The most recommended hippo books

Who picked these books? Meet our 12 experts.

12 authors created a book list connected to hippos, and here are their favorite hippo books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of A Mother for Choco

Marcy Pusey Author Of Speranza's Sweater: A Child's Journey Through Foster Care and Adoption

From my list on for foster and adoptive families.

Who am I?

As a birth, foster, adoptive, and pseudo mom to many children, I know firsthand how hard it is to find quality literature that reflects their experience and gives them skills for their own life journey. As a therapist, certified in trauma and resilience, having spent many years in social services, I also see the lack of resources available to caregivers, teachers, and counselors. It's my passion to help remove shame, build resilience, and reclaim hope in the lives of each member of these families. I’ve done this through a TEDx talk on the power of story on the brain, authored multiple books, speak regularly, offer trainings, and private parent coaching.

Marcy's book list on for foster and adoptive families

Marcy Pusey Why did Marcy love this book?

A Mother for Choco is a classic in the world of adoption books. Told through the lens of a bird looking for his mama, children learn that not all family members look alike! So many foster and adoptive children (and even the children of multi-ethnic birth families!) struggle to identify their place in a family that looks different from them. This story helps to shape the idea that family members can have different hair color, skin color, height, and other varying features from the parents or siblings of the home—and still be family. This is so powerful and important for kids developing their sense of identity and belonging, regardless of their origin.

By Keiko Kasza,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Mother for Choco as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Family is about love no matter how different parents and children may be, adopted or not.

Choco wishes he had a mother, but who could she be? He sets off to find her, asking all kinds of animals, but he doesn't meet anyone who looks just like him. He doesn't even think of asking Mrs. Bear if she's his mother-but then she starts to do just the things a mommy might do. And when she brings him home, he meets her other children-a piglet, a hippo, and an alligator-and learns that families can come in all shapes and sizes and…

Book cover of American Hippo: River of Teeth, Taste of Marrow, and New Stories

Gwendolyn N. Nix Author Of I Have Asked to Be Where No Storms Come

From my list on dark fantasy Westerns with magic and gunslingers.

Who am I?

My life quest has been to find true magic. Once believing it could only be uncovered in ruins or cathedrals continents away, I ended up discovering it in my own backyard under the Big Sky. When I was young, I read everything science fiction and fantasy to feel like that magic was real and bask in worlds far different from my own. Now, as a professional editor and author based in the West… I still read everything science fiction and fantasy, but now I get paid to do it.

Gwendolyn's book list on dark fantasy Westerns with magic and gunslingers

Gwendolyn N. Nix Why did Gwendolyn love this book?

A reimagining of how one decision could change the American landscape… why Thomas Jefferson decided against introducing hippopotamuses to the swamps and marshes of the American South, I’ll never know. But Sarah Gailey gives us a glimpse into this alternative history and it is full of water bearers as fearsome and loyal as any war horse. Reading this in one sitting on a plane ride, I was fascinated by how vastly differentand dangerousthe Mississippi bayous could be when full of a certain shady type of gunslinger creeping through the water with Spanish moss hanging overhead. I suspect if I were alive in this alternative timeline, I might’ve ended up seeking my fortune by holding up a steamboat… especially if I had a hippo as my trusty companion.   

By Sarah Gailey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Hippo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2017 Sarah Gailey made her debut with River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, two action-packed novellas that introduced readers to an alternate America in which hippos rule the colossal swamp that was once the Mississippi River. Now readers have the chance to own both novellas in a single, beautiful volume.

Years ago, in an America that never was, the United States government introduced herds of hippos to the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This plan failed to take into account some key facts about hippos: they are savage, they are…

Book cover of The Truth About Bears: Seriously Funny Facts About Your Favorite Animals

Joan Holub Author Of Bears Are Best! The scoop about how we sniff, sneak, snack, and snooze!

From my list on bears with funny facts and friendship.

Who am I?

The truth? I’m scared of bears! But learning about them has helped me become a less fearful hiker. Turns out, bears spread seeds and salmon nutrients in their droppings. They also help maintain populations of prey species like deer. I don’t want those jobs. So, thank you, bears! The more kids learn about wildlife, the more comfortable they’ll be outdoors. And the better planet citizens they’ll become! Beyond bears, I’ve authored 200+ children’s books, writing everything from Greek Mythology take-offs (Goddess Girls middle grade series of 30 books) to math (Zero the Hero picture book) to a fractured fairy tale about how to write a story (Little Red Writing)!

Joan's book list on bears with funny facts and friendship

Joan Holub Why did Joan love this book?

Eaton’s bear book does a nice job of blending simple nonfiction info about bears with the occasional bear joke.

For instance, within a two-page spread on bear safety, he combines fact blurbs with some silly speech bubbles. His bear characters are simply drawn and appealing, and the pages are colorful. If your young readers like this one, consider trying his other books on Hippos, Butterflies, Elephants as well!

By Maxwell Eaton III,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Truth About Bears 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?

Did you know that polar bears smell seals through the ice and snow in order to find and eat them? Did you know that when a bear is born, it weighs less than a picture book? Did you know that bears sleep all winter and don't goto the bathroom while they hibernate? Discoverthese facts and many more in this nonfiction picture -book series that injects humour and bright, vivid animals into popular subjects like bears and hippos.

Book cover of The Little Hippos' Adventure

Charline Davis Author Of Alou: The Martian Agent

From my list on that capture children’s imaginations.

Who am I?

I came into the world telling stories. From the age of four you could often find me surrounded by a little cluster of friends, amusing them with a story I was spinning on the spot. When I was nine, I began telling my sisters about a Martian who was living on Earth and who loved his comfy chairs. This Martian eventually became Alou, and it has been such a joy to share his world through my picture book Alou: The Martian Agent and its sequels. One thing I’m passionate about is sparking the potent imagination bottled up inside all our little ones and I hope my books can encourage that. 

Charline's book list on that capture children’s imaginations

Charline Davis Why did Charline love this book?

I can still recall snuggling up to my mom as she read me this for the first time, and now it’s a joy I’ve gotten to relive with my daughter! This one—another Swedish translation—is a tale of three little hippos who have a passion for diving! That’s right, off a diving board! Their naughty adventures as they seek out Tall Cliff, the dangers they face, and Mrs. Hippopotamus’ carpentry, will grab children’s attention. The storytelling and humor are spot-on, and the illustrations couple with it beautifully. A very entertaining read. 

By Lena Landstrom, Joan Sandin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Hippos' Adventure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three hippos have a very exciting day.

Life for the little hippos is always the same: diving and swimming to their hearts’ content. Except the hippos think that it would be more fun if their diving board could be higher, as high as Tall Cliff. But they’re not allowed to go to Tall Cliff because it’s too dangerous. Each day they ask if they can, and each day they are told no. Finally, one day they are allowed to go there to bathe – cheers and jubilation! They are happy and hungry when they are swimming home, and they completely…

Book cover of Cosmic

Emily Snape Author Of Fergus the Furball

From my list on reluctant readers aged 7-11.

Who am I?

My sons were both reluctant readers and that made me want to write books that they wouldn’t be able to resist reading! Reading should be a pleasure and this list is packed with books that are impossible to put down. They are perfect for young, reluctant readers, as they are not trying to be too serious or worthy or overwhelming with too much text. They pull you in and hook you from the start and you can’t help being moved by the characters as they grow and develop, fostering a love of books and fiction. I love comedy in books, but funny books also have to have heart, believable characters, and a great plot that keeps you reading till the very end.

Emily's book list on reluctant readers aged 7-11

Emily Snape Why did Emily love this book?

I love all of Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s books. They are funny and clever and the stories are full of twists and loveable characters. This book hooks you from the start and takes you on an adventure you would never have expected. It will make you laugh out loud and bite your nails with worry and you won’t want to stop reading till the end! The story follows the life of Liam, an extraordinarily tall boy, who with one small lie, ends up being launched into space in an ice cream van.

By Frank Cottrell Boyce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cosmic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Liam has always had trouble keeping his feet on the ground. Being 239,000 miles from earth doesn't make it any easier.

Book cover of American Hippopotamus

Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling Author Of A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town

From my list on stranger – and funnier – than fiction.

Who am I?

As a journalist, I’ve often been frustrated at the sense that I am preaching to the choir – those who take the time to read about a serious topic don’t need to, and those who need to, won’t. I’ve learned to spread awareness by packaging serious information inside a “Trojan Horse," one so fun to read that it reaches people who can actually benefit from the educational bits. These brilliant books, and many others, show that a spoonful of sugar can help us easily swallow information about social justice, endangered species, the U.S. military, and American history. I happily make these books Christmas gifts, knowing they are joys, not obligations.

Matthew's book list on stranger – and funnier – than fiction

Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling Why did Matthew love this book?

This book doesn’t just read like a novel – it reads like a great novel: A battle between two compelling characters set against the absurd backdrop of an effort to establish a hippo population in America’s swampland. Mooallem’s understated wit showed me that sometimes the best way to understand history is by tracking the people we’ve never heard of, and the initiatives that never succeeded.

By Jon Mooallem,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Hippopotamus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1910, the United States—its population exploding, its frontier all but exhausted—was in the throes of a serious meat shortage. But a small and industrious group of thinkers stepped forward with an answer, a bold idea being endorsed by the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and The New York Times. Their plan: to import hippopotamuses to the swamps of Louisiana and convince Americans to eat them.

The only thing stranger than the hippo idea itself was the partnership promoting it. At its center were two hard-bitten spies: Frederick Russell Burnham, a superhumanly competent frontiersman, freelance adventurer, and fervent optimist about America’s…

Book cover of Inspiring Children to Never Give Up

Dawn Doig Author Of Hair Peace

From my list on inspire children to be happy with who they are.

Who am I?

I was born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, but inherited ‘travelling DNA’ from my sailor father which has led to a life of work and travel around the globe. In addition to being an audiologist and teacher, I am also the author (and sometimes illustrator) of 15 children’s picture books. Many of my books have been inspired by the special children I have had the privilege to work with as both an audiologist and teacher. My books are on a variety of topics including childhood hearing loss, dysgraphia and writing challenges, bullying and forgiveness, learning English as an additional language, and positive self-image. Some of my books are written to evoke giggles and belly laughs. 

Dawn's book list on inspire children to be happy with who they are

Dawn Doig Why did Dawn love this book?

Beautiful story. I loved the ‘real’ letters from children around the world to little Julia. Children with any kind of ‘different ability’ need these kinds of stories to inspire and encourage them. A positive self-image goes a long way toward loving oneself. Children who are self-conscious because of how they look or because of a visible physical disability/challenge need to be reassured that there are things they can do and challenges they can overcome.  

By Argyro Graphy, Michael Reyes (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inspiring Children to Never Give Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We are pleased to announce that the NEW upgraded version of our 5-book series is now available. 

On this adventure Bentley and his friends meet children that have special needs. Listening to them talk about their own struggles, Bentley and the others reveal that they too have challenges. The children are all surprised. Looking out through a hospital room window is Julia, a sad little girl having treatment and wishing she could be outside with her friends. Bentley spots her and comes up with a plan to cheer her up

A heart-warming story of resilience, friendship, strength, and love


Book cover of The Sidekicks Initiative

Taylor Ellwood Author Of Learning How to Fly

From my list on how to save the day from the villain.

Who am I?

I really enjoy superhero fiction, especially superhero fiction that challenges the usual norms of the superhero genre. I’ve always liked reading comics and moving onto superhero novels has only deepened my love of the genre. The list I’ve created is just the tip of the iceberg for superhero fiction and I highly recommend you check out these books for interesting takes on superheroes and villains. 

Taylor's book list on how to save the day from the villain

Taylor Ellwood Why did Taylor love this book?

In The Sidekick Initiative a former sidekick, now middle-aged insurance worker is reluctantly pulled back into the superhero game after the world’s superheroes disappear.

The problem is he not only has a team of washed-up former sidekicks to lead, he’s also got the world’s most powerful supervillains gunning for him and his family.

This was a hilarious story that kept me on the seat of my pants.

By Barry J. Hutchison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sidekicks Initiative as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Once, they stood next to justice. Now they're standing up for it... When sworn protectors of Earth, the Justice Platoon, are all horribly killed, their former arch-enemies come crawling out of the woodwork. Outnumbered, outgunned, and out of options, the US Government has no choice but to activate the Sidekicks Initiative, dragging the Platoon's middle-aged ex-sidekicks out of retirement. Now these three reluctant, out of shape former child-wonders must work together to stop the rising tide of supervillainy, avenge their former mentors' deaths, and bring the world back from the brink of destruction. Assuming they don't kill each other first.…

Book cover of George and Martha

Sandra Nickel Author Of Big Bear and Little Fish

From my list on friends that bring on all the best feelings.

Who am I?

I hold a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. In addition to the usual two-year program, I studied an extra semester, where I read all the best children’s books about friendship. I wanted to learn how the great authors such as A. A. Milne, James Marshall, and Arnold Lobel wrote stories full of so much heart and humor. My love of friendship stories burgeoned from there. And now, it’s with great delight that I offer you my Best Children’s Books About Friendship—and, of course, my very own friendship story, Big Bear and Little Fish.  

Sandra's book list on friends that bring on all the best feelings

Sandra Nickel Why did Sandra love this book?

George and Martha, two very large hippos, are so unique they are a delight to read about. Martha loves making split pea soup, pots and pots of split pea soup. She loves looking at herself in the mirror and even wakes up during the night to look at herself. George likes to peek in windows. You can imagine these traits aren’t the most friend-winning qualities around. But George and Martha talk things out. They set each other straight. And best of all, they are always there for each other. I feel all warm and glowy every time I read about them, and I bet your young readers will too.

By James Marshall,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked George and Martha as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this picture book classic that belongs on every reader's shelf, two lovable hippos impart funny lessons on the true meaning of friendship.

Like all best friends, George and Martha do everything together. George and Martha teach each other (and adoring readers) that even in a close friendship, privacy is important, practical jokes can sometimes backfire, and among other things, pouring split pea soup into your loafers to spare the chef’s feelings is not the best-laid plan.

A man with a talent for friendship, James Marshall defined its very essence in his stories about the world’s two best friends. Each…