Penguins: Books For Kids

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

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

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 penguins, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Lost And Found to popular sellers like Tacky the Penguin to some of our favorite hidden gems like Up and Down.

We hope this list of kids books about penguins 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.

Sunk! book
#1
Sunk!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A pirate hat. A sunny day. For Penguin Blue A game to play…

Penguin Blue is back in a swashbuckling new adventure about pirates, treasure, and friendship. While sailing the seven seas Captain Blue and his friends are unexpectedly sunk! But with a shipwreck to explore and a mysterious stranger on a desert island to meet, they might still find some treasure after all. The follow-up to the bestselling and award-winning Blown Away.

Penguin and Pinecone book
#2
Penguin and Pinecone
Written and illustrated by Salina Yoon
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Geisel Honor-winning author/illustrator Salina Yoon introduces readers to a beloved character in Penguin and Pinecone—a picture book about friendship that will warm your heart!

When curious little Penguin finds a lost pinecone in the snow, their friendship grows into something extraordinary! But Grandpa reminds Penguin that pinecones can’t live in the snow—they belong in the warm forest far away. Can Penguin help Pinecone get home? And can they stay friends, even if they’re miles apart?

Prolific author/illustrator Salina Yoon’s spare text and bright, energetic illustrations bring to life this endearing story celebrating friendships lost and found, and overcoming the odds to be with the one you love.

Tacky the Penguin book
#3
Tacky the Penguin
Written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Tacky’s perfect friends find him annoying until his odd behavior saves the day.

The Second Sky book
#4
The Second Sky
Written by Patrick Guest and illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An inspiring story about finding your true element

Ever since he first hatched, Gilbert has wanted to fly. But with his big, clumsy feet and small, fluffy wings, learning to fly is a bigger challenge than Gilbert anticipated. His fellow penguins tell him to give up, but Gilbert is sure that if he keeps trying, he’ll be able to soar…

Young readers will fall in love with this sweet, motivating story about overcoming obstacles and discovering your hidden talents.

Perfectly Polite Penguins book
#5
Perfectly Polite Penguins
Written by Georgiana Deutsch and illustrated by Ekaterina Trukhan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Penguins are always polite. They say “please” and “thank you,” they wait their turn patiently, and they always help to clean up when playtime is over. But one day, Polly Penguin decides that being polite is boring. So she interrupts when others are talking, refuses to clean up, and makes a mess at the dinner table. Soon, all of the penguins copy Polly and lose their good manners, too! Can Polly help make things right again?

  1. Up and Down - A penguin has wings for a reason . . . doesn’t he? Having a best friend with his own airplane is one thing, but actually experiencing what it feels like to fly by himself? Here is one penguin who believes this is precisely what he needs to feel complete. Only . . . if flying by himself is so wonderful, then why does he feel so empty? Because some experiences are better shared. (And penguins are much happier on the ground.) Oliver Jeffers delivers the perfect companion to his much-loved Lost and Found. Penguins everywhere will take flight in delight.

  2. Blown Away - Come on an unexpected journey with a fearless blue penguin in Rob Biddulph’s debut picture book, Blown Away. In this brilliantly captivating and gloriously illustrated story, a brave young penguin takes a kite flight to a tropical paradise. But in the end, he realizes that home is where his igloo is.

  3. Baby Penguins Everywhere! - Can there be such a thing as too many adorable penguins? One day a penguin sees a most unusual sight: a hat floating in the icy water. Even more unusual? Out of the hat pops a baby penguin. But not just one baby penguin . . . or even two. But a third, and a fourth, and on and on! At first the mama penguin is happy for the company. Until she realizes that taking care of a family is very hard, very tiring work, and what she could really use is just a moment alone. Yet as newcomer Melissa Guion reminds us in her adorable debut picture book, alone time is all well and good, but, it’s family time that’s best of all. Perfect for any mama penguin with a family, or classroom, full of mischievous little ones. And perfect for toddlers who will smile over all the little penguins and the silliness that ensues.

  4. My Pet Penguins - Penguins make the best pets! Follow a little girl and her pet penguins as they flip pancakes, spin on the ice, and read a story before catching some zzz’s!

Penguin Problems book
#10
Penguin Problems
Written by Jory John and illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This penguin has come to tell you that life in Antarctica is no paradise. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have a ton of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mom in a big ol’ crowd of identical penguins? No, thank you. Yes, it seems there is no escaping the drudgery of your daily grind, whatever it might be. Or perhaps we’ve just learned that grumps are everywhere. . . .

Lost And Found book
#11
Lost And Found
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

What is a boy to do when a lost penguin shows up at his door? Find out where it comes from, of course, and return it. But the journey to the South Pole is long and difficult in the boy’s rowboat. There are storms to brave and deep, dark nights.To pass the time, the boy tells the penguin stories. Finally, they arrive. Yet instead of being happy, both are sad. That’s when the boy realizes: The penguin hadn’t been lost, it had merely been lonely.

A poignant, funny, and child-friendly story about friendship lost . . . and then found again.

Penguin Flies Home book
#12
Penguin Flies Home
Written and illustrated by Lita Judge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Penguin mastered his quest to soar with the eagles in Flight School—now he’s heading home to teach his friends in this sweet and inspiring stand-alone companion story!

Penguin loves everything about flying: the wind beneath his wings, the song that rises from his belly, and the sight of new and wonderful places.

Still, he misses his penguin friends in the South Pole. So, he flips and flaps back home, ready to teach them the magic of flight!

But when he arrives, his enthusiasm for flying doesn’t get quite the reaction he expected. Will Penguin’s friends still like him, even if they don’t share his soaring dreams?

One Cool Friend book
#13
One Cool Friend
Written by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

From New York Times bestselling author Toni Buzzeo and Caldecott Medal winning illustrator David Small, comes a cool tale about an unlikely friendship.

On a spontaneous visit to the aquarium, straight-laced and proper Elliot discovers his dream pet: a penguin. When he asks his father if he may have one (please and thank you), his father says yes. Elliot should have realized that Dad was probably thinking of a toy penguin, not a real one… Clever illustrations and a wild surprise ending make this sly, silly tale a kid-pleaser from start to finish.

Penguinaut! book
#14
Penguinaut!
Written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Emma Yarlett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Orville lives at the zoo, surrounded by animal pals who go on exciting adventures. A hang gliding rhino! A deep-sea diving giraffe! Orville struggles to keep up, until one day he concocts an adventure all his own: build a spaceship and fly to the moon all by himself. Can one tiny penguin get there alone?

Penguinaut is perfect for every child who’s said, “I can do it myself!” and comes to find that the rewards are much richer when shared with friends. Marcie Colleen’s playful text and Emma Yarlett’s charming, whimsical illustrations are sure to delight both children and their parents.

  1. Harriet Gets Carried Away - While shopping with her two dads for supplies for her birthday party, Harriet, who is wearing a penguin costume, is carried away by a waddle of penguins and must hatch a plan in order to get herself back to the store in the city.

  2. Kisses and Cuddles - A little penguin loves to do many things during his fun day, but nothing beats getting kisses and cuddles from his mama! Follow a little penguin as he spends his day doing everything he loves—such as eating pancakes, playing with his toys, drinking hot chocolate, spotting rainbows, and more. But what does he love the most? Kisses and cuddles from his mama!

  3. Polar Bear Island - “Welcome to Polar Bear Island. NO OTHERS ALLOWED!” So says Parker, the mayor, eager to keep the island just the way it is. But Kirby, a newly arrived penguin, is shaking things up—much to Parker’s dismay. The other polar bears love Kirby and beg Parker to let Kirby (and her family) move in. Will Parker agree . . . and make the island fun for EVERYONE? With its gentle message of inclusivity, this energetic story will delight children.

  4. Penguin Says "Please" - Penguin learns to say please in different situations throughout this sturdy board book. With simple text and vibrant photos, this is an excellent way to start teaching manners.

Baby Penguins Love Their Mama book
#19
Baby Penguins Love Their Mama
Written and illustrated by Melissa Guion
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A mother penguin stays very busy taking care of her many babies and teaching them important lessons about such things as sliding, waddling, preening—and love.

A Hungry Lion, Or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals book
#20
A Hungry Lion, Or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals
Written and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Members of a large group of animals, including a penguin, two rabbits, and a koala, disappear at an alarming rate but the hungry lion remains.

Penguins Don't Wear Sweaters! book
#21
Penguins Don't Wear Sweaters!
Written by Marikka Tamura and illustrated by Daniel Rieley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

You may have seen the cute pictures of penguins wearing sweaters—but did you know why they were wearing them? Debut author Marikka Tamura answers this question in this colorful, kid-friendly book that is told simply and charmingly. Penguins love the sea. Happy in the dark blue water. But what is this? One day something is floating in the water. Dark. Gooey. Oily . . . When the penguins become coated in an oil spill, many Big Boots arrive. The humans want to help the cold, greasy penguins, so they knit sweaters to keep them warm. The Big Boots mean well, but . . . penguins don’t wear sweaters! So after a good, soapy scrub, the penguins dive back into the deep blue sea, happily dressed only in their own penguin feathers.

What's Up Penguin? book
#22
What's Up Penguin?
Written and illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

What are the animals up to? There are lots of clues to help us decide, and we can lift the flap to see if we’re right. A playful way to exercise reasoning, prediction and memory skills, featuring colourful, high-contrast illustrations.

10 Reasons to Love... a Penguin book
#23
10 Reasons to Love... a Penguin
Written by Catherine Barr and illustrated by Hanako Clulow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Penguins go on incredible journeys, toboggan on their stomachs, and survive in the harshest climates. Turn the pages of this giftable series to find 10 reasons to love penguins, and five ways you can show you care.

  1. When Grandad Was a Penguin - Last time I went to see Grandad, he seemed a little different. What do you do when your Grandad starts acting VERY much like a penguin? Find out in this brilliantly funny and heartwarming story from talented author and illustrator, Morag Hood. Boys and girls alike will love the witty, sweet and brilliantly surreal depiction of everyday settings and situations in this fish-out-of-water story with a difference. When Grandad was a Penguin is perfect for sharing with children (and grandads) young and old. Morag Hood’s artwork is gorgeously bold and stylish and her illustrative talent and keen eye for design won her a place as runner up in The Macmillan Prize for Illustration.

  2. 365 Penguins - The penguins are back! A slightly smaller trim size and all-new cover art give this classic, first published in 2006, a refreshed look. Full color.

  3. Baby Penguin's First Waddles - What happens after a baby penguin emerges from her egg? Follow her journey and find out! Meet a penguin chick and see how she grows. Developed in tandem with the American Museum of Natural History, and featuring stunning photography in the penguin’s Antarctic home, this nonfiction picture book captures the first few months of a baby penguin’s life and her transformation into adulthood. With fun and engaging text, Baby Penguin’s First Waddles is sure to delight animal-loving kids.

  4. The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan - Meet Ace and Bub, the flying beaver brothers! Ace loves extreme sports and is always looking for a new adventure. Bub loves napping and, well, napping. But when penguins threaten to freeze Beaver Island for “resort and polar-style living,” the brothers put their talents to work saving their tropical island paradise. Can they save Beaver Island from environmental destruction? And can they do it in time to still win the annual Beaver Island Surfing Competition?

I Can Fly book
#28
I Can Fly
Written by and illustrated by Fifi Kuo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Penguin wants to fly like other birds, but he has trouble doing so when he tries! Penguin is confused because he has wings and can flap, waddle, and leap like other birds, but he lands flat on his stomach when he tries to fly. When Penguin asks his dad why he can’t fly, his father tells him that penguins swim. But Penguin doesn’t want to accept this! Will he be able to find a way to fly?

Spy Penguins book
#29
Spy Penguins
Written and illustrated by Sam Hay
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Two young adventure-loving and gadget-obsessed penguins dream of joining the FBI (Frosty Bureau of Investigation) in Sam Hay’s hilarious new illustrated chapter book series, Spy Penguins. Adventure-loving penguin Jackson dreams of being a secret agent like his Uncle Bryn, who works for the Frosty Bureau of Investigation. Jackson and his gadget-inventing best friend Quigley might officially be too young to join the FBI, but they aren’t going to let that stop them! They just need to come up with the right plan to prove that they are worthy. But when one of Q’s inventions goes dangerously wrong, Jackson suddenly finds himself dropped right in the middle off an FBI stakeout. There’s fishy business afoot at the city’s aquarium; rare fish are vanishing and not even the FBI can work out what’s going on. It’s up to Jackson and Quigley to solve the crime!

Penguin on a Scooter book
#30
Penguin on a Scooter
Written by Caspar Babypants and illustrated by Kate Endle
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Meet a roller-skating bunny, a disco-dancing philly, a penguin on a scooter, and other playful animals in this silly and adorable board book from indie collage artist Kate Endle and children’s music star Caspar Babypants. Toddlers will love this fun board book, featuring beautiful and playful collage art by indie artist Kate Endle and the clever word play of Seattle songwriter Caspar Babypants. Nothing is as funny as a roller skating bunny. Nothing is as crazy as a zebra wearing daisies. After meeting a variety of silly and colorful creatures, toddlers learn: Nothing is as true as the love I have for you.

Galápagos Girl/Galapagueña book
#31
Galápagos Girl/Galapagueña
Written by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by Angela Dominguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Valentina was born on an island formed by fire, surrounded by blue-green sea. As a Galapagueña, Valentina spends her days observing the natural world around her. She greets sea lions splashing on the shore, scampers over lava rocks with Sally-lightfoot crabs, and swims with manta rays. But Valentina also understands the fragility of this wondrous world, and she makes a solemn promise to protect the islands and her animal friends.

This delightful bilingual story was inspired by the childhood of Valentina Cruz, whose family was one of the first permanent inhabitants of the Galápagos. Valentina is now a biologist and naturalist guide who has dedicated her life to the conservation of the islands. Whimsical illustrations by Pura Belpré Honor recipient Angela Dominguez transport readers to these unique islands, which shelter a diverse number of plant and animal species, many found of which can be found nowhere else on the planet. Come discover this beautiful world with Valentina and her animal friends!

Five Christmas Penguins book
#32
Five Christmas Penguins
Written and illustrated by Steven Lenton
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Kids can practice counting and get in the holiday spirit in this festive story about five playful penguins! Get ready for some counting fun with five spunky penguins as they prepare for the best Christmas party ever! Whether zooming through the snow, decorating the tree, wrapping presents or singing, artist Steven Lenton’s adorable, playful penguins will get kids in the holiday spirit and help them improve their counting skills! Perfect for holiday gifts, Five Christmas Penguins features a foil and embossed cover treatment with shiny foil throughout.

  1. Baby Penguin: Finger Puppet Book - Meet Baby Penguin! How does Baby Penguin stay cozy and warm? Where does Baby Penguin play? Follow along as she experiences her world, from playtime to bedtime. The simple, comforting stories in this go-to baby gift series have made it a multimillion seller. Featuring a permanently attached plush finger puppet, each volume offers parents and children a fun, interactive way to play and read as they build a lifelong love of books together.

  2. Ella and Penguin Stick Together - Sometimes all you need is a good friend to help you be brave. Ella has a surprise for Penguin—glow-in-the-dark stickers! But to see the stickers glow, Ella and Penguin must be in the dark. And the dark is so . . . dark! If only they could see the stickers glow in the light—but that won’t work. Soon Ella and Penguin find out that if they stick together, they can face anything. Megan Maynor’s sweet and lively text, paired with Rosalinde Bonnet’s irresistible illustrations, will have readers clamoring for more Ella and Penguin.

  3. Five Flying Penguins - Five little penguins flee from a seal, flying through the water, and find themselves in an innocent game of tag.

  4. Chilly da Vinci - While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet! Chilly ties into the popular “maker” movement with humor and imagination. While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet!

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!