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10 Books About Los Angeles All Kids Should Read

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Another great way to explore our diverse city is by reading about it. Whether you have family coming to visit from out-of-town or you’d like to introduce your children to new sites they haven’t yet seen, these ten books (for a variety of ages and reading levels) are informative and fun (for kids and adults!).

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10 Books That Every LA Kid Should Read

Endeavour’s Long Journey by John D. Olivas

This award-winning book is written by a former NASA astronaut. The story is told through the eyes of a young boy, Jojo, who learns about space while learning about Endeavour’s famous missions (including working on the Hubble Space Telescope). Complete with illustrations, photos, fun facts, and quizzes, this is a wonderful book to get kids excited about science, space, technology, and engineering. It’s a great book to read either before or after a visit to the California Science Center to see the Endeavour up close.

Good Night Los Angeles by Adam Gamble

This popular board book is a part of the Good Night Our World series (including Good Night California, Good Night San Diego, and Good Night San Francisco). The story features such popular sites as the Santa Monica Pier, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and more. It’s a great way to introduce young children to their city and to begin conversations about where to go on the next family outing. (The books also make sweet souvenirs for visiting cousins who are visiting Los Angeles for the first time!)

Going to the Getty by Vivian Walsh

This book is a perfect souvenir after a trip to the Getty Center or a wonderful book to read leading up to a child’s first visit to the Getty Center. The pages are full — of facts; illustrations of the Museum, the gardens, and the conservation laboratories; and more. Children learn a little bit about J. Paul Getty, how the tram works, the marble used to construct the Getty, and the art collection. This book is equally popular with young readers as well as adult visitors to the Getty Center.

Larry Gets Lost in Los Angeles by John Skewes

As part of the Larry Gets Lost series (including Larry Gets Lost in San Francisco and Larry Gets Lost in Texas), Larry is in Los Angeles where he gets lost but finds lots to explore. Larry visits famous sites such as Disneyland, Venice Beach, Beverly hills, the Staples Center, and more. Sidebars throughout the story provide the reader with some fun facts about the famous places Larry visits.

Thomas the T. Rex by Michael Smith

Visitors to the Natural History Museum should be familiar with Thomas, the T. Rex skeleton in the Museum’s Dinosaur Hall. In this book, a young boy, Thomas, and his cousin venture to Montana as members of the Natural History Museum’s Junior Scientist Club. There they learn about how dinosaurs used to live, how fossils are excavated, and how fossils are prepared for public exhibition.

Paris Goes to Los Angeles by Jenna Conwisar

See Los Angeles through the eyes of a child. This book was written by a high-school student and tells the story of Paris and her twin sisters driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles for a family celebration. The girls explore many sites on the way including the Hearst Castle (along the Central Coast), the Santa Monica Pier, the Hollywood Walk of fame, and more.

G is for Golden: A California Alphabet by David Domeniconi

While you might be tempted to think this is merely an alphabet book for young readers, G is for Golden offers an important look at California’s rich history. Readers will learn about important figures in California history (Cesar Chavez, for example), important sites (The Watts Towers), and important historical information (the El Camino Real). While younger readers may just enjoy the rhyming text, older siblings will find valuable information in the expository portion that accompanies each letter.

City of Angels: In and Around Los Angeles by Julie Jaskol and Brian Lewis

This brightly illustrated book takes readers on a journey through the many neighborhoods, events, and activities that make up Los Angeles. The book includes an introductory essay with historical information about the founding of Los Angeles as well as a diverse cast of characters (just like Los Angeles residents) in each neighborhood. Readers will learn about Chinatown, Leimert Park Village, the Korean Bell of Friendship, Mariachi Plaza, and more.

Santa is Coming to Los Angeles by Steve Smallman

There’s no rule that says Christmas books can only be read in December. If your family celebrates Christmas, and you’re looking for a new tale to read in addition to the old standby favorites, then you’ll definitely want to add Santa Is Coming to Los Angeles to your family library. Santa’s busy on Christmas Eve, flying over such famous sites as the Hollywood Bowl, the California Science Center, the Capitol Records Building, the Santa Monica Pier, and more.

Night-Night Los Angeles by Katherine Sully

This sweet, rhyming bedtime board book won’t be available until October, but be sure to purchase it when you can. As your kids get ready for night-night, so does our city. Locations include the Los Angeles Zoo, the Disney Concert Hall, Catalina Island, Sleeping Beauty Castle, and more. (This title is part of the Night-Night series including Night-Night New York, Night-Night Louisiana, and Night-Night Mississippi).

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Wendy Kennar (416 Posts)

Wendy is a freelance writer who finds inspiration in her nine-year-old son and from her experiences from her twelve-year teaching career. Her writing has appeared in several publications and anthologies, both in print and online. She prefers sunflowers to roses and thinks chocolate is okay at any meal. You can find her at wendykennar.com.


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