From the ear-worm rhythms of “Baby Shark” to the terror of Jaws, it’s easy to see the impact of sharks on pop-culture offerings for all ages. These creatures of the sea fascinate readers of all ages, with kids being no exception. Whether your child is intrigued by the tiger sharks of shallower waters or the mighty Great White Sharks of the open ocean, books are a great resource for learning more about these often misunderstood animals. Fiction books offer compelling stories of famous sharks, funny sharks, and sharks that make friends with fish, and nonfiction texts can help early readers study sharks while also practicing decoding factual illustrations and diagrams. If you have a kid interested in learning more about sharks, these shark books for kids will let them dive into the world of sharks through nonfiction books, picture books, and emerging reader chapter books. Grab one of these titles and start increasing your knowledge of Selachimorpha today!
Note: STEM tends to still be an area dominated by white writers, and these books reflect that. We would love to hear your suggestions for any books by BIPOC that were missed!
Nonfiction Shark Books For Kids
The Ultimate Book of Sharks (National Geographic Kids) by Brian Skerry
Packed with the high-quality, colorful photographs that National Geographic is known for, this is a great place to begin for school-aged readers interested in learning more about sharks. This book combines facts about different types of sharks with stories of real-life shark encounters and updates on the latest scientific discoveries about these creatures.
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating and Marta Álvarez Miguéns
Aspiring marine biologists will love getting their hands on a copy of this story about scientist Eugenie Clark. Ever since a trip to the aquarium as a young girl, Clark was awed by sharks and their beauty. However, she discovered that many people regarded them as threatening creatures and didn’t think they were an appropriate field of study for a woman. Clark overcame these barriers to devote her life to the study of sharks in a tale sure to inspire young scientists.
Filled with fun facts and artwork, this is a book packed to the gills with shark knowledge! Lowery combines his writing and illustrating skills to deliver little known information about different types of sharks as well as working in jokes and songs about these fascinating residents of the ocean.
Fly Guy Presents: Sharks by Tedd Arnold
If you know a fan of the Fly Guy series, be sure to hand them this nonfiction guide to sharks that features Fly Guy as a narrator. Superimposing his beloved character in the world of sharks, Arnold and Fly walk readers through a plethora of shark fun facts with an engaging and upbeat tone.
If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams
We may think of sharks as being strong enough to withstand anything, but Williams’s book asks important questions about the impact on the environment of declining shark populations. With calm illustrations and poetic language, this book provides a gentle introduction to the issue of species conservation.
Shark Picture Books
Walter the Whale Shark: And His Teeny Tiny Teeth by Katrine Crow and Hazel Quintanilla
Walter can’t wait to join his fellow sharks on his first day of school! But when they line up to take their class picture, Walter realizes that he doesn’t quite have the fearsome teeth that his other shark friends do. Walter tries lots of things to fit in with his classmates, but some good advice helps him embrace what makes him stand out.
Land Shark by Beth Ferry and Ben Mantle
All Bobby wants for his birthday is the perfect pet: a shark. His parents, not seeing the genius in his plan, get him a puppy instead. Can Bobby learn to love his new companion, and teach him all about the wonderful sharks of the world?
Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever — or Snack Time? by Tammi Sauer and Michael Slack
Nugget the minnow and Fang the shark have always been the best of friends, happily swimming together in the ocean. Once Nugget starts school, he’s shocked to learn that the other minnows are afraid of sharks, and think he should be too! Can Fang win back Nugget’s trust? Or is their friendship doomed?
Misunderstood Shark by Ame Dyckman and Scott Magoon
Shark loves visitors to the ocean and is so excited to find a TV show filming underwater! But poor, misunderstood Shark scares away the camera crew and all the other creatures he tries to befriend. Combining laugh-out-loud humor with shark facts and fun illustrations, this is a sure hit for shark loving readers of all ages!
I’m a Shark by Bob Shea
Is Shark afraid of bears? NO! Is Shark afraid of the dark? NO! Readers will love exclaiming along with Shark as he lists all the things he’s definitely not afraid of and giggling when they find out Shark’s one true fear!
Beginning Chapter Books
Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Sharks! by Katie & Kevin Tsang
Certified ghost hunter Sam Wu is NOT afraid of sharks…until Crazy Charlie the shark tries to eat him on a class trip to the aquarium! Can he overcome his newfound fear in time to attend his classmate’s beach base? Or is Sam doomed to stay landlocked forever?
The Shark King by R. Kikuo Johnson
This charming comic-style book about a boy longing for guidance from his father takes place in Hawaii. A great jump into longer reads for emerging readers who love folktales and a little bit of magic.
Big Shark, Little Shark by Anna Membrino and Tim Budgen
Step into reading with this fun book that reinforces the concept of opposites. In rhyming text, Big Shark and Little Shark both search for a tasty snack, but they have very different ways of looking for food! Can they both find something to eat before the end of the story? Emerging readers will love practicing their independent reading skills with this shark book.
I Survived: The Shark Attacks of 1916 by Lauren Tarshis and Scott Dawson
The I Survived series is a great choice for readers looking to jump into historical fiction! In this installment, 10-year-old Chet is looking forward to a summer swimming in the creeks of Elm Hills, New Jersey, with his friends. But soon, the town is being terrorized by rumors of a Great White Shark and Chet’s creek adventures will put him face to face with the shark in a battle for survival!
Shadow of the Shark (Magic Tree House Merlin Mission Series #25) by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca
Venture with Jack and Annie on their newest Magic Treehouse adventure, this time to the coast of Mexico! The duo has been looking forward to a relaxing beach vacation, but when they go out ocean rafting one day they find themselves in the crosshairs of a fearsome shark!
Whether your young reader is looking for nonfiction shark books for kids, picture books, or trying their chapter book skills for the first time, they’ll learn some engaging shark facts from the titles listed above. For more shark books, check out our Shark Week recommendations for both kids and adults!