Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to small towns. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about small towns.
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 small towns, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like A Long Way from Chicago to popular sellers like Summer of My German Soldier to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Magic Misfits.
We hope this list of kids books about small towns can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
From award-winning actor, Neil Patrick Harris, comes the magical first book in a new series with plenty of tricks up its sleeve. When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on. After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded illusionists. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series. (Psst. Hey, you! Yes, you! Congratulations on reading this far. As a reward, I’ll let you in on a little secret… This book isn’t just a book. It’s a treasure trove of secrets and ciphers and codes and even tricks. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll discover more than just a story–you’ll learn how to make your own magic!)
Richard Scarry’s classic book that takes readers all around town!
Join Lowly Worm, Huckle Cat, and other beloved characters for a day in Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Town. Visit the school, the farm, the post office, and many more fun and exciting places in this classic book that teaches little ones all about what goes on in their very own communities.
With the My First Little House picture book series, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books in these illustrated adaptations of the beloved series!
One spring day Pa has a wonderful surprise—he is taking the family on a trip into town! Laura is very excited, for she has never been to a town, and this special visit is everything she imagined and more.
Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.
Best at It - From award-winning actor Maulik Pancholy comes a hilarious and heartfelt middle grade debut about a gay Indian American boy coming into his own. One of Time Out's "LGBTQ+ books for kids to read during Pride Month," this is perfect for fans of Tim Federle's Nate series. A Stonewall Honor Book!
Birdsong - A Best Book of the Year in Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Horn Book.
The Newspaper Club - Shortly after Nellie Murrow, named for one of the fiercest journalists who ever lived and daughter of two (former) newspaper reporters, move to sleepy Bear Creek, Maine, rumors of vandalism and attacks at the only park in town are keeping Nellie saddled to the house. Some townspeople say the attacks are gang recruitments. Others blame a vagrant spotted on the hiking trails around town. But when Nellie thinks like a reporter, none of those explanations make sense. Something is happening at the park, but what? All of the fake online news and rumors are clouding the real news. Nellie wants to break the story–and break free from the front yard-but she can’t do it alone. She needs a whole club if she’s going to start the town’s first independent newspaper–The Cub Report. Creating a newspaper from scratch is going to be tough; but for Nellie, making friends is even harder.
The Second Story - From award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris comes the magical second book in the New York Times bestselling Magic Misfits series--with even more tricks up its sleeve.
When her mother uproots them again to another home and takes a job as housekeeper, ten-year-old Mavis is determined to find a best friend in Landry, Alabama, where the summer also holds the promise of friendship and change for a sad man, a stray dog, and a timid girl.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month!
Superfudge meets The Lemonade War in this funny, heartwarming series debut about change, adventure, family, and of course, doughnuts.
Tristan isn’t Gifted or Talented like his sister Jeanine, and he’s always been okay with that because he can make a perfect chocolate chip cookie and he lives in the greatest city in the world. But his life takes a turn for the worse when his parents decide to move to middle-of-nowhere Petersville―a town with one street and no restaurants. It’s like suddenly they’re supposed to be this other family, one that can survive without bagels and movie theaters.
His suspicions about his new town are confirmed when he’s tricked into believing the local general store has life-changing chocolate cream doughnuts, when in fact the owner hasn’t made them in years. And so begins the only thing that could make life in Petersville worth living: getting the recipe, making the doughnuts, and bringing them back to the town through his very own doughnut stand. But Tristan will soon discover that when starting a business, it helps to be both Gifted and Talented, and It’s possible he’s bitten off more than he can chew…
Young Lentil wants to learn to sing, but no matter how hard he tries he can’t sing on key. He can’t even pucker his lips to whistle! So Lentil learns to play the harmonica instead and beautifully carries his tune through the winding streets of Alto, Ohio. Lentil masters his craft just as the beloved Colonel Carter returns to town and the Alto residents decide to plan a special celebration. But Old Sneep, the grouchiest man in town, doesn’t want anyone celebrating Colonel Carter’s homecoming. When Old Sneep stops the welcoming parade in its tracks, Lentil’s music turns out to be just what Alto needs. <p/>Robert McCloskey, the Caldecott-winning author and illustrator of <i>Make Way for Ducklings, </i>brings readers this delightful two color picture book.
Before Stinkville, Alice didn’t think albinismor the blindness that goes with itwas a big deal. Sure, she uses a magnifier to read books. And a cane keeps her from bruising her hips on tables. Putting on sunscreen and always wearing a hat are just part of life. But life has always been like this for Alice. Until Stinkville.
For the first time in her life, Alice feels differentlike she’s at a disadvantage. Back in her old neighborhood in Seattle, everyone knew Alice, and Alice knew her way around. In Stinkville, Alice finds herself flounderingshe can’t even get to the library on her own. But when her parents start looking into schools for the blind, Alice takes a stand. She’s going to show themand herselfthat blindness is just a part of who she is, not all that she can be. To prove it, Alice enters the Stinkville Success Stories essay contest. No one, not even her new friend Kerica, believes she can scout out her new town’s stories and write the essay by herself. The funny thing is, as Alice confronts her own blindness, everyone else seems to see her for the first time.
This is a stirring small-town story that explores many different issuesalbinism, blindness, depression, dyslexia, growing old, and morewith a light touch and lots of heart. Beth Vrabel’s characters are complicated and messy, but they come together in a story about the strength of community and friendship.
Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readerspicture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Daisy and the Deadly Flu: A 1918 Influenza Survival Story - In 1918, fourteen-year-old Daisy’s family has fallen on hard times. Her sister Elsie’s fiance was recently deployed to fight in World War I, and her father’s newspaper was forced to shut down for criticizing the U.S. entrance into the war. When the Spanish Flu arrives in her small town in Minnesota, Daisy tries to shield her loved ones from the devastating illness. As the influenza pandemic sweeps through the nation, can Daisy protect those closest to home? Featuring nonfiction support material, a glossary, and reader response questions, this Girls Survive story takes readers to one of history’s most important moments.
The Unforgetable Guinevere St. Clair - A ten-year-old girl is determined to find her missing neighbor, but the answers lead her to places and people she never expected—and maybe even one she’s been running away from —in this gorgeous debut novel that’s perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish.
How High the Moon - To Kill a Mockingbird meets One Crazy Summer in this powerful, bittersweet debut about one girl's journey to reconnect with her mother and learn the truth about her father in the tumultuous times of the Jim Crow South.
Cougar Frenzy - When Cricket McKay and her best friend, Shilo, discover that a cougar has been seen in the town of Waterton, they are thrilled that school closes for a few days as a precaution. The townspeople are worried though. They want the cougar caught and relocated, which could be disastrous for the cougar. Cricket’s dad, the national park’s warden, is receiving reports of the cougar causing all kinds of trouble around town, but it’s the type of trouble it doesn’t make sense for a cougar to get into. Then Cricket and Shilo find evidence that another animal may be to blame. With the help of a visiting researcher who is in Waterton studying cougar behavior, Cricket and Shilo must convince the townspeople, and Cricket’s dad, that they’re after the wrong animal before it’s too late. This is the fourth book featuring Cricket and her friends, following Bats in Trouble, Ospreys in Danger and Salamander Rescue.
You’ve never met anyone quite like Rufus Moffat. He gets things done, but he gets them done his way. <br>When he wants to check out library books, Rufus teaches himself to write…even though he doesn’t yet know how to read. When food is scarce, he plants some special Rufus beans that actually grow…despite his digging them up every day to check on them. And Rufus has friends that other people don’t even know exist! He discovers the only invisible piano player in town, has his own personal flying horse for a day, and tours town with the Cardboard Boy, his dearest friend-and enemy.<br>Rufus isn’t just the youngest Moffat, he’s also the cleverest, the funniest, and the most unforgettable.<br>Eleanor Estes’s beloved Moffats stories are being published in new editions as Odyssey/Harcourt Young Classics. The original interior illustrations have been retained, but handsome new cover art by Tricia Tusa gives the books a fresh, timeless appeal for today’s readers. <br>
A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.
The fate of a small California town rests on the outcome of one baseball game, and Tom Gallagher hopes to lead his team to victory with the secrets of the now-disgraced player, Dante Del Gato.
When the weather turns cooler and the leaves begin to change, it’s apple picking time across the valley. Everybody in town heads for the orchards, including Anna and her family. This year, Anna’s a little older, a little bigger—and determined to fill an entire bin of apples all by herself.
Here Lies the Librarian - Peewee idolizes Jake, a big brother whose dreams of auto mechanic glory are fueled by the hard road coming to link their Indiana town and futures with the twentieth century. And motoring down the road comes Irene Ridpath, a young librarian with plans to astonish them all and turn Peewee’s life upside down. Here Lies the Librarian, with its quirky characters, folksy setting, classic cars, and hilariously larger-than-life moments, is vintage Richard Peck–an offbeat, deliciously wicked comedy that is also unexpectedly moving.
Strays Like Us - Molly Moberly knows she doesn’t belong in this small Missouri town with her great-aunt Fay. It’s just a temporary arrangement–until her mother gets out of the hospital. But then Molly meets Will, a fellow stray, and begins to realize she’s not the only one on the outside. In fact, it seems like the town’s full of strays–only some end up where they belong sooner than others. Richard Peck has created a rich, compassionate story that will go straight to the heart of every kid who’s ever felt like an outsider.”This sensitive heroine is one readers will want to take under their wing.” –<b>Publishers Weekly</b>, starred review
Summer of My German Soldier - An emotional, thought-provoking book from multi-award-winning author Bette Greene.
The Graves Family - The Graves family has just moved to Union City, and they definitely don’t fit in. With giant spiders in the living room, a voracious Venus flytrap named Phoebe in the kitchen, and a secret laboratory in the basement, the neighbors are afraid to visit! Except for Seth and Sara Miller, the kids next door, who decide to help them make friends. Maybe if Mr. Graves gives all the bald men in town his amazing hair-growing tonic, which he developed from the follicles of house cats? It seems like a great idea-until the tonic-dosed town council starts chasing birds and running up trees! And then Phoebe nearly devours the Ladies’ Auxiliary Garden Club-will the Graves family ever find a way to fit in? <BR> This picture book is one of Polacco’s funniest ever, with wild, colorful illustrations filled with creepy details that kids will love. And it has a beautiful message as well: differences should be celebrated, not feared! <BR>
From Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant comes the charming story of nine-year-old Flora Smallwood and the eventful year she spends in the quiet community of Rosetown, Indiana.
For nine-year-old Flora Smallwood, Rosetown, Indiana, is full of surprises, many of the best of which happen at the Wing and a Chair Used Book Shop, where she loves to read vintage children’s books after school in the faded purple chair by the window.
But lately, those surprises haven’t been so good. Her dear old dog, Laurence, recently passed away. Not long after, her parents decided to take a breather from their marriage, and now Flora has to move back and forth between their two houses. Plus, she’s just begun fourth grade, and it is so much different than third.
Luckily Flora has two wonderful friends—one old and one new. And with them around to share thoughts and laughs and adventures big and small, life in Rosetown still has many sweet moments—and even some very happy surprises!
A life on the prairie is not all its cracked up to be for one girl whose mom takes her love of the Little House series just a bit too far. Charlotte’s mom has just moved the family across the country to live in Walnut Grove, “childhood home of pioneer author Laura Ingalls Wilder.” Mom’s idea is that the spirit of Laura Ingalls will help her write a bestselling book. But Charlotte knows better: Walnut Grove is just another town where Mom can avoid responsibility. And this place is worse than everywhere else the family has lived—it’s freezing in the winter, it’s small with nothing to do, and the people talk about Laura Ingalls all the time. Charlotte’s convinced her family will not be able to make a life on the prairie—until the spirit of Laura Ingalls starts getting to her, too.
It’s 1899 in a small town in Vermont, and the turn of the century is coming fast. According to certain members of the church where Robbie’s father is the preacher, the end of the century might even mean the end of the world. But Robbie has more pressing worries. He’s sure his father loves his simple-minded brother, Elliot, better than him, and he can no longer endure the tiresome restrictions of Christianity. He decides to leave the fold and decides to live life to the fullest. His high-spirited and often hot-headed behavior does nothing to improve his father’s opinion of him, nor does it improve the congregation’s flagging opinion of his father. Not until the consequences of his actions hurt others does Robbie put a stop to the chain of events he has set off and begin to realize his father might love him after all.
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