Childhood comes with various mandatory hospital checkups and visits to the doctor’s office. Shape those experiences through books that deepen their understanding of the medical profession. Who knows—one day, your child might enroll in training for nursing due to a children’s book that inspired them to do so.
Of course, there are other advantages to introducing hospital-themed books to your kids. Often, children can pick up on our own unspoken anxieties about going for hospital checkups. Books provide that counterbalance on doctors and medicine that might be lacking in how parents portray the hospital.
Here is a roundup of books with a hospital or doctor theme for children ages 0 to 12.
Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey (Baby to age 2)
The most lovable little monkey needs to go to the hospital. In this much-adored story, Curious George needs an operation and so his visit to the hospital commences. While there, he explores the hospital and gets into mischief, and he experiences and finds that hospital life is not too bad. This book artfully addresses the fears that children face at the hospital.
But even if your child does not have a hospital stay lined up in their future, this story is simply a fun book that will delight any toddler. The Curious George stories were written and illustrated by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey.
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (Ages 3 to 5)
A Caldecott Honor book, Madeline likely graced your bookshelf as a child. Worried it might be too old-fashioned for your iPad-toting children? Don’t fret too much. The story is narrated as a poem, in which the book’s namesake is a typical hair-raising child. But perhaps not so typically, the character of this story is raised in an orphanage and lives in a big room with many other girls. The hospital part comes when Madeline needs to have her appendix removed. This story can be a springboard for many discussions. Little girls might be more inclined to this story. Originally published in 1939, it continues to delight readers to this day.
Let’s Meet a Doctor by Bridget Heos and Mike Moran (Ages 6 to 8)
In this book that is part of the Cloverleaf Books – Community Helpers series, children are introduced to Dr. Zambil. He explains how he helps children who feel sick get better. As well as how he helps his community prevent illness and stay healthy. Breaking down what doctors and nurses do on a daily basis can help ease children’s anxiety. It also goes far in helping them respect the diligence and hard work those in this profession offer. Written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Mike Moran.
Itsy Bitsy Spider by Dosh Archer (Ages 6 to 8)
A book for beginning readers that takes place in the fantastic hospital world that Dosh Archer has created for his Urgency Emergency! series. Even though the stories feature animals as lead characters, each story in this series can be used as a conversation starter.
The text is easy enough for first or second graders to read. Advanced readers in grade K could likely manage this lighthearted book. The story is quick to develop, so as not to lose the interest of readers who might tire quickly. Written and illustrated by Dosh Archer.
Drummer Boy’s Battle: Florence Nightingale by Dave Jackson and Julian Jackson (Ages 9 to 12)
A children’s chapter book that goes back in time to 1854, where we meet 12-year-old Robbie Robinson who joins the army to support his family.
As a member of the Light Horse Brigade in the Crimean War, Robbie is injured on the frontlines. The youth is brought to a hospital in Turkey where he meets nurse Florence Nightingale. Robbie becomes Nurse Nightingale’s helper, delivering messages and helping with errands. Nurse Nightingale wants to improve conditions at the hospital, but many of the doctors are against her. Can Robbie help Florence succeed? A great springboard for discussing with young readers advancements in medicine since the story took place. As well as conventions and practices in medicine that are no longer around.
Looking for more books for your avid reader? If your child loves books with a historical setting, check out this list of top 10 historical fiction chapter books. And for a book list that addresses cancer themes for children, this list might help you out.
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