Islands: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about islands?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to islands. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about islands.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. 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.

When it comes to children’s stories about islands, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Al Capone Does My Shirts to popular sellers like Peter and the Starcatchers.

We hope this list of kids books about islands 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.

Al Capone Does My Shirts book
#1
Al Capone Does My Shirts
Written and illustrated by Gennifer Choldenko
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards’ families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister Natalie. A Newbery Honor Book & ALA Notable Book. Reprint. Jr Lib Guild & Children’s BOMC.

Where Is Alcatraz? book
#2
Where Is Alcatraz?
Written by Who HQ and Nico Medina and illustrated by David Groff
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The island of Alcatraz has always been a place that’s fascinated visitors, from the Native American tribes who believed it was home to evil spirits to the Spanish explorers who discovered the island. In modern times, it was a federal prison for only 29 years, but now draws over a million visitors each year. Learn the history of America’s most famous prison, from its initial construction as a fort in the 1800s, to its most famous residents such as Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly. Where Is Alcatraz? also chronicles some of the most exciting escape attempts—even one that involved chipping through stone with spoons and constructing rafts out of raincoats!

The Alcatraz Escape book
#3
The Alcatraz Escape
Written by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman and illustrated by Sarah Watts
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14

Sleuthing duo Emily and James engage in a literary escape-room challenge on Alcatraz Island, but soon find that an invisible enemy is trying to sabotage the team at any cost.

Al Capone Throws Me a Curve book
#4
Al Capone Throws Me a Curve
Written and illustrated by Gennifer Choldenko
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Moose has his hands full during the summer of 1936 watching his autistic sister, Natalie, and the warden’s daughter, Piper, and trying to get on a baseball team by proving he knows Al Capone.

Al Capone Does My Homework book
#5
Al Capone Does My Homework
Written and illustrated by Gennifer Choldenko
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Alcatraz Island in the 1930s isn’t the most normal place to grow up, but it’s home for Moose Flanagan, his autistic sister, Natalie, and all the families of the guards. When Moose’s dad gets promoted to Associate Warden, despite being an unlikely candidate, it’s a big deal. But the cons have a point system for targeting prison employees, and his dad is now in serious danger. After a fire starts in the Flanagan’s apartment, Natalie is blamed, and Moose bands with the other kids to track down the possible arsonist. Then Moose gets a cryptic note from the notorious Al Capone himself. Is Capone trying to protect Moose’s dad too? If Moose can’t figure out what Capone’s note means, it may be too late.

  1. Breakout! Escape from Alcatraz - An easy-to-read study of Alcatraz, “The Rock,” describes how America’s renowned prison housed some of the country’s most notorious criminals.

  2. Al Capone Does My Shoes - What do you do when your neighbors are a bunch of hit men, con men, and mad dog murderers? Well, if you’re Moose Flanagan, you ask the most notorious convict of them all, Al Capone, for help. But when that convict comes through for you-and then asks you for a favor in return-suddenly it’s a whole different ball game. Picking up where the Newbery-Honor winning Al Capone Does My Shirts left off, this lively second romp featuring Moose, his friends, and some of Alcatraz’s “finest” is just as satisfying as the first.

  3. The Children of Alcatraz - Offers a look at the life of the children who grew up on this infamous island with their families throughout its long and diverse history as a military prison, maximum security prison, and site of a Native American uprising, enhanced with period photos, interviews, and first-hand accounts.

  4. Nara and the Island - Nara lives with her father on a tiny island and dreams of visiting the island across the waves. So when she gets the opportunity to visit the mysterious island, an amazing adventure unfolds. This stunning story is the debut of exciting author-illustrator talent Dan Ungureanu.

To Live on an Island book
#10
To Live on an Island
Written by Emma Bland Smith and illustrated by Elizabeth Person
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

When you live on an island, things are different. Sometimes harder. Sometimes sweeter. Sometimes quieter. Experience a day in the life of a child growing up on a Pacific Northwest island in this beautifully written and illustrated picture book. Off the coast of Washington State rise hundreds of small islands. Some are lush and green. Others are rugged and rocky. And each has its own personality. Many islands are home mostly to deer, but quite a few have farms and fields, schools and stores, and people. What is it like to live on an island? Award-winning author Emma Bland Smith explores what it’s like to grow up on an island in the Pacific Northwest from the perspective of a young boy, who wakes up to the sound of a ferry horn, hikes through the woods to get to his bus stop, drops crab pots for dinner, and falls asleep counting orcas instead of sheep. This book celebrates what’s special about island culture and includes a brief nonfiction element on each spread that relates to the narrative.

Peter and the Starcatchers book
#11
Peter and the Starcatchers
Written by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry and illustrated by Greg Call
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-16

Soon after Peter, an orphan, sets sail from England on the ship Never Land, he befriends and assists Molly, a young Starcatcher, whose mission is to guard a trunk of magical stardust from a greedy pirate and the native inhabitants of a remote island.

Escape from Alcatraz book
#12
Escape from Alcatraz
Written and illustrated by Eric Mark Braun
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

What’s more exciting than a prison break? Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz in 1962 and have never been caught. Many authorities are certain they died crossing San Francisco Bay. Relatives claim they made it to Brazil. The theories of what happened to them are endless. Find out the facts from people who dealt with the men and the case first-hand. This is one mystery you’ll definitely want to solve.

The Little Island book
#13
The Little Island
Written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Children’s book icon Margaret Wise Brown – writer of the cherished classic Goodnight Moon – and Caldecott Medal-winner Leonard Weisgard bring young readers an enduring picture book about the magic of nature.

Winner of the 1947 Caldecott Medal, this beautifully moving story centers around a little island in the midst of the wide ocean, and the curious kitten who comes to visit. As the seasons pass, the island and the creatures who call it home witness an ever-changing array of sights, smells, and sounds – proving that, no matter how small, we are all an important part of the world.

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