Gettin’ Meta With It: Books About Books, Part 1

Once upon a time, I did not like books that referenced writing or books or authors in any way. “Writers who write about writing are lazy,” I sniffed. “Meta for meta’s sake!”

When I moved into children’s librarianship over a decade ago, a ton of fantastic children’s books about books (and, it has to be said, A.S. Byatt’s classic novel, Possession) quickly changed my mind.

And, I quickly learned, early literacy theory solidified why these “meta” books are great for children developing both print motivation and print knowledge. Books that make books look fun and cool – and books that teach kids how to read books – are always a good thing.

Because there are SO MANY great children’s books about books and reading, I’ve had to cut my recommendations in two – expect “Books About Books, Part 2” in August!

Picture Books About Books

Warning: Do Not Open This Book! written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

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I start with this one because it opened my eyes to the “this book is magical and dangerous and you don’t want to read it!” sub-genre of picture books about books. Opening the book and turning the pages releases monkeys, toucans and a very dangerous alligator – but readers discover that this chaos is actually wonderful, and books make it possible!

How To Read a Book written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Read A Book

Comparing reading books to eating delectable fruits and other delicious treats, this special book by award winners Alexander and Sweet is also beautiful to look at, with collages made of watercolor, found objects and colorful paint.

I Will Chomp You! written by Jory John and illustrated by Bob Shea

Chopm You

Get ready to laugh! This book is protected by a monster who WILL chomp you if you get too close to his yummy cakes! A particularly fun one-on-one read with your child, but it does not disappoint with larger groups because it is just so silly.

A Unicorn, A Dinosaur, and a Shark Walk Into a Book written and illustrated by Jonathan Fenske

Unicorn Dinosaur Shark

Reminiscent of the Italian play Six Characters In Search of an Author – but a whole lot funnier and, if possible, even more surreal – this book tells you exactly what it’s about. The best part is that the aforementioned unicorn, dinosaur and shark don’t really listen to their creator. Hilarity ensures, as well as an understanding of how books are made!

Books By Horseback: A Librarian’s Brave Journey to Deliver Books to Children written by Emma Carlson Berne and illustrated by Ilaria Urbinati

Using realistic yet sweepingly beautiful illustrations, this picture book introduces children to early library history (which warms this librarian’s heart!), in which brave men and women traveled by horse over treacherous terrain to get books into the hands of kids. Watch out – your kid may just want to become a librarian after reading this.

Chapter Books About Books

While the above are all picture books, I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least two of my favorite chapter books for older children that also feature books and reading.

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

The perfect summer mystery book that manages to be funny, insightful, and full of adventure – and lots of references to classic children’s books like The Westing Game.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

The first in a series of chapter books about the mysterious Mr. Lemoncello, a game-maker who gathers (or traps?) children in his library, forcing them to solve puzzles to get out. Excellent references to many books – you will want to write them down and check out the library’s catalog.

2023 Summer Reading Program

2023 Srp Medal

Don’t forget: the 2023 Summer Reading Program lasts until the end of July! Sign up and participate at any Tulsa City-County Library location or bookmobile, and read for the fun of it, but also for prizes and coupons for free food and entertainment!

Learn more at or at any of our 24 library locations and bookmobile!

July 2023 Books About Books Pin

Categories: Books and Literacy