40 Picture Books for Teaching Children to Ask Questions

Books for Teaching Children to Ask Questions

Children love asking questions! As teachers, we can support our students to take control of their learning with these wonderful picture books that promote asking questions.

Picture Books for Teaching Children to Ask Questions

Teaching Children to Ask Questions

Teaching our students to ask questions empowers them to take control of their learning and not be embarrassed about questioning something they know or understand. Teach them how to find the answers to their questions and develop deeper and more thoughtful questioning skills over time.

Listed below are wonderful picture books that inspire and demand the asking of questions. Use them to model asking questions and help your students see that questioning enhances their comprehension and enjoyment of reading.

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Picture Books for Teaching Children to Ask Questions

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

Ada Twist’s scientific curiosity leads her to question, hypothesise, experiment and figure out how the world works.

Promotes themes of curiosity, inquiry, knowledge and creative thinking.

The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater

A curious fox, Marco, wants to find the answer to an important question, “What’s the best way to find a friend you can talk to?” When he steps aboard a magnificent ship adorned with antlers he is filled with answers.

Read to discuss questioningcuriosityovercoming fears, and making friends.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

This wordless picture book tells the story of an immigrant who moves with his family to a strange and bewildering city. He is helped along the way by kind and empathetic strangers.

Ask Me by Bernard Waber

An inquisitive girl and her father walk through their local neighbourhood. She is full of questions for her father as they explore their world.

A poetic picture book to explore asking questions and curiosity.

Avocado Asks: What Am I? by Momoko Abe

Avocado is feeling fine until a customer asks if it is a fruit or vegetable. Avocado has no idea how to respond and the question just won’t go away.

Reinforces asking questions, a sense of identity and being positive in your own skin.

A Beach Tail by Karen P. Williams

Gregory draws a lion in the sand on a visit to the beach with his dad. As the tail grows longer Gregory finds many interesting objects. When he gets lost he retraces his steps, passing all the objects he found on the beach and is reunited with his dad.

Read to discuss fathers and sons, sequencing, curiosity, and questioning.

The Boring Book by Shinsuke Yoshitake

A young boy is bored and can’t think of what he wants to do. His mother can’t (or won’t help) so the boy begins to wonder why he is bored in the first place.

Translated from Japanese this book promotes asking questions and self-reflection.

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco

Three children earn money to buy an Easter hat for their grandma, Miss Eula, by doing odd jobs in Mr Kodinski shop. He blames the children when his shop is vandalised. The children have to prove their innocence while still collecting money for the hat. Promotes selflessness, forgiveness and kindness.

Cloud Forest by Victoria Turnbull

A young boy’s magical times with his grandfather helps him cope with his death. He understands, through his Umpa’s stories, his grandfather will never leave him.

Focuses on coping with death, storytelling and asking questions.

A Day's Work by Eve Bunting

Francisco helps his grandfather find work by lying that he is a gardener. They are hired by Ben to work on his garden but they pull out all the plants instead of the weeds. Abuelo returns the next day to complete the job correctly before he takes his wages.

Promotes responsible decision-making, honesty, integrity and trust.

The Empty Pot by Demi

An Emperor challenges the children in his kingdom to grow a seed. Ping loves flowers and tends lovingly to his seed. But when Spring arrives he only has an empty pot to show the Emperor.

This Chinese folktale promotes integrity and honesty.

Frank the Seven-Legged Spider by Michaele Razi

A young girl asks lots of big questions to everyone she meets, but when her classmates ask her to stop, she stays silent. When there is a crisis in her community, she understands how important her questions are to solving problems and making a difference. 

Read to discuss curiosity, questioning, research, persistence, inquiry and problem-solving.

Going Places by Peter H Reynolds

The Going Places contest involves building a go-kart and racing it, but Maya has a different idea. Her curiosity and open-mind help her find a unique way to cross the finish line.

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Bear asks the animals if they have seen his lost, red, pointy hat, but they all deny having seen the hat. He feels dejected and worries he will never see his hat again. When a deer helps him remember the bear goes to confront the animal responsible.

Promotes responsible-decision making, manners, cause and effect, honesty and integrity.

If You Were Night by Muon Thi Van

Descriptive questions invite the reader to think about what they would do if they were the night. Explore the natural world with a young boy who embraces a nighttime adventure. Reinforces vocabulary, asking questions and visualising.

If... by Sarah Perry

The book uses nature and limited text to encourage creative thinking with the ‘what if…’ scenarios. Promotes discussion and questioning about the curious and imaginative illustrations.

Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford

Uma feels overwhelmed by the idea of infinity. The opinions of others don’t stop her from being freaked out until she realises her love for her grandmother is as big as infinity. Use to discuss infinity, perspectives, philosophy and asking questions.

Just Because by Mac Barnett

At bedtime, a curious child asks her dad random questions. Rather than answering ‘just because’ he gives the most fantastical replies. Her last question is, “Why do we have to sleep?” He tells her, “Because there are some things we can only see with our eyes closed.”

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

A grumpy CJ and his nana ride a city bus full of wonderful characters. He wonders aloud why he doesn’t have the things his friends do and why they have to volunteer at the soup kitchen every week. His nana’s straightforward and positive responses help CJ see and appreciate what he has and what he can give.

Read to promote discussions on community, poverty, volunteering, kindness, and optimism.

The Librarian Who Measured The Earth by Kathryn Lasky

This biography tells of the Greek philosopher, scientist and librarian Eratosthenes, the first person to accurately measure the globe’s circumference.

The Liszts by Kyo Maclear

A family are obsessed with making lists, from the ordinary to the unusual, except on Sundays which are listless. When an unannounced visitor arrives, the family continue writing their lists except for the youngest who takes a risk and embraces the unexpected.

The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland

A girl takes a lotus seed from the Chinese Imperial garden to America. She plants the seed in the garden of her new home. Years later, she removes the seeds, handing one to each of her grandchildren, starting a new tradition. Highlights immigration, being reflective and the importance of family.

The Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell

According to Neptune, Minnow isn’t ‘remarkable’ like her 49 sisters. She is a curious mermaid with a thirst for knowledge. She wants to know what is beyond her father’s kingdom. When she comes across a red shoe, she finds the opportunity to answer all her questions.

Use to promote curiosity, questioning, knowledge and exploration.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

A girl and her canine assistant adjust, examine, tweak, fasten, fix, straighten and study to create the most magnificent thing. But not everything works out the way she imagines.

Promotes creative thinking, self-management, perseverance and a growth mindset.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

Take in the detail of fourteen black and white drawing by the elusive artist, Harris Burdick. He only provides the title and a caption to each illustration, so it is up to the reader to create the story from what they see. Check out the website for more details.

Use this wordless book to teach creative writing, perspectives, inferring and asking questions.

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson addresses race relations with two young girls, one black and one white. A fence segregates their homes, but they slowly get to know each other by sitting on this barrier. 

Promotes tolerance, communication, friendship and open-mindedness.

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi

In the snow, Kikko carries a pie to her grandma’s house. In the distance, she sees a figure approaching a strange house. Inside, Kikko finds a tea party of woodland animals who welcome and share their food with her.

Reinforces themes of kindness, curiosity, and questioning.

The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth

Nikolai wants to be the best he can be but feels uncertain about the right way to act. A series of events help him show compassion, courage, kindness, and a growth mindset.

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

A small fish wearing a hat admits “this is not my hat”. He stole it from a big fish. A fish who is soon on the hunt for his hat and the dishonest fish. The fish, sure it will get away with the crime, is unaware that the big fish is searching for his hat. The last we hear of the little fish is him swimming into the reeds with the big fish following behind. Promotes honesty, integrity, conflict and responsible decision-making.

Tuesday by David Wiesner

It’s Tuesday and everything is normal. Suddenly, frogs levitate on their lily pads and travel towards a nearby town. They fly around the neighbourhood to the surprise of its residents who wake up wondering what happened. Use this wordless book to teach inference, questioning, and prediction.

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole

A girl is frightened when she discovers a slave hiding in a barn. Her compassion takes over when she saw the fear in their eyes and she cares for them even when slave hunters come looking for the escaped slave. She is rewarded with a doll as a token of gratitude.

This wordless story promotes themes of black history, courage, inference and asking questions.

Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne

Four different characters retell the events of a visit to a local park from their own perspectives. Check out the illustrations carefully as they are full of meaning.

Promotes different perspectives, relationship skills, and asking questioning.

The Water Princess by Georgie Badiel and Susan Verde

Gie Gie accompanies her mother to collect water with empty pots on their head. She questions why she cannot bring water closer to her Burkina Faso village or make it cleaner. Highlights poverty, inequality, adaptability and perseverance.

Weslandia by Paul Fleischman

A young boy called Wes creates his own sustainable civilisation called Weslandia. Reinforces themes of inquiry, identity and environmental responsibility.

What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada

Discover how one great idea can grow and spread around the world. Inspire children to have confidence in their ideas as you never know what can happen!

Reinforces themes of brainstorming, confidence, growth mindset, inspiration, self-esteem and creativity.

What If…? by Anthony Browne

Joe is nervous about attending a birthday party and he imagines all sorts of “what ifs” scenarios. As he arrives he realises he had nothing to worry about. This book reinforces the themes of overcoming our fears, confidence and being a risk-taker.

When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson

A young girl asks her grandmother why she has long braided hair, wears colourful clothes and speaks another language. She learns about her grandmother’s time, along with many other First Nation children, in a Canadian residential school. They were stripped of their Cree culture, which is why she proudly expresses the traditions and language every day.

Use to teach resilience, perseverance, identity and asking questions.

Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth

Stillwater the panda retells three short Zen stories to three siblings. Promotes forgiveness, kindness, relationship skills and a growth mindset.

Zoom by Banyai Istvan

Nothing is quite what it seems in this wordless picture book. The reader zooms into pictures within pictures until they get closer and closer to the action.

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What Next?

Do you have any other suggestions for picture books that encourage children to ask questions? Please leave a comment below!

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