16 Seafaring Kids' Books About Boats

where do speedboats sleep at night

Where do Speedboats Sleep at Night?

 Toddlers will love this adorable book about the bedtime routine all boats follow. After long, busy days zipping around in the water, these water vehicles wash up, eat snacks, snuggle up with their teddies, and are lovingly tucked in by their parents. All different kinds like canoes, speedboats, cruise ships and fishing boats, need a peaceful night of rest in calm water. A winning nautical bedtime story for kids who love boats!



Educational Children's Books About Boats

 There is something pretty exciting about riding in a speedboat across a lake or an ocean. It is at once a thrilling and calming experience to travel at fast speeds in a vast body of water with no boundaries, much like flying across the sky in an airplane. Although boating does carry some risk, there is an odd sense of safety when zipping through the water far away from land and other vehicles. All of these children's books about boats evoke the multitude of emotions and feelings when sailing, speeding, cruising, or just slowly coasting on the waterway.



Amazing Toddler Boat Books 

 Reading books about boats to toddlers and preschoolers is a great way to cultivate their appreciation for these fun water vehicles. Some of these books teach kids about all the different kinds of boats and how they work. For this age group, the books may cover some basic names for the parts and how they help the boats function. Other stories carry kids away on exciting adventures out into the the middle of the ocean. Through vivid illustrations and expertly worded verse, toddlers can almost feel the wind in their faces at they jet across the water.  

   little blue boat 

Little Blue Boat

 A very sturdy, lift-the-flap book takes little readers on a nautical journey.  Hop aboard the little blue boat and head out to sea for an epic adventures. Kids will love peaking behind each flap to discover hidden creatures living deep underwater. The aqua and blue-toned illustrations capture the mood of ocean life. A wonderful choice for a baby shower gift.


 good night boats

Good Night Boats

 A concise, sturdy board book for toddlers that introduces a wide variety of boats. Rock your little one to sleep each night with images of toy boats, houseboats, tugboats, fishing boats, sail boats, and many more. The illustrations capture the mystery and magic of these boats drifting on the water underneath a starry sky. 



 boat book

Boat Book

 Little ones will love learning about all the important ways boats are both useful and fun.  Recreational boats like sailboats, speedboats, and cruise ships float across the pages. There are also pictures of boats used for transportation, fighting fires, and police work. Simple explanations and bold artwork draw in toddlers and preschoolers who want to learn more about all kinds of boats.





 Byron Barton books are extremely popular with babies and toddlers for good reason! In this board book, little readers are introduced to a variety of boats with succinct text explaining each one's function. The clean, bold illustrations with distinct lines provide enough detail to explore without overwhelming little ones. A really good choice to add to your child's collection.



 richard scarry's boats 

Richard Scarry's Boats

 This sturdy board book by Richard Scarry is true to his signature style! This is not a story that needs to be read cover to cover. Rather, it's an adorable collection of whimsical, little pictures of critters on boats. Short and simple text accompanies each illustration. Toddlers will soak in all the details about sailboats, motorboats, kayaks and submarines. With every reading, kids will delight in discovering a humorous, new detail.



busy boats 

Busy Boats

This installment in a popular collection by Tony Mitton full of entertaining artwork. Lovable animals are at the helm of a variety of boats, like sail boats, speed boats, ferry boats, and more! They give little readers a valuable tour of these boats and explain how all the parts work. The darling illustrations are accompanied by fun, rhyming text. This boat book for preschoolers will easily become a fast favorite for young boat lovers. 

row boat 

Picture Books About Boats for Kindergarten and Up

Lots of kids go through a period of time when they are fascinated with boats. The lucky ones actually get to experience the thrill of sailing, speeding, or cruising across the vast ocean. There is also another boating experience that is fun to enjoy with your children. Families can spend quiet time together at a local park in a simple paddle boat or canoe. Time has a way of slowing down on the water where kids can look for fish, turtles, and other creatures who call these lakes their home. Children will learn to appreciate all the different kinds of boats in these wonderful picture books.


 i want a boat

I Want a Boat!

The power of a child's imagination is celebrated in this whimsical picture book. Sometimes all it takes is a plain, cardboard box to whisk a little one away on an exciting adventure. That is exactly what happens when a little girl builds a sailboat, fills the deck with her stuffed animals, and takes off on an epic journey. The sparse text opens the door for readers to add their own interpretation this make-believe story. 



 boats on the bay

Boats on the Bay

 This book effectively depicts a bay buzzing with activity. Based on the busy, boat-filled San Francisco Bay, watercolor illustrations capture both the functional nature of these water vehicles along with their recreational use. Sparse, lyrical text sets a the right tone for boats floating on the waterway. Fun, little details in the pictures are left open for readers to point out and interpret on their own. The very last page opens into a double-spread gatefold depicting boats against a city sky lit up by fireworks.




A picture book for all ages, this emotional book about a sailboat is a thought-provoking gift for anyone about to embark down a new path in life. The vulnerability of the boat at sea, both fragile and strong, is captured by the brushstrokes of the waves. Readers are encouraged to embrace the courage, grit, and determination needed to journey out into the ocean and explore the depths of the water. A beautifully rendered book that grows with the child and takes on new meaning throughout life's many challenges.


 the friend ship

The Friend Ship

Sometimes what you are looking for in life is right in front of you. That is the lesson in this sweet story about a hedgehog who sets out on a quest to find friends. She's been feeling lonely, so she boards her boat in search of the rumored Friend Ship, a vessel overflowing with loving companions. Along her journey, the hedgehog runs into other seafaring creatures in search of the same. Before long, the animals realize that they can stop searching, for they have already found the key to their happiness with each other.



 toy boat

Toy Boat

The beautiful artwork embodies the wistfulness of a little toy boat that gets lost on the lake. The creation of a boy, the sailboat is made from a hodgepodge of ordinary objects- a cork, a pencil, a can, and a wispy piece of cloth. When a gust of wind sends her sailing away, she is confronted with some much larger, intimidating watercraft, like speedboats and ferries. Overcoming these obstacles as well as waves that threaten to overwhelm her, the toy boat fights for survival with the hope of reuniting with her boy.



 the magic boat

The Magic Boat

A whimsical picture book about the magic of a child's imagination. This is a story about Ellie, a little girl who accompanies her Nonna to the beach every day during the summer. One time she spots another girl, Piper, playing on a rowboat that is resting in the sand. Ellie courageously approaches the boat, and joins Piper for an afternoon of adventure. Together they fly high into the sky and dive deep into the ocean aboard their magic boat. While never leaving the safety of the beach, the girls enjoy an adventurous day with no boundaries.


out into the big wide lake

Out Into the Big Wide Lake

Winner of the Ezra Jack Keats award, this evocative picture book is about the serenity of life on a lake. Katie spends a summer with her grandparents where she spends much of her time out on a rowboat. She accompanies her grandfather as he delivers groceries by boat and visits with various neighbors along the way. When her grandfather falls ill, Katie summons the courage to take the boat out by herself and take over for him. The pictures beautifully capture a lifestyle in harmony with nature where simple rowboats are the main mode of transportation.


 old wood boat

Old Wood Boat

A beautiful story of a boat's rebirth that will appeal to adults as much as to the children on their laps. Illustrated by a West Coast artist, images of an abandoned, dilapidated old sailboat evoke feelings of sadness and memories of better days. Her mast is now cracked and paint is chipped, but readers can imagine how beautiful she once appeared. Then one day a family rescues the boat, restores her to her original glory, and takes her out to sea once again. This picture book about an old wood boat on the surface, but it reminds readers of second chances in all matters of life.

 three bears in a boat 

Three Bears in a Boat

Three sibling bears head out to sea in search of a rare, blue seashell for their mother. They broke her special shell and are determined to find a replacement before she realizes what happened. What begins as an uneventful outing quickly turns into an epic adventure. The siblings navigate treacherous waters and discover beautiful new islands, incredible marine life, some boisterous sailors, but no blue seashell. Unfortunately, a storm blows in and threatens their safe return. A adventurous story that emphasizes the importance of taking personal responsibility.


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Why It's Important to Read Kids Books About Boats 

Children's fiction books about boats take readers on a nautical journey from the comfort of their homes. With the visual guidance of illustrations, kids can imagine they are on the deck with a cool breeze blowing and water splashing in the wake. Rhythmic verse conjures up the sounds of boat motors humming, water rippling, and the warm sun beating down on passengers at sea. Kids can close their eyes and immerse themselves in these picture books about boats.

Be sure to add some non-fiction kids' books about boats to your reading list. These books provide interesting, factual information about the parts of boats and how they function. The best boat books also provide important information about safety. Kids will learn about the motors that power the boats, but also about the danger they pose to swimmers. They will also develop a healthy respect and fear for open bodies of water, the risks storms pose, and precautions that need to be taken when going out for a boat ride. It's always a good idea to read these kinds of books to your children ahead of time to ensure their safety and enjoyment!  



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