Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to photography and photographs. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about photography and photographs.
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 photography and photographs, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like This Is My Eye: A New York Story to popular sellers like Snowflake Bentley to some of our favorite hidden gems like Russell and the Lost Treasure.
We hope this list of kids books about photography and photographs 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.
Russell the sheep is determined to find the Lost Treasure of Frogsbottom. Equipped with his Super-Duper Treasure Seeker, Russell searches high and low, up and down, and in and out. Nothing! Finally, Russell finds an old chest! Could it be? Discover how Russell finds the most valuable treasure of all.
Here is a book babies can really sink their gums into. Built for the way babies read, Indestructibles are printed on an amazing paperlike material that can’t be ripped, torn, or punctured. Indestructibles are 100 percent safe and nontoxic, and if they get too funky, just throw them in the washing machine or dishwasher. They’re made for baby to hold, grab, chew, pull, and bend, and are designed to create an even more special bond between reader and baby. Printed without words, the parent gets to make up the story, or just cuddle with baby while they explore together.
Jungle Rumble! is about creatures in the wild. Kaaren Pixton’s art is bright, swirling with color, and reminiscent of Eric Carle, and it attains an almost 3D richness on the special paperlike stock of the book.
A gorgeous picture book biography of botanist and photographer Anna Atkins—the first person to ever publish a book of photography After losing her mother very early in life, Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was raised by her loving father. He gave her a scientific education, which was highly unusual for women and girls in the early 19th century. Fascinated with the plant life around her, Anna became a botanist. She recorded all her findings in detailed illustrations and engravings, until the invention of cyanotype photography in 1842. Anna used this new technology in order to catalogue plant specimens—a true marriage of science and art. In 1843, Anna published the book Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions with handwritten text and cyanotype photographs. It is considered the first book of photographs ever published. Weaving together histories of women, science, and art, The Bluest of Blues will inspire young readers to embark on their own journeys of discovery and creativity.
Girls being fearless. Girls being silly. Girls being wild, stubborn, and proud. Girls whose faces are smeared with dirt and lit up with joy. So simple and yet so powerful, Strong Is the New Pretty celebrates, through more than 175 memorable photographs, the strength and spirit of girls being 100% themselves. Real beauty isn’t about being a certain size, acting a certain way, wearing the right clothes, or having your hair done (or even brushed). Real beauty is about being your authentic self and owning it. Kate T. Parker is a professional photographer who finds the real beauty in girls, capturing it for all the world to see in candid and arresting images. A celebration, a catalog of spirit in words and smiles, an affirmation of the fact that it’s what’s inside you that counts, Strong Is the New Pretty conveys a powerful message for every girl, for every mother and father of a girl, for every coach and mentor and teacher, for everyone in the village that it takes to raise a strong and self-confident person.
James Van Der Zee was just a young boy when he saved enough money to buy his first camera. He took photos of his family, classmates, and anyone who would sit still for a portrait. By the fifth grade, James was the school photographer and unofficial town photographer. Eventually he outgrew his small town and moved to the exciting, fast-paced world of New York City. After being told by his boss that no one would want his or her photo taken -by a black man, - James opened his own portrait studio in Harlem. He took photographs of legendary figures of the Harlem Renaissance—politicians such as Marcus Garvey, performers including Florence Mills, Bill -Bojangles- Robinson, and Mamie Smith—and ordinary folks in the neighborhood too. Everyone wanted fancy portraits by James Van Der Zee. Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee! tells the story of a groundbreaking artist who chronicled an important era in Harlem and showed the beauty and pride of its people.
Plip-Plop Pond! - Here is a book babies can really sink their gums into. Built for the way babies read, Indestructibles are printed on an amazing paperlike material that can’t be ripped, torn, or punctured. Indestructibles are 100 percent safe and nontoxic, and if they get too funky, just throw them in the washing machine or dishwasher. They’re made for baby to hold, grab, chew, pull, and bend, and are designed to create an even more special bond between reader and baby. Printed without words, the parent gets to make up the story, or just cuddle with baby while they explore together. Plip-Plop Pond! is about a frog who visits his friends in the pond. Kaaren Pixton’s art is bright, swirling with color, and reminiscent of Eric Carle, and it attains an almost 3D richness on the special paperlike stock of the book.
Be Our Guest! - From Gray Malin, New York Times bestselling photographer of Beaches, comes Be Our Guest!, Malin’s first children’s picture book, compiled from his acclaimed series of photographs at the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs. Welcome to the Parker Hotel, where you’ll experience a delightful time away, filled with everything you’d expect from a sunny, California vacation. There’s tennis courts and a lemonade stand, a gorgeous pool, and a lawn for croquet. But, the other guests and staff are more than a little unexpected . . . If Eloise had lived in an animal-only hotel, it would have had the style and whimsy of the Parker. Just reading Be Our Guest! will whisk children away on a temporary holiday, which is nothing less than extraordinary.
Who Am I? - Gorgeous nature photography introduces readers to endangered species in this picture book from Tim Flach Who is that peeking through the page? Is it a giant panda munching on bamboo? Or perhaps a yellow-eyed tree frog hiding in a tropical forest? Who Am I? uses clever riddles and stunning images by esteemed photographer Tim Flach (taken from his Abrams adult book Endangered) to introduce ten vital species-at-risk to readers. With its engaging and timely message, this beautifully crafted picture book is perfect for the youngest animal enthusiasts.
Smile, Ernest and Celestine - After he explains to Celestine why his collection of photographs does not include her, Ernest remedies the omission.
In her international bestseller Strong Is the New Pretty (with 329,000 copies in print), the photographer Kate T. Parker changed the way we see girls by showing us their truest selves—fearless, messy, wild, stubborn, proud. Now it’s time to talk about our boys. Prompted by #metoo, school shootings, bullying, and other toxic behavior, there’s a national conversation going on about what defines masculinity and how to raise sons to become good people. And Kate Parker is joining in by turning her lens to boys. The result is possibly even more moving, more eloquent, more surprising than Strong. The Heart of a Boy is a deeply felt celebration of boyhood as it’s etched in the faces and bodies of dozens of boys, ages 5 to 18. There’s the pensive look of a skateboarder caught in a moment between rides. The years of dedication in a ballet dancer’s poise. The love of a younger brother hugging his older brother. The unself-conscious joy of a goofy grin with a missing tooth. The casual intimacy of two friends at a lemonade stand. The shyness of a lone boy and his model boat. The intensity in a football huddle. The proud, challenging gaze of a boy bald from alopecia—and the same kind of gaze, but wreathed in tenderness, of a boy a few years younger with flowing, almost waist-length hair. There are guitarists, fencers, wrestlers, star-gazers, a pilot—it’s the world of our sons, in all their amazing variety and difference. The photographs feel spontaneous, direct, and with so much eye contact between the viewed and the viewer that it’s impossible to turn away. And throughout, words from the boys themselves enrich every photo. What a gift for boys and anyone who is raising them.
With more than 12 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!
In this seventh book in the My Weirdest School series, it’s picture day at Ella Mentry School! This year, Mr. Klutz has hired a weird photographer, Ms. Joni. She keeps saying “fabulous,” and she wants to turn A.J. into a supermodel. But what happens when the Picture Day Zombie makes an appearance? Run for your lives!
Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman’s hugely popular My Weird School chapter book series has something for everyone. Don’t miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang.
Click! Click! Click! Sylvie the Squirrel is obsessed with selfies. However, as she’s clicking away, Sylvie is missing out on the fun right in front of her. When her friends save her from a scary situation, Sylvie realizes what’s really important and it’s not taking selfies. Social media starts at an early age, and debut author/illustrator Sandy Horsley brings that issue to the forefront in this timely picture book. Selfies are fun, but nothing is more fun than being a good friend and living in the moment.
What happens when you invite as many jazz musicians as you can to pose for a photo in 1950s Harlem? Playful verse and glorious artwork capture an iconic moment for American jazz. When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day. Francis Vallejo’s vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author’s note, sources, a bibliography, and a foldout of Art Kane’s famous photograph.
In 1917, in Cottingley, England, a girl named Elsie took a picture of her younger cousin, Frances. Also in the photo was a group of fairies, fairies that the girls insisted were real. Through a remarkable set of circumstances, that photograph and the ones that followed came to be widely believed as evidence of real fairies. It was not until 1983 that the girls, then late in life, confessed that the Cottingley Fairies were a hoax. Their take is an extraordinary slice of history, from a time when anything in a photograph was assumed to be fact and it was possible to trick an eager public into believing something magical. Exquisitely illustrated with art and the original fairy photographs.
Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America - His white teacher tells her all-black class, You’ll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way. Told through lyrical verse and atmospheric art, this is the story of how, with a single photograph, a self-taught artist got America to take notice.
This Is My Eye: A New York Story - Shapes, colors, patterns, and people are everywhere, and things look different depending on how you look at them—and who is doing the looking. In this playful ode to photography and point of view, a poetic story posits how one young girl might capture moments of insight, community, and art in her beloved hometown, New York City. With the popularity of camera phones, photo-journaling, and photo-posting sites, this fictional exploration of photography as one young girl’s form of self-expression is guaranteed to appeal to budding photographers.
Worth a Thousand Words - Ever since Tillie Green’s car accident left her with a severe limp, she’s kept herself hidden behind her camera. Through the lens, she watches her family and classmates, spotting the small details and secret glances that tell a much bigger story than what people usually see. Students call her “Lost and Found,” because her camera knows when you last had your headphones. Tillie is good at finding things, but she isn’t prepared for Jake’s request: to find his father. In a matter of days, Tillie goes from silent observer to one half of a detective duo, searching the college-town community for clues to explain Jake’s dad’s disappearance. When the truth isn’t what Jake wants it to be, and taking photographs starts exposing people’s secrets, Tillie has to decide what (and who) is truly important to her.
Polka Dot Parade - “Beautifully rendered and told, the book brings to life the work of a gifted 20th-century artist whose creative vision will always be in vogue.” Kirkus Reviews, Starred review This is a moving and impassioned picture book about the iconic fashion photographer Bill Cunningham that will inspire young readers to go discover their own ideas of beauty and embolden the world with their own creativity! He found “sheer poetry” in the drape of an evening dress, delight in the swoosh of a knife-pleated skirt, and sartorial splendor in Jazz Age garb. Every day, Bill Cunningham pedaled his bike through New York City searching for beauty. As he took picture after picture, Bill found beauty not in people, but in their clothes. Drawn to bold and creative choices, Bill’s photos captured the attention of the New York Times. He traveled to Paris for Fashion Week, and admiration for his work grew. With his sense of creativity and daringness, his own personal style of photography came to be known as street art photography. His photos left a lasting impression on all those who came across his work and they continue to inspire creativity today. This is the story of the legend who created street fashion photography and left behind a legacy of glorious pictures. Bill Cunningham used his passion and talent to capture the beauty he saw in fashion and the ultimate freedom that it represents to each and every person. This is an inspiring picture book about finding your path and being creative.
Discover the alphabet from a bird’s-eye view!
Geographer and designer duo Benedikt Gross and Joey Lee have taken the alphabet to new heights—literally! Using satellite imagery and computer technology, the pair has discovered “accidental letters” all over the world: in roads, rivers, buildings, lakes, and more. Take a journey around the Earth in 26 letters with this special book.
“Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied.” — Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)
From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley’s enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist’s vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.
Introduce your brilliant baby to famous naturalist and photographer Ansel Adams.
Ansel Adams was twelve years old when he received his first camera on a trip to Yosemite National Park. He spent the rest of his life taking photographs and advocating for conservation. Kate Coombs’ engaging story and Carme Lemniscates’ beautiful art bring Adams to life for young readers, encouraging little naturalists to Be Adventurous and Be Creative.
Kate Coombs is an award-winning author of original fairy tales, poems, middle-grade fantasy novels, and picture books, including the critically acclaimed Water Sings Blue, which won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for 2012, and seven books in the bestselling BabyLit series. She lives in Bountiful, Utah.
Carme Lemniscates is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer of children’s books. In 2010 she founded Lemniscates Studio (www.lemniscates.com) in her home city of Barcelona to create her own children’s book projects, which she both writes and illustrates. Carme also illustrated best-selling author Jennifer Adams’ I Am a Warrior Goddess.
Introduces the life and achievements of twentieth-century photographer Imogen Cunningham, describing her first darkroom experiments during childhood and the challenges she faced as a mother of three boys.
In this jaw-dropping final installment of New York Times bestselling author Dan Gutman’s action-packed series, four risk-taking friends travel back in time to record the most infamous duel in American history. Billionaire Miss Z might be out of the picture, but a top-secret agency wants to send Luke, Julia, David, and Isabel on one final mission. This time, the Flashback Four are headed to Weehawken, New Jersey—in 1804—to videotape the fateful duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. But once they arrive, the team faces a question of historic proportions: Should they capture the tragic details of the duel or try to change them? With real photographs to help put young readers right in the action, plus back matter that separates fact from fiction, The Hamilton-Burr Duel tells the story of one of history’s fiercest rivalries from a fun and fresh new angle.
The Night Before Class Picture Day - In this Night Before book, kids get ready for that all-important moment of the school year: class picture day! It’s the night before class picture day, and kids all down the block are getting ready. Everyone wants to look perfect for the photo. They fix their hair, practice smiles, and choose outfits. At school the next day, they try to stay picture-perfect. Will everything look perfect for the big moment when they say, “Cheese?”
Antsy Ansel - As a child, Ansel Adams just couldn’t sit still. He felt trapped indoors and never walked anywhere—he ran. Even when he sat, his feet danced. But in nature, Ansel felt right at home. He fell in love with the gusting gales of the Golden Gate, the quiet whisper of Lobos Creek, the icy white of Yosemite Valley, and countless other remarkable natural sights. From his early days in San Francisco to the height of his glory nationwide, this book chronicles a restless boy’s path to becoming an iconic nature photographer.
The Clue in the Old Album - Nancy Drew witnesses a purse snatching and runs after the thief. She rescues the purse, but not its contents, then is asked by the owner, a doll collector, to do some detective work. Readers will enjoy Nancy’s clever ways of finding all she seeks, and bringing happiness to a misunderstood child and her lonely grandmother.
The Perfect School Picture - It’s picture day, and the boy at the center of this charming story wants to make sure his picture is perfect. It seems as though everything’s going wrong for him—he has bedhead, a stained shirt, and a big scowl on his face. But when he goes up for his picture, he thinks about his terrible appearance, and he smiles—because he secretly wants his picture to be the worst ever taken! But just as he smiles, the photo is snapped, and his plan is ruined when he takes a totally adorable picture. Perfectly paired with the larger-than-life silliness of Dan Santat’s illustrations, this is a sweet and funny picture book about a classic school moment.
If you could taste color, this cookie book would have all the flavors of the rainbow. From social media “cookie-gram” master Holly Fox comes a delicious board book of colors that looks good enough to eat.
Based on the beautiful royal-icing cookie designs that have garnered her hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, Holly Fox presents the colors of the rainbow one—well, several cookies at a time in this adorable board book for young readers.
Before she raised her lens to take her most iconic photo, Dorothea Lange took photos of the downtrodden from bankers in once-fine suits waiting in breadlines, to former slaves, to the homeless sleeping on sidewalks. A case of polio had left her with a limp and sympathetic to those less fortunate. Traveling across the United States, documenting with her camera and her fieldbook those most affected by the stock market crash, she found the face of the Great Depression. In this picture book biography, Carole Boston Weatherford with her lyrical prose captures the spirit of the influential photographer.
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