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Paleontology: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about paleontology?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to paleontology. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about paleontology.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

We hope this list of kids books about paleontology can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Dinosaur Lady
Written by Linda Skeers & illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A beautifully illustrated picture book biography of Mary Anning that will enlighten children about the discovery of the dinosaurs and the importance of female scientists, perfect for fans of The Girl Who Thought in Pictures

Mary Anning loved scouring the beach near her home in England for shells and fossils. She fearlessly climbed over crumbling cliffs and rocky peaks, searching for new specimens. One day, something caught Mary’s eye.

Bones. Dinosaur Bones.

Mary’s discoveries rocked the world of science and helped create a brand-new field of study: paleontology. But many people believed women couldn’t be scientists, so Mary wasn’t given the credit she deserved. Nevertheless, Mary kept looking and learning more, making discoveries that reshaped scientific beliefs about the natural world.

Educational backmatter includes a timeline of Mary Anning’s life and lots of fantastic fossil facts!

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Ocean Renegades!
Written & illustrated by Abby Howard
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“Determined to show Ronnie just how interesting prehistoric life was BEFORE the age of the dinosaurs, Miss Lernin takes her back in time to the six parts of the Paleozoic era to study the earliest lifeforms on Earth, starting with the rise of the vertebrates”–]cProvided by publisher.

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Dinosaur Empire!
Written & illustrated by Abby Howard
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ronnie is just a normal fifth-grader trying to pass her science class’s impossible quiz on the history of dinosaurs . . . until she happens upon her neighbor–Ms. Lernin–a retired paleontologist. With the assistance of Science Magic, Ronnie and Ms. Lernin travel back through time and space to experience the Mesozoic Era firsthand. They visit three important time periods in the development of the Mesozoic Era: the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Cretaceous. Along the way, Ronnie finds herself face-to-face with real-life dinosaurs and reptiles, like stegosauruses, velociraptors, and thalattosaurs. With the help of her neighbor’s trusty knowledge of prehistoric times, she learns the differences between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores, as well as between dinosaurs, insects, and reptiles. This insightful and informative graphic novel uses engaging art to bring facts to life, giving kids the tools to understand the evolution of these prehistoric creatures and the important effects this era had on our world today.

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Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic–dinosaurs, coral reefs, the solar system, volcanoes, bats, flying machines, and more. These gorgeously illustrated graphic novels offer wildly entertaining views of their subjects. Whether you’re a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty-year-old with a secret passion for airplanes, these books are for you! This volume: in Dinosaurs, learn all about the history of paleontology! This fascinating look at dinosaur science covers the last 150 years of dinosaur hunting, and illuminates how our ideas about dinosaurs have changed–and continue to change.

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Mary Anning
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Mary Anning, the mother of paleontology, and daring fossil hunter. When Mary was little, her family was very poor. She used to help her dad to comb for shells and bones up high on dangerous cliffs. After receiving a book as a gift from a kind benefactor, Mary learned all about fossils. She continued to hunt for them and made the startling discovery of a complete skeleton of an ichthyosaur. Sadly, she wasn’t allowed to study along with all the other men, but she carried on making her own discoveries–including dinosaur poo!–and advising the Geological Society when they needed help. It took a lifetime to receive recognition but we all remember her now as the mother of paleontology. This roar-some book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the paleontologist’s life. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children. Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

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  • What Was the Age of the Dinosaurs? - Travel back to the time when the mighty dinosaurs ruled the earth. The Age of Dinosaurs began about 250 million years ago. In the beginning they were quite small but over time they evolved into the varied and fascinating creatures that captivate our imaginations today. What we know about dinosaurs is evolving, too! We’ve learned that some dinosaurs were good parents, that dinosaurs could grow new teeth when old ones fell out, and that most dinosaurs walked on two legs. We’ve even discovered that birds are modern relatives of dinosaurs!

  • Dinosaur Detectives - In Magic School Bus chapter book #9, Ms Frizzle and the gang find out they must become Dinosaur Detectives at the Museum of Natural History. Ms Frizzles and the gang just want to study dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History. But by mistake, they end up traveling through time to the actual Mesozoic era and come face to face with real meat-eaters! Yikes! They learn about the differences between all kinds of dinosaurs and the different eras these creatures roamed to earth. Don’t miss their exciting chase with a T-Rex and their race to get back home! Read how the Magic School bus kids become real Dinosaur Detectives.

  • When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex - From a very young age, Sue Hendrickson was meant to find things: lost coins, perfume bottles, even hidden treasure. Her endless curiosity eventually led to her career in diving and paleontology, where she would continue to find things big and small. In 1990, at a dig in South Dakota, Sue made her biggest discovery to date: Sue the T. rex, the largest and most complete T. rex skeleton ever unearthed. Named in Sue’s honor, Sue the T. rex would be placed on permanent exhibition at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. When Sue Found Sue inspires readers to take a closer look at the world around them and to never lose their brave, adventurous spirits.

  • Dinosaur Bones - With a lively rhyming text and vibrant paper collage illustrations, author-artist Bob Barner shakes the dust off the dinosaur bones found in museums and reminds us that they once belonged to living, breathing creatures. Filled with fun dinosaur facts (a T. Rex skull can weigh up to 750 pounds!) and an informational “Dinometer,” Dinosaur Bones is sure to make young dinosaur enthusiasts roar with delight.

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Barnum's Bones
Written by Tracey Fern & illustrated by Boris Kulikov
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Documents the work of an early 20th-century paleontologist, named after the famous circus icon by his ambitious parents, who grew up to work for the American Museum of Natural History and discovered the first documented skeletons of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and other noteworthy species. By the author of Pippo the Fool.

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Baby Paleontologist
Written by Dr. Laura Gehl & illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Baby Scientist is an adorable board book series that brings fun, accessible science concepts to baby’s world using simple language, recognizable settings, and vibrant art. Read them all with your baby scientist!

Baby Paleontologist digs for fossils. With his pickax and brush, he discovers plants and animals that lived long, long ago.

What stories do fossils tell?

What did dinosaurs look like?

Find out with Baby Paleontologist!

Don’t miss the other books in this series, including Baby Oceanographer, Baby Astronaut, and Baby Botanist!

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Lord of the Skies
Written by Albbie
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

In the late Cretaceous period, many animals began to take wing, and dinosaurs were no exception. Fly high with our dino-“soar” friends as well as Rain, Emily, and the rest of Dr. Da Vinci’s Dinosaur Explorers crew as they find out just how these flying creatures stay afloat! But these time travelers have to be careful–these aren’t friendly skies they’re flying in; the lord of the skies is an expert predator with a prehistoric eagle eye. It will take luck and ingenuity to survive this era and make it one step closer to making it home.

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Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas
Written by Elizabeth Shreeve & illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Graceful, succinct prose and engaging illustrations trace the evolution of life on Earth out of the blue and back again. Clear and inviting nonfiction prose, vetted by scientists–together with lively illustrations and a time line–narrate how life on Earth emerged “out of the blue.” It began in the vast, empty sea when Earth was young. Single-celled microbes too small to see held the promise of all life-forms to come. Those microbes survived billions of years in restless seas until they began to change, to convert sunlight into energy, to produce oxygen until one day–Gulp!–one cell swallowed another, and the race was on. Learn how and why creatures began to emerge from the deep–from the Cambrian Explosion to crustaceans, mollusks to fishes, giant reptiles to the rise of mammals–and how they compare to the animals we know today, in a lively and accessible outing into the prehistoric past that boils a complex subject down to its lyrical essence.

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Prehistoric Pioneers
Written by Albbie
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Trapped in the Precambrian Era 570 million years ago by an earthquake, the X-Venture Xplorers find themselves in a fix- by needing a bigger fix for their time machine! Rain, Sean and Stone are now faced with the challenge of finding electricity in an era where human haven”t even evolved! And to make matters worse, the locals don”t take kindly to them either! Witness all the wonders of our world”s past with these PREHISTORIC PIONEERS!

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  • Lost in the Jurassic - STEM-inspired comics adventures drawn in a full-color manga-style reminiscent of Dragonball Z, with special illustrated pages devoted to science facts. The Dinosaur Explorers–Rain, Emily, Sean, and Stone, along with Dr. Da Vinci, his assistant, Diana, and their robot helper, Starz– were all flung back in time by Dr. Da Vinci’s particle transmitter, and the solar-power device can only bring them back to the present a few centuries at a time, giving them all a perfect opportunity to explore the past–provided they can actually survive it. They now find themselves back in the Jurassic, and they quickly find it’s no walk in the park (Get it?) (Sorry.). This is the grand age of dinosaurs, but also the time when the first non-dinosaur animals begin to stretch their wings!

  • Cretaceous Craziness - If the Jurassic Period was all about dinosaur quality, the Cretaceous Period is all about dinosaur quantity! More dinosaurs roam the Earth than ever before! As the landmasses split apart, new species begin to spread, inhabiting the new ecological niches formed from the shifting–niches that Rain, Stone, Emily and the lost-in-time Dinosaur Explorers are itching to check out! Join our heroes as they survey this brave new world forming, with all its charms and scary dinosaurs!

  • King of the Seas - Plunged way back into the past, Rain, Emily, and the rest of the Dinosaur Explorers, continue to make their way back to the present, but first they must take the plunge and submerge themselves into the prehistoric oceans. What they find is that the weightlessness of the water caters to larger creatures, sometimes bigger than dinosaurs themselves! Here they must dodge carnivorous ancient dolphins, elude massive crocodile creatures, and essentially do their best to survive. But it’s also possible that they may even find some undersea friends. One thing is for certain, the Dinosaur Explorers are in way over their heads! Will they sink or swim?

  • Escaping the Jurassic - After recovering from a few missteps while lost in the Jurassic, Rain, Stone, Sean, and Emily–the Dinosaur Explorers–are finally ready to explore the prehistoric era! And they’re going to need the help of Doctor Da Vinci, Diana, and robot helper Starz plus all the luck they can get to escape the world’s largest dinosaurs! It’s going to be a rough ride, but the team is up for the challenge, and ready to get one step closer to their return to their present-day home!

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The Secret Explorers and the Jurassic Rescue
Written by S.J. King
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

Travel back in time and discover facts you never knew about dinosaurs and prehistoric life in this fourth installment of The Secret Explorers. This group of brilliant kids comes together from all four corners of the globe to fix problems, solve mysteries, and gather knowledge all over the planet - and beyond. Whenever their help is needed, a special sign will appear on a door. They step through to the Exploration Station and receive their mission… In The Secret Explorers and the Jurassic Rescue, dinosaur expert Tamiko and geology expert Cheng travels back to the age of the dinosaurs in an effort to rescue a dinosaur egg from destruction. However, to save the egg, the Secret Explorers first have to use all their courage and skills to outsmart a fierce Allosaurus, rescue a baby Stegosaurus, and find a way to attract an Archaeopteryx. Tamiko and Cheng soon find that to succeed, they need to come up with some unusual solutions…Packed with fun illustrations and facts about dinosaurs, fossils, and why modern birds are dinosaurs, this thrilling adventure is perfect for young readers. Also available as an audiobook, narrated by actor Alfred Enoch.

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