Let's Take the Bus!: Books for Young Children

Whether it's the school bus or a city bus, riding the bus is a big adventure with lots of sights and sounds (not to mention songs)! It's also a way to see how a lot of different people live and an entry into conversations with young children about civil rights and equality.

Related resources

Cat on the Bus

By: Aram Kim
Age Level: 0-3

This nearly wordless book uses onomatopoeia and striking, bold illustrations to tell the story of a vulnerable stray cat in search of food, shelter and love. A cat enters a grocery store in search of food, but the proprietor shoos her away. A bus approaches offering shelter, but the large-handed, scary-faced driver shouts SCRAM! When another bus approaches, the cat runs in with a WHOOSH and meets a grandfatherly gentleman who changes the cat's circumstances forever.

Here Comes the Bus

Illustrated by: Linda Finch
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish

A Chinese American girl takes the bus to school and greets her friends, one by one, at each stop. Spanish version available.

Last Stop on Market Street

Illustrated by: Christian Robinson
Age Level: 6-9

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn't he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. Winner 2016 Newbery Award.

Nimoshom and His Bus

Illustrated by: Karen Hibbard
Age Level: 0-3
Language: Cree

Nimoshom loved to drive the school bus. Every day, on the way to and from school, he had something to say to the children who rode his bus. Sometimes, he told the kids silly stories. Sometimes, he taught the kids a new word in Cree. Nimoshom and His Bus introduces readers to basic Cree words. A glossary is included in the back of the book.

Rosa

Illustrated by: Bryan Collier
Age Level: 6-9

Rosa Parks was an ordinary woman who became a hero because she "was not going to give in to that which was wrong." A catalyst for the famous Montgomery Bus boycott in Alabama, she turned the nation's attention to a glaring injustice in our society. Powerful illustrations evoke a time before the Civil Rights era and give the reader a glimpse at a person, her impact, and a period in American history.

The Bus for Us

Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Tess can't wait for the school bus to arrive! "Is this bus for us, Gus?" she continues to ask as a taxi, ice cream truck, and fire engine pass by. The repetition of questions and answers throughout the story will make this a great read-aloud for young students and English language learners. Colorful watercolor illustrations complement the text. Bilingual edition available.

The Bus Ride

Illustrated by: John Ward
Age Level: 6-9

Sarah and her mother ride the bus every day. There are lots of other people on the bus, but some passengers aren't allowed to sit in certain areas. One day, Sarah decides to see what she's missing by sitting at the back of the bus. The moment she moves up front she sets off a commotion that reverberates furiously throughout the city.

¡Vámonos! Lets Go!

Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

From their window on the bus, a girl and a boy see a fire truck that goes woo-ooo-ooo, also known as a camión de bomberos--uuuah uuuah uuuah. They see a train, an ambulance and an airplane too! With this rollicking adaptation of "The Wheels on the Bus," young people can sing out the names of their favorite vehicles and the sounds they make -- in both English and Spanish.