Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to water. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about water.
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 water, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Froggy Learns to Swim to popular sellers like Jabari Jumps to some of our favorite hidden gems like Over and Under the Pond.
We hope this list of kids books about water 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.
Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered…over and under the pond.
Bath time is fun! fun! fun! in this playful board book! Today we had such fun! fun! fun! But now the day is done! done! done! After a fun-filled day, it’s time to go home and take a bath! From washing tiny toes and your little nose to making rubber ducky go quack! quack! quack!, bath time is fun! fun! fun! The rhyming text makes this the perfect read-along story to get little ones excited for bath time.
An original, compelling, and visually stunning treatment of a common childhood predicament: overcoming a fear of the water.
Lottie goes to swim lessons every Saturday, but she never gets in the water. That’s because she is convinced there is a shark in the pool, a shark that wants to eat her and only her. But then Walter appears. Walter likes singing and reading books and bubble baths, and his favorite food is fish sticks, just like Lottie. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie is no more ready to jump in the pool than she was before. Or is she? Sometimes it just takes a special friend to find the courage that was inside you all along.
Nate loves sharks. He reads shark books every day, watches sharks on TV, and talks about them nonstop. He even likes to pretend he’s a shark wherever he goes! However, there is one small problem. . . . Nate can’t swim. When his older brother points this out, Nate works hard to overcome his fears and learn how to blow bubbles, use a kickboard, and finally swim without help, as quickly and as gracefully as a shark. Will he be able to beat his brother in a swim tryout and get his bite back? Kids will love this jawsome book complete with vibrant and whimsical art and a list of shark facts in the back!
Row, Row, Row Your Boat in Oregon - Row, row, row your boat . . . in Oregon! The sights and scenery of Oregon spring to life in this adorable twist on the favorite children’s song. Each die-cut page of the layered board book reveals an imaginary boat sailing past Mount Hood, the Tillamook factory, Sea Lion Caves, coastal lighthouses, and more! A delightful children’s introduction to the iconic places of Oregon, and when you’re done with your journey? Row, row, row your boat back around thebend. If you love Oregon, sing the song again!
Splish, Splash, Ducky! - Oh, goody, hooray! It’s raining today. When I’m feeling happy. I say quack, quack, quack. Ducky Duckling has so much fun in the rain! Readers will be happy to splish, splash, and paddle along with on Ducky’s adventures with a frog and a worm, a bug and a slug, some swans and some fish. But what happens when the rain stops and Ducky feels sad? Can Dad save the day and bring sunshine back into those “quack, quack, quacks”? Revel in the rain with a little duckling and friends in a bright adventure from the creator of Maisy that kids will find just ducky.
Hello, World! Ocean Life - All young children love to play in the waves at the beach. Now here’s a Hello, World! board book that teaches them all about oceans and the creatures and plants that live there.
Hey, Water! - Splash! A spunky little girl plays a spirited game of hide-and-seek with water, in this gorgeously illustrated nonfiction picture book.
Join Turtle as he dives deeper and deeper into the ocean - what surprise will he find at the bottom? With flaps to lift and peek-through holes, there’s lots to spot, count and discover along the way.
Maisy’s fun and familiar world reflects the lively adventures young children have every day.
In Maisy’s Pool, Maisy and her friends splash in a wading pool. As always, toddlers, preschoolers, and parents will find the ordinary extraordinary with Maisy!
Have you ever seen a banana in a bikini? Or a tangerine in trunks? What about grapes in goggles? In this uproarious follow-up to Vegetables in Underwear, kids will learn that there are many kinds of suits—including suits for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and scuba diving. But can you wear a business suit to the beach? Fruits in Suitshas the same irreverent silliness as Vegetables in Underwearand shows just how much fun swimsuits can be—and how important it is to hold on to them when you jump into the water!
The eighth book in a funny chapter book series filled with full-color illustrations and adorable animals!
A group of sloths arrives at the Grumpy River for a synchronized swimming competition, and the Super Happy Party Bears are thrilled. They throw a party to celebrate their team, but the sloths just…sleep.
The residents of the Grumpy Woods can’t help but notice the giant pile of snoozing sloths, and Mayor Quill plots to get rid of them by shutting down the competition…until he unexpectedly gets the opportunity to show off his swimming moves.
Splat does not want to have a playdate with Spike. Spike will break his toys and eat all of his candy fish! And he does not want to learn how to swim—water is horrible, scary, and wet! He’s sure that this is going to be the worst day ever. But when the rest of their classmates rush straight into the pool, Splat and Spike find that they may have more in common than they thought. Will Splat overcome his fear of water and get into the pool? And how can he help Spike to do the same?
Sea Glass Summer - Author Michelle Houts and illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline explore the magic of one of the seaside’s greatest wonders and the bonds that link us through time. One summer, a boy named Thomas visits his grandmother at her seaside cottage. She gives him a magnifying glass that once belonged to his grandfather, and with it Thomas explores the beach, turning grains of sand into rocks and dark clamshells into swirling mazes of black, gray, and white. When his grandmother shows him a piece of sea glass, Thomas is transfixed. That night he dreams of an old shipyard and the breaking of a bottle. Could the very piece of sea glass on his nightstand have come from that bottle? For the rest of the summer, he searches for more sea glass and hopes to have dreams that will reveal more of the sea’s secrets. A stunning ode to stories and the seaside, this picture book invites readers to imagine the ocean of possibility that lives in every small or forgotten treasure.
We Are Water Protectors - Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, Carole Lindstrom’s bold and lyrical picture book We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguarding the Earth’s water from harm and corruption. Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all . . . When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth And poison her people’s water, one young water protector Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.
Water Land - This unique information book for the very young switches between bodies of water and corresponding land masses with the simple turn of a page. Full color.
Water Sings Blue - Come down to the shore with this rich and vivid celebration of the ocean! With watercolors gorgeous enough to wade in by award-winning artist Meilo So and playful, moving poems by Kate Coombs, Water Sings Blue evokes the beauty and power, the depth and mystery, and the endless resonance of the sea.
This winter was snowy, this spring brought a terrible blizzard, and now the river is rising. Sandbags don’t stop it, the dikes don’t stop it, and late one night sirens warn everyone to evacuate. A girl and her family don’t expect to be gone more than a couple of days, so they leave their cat and race for shelter with only a suitcase each. But as days stretch into weeks they worry: Is the cat safe? Will they have a home to return to? And how will their lives be changed? In searing, personal poems, Jane Kurtz explores what it’s like to struggle through a flood and pull your life together afterward. Inspired by Kurtz’s own flood experience, this tale is realistic and unforgettable. Not just a moving story of one girl’s courage, River Friendly, River Wild is a tribute to everyone who’s ever faced great loss.
Based on supermodel Georgie Badiel’s childhood, a young girl dreams of bringing clean drinking water to her African village
With its wide sky and warm earth, Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is a beautiful land. But clean drinking water is scarce in her small African village. And try as she might, Gie Gie cannot bring the water closer; she cannot make it run clearer. Every morning, she rises before the sun to make the long journey to the well. Instead of a crown, she wears a heavy pot on her head to collect the water. After the voyage home, after boiling the water to drink and clean with, Gie Gie thinks of the trip that tomorrow will bring. And she dreams. She dreams of a day when her village will have cool, crystal-clear water of its own.
Inspired by the childhood of African–born model Georgie Badiel, acclaimed author Susan Verde and award-winning author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds have come together to tell this moving story. As a child in Burkina Faso, Georgie and the other girls in her village had to walk for miles each day to collect water. This vibrant, engaging picture book sheds light on this struggle that continues all over the world today, instilling hope for a future when all children will have access to clean drinking water.
The story of creation told from a Mi’kmaq point of view. Along time ago, the Great Spirit created the sky and all of the stars. Still, it wasn’t enough. He then made Minegoo, a place so beautiful it could have been kept among the stars. But instead, He decided to place Minegoo in the most beautiful spot on Earth. He summoned Kluskap and asked him to find this spot. After searching the whole world, Kluskap found the Shining Waters, the spot in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that would be home to the Mi’kmaq people created in his own image.
There’s a kiss here for everyone in this warm and cozy Classic Board Book edition of The Biggest Kiss! Do worms kiss underground, with the soil all around? Do fish kiss like this—splosh, splash, splish? Everyone needs kisses, so what could be better than a book that’s full of them? With darling animals on every page and irresistible text that begs to be read aloud, parents and grandparents will love sharing this collection of affection with the youngest of readers.
Swim Or Sink - Although only in eighth grade Baxter Reilly is an important member of the Edgeview High School in Tempe, Arizona, and lately the pool has been his place of refuge from the stress of his parents’ separation—but now, between the pending divorce, his father’s miserable apartment, his mother’s new boyfriend, and the resentment and bullying from his older teammates, it is getting harder to focus on his role as the anchor of the 4 x 400 freestyle relay in the upcoming races.
Dilly Dally Daisy - Get ready with Daisy the dawdler as she tries (really!) to get it together in this very real, very funny spin on dilly dallying. Daisy Marsha Martin is always late. For good reasons, of course. She’s busy saving the world, or teaching her stuffed animals to dance, or finding the perfect shirt to wear. But if Daisy is late one more time, then it’s no more mermaid swim class for her! This is the perfect story for fans of everyday silliness and for every kid who has been told to stop dawdling.
Froggy Learns to Swim - Zzzziiiinnngggg splash! Everyone’s favorite frog learns to swim! Frogs are supposed to be great swimmers. “Not me!” says Froggy, who’s afraid of the water. But with a little encouragement, some practice, and the help of a silly song or two, Froggy becomes an expert frog-kicker!
Live and Let Swim: My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish - The name’s Goldfish. Zombie Goldfish. Fishy mayhem abounds with two more fin-tastic stories featuring our favorite (New York Times-bestselling!) zombie goldfish.
This is Bert’s big day. He is well prepared, mentally, and physically. But he might need some encouragement.
You Can Do It, Bert! is a simple, funny picture book with an encouraging positive message. It’s a great gift for anyone embarking on a new venture: a child about to start school, a teenager finishing high school, a college student graduating, or anyone starting a new job or going overseas.
Issac plays in his favorite pool on the mountainside. As rain starts to fall, he empties his little jar of water into the pool and races the sparkling streams as they tumble over waterfalls, rush through swollen rivers, and burst out into the vast open sea. Where will my little jar of water go now? Issac wonders. From the tiniest raindrop to the deepest ocean, this breathtaking celebration of the water cycle captures the remarkable movement of water across the earth in all its majesty
Swim with the ocean’s most secret creatures! What mysteries lurk at the bottom of the ocean? Discover some of the world’s most fascinating animals, such as anglerfish, luring prey to a toothy doom with a siren’s light; vampire squid, peering forth with red eyes; and sea cucumbers, filtering food from the water passing through their bodies. Follow the lanternfish as he lights the way down to the mysterious deep, where whale worms sprout from bones and all varieties of jellies float free. Children will learn about these bizarre bottom-dwellers through clever rhymes and captivating drawings that bring this sunless land to light. Fun, sometimes silly, facts and images accompany each rhyming marine description.
Gracie LaRoo, the youngest pig on the Water Sprites synchronized swimming team, is nervous about giving a speech at the Wilbur Academy, the school she used to attend—she loves her sport, but her old coach does not think that it really measures up to swim racing.
Before Eugenie Clark’s groundbreaking research, most people thought sharks were vicious, blood-thirsty killers. From the first time she saw a shark in an aquarium, Japanese-American Eugenie was enthralled. Instead of frightening and ferocious eating machines, she saw sleek, graceful fish gliding through the water. After she became a scientist—an unexpected career path for a woman in the 1940s—she began taking research dives and training sharks, earning her the nickname “The Shark Lady.”
Penguins Don't Wear Sweaters! - You may have seen the cute pictures of penguins wearing sweaters—but did you know why they were wearing them? Debut author Marikka Tamura answers this question in this colorful, kid-friendly book that is told simply and charmingly. Penguins love the sea. Happy in the dark blue water. But what is this? One day something is floating in the water. Dark. Gooey. Oily . . . When the penguins become coated in an oil spill, many Big Boots arrive. The humans want to help the cold, greasy penguins, so they knit sweaters to keep them warm. The Big Boots mean well, but . . . penguins don’t wear sweaters! So after a good, soapy scrub, the penguins dive back into the deep blue sea, happily dressed only in their own penguin feathers.
Surf's Up, Creepy Stuff! - Desmond and Andres battle beach bullies who also happen to be creepy monsters in the third book of the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol chapter book series! Welcome to Kersville, a town with a spooky history and a collection of ghosts and spirits who are major mischief-makers. Most kids spend their days without ever seeing or dealing with a ghost, but some kids get stuck with a haunt. When that happens, they call Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol. There’s no job too spooky, icky, or risky for Desmond. I’m not like that at all. My name’s Andres Miedoso. I’m Desmond’s best friend and I’m afraid of everything. When you go to the beach with Desmond Cole, it isn’t all sand, surf, and sun. It’s more like, ghosts, ghouls, and gloom. And yes, being haunted while there’s sand in your swimsuit is annoying, but at least you can always count on one thing—beach life is never boring with Mersurfers around. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.
Tiny Infinities - When Alice’s dad moves out, leaving her with her troubled mother, she does the only thing that feels right: she retreats to her family’s old Renaissance tent in the backyard, determined to live there until her dad comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to swim freestyle fast enough to get on her swim team’s record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets an odd new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school’s science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice’s best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mute—until Alice hears her speak. A funny and honest middle-grade novel, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice’s determination to prove herself—as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person—rings loud and true.
Splish Splash! - Dragonflies zip zip zip and frogs croakity croak while bare feet splish splash in this board book all about the sounds of the river. Each spread features a touch and feel element that creates the sound described in the text. With beautiful illustrations, interesting textures and fun sounds, this highly interactive format is certain to tickle the senses.
When storms roar and orcas are on the prowl, it’s the seal gardens of the Great Bear Sea that provide safety and shelter to sea lions, otters, a variety of seals and other sea mammals. Ian McAllister’s glorious photographs reveal the beauty and mystery of this rarely seen place of refuge. This is the third book in the My Great Bear Rainforest series, following Wolf Island and A Bear’s Life.
Freddie Ramos uses his super powers to give himself the courage to learn how to swim and to deal with a new neighbor who is a bully.
It is preschooler Lulu’s first time at the beach and she needs to conquer her fear of the ocean in this hardcover picture book from the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series.
Lulu has never been to the beach but she knows she is going to love it…until she sees just how big and loud the ocean is. She and her dog Bingo decide that they will make sandcastles, fly kites, and get ice cream instead of swimming. But then the ocean waves snatch Lulu’s favorite pail. This is a job for Ladybug Girl! When Lulu is Ladybug Girl, she is brave and nothing can stop her from rescuing her pail – and suddenly she is in the ocean and it is fun!
This story is the perfect preparation for a first beach vacation, or to explore a new experience with a preschooler. Mama and Papa are never far away while Ladybug Girl builds up her courage and confronts something scary for the first time.
For fans of Fancy Nancy and Angelina Ballerina, the Ladybug Girl series honors courage, creativity, and a love of nature!
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: a Puzzle Adventure - A stylish and otherworldly underwater puzzle book Inspired by Jules Verne’s iconic novel, this puzzle book is a treat for readers of all ages. Aleksandra Artymowska has created a volume bursting with wild creatures, strange landscapes, and mechanical contraptions that will take readers on an underwater adventure like no other. Each scene contains hidden symbols and keys to uncover, as well as a series of challenges guaranteed to fascinate and amaze.
Pablo and Birdy - A boy who drifted into the seaside town of Isla as a baby searches for answers about where he and his parrot came from in this “memorable, fantastical tale” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) from New York Times bestselling author Alison McGhee.The seaside town of Isla has many stories, the most notable being the legend of the Seafaring Parrot. Locals claim that the Seafarer remembers every sound, every whisper, cry, laugh, or snort ever uttered.But, though there have been rumored Seafarer sightings, no one has actually seen the bird before. Other stories surround a boy named Pablo, who had washed up on shore in a blow-up swimming pool as an infant with only a lavender parrot as a companion. Now, on the eve of his tenth birthday, the stories are repeated.
Kylie the Kitten - Kylie’s excitement over going to summer camp with her friends is threatened by her fear of the water. Includes activities.
I'm a Duck - I cannot swim, and that is bad. A landlocked duck is very sad. One day, an egg rolled out of a nest and right into a deep pond. Now that egg is a little duck, and the water is still very scary. Jumping into the pond at all seems impossible, never mind swimming in a line with all his brothers. “You’re a duck, and ducks don’t sink,” Big Frog points out. Practicing in a puddle helps a little, while backrubs and snacks from his mother help a little more. Big Frog offers to hold his friend’s wing and dive in together, but our little duck knows that some challenges need to be faced alone. Even when they are very scary!
First swimming lessons can be exciting and terrifying, but this joyful and imaginative guide shows young readers how to conquer the pool.
From what to wear (a bathing suit, of course!) to what to expect (no, your teacher will not be a mermaid), 3, 2, 1 Jump! covers the what if’s and how to’s of getting in the pool for the first time. There’s a lot to worry about (Can I be sucked into the filter?) and even more to be excited about (When can I wear flippers?), and our narrator has thought of everything. By the time she’s ready, you to will want to jump in!
A beautiful myth from India comes to life in this enchanting, New York Times bestselling picture book.
Near a majestic mountain in a vast jungle with many mango trees, it has not rained for weeks and weeks. The village well and pond are dry. Monkey and his friends look everywhere for water, but they have no luck. And then Monkey remembers a story his mama used to tell him, a story about how peacocks can make it rain by dancing. So he sets out to see if the story is true…
This little-known legend, told with dramatic rhythm and illustrated with the colors and textures of India, is sure to delight and inspire.
Silver’s dreams of becoming a legendary water dragon racer come true when she befriends a rare dragon that can swim and fly.
Twelve-year-old Silver Batal calls the desert home, but her heart belongs to the waters. Although she’s expected to become a jeweler like her father, Silver harbors a secret and forbidden wish to race water dragons. Destiny comes calling when her friendship with a mysterious old woman leads her to Hiyyan, a baby dragon that can swim and fly. Risking everything, Silver, Hiyyan, and her resourceful cousin Brajon set off across the desert to join the legendary races in the royal city. But the road to Calidia is filled with danger, and the trio must band together as they encounter ferocious cave beasts, clever desert foxes, and cutthroat competition. Set in a vivid, Arab-inspired world filled with friendly and fearsome water dragons, K.D. Halbrook’s middle-grade fantasy adventure is perfect for fans of Tui T. Sutherland, Sayantani DasGupta, and Roshani Chokshi.
Stumpy, Murray, Gwendolyn, and Kona recruit Herman the crow and 200 owls to help with their Master Plan to assist the animals of Gooseberry Park that are in trouble because of a months-long drought.
What’s a baby otter called? Or a baby duck? In this collection of river creatures and their young, Julia Groves’ distinctive art style captures each animal’s unique beauty.
Basil the Bear Cub - When Basil the bear cub falls into the river, it is up to the superfairies to rescue him before he gets swept over the waterfall.
Bears in the Bath - Splish! Splash! Sploosh! The adorable stars of Bears on Chairs and Bears in Beds are back, and they’re ready for bath time. Or are they? Water, soap, and sponge are there. The bath is ready. Where are the bears? The four little bears are grimy, dirty, and covered in mud! But when they see the bath and Big Brown Bear ready to scrub, they back away. “We don’t want a bath,” they say. Will those grungy bears ever get in the tub? Whether bath time’s a favorite time of day or a fraught one, this fun-to-read rhyming story and the silly antics of impossibly cute bears will make a splash with toddlers and parents alike.
John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall - The now iconic figure John Muir, while living at the base of Yosemite Falls in California, ventures up the trail from his cabin one night and has a harrowing waterfall adventure. Back matter roots the story in Muir’s life’s work as a conservationist and naturalist.
Deep in the Ocean - A scientific team has boarded the submarine Oceanos to explore the ocean’s depths. Suddenly, it gets caught in a violent storm, causing it to drift thousands of miles off-course. From the glittering surface of the sea to the darkness of the abyss, Deep in the Ocean takes readers on a bewitching journey through fascinating waters—some warm, colorful, and crowded with sea creatures, others mysterious and turbulent. Six colors of ink (including neon pink and metallic silver) are used throughout, and a free downloadable soundtrack allows readers to feel even more fully immersed in this beautiful underwater world. Find it at abramsbooks.com/DeepInTheOceanSoundtrack.
A new neighbor with huge plans turns life upside down for animals who live on the river in a charming ecological fable from Simon James. Frog and his friends live happily together on the river. At least they do until Beaver comes along. Beaver is determined to build the biggest and best dam anyone has ever seen, and he doesn’t stop to think about what that will mean for everyone else’s homes. Frog tries to tell Beaver that his dam is getting too big, but Beaver just won’t listen. Before long, Beaver’s dam is so huge that it stops all the water in the river, and Frog and his friends must move upstream. But diverted water also needs somewhere to go, and soon Beaver will learn that only one force is stronger than a mighty river — friendship.
Join these sailors as they explore the sea during a fun day of sailing in this follow-up to Ready, Set, Build! Shout your orders loud and fast. “Hoist the mainsail up the mast!” Grab your life vest, hold on to your compass, and get ready for a day full of sailing fun with a playful tiger and turtle! Follow these salty sailors as they raise their anchor, cast off, and explore the sea in their little sloop. And after a long day of sailing, they gather and tell tales of all the things they’ve seen!