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Jobs: Picture Books For Kids

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)!

Top 10 Jobs Books

McToad Mows Tiny Island book
#1
McToad Mows Tiny Island
Written by Tom Angleberger and illustrated by John Hendrix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

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.

Even Monsters Need Haircuts book
#2
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.

Lily Wool book
#3
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
#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!

I Dissent book
#5
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.

Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? book
#6
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.

Lola Dutch When I Grow Up book
#7
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.

Hidden Figures book
#8
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."

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? book
#9
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.

Night Job book
#10
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.

Bonus Recommendations

  1. Curious George Takes a Job - 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

  2. When I Grow Up - 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.

  3. Hippopotamister - 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.

  4. Jobs Around Town - 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.

  1. LMNO Peas - Get ready to roll through the alphabet with a jaunty cast of busy little peas. Featuring a range of zippy characters from Acrobat Peas to Zoologist Peas, this delightful picture book highlights a variety of interests, hobbies, and careers—each one themed to a letter of the alphabet—and gives a wonderful sense of the colorful world we live in. Children will have so much fun poring over the detailed scenes that they won’t even realize they’re learning the alphabet along the way!

  2. What Will I Do When I Grow Up? - Let's take a walk down High Street and discover the variety of jobs that grown-ups do. We will pop into each building to see what they wear, what tools they use and what they make and do. What will I do when I grow up? invites children to discover the diversity of occupations including teachers, chefs, builders and scientists.

  3. The Little School Bus - 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.

  4. Snowmen at Work - 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.)

  1. My Mama Is a Mechanic - Snuggle with Mom for this sweet book about a mother as seen through her son's eyes. To him, she is a surgeon when she repairs his favorite stuffed animal, a weightlifter when lugging in groceries, and a monster truck diver when driving him. But no matter what happens, she is always his mama, and that's the most important thing of all!

  2. Shoemaker Martin - This beautiful story about sharing is a joy to read at Christmas or anytime throughout the year! Re-designed in celebration of 50 years of working with Bernadette Watts—one of Europe’s most recognized and beloved fairy-tale artists, this story is sure to win new fans as well as pleasing existing ones! Martin, a Russian shoemaker, wishes to meet Jesus. Instead he finds three strangers in need. After showing kindness towards each one, Martin learns that it was Jesus who visited him three times. Written by Leo Tolstoy and illustrated by one of Europe's most beloved illustrators, Bernadette Watts, this story of compassion is as relevant today as when it was first conceived. Praise for Bernadette Watts Little Red Riding Hood, “My what big talent she has!” — Kirkus Reviews The Three Little Pigs, “A marvelous offering that begs to be added to everyone’s storytelling repertoire.” — School Library Journal

  3. Whoosh! - A cool idea with a big splash You know the Super Soaker. It's one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Trying to create a new cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners, impressive inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the iconic toy. A love for rockets, robots, inventions, and a mind for creativity began early in Lonnie Johnson's life. Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is his invention of the Super Soaker water gun that has made his most memorable splash with kids and adults.

  4. If I Were a Park Ranger - If you were a national park ranger, you'd spend every day in one of the most treasured places in America. You'd have an amazing job protecting animals, the environment, and our country's natural and historical heritage, from the wilds of Denali to the Statue of Liberty!

  1. Gordon Parks - His white teacher tells her all-black class, You’ll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way. Told through lyrical verse and atmospheric art, this is the story of how, with a single photograph, a self-taught artist got America to take notice.

  2. Of Course They Do! - Using sparse text and large, bright photographs, the book debunks commonly-held gender-myths. Misconceptions are stated matter-of-factly (Boys don’t cook.), but when the page is turned, each myth is proven false with playful language (Are you sure?) and a contradictory photo (a male professional chef). This jacketless book is perfect for young readers as well as read-alouds and will generate discussions about gender-based assumptions around play and work.

  3. Dreaming Up - Cup on cup stacking up, smaller, smaller, and growing taller! Children building— Concrete poetry— Pair them with notable structures from around the world and see children’s constructions taken to the level of architectural treasures. Here is a unique celebration of children’s playtime explorations and the surprising ways childhood experiences find expression in the dreams and works of innovative architects. Come be inspired to play—dream—build—discover!

  4. The Fox and the Fisherman - A gentle story of a lonely fisherman and a curious fox who develop an unexpected friendship. Barabas is a lonely fisherman. Every morning he goes out to sea on his small fishing boat, throws his net in the water and hopes to bring some fish home, where no one is waiting for him. His meager catches and gloomy home make him sad, until one day when Barabas discovers footprints near his home. Whom could they belong to?

  1. Tinyville Town: I'm a Librarian - The Tinyville Town preschool series stacks up in a whole new way with the addition of the fourth volume, "I m a Librarian" the latest board book to feature one of the many diverse residents of the charming town. In "I m a Librarian," readers get to know the town librarian as he helps a little boy find a favorite book. As the search progresses, fans of the series will recognize many other residents of Tinyville Town also visiting the library. From"New York Times"bestselling author and illustrator Brian Biggs, the Tinyville Town series launched in 2016 with three books: "Tinyville Town Gets to Work!, "a world-establishing picture book that introduces the town and its many residents, and two board books: "I m a Veterinarian"and"I m a Firefighter."With a nod to the busy world of Richard Scarry and the neighborhood feel of "Sesame Street," this new series is becoming a favorite among preschoolers and a staple of preschool classroom libraries.Set in a cozy community of kind, friendly people, the Tinyville Town books are idealfor story time and class discussions about occupations and community helpers. "

  2. Tinyville Town: I'm a Veterinarian -

  3. Tinyville Town: I'm a Firefighter - In I’m a Firefighter, we see what it’s like in a day in the life of a town firefighter. As soon as the fire alarm rings, Fireman Charlie is ready to go, go, go! When he’s not fighting fires, there’s plenty to do, like cook meals for the crew, Charlie’s favorite job of all. Firefighters are perennially popular with young readers. This is an ideal read for fire prevention lessons and as a tribute to local hero firefighters.

  4. Food Truck Fest! - A colorful, whimsical picture book about everyone's favorite kitchens-on-wheels: food trucks! Join the members of one family as they head to the Food Truck Fest! They gather their things, cross the bridge, and prepare for a fun-filled day. And as they get ready, the workers on the food trucks get ready, too—preparing, tasting, and traveling across the bridge to join all the other kitchens-on-wheels. With delicious free samples and cuisines from around the world, it's a day of trying new things and having fun together!

  1. Tinyville Town Gets to Work! - The Tinyville Town series, new from New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Brian Biggs, launches with three books: Tinyville Town Gets to Work!, a world-establishing picture book that introduces the town and its many residents, and two board books, I'm a Veterinarian and I'm a Firefighter. The series is set in a cozy community where the people are kind, everyone says hello when they're walking down the street, the bus is always on time, and all the townsfolk do their part to keep things running smoothly. Everyone has a job to do in Tinyville Town. With a nod to the busy world of Richard Scarry and the neighborhood feel of Sesame Street, this new series will become a favorite read for preschoolers and is ideal for story time and class discussions about occupations and community helpers. Tinyville Town is a growing, thriving city full of interesting people. The townsfolk can't wait to show readers around! In Tinyville Town Gets to Work!, we see the evolution of a construction project to solve a problem. When there is a traffic jam on the Tinyville Town bridge, the residents decide to work together to build a new one. By following the hard work of the engineers and construction workers, readers will get to meet many different people in the town while watching the exciting new bridge take shape. The large picture book format and Biggs's bright art brilliantly show the bridge, which was extensively researched to make it authentic for readers. Every town has a bridge, and a trip over Tinyville's new one will be fun for kids time and time again.

  2. Going to School - Spend the day at school and join the little girl in everything she does in a day - from breakfast to bedtime. Meet her classmates and try to spot what each friend is up to in every lesson throughout the book. Can you guess what they want to be when they grow up? This reassuring introduction to the school day for little ones has bright, friendly artwork and is perfect for children about to go off to school for the first time.

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

Table of Contents
  1. Top 10 Jobs Books
  2. Bonus (22)
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