Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to mistakes. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about mistakes.
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 mistakes, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Big Lie to popular sellers like The Poky Little Puppy to some of our favorite hidden gems like Beautiful Oops!.
We hope this list of kids books about mistakes 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.
Where have all the bedtime stories gone? A delightful addition to the picture book canon about the love of reading One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down…when a Snatchabook flew into town. It’s bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.
A life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator. An award winning, best-selling, one-of-a-kind interactive book, Beautiful Oops! shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.
It’s Cement Mixer’s first day on the job and he doesn’t want to make any mistakes. How can he help the other trucks on the construction site? By mixing some powdery white cement, of course!
He mixes it up, adds a little water, and presto . . . a cake?! He must have mixed flour instead of cement.
Not to worry, he’ll try again . . . and presto! Frosting?! He’ll keep trying until he gets it just right and it’s time for one more mixing: a bubble bath!
Madeline Finn does NOT like to read. But she DOES want a gold star from her teacher. But, stars are for good readers. Stars are for understanding words, and for saying them out loud. Fortunately, Madeline Finn meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading out loud to Bonnie isn’t so bad; when Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn’t mind. As it turns out, it’s fun to read when you’re not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it’s okay to go slow. And to keep trying. With endearing illustrations, Lisa Papp brings an inspiring and comforting book to all new readers who just need a little confidence to overcome their fears.
Zoom meets Beautiful Oops! in this memorable picture book debut about the creative process, and the way in which “mistakes” can blossom into inspiration
One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake. The weird frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush. And the inky smudges… they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky.
As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas—and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.
Fans of Peter Reynolds’s Ish and Patrick McDonnell’s A Perfectly Messed-Up Story will love the funny, poignant, completely unique storytelling of The Book of Mistakes. And, like Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, it makes the perfect graduation gift, encouraging readers to have a positive outlook as they learn to face life’s obstacles.
The Lumberjack's Beard - Every day, Jim Hickory the lumberjack heads into the forest with his trusty axe and chops down trees. Unfortunately, all sorts of creatures lose their homes in the process, so Jim gives them a home in his beard - until one day it all just gets too much. Time for Jim to come up with a better solution! A story with a green message.
Mary Had a Little Lab - Mary is an enterprising young inventor. She wants a pet, but it isn’t one she can easily buy…so she makes one with the Sheepinator! Mary’s pet sheep and her new invention make her popular with her classmates. But when she starts making sheep for her new friends, things go hilariously awry. Can Mary invent a way to fix this mess?
Even Superheroes Make Mistakes - Even superheroes slip up and err. When that happens, do they complain or give up in despair? NO! Whether they’ve nabbed the wrong guy by mistake or bashed into a planet while zooming through space, all superheroes ‘fess up their mess-up and keep on saving the world in the most super way! This follow-up to Even Superheroes Have Bad Days teaches kids another humorous lesson in overcoming adversity.
Eraser - Eraser is always cleaning up everyone else’s mistakes. Except for Ruler and Pencil Sharpener, none of the other school supplies seem to appreciate her. They all love how sharp Pencil is and how Tape and Glue help everyone stick together. Eraser wants to create so that she can shine like the others. She decides to give it a try, but it’s not until the rubber meets the road that Eraser begins to understand a whole lot about herself. Inspired by a school essay their daughter Kate wrote in the third grade, the author and illustrator behind Theodor Seuss Geisel Award–winner You Are (Not) Small have created a desktop drama about figuring out who you are, finding happiness, and the importance of second, third, and maybe even fourth chances.
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.
Frances and Thelma are friends — most of the time
Thelma always seems to get Frances into trouble. When she tricks Frances into buying her tea set, it’s the last straw. Can Frances show her that it’s better to lose a bargain than lose a friend?
Fans of Olivia and Lilly will delight in Poppy, a little rabbit with big dreams—and an even bigger personality.
More than anything, Poppy wants to be a verrrry famous writer. She’s sure Mrs. Rose will pick her paper to read to the whole class! Trouble is, she has tall ambitions but is short on effort, and her jealousy takes over when her best friend’s paper is chosen instead. In the end, Poppy discovers that she has to get out of her own way if her big dreams are going to come true.
Rosalinde’s adorable, expressive illustrations make memorable, quirky Poppy a real star!
After Athena ties Arachne’s shoes for her, Arachne takes the credit for Athena’s hard work. But when their friends ask Arachne to teach them how to tie their shoes, Arachne must admit the truth. So Athena comes to the rescue and teaches everybody this important skill. All is forgiven, and the girls are friends again. Conceived and crafted by Greek-mythology expert Joan Holub and illustrated by the bestselling Leslie Patricelli, this book also includes a summary of the original Arachne myth.
Chamelia and the New Kid in Class is a cute story about learning to overcome jealousy. Chamelia is alarmed when she loses attention she is used to receiving because of a new student in her class. She learns an important lesson—that putting others down to make herself look better doesn’t feel good. It’s a valuable and important lesson for children to learn.
Chamelia is a chameleon who loves to stand out in a crowd. She’s always the star of the show, especially at school. But when a new kid in class becomes the center of attention, Chamelia feels left out. Can she figure out how to beat her competition? Or will she learn to share the spotlight and make a new best friend? Join the fabulous Chamelia in this funny and charming story about friendship, school, and the true meaning of being a star!
Grape! - Grape is in trouble again! He punched Miss Roof in the arm! Now he’s suspended for two weeks, and Principal Clarkson has threatened to send him to Riverwash, a school for problem kids. But he has one last chance. Grape must spend an hour a day writing about his history of trouble, and there’s a lot of trouble to choose from… Grape’s best friend Lou is by his side, and even though Grape drives his parents crazy, they’re pulling for him all the way. But will Grape make sense of it all? Will it be enough to keep him out of Riverwash?
That's Not How You Do It! - Lucy knows how to do everything. All her friends ask her for help if they need to know the right way to do something. When Toshi arrives, Lucy thinks he can’t do anything properly at all. She can barely hide her frustration. When she finally tries to teach Toshi the right way to do things, she learns a very important lesson herself.
I Am Extremely Absolutely Boiling (Charlie and Lola) - Charlie and Lola are trying their best to beat the summer heat, but things go from hot to boiling when Lola refuses to talk to her neighbor, Arnold Wolf. He accidentally knocked her ice cream to the ground and won’t apologize. Now Lola says that she will not ever, NEVER forgive him. Can Charlie help Lola change her mind?
The Octopuppy - Can the OCTOPUPPY be the perfect pet? Edgar wanted a dog. Instead, he got an octopus named Jarvis. Jarvis is brilliant and does his best to act like the dog Edgar wants, but nothing he does is good enough to please Edgar. Ultimately, Edgar recognizes that while Jarvis might not be the dog he wanted, he is special in his own endearing way.
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.
Adorably clad in her pink dress and matching headband, Martha is ready to do just about anything-except say those three little words: I am sorry. But when this sweet but stubborn otter learns that niceties like cookies, piggyback rides, and hugs are for people who apologize our mischievous heroine learns the ultimately rewarding feeling that comes with saying she’s sorry.
Parents and kids alike will embrace the hilarious watercolor illustrations and the irreverent humor throughout in this pitch-perfect picture book that offers the gentlest of lessons.
In this third book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series, Maddie, Emily, Bella, and Sam accidentally tie-dye a shirt Maddie’s mother made for the mayor! Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. Maddie gets her knack for fashion and sewing from her mom, a seamstress. And she’s made a lot for an eight-year-old—from theater costumes, to brand-new pairs of pants, to pillows for the Craft Clubhouse. But she’s never tie-dyed before! Maddie, Emily, Bella, and Sam have lots of fun turning clothing bright, groovy colors. But then something not so bright and groovy happens. The kids accidentally tie-dye a shirt Maddie’s mother made for the mayor of the town! They try all sorts of things to fix their mistake, but nothing works. What is the foursome going to do about their tie-dye disaster? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.
Unlikely best friends Arnold and Louise—a big bear and a chatty chipmunk—are back in this easy-to-read chapter book series! When Louise borrows Arnold’s newly found treasure, he’s sure he’ll never see it again. After all, she loses just about everything he lends her. Louise swears she hasn’t lost it, but to get it back, she sends Arnold on a treasure hunt of her own—or is it a wild goose chase?
Love Is My Favorite Thing - Starring an enthusiastic pooch whose joy, optimism and love know no bounds, this lively picture book is based on Emma Chichester Clark’s own dog, and joyfully celebrates unconditional love. Plum has lots of favorite things—catching sticks, her bear, her bed—but really, LOVE is her absolute favorite thing. She loves her family and all the things they do together. Sometimes, however, Plum’s exuberance causes trouble, and she just can’t help being naughty. But fortunately, love is such a great thing that even when she makes mistakes, Plum’s family still adores her.
Heidi Heckelbeck Is So Totally Grounded! - When a cleaning spell goes awry, Heidi gets so totally grounded in the twenty-fourth Heidi Heckelbeck adventure! When Mom asks for help cleaning the house, Heidi takes her magic a little too far. After all, who really wants to deal with all that dust, dirt, and grime? Not Heidi, that’s who! So she creates a cleaning helper named Dusty to do her dirty work. There’s only one problem: Dusty isn’t the most careful cleaner, and when he accidentally breaks Mom’s favorite vase, Heidi gets so totally grounded. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.
Unstoppable Max - Max is a four-year-old whirlwind who doesn’t have an off switch! His socks are odd, his bedroom is chaotic, and his mind is so full of imaginative schemes that following even the simplest of instructions can end in mayhem. Max’s bedtime routine, so seemingly simple, becomes a military operation for Max with many obstacles to overcome - tidying his bedroom, putting on his pyjamas, and feeding his pet goldfish! Illustrated with non-stop energy by exciting new author/illustrator, Julia Patton.
Bad Kitty Takes the Test - Because of a recent string of embarrassing behavior, Kitty’s cat license has been revoked and she must take a test to get it back so she can still be a cat.
While her parents are out to dinner, a bored Yasmin decides to try on some of her mother’s clothes, including her new shalwar kameez, which gets ripped—but with the help of Nana, Nani, and a glue-gun, the garment gets fixed, and Yasmin puts on an impromptu fashion show when her parents get home.
Someday Is Now tells the inspirational story of the celebrated civil rights leader, Clara Luper, who led one of the first lunch-counter sit-ins in America. How will you stand against something you know is wrong? One way is to follow the lessons of bravery taught by civil rights pioneers like Clara Luper. As a child, Clara saw how segregation affected her life. Her journey famously led her to Oklahoma, where she and her students desegregated stores and restaurants that were closed to African-Americans. With courage and conviction, Clara Luper led young people to “do what had to be done.” This moving title includes additional information on Clara Luper’s extraordinary life, her lessons of nonviolent resistance, and a glossary of key civil rights people and terms.
Jake’s new toy plane is missing. No one knows where it is, except Katie Woo. But Katie wants to keep the plane. What should she do?
When Pandora is warned by her mother not to open a box, her spirited curiosity trumps her obedience. Pandora harmlessly touches the box, innocently leans on the box, and eventually, albeit accidentally, bursts the box open! The cupcakes that were hidden inside are ruined, except for one last vestige, which Pandora presents in the hope that her mother still loves her. Leslie Patricelli’s depictions of this physical comedy bring a lively narrative to Joan Holub’s carefully crafted text. Includes a summary of the original Pandora’s Box myth at the end.
Mouse is late for supper. He has to hurry home, but he won’t get there without using his manners. This sturdy board book helps toddlers understand when and why to say sorry.
Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad - The Bug Squad is back in a story about playing together, problem solving, and saying you’re sorry in this hardcover picture book from the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series. This book was a Jumpstart Read for the Record Book. The Bug Squad – Bumblebee Boy, Dragonfly Girl, and Butterfly Girl – are coming to Lulu’s house for a play date and she know exactly what they are going to do all day. They use their big imaginations to create their own fun games right in Lulu’s backyard. But when some things don’t go just the way Lulu planned, Dragonfly Girl’s feelings get hurt. This is a job for Ladybug Girl! When Lulu is Ladybug Girl, she knows that even if it isn’t easy, it is important to apologize. For fans of Fancy Nancy and Betty Bunny, the Ladybug Girl series honors individuality, friendship, and a love of nature!
Terrible, Awful, Horrible Manners! - Pete is terribly rude, but when his family begins acting just like him, he begins to realize that manners are important.
Freddie Ramos Hears It All - Freddie Ramos loves his new Zapato Power—super hearing! He can listen in on conversations and find hero jobs. But soon Freddie realizes the temptation to eavesdrop on everyone is too great. Can Freddie find a way to use his super hearing without snooping?
Hello, Goodbye, and a Very Little Lie - Larry lies about practically everything until he meets a girl who outsmarts him.
What’s all the arguing about? There are plenty of Hueys to go around in this hilarious story from the #1 bestselling illustrator of The Day the Crayons Quit!
The Hueys are back! Oliver Jeffers’ jelly bean-shaped creatures may look the same, think the same, and even do the same things, but that doesn’t mean they always agree. The only problem is, they can’t seem to agree on what they disagreed on in the first place! Which ultimately leads to an even bigger disagreement! Confused? Well, so are the Hueys. Which only adds to the fun and hilarity.
Anyone who has ever had to referee an argument among siblings or friends will appreciate the absurdity Oliver Jeffers reveals in the every-day trials of getting along.