Children love to learn about airplanes, trains, cars, trucks and other means of transportation. Despite gender stereotypes, my daughters are no exception to the rule. They love to read books about all kinds of traditionally “boyish” topics!

A fun book we recently read in this genre is Planes Fly! by George Ella Lyon. Ever since our family trip to visit my husband’s family in southern California last March, our daughters are intrigued by airplanes. Given that we live in a large city with major air traffic, we see and hear planes fly overhead regularly throughout the day and night.

Planes Fly! has rhyming text that describes various types of aircraft and the jobs that people have related to air travel. My two-year old particularly liked connecting this book to her own experience on an airplane.

For any parents or family members planning to travel by air sometime this year, Planes Fly! would be a great precursor to the trip. It also makes an excellent addition to a transportation unit or learning center for the classroom.

Best Ages: pre-k – 1st grade

For more reading on means of transportation and construction equipment, check out two of my previous posts, Summer Bike Rides & Means of Transportation and Mighty Dads.

Books on Transportation

There are tons of book out there for young readers on the topic of cars, boats, trucks and construction equipment. My daughters really love reading these books aloud together and I wanted to recommend 4 of the transportation books we have recently read:

Little Tug by Stephen Savage

Four ships befriend one another and help each other as they go about their work in the harbor. Cute illustrations that remind me of the style in classic children’s books from the 1940s and 1950s.

To the Rescue! by Kate Riggs

Simple text with brightly colored illustrations. Great for children or babies who don’t like to sit still for a lengthy read-aloud. 😉

Best Ages: 0-3 years


I Am a Backhoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines

The perfect book for any children with imagination! A boy pretends to be various large trucks as he plays.

My Car by Byron Barton

Our children’s librarian frequently reads aloud books by author/illustrator Byron Barton. This is probably my favorite and my girls enjoy reading it aloud over and over. Wonderful descriptions of how people use a car.

Best Ages: pre-k – kindergarten

Summer Bike Rides & Means of Transportation

Our family is really into bike rides right now. As in, get in a ride to the park before church and then take another one in the afternoon when everyone wakes up from nap time. 🙂 Even though we live in the city of Chicago, we are close to the lake trail and a neighboring suburb that allow for safe and scenic biking paths. It’s a wonderful way to get fresh air, spend time together as a family and build some exercise into the day – especially my husband, who is pulling two kids in the bike trailer!

A candid shot of our daughters as they got in the bike trailer on Sunday afternoon.

In keeping with our biking craze, my daughters and I are having fun reading Bear on a Bike by Stella Blackstone. It has wonderful rhyming text that follows a pattern through the book, colorful illustrations and a couple of great vocabulary words like “prowl.” I enjoyed taking the opportunity to talk about means of transportation with my children as we read through this book, because Bear doesn’t only ride a bike… He is very creative in how he gets to the market, beach and other places, too!

Best Ages: pre-k – kindergarten

For Parents:

  • Take a bike ride with your child. Think about what you experience as you bike together and talk about it afterward: What did you see? Smell? Hear?
  • Remind your child of basic bike safety such as wearing a helmet and looking both ways before crossing a street.
  • Think of the ways that your family uses transportation to get around. Point it out this week as you ride the bus or train, drive in the car, take a bike ride or a walk. Do you have a favorite way of getting around?

For Teachers:

  • After reading, explain that “transport” means to “move.” Transportation includes all the ways that we move from one place to another. On the white board or easel, write down the means of transportation that your students say they use regularly. These could include the methods Bear used in the book and more!
  • Print out some of these fun (and free!) printables on transportation. Or check out this fun preschool song about transportation.
  • Remind your students of basic bike safety such as wearing a helmet and looking both ways before crossing a street.