Stories of cowboys, cowgirls, and the Wild, Wild West have long captivated the attention and imagination of young readers. From stories of sheriffs and outlaws to rodeos and cattle drives, nothing captures the excitement, danger, and adventure of life in the saddle like children’s books.
Here, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite children’s books with cowgirls and cowboys in them. Some of these popular cowpoke characters might be familiar to you, while others might be new cowgirls and cowboys you’ll be glad to meet.
Our list includes board, picture, and chapter books. Our board books are best for the youngest ranch hands, from babies to toddlers. Our picture books offer stories of a cowgirl or cowboy’s life under the stars perfect for kids kindergarten through early elementary school age. Our chapter books include great western books for young rangers elementary through early middle school age. You can filter the list by book type or browse all types.
Let us know what titles you would add to the list!
Ghost Town at Sundown - Their magic tree house takes Jack and Annie back to the Wild West, where they experience excitement and danger and try to solve a riddle.
Pancho Bandito and the Amarillo Armadillo - Pancho Bandito is a giant kid cowboy in the Old West who longs for his own horse. He travels to Texas to sell some cattle but runs into the greatest challenge he’s ever faced: the monstrous Amarillo Armadillo. Can Pancho save Fort Worth from the beast and make a friend along the way?Pancho Bandito and the Amarillo Armadillo is a tall tale picture book set in the American Southwest. The playful language and gorgeous landscapes will please readers of all levels.
How to Track a Pterodactyl - It’s the end of summer, and time for Trihorn Settlement’s big summer party, and Josh’s hero, Terrordactyl Bill, is making the grand opening speech! But the festivities are interrupted when a flock of pterodactyls come screeching through the air. T-Bill jumps in to protect the townspeople…and a group of pteros plucks him from the ground and carries him away! It’s up to Josh and his best friends to brave Rocktooth Ridge, home of the fearsome pterodactyls, to rescue T-Bill from the flying dinosaurs’ clutches!
How to Scare a Stegosaurus - Josh is dismayed to discover that crooked businessman Malachi Wilks is building a railroad straight through Trihorn settlement! With the sheriff out of town, it seems like nothing can stand in the way of Wilks’ railroad and his pack of stegosaurus workers.With his friends, Josh organizes the most epic, dino-filled showdown at high noon that the Lost Plains ever saw!
Want to see books about action and adventure?
How I Spent My Summer Vacation - A schoolboy tell his class about his summer vacation, during which he joined a group of cowboys and stopped a cattle stampede.
The Mystery of the Wild West Bandit - The Aldens are at Wildcat Crossing, a recreated frontier town full of cowboy fun! But when horses disappear and other pranks threaten to ruin the Wild West show, the Boxcar Children must find out who’s the varmint causing all the trouble!
Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella - Once upon a time, there was a sweet cowgirl named Cindy Ellen, who lived with the orneriest stepmother west of the Mississippi and two stepsisters who were so nasty, they made rattlesnakes look nice! But when a fast-talkin’ fairy godmother teaches Cindy Ellen a little lesson about gumption, Cindy lassos first place at the rodeo and the heart of Joe Prince…. You may think you’ve heard the story before—but you’ll get a side-splittin’ bellyache after you’re through with this hilarious rendition told Wild West-style!
Little Red Hot - Little Red Hot loves red hot chilli peppers. She eats them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When her grandmother catches a cold, Little Red makes her a hot pepper pie that will “knock those cold germs right out of her”. But before Little Red shares her pie with Grandma, she meets Señor Lobo. The pie comes in very handy when the wily wolf tries to trick her into thinking he’s her grandmother.
Want to see books about culture?
I Wanna Be a Cowgirl - A little girl imagines what her daily life would be like if she were a cowgirl, living out west on a ranch with cows and sheep, riding a horse, and sleeping under the stars.
Henry Goes West - Henry the Duck takes a trip out to the Wild West where he finds himself up to his feathers in merry mis-adventure in this fresh and lively picture book from beloved author Robert Quackenbush! Henry the Duck sure gets himself into some sticky situations! When he finally goes out to the wild, wild West to visit his friend Clara, he finds out that he has another surprise waiting for him back home. Children and parents alike will love following disaster-prone Henry through his adventures in travel, cleverly written and illustrated by Robert Quackenbush.
There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea - There was a coyote who swallowed a flea, plucked from his knee, that tickly flea. Yippee-o-Ki-Yee! Skinny ol’ Coyote delights readers of all ages as he swallows his way through this delicious southwestern-flavored retelling of a well-loved rhyme. As Coyote gets bigger, the story gets zanier as a bird, a bull, and even an entire cactus end up as dinner. It’s pure fun for everyone―even that little flea.
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa - A Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor Book Hold on to your hats! Two new pals have arrived on the scene: Cowgirl Kate and her stubborn, but devoted cowhorse, Cocoa. Together they count the herd, ride the range, and, of course, argue till the cows come home—as only best friends can do. With its spirited text and bright, humorous illustrations by Caldecott Honor recipient Betsy Lewin, this first book in the Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa series is bound to be a hit with young wranglers everywhere. This title has been selected as a Common Core Text Exemplar (Grades 2-3, Stories)
Want to see books about animals?
Cowboy Camp - Although Avery cannot stand to eat the grub, is allergic to horses and gets rope burns from lassos, he learns at cowboy camp that he possesses the most important cowboy quality.
Farm - Collecting, lifting, transporting, and delivering! Lift the flap to see each vehicle busy at work. Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills - and simply joining in!
We Are the Gardeners - Joanna and the kids chronicle the adventures of starting their own family garden. From failed endeavors, obstacles (bunnies that eat everything!), and lessons learned, the Gaines family shares how they grew a happy, successful garden. As it turns out, trying something new isn’t always easy, but the hardest work often yields the greatest reward.
Waynetta and the Cornstalk - Times sure are tough on the ranch, and Waynetta and her ma can use all the luck they can get. But when Waynetta trades their last longhorn for a handful of so-called magic corn, Ma is non too pleased. A fast-paced Texas retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk featuring a girl hero.
Want to see 6 more books about cowboys and cowgirls and farm life and ranch life ?
How about books about farm life and ranch life?
At the Stroke of Goodnight - Reminiscent of Susan Marie Swanson’s The House in the Night, world-renowned paper-cut artist Clay Rice weaves a poetic scene of what happens around a small farmhouse as night falls. A dreaming dog. A purring cat. A bird on a limb. A mouse on a mat. The evening glows in the twilight. And all falls quiet on the stroke of goodnight. A baby coos; a mommy sighs. Little ones tucked in, with dreams in their eyes. A gentle hand turns out the light. And all is quiet on the stroke of goodnight. A perfect bedtime story that gently and beautifully depicts a busy world settling in for a warm night’s sleep.
All the Animals Where I Live - The author used to live in the busy city where there were buses and trains, and people waiting for buses and trains. Now he lives in the country and jubilantly takes us on a tour of his home, pointing out all the animals that share his space. There are stuffed bears and quilted chickens. His dog Wednesday watches cranes, frogs, and dragonflies live their lives. Coyotes and chipmunks come and go, and the world around where he lives is full of life, until winter comes, and there is nothing but snow. Uniquely structured, All the Animals Where I Live is a picture book from Philip C. Stead, one of our most innovative author-illustrators, that is a meditation on life and moments big and small that shape our individual worlds.
Want to see books about country life?