12 Children’s Books about Penguins

Inside: Find the best children’s books about penguins from this list of picture books and nonfiction selections for preschool through elementary.

Book cover collage and title "12 Delightful Children's Books about Penguins

After March of the Penguins and Happy Feet came out, penguins rose to a new level of fame! They are still an incredibly popular animal among children of all ages. In this post, I’m sharing my favorite children’s books about penguins to help your little one find their new favorite read!

The Best Children’s Books about Penguins

Regardless of your child’s age, there is a perfect penguin book just waiting for them! I’m going to break these suggestions down into books for young kids (preschool – early elementary) and older kids (upper elementary) to make it even easier.

Penguin Books for Younger Kids

Little Penguins book cover

Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant

Rylant is a masterful writer and her work deserves to take up a good chunk of your library space. In this very simple book for the pre-K to preschool crowd, the readers follow along as a group of penguins explore a snowy day.

The Emperor Lays an Egg book cover

The Emperor Lays an Egg by Brenda Guiberson

Children are so fascinated by learning about the life cycle of penguins. From the dads carrying the eggs on their feet to the fluffy babies that hatch out of them, this book focuses on this interesting part of penguin life.

Tacky the Penguin book cover

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester

Always struggling to be like the other straight-laced and put-together penguins, Tacky does things his own way. His antics are hilarious for young readers and there are a bunch of titles in this series to keep them asking for more!

Penguin Problems book cover

Penguin Problems by Jory John

If you’re struggling with a class full of complainers…read this book! It features adorable penguins complaining about just everything: the snow, how it’s cold, how loud the other penguins are, and more. It will absolutely capture your child’s attention and gently pass on the message that there’s plenty to be thankful for!

spike penguin book cover

Spike: The Penguin with Rainbow Hair by Sarah Cullen and Carmen Ellis

This story shares the life of Spike, a fluffy little penguin born with the most colorful tuft of hair! It teaches the lesson that we’re all unique in our own ways. This would be a wonderful story for a morning meeting or a social-emotional learning lesson about accepting differences!

All About Penguins book cover

All About Penguins: Discover Life on Land and In the Sea by Dyan De Napoli

The author of this wonderful book is known as the “Penguin Lady” in the aquarium world. After gaining in-person knowledge about these beautiful creatures for years and years, she wrote this book to share her insights with the next generation. This is one of the most popular children’s books about penguins for a reason!

The Penguin Who Was Cold book cover

The Penguin Who Was Cold by Philip Giordano

This new release is already an award winner thanks due to its exceptional artwork and beautiful story of self-acceptance. The illustrations are enough to spark an art lesson. The story of a young penguin, Milo, leaving his cold homeland and exploring warm waters with his new whale friend will captivate your class. Don’t skip this one!

Penguin Books for Older Kids

Mr. Popper's Penguins book cover

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Florence and Richard Atwater

There’s a reason this chapter book has been a classic since its publication in 1938! It’s clever, entertaining, and well-written. This story about a housepainter and his crew of penguin helpers is wonderful as a class read-aloud.

Magic Tree House penguin book cover

Eve of the Emperor Penguin by Mary Pope Osborne

Follow Jack and Annie on their journey to Antarctica! This book is part of the more advanced Merlin Mission series of the Magic Tree House books. Readers will also want to find the companion nonfiction book that teaches all about Antarctica and emperor penguins.

Penguins Hate Stuff book cover

Penguins Hate Stuff by Greg Stones

This book isn’t my typical pick, but it will absolutely resonate with a crowd of 3rd – 5th graders. Each page features something penguins “hate,” usually because it involves them being playfully harmed in some way. It’s silly, funny, and will bring your whole class together.

Passionate About Penguins book cover

Passionate about Penguins by Owen Davey

Packed full of information and stunning graphics, this book is a must-have in your classroom library! The photos are so colorful and allow readers to soak up so much information quickly. This one will be popular!

Every Penguin in the World book cover

Every Penguin in the World: A Quest to See Them All by Charles Bergman

This book would be a phenomenal choice for an upper elementary (or even older) group! It is not a kid’s book exactly but has the most amazing photography and wonderful narrative-style writing following the author’s journey to see all 18 species of penguins. This would be a fantastic mentor text to analyze for figurative language and engrossing storytelling!

More Penguin Activities for Kids

If there’s a little one in your life who dreams of polar adventures, you’re going to want to check out these penguin activities for kids!

Don’t miss my favorite polar bear books for kids, either. They’re a perfect companion to this list of children’s books about penguins!

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