Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to museums. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about museums.
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 museums, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler to popular sellers like Danny and the Dinosaur to some of our favorite hidden gems like Simon at the Art Museum.
We hope this list of kids books about museums 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.
2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved classic From the Mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
In this winner of the Newbery Medal from E.L. Konigsburg, when suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere—to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant.
What will you choose: a horn or a harp? Perhaps you’re more interested in different forms of transportation: would you prefer a boat or a hot-air balloon? The possibilities are endless and the choice is yours. Featuring hundreds of artifacts from the British Museum, this is a book readers will pore over time and time again.
A little boy visits an art museum for the first time in this fun, sweet picture book about first experiences and seeing things from new perspectives.
Simon is having a great time at the museum with his parents. There are slippery, slidey floors! Pigeons flying around the reflecting pool! And cheesecake in the café! But they’re not really here for any of that. No, Simon has to look at art.
And more art.
So. Much. Art.
There’s so much art that soon Simon needs to take a break and finds somewhere to sit. From his bench, he begins to notice how many different people are visiting the museum and the many different ways they react to the art they see. Some people are alone. Some are in groups. Some people smile. Some shake their heads. Some even shed a tear.
And Simon is right in the center of it, watching until he’s inspired to give all the art another try. By the end of the day, he may even find a piece that can rival a slice of cheesecake!
Emily Winfield Martin shows little ones that letting their imaginations run free will lead them into fantastical day dreams. Whether cloud-gazing or wandering through a museum, reading a book or playing in a tide pool, the children in this board book encounter magical creatures such as dragons, unicorns, griffins, and jackalopes.
Paintings and sculptures come to life when a young girl visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her classmates. What starts as just another tour of the museum becomes a joyful parade as the art, which must not be touched, touches the young museum-goers in surprising ways.
Images of works in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are beautifully illustrated as dynamic characters by Luciano Lozano Raya in this wordless picture book. Famous paintings and sculptures from throughout the museum will be recognizable to adults while the mischievous breaking of the fourth wall will delight younger readers.
Danny and the Dinosaur - This brand-new edition of Syd Hoff’s beloved Danny and the Dinosaur is a special paper-over-board commemorative edition celebrating the 60th anniversary of I Can Read books for beginning readers. The book includes the complete original story and features a foil cover, an anniversary burst, and eight pages of bonus material on the history of I Can Read—including a timeline, origin stories of favorite characters, and never-before-seen early sketches! This beautiful edition is perfect for gift-giving. When Danny sees a dinosaur at the museum and says, “It would be nice to play with a dinosaur,” a voice answers, “And I think it would be nice to play with you.” So begins Danny and the Dinosaur’s wonderful adventures together. For Danny and his prehistoric playmate, even the most everyday activities become extraordinary, like finding a big-enough place to hide a dinosaur in a game of hide-and-seek. Kids will delight in Syd Hoff’s charming, funny illustrations as they read about how Danny teaches a very old dinosaur some new tricks.
Dinosaurium - The newest title in the Welcome to the Museum series focuses its attention on the impressive beasts that once ruled the world: dinosaurs. With artwork from Chris Wormell, this stunningly curated guide to dinosaurs gives readers the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the pages of a beautiful book. Featuring a wonderful range of dinosaurs, from the much-loved triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex to lesser known species such as coelophysis and tsintaosaurus, Dinosaurium is a fascinating display of the impressive beasts that once ruled the world.
Imagine! - After passing a city museum many times, a boy finally decides to go in. He passes wall after wall of artwork until he sees a painting that makes him stop and ponder. Before long the painting comes to life and an afternoon of adventure and discovery unfolds, changing how he sees the world ever after.
Isabella, Artist Extraordinaire - When Isabella has a day off from school, her mother suggests doing something special. Instead, Isabella walks her parents through all of the exciting things they could do as she imagines herself in famous paintings ranging from Van Gogh’s The Starry Night to Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. Through her musings, Isabella creates a wondrous museum of her own making, showing how home can be the most special place of all!
In this fourth book in the series, Theodosia sets off to Egypt to return the Emerald Tablet—embedded with the knowledge of some of the ancient world’s most guarded secrets. Accompanied by her cat, Isis (smuggled along in a basket), Theo plans to return the artifact, then explore the mysteries surrounding her own birth and oh, yes— help her mother dig up treasures on her archeological expedition.
But nothing ever works out as planned, especially when a precious treasure appears suddenly, and then just as suddenly disappears . . . When the Serpents of Chaos get involved, Theo finds she’s digging up a lot more than she expected!
In this wordless picture book, a boy imagines himself inside some of the exhibits when he goes on a field trip to a museum.
Documents the work of an early 20th-century paleontologist, named after the famous circus icon by his ambitious parents, who grew up to work for the American Museum of Natural History and discovered the first documented skeletons of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and other noteworthy species. By the author of Pippo the Fool.
Something weird is going on!
A.J. thinks that nothing can possibly be as boring as a sleepover in the natural history museum. But anything can happen when Ms. Krup is in charge. The tour guide says that dinosaur skeletons come to life in the middle of the night. Is she right?
In Cody’s life, some people keep her on her toes—just like Mother Nature, who is warm one day and snowy the next. Or like Cody’s brother, Wyatt, who has started wearing collared shirts because his girlfriend likes them. Meanwhile, Pearl has begun playing soccer and it’s all she can talk about. Spencer is busy creating a mysterious museum underneath GG’s house and he’s never around to play. And Spencer’s mom doesn’t look any different. . . . Could she really have a baby growing inside her? Maybe the baby is like Cody’s beloved ants, waiting patiently inside the earth for spring to arrive. It seems like everything around Cody is changing—from seasons to friendships—but if she can just navigate it all with her trademark enthusiasm and charm, maybe the most important things will stay the same.
Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris - Theodosia Throckmorton is in a fix. Allowed to attend a reception given by one of the directors of her parents’ museum, she stumbles across Mr. Tetley of the British Museum—in most unusual circumstances! Since Theo has last seen him in a showdown in an ancient Egyptian tomb, his reappearance could mean only one thing: the Serpents of Chaos are back.
Once again Theodosia will have to take on secret societies, evil curses, and dark magic too sinister to imagine, especially if it falls into the wrong hands. Blocked at every turn, Theodosia will have to rely on her own skill and cunning—along with a little help from the most unexpected places.
Bookscape Board Books: A Marvelous Museum - Escape into a magical world with this adorable Bookscape Board Book! Discover a a museum’s exhibits in this one-of-a-kind book. Each uniquely shaped page overlaps with the next to create a complete landscape when closed—and an immersive world to explore with each turn of the page when open. Delightfully petite and chunky, this book begs to be picked up thanks to its tactile, toylike quality. With simple concept-based text and jubilant illustrations, A Marvelous Museum provides a light introduction to landscapes kids will recognize—or soon encounter.
Animals: Early Learning at the Museum - Stunning photographic board books featuring masterpieces from the British Museum Using amazing objects from the British Museum, this series of captivating board books encourages children to engage with early learning concepts. Inquisitive toddlers will enjoy learning first words and animals with gorgeous photographic images on every page. As beautiful as the objects inside them, these board books make wonderful gifts.
The Girl Who Really Really Really Loves Dinosaurs - Lara loves dinosaurs. No—Lara is mad about dinosaurs. And she really really really wants one of her own. She goes looking for her very own dinosaur at the Museum, and while things don’t work out quite how she expected, she discovers that she really didn’t have to go so far from her own home after all.
The next two titles in this quirky lift-the-flap book series from illustrator Gerry Turley appeal with their offbeat humor. Little readers will love helping Lois search for her friend Bob behind museum artifacts and encountering their friends along the way.
When a young boy learns about what makes art special—sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it tells a story—he realizes that these same characteristics are what make his grandmother special, too. As a result, he finds the inspiration to create his own masterpiece that’s one of a kind. Christopher Award–winning author Scott Menchin and New York Times bestselling illustrator Harry Bliss have teamed up for a celebration of the power of art and expression, and the extraordinary love between grandparent and child.
Fergus, the pet mouse in Miss Maxwell’s classroom, stows away in a backpack on a field trip to the museum. He makes a new friend, Zeke, another mouse, who shows Fergus many interesting exhibits, but now he wonders how to get back to school.
A visit to an art museum inspires a young mouse to become an artist, despite the wishes of his parents, who hope that he will become a doctor. Reprint.
Theodosia Throckmorton has her hands full at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Her father may be head curator, but it is Theo—and only Theo—who is able to see all the black magic and ancient curses that still cling to the artifacts in the museum.
When Theo’s mother returns from her latest archaeological dig bearing the Heart of Egypt—a legendary amulet belonging to an ancient tomb—Theo learns that it comes inscribed with a curse so black and vile that it threatens to crumble the British Empire from within and start a war too terrible to imagine. Intent on returning the malevolent artifact to its rightful place, Theo devises a daring plan to put things right. But even with the help of her younger brother, a wily street urchin, and the secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Chosen Keepers, it won’t be easy . . . she quickly finds herself pursued down dark alleys, across an ocean, through the bustling crowds of Cairo, and straight into the heart of an ancient mystery. Theo will have to call upon everything she’s ever learned in order to prevent the rising chaos from destroying her country—and herself!
Art Of The Swap - Freaky Friday meets Downton Abbey in this middle grade mystery that features a modern day twelve-year-old switching bodies with a Gilded Age heiress in order to solve a famous art heist. Hannah Jordan lives in a museum…well, sort of. She is the daughter of the caretaker for mansion-turned-museum The Elms in Newport, Rhode Island. Hannah’s captivated by stories of The Elms’s original occupants, especially Maggie Dunlap, the tween heiress subject of a painting that went missing during a legendary art heist in 1905. But when a mysterious mirror allows Hannah and Maggie to switch places in time, suddenly Hannah is racing to stop the heist from happening, while Maggie gets an introduction to iPhones, soccer (which girls can play!), and freedoms like exploring without supervision. Not to mention the best invention of all: sweatpants (so long, corsets!). As the hours tick away toward the art heist, something’s not adding up. Can the girls work together against time—and across it—to set things right? Or will their temporary swap become a permanent trade?
Pluto is Peeved! - Who can blame Pluto for being peeved after scientists unceremoniously decide he is no longer a planet? Looking for answers, Pluto heads to the science museum! Kids will take a scientific journey side-by- side with Pluto, as he asks what exactly scientists are interested in. Presented in a graphic novel-inspired format Pluto Is Peeved! transforms the vast universe into a fun and informative introduction to astronomy and the scientific method.
Sleepover at the Museum - During Mason’s birthday sleepover at the natural history museum, friends enjoy a scavenger hunt but Mason has a hard time choosing the gallery in which they will sleep. Includes facts about museums and a list of notable museums that allow sleepovers.
William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle - Also published in English as: William Wenton and the luridium thief.
Madame Martine’s friend Louis works at the Louvre Museum. When he suggests Madame Martine and her dog Max come visit him and see the works of art, Madame declines his invitation—she knows dogs are not allowed at the museum. But Max has a different plan! He sneaks into the Louvre and sends Madame and Louis on a chase around some of the world’s most beautiful works of art.
A million dollars’ worth of gold bullion has been stolen from the Wakefield Mint under strange circumstances. Mr. hardy is asked to investigate but before long his life is threatened, and he asks Frank and Joe to help him. The boys fly to Zurich, Switzerland, hoping to get information at the Swiss Gold Syndicate and to find the man who has stolen a valuable ancient gold figurine from a New York museum. Their search on both counts seems futile as they return to the United States where they uncover clues that lead them to an adventure in the Yucatán jungle. But the Hardy’s travels lead to nothing but new doubts and nagging suspicions. And now their lives are in danger.
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?
Ladybug Girl and Grandpa visit the museum in the New York Times bestselling series’ latest picture book! Lulu wants to learn everything, but she discovers that sometimes you have to slow down to appreciate the wonder of what’s around you.
When Lulu and Grandpa visit the museum, Lulu wants to see it all! Grandpa suggests exploring bit by bit, but Lulu can do it all—she’s Ladybug Girl! But there is so much to see. Even Ladybug Girl may never see it all. Then Grandpa shows her something extra special: the butterfly room! Inside, Lulu slows down. She looks and listens. And she realizes that Ladybug Girl can be like a flower if she holds very still and thinks flower thoughts. When a shining blue butterfly lands on her finger, she understands that even if she can’t learn everything in one day, she can learn so much from each moment, if she only takes the time to look around.
Meet Linus—a Tyrannosaurus rex who is very brave, very tough, and very…vegetarian?
Ruth Ann Mackenzie knows everything about dinosaurs. She knows their names. She knows when they lived. And she certainly knows what they ate. So when she meets Linus, a towering, toothy T. rex who prefers picking vegetables to preying on his herbivorous neighbors, she’s not sure what to think. Is something wrong with Linus? Or does Ruth Ann maybe, just maybe, not know everything there is to know about dinosaurs?
Dino lovers young and old will delight in this picture book chock-full of prehistoric personality—and don’t forget to search for the naughty velociraptor duo hidden throughout the book!
Find Spot at the Museum - Spot, the classic character and beloved puppy, is back for another lift-the-flap adventure! After a funny mishap with a dinosaur skeleton, Spot goes missing at the natural history museum. His friends search high and low, in some unexpected places, before finding him at last. This Spot adventure is full of surprises with all the fun and humor that has made the original Where’s Spot? a children’s classic.
Danny and the Dinosaur Mind Their Manners - When the museum is expecting a royal visitor, Danny and the dinosaur need to brush up on their manners! From saying “please” to holding doors, can Danny and the dinosaur work on behavior fit for a king? Everyone knows it can be hard learning good manners, but that doesn’t stop Danny and the dinosaur when they learn a king is coming to visit the museum! This dynamic duo will show young readers and parents alike that nothing is impossible if you try your best. Readers first fell in love with Danny and his prehistoric pal in the I Can Read classic Danny and the Dinosaur, created by Syd Hoff in 1958. Now the popular pair is together again in a hilarious Level One I Can Read adventure sure to win over a new generation of beginning readers. Danny and the Dinosaur Mind Their Manners is a Level One I Can Read, which means it’s perfect for children learning to sound out words and sentences.
Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Hidden Hieroglyphics - Some people think that museums are boring places full of glass cases, dust and stuff no-one cares about: wrong! In a hidden headquarters below the exhibits there’s a gang ready to handle dangerous, spooky or just plain weird problems: the Museum Mystery Squad. Techie-genius Nabster, mile-a-minute Kennedy, and sharp-eyed Laurie (along with Colin the hamster!) tackle the surprising conundrums happening at the museum. From moving prehistoric creatures and secret Egyptian code breaking to missing treasure and strange messages from the past, there’s no brain-twisting, totally improbable puzzle the Squad can’t solve.
Stars! Stars! Stars! - When Minna expresses an interest in stars, her mother suggests she invite a few friends to a star party, including a special dinner, a trip to the new Star Space at the Children’s Museum, and star-gazing.
Joining big sister Sam at the museum while she researches her human ancestors—the cave dwellers, the Egyptians, and the Romans—is pretty dull for an active boy and his even more active bucket of dinosaurs. After climbing display cases and sliding on slippery floors, Harry and the gang realize that they are lost. But when they find the Hall of Dinosaurs, Harry’s little pals are delighted to get acquainted with their ancestors.
On a rainy-day visit to the museum, Maisy and her friends explore everything from dinosaurs to a moon exhibit, from vintage vehicles to a giant dollhouse to the food exhibit. There’s always something new (or old) to see at a museum, and for little readers, it’s good to have a friend like Maisy along for the adventure.
A captivating picture book biography about Howard Carter, the discoverer of King Tut’s tomb in 1922. Howard Carter was obsessed with mummies. He met his first when he was a boy in England and lived near a mansion filled with Egyptian artifacts. Howard dreamed of discovering a mummy himself—especially a royal mummy in its tomb, complete with all its treasures. When he was seventeen, he took a job with the Egypt Exploration Fund and was sent to Egypt to learn about archaeology and excavation sites. And his mummy hunt was on! Howard discovered many amazing artifacts, but he searched for years before coming upon the most famous mummy of all, King Tut. With stunning artwork from Boris Kulikov, and an informative and funny text from Tracey Fern, Howard and the Mummy is a true story about the challenges of discovery and the rewards of perseverance.
Oscar’s Great-Granny showed him how to draw. Oscar was not good at drawing. But he loved art, so he kept the drawing of a red chicken that Great-Granny gave to him and he loved to look at it. He bought another drawing at a flea market, and he loved looking at that one, too.
As he grew up, Oscar collected more drawings and paintings, filling his bedroom with color and shapes and scenes. Oscar collected and collected until a museum had to be built to hold all of his drawings and paintings.
Not everyone can become an artist, but as Oscar learned, everyone can love looking at art. Oscar’s passion for the stories in paintings and the thoughts they provoke will inspire young readers to see art in a new way—even if they don’t enjoy making it themselves.
Best friends Hammy and Gerbee—a hamster and a gerbil—find out they’re both in Miss Capybara’s class. On a field trip to the science museum, what are two rodent friends to do but find their own fun (and trouble)? This graphic novel hybrid includes science and history facts on Egypt. Illustrations.
Roar: A Dinosaur Tour - A long, long time ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. Some were big, and some were little. Some were fast, and some were slow. Some lived alone, and some lived together. They are gone now, but you can still see their bones at museums all around the world. Simple text and bold, vibrant illustrations take young explorers on a tour through the time of the dinosaurs.
Isabella - The purple-haired star of the New York Times bestselling picture book series is back, and her imagination is turning her life into a wondrous work of art! When Isabella has a day off from school, her mother suggests doing something special. Instead, Isabella walks her parents through all of the exciting things they could do as she imagines herself in famous paintings ranging from Degas’ Dancers in Blue to Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. Through her musings, Isabella creates a wondrous museum of her own making, showing how home can be the most special place of all!
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