UW-Madison Libraries Wisconsin's Water Library
Books for Kids - fish and fishing
Below is a list of books about fish and fishing for kids of all ages. The Water Library also has storytime ideas on this theme, including craft and music suggestions.

If you have any suggestions for our collection - either book titles or story times ideas, Water Library staff would love to hear them. Please send an email to askwater at aqua.wisc.edu with your ideas.

Download this reading list

Books for preschoolers - Books for elementary age


Books for preschoolers

Call No. 271244 Kids
Swimmy / By Leo Lionni. New York: Pantheon1963.
Swimmy, the lone black fish in a school of reds, uses ingenuity to overcome the others' fears about swimming in open water and exploring the wonders of the sea. A Caldecott Honor Book. Gr. Preschool-2.

Call No. 271249 Kids
Splash! / By Ann Jonas. New York: Greenwillow Books1995.
The vivid illustrations will delight kids learning to count as fish, frogs, turtles, pets and even a little girl climb in and out of a pond. How many are in my pond? Find out in this fun book! For preschool through grade 2.

Call No. 281286 Kids
Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On / By Lois Ehlert. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich1990.
Bright fish swim in and out of the pages of this counting book. The art work will delight young and old alike. For preschool through grade 1.

Call No. 281422 Kids
Mister Seahorse / By Eric Carle. New York: Philomel Books2004.
Carle's book is a tribute to fathers, whether fish or human. After Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs on Mr. Seahorse's belly, he drifts through the water greeting other fish fathers who are also taking care of their eggs. Beautiful collages illustrate the story and a few pages have overlays of clear plastic which create screens of seaweed or other natural elements to show how some fish can hide themselves in nature. Gr. Preschool-3.

Call No. 281429 Kids
Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale / By Marcus Pfister and J. Alison James. New York: North-South Books1998.
Another adventure for fans of the Rainbow Fish books. In this story, Rainbow Fish and his friends must share their food and their space with a gentle old whale who comes to their reef. Gr. Preschool-2.

Call No. 281433 Kids
Rainbow Fish to the Rescue! / By Marcus Pfister and J. Alison James. New York: North-South Books1995.
The themes of sharing, friendship and courage are addressed in this Rainbow Fish adventure. When a little striped fish is told he can't play with the other fish, Rainbow Fish remembers what it was like to be left out. Gr. K-3.

Call No. 281520 Kids
The pout-pout fish / By Deborah Diesen. New York : Farrar Straus Giroux2008.
The pout-pout fish believes he only knows how to frown, even though many of his friends suggest ways to change his expression, until one day a fish comes along that shows him otherwise.

Call No. 281522 Kids
Ugly Fish / By Kara LaReau and Scott Magoon. Orlando : Harcourt2006.
At first Ugly Fish likes being alone in his tank so much that he eats any fish that tries to share it, but when he becomes lonely, he devises a better plan.

Call No. 281523 Kids
Gone fishing : ocean life by the numbers / By David McLimans. New York : Walker2008.
Dive down to the depths of our planet’s oceans and see the stunning variety of creatures that call this watery environment home. These incredible marine animals and their ocean habitats are among our most precious and endangered resources.

Call No. 281524 Kids
Hooray for fish! / By Lucy Cousins. Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press2005.
Little Fish has all sorts of fishy friends in his underwater home, but loves one of them most of all.

Call No. 281529 Kids
I'm the Best Artist in the Ocean / By Kevin Sherry. New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Group.2008.
Having shown his skill at drawing both abstractly and from life, the squid declares, I'm making my masterpiece! The book itself, however, packs less of a punch. Although the character's manic eyes, cavernous smile and irrepressible self-esteem still exude plenty of charisma (especially after he paints himself a mustache midway through), there's no compelling narrative arc or antagonist this time out; each spread is just another chance for the squid to show something else he can draw or another style he can adopt.

Call No. 281530 Kids
I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean / By Kevin Sherry. New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Group2007.
When a giant squid takes inventory of all of the creatures in the ocean, he realizes that hes way bigger than most of them! Of course, there are bigger things lurking around . . . but maybe this giant squid with a giant touch of hubris doesnt really care? First-time author-illustrator Kevin Sherry is sure to garner fans of all sizes for his perfect-for-preschool read-aloud with simple text, bold and delightful collage art, and a lovable squid whose spirit just cannot be crushed.

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Books for elementary age
Call No. 271240 Kids
Go Fish / By Mary Stolz. New York: HarperCollins1991.
Thomas is recovering from a broken ankle and will do just about anything to get his grandpa out of his reading chair and out to the fishing dock so they can swap stories and try to catch the big one. After spending the day fishing in the Gulf of Mexico with Grandfather, eight-year-old Thomas has a quiet evening on the porch hearing more about his African heritage. Gr. 1-3.

Call No. 271243 Kids
My Father’s Boat / By Sherry Garland. New York: Scholastic1998.
A young Vietnamese-American boy begins to learn the shrimp trade of his father and grandfather in this story about continuity in spite of separation—and about the importance of family. Gr. K-4.

Call No. 271244 Kids
Swimmy / By Leo Lionni. New York: Pantheon1963.
Swimmy, the lone black fish in a school of reds, uses ingenuity to overcome the others' fears about swimming in open water and exploring the wonders of the sea. A Caldecott Honor Book. Gr. Preschool-2.

Call No. 271248 Kids
Fishing Day / By Andrea Davis Pinkney. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children2003.
Reenie is a black girl who loves to go fishing for fun by the river with her mama. Peter Troop is a white boy who fishes with his dad for food at the same river. Peter is loud, often scaring the fish away. Reenie reaches out to him to show him how to catch fish. A moving story about friendship across the barriers of segregation. Gr. K-4.

Call No. 271249 Kids
Splash! / By Ann Jonas. New York: Greenwillow Books1995.
The vivid illustrations will delight kids learning to count as fish, frogs, turtles, pets and even a little girl climb in and out of a pond. How many are in my pond? Find out in this fun book! For preschool through grade 2.

Call No. 271324 Kids
The Biggest Fish in the Lake / By Margaret Carney. Toronto: Kids Can Press2001.
A young girl and her grandfather share a love of fishing. He gives her a fishing reel and takes her on a fishing trip to try it out. She catches the biggest fish in the lake, a large muskie, but ends up releasing it because it is so beautiful. This book celebrates nature and a special grandfather/grandchild bond. Gr 1-4.

Call No. 281246 Kids
Flies in the Water, Fish in the Air: A Personal Introduction to Fly Fishing / By Jim Arnosky. New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books1986.
This text introduces readers to the art of fly fishing with Arnosky's readable explanations, illustrative sketches, and personal anecdotes. Gr. 6 and up.

Call No. 281247 Kids
Fearsome Fish / By Steve Parker. Austin, Texas: Raintree Steck-Vaughn1994.
From the Creepy Creatures series, this book takes a look at nature's more frightening and unusual marine animals, such as sharks, rays, marlins, piranhas, barracuda, and eels. Parker describes the ecology, behavior, and habitat of these animals in exciting and simple terms that are accessible to young readers. Gr. 2-5.

Call No. 281250 Kids
Freshwater Fish & Fishing / By Jim Arnosky. New York: Four Winds Press1982.
Descriptions of many freshwater fish and the techniques recommended to catch them are detailed and illustrated in this guidebook. There are sections on cleaning fish, tying knots, and making lures. Gr. 3-6.

Call No. 281254 Kids
A Fish Hatches / By Joanna Cole and Jerome Wexler. New York: Morrow1978.
Following the life cycle of hatchery-raised trout from laying of eggs to maturity, this book's simple explanations and clear black and white photographs help readers discover this rarely seen process. Gr. 3-5.

Call No. 281267 Kids
Fish in a Flash!: A Personal Guide to Spin-Fishing / By Jim Arnosky. New York: Bradbury Press1991.
Arnosky's love for spin-fishing is evident in this guide to being successful in the sport. Drawing on his own experience, he covers boater safety, tackle, and the importance of sustainable fishing. As usual, his illustrations are quite wonderful and very helpful in illuminating his points. Gr. 3-8.

Call No. 281268 Kids
The Atlantic Salmon / By Bianca Lavies. New York: Dutton Children’s Books1992.
In following the salmon from hatchling to adult, more than just the life cycle of this fish becomes clear. The relationship between the environment, salmon, and humans is fleshed out as well. Gr. 3-6.

Call No. 281421 Kids
A Good Day's Fishing / By James Prosek. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers2004.
A young boy searches through his tackle box to find the one thing he needs to ensure a good day's fishing. It is not the hooks, lures, bobbers or spinners he finds in the box. Read the book to find out what it is. A useful glossary of lures and flies is included at the end. Gr. K-3.

Call No. 281422 Kids
Mister Seahorse / By Eric Carle. New York: Philomel Books2004.
Carle's book is a tribute to fathers, whether fish or human. After Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs on Mr. Seahorse's belly, he drifts through the water greeting other fish fathers who are also taking care of their eggs. Beautiful collages illustrate the story and a few pages have overlays of clear plastic which create screens of seaweed or other natural elements to show how some fish can hide themselves in nature. Gr. Preschool-3.

Call No. 281430 Kids
Hook, Line, & Seeker: A Beginner's Guide to Fishing, Boating, and Watching Water Wildlife / By Jim Arnosky. New York: Scholastic Nonfiction2005.
This beginner's guide to fishing, boating and nature watching is packed full of information and includes step-by-step instructions for many activities. Color photographs, watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings are attractive and instructive. Gr. 4-6.

Call No. 281432 Kids
How Many Fish? / By Caron Lee Cohen and S. D. Schindler. New York: HarperCollins1998.
A simple story that offers repetition, rhythm and rhyme to help beginners on their way to reading - and counting. The illustrations show children's feet underwater with fish swimming around them as the reader counts objects beneath the water. Gr. K-1.

Call No. 281523 Kids
Gone fishing : ocean life by the numbers / By David McLimans. New York : Walker2008.
Dive down to the depths of our planet’s oceans and see the stunning variety of creatures that call this watery environment home. These incredible marine animals and their ocean habitats are among our most precious and endangered resources.

Call No. 281524 Kids
Hooray for fish! / By Lucy Cousins. Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press2005.
Little Fish has all sorts of fishy friends in his underwater home, but loves one of them most of all.

Call No. 281525 Kids
Wishing I was fishing / By Eva Wells. Edina, Minn : Beaver’s Pond Press2007.
Take a trip across the lake on a young boy’s first spring fishing trip with his dad. As the winter melts into spring, the two prepare the boat, gather their gear, and reel in their first fish. This beautifully illustrated story captures a child’s joyous anticipation and the thrill of the first catch. Eva Wells ; illustrated by Chandra Dale.

Call No. 281545 Kids
The freshwater alphabet book / By Jerry Pallotta. Watertown, MA : Charlesbridge1996.
Illustrated by David Biedrzycki. An inviting look at freshwater biology. In this alphabetically arranged overview, Pallotta surprisingly includes the Snow Monkey, who stays warm by soaking in hot springs, and Nessie, the legendary Loch Ness monster, along with familiar and lesser-known freshwater fish and crustaceans. Biedrzycki's beautiful naturalistic illustrations show each creature in its native habitat. A brief, two or three sentence description for each entry mentions its unique characteristics and explains how it got its name. (Gr K - 3)

Call No. 281561 Kids
Swim! Swim! New York : Scholastic Press2010.
Lerch the fish is lonely, and after trying to befriend some unreceptive--and inanimate--objects, he finally succeeds in finding a friend. [Text was hand-lettered by Lerch ; illustations by James Proimos]

Call No. 290225 Kids
Salmon Forest / By David T. Suzuki and Sarah Ellis. New York: GreyStone Books2003.
Follow Kate and her dad as they take a hike in the woods and learn about the life cycle of the sockeye salmon. This enjoyable story reveals scientific facts about the natural world and the cycle of life. Gr. K-3.

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