Teaching Idioms
with children's books

Teaching idioms is a lot of fun. Kids get a kick out of learning the backstory of how they came about and the ways different cultures and time periods describe events and people in their environment. The cute and clever children's books in the list below generally fall into two categories:

  • funny literal interpretations of common idioms, ie: the idiom "ants in my pants" is depicted with a kid with ants in his pants. These books are more SILLY than educational
  • books that focus more on teaching the actual meanings of idioms, especially the origins of the phrase (more educational).

Both are great for teaching idioms in the classroom (since even the silly books do devote a portion to explaining the meaning of the idioms.)


Best Books for Teaching Idioms

There's a Frog
in My Throat

(440 idioms about animals,
each illustrated and paired
with a short explanation
of what it means)

2nd grade - 6th grade



The World Is
Your Oyster

(commonly used
inspirational idioms and
CUTE illustrations)
by Tamara Hames

1st grade & Up



Why the
Banana Split

(MANY idioms for exit
use to describe a frantic
exodus when a giant
dinosaur appears)  

1st grade - 4th grade



Butterflies in
My Stomach

(shows a nervous boy's
first day of school via a
series of related idioms)

by Serge Bloch
1st grade - 4th grade



Reach for the Stars
and Other Advice for Life's
Journeys
(32 motivational
idioms about facing
challenges and believing
in yourself)
by Serge Bloch

1st grade - 4th grade



You Are What
You Eat

and Other Mealtime
Hazards
(fun idioms about
food, ie: using your noodle)
by Serge Bloch

1st grade - 4th grade



More Parts
(presents a young boy
who takes idioms about
human body literally)
by Ted Arnold

1st grade - 4th grade



Even More Parts
(more funny mis-
understandings about
human body idioms)
by Ted Arnold
1st grade - 4th grade



In a Pickle and
Other Funny Idioms

(classic for teaching idioms!)
by Marvin Terban

1st grade - 5th grade



Monkey Business
(elaborate illustrations depict
commonly used idioms)
by Wallace Edwards

3rd grade - 7th grade



The Cat's Pajamas
(more elaborate illustrations
that depict commonly
used idioms)
by Wallace Edwards

3rd grade - 7th grade



Mad as a Wet Hen
and Other Funny Idioms
 
(classic for teaching idioms!)
by Marvin Terban

3rd grade - 5th grade



My Teacher
Likes to Say

(idioms used by teachers
ie: ants in your pants)
by Denise Nelson

1st grade - 4th grade



My Momma
Likes to Say

(idioms often used by moms
ie:
hold your horses)
by Denise Nelson

1st grade - 4th grade



My Daddy
Likes to Say

(idioms often used by dads
ie:
the buck stops here)
by Denise Nelson

1st grade - 4th grade



My Grandma
Likes to Say

(idioms grandmas say,
ie:
horse of a different color)
by Denise Nelson

1st grade - 4th grade



I'm Not Hanging
Noodles on Your Ears

& Other Intriguing Idioms
from Around the World

by Jag Bhalla

6th grade & Up



Super Silly Sayings That
Are Over Your Head

A Children's Illustrated
Book of Idioms
by Catherine Snodgrass
1st grade - 4th grade




Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms
Phrases, Sayings, and Expressions
(a good resource,
but to be clear, it's a dictionary not a picture book)
by Marvin Terban

4th grade & Up







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