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Memory: Books For Kids

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

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

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. 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 memory, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Tide to popular sellers like The Giver to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Remember Balloons.

We hope this list of kids books about memory 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.

The Remember Balloons
Written by Jessie Oliveros & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A 2019 Schneider Family Award Honor Book!

What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender, sensitive picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together.

But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice!

Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.

The Tide
Written by Clare Helen Walsh & illustrated by Ashling Lindsay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A young girl loves her grandpa so much! When they spend the day at the beach, she holds his hand as they go for a walk, and they build sand castles together. But sometimes, it is difficult, because Grandpa has become forgetful. Grandpa’s memories are like the tide, Mommy explains. Sometimes, they are near and full of life. Other times, they are distant and quiet. A story about families, laughter, and how we can help a loved one with dementia live well.

Newspaper Hats
Written by Phil Cummings & illustrated by Owen Swan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Georgie visits her Grandpa at the home where he lives, but he doesn’t always remember who she is. He does, however, remember how to make newspaper hats, and together they fold enough for all his friends. Touching moments portray the difficulties and nuances of memory loss from a child’s perspective, and an uplifting ending leaves readers with hope. A poignant and age-appropriate story about a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

Chimpanzees for Tea!
Written & 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.

Once Upon a Memory
Written by Nina Laden & illustrated by Renata Liwska
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Does a feather remember it once was a bird? Does a book remember it once was a word? When a feather drifts through a child’s window, a magical journey begins. As the boy follows the feather, he is swept away to a world filled with adorable animals, where fantasy and reality come together in surprising and playful ways. From the cake that once was grain to the ocean that once was rain, whimsical “before” and “after” scenes offer readers a peek at the world as seen through the eyes of a curious child, ultimately asking the question, “What will you remember?” Nina Laden’s poetic and cleverly woven text is perfectly paired with bestselling artist Renata Liwska’s captivating illustrations. Together they create a story that will keep readers enchanted long after the journey has ended.

  • Neverseen - Sophie battles the rebels—and recovers dark memories from her past—in this jaw-dropping fourth book in the bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series. Sophie Foster is on the run—but at least she’s not alone. Her closest friends from the Lost Cities have gone with her to join the Black Swan. They still have doubts about the shadowy organization, but the only way to find answers is to start working with them. And as they settle into their new lives, they uncover secrets bigger than anything they’d imagined. But their enemies are far from done, and unleash a terrifying plague that threatens the safety of an entire species. Sophie and her friends fight with everything they have—with new allies joining them—but every choice has consequences. And trusting the wrong person could prove deadly. In this game-changing fourth book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must question everything to find a truth that will either save her world—or shatter it.

  • Nightfall - A New York Times bestselling series A USA TODAY bestselling series A California Young Reader Medal–winning series Sophie and her friends face battles unlike anything they’ve seen before in this thrilling sixth book of the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series. Sophie Foster is struggling. Grieving. Scrambling. But she knows one thing: she will not be defeated. The Neverseen have had their victories—but the battle is far from over. It’s time to change tactics. Make sacrifices. Reexamine everything. Maybe even time for Sophie to trust her enemies. All paths lead to Nightfall—an ominous door to an even more ominous place—and Sophie and her friends strike a dangerous bargain to get there. But nothing can prepare them for what they discover. The problems they’re facing stretch deep into their history. And with time running out, and mistakes catching up with them, Sophie and her allies must join forces in ways they never have before. In this spectacular sixth book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must uncover the truth about the Lost Cities’ insidious past, before it repeats itself and changes reality.

  • Exile - Tasked with training the magical Alicorn so that it can be revealed to the people of the lost cities as a sign of hope, Sophie is dismayed by a renewal of the dangers she believed were past, forcing her to risk her life for answers. By the author of Let the Sky Fall.

  • Peedie - Peedie is a small yellow gosling who sometimes forgets things. But he never forgets to wear his lucky red baseball cap. He wears it everywhere. Until he puts it in a secret place.

Flashback
Written by Shannon Messenger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In this unforgettable seventh book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must let the past and present blur together, because the deadliest secrets are always the ones that get erased. Sophie Foster doesn’t know what—or whom—to believe. And in a game with this many players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat. But when the Neverseen prove that Sophie’s far more vulnerable than she ever imagined, she realizes it’s time to change the rules. Her powerful abilities can only protect her so far. To face down ruthless enemies, she must learn to fight. Unfortunately, battle training can’t help a beloved friend who’s facing a whole different danger—where the only solution involves one of the biggest risks Sophie and her friends have ever taken. And the distraction might be exactly what the villains have been waiting for.

Keeper of the Lost Cities
Written by Shannon Messenger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

At age 12, Sophie learns that the remarkable abilities that have always made her different from others actually identify her as an elf, and after being brought to Eternalia to hone her skills, she discovers that she has secrets buried in her memory for which some would kill.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
Written by Mem Fox & illustrated by Julie Vivas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge lives next door to a nursing home in which several of his good friends reside. Of course, his favorite is Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper, because she has four names just as he does. The only problem is Miss Nancy, who is 96, has “lost” her memory. Undaunted, Wilfred sets out to “find” Miss Nancy’s memory for her. Full-color illustrations.

Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies
Written & illustrated by William Joyce
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-11

When orphaned Katherine learns that the teeth collected by the scorned Tooth Fairy contain memories of childhood, she enlists the help of the Guardians to get her tooth back and remember her parents.

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: POB #9
Written by Perdita Finn
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Join Sunset Shimmer, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Apple Jack, and Fluttershy as they rely on their special friendships to guide them through the highs and lows of being students at Canterlot High. © Hasbro 2017. All Rights Reserved.

  • The Giver - A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

  • The Unforgetable Guinevere St. Clair - A ten-year-old girl is determined to find her missing neighbor, but the answers lead her to places and people she never expected—and maybe even one she’s been running away from —in this gorgeous debut novel that’s perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish.

  • Bob - Visiting her grandmother in Australia, Livy, ten, is reminded of the promise she made five years before to Bob, a strange, green creature who cannot recall who or what he is.

  • The Forgetful Knight - This hilarious, Monty Python–style sendup of the classic knight-and-dragon story comes with jaunty rhymes and a fabulous twist ending Mischief! Mishaps! Dragons! Here’s the story of an intrepid knight, only our narrator can’t quite remember the details. Did that knight carry a sandwich, or a sword? Was he supposed to fight a cat, or a dragon? A hilarious and unpredictable adventure ensues, building through laugh-out-loud rhymes until, at last, the narrator remembers his own role at the center of all the marvelous madness. Fans of Jon Scieszka’s The Stinky Cheese Man, David Ezra Stein’s Interrupting Chicken, all of Patrick McDonnell’s and Mac Barnett’s picture books will love this zany read-aloud adventure.

The Day Abuelo Got Lost
Written by Diane De Anda & illustrated by Alleanna Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A touching story about a boy and his grandfather who enjoy a special relationship—until Abuelo starts to lose his memory. Instead of building model planes and cooking together, Luis and his father have to search the neighborhood for Abuelo, and Luis and Abuelo have to find new activities to enjoy together.

The Memory of Forgotten Things
Written & illustrated by Kat Zhang
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the tradition of The Thing About Jellyfish and When You Reach Me, acclaimed author Kat Zhang offers a luminous and heartbreaking novel about a girl who is convinced that an upcoming solar eclipse will bring back her dead mother

The Death Cure
Written by James Dashner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-17

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.

What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.

Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all.

The time for lies is over.

Nancy Knows
Written & illustrated by Cybèle Young
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Nancy knows she’s forgotten something. Something important. When she tries to remember, she thinks of all kinds of other things instead. She remembers things she knows and things she doesn’t quite know. She remembers things one way, then another. Sometimes she remembers with her ears or her stomach or even her heart. But Nancy knows she’s still forgetting something. It’s only when Nancy stops thinking altogether that she finally remembers the very important thing she’s forgotten. Nancy Knows is the charming story of an elephant who remembers lots of things, except the very thing she is trying to remember. Each spread of this whimsical, arresting board book features fantastic miniature paper sculptures within expressive outlines of a puzzled pachyderm. It’s a book not to be forgotten.

Remember 10 With Explorer Ben
Written by Catherine Veitch & illustrated by Duncan Beedie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this book, we meet an intrepid but forgetful explorer who sets off on a trip, and along the way keeps forgetting things. The reader can help him try out different memorization tricks along the way, as each time, one more item is lost (beginning with 10 items, and losing 1, then 2, then 3, each time, and so on) - making the game more of a challenge at every turn of the page. Different habitats and cities, with different modes of transport and items to be lost and found, bring fun and variety and make practicing memory skills hugely enjoyable.

  • The House of Months and Years - A girl must stop the Boogeyman living in her home from stealing her family’s warmest memories in this haunting, atmospheric novel from the author of Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times and The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden. When her distant aunt and uncle die, Amelia Howling is forced to move into their home when they leave her parents in charge of their children. Her parents assure her that it will be like having a grand adventure with three new siblings, but Amelia is not convinced. Luckily, the house is large, filled with nooks and crannies perfect for hiding from her cousins. But even with all the nooks and crannies, the rumbling and crumbling rooms are more sinister than they seem. The house was built years ago by a creature named Horatio, and he’s been waiting for the perfect human inhabitant: Amelia. Horatio has the power to travel through time and memories, and lures Amelia into his world. The memories of children, he told her, were the best, and Amelia agreed—her cousins were full of good memories. Until she noticed that once she and Horatio visited a memory, it was gone forever. And she had been stealing the good memories of her cousins and their parents without even noticing! Horrified and scared, Amelia lets her cousins in on her secret, and asks them for help. Together, they must race through time to recover their minds and break the perfect clockwork of the evil Calendar House.

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