The most recommended alphabet books

Who picked these books? Meet our 22 experts.

22 authors created a book list connected to alphabet, and here are their favorite alphabet books.
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Book cover of West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet

Scot Ritchie Author Of P'esk'a and the First Salmon Ceremony

From my list on the First Peoples of the West Coast for children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm passionate about nature, our impact on it and the people who best know how to be its companion – Indigenous peoples. I grew up on B.C.'s west coast, swimming with seals and otters. That inspires me to protect the land and to write and draw about it. As the author/illustrator of over 70 books I've been lucky to be able to present my thoughts on many topics. I learned early on to do my research and work with rigorous editors. With P'eska, I relied on members of the community I wrote about. I know I'm speaking to young kids so honesty is paramount.

Scot's book list on the First Peoples of the West Coast for children

Scot Ritchie Why did Scot love this book?

I live on the West Coast of B.C., just like Deborah Hodge, so this book resonates with me.

The cover describes it as a Nature Alphabet book. It's that and much more. Each letter is followed by a description of different life forms found on the shore or in the sea. And that's what makes it special for me, there's a balance of recognition and discovery.

Reading the poetic writing and looking at the painterly illustration brings me back to my childhood turning over rocks, discovering starfish and clams in the endless tidal pools. Again what makes this book work is the perfect balance of art and words. 

By Deborah Hodge, Karen Reczuch (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked West Coast Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Celebrate the Pacific west coast with this gorgeous nature alphabet book.

This stunning nature alphabet book explores the fascinating ecosystem of the Pacific west coast - a magnificent area that combines an ancient rainforest, a rugged beach and a vast, open ocean, and where whales, bears, wolves, eagles and a rich variety of marine species thrive in an interconnected web of life.

Author Deborah Hodge has spent more than forty years on the west coast, frequently visiting the Pacific Rim region, and she knows it intimately. From A to Z she describes in vivid language the rainforest, ocean and beach,…


Book cover of R Is for Robot: A Noisy Alphabet

Linda Zajac Author Of Robo-Motion: Robots That Move Like Animals

From my list on robots for little kids with big-tech taste.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by robots. As a former computer programmer, systems analyst, and consultant, I’ve had an interest in technology since my first programming class in high school. I’ve been to robotics labs in Boston, Massachusetts, and Lausanne, Switzerland. My husband is a mechanical/software engineer, so STEM is a big part of our lives. In addition to Robo-Motion, I’m the author of a number of Minecraft books with STEM and coding sidebars. I’ve also published many magazine articles, one of which was the inspiration for this book. I wrote about the CRAM cockroach robot for the March 2017 issue of MUSE.

Linda's book list on robots for little kids with big-tech taste

Linda Zajac Why did Linda love this book?

The artwork in this colorful book is detailed and amazing. It’s a big job to move letters of the alphabet and the expressions on these robots’ faces are priceless, especially the gleeful ones. This action-packed book is filled with fun sounds and a variety of skinny-limbed robots hauling letters in every color of the rainbow. At times it’s a challenge to find the small item that begins with the letter. There is a lot packed into each page.

By Adam F. Watkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked R Is for Robot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

These noisy robots make the alphabet a hilarious adventure!

In this noisy alphabet book, Adam F. Watkins's silly robots are building the alphabet. Featuring hilarious robots making goofy noises, this alphabet book is perfect for young readers.


Book cover of Coaching A to Z: The Extraordinary Use of Ordinary Words

Michael Bungay Stanier Author Of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

From my list on unexpectedly useful books about coaching.

Why am I passionate about this?

Coaching is a wonderful technology that can help people be a force for change… and is often wrapped up in mystic and woo-woo and privilege that makes it inaccessible and/or unattractive to too many. I want being more coach-like—by which I mean staying curious a little longer, and rushing to action and advice-giving—to be an everyday way of being with one another. Driven by this, I’ve written the best-selling book on coaching this century (The Coaching Habit) and have created training that’s been used around the world by more than a quarter of a million people. I’m on a mission to unweird coaching.

Michael's book list on unexpectedly useful books about coaching

Michael Bungay Stanier Why did Michael love this book?

Moon realizes that certain words are particularly helpful and powerful in making conversations better (all conversations, not just coaching ones). It’s one short word per letter (“Difference”, “Might”, and “Yet” are three of my favourites), and this feels like a collection of twenty-six precise tools that can help any type of discussion more elegant, more curious, more filled with potential and more useful.

By Haesun Moon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coaching A to Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your indispensable guide for coaching mastery.

Language is a powerful tool that can unite, engage, and move people to action. It's all in what you choose to say, and how you say it.

In this practical, accessible guide to having more powerful conversations, leading evidence-based coaching expert Haesun Moon offers a set of powerful words or phrases-one for every letter of the alphabet-to help you move others toward greater purpose and accomplishment. Based on her extensive research with the University of Toronto and Harvard Medical School, Moon shows you how to apply each of these concepts to transform the way…


Book cover of P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever

Ethlie Ann Vare Author Of WOOF!

From my list on reads I wish were around when I was a kid.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Boomer. I was expected to read books about well-behaved children (Fun with Dick and Jane, 1940) or happy animals (The Poky Little Puppy, 1942), or going to bed quietly (Goodnight Moon, 1947). Why do you think my cohort has so much love for Dr. Seuss? The Cat in the Hat (1957) was a brat, and kids love a brat. The rhymes were smart, and kids need smart. Today, I get to read books to my grandkids that have edge, and books that don’t talk down to them. They deserve it, they won’t settle for less, and it’s a hell of a lot more fun for me.

Ethlie's book list on reads I wish were around when I was a kid

Ethlie Ann Vare Why did Ethlie love this book?

To be perfectly honest, the title is the best part of this book. None of the text is quite as funny as the concept, but the concept is worth the price of admission.

You can keep your A is for Apple and B is for Ball. I’ll take K is for Knight and D is for Djibouti.

It’s not likely that a toddler is going to need to spell “phlegm” any time soon, but it’s a fun read for the adult — and the grown-ups also need to be entertained by a book that’s going to be aloud 100 times. 

By Raj Haldar, Chris Carpenter, Maria Beddia (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked P Is for Pterodactyl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller!

A "raucous trip through the odd corners of our alphabet." -The New York Times

Let's get real-the English language is bizarre. A might be for apple, but it's also for aisle and aeons. Why does the word "gnat" start with a G but the word "knot" doesn't start with an N? It doesn't always make sense, but don't let these rule-breaking silent letters defeat you!

This whimsical, funky book from Raj Haldar (aka rapper Lushlife) turns the traditional idea of an alphabet book on its head, poking fun at the most mischievous words in the…


Book cover of Alpha Beta Chowder

Julie Paschkis Author Of The Wordy Book

From my list on picture books that play with words.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been creating picture books for 30 years. Picture books are a combination of words and language - that’s what I am drawn to. I love vivid language and art that tells stories. I love wordplay and cornball puns. I savor a perfectly crafted sentence in proper English, but I am not a stickler for perfect grammar. I like slang, pig-latin, and mistakes. I enjoy the sound of languages that I know and that I don’t know. I hope that you enjoy all of these wordy books, including mine.

Julie's book list on picture books that play with words

Julie Paschkis Why did Julie love this book?

Jeanne Steig wrote a giddy delightful poem for each letter of the alphabet. The poems are replete with weird and wonderful words. The goofy illustrations by William Steig tickle your eyes. One of my favorite poems is "Mishmash". Notice all of the many M words in Mishmash: mallet, misguided, minimize, mix, milk. Could Myron majestically mash potatoes? Mmmm, no.

Mishmash
Making mashed potatoes, Myron?
Must you mix them with the hammer?
This bizarre, misguided method
Causes quite a katzenjammer.

Might you add the milk and butter
In a more majestic manner?
Might a mallet not be better?
That would minimize the clamor.

By Jeanne Steig, William Steig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alpha Beta Chowder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Presents an alliterative humorous verse for each letter of the alphabet, including "The Enigmatic Egg," "Mishmash," and "Worrywart.".


Book cover of Species of Spaces and Other Pieces

Tim Newburn Author Of Orderly Britain: How Britain has resolved everyday problems, from dog fouling to double parking

From my list on the changing nature of our everyday lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a criminologist who is increasingly at least as interested in social order as I am in crime. In part I think this can be expressed as a concern with what glues us together rather than what pulls us apart. What particularly makes me smile, and draws me in, is the ability that some writers and researchers have to find the fascinating and the remarkable in the everyday. Whether it be what we wear, how we speak, or when we sleep, there is just as much to learn about our contemporary society from such matters as there is from who’s in parliament or how our financial institutions are behaving. 

Tim's book list on the changing nature of our everyday lives

Tim Newburn Why did Tim love this book?

I first came across Georges Perec via his novels. Many (most) of these are experimental – a word that often puts me off – but their cleverness is additional to great writing and storytelling. One of his novels, for example – La Disparition (A Void) is written entirely without the letter ‘e’ as, remarkably, is the English translation! Species of Spaces is a collection of non-fiction essays in which he encourages us to look, to observe what is around us, to become anthropologists of the everyday. What might we find? Yes, we lie on beds. But, as Perec observes, this is highly unusual as they’re one of the very few places where we adopt a horizontal posture, and the only general one (the others are things like operating tables, beaches, psychiatrists’ couches. Perec focuses on what he calls the ‘infra-ordinary’ (as opposed to extraordinary)  and offers something remarkable on…

By Georges Perec,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Species of Spaces and Other Pieces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Georges Perec produced some of the most entertaining and spirited essays of his age. His literary output was amazingly varied in form and style and this generous selection of Perec's non-fictional work also demonstrates his characteristic lightness of touch, wry humour and accessibility.


Book cover of Signing Everyday Phrases: More Than 3,400 Signs

Michael Thal Author Of The Lip Reader

From my list on effect of deafness and understanding deaf people.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a teacher when I awoke one morning to an unnatural silence. The ENT specialist said the rare virus would return and I’d become deaf one day. Six years later he was proven right, and I had to accept disability because I couldn’t understand my students. I took American Sign Language classes at a local community college, and I taught myself to write. I penned six novels; two about deafness. At the turn of the century, I met Jila, an amazing deaf woman. She told me stories about growing up deaf and Jewish in Iran. After her death from colon cancer, I put her stories together and novelized her life in The Lip Reader.

Michael's book list on effect of deafness and understanding deaf people

Michael Thal Why did Michael love this book?

Whenever I need an ASL translation of an English word or phrase I check Signing Everyday Phrases. It provides the Manual Alphabet and breaks the book into chapters like “Home, Family, and Friends,” “Leisure and Sports,” “Time, Weather, and Holidays,” and a lot more. If you need the sign for a word, check the Index, and you’ll find it there. The book provides pictures of the sign and below that, a printed explanation. If you are learning ASL basics, this book will be a huge help. 

By Mickey Flodin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Signing Everyday Phrases as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Diane Billas Author Of Does Love Always Win?

From Diane's 1-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Pansexual Classical music enthusiast Reader Mom

Diane's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Diane's 1-year-old's favorite books.

Diane Billas Why did Diane's 1-year-old love this book?

As soon as I put the book in front of my son, he starts laughing and goes to open the first page.

I believe he loves the polka dots and the Chick Chicka Boom Boom tree. I also think he likes the rhyming scheme. Even if he’s feeling under the weather, this book cheers him up. 

By Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, Lois Ehlert (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 1, 2, 3, and 4.

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......


Book cover of S Is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet

Carmen Oliver Author Of Bears Make the Best Writing Buddies

From my list on picture books about bears, buddies, and writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I once spotted a mama black bear and her cubs on a camping trip in Manitoba, Canada. I kept a safe distance watching in awe as the cubs climbed trees. I’ve been fascinated with bears ever since. Most of the books I publish center around strong themes of family, friendship, making a difference in the world, and many have a bear as a secondary character. I think there’s always room for more bear stories in the world, don’t you?

Carmen's book list on picture books about bears, buddies, and writing

Carmen Oliver Why did Carmen love this book?

Like my book, this book is filled with tips and terms from A to Z to connect readers to the writerly process and life. There are inspiring quotes sprinkled throughout and the illustrations by Pullen are bright and vivid. It’s the perfect backdrop to the beautiful poetry and prose written by author Hershenhorn. 

H is for Hero and Heroine, 

   their journey grand tales to be told,

      of beaten foes, 

         and bested woes,

            of triumps, alas, to behold.

I return to this book time and time again for inspiration and to spark my imagination.

By Esther Hershenhorn, Zachary Pullen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked S Is for Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

What is a first draft? What is a narrative? In S is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet, author and writing coach Esther Hershenhorn uses the alphabet to help explain, explore, and examine the tools, techniques, and strategies for those hoping to live the literary life. Writing terms and topics are explained using a two-tier format. C is for the Character, every story's star, the one for whom we cheer, we care, with whom we travel far. Specific genres, story elements (setting and plot), and the mechanics of how to write (including editing and revision) are covered, while quotes from famous…


Book cover of The Gashlycrumb Tinies

Iphigenia Jones Author Of What Would Wednesday Do?: Gothic Guidance and Macabre Musings from Your Favorite Addams Family Member

From my list on reading like Wednesday Addams and indulging your dark side.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been drawn to the creepy and kooky world of the Addams Family. I’ve watched every episode of the 1960s sitcom. I fell in love with the 90s films, and when the Netflix adaptation Wednesday aired, I streamed every episode immediately. I’ve written two books based on Wednesday and her family, and I have an upcoming cocktail book with recipes based on gothic literature. My love of horror books and my understanding of the Addams family led me to seek out the perfect list of Wednesday read-alikes.

Iphigenia's book list on reading like Wednesday Addams and indulging your dark side

Iphigenia Jones Why did Iphigenia love this book?

What terrible tome would Morticia and Gomez have read to little Wednesday in order to ensure that she would have the most noxious nightmares? I believe they would’ve cracked open this gothic children’s classic, written and illustrated by the enigmatic Edward Gorey.

This book recites the alphabet, with each letter representing how a child died. Take, for instance, the representation of our second letter: “B is for Basil assaulted by bears.” What better way for a wicked whelp to learn her letters?

I both chuckled and winced while reading this book, especially with the paired black-and-white illustrations. It’s funny and deeply dark, which is, of course, the perfect mix for an Addams Family fan.

By Edward Gorey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Gashlycrumb Tinies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new, small-format edition of one of Edward Gorey’s “dark masterpieces of surreal morality” (Vanity Fair): a witty, disquieting journey through the alphabet.