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Explorers and Adventure: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about explorers is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From This Little Explorer to The Explorers: The Door in the Alley there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about explorers? Let us know!

This Little Explorer book
#1
This Little Explorer
Written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Learn all about the most influential explorers who searched the world far and wide in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for pioneers-in-training! Little explorers discover a great big world. The follow up to This Little President, now even the youngest adventurers can learn about the greatest explorers in history with this bright and playful board book. Highlighting ten memorable pioneers, parents and young discoverers alike will love sharing this fun historical primer full of age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

Off & Away book
#2
Off & Away
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

How would you get mail if you lived in the middle of the sea? It's Jo's dad's job to deliver it, taking bottles wherever they need to go. He always comes home with exciting stories to tell-but Jo is far too afraid to go out on the ocean herself. Until Dad gets a bad sea cold, that is. With no one but Jo to deliver the bottles, she must find her courage and set sail alone. As she embarks on her mission, her fears just might be replaced with new friendships . . . and grand stories of her own. With beautiful, atmospheric art and endearing new characters by author-illustrator Cale Atkinson, this picturebook is a treasure.

Edmund Unravels book
#3
Edmund Unravels
Written and illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This delightful debut picture book celebrates both the joy of venturing into the unknown and the value of staying connected to loved ones back home. It stars a little ball of yarn who can’t resist the tug of adventure, the twists and turns of discovery, or the comfort of family and friends. Edmund is a ball of yarn and a ball of energy! From the time he could roll, he’s been bouncing down his front steps to explore, and his parents have always been right there to reel him in and roll him back up. But now that he’s bigger, Edmund is ready to discover the wonders of the world. Everything is new and exciting—but sometimes, even a little ball of yarn gets lonely, and there’s nothing better than the comfort of being around those he cares about.

Hopper and Wilson book
#4
Hopper and Wilson
Written and illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A playful tale about friendship and home "What," Hopper asks his little friend Wilson, "do you think it's like at the end of the world?" Hopper, the blue elephant, imagines a staircase to the moon, while Wilson, the yellow mouse, hopes for an endless supply of lemonade. So the two sail off in a boat made of paper . . . only to discover they already have everything they could wish for in each other, and at home. Maria van Lieshout's adorable new picture book tugs at heartstrings, inspires discussion, and reminds us all how good returning home can feel.

The Mysterious Sea book
#5
The Mysterious Sea
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Prince Donal likes inventing things--the weirder the better. All of his inventions are practical, but some of them are a bit odd. Still, they come in handy when Donal and his three best friends set out to explore the area around the Waveborn Islands. Many centuries ago, someone built the fantastic machines that allows the Waveborn Islands to rise or fall back into the sea. Donal would give anything to study any records those people left behind. Fortunately, the first uncharted island they find seems to be filled with relics of that ancient people. Unfortunately, Donal and the other prince and princesses aren't the first ones to find the island. But if they trigger the island's booby traps, they just might be the last.

  1. I Can Explore - Adventure awaits! Young readers help characters explore the world—from embarking on a jungle safari through touch-and-feel fabric leaves to riding a tandem bike through Paris—just by wiggling their fingers! Then, with two sets of hands, children assist these explorers as they head off on their next adventure in the gatefold finale. Active and adorable characters model both independence and teamwork, making this innovative board book perfect for interactive reading and playtime fun!

  2. Off the Track - From the author of To the Lighthouse comes a new adventure for young readers about falling in love with the bush, and with hiking and being in the wild. It's about disconnecting from technology and discovering yourself. Harry's perfect life was straying way off-track. He looked pleadingly at Mum. Surely she could see? Spending an entire weekend tramping around stinking-hot, snake-filled scrub was a horrible mistake. But doing it without a phone? That was just brutal. As it turns out, it was only the beginning ...

  3. Life on Mars - In this sneaky, silly picture book for fans of Oliver Jeffers and Jon Klassen, an intrepid-but not so clever-space explorer is certain he's found the only living thing on Mars. A young astronaut is absolutely sure there is life to be found on Mars. He sets off on a solitary mission, determined to prove the naysayers wrong. But when he arrives, equipped with a package of cupcakes as a gift, he sees nothing but a nearly barren planet. Finally, he spies a single flower and packs it away to take back to Earth as proof that there is indeed life on Mars. But as he settles in for the journey home, he cracks open his cupcakes-only to discover that someonehas eaten them all! Readers will love being in on the secret- Unbeknownst to the explorer, a Martian has been wandering through the illustrations the whole time-and he got himself a delicious snack along the way.

  4. Major Impossible (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #9) - The ninth book in the bestselling series tells the story of John Wesley Powell, the one-armed geologist who explored the Grand Canyon John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) always had the spirit of adventure in him. As a young man, he traveled all over the United States exploring. When the Civil War began, Powell went to fight for the Union, and even after he lost most of his right arm, he continued to fight until the war was over. In 1869 he embarked with the Colorado River Exploring Expedition, ten men in four boats, to float through Grand Canyon. Over the course of three months, the explorers lost their boats and supplies, nearly drowned, and were in peril on multiple occasions. Ten explorers went in, only six came out. Powell would come to be known as one of the most epic explorers in history! Equal parts gruesome and hilarious, this latest installment in the bestselling series takes readers on an action-packed adventure through American history.

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos book
#10
Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos
Written and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For every child who has ever looked up at the stars and asked, "What are they?" comes the story of a curious boy who never stopped wondering: Carl Sagan. When Carl Sagan was a young boy he went to the 1939 World's Fair and his life was changed forever. From that day on he never stopped marveling at the universe and seeking to understand it better. Star Stuff follows Carl from his days star gazing from the bedroom window of his Brooklyn apartment, through his love of speculative science fiction novels, to his work as an internationally renowned scientist who worked on the Voyager missions exploring the farthest reaches of space. This book introduces the beloved man who brought the mystery of the cosmos into homes across America to a new generation of dreamers and star gazers.

Zoe's Jungle book
#11
Zoe's Jungle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When Mama’s schedule and Zoe’s playtime collide, what's an explorer to do? A quest book, a sister story, and a race against the clock, Zoe’s Jungle is a heartwarming tale of adventure and imagination.

How to Babysit a Grandpa book
#12
How to Babysit a Grandpa
Written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A New York Times bestselling picture book—from the creators of the hilarious HOW TO… series—about a child spending time with his grandpa. Written in a how-to style, the narrator gives important tips for “babysitting” a grandpa, including what to eat for snack (anything dipped in ketchup, ice cream topped with cookies, cookies topped with ice cream) what to do on a walk (find lizards and dandelion puffs, be on the lookout for puddles and sprinklers), and how to play with a grandpa (build a pirate cave, put on a scary play). Filled with humor, energy, and warmth, this is a great gift for or from a grandparent, and perfect for lap reading when Grandpa comes to visit!

Explorers of the Wild book
#13
Explorers of the Wild
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Boy and Bear both love to explore the outdoors. There are so many neat things to see, and so many strange things to find. These explorers are prepared for anything . . . except each other! When Bear and Boy meet in the woods, they're scared at first. Really scared. But soon these kings of the wild realize that no mountain is too big to conquer if you have a friend to climb it by your side.

Bits & Pieces book
#14
Bits & Pieces
Written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

New York Times bestseller and fan favorite Judy Schachner presents a warmly affectionate portrait of a family’s devotion to their beloved cat. Tink has everything he ever wanted – delicious treats, hugs and kisses, and even a kitten to raise. The only thing missing is wild outdoor adventure. So when the opportunity arises, Tink sneaks out – and becomes an outdoor cat for one unforgettable night. Like cozy favorites such as Clare Turlay Newberry’s Marshmallow and Mo Willems’ City Dog, Country Frog, and with soft, meltingly tender illustrations that match the poignant tale, Judy Schachner proves what a superlative storyteller she is with this loving family story.

  1. Curiosity - 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.

  2. Return - Welcome the much-anticipated finale of Caldecott Honoree Aaron Becker’s wordless trilogy—a spectacular, emotionally satisfying story that brings its adventurer home. Failing to get the attention of her busy father, a lonely girl turns back to a fantastic world for friendship and adventure. It’s her third journey into the enticing realm of kings and emperors, castles and canals, exotic creatures and enchanting landscapes. This time, it will take something truly powerful to persuade her to return home, as a gripping backstory is revealed that will hold readers in its thrall. Caldecott Honor winner Aaron Becker delivers a suspenseful and moving climax to his wordless trilogy, an epic that began with the award-winning Journey and continued with the celebrated follow-up Quest.

  3. I am a Mouse - In 1964, children’s book greats Ole Risom and J.P. Miller teamed to create a beautiful and endearing book about Deedee the mouse. After decades of being unavailable, I am a Mouse is back and ready to be embraced by a whole new generation of children. With a simple text and colorful illustrations, this Golden Sturdy Book is the perfect fit for the little hands of little readers.

  4. The Walkabout Orchestra - The orchestra have an important concert to play… but all the musicians have gone walkabout! Can you help the Maestro and his faithful assistant to track them down using clues from their postcards? Take a trip from Reykjavik to Rio, through Greek islands, Venetian canals and Egyptian pyramids in this search-and-find tour of the world and learn all the instruments of the orchestra as you work your way through this spotting extravaganza.

See Hear book
#19
See Hear
Written by Tania McCartney and illustrated by Jess Racklyeft
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

This innovative flip-format picture book is a sequel to the best-selling and CBCA Notable Book for 2017, Smile Cry. Piglet, Bunny and Cat return in a charming, whimsical sensory adventure that encourages kids to explore the multitude of ways that they can engage with the world around them, particularly via the senses of sight and sound. From watching ‘squiggly rain’ on a window to pointing out ‘heavenly horses’ in the clouds, from hearing ‘buzzing blossoms’ as bees collect pollen and nectar to ‘hot pan sizzles’ as a favourite meal is prepared, See Hear invites us to open our eyes and ears to the everyday magic that surrounds us. Younger kids will respond to the soft whimsical illustrations, while older readers will enjoy the onomatopoeic wordplay. Perfect for ages 3 and up, this is a book that will captivate children and parents alike.

Flying Deep Climb Inside Deep Sea Submersible ALVIN book
#20
Flying Deep Climb Inside Deep Sea Submersible ALVIN
Written by Michelle A. Cusolito and illustrated by Nicole Wong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Climb aboard Alvin, the famous deep-sea submersible credited with helping to find the Titanic, and take a trip two miles down to the bottom of the ocean. Experience a day in the life of an Alvin pilot, diving two miles down to explore the seafloor, collect samples, and conduct research. Along the way, discover what one wears, eats, and talks about during a typical eight-hour trip in a underwater craft, and find out more about the animals that live deep in our oceans. In expressive, poetic language and gorgeous illustrations, the mysteries of the deep sea are revealed. Backmatter includes an author's note about researching this book, a glossary, and suggested further reading.

Unstoppable Max book
#21
Unstoppable Max
Written and illustrated by Julia Patton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Max is a four-year-old whirlwind who doesn't have an off switch! His socks are odd, his bedroom is chaotic, and his mind is so full of imaginative schemes that following even the simplest of instructions can end in mayhem. Max's bedtime routine, so seemingly simple, becomes a military operation for Max with many obstacles to overcome - tidying his bedroom, putting on his pyjamas, and feeding his pet goldfish! Illustrated with non-stop energy by exciting new author/illustrator, Julia Patton.

The Polar Bear Explorers' Club book
#22
The Polar Bear Explorers' Club
Written by Alex Bell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A precocious young girl is determined to prove herself as an explorer in the first novel in the whimsical Polar Bear Explorers’ Club series. Stella Starflake Pearl knows, without a doubt, that she was born to be an adventurer. It’s too bad girls are forbidden from becoming explorers. But Stella’s father has never been one to play by the rules. Leaving behind her pet polar bear, Gruff, and beloved unicorn, Magic, Stella and Felix set off on an expedition to the snowy Icelands. There, Stella plans to prove herself as a junior explorer, worthy of membership in the Polar Bear Explorers’ Club. So when Stella and three other junior explorers are separated from the rest of their expedition, she has the perfect opportunity. Can they explore the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale? The first in Alex Bell’s imaginative new series, The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club is a fun and daring adventure filled with magic, outlaws, and fantastic faraway lands.

The Explorer book
#23
The Explorer
Written and illustrated by Katherine Rundell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner Katherine Rundell comes an exciting new novel about a group of kids who must survive in the Amazon after their plane crashes. Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are on their way back to England from Manaus when the plane they’re on crashes and the pilot dies upon landing. For days they survive alone, until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city, and to a secret.

  1. The Bug Girl - Maria Sibylla Merian was fascinated with insects. But when Maria was a girl in the mid-1600s, superstitions about bugs prevented most people from taking a close look. People thought bugs were evil--and anyone interested in such creatures was surely evil too. That didn't stop Maria. Filled with curiosity, she began to study and paint them. She even witnessed silkworms form cocoons and transform into moths--discovering metamorphosis! Painting and drawing as she studied, Maria pushed the boundaries of what girls were expected to do, eventually gaining recognition as one of the first entomologists and scientific illustrators. This gorgeously illustrated biography celebrates a fascinating female pioneer who broke boundaries in both the arts and sciences.

  2. The Explorers: The Door in the Alley - This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It’s not the one you’re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.) This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and there is a girl looking for help that only uninquisitive boys can offer. The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a series that is sure to hit young readers right in the funny bone

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!