the pioneering aeronauts are men until a shy girl comes along, devoted to her dream of flight. Sophie is not the first woman to ascend in a balloon, nor the first woman to accompany an aeronaut on a trip, but she will become the first woman to climb to the clouds and steer her own course.
Children explore the many ways we use airplanes, from seaplanes to crop dusters to planes that write messages in the sky. This very simple picture book about transportation ‘will delight the youngest, and have enough meat for older preschoolers and beginning readers.’ — K.
Katie is flying to Florida to visit her grandmother, but she has never been on an airplane before.
Take to the skies with Flying Machines! Follow the famous aviators from their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, to the fields of North Carolina where they were to make their famous flights. In an era of dirigibles and hot air balloons, the Wright Brothers were among the first innovators of heavier than air flight. But in the hotly competitive international race toward flight, Orville and Wilbur were up against a lot more than bad weather. Mechanical failures, lack of information, and even other aviators complicated the Wright Brothers’ journey. Though they weren’t as wealthy as their European counterparts, their impressive achievements demanded attention on the international stage. Thanks to their carefully recorded experiments and a healthy dash of bravery, the Wright Brothers’ flying machines took off.
In the year and a half since the flight of the first manned balloon in 1783, an Italian has flown, a Scot has flown, a woman has flown, even a sheep has flown. But no one has flown from one country to another. John Jeffries, an Englishman, and his pilot, Jean-Pierre Blanchard, a Frenchman, want to be the first. On January 7, 1785, they set out to cross the English Channel to France in a balloon. All seemed to be going fine, until Jeffries decides the balloon looks too fat and adjusts the air valve―how hard could it be? Too bad he drops the wrench over the side of the aerial car. With no way to adjust the valve, the balloon begins to sink. Jeffries and Blanchard throw as much as they can overboard―until there is nothing left, not even their clothes. Luckily, they come up with a clever (and surprising) solution that saves the day. A VOYAGE IN THE CLOUDS from Matthew Olshan and Sophie Blackall is a journey that will keep kids laughing the whole way.
What can you see when you go on an airplane journey? 1 airplane, 2 luggage carts, 3 check-in counters, and so much more! Counting meets aviation in this modern, graphically distinctive book—now available in a portable board-book format perfect for throwing in the carry-on. Equally suitable for the transportation-obsessed as well as any child learning to count, this fresh and dynamic book will entertain and educate at home and on the go.
Airport - From the excitement of arrival to the wonder of taking off — a picture book that captures in joyous and powerful images all the magic of an airport.
The Airport Book - Follow a family and the youngest member’s favorite sock monkey through all the inner and outer workings of an airport. In a book that is as intriguing as it is useful and entertaining, we follow a family on its way through the complexities of a modern-day airport. From checking bags and watching them disappear on the mysterious conveyor belt, to security clearance and a seemingly endless wait at the gate to finally being airborne. But wait! There’s more! The youngest family member’s sock monkey has gone missing. Follow it at the bottom of the page as it makes a journey as memorable as that of the humans above.
The Little Airplane - Pilot Small flies his airplane over the countryside, does a loopy-loop, makes an emergency landing, and finally returns safely to the hangar.
Friendly Fliers - A diverse range of pilot characters introduce the vehicles that they fly. Children will discover an assortment of vehicles, including a jumbo jet, seaplane, glider, helicopter, and space plane. As children are asked if they know what each vehicle does, the answer is revealed on the next page. About the Finn’s Fun Trucks series: Written by 11-year-old truck enthusiast Finn Coyle, the Finn’s Fun Trucks series provides a vocabulary-rich introduction to transportation for truck-loving children with the help of a diverse range of vehicle operators and community helpers.
Equip the next generation of scientists with a brand new series from Chris Ferrie, the #1 science author for kids!
How do airplanes stay up in the sky? That’s the question Red Kangaroo needs answered and she knows exactly who can help her―Dr. Chris! Explore the four forces of flight―drag, lift, thrust and weight―and get ready to take off with this introduction to aerospace engineering.
Chris Ferrie offers a kid-friendly introduction to the science of flight in this first installment of his new Everyday Science Academy series. With real-world and practical examples, young readers will have a firm grasp of scientific and mathematical concepts to help answer many of their “why” questions.
Perfect for elementary-aged children and supports the Common Core Learning Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) standards.
Backmatter includes a glossary, comprehension questions aligned with Bloom’s Taxonomy and experiments kids can easily do at school or at home!
Swept up by the European ballooning craze of the 1780s, Dr. John Jeffries longed to become the first person to fly across the English Channel. But first he had to outwit a rascally co-pilot, keep the balloon from bursting, and avoid crashing into the sea. The good doctor’s quick-thinking solutions will surprise young readers—and keep them giggling when “lightening the load” is a relief in more ways than one. Don Brown tells this quirky true story with his usual accuracy and heart.
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