Best Children's Books About Boats

64 Children's Books About Boats

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Ahoy, Li'l Buccaneers! book
#1
Ahoy, Li'l Buccaneers!
Written by Mark Iacolina
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Buccaneers sail. Buccaneers steer. Buccaneers grumble, snarl, and sneer. Hardy har har! Calling all Li'l Buccaneers to set sail on a fun adventure, filled with dancing, singing, sparring, and treasure hunting. Young swashbucklers and their pirate pals are guaranteed a mighty good time with this delightfully rip-roaring, rhyming board book.

Mayday Mouse book
#2
Mayday Mouse
Written and illustrated by Sebastien Braun
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When Captain Mouse sets sail on a bright, sunny day with a birthday present for her brother, little does she know the sea-going perils she will have to face!Her cheerful, optimistic nature refuses to be downcast by storms, caves, rocks and shipwrecks. Resourceful and inventive, she’s able to save the day - with just a little help from her friends!

Words Set Me Free book
#3
Words Set Me Free
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

"Words Set Me Free is the inspiring story of young Frederick Douglass's path to freedom through reading"--

Sinking the Sultana book
#4
Sinking the Sultana
Written and illustrated by Sally M. Walker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

The worst maritime disaster in American history wasn't the Titanic. It was the steamboat Sultana on the Mississippi River--and it could have been prevented.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat book
#5
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Written and illustrated by Annie Kubler
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

In this traditional nursery rhyme, a group of babies and their toy animal friends row merrily down the stream. On board pages.

Going Lobstering book
#6
Going Lobstering
Written by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Rob Bolster
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

One beautiful day at the beach, Linda and Erik see a lobsterman pulling up traps. Linda and Erik are curious about how he catches lobsters. They ask their father about it and he takes them down to the pier to meet his friend, Big Joe, the lobsterman. Big Joe invites them to come along with him for the day to find out all about it.

The Mystery of the Chinese Junk book
#7
The Mystery of the Chinese Junk
Written and illustrated by Franklin W. Dixon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Hardys purchase a Chinese junk to use as a ferry service, in order to make some money over the summer. It soon becomes apparent that others are very interested in the ship.

The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones book
#8
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones
Written and illustrated by Will Mabbitt
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mabel Jones finds herself aboard the Feroshus Maggot--a ship crewed by the strangest bunch of pirates you'd (never) want to meet. She then has to find pieces of an X-shaped puzzle that in her hands could be her ticket home, but in the hands of Captain Split, they'd give him the power to assemble a pirate militia to take over London!

The Mystery of Cabin Island book
#9
The Mystery of Cabin Island
Written and illustrated by Franklin W. Dixon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

With two mysteries to solve, Frank and Joe must climb aboard their iceboat the Sea Gull to reach Cabin Island, where a belligerent stranger orders them off. Sabotage to the boat, danger to themselves, and a ghostly prowler do not daunt the Hardy boys in their search for Johnny Jefferson and for clues to stolen antique medals. How the teenage investigators outwit a ruthless foe and succeed in solving both mysteries makes for mounting suspense in this brisk-paced adventure.

Around the World in Eighty Days book
#10
Around the World in Eighty Days
Written by Jules Verne and illustrated by Barry Moser
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-18

Jules Verne's classic novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, is a true prototype for the adventure story. This new illustrated version captures Phileas Fogg's thrilling race around the globe in a fresh, modern, and original way. Will he, and his manservant Passepartout, beat the clock and win their bet? Francesca Rossi's splendid illustrations bring the tale's many landscapes and vivid atmosphere to life.

Violet  and  the  Smugglers book
#11
Violet and the Smugglers
Written by Harriet Whitehorn and illustrated by Becka Moor
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Meet Violet Remy-Robinson, an amateur Sherlock Holmes in the making, in this “Agatha Christie-esque mystery...[that’s] quirky and charming” (The Guardian)—perfect for fans of Chris Riddell and Robin Stevens’s Wells & Wong mysteries.Uncle Johnny has invited Violet and her friends to spend the summer with him on a sailing adventure around Europe and Violet couldn’t be more excited! But when she suspects that the captain of a boat nearby might be up to no good, Violet needs to put her detective skills into action. Could he be the head of an international smuggling ring?Beautifully designed and filled with gorgeous two-color illustrations throughout, everyone is bound to fall in love with Violet and the colorful characters that make up her world.

Moby-Dick book
#12
Moby-Dick
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Little Master Melville teaches little ones the language of the sea in Moby-Dick: An Ocean Primer. From ships and sailors to squawking gulls and moody good captains, Alison Oliver’s brilliant illustrations and Jennifer Adams’ clever, simple text will make a sea dog out of any young shipmate.

How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? book
#13
How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow?
Written and illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Every year, giant pumpkin contests take place at fairs across the country—the 2012 record-holder weighed over a ton! The latest craze is to carve the most enormous pumpkins into racing boats. But what’s next? Why not think really big? Award-winning artist Wendell Minor does just that as he imagines larger-than-life pumpkins decorating some of America’s favorite places—as immense as the Capitol dome, Mount Rushmore, the Brooklyn Bridge, even the Grand Canyon! This celebration of famous landmarks and landscapes plays with concepts of size and scale and is full of fun facts.

Blue Boat book
#14
Blue Boat
Written by Kersten Hamilton and illustrated by Valeria Petrone
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

With the tremendous success of RED TRUCK in board book format and anticipation around YELLOW COPTER in board to match, we're thrilled to complete the primary-colored series about vehicles who save the day by bringing BLUE BOAT into board, too! When a family on a sailing outing gets stuck in a surprise storm, there is only one boat tough enough to handle the rocking waves and howling winds: Blue Boat! Now even the youngest readers can cheer on this "rough, tough tugboat."

Charlie's Boat book
#15
Charlie's Boat
Written and illustrated by Kit Chase
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Best friends really are the best when they use their imaginations to help each other. Charlie, Oliver, and Lulu love to play outside together. One fine day they all go fishing, but Charlie doesn’t have much fun—all he can catch are sticks. Next, they build little boats and have a race, but, once again, things don’t go very well. Charlie’s boat comes in last. Things seem pretty gloomy until Oliver comes up with a plan. They build a special boat they can all play on, together! Kit Chase offers a sweet ode to friendship in this tale of three best friends who can count on each other to always make play time fun.

The Little Sailboat book
#16
The Little Sailboat
Written and illustrated by Lois Lenski
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Mr. Small is a sailor in this maritime adventure! Captain Small and his dog Tinker sail and fish together. When a storm comes, Captain Small heads for the safety of the shore. A comforting, nostalgic story full of information about sailing.

Mighty Tug book
#17
Mighty Tug
Written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by David Mottram
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From early in the morning until time to say, "Good night," Mighty Tug works in the busy harbor, guiding cargo ships, pulling barges, and helping with rescues.

That Bear Can't Babysit book
#18
That Bear Can't Babysit
Written by Ruth Quayle and illustrated by Alison Friend
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When Mr. and Mrs. Burrow need a babysitter, they are not expecting Bear. But Bear is the only one who shows up, so Bear gets the job of babysitting seven little bunnies who are full of mischief. Together, the bunnies persuade Bear to read a scary book, give them chocolate for dinner, and go crazy with the garden hose! But when the bunnies find Bear sailing the high seas in a make-believe ship, suddenly he isn't such a bad babysitter after all.

As Time Went By book
#19
As Time Went By
Written and illustrated by Jose Sanabria
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

2017 Batchelder Honor Book and ALA Notable Book Once upon a time there was a ship that sailed beside the sun with very important people on board. The spirit of reinvention – and the importance we place on things – is beautifully expressed in José Sanabria’s visually evocative story. A steamship makes a journey across time from luxury and exclusivity, industry and abandonment, to stewardship and inclusion as we see the evolving functions of the ship and the changing faces of the people who cherish it most of all.

Speedboat Splash! book
#20
Speedboat Splash!
Written by Alan Copeland and illustrated by Rhys Jefferys
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Grab hold of this book that lets you steer a speedboat through the water! Let's head toward that island over there. Oops! Look out for that water-skier! Quick-steer right to avoid him! Climb aboard and push off from the dock-it's time to go on a speedboat ride! Kids will love using the die-cut handles in this board book to control the speedboat and steer through high seas traffic, around wildlife, through a storm, and more!

Lifeboat 12 book
#21
Lifeboat 12
Written by Susan Hood
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-13

In the tradition of The War That Saved My Life and Stella By Starlight, this poignant novel in verse based on true events tells the story of a boy’s harrowing experience on a lifeboat after surviving a torpedo attack during World War II. With Nazis bombing London every night, it’s time for thirteen-year-old Ken to escape. He suspects his stepmother is glad to see him go, but his dad says he’s one of the lucky ones—one of ninety boys and girls to ship out aboard the SS City of Benares to safety in Canada. Life aboard the luxury ship is grand—nine-course meals, new friends, and a life far from the bombs, rations, and his stepmum’s glare. And after five days at sea, the ship’s officers announce that they’re out of danger. They’re wrong. Late that night, an explosion hurls Ken from his bunk. They’ve been hit. Torpedoed! The Benares is sinking fast. Terrified, Ken scrambles aboard Lifeboat 12 with five other boys. Will they get away? Will they survive? Award-winning author Susan Hood brings this little-known World War II story to life in a riveting novel of courage, hope, and compassion. Based on true events and real people, Lifeboat 12 is about believing in one another, knowing that only by banding together will we have any chance to survive.

Ready, Set, Sail! book
#22
Ready, Set, Sail!
Written by Meg Fleming and illustrated by Luke Flowers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Join these sailors as they explore the sea during a fun day of sailing in this follow-up to Ready, Set, Build! Shout your orders loud and fast. "Hoist the mainsail up the mast!" Grab your life vest, hold on to your compass, and get ready for a day full of sailing fun with a playful tiger and turtle! Follow these salty sailors as they raise their anchor, cast off, and explore the sea in their little sloop. And after a long day of sailing, they gather and tell tales of all the things they've seen!

All Aboard Noah's Ark! book
#23
All Aboard Noah's Ark!
Written by Mary Josephs and illustrated by Katy Bratun
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Flaps alter the illustrations of this retelling of the Biblical account of Noah and the great flood

Whose Boat? book
#24
Whose Boat?
Written by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by Tom Froese
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast book
#25
The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast
Written and illustrated by Samantha M. Clark
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A boy washes up on a mysterious, seemingly uninhabited beach. Who is he? How did he get there? The boy can’t remember. When he sees a light shining over the foreboding wall of trees that surrounds the shore, he decides to follow it, in the hopes that it will lead him to answers. The boy’s journey is a struggle for survival and a search for the truth—a terrifying truth that once uncovered, will force him to face his greatest fear of all if he is to go home. This gripping adventure will have readers hooked until its jaw-dropping and moving conclusion. Samantha M. Clark’s first novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice.

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