Look Up! Books About Monarch Butterflies

Look Up! Books About Monarch Butterflies

At this very moment, millions and millions of monarch butterflies are migrating 20,000 miles south for the winter. Maybe you live in the northern part of the country and have already seen them, or perhaps you’re still awaiting the arrival of the impending large orange cloud overhead if you live further south (here’s how to check when they’ll be in your area). These past several days we’ve welcomed them to our city and they’re everywhere!

I knew very little about these fascinating butterflies and their magnificent migration until we moved to the area, but now it is an ongoing interest in our home – especially around the time of the year when, if you are outside for a few minutes, you’ll spot at least one flittering about. Monarch Watch, a nonprofit devoted to the conservation, education, and research of monarch butterflies was established here in Lawrence, Kansas out of the University of Kansas, so we like to make a big deal about monarchs around here.

In honor of the monarch migration this fall, I assembled a book list all about monarchs for all ages:


books about monarch butterflies 0

Monarch and Milkweed by Helen Frost, illustrated by Leonid Gore
Ages 3 & up
This is such a great books for a variety of ages about the relationship between the monarch butterfly and the milkweed plant.

Gotta Go! Gotta Go! by Sam Swope and Sue Riddle
Ages 3 & up
Simple text makes this book about one bug that’s “Gotta Go! Gotta Go!” a fun way to learn about the monarch migration.

Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Ages 4 & up
Poor Velma is always in the wake of two older sisters, but after a trip to the Butterfly Conservatory finds a way to make herself unforgettable.

Hurry and the Monarch by Antoine O Flatharta, illustrated by Meilo So
Ages 4 & up
Meilo So’s illustrations in this picture book are stunning. Hands-down beautiful. The storyline is sweet and an enjoyable read-aloud.

books about monarch butterflies 1

Monarch Butterfly of Aster Way by Elizabeth Ring, illustrated by Katie Lee
Ages 4 & up
I love the Smithsonian Backyard Books series. And this specific one focuses on monarch butterflies. Perfect!

 A Monarch Butterfly’s Life by John Himmelman
Ages 4  & up
A straightforward account of a monarch butterfly’s life cycle for preschool-age children.

The Migration of a Butterfly by Tanya Kant, illustrated by Carolyn Franklin
Ages 5 & up
We first came across this one at our local library. Large text and bold, graphic illustrations about the migration of the monarch butterfly.

Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons
Ages 5 & up
Gail Gibbons. Need I say more? She always does a great job crating informative text paired with her trademark illustrations. My daughter enjoys the audiobook.

books about monarch butterflies 4

Fly, Monarch! Fly! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Ages 5 & up
The Rabbit family learns about the monarch life cycle and the miracles transformations and journeys of monarch butterflies.

How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids by Carol Pasternak
Ages 6 & up
For any child who has ever dreamed of a pet caterpillar. Or two. Or three…

Flight of the Butterflies by Roberta Edwards
Ages 6 & up
This beginning reader book full of illustrations and photographs follows the flight of the monarch butterflies from southern Canada to central Mexico.

National Geographic Readers: Great Migrations Butterflies by Laura F. Marsh
Ages 7 & up
Kids can’t get enough of these National Geographic books for beginning readers and there’s one that focuses solely on the monarch migration!

Butterfly Tree by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Leaslie Wu
Ages 7 & up
Jilly spots something unfamiliar in the sky, so she and her mother go investigate. What they find is spectacular.

books about monarch butterflies 6

The Monarch’s Progress: Poems with Wings by Avis Harley
Ages 7 & up
A terrific collection of poems all about the monarch butterfly.

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard by Loree Griffin Burns, photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz
Ages 8 & up
Okay, so this book isn’t only about monarchs, but the monarch section is phenomenal and provides an in-depth account of the work being done by Monarch Watch.

Monarch Magic! Butterfly Activities & Nature Discoveries by Lynn Rosenblatt
Ages 8 & up
40 butterfly activities and crafts for kids to explores as well as an informational guide about monarchs.

An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly by Laurence Prigle and Bob Marstall
Ages 9 & up
Picture book for an older reader following one butterfly’s entire life span.



books about monarch butterflies 7

The Enlarged and Updated Second Edition of Milkweed Monarchs and More: A Field Guide to the Invertebrate Community in the Milkweed Patch by Ba Rea, Dr. Karen Oberhauser, and Michael A. Quinn
Anything and everything you wanted to know about the life of the monarch butterflies and the plants that provide sustenance for all stages of it’s life cycle.

The Amazing Monarch: The Secret Wintering Grounds of an Endangered Butterfly by Windle Turley
Beautiful photographs that will amaze all ages.

Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly by Sue Halpern
A memoir loaded with lots of facts about the monarch migration, Sue Halpern goes on a quest across the country in search of information about how and why behind the mysterious migration habits of the monarch butterfly.

The Butterfly’s Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe
A mesmerizing story about Luz Avila and her journey south along the same migration path of the monarch butterflies, and the women she meets along the way. This novel is classified as an adult book and is best suited for older teens and adults.


If you have a favorite book about the Monarchs that I missed, please leave in the comments below!

Also, if you’re interested in raising monarch butterflies or starting your own Monarch Waystation, all of that information can be found on the Monarch Watch website. Schools and nonprofits are eligible for free milkweed.

Many cities across the country organize events and festivals to welcome the migrating butterflies– Be sure to check your city’s events calendar. If you live in the Lawrence area, there’s a Monarch Watch Open House every September at Foley Hall in the west campus of University of Kansas.

Don’t forget to look up! The monarchs are soaring through!





Image source for title image is a photograph of Melio So’s illustration in Hurry and the Monarch.


3 Responses to “Look Up! Books About Monarch Butterflies”

  1. Lara says:

    My personal favorite is “My, Oh My – a Butterfly!” It has great info about butterfly tagging.


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