As part of our P is for Pandas week we read many books about pandas. These are some of our favorites.
The list includes both fiction and nonfiction. It is mostly comprised of picture books, but there are also a couple of chapter books to use as read alouds or to help with teaching multi-age groups.
Giant Pandas (Bears) by Marcia S. Freeman is a simple nonfiction text that shares one sentence per page. It is a terrific introduction to pandas for preschoolers and beginning readers. It also includes important nonfiction text features such as a table of contents, glossary, and index to help introduce kids to those parts of nonfiction books.
This was our first time reading Panda-monium! It is a picture book with a fun, bouncy rhythm that my kids enjoyed. Little Becket is hungry for bamboo, so he goes off in search of some. Soon more and more pandas are following behind him. First one panda joins, then two more, then three more, and so on. Acting this story out with small math manipulatives would be a wonderful way to show kids growing patterns in a concrete way. There is also a lot of rich vocabulary that is great for discussion.
How Many Baby Pandas? is a nonfiction counting book. This is a book that can be used for multi-age groups. Each page includes one basic fact and then more text that includes facts and additional details. My preschoolers and I counted the pandas and discussed the main fact on each page. Then if they were particularly interested in the fact, I read the more detailed explanation. The photographs in the book are terrific. Even my toddler enjoyed looking at the photos of the pandas.
Panda and Polar Bear was one of my favorite library finds. It is the story of a curious little polar bear who tumbles over a cliff and discovers a new friend. Although he is excited about this new friendship, he begins to miss his home. The two work together to build a ladder and help polar bear get home, but that isn’t the end of their friendship. This was a sweet story perfect for preschoolers. In addition to learning about animal habitats, it would be great for discussing diversity, friendship, and teamwork.
In Little Panda Grandfather Panda is telling Little Panda a story about a “flying tiger.” He tells him of a little panda who was all alone when a tiger comes his way. Then he shares the adventurous tale of escape. This story is a bit humorous, and the storytelling format made it a terrific read aloud.
Little Panda: The World Welcomes Hua Mei at the San Diego Zoo is another nonfiction book with photographs. It documents the first year of life for Hua Mei, the first giant panda cub to survive in captivity in the Western Hemisphere. The book includes many relevant facts, and it’s written in text simple enough for preschoolers. My kids loved all of the pictures of Hua Mei as a cub.
Pi-Shu: The Little Panda is the story of little Pi-shu growing up on the mountain side with his mother Fei-Fei. One day he ventures a bit too far from home, and he discovers sights and smells that frighten him. After being comforted by his mother, the two set out on a journey to find a new home.
For this book list I also wanted to include a couple of chapter books. As we revisit these themes later with my youngest daughter, I want to remember some of the books that could be helpful for my older daughter to read at the same time. These three books went well with the panda theme, and my former students used to enjoy them, too. These books would most likely be appropriate for kids age 6 or older, but of course every child is different.
In Magic Tree House #48: A Perfect Time for Pandas Jack and Annie are trying to find food for Merlin’s penguin. They wind up in Southeast Asia on the day of a historic earthquake, and they try to save the pandas. We had this book on CD, and my oldest daughter enjoyed listening to parts of it on her own throughout the week.
Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #26: Pandas and Other Endangered Species is the companion to A Perfect Time for Pandas. Jack and Annie are researching panda and other endangered species.
The Panda Puzzle is part of the A to Z Mysteries series. After the community builds a new park for a panda and her baby, the baby disappears. Dink and his buddies try to solve the mystery of the missing panda.
The books below are no longer available on Amazon, but we enjoyed them. You may find them at your library or in your personal collection.
Mommy Always Loves You (Board Book)
Panda Big, Panda Small (Use for exploring opposites)
My Color Is Panda (Use for color recognition)
Pingo, the Plaid Panda (Use for discussing positive self-image, diversity, and friendship)
You might also be interested in some of our other book lists.
Do you have any favorite books about pandas?
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