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!
It’s all in a name-or so they say. Join cake-baking brothers Bob and Larry Bendeco Johannes Von Sloop as they learn whether fancy and formal, or simple and friendly, lead to a better and happier bakery. A fun update to the classic Chinese tale of Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, this story will continue to entertain children for this and many generations to come.
What’s in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from – and who she may one day be. If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; Jose, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all – and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.
Introduces in rhyming text the collective names used for various animal groups.
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….
Andi Unexpected - 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.
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!
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.
A young monster resents being called a monster.
From the father-daughter team behind I Will Love You Anyway comes another heartwarming tale about a sweatband-wearing pug.
Fetch! and Sit! and Stay! and Ball! and Walk! and Bed! I know those words… …but what is Fred?
Little ones will laugh out loud as you read Mick and Chloë Inkpen’s delightful second story all about a troublesome little dog who finally discovers his own name.
Olivia really doesn’t like her nickname – mostly because it gets her into some sticky situations! How can she persuade her mom to stop using it? A hilarious look at the affectionate names we give the ones we love, with an interesting angle on identity and self-assurance.
Frustrated by a day full of teachers and classmates mispronouncing her beautiful name, a little girl tells her mother she never wants to come back to school. In response, the girl’s mother teaches her about the musicality of African, Asian, Black-American, Latinx, and Middle Eastern names on their lyrical walk home through the city. Empowered by this newfound understanding, the young girl is ready to return the next day to share her knowledge with her class. <em>Your Name is a Song</em> is a celebration to remind all of us about the beauty, history, and magic behind names.
Hope (Picture Books) - During a visit with her great-aunt, a young girl learns the story behind her name and learns to feel proud of her biracial heritage
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.
Name Jar - The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she? <p/>Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it–<i>Yoon-Hey</i>.
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
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.
Take a look, my dad’s a Gander. Take a nap, our dads are Boars. From baby geese to kangaroos to humans, every mom and dad is known by his or her own special name. Bouncing texts full of fun wordplay and adorable illustrations feature animal parents of every shape and size, and encourage little readers to express big love. Go ahead and hug a bull!
Getting to feel at home in a new country
Yoon’s name means Shining Wisdom, and when she writes it in Korean, it looks happy, like dancing figures. But her father tells her that she must learn to write it in English. In English, all the lines and circles stand alone, which is just how Yoon feels in the United States. Yoon isn’t sure that she wants to be YOON. At her new school, she tries out different names – maybe CAT or BIRD. Maybe CUPCAKE!
Helen Recorvits’s spare and inspiring story about a little girl finding her place in a new country is given luminous pictures filled with surprising vistas and dreamscapes by Gabi Swiatkowska.
My Name Is Yoon is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year.
A porcupine named Fluffy is happier with his name after he meets a similarly misnamed rhinoceros.
Ghoulia and the Ghost with No Name - Book #3 in this fully illustrated, not-so-spooky chapter book series starring everyone's favorite little zombie
Thunder Boy Jr. - From New York Times bestselling author Sherman Alexie and Caldecott Honor winning Yuyi Morales comes a striking and beautifully illustrated picture book celebrating the special relationship between father and son. Thunder Boy Jr. wants a normal name…one that’s all his own. Dad is known as big Thunder, but little thunder doesn’t want to share a name. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he’s done like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder. But just when Little Thunder thinks all hope is lost, dad picks the best name…Lightning! Their love will be loud and bright, and together they will light up the sky.
A Tower of Giraffes - A drove of pigs, a romp of otters, an ostentation of peacocks, and a tower of giraffes. . . . This clever book introduces young readers to some of the words we use to refer to animals in a group. The ink, watercolor, and fabric collage art is brightly colored and uniquely sets this fun book apart from the crowd. Each page presents information about an animal and its group behavior, such as how geese fly in a V-shape and honk to encourage the leaders, and that sometimes tens of thousand of flamingos meet up in one location. Young readers will have a great time and create a wellspring of new vocabulary words.
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!
An embarrassment of pandas, a galaxy of starfish, a shiver of sharks…these are all collective nouns used to describe their groups. Woop Studios, acclaimed for their work on the Harry Potter movies, has illustrated these quirky phrases, creating a series of extraordinarily beautiful art that has been collected here for the first time. The colorful introduction to animals and the alphabet is accessible for young children, while the gorgeous, whimsical art and clever wordplay make it perfect for design-savvy parents and inspired gift givers. Longer than the standard picture book, with high design and production values, this is a volume readers will want on their coffee tables in addition to their child’s bookshelf.
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.
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
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!
Have you ever wondered what to call a group of giraffes? Many mice? Lots of leopards? Read this book and find out! What’s this book about anyway? It’s about collective nouns. What are collective nouns? Names for different animals when they are together in groups. There are 64 collective nouns in this book!
A Pinky is a Baby Mouse: And Other Baby Animal Names - Rhyming text explains the different names by which various baby animals are known.
Change Your Name Store - An exciting story of self-discovery from Leanne Shirtliffe (of the humor blog IronicMom), with fun, colorful illustrations takes children on a journey to find their true identity and to celebrate who they are--name and all.
My Name Is Elizabeth! - Meet Elizabeth. She’s got an excellent pet duck, a loving granddad and a first name that’s just awesome. After all, she’s got a queen named after her! So she’s really not amused when people insist on using nicknames like ?Lizzy? and ?Beth.? She bears her frustration in silence until an otherwise ordinary autumn day, when she discovers her power to change things once and for all. In the process, Elizabeth learns about communication and respect — and their roles in building better relationships with family and friends. The two-toned illustrations reflect the story’s energy and sass, and the comic-book-like format makes it easy to follow. The cheeky, retro drawings also keep it real — depicting the sometimes-feisty Elizabeth as a resolutely normal kid — whether she’s flossing her teeth or feeding her pet duck.
Heart of a Tiger - As the Name Day celebration approaches, a young kitten tries to deserve a noble name, by following the path of the beautiful Bengal tiger.
Best friends Jeff and Wiley are legends. There is practically no one in their school who hasn’t been nicknamed by the duo. They’ve dubbed their own underachieving class “The Dim Bulbs”; their pop-eyed principal is better known as “Deer in Headlights”; and their enormous new English teacher, Mr. Hughes, is “Mr. Huge.”
But now some of the nicknames that Jeff and Wiley have invented are backfiring on them. Will the nicknamers be able to get it together before it’s too late?
*A New York Public Library Best Book for Reading and Sharing
*A Bank Street Best Book of the Year
-School Library Journal (starred review)
“Captures the ambience of sixth grade with humor and empathy.”
“Korman is at his amusing best here. . . .”
-The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
The last year of elementary school is big for every kid. In this novel, equal parts funny and crushing, utterly honest and perfect for boys and girls alike, Christine Gouda faces change at every turn, starting with her own nickname–Tink–which just doesn’t fit anymore. Readers will relate to this strong female protagonist whose voice rings with profound authenticity and absolute novelty, and her year’s cringingly painful trials in normalcy–uncomfortable Halloween costumes, premature sleepover parties, crushed crushes, and changing friendships. Throughout all this, Tink learns, what you call yourself, and how you do it, has <i>a lot</i> to do with who you are. This book marks beloved author Karen Romano Young’s masterful return to children’s literature: a heartbreakingly honest account of what it means to be between girl and woman, elementary and middle school, inside and out–and just what you name that in-between self.
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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