Best Kids Books About Bears

38 Amazing Books for Your Child Who Loves Bears

Updated Mar. 14, 2019

Bears have got to be one of the best animals for story book characters—there's something about them that simultaneously friendly, cuddly, adventurous, curious and strong. There can be good bears and bad bears, brave bears and scared bears... and it all seems to work! In their honor, we've compiled a list of some of our very favorite books with bear characters. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#1
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Rob Biddulph is a phenomenal children's book author and illustrator, and I love his work in The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!. His creative rhyming leads readers through a wonderful tale of the value of competition and friendship, while his fun illustrations bring the story to life.

From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich book
#2
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
Written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Grammy

This delightful story is told in absolute opposition to Occam's razor. While the simplest explanation may be the most likely, it can't possibly be so entertaining. On pages drenched with color, we witness the bear's alleged antics; he has so much character and personality. Keep an eye open for the visual jokes. You will want to read this one again and again.

Bear meets sandwich, adventure ensues. . . . A sly classic-in-the-making for fans of Jon Klassen, Peter Brown, and Mo Willems. By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich. But you may not know how it happened. So let me tell you. It all started with the bear . . . So begins Julia Sarcone-Roach’s delicious tale of a bear, lost in the city, who happens upon an unattended sandwich in the park. The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale. The wonderfully told story, spectacular illustrations, and surprise ending make this Julia Sarcone-Roach’s best book to date. You’ll want to share it with your friends (and keep a close eye on your lunch).

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear book
#3
Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear
Written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This is such a fun story of best friends who can't always be together. Beatrice wonders where Bear has gone and when she finds out he is hibernating because it's Winter she decides to try and go along with him. When that proves to be difficult she finds another way to close the distance between the two friends. It is fun to read this with little ones who may not know what different seasons mean for different animals.

Beatrice & Bear meet one spring day and become best buddies. They play together through summer and fall. Then winter comes and Beatrice can't find Bear anywhere. She hears he's gone to hibernate -- but where on earth is that? When Beatrice learns that hibernation is not a place and that Bear will be sleeping all winter long, she fears it will be a lonely season...unless she can come up with a brilliant plan. This delightful story of an irrepressible bunny will engage readers on many levels as it celebrates creativity, making the best of circumstances, and the joy of the changing seasons.

Ida, Always book
#4
Ida, Always
Written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A polar bear grieves over the loss of his companion, based on the real-life Gus and Ida of New York's Central Park Zoo.

Blueberries for Sal book
#5
Blueberries for Sal
Written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

What happens when Sal and her mother meet a mother bear and her cub? A beloved classic is born! Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one? With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers’ hearts since its first publication in 1948.

Room for Bear book
#6
Room for Bear
Written and illustrated by Ciara Gavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This adorable blended family (ducks + a bear) absolutely has my heart. I love the charming watercolor illustrations and the message that home is when you're all together.

A huggable picture-book debut about a bear who doesn’t quite fit—perfect for fans of Karma Wilson’s Bear Snores On and Philip C. Snead & Erin Stead’s Bear Has a Story to Tell. When Bear wakes up one spring, he goes in search of a new home. And he thinks he’s found the perfect place. Unfortunately, things are a bit . . . snug. Can five little ducks find room for one big bear in their home—and in their hearts? Ciara Gavin’s luminous picture-book debut explores the unconditional love of families in all their colors, shapes, and sizes.

Bear Is Not Tired book
#7
Bear Is Not Tired
Written and illustrated by Ciara Gavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Bear and his duck family do everything together. That is, until winter arrives. Bear is supposed to hibernate this time of year, but he doesn’t want to miss out on any of the fun. But can Bear really stay awake all winter long? Gentle humor and endearing illustrations bring a delightful twist to a bedtime routine that children and their parents will easily recognize.

Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears book
#8
Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears
Written by Beth Coulton, Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Nate Wragg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I LOVE fractured fairy tales, and this is a great, modern rendition of Goldilocks with zingy illustrations, great rhymes and a musical twist!

Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear know how to rock! But they need a new singer, so they audition everyone—the Three Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and more. To their dismay, no one seems just right. Could the perfect lead singer be the mysterious girl sleeping on Baby Bear’s keyboard? This mash up of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Voice is a surefire storytime hit.

The Bear Who Stared book
#9
The Bear Who Stared
Written and illustrated by Duncan Beedie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

There once was a bear who liked to stare... and stare... and STARE. Bear doesn't mean to be rude, he's just curious but too shy to say anything. But nobody likes being stared at and it soon gets Bear into trouble. Luckily a goggly-eyed frog helps Bear realise that sometimes a smile is all you need to turn a stare into a friendly hello.

Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? book
#10
Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?
Written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Barbara Firth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

"I don't like the dark," said Little Bear. "What dark?" said Big Bear. "The dark all around us," said Little Bear. In this tender account of a sleepless night in the bear cave, Big Bear sets out with all his patience and understanding to show Little Bear that the dark is nothing to be afraid of. When all the lanterns in the cave aren't enough to quell Little Bear's troubled emotions, Big Bear offers—in a final loving gesture—nothing less than the bright yellow moon and the twinkling stars! More comforting than even the best of lullabies, this bedtime story is destined to become a classic.

Tops and Bottoms book
#11
Tops and Bottoms
Written and illustrated by Janet Stevens
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Hare turns his bad luck around by striking a clever deal with the rich and lazy bear down the road.

Let's Go Home, Little Bear book
#12
Let's Go Home, Little Bear
Written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Barbara Firth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

When Little Bear is frightened by the noises he hears while walking in the snowy woods, his friend Big Bear reassures him.

Lily and Bear book
#13
Lily and Bear
Written and illustrated by Lisa Stubbs
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lily loves to draw, but when she draws Bear they quickly become friends, first doing all of the things that Lily enjoys, and then doing Bear's favorite things.

Bear Can't Sleep book
#14
Bear Can't Sleep
Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Bear’s many animal friends try to help him get to sleep in time for winter hibernation in this companion story to Bear Snores On. It’s winter, and deep in the forest, Bear should be fast asleep. But when his friends come by to check on him, they realize that Bear is still awake! They brew him hot tea and sing him lullabies, but nothing seems to work. Can Bear get to bed? Or will he be up all winter?

I Want My Hat Back book
#15
I Want My Hat Back
Written and illustrated by Jon Klassen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear’s memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor — and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke. A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011! A picture-book delight by a rising talent tells a cumulative tale with a mischievous twist.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas book
#16
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
Written by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Grace Zong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this Chinese American retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.

There Are No Bears in This Bakery book
#17
There Are No Bears in This Bakery
Written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The creator of the "New York Times"-bestselling "The Bear Ate Your Sandwich" delivers another sly story of a hungry bear and a smooth-talking narrator: a tough gumshoe of a cat named Muffin. Full color.

Please Please the Bees book
#18
Please Please the Bees
Written and illustrated by Gerald Kelley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Benedict has a pretty sweet life for a bear. Every morning the bees leave a jar of honey on his doorstep, and every day he has honey for breakfast and honey in his tea. It’s an important part of his day. But all that changes when the bees go on strike. Now it’s up to Benedict to listen to the bees, and he realizes there’s a lot more he could be doing to help them. So he fixes up the hive and learns to be a better beekeeper. Will the bees be pleased?

Horrible Bear! book
#19
Horrible Bear!
Written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The New York Times-bestselling duo behind Wolfie the Bunny presents a hilarious new book about accidents, outbursts, manners...and the power of saying "I'm sorry." Bear didn't mean to break a little girl's kite, but she's upset anyway--upset enough to shout "HORRIBLE BEAR!" Bear is indignant. He doesn't think he's horrible! Then Bear gets a truly Horrible Bear idea. What will he do next? As Bear prepares to live up to his formerly undeserved reputation, the girl makes a mistake of her own, and realizes that maybe--just maybe--Bear isn't as horrible as she had thought.

The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving book
#20
The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving
Written by Jan Berenstain and illustrated by Mike Berenstain
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Brother and Sister Bear are excited about the coming of Christmas, when they will perform in a pageant and receive presents, but they also learn an important lesson about giving to others.

Not This Bear book
#21
Not This Bear
Written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by Lorna Hussey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

This story makes a lovely addition to the 'first-day-of-school' canon. I like the sweet way that bear clings to his comfortable/familiar, and his loyalty to the life he has known thus far. Mr. Brown has a gentle manner of introducing bear to the exciting new world of school without forcing bear to engage past his comfort zone. Given the time and space to be ready for new experiences, bear gradually finds his way, and a new friend as well.

It's Bear's first day of school, and he's a bit reluctant to go. Mama says all bears love school; Bear isn't so sure. But school turns out to be full of fun--painting pictures, listening to stories, and making new friends. Maybe this bear will like school after all.

Honey book
#22
Honey
Written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

This sweet companion to David Ezra Stein's award-winning Leaves celebrates the joy of savoring something you love. Bear is ravenous when he wakes up from his winter sleep and has one thing on his mind: honey! Alas, it is too soon for honey, so Bear tries hard to be patient. The world around him is waking up, too, and he soon remembers all the other things he loves, like warm grass, berries, and rain. He's almost content, until, one day, he hears a welcome buzzing sound . . . and finally it is time for Bear to delight in the thing he relishes above all others--and it is as warm, golden, sweet, and good as he remembered.

Oh, Bear book
#23
Oh, Bear
Written by Melissa Nelson Greenberg and illustrated by Ruth Hengeveld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

The whimsical watercoloring and playful text make Oh, Bear a delightful story of fun and friendship. The soft illustrations give it a high re-readability appeal, as does Bear's good natured attitude. Yet for all it's fun, there's a nice level of depth to the tale, of celebrating when your loss becomes another's gain.

Bear receives a bright yellow kite for his birthday and flies it until . . . it gets stuck in a tree and rips. Oh, Bear. Lucky for Bear, Bird is busy building a nest and flies his broken kite home, where an even better surprise awaits him. A story about nature, renewal, and friendship—the best gift of all.

Three Bears in a Boat book
#24
Three Bears in a Boat
Written and illustrated by David Soman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Afraid to face their mother after breaking her beautiful blue seashell, three bears set out on an high seas adventure to try to find a replacement.

Goldilocks and Just One Bear book
#25
Goldilocks and Just One Bear
Written and illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Many years have passed since Goldilocks caused chaos at the Bears’ house in the woods, but what happens when Little Bear as was wanders out of his fairytale and into the big city where Goldilocks now lives? Awarding-winning artist and animator Leigh Hodgkinson is the creator of this funny and clever fractured fairytale based on the familiar story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks is now grown up with a family and a rather smart apartment, so how will she react to coming home and finding that a very lost bear has been scoffing porridge, breaking chairs and sleeping in beds? Will she be cross, or is finally time to make amends?

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