If you are planning a trip to D.C. or you live here and want to grab books for the children in your life, you’ve come to the right place. We are breaking down our favorite Washington, D.C. books for kids that every child should have on their shelves.
From guidebooks to fictional visits to the nation’s capital, this list of books about D.C. are sure to amuse and inspire the little ones in your life. Best of all, you can buy these DC books online and have them shipped directly to your door. No more excuses for the kids not to read. Ha!
Table of Contents
Our Favorite Washington, D.C. Books for Kids
This is Washington D.C.
By Miroslav Sasek • One of our favorite series of travel books, This is Washington, D.C. brings you through a magical, 50s style tour of Washington, D.C. Facts and historical stories are retold in a way even adults will enjoy.
Capital! Washington DC from A to Z
By Laura Krauss Melmed and Frane Lessac • We grabbed Capital! Washington, D.C. from A to Z as soon as we moved to the D.C. area. It gives you a quick rundown of the government, museums, the National Zoo, religious centers and more. The illustrations are engaging, with fun facts about Washington, D.C. threading throughout the story of the capital.
Start planning your own trip to Washington with our 101 things to do in DC guide
Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment
By Parker and Jessica Curry (Author), Brittany Jackson (Illustrator) • When one moment makes a big impression on a little girl, her mother just has to help her write a book about it. Inspired by real events, Parker Looks Up, tells the story of a mother bringing her girls to the National Portrait Gallery to see First Lady Michelle Obama’s portrait.
Tour the museum with Parker, her little sister, mom, her best friend Gia and Gia’s mother, to find out what really made a little girl stop in wonder at the woman in the painting before her. Boys and girls will love this one, just as much as adults (I know we do! It’s my go-to baby shower gift now!).
Washington, D.C. Board Books for Babies and Toddlers
All Aboard! Washington D.C.: A Capitol Primer
By Haily and Kevin Meyers • All Aboard! Washington, D.C. is part of a baby board book series written by husband and wife team of Haily and Kevin Meyers. Each book celebrates the unique qualities of the city, and D.C. couldn’t be left out.
Good Night Washington, D.C.
By Adam Gamble (Author), Joe Veno (Illustrator) • The board book, Good Night Washington, D.C., is a must have for any little wanderer or (soon to be) history buff. Featuring the National Zoo, Library of Congress, the White House, National Mall, Washington Monument, Museum of National History, National Air and Space Museum, Lincoln Memorial, and more, your child will know more about the District than you pretty soon.
Larry Gets Lost in Washington, D.C.
By John Skewes • Get lost in this board book along with our favorite pal Larry featuring vibrant retro illustrations. Larry Gets Lost in Washington, D.C. heads to the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and many of the other sites across Washington, D.C.
Night-Night Washington, D.C.
By Katherine Sully and Helen Poole • Babies and toddlers will love Night-Night Washington, D.C. read to them at bedtime. Each night, say “night-night” to the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, White House, Jefferson Memorial, National Museum of African Art, Marine Corps War Memorial, National Zoo, Nationals Park, Six Flags America (not actually in D.C.), National Museum of Natural History and Rock Creek Park.
Hello, Washington DC!
By Martha Zschock • When little one’s have a short attention span, but love to read with you, grab Hello, Washington, D.C. This parent and child eagle duo tour the highlights of the District, including an inside look at the White House, the Capitol Building, and a walk up the Washington Monument. Naturally, the National Air and Space Museum and the National Zoo also make an appearance. What baby or toddler doesn’t love airplanes and animals, right?
Our Favorite Fiction Washington D.C. Books
Madeline at the White House
By John Bemelmans Marciano • Mischievous little Madeline is at it again in Madeline at the White House. Madeline and her classmates are invited to the nation’s capital for the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Roll by the president’s daughter. They soon discovers there is a lot more to this city than they thought. While the girls (in two straight lines) visit the many sights across the city, Madeline of course has to have her own adventure– a midnight sightseeing tour on a magic carpet of cherry blossoms.
Clifford Goes to Washington
By Norman Bridwell • Wander the big sights across Washington, D.C. with your favorite big red dog in Clifford Goes to Washington. Clifford and Emily Elizabeth get into a bit of mischief, including swinging around the Washington Monument and hopping the White House fence. All ends well of course, as the First Lady falls in love with Clifford just as much as we all have over the years.
Call Me Madame President
By Sue Pyatt • Every little girl should know she could one day become president, which is why we love Call Me Madame President so much. Needing to prove her brother wrong, Amanda dreams of being President of the United States. Part travel guide, and all fictional narrative, this book will inspire your kids to dream bigger, and reach for the stars as they tour around Washington, D.C.
Grace for President
By Kelly DiPucchio and LeUyen Pham • The U.S. has never had a female president. What?! When Grace hear’s this she immediately starts making plans to fix that problem and jumpstart her political career in Grace for President.
Through a mock election against a boy, Grace is out to prove that you don’t need to be the “best man for the job.” What’s more important is being the best PERSON for the job.
Kids will get a glimpse of the American electoral college and why every vote counts. This might even be a book many adults should read so they can understand our complicated voting system too.
Grace Goes to Washington
By Kelly DiPucchio (Author), LeUyen Pham (Illustrator) • As a follow up to Grace for President, Grace goes to Washington dives into the branches of American government as well as the struggle and joys that comes with being a public servant... even at your own school.
The Otter and the Owl go to Washington, DC
By Chris Collier • Owl takes Otter on a historical tour of Washington, D.C., explaining the importance of each monument and memorial. Filled with facts, stories and an explanation of the symbols you find around the city, this is a must for any history-loving kids.
The Mystery in Washington D.C. (The Boxcar Children Specials Book 2)
By Gertrude Chandler Warner • The Boxcar children are off to D.C. to see the sites in The Mystery in Washington, D.C.
Of course, there has to be a mystery, one that starts with things disappearing from their hotel. Next, they realize they are being followed. What the heck is going on? You will have to read this D.C. book to find out.
Lilly Lou Goes to Washington D.C.
By Mike Murphy • Moozy Toozy and Moozy Woozy join up when Lilly Lou Goes to Washington, D.C. There is a mystery to be solved, and the Giant Pandas are at the center of it all.
History Comes to Life in These D.C. Books
The House that George Built
By Suzanne Slade, Lauren McCullough, et al. • Did you know that the White House design came out of a competition that George Washington held? It’s true. The House that George Built tells the story of how the White House, home to the U.S. president, went from the perfect design found through a contest, to President John Adams moving in once it was completed (Washington never actually lived in the White House).
Brick By Brick
Charles R. Smith Jr. and Floyd Cooper • If you want another inside look at the construction of the White House, grab Brick by Brick. Slaves were an integral part of the building, using no modern machinery and not getting paid (their masters were paid). Many learned a trade throughout the building, which eventually helped some buy their freedom.
One Million Men and Me
By Kelly Starling Lyons and Peter Ambush • Follow along as a little girl joins her father in 1995 at the Million Man March, the largest event of its kind in U.S. history. It brought together black men who were committed to inspiring and empowering each other to make positive and lasting changes in their families and African-American communities. When looked at through a daughter’s eyes, it becomes a special look back on a historic day in One Million Men and Me.
Learn fun facts in these Washington, D.C. books
If You Want a Friend in Washington: Wacky, Wild & Wonderful Presidential Pets
by Erin McGill • From dogs to cats to alligators and one foul mouthed parrot, you will love learning about all the animals and pets who have called the White House home throughout the centuries. If you have an animal-loving kid, If You Want a Friend in Washington is for you. Although, it may be harder to convince your kids that you can’t have a goat or pet alligator after this one.
First Garden: The White House Garden and How It Grew
By Robbin Gourley • Dive into the White House gardens when First Lady Michelle Obama was campaigning for healthier eating, especially amongst children. In First Garden, you will learn the history of the White House gardens, including Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden in World War II, Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden, presidential and politicians’ children who have played on the grounds, and how the White House staff keeps the gardens thriving throughout the year.
Recipes are also included to try your hand at cooking with fresh produce at home.
Mr. Boddington’s Studio: Washington, DC ABCs
By Mr. Boddington’s Studio • A beautifully illustrated board book, Washington, D.C. ABCs captures the magic and wonder of the city. Pop by the National Air and Space Museum, Ben’s Chili Bowl, government buildings and Capitol Hill. You are never too young to discover the people, places and unique things that make Washington, D.C. so special.
On The Loose in Washington, D.C.
By Sage Stossel • Join animals from the National Zoo as they wander around Washington, D.C. in this “Where’s Waldo” style book. More than 100 animals are On the Loose in Washington, D.C., as you stroll through the White House, Capitol Hill, the National Air and Space Museum, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, National Mall and more.
Washington, D.C. From A-Z
By Alan Schroeder and John O’Brien • This is no book of 26 facts. Nope, Washington, D.C. from A-Z is bringing almost 100 little-known lore, hidden history of Washington, D.C. and quotable quotes about Washington D.C., while still following the alphabet. Humorous cartoons bring the funny, strange and intriguing details behind important landmarks and the people who run the nation, plus those who have come to celebrate, protest, live in the thick of it or just visit.
Journey Around Washington D.C. from A to Z
By Martha Day Zschock • Journey Around Washington, D.C. from A to Z is an ABC book filled with alliterative sentences that will make your tongue twist and your kids giggle as you try to say things like “America’s anthem awakens awe.” Each page comes with history, and learning materials, as you sneak in facts and information about the District of Columbia your kids can learn before, during or after your trip.
Have fun with these Smithsonian Books
S is for Smithsonian: America’s Museum Alphabet
By Roland Smith and Marie Smith • Sit back and relax while you tour the Smithsonian from home, meeting giant pandas, massive diamonds and even a T-Rex. S is for Smithsonian is digging into the Smithsonian Institution’s 19 museums, nine research centers, or over 130 million objects, artworks and specimens collected from all over the world. Read this before you take a vacation to D.C. or learn from home if you can’t get out right now.
Awesome Adventures at the Smithsonian
By Emily B. Korrell • Even if you have kids who were born and raised in D.C., they will love Awesome Adventures at the Smithsonian. As any local knows, there is a LOT to see at the Smithsonian museums, from Dorothy’s slippers to airplanes and dinosaurs. This book, best for ages 8-12 year olds, is packed with activities, information, maps, photographs, illustrations, puzzles, games, mad libs and pages for journaling and drawings all of the things that can get your kids excited to explore Washington, D.C.
D.C. Guidebooks for Kids
City Trails – Washington DC (Lonely Planet Kids)
By Lonely Planet Kids • Hit the trails as you discover history and culture, food and nature in City Trails- Washington, D.C. Find out facts and crazy tales most tour guides won’t tell you.
Mission Washington, D.C.: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure
By Catherine Aragon • Grab the scavenger hunt that is sure to keep your kids entertained on your D.C. vacation. Explore D.C. landmarks together, letting your kids lead the way through the city. You will still get to see everything on your list without them knowing they are learning too.
Washington, DC, History for Kids: The Making of a Capital City, with 21 Activities
By Richard Panchyk • Pick up Washington, D.C. History for Kids and you will have 21 activities to get your children excited to explore. From building a time capsule to designing a memorial for a favorite president or taking a walking tour of the National Mall, no one will be bored when you bring this activity book on your adventure to the District.
Kids’ Travel Guide – Washington, DC: The fun way to discover
by Kelsey Fox, Shiela Leon • Get your kids excited to visit Washington, D.C. with the Kids’ Travel Guide- Washington DC edition. Your kids won’t be bored on this trip to D.C. as they learn historical facts, crazy tales, grab tips, take fun quizzes and do a little art on the coloring pages.
Gigi at the White House!
By Giovanna McBride • Based on a real little girl who grew up visiting her mom at the White House during the George W. Bush administration, Gigi had many adventures visiting her mother Anita McBride, Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush. Follow along as you meet the friends she made, holidays and events she got to experience and more.
Rocco Travels with the Presidents!
By Rocco Smirne • Presidents have always traveled as part of their job, and no one wanted to experience that more than little Rocco. From riding horses with Abraham Lincoln and bicycles with Jimmy Carter, boarding trains for a trip out west with Grover Cleveland and a New York jaunt with Franklin Roosevelt, Rocco travels through time experiencing it all– even a flight on Marine One.
If you have a transportation lover in your house, you don’t want to miss this adventure!
Rocco at the White House Easter Egg Roll!
By Rocco Smirne • Rocco, an actual elementary school student living in Virginia, shares his experience at the White House Easter Egg Roll, bringing this fun event to homes across the country. Even if you can’t make it to this annual event (and one of the oldest White House events!), you can still feel like part of the action as Rocco describes rolling and hunting for eggs with hundreds (actually thousands) of other kids and adults, learning about the music of the Marine Band, decorating cookies, taking drawing lessons, and gathering around authors as they read their books aloud to an eager audience.
A White House Alphabet
By Arioth Harrison Smirne with Rocco Smirne • Rocco Smirne’s first book (with the help of his mother) digs into the basics of the White House through the ABC. From the Marine Band, the Queens’ Bedroom, the Oval Office and rooms that are all red, blue, and green, and the helicopter Marine One (listed under “H”) are just a few of the many facts and stories you will learn while flipping through the pages of A White House Alphabet.
The White House: Designed by James Hoban, Built by Many Hands!
By Stewart D. McLaurin •
Learn the story of James Hoban’s life and work designing the White House. As a native of Kilkenny Ireland, Hoban settled in South Carolina with the dream of designing buildings in the young country of the United States of America. The book’s illustrations bring you through the design process, but also acknowledge the labor that went into the construction, including Scottish stonemasons, Irish builders, and enslaved Black laborers.
By Jonathan Pliska • Did you know that the President of the United States likes to play? Or at least exercise and get some fresh air when he is at home in the White House? Learn all about the sports and activities past presidents have enjoyed while living in the most famous house in America, including running, swimming, basketball, tennis, sailing, fishing, golf, and even Hoover Ball.
Kids Play at the White House!
By Jonathan Pliska • While the White House is mostly known as the home of the president and a working office, it is also a family home for the President, their children, grandchildren, and kids visiting during special events like the Easter Egg Roll. With its large open lawns, room for swing sets, pathways for bikes, big trees for tree houses, and space for make believe, organized sports, riding ponies, and playing with pets, the White House is worth exploring, even if just through the pages of a book.
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