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Natural Disasters: Books For Kids

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

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

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. 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 natural disasters, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Bravest of Us All to popular sellers like The Kill Order to some of our favorite hidden gems like Paper World: Planet Earth.

We hope this list of kids books about natural disasters 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.

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The Sea Knows
Written by Alan B. Havis and Alice B. McGinty & illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dive in and explore the wonders of the ocean and its inhabitants in this lyrical, fact-filled ode to the sea! This beautifully illustrated picture book features extensive nonfiction backmatter for further exploration.

We are young. The sea is old. The sea has secrets to unfold. The sea knows.

In this playful, rhyming celebration of the marine world, readers can explore all of the wondrous things the sea knows. It knows huge whales and small krill; it knows short crabs and tall giant kelp; it knows brightly colored starfish in shallow pools; and in the inky depths it knows the alluring jewel of an anglerfish’s glowing lure.

Discover all of the strange and magnificent underwater creatures in this accessible tribute to the power and mystery of the ocean.

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Paper World: Planet Earth
Written & illustrated by Bomboland
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

This guide to our planet shows paper being engineered like never before. Paper World: Planet Earth uses ingenious paper cutouts to reveal the amazing details of our planet, from bubbling volcanoes to rushing rivers to the boiling hot interior of the Earth. With detailed art by studio Bomboland, a fact-filled text, and flaps and die-cuts on every spread, this one-of-a-kind novelty book will appeal to readers of all ages.

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Scout: Storm Dog
Written by Jennifer Li Shotz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventure continues in the third installment of the action-packed Scout series, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Li Shotz. Scout, a National Guard dog, was born to be a hero. When Scout and his 12-year-old owner, Matt, land in Puerto Rico after a devastating hurricane, they want to help. The pair befriend Luisa, who knows all about the Sato dogs—abandoned pups who need food and shelter. Scout and Matt decide to foster an injured dog named Pepita. But Pepita is clearly searching for something and runs off into the rainforest. Now it’s up to Scout, Matt and Luisa to find the missing dog and bring her back safely. Surviving the dangers of the wilderness will be far from easy, but Scout and Matt make an excellent team. This fast-moving tale of Scout the hero dog will grab even reluctant readers and is perfect for fans of Cracker!, Max, and Hero.

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Miss Twiggley's Tree
Written & illustrated by Dorothea Warren Fox
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Funny Miss Twiggley, who lives in a house in a tree with a dog and bears, forgets her shyness and saves the townspeople when a flood hits the town.

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Otis and the Tornado
Written & illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Otis and all his farm friends are enjoying a summer’s day, but the bull has no interest in playing and stays in his pen. Suddenly the day turns frightening and stormy: it’s a tornado! Otis takes all of the animals to safety, but the bull is still locked in his pen! Quick as his tires will take him, Otis putt puff puttedy chuffs back to the farm to save the day.

The Storyteller book
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Hope for Haiti book
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The Farmer book
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Skylark and Wallcreeper book
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  • The Storyteller - In a time of drought in the Kingdom of Morocco, a storyteller and a boy weave a tale to thwart a Djinn and his sandstorm from destroying their city.

  • Hope for Haiti - A young boy finds hope when he is given an old soccer ball to play with in the wake of Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

  • The Farmer - A farmer’s hard work is rewarded in this eco-friendly and elegantly illustrated picture book. In the town, everyone is sleeping. But not Paul. Paul mows. Paul rakes. Paul sows. Paul draws water. And soon Paul has beautiful plants and flowers growing all around him. But one day, the water dries up. The sun beats down. Paul despairs. But thanks to his animal friends, and a bit of rain, help is on the way . . .

  • Skylark and Wallcreeper - While helping her granny Collette evacuate to a makeshift shelter in Brooklyn during Superstorm Sandy, Lily uncovers secrets of her grandmother’s past as a member of the French Resistance during WWII. Queens, 2012. Hurricane Sandy is flooding New York City, and Lily is at a nursing home with her grandmother, Collette. Lily visits Collette often, as she is beginning to lose her memories. When the National Guard shows up to evacuate the building and take them to safety at the Park Slope armory in Brooklyn, Lily’s granny suddenly produces a red box she’s hidden in a closet for years. Once they get to safety, Lily opens the box, where she finds an old, beautiful Montblanc pen. Granny tells Lily that the pen is very important and that she has to take care of it, as well as some letters written in French. But Lily loses the pen in the course of helping other nursing home residents, and as she searches the city trying to find it, she learns more about her grandmother’s past in France and begins to uncover the significance of the pen with the help of her best friend, a quirky pen expert, and a larger-than-life, off-Broadway understudy. Told in alternating sections (2012 and 1944), this engaging book explores a deep friendship during difficult times and the importance of family.

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The Bravest of Us All
Written by Marsha Diane Arnold & illustrated by Brad Sneed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Ruby Jane has always looked up to her older sister, Velma Jean for her brave and daring stunts, but it is Ruby Jane’s turn to be brave in the face of a tornado that threatens her sister’s life.

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The Magic School Bus Inside A Hurricane
Written by Joanna Cole & illustrated by Bruce Degen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Count on Ms. Frizzle to teach anything but an ordinary lesson on meteorology. Flying through the clouds in the Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle’s class experiences a hurricane-and even a tornado-firsthand. During their thrilling ride through the sky, Arnold gets lost! Will the Friz be able to save the day this time?

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Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Written by Julie T. Lamana
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Armani Curtis can think about only one thing: her tenth birthday. All her friends are coming to her party, her mama is making a big cake, and she has a good feeling about a certain wrapped box. Turning ten is a big deal to Armani. It means she’s older, wiser, more responsible. But when Hurricane Katrina hits the Lower Nines of New Orleans, Armani realizes that being ten means being brave, watching loved ones die, and mustering all her strength to help her family weather the storm. A powerful story of courage and survival, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere celebrates the miraculous power of hope and love in the face of the unthinkable.

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Wild Weather: Tornadoes!
Written by Lorraine Jean Hopping & illustrated by Jody Wheeler
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Describes the work of two people who study tornadoes in the Midwest by discovering and following them.

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Where the Watermelons Grow
Written by Cindy Baldwin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and A Snicker of Magic will be swept away by Cindy Baldwin’s debut middle grade about a girl coming to terms with her mother’s mental illness. When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren’t there, Della worries that it’s happening again—that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time. With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations. But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota's Garden book
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The Fever Code book
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The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare book
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Lila and the Secret of Rain book
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  • The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota's Garden - When the tsunami destroyed Makio’s village, Makio lost his father…and his voice. The entire village is silenced by grief, and the young child’s anger at the ocean grows. Then one day his neighbor, Mr. Hirota, begins a mysterious project—building a phone booth in his garden. At first Makio is puzzled; the phone isn’t connected to anything. It just sits there, unable to ring. But as more and more villagers are drawn to the phone booth, its purpose becomes clear to Makio: the disconnected phone is connecting people to their lost loved ones. Makio calls to the sea to return what it has taken from him and ultimately finds his voice and solace in a phone that carries words on the wind. Inspired by the true story of the wind phone in Otsuchi, Japan, following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

  • The Fever Code - Once there was a world’s end. The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled. Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man. Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy. The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze. Now there are secrets. There are lies. And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen. This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down. All will be revealed.

  • The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare - Auden Dare is color blind and lives in a world where water is scarce and families must live on a weekly, allocated supply.When Auden’s uncle, the scientist Dr. Bloom, suddenly dies,he leaves a note to Auden and to his classmate Vivi Rookmini. Together, the notes lead them to Paragon—a robot. As Auden, Vivi, and Paragon try to uncover Paragon’spurpose and put together the clues Dr. Bloom left behind,they find out that Dr. Bloom’s death was anything butinnocent, that powerful people are searching for Paragon—and that it’s up to Auden and Vivi to stop them.

  • Lila and the Secret of Rain - With the sun baking their Kenyan village for months and no rain sight, Lila learns the trick for making the rains come from her wise grandfather and so heads out to confront the sky in the hopes of saving everyone and everything in the land she loves.

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Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants
Written by Sandra Markle & illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Elephants never forget

During a drought in Tanzania, Grandma Elephant is in search of water for her herd. Little Calf follows along and mimics her grandmother at each stop on their journey. When Grandma leads them to a watering hole she recalls from years before, the elephants are overjoyed and Little Calf splashes about with her tender leader. Grandma’s persistence and powerful memory is something Little Calf will never forget. Based on true events.

Sandra Markle’s acclaimed nonfiction writing takes on a more lyrical style alongside Fabricio VandenBroeck’s gorgeous illustrations making this story of animal behavior accessible for younger readers.

Back matter includes further information about the phenomenon of a herd of elephants that survived a drought, as well as fascinating elephant facts.

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Marvelous Cornelius
Written by Phil Bildner & illustrated by John Parra
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along. The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm greater than anyone had seen before. In this heartwarming book about a real garbage man, Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspiring story of a humble man and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

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Little Cloud: The Science of a Hurricane
Written by Johanna Wagstaffe & illustrated by Julie McLaughlin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

This STEM-based picture book follows the origin of a hurricane, from a little cloud to a life-threatening storm.

Follow our little cloud on an adventure through the sky and learn the science behind how it transforms from a simple cumulus cloud to a full-blown hurricane. Beautifully detailed illustrations from award-winning artist Julie McLaughlin integrate science with storytelling. Children will enjoy finding new gems of information even after several reads, thanks to a whimsical and rich layout. And meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe weaves a comprehensive narrative about a powerful weather system that’s so compelling readers won’t even realize they are on their way to becoming budding meteorologists.

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Ninth Ward
Written & illustrated by Jewell Parker Rhodes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12

In New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, twelve-year-old Lanesha, who can see spirits, and her adopted grandmother have no choice but to stay and weather the storm as Hurricane Katrina bears down upon them.

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Disasters
Written & illustrated by Brenda Z Guiberson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A history of 10 well-known disasters—from the great Chicago fire to Hurricane Katrina—explores the causes and effects of the devastation as well as with the power of humankind to persevere in the face of adversity.

Hurricanes! (New Edition) book
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Earthquake in the Early Morning book
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Tornado book
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Twister on Tuesday book
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  • Hurricanes! (New Edition) - Imagine a force that can toss boats around like toys, wash away bridges, create waves as high as eighteen feet, and change the shape of a shoreline. With fierce winds and torrential rains, hurricanes can do all of these things. In this newly revised edition, GAIL GIBBONS introduces readers to the concepts of hurricane formation, classification, weather preparedness, and the ever-evolving technology that helps us try to predict the behavior of these powerful storms. Extensive updates include refined definitions for hurricane-related vocabulary, updated information about the wind speeds that define hurricane categories, information on emergency preparedness, and more. As these weather disturbances become more frequent and more powerful, Hurricanes is the perfect introduction for children to this important and timely topic.

  • Earthquake in the Early Morning - An adventure that will shake you up! That’s what Jack and Annie get when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to California in 1906. As soon as they arrive, the famous San Francisco earthquake hits the city. Can Jack and Annie save the day? Or will San Francisco be destroyed first?

  • Tornado - From Newbery Medal-winning author Betsy Byars comes a sweet, entertaining story that will touch the heart of dog lovers at any age. A tornado appears in the distance, and the family quickly gathers into the storm cellar. The storm rages outside, but Pete, the farmhand, knows this is the perfect time to tell his stories about a dog named Tornado. Blown into their lives by a twister when Pete was a boy, Tornado was no ordinary dog—he played card tricks, saved a turtle’s life, and had a rivalry with the family cat. Forgetting their fear, the family hangs on every word of Pete’s stories—both happy and sad—of this remarkable dog.

  • Twister on Tuesday - An adventure to blow you away! That’s what Jack and Annie get when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the 1870s. They land on the prairie near a one-room schoolhouse, where they meet a teenage schoolteacher, some cool kids, and one big, scary bully. But the biggest and scariest thing is yet to come!

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Finding Someplace
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The weekend she turns thirteen, aspiring clothing designer Teresa “Reesie” Boone is separated from her family by Hurricane Katrina but, during the horrific storm and its aftermath, begins to find strength in herself.

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Another Kind of Hurricane
Written by Tamara Ellis Smith
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

The world, itself, seems to bring together Henry, whose best friend died near their home in the mountains of Vermont, and Zavion, who lost his home in Hurricane Katrina, so that the boys can help each other heal.

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The Kill Order
Written & illustrated by James Dashner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-17

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth, killing most of the population. Mark and Trina were there when it happened. They survived. But now a virus is spreading. A virus that fills humans with murderous rage. They’re convinced that there’s a way to save those who are left—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some you’re worth more dead than alive.

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Lions & Liars
Written by Kate Beasley & illustrated by Dan Santat
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Holes meets The Goonies in the highly anticipated second middle-grade novel from the author of Gertie’s Leap to Greatness!

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Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan
Written by Cynthia Rylant & illustrated by Arthur Howard and Cynthia Rylant
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Stumpy, Murray, Gwendolyn, and Kona recruit Herman the crow and 200 owls to help with their Master Plan to assist the animals of Gooseberry Park that are in trouble because of a months-long drought.

About Average book
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The Cat from Hunger Mountain book
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  • About Average - As the end of sixth grade nears, Jordan Johnson, unhappy that she is only average in appearance, intelligence, and athletic ability, reveals her special skills when disaster strikes her central Illinois elementary school.

  • The Cat from Hunger Mountain - In a place called Hunger Mountain there lives a lord who has everything imaginable yet never has enough. To satisfy his every desire, he hires builders to design the tallest pagoda; a world-famous tailor to make his clothing from silk and gold threads; and a renowned chef to cook him lavish meals with rice from the lord’s own fields. What more could he possibly want? Yet when drought plagues the land, Lord Cat is faced with his first taste of deep loss, he ventures down the mountain and what he discovers will change his life forever. Rendered in exquisite mixed-media collage, Caldecott Medalist Ed Young’s deceptively simple fable is a deeply affecting tale about appreciating the value of treasures that need not be chased.

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