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Neighborhoods: Books For Kids

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

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

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 neighborhoods, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Day by Day to popular sellers like Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood to some of our favorite hidden gems like Windows.

We hope this list of kids books about neighborhoods 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.

Windows
Written by Julia Denos & illustrated by E B Goodale
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Before your city goes to sleep, you might head out for a walk, your dog at your side as you go out the door and into the almost-night. Anything can happen on such a walk: you might pass a cat, or a friend, or even an early raccoon. And as you go down your street and around the corner, the windows around you light up one by one until you are walking through a maze of paper lanterns, each one granting you a brief, glowing snapshot of your neighbors as families come together and folks settle in for the night.

Day by Day
Written & illustrated by Susan Gal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Susan Gal offers a heartwarming tale of old-fashioned goodness. The industrious pigs of Day by Day build a home, plant a garden, help their neighbors, and then gather in a harvest grown with hard work and kindness.

The language is sweet and simple: Day by day, the seasons turn. Shoulder to shoulder, pigs gather the harvest. Hand in hand, pigs give thanks, then cheek to cheek, they dance. The artwork is bright and full of the merry antics of a happy family and a tight-knit community. And these pigs are flat out adorable! This delightful story celebrates family and community, caring and sharing.

Katie Woo's Neighborhood
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Laura Zarrin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo loves her community. But it’s not just the parks, stores, and services that make the neighborhood great—it’s the all of the people who build the community and make it work. With every new neighbor Katie meets, she’s inspired to find new ways to be an awesome neighbor herself!

Hey, Wall
Written by Susan Verde & illustrated by John Parra
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A boy takes on a community art project in order to make his neighborhood more beautiful in this empowering and inspiring picture book by Susan Verde, stunningly illustrated by award-winning artist John Parra. One creative boy. One bare, abandoned wall. One BIG idea. There is a wall in Ángel’s neighborhood. Around it, the community bustles with life: music, dancing, laughing. Not the wall. It is bleak. One boy decides to change that. But he can’t do it alone. Told in elegant verse by Susan Verde and vibrantly illustrated by John Parra, this inspiring picture book celebrates the power of art to tell a story and bring a community together.

The Night Is Yours
Written by Abdul-Razak Zachariah & illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the New York Times bestselling illustrator of I Am Enough, this glowing, empowering picture book about a nighttime hide-and-seek game celebrates blackness and self-confidence.

Little one, so calm and so happy, the darkness of the night is yours like the darkness of your skin.

This lyrical text, narrated to a young girl named Amani by her father, follows her as she plays an evening game of hide-and-seek with friends at her apartment complex. The moon’s glow helps Amani find the last hidden child, and seems almost like a partner to her in her game, as well as a spotlight pointing out her beauty and strength.

This is a gorgeous bedtime read-aloud about joy and family love and community, and most of all about feeling great in your own skin.

  • My Papi Has a Motorcycle - A celebration of the love between a father and daughter, and of a vibrant immigrant neighborhood, by an award-winning author and illustrator duo.

  • Errol's Garden - Errol loves gardening, but he doesn’t have a proper garden. Although his home is full of beautiful plants, he longs for an outdoor space where he can grow things. A chance discovery leads to a solution, but Errol can’t do everything on his own. Luckily, help is near at hand. A heart-warming and inclusive tale about how one small boy’s dream of a garden unites a diverse community in a positive and enriching experience for everyone.

  • Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood - What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine! Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation—and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big. Pick up a paintbrush and join the celebration!

  • In My Neighborhood - Built for the way babies read. Sweet, soothing books, uniquely designed for safety and convenience, Indestructibles are printed on lightweight, nontoxic paper material, easy to clean (even dishwasher safe), and 100% chew, rip, bend, and drool proof. In My Neighborhood introduces babies to the concept of community as they meet the friendly people in their neighborhood. Delightful for babies to page through on their own or with Mom or Dad or an older sibling, this books, with its bright pictures and minimal text, is ideal for expecting parents, baby showers, or as a welcome-home gifts for a newborn.

Payback on Poplar Lane
Written by Margaret Mincks
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Twelve-year-old Peter Gronkowski prides himself on being a professional businessman. Tired of the cliched lemonade stands that line his block, he decides to start a better business with the help of an intern. But his intern of choice, the quiet and writerly Rachel Chambers, turns out to be more than he bargained for. Rachel is innovative, resourceful, driven—and when she’s had enough of Peter’s overbearing management style, she decides to start a competing empire next door. As their rivalry and sabotage tactics become more outrageous—Slander! Espionage! Lemonade threats!—Peter and Rachel ultimately learn the hard way that “nothing gold can stay” and that friendship is more important than money. Alternating perspectives reveal what really motivates each character to win. And Peter’s memos and “business tips” as well as excerpts from Rachel’s melodramatic novel-in-progress generate fresh hilarity and tension at every page turn. Payback on Poplar Lane is a pitch-perfect comedy with heart, reminiscent of your favorite classic middle-grade series.

13 Stories About Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A wry and affectionate look at the ups and downs of preschoolers in the big city.

“That’s why they call permanent markers permanent,” Harris’ mother says as she surveys Harris and his best friend Ayana’s handiwork in his bedroom.

In 13 illustrated vignettes, young Harris gets into big and little adventures at home, at best friend Ayana’s house, and throughout his diverse city neighborhood.

Inspired by her own child, celebrated author-illustrator Amy Schwartz captures a preschooler’s sense of wonder and possibility, such as when Harris and Ayana vow to keep holding hands “forever and ever”—even while riding stampeding elephants.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Hermelin the Detective Mouse
Written & illustrated by Mini Grey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A mouse with typewriting skills secretly helps the people of Offley Street find lost items, and eventually saves the day.

The Way Home in the Night
Written & illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

A mother rabbit and her young bunny are on their way home in the dark night. ?My mother carries me through the quiet streets,? the bunny explains. ?Most of our neighbors are already home.? The bunny can see their lights in the windows, and hear and smell what they might be doing: talking on the phone, pulling a pie out of the oven, having a party, saying goodbye. When they reach home, the father rabbit tucks the bunny into bed. But the bunny continues to wonder about the neighbors’ activities. ?Are the party guests saying goodnight? Is the person on the phone getting ready for bed?? And what of the footsteps that can be heard in the street as the bunny falls asleep? ?Will she take the last train home??

This beautiful picture book captures the magical wonder a child feels at being outside in the night. Award-winning author and illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi’s softly focused black-and-white illustrations with just a touch of neutral color have a dreamlike quality, just right for nodding off to sleep with. The book is intriguing in that it contains twice-told stories, once as they are observed and second as the bunny imagines them. This offers a perfect prompt for young children to create extensions of other stories they have read or heard. A deeper reading could encourage critical thinking by comparing the different pastimes of the neighbors or, ultimately, what it means to be home.

And Then the Seed Grew
Written & illustrated by Marianne Duboc
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In an ordinary garden full of flowers and plants, little Jack and Mr. Gnome live above the ground, while Yvonne the mole, the Field Mouse family, Paulie the earthworm and Colette the ant live below the ground. Everybody is happy in the garden. Until one day, a new seed arrives, which soon sprouts into a plant. As the plant begins to grow (and grow, and grow), its stalk and leaves get in the way of those aboveground, and its roots disrupt the homes and passageways of those underground. Before long, the plant has gotten so large, it has become a huge problem for the garden’s residents. So, the friends decided they must chop it down. Unless … wait! What’s that growing on the plant? In this multilayered (and multilevel!) picture book, international award-winning author-illustrator Marianne Dubuc humorously explores the concept of change as the characters resist but eventually accept the new addition, an excellent example of a growth mindset. The story also highlights the interconnectivity of living things and, thus, the concept of community. Animal habitats and the growth cycle of plants - from seed to fruit-bearing - are presented here with easy-to-understand, child-friendly visuals. The winsome illustrations are full of clever details, offering peeks into the animals’ fantastical homes, promising something new to discover with every look, and encouraging visual literacy.

  • See You Around, Sam! - Sam Krupnik, mad at his mother because she won’t let him wear his newly acquired plastic fangs in the house, decides to run away.

  • See You Around, Sam! - Sam Krupnik, mad at his mother because she won’t let him wear his newly acquired plastic fangs in the house, decides to run away to Alaska. There, he can look like the walruses with their tusks—at least they would let him wear his fangs. But as Sam says goodbye to his neighbors, he receives more advice and survival tools than he knows what to do with. Will Sam have to change his mind about Alaska?

  • Double Bass Blues - A joyous celebration of family, community, and the unifying power of music, perfect for fans of Last Stop on Market Street. Nic is an aspiring musician whose life spans two different worlds—his suburban school where he wows his friends in orchestra, and the busy city streets of his home where he’s jostled by the crowd. Nic makes his way home from a busy day at school with a double bass on his back, the symphony of his surroundings in his heart, and a sweet surprise for the reader at the end of his journey. This is a sweet, melodious picture book about how dedication, music, and family can overcome any obstacle.

  • Little Neighbors on Sunnyside Street - BOOM! ZOOM! YEEHAW! Here are some lively neighbors that little readers will want to visit again and again. Meet the little neighbors on Sunnyside Street! Jessica Spanyol’s jaunty vignettes, spilling over with busy details and boisterous sound words, will turn these new neighbors into favorite friends.

The Lost Boy's Gift
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

There are places where you want to go and places where you want to leave. There are also places where you want to stay. Nine-year-old Daniel must move across the country with his mom after his parents’ divorce. He’s leaving behind his whole life—everything—and he’s taking a suitcase of anger with him. But Daniel is in for a surprise when he settles into While-a-Way Lane and meets his new neighbors—the Lemonade Girl, the hopscotching mailman, the tiny creatures, and especially Tilda Butter. Tilda knows how to look and listen closely, and it’s that gift that helps Daniel find his way in that curious place called While-a-Way Lane. Kimberly Willis Holt explores themes of divorce, acceptance, intergenerational friendship, and the power that comes with listening thoughtfully in this insightful novel.

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