Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to religion. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about religion.
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 religion, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Big Red Lollipop to popular sellers like Malala’s Magic Pencil to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Proudest Blue.
We hope this list of kids books about religion 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.
A powerful, vibrantly illustrated story about the first day of school—and two sisters on one’s first day of hijab—by Olympic medalist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad. With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab—a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong. Paired with Hatem Aly’s beautiful, whimsical art, Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and Morris Award finalist S.K. Ali bring readers an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond between siblings, and of being proud of who you are.
Malala’s first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them. As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala’s story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.
What a darling story of respecting others religions. Our neighbors and friends may be different than us, but that can bring many rich experiences to us as we learn to love them and help them just the same.
Forced to bring her little sister along to a birthday party, Rubina is mortified when her younger sibling demands to win every game and steals Rubina’s red lollipop party favor.
When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand, a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube, they know it is up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed.
A lyrical and heartwarming celebration of a mother’s love for her children by the award-winning author of Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.
In this moving picture book, author Hena Khan shares her wishes for her children: “Inshallah you find wonder in birds as they fly. Inshallah you are loved, like the moon loves the sky.” With vibrant illustrations and prose inspired by the Quran, this charming picture book is a heartfelt and universal celebration of a parent’s unconditional love.
• A reassuring bedtime read-aloud for mothers and their children. • A perfect book for sharing Muslim family traditions and for families teaching diversity and religious acceptance. • Hena Khan’s books have been widely acclaimed, winning awards and honors from the ALA, Parent’s Choice, and many others.
For families who have read and loved Under My Hijab, Yo Soy Muslim, and Mommy’s Khimar.
A sweet and lovely bedtime book to help let children know they are loved and precious.
When God Made Light - From the creators of the bestselling “When God Made You” comes a new illuminating message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers. Full color.
Santa's Prayer - Celebrate the real reason for the season with Santa as he takes time from a busy Christmas Eve to pause and offer a prayer to the Lord. On Christmas Eve, a brother and sister stroll through their town, excitedly discussing the gifts they hope to find under the tree. Then they suddenly spy Santa quietly slipping into the church. They follow him inside, where they witness his humble prayer at the altar crèche and hear his greatest holiday wish: that children understand that Jesus is the focus at Christmas . . . and always.
Stories Jesus Told Us - The perfect introduction to Jesus’ stories, six much-loved parables from the New Testament are re-told simply and clearly and accompanied by beautiful picture-book style illustrations. Each story can be read to the child but can also be enjoyed by children on their own as their reading skills develop. Next Steps are included at the back of the book to encourage further discussion and there’s a rhyme for children to join in with and lots to spot throughout the books.
Muslim Girls Rise - Long ago, Muslim women rode into battle to defend their dreams. They opened doors to the world’s oldest library. They ruled, started movements, and spread knowledge. Today, Muslim women continue to make history. Once upon a time, they were children with dreams, just like you. Discover the true stories of nineteen unstoppable Muslim women of the twenty-first century who have risen above challenges, doubts, and sometimes outright hostility to blaze trails in a wide range of fields. Whether it was the culinary arts, fashion, sports, government, science, entertainment, education, or activism, these women never took “no” for an answer or allowed themselves to be silenced. Instead, they worked to rise above and not only achieve their dreams, but become influential leaders. Through short, information-rich biographies and vibrant illustrations, Muslim Girls Rise introduces young readers to the diverse and important contributions Muslim women have made, and role models they may never have heard of before, but whose stories they will never forget.
Selected as a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Shelf Awareness! A young Muslim girl spends a busy day wrapped up in her mother’s colorful headscarf in this sweet and fanciful picture book from debut author and illustrator Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow and Ebony Glenn. A khimar is a flowing scarf that my mommy wears. Before she walks out the door each day, she wraps one around her head. A young girl plays dress up with her mother’s headscarves, feeling her mother’s love with every one she tries on. Charming and vibrant illustrations showcase the beauty of the diverse and welcoming community in this portrait of a young Muslim American girl’s life.
Hats of Faith is a simple and striking introduction to the shared custom of religious head coverings. With bright images and a carefully researched interfaith text, this thoughtful book inspires understanding and celebrates our culturally diverse modern world.
From a crescent moon to a square garden to an octagonal fountain, this breathtaking picture book celebrates the shapes—and traditions—of the Muslim world. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets is equally at home in a classroom reading circle and on a parent’s lap being read to a child.
Learn all about the traditions of Ramadan with this first book in the brand-new board book series Celebrate the World, which highlights celebrations across the globe.
In the ninth month of the year, when the first crescent moon rises in the sky, it’s time to celebrate Ramadan! In this lovely board book with illustrations from Rashin Kheiriyeh, readers learn that Ramadan is a time to reflect on ourselves, to be thankful, and a time to help others.
Learn all about the traditions of Diwali with this third book in the delightful board book series Celebrate the World, which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe. Each autumn we gather with our friends and family and light our brightest lanterns. It’s time for Diwali, the festival of lights! In this lovely board book with illustrations from Archana Sreenivasan, readers learn that the five days of Diwali are a time to pray for a bountiful season, celebrate the special bonds between siblings, and rejoice in the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns - Magnificently capturing the colorful world of Islam for the youngest readers, this breathtaking and informative picture book celebrates Islam s beauty and traditions. From a red prayer rug to a blue hijab, everyday colors are given special meaning as young readers learn about clothing, food, and other important elements of Islamic culture, with a young Muslim girl as a guide. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is equally at home in a classroom reading circle as it is being read to a child on a parent s lap.
My First Picture Book about the Qur'an - The perfect book to introduce children to the teachings in the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book.
But. . .who is Allah? - As a young girl observes that each of six women in her life wears her hijab and hair in a different way, she considers how to express her own style one day.
The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh - Harpreet Singh has a different color for every mood and occasion, from happy sunny yellow to courageous red. He especially takes care with his patka—his turban—making sure it always matches his outfit. But when Harpreet’s mom finds a new job in a snowy city and they have to move, everything just feels gray. Can he find a way to make life bright again?
Everything was going smoothly, a typical first night of Hanukkah. Or so Harvie thought! There was someone else in the house, and he had presents, too - Santa Claus! Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus is the hilarious and heartfelt story of how two holiday heroes wind up with the greatest gift of all: friendship.
A storm is coming — a big one. How does a young urban boy prepare? A lovely allegorical story about ecology and caring inspired by the ancient tale of stewardship. While his family readies his townhouse for an approaching storm, boarding up windows and laying in groceries, Noah heads to the back garden, where beetles are burrowing deeper into the bark and mice are stuffing their hole with moss. Quickly and efficiently, Noah sets to work building an ark for them and other backyard creatures — salamanders and toads, snakes and spiders, even brightly colored hummingbirds. Setting out fistfuls of nuts and leaves, berries and seeds, the boy props a flashlight inside and arranges some miniature furniture for the animals to sit or sleep on. “Come,” Noah whispers to his friends just as his mother calls him inside and the dark storm roars in. From an award-winning author and a Caldecott Honoree comes a quietly inspiring story about how taking action on behalf of our fellow earth travelers can help us face fearsome events.
Now in paperback, this sweet tale follows Yasmeen, a seven-year-old Pakistani-American girl, as she celebrates the Muslim holidays of Ramadan, “The Night of the Moon” (Chaand Raat), and Eid. With lush illustrations that evoke Islamic art, this beautiful story offers a peek into modern Muslim culture—and into the ancient roots of its most cherished traditions.
Grandma’s hijab clasps under her chin. Auntie pins hers up with a whimsical brooch. Jenna puts a sun hat over hers when she hikes. Iman wears a sports hijab for tae kwon do. As a young girl observes the women in her life and how each covers her hair a different way, she dreams of the possibilities in her own future and how she might express her personality through her hijab.
With cheerful rhyming text by acclaimed author Hena Khan, and charming illustrations from talented newcomer Aaliya Jaleel, Under My Hijab provides a friendly introduction to hijabs for all readers, and celebrates the many Muslim women and girls who choose to wear them.
Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can’t convince Ami that you just don’t bring your younger sister to your friend’s party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party she steals Rubina’s prized party favor, a red lollipop. What’s a fed-up big sister to do?
The Eleventh Trade - From debut author Alyssa Hollingsworth comes a story about living with fear, being a friend, and finding a new place to call home. They say you can’t get something for nothing, but nothing is all Sami has. When his grandfather’s most-prized possession—a traditional Afghan instrument called a rebab—is stolen, Sami resolves to get it back. He finds it at a music store, but it costs $700, and Sami doesn’t have even one penny. What he does have is a keychain that has caught the eye of his classmate. If he trades the keychain for something more valuable, could he keep trading until he has $700? Sami is about to find out. The Eleventh Trade is both a classic middle school story and a story about being a refugee. Like Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree, Alyssa Hollingsworth tackles a big issue with a light touch.
My Special Angels - Little Leaders meets Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls in this gorgeous nonfiction picture book that introduces readers to nineteen powerhouse Muslim women who rose up and made their voices heard. Long ago, Muslim women rode into battle to defend their dreams. They opened doors to the world’s oldest library. They ruled, started movements, and spread knowledge. Today, Muslim women continue to make history. Once upon a time, they were children with dreams, just like you. Discover the true stories of nineteen unstoppable Muslim women of the twenty-first century who have risen above challenges, doubts, and sometimes outright hostility to blaze trails in a wide range of fields. Whether it was the culinary arts, fashion, sports, government, science, entertainment, education, or activism, these women never took “no” for an answer or allowed themselves to be silenced. Instead, they worked to rise above and not only achieve their dreams, but become influential leaders. Through short, information-rich biographies and vibrant illustrations, Muslim Girls Rise introduces young readers to the diverse and important contributions Muslim women have made, and role models they may never have heard of before, but whose stories they will never forget.
The Length of a String - Imani is adopted, and she’s ready to search for her birth parents. But when she discovers the diary her Jewish great-grandmother wrote chronicling her escape from Holocaust-era Europe, Imani begins to see family in a new way. Imani knows exactly what she wants as her big bat mitzvah gift: to find her birth parents. She loves her family and her Jewish community in Baltimore, but she has always wondered where she came from, especially since she’s black and almost everyone she knows is white. Then her mom’s grandmother–Imani’s great-grandma Anna–passes away, and Imani discovers an old journal among her books. It’s Anna’s diary from 1941, the year she was twelve and fled Nazi-occupied Luxembourg alone, sent by her parents to seek refuge in Brooklyn, New York. Anna’s diary records her journey to America and her new life with an adoptive family of her own. And as Imani reads the diary, she begins to see her family, and her place in it, in a whole new way.
Proud (Young Readers Edition) - A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this “compassionate, timely novel” (Booklist, starred review) from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns. Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized. Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani-American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.
In his first memoir written especially for young readers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will focus on his relationships with several important coaches in his life - including his father, his high-school coach and Coach Wooden - as he tells the story of his life and career. Like many kids in elementary school, Kareem (then Lew Alcindor) struggled with fitting in, pleasing a strict father, and severe shyness that made him socially awkward. Unlike most kids, he also had to grapple with a sudden growth spurt that shot him up taller than pretty much everyone around him, including students, teachers, and even his own father. His increasing fame as a basketball player throughout high school brought new challenges as this shy boy was shoved into the national spotlight. At the same time, social unrest in the country, particularly involving the growing civil rights movement, tugged at his conscience as he tried to find his place in it. After all, he was just a kid. What could he do? Recruited to UCLA, his fame as an unstoppable center made him a college superstar. But as his fame rose, so did the social turmoil in the country: Vietnam War protests, Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., large-scale riots, the Women’s Movement. He could have hidden from all the turmoil as a sports celebrity, but he chose to join in the social evolution. The result was converting to Islam and changing his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The public backlash was blistering, but he didn’t waver.
This is a prayer written for one little girl, but it is a prayer for boys and girls all over the world. It is full of the intimate gentleness for familiar things, the love of friends and family, and the kindly protection of God. It carries a universal appeal for all ages and races, and brings to our hearts and minds the deep responsibility of preserving for all times the faith and hopes of little children.
A nonfiction picture book with full-color illustrations about the life of the Buddha, from award-winning author and illustrator Demi Many centuries ago, in a kingdom in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, a miraculous child was born to the king and queen. The young prince, Siddhartha, was raised in the greatest luxury, sheltered from all pain and ugliness. But one day Siddhartha left the palace and saw, for the first time, human suffering and death. He knew then that he must relinquish everything— his family, his wealth, his position— to discover the Truth of life and death. With only a few humble possessions, he began a remarkable spiritual journey that ended many years later under a bodhi tree. There he finally discovered the Truth and became an Enlightened One, a Buddha. The Buddha taught the Truth and the path to inner peace for forty-five years, attracting thousands of disciples. Today millions of people around the world live by his teachings. Demi’s exquisite illustrations, inspired by the paintings and sculptures of several Asian cultures, are layered with meaning; each brush stroke has a special significance. Demi, herself a Buddhist, brings her devotion to the teachings of the Buddha and her vast knowledge of his life to this comprehensive picture-book biography of an extraordinary spiritual leader.
By award-winning picture book author Demi, this is a fully illustrated nonfiction picture book that tells the story of the search for the fourteenth Dalai Lama. Now in paperback for the first time, with a foreword written by The Dalai Lama himself. When the thirteenth Dalai Lama died in 1933, the highest holy men in Tibet searched throughout the land for his successor. They were spiritually guided to the humble dwelling of a loving family high in the Himalayas. When the search party greeted the youngest son, the child told them, “Now I am going home!” At last the fourteenth Dalai Lama had been found, and at the age of two, the young boy was taken to the capital city, Lhasa, where he began his training to become the spiritual leader of Tibet. The work of the Dalai Lama and the fate of Tibet are topics of evergrowing international focus. In simple language and glorious art, Demi pays tribute to the fourteenth Dalai Lama’s remarkable life. She captures the beauty of Tibetan culture, as well as the charm, talent, and vision of one of the world’s best-known spiritual figures.
Lailah solves her problem with help from the school librarian and her teacher and in doing so learns that she can make new friends who respect her beliefs. This gentle, moving story from first-time author Reem Faruqi comes to life in Lea Lyon’s vibrant illustrations. Lyon uses decorative arabesque borders on intermittent spreads to contrast the ordered patterns of Islamic observances with the unbounded rhythms of American school days.
One Last Wish - A princess marries a man she loves in spite of his impending death. Due to her devotion and persistence, she is granted a wish, which she uses wisely. Themes: love, devotion, bravery.
Buddha Stories - A golden goose demonstrates the wealth of kindness. A rabbit learns not to believe everything he hears. Throughout the ages, moral tales have been passed down from one generation to the next. Centuries ago in China, hundreds of parables were told by the Buddha to his devoted followers. His messages became widespread through fables adapted by famous storytellers like Aesop and La Fontaine. In this collection, the author has chosen ten of the most engaging classic tales from the Buddha’s works. Compiled and illustrated by Demi, this wonderful collection of stories is sure to draw young readers into the ancient teachings of the Buddha, teachings that are as relevant today as they were over two thousand years ago.
A Church for All - This simple, lyrical story celebrates a diverse community on a Sunday morning at an inclusive church that welcomes all people regardless of age, class, race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Come to the church for all!
Noah's Ark - Bring Noah’s Ark to life with this interactive retelling. Perfect for story time! This interactive retelling of the story of Noah’s Ark is brought to life with die-cut windows, colorful illustrations, simple text, and clever lift-the-flaps on every spread. Perfect for introducing the stories of the Bible to young children, this book will become a story time favorite! Count two by two as Noah leads animals from the jungle, farm, garden, and more into his ark, safe and warm, away from the flood.
Dear God, It’s the end of the day and time for my prayer to say thanks for your blessings and heavenly care Bedtime Blessings offers a peaceful way to end the day with a special child, through this heartfelt prayer of gratitude and wish for God’s blessings on others, too. Created to help grow a joyful spirit of contentment in even the youngest child, this sweet blessing will guide them into dreamland with a heart full of thanks and love.
Sadie wants to plant a tree for Tu B’Shevat. But it’s the middle of winter! Her parents and grandfather assure her that a tree can’t take root in the frozen ground. But with help from brother Ori and Grandma, Sadie learns why the tree-planting holiday is celebrated in winter and finds her own special ways to celebrate it.
Every year in October or November people come together to celebrate Diwali. It is the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. The stories woven into the festival of Diwali celebrate the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, and people celebrate this festival of lights by lighting clay lamps and candles, sharing sweets, exchanging gifts, offering prayers to gods and goddesses and watching fireworks. Introduce your little one to the awe of this brilliant festival through dazzling photographs and Singh’s lyrical prose.
Sophia wants to fast for Ramadan this year. She tries to keep busy throughout the day so she won’t think about food. But when the smell of cookies is too much, she breaks her fast early. How can she be part of the festivities now?
It’s nearly spring, which means it’s time to celebrate the cheerful Jewish holiday of Purim. Purim recounts the time when Esther, Queen of Persia, saved the Jews from the evil Haman, who wanted to execute the Jewish people. It’s a time to dress up in costumes, fill the hamantashen, swing the noisemakers, and read the Megillah scroll. Join a family as they celebrate the bravery of Queen Esther and the joy of being together.
Jonah and the Big Fish - God asks Jonah to go to Nineveh to deliver a message. What happens when he disobeys him? Why is Jonah thrown into the stormy sea? Read about Jonah’s adventure and find out how he ends up inside a big fish! These beautifully illustrated classic Bible stories are perfect for reading together as well as reading alone. The most popular stories from the Old Testament are retold in easy-to-read language and provide a perfect introduction into the Bible. The series allows children to become familiar with colorful stories from the Old Testament using the familiar picture story format. Whilst the language is simple and easy to understand, the detailed illustrations support the text and provide ideal opportunities for spotting things and for further discussion.
A Child's Book of Prayers - I see the moon And the moon sees me; God bless the moon, And God bless me. Michael Hague’s beautifully illustrated, best-selling collection of traditional prayers is now available as a padded board book. From “The Lord’s Prayer” to “Now I Lay MeDown to Sleep,” the verses included are familiar, comforting, and appropriate for even the youngest child. The art is full of love and spirit, presenting a reassuring vision of the world.
Little Sid - In this charming and accessible picture book, Ian Lendler and Xanthe Bouma offer a heart-warming account of the childhood of the Buddha. A spoiled young prince, Siddhartha got everything he ever asked for, until he asked for what couldn’t be given—happiness. Join Little Sid as he sets off on a journey of discovery and encounters mysterious wise-folk, terrifying tigers, and one very annoying mouse. With Lendler’s delightful prose and Bouma’s lyrical artwork, Little Sid weaves traditional Buddhist fables into a classic new tale of mindfulness, the meaning of life, and an awakening that is as profound today as it was 2,500 years ago.
Is it Passover Yet? - It’s time to clean the house, set out our best dishes, and fill our homes with food and family to celebrate the joyous holiday of Passover! In this sweet story, join one family as they gather with loved ones to share the joy of togetherness and freedom that Passover brings.
The gentle beasts of sky and earth
prepare their stable for Christ’s birth.
With a beautiful narrative by author and poet Carole Gerber and stunning and intricate art by renowned Japanese artist Yumi Shimokawara comes one of the most anticipated Christmas gift books ever published. TheGift of the Animals shares the miraculous offerings the humble animals in the manger gave to the baby Jesus.
The birds on the roof of the lowly shed
prepare a pillow for His head,
with feathers pulled from downy breasts . . .
mice carry them to where He’ll rest.
Celebrating the Savior’s birth, this full-color, gold-embossed hardcover is must-have addition to a family’s Christmas library and Christmas Eve traditions.
In this story, written in the style of Clement C. Moore’s classic poem, a girl and her twin brother nervously prepare for their first communion.
In the spirit of her acclaimed Dog Heaven and Cat Heaven, Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant illustrates verses from the King James Bible chapter of Ecclesiastes in a simple yet powerful folk art style. Cynthia Rylant takes the familiar text of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, as told in the King James Bible, and lovingly illustrates it in her simple but bold style that has been called “stunning” by School Library Journal. As she did with the creation story, Rylant has created a sublime take on a classic story that will appeal to readers of all ages.
Waking up early in the morning on Sukkot, Sadie and Ori decide to serve breakfast in the sukkah. But when the table is set and the food is ready, they remember that a sukkah celebration needs guests. No one is awake, so who should they invite?
As summer ends and fall settles in, a family prepares to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. It’s time to pick apples, make cards, light the candles, and eat brisket to ring in the new year!