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Philosophy: Books For Kids

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

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

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 philosophy, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Way I Act to popular sellers like The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse to some of our favorite hidden gems like I Look Up To… Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

We hope this list of kids books about philosophy can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Big Ideas for Little Philosophers: Equality with Simone de Beauvoir
Written by Duane Armitage and Maureen McQuerry & illustrated by Robin Rosenthal
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

An exciting board book series that asks deep questions in a wonderfully accessible way.

Even little children have big questions about life. Simone de Beauvoir focused much of her work on the concept of equality, insisting that girls and boys and women and men should have the same opportunities to be happy. Everyone should have the right to be themselves and be treated with respect no matter what. Kids will come away from this book encouraged to think about how the same things can make girls and boys happy or sad or excited, and everyone should listen to who they are on the inside and respect that in others.

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Big Ideas for Little Philosophers: Imagination with René Descartes
Written by Duane Armitage and Maureen McQuerry & illustrated by Robin Rosenthal
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

An exciting board book series that asks deep questions in a wonderfully accessible way.

 Even little children have big questions about life. Imaginations are unique to every human on earth and René Descartes believed that is what makes every person their own true self. By thinking about what we imagine and how all people imagine differently, kids can work on understanding others' perspectives and points of view and become more empathetic. Imagination with René Descartes will help them see how using your imagination makes you "you" and understanding the same about friends and family is an important part of getting along in a community.
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I Look Up To... Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Written by Anna Membrino & illustrated by Fatti Burke
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

If you can see it, you can be it! Introduce your child to your role models with this series of inspirational board books.

It’s never too early to introduce your child to the people you admire! This board book distills Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s excellent qualities into deliciously illustrated little baby-sized bites, with text designed to share and read aloud.

Each spread highlights an important trait, and is enhanced by a quote from RBG herself. Kids will grow up hearing the words of this influential woman and will learn what YOU value in a person!

The I LOOK UP TO . . . series aims to shine a spotlight on women making a difference in the world today, and to encourage young kids to follow in their footsteps!

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Big Ideas for Little Philosophers: Happiness with Aristotle
Written by Maureen McQuerry and Duane Armitage & illustrated by Robin Rosenthal
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

An exciting board book series that asks deep questions in a wonderfully accessible way.

Even little children have big questions about life. Finding happiness is a lifelong goal and Aristotle thought deeply about it. Why are we here? What is the best way to live a happy life? Having friends who are fun and adventurous is important, but it’s also important to have true friends who will help us be good people and tell us when we’re straying from that. He also believed we have to love ourselves in order to love others and be happy. This book will prompt readers to concentrate on what makes them happy and how they can be a good friend to others and themselves.

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Birds
Written & illustrated by Carme Lemniscates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Brilliant graphic illustrations and a gentle, thought-provoking text pay homage to birds and their wonder-inspiring ways. Birds are like thoughts. They come, stay awhile . . . and then fly away. Birds come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They like to chat with one another as they fly high and low in the sky. Birds make music, with songs that are like the loving words of a friend, and we are lucky enough to enjoy those sweet melodies. But best of all, birds are capable of flying wherever they please – they just let their hearts guide them. And we can do that, too, if we use our imaginations. In a lyrical ode to our winged friends, the creator of Trees turns her eye to a diverse class of creatures that has much to teach about transcending the barriers that lie between us.

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  • Big Ideas for Little Philosophers: Imagination with René Descartes - An exciting board book series that asks deep questions in a wonderfully accessible way. Even little children have big questions about life. Imaginations are unique to every human on earth and René Descartes believed that is what makes every person their own true self. By thinking about what we imagine and how all people imagine differently, kids can work on understanding others’ perspectives and points of view and become more empathetic. Imagination with René Descartes will help them see how using your imagination makes you “you” and understanding the same about friends and family is an important part of getting along in a community.

  • Big Ideas for Little Philosophers: Truth with Socrates - An exciting board book series that asks deep questions in a wonderfully accessible way. Even little children have big questions about life. Socrates believed being truthful and asking questions about the world can make us wise, and Truth with Socrates brings his philosophy to the youngest thinkers. From the importance of being honest even if it’s hard or makes you scared to always asking questions to understand more about everything around you, this book will lead to inspiring conversations about human dynamics between people of all ages.

  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse - #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER - USA TODAY BESTSELLER From the revered British illustrator, a modern fable for all ages that explores life’s universal lessons, featuring 100 color and black-and-white drawings. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.
    “Kind,” said the boy. Charlie Mackesy offers inspiration and hope in uncertain times in this beautiful book based on his famous quartet of characters. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse explores their unlikely friendship and the poignant, universal lessons they learn together. Radiant with Mackesy’s warmth and gentle wit, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse blends hand-written narrative with dozens of drawings, including some of his best-loved illustrations (including “Help,” which has been shared over one million times) and new, never-before-seen material. A modern classic in the vein of The Tao of Pooh, The Alchemist, and The Giving Tree, this charmingly designed keepsake will be treasured for generations to come.

  • Love Will See You Through - The niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. reveals six timeless and universal principles that encompass the civil rights leader’s greatest legacy: Love will see you through. Growing up as the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Farris Watkins witnessed firsthand the principles and values that “Uncle M.L.” practiced and lived by throughout his fight for equality. Drawing from experiences and episodes both personal and well-known, Dr. Watkins artfully details the guiding beliefs of one of the greatest men in history. Including “have courage” and “love your enemies,” these six hallmarks of virtue and nonviolence reinforce the truth that “the universe honors love” and will inspire readers of all ages.

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What is Humanism? How do you live without a god? And Other Big Questions for Kids
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-11

What does it mean to be a humanist? Is humanism a new idea? How do people live their lives without religious beliefs? The first of its kind aimed at the new curriculum for upper primary and lower secondary school children, this book examines how humanists respond to fundamental questions about morals and ethics, the origins of life, religion and the state. It looks at how humanists mark the milestones of birth, marriage and death. How do people without belief in God live moral and fulfilled lives, with respect for humankind and the universe? This thought-provoking approach encourages readers to think about the big questions for themselves.

The book includes contributions from a number of prominent humanists, such as Stephen Fry, Camila Batmanghelidjh, Philip Pullman, Jim Al-Khalili, Natalie Haynes and Shappi Khorsandi, who explain their own philosophy and tell us what is important to them.

Part of the groundbreaking and important ‘And Other Big Questions’ series, which offers balanced and considered views on the big issues we face in the world we live in today.

Other titles in the series include:
What is Feminism? Why do we need It?
Who are Refugees and Migrants? What Makes People Leave their Homes?

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Never Forgotten
Written & illustrated by Patricia C. McKissack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

A 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book. This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, this a lyrical story-in-verse is about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, and his father who is left behind to mourn the loss of his son. Here’s a beautiful, powerful, truly unforgettable story about family, memory, and freedom.

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The Abolition of Man
Written by C. S. Lewis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 16-100

 In the classic The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis, the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, sets out to persuade his audience of the importance and relevance of universal values such as courage and honor in contemporary society. Both astonishing and prophetic, The Abolition of Man is one of the most debated of Lewis’s extraordinary works. National Review chose it as number seven on their “100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century.”

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Of numbers and stars
Written by D. Anne Love & illustrated by Pam Paparone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Presents the life of a Egyptian woman who lived in fifth century Alexandria and became a respected scholar in mathematics and philosophy.

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The Way I Act
Written by Steve Metzger & illustrated by Janan Cain
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

The Way I Act explores thirteen ways of behaving. The friendly verses and bold illustrations convey many positive ideas of how to act in a variety of situations. In the companion book, The Way I Feel, children learned that feelings come and go and simply are. A little older now, they are ready to think about the ability they have to control how things turn out. Like The Way I Feel, this book is ideal for children with autism.

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