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I absolutely love colors, especially bright, bold colors.
Maybe that’s why some of my favorite activities to do with kids involve colors, especially mixing colors together. Experimenting with colors makes me feel so cheerful!
So today I’m sharing my review of 20+ books about colors for kids. These children’s books introduce colors, discuss how primary colors mix to create secondary colors, and inspire children to play with color.
Note: For more activities that teach colors, see my Teaching Colors to Kids page.
As the title of this book implies, this book offers a concise guide to color and color theory for kids. But don’t be fooled into thinking that “concise” means “too basic,” as this book aptly covers topics including primary and second colors, the social meaning attached to colors (e.g., red = danger), warm and cool colors, complementary colors, analogous colors, saturation, and value. In other words, there are a ton of concepts packed into this book, and the information is presented in a very simple format that makes it easy to understand. Of course, this book goes beyond your basic introduction to colors, and much of the information would probably be too advanced for kids below elementary age.
They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki
This book lulled me into such a peaceful state. It follows a young girl pondering the colors of her life. The blue color of the sky, the blue color of the sea – except when she holds the water in her hands and it looks to be as clear as glass. Blood is red, the yolk of an egg is orange, and a field of dry grass looks like a golden ocean. This is a truly beautiful story that brings in colors everywhere.
My Blue Is Happy by Jessica Young
This is a story about a little girl trying to find the meaning in different colors. Her sister says that blue is sad, like a lonely song. But she finds blue to be a happy color like her favorite jeans or a splash in a pool on a hot day. And while her mom says yellow is cheery like the summer sun, to her yellow is worried like a wilted flower. This is a fantastic book for helping children to ponder what colors mean to them.
Summer Color! by Diana Murray
This bright, cheerful book celebrates all the wonderful colors of summer. From yellow flower petals to red ice pops to white waterfall mist, summer is filled with colors.
The Deep Blue Sea: A Book of Colors by Audrey Wood
This book begins with some simple text. On each page, the text repeats, but a new line is added. So at first it’s just the deep blue sea, but then there’s a red rock in the middle of the deep blue sea, and a green tree on the red rock in the middle of the deep blue sea, etc. Eventually, the repeating pattern stops, but the focus on new colors coming into the scene continues.
Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson
This wonderful book will have kids hunting for items of all different colors throughout the pages. For example, when Bear sees yellow, he finds honeycombs with yellow honey. The text then invites the reader to find other yellow items on the page. Young kids will enjoy the interactive aspect of this book.
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
This book is all about linking different colors to different feelings. On a yellow day, for example, the story teller is a busy, buzzy bee. But on purple days, the story teller feels sad, groans, and drags its tail while walking alone.
White Is for Blueberry by George Shannon
This book is all about messing with our expectations of what color an object is. After all, blueberries are blue, right? Well, sometimes they are, but not when they are too young to pick. And what about a crow? Isn’t it black? Nope, a crow is pink when it is first hatched!
Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman
This is a book of colorful poetry celebrating the colors of all the seasons. I wouldn’t use this book to teach colors to a toddler, but it would be a delightful book to share with slightly older kids who enjoy poetry and playing with language and imagery.
The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane Derolf
A young girl walks into a toy store and hears a box of crayons complaining about one another. “I don’t like Red!” says Yellow. “Nor do I!” pipes in Green. So the young girl decides to purchase the box and take it home. She starts to color with the crayons, making blue skies and green grass and yellow suns. The crayons change their attitudes as she uses them, eventually learning to appreciate what the other colors contribute to making a whole, beautiful picture.
Little Green Peas: A Big Book of Colors by Keith Baker
If your children are familiar with any of the other peas books (such as LMNO Peas) they will be delighted to become reacquainted with the little green peas in this simple and quirky book about colors. These peas ski on purple mountains, sit under orange umbrellas, rake up red leaves, and generally just enjoy life. No matter where you go, the little green peas are there!
Blue Goose by Nancy Tafuri
While Farmer Gray is away, Blue Goose, Red Hen, Yellow Chick, and White Duck decide to paint the farmyard. What’s fun about this book is that the only colors on the first illustration are for the four animals. The entire farm is gray and white. But on each page, the animals paint more and more of the farm, mixing colors when needed to create green grass or a purple door. And by the time Farmer Gray returns, the entire farm is filled with color.
Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
This is a story about three white mice. They find three jars of red, yellow, and blue paint, and jump right in, turning themselves red, yellow, and blue. The mice continue to have fun, learning about primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and secondary colors (orange, green, purple) along the way. This is a fun concept book for teaching colors and color mixing to young children.
Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff
Deep down in his den, Baby Bear wakes up after a long slumber. He sees many things and asks his mom about each of them. . . the sun, an oak tree, a bird, a fish. And after his mom names each item, the story names the color Baby Bear sees. Young children will enjoy the repetitive pattern in the text and I can see many kids taking delight in calling out the color before turning each page.
A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
Goldfish are red, elephants are grey, and pigs are pink. But what color are chameleons? Chameleons change colors wherever they go. They don’t have a color of their own! One day a chameleon decided he wanted a color of his own. So he thought if he spent the rest of his life on a leaf he would always be green. But then fall came and the leaf turned yellow – and so did he! The chameleon was sad, but eventually he met another chameleon and they decided to stay together. That way, if they couldn’t have their own color at least they could always be the same as each other.
Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color by Julia Denos
Swatch is a young lady with a passion for color. Where she lives, colors run wild. But Swatch runs wilder still! She was a color tamer in that she taught colors to dance and do magic. One day she realized she could capture colors in a jar. She was so intrigued by this that she started capturing more and more colors, but she didn’t capture yellow. Yellow didn’t want to be captured. Yellow wanted to show how wild it was!
Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin
This book is full of joyful, lovable monsters who like to scribble, dance, and wiggle. Further, these monsters love new colors! The book mentions the three primary colors, and then shares how red, yellow, and blue can be mixed together to create the secondary colors of orange, green, and purple.
Mix It Up by Herve Tullet
I adore this book, and in fact my kids and I did a color mixing activity with this book a couple of years ago. In fact, I think this is an awesome book to use to lead kids through some hands-on color mixing activities with paint so they can understand how the primary colors make secondary colors as well as what happens when you add white or black to a color.
Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seegler
This is a great color concept book for young kids. I think toddlers and preschoolers in the “no” stage will particular enjoy this book, where every section starts off by saying what color something is NOT, such as “lemons are not red.” This is then followed by what color the object is (“Lemons are yellow”) and naming an object that is the color (“Apples are red”). The cutouts on the pages that allow a peek of color are a particular delight as well.
Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
Little Blue and Little Yellow are best friends. One day they give each other a hug, and they turned green! When they returned home, their parents did not recognize them anymore. They cried blue and yellow tears until they turned back to their original colors. This adorable book tells a sweet story while also teaching kids how blue and yellow can combine to make green.
How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow by Monica Sweeney
Sun and Cloud are best friends who work together to make a rainbow. But one day they start to fight, and they refuse to share the sky anymore. This means no more rainbows! Soon, all the colors start disappearing. But a little box of crayons is determined to bring back the colors. This book teaches the value of perseverance and friendship while also teaching about colors.
Yellow Is My Color Star by Judy Horace
This is a book that celebrates all colors, and also celebrates the fact that one color might be the best one for you! Invite children to share their favorite color as you read this book aloud to them.
More resources for teaching colors
More color posts from Gift of Curiosity: