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Water: Picture Books For Kids

This list of the best picture books about water is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From Over and Under the Pond to Ready, Set, Sail! there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about water? Let us know!

Over and Under the Pond book
#1
Over and Under the Pond
Written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

Hello, World! Ocean Life book
#2
Hello, World! Ocean Life
Written and illustrated by Jill McDonald
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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! book
#3
Hey, Water!
Written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Splash! A spunky little girl plays a spirited game of hide-and-seek with water, in this gorgeously illustrated nonfiction picture book.

Splish, Splash, Ducky! book
#4
Splish, Splash, Ducky!
Written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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.

Sea Glass Summer book
#5
Sea Glass Summer
Written by Michelle Hout and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

  1. 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.

  2. River Friendly, River Wild - 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.

  3. The Water Princess - 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.

  4. 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.

Minegoo Mniku book
#10
Minegoo Mniku
Written and illustrated by Sandra L Dodge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

The Rhythm of the Rain book
#11
The Rhythm of the Rain
Written and illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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

Way Down Below Deep book
#12
Way Down Below Deep
Written by Nancy Raines Day and illustrated by David Sheldon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Swimming with Sharks book
#13
Swimming with Sharks
Written by Heather Lang and illustrated by Jordi Solano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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! book
#14
Penguins Don't Wear Sweaters!
Written by Marikka Tamura and illustrated by Daniel Rieley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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.

  1. Vincent Comes Home - Jessixa Bagley, author and illustrator of Laundry Day, Before I Leave, and Boats For Papa (winner of the 2016 SCBWI Golden Kite Award for best picture book text) and Aaron Bagley (illustrator of Rocking Fatherhood) have been drawing and writing together since they met in art school more than a decade ago. What started off as a courtship of doodling in sketchbooks and belching in lockers soon turned into a marriage of doodling in sketchbooks and belching with their son. Their artistic partnership is a balanced collaboration of overlapping their individual styles and painting techniques—creating one cohesive language. Vincent Comes Home is their first picture book together. And much like Vincent, they have moved around a lot but their home has always been each other.

  2. The Seal Garden - 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.

  3. Ladybug Girl at the Beach - 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!

  4. 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!

1, 2, 3, Jump! book
#19
1, 2, 3, Jump!
Written by Lisl Detlefsen and illustrated by Madeline Valentine
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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 Bucket of Blessings book
#20
A Bucket of Blessings
Written by Surishtha Sehgal, Kabir Sehgal and illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Bears in the Bath book
#21
Bears in the Bath
Written by Shirley Parenteau and illustrated by David Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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 book
#22
John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall
Written and illustrated by Julie Danneberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Frog and Beaver book
#23
Frog and Beaver
Written and illustrated by Simon James
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

  1. Ready, Set, Sail! - 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!

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!