Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to cities. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about cities.
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 cities, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Madeline to popular sellers like The Invention of Hugo Cabret to some of our favorite hidden gems like A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans.
We hope this list of kids books about cities 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.
“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines the smallest one was Madeline.”
Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not mice, not even getting sick. With its endearing, courageous heroine, cheerful humor, and wonderful, whimsical drawings of Paris, the Madeline stories are true classics that continue to charm readers even after 75 years!
This fanciful tale of friendship and courage is terrific. The whimsical illustrations, the Paris setting, Hugo’s never ending excuses—it all combines to create a favorite around our home.
Hugo is a dapper little bird who adores the Eiffel Tower — or at least his view of it from down here. Hugo, you see, has never left the ground. So when he meets another bird, the determined Lulu, who invites him to fly with her to the top of the tower, Hugo stalls, persuading Lulu to see, on foot, every inch of the park in which he lives instead. Will a nighttime flying lesson from Bernard the Owl, some sweet and sensible encouragement from Lulu, and some extra pluck from Hugo himself finally give this bird the courage he needs to spread his wings and fly?
This is a true story of a Giraffe that walked to Paris! It is neat to read about this animal bringing two countries together. Very fun to learn the history through the beautiful illustrations.
Retells the true story of how the first giraffe ever to come to Europe was sent by the Pasha of Egypt to the King of France in 1826, and the giraffe walked from the disembarkation point of Marseilles to Paris to see the King.
This is a darling book about Paris and some of the iconic landmarks in that great city. It shows the buildings made with different shapes. Very very cute.
Introducing Hello, World, an exciting new board book series that pairs early learning concepts with colorful, stylish illustrations of cities around the world.
Paris is a treasure trove of fascinating shapes: there are triangles at the Louvre Museum, rectangles at Notre-Dame Cathedral, arches at the Arc de Triomphe, and stars in a beautiful Parisian night sky. Explore shapes all over Paris in this gorgeous board book!
From bestselling author Christopher Franceschelli comes Hello, New York! and Hello, Paris!, board books about the most visited cities in the world. Each book opens with a simple map that puts all of the city sites in context before taking readers on a journey of the landmarks in each city. Playful die-cuts peek into windows and under bridges on each spread, culminating in an iconic gatefold at the end.
All Aboard Paris - From the creators of BabyLit®: Every area of the world can be mapped out for adventure, and brilliant babies love the sophistication of traveling by train. This new board book series written by the husband and wife team of Haily and Kevin Meyers and illustrated by Haily, celebrates the unique qualities of each city while employing a fun primer element to tell the story. These books will have you and baby seeing the world by train and will turn story time into a globetrotting event. Perfect as a souvenir or as part of a geography collection for brilliant babies, the All Aboard! series will be pulling into your station next!
P Is for Paris - See the sights of Paris as never before! Award-winning illustrator Paul Thurlby takes us from A for Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and some lesser known gems of Paris. Paired with snippets of useful information about each landmark, each page’s bold, eye-catching imagery is a visual treat for both kids and adults. Bursting with the sights, sounds, and energy of this unique and stunning city, this is a one-of-a-kind book for Paris lovers of all ages.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
Madame Martine - Madame Martine lives in Paris and follows the same routine every day. She takes for granted the beautiful things that exist all around her. She refuses to go to the Eiffel Tower because it’s “just for tourists.” One day Madame Martine finds a stray dog and decides to take him home. When she tries keeping her dog on the same schedule, he breaks free, leading Madame Martine on a wild chase up the Eiffel Tower! Upon reaching the top, she discovers how much beauty she has been missing all these years. From then on, the two friends try something different every week.
Brother detectives Frank and Joe follow a crooked trail of artistic deception in the fifteenth book in the thrilling Hardy Boys Adventures series.
The Hardy Boys are visiting Paris! Joe is excited to check out all the street art he’s heard about. And Frank can’t wait to go to all the museums he’s researched.
On their very first day in the city, the brothers are woken up early in the morning by fireworks. But these are no ordinary fireworks. They are a part of elaborate cover for the heist of a priceless artifact. What’s worse, the theft seems to have been orchestrated by Joe’s favorite street artist, an unidentified outlaw and activist that goes only by the name Le Stylo. Everyone seems sure that it’s him, but the Hardys are suspicious. From everything they know about Le Stylo, the crime is out of character. Sure, he makes a habit of provoking the authorities, but he’s an activist; not a thief. Could the artist known for his mystique have been framed? Frank and Joe are determined to find out.
A race to find the real thief has Frank and Joe following clues that lead them all over Paris, where they hobnob with rich art patrons, travel in a car that can only be described as a small Batmobile, and explore the extensive Catacombs under the city. Deep in the world of artistic deception, the boys have to wonder, are they in over their heads?
Bored by his rural life in the savannah, a lion seeks excitement and opportunity in the City of Light, where he is surprised that even his roaring does not cause a stir while visiting Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower and the busy underground Métro. By the award-winning creator of Bugs in a Blanket.
A hopeful and heroic girl befriends a small, lost whale during World War II and together they embark on a journey to liberate France and find their families in this charming debut novel.
Madeline and her favorite companion in mischief, Pepito, embark on their wildest adventure yet. When ghostly moans lead them to the attic of the old house in Paris, they discover Felix de La Morte, who has lingered there for hundreds of years, waiting for the return of a certain comet. With the comet due to return the very next day, the poor fellow’s telescope has been stolen by mean Lord Cucuface, and it is up to Madeline and Pepito to get it back. A nighttime trip across Paris, a midnight apparition, and all is happily resolved in time for the three new friends to view the comet on a starry night.
Coco, a doll, describes the fun experiences she has with her human owner, Kiki, while visiting Paris, including a scary moment when Coco gets hurt after Kiki accidentally leaves her in a chair at a restaurant.
Good Morning, City - It’s dark and quiet. The moon still glimmers in the sky. While the baker, the ferry boat captain, and the TV anchorman are busy at work, most people are cozily snuggled in bed. Then dawn’s first light peeks through the tree branches. Wake up, city! There is much to be done in neighborhoods all across the metropolis. As the morning gets brighter, the city streets bustle with people ready to begin the day. GOOD MORNING, CITY, by morning news anchor Pat Kiernan, is sure to start the day off right.
Florette - A 2018 New York Times and New York Public Library Best Illustrated Picture Book When Mae’s family moves to a new home, she wishes she could bring her garden with her. She’ll miss the apple trees, the daffodils, and chasing butterflies in the wavy grass. But there’s no room for a garden in the city. Or is there? Mae’s story, gorgeously illustrated in watercolor, is a celebration of friendship, resilience in the face of change, and the magic of the natural world.
A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans - Fans of How to Train Your Dragon will love this whimsical tale, the first in a series, by a Newbery Honor winner, featuring charming illustrations and pet “training tips” in each chapter. Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet—a ridiculous notion! Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie’s sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake’s combined efforts to put an end to the mayhem . . . before it’s too late. This refreshing debut collaboration by Laurence Yep, a two-time Newbery Honor winner and a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner, and Joanne Ryder features illustrations by Mary GrandPré. Praise for A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans *“Warm humor, magical mishaps, and the main characters’ budding mutual respect and affection combine to give this opener for a planned series a special shine.” –Booklist, Starred “Aternately comical, suspenseful and sometimes sweetly emotional.” –Kirkus Reviews “With a black-and-white spot illustration opening most chapters, an engaging narrator, and a consistently fluid writing style, this title makes a fine dragon choice for readers.” –School Library Journal “In this series launch, Yep and Ryder conjure up a world where dragons and humans interact, and the results are heartwarming and quite funny.” –Publishers Weekly “A clever and amusing novel that imagines a magical world that nestles right up against our own and sometimes crosses over.” –The Bulleting of the Center for Children’s Books Praise for A Dragon’s Guide to Making Your Human Smarter “Yep and Ryder keep the magic coming with their whimsical fantasy, enhanced by Grandpré’s sweet drawings. The story positively vibrates with fun.” —Kirkus Reviews “Lighthearted episodes of unusual school lessons and field trips, illustrated by GrandPré’s winsome spot art, are grounded by Miss Drake’s more serious encounters with the goons…a gratifying development as this buoyant, fantastical series continues.”—The Horn Book Review
Three Pennies - A girl in foster care tries to find her birth mother before she loses her forever in this “tender tale” (School Library Journal, starred review) about last chances and new opportunities. For a kid bouncing from foster home to foster home, The Book of Changes is the perfect companion. That’s why Marin carries three pennies and a pocket-sized I Ching with her everywhere she goes. Yet when everything in her life suddenly starts changing—like landing in a foster home that feels like somewhere she could stay, maybe forever—the pennies don’t have any answers for her. Marin is positive that all the wrongs in her life will be made right if only she can find her birth mother and convince her that they belong together. Marin is close, oh so close—until she gets some unwelcome news and her resolve, like the uneasy earth far beneath the city of San Francisco, is shaken
Discover Maryland’s beautiful capital city by the Chesapeake Bay in this one of a kind board book. From “A” for Art Scene to “Z” for Zooplankton, Annapolis is brought to life from the distinct perspective of a long-time resident and local enthusiast in this vibrant board book. Little ones will love practicing their ABCs while learning about this capital city!
The ABCs of Washington, DC brings to life the nation’s capital with a cheerful and distinctly native take on D, J and R, to name a few.
Cityblock explores city life in an exciting and unique way, from up in a high-rise building to down in the subway. Divided into three sections—things that go, things to see, and things to eat—it features 24 different aspects of city living. As with the other acclaimed books in the series, die-cut icons hint at the larger context on the next spread. Each section opens with a full city scene but gradually focuses in on the small, unique neighborhoods that make the city large and grand. This clever book will attract young readers living in a metropolis as well as those in the countryside with urban life that pops off each page.
Ed’s bad mood begins as something really small, hardly a thing at all. But before long it grows, gathers pace, and spreads through the whole town. Can Ed sweep his troubles away?
My City - A young boy discovers the excitement and unexpected delight of exploring his city—and so will readers of this vibrant picture book. Max is asked to mail a letter for his mother. As he walks through his neighborhood in search of a mailbox, he encounters all sorts of interesting things like falling leaves dancing in the wind, skyscrapers towering in the distance, and junk being piled into a garbage truck. All around him adults hurry on their various errands, too busy to appreciate these wondrous details. His walk through the city leads Max to discover that the mailbox is actually right next door to his own house. Children will enjoy following Max on his adventure and seeing things from his perspective as they explore Joanne Liu’s colorful celebration of everyday life in a busy city.
Mr. Boddington's Studio: NYC ABCs - Based on the beautiful designs of Mr. Boddington’s Studio, this board book is the perfect introduction to the ABCs of NYC. This board book teaches the letters of the alphabet with illustrations of people, places, and things unique to the greatest city in the world. It is the perfect gift for anyone who loves New York!
Kiki and Coco's Guide to Paris - Quelle chance! You’re off to Paris, the City of Light! Bring your own doll and follow along in Kiki and Coco’s footsteps, as you learn to speak un peu le Franais, dress and eat like a Parisian, and record your experiences in this petite, paperback keepsake, complete with fun facts, activities, and a pocket in the back, sure to become your most treasured souvenir.