Best Children's Books About Growing up

94+ Children's Books About Growing up

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
The Wonderful Things You Will Be book
#1
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
Written and illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text reveal a parent's musings about what a child will become, knowing that the child's kindness, cleverness, and boldness will shine through no matter what, as will the love they share.

Sleep, Baby, Sleep book
#2
Sleep, Baby, Sleep
Written by Maryann Cusimano Love and illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

As their baby sleeps, the parents wish for their child the many characteristics found in animals, such as being gentle as a lamb, having the sight of a hawk, and the peacefulness of a snowy dove.

Once Upon a Memory book
#3
Once Upon a Memory
Written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Renata Liwska
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Does a feather remember it once was a bird? Does a book remember it once was a word? When a feather drifts through a child's window, a magical journey begins. As the boy follows the feather, he is swept away to a world filled with adorable animals, where fantasy and reality come together in surprising and playful ways. From the cake that once was grain to the ocean that once was rain, whimsical "before" and "after" scenes offer readers a peek at the world as seen through the eyes of a curious child, ultimately asking the question, "What will you remember?" Nina Laden's poetic and cleverly woven text is perfectly paired with bestselling artist Renata Liwska's captivating illustrations. Together they create a story that will keep readers enchanted long after the journey has ended.

I Can Be Anything book
#4
I Can Be Anything
Written by Jerry Spinelli and illustrated by Jimmy Liao
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When I grow up, what shall I be? This exuberant book offers up everything from a paper plane folder to a puppy dog holder, from a silly joke teller to a snowball smoother. Newbery-Award winning author Jerry Spinelli's simple and charming rhymes are accompanied by internationally-renowned illustrator Jimmy Liao's vibrant and fantastical illustrations. This book is an imaginative joyride about hopes and dreams, and a reminder of all the possibilities life has to offer. So, what do you want to be? Remember—you can be anything!

Made for Me book
#5
Made for Me
Written by Zack Bush and illustrated by Gregorio De Lauretis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Of all the children that ever could be, You are the one made just for me. From a child's first uttered "Dada" to his or her first unsteady steps, nothing can adequately convey the joy and awe of watching the birth and growth of a new child. Filled with adorable illustrations and the refrain, "You are the one made just for me," Made for Me is a winning presentation of tender moments that tie a father and his new child together--forever.

Babymoon book
#6
Babymoon
Written by Hayley Barrett and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

In a perfect gift for new and expectant parents (and siblings), a gentle story pays tribute to the wonder and emotion of a family's first quiet days with a newborn. The house is hushed. The lights are low. We're basking in a newborn glow. Inside the cozy house, a baby has arrived! The world is eager to meet the newcomer, but there will be time enough for that later. Right now, the family is on its babymoon: cocooning, connecting, learning, and muddling through each new concern. While the term "babymoon" is often used to refer to a parents' getaway before the birth of a child, it was originally coined by midwives to describe days like these: at home with a newborn, with the world held at bay and the wonder of a new family constellation unfolding. Paired with warm and winsome illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal, Hayley Barrett's lyrical ode to these tender first days will resonate with new families everywhere.

Potty  book
#7
Potty
Written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-3

A new toddler title charts a crucial achievement. There comes a point in a toddler’s life when going in one’s diaper is only one possible option, and the question must be raised: "Should I go in my potty?" With pitch-perfect humor and pacing, Leslie Patricelli follows the inner dialogue (sure to have little ones shouting responses) and hilarious actions of everyone’s favorite Baby, winding up with an over-the-top look of surprise and delight that will have both parents and offspring laughing out loud--"I did it!"

Big Girl Panties book
#8
Big Girl Panties
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Valeria Petrone
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Follows a young girl as she celebrates wearing underwear instead of diapers.

Beard Boy book
#9
Beard Boy
Written by John Flannery and illustrated by Steven Weinberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Young Ben wants to be just like his awesome dad—bearded. Ben wants a beard. All the most boss people in his town have them. The baker, the barbers, the butcher, they’re all bewhiskered—even the old lady who waits at the bus stop has one. Most of all though, Ben wants a beard just like his dad. He tries his best to start on some scruff, but nothing works quite right. And when his dad explains he might have to wait ’til he’s older for a beard of his own, he decides to take some more permanent action—with a marker that is. In the end, Ben and his dad find the perfect solution in this hilarious and heartwarming picture book celebrating the bond between father and son.

Goldilocks and the Just Right Potty book
#10
Goldilocks and the Just Right Potty
Written and illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

"While most potty books strike readers as too old or too young, here's one that almost everyone can agree is (you guessed it) just right." - Kirkus Reviews Little Goldilocks wants to wear underwear -- big-girl underwear that's not too silly and not too frilly, but just right. But that means she also needs to find the "just right" potty. Will she know when she needs to go? And will she get to the potty in time? Find out in this lighthearted story that will have parents and their little ones feeling ready to tackle toilet training.

Outfoxed book
#11
Outfoxed
Written and illustrated by Claudia Boldt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Harold is unlike any other fox. He hates eating chicken, for one thing. He much prefers reading detective novels. When Harold's father challenges him to catch a chicken as part of his initiation into adulthood, Harold is faced with a dilemma--should he obey his father and endanger the chicken's life, or do what his heart tells him is right? The latest title from award-winning illustrator Claudia Boldt, Outfoxed introduces a smart, independent-minded character in Harold the fox and is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

Even Firefighters Go to the Potty book
#12
Even Firefighters Go to the Potty
Written by Naomi Wax, Wendy Wax and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Clang! Clang! Clang! The fire truck is pulling out of the station. But wait! Where is the firefighter going? To the potty! Even firefighters go to the potty! Toddlers are uneasy about toilet training. And in most cases, even if they know they have to go, sometimes they are too busy to bother. In this hilarious gate-fold story, each person--from a firefighter on the way to answer a fire alarm to a zoo keeper on the way to feed the polar bears--stops what they are doing to go to the potty. With humor and no pedantics, toddlers learn that everybody uses the potty.

Everyone Poops book
#13
Everyone Poops
Written by Taro Gomi and illustrated by Amanda Mayer Stinchecum
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Shows how creatures throughout the animal world--including humans--deal with the products of digestion.

Run! book
#14
Run!
Written and illustrated by Carol Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Title and statement of responsibility from cover.

Judy Moody and Friends: Mrs. Moody in the Birthday Jinx book
#15
Judy Moody and Friends: Mrs. Moody in the Birthday Jinx
Written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Erwin Madrid
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Judy’s mom takes the spotlight as the Moody family tries to give her the birthday she would like in a broadly funny episode just right for newly independent readers. Make a wish, Mrs. Moody! Every year on Mom’s birthday, one way or another, something goes wrong-not-right. Maybe Judy’s been in a bad mood. Maybe Stink’s gotten a little carsick. Maybe Dad can’t bake Mom’s favorite carrot cake. But this year is going to be different. This year is going to be perfect. This year, Judy is going to do all she can to make sure Mom gets the happy birthday she deserves. Watch out! The Boss of Birthday (aka Judy) is on the job! Parsnip cake with avocado frosting, anyone?

Climb! book
#16
Climb!
Written and illustrated by Carol Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Small children celebrate the joy of climbing.

School book
#17
School
Written and illustrated by Jess Stockham
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A young boy enjoys his first day at school in this story that addresses such questions as: Who will help me find my classroom? Who's in my class? Where do I sit? When can we go home? and many more. Includes tips for reading with young children.

Where Bear? book
#18
Where Bear?
Written and illustrated by Sophy Henn
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This beautifully illustrated, fun-to-read book will have kids everywhere asking the same question: “Where, bear?” Once there was a bear cub who lived with a little boy. But over time the bear cub grew . . . and grew . . . and GREW! And did things that bears do . . . and do . . . and DO! One day the boy looked at the bear and realized he was just too big and bearish to be living in a house. “I think it’s time we found you a new place to live where you can be bearish and big,” said the boy. “But where, bear?” So begins a delightful journey that reminds us that even when best friends are apart, they always stay together.

Dotty book
#19
Dotty
Written by Erica S Perl and illustrated by Julia Denos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s Ida’s first day of school. She carries her new lunch box and a long, blue string with her special friend Dotty attached to it. A big, colorfully spotted pal with horns, Dotty just happens to be invisible. On that first day of school, Ida and Dotty find out there are plenty of other imaginary friends in attendance. But as the year passes and fewer and fewer imaginary friends come to class, Ida begins to wonder if Dotty is welcome at school anymore . . . Perceptive and warmly funny, with charming art from exciting illustrator Julia Denos, Dotty is a celebration of the power of friendship and imagination.

The Night Before My Birthday book
#20
The Night Before My Birthday
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The Night Before My Birthday captures all the excitement and anticipation that every child experiences in the lead-up to their special day. The decorations are up, the table is set, and the food is ready – but what happens when there is an ice cream emergency? Once again Natasha Wing has written a story that is sure to appeal to every child getting ready for a birthday. The book is told by and seen through the eyes of the birthday child, so it is gender neutral and a fun gift for any birthday girl or boy.

I Feel Five! book
#21
I Feel Five!
Written and illustrated by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Fritz's 5th birthday starts off well when he eats all five of his birthday pancakes and gets brand-new sneakers that fit perfectly, but when he peeks in the mirror, he looks just the same as he did when he was 4 years old—and not even a single tooth is wiggling!

Clean It! book
#22
Clean It!
Written and illustrated by Georgie Birkett
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Which chores need doing today? What's the best way of doing them? And who's going to help? Helping with real tasks is a natural progression from pretend play, and is a crucial stage in a child's development. Achieving a shared goal encourages a sense of responsibility, and develops many skills useful in later life. Simple conversational text and lively illustrations are carefully designed to encourage further dialogue between reader and child.

Look at Me! book
#23
Look at Me!
Written and illustrated by Rachel Fuller
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A young child learns that having younger brothers and sisters can be challenging at times, but it also can be very rewarding. On board pages.

Baby to Big book
#24
Baby to Big
Written and illustrated by Rajiv Fernandez
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Baby to Big is a high concept board book that translates familiar objects and ideas from a baby's world to that of their hip millennial adult counterparts, through bold, iconic images. A series debut, Baby to Big humorously compares the perspectives of babies and adults through vibrant illustrations. After creating a book of pictograms for his toddler nephew, designer and architect Rajiv Fernandez developed an idea of using iconic images to translate concepts between kids and grown ups. Coupling his trademark graphic style with his love for puns, Baby to Big takes cues from the millennial lexicon and pop culture to unite hip parents with growing little minds.

Crawl! book
#25
Crawl!
Written and illustrated by Carol Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Depicts infants exploring their world as they crawl over, under, and through.

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