Around this time last year, I talked about how the month of May is Teen Driver & Global Youth Safety Month. Back then, as detailed in this post, Grasshopper and Sensei had just turned 16-years-old and was finally at the age where it was time to learn to drive.
Teaching a child to become an adult and do adult things is difficult for everyone. Once they learn to drive, they have to learn about auto insurance quotes, getting a good loan, choosing the right vehicle before they go to college. There are (literally) so many moving parts.
But if your children aren’t quite there yet, you’ve still got plenty of time before you have to move on to the hard lessons. For now, you can turn to reading for some leisurely, fun lessons. The following children’s book picks are all about vehicles, and they help give your little ones some understanding long before they ever have to get behind the wheel.
This phenomenally illustrated book details plenty about what goes into building a vehicle from the ground up. The premise of the story is simple: Learn about car mechanics and teamwork as three unlikely friends (a mouse, a sparrow, and a frog) work to build a miniature racer. Along the way, you learn about different parts, their purposes and functions, and how car elements work together to make the vehicle go. The book uses detailed illustrations to describe the inner workings of the automobile, and has underlying themes of hard work and perseverance.
The title here says it all. The lovingly adorable–but effortlessly hopeless–Amelia Bedelia goes on a road trip (mis)adventure to visit her cousin. In this book, tag along with Amelia as she attempts to learn about some of the more common real-world vernacular for cars. They’ll learn about automotive expressions, like “push the horn,” “give a tow,” and much more. As with the rest of the series, this book is filled with humor and I dare you not to laugh!
As the title suggests, everything goes in this story. Take your kid along a journey with Henry and his dad as they visit the big city and learn about all the versatile vehicles around them. The book is filled with mini-adventures and story lines, hundreds of funny details, and several seek-and-find activities. The colors are bright, the illustrations are fun, and you can look at this book for years to come. On some pages, it labels types of vehicles, and on others, there are cross sections that highlight areas of bigger land-based automobiles, like motor homes.
This book is great for the younger kids, with simple text and stylish illustrations. The text is repetitive enough for children to catch on without feeling like they’re overwhelmed by the same mantra over and over. It follows the main character as they drive the car until suddenly–sputter, sputter, sput–the car stops driving and comes to a halt, and it’s time to figure out what went wrong (turns out, the car’s run out of gas!). The author also has a lot of fun making simple shapes transform into fun objects, like vehicles, buildings, and other characters.
This book is a great educational tool for teaching children about cars, as well as letters. Even adults can learn some automotive terms while teaching their kids the ABCs. Follow each of these vehicles as they race through the alphabet with car terminology and lingo. Terms like “air wrench,” “banking,” and “crew” start you off as the engine revs up and you race to the finish line.
For kids who love cars, it has a great NASCAR twist and a fluid rhyming scheme that children will enjoy.
This is another ABC book, and they never run out of style. The book begins with “Ambulance” and ends with “Zippercar.” Of course, with Richard Scary, it’s all about the inventive narrative, so most of it is make-pretend, but it still helps children become familiar with the world of driving–even if it’s in a fantastical setting with corn cars, crayon cars, and egg trucks. One read and you’ll see why this book from a timeless author has received over 1,000 5-star reviews.
You can’t go wrong with a classic Berenstain Bears story. This is an automobile theme of the the tortoise and the hare story, which demonstrates the importance of patience and persistence. In the book, sleek roadsters race an old-fashioned vehicle and are way too prideful in the process. The lesson is clear: when it comes to driving, racing and teasing never gets you anywhere. It features plenty of “right versus wrong” themes and politely introduces the concept of cheating and its consequences. Overall, it’s a quick read that’s sure to resonate with your little ones.