16 Seafaring Kids' Books About Boats

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.

row boat


Picture Books About Boats Teach Water Safety

 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 the water 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. Families can spend quiet time together at a local park in a simple paddle boat or canoe, where kids can jump into the water for a quick swim. 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's boat books share stories about characters who learn valuable lessons about staying safe while enjoying time in the water. 





   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

 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 all different kinds of water vessels. The illustrations capture the mystery and magic drifting on the water underneath a starry sky. 



 boat book

 Little ones will love learning about all the important ways boats are both useful and fun.  Recreational water vehicles 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.




 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 

 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 

This installment in a popular collection by Tony Mitton full of entertaining artwork. Lovable animals are at the helm of a variety of fun water crafts! 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 marine lovers. 


 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

 This book effectively depicts a bay buzzing with activity. Based on the busy,  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 The vulnerability of the watercraft 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

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 vessel in search of the rumored Friend Ship, a craft 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

The beautiful artwork embodies the wistfulness of a little toy boat that gets lost on the lake. The creation of a boy, the vessel 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 fights for survival with the hope of reuniting with her boy.



 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


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

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 craft, restores her to her original glory, and takes her out to sea once again. This picture book about an old wood structure on the surface, but it reminds readers of second chances in all matters of life.

 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 Valuable to Read Children Boat Stories

Children's 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 titles to your reading list as well. These books provide interesting, factual information about the parts of boats and how they function. They also provide important information about water safety. Kids will learn about the motors that power the vehicles, as well as the danger they pose to swimmers. They will also develop a healthy respect and fear for open bodies of water, the risks thunderstorms pose, and precautions that need to be taken when going out for a ride. It's always a good idea to read to your children ahead of time to ensure their safety and enjoyment!   


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