The Top 28 Books About Fish

Updated Apr. 22, 2019

Like the plenty of fish in the sea, there are plenty of children's books about fish out there. We've narrowed it down to the best of the bunch so you can have a swimmingly time reading these with your little ones. From fact-filled reads to fantastic favorites, these fishy tales are sure to be a hit!

Happy book
#1
Happy
Written and illustrated by Mies Van Hout
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love that this book goes through all the different emotions, showing them through each illustrated fish on the page. :) It's a really simple, beautiful, and fun book, and I felt like this one had a lot more emotions than just "happy" and "sad." I actually found this one in a bookstore and paid full price for the last copy that had a dent on the cover because I wanted it in my home library. :)

Teaches about emotions with illustrations of fish portraying these feelings, including curiosity, sadness, and confusion.

DogFish book
#2
DogFish
Written by Gillian Shields and illustrated by Dan Taylor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This story has a great overall message in it, to want what you already have instead of wanting something you can't have. :) The boy learns to make the best of things, and instead of just wanting a dog, he learns to teach his goldfish to catch a stick, takes him on walks, and everyone ends up happy. :)

Everyone has a dog. Except for one little boy. He has a goldfish. He needs a dog. Mom says, "Why do you need a dog when you have such a nice goldfish?" But goldfish can't catch sticks or go for walks or wag their tails.... Can they? Maybe they can...

Papa's Mechanical Fish book
#3
Papa's Mechanical Fish
Written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Grammy

This is a great story about exploring ideas; sometimes they work out and sometimes they need more work. The creative dad in this book just keeps working on his ideas, most of which don't really succeed. Although so many of his ideas have fallen short, he doesn't get discouraged, and no one in his family is ever critical; everyone just keeps thinking and nurturing curiosity. The painterly illustrations engage the reader in the action, both of the inventor and his family who have their own activities parallel to the father's pursuits. This story is on the long side, although the repetition and reiterations work to keep young readers engaged and there is plenty to look at on every page. It is a terrific book for STEM topics and encouraging curiosity, perseverance, thinking, and patience.

In the summer of 1851, with encouragement and ideas provided by his family, an inventor builds a working submarine and takes his family for a ride. Includes notes about Lodner Phillips, the real inventor on whom the story is based.

Hooray for Fish! book
#4
Hooray for Fish!
Written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Little Fish has all sorts of fishy friends in his underwater home, but loves one of them most of all.

Little Shark: Finger Puppet Book book
#5
Little Shark: Finger Puppet Book
Written and illustrated by ImageBooks, Chronicle Books
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A new title in the bestselling finger puppet series! Tiny tots can enjoy swimming among the fish with Little Shark in this simple, comforting story. The book features a permanently attached plush finger puppet and peek-a-boo holes in every page, giving parents and children a fun, interactive way to play and read together.

Not Norman book
#6
Not Norman
Written by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

As a boy attempts to convince someone else to take his disappointing pet, he learns to love Norman the goldfish himself.

A Fish Out of Water book
#7
A Fish Out of Water
Written by Helen Palmer and illustrated by P. D. Eastman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A fun-filled reading experience for the beginning reader about a little boy who overfeeds his fish

Swimmy book
#8
Swimmy
Written and illustrated by Leo Lionni
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The gorgeous, Caldecott Honor-winning tale of a very clever fish by beloved picture book creator Leo Lionni. Deep in the sea lives a happy school of fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger. Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Honor, this beloved tale of a brave little fish has been a favorite to generations of readers. To celebrate Swimmy's fiftieth anniversary, we are issuing a handsome special edition hardcover that includes a bonus poster.

The Rainbow Fish book
#9
The Rainbow Fish
Written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The most beautiful fish in the entire ocean discovers the real value of personal beauty and friendship.

Fish is Fish book
#10
Fish is Fish
Written and illustrated by Leo Lionni
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From beloved Caldecott winning picture book creator Leo Lionni, this charming tale of sticking together and imagination shows how powerful friendship can be. Two best friends, a minnow and a tadpole, are practically inseparable until the tadpole grows legs and decides to explore the world beyond the pond. When the tadpole, now a frog, returns to tell his friend of the extraordinary things he’s seen, the minnow, now a fish, tries to follow in his footsteps, but quickly finds that land is not what he expected. Friendship truly saves the day in this imaginative tale of a fish out of water.

Swim! Swim! book
#11
Swim! Swim!
Written and illustrated by Lerch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lerch the fish is lonely, and after trying to befriend some unreceptive--and inanimate--objects, he finally succeeds in finding a friend.

The Ocean Alphabet Board Book book
#12
The Ocean Alphabet Board Book
Written and illustrated by Jerry Pallotta
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This ocean-themed alphabet board book has a lot of great facts in it, but I didn't love all of the text. For a board book, it's really informative!

Introduces the letters A to Z by describing fish and other creatures living in the North Atlantic Ocean. On board pages.

Only One You book
#13
Only One You
Written and illustrated by Linda Kranz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Adri promises to remember his parents' words of wisdom about how to live his life, such as "Find your own way. You don't have to follow the crowd" and "Make wishes on the stars in the nighttime sky."

Ten Friendly Fish book
#14
Ten Friendly Fish
Written and illustrated by Debbie Tarbett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

"Follow the adventures of these bright, bold, 3D fish in this ... counting book"--P. [4] of cover.

This is Not My Hat book
#15
This is Not My Hat
Written and illustrated by Jon Klassen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little fish thinks he can get away with stealing a hat.

Big Al book
#16
Big Al
Written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Yoshi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Big Al, an ugly and fierce-looking fish, longs for friends, but all the other fish flee whenever he approaches them. Then one day, in a display of strength and heroism, Big Al proves that the true test of a friend is how he acts, not how he looks.

Charlie's Boat book
#17
Charlie's Boat
Written and illustrated by Kit Chase
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Best friends really are the best when they use their imaginations to help each other. Charlie, Oliver, and Lulu love to play outside together. One fine day they all go fishing, but Charlie doesn’t have much fun—all he can catch are sticks. Next, they build little boats and have a race, but, once again, things don’t go very well. Charlie’s boat comes in last. Things seem pretty gloomy until Oliver comes up with a plan. They build a special boat they can all play on, together! Kit Chase offers a sweet ode to friendship in this tale of three best friends who can count on each other to always make play time fun.

The Goodbye Book book
#18
The Goodbye Book
Written and illustrated by Todd Parr
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

From bestselling author Todd Parr, a poignant and reassuring story about loss. Through the lens of a pet fish who has lost his companion, Todd Parr tells a moving and wholly accessible story about saying goodbye. Touching upon the host of emotions children experience, Todd reminds readers that it's okay not to know all the answers, and that someone will always be there to support them. An invaluable resource for life's toughest moments.

This is a Poem that Heals Fish book
#19
This is a Poem that Heals Fish
Written by Jean-Pierre Simeon and illustrated by Olivier Tallec
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

After his mother, hurrying to her tuba lesson, tells him that a poem will cure his pet fish's boredom, a little boy tries to find out what a poem is by asking friends, neighbors, and other members of his family.

Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge book
#20
Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge
Written by Kristin L. Gray
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

"Vilonia must prove she is responsible enough to get a dog in order to help her mom get over her grief"--

Hello, World! Ocean Life book
#21
Hello, World! Ocean Life
Written and illustrated by Jill McDonald
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

All young children love to play in the waves at the beach. Now here’s a Hello, World! board book that teaches them all about oceans and the creatures and plants that live there.

A Crack in the Sea book
#22
A Crack in the Sea
Written by H. M. Bouwman and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

"Pip, a young boy who can speak to fish, and his sister Kinchen set off on a great adventure, joined by twins with magical powers, refugees fleeing post-war Vietnam, and some helpful sea monsters"--

Hello, Ocean Friends book
#23
Hello, Ocean Friends
Written by and illustrated by Violet Lemay
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

A friendly narrator greets ten ocean creatures, in a book featuring high-contrast black-and-white illustrations.

Song of the Deep book
#24
Song of the Deep
Written and illustrated by Brian Hastings
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Twelve-year-old Merryn lives with her fisherman father in a little cottage by the sea. Each day, her father braves the tumultuous waves and returns home in time for dinner. One stormy evening, he doesn't come back. Merryn has a vision that he s been dragged underwater by a terrifying sea creature, and he needs her help. Determined to rescue him, Merryn builds a tiny submarine and embarks on a journey through the undersea worlds she's only heard about in her father's lullabies. As she faces the dangers and wonders of the world below the waves, she realizes that her father's stories were all real. Readers can also experience Merryn's daring journey firsthand in the new "Song of the Deep" video game from acclaimed developer Insomniac Games."

Down, Down, Down book
#25
Down, Down, Down
Written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Provides a top-to-bottom look at the ocean, from birds and waves to thermal vents and ooze.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!