Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to names. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about names.
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 names, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Andi Unexpected to popular sellers like Chrysanthemum to some of our favorite hidden gems like Alma and How She Got Her Name.
We hope this list of kids books about names 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.
There Is a Tribe of Kids - If Lane Smith’s Caldecott Honor Book Grandpa Green was an homage to aging and the end of life, There Is a Tribe of Kids is a meditation on childhood and life’s beginning. Smith’s vibrant sponge-paint illustrations and use of unusual collective nouns such as smack and unkindness bring the book to life. Whimsical, expressive, and perfectly paced, this story plays with language as much as it embodies imagination, and was awarded the 2017 Kate Greenaway Medal.
Chrysanthemum - She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. “I’m named after my grandmother,” said Victoria. “You’re named after a flower.” Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn’t improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed….
Use Your Words, Sophie - Preferring to speak in nonsense languages to tell her parents how she feels, little Sophie is challenged to use her words but prefers to communicate with a baby sister who understands her better. By the award-winning creator of the Max & Ruby series.
Crowds of Creatures - In rhyming couplets, Crowds of Creatures offers up a fun, foundational introduction to the family groups of six types of animals that are sure to fascinate every preschool learner. Simple, rhythmical text identifies a common name used in defining what a group of each creature is called. Detailed illustrations, meanwhile, bring the animals to life in their natural habitats. Set within a durable board book format, this is a title all kinds of families can share!
Hello My Name Is . . . - A new creature is added to the deep-sea tank, but what will they call this flapjack octopus? Includes an author’s note on Adorabilis and its name.
My Name Is Sangoel - Sangoel is a refugee. Leaving behind his homeland of Sudan, where his father died in the war, he has little to call his own other than his name, a Dinka name handed down proudly from his father and grandfather before him. When Sangoel and his mother and sister arrive in the United States, everything seems very strange and unlike home. In this busy, noisy place, with its escalators and television sets and traffic and snow, Sangoel quietly endures the fact that no one is able to pronounce his name. Lonely and homesick, he finally comes up with an ingenious solution to this problem, and in the process he at last begins to feel at home. Written by the authors of the acclaimed Four Feet, Two Sandals, this poignant story of identity and belonging will help young readers understand the plight of the millions of children in the world who are refugees.
Let’s Call Him Lauwiliwili - When two proud fish of different species marry and have a baby fish, an argument erupts over what to name the child. The new parents learn to work together and teach young readers about cooperation and compromise.
Eleanor, Ellatony, Ellencake, and Me - Eleanor, Ellatony, Ellencake and Me Everyone in Eleanor’s family thinks they have the perfect nickname for her. Nana thinks “Eleanor” is boring and insists on calling her “Elle,” her perfect “mademoiselle.” Papa wants to call her “Punch,” his favorite “crunch.” Dad insists on naming her “Eleanora, the movie star with so much mora.” Even Mom gets into the act, shortening her name until it’s just one letter—E! Finally, Eleanor realizes that the only person who can come up with the perfect nickname is the one who is going to use it—herself! This endearing story, told in clever and humorous rhyme, offer a unique insight into how one spunky kid relies on her sense of self to solve her problem. A clever story about identity and the power of names, as told by Eleanor, out spunkiest heroine.
My Name Is Wakawakaloch! - In this lighthearted picture book, the intrepid, determined, and savvy Wakawakaloch learns to embrace what makes her special while lifting up her neanderthal community. Perfect for fans of Vera Brosgol and Emily Hughes. No one can pronounce Wakawakaloch’s name. Why couldn’t she be called something simple . . . like Gloop? That’s a name you can find on a T-shirt! But after a visit with her tribe’s elder, Wakawakaloch discovers what her name means, and how powerful names can be. Gloop may be easy to say, but the girl who helps her friends embrace differences and wear their names proudly? Her name is Wakawakaloch!
Rump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Rumpelstiltskin - This funny fractured fairy tale goes behind the scenes of Rumpelstiltskin. New York Times Bestselling author Liesl Shurtliff “spins words into gold [Kirby Larson, Newbery Honor winner].” In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse. To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end. A Texas Bluebonnet finalist and winner of the ILA award for middle grade fiction, Rump is perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted or Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm. And don’t miss Liesl Shurtliff’s other fairy tale retellings: Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk and Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood.
Mommy Doesn't Know My Name - Although she tries to figure out the meaning behind each pet name her mother calls her by, young Hannah fears that her mother does not remember her adorable daughter’s real name
Penny and Her Doll - Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes’s award-winning Penny returns in the second easy-to-read story about a sweet and curious mouse, perfect for fans Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, and Chrysanthemum. When Penny receives a surprise box in the mail from Gram, she is thrilled. The surprise is a doll, and she is absolutely perfect, from her head to her toes. Penny loves her immediately. She introduces her new doll to Mama and to the babies and to Papa. But then Papa asks what the doll’s name is, and Penny realizes that she doesn’t know. What should Penny call her? Kevin Henkes is a master at creating beautifully illustrated books that resonate with young children. The Penny books are new classics for beginning readers and will appeal to fans of Frog and Toad, Little Bear, and Henry and Mudge. Don’t miss Penny’s newest adventures in Penny and Her Sled, coming this fall!
The Steves - When puffin Steve meets puffin Steve, neither can believe it. Surely one of them must be the first Steve, the best Steve, the Stevest of Steves… The claims of each bird become sillier and sillier as the argument descends into name-calling—until both Steves realize there’s really no need to fight over a name.
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