It’s time for St. Patricks Day books! Any time I flip over the calendar to see a new month, I know it’s time to start requesting holiday books from the library.
With the Irish holiday just around the corner, these ten St. Patrick’s Day books are perfect for celebrating all things green and gold.
Whether you’re looking for an informational book about the holiday, a classic folk tale, or just a fun tale of a tricky leprechaun, one (or more) of these books will fit the bill for your preschool or elementary-age child.
- There Once Was a Man Named Michael Finnegan by Mary Ann Hoberman and Nadine Bernard Westcott – This hilariously illustrated version of the song is perfect for preschoolers and early elementary-aged children. Not only will it tickle their funny bones, but I also think it’s important for kids to be familiar with classic folk songs.
- Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola – I always appreciate when beloved authors write books that work for the holidays too; it’s so comforting to see familiar illustrations in a new story. His retelling of a popular folktale recounts lazy Jamie O’Rourke’s dismay when his wife – who does all the work in the house – is injured and Jamie fears they may starve. Until he happens on a leprechaun and thinks he might be able to provide without doing any work himself.
- Leprechauns Never Lie by Lorna Bailian and Lecia Balian – This updated picture book follows Ninny Nanny who refuses to do any work, except search for leprechaun gold. Of course, she spends so much time and effort doing so, she might have been better off just doing her chores in the first place. The lesson in this book isn’t overbearing, but does offer an opportunity for a little teaching moment.
- O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott – When the tax collectors take the witch’s horse, Kate O’Sullivan’s village starts to go hungry, thanks to the witch’s anger. But feisty Kate won’t give up easily and she sets off to recover the horse, which lands her in trouble with the kind. Fortunately, her quick wits and storytelling skills save the day. If you’re looking for a book to read aloud, this is the one (especially if you do it with an Irish brogue!)
- That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting and Emily Arnold McCully – A leprechaun’s main job is to hide gold at the end of the rainbow. But they also certainly like getting up to mischief too. This silly and light-hearted tale by one of children’s literature’s most beloved authors will definitely win over your little ones.
- Too Many Leprechauns by Stephen Krensky and Dan Andreasen – When Finn O’Finnegan comes home to visit his mother for a relaxing vacation, he’s displeased to find that a whole crew of busy leprechauns are making the quiet town noisy around the clock. Fortunately, Finn is more than a match for those leprechauns. The gorgeous illustrations on this book completely won me over.
- Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott – The sly humor in this book, as Tim O’Toole is tricked out of one treasure after another, thanks to his inability to keep his mouth shut about his new possessions, delights me every time. Plus, I always love reading books by illustrators who won the Caldecott medal.
- Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute – A retelling of the Celtic story “The Field of Boliauns,” Clever Tom thinks he can outwit the leprechaun and make off with his gold. But it turns out the leprechaun has a few tricks of his own up his sleeve. If your child loves folktales, they’ll especially love the pages at the end detailing leprechaun folklore.
- The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards – When two harpists set off to compete in a musical contest, one of the two tries to sabotage his companion in order to better his chances. But, as happens in most folk tales, cheaters never prosper. I’m a big fan of Henry Cole’s illustration style, and this book is no exception.
- St Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons – It took me only a few weeks of being a school librarian to discover that Gail Gibbons is one of the top names in elementary-level non-fiction. This one details the life of St. Patrick, how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated, and shares six legends about Patrick himself. Pair with one of the fiction books on this list for a perfect match.
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