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Boston: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about Boston?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to Boston. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about Boston.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. 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 Boston, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Make Way for Ducklings to popular sellers like The Sword of Summer.

We hope this list of kids books about Boston can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Make Way for Ducklings
Written & illustrated by Robert McCloskey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Mrs. Mallard was sure that the pond in the Boston Public Gardens would be a perfect place for her and her eight ducklings to live. The problem was how to get them there through the busy streets of Boston. But with a little help from the Boston police, Mrs. Mallard and Jack, Kack, Lack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack arive safely at their new home.

This brilliantly illustrated, amusingly observed tale of Mallards on the move has won the hearts of generations of readers. Awarded the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children in 1941, it has since become a favorite of millions.

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Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon
Written by & illustrated by Ellen Rooney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Kathrine Switzer changed the world of running. This narrative biography follows Kathrine from running laps as a girl in her backyard to becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with official race numbers in 1967. Her inspirational true story is for anyone willing to challenge the rules.

The compelling collage art adds to the kinetic action of the story. With tension and heart, this biography has the influential power to get readers into running. An excellent choice for sports fans, New Englanders, young dreamers, and competitive girls and boys alike.

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F Is for Fenway Park
Written by Jerry Pallotta & illustrated by John S. Dykes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

A young baseball enthusiast’s centennial tribute to the oldest active ballpark and home of the Boston Red Sox features alphabetically arranged coverage of the field’s history, features and momentous events.

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The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial
Written by Susan E. Goodman & illustrated by E. B. Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

2017 Orbis Pictus Honor Book
2017 Jane Addams Peace Association Honor Book
2017 Teachers’ Choice Pick, International Literacy Association
An NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book of 2017
In 1847, an African American girl named Sarah Roberts attended school in Boston. One day she was told she could never come back. She didn’t belong. The Otis School was for white children only.
The Roberts family fought this injustice and made history. Roberts v. City of Boston was the first case challenging our legal system to outlaw segregated schools. Sometimes even losing is a victory.  They lost their case but Sarah’s cause was won when people, black and white, stood together and said, No more. Now, right now, it is time for change!
With gorgeous art from award-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis, The First Step is an inspiring look at the first lawsuit to demand desegregation–long before the American Civil Rights movement, even before the Civil War.
Backmatter includes: An integration timeline, bios on key people in the book, list of resources, and author’s note.

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The Sword of Summer
Written & illustrated by Rick Riordan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he barely knows-a man his mother claimed was dangerous. Uncle Randolph tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

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  • Clementine and the Spring Trip - This<i> New York Times </i>bestselling chapter book series has been keeping readers engaged and laughing for more than a decade with over one million copies sold!</b><br>For Clementine, Spring is a <i>really</i> big deal. <br>Spring is for seeing her apple tree start to grow, for watching her friend Margaret go crazy with cleaning, and for going on the school trips, like this year’s trip to Plimoth Plantation. Clementine is ready for Ye Olden Times, but she isn’t so sure about surviving lunch there-the fourth graders have strict rules about no eating sounds. If that wasn’t enough, Clementine also faces the challenges of learning Olive-language and surviving The Cloud on Bus 7. <p/>Hearing the pilgrim lady talk about why she made the long journey from England makes Clementine think about rules. Who makes them, and what do they mean to the people who have to live with them? Today Clementine has to decide which rules are made to be broken. <br>

  • Leah Braves the Flood: A Great Molasses Flood Survival Story - Leah dreams of leaving behind the crowded streets of Boston’s North End neighborhood to journey west. It’s the only way she’ll have the future she wants - one that doesn’t involve her getting married or working in a factory. But then the molasses tank at the local plant explodes, sweeping through the city streets. The wave destroys everything in its path, and suddenly Leah must fight to survive if she wants to have any future at all.

  • The Flying Squirrel Stowaways - Follow two flying squirrels who choose the Boston Christmas Tree as their home and accidentally stow away on an international adventure! I t’s wintertime in Nova Scotia, and two flying squirrels are busy exploring the woods around their spruce-tree home. After a busy night of playing and gliding and snacking, they’re ready to settle down and sleep all day. But humans have other plans: the tree is cut down and packed onto a truck bound for Boston, Massachusetts. It turns out their new home has been chosen as Halifax’s annual thank-you gift, the Boston Christmas Tree! The little squirrels have no idea they’re about to embark on a journey across Atlantic Canada and Maine on the way to Boston. Will the accidental stowaways be discovered? And what awaits them in their new American home?

  • Clementine, Friend of the Week (a Clementine Book) - This New York Times bestselling chapter book series has been keeping readers engaged and laughing for more than a decade with over one million copies sold!

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The Great Molasses Flood, 1919
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11
One hundred years ago, a killer wave of molasses struck a crowded Boston neighborhood. Discover the story of this strange disaster in the next book in the New York Times bestselling I Survived series.
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The Stranger
Written & illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

The enigmatic origins of the stranger that Farmer Bailey hits with his truck and brings home to recuperate seem to have a mysterious relation to the weather. Could he be Jack Frost?

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My Family Divided
Written by Diane Guerrero & illustrated by Erica Moroz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Guerrero, the star of “Orange Is the New Black” and “Jane the Virgin, “ presents her personal story in this middle-grade memoir about her parents’ deportation and the nightmarish struggles of undocumented immigrants and their American children. Photos.

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Lock and Key: The Downward Spiral
Written by Ridley Pearson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

"Will leave you dying to know more." --Rick Riordan, author of the #1 bestselling Percy Jackson series

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George Washington's Spy: A Time Travel Adventure
Written & illustrated by Elvira Woodruff
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

This historic time-travel fantasy is a riveting sequel to a bestselling classic. Ten-year-old Matt Carlton and six friends are accidentally swept back in time–to Boston in 1776! The British now occupy the city, and redcoat guards are everywhere! While the boys are being held captive by a den of Patriot spies, the girls have been taken in by a wealthy Tory family.

The pox is rampant; danger lies around every corner–and there’s no hope for returning home to their own time. How will these seven children survive?

Readers will relish the nonstop action and humorous dialogue in this riveting sequel to Woodruff’s bestselling novel, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S SOCKS.

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  • How High the Moon - To Kill a Mockingbird meets One Crazy Summer in this powerful, bittersweet debut about one girl's journey to reconnect with her mother and learn the truth about her father in the tumultuous times of the Jim Crow South.

  • The Fenway Foul-Up - Cousins Mike and Kate are at Boston’s Fenway Park when the Red Sox’s star hitter discovers that his lucky baseball bat has been stolen.

  • Waiting for Pumpsie - In 1959 the Boston Red Sox was the last team in the Major Leagues to integrate. But when they call Elijah “Pumpsie” Green up from the minors, Bernard is overjoyed to see a black player on his beloved home team. And, when Pumpsie’s first home game is scheduled, Bernard and his family head to Fenway Park. Bernard is proud of Pumpsie and hopeful that this historic event is the start of great change in America. This fictionalized account captures the true story of baseball player Pumpsie Green’s rise to the major leagues. The story is a snapshot of the Civil Rights Movement and a great discussion starter about the state of race relations in the United States today.

  • Busing Brewster - Brewster is excited about starting first grade . . . until Mama announces that he’ll be attending Central—a school in the white part of town. Mama says they have art and music and a library bursting with books, but Brewster isn’t so sure he’ll fit in. Being black at a white school isn’t easy, and Brewster winds up spending his first day in detention at the library. But there he meets a very special person: Miss O’Grady. The librarian sees into Brewster’s heart and gives him not only the gift of books but also the ability to believe in himself. This powerful and tender story of desegregation in the 1970s introduces readers to the brave young heroes who helped to build a new world.

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Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak
Written by Kay Winters & illustrated by Larry Day
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Follow an errand boy through colonial Boston as he spreads word of rebellion. <p> It’s December 16, 1773, and Boston is about to explode! King George has decided to tax the colonists? tea. The Patriots have had enough. Ethan, the printer’s errand boy, is running through town to deliver a message about an important meeting. As he stops along his route? at the bakery, the schoolhouse, the tavern, and more?readers learn about the occupations of colonial workers and their differing opinions about living under Britain’s rule. This fascinating book is like a field trip to a living history village. <p/></p>

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Anastasia's Chosen Career
Written by Lois Lowry
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

In her seventh adventure, the irrepressible Anastasia decides that she needs more poise and confidence–especially since her chosen career is to be a bookstore owner. A flyer on her father’s windshield convinces her that charm school at Studio Charmante will teach her just that. But a week in modeling school may be just what Anastasia needs to realize that, just maybe, she already has what it takes.

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Lock and Key: The Initiation
Written by Ridley Pearson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

"Will leave you dying to know more."--Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series

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Ben's Revolution
Written by Nathaniel Philbrick & illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

History comes alive in this gripping account of a young boy caught up in the start of the Revolutionary War. Based on an episode in National Book Award–winning author Nathaniel Philbrick’s New York Times bestseller Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, this engrossing story allows readers to experience history from a child’s perspective, and Wendell Minor’s stunning paintings will transport readers back to the early days of the Revolutionary War.

Benjamin Russell is in school on the morning of April 19th, 1775, when his teacher announces, “The war’s begun, and you may run!” Ben knew this day was coming; after all, tensions had been mounting between the colonists and the British troops ever since the Boston Tea Party. And now they have finally reached the breaking point. Ben and his friends excitedly rush out of their classroom to bear witness, and follow the throngs of redcoats marching out of Boston toward Concord. Much to Ben’s surprise, Boston is sealed off later that day—leaving the boys stuck outside the city, in the middle of a war, with no way to reach their families. But Ben isn’t worried—he’s eager to help the Patriots! He soon becomes a clerk to the jovial Israel Putnam, a general in the provincial army. For months he watches the militia grow into an organized army, and when the Battle of Bunker Hill erupts, Ben is awed by the bravery of the Patriots, although saddened by the toll war takes. He later goes on to become an apprentice at a Revolutionary newspaper, and it’s a happy day when they get to report on the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

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Johnny Tremain
Written & illustrated by Esther Hoskins Forbes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

This striking 75th Anniversary edition of this Newbery Medal-winning historical fiction classic is updated with new jacket art and an illustrated foreword from author-illustrator Nathan Hale.

Johnny Tremain is one of the finest historical novels ever written for children. To read this riveting novel is to live through the defining events leading up to the American Revolutionary War. Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future, injures his hand in an accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse boy, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in pivotal events from the Boston Tea Party to the shots fired at Lexington. For this anniversary edition, Nathan Hale brings his distinct graphic-novel storytelling to a new foreword.

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  • Magnificent Monsters of Cedar Street - From the bestselling author of E. B. White Read-Aloud Honor Book Liesl & Po comes a timely and relevant adventure story about monsters of all kinds--and a girl brave enough to save them.

  • Up & Down - 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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