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Curiosity: Books For Kids

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

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

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 curiosity, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? to popular sellers like Ada Twist, Scientist to some of our favorite hidden gems like Petra.

We hope this list of kids books about curiosity 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.

Petra
Written & illustrated by Marianna Coppo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The humorous adventures of an irresistible little rock who finds herself in constantly changing circumstances, Petra is a picture book that celebrates the power of perspective and believing in yourself. Petra is a little rock who believes she is a mighty mountain . . . until a dog fetches her for its owner, and she is tossed into a bird’s nest. A mountain? No, Petra is now an egg! An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she’s flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl’s pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? But she’s a rock, and this is how she rolls!

Everything & Everywhere
Written & illustrated by Marc Martin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

From Hong Kong to Reykjavík, Ulaanbaatar to New York City, enjoy a lush and unexpected journey around the world to discover what makes each place unique. Sleepy sloths, colorful cows, staggering skylines, terrible traffic—countless surprises await! All you need is a good guide and a little curiosity . . . so, what are you waiting for? Let’s go! From award-winning author and illustrator Marc Martin comes a quirky, fact-filled adventure for curious globe-trotters, young and old.

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
Written & illustrated by Gemma Merino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Tina isn’t like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren’t convinced—and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!

Ada Twist, Scientist
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Ada Twist’s head is full of questions. Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie—stars of their own New York Times bestselling picture books Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer—Ada has always been endlessly curious. Even when her fact-finding missions and elaborate scientific experiments don’t go as planned, Ada learns the value of thinking her way through problems and continuing to stay curious.

Just Because
Written by Mac Barnett & illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Curious minds are rewarded with curious answers in a fantastical bedtime book by Mac Barnett and Isabelle Arsenault.

Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? What happened to the dinosaurs? It might be time for bed, but one child is too full of questions about the world to go to sleep just yet. Little ones and their parents will be charmed and delighted as a patient father offers up increasingly creative responses to his child’s nighttime wonderings. Any child who has ever asked “Why?” — and any parent who has attempted an explanation — will recognize themselves in this sweet storybook for dreamers who are looking for answers beyond “Just because.”

  • Windows - Before your city goes to sleep, you might head out for a walk, your dog at your side as you go out the door and into the almost-night. Anything can happen on such a walk: you might pass a cat, or a friend, or even an early raccoon. And as you go down your street and around the corner, the windows around you light up one by one until you are walking through a maze of paper lanterns, each one granting you a brief, glowing snapshot of your neighbors as families come together and folks settle in for the night.

  • George Washington's Breakfast - A fun take on history from Newbery Honor-winning author, Jean Fritz! George Washington Allen, a boy who never gives up until he finds out what he wants to know, is determined to learn all there is to know about his namesake, including what the first president ate for breakfast!

  • My Weird School Fast Facts: Mummies, Myths, and Mysteries - Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School! Did you know that ancient Egyptians treated infections by putting moldy bread on them? Did you know that ancient Roman workers would stomp around barefoot in big tubs filled with urine to clean their clothes? Learn more weird-but-true ancient history facts with A.J. and Andrea from Dan Gutman’s bestselling My Weird School series. This highly illustrated series of nonfiction books features hundreds of hysterical facts, plus lots of photos and illustrations. Whether you’re a kid who wants to learn more about ancient history or simply someone who wants to know what came out of the very first vending machine, this is the book for you! With more than 23 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!

  • Why? - This sweet book will appeal to anyone familiar with the universal tendency of young children to always ask WHY? When supervillain Doctor X-Ray swoops in threatening to vanquish an innocent crowd, the only one brave enough not to run away is a little girl, who asks him simply, “Why?” He is taken aback—but he answers. She keeps asking. And he keeps answering—until a surprising truth is uncovered, and the villain is thwarted. In this laugh-out-loud take on the small-and-determined-beats-big-loud-bully story, simple questions lead to profound answers in a quest that proves the ultimate power of curiosity.

Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?
Written by Carmela LaVigna Coyle & illustrated by Carl Gordon and Mike Gordon
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Every inquisitive little girl wonders what it is really like to be a genuine princess. At the heart of Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? lives an energetic, spirited, and contemporary child who has lots of important questions for her mom. Do princesses ride tricycles, climb trees, do chores, or have to eat the crusts of their bread? The mother’s voice is timelessly reassuring as she answers her daughter’s questions and advises her that being like a princess has to do with what we are on the inside.

What's Next?
Written by Timothy Knapman & illustrated by Jane McGuinness
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An inquisitive baby badger is drawn to discover the world outside his den in an endearing, delightfully illustrated father-and-child story. Baby Badger sleeps all day in his snuggly burrow. When he wakes, he explores every nook of his home and wants to know “what’s next?” So Daddy takes him to the dark forest above to roll in soft moss and snuffle in bluebell bulbs and watch the silvery moon setting, a signal that night is ending and it’s time to go home. But if daytime is “what’s next,” how can Baby Badger sleep without seeing that? So he slips out alone to see the brilliant flowers and birds and to feel the yellow sun hot on his fur. Cozy illustrations and a child-friendly text depict a curious little creature dazzled by the world’s natural wonders — and a doting father who is there to guide him back if “what’s next” turns out to take him a bit too far.

Do Not Go in There
Written by Ariel Horn & illustrated by Izzy Burton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Do Not Go in There! is an encouraging picture book from debut author Ariel Horn and illustrator Izzy Burton that highlights the power of imagination while touching on themes of anxiety, curiosity, and bravery.

Monsters Morton and Bogart are best friends. But they don’t always see eye to eye.

So when they encounter a closed door, anxious Bogart wants to keep it closed, because there must be something really bad on the other side. But Morton thinks it’ll be something amazing! Which is it?

Through bright, expressive illustrations, readers learn that, while not knowing can be frightening, being brave can lead to new discoveries. And even though your imagination can make it easy to worry, it can also make life better, less scary, and more fun.

An Imprint Book

Are You Eating Candy without Me?
Written by Draga Jenny Malesevic & illustrated by Charlotte Bruijn
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

In this delightfully illustrated picture book, readers explore the original FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) as four children imagine what wild, zany, and impossible adventures the adults in their lives must surely get up to when they are not with them.

Four different children from three different families ponder what the adults in their lives do during the day. Are they jumping on trampolines? Are they eating cake and ice cream while riding birthday ponies? Are they eating candy with other adults? After a series of hilariously illustrated and wildly imaginative scenarios, readers learn an important lesson: The adults who love them think about them constantly and are most definitely, certainly, ABSOLUTELY . . . not eating candy without them. Or are they?

Merry Christmas, Stinky Face
Written by Lisa McCourt & illustrated by Cyd Moore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Stinky Face loves Christmastime, but he still has plenty of questions. Luckily, his imaginative Mama knows just how to reassure him.

Stinky Face fans everywhere will love dropping in on their favorite mom and son during the magical Christmas season!

  • The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl - Inspired by the work of wind pioneer Poul la Cour, The Boy and the Wild Blue Girl is the imagined story of the invention of wind turbines, featuring themes perfect for Earth Day. Everyone thought the wild blue girl was a nuisance. Everyone, that is, but Poul. This is a clever and inspiring story of how curiosity and observation can bring about change in the world.

  • Natural World - A first introduction to the natural world that looks at the myriad ways in which plants and animals have adapted to give themselves the best chance of survival. Natural World explores and explains why living things look and behave the way they do in a series of visually compelling information charts.

  • The Eel Question - Bound to serve a cruel master, Nant’s curiosity never fails to get her into trouble. Some questions she had learned it was best not to ask, but every autumn the silver eels return, and so do her questions. Where do they come from? And where do they go? Be ready to feel a little bit of magic, and perhaps a few shivers down the spine.

  • Cece Loves Science - Cece loves science! In this STEM-themed picture book, Cece asks one of life’s most pressing questions: Do dogs eat vegetables? Cece and her best friend, Isaac, head to the lab to find out. This picture book is perfect for fans of Ada Twist, Scientist, and anyone who enjoys asking questions. Cece’s parents say she was born curious. She asks: Why? How? What if? When her teacher, Ms. Curie, assigns a science project, Cece knows just what to ask—do dogs eat vegetables? She teams up with her best friend, Isaac, and her dog, Einstein, to discover the answer. They investigate, research, collect data, and analyze, using Einstein as their case study. Their final conclusion is surprising, and a lot of fun! Illustrated by Vashti Harrison, whose Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History is a New York Times bestseller and an NAACP Image Award winner. Cece Loves Science is just right for fans of Rosie Revere, Engineer; What Do You Do with an Idea?; and anyone who loves learning.

All Our Wild Wonder
Written by Sarah Kay & illustrated by Sophia Janowitz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

All Our Wild Wonder is a vibrant tribute to extraordinary educators and a celebration of learning. The perfect gift for the mentors in our lives, this charming, illustrated poem reminds us of the beauty in, and importance of, cultivating curiosity, creativity, and confidence in others.

Curiosity
Written & illustrated by Markus Motum
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Maybe you remember when a little robotic spacecraft landed on a far-off planet. On August 6, 2012, the rover Curiosity touched down on the rocky surface of Mars—and now she’s ready to guide you through her journey firsthand. From idea to creation and beyond, this fact-filled, stylish book introduces readers to Curiosity and her mission: to discover more about the red planet and search for evidence of life. How did Curiosity get her name? What tools does she use to carry out her tasks? In her own voice, the popular NASA rover tells how and why she traveled more than 350,000,000 miles to explore a planet no human has ever visited . . . and what she’s been doing there. In his debut picture book, Markus Motum brings Curiosity’s story to life in vivid color: the deep blues of space set off the warm, rusted hues of Mars’s dusty red surface, marking this lovable rover and her mission as something special—truly a world apart.

Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Crazy-but-true stories about history, geography, and human achievement make this acclaimed nonfiction series perfect for fans of curiosities and wonders. A fun way for middle graders to explore ways to separate fact from fiction.

Did you know that a young girl once saved an entire beach community from a devastating tsunami thanks to something she learned in her fourth-grade geography lesson? Or that there is a person alive today who generates her own magnetic field? Or how about the fact that Benjamin Franklin once challenged the Royal Academy of Brussels to devise a way to make farts smell good?

Welcome to Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries! You know the game: Every story in this book is strange and astounding, but one out of every three is an outright lie.

Can you guess which stories are the facts and which are the fakes? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable! Don’t be fooled by the photos that accompany each story—it’s going to take all your smarts and some clever research to root out the alternative facts.

From a train that transported dead people to antique photos of real fairies to a dog who was elected mayor, the stories in this book will amaze you! Just don’t believe everything you read. . . .

Curiosity House: The Fearsome Firebird
Written by Lauren Oliver & illustrated by H. C. Chester
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In this third book in the exceptional Curiosity House mystery series by bestselling author Lauren Oliver and mysterious recluse H. C. Chester, four children must uncover the evil Nicholas Rattigan’s newest dastardly scheme, wage war with a rival freak show, and deal with a spy who may have infiltrated their happy home. Sam, Philippa, Thomas, and Max have just started to recover from their capture and subsequent escape from Rattigan. But the children’s lives don’t stay quiet for long. A slew of bank robberies is terrorizing the city. And when Professor Farnum, the ringmaster of the museum’s now immensely popular flea circus, is charged with murder, the search for the real killer uncovers a plot much bigger than any individual crime—a plot that can only be the work of Nicholas Rattigan. This is the third book in the series and contains even more exciting marvels, such as: A nefarious spy within the museum A very unfortunate flea circus The heavenly Georgie Rawls, from the original cast of Last Chance A beautiful and mysterious tattooed lady It continues not to have: A comprehensive review of the top ten toothbrushes A heaping bowl of sugarless cereal A long and boring family vacation A handmade, scratchy wool sweater Learn more about the series online at www.thecuriosityhouse.com

The Mermaid and the Shoe
Written & illustrated by K. G. Campbell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In this delightful picture book, Minnow seems to be the only one of King Neptune’s fifty mermaid daughters who has no particular skill or accomplishments. That is, except for her persistence in asking many, many questions. “Why don’t crabs have fins”? “Where do bubbles go”? “What lies beyond the kingdom”? But one day, as Minnow is drifting in the ocean all alone, a single red woman’s shoe, “the loveliest thing she’d ever seen,” floats toward her seemingly from out of nowhere. Never having seen a shoe before, Willow becomes intrigued by what it might be. When no one in the kingdom can tell her, she sets off on a quest to find out and, along the way, uncovers answers to many of the things that have been vexing her, including what her true purpose is! Award-winning author and illustrator K. G. Campbell beautifully captures the watery world of his mermaids with soft blues and grays, long hair rippling in the currents and lots of bubbles. Young readers will chuckle knowingly at Minnow’s misinterpretations of the world “at the edge of the kingdom, where bubbles burst and the above place began,” as they delight in her discovery of what the shoe is used for. With the feel of a fairy tale, this is a fun and humorous story with a wonderful message appropriate for character education lessons about the value of believing in yourself and the power of perseverance when you are searching for answers to life’s most important questions.

  • A Penguin Story - Edna the penguin only knows the three colors that surround her: white ice, black night, and blue sea. She is convinced there is something more out there. So she sets out on a quest—a quest for color. When she finally finds what she’s been looking for, it’s everything she hoped for and more. But that doesn’t mean she will ever stop looking.

  • Pony in the City - Otis wants to know about the kids who ride at his stables. Do they sleep in stalls? Do they also get brushed and braided? The older ponies ignore his questions, so Otis heads to the city to see for himself. And he finds answers, but he gets lost, too . . . until some of his favorite friends come to the rescue. Kids will relate to this sweet story about an adorable, inquisitive little pony.

  • Stink it Up! - They don’t call him Stink for nothing! Now kids can savor a smorgasbord of facts about smelly and vile stuff in honor of their favorite super sniffer. Did you know that a group of skunks is called a stench? (No lie!) Can you believe that in colonial days, window-washing rags were dipped in pee? Or that snail slime was once an ingredient in cough syrup? Stink has a nose for yuck and muck, and this book is full of it: moose poop festivals, mouse brain toothpaste, maggot cheese, and way more. Its pages are crawling with more than two hundred facts, quizzes, recipes, and bits of trivia about things that are gross, bad, and smelly. P.U.!

  • Tracks in the Snow - A little girl investigates tracks in the snow, trying to determine what could have made them.

Elbert, the Curious Clock Tower Bear
Written & illustrated by Andrew Prahin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An inquisitive bear discovers the wonders of the world around him in this utterly charming picture book that celebrates curiosity, asking questions, and being true to yourself.

Unlike the other mechanical bears in the village clock tower, Elbert can’t help but notice all the marvelous things around him–snow falling in winter, fireworks in the night sky, the magnificent stag standing in the cobbled street below. But when Elbert’s growing curiosity threatens to disrupt the orderly life of the clock tower, the other bears decide Elbert must go. What’s a small bear with a big curiosity to do? Explore, of course! And maybe even find a way to spread his inquisitive spirit. Here’s the perfect book for readers young and old who believe that staying curious is more important than following the rules.

Everywhere, Wonder
Written by Matthew Swanson & illustrated by Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

In this heartfelt picture book, readers are taken on a stunning journey into the imagination of a young boy—who explores everything from the pyramids of Egypt to a dusty footprint on the moon—and then back out again to the wonderful world right in front of him. From a lost balloon to an endless road, there are stories to discover, to dream about, and to share. Everywhere, Wonder explores the wonder in the world, while encouraging young minds to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary, and creatively share their stories with others.

Ginny Goblin Is Not Allowed to Open This Box
Written by David Goodner & illustrated by Louis Thomas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Ginny Goblin has one simple rule to follow: She is not allowed to open this box. Not until dinnertime. But Ginny Goblin doesn’t like to follow the rules, so nothing will stop her from trying to open this box. Not a tall tower, not a misty mountain, not a frightful forest, and certainly not a murky moat filled with scaly, scary serpents . . . But wait! What is in the box? You’ll have to open this book to find out! (Don’t worry, you’re allowed.)

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