Listening: Books For Kids

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

Listening. It’s one of those skills that pays dividends over a life-time. When you’re little being a listener brings safety, extra privileges and greater sanity for parents. When you’re older it brings lasting friendships, balance and helps meet the requirements of school, jobs and other responsibilities. It’s kind of a big deal. But it’s hard to listen. These are some of our favorite books showing the benefits of listening (and the pitfalls when you don’t)—we hope you enjoy them!

The Rabbit Listened book
#1
The Rabbit Listened
Written and illustrated by Cori Doerffeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a beautifully simple but powerful story about coping with failure, empathizing and being a friend who is willing to listen without insisting that people deal with things the way YOU would choose to deal with them. The illustrations are simple on each white background, and the animal comparisons to feelings help bring it to a level where these complex issues and emotions can be better understood by children. In the end, Taylor needs to go through many stages to be able to cope with the trauma of his block tower falling over, and that’s ok. In the end, we can start again!

When Taylor’s block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling

Little Red Riding Hood book
#2
Little Red Riding Hood
Written by Brothers Grimm and Trina Schart Hyman and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

On her way to deliver a basket of food to her sick grandmother, Elisabeth encounters a sly wolf.

Listen, Buddy book
#3
Listen, Buddy
Written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This little bunny has big ears but doesn’t learn to listen until he has some less-than-desired natural consequences from failing to do so. I quite enjoyed seeing what Buddy “heard” instead of what was really said. You (and your toddler) might relate to this story if you’ve ever talked to someone who doesn’t always listen well, but hopefully any little ones can learn from Buddy’s mistake through reading rather than meeting the Scruffy Varmint! ;)

A lop-eared rabbit named Buddy finds himself in trouble with the Scruffy Varmint because he never listens.

Telephone book
#4
Telephone
Written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jen Corace
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter. But passing messages on a telephone line isn’t as simple as it sounds. Each subsequent bird understands Mama’s message according to its own very particular hobbies. Will Peter ever get home for dinner? This uproarious interpretation of a favorite children’s game will get everyone giggling and is sure to lead to countless rereads.

Ella WHO? book
#5
Ella WHO?
Written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Sara Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Mom . . . there’s an elephant in the living room. It’s moving day—and look who slipped in the door: an elephant! But when a little girl tries to tell her family about their unusual guest, the distracted grown-ups just say, “Ella WHO?” Even as children giggle at the girl’s adventures with the smallish pachyderm, and at the fun, recurring refrain, they’ll relate to the poignant theme about making—and sometimes letting go of—new friends.

  1. Listen, Listen - The Book Snob Mom - The beautiful, crackly illustrations are whimsical and fun, and I love all the different tableaus. This book takes you through all four seasons and the sounds you may hear out and about, encouraging to stop, listen, and be in the moment!

  2. Little Elephant Listens - The Book Snob Mom - A cute, simple book about listening. Little Elephant is quick to be obedient throughout the book, which is excellent (if a little bland), and there’s just a touch of humor at the end. The illustrations are very brightly colored and it’s a very fast read.

  3. What Can I Hear? - A group of babies have fun making noises and listening to things. On board pages.

  4. Why Should I Listen? - When children are caught up by the excitement of the moment, they sometimes forget to listen—and the result might be an accident or an avoidable mistake. This book helps them understand the importance of listening to parents and teachers. Titles in the enlightening and entertaining Why Should I? series of picture storybooks answer questions that younger boys and girls are likely to ask about a wide range of topics. Part of every child’s development consists of asking questions about themselves, their friends and neighbors, and their surroundings. Why Should I? books help them discover good answers. Kids will be attracted by the amusing color illustrations on every page, and parents and teachers will appreciate the note at the back of each book offering further suggestions on answering children’s questions.

Quiet Please, Owen McPhee book
#10
Quiet Please, Owen McPhee
Written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Gorgeously illustrated, this is a wonderful little story about a little boy who talks too much and learns the consequences the hard way. It’s not until he gets some first-hand understanding of what can happen when he listens and gives other people a chance to talk, though, that he realizes that there must be a balance. The mix of actual story and speech bubbles is a fun combination!

Owen McPhee doesn’t just like to talk, he LOVES to talk. He spends every waking minute chattering away at his teachers, his classmates, his parents, his dog, and even himself. But all that talking can get in the way of listening. And when Owen wakes up with a bad case of laryngitis, it gives him a much-needed opportunity to hear what others have to say.

From the author-illustrator team behind The Invisible Boy comes a bright and lively picture book that captures the social dynamics of a busy classroom while delivering a gentle message about the importance of listening.

El Deafo book
#11
El Deafo
Written by Cece Bell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The author recounts in graphic novel format her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her “superpower.”

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen book
#12
Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen
Written by Reverend Ana and Howard Binkow and illustrated by Sue Cornelison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Howard B. Wigglebottom starts feeling sad about always getting into trouble at school for not listening, he decides to change his ways.

I Have a Little Problem, Said the Bear book
#13
I Have a Little Problem, Said the Bear
Written by Heinz Janisch and illustrated by Silke Leffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The bear has a problem. He asks everyone for help, but no one seems to have time to talk with him. What will it take to get someone listen to him?

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse book
#14
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This was a very cute story. Lilly was infatuated with her teacher. She thought he was the greatest. She wanted to be a teacher like him when she grew up. She pretended to be him at home, and she even bought a chain for her glasses just like his. Then the unthinkable happened. She had brought something very special to school and wanted to show everyone. Her teacher asked her to wait. She could not. She finally could not handle it and did not listen to her teacher. This caused some trouble and tension between the two of them. She was very very sad because she had really liked her teacher before. The best part is how her family helps her overcome this difficulty and she learns to apologize and to listen.

Lilly loves everything about school, especially her cool teacher, Mr. Slinger. But when Lilly brings her purple plastic purse and its treasures to school and can’t wait until sharing time, Mr. Slinger confiscates her prized possessions. Lilly’s fury leads to revenge and then to remorse and she sets out to make amends. Lilly, the star of Chester’s Way and Julius, the Baby of the World, is back. And this time she has her name in the title - something she’s wanted all along. If you thought Lilly was funny before, you are in for a treat. So hurry up and start reading. Lilly can’t wait for you to find out more about her.

  1. Andi Unexpected - The first in a new middle-grade mystery series, in Andi Unexpected, twelve-year-old Andi Boggs, discovers evidence of her forgotten namesake, a missing relative, which leads her into a family mystery rooted in the Great Depression.

  2. Chimpanzees for Tea! - A silly, fun version of the game “telephone”—in which a grocery list committed to memory goes playfully awry. One day, Vincent’s mother asks him to go to the store to pick up a few items: “a bunch of carrots, a box of rice, some China tea, a big, firm pear, and a tin of peas” to be precise. “And hurry home in time for tea!” she says. Sounds easy enough. Yet distractions are at every turn, causing havoc with Vincent’s memory. All of a sudden, a tin of peas is replaced by a trapeze; a big, firm pear becomes a big furry bear; and a box of rice transforms into a box of mice! Needless to say, Vincent’s mother is in for quite a surprise. Told with a playful rhythm for reading aloud and illustrated with exuberance and great child appeal, this humorous picture book will have kids laughing and asking for repeated readings.

  3. Strega Nona - When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works in this classic Caldecott Honor book from Tomie dePaola. Strega Nona—“Grandma Witch”—is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results. In this retelling of an old tale, author-illustrator Tomie dePaola combines humor in the writing and warmth in the paintings as he builds the story to its hilarious climax.

  4. Mini Myths: Be Careful, Icarus! - After little Icarus and his dad make a bird-shaped kite, Dad warns Icarus to hold on to the string and not let it fly too high. But Icarus disobeys, and soon the kite gets caught in the trees! Dad helps him repair the kite so they can play with it again, and Icarus learns the importance of being careful. Joan Holub’s carefully crafted text is brought to life by Leslie Patricelli’s famously humorous illustrations. Includes a summary of the original Icarus myth.

The Storm Whale book
#19
The Storm Whale
Written and illustrated by Benji Davies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Every day, in a house by the sea, a little boy watches his father leave for work. One night, a storm washes a small whale onto the beach. The boy discovers the whale is a good listener, and the father discovers the boy is lonely. Together, they return the whale to the sea, and the boy realizes his father can be a good listener, too. Full color.

What's That Noise? Choo! Choo! book
#20
What's That Noise? Choo! Choo!
Written and illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

What’s that noise? Lift the flap to find out! Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills - and simply joining in!

Quiet! book
#21
Quiet!
Written and illustrated by Kate Alizadeh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7

Sssh! Listen, what’s that noise? Each room in a house has different noises and in this book the text and visual clues help a child experience the home through sound, which will be familiar to those children who are blind or partially sighted.

The Loud Book! book
#22
The Loud Book!
Written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

From the blare of an alarm clock in the morning to snores and crickets in the evening, simple text explores the many loud noises one might hear during the course of a day.

Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of the Baskervilles book
#23
Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of the Baskervilles
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Delight your little one with the sounds and sights of a mysterious night in Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of Baskervilles: A BabyLit Sounds Primer. Alison Oliver’s bold illustrations correspond with Jennifer Adams’ clever, simple text to create pairings little bibliophiles will love to have read to them, such as “hounds howl,” “gates screech,” and “stairs creak.”

  1. My Puppy Patch - It’s a big day for Patch the puppy as her girl decides to take her for her first walk outside of the yard. Patch needs to learn her manners, but the playful pup is sometimes too excited to listen! With patience and perseverance, Patch’s girl guides her new canine companion through basic commands including “sit,” “stay,” and “down,” making sure to dole out plenty of treats and belly rubs for a job well done along the way. This delightful story from author, performer, and children’s librarian Theo Heras is a great introduction for young children about caring for and training a puppy, complemented by Alice Carter’s warm, inviting illustrations and a sturdy format complete with padded cover.

  2. Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night - Feather, Flap, and Spike are spending their first night in their very own nest. They tell stories and snuggle up to get a good night’s sleep, until . . . GRRORE! What’s that scary-sounding noise? Young readers will find both humor and comfort in this cozy bedtime story, perfect for anybody who’s ever been nervous about a mysterious noise at night.

  3. Bear Has a Story to Tell - It was almost winter and Bear was getting sleepy. But first, Bear had a story to tell… Bear found his friend Mouse, but Mouse was busy gathering seeds and didn’t have time to listen to a story. Then Bear saw his friend Duck, but Duck was getting ready to fly south. What about his friend Toad? He was busy looking for a warm place to sleep. By the time Bear was through helping his friends get ready for winter, would anyone still be awake to hear his story?

  4. Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker - Lacey Walker loves to talk. She talks all day, and sometimes all night. But when she loses her voice, Lacey learns the importance of listening. She learns about all of the things she misses out on every day. This relatable picture book teaches an important life lesson for preschoolers and older.

Social Butterfly book
#28
Social Butterfly
Written by Beth Bracken and illustrated by Sofia Cardoso
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Charlotte loves playing and talking with her friends, but very often she plays and talks too much, and at school she has to learn that sometimes it is necessary to listen and let her friends and teacher do the talking.

Let's Have a Dog Party book
#29
Let's Have a Dog Party
Written and illustrated by Mikela Prevost
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A sparkling debut that celebrates friendship and encourages empathy, starring a lovable dog. Kate and Frank are best friends. To celebrate Frank’s birthday, Kate throws him a party with all her favorite things: lots of friends, dancing in circles, loud singing, and sparkly confetti everywhere. But best friends don’t always have the same taste in parties. Frank prefers quiet, sun-drenched naps on his favorite rug. So he hides. Kate must find a way to bring Frank back to the party—on his terms. This tender debut picture book by Mikela Prevost is a fresh take on the classic birthday-party story and one that encourages empathy and the art of listening.

The House That Jack Built book
#30
The House That Jack Built
Written and illustrated by Diana Mayo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

This classic children’s rhyme gathers pace and complexity as it tumbles across the pages. Children will delight in repeating the rhymes and following antics of animals and characters of every size and shape.

Just My Luck book
#31
Just My Luck
Written by Jeff Anderson and illustrated by Tad Carpenter
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Zack Delacruz is back—and this time he has a crush! Zack really wants to meet Abhi, the new girl at school. But things get off to a rough start when he accidentally knocks her to the ground during a game of dodgeball. And whenever he tries to make amends, she just ignores him. Nothing works—not his friends’ advice or his “lucky” cologne. In fact, he just seems more and more cursed! Then, at the Fall Fiesta-val, Zack finally learns the real reason behind Abhi’s cold shoulder . . . but not before total chaos erupts. With a runaway train, exploding confetti-filled eggs, and Abhi’s terrifying older brother, will Zack ever get a chance to talk to his crush? In the end, Zack learns what it means to to listen and to be a good friend. This dynamite sequel captures the middle-school experience—and will keep readers laughing from beginning to end.

Did You Hear What I Heard? book
#32
  1. Peep and Egg: I'm Not Taking a Bath - “Egg doesn’t want to take a bath, until Peep convinces her to”—

  2. No Sword Fighting in the House - After being told not to sword fight in the house, Art and Lance move to the backyard where they begin jousting on cows, but even there the boys manage to get into trouble as they flatten their mother’s daffodils just before the big daffodil contest.

  3. Blobfish Throws a Party - Introducing Blobfish Throws a Party, a wild and hilarious story from award-winning author Miranda Paul! Blobfish lives at the bottom of the ocean with no lights, no friends, and no delicious treats. The only two ways he can think to change this would be to 1) throw a party, or 2) save the world in true hero style. He decides to do the first one. However, when he announces, “Deep sea party! Bring a treat to share!”, the mermaids hear “Cheap, free party! Sling on a sheet to wear!”, and the shorebirds hear “Cheep-peep party! Sing a tweet with flair!”, and so on. Soon the whole world is partying in strange ways based on what they think they heard, and Blobfish is still sad and alone at the bottom of the sea. Will Blobfish ever get his lights, friends, and delicious treats?

  4. Yes, I Can Listen! - Listening is an essential life skill that helps children achieve success at school, follow safety rules and show others that they care about them. In a world filled with distractions, being a “good listener” has become more difficult than ever. The playful rhymes of Yes, I Can Listen! encourage children to appreciate the rewards of attentive listening. With sweet characters, varied type faces, and vivid colors, this picture book introduces a variety of listening scenarios. Each two-page spread let children imagine how they might listen in a number of common situations. Yes, I Can Listen! concludes with a page of suggestions for parents who wish to explore more activities that encourage and develop their children’s listening skills.

I Hear a Pickle book
#37
I Hear a Pickle
Written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Hearing, smelling, seeing, touching, tasting-our five senses allow us to experience the world in so many ways! With our ears we hear the birds sing; with our nose we smell the stinky cheese; with our eyes we see the moon and stars (and sometimes glasses help us see even better!); with our skin we feel the rain (and learn not to touch the hot stove!); and with our tongue we can taste our favorite foods. Isadora’s lively art reveals the power and delight of each sense, and young children will see themselves in the charming vignettes that explore a wide range of familiar activities throughout the seasons.

Snakes on a Train book
#38
Snakes on a Train
Written and illustrated by Kathryn Dennis
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

An adorable board book full of sibilant sounds and other word play, Snakes on a Train is as fun for parents as it is for children, and sure to be a read-aloud hit. The conductor takes the tickets as the snakes start crawling on. The tracks are checked, the whistle blows. It’s time to move along. Hissssssssssss goes the sound of the train.

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