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
Quakers, Society of Friends
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
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!