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Whales: Books For Kids

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

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

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 whales, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Amos & Boris to popular sellers like The Snail And the Whale to some of our favorite hidden gems like To the Sea.

We hope this list of kids books about whales 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.

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To the Sea
Written & illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn't just any new friend: he's a blue whale, and he can't find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it's not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.
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The Blue Whale
Written & illustrated by Jenni Desmond
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
An introduction to the world of the giant blue whale combines engaging facts with evocative illustrations that compare the whale's enormous size to objects in the everyday world.
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How Long Is a Whale?
Written & illustrated by Alison Limentani
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
10 sea otters are as long as . . . 9 yellowfin tuna, which are as long as . . . 8 California sea lions, which are as long as . . . Have you ever wondered how long a whale is? What about a shark? Or a dolphin? Alison Limentani s extraordinary and original picture book introduces children to a fascinating world of numbers, length, and underwater wildlife."
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The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written & illustrated by Joyce Wan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
One sunny day, a little boy heads outside for a swim, but his pool is already taken . . . There's a big whale in the water and it's not budging! The boy tries everything to get the whale to leave. Nothing seems to work. Not fetch. Not tag. Not even offering his allowance. What's a boy to do? Luckily, he comes up with the perfect solution: he decides to chill out on a spray of water over the whale's spout. This colorful whale of a tale from the talented Joyce Wan is sure to inspire giggles from little guppies!
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Waiting for Chicken Smith
Written & illustrated by David Mackintosh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
A story about childhood friendships, anticipation, and the magic moments that arise while you're waiting for something else to happen. Every year a young boy stays in the same cabin at the beach with his family. And every year his friend Chicken Smith stays in the next cabin over. But this year, something's different: Chicken Smith hasn't shown up yet. The boy's little sister, MaryAnn, keeps trying to get his attention, but he's too busy remembering all of his adventures with Chicken Smith -- and thinking about everything they're going to do this summer. Is Chicken ever going to show up? And just what has MaryAnn been yelling about? David Mackintosh's ode to small summer wonders will make readers of all ages open their eyes to the quick, blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments happening all around them.
The Fisherman & the Whale book
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Yellow Kayak book
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The Storm Whale in Winter book
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Squishy Squashy Whale book
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  • The Fisherman & the Whale - Jessica Lanan’s dreamy and dramatic watercolor paintings bring to life a wordless story about wonder in the natural world. A fisherman takes his son for a trip out on the water. When they encounter a whale entangled at sea, they realize a connection that transcends the animal kingdom.

  • Yellow Kayak - A child and his beloved best friend go on a grand sea adventure in this magical picture book by the author and artist who created If I Had a Little Dream. You just never know what a new day will hold if you are brave enough to find out. On one quiet afternoon, a boy and his special friend’s unexpected adventure bring joy and excitement and sights never imagined. And the best part of any adventure is returning home with stories to tell and you best friend at your side.

  • The Storm Whale in Winter - In this sequel to The Storm Whale, the boy, Noi, is caught in a storm at sea and his whale friend comes to his rescue. When Noi’s dad sails out on one last fishing trip before winter, Noi waits for him at home. But as the storm worsens and his dad does not return, Noi decides to go looking for his dad. But the storm is powerful and dangerous, and soon Noi, too, is stuck in the icy sea. When it seems that all hope is lost, a friend comes to help Noi and his father. Poignant and evocative, this is a beautiful celebration of friendship and family, and the special bond between a father and son.

  • Squishy Squashy Whale - Squish and squash the whale as you read the rhyming story and discover all the things that Whale loves to do. Perfect for interactive play, for shared reading or for reading alone, these delightful, touchable books are full of fun!

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The Storm Whale
Written & illustrated by Benji Davies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Every day, in a house by the sea, a little boy watches his father leave for work. One night, a storm washes a small whale onto the beach. The boy discovers the whale is a good listener, and the father discovers the boy is lonely. Together, they return the whale to the sea, and the boy realizes his father can be a good listener, too. Full color.
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Moby-Dick
Written by Jennifer Adams & illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Little Master Melville teaches little ones the language of the sea in Moby-Dick: An Ocean Primer. From ships and sailors to squawking gulls and moody good captains, Alison Oliver’s brilliant illustrations and Jennifer Adams’ clever, simple text will make a sea dog out of any young shipmate.
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I Won a What?
Written by Audrey Vernick & illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
The hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy who tries to win a goldfish and winds up with FAR more than he bargained for . . . A young boy wins a humongous new pet at the carnival, and before long, they become fast friends. But his parents are skeptical. After all, Nuncio doesn’t even fit in the house! Will the gargantuan goldfish have to go? Or will the family find a way to give him the home he deserves? Fans of Sparky will flip for this whale of a tale from Audrey Vernick, author of Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? and featuring illustrations from Wow! City! illustrator Robert Neubecker.
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The Snail And the Whale
Written by Julia Donaldson & illustrated by Axel Scheffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
When a tiny snail meets a humpback whale, the two travel together to far-off lands. It’s a dream come true for the snail, who has never left home before. But when the whale swims too close to shore, will the snail be able to save her new friend?
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Ocean
Written by Heather Alexander & illustrated by Andres Lozano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
How do fish breathe? Why is the ocean salty? Why is a whale not a fish? Find out the answers to these and many more questions in this brilliant interactive lift-the-flap fact book. Embark on an epic journey under the sea looking for fish and other ocean creatures beneath the waves, learn what shells are for, find out which sea creatures are the most dangerous, and take a closer look at a coral reef. This fascinating fact-filled book is the perfect introduction to life under the sea.
The Boy and the Whale book
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Wild Orca book
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Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale book
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Lloyd Finds His Whalesong book
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  • The Boy and the Whale - A boy and his father discover a whale tangled in their only fishing net. Is the whale dead? While the man worries about losing their net, the boy worries about the whale. He remembers the fear he felt when, caught in a net himself in childhood, he almost drowned before being rescued by his father. When the whale blinks an enormous eye, the boy knows that he has to try to save the creature, no matter how dangerous doing so may be. Expressive and perfectly paced, this powerful story, The Boy and the Whale, by Caldecott Medal–winner Mordicai Gerstein was inspired in part by a real-life video of a whale’s rescue, and the creature’s joyful dance through the waves after being freed.

  • Wild Orca - Mia, her family, and friends gather in the San Juan Islands for Orca Sing, hoping that 105-year-old Granny, the oldest orca, will return with the pods she watches over. Includes facts about Granny and orcas.

  • Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale - An adorable Rainbow Fish board book! It’s a whale of a tale in which a terrible misunderstanding escalates, putting Rainbow Fish and his friends in great danger, and Rainbow Fish must try to make peace with a big blue whale to save them all from disaster. When a big blue whale comes to live near their reef, there is a misunderstanding between him and Rainbow Fish and his friends that leaves everyone very unhappy and hungry.

  • Lloyd Finds His Whalesong - Lloyd can’t sing. The rhythm of the whalesong guides the whales through danger and connects them to each other. But Lloyd is too quiet to join in. If he can’t sing, how can he be a part of the pod? Then one day he finds a magical, mysterious object with supersonic seaweed strings! This could be his chance to be part of the song. He practices and practices, nervously preparing to show the other whales. But before he can perform for them, a disruptive, noisy boat approaches and scatters the pod. Lloyd’s powerful new instrument may be the only thing that can reunite them―if he can find the courage to share his unique song. This inspiring and whimsical tale about celebrating your differences and finding your voice is complemented by bright and endearing illustrations that sparkle with quiet magic.

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Narwhal on a Sunny Night
Written by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce & illustrated by Isidre Mones
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Track the facts about the unicorn of the sea--the narwhal--and its closest relatives! When Jack and Annie came back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #33: Narwhal on a Sunny Night, they had lots of questions. What is a narwhal? Why is it nicknamed the unicorn of the sea? What other whales live in the arctic? How do they survive the cold? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about narwhals and other whales. Filled with up-to-date information, photographs, illustrations, and fun tidbits from Jack and Annie, Fact Trackers are the perfect way for kids to find out more about the topics they discover in their favorite Magic Tree House adventures.
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Water Sings Blue
Written by Kate Coombs & illustrated by Meilo So
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.
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A Big Guy Took My Ball!
Written & illustrated by Mo Willems
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8
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 A Big Guy Took My Ball! Piggie is devastated when a big guy takes her ball! Gerald is big, too...but is he big enough to help his best friend?
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Way Down Below Deep
Written by Nancy Raines Day & 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.
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A Whale of a Time: A Bindi Irwin Adventure
Written by Bindi Irwin and Chris Kunz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
A fast-paced adventure series featuring the Jungle Girl herself! The stories are inspired and co-created by Bindi Irwin, daughter of the iconic wildlife expert Steve Irwin. The series features the characters of Bindi, her brother Robert, mother Terri, and the Australia Zoo. Bindi takes a pair of troublesome twins on a thrilling whale-watching trip. It's going great until one of the twins spots a bright flare in the sky. They race to the scene and find a crashed boat! Can Bindi help stop the boat from spilling oil and save the nearby sea creatures from danger?
Baby Beluga book
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10 Reasons to Love... a Whale book
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Amos & Boris book
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Storm Whale book
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  • Baby Beluga - Presents the illustrated text to the song about the little white whale who swims wild and free.

  • 10 Reasons to Love... a Whale - Blue whales are incredible creatures! Did you know they are the largest animal on earth? Or that they sing songs across the ocean? Discover ten reasons why whales are amazing and five ways you can show they love them in this gorgeous picture book. A must for any young animal enthusiast and a fantastic introduction to environmental issues.

  • Amos & Boris - Amos the mouse and Boris the whale: a devoted pair of friends with nothing at all in common, except good hearts and a willingness to help their fellow mammal. They meet after Amos sets out to sea in his homemade boat, the Rodent, and soon finds himself in extreme need of rescue. Enter Boris. But there will come a day, long after Boris has gone back to a life of whaling about and Amos has gone back to his life of mousing around, when the tiny mouse must find a way to rescue the great whale. The tender yet comical story of this friendship is recorded in text and pictures that are a model of rich simplicity. Here, with apparent ease and concealed virtuosity, Caldecott medalist William Steig brings two winning heroes to life. Amos & Boris is a 1971 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year, Notable Children’s Book of the Year, and Outstanding Book of the Year.

  • Storm Whale - A captivating and beautifully illustrated story about three sisters who nd a stranded whale on the beach. Bleak was the day and the wind whipped down when I and my sisters walked to town . . . With a powerful, poetic text, wonderful to read aloud, and illustrations full of life and movement, this picture book about three sisters finding a stranded whale celebrates the majesty and vulnerability of nature and our place in it.

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A Symphony of Whales
Written by Steve Schuch & illustrated by Peter Sylvada
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Glashka is the only one in her village who can hear the voice of Narna, the whale. That gift leads her to great responsibility one day, when she discovers thousands of whales trapped in an inlet. The narrow route to the sea is rapidly icing over, and every day ice covers more of the open water the whales need to breathe. There seems to be no way out. . . . This story, based on an actual event, tells of a dramatic rescue--a tale of bravery and faith and the power of music.
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Trapped! A Whale's Rescue
Written by Robert Burleigh & illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6
In the icy waters of the Pacific, a massive humpback whale unexpectedly finds herself tangled in a net abandoned by fishermen. When a rescue boat and a convoy of divers arrive to help the struggling humpback, a realistic and moving encounter bridges the human and aquatic worlds.
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The Seal Garden
Written by Ian McAllister & illustrated by Nicholas Read
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.
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A Whale's World
Written by Ian McAllister & illustrated by Nicholas Read
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
A Whale’s World follows a pod of spy-hopping orcas as they explore the ecosystems of the Great Bear Sea while hunting for their next meal. Past rocky shores and through kelp forests,they observe foraging wolves, hungry grizzly bears, curious black bears, graceful fin whales, splashing porpoises,slippery seals and other members of the Pacific coastal food web.The book gives readers a fun introduction to the many ways that marine and land animals interact with their environments and with each other.
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The Gray Whales Are Missing
Written by Robin A. Thrush & illustrated by Diane de Groat
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
This quick-action novel’s setting in sparkling San Diego and Sea World, the marine zoological park, provides a colorful and fascinating topic for this middle-grade adventure story.
A Book about Whales book
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A Whale in Paris book
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Whale in a Fishbowl book
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Puffin Peter book
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  • A Book about Whales - Acting as a first book of whales, A Book About Whales teaches young readers everything they need to know about the largest mammals on earth: how they have evolved over millions of years, what and how they eat, their migration patterns, and more! Andrea Antinori’s whimsical black-and-white illustrations bring their underwater world to life. The book discusses a variety of whales one by one so readers learn to tell the differences between a blue whale and a humpback whale, among others, and what makes each of these whales unique. Packed with facts and playful in tone, this book is a must-have for young and curious nature lovers. It includes a bibliography and index.

  • A Whale in Paris - A hopeful and heroic girl befriends a small, lost whale during World War II and together they embark on a journey to liberate France and find their families in this charming debut novel.

  • Whale in a Fishbowl - Wednesday is a whale who lives in a fishbowl smack dab in the middle of a city—it’s the only home she’s ever known. Cars whizz around her and people hurry past; even the sun and moon circle above. But if she leaps high enough out of her bowl, Wednesday can see it: a calm bit of blue off in the distance. When a girl in a paisley dress tells Wednesday “You belong in the sea,” the whale starts to wonder, what is the sea? Readers will cheer—and get all choked up— when, one day, Wednesday leaps higher than ever before and sets in motion a breathtaking chain of events that will carry her to her rightful home. Touching, and ultimately uplifting, here is a story about a lonely creature longing to be free—and longing to find someone just like her.

  • Puffin Peter - Kids will delight in this witty story of mistaken identity from acclaimed author-illustrator Petr Horácek. Peter and Paul are puffins and the best of friends. But one day Peter gets lost in a terrible storm, and Paul is nowhere to be found. With the help of a big blue whale, Peter sets out, determined to find his pal. What the pair discovers is that many other birds match the description Peter gives of Paul, but none are quite like his friend. With gorgeous collage artwork and a lighthearted touch, this fun read-aloud tale will both amuse and enlighten.

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Baby Orca: Finger Puppet Book
Written by Chronicle Books & illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Huang
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Meet Baby Orca! Where does Baby Orca swim? How does Baby Orca like to play? Follow along as he experiences his world, from playtime to bedtime. The simple, comforting stories in this go-to baby gift series have made it a multimillion seller. Featuring a permanently attached plush finger puppet, each volume offers parents and children a fun, interactive way to play and read as they build a lifelong love of books together.
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Chilly da Vinci
Written by J. Rutland
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet! Chilly ties into the popular "maker" movement with humor and imagination. While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet!
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Whaley Whale
Written & illustrated by Chris Raschka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Theme: Hide-and-Seek. It’s hard to be discreet when you’re a whale (. . . or a preschooler). With relatable obviousness, Whaley Whale engages in a lighthearted game of hide-and-seek with the reader. Is she on the table? . . . Is she behind the door? This methodical progression builds an anticipation that delights young readers, while the unmistakable foreshadowing keeps parents giggling along.

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