California Children’s Books – 19 Great Kids Books About California

The Ultimate List of Children’s Books about California

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Children’s Books about California



California Children’s Books: World War 2 Internment Camps

When 110,000 Japanese Americans (mostly U.S. citizens by birth) were put into internment camps, the first and most famous camp was Manzanar Internment Center in California. Additionally, Tule Lake was another of the ten camps set up in the United States to take away property, freedom, and movement from Americans of Japanese heritage.

So Far From the Sea, by Eve Bunting

The Bracelet, by Yoshiko Uchida


California Sports Stars: Serena and Venus Williams

The sister tennis champions are from Compton, California. These children’s books about Serena Williams and Venus Williams shows them growing up.

Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams, by Howard Bryant and Floyd Cooper

Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams, by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome


Children’s Books about California: Everyone is Equal

All Equal, Todos Iguales by Christy Hale.

This book discusses an 1931 integration court case in California.

Separate is never equal, by Duncan Tonatiuh.

The 1947 court case that allowed for the end of legal segregration in California, featuring Sylvia Mendez.


California Children’s Books: New Lands, New Homes

Dreamers, by Yuyi Morales.

New Year, by Rich Lo.

A boy moves from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, California and it is time to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Children’s Books about California: Hope Grows On Trees

Harvesting Hope, by Kathleen Krull, illustrations by Yuyi Morales

Cesar Chavez organized for better human conditions in the fields for the grape workers of California. This book tells his story about working for change.

Harvesting Friends / Cosechando Amigos, by Kathleen Contreras, illustrated by Gary Undercuffler

This book focuses on good food, locally grown, and the friends to be had. 

Delores Huerta, by Sarah Warren, illustrated by Robert Casilla

Delores Huerta was a champion for workers’ rights for the migrant farmers in California. This children’s book tells her story of courage.

Between Us and Abuela, by Mitali Perkins.

A girl in California meets up with her grandma in Mexico. They celebrate Christmas together with a family gift exchange at the border, seeing each other after years apart




Children’s Books about California: Famous Californians At Work

Mario and the Hole in the Sky, by Elizabeth Rusch and Teresa Martinez.

Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature, by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by Christy Hale

This is a book about Ansel Adams, the nature photographer.


Poetry about California

Imagine, by Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Lauren Castillo.

The author, Juan Felipe Herrera, was the Library of Congress’s US Poet Laureate.


Family poems for every day of the week, by Francisco X. Alarcón and Maya Christina Gonzalez


Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Maps by Sue Macy

The year is 1896. The teams are Stanford and Cal. Agnes Morley has the ball, and she leads her team Stanford to victory.

She was a cattle rancher’s daughter, sent to Stanford to learn to “be like a lady”, and instead she put on bloomers and played ball. The final score of the game was 2-1, as scoring wasn’t the same as it is in today’s basketball sport. Also, the games for women’s collegiate basketball had to take place indoors, and men could not attend the games. How scandalous! 


Children’s Books about California for Older Students: California Wildfires


I Survived the California Wildfires, 2018, by Lauren Tarshis

This chapter book is a great 1st grade read-aloud, or a book for 2nd through 4th graders. It discusses the California Wildfires that engulfed lots of the state in 2018.

Children’s Books about California for Older Students: American Girl books

Julie: The Big Break (American Girl), by Megan McDonald

Note: American Girl went through some redesigns of their classic books, and in the process made them harder to find. Fortunately, all 6 Julie books are packaged in one audiobook

Julie: The Big Break is the first of the six American Girl books about California in the 1970s. Julie is growing up in San Francisco, along with her best friend Ivy. Julie is playing basketball, in the era right after Title IX (Title 9) allowed the opportunity for girls and women to play sports. She still faces issues accessing her ability to play basketball, but there is an investment in women’s sports like had never been seen before.

Other books in the series take more of a look into the life of Julie’s best friend Ivy Ling, who celebrates the Lunar New Year and shares her heritage as a second generation Chinese-American.  (The American Girl movie about Julie’s San Francisco puts Ivy as the main character)

Movie: American Girl Story: Ivy and Julie, 1976 (in San Francisco, California) 


Children’s Books about California for Older Students: World War 2 American Internment Camps

Farewell to Manzanar, by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Farewell to Manazanar is a memoir about a Japanese-American girl who was sent to an American internment camp at the age of 7 during World War 2. This book is excellent reading for the middle school and early high school ages (7th to 9th grade).  



California Vocabulary to Highlight:

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

Gold Rush of 1849

Act for the Government and Protection of Indians in 1853, a law which legalized servitude by the California goverment to Native peoples.

Executive Order 9066

Manzanar – about 2/3rds of all people interned in Manzanar were American citizens by birth

Delano Farm Workers Strike

DACA – “Dreamers”


California Geography:

Pacific Ocean

Los Angeles

San Diego

San Jose

San Francisco

Silicon Valley, tech area

Sacramento – capitol city

Sierra Navada mountains

Mojave Desert

Hollywood – movie industry in Los Angeles



Children’s Books about California and all 50 states. Which state will you read about next!






























New Hampshire     

New Jersey  

New Mexico     

New York  

North Carolina     

North Dakota  





Rhode Island   

South Carolina 

South Dakota     







West Virginia  




(districts, territories)

Washington, D.C.

Puerto Rico

Here you will find books about California and all 50 states.