Owls are fascinating creatures of the night. Help your children get to know owls better with some of these children’s books about owls.
Below I have reviewed 14 books about owls for kids. The selection of books below includes both fiction and non-fiction books about owls that are perfect for kids from toddlers through elementary students.
Non-fiction books about owls for kids
Owls by Gail Gibbons
This book provides a fantastic and thorough introduction to owls that is perfect for kids ages 5 to 9. The book provides facts about the different types of owls that exist (over 140 different types across 6 continents), owl anatomy (including details about their specialized eyes, ears, and bones), the owl’s diet, and owl reproduction. The book also discusses the fact that many owls are endangered, so special reserves have been set aside to protect owls.
National Geographic Readers: Owls by Laura Marsh
Compared to the illustrated Gibbons book reviewed above, I prefer the bright and lively photographs of this book. However, this book doesn’t dive into as great of detail on most of the topics, which are largely the same here as in the Gibbons book. That makes this book more appropriate for a slightly younger audience of children ages 4 to 8. Some of the photographs in this book will cause young readers to ooh and ahh at the cuteness of these nocturnal birds of prey.
Owls: Birds of the Night by Emily Sollinger
This book features a mix of photographs and exciting photo illustrations of owls engaged in a variety of activities, including hunting for prey and coughing up an owl pellet. The basic text that accompanies the photo illustrations is designed for kids ages 6 to 8 to read independently. In this book, I particularly enjoyed the section showing where different types of owls lay their eggs, such as screech owls that lay their eggs in tree holes and burrowing owls that lay their eggs underground. The photographs of baby owls just hatched out of their eggs are particularly precious.
Owls by Josh Gregory
This book for kids ages 8 to 12 is divided into five chapters titled Night Flight, Hunters in the Darkness, An Owl’s Life, The Family Tree, and Living with Owls. Each page includes a good deal of information about the topic at hand, with new vocabulary words highlighted in red. These red words are defined in a glossary at the back of the book. Real photographs are included for each topic in the book. Some of the photographs are amazing shots of the owls with their prey, but overall I prefer the pictures in the Marsh book reviewed above.
Fiction books about owls for kids
Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli
Owl is just settling in to bed when he hears a noise. He checks the door, but no one is there, so he gets back into bed. Then he hears the noise again. He checks the cupboard and empties all the shelves, but there was no noise to be found, so he gets back into bed. Then he hears the noise again. He checks under the floor, ripping up the floorboards, but there was no noise to be found, so he gets back in bed. This continues over and over, with owl taking his house apart bit by bit to look for the noise. Finally, when owl has no house left, he sees the “noise” in the form of a small mouse. “Good night, noise,” the owl says. Kids ages 3-6 will laugh out loud while reading this silly book.
Good-Night, Owl by Pat Hutchins
Owl is trying to sleep, but the other animals in the forest are making too much noise. The bees are busy buzzing, the crows are croaking, and the squirrels are cracking nuts. But once nighttime falls, owl gets the last laugh with an ending that will surprise and delight kids ages 3 to 7.
The Barn Owls by Tony Johnston
The hushed tones and gentle poetry of this book provide a beautiful ode to the common barn owl. This book centers on an old barn that has stood in a field of wheat for at least 100 years. Owls sleep in the barn during the day, and they come out at night to hunt for mice. For more than 100 years owls have lived here and hunted here. For more than 100 years owls have hatched here and grown here. This book with a simple but poignant story will be most enjoyed by children ages 3 to 7.
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Sarah, Percy, and Bill are three owls who wake up one night and realize their mother is gone. They begin the process of waiting for their mother to return. Sarah continually reassures her siblings with her calming words. Percy then echoes Sarah’s sentiments with his own thoughts. And little Bill exclaims over and over, “I want my mommy!” The three owls sit in their tree, comforting each other and findings things to keep them occupied during the long wait. After some time, the three owls get scared, and they close their eyes and wish for their mother to return. And she comes! This tale will reassure young children ages 3 to 7 that parents always return for their children.
Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood
One day, a curious little owl slept through the night and decided to wake up at dawn. “Wow!” said the owl when she saw the warm, pink sky. “Wow!” said the owl when she saw the yellow sun. “Wow!” said the owl when she saw the fluffy clouds. She was amazed by all she saw during the daylight hours. But as evening approached, she saw the stars begin to appear in the sky, and realized they were the most beautiful thing of all. This is a delightful book for kids ages 2-5.
The Littlest Owl by Caroline Pitcher
There were four white eggs deep inside a willow tree that began hatching one day. First One, then Two, then Three little owlets appeared. They stared at the fourth egg for quite some time, until finally, Four appeared. Four was the smallest owl by far. He struggled to get his share of the food. And he was often stepped on by his siblings One, Two, and Three. But Four didn’t mind being small. Eventually, One, Two, and Three began to fly. But as hard as he tried, Four couldn’t fly to join them. So he went to sleep. That night, a big storm arose, and the mother owl woke her babies to help them escape. One, Two, and Three flew off. But would the littlest owl be able to join his siblings? This book will be most enjoyed by kids ages 4 to 8.
Owly by Mike Thaler
Owly is a curious little owl who asks his mother some important questions. “How many stars are in the sky?” he wonders. And she encourages him to count them. He spends all night counting them, and when the sun comes up his mom asks how many he found. “More than I can count,” he says. Next he wonders how high the sky is, and his mother encourages him to fly up and see. He determines that the sky is “higher than I can fly.” Each day, Owly asks another question and his mother encourages him to find the answer for himself. The end of the story features a loving moment between Owly and his mother where they use the knowledge Owly has gained to express the depths of their love toward one another with beautiful metaphors. This lovely story will be enjoyed most by kids ages 5 to 8.
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson
Plop is a young barn owl who is afraid of the dark. “The dark is scary,” he tells his parents, explaining that he doesn’t want to be a night bird. His parents respond by encouraging Plop to learn more about the dark. So Plop goes off to ask a boy about the dark. The boy tells Plop that the dark is exciting because they have fireworks. Plop then asks an old woman about the dark, and she tells him it is kind, because it allows her to forget that she is old and just remember the good times. Another boy tells Plop that the dark is fun, while a girl tells Plop that the dark is necessary. On and on, Plop continues to learn about the dark. Eventually, Plop decides that the dark is not scary, but is just right.
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
This book flips the typical bedtime story on its head, reversing day and night to accommodate the habits of a nocturnal owl. In this story, Little Owl spends the night watching the possum family waddle, a hedgehog sniff, a skunk eat berries, and a turtle hide in her shell. Little Owl visits his friend the raccoon, then tries, unsuccessfully, to wake a sleeping bear to show him the moon and stars. Little Owl just loves the night! At the end of the night, Little Owl heads home to his mama and says to her, “Tell me again how night ends.” And his mama describes how the moon and stars fade to ghosts, dewdrops sparkle on leaves, morning glories open, the sky brightens from black the blue, and the rooster crows. But Little Owl did not hear the end of his mama’s story, as he had already fallen fast asleep! This book will be most enjoyed by children ages 3 to 7.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
This beautiful tale involves a right of passage of sorts, with a young child going owling with her father for the first time. For the young girl, the opportunity to join her father to look for a Great Horned Owl is an honor and delight. She stays silent as they walk into the woods, putting aside all concerns about the cold and dark, until they reach a clearing and her father makes the call of the Great Horned Owl. But will they be lucky on this night and get to see an owl? Young readers ages 4 to 9 will enjoy this story of a shared experience between father and daughter.
More resources for learning about owls
More posts about owls from Gift of Curiosity: