children's books about turtles

As a turtle lover myself, I always love it when we can give younger children the opportunity to learn and be inspired by these fascinating creatures. I have grouped these books into multiple categories so that you can browse based on your preference. 

They are all turtle themed books where a turtle is the main character or a strong supporting character. Most should be available at your local book store but I have also provided links to their product pages on Amazon. 

These books about turtles are a great birthday gift or Christmas gift for the young reader in your family.

The best children’s books about turtles and tortoises

The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit

Tortoise and the jackrabbit

Reading age: 3-8 years old

A classic take on the The Tortoise and the Hare but with a southwestern flair. The Tortoise represents wisdom, patience, and perseverance, while the hare represents arrogance, cockiness, and impatience. It is a classic tale of a rabbit and a turtle that has many great lessons for life. We all know the moral of the story: slow and steady wins the race!


Reading age: 3-8 years old

A cute picture book about a pet turtle that gets worried when his owner leaves to go to school. The turtle is then offered the opportunity to go on the journey with her. It gives Truman’s perspective of being small in a big world. It is a good bedtime book for younger kids because it isn’t super long.

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Yertle the turtle by Dr. Seuss

Reading age: 3-8 years old

The famous Dr. Seuss Turtle book! A collection of 3 short stories exploring the themes of greed, vanity, and pride that should help teach your young children about humility.

What is the political message of Yertle the Turtle and who does Yertle the Turtle represent in history?

There are strong themes of justice, political rights, political authority, and the responsibilities a ruler has to their subjects. Specifically, Yertle represents Hitler and symbolizes the collapse of his empire. The moral of the story Yertle the Turtle is that all species must be free!

The Box Turtle

the box turtle

Reading Age: 3-5 years old

Terrance the turtle is often made fun of by his classmates because he was born without a shell and instead uses a paper box. As the story progresses, Terrance learns that there’s nothing wrong with being different–especially when it comes to being yourself.

Best sea turtle books for children

One Tiny Turtle

one tiny turtle

Reading Age: 5-8 years old

What is One Tiny Turtle about: it follows the fascinating journey of a tiny, endangered loggerhead. The book is informative and the illustrations compliment the story beautifully.  

Always Remember

always remember

Reading Age: 3-7 years old

After Old Turtle swims his last swim and breathes his last breath, and the waves gently take him away, his friends lovingly remember how he impacted each and every one of them. As his friends think back on how much better Old Turtle made their lives and their world, they realize that he is not truly gone, because his memory and legacy will last forever. It is a wonderful reminder that each act of kindness that one commits has great impact on others.

I’ll Follow the Moon

ill follow the moon

Reading Age: 2-5 years old

Explores the journey of a baby sea turtle to highlight the beautiful relationship of a mother and son. A great story for a younger audience and has a great rhythm to it with a clever rhyme scheme.

Chase the Moon, Tiny Turtle: A Hatchling’s Daring Race

chase the moon tiny turtle

Reading Age: 4-8 years old

Follows the adventure of a baby loggerhead has it traverses from its nest into the ocean. It must overcome plenty of obstacles along the way and narrowly survives by following the moonlight and joining his fellow hatchlings.

Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out!

Turtle, turtle, Watch out!

Reading Age: 6-10 years old

A great book to spark an interest in environmentalism and to highlight the impact that human’s have on all ecosystems. Could be great for a slightly older child as they are introduced to the concepts of ocean conservation.

If you are a big fan of sea turtles, you should check out the Disney show Turtle Talk with Crush.

Best Turtle books for the early reader

Franklin’s New Friend

Franklin's new friend

Reading Age: 6-9 years old

One of the classic Franklin tales to get your kid interested in the series.

How many Franklin books are there?

There are 25 books in the Franklin series.

The Turtle of Oman

The Turtle of Oman

Reading Age: 6-10 years old

The Turtle of Oman explores the concept of moving and uprooting a life. It is great for a young child who may be experiencing a big move or immigration. The story uses a sea turtle as symbol to represent that it is important to go and explore other parts of the world, and that you will always be able to come back to the place (or beach!) you were born.

Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared)

Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared) Hardcover – Picture

Reading Age: 3-6 years old

Explores the friendship of a turtle owner and a turtle from both of their points of view. It includes beautiful watercolor illustrations and is great for all reading levels.

Best turtle coloring books

Sea Turtle Coloring Book

sea turtle coloring book

This slightly advanced adult coloring book is the perfect way to relieve stress and while enjoying beautiful coloring pages of sea turtles.

Turtle Coloring Book for Adults 

Turtle Coloring Book for Adults Paperback

A beautiful adult coloring book of delightful turtle and sea turtle designs. Contains 34 full-page images that are wonderfully curated.

Sea Turtles: Adult Coloring Book

Sea Turtles: Adult Coloring Book

A collection of 20 original hand-drawn illustrations featuring the majestic sea turtle and other marine habitats in a variety of tranquil settings.

Top books about tortoises

The Foolish Tortoise

The foolish tortoise

Reading Age: 2-6 years old

If you are looking for stories like the classic tale, A Hungry Caterpillar, then this is it. The Foolish Tortoise is very similar to the Hungry Caterpillar and is great for the kindergaten age.

What is the moral of the Foolish Tortoise:

The moral of the story is to help kids understand to be happy in their current situation and learn that the grass isn’t always greener.

Memoirs of a Tortoise

Memoirs of a tortoise

Reading Age: 6-9 years old

A beautiful story that should be reserved for slightly older children because it addresses some deep concepts such as death.

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