Water Fun: Books for Young Children

Young children love to play with water — and learn about it too!  From the water in the faucet to the rain to the ocean, there is lots to learn in the books below.

Related resources

A Different Pond

A boy and his father fishing
By: Bao Phi
Illustrated by: Thi Bui
Age Level: 6-9

As a young boy, Bao and his father awoke early, hours before his father's long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao's father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. Thi Bui's striking, evocative art paired with Phi's expertly crafted prose has earned this powerful picture books numerous starred reviews and awards.

Agua, Agüita/Water, Little Water

Animals near waterfall
Illustrated by: Felipe Ugalde Alcántara
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

"My name / is Water / but everyone / calls me Little Water." In this beautiful, poetic ode to the life-giving force of water, award-winning children's book author Jorge Argueta describes in English, Spanish and Nahuat the life cycle of water from the perspective of one drop. With stunningly beautiful illustrations by Felipe Ugalde Alcántara that depict the mountains, rocks, vegetation and animals of the natural world, this poem about the importance of water reflects Argueta's indigenous roots and his appreciation for nature.

All the Water in the World

Rich, rhythmic language combines with lush illustration to poetically describe the water cycle and more. This memorable volume will be read aloud — and perhaps discussed as: "Thirsty air/licks it [water] from lakes/sips it from ponds/guzzles it from oceans…"

Animal Poems of the Iguazú

Animal near the Iguazú
Illustrated by: Maya Christina Gonzalez
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Inspired by a visit to the Iguazú National Park in South America, Francisco X. Alarcón celebrates its animals, skies, waterfalls, and more in these short and vibrant bilingual poems. Each page holds pulsating paintings that swirl and move, further vivifying each poem.

Hello Ocean / Hola Mar

Language: English, Spanish, Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

A child narrates her visit to the ocean, inviting readers to explore it with her. She experiences the sea with all of her senses through realistic illustrations and lyrical language in this gently rhyming tale.

I Know the River Loves Me

Girl near river

Celebrate the river's magic and music with this poetic tribute that also speaks to the importance of taking care of our rivers. Vivid aqua and green waves swirl across the pages, bringing the river and her friend to life.

In the Rain

Illustrated by: Manelle Oliphant
Age Level: 0-3

On a rainy day, a young girl makes a paper boat, splashes in puddles, makes mud pies, and has other springtime fun! Elizabeth Spurr and Manelle Oliphant together create a perfect sit-in-your-lap reading experience for toddlers.

Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean (National Geographic Kids)

Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish

National Geographic Kids First Big Book of the Ocean is an adorable animal reference that includes the sea's high-interest animals, such as dolphins, sharks, sea otters, and penguins, and introduces kids to some of its lesser-known creatures. More than 100 charming animal photos illustrate the profiles, with facts about the creatures' sizes, diets, homes, and more. This book will quickly become a favorite at storytime, bedtime, and any other time.

Tea Leaves

Young woman standing among tea leaves
Age Level: 6-9

Shanti lives in the mountains of Sri Lanka with her mother, Amma, who works hard every day picking tea leaves. Before walking to school one day, Shanti asks her mother for her wishes. "I wish you good luck, and may you be surprised by what you learn," says Amma. Shanti's wish come true when her Uncle Nochi takes her to see the Indian Ocean.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Illustrated by: E.B Lewis
Age Level: Middle Grade

Dazzling watercolors turn Hughes' short poem into an unforgettable glimpse of African American history and an emotional journey through time. A concluding note details the illustrator's personal connection to the classic poem.

The Wakame Gatherers

Girl with her two grandmothers on the beach
Illustrated by: Kazumi Wilds
Age Level: 6-9

Nanami is nervous about translating for her American grandmother, Gram, and her Japanese grandmother, Baachan — especially when the conversation takes a turn towards World War II. As they collect wakame seaweed together, though, she soon realizes that the two wise women have even more in common than she imagined. This lovely tribute celebrates bicultural and bilingual children and the promise of peace.

The Water Walker / Nibi Emosaawdang (Ojibwa and English Edition)

illustration of a girl walking through the wood carrying a stick with an eagle head on the top
Age Level: 6-9

The story of the determined Ojibwe Nokomis (grandmother) Josephine Mandamin and her great love for Nibi (water). Nokomis walks to raise awareness of our need to protect water for future generations and for all life on the planet. She, along with other women, men and youth, have walked the perimeter of the Great Lakes and along the banks of numerous rivers and lakes. The walks are full of challenges, and by her example Josephine invites us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water, the giver of life, and to protect our planet for all generations.

Water (TIME for Kids Informational Texts)

Photo of waves crashing on rocks
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish

From streams to oceans, tide pools to rivers, water is all around us! Beginning readers explore different bodies of water in this Spanish-translated, nonfiction title. Clear, informational text and engaging photos will educate and intrigue readers simultaneously!

Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube

Illustration of rainbow in front of a waterfall
By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Meilo So
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Here is a poetic ode to the beauty of the natural world as expressed by the movement and moods of water on Earth. With every evocative verse, we visit one of fourteen different water landscapes and cultural areas around the world, each stunningly illustrated with a breathtaking view of a place of natural beauty and conveying a sense of the drama, joy, power, serenity, grandeur, or peacefulness of water.

Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems

Illustrated by: Meilo So
Age Level: 6-9

Translucent watercolors and short, varied poems take readers on a trip to the sea. There they meet sea birds, fish, coral, and more in each short verse. Evocative language creates memorable images of the sea and its often hidden treasures.

Water: Up, Down, and All Around

Illustrated by: Matthew John
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish

Introduce young scientists to the basics of the water cycle! Through full-color photos and simple, easy-to-follow text, this nonfiction book introduces emergent readers to the importance of water, explaining evaporation and condensation, dew and frost, and the three states of water. Alongside charming illustrations, award-winning author Natalie M. Rosinsky delivers fun, fact-filled text for an engaging read-aloud or beginning read-alone. Includes hands-on experiments!

We Are Water Protectors

child standing in waves holding a feather
Illustrated by: Michaela Goade

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, Carole Lindstrom's bold and lyrical picture book We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguarding the Earth’s water from harm and corruption.

Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth
And poison her people’s water, one young water protector
Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.