20 Great Pennsylvania Children’s Books – Best Books for Kids from Pittsburgh to Philly

PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Ultimate List of Children’s Books about Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh

This page of Pennsylvania picture books, books about Pittsburgh, and books about Philadelphia contains affiliate links for which I may earn income at no cost to you.

From Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, and farm lands in between, Pennsylvania is a state of vibrant happenings and rich history. Here are some children’s books that cover Pennsylvania. 

Children’s Books about Pennsylvania: Kids Books about Philadelphia

 

Mrs. Millie Goes to Philadelphia, by Judy Cox, illustrated by Joe Mathieu

A book where the character is very silly, and sees the major places of Philadelphia, like Independence Hall. 

Recipe for Adventure: Philadelphia, by Giada de Laurentiis and Brandi Dougherty

Written by a top chef, this book focuses on the food of Philly – like 9th Street and Reading Terminal Market. A family visits Philadelphia and makes delicious discoveries.

Saving the Liberty Bell, by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Marsha Gray Carrington

Children will learn about the Liberty Bell in this book about Philadelphia and its most famous symbol.

Can We Ring the Liberty Bell, by Martha E. H. Rustad

 

 
   

Raising Yoder’s Barn, by Jane Yolen

This book tells a story of a barn burning down, and the Amish coming together to rebuild it as a community. This could spark a longer study into the Amish and Mennonite communities of Pennsylvania and across the country – both the positive aspects, and the areas where abuse runs rampant. It stays protected within the structures of the community

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, by Alice Dalgiesh, illustrated by Helen Sewell

Luigi and the Barefoot Races, by Dan Paley, illustrated by Aaron Boyd

A legend from Philadelphia, this story tells of the time when children played with the neighbors outside, long before modern technology. Luigi would get into footrace challenges with anyone, and would win them, barefoot. The sites and shops of Philadelphia are seen in the book as Luigi races his friends, and they give more information about the city in the back of the book. While the story might be too good to be true, that’s what makes it memorable. It will encourage kids of today to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. 

The Prison-Ship Adventure of James Forten, Revolutionary War Captive, by Marty Rhodes Figley, illustrated by Zachary Trover

This book tells about the bravery of James Forten in the American Revolution. Forten is from Philadelphia.

 

 

Pittsburgh and the State of Philadelphia: Cool Stuff Every Kid Should Know, by Kate Boehm Jerome

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mr. Rodgers, lyrics by Fred Rodgers, illustrations by Luke Flowers

Hello, Neighbor! The Kind and Caring World of Mr. Rodgers, by Matthew Cordell

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, illustrated by James Daughtery, text by Abraham Lincoln

 

Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln: The Story of the Gettysburg Address (Young Readers, Level 4), by Jean Fritz, illustrated by Charles Robinson

 

Who Was Mister. Rodgers, by Diane Bailey, illustrated by Dede Putra

This book about Pittsburgh legend and TV children’s host Mr. Rogers tells the story of the minister who became a puppeteer and champion of Make Believe. Mister Rogers long-running program created a spin-off that still airs today, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. 

This book is from the “Who Is?” series (Here’s a complete Who is list, organized by country)

 

Chapter Books about Pennsylvania

What Was the Battle of Gettysburg?, by Jim O’Connor

 

Who Was Ben Franklin?, by Dennis Brindell Fradin

 

I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863, by Lauren Tarshis

Teachers looking for books about Gettysburg will need to look no further. This book, designed for about 2nd to 4th grade, as an easy chapter book follows a set of children who ran away from their Kentucky home to head north. They end up with a Union company right when the Battle of Gettysburg breaks out. It’s well-written for younger readers. Adults may guess the ending at one plot twist, but it has a lot of literary language hidden throughout. I include a summary and analysis of I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 here. 

 

 

Fever, 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson

This book for 5th grade (and a good read even up to 9th grade) is about the Yellow Fever epidemic that hit Philadelphia in 1793. The book discusses how people dealt with an epidemic then, and it ties well into modern-day discussions about Covid.

 

Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos, by Robert Lawson

This clearly fictional story combines a mouse living in the house of the famous Ben Franklin. The concept makes it part Littles/Borrowers, part Ratatouille, and part stepping into historical fiction. In childhood it had such an effect that I had to create a sequel (where Amos gets frozen in a block of ice, a la Captain Ameria, and wakes up not in 1776 but in 1976, ready for the disco mouse era.)

Additionally, it made me imagine, what if a revolutionary era figure arrived in the here-and-now. How would you even begin to explain television remotes and smartphones to the person? Ben Franklin may have made the first public library in the U.S., but can he understand a washing machine?

 

Pennsylvania Vocabulary to Highlight:

Shawnee,  Ohio Valley tribe, Erie, Iroquois, Munsee Delaware, Susquehannock, and the Lenape Delaware  – first residents of Pennsylvania

William Penn

Quakers, Society of Friends

James Forten

Benjamin Franklin

Liberty Bell

Independence Hall

U.S. Constitution

Philadelphia was the Nation’s Capitol

Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic, 1793 (mosquito-based illness)

Philadelphia abolition movement

Battle of Gettysburg

Gettysburg Address, by Abe Lincoln

Amish communities

Mister Rodgers and public television

Will Smith – West Philadelphia, born and raised

 

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

Alabama    

Alaska

Arizona  

Arkansas  

California  

Colorado

Connecticut   

Delaware  

Florida    

Georgia  

Hawaii  

Idaho  

Illinois     

Indiana  

Iowa     

Kansas  

Kentucky     

Louisiana  

Maine     

Maryland  

Massachusetts     

Michigan

Minnesota     

Mississippi  

Missouri     

Montana  

Nebraska     

Nevada  

New Hampshire     

New Jersey  

New Mexico     

New York  

North Carolina     

North Dakota  

Ohio     

Oklahoma  

Oregon   

Pennsylvania 

Rhode Island   

South Carolina 

South Dakota     

Tennessee

Texas     

Utah  

Vermont     

Virginia  

Washington     

West Virginia  

Wisconsin     

Wyoming

 

(districts, territories)

Washington, D.C.

Puerto Rico

 

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