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Aside from having my kids experience something for themselves, I find that the next best way to teach them about new things is to read books. So as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, we are reading several books about St. Patrick’s Day. The nine books about St. Patrick’s Day for kids I’ve reviewed below include both fiction and non-fiction books. I like to include a mix of both fiction and non-fiction reading. Non-fiction is better for teaching facts, while fiction is great for stimulating the imagination and often leads my kids to engage in some great dramatic play.
Note: This and other St. Patrick’s Day activities can be found on my St. Patrick’s Day activities for kids page.
St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons
If I was a children’s book author, I would want to write just like Gail Gibbons. I am such a huge fan of the way she makes factual information accessible to young readers. This book provides some of the most detailed information about Saint Patrick’s history that I’ve seen in a children’s book, yet it does so in a way that children can easily understand and grasp. Gibbons also provides several examples of ways that people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, including wearing green, putting up shamrocks, telling stories about leprechauns, and playing harp music. This book may be a bit advanced for most preschoolers, but will be a treasured resource for elementary age children learning about St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day by Carmen Bredeson
Part of the Rookie Read-About Holidays series, this book uses simple language illustrated with real photographs to teach kids about Ireland and the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. This book covers basic information about Saint Patrick, shamrocks, Ireland, and St. Patrick’s day traditions and celebrations. The book emphasizes that one does not have to be Irish in order to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, as this is a holiday celebrated by people of all backgrounds.
St. Patrick’s Day (Celebrations in My World) by Molly Aloian
This book is something of a more detailed and more sophisticated version of the book reviewed above by Carmen Bredeson. Each spread includes information about some aspect of Saint Patrick the man, the country of Ireland, or the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. The book includes real photographs. A number of words are bolded throughout the book and are defined in the glossary at the back.
The Leprechaun Under the Bed by Teresa Bateman
Brian is a leprechaun who feels dismayed when a man named Sam begins to build his house right on top of Brian’s underground home. Although Brian does his best to scare Sam off, Sam soon begins to leave a small bowl of stew under his bed each night for little Brian. Sam and Brian live in harmony for a while, until one day Sam runs out of money and does not have enough food to eat or to share with his leprechaun friend. The next morning, however, Sam finds a gold coin that Brian has left for him in the middle of the night. He uses the coin to buy. The townspeople come to believe that Sam must have a chest full of gold in his home. Two robbers decide to take it for themselves. Sam ends up caught by the robbers, but working together with his leprechaun friend the two of them manage to scare off the robbers for good!
The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards
Old Pat is a wonderful harpist, and Young Tom had been his student. One day word arrives in their village of a harping contest sponsored by the king. Old Pat and Young Tom both decide to travel to the Royal Palace to enter the competition. Stopping to rest the first night, Old Pat begins playing his harp. Hearing how talented Old Pat is, Young Tom realizes he could lose the competition. So when Old Pat isn’t looking, Young Tom breaks one of the strings on Old Pat’s harp! Later that evening, the two men hear a voice calling for help. Young Tom, being selfish, refuses to help. Old Pat, being kind and humble, decides to offer assistance to the leprechaun who has been caught by a rabbit. The leprechaun and his friends end up offering some very kind assistance to Old Pat on his way to the competition, and along the way Young Tom learns a lesson as well.
That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting
Ari, Boo, and Col are three leprechauns with a job to do. They must put a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow before the rain begins! They are in a rush, so they tell themselves “No mischief, no mischief along the way.” However, on their journey, they can’t help but involve themselves in all sorts of mischief. The paint the hooves of Mrs. Ballybunion’s cow, tie the legs of Old Jamie Bradley’s long johns in a knot, and convince Miss Maude Murphy’s hen to sit on a tennis ball. When asked why they can’t help making mischief, they answer “That’s what leprechauns do.” The last page of the book includes some nice historical information about the leprechaun legend in Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Day by Anne Rockwell
This book follows a class of students giving their presentations about St. Patrick’s Day. One group shares a story they wrote about the man who was to become Saint Patrick. Another group performs a play sharing the legend of how Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Yet another group performs an Irish jig. As the students present their work to their classmates, young readers will learn many fun and interesting facts about Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.
The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow by Sean Callahan
It’s the day of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and Colleen is looking forward to hearing her grandfather play his bagpipes. Her grandfather’s music is so beautiful that it makes people both laugh and cry at the same time. However, on this day it is raining, and Colleen is afraid no one will stick around to hear her grandfather play. So she sits on her porch and plays her green penny whistle to pass the time. But all of a sudden, a leprechaun appears! He explains that he has lost his rainbow, and he needs Colleen’s help to get it back. She must give up one item for each color of the rainbow to help the leprechaun. She agrees, even though she finds it very hard to part with her green penny whistle. But upon completing the rainbow, the rain stops and the sun bursts through the clouds. The people hear her grandfather play his beautiful bagpipe music. And Colleen discovers a wonderful present waiting for her – a present that makes up for the loss of her green penny whistle.
The Story of the Leprechaun by Katherine Tegen
This original tale explains how one leprechaun came to begin hiding his gold at the end of a rainbow. The little leprechaun is a well-known shoe maker. All the people who buy his shoes pay him in gold coins that he saves in a pot. One day a man named Tim comes to buy shoes from the leprechaun. When Tim spies the pot of gold coins in the leprechaun’s house, he devises a plan to capture the leprechaun and steal his gold. With the help of some magic, the leprechaun plays a trick on Tim that allows him to escape. The leprechaun decides to find a good hiding spot for his gold. Knowing that rainbows are magic, he comes up with a plan to bury his gold at the end of a rainbow where only he will be able to find it.
More St. Patrick’s Day ideas for kids
More St. Patrick’s Day posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Magic leprechaun rocks
- St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin
- Build a 3D rainbow
- Rainbow do-a-dot printable
- Magic fizzing shamrocks
- St. Patrick’s Day Printables Pack
- St. Patrick’s Day do-a-dot printables
- St. Patrick’s Day coloring pages