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Storytelling: Books For Kids

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

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

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. 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 storytelling, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Gooney Bird Greene to popular sellers like Life of Pi to some of our favorite hidden gems like Fortunately, the Milk.

We hope this list of kids books about storytelling 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.

Fortunately, the Milk
Written by Neil Gaiman & illustrated by Skottie Young
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: t h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.” “Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.” Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious New York Times bestselling story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.

Once Upon a Baby Brother
Written by Sarah Sullivan & illustrated by Tricia Tusa
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When he goes away on a trip, Lizzie, who loves to tell and write stories, is surprised to discover that much of her storytelling inspiration comes from her messy baby brother Marvin.

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)
Written by Julie Falatko & illustrated by Tim J. Miller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Snappsy the alligator is having a normal day when a pesky narrator steps in to spice up the story. Is Snappsy reading a book … or is he making CRAFTY plans? Is Snappsy on his way to the grocery store … or is he PROWLING the forest for defenseless birds and fuzzy bunnies? Is Snappsy innocently shopping for a party … or is he OBSESSED with snack foods that start with the letter P? What’s the truth?

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) is an irreverent look at storytelling, friendship, and creative differences, perfect for fans of Mo Willems.

Campfire Stories
Written by Andres Miedoso & illustrated by Victor Rivas
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Desmond Cole goes camping and tells some scary campfire stories in the eighth book of the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series! Camping with Desmond Cole is a lot of fun, until he starts telling ghost stories around the campfire. Most kids tell creepy stories that are totally fake, but Desmond tells totally true stories that will give you goosebumps. So, settle in while Desmond, Andres, and their ghost-friend, Zax, take turns trying to tell the scariest story of all. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

The Granddaughter Necklace
Written by Sharon Dennis Wyeth & illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A mother shares with her daughter stories of the generations of women in their family as each individual has passed along the tales and a glittering necklace to her own daughter. Includes notes on the author’s exploration of her ancestry.

  • Ta-Da! - What makes a good story? One little girl thinks it’s a princess with magical powers that can—ta-da!—overcome any obstacle. Her friend thinks it’s—dun dun duh!—a combination of dragons, pirates, and fire that cause total chaos. But as their stories intertwine, these two young storytellers soon learn that a good story needs both conflict—dun dun duh!—and resolution—ta-da! An irresistible celebration of imaginary play, storytelling, and the joys of collaboration, this gorgeous picture book features two strong voices throughout, making it the perfect read-aloud.

  • Mira and the Big Story - Mira is a girl with big questions. She knows two different stories about the way the world came to be. Which story is right? Can they both be right? Is there room for more than one way to think about the world and our place in it? Follow her on an inspiring journey as she discovers a story big enough to include everyone. Along the way, Mira learns to respect and revere the traditions and beliefs of others. Teach children kindness and acceptance with this beautifully illustrated and compelling tale. It is sure to keep young ones enthralled.

  • The Storyteller - In a time of drought in the Kingdom of Morocco, a storyteller and a boy weave a tale to thwart a Djinn and his sandstorm from destroying their city.

  • Scary Stories for Young Foxes - Christian McKay Heidicker draws inspiration from Bram Stoker, H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe for his debut middle-grade novel, a thrilling portrait of survival and an unforgettable tale of friendship. The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe. When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, a ghost who hunts them through the snow . . . and other things too scary to mention. Featuring eight interconnected stories and sixteen hauntingly beautiful illustrations, Scary Stories for Young Foxes contains the kinds of adventures and thrills you love to listen to beside a campfire in the dark of night. Fans of Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Auxier, and R. L. Stine have found their next favorite book.

The Panda Problem
Written by Deborah Underwood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The critically adored, New York Times bestselling Deborah Underwood delights with a hilariously meta celebration of storytelling out of control. Every story needs a problem. But Panda doesn’t have a problem. Unless . . . Panda is the problem. The New York Times bestselling author of Here Comes the Easter Cat and The Quiet Book loses control of the narrative in the funniest, most exuberant, most kid-delighting way in this adventurous ode to what makes a story—and what makes a story great.

Ariba
Written & illustrated by Masha Manapov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Marcus’ joy over a new pair of shoes reminds his grandfather of an old story about a boy named Ariba and his adventure-loving shoes. Every time Ariba put his shoes on, something crazy would happen. Once they even took him climbing to the peak of the yellow mountain! But one day, Ariba decides he’s going to move from his small village to the city on the other side of the mountains. When he arrives, he buys all new things—including a new pair of shoes. His new life has no room for the old pair. And yet, wouldn’t you know it? No matter what he does, the shoes keep finding their way back to him…

The Wolf Who Fell Out of a Book
Written by Thierry Robberecht & illustrated by Gregoire Mabire
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Finding where you belong isn’t easy . . . especially when you’re a storybook wolf. In this illustrated fractured fairy tale for kids, a book falls to the floor and a wolf tumbles out. The wolf needs to get back to his story, but a hungry cat has other ideas. Jumping from book to book, this wolf is on a journey to find a new home (and to avoid becoming dinner). His sharp, pointy teeth don’t help him fit in with the dinosaurs, and his shiny black fur doesn’t get him into the ball. But a little girl in a red hood is waiting for someone just like him to arrive. For children and adults who enjoy playful twists on a classic story, The Wolf Who Fell Out of a Book’s colorful illustrations and a “story-starter” ending are sure to keep your imagination turning even after the book is returned to its shelf. Thierry Robberecht is a children’s author, graphic novel scriptwriter, and songwriter. He lives in Brussels, where he devotes himself to a passion for literature. Gregoire Mabire studied illustration at the Saint Luc Institute in Brussels. He illustrates children’s picture books and contributes to children’s magazines.

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise
Written & illustrated by David Ezra Stein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s homework time for the little red chicken, who has just learned about something every good story should have: an elephant of surprise. Or could it be an element of surprise (as her amused papa explains)? As they dive in to story after story, looking for the part that makes a reader say “Whoa! I didn’t know that was going to happen,” Papa is sure he can convince Chicken he’s right. After all, there are definitely no elephants in “The Ugly Duckling,” “Rapunzel,” or “The Little Mermaid”—or are there? Elephant or element, something unexpected awaits Papa in every story, but a surprise may be in store for the little red chicken as well. Full of the same boisterous charm that made Interrupting Chicken so beloved by readers, this gleeful follow-up is sure to delight fans of stories, surprises, and elephants alike.

I Broke My Trunk!
Written & illustrated by Mo Willems
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.

Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.

Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

In I Broke My Trunk! Gerald tells Piggie the long, crazy story about breaking his trunk. Will Piggie end up with a long, crazy story of her own?

  • Bear Has a Story to Tell - It was almost winter and Bear was getting sleepy. But first, Bear had a story to tell… Bear found his friend Mouse, but Mouse was busy gathering seeds and didn’t have time to listen to a story. Then Bear saw his friend Duck, but Duck was getting ready to fly south. What about his friend Toad? He was busy looking for a warm place to sleep. By the time Bear was through helping his friends get ready for winter, would anyone still be awake to hear his story?

  • The Story Web - In this heartfelt magical novel, Megan Frazer Blakemore shows that how we wield stories has the power to shape the world. When Alice was little, she found a gigantic spider web deep in the forest. Her dad called it the Story Web and told her how its strands were woven from the stories that hold our world together. Years later, Alice’s dad is gone, and she’s sure it’s her fault. Now she won’t even talk about her dad and definitely doesn’t believe his farfetched stories. But when animals in town start acting strangely, she can’t ignore them. They are trying to tell her the Story Web is in danger - that the fabric of our world is breaking. The only way to mend it is to tell honest tales from the heart. Alice must confront the real reason her dad is gone, but is she strong enough to finally tell her side of the story? This magical tale of truth and honesty, integrity and intention is perfect for fans of Katherine Applegate.

  • It's a Tiger! - A child imagines that he is in a story where he encounters a tiger at every turn.

  • Sam Tells Stories - Eager to make friends, Sam decides to tell a story that isn’t true in order to win his new classmates over, but when he is confronted with the truth, Sam has to set the record straight and learns an important lesson in the process.

Tea Cakes for Tosh
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons & illustrated by E. B. Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A young boy helps his beloved grandmother remember an important family story

Tosh loves listening to Grandma Honey tell family stories. His favorite is about the special tea cakes that smell like vanilla and sunshine. They were great-great-great-great-grandma Ida’s specialty when she was a cook in the big house of a plantation. Unlike Tosh, the slave children weren’t allowed to have any of the treats, though Grandma Ida always found a way to put the sugary sweetness into their hands anyway. It was a promise and taste of freedom to come.

Tosh knows this is an important story and he takes care to remember every word. And when grandma Honey begins to forget, he can return the gift of tea cakes and stories. A touching family tale, Tea Cakes for Tosh celebrates the important bond between grandchild and grandparent and the stories that make a family strong.

Junie B., Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
Written by Barbara Park & illustrated by Denise Brunkus
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

When she picks Tattletale May’s name for Secret Santa, Junie B., who has been unable to enjoy the holiday festivities due to May, seizes this opportunity to get even! Reprint.

Interrupting Chicken
Written & illustrated by David Ezra Stein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Little Red Chicken wants Papa to read her a bedtime story, but interrupts him almost as soon as he begins each tale.

The Rambling
Written by Jimmy Cajoleas
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the author of Goldeline, a Booklist Top 10 First Novels for Youth pick, comes a mesmerizing middle grade fantasy about family and the power of storytelling. Perfect for fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon and The Thickety. Buddy Pennington is headed to river country, hoping his luck might change. He’ll be better off with his daddy, a wandering soul and a local legend for his skills at Parsnit, a mysterious card game of magic, chance, and storytelling. But no sooner are Buddy and his pop reunited than some of Pop’s old enemies arrive to take him away. Boss Authority, the magical crime lord who has held the rivers in his grasp for years, is ready to collect on an old debt Buddy’s father owes. Now Buddy must set out on a dangerous rescue mission, learning to play Parsnit with the best of them as he goes. Because the stars are aligning for one last epic duel—one that will require a sticky-fingered ally, a lucky twist of fate, and the hand of a lifetime. And in this game, you’re only as strong as the story you tell.

Octopus Stew
Written & illustrated by Eric Velasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What do you do when an octopus captures Grandma? Put on your superhero cape and rescue her! Two stories in one from award-winning Afro-Latino artist Eric Velasquez.

The octopus Grandma is cooking has grown to titanic proportions. “¡Tenga cuidado!” Ramsey shouts. “Be careful!” But it’s too late. The octopus traps Grandma!

Ramsey uses both art and intellect to free his beloved abuela.

Then the story takes a surprising twist. And it can be read two ways. Open the fold-out pages to find Ramsey telling a story to his family. Keep the pages folded, and Ramsey’s octopus adventure is real.

This beautifully illustrated picture book, drawn from the author’s childhood memories, celebrates creativity, heroism, family, grandmothers, grandsons, Puerto Rican food, Latinx culture and more.

  • Tales of Sasha 9: The Disappearing History - In book nine of the Tales of Sasha series, Sasha has to figure out what to do when the recorded history of the flying horses disappears! The History Day celebration is coming up in Crystal Cove, and Sasha has to pick her favorite story to read aloud. But when she unrolls the magical fabrics with the flying horse history on them, she discovers that all the words have disappeared! Can Sasha figure out what happened and find a way to return the stories to the fabrics in time for the celebration?

  • Nightbooks - A boy is imprisoned by a witch and must tell her a new scary story each night to stay alive. This thrilling contemporary fantasy from J. A. White, the acclaimed author of the Thickety series, brings to life the magic and craft of storytelling. Alex’s original hair-raising tales are the only thing keeping the witch Natacha happy, but soon he’ll run out of pages to read from and be trapped forever. He’s loved scary stories his whole life, and he knows most don’t have a happily ever after. Now that Alex is trapped in a true terrifying tale, he’s desperate for a different ending—and a way out of this twisted place. This modern spin on the Scheherazade story is perfect for fans of Coraline and A Tale Dark and Grimm. With interwoven tips on writing with suspense, adding in plot twists, hooks, interior logic, and dealing with writer’s block, this is the ideal book for budding writers and all readers of delightfully just-dark-enough tales.

  • Blue Spot: Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase - Daisy the kitten has gotten a blue spot on her new white dress. How did this happen, asks her mama. Daisy has an answer, which is anything but simple. Instead, she responds with a wonderful fantastical story that includes a blue monster and plenty of blue treats. Mama encourages Daisy to tell the truth in the end, which she does, but even Mama loves the creativity in Daisy’s first answer—and kids will, too.

  • Gooney Bird Greene - From the moment Gooney Bird Greene arrives at Watertower Elementary School, her fellow second-graders are intrigued by her unique sense of style and her unusual lunches. So when story time arrives, the choice is unanimous: they want to hear about Gooney Bird Greene. And that suits Gooney Bird just fine, because, as it turns out, she has quite a few interesting and “absolutely true” stories to tell. Through Gooney Bird and her tales, the acclaimed author Lois Lowry introduces young readers to the elements of storytelling. This book will encourage the storyteller in everyone.

Life of Pi
Written by Yann Martel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-99

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional—but is it more true?

The St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh
Written by Janett Nolan & illustrated by Ben F. Stahl
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A family retells the story of the shillelagh that was whittled from a tree. During the Irish potato famine, Fergus and his family left for America. But first Fergus cut a branch from a blackthorn tree to take a piece of Ireland with him.

Miles McHale, Tattletale
Written by Christianne C. Jones & illustrated by Elina Ellis and Christianne C. Jones
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Miles McHale is a tattletale. And everybody knows it. But he’s not the only one who needs help, so his teacher decides: it’s time to fight the Tattle Battle! But will Miles figure out the right time to tell a grown-up about another person’s behavior, or is he doomed to be a tattletale forever?

Katie's Spooky Sleepover
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie’s friends have come for a sleepover, and telling a scary story seems like a good idea—until she has a dream about a monster under her bed, and she wakes up to find her lucky kimono missing.

No Boring Stories!
Written by Julie Falatko & illustrated by Charles Santoso
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A group of misfits takes a stand against sweet, cuddly, boring stories in this picture book by the critically acclaimed author of the Snappsy the Alligator series, Julie Falatko.

The unpopular animals have had enough. They want to be in a picture book! Stories about mommy-loving kitties and cuddly bunnies at bedtime are boring. Wouldn’t you rather hear about yeti crabs in robo suits and fierce babirusa princesses who fight giant grape monsters?! This group of misfits has a unique story to tell, but they’ll never finish writing it if their over-eager bunny neighbor won’t GO AWAY!

Julie Falatko, critically acclaimed author of the Snappsy the Alligator books, brings her signature humor to this stand-alone picture book about finding your tribe and writing the stories you want to see, no matter how weird or wild they are!

  • Silly Goose's Big Story - Friends and imagination save the day Goose’s friends love the stories he makes up when they’re playing. Except one thing – Goose is always the hero. And when they ask to take turns leading the fun, Goose doesn’t agree. While they argue about it, no one notices the hungry wolf sneaking up on them until he shouts, “Hello, Lunch!” This real-life danger shows Goose how silly he’s been and that his friends make terrific heroes! Always a surefire hit on laps or at storytime, Keiko Kasza’s latest shows how imagination can come in handy in an unexpected way.

  • We Gather Together...Now Please Get Lost! - When Gilbert gets stuck with annoying tattletale Philip as his partner for the class trip to Pilgrim Town, he wishes Philip would just get lost! But when Gilbert hides from Philip in the bathroom and can’t get out, he’s sure he’ll have to spend Thanksgiving there all alone. Luckily, faithful Philip comes to the rescue. This memorable holiday episode in the popular series about Gilbert proves to readers that there is always something to be thankful for.

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