17 Children’s Books that Creatively Teach Kids Practical Skills

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17 book that teach life skills

I love reading!! I am the person that can spend all day in the library and bookstore soaking up knowledge from various books. When I became a mother, I hoped my son would share the same love of reading as I do.

It turns out that he does. However, I found ways to make books fun and interesting for him.

We often use books and hand-on activities to learn new skills within our household. I wanted to share with you 17 books that promoted fun interaction and  used creativity to teach my son a new concept.

*Click on the links and you will find a book review and  hands-on activities that we have done to supplement the books!

  1. Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories For All the Letters by Oliver Jeffers.


In this book, each letter has a word and short story related to it. The stories have various themes such as humor, gratefulness, and the art of thinking.  This book also helps children learn how to solve problems through its story telling.

  1. The Question Song by Kaethe Zemach


This book teaches kids to solve everyday problems. It addresses issues such as injuries and selfishness. My son found it interesting because it contains repetition, rhythm, and rhyming words.

  1. Emily’s First 100 Days of School by Rosemary Wells


This book is about a bunny named Emily who is starting school. Emily tells the reader about her first 100 days of school through short stories. This book  encouraged my son to create other stories with numbers. It helped him learn the numbers 1-100 through imaginative play.

  1. Big Words for Little Geniuses by Susan and James Patterson


This book is colorful and introduces kids to big words in alphabetical order. The first word was ARACHIBUTYROPHOBIA!!!! This word means a fear of peanut butter sticking to the top of your mouth. At first, I thought this book would be too advanced for my toddler. However, I decided to give it a try.

It became a great learning and bonding experience for my son and I. He learned how to pronounce all the words in the book. We also try to use the words as we are talking daily.

  1. The Great Dictionary Caper by Judy Sierra.

This is a fun, interactive, and flashy book about parts of speech, literacy, and language arts. This book addresses topics such as actions verbs, homophones, palindromes, onomatopoeias, contractions, etc. The Action verb page has various words like somersault, jump, glide and ricochet. Each word is written and drawn to portray their action.

  1. What’s On Your Plate? Exploring the World of Food by Whitney Stewart

This book highlights countries such as Mexico, Ethiopia, China, and Greece, and gives the reader information on their locations, foods frequently eaten, and recipes. The enticing food pictures in this book will make you hungry. My son gained an interest in learning about geography and connected with this book instantly. He learned that he eats similar foods to people all over the world.

  1. Meet Black Panther by R.R. Busse and This is Black Panther by Alexandra West


These two books introduced the characters and their roles for the Black Panther Comic Books. It also addressed themes such as good vs bad, courage, hard work, intelligence, instinct, loyalty, etc. One of the books identified vocabulary words and asked the reader to find them within the story. My son became excited when he saw the words in the story! I took it a step further and introduced my son to settings, geography, action verbs, and science.

  1. Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, Stretch It, Shape It by JoAnn Deak, PhD.


This book uses a diverse group of young characters to educate its reader on the powerful brain. A few concepts addressed in this book are parts of the brain and their functions. I was thrilled when we read the fact, “Making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns and grows.” Many children get frustrated when they are learning something new because mistakes are made, which is a part of the process. This book has taught me one way to handle my son’s frustration as he experiences the trial and error process.

  1.  I Want to Be a Doctor by Laura Driscoll


This story is about a boy who broke his leg by jumping off the top bunkbed. His family takes him to the emergency room, where his inquisitive older sister takes the reader on a journey to learn about the various doctors helping her brother.  Children will learn about specialized professions such as Radiologists, Orthopedists, Neonatologists and Dentists.

  1. Find Your Way in Space By Paul Boston


This book will take your young reader on a space mission using math and mapping skills. This book encourages children to solve a mystery. Mathematical concepts addressed in this book are counting, addition, shapes, identifying relationships between objects, colors, length, height, map coordinates, and telling time. The concepts are introduced through questions the reader must answer.

  1. The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers by Stan and Jan Berenstain


In this book, Brother Bear was cautious and wary of strangers. Sister Bear, similar to my son, was “friendly to a fault” and said hello to everyone. Brother intervened and told his sister to stop talking to strangers, but he couldn’t articulate why. This book explains to the young reader what to do around strangers.

  1. My Weird School Fast Facts – Space, Humans, and Farts by Dan Gutman


This book contains a lot of fun, humorous, and engaging information for kids. Your child will discover a love of science from reading this book! If you have a younger child, read these facts to them and see how amazed they become.

  1. When Miles Got Mad by Sam Kurtzman-Counter and Abbie Schiller


This is a great book that teaches kids to use their words to express their feelings. It also uses an image, a red monster, to represent anger and rage. The red monster makes a connection to what a child feels when angry feelings overwhelm them. This book addresses other themes such as empathy, self-control, keeping hands to self, and problem solving.


  1. How Does My Home Work? By Chris Butterworth

The author brings awareness to actions kids take every day in the home such as flipping on the light switch, accessing water from the faucet, and taking a drink from the refrigerator. He then uses the book to show children how these things happen. This book made my son more curious about how our home functions. He became more conscious of turning off the lights and water before he leaves a room! It also encourages a greater appreciation for your living space.

  1. Treasure Map by Stuart Murphy


This book is about a group of friends, the Elm Street Kids’ Club, following a treasure map to find a time capsule. The author shows the reader how to follow a map by giving clues that identify landmarks and directions. Other concepts presented in the book are decision-making skills, interpreting symbols, and scales. The author provides teachers and parents activities to supplement learning. Furthermore, he includes other books that address map reading skills.

16. Milo’s Museum by Zetta Elliott

This book’s plot was unexpected but refreshing. It is about a girl named Milo who takes a class field trip to the museum with her grandfather as a chaperone. As they were exploring the museum, Milo admired the art but something was missing. Children will witness a child taking the initiative to create an idea, plan and execute it. They will learn vocabulary words and will have access to a guide on how to create their own exhibit in the back of the book.

17. 3 x 4 a Toon Book by Ivan Brunetti

This comic book is about a teacher who gives his students a homework assignment of drawing 12 things but in sets.  He is addressing multiplication in the book. The story goes on to show the reader the process that each student executes to complete their homework assignment based on their interests. At the end, you will find tips for parents and teachers on How to Read Comics with Kids.

All of the books listed were fun and interesting to read. They opened my son’s mind  to learning something new and applying what he learned.

Let us know which book was your favorite and what activities you did to supplement the book.

Don’t forget to sign up for our FREE course on How to Teach the Alphabet in a Fun Way!

Also, download our FREE Printable Holiday Card so your children can showcase their artwork to family and friends this Holiday Season!

Don’t forget to check our two books, Teach your Toddler to Read Through Play and Fun and Easy Ways to Teach your Toddler to Write.

Happy Reading!