What to Read: Butterfly Books for Kids

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Planning to study butterflies with your children in the coming weeks? I’ve got you covered with a fun list of butterfly books for kids to help you learn!

What to Read: Butterfly Books for Kids

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One of our favorite spring nature study projects is raising butterflies. In fact, as I write this, we’ve got a cup of caterpillars on our mantle: three pupating caterpillars and a few more that could start the process any day now.

While we’re watching and waiting for our little buddies to make their final transformation, we’re reading some great butterfly books each day to help us discover new things about these fascinating insects.

Some of these books are new to us and some are familiar favorites that have helped us learn about butterflies in the past. There’s also a good mix of fiction and nonfiction, as well as butterfly books that are better for young kids, older kids, and those in between.

Here’s what’s on our reading list right now:

Butterfly Books for Kids

A Butterfly Is Patient

If you only buy one children’s book about butterflies, A Butterfly Is Patient is a great choice. The book itself features more than 30 caterpillars and butterflies, but each two-page spread focuses on a specific theme relating to butterflies, such as butterflies and camouflage, the world’s largest and smallest butterflies, life cycle, and pollination.

And for what it’s worth, the illustrations alone make this one you don’t want to miss! Each page is truly stunning.

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

From Caterpillar to Butterfly is a great way to explore the butterfly life cycle with younger kids. It follows a class of kids while they watch and wait for the class caterpillar to become a butterfly. Also, the butterfly in this book is a painted lady, making it a nice reading choice if you’re raising butterflies with an Insect Lore kit.

DK’s Butterflies & Moths Handbook

This Butterflies & Moths Handbook is great to have on hand as you learn more about butterflies and begin to identify the ones you see. It’s got tons of butterfly and moth images, but also includes life cycle information and tips for raising your own butterflies.

Similarly, Butterflies and Moths from DK’s Eyewitness series presents the same general information on butterflies and moths, but it’s not nearly as portable as the handbook.

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies isn’t necessarily a book about butterflies, but it’s a wonderful biography of naturalist Maria Merian. If you’re not familiar with Maria, this book is a fantastic way to learn about her life and her scientific legacy as one of the first people to document butterfly metamorphosis.

Worth noting, this is a truly incredible read, but it’s not a great choice if you’re rushed for time. I recommend it for older kids and middle schoolers to read independently or as a read aloud to be read over the span of several days.

If you can’t find The Girl Who Drew Butterflies, I also recommend Summer Birds and Maria Sibylla Merian: Artist, Scientist, Adventurer. Both are picture books that do a great job telling Maria’s story and showcasing her revolutionary butterfly observations.

Caterpillars, Bugs, and Butterflies

While it’s not exclusively about butterflies, Caterpillars, Bugs, and Butterflies from the Take Along Guides series is full of identification information, butterfly projects, and facts to help you learn.

My, Oh My – A Butterfly!

My, Oh My — A Butterfly! is butterfly observation, Cat in the Hat style. This butterfly book invites kids to join the Cat, Sally, and Dick as they learn all about the life cycle of butterflies.

Waiting for Wings

Like all of Lois Elhert’s books for kids, Waiting for Wings is full of vivid collage illustrations and simple, but effective text. It’s great for helping young learners understand the butterfly life cycle and includes extra information like butterfly anatomy, identification images, and tips for growing a butterfly garden.

Are You a Butterfly?

Another good choice for younger kids, Are You a Butterfly? is a great example of how easy it is to learn about the butterfly life cycle just by spending time in your own yard.

Hurry and the Monarch

Hurry and the Monarch is a sweet story about a Monarch and a tortoise named Hurry. It also happens to be a great picture book about the Monarch life cycle and migration.

If you’re unable to find this one, When Butterflies Cross the Sky is another great butterfly book about the Monarch migration.

Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story

This lovely picture book is a great way to introduce your kids to the glasswing butterfly. It’s about a glasswing named Claire who’s lost in the city, looking for the plants she needs in order to live, and in turn, pollinates the local urban garden while her search is in progress.

Worth noting here, this one has gorgeous illustrations and includes facts about glasswings and pollination at the end.

Where Butterflies Grow

This one’s a sweet picture book about the swallowtail butterfly’s life cycle that both of my kiddos have enjoyed through the years. I particularly love that it gives equal detail to each stage of metamorphosis; this makes it a great option if you’re looking for a picture book that explains what happens when butterflies emerge from a chrysalis.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Chances are you’re already familiar with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but I’d be remiss if I left this classic off my list of butterfly books for kids! Simple and fun text paired with beautiful and bright illustrations make it a perfect way to introduce the butterfly life cycle to your youngest learners.

Flutter Butterfly

National Geographic’s Flutter, Butterfly is good for little ones because of its vivid photography and simple text. If you’re looking for a nonfiction book for younger kiddos with short attention spans, this one is it!

Butterfly Story

Anca Hariton’s Butterfly Story shares the butterfly life cycle through cute illustrations. It goes from the laying of eggs all the way through emerging from the chrysalis and also includes additional information at the end for further learning.

The Butterfly Book

Got a kiddo who wants to learn more about raising butterflies? The Butterfly Book can help! It’s full of information about attracting and raising butterflies. I also like this one because it’s got lots of photos and a glossary at the end. All of this comes together to make this a good all-in-one resource for kids who want to pursue butterfly-related projects.


It’s your turn now! What would you add to this list of butterfly books for kids? Leave a comment and let us know so we can check it out!

Also, if you’re looking for more butterfly-inspired ideas, check out these butterfly unit study resources. 🙂

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