20 Wonderful Books about Bears for Kids

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July 2020

Does your child love nature or simply enjoy learning new things? Children’s books about bears offer great opportunities to do both. Many teach facts about different kinds of bears and explore hibernation, habitats, and diets, while others use bears as main characters to convey powerful messages and to create an entertaining storyline. Either way, these books can offer a lot to curious young readers who are learning more and more about the world around them. Here are twenty fantastic books about bears for you and your child to explore.

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Corduroy
Don Freeman
Book Type: Board
Age: 1-3

Corduroy is a young teddy bear living on a department store shelf, waiting to meet a new best friend to take him home. When Lisa comes along, they both know they belong together, but Lisa’s mother thinks Corduroy looks a little disheveled because he is missing a button! Corduroy works up the courage to find his lost button, searching far and wide through the department store at night and encountering adventure along the way.

For over fifty years, Corduroy has been one of the best books about bears for toddlers.. It holds impactful themes about the power of friendship and of believing in someone. It also teaches children about perseverance and courage. The illustrations and adventurous storyline have made this a timeless classic, perfect for any bookshelf.

Teddy Bear Picnic
Jimmy Kennedy
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-8

It’s picnic time for teddy bears! Down in the woods today, all the teddy bears are gathering for a picnic. They’ve all left their warm and cozy beds to come together and celebrate with one another. Illustrating a classic childhood song, Teddy Bear Picnic is a fun read for everybody!

This book is so engaging and entertaining for the whole family. Not only does it feature snugly teddy bears that will capture your child’s attention, but it also puts into picture one of the most famous and beloved American children’s songs. Singing along as you read will help your child remain engaged and will spark their imagination as they join in on the teddy bear’s picnic. Your child will want to read this magical book over and over again to discover the joy of this special gathering.

Hibernation Station
Michelle Meadows
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-8

Everybody is gathering at the train station. Why? It’s time for winter hibernation! Take a trip to Hibernation along with bears, chipmunks, snakes, hedgehogs, groundhogs, frogs, turtles, mice, and bats on their way to snuggle into sleep for the winter. They’re pretty excited, though. Will they ever get to sleep?

This is a wonderful book about bears hibernating because it is made into a fun adventure. As you watch each of the different animals climb aboard, you learn about each of them and how they hibernate just like bears do. We also really like this book because it has a rhyming pattern that makes this book perfect for bedtime. Soothe your child with its rhythm and get them ready to sleep just like the bears in this book!

Good Night, Baby Bear
Frank Asch
Book Type:
Age: 0-3

As winter grows closer, Mama Bear must get Baby Bear ready for hibernation. She goes to all the trouble of finding the perfect spot for them to cuddle, but there’s just one problem. Baby Bear doesn’t want to go to sleep. Mama Bear knows just what to do, though, and she gets Baby Bear to fall asleep in no time.

This is such a great book about bears for toddlers. It introduces the idea of bears hibernating, while also providing other simple facts about bears, like that they sleep in caves or that they sometimes eat apples. It is also a great book for a bedtime story, especially for your own baby bear who isn’t quite ready to close their eyes. The calming illustrations and simple storyline will help you and your child wind down and get ready to say goodnight.

Polar Bear Island
Lindsay Bonilla
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-8

Meet Parker the Polar Bear, the strict mayor of Polar Bear Island. On the island, everything is peaceful and predictable, and Parker wants to keep it that way. What happens when Kirby, a fun-loving penguin, finds the lovely island and wants to stay? Can she persuade grumpy old Parker to lighten up and make the island fun for everyone?

We love this book because it has so many great characters, themes, and facts about polar bears. It’s so humorous and entertaining to watch Parker and Kirby to go head to head as they speak about what they think is best for the island. But it is even more satisfying when they can come together and make an agreement as friends. Their final decision to make the island open to everyone promotes inclusivity and an essential theme about how important it is to include others, even if they do not look like you. And although this book is fictional, it offers a number of opportunities to talk about polar bears, including where they live and what they might eat.

Hush Little Polar Bear
Jeff Mach
Book Type: Board
Age: 3-6

Join one cuddly little polar bear as he travels from one magical place to another. His owner’s imagination transports him from the back of a whale spouting out sea spray, to a land of tall grass where butterflies float around. After all his adventures, he finds himself right back where he belongs: in the loving arms of his owner. A very sweet book about bears for toddlers.

This book is perfect as a read-aloud bedtime story because it is so imaginative. Watching the cuddly little polar bear hop from one magical place to another will ignite you and your child’s imagination as you read along. This book also offers great opportunities to practice making predictions, as you guess where the baby polar bear might end up next. And it’s sure to leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling after you are finished reading.

The Koala Who Could
Rachel Bright
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-5

Kevin the koala is comfortable with everything staying the same. He likes his routine and enjoys staying up where it’s sung and safe. But when change comes along, Kevin might have to change his ways. Join him as he embraces the joys and glorious possibilities that come with trying something new.

This book carries an amazing message for kids. Many children are often scared to try new things or put themselves in new situations. This book encourages children to move outside their comfort zone confidently and understand that change is oftentimes good and can bring amazing, new opportunities. With bright, adorable illustrations and a fantastic rhyming pattern, this book is a great one to read aloud with your child.

Koala is Not a Bear
Kristin L. Gray
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-7

Koala is beyond excited for camp and really believes she has found her palace in Bear Cabin. That is, until know-it-all Kangaroo tells Koala that she is not a bear at all. Koala defends herself and names all the ways she looks and acts just like her friend Grizzly, but Kangaroo is unconvinced. So, where does Koala belong?

This is one of the best books about bears because it is so clever and offers so many facts about koala bears. The essential irony of this book is that Koala bears are, in fact, more closely related to kangaroos than they are bears, and, at the end of the book, you find out that Koala should join Kangaroo in her own cabin. As you read the book, you are offered more and more clues leading up to this ending, and alert readers will catch the surprise before it even comes. Along the way, you really do learn a lot about koala bears, as well as other bears and marsupials. This is such a fun read for anyone looking for something funny and entertaining that is also educational.

Zen Shorts
John J Muth
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

One day, three children find a really, really big bear in their backyard named Stillwater. This giant panda bear has just moved into the neighborhood and is here to tell amazing tales. To Andy, he tells a story about the value of material goods, while to Michael he questions the boundaries between good and bad. To Karl, he demonstrates what it means to hold onto frustration. Explore three ancient Zen Buddhist tales through the cute and cuddly medium of a panda bear in shorts.

We love this book because it is a great way to introduce your child to another religion and culture, as it builds empathy and expands their understanding of the world around them. If your family practices Zen Buddhism, it is equally as beneficial for your child to see their own identity reflected in a book and to see these ancient tales illustrated in a new way. Additionally, having the tales told through a wise panda bear is so entertaining. Along the way, you will learn a bit about pandas and their role in Chinese culture.

Chu’s First Day of School
Neil Gaiman, Adam Rex
Book Type: Board
Age: 3-7

Chu, an adorable panda with a great big heart, is about to start his first day of school. He is really nervous and doesn’t know what to expect. He also has a bit of a sneezing problem, and he hopes that one of his great big sneezes won’t scare the other kids away. What will happen when he gets to school?

This book is a great one for any child about to start their first day of school. Chu feels the same nerves and carries the same worries that most children do, and seeing this can help reassure children that they are not alone. Chu shows them not only that it is okay to be nervous, but also that everything will turn out okay. This book is also great for any child who loves animals. The main character and his family are all panda bears, but the book also features other types of animal creatures in Chu’s class that children will love to learn about.

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
Julia Sarcone-Roach
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-7

This book tells the tale of a mischievous black bear who has found his way into the city. He happens upon an unattended sandwich at the park and gobbles it up. From there, he wanders around the city and meets happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. But, by the end of the story, the reader will have one question: Can we really trust this mischievous narrator?

This book is an incredibly fun read. As mentioned, as you read along, you start to discover that maybe the bear isn’t telling the whole truth. By the end, children who have spotted the little white lies and untruths along the way will be delighted and want to go back and read the book all over to catch more things they missed the first time through. This makes for such an exciting, adventurous, and fun read aloud with your child. And with beautiful and bright illustrations, this book is one of the best books about bears out there.

Everyone knows Winnie the Pooh, but not many people know the bear that inspired his character. In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to treat horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby black bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, Canada. Written by Colebourn’s great-granddaughter, Finding Winnie tells the story of how these two extraordinary friends met and how they came to inspire a real-life boy named Christopher Robin and his father who went on to write the great adventures of a silly old bear.

This incredible picture book won the Caldecott Medal, and there is no wondering why. The story behind the original Winnie is not only fascinating, but it is also incredibly well written. The illustrations, as well, perfectly complement and illuminate the story. This book is sure to capture the attention of any young reader as you go on an adventure of friendship and kindness.

Bear Sees Colors
Karma Wilson
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

Explore colors with Bear in this amazingly engaging picture book. One day, Mouse and Bear are walking and talking. Then, all of a sudden, Bear sees….blue! Can you spy blue too? Help Bear explore all the colors of the rainbow and have a fantastic adventure along the way.

A great book from Karma Wilson’s Bear Books series, this book helps your child explore color alongside their friend, Bear. This book is particularly great because it encourages children to look for each color on the page. For example, Bear will see green, and the narrator will ask the reader to spot all the green things on that page. This iSpy-type approach is extremely engaging and will help children to grow more comfortable identifying color and looking closely at illustrations.

Bear Snores On
Karma Wilson
Book Type: Board
Age: 2-5

Winter approaches and, one by one, animals get ready to hibernate. In a cave in the woods, deep in his dark lair, a Bear sleeps. All his friends, from birds to mice to rabbits join him to take shelter from the cold weather. No matter what they do, whether they make popcorn or put on the tea kettle, Bear snores on! What happens, though, when Bear finally wakes up and finds his cave full of all his friends having a party without him?

Another one of Karma Wilson’s Bear Books, this lovely board book is such a silly and fun read. Watching all the other animals make loud noises and have their fun while Bear just keeps on snoring is so entertaining. And when Bear finally wakes up, their reunion will warm your heart and remind you and your child how important friendship is. This book also introduces the idea of bears hibernating to your child, making it educational as well as fun.

The Berenstain Bears and the Double Dare
Stan and Jan Berenstain
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-7

Brother Bear is feeling a lot of peer pressure from Too-Tall-Grizzly and his crew. Wanting to fit in, brother accepts a dangerous dare from them. Knowing his actions are not right, Brother decides not to go through with the dare. Along the way, he learns the importance of thinking for himself and always doing the right thing.

The Berenstain Bear books are some of the best books about bears around. The series is championed for their strong themes, kind characters, and relatable situations. This book, in particular, fits the bill in helping to show the dangers of peer pressure. It encourages children to stand up for themselves against bullies and to always do what they know is right.

The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream
Stan and Jan Berenstain
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-7

Brother and Sister Bear are having bad dreams after having seen a scary movie. In these dreams, they are chased by evil men from space and can’t get away. It’s up to Mama and Papa bear to help them understand that even though dreams can be scary, they aren’t real. Join the Berenstain Bears as they tackle another problem together as a family.

This is another Berenstain Bears book that can be highly relatable to children. Many children have bad dreams, especially if they see content from movies or books that is a little too scary. Reading this book might reassure them and help them understand that dreams are just dreams. This book also reinforces the power of families sticking together and tackling difficult situations, something this book series is famous for.

Books About Bears That We Love

Elephant Books is a subscription-based book service for kids. Every month, we send picture and board book packages right to our customers’ doors. Oftentimes, we send along books that feature animals, and the next four titles on our list are some of our favorite books about bears that we have included in our packages. Check out our website to learn more about us and how you can discover unique, engaging, and beautiful board and picture books to share with your child.

A Bear’s Year
Kathy Duval
Book Type: Picture
Age: 3-7

Follow a mother bear and her cubs throughout the seasons. The book begins during winter, with Mama deep in her den with her newborn cubs. When spring comes, the sleepy bears open their eyes and emerge, enjoying nature as the weather grows warmer and warmer as summer sneaks in. Then, in fall, the leaves change and food grows more scarce as the family prepares to hibernate in the coming winter months.

This book is a great way to introduce seasons and how they impact different animals. As children read along, they find out how bears change with the seasons and how much difference weather makes in their lives. They also discover new and unique facts about bears as they follow these cuddly and fuzzy cubs. We think this book is an exceptional one because of its unique and whimsical artistic style, its engaging plotline, and its opportunity for learning.

Where Bear?
Sophy Henn
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

Once, there was a bear cub who lived with a lovely little boy. They were best friends and did everything together, but, as all babies do, the cub grew and grew and grew. And he began to do all the mischievous and silly things bears do. The boy realizes that his friend is just too big and too bearish to be living in a house. Join them as they find the perfect home for one very special bear.

This is such an amazing tale of friendship. The little boy and the cub grow up together, and even when they realize that it’s impractical for them to share the same house, they remain close friends. The little boy also understands that he has to do what is best for his friend, promoting themes of selflessness and compassion. We love this book not only for these amazing messages, but also because Sophy Henn’s adorable illustrations really help make the story come alive and help make it a riveting read.

Bear’s Not Tired
Ciara Gavin
Book Type:
Age: 3-7

Bear and his family of ducks do everything together, from swimming in the lake to flying kites in the meadow. That is, until winter comes and poses a bit of a problem for Bear. See, he has to go hibernate, but he doesn’t want to miss out on any of the family fun. Trying to convince himself he’s not at all tired, Bear attempts to stay awake all winter. Will he succeed?

We chose this fantastic book because it is so sweet and endearing. Bear and his family have the close kind of relationship that will warm your heart, and the fact that Bear tries his very best to stay awake to spend more time with them just goes to show the amount of love they have for each other. We also love this book because it introduces the idea of hibernation in such an interesting and fun way. Many children can relate to the arduous challenge of trying to stay awake past their bedtime, so this fantastic bedtime story will bring lots of laughs and smiles all around.

Dozy Bear and the Secret of Sleep
Katie Blackburn
Book Type: Picture
Age: 4-8

Dozy wants to go to sleep, but he just doesn’t know how. Every night, he curls up in his den, and his eyes grow droopy. And his head grows heavy as he thinks about all his other friends curled up in their snuggly beds. But, for some reason, he just can’t get to sleep. Help Dozy bear on his journey to discover the secret of sleep.

We think that this book is the perfect bedtime story. With gentle and rhythmic sentences and with beautiful and calming illustrations, this is a great book to help children get ready for naps or bedtime. We also think that the choice to make the main character a bear is so fitting for the storyline, and the inclusion of other animal friends makes this the perfect book for nature lovers.

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