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Leaving Home: Books For Kids

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

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

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 leaving home, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Acrobat to popular sellers like Madeline and the Gypsies to some of our favorite hidden gems like Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty.

We hope this list of kids books about leaving home 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.

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Wherever You Go
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller & illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Roads give you chances to seek and explore. Want an adventure? Just open your door. Join an adventurous rabbit and his animal friends as they journey over steep mountain peaks, through bustling cityscapes, and down long, winding roads to discover the magical worlds that await them just outside their doors. Award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller’s lilting rhyme and bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler’s enchanting, lush landscapes celebrate the possibilities that lie beyond the next bend in the road—the same road that will always lead you home again.

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Edmund Unravels
Written & illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This delightful debut picture book celebrates both the joy of venturing into the unknown and the value of staying connected to loved ones back home. It stars a little ball of yarn who can’t resist the tug of adventure, the twists and turns of discovery, or the comfort of family and friends.

Edmund is a ball of yarn and a ball of energy! From the time he could roll, he’s been bouncing down his front steps to explore, and his parents have always been right there to reel him in and roll him back up. But now that he’s bigger, Edmund is ready to discover the wonders of the world. Everything is new and exciting—but sometimes, even a little ball of yarn gets lonely, and there’s nothing better than the comfort of being around those he cares about.

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Yellow Kayak
Written by Nina Laden & illustrated by Melissa Castrillón
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A child and his beloved best friend go on a grand sea adventure in this magical picture book by the author and artist who created If I Had a Little Dream.

You just never know what a new day will hold if you are brave enough to find out. On one quiet afternoon, a boy and his special friend’s unexpected adventure bring joy and excitement and sights never imagined. And the best part of any adventure is returning home with stories to tell and you best friend at your side.

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Piglette
Written by Katelyn Aronson & illustrated by Eva Byrne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Will a pristine piglet find perfection in Paris?

Piglette can be a bit particular by her siblings’ standards. She always wants everything to be perfect. While her many brothers and sisters like rolling in the mud, Piglette prefers pampering in a mud bath. While her siblings eat slop, Piglette prefers pastries. But what she’s most passionate about is flowers. She loves to smell the lilies and lilacs in the pasture. So Piglette decides her precise nose is destined for the perfume shops of Paris!

But Piglette soon realizes that there’s nothing more precious than the pleasant scents of home, and she finds a way to bring a little Parisian perfection back where she belongs. Debut author Kateyln Aronson and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Eva Byrne have created an unforgettable, playful piglet who stays true to herself and the message that home is where the heart is.

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Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty
Written & illustrated by A.N. Kang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Papillon is a very fluffy kitty. So fluffy that he’s lighter than air! His owner tries to weigh him down, but Papillon just wants to fly. One particularly sunny day, he floats right out the window! Exploring the wide world is exhilarating, but it’s also a little scary. Will his new friend, a bird, be able to help him find his way home? Whimsical art and airy text come together seamlessly in this delightful debut by A. N. Kang.

Blown Away book
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Stay, Little Seed book
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River Friendly, River Wild book
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Touch the Sun book
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  • Blown Away - Come on an unexpected journey with a fearless blue penguin in Rob Biddulph’s debut picture book, Blown Away. In this brilliantly captivating and gloriously illustrated story, a brave young penguin takes a kite flight to a tropical paradise. But in the end, he realizes that home is where his igloo is.

  • Stay, Little Seed - For fans of Amy Rosenthal’s I wish You More and Joe Witek’s In My Heart, Cristiana Valentini’s Stay Little Seed is a moving tale of love and the courage of letting go. “Both children and adult readers will identify with timeless themes, from the joy in comforting familial bonds to the growth that can only happen with independence.”
    --Booklist
    Every year when the wind blows, the tree’s seeds sail away to a mysterious place—until one little seed decides to stay. At first, the tree supposes the seed should leave. How else would it grow roots to rise tall and strong? But the tree is also lonely, and the mysterious place is far, far away. Will the seed be safe on its own? Stay, Little Seed celebrates the rhythms of the natural world and shares a gentle message for all of us, no matter our age: Sometimes, by letting go and being brave, we begin life’s greatest adventures.

  • River Friendly, River Wild - This winter was snowy, this spring brought a terrible blizzard, and now the river is rising. Sandbags don’t stop it, the dikes don’t stop it, and late one night sirens warn everyone to evacuate. A girl and her family don’t expect to be gone more than a couple of days, so they leave their cat and race for shelter with only a suitcase each. But as days stretch into weeks they worry: Is the cat safe? Will they have a home to return to? And how will their lives be changed? In searing, personal poems, Jane Kurtz explores what it’s like to struggle through a flood and pull your life together afterward. Inspired by Kurtz’s own flood experience, this tale is realistic and unforgettable. Not just a moving story of one girl’s courage, River Friendly, River Wild is a tribute to everyone who’s ever faced great loss.

  • Touch the Sun - To find freedom, you must leave behind everything you’ve ever known. It is 2011. You want nothing more than to be a journalist in Somalia like your aunty. But the truth can be dangerous—and when you and your little sister are left alone, you find yourself facing life-and-death choices at every turn. Can you escape a terrorist organization and find a safe place to call home? You’ll be asked to cross a desert on foot, hide below deck in a leaky boat, and put your life in the hands of people smugglers. At every turn, the choice is yours. How far will you go for freedom?

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The Bold, Brave Bunny
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Chow Hon Lam
picture book
Recommend Ages: 44-8

A Junior Library Guild Selection

“An enjoyable tale of the marvels of adventuring and the comfort of home.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Hop along with Teetu, the bold, brave bunny, as he finds his way in this imaginative tale from New York Times bestselling author Beth Ferry (Stick and Stone) that reminds us that it’s splendid to see the world, but that it’s even more wonderful to go home, and share it with the ones you love.

B is for brave.

B is for bold.

B is not only for…bunnies.

After his brothers and sisters ruin his favorite alphabet book, Teetu the bunny has had enough of his big bunny family! When he sneaks off into the night, what he discovers is more marvelous than he ever dreamed.

He sees animals and trees and beauty and moonlight, and puts his adventures into a new book he creates all by himself. But soon Teetu tires of being alone, and just as it gets to be too much…a big fluffy surprise comes to save the day!

This heartwarming picture book from Beth Ferry and debut illustrator Chow Hon Lam makes for a perfect Easter and year-round gift. Plus, hidden animal surprises in the art will delight readers as they discover them in every repeat reading.

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School for Skylarks
Written & illustrated by Sam Angus
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

It is 1939. When Lyla is evacuated from her home in London to her great-aunt’s enormous house in the West Country, she expects to be lonely. She has never been to school nor had any friends, and her parents have been at the center of a scandal. But with the house being used to accommodate an entire school of evacuated schoolgirls, there’s no time to think about her old life. Soon there is a horse in a first-floor bedroom and a ferret in Lyla’s sock drawer, hordes of schoolgirls have overrun the house, and Lyla finds out that friends come in all shapes and sizes.

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Madeline and the Gypsies
Written & illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines the smallest one was Madeline.”

Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not even mice. With its endearing, courageous heroine, cheerful humor, and wonderful, whimsical drawings of Paris, the Madeline stories are true classics that continue to charm readers, even after 75 years. Join Madeline in another adventure when she and Pepito run off to join the carnival with a band of traveling gypsies!

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Inky the Octopus
Written & illustrated by Erin Guendelsberger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

Out of this tank, I must be free.I must explore the open sea!Inky the octopus is bored with aquarium life and wants to escape to the ocean! But just how can an octopus in a tank get to the open seas? Find out in Inky the Octopus, the only tale of the mischievous octopus to be officially endorsed by the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

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Waiting for Augusta
Written by Jessica Lawson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the author of The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher and Nooks & Crannies comes a “whimsical, heartwarming,” (Kirkus Reviews) and profound tale of love, loss, and family. Eleven-year-old Benjamin Putter has a lump in his throat, and he’s certain it’s a golf ball. He knows it sounds crazy, but everything’s been topsy-turvy since his father died last month. And he doesn’t know how to fix it. Then, one day, something starts tugging at Ben, telling him to hurry to Augusta, Georgia—home of the most famous golf course in the world. Ben might be going a little crazy, but escaping Hilltop, Alabama, sounds like a darn good idea. (And just maybe it will make that lump go away.) As he makes his way to Augusta, Ben partners up with a mysterious runaway named Noni, and they embark on a journey full of strange and wonderful surprises—and possibly magic—at every turn.

Withering-by-Sea book
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Dave's Cave book
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The Acrobat book
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She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) book
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  • Withering-by-Sea - A stalwart orphan sets out on a spine-tingling adventure in this wildly imaginative and darkly funny Victorian middle grade novel. High on a cliff above the gloomy Victorian town of Withering-by-Sea stands the Hotel Majestic. Inside the walls of the damp, dull hotel, eleven-year-old orphan Stella Montgomery leads a miserable life with her three dreadful aunts. Stella dreams of adventuring on the Amazon—or anyplace, really, as long as it isn’t this dreary town where nothing ever happens. Then one night Stella sees something she shouldn’t have. Soon she finds herself on the run from terrifying Professor Stark and his gang of thugs. But how can one young girl outwit an evil magician, much less rescue his poor, mistreated assistant? With the help of a mysterious maestro, his musical cats, and a lively girl named Gert, Stella Montgomery sets out to do the impossible.

  • Dave's Cave - Dave loves his cave. The inside is decorated exactly the way he likes it. But what if there’s a better cave out there? Dave needs to find out for himself. This humorous romp from a celebrated author-illustrator reminds readers that sometimes there’s no place like home. Full color.

  • The Acrobat - An acrobat gets fed up of no one ever noticing him, so leaves the circus to find somewhere where his talents are appreciated.

  • She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) - The year is 1966. The Vietnam War rages overseas, the Beatles have catapulted into stardom, and twelve-year-old Rhode Island native Trudy Mixer is not thrilled with life. Her best friend, Michelle, has decided to become a cheerleader, everyone at school is now calling her Gertrude (her hated real name), and the gem of her middle school career, the Beatles fan club, has dwindled down to only three other members–the least popular kids at school. And at home, her workaholic father has become even more distant. Determined to regain her social status and prove herself to her father, Trudy looks toward the biggest thing happening worldwide: the Beatles. She is set on seeing them in Boston during their final world tour–and meeting her beloved Paul McCartney. So on a hot August day, unknown to their families, Trudy and crew set off on their journey, each of them with soaring hopes for what lies ahead.

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Lady Liberty's Holiday
Written by Jen Arena & illustrated by Matt Hunt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7

The Statue of Liberty is feeling a little blue, despite being green. As much as she loves welcoming people to America, standing still for over a hundred years has left her with a stiff neck, aching arms, and a cramp in her leg. This lady could use a vacation!

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Inky's Great Escape
Written by Casey Lyall & illustrated by Sebastià Serra
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Inky, worn out from his exciting life in the ocean, has retired to the aquarium. There he quietly regales his tank mate Blotchy with tales of his past adventures. Then Blotchy dares Inky to make one more daring escape. Will Inky succeed?

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The Littlest Train
Written & illustrated by Chris Gall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this endearing story of a tiny toy train, the creator of the hit series Dinotrux now breathes life into more than a half-dozen trains that climb, haul, chug, zip, and zoom. In a small room, down a short flight of stairs, there lives a little toy train…about to have a BIG adventure! There’s an endless world to explore, and awe-inspiring new friends to meet. Mighty Max, Chloe Cogs, Sara Speedster, and Farley Freighter can reach all the best sights, lickety-split. But when the day is done and the sun goes down, will the littlest train find his way home? Calling all train lovers: All aboard!

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Snowie Rolie
Written & illustrated by William Joyce
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When the sun begins to melt the snow, Olie and Zowie take their snowman friend, Mr. Snowie, to a new home in Chillsville.

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