The 26 Best Children's Books About Jobs and Careers

Updated Mar. 17, 2019

From firefighters to entrepreneurs; veterinarians to doctors, these are the best books to read with your children to teach them about all of the possibilities their future awaits. As they read and learn about different professions, their passion and preference will narrow and their imagination and exploration will widen. Or...they might just decide that they'd like to read children's books for a living (these are that good)!

A Boy Called Bat book
#1
A Boy Called Bat
Written by Elana K. Arnold and illustrated by Charles Santoso
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I absolutely adore this book. Bat is a wonderful, developed character that can really help children reading understand and have empathy for those on the Autism spectrum. You get to learn a lot about skunks as Bat takes a particular interest in one, and he has a mother who is a veterinarian!

The first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum, from acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso. For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet. "This sweet and thoughtful novel chronicles Bat’s experiences and challenges at school with friends and teachers and at home with his sister and divorced parents. Approachable for younger or reluctant readers while still delivering a powerful and thoughtful story" (from the review by Brightly.com, which named A Boy Called Bat a best book of 2017).

McToad Mows Tiny Island book
#2
McToad Mows Tiny Island
Written by Tom Angleberger and illustrated by John Hendrix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mr. Stacatto

I wrote this book off when I first read it, but my son immediately took to it. He asked to read it over and over again. I found that with each iteration I actually enjoyed the book more and more (which is untrue of many books). The story follows a cheerful McToad who goes to great lengths to mow Tiny Island each Thursday. To reach the island he must transport his lawnmower by airplane, boat, helicopter, and train which seems like a great deal of effort, but not for McToad who seems to enjoy every minute of the journey.

Every Thursday, as a break from mowing Big Island, McToad and his tractor make their way to Tiny Island, using various modes of transportation and types of machinery to get there and back.

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#3
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This story is a delightful read with a swan who believes he can do anything, and he does. I loved following along in his adventures and seeing how he dedicates himself. His friend, Sam, was also one of my favorite parts of the book. Louis never quits--which is what allows him to find his best friend, Sam, his true love, Serena, and his many talents, including his trumpeting. Louis learns to make his weakness (being mute) a strength (learning how to play the trumpet) and never thinks he can't do anything just because he's a swan--he even learns to read and write!

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection--he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

Coco Chanel book
#4
Coco Chanel
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Ana Albero
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I think this darling board book is a great introduction to Coco Chanel. I love that it talks about her being herself and living her dreams. It also does a good job of telling the story of her journey to becoming a fashion designer.

Meet Coco Chanel, the world famous fashion designer! Now available as a board book in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of the iconic first lady of fashion, from her early life in an orphanage – where she is a genius with needle and thread – to her time as a cabaret singer, hat maker and, eventually, international fashion designer. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

Basil of Baker Street book
#5
Basil of Baker Street
Written by Eve Titus and illustrated by Paul Galdone
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This intermediate read will put your sleuthing and detective skills at work! There are a few illustrations throughout, and it's a fun, quick read. This would be a great read-aloud, too.

Named one of “13 Detective Book Series You Obsessed over as a Kid” by Buzzfeed.com and the inspiration for a hit Disney film, the masterful Great Mouse Detective series is now available to a whole new generation of readers! Basil—the famous sleuth of mousedom—lives in the cellar of Sherlock Holmes’s house. A devoted admirer of the great detective, he has learned his craft by listening at the feet of Holmes himself. But will it be enough to help Basil solve his most baffling mystery yet? The Mystery of the Missing Twins is one of the strangest cases in Basil’s career. With only a few crumbs of clues with which to find answers, how is he ever going to figure out where Angela and Agatha are being kept—and, of course, who mouse-napped them! Will Basil’s mouse sleuthing skills be up to the task of finding the twins before it’s too late?

Even Monsters Need Haircuts book
#6
Even Monsters Need Haircuts
Written and illustrated by Matthew McElligott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this book! It's great for Halloween, of course, but this book is one that's still fun to read all year long, especially if your little one is getting ready for a haircut. It's funny and the story is great! The only thing I'd mention is *spoiler* that there is one monster who looks like a normal person but takes his head off, so I'd just be wary of that if your child might be sensitive to that or monsters, in general.

Just before midnight, on the night of a full moon, a young barber stays out past his bedtime to go to work. Although his customers are mostly regulars, they are anything but normal--after all, even monsters need haircuts. Business is steady all night, and this barber is prepared for anything with his scissors, rotting tonic, horn polish, and stink wax. It's a tough job, but someone's got to help these creatures maintain their ghoulish good looks. Perfect for Halloween, this is a hilarious story about a boy who follows in his father's footsteps . . . in his own monstrously unique way.

This Is the Firefighter book
#7
This Is the Firefighter
Written by Laura Godwin and illustrated by Julian Hector
board book
Recommend Ages: 5-6
Thoughts from Grammy

I love this book! The catchy, rhyming verse keeps readers moving through the action with a sense of purpose, no hesitating as the firefighters rush into burning buildings to bring people out. In boldly drawn illustrations in primary colors with black and white the firefighters are shown moving through all their responsibilities from preparation, to fire fighting, to heading back to the station. There is a little dalmatian to be spotted on nearly every page. I love the way this book teaches respect for people in dangerous first-responder jobs.

The fire alarm sounds. The firefighter jumps in the truck and races to a daring rescue! Get ready for an adventure as Laura Godwin and Julian Hector celebrate one of our bravest everyday heroes in this board-book edition for little hands. Praise for This is the Firefighter (hardcover edition) "With its swift action, catchy verse, and appropriate palette (red, white, blue, and flame), this should find good use among preschool vehicle enthusiasts and new readers as well as in the 'community helpers' unit." -The Horn Book

Lily Wool book
#8
Lily Wool
Written and illustrated by Paula Vasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Lily Wool is such a playful and inventive tale! I love the message of the story, that Lily Wool embraces her differences to find her unique voice and contribution among the members of her flock. As a business owner myself, I also love her resourcefulness in opening her seamstress shop!

A little lamb with a great big imagination. A new picture book from Paula Vasquez filled with delightful illustrations depicting a little lamb intent on being true to herself. Lily Wool gets bored with all of the grazing and resting that the herd does and prefers to count stars and dream of adventures. When Lily finds a strand of loose wool, she lets her imagination run wild and has a grand time until she accidentally unravels a problem. Children will love seeing how Lily Wool puts her imagination and creativity to work to fix things, and how Lily discovers a way to help others while she finds her special place in the herd. Paula Vasquez,an avowed artist from childhood, studied graphic design at the Universidad Cat�lica de Chile, and honed her illustration skills with a post-graduate diploma from Finis Terrae University. She currently lives in Santiago de Chile writing and illustrating children's picture books.

I Can Be Anything book
#9
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!

Sam the Man & The Chicken Plan book
#10
Sam the Man & The Chicken Plan
Written by Frances O’Roark Dowell and illustrated by Amy June Bates
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Sam the Man wants to earn some money and he’s got a cluck-worthy plan in this endearing chapter book that’s the first in a new series from Frances O’Roark Dowell. Sam the Man needs a job. Even his sister gets twenty bucks a pop for mowing people’s lawns! But seven-year-olds aren’t allowed to mow lawns, so Sam decides to ask his next door neighbor if she needs help doing other chores. It turns out she’ll pay him a whole dollar each time he can convince her dad, Mr. Stockfish, to join him for a walk. But it turns out that getting Mr. Stockfish to leave the living room isn’t easy. AND a dollar a pop isn’t going to cut it. So when Mrs. Kerner, another neighbor, asks if Sam would like to watch her chickens, Sam jumps on the task. You can count on him, yes indeed. Watching chickens is more fun than he expects, and comes with an added bonus: it turns out that visiting the chickens is the one thing that can coax Mr. Stockfish out of the house! But what does a seven-year-old do with all the money he’s earning? It’s too little for a bike, and too much for candy. But wait! It’s just enough for a chicken of his own—the kind that lays BLUE eggs! Soon he has a whole waiting list of kids who want to buy a blue egg. And what does Sam plan on doing with his new fortune? Buy Mr. Stockfish his own chicken, of course!

Hidden Figures book
#11
Hidden Figures
Written by Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrated by Laura Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a great introduction for little readers to the four true stories of how African American women helped the space program, overcoming gender and racial biases. I like how it exposes civil rights and women's rights issues at a level that is appropriate and understandable for children and focuses on how each of these four women worked hard and persevered to overcome those challenges.

Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award–nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrator Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers! Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math…really good. They participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world. In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as "colored computers," and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career. "Finally, the extraordinary lives of four African American women who helped NASA put the first men in space is available for picture book readers," proclaims Brightly in their article "18 Must-Read Picture Books of 2018." "Will inspire girls and boys alike to love math, believe in themselves, and reach for the stars."

Farm (Wheels at Work) book
#12
Farm (Wheels at Work)
Written by Child's Play and illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is a great book for littles who want to learn about farming! I especially love the lift-the-flap feature.

Collecting, lifting, transporting, and delivering! Lift the flap to see each vehicle busy at work. Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills - and simply joining in!

Dive In! book
#13
Dive In!
Written by April Jones Prince and illustrated by Michelle Berg
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

At first glance you may see a bunch of mice doing construction in a watery arena and think... weird. It turns out, however, that my toddler loves this book and now I do too. It's interactive with sturdy tabs to pull, slider bars, and wheels to turn and the rhyming text is cute and different. It starts as a construction book and builds into a bath book, which is unexpected (at least the first time) and enjoyable.

It’s a busy day on the construction site, and these industrious mice are up to something big! But what are they working on? Bold, colorful illustrations and recognizable vehicles with moving parts add to the fun, with hidden clues for the careful observer. Is that red paint . . . or red sauce? Is that a construction pit . . . or a drain? Children will delight in guessing their way to the end, when the final spread reveals a carefully constructed surprise. It’s favorite vehicles meet lunchtime and bathtime in these novelty board books with interactive mechanisms.

Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! book
#14
Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1!
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The first three novels in the Animal Inn chapter book series, where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel, are now available together in a fur-tastic paperback edition! The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort and spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it. The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors. In A Furry Fiasco, when the animals hear that a new boarder—a Komodo Dragon—will be coming to the Inn, they panic! Will it gobble them all up and then devour their family? In Treasure Hunt, the animals are convinced a pirate with a glittering treasure is visiting the Animal Inn. Will the animals have to walk the plank in order to survive? Arghhh! And in The Bow-Wow Bus, Cassie Tyler’s first grade class takes a field trip to Animal Inn for a meet and greet. And it’s a furry good time for all—even for the newest kid in class, a goldfish named Blub.

I Dissent book
#15
I Dissent
Written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable! Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.

Night Job book
#16
Night Job
Written by Karen Hesse and illustrated by G Brian Karas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When the sun sets, Dad’s job as a school custodian is just beginning. What is it like to work on a Friday night while the rest of the city is asleep? There’s the smell of lilacs in the night air, the dusky highway in the moonlight, and glimpses of shy nighttime animals to make the dark magical. Shooting baskets in the half-lit gym, sweeping the stage with the game on the radio, and reading out loud to his father in the library all help the boy’s time pass quickly. But what makes the night really special is being with Dad. Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse’s quietly powerful story of a boy and his father is tenderly brought to life by G. Brian Karas in this luminous tribute to an enduring, everyday sort of love.

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? book
#17
Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?
Written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An introduction to the life and achievements of the first American female doctor describes the limited career prospects available to women in the early nineteenth-century, the opposition Blackwell faced while pursuing a medical education, and her pioneering medical career that opened doors for future generations of women.

When I Grow Up book
#18
When I Grow Up
Written by Al Yankovic and illustrated by Wes Hargis, Al Yankovic
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An exuberant eight-year-old details for his teacher and classmates the astonishing variety of inventive careers he is thinking of pursuing when he grows up.

Curious George Takes a Job book
#19
Curious George Takes a Job
Written and illustrated by H. A. Rey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Curious George runs away from the zoo and after many adventures ends up a movie star. "A tale of rippling fun and absurd color-pictures." -- New York Herald-Tribune

The Little School Bus book
#20
The Little School Bus
Written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Bob Kolar
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A happy little school bus and Driver Bob wake up early to pick up children, drop them off at school, then head to the garage for some minor repairs.

Snowmen at Work book
#21
Snowmen at Work
Written by Caralyn Buehner and illustrated by Mark Buehner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

If you were a snowman, what job would you choose? Ten years ago, on the publication of Snowmen at Night, we discovered the secret lives of snowmen. While we humans sleep, the snowmen go sledding, play baseball, and drink cocoa. But now it’s revealed that snowmen don’t just play all night–they have jobs to do, just like the parents of human kids. Dentists replace missing coal from snowman smiles while pet store owners help pair snowkids with their very own snowpuppy or snowfish to love. The pizza man delivers frozen pizza, and factory workers make the coolest toys in town. This fourth book in the New York Times bestselling Snowmen series is a gleeful, goofy delight. Kids will love spotting the silly details in each illustration, and the hidden pictures too. (They can look on the back side of the book jacket for a key to all that’s concealed within.)

Lola Dutch When I Grow Up book
#22
Lola Dutch When I Grow Up
Written and illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright, Kenneth Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lola Dutch is always bursting with grand ideas--so of course she has many ideas for what she wants to be when she grows up! She could be a magnificent performer . . . or a daring inventor . . . or a brilliant botanist . . . there are exciting ideas all around! But Lola is too excited--she wants to try EVERYTHING. How will she ever decide what she is destined to become? The curious and creative Lola Dutch is inspired to imagine every way to explore the wonder of her world. And she doesn't have to wait until she grows up! Inspired by their own four gorgeously creative children, Sarah Jane and Kenneth Wright are thrilled to continue this fun series about the unstoppable Lola Dutch, a larger-than-life character perfect for fans of Olivia and Fancy Nancy.

Jobs Around Town book
#23
Jobs Around Town
Written and illustrated by Mike Berenstain, Jan Berenstain, Stan Berenstain
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Brother and Sister Bear speculate on all the things they could grow up to be, including a bus driver, farmer, scientist, singer, and computer programmer.

Hippopotamister book
#24
Hippopotamister
Written and illustrated by John Patrick Green
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? book
#25
Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day?
Written and illustrated by Richard Scarry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An illustrated panorama of the animals of Busytown at work, describing the occupations and activities of many of her citizens through detailed drawings with labels indicating processes and equipment used as they perform their jobs.

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