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Updated: October 20, 2023
Working in childcare classrooms and one-on-one in early intervention, I’ve witnessed how the butterfly books on this list engage young learners. I love finding ways to combine literacy with STEM skills!
I leaned on my background in early literacy and a passion for fostering nature-based learning to curate this butterfly book list for kids. Discover a fun mix of butterfly books – some feature charming butterfly characters, while others introduce facts about the butterfly lifecycle.
Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay
A butterfly-loving little girl moves to the city and partners with others to draw butterflies back into their park. The illustrations in this book are, well, amazing. The artwork was created by illuminating cut-out paper.
I have used this butterfly story to talk with kids about the connection between insects and humans.
Out of Nowhere by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
A beetle befriends a caterpillar who suddenly vanishes. Now the beetle waits and waits for its friend. Then, out of nowhere…
This (mostly) black-and-white book is a nice change from brightly illustrated butterfly books. I suggest displaying this book on a shelf and letting the cover draw children in.
Moth & Butterfly: Ta Da! by Dev Petty, illustrated by Ana Aranda
In this quirky story, readers follow the journey of two caterpillars going through metamorphosis together. Children will learn about friendship, differences, and insect science. I love how this book can be used to meet multiple child developmental domains.
It’s My Time to Fly: The Story of Caterpillar Number Five by Julie Conner, illustrated by Emily Row
This sweet story, written by a special education teacher, follows the story of a caterpillar transforming at its own pace.
Lemon Butterfly by Cao Wenxuan, illustrated by Roger Mello
Translated from Chinese, this story follows a butterfly looking for a field of flowers. I love how the lyrical text and dynamic artwork draw children into the story. Lemon Butterfly is excellent for an insect unit or emergent art appreciation lesson.
Look to the Skies: The Magical Migration of the Monarch Butterfly by Nicola Edwards, illustrated by Hannah Tolson
Follow the monarch migration while learning about human diversity around the globe. Look to the Skies is a bright, colorful book with cut-outs to “sneak peek” from page to page. This story is a classic way to show children how humans and the insect world are connected.
Butterfly Colors and Counting by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Shennen Bersani
Butterfly Colors and Counting is a favorite butterfly book for toddlers and young preschoolers. Along with naming colors and practicing counting, adults can use this book to prompt more discussions. Open-ended questions like “What color butterfly do you want to be?” will inspire deeper thinking.
Butterflies Are Pretty … Gross! by Rosemary Mosco, illustrated by Jacob Souva
It’s obvious why this is a beloved butterfly book (by kids and teachers). Humans love learning about weird and gross facts. If you have a child or classroom interested in butterflies, I think you NEED this book. It will spark some fun conversations and hilarious moments.
Explore My World: Butterflies by Marfe Delano
This butterfly book is pretty straightforward. But I always recommend giving children books with real photographs. Use this book to introduce butterfly behavior and habitats and the relationship between butterflies and the environment.
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The Amazing Life Cycle of Butterflies by Kay Barnham, illustrated by Maddie Frost
This book is an adorable introduction to the butterfly life cycle. When using this book, I would “read the pictures” for toddlers and young preschoolers. The colorful, clear illustrations are perfect for this. The book contains longer, informational text that is more appropriate for 4-5-year-olds.
Hello, Little One: A Monarch Butterfly Story by Zeena Pliska, illustrated by Fiona Halliday
I’ve been lucky enough to “raise” monarch butterflies in my classroom. Hello, Little One is the perfect companion story to help kids learn about the monarch butterfly life cycle. I love this butterfly book because it instills empathy for living creatures.
Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
Waiting for Wings is a classic butterfly book that features rhyming language and collage illustrations. I would display this book in the art center to inspire children or memorize rhymes to repeat during daily classroom routines.
I love BookShop.org as an alternative to amazon. Each purchase on BookShop.org supports local and independent bookstores.
I hope you can find the perfect butterfly book for your child or classroom. These books are great resources for nature or bug-themed lessons. For more insect-themed book recommendations, explore our additional bug book lists.
More Helpful Information
How Can You Introduce Butterflies to Children?
Introducing children to the captivating world of butterflies can be a delightful experience. While hands-on learning is ideal, books play a crucial role in making insects accessible to kids. The butterfly books listed here are tools for teaching about insects, their life cycles, and their impact on our environment. Butterfly books spark curiosity and may even inspire the creation of a butterfly garden, nurturing a lifelong appreciation for nature.
Exploring Butterfly Concepts with Children
These carefully chosen butterfly books are enchanting stories and valuable resources to extend a child’s understanding of these fascinating insects. They can complement or enhance butterfly lessons or units by covering topics, including:
- The intriguing life cycles of butterflies
- The critical role of pollinators in our ecosystem
- Butterfly behaviors and characteristics
- Fascinating facts about butterfly migration
- The importance of butterfly conservation
- Comparing and contrasting butterflies with moths
- Understanding the metamorphosis process
- Diving into various butterfly species
Simplifying Butterfly Facts for Kids
Butterflies are insects with a unique life cycle. A butterfly’s life starts as an egg. When they are first born, they are caterpillars. Caterpillars eat a lot and grow very quickly. Once they have grown enough, caterpillars spin a chrysalis and stay inside to transform into a butterfly. The butterfly emerges as an adult insect and can finally fly.