Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to flight. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about flight.
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, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.
When it comes to children’s stories about flight, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The 21 Balloons to popular sellers like The Twenty-One Balloons (Puffin Modern Classics) to some of our favorite hidden gems like Rosie Revere, Engineer.
We hope this list of kids books about flight 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.
Somewhere Else - George has absolutely no interest in exploring the world. None at all. He’s far too busy enjoying his home life and baking delicious pastries. Or so he tells all his friends when they invite him along on their wonderful adventures. But when George’s friend Pascal digs a little deeper, the real reason George refuses to travel away from home is finally revealed . . . From the children’s book author of the acclaimed Herman and Rosie comes Gus Gordon’s Somewhere Else.
Floaty - Blah! Mr. Raisin is a bit of a grump. He lives all alone in a little house, and he likes it that way just fine. One day, a mysterious basket appears on Mr. Raisin’s doorstep. When he opens it up, it seems there’s nothing inside . . . until he notices a floating dog bobbing along his ceiling. What follows is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about embracing the unexpected—and finding friendship that takes you to new heights.
Teaching Eddie to Fly - Laugh-out-loud picture book about embracing your own unique gifts. Eddie is a bird, but he can’t fly! His friend Ernest, a bear, decides he’s going to help Eddie learn to fly—with hilarious and unanticipated results. Along the way, both Ernest and Eddie learn some valuable lessons. Is Eddie even meant to fly? Or is there something else he’s even better at? Quirky and fun, Teaching Eddie to Fly will have kids laughing while challenging them to think about what they’re good at, and what makes them unique.
Penguinaut! - Orville lives at the zoo, surrounded by animal pals who go on exciting adventures. A hang gliding rhino! A deep-sea diving giraffe! Orville struggles to keep up, until one day he concocts an adventure all his own: build a spaceship and fly to the moon all by himself. Can one tiny penguin get there alone? Penguinaut is perfect for every child who’s said, “I can do it myself!” and comes to find that the rewards are much richer when shared with friends. Marcie Colleen’s playful text and Emma Yarlett’s charming, whimsical illustrations are sure to delight both children and their parents.
Want to see books about friendship?
Fly! - It’s a big day up in the tree that Mama bird shares with her baby. Mama bird thinks Baby bird is finally ready to leave the nest and learn to fly so he can migrate south with the rest of their flock. But Baby bird isn’t so sure. Can’t his mother keep bringing him worms in their nest? Can’t he migrate in a hot air balloon instead? Or perhaps a car? This silly wordless picture book will keep young readers giggling as Baby bird figures out that he must flap his wings and learn to fly—whether he likes it or not!
Soldier Dogs #1: Air Raid Search and Rescue - The paw-biting start to a thrilling new adventure series perfect for fans of Max and the I Survived books, inspired by the brave military dogs who helped our troops win World War II. When Matt’s older brother enlisted in the army, he left Matt his German Shepherd, Chief, a retired fire dog and the best pet EVER. So Matt isn’t happy when Chief starts paying attention to his foster sister Rachel instead of him. But when Nazi planes begin bombing the city, Matt finds himself in an impossible situation. Can he be a hero to his sister when it matters most? And when they get caught outside during the air raid, will Chief be there to save the day? This paper-over-board edition includes a collectible poster and a pull-out map!
The Flying Squirrel Stowaways - Follow two flying squirrels who choose the Boston Christmas Tree as their home and accidentally stow away on an international adventure! I t’s wintertime in Nova Scotia, and two flying squirrels are busy exploring the woods around their spruce-tree home. After a busy night of playing and gliding and snacking, they’re ready to settle down and sleep all day. But humans have other plans: the tree is cut down and packed onto a truck bound for Boston, Massachusetts. It turns out their new home has been chosen as Halifax’s annual thank-you gift, the Boston Christmas Tree! The little squirrels have no idea they’re about to embark on a journey across Atlantic Canada and Maine on the way to Boston. Will the accidental stowaways be discovered? And what awaits them in their new American home?
Buzz - After learning that a bee’s body is too chunky for flight, Buzz the bumblebee defies the laws of aerodynamics to save a friend in need.
Want to see books about animals?
Jacob's Fantastic Flight - Jacob has a special gift--he can fly!When his parents plan a trip to the sea, Jacob says he will fly there himself. Along the way, he meets new friends and has wonderful adventures. And when his bird friends need help, Jacob and the flock work together to rescue their friend and outsmart the nefarious birdcatcher. With gorgeous illustrations and a humorous, resonant story about independence, kindness, and embracing the unknown, Jacob's Fantastic Flight shows what happens when a child uses their strengths and differences to help others in need. Printed on FSC-certified paper with vegetable-based inks.
Flight of the Bluebird (the Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters Book 3) - Sisters Jaundice and Kale Bland are flown to Egypt, where they are reunited with their parents, whose real identities they learn, and seek to uncover the mysteries of a magical scarab.
Nope - A nurturing mama bird, a fearful baby, and a nest in a tall, tall tree. Ready, set, soar? Nope! Sweetly and humorously told, here is a sparkling debut about the joys that come from embracing new experiences, written and illustrated by nationally-syndicated cartoonist Drew Sheneman.
I Can Fly - Penguin wants to fly like other birds, but he has trouble doing so when he tries! Penguin is confused because he has wings and can flap, waddle, and leap like other birds, but he lands flat on his stomach when he tries to fly. When Penguin asks his dad why he can’t fly, his father tells him that penguins swim. But Penguin doesn’t want to accept this! Will he be able to find a way to fly?
Want to see books about family?
Destination: Space - Hop on board the space shuttle and get ready for the ride of your life as you explore deep space with your five fellow space cadets. This journey of discovery takes you through our local solar system and beyond, to galaxies far and wide. With every encounter, learn more about the science behind the stars, planets, meteors and comets in our sky, and the history of our universe.
A Meeting in the Sky - On December 20, 1943, a German pilot escorted an American bomber to safety; this remarkable, secret meeting in the sky inspired a lifelong quest to reunite as the two former enemies became friends.
Pop-Up Peekaboo! Space - Take your preschooler on an exciting journey through space in this cute baby board book with flaps to lift and pop-ups to enjoy. This book introduces space, to babies, while encouraging first learning through lively, read-aloud rhymes, as well as fun and colorful space scenes. With the help of parents and caregivers, toddlers will have fun turning the pages, guessing who’s hiding under the flaps and then lifting the flaps to play peekaboo! They will learn all about space, astronauts, stars, planets, and more! Ideal for preschool play, this sturdy baby book will appeal to both parents and children and is certain to keep little ones entertained time and time again!
A Kite for Moon - Dedicated to astronaut Neil Armstrong, A Kite for Moon is the perfect children’s book to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first United States moon landing. What would it be like if the moon was your friend? Find out as you walk alongside a little boy who journeys through life to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut. And then blast off with your little one as you zoom to the moon together! The story begins when a little boy, who is flying his kite, notices a sad Moon. He sends up kites to her, writing notes promising he will come see her someday. This promise propels him through years of studying, learning, and training to become an astronaut. Until … he finally goes up, up, up in a big rocket ship with a fiery tail! A Kite for Moon, written by New York Times bestselling author of How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi Stemple, is a heartfelt story about a young boy’s fascination and unlikely friendship with the moon.
Want to see books about science and nature?
Night Witches at War - Flying combat missions in wartime is always dangerous. But imagine doing so in a slow, rickety biplane, at night, with no lights or navigational equipment of any kind. Sound impossible? It wasn’t for the Soviet Night Witches. This unit of incredibly brave women flew hundreds of missions to attack German forces on the front lines during World War II. Learn all about these brave women and how their skill and courage in battle helped defeat the Nazis to win the war.
The Glorious Flight - Winner of the Caldecott Medal, this stunningly illustrated book depicts Louis Bleriot’s historic first cross-Channel flight. “Factually accurate, yes-but also a witty pictorial reincarnation of Bleriot’s first experience of an airship”—Kirkus Reviews
Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering! - Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this book explores the basics of flight - from birds, to planes and rockets - and ties it all to baby’s world. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!
Captain Awesome Takes Flight - Captain Awesome battles an evil flight attendant who’s trying to stop him from going on vacation in the nineteenth adventure of the Sunnyview Superhero Squad! When Eugene McGillicudy finds himself at the airport, things seem pretty normal at first—and pretty boring—until Eugene bumps into a flight attendant and has a sudden realization. That flight attendant isn’t just any flight attendant. She’s the evil Fun E. Racer, and she’s here to stop Captain Awesome from going on vacation! With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Captain Awesome chapter books are perfect for beginning readers!
Want to see books about airplanes?
The Twenty-One Balloons (Puffin Modern Classics) - A Newbery Medal Winner Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions.Winner of the 1948 Newbery Medal, this classic fantasy-adventure is now available in a handsome new edition. “William Pene du Bois combines his rich imagination, scientific tastes, and brilliant artistry to tell a story that has no age limit.” —The Horn Book
The 21 Balloons - Relates the incredible adventures of Professor William Waterman Sherman who in 1883 sets off in a balloon across the Pacific, survives the volcanic eruption of Krakatoa, and is eventually picked up in the Atlantic.
Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride (Caldecott Honor Book) - The first “manned” hot-air balloon is about to take off! But what are those noises coming from the basket? Based on the (POSSIBLY) true report of a day in 1783, this si the story of (PERHAPS) the bravest collection of flyers the world has ever seen, as (SORT OF) told to Marjorie Priceman.
A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 - In the year and a half since the flight of the first manned balloon in 1783, an Italian has flown, a Scot has flown, a woman has flown, even a sheep has flown. But no one has flown from one country to another. John Jeffries, an Englishman, and his pilot, Jean-Pierre Blanchard, a Frenchman, want to be the first. On January 7, 1785, they set out to cross the English Channel to France in a balloon. All seemed to be going fine, until Jeffries decides the balloon looks too fat and adjusts the air valve―how hard could it be? Too bad he drops the wrench over the side of the aerial car. With no way to adjust the valve, the balloon begins to sink. Jeffries and Blanchard throw as much as they can overboard―until there is nothing left, not even their clothes. Luckily, they come up with a clever (and surprising) solution that saves the day. A VOYAGE IN THE CLOUDS from Matthew Olshan and Sophie Blackall is a journey that will keep kids laughing the whole way.
Want to see books about hot air balloons?
Eight Days Gone - Snappy verse and retro art brings readers along for Apollo 11’s historic, eight-day mission to the moon in 1969. Young readers will learn the basics about the gear, equipment, and spaceship used by the astronauts, as well as the history of NASA’s moon mission. O’ Rourke’s vibrant and retro illustrations paired with McReynolds’ short verse creates a perfect read aloud for preschool and kindergarteners eager to learn about Buzz Aldrin’s trip to the moon. Back matter includes a bibliography and author’s note with additional information about the mission and the crew’s return home after the historic first lunar landing.
Papa Put a Man on the Moon - Marthanne and her father sit side by side, looking out over their mill village as the moon glows in the sky. Marthanne hopes that one day, man will walk on the moon, and she knows her father is helping America accomplish this mission: The fabric he weaves forms one layer in the astronauts’ spacesuits. Papa insists he’s only making a living, but Marthanne knows his work is part of history, and she’s proud. She tries to be patient, but she can’t stop imagining the moon mission: the astronauts tumbling through space, the fabric her papa made traveling all the way up into the sky. When the astronauts blast off and Neil Armstrong finally takes his first steps on the moon, Marthanne watches in wonder. She knows her papa put a man on the moon.
Destination: Moon - An out-of-this-world exploration of the 1969 Moon landing from children’s science expert Seymour Simon! In July of 1969, NASA sent the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the Moon. Inside were three people: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. They went into lunar orbit a few days later. More than a hundred hours after launch, the word came back: “The Eagle has landed!” In this exciting account of the famous 1969 Moon landing, award-winning science writer Seymour Simon tells the story of the Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union; recalls how families across the world sat captivated in front of their TVs to witness humankind’s first steps beyond Earth; and explains much of the science and technology that got our astronauts to the Moon on that remarkable day. Perfect for young scholars’ school reports, Destination: Moon features clear text, vibrantly colored pages, engaging sidebars, and stunning full-color photographs. This book includes an author’s note, a glossary, a timeline, and an index and supports the Common Core State Standards.
Want to see books about 20th century?
Oliver Who Would Not Sleep - Move over, Frances the badger, and good night, silly old moon. Meet Oliver — a boy who *really* knows how to stay up!
Oliver Donnington Rimington-Sneep
COULDN’T and DIDN’T and WOULD NOT SLEEP! And why should he? As soon as his parents shut his door, Oliver’s off on all kinds of explorations: painting and reading, drawing and racing — and a little trip to Mars for good measure. But his explorations end where all explorations should: safe at home, in a warm bed . . . asleep. For every parent with an Oliver (or Olivia) in their lives, and every child seeking a little fun before shut-eye, OLIVER WHO WOULD NOT SLEEP is the perfect bedtime adventure.
If You Had a Jetpack - A fun and creative answer to the question “what would YOU do if you had a jetpack?” perfect for fans of Boy and Bot and How to Train a Train. Having a jetpack is fun—if you know what to do with one. If you had a jetpack, you could: • Teach your brother how to build one too. • Demonstrate its usefulness at Show and Share Time at school. • Give your principal a ride home. • Fly south to visit your nana. • Visit the astronauts on the space station and help with anything that needed fixing. Join one inventive little rabbit as he and his brother put their new jetpack to good use! “An energetic, crowd-pleasing read-aloud that can be revisited again and again.”—SLJ “This vivid picture book will leave kids longing for jetpacks, while taking off on their own flights of fancy.”—Booklist
Want to see books about imagination and play?
Chilly da Vinci - While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet! Chilly ties into the popular “maker” movement with humor and imagination. While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet!
A Trip Into Space - Blast off into the sky and visit the International Space Station! A lively, rhythmical story and detailed illustrations take readers on a trip to the ISS, where astronauts sleep zipped up and walk in space. This great read-aloud includes information (verified by NASA staff) about the ISS. Fact-filled and fun, this story will send young minds soaring.
Science Comics: Flying Machines - Take to the skies with Flying Machines! Follow the famous aviators from their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, to the fields of North Carolina where they were to make their famous flights. In an era of dirigibles and hot air balloons, the Wright Brothers were among the first innovators of heavier than air flight. But in the hotly competitive international race toward flight, Orville and Wilbur were up against a lot more than bad weather. Mechanical failures, lack of information, and even other aviators complicated the Wright Brothers’ journey. Though they weren’t as wealthy as their European counterparts, their impressive achievements demanded attention on the international stage. Thanks to their carefully recorded experiments and a healthy dash of bravery, the Wright Brothers’ flying machines took off.
Up & Down - Swept up by the European ballooning craze of the 1780s, Dr. John Jeffries longed to become the first person to fly across the English Channel. But first he had to outwit a rascally co-pilot, keep the balloon from bursting, and avoid crashing into the sea. The good doctor’s quick-thinking solutions will surprise young readers—and keep them giggling when “lightening the load” is a relief in more ways than one. Don Brown tells this quirky true story with his usual accuracy and heart.
Want to see books about history?
The Airport Book - Follow a family and the youngest member’s favorite sock monkey through all the inner and outer workings of an airport. In a book that is as intriguing as it is useful and entertaining, we follow a family on its way through the complexities of a modern-day airport. From checking bags and watching them disappear on the mysterious conveyor belt, to security clearance and a seemingly endless wait at the gate to finally being airborne. But wait! There’s more! The youngest family member’s sock monkey has gone missing. Follow it at the bottom of the page as it makes a journey as memorable as that of the humans above.
Friendly Fliers - A diverse range of pilot characters introduce the vehicles that they fly. Children will discover an assortment of vehicles, including a jumbo jet, seaplane, glider, helicopter, and space plane. As children are asked if they know what each vehicle does, the answer is revealed on the next page. About the Finn’s Fun Trucks series: Written by 11-year-old truck enthusiast Finn Coyle, the Finn’s Fun Trucks series provides a vocabulary-rich introduction to transportation for truck-loving children with the help of a diverse range of vehicle operators and community helpers.