Best Kids Books About Hard work

48 Kids Books About Hard work

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Earn It! book
#1
Earn It!
Written and illustrated by Cinders McLeod
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

In this delightful introduction to the simple concept of earning money, an exuberant little bunny learns that fame and fortune must be earned. Bun wants to be rich and famous. She loves to sing and knows she’s meant for a career on stage. It should all be pretty easy—her mom can just drive her to the concert hall to perform! But her mom reminds her that most good things, like the garden they are growing, take time and work. At first, Bun isn’t terribly excited by the idea of singing lessons and practice, but as she does the math and daydreams about her future singing career, the more she starts to like the idea of earning her way to stardom—a feeling just as good as being rich and famous!

Construction book
#2
Construction
Written by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Brian Lovelock
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Big machines and their drivers work together to build a library.

Firebird book
#3
Firebird
Written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–an every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird. Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers’s best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere.

Blueberries for Sal book
#4
Blueberries for Sal
Written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

What happens when Sal and her mother meet a mother bear and her cub? A beloved classic is born! Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one? With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers’ hearts since its first publication in 1948.

Dig, Dump, Roll book
#5
Dig, Dump, Roll
Written by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Brian Lovelock, Sally Sutton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Diggers, dump trucks, rollers, and more—it takes a lot of big, noisy machines to build a school! Every young child who has ever gawked at a building site will gravitate to this exciting new entry in the kid pleasing Construction Crew series.

Polonius the Pit Pony book
#6
Polonius the Pit Pony
Written by Richard O'Neill and illustrated by Feronia Parker-Thomas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

When Polonius the pit pony escapes from the coal mine he's worked in all his life, he joins a family of Travelers. Although he enjoys the freedom and the fresh air that their lifestyle offers, he wishes he could give something back to the family in return. When the chance arrives for him to do something to help, he rises to the challenge, and uses his intelligence and skills to save the day. Based on true events and retold by a master of the oral tradition, this story bears witness to the Traveler values of independence, initiative, courage and hard work.

Froggy Rides a Bike book
#7
Froggy Rides a Bike
Written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Froggy just got his very first bike, and it's exactly what he wanted. Almost. Finishing touches like a bell and a horn have to be added before Froggy is ready to ride. Then, surrounded by cheering friends, Froggy starts to pedal. Oops! He falls off. He tries again. Oops! Riding a bike is hard! After a long day, and a few bumps and bruises, Froggy finally learns to ride?and once he does, he can?t wait to go again. Froggy Rides a Bike is a reassuring reminder that practice makes perfect and it's sure to make kids eager to learn to ride on their own.

Mom and Dad's Go to Work book
#8
Mom and Dad's Go to Work
Written and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Spend the day with mom and dad at work! Every child wants to know: what do mom and dad do all day? Kids can come along and see, with this entertaining board book that introduces a variety of professions. Some parents grab a medical bag, others put on a hard hat, and still more go to the office. But whatever they do, they all return home ready to hug their little ones.

The Very Clumsy Click Beetle book
#9
The Very Clumsy Click Beetle
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A VERY classic from Eric Carle, creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar! When a little click beetle falls onto his back, he seeks the help of a wise old click beetle. “Look at me,” says the more experienced click beetle, giving a loud CLICK and flipping onto its feet. But try as he might, the clumsy little click beetle just can’t get the hang of it–or can he? In the tradition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Carle creates a winning story of perseverance and pride in achievement complete with an ingenious fiber-optic microchip that truly gives voice to the valiant little beetle as it CLICKs its way through the colorful pages and somersaults into your heart.

Hey, Coach! book
#10
Hey, Coach!
Written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Kim Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

"Hey, Coach! Guess what? I m on your team." GOAL! This sprightly rhyming picture book captures all the fun and energy of very young children having a blast on the soccer field. Over the course of their first season, the players progress from unsure newcomers to enthusiastic good sports who love the game and even score! The humor and the real-kid voices will have readers rooting for this spirited and determined team."

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole book
#11
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

Hamsters Don't Fight Fires! book
#12
Hamsters Don't Fight Fires!
Written by Andrew Root and illustrated by Jessica Olien
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet Hugo, a tiny hamster with huge personality, who dreams of becoming a firefighter! Andrew Root’s debut is a sweet, funny tale for the youngest readers, who know that being little can be the biggest advantage of all. With fun-filled illustrations from Jessica Olien, author/artist of The Blobfish Book, Shark Detective!, and Adrift, Hugo proves once and for all that great things come in small packages. For Hugo isn’t just a hamster. He’s also a great cook, a fast runner, a slow eater, and a fantastic dancer. However, what Hugo wants most of all is to be a firefighter. And even though Hugo worries that he’s too small to fight fires, he learns that just because something is difficult, it doesn’t mean he won’t try his hardest to achieve his dream. Perfect for fans of Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri and Dream Big Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi and Tim Bowers.

My Story, My Dance book
#13
My Story, My Dance
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

A boy discovers his passion for dance and becomes a modern hero in this inspiring picture book biography of Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. When Robert Battle was a boy wearing leg braces, he never dreamed he’d study at Juilliard. Though most dancers begin training at an early age, it wasn’t until Robert was a teenager that his appreciation for movement—first from martial arts, then for ballet—became his passion. But support from his family and teachers paired with his desire and determination made it possible for Robert to excel. After years of hard work, the young man who was so inspired by a performance of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations became the artistic director of the very company that motivated him. Today, under Robert’s leadership, Alvin Ailey continues to represent the African American spirit through dance. Featuring illustrations brimming with vibrant color and swirling motion, this biographical picture book from husband-and-wife team James Ransome and Lisa Cline-Ransome includes a foreword from Robert Battle himself as well as a bibliography, suggested further reading, and an author’s note. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was founded in 1958 by choreographer Alvin Ailey. He envisioned a company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience. When Mr. Ailey began creating dances, he drew upon his “blood memories” of his home state of Texas, the blues, spirituals, and gospel inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically acclaimed work, Revelations. Since its founding, the company has performed in seventy-one countries on six continents. It’s repertory includes works by Mr. Ailey and ninety other choreographers, and new works are commissioned each year. Judith Jamison succeeded Mr. Ailey as artistic director, and in 2011, she selected Robert Battle to be her successor. Learn more at AlvinAiley.org.

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe book
#14
Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe
Written by Deborah Blumenthal and illustrated by Laura Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A beautiful picture book about Ann Cole Lowe, a little-known African-American fashion designer who battled personal and social adversity in order to pursue her passion of making beautiful gowns and went on to become one of society’s top designers. Wisps of cloth would fall from their worktables like confetti, and Ann would scoop them up and turn them into flowers as bright as roses in the garden. Ann’s family came from Alabama. Her great grandma had been a slave, so her family knew about working hard just to get by. As soon as Ann Cole Lowe could walk, her momma and grandma taught her to sew. She worked near her momma in their Alabama family shop in the early 1900s, making glorious dresses for women who went to fancy parties. When Ann was 16, her momma died, and Ann continued sewing dresses. It wasn’t easy, especially when she went to design school and had to learn alone, segregated from the rest of the class. But the work she did set her spirit soaring, as evidenced in the clothes she made, including Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress and Olivia de Havilland's dress at the Oscars when she won for Best Actress in To Each His Own. Rarely credited, Ann Cole Lowe became “society’s best kept secret.” This beautiful picture book shines the spotlight on a little-known visionary who persevered in times of hardship, always doing what she was passionate about: making elegant gowns for the women who loved to wear them.

Mighty Tug book
#15
Mighty Tug
Written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by David Mottram
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From early in the morning until time to say, "Good night," Mighty Tug works in the busy harbor, guiding cargo ships, pulling barges, and helping with rescues.

Pocket Full of Colors book
#16
Pocket Full of Colors
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From her imaginative childhood to her career as an illustrator, designer, and animator for Walt Disney Studios, Mary Blair wouldn't play by the rules. At a time when studios wanted to hire men and think in black and white, Mary painted the world in color. Full color.

Hiking Day book
#17
Hiking Day
Written by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Beloved author Anne Rockwell celebrates nature and the outdoors with a gorgeous new picture book about a child’s first mountain hike! A young girl and her family go hiking up a nearby mountain for the very first time. As they climb up and up the path, they see everything from a friendly toad to a prickly porcupine, tall leafy trees to tiny red berries. Anne Rockwell and her daughter, artist Lizzy Rockwell, celebrate a day the little girl will never forget, especially when she reaches the mountain’s summit. With simple, lyrical text and bright illustrations that jump off the page, Hiking Day brings the joys of spending an afternoon outdoors to life.

Construction Cat book
#18
Construction Cat
Written by Barbara Odanaka and illustrated by Sydney Hanson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Cats in hard hats make work seem like play in this cheery, rhyming picture book about building something and having a loving family to share your accomplishments with. Construction cat wakes up at dawn, grabs her boots and tugs them on… It’s time to build! Tail high, Construction Cat kisses her family goodbye and goes to work with the other cats on a construction site. They lug lumber and pound nails, they saw, sand, and sweep the dust, all to build a truly paw-some park that they can’t wait to share with friends and family! Sydney Hanson’s lively and lovable cats combined with Barbara Odanaka’s rhythmic story create a universal story that is a joy to read again and again.

You Can! Words of Wisdom From The Little Engine That Could book
#19
You Can! Words of Wisdom From The Little Engine That Could
Written and illustrated by Jill Howarth, Charlie Hart, Watty Piper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The classic character that has inspired generations of children to believe in themselves will now inspire readers of every age in this book filled with encouraging words of wisdom. Everybody needs a little downtime for maintenance. There will always be obstacles you don't anticipate. Wake up ready for an adventure. The Little Engine That Could is one of the most popular and enduring children's stories of all time, and for more than eighty-five years, this classic character has encouraged readers to try their hardest to achieve their dreams. This story of determination and inspiration has now been reimagined in a charming, illustrated gift book that will speak to readers no matter what the age and no matter what the challenge. This is the perfect gift for graduation, and for everyone who may need to be reminded, "You Can!"

What Can You Do with a Toolbox? book
#20
What Can You Do with a Toolbox?
Written by Anthony Carrino, John Colaneri and illustrated by Maple Lam
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From HGTV stars, cousins, and best friends John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino comes a fun-filled picture book that introduces young readers to the tools in a toolbox and how to use them. A hammer. Nails. A screwdriver. How do we use them? Using simple language, cousins Anthony and John introduce kids to tools and their uses. As their construction project grows, so does the number of kids helping. At the end, they reveal exactly what you can do with a toolbox: We can build a playground!

Little Robot Alone book
#21
Little Robot Alone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Little Robot’s life is peaceful—yet maybe it’s a little too peaceful. But wait! He has an idea. With a little hard work, perseverance, and resourceful thinking, can Little Robot build his way to the perfect cure for loneliness?

The Little Dancers: Showtime! book
#22
The Little Dancers: Showtime!
Written by Maryann Macdonald and illustrated by Mandy Sutcliffe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

The little dancers are ready to shine on stage! Miss Amy’s ballet studio is putting on a dance performance called the Butterfly Ball. Rosa and her four friends rehearse leaping, balancing, and twirling to perfect their dances for the recital! But when Rosa's audition goes awry, she is cast in a disappointing role. Rosa feels like all her hard work was for nothing, until her friends help her discover her small part is of great importance. Rosa feels as beautiful as a butterfly . . . and maybe even more special! Illustrated by Belle & Boo creator Mandy Sutcliffe, The Little Dancers is a lovely picture book about friendship, self-esteem, and the magic of dance. An Imprint Book

Dalmatian in a Digger book
#23
Dalmatian in a Digger
Written and illustrated by Rebecca Elliott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Goodnight Hockey book
#24
Goodnight Hockey
Written by Michael Dahl and illustrated by Christina E. Forshay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A young fan cheers on his hometown hockey team, and then returns home to snuggle into bed.

Dump Truck Duck book
#25
Dump Truck Duck
Written by Megan E Bryant and illustrated by Jo de Ruiter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dump Truck Duck honks and zooms and steers his dump truck all through the day, helping the other hardworking ducks build a new park. With adorable illustrations and playful rhyming text, Dump Truck Duck is certain to become a new read-aloud favorite!

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.