kid washing hands from germs

23 Kids Picture Books About Germs and Hygiene

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You know how our little ones are always so curious, touching everything (and I mean, everything) and then—surprise, surprise—those little fingers find their way straight into their mouths? Yikes! I get it, it’s the universal “preschooler thing.” But with all the bugs and germs out there, teaching them about the tiny invisible ‘baddies’ and the magic of handwashing can be a game-changer.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “How on earth do I make germs and immune systems and hygiene sound fun and not like a boring science lecture?” Well, fret not, my friend! The best way is with a great book!

I’ve scoured libraries, bookstores, and even peeked into some classrooms to find the BEST picture books that make learning about germs and healthy habits as entertaining as those bedtime stories about dragons and unicorns.

These picture books about germs and hygiene break down germs along with hand washing, teeth brushing and a few ‘gross’ bodily functions to help kids understand why good hygiene is important.

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Books About Germs for Preschoolers and Kids

Germs Are Not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick

This is a straightforward and engaging picture book perfect for teaching toddlers and preschoolers the importance of good hygiene. Through lively illustrations and simple, relatable text, Verdick covers the basics: from the ins and outs of sneezing and coughing etiquette to the significance of clean hands.

The book gently educates young readers on how to minimize the spread of germs in a child-friendly manner, emphasizing that while toys and snacks can be shared, germs should not be. It's a must-read for introducing children to the concept of personal hygiene in a fun and approachable way.

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What are Germs? by Katie Daynes

This one is a personal favorite -- a wonderfully informative and interactive lift-the-flap book tailored for young curious minds. Venturing into the microscopic world, Daynes gives a fantastic introduction into the realm of germs, viruses, and bacteria. With fun illustrations and simple, clear explanations, the book provides a closer look at germs, differentiating the good from the bad and explaining how they affect our bodies.

By lifting the flaps, youngsters engage directly with the content, discovering answers to common questions and debunking myths about these tiny organisms. This interactive book is an excellent resource for parents and educators seeking to provide a foundational understanding of germs in an entertaining and hands-on way. From Usborne Books.

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Sick Simon by Dan Krall

For kids who love gross things, this is the book to read! Go on a super fun and slightly gross adventure that shows what happens when Simon goes to school with a cold! Simon thinks being sick with a runny nose is kind of cool until he learns about harmful germs and how they spread.

With funny drawings and a wild story, this book will make kids laugh, go "eww", and think twice about sneezing without a tissue! Dive into Simon's world and see how he turns from being the sickest snotty nose kid in class to the biggest germ-fighter!

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Cutie Sue Fights the Germs: An Adorable Children's Book About Health and Personal Hygiene by Kate Melton

Embark on another thrilling journey with the ever-curious Cutie Sue in 'Cutie Sue Fights the Germs' by Kate Melton. When Cutie Sue and her younger brother Charlie unexpectedly fall ill with tummy aches, their adventures take a twist. Through rhythmic verses and vibrant illustrations, young readers aged 2-7 are guided through their doctor's visit, demystifying the often-feared experience. With catchy lines like “We’ll sneeze into tissues and throw them away, And clean all our toys with some good cleaning spray”, children are not only entertained but also educated on the essentials of personal hygiene and health.

Melton masterfully addresses common childhood fears associated with hospitals and dentists, proving that these visits can indeed be fun. Perfect as a bedtime story for toddlers and preschoolers, this picture book serves as an excellent read-aloud option for kindergarten and first-grade students. Plus, for those multilingual families, there's a Spanish version too!

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The Bacteria Book: The Big World of Really Tiny Microbes by Steve Mould

Dive deep into microbial life and give young readers a visually stunning and enlightening journey into the world of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and more. Kids will love the colorful graphics, quirky facts, and engaging layouts that make difficult concepts accessible and fun. From the good bacteria that call our bodies home to the more nefarious ones causing diseases, this fact-filled science book covers it all, while also touching on the role of microbes in our ecosystem and their impact on the planet.

A perfect blend of humor and science, this book is a great choice to ensure that kids come away with both awe for the unseen life around them and a better understanding of the essential role microbes play in our lives.

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Germs Make Me Sick! by Melvin Berger

Straightforward yet informative this science based book offers young readers a peek into the world of germs and the role they play in illnesses. With a blend of clear, accessible text and vivid illustrations, Berger demystifies the concepts of bacteria and viruses, explaining how they operate and why they can sometimes make us feel under the weather. The book skillfully balances scientific details with child-friendly language, ensuring that complex ideas are both comprehensible and engaging.

By delving into the nature of illnesses and the body's defenses, "Germs Make Me Sick!" arms children with knowledge, fostering a better understanding of their own health and the invisible world around them. An essential read for those keen to unravel the mysteries of microbes in a fun and educational manner.

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Sherm the Germ by Dr. John Hutton

"Sherm the Germ" by Dr. John Hutton is a playful tale that introduces children to the world of germs through the misadventures of Sherm, a cheeky germ. As Sherm makes a baby sick, the book offers a colorful glimpse into getting ill and recovering, blending humor with essential insights about the body and health.

An engaging germ education book for toddlers and preschoolers to learn about germs in a fun way.

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Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak

Don't miss this funny and exciting book that lets kids explore the tiny world of germs! With cool pictures and easy-to-follow words, little readers get to see what invisible germs look like up close and learn where they can be found (like in your sock or up Santa's nose). It's a super fun journey to discover the little things we can't see but are all around us! 

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A Germ's Journey by Thom Rooke M.D.

Here's a fun book that takes kids on a trip with a tiny germ. Through colorful pictures and a simple story, readers learn where germs hide, how they move, and why washing their dirty hands is so important. It's a cool way for young children to learn about staying healthy and germ-free!

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Curious George Discovers Germs by H. A. Rey

Here is a book where our favorite curious monkey, George, learns all about germs. After getting a cold, George finds out where germs come from, how they can make us sick, and how to stay healthy. With fun pictures and easy words, kids can join George on his adventure to learn about these tiny, sneaky things called germs!

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Books About Washing

Wash, Wash, Wash! by Pamela Chanko

"Wash, Wash, Wash!" by Pamela Chanko is a delightful toddler board book that seamlessly blends rhythm and rhyme to inspire the youngest of readers to adopt the healthy habit of hand washing. With vibrant photographs and captivating illustrations, children are not only introduced to the joy of reading but also the importance of cleanliness to stop the spread of germs.

What sets this book apart are the insightful story-related tips, ensuring that every reading experience extends beyond the pages, reinforcing key lessons and fostering an early love for well-being and literature alike.

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Germs vs. Soap: A Silly Hygiene Book about Washing Hands! by Didi Dragon

"Germs vs. Soap" by Didi Dragon is a wacky showdown between sneaky germs and superhero soap! In this fun-filled book, germs are up to their usual tricks, trying to spread and make everyone sick. But here comes soap, ready to save the day! With goofy pictures and an exciting story, kids will laugh while learning how important it is to wash their hands.

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How Do You Take a Bath? by Kate McMullan

If your child loves The 5 Little Monkeys song, you'll love this playful picture book that dives into the diverse bathing habits of various animals. Through engaging illustrations and whimsical text, this book explores the sometimes silly, sometimes practical ways animals keep themselves clean. From splashing elephants to dust-bathing birds, children are treated to an entertaining journey through the animal kingdom's bath time routines. McMullan’s delightful narrative not only captivates younger children but also subtly emphasizes the importance of cleanliness, making it a perfect read for both fun and learning.

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I Don't Want to Wash My Hands! by Tony Ross

This is a hilarious story about a young princess who just doesn't see the importance of handwashing. Why should she, after playing with dogs, digging in the mud, or using the potty? But when she learns about the sneaky germs waiting to spread, she thinks twice!

With colorful drawings and funny moments, this book shows the epic battle between a stubborn princess and the tiny world of germs.

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Big Smelly Bear by Britta Teckentrup

This bear hates baths, so he's got quite the smell. But when he wants to make a new friend, he realizes he might need a good scrub after all. With fun illustrations and a silly story, this book shows the adventures (and misadventures) of a bear learning the importance of staying clean. 

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Kids’ Books About Dental Health

Brush Your Teeth, Please: A Pop-up Book by Jean Pidgeon

Brushing is a struggle for some kids, but fun picture books can help with that! Like this fun-filled adventure where animals show us how they keep their teeth sparkling clean! Ever wondered how a shark, lion, or monkey brushes their teeth? With cool pop-up pictures and silly scenes, this book makes brushing teeth an exciting activity.

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Doctor De Soto by William Steig

Dr. De Soto is a clever and heartwarming tale about a tiny mouse dentist with a huge heart. He and his wife treat animals of all sizes, from moles to mice. But when a fox with a toothache comes in, things get interesting! The fox has some sneaky plans, but Doctor De Soto is one smart mouse. This award-winning book is one your family is sure to love!

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The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Brother and Sister Bear have dentist appointments, and just like many of us, they're a little nervous. But as they sit in the dentist's chair and see that there's nothing to fear, the cubs learn all about clean teeth, cavities, and even the excitement of a loose tooth! Filled with charming illustrations and the Berenstains' signature humor, this story is a perfect way to ease any jitters about dental visits. 

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Brush, Brush, Brush! by Alicia Padron

Through catchy rhymes and adorable illustrations, kids get a front-row seat to the fun and importance of keeping their teeth shiny and clean. With each turn of the page, little readers are invited to join in the brushing fun, making the everyday act of dental hygiene an exciting event. Whether it's morning or night, this delightful board book will have kids eager to grab their toothbrushes and join in the chorus: Brush, brush, brush! 

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Books About ‘Gross’ Bodily Functions

Noses Are Not for Picking by Elizabeth Verdick

This book is a kid-friendly guide that tackles a very common habit among little ones: nose picking! Using fun rhymes, gentle humor, and relatable illustrations, this book teaches children about the do's and don'ts of nose etiquette. Kids will learn why their fingers shouldn't venture up those nostrils and better, more sanitary ways to deal with those pesky nose itches.

Beyond just the "why not," Verdick offers handy tips and alternative solutions. Perfect for parents and educators, this book is a delightful tool for teaching young readers about personal hygiene in a lighthearted and memorable way.

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What is Poop? by Katie Daynes

"What is Poop?" is a fun and, yes, a bit gross journey into the world of poop! Ever wondered why we poop or what it's made of? This book dives into the science behind our daily doo-doo in a way that's sure to make kids giggle and go "eww" at the same time. With colorful pictures and cool facts, readers will discover the mysteries behind something we all do but rarely talk about.

Part of Usborne Book's Very First Questions and Answers series for preschool children.

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The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts by Shinta Cho

Kids think that farting and burping is loads of fun, but why do we do it? This book is packed with funny drawings and facts about our body's way of letting out gas. Shinta Cho keeps things light and fun while teaching us about a natural part of life that everyone experiences but few chat about.

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Sometimes You Barf by Nancy Carlson

Throwing up is the worst but what if it happens at school? Follow a young girl as she gets sick, misses a school day, and learns that everyone feels icky sometimes. Nancy Carlson shows us that it's okay to be sick and that there's always a brighter day after. This book is perfect for anyone who's ever had a tummy ache and needs a little cheer-up. After all, everyone barfs, and it's totally okay! 

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As a mom of 4 kids (and the oldest of 4 kids herself), Amanda has over 30 years of parenting experience. A former special education teacher, Amanda has a Master’s degree in Special Education and a second M. Ed. in Educational Leadership.

When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, and long walks through Target.

You can find Amanda on all social media at @parentingnestblog and @amandaseghetti

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