Another great way to explore our diverse city is by reading about it. These books are a great way to introduce your children to new sites they haven’t yet seen and learn some new facts about some family-favorite locations all around Los Angeles.
Here is our list of 15 Charming, Factual, and Fun Books About Los Angeles. And you can buy these books in our Amazon shop!
15 Great Books About Los Angeles
Angels Ride Bikes and Other Fall Poems/Los Ángeles Andan en Bicicleta by Francisco X. Alarcon
This bilingual poetry book gives readers the chance to experience fall in “los Angeles – the City of Angels – where dreams come true.” Explore everyday life in Los Angeles – a visit to an outdoor market, the first day of school – through the words and vivid illustrations in this charming book.
C is for California: A Golden State ABC Primer by Trish Madson
Families can take an alphabetical tour of our state while reading this charming book. “B is for Balboa Park,” “D is for Death Valley,” and “H is for Hearst Castle.” Kids will learn about the plants, foods, animals, and places that make California the special state it is.
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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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!)
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.
Los Angeles Is… by Elisa Parhad
No one thing defines Los Angeles. “Los Angeles is taco trucks. Tar Pits. Palm Trees. Days at the Beach.” This cute board book serves a great introduction to the City of Angels.
Los Angeles 1 to 10 by Sara Beth Greene
This charming counting book uses the city’s diversity to explore different number concepts. Young readers will count along as they are exposed to the Griffith Observatory, Mariachi Musicians, the Watts Towers, and more.
Night-Night Los Angeles by Katherine Sully
This sweet, rhyming board book is a perfect book to read at bedtime. 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).
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.
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, Randy’s Donuts, and more.
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.
Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles
Wild LA is described as being “equal parts natural history, field guide, and trip planner.” Created by the Natural History Museum, this book profiles over 100 local species and includes descriptions of fun day trips families can take to get a closer look at this less-well-known “Wild Los Angeles.”
Wendy Kennar is a mother, writer, and former teacher who has lived her entire life in the same Los Angeles zip code. You can read more from Wendy at her website WendyKennar.com where she writes about books, boys, and bodies (living with an invisible disability).