Scrub Up! Hygiene Books for Elementary Students

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Alice Nuttall

Senior Contributor

Alice Nuttall (she/her) is a writer, pet-wrangler and D&D nerd. Her reading has got so out of control that she had to take a job at her local library to avoid bankrupting herself on books - unfortunately, this has just resulted in her TBR pile growing until it resembles Everest. Alice's webcomic, writing and everything else can be found at

Many kids will be returning to school soon, and in our current global pandemic, good hygiene practices are more important than ever. Remembering things like handwashing, brushing teeth and bathing regularly isn’t generally a child’s favourite activity, but thanks to these useful hygiene books for elementary students, parents and carers can work on making it fun to develop healthy habits.

Unfortunately, many hygiene books for elementary students are written on commission, and there is a lack of diversity in the writers being offered these jobs. Because of this, there are not many books on this list written by authors of colour. However, moving away from hygiene specifically and looking at the broader topic of personal care, you can find more representation of POC writers – particularly in the increasing number of children’s books by Black authors that celebrate natural hair and offer tips on hair maintenance and styling. Books like Emi’s Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair by Tina Olajide and Big Hair, Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates are a fantastic read, both for Black and non-Black children.

I Don’t Want to Have a Bath! by Julie Sykes and Tim Warnes

I Don't Want to Have a Bath coverLittle Tiger is busy playing and doesn’t want to stop for something as boring as a bath (been there, kid). With some help from his mum and his new friend Peacock, he soon learns that bathing can be fun, in this book for younger elementary readers.

A Sugar Bug On My Tooth by Dr Linda Sturrup

A Sugar Bug On My Tooth coverWhile dental hygiene isn’t the biggest part of fighting a pandemic, it’s still important. This beautifully illustrated book will help children overcome their fear of the dentist, and learn that dental hygiene isn’t so scary after all.

Tissue, Please! by Liza Kopelke

Tissue Please coverCoughs and sneezes spread diseases, something that’s especially true at the moment. Luckily, this book featuring an adorable cast of frogs will teach younger readers how to catch their sneezes and get them into the healthy and hygienic habit of using a tissue.

Wash Your Hands by Margaret McNamara and Mike Gordon

Handwashing is perhaps the most important thing we can do at the moment, and it’s something that children can learn right from the start of their elementary school years. In this book for new readers, a 1st grade class gets a detailed lesson on how to wash their hands.

My Personal Hygiene by Iren Frost

My Personal Hygiene coverThis comprehensive book covers several different areas of personal hygiene, focusing on building a routine that sets up healthy habits for later in life.  Aimed at ages 3–8, this is a great choice to help children start taking responsibility for their personal care.

Horrible Science: Measly Medicine by Nick Arnold

Measly Medicine coverOlder elementary students who are asking questions about the history of healthcare will love this deliciously disgusting book exploring how we’ve developed the hygiene practices we use today (and all the gross things that happened before we developed them).

The Bacteria Book by Steve Mould

The Bacteria Book coverA great book for older elementary kids who want to learn more about what germs really are, The Bacteria Book (by the wonderfully named Steve Mould) is an introduction to bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that demystifies germs for younger readers.

The Tooth Book by Edward Miller

The Tooth Book is another useful book for developing good dental hygiene habits, making it a great resource for younger elementary school kids who are getting used to brushing regularly. On top of the helpful content, the illustrations and the extra information about the history of dentistry make it a fun read!

Cutie Sue Fights the Germs by Kate Melton

Cutie Sue Fights the Germs coverThe second book in the Cutie Sue series uses rhyme to teach young readers about germs, how to keep themselves clean and avoid getting sick, and why the hospital isn’t such a scary place after all.

Germs Are Not For Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen

This book for younger kids helps explain germs, how they work and how they’re transmitted, in a way that’s simple to understand. It also contains plenty of hygienic habits that little ones can pick up to make sure that they and everyone around them stays safe and healthy.

What You Can Do About COVID-19 by Scott Emmons

Full of activities aimed at children from preschool to elementary age, What You Can Do About COVID-19 is a fantastic resource for parents and carers who want to  help their children feel more empowered and in control of their own health during this scary time. It’s also free to download, although people who can afford it are invited to give a charity donation.

Returning to school may seem scary, but while hygienic habits aren’t a cure-all, they can certainly help. These books are a great starting point for elementary students to take charge of their personal care.

To help the young kids in your life understand COVID-19, check out our list of the best free children’s books on the coronavirus. If you want recommendations for a broader look at health, safety and personal care, you can find plenty of options on our list of 25 of the Best Children’s Books About Health and Safety.