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Paleontology: Books For Kids

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

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

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 paleontology, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like My Weird School Fast Facts: Dinosaurs, Dodos, and Woolly Mammoths to popular sellers like Sunset of the Sabertooth to some of our favorite hidden gems like Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt.

We hope this list of kids books about paleontology 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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Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt
Written by Carrie Clickard & illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this rhyming, hilarious romp about a little-known facet of American history, Thomas Jefferson tries to disprove a French theory that those in the New World are puny and wussy by going in search of mammoth bones.

In the New World called America big changes were a’brewing. Independence was declared with bold hurrahs and ballyhooing!

The French feel threatened by America’s new freedom and confidence, as embodied by Count Buffon who claims that the “New World was a chilly, swampy place, filled with puny, scrawny creatures, every species, breed, and race.” Thomas Jefferson won’t stand his young country being insulted, so he sets out to prove Count Buffon wrong. He sends people across the country in search of an animal or animal bones to prove that creatures in the United States are big and strong and worthy.

Hilarious, energetic, and a delight to read aloud, this book shines a light on this little-known slice of American history. Included in the back matter are an author’s note, who’s who and what’s what from American history, bibliography, and further reading.

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Dinosaur Lady
Written by Linda Skeers & illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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First Facts and Flaps: Giant Dinosaurs
Written & illustrated by Editors of Silver Dolphin Books
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Lift the flaps and spin the wheel to learn about dinosaurs!

Which dinosaur had a spiky tail? How big was a T. rex tooth? Learn the answers to these questions and more in First Facts and Flaps: Giant Dinosaurs! This book introduces youngsters to the world of dinosaurs with flaps to lift, a wheel to turn, and a giant foldout. With more than 30 flaps to lift, learning about dinosaurs has never been so much fun!

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My Weird School Fast Facts: Dinosaurs, Dodos, and Woolly Mammoths
Written by Dan Gutman & illustrated by Jim Paillot
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Think fast with A.J. and Andrea from My Weird School!

Did you know that the biggest dinosaur was probably six stories high and half a football field long? Did you know that Utah is the only place in the world where it’s legal to hunt dinosaurs?!

Learn more weird-but-true dinosaur facts with A.J. and Andrea from Dan Gutman’s bestselling My Weird School series. This all-new series of nonfiction books features hundreds of hysterical facts, plus lots of photos and illustrations.

Whether you’re a kid who wants to learn more about dinosaurs or simply someone who wants to know the name for fossilized dinosaur poop, this is the book for you!

With more than 12 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!

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Dinosaur Bones
Written & illustrated by Bob Barner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7

With a lively rhyming text and vibrant paper collage illustrations, author-artist Bob Barner shakes the dust off the dinosaur bones found in museums and reminds us that they once belonged to living, breathing creatures. Filled with fun dinosaur facts (a T. Rex skull can weigh up to 750 pounds!) and an informational “Dinometer,” Dinosaur Bones is sure to make young dinosaur enthusiasts roar with delight.

Judy Moody and Friends: Searching for Stinkodon book
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Little Explorers: Dinosaurs book
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Tiny and the Big Dig book
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Dinosaur Empire! book
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  • Judy Moody and Friends: Searching for Stinkodon - Surprises are in store as Stink excavates his backyard in search of a relic from an extinct beast — and Judy lends him a little sleight of hand. Mega-chomp! Stink wants to make the find of the century. He’s on a dig, dig, digging quest in his backyard to find a tooth from a saber-toothed cat, otherwise known as a Smilodon. Why not? Two kids in Michigan found a mastodon bone in a backyard stream, and a girl in Great Britain found a pterosaur bone. It could happen! But Judy thinks the chances of finding a saber-toothed anything in the Moody backyard are one in a gazillion million. Will Stink make a discovery before their whole backyard caves in? Just right for newly independent readers, this latest story from Megan McDonald is sure to leave Moody fans with smiles as wide as a Smilodon’s.

  • Little Explorers: Dinosaurs - Introducing another book in the LITTLE EXPLORERS series, an interactive nonfiction series for curious youngsters. With more than 30 flaps, DINOSAURS provides little ones with hands-on fun! DINOSAURS is a lively introduction to all types of prehistoric dinos. Children can lift the flaps to learn about these amazing dinosaurs and the environments they used to live in, and they will be amazed as they find out all about the biggest, fastest, and most ferocious dinosaurs, and much, much more. This book features over 30 sturdy flaps to lift, along with charming, kid-friendly artwork that introduces new concepts and vocabulary in a simple and accessible way.

  • Tiny and the Big Dig - Sniff! Sniff-sniff! I smell a bone. A bone that’s BIG. I’ll get it out, I’ll dig and dig. A big, BIG bone! I know it’s there! It will take work, but I don’t care! Tiny may be a small dog, but don’t let that fool you. He’s a pooch with power who knows what he wants. And he’s going for it. But oh, those pesky pessimists — they’re trying to rain on Tiny’s dig-parade! Thank goodness for one special boy who believes in Tiny, because in the end, this dog’s grit proves that he’s the little pup who could… dig up some giant surprises!

  • Dinosaur Empire! - Ronnie is just a normal fifth-grader trying to pass her science class’s impossible quiz on the history of dinosaurs . . . until she happens upon her neighbor—Ms. Lernin—a retired paleontologist. With the assistance of Science Magic, Ronnie and Ms. Lernin travel back through time and space to experience the Mesozoic Era firsthand. They visit three important time periods in the development of the Mesozoic Era: the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Cretaceous. Along the way, Ronnie finds herself face-to-face with real-life dinosaurs and reptiles, like stegosauruses, velociraptors, and thalattosaurs. With the help of her neighbor’s trusty knowledge of prehistoric times, she learns the differences between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores, as well as between dinosaurs, insects, and reptiles. This insightful and informative graphic novel uses engaging art to bring facts to life, giving kids the tools to understand the evolution of these prehistoric creatures and the important effects this era had on our world today.

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Ocean Renegades!
Written & illustrated by Abby Howard
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“Determined to show Ronnie just how interesting prehistoric life was BEFORE the age of the dinosaurs, Miss Lernin takes her back in time to the six parts of the Paleozoic era to study the earliest lifeforms on Earth, starting with the rise of the vertebrates”—]cProvided by publisher.

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Barnum's Bones
Written by Tracey Fern & illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

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.

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Baby Paleontologist
Written by Dr. Laura Gehl & illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Baby Scientist is an adorable board book series that brings fun, accessible science concepts to baby’s world using simple language, recognizable settings, and vibrant art. Read them all with your baby scientist!

Baby Paleontologist digs for fossils. With his pickax and brush, he discovers plants and animals that lived long, long ago.

What stories do fossils tell?

What did dinosaurs look like?

Find out with Baby Paleontologist!

Don’t miss the other books in this series, including Baby Oceanographer, Baby Astronaut, and Baby Botanist!

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Finding Esme
Written by Suzanne Crowley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, twelve-year-old Esme’s been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away. But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor.

The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away.

Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss.

From acclaimed author Suzanne Crowley, this engaging adventure set on a Texas peach farm is just right for fans of Rebecca Stead and Ann M. Martin.

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Sunset of the Sabertooth
Written by Mary Pope Osborne & illustrated by Sal Murdocca
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The Ice Age is very cool…for two kids in bathing suits! Jack and Annie nearly freeze when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to the time of cave people and woolly mammoths. But nothing can stop them from having another wild adventure—not even a saber-toothed tiger!

101 Dinosaurs book
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When Sue Found Sue book
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Pluto is Peeved! book
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If You Give a T-Rex a Bone book
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  • 101 Dinosaurs - Meet the long-necks, flyers, boneheads, duckbills, swimmers, armored, horned, plated, and sharp-toothed creatures of prehistoric times in this oversized board book with 101 creatures for kids to name and sound out! With bite-size information that’s perfect for this young age, phonetic spellings of each creature, and an interactive refrain, the first book in this young nonfiction series is sure to be a hit!

  • When Sue Found Sue - From a very young age, Sue Hendrickson was meant to find things: lost coins, perfume bottles, even hidden treasure. Her endless curiosity eventually led to her career in diving and paleontology, where she would continue to find things big and small. In 1990, at a dig in South Dakota, Sue made her biggest discovery to date: Sue the T. rex, the largest and most complete T. rex skeleton ever unearthed. Named in Sue’s honor, Sue the T. rex would be placed on permanent exhibition at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. When Sue Found Sue inspires readers to take a closer look at the world around them and to never lose their brave, adventurous spirits.

  • 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.

  • If You Give a T-Rex a Bone - Heads up, dino lovers! If by chance you end up in an ancient habitat, and if you offer a T-Rex a bone, things could get . . . well . . . interesting. Dangerously interesting! Storyteller and teacher Tim Myers magically introduces the reader to all types of dinosaurs in quirky sort of way. The boy in the story had a tough day, dodging T-Rex by hiding in the underbrush, only to encounter a toothy dimetrodon. He escapes into a nearby bay, only to attract a 42-foot kronsaurus . . . it was a long day, running to and fro among ancient habitats. There is lots of science, but no boring nonfiction here!

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