The Top 22 Books About Listening

Updated Feb. 26, 2019

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

Telephone book
#2
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.

Little Red Riding Hood book
#3
Little Red Riding Hood
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
#4
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.

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.

Little Elephant Listens book
#6
Little Elephant Listens
Written by Michael Dahl and illustrated by Oriol Vidal
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from 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.

Little Elephant uses his big ears to listen to his parents. He listens to them at playtime, bathtime and bedtime. Vibrant photos and short text make this sturdy board book perfect for 6 months and up!

Listen, Listen book
#7
Listen, Listen
Written by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by Alison Jay
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from 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!

Introduce young readers to the sights and sounds of the year - from summer's sizzling sun to winter's crackling snow. Featuring breathtaking illustrations by internationally renowned illustrator, Alison Jay, this book will open your child's eyes and ears to the world around them!

Why Should I Listen? book
#8
Why Should I Listen?
Written by Claire Llewellyn and illustrated by Mike Gordon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

What Can I Hear? book
#9
What Can I Hear?
Written and illustrated by Annie Kubler
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A group of babies have fun making noises and listening to things. On board pages.

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.

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen book
#11
Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen
Written by Reverend Ana, 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.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse book
#12
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.

Andi Unexpected book
#13
Andi Unexpected
Written by Amanda Flower
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

Chimpanzees for Tea! book
#14
Chimpanzees for Tea!
Written and illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

Strega Nona book
#15
Strega Nona
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of the Baskervilles book
#16
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.”

The Loud Book! book
#17
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.

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night book
#18
Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night
Written by Kallie George and illustrated by Oriol Vidal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Bear Has a Story to Tell book
#19
Bear Has a Story to Tell
Written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

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?

The Poky Little Puppy book
#20
The Poky Little Puppy
Written by Janette Sebring Lowrey and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Five little puppies dug a hole under the fence and went for a walk in the wide, wide world… . The Poky Little Puppy was one of the original twelve Little Golden Books published in 1942, and went on to become the bestselling picture book of all time. The story of a curious puppy, who digs holes under fences and who has to go to bed without any strawberry shortcake, has delighted families for generations. it is, quite simply, an icon. Delightful to read aloud, The Poky Little Puppy is a cherished story that every child should know.

El Deafo book
#21
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."

I Have a Little Problem, Said the Bear book
#22
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?

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