Learning your ABCs is a praiseworthy rite of passage for the littlest kids, and everybody knows that old familiar tune. After your wee ones have gotten all the letters down, explore the infinite possibilities of the big 26 with these unique takes on ABC books.
By Anne Marie Houppert; illustrated by Daniel Wiseman (Abrams Appleseed, 2021)
All the letters are going on a camping trip, and they know just what to pack—B is bringing binoculars and C is collecting canteens, but poor X doesn’t know what to bring. A debut picture book written by a senior librarian at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C., the story features collaboration and friendship paired with the excitement of a first outdoor adventure.
By Stephanie Miles and Christin Farley; illustrated by David W. Miles (Workman, 2018)
Find animals interacting with different objects—bear eats a banana, elephant listens to earphones—in this board book that unfolds into a 42″ train. Use it as room décor or for playtime. As a bonus, the back of each page lists hidden objects that kids can search for on the front of the car.
By Chris Harris; illustrated by Dan Santat (Little, Brown and Company Young Readers, 2020)
Each letter of the alphabet comes to life, having their own life experiences and taking on different emotions. Rhyming text takes readers through an alphabet in which each letter is compared to another, showing that in their uniqueness, there are commonalities, too: An A is an H that just won’t stand up right; a B is a D with its belt on too tight.
By Keith Baker (Little Simon, June 29, 2021)
Staff at the Boulder Library are fans of this author’s previous book, LMNO Peas, featuring a group of energetic peas that become everything from acrobats to nurses to weavers. In June, the peas are back, rhyming their way through a new book full of unique jobs, activities, and hobbies, as they explore the lowercase alphabet.
By Ruth Krauss; illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier (HarperCollins, 2019)
“Perfect for kids who would rather learn their ABCs in motion, this surprising picture book provides a verb for each letter of the alphabet,” says Liesel Schmidt, Denver Public Library children’s librarian. “But not just any verb. Kids’ imaginations will be stretched when they are asked to ‘Roar like a dandelion’ and ‘Open your eyes, see the sea/Shut them fast, lock it in’.”
By Dawn Masi (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2021)
Meet girls from 26 different countries, from Argentina to Zambia. Each letter of the alphabet includes a girl’s name and character trait, alongside illustrations that offer insight into the girl’s home country: A, my name is Alba and sister’s name is Ayelén. We come from Argentina and we are Adventurous.
Librarians and book experts also recommend:
Learn the Alphabet with Northwest Coast Native Art by Garfinkel Publications
The ABCs of What I Can Be by Caitlin McDonagh
ABCs of Kindness by Patricia Hegarty; illustrated by Summer Macon
The ABCs of D&D by Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland
ABCs from Space by Adam Voiland
The Bookstore Cat by Cylin Busby; illustrated by Charles Santoso
A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
P is for Pterodactyl by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter; illustrated by Maria Beddia
Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli; illustrated by Peskimo
C is for Country by Lil Nas X; illustrated by Theodore Taylor III
The Z was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg
The Handmade Alphabet by Laura Rankin
B is for Baby by Atinuke; illustrated by Angela Brooksbank
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
ABC for You and Me by Meg Girnis; photos by Shirley Leamon Green
A to Z by Sandra Boynton
Alphaprints: ABC by Sarah Powell; illustrated by Jo Ryan
A Is for Apple by Georgie Birkett
A Busy Creature’s Day Eating! by Mo Willems
Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham; illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
C is for Centennial: A Colorado Alphabet by Louise Doak Whitney and Helle Urban
Eek! A Noisy Journey from A to Z by Julie Larios; illustrated by Julie Paschkis
A Is For Audra by John Robert Allman; illustrated by Peter Emmerich
B Is For Ballet by John Robert Allman; illustrated by Rachael Dean
AlphaOops! by Alethea Kontis; illustrated by Bob Kolar
What About X?: Abrams. Alphatrain: Families. G My Name Is Girl: Penguin Random House. Roar Like a Dandelion: Harper Collins. LMNO Pea-quel: Simon & Schuster. The Alphabet’s Alphabet: Hachette Book Group. Watercolor background: Katsumi Murouchi/Getty Images.