Inside: A huge, annotated list of children’s books about the sun, including both fiction and nonfiction titles for preschool through elementary.
Whether you’re looking for picture books to go with a preschool summer sun theme, folktales to enthrall elementary students studying the Earth and space, or just-right nonfiction books that will hold your children’s interest, I’ve got you covered.
I love putting together book lists that are useful for teachers and parents. The best ones end up taking a lot of research time, and this one is no exception. I just kept finding more titles I wanted to include!
Don’t worry, though. I’ve made it easy for you to navigate. I’ve sorted the resulting HUGE list of books about the sun into categories. It’s divided into fiction and nonfiction, and then further broken down by age group.
(Disclosure: Books and Giggles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.)
Fiction Books about the Sun
Most of these fictional books about the sun relate to how the sun affects life on earth. Many of these will tie in well with science lessons about shadows, heat, evaporation, light, and day vs night.
Concept Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers
This very easiest group of children’s books about sunshine can help you teach young children some foundational ideas. These can also open up a discussion about lots of those great big questions children at this age ask.
For toddlers, Fun in the Sun by Roger Priddy (affiliate) is a cute touch-and-feel board book about various animals having fun in the sun.
Sun by Carol Thompson (affiliate) is a concept book with sweet illustrations and few words. It conveys that the sun rises and sets, and in between it makes shadows, heat, and sunburn.
The Sun is My Favorite Star by Frank Asch (affiliate) is a simple first-person narrative that follows a boy and the sun throughout one day. In simple language, it covers basic concepts including shadows and evaporation. Most of all, it reinforces the concept that the sun is actually a star. I love the bright, simple graphics and large page spreads. This choice is a solid books about the sun read aloud.
RELATED: You might also like this sun themed name activity I posted recently.
Picture Books About the Sun for Kindergarten
The following sun books are a little bit longer. They’re suitable for kindergarten and up, though you may also be able to hold older preschoolers’ attention with them too.
The Rain Puddle by Adelaide Holl (affiliate) is a cute, cumulative tale about animals who see their reflections in a puddle and think there are animals stuck there. Then, the puddle dries up and the animals “got away”. This book makes a good lead up for talking about the sun as a source of both light (reflection) and heat (evaporation).
Sun by Sam Usher (affiliate) is about a boy and his grandfather who go on an adventure on a hot sunny day. It isn’t really about the sun. However, it has the refrain “The sun beat down,” which could open up conversations about how the sun heats the earth.
The Sun Shines Everywhere, by Mary Ann Hoberman and Luciano Lozano (affiliate) teaches its title concept, along with introducing children to countries and cultures around the world. The rhyming text and engaging illustrations make it a good choice for preschool as well as kindergarten.
Dragon is Coming! by Valeri Gorbachev (affiliate) is another engaging cumulative story about the sun. In this one, a mouse thinks a dragon has swallowed the sun. In the end, it turns out just to be a passing thunder cloud. This story would also be good for talking about fears.
Summer Sun Risin’ by W. Nikola-Lisa (affiliate) is more about the rhythm of a day on a farm, but each page ends with a line about where the sun is in the sky or what it’s causing, such as “Summer sun’s stirrin’ a summertime breeze.” I’d pair this with a nonfiction book like Sun! One in a Billion (described below).
Picture Books for Elementary
Elementary-aged kids are ready for more involved stories, and they’re ready to understand folktales without confusing them with reality. Each of these books about the sun would integrate well with a science unit or could stand alone.
The Crow’s Tale by Naomi Howarth (affiliate) has gorgeous illustrations and perfect rhyming text that is a joy to read aloud. The story tells the Native American legend about how a brave crow flew to ask Sun for help getting through the winter.
Lucia and the Light by Phyllis Root (affiliate) could make a nice intro for a science unit about the sun or a geography lesson about arctic winters. Note that this book may be frightening for preschoolers (but would engage elementary age kids.)
How Maui Slowed the Sun by Peter Gossage (affiliate) retells a Maori myth. The illustrations feature bold tribal patterns, and the story is compelling. Pair this book with lessons about day and night and the rotation of the earth.
(FYI, Maui is a character in Disney’s movie Moana. Students who are big fans may recognize the narrative, which makes a brief cameo in the movie.)
Curious George Discovers the Sun (affiliate) follows everyone’s favorite curious monkey as he learns about the sun as a source of solar energy and heat. He even helps the man in a yellow hat build a solar oven.
(By the way, we made a solar oven here too a few years ago – and cooked pizza in it. It was a lot of fun!)
The Lizard and the Sun / La Lagartija y el Sol by Alma Flor Ada (affiliate) is a Mexican folktale, told in both English and Spanish. It tells of how the sun disappears, and a lizard persists in searching for it.
Finally, The Sun’s Daughter by Pat Sherman (affiliate) is a folktale retelling that looks to be a good choice even for upper elementary. I’m still waiting to get a copy of this from my library, but the reviews are strongly positive.
Nonfiction Books on the Sun
These nonfiction books tend to focus on the Sun as a star, as well as explaining the reasons behind our experiences with that star here on Earth.
Preschool and Kindergarten Nonfiction
Sun! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty (affiliate) gets my enthusiastic thumbs up for preschool through about first grade. The story is told in first person – by the sun itself, full of personality. The book covers the concept that the sun is one of many stars.
Sun by Marion Dane Bauer (affiliate) is also simple enough for some preschoolers. The language and illustrations are relatable. It explains that the sun is one of many stars and that Earth is just the right distance from it for life to flourish.
Primary Grades Nonfiction
These nonfiction books about the sun for grades 1-3 are a little longer and more fact-filled. Yet, they’re still accessible and appealing to younger readers.
The Sun by Melanie Chrismer (affiliate) – This Scholastic Reader aimed at 1st and 2nd grades describes basic scientific facts about the sun and includes a table of contents and a very short index.
The Sun: Our Nearest Star by Dr. Franklin M. Branley (affiliate) focuses on the sun as a star that provides us with heat, light, and energy. It includes a wide variety of facts in a way that’s relevant to lower elementary kids.
What Makes Day and Night is also by Dr. Franklin M. Branley (affiliate). This book clearly explains how the rotation of the earth, rather than actual sun movement, causes night and day. One section even illustrates how you can make a human model of the process.
Sun Up, Sun Down by Gail Gibbons (affiliate) covers the rotation of the earth, shadows, rainbows, and more in a simple first-person narrative format.
The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk (affiliate) is a fun explanation of the sun’s role in the solar system. Cartoon style illustrations make the subject approachable for lower elementary.
The Sun: Our Amazing Star by Patricia Brennan Demuth (affiliate) – real photos and lots of facts presented at a pace suitable for grades 1-3. I really like how the writer’s tone sounds like a friendly science teacher capturing your attention.
Older kids are eager for more details, and these sun books deliver.
The Sun by Nick Hunter (affiliate) takes upper elementary students on an engaging imaginary trip to the sun.
The Sun by Elaine Landau (affiliate) – is appropriate for grades 3-5. It includes eye-catching graphics and is written as a narrative that speaks directly to readers.
The Sun by George Capaccio (affiliate) is a good choice for older students who want details about the sun that they can’t find elsewhere.
More Resources for Teaching Kids About the Sun
While researching this post, I found a couple more resources for teaching kids about the sun. Plus, I have a few posts here on my site that you may also find useful.
First up, I stumbled across NASA’s fantastic Space Place website, which offers a wide variety of resources about the Sun for elementary students, including games, crafts, videos, and more.
Next, I have a couple of solar eclipse resources. When we had the big solar eclipse in North America a few years ago, I created this easy solar eclipse craft, and I put together a list of books about solar eclipses. I think they’d be interesting to use in non-eclipse years as well.
Finally, here’s a Sun video and song that’s just plain fun, as well as being educational…
Watch out – the song will get stuck in your head!
If you have any other favorite books about the sun I’d love to hear about them, either in the comments or via social media.