Dinovember is the month when dinosaurs come out to play! Started in November 2012 by Refe and Susan Tuma as a way to spark their kids’ imaginations, Dinovember continues to gather steam in households around the world–and has now even spread to libraries.
The idea is to show all the creative ways toy dinosaurs can create havoc while everyone else sleeps. Even more, it’s just a great excuse to celebrate all things dinosaur and paleontology! And, since December gets a lot of love from kids because of the holidays, Dinovember gives kids something fun throughout the month of November.
Below, you will find a variety of books that celebrate dinosaurs–some just for fun and others focused on the facts. Have a dino-rrific time digging into these great read alouds!
Dinovember Read Alouds Just for Fun
What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night: A Very Messy Adventure written by Refe and Susan Tuma
What happens when dinosaur toys awake at night? All kinds of trouble! This book by the couple who started everything follows the dinos all over the house, using colorful photographs and brief text to show what they’ve been up to overnight. Delightfully messy mischief to launch your Dinovember!
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins
Penelope Rex is excited and nervous about starting school, but on her first day, she discovers that all her classmates are children, not dinosaurs–and children are delicious! Spitting them out each time she’s admonished, Penelope struggles not to eat them until she learns from an unexpected source just what it feels like to be chomped. Accompanied by Higgins’s humorous illustrations, this funny story about empathy and getting along is a fan favorite.
Brontorina written by James Howe and illustrated by Randy Cecil
Brontorina Apatosaurus wants to be a ballerina more than anything, but is she too big? Together with Madame Lucille and young dancers Clara and Jack, the class finds ways to ensure Brontorina can join in and follow her dream. Charming illustrations add to the gentle humor of this picture book that embraces body positivity and inclusion through the hopes of a dinosaur dancer.
How to Catch a Dinosaur written by Adam Wallace and illustrated by Andy Elkerton
Wallace and Elkerton have taken us through similar romps trying to catch everything from leprechauns to turkeys to class pets. Using rhyming text and illustrations full of fun details, this version follows a main character who builds a variety of traps to catch a dinosaur as part of his science fair project. A great way to discuss the engineering design process and set young readers up for STEM projects building dinosaur-catching contraptions of their own!
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague
The first in the fun series for young readers, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight pairs Yolen’s rhythmic rhyming text with Teague’s joyful illustrations to create a winning combination. Questions bring children into a discussion of good choices and not-so-good choices when it’s time for bed, brought alive by the dinosaurs who pout, stomp, and roar to avoid going to sleep. As a bonus, endpapers show the names of each dinosaur pictured, and the names are incorporated into the illustrations, too!
Have You Seen My Invisible Dinosaur written and illustrated by Helen Yoon
A young girl is searching for her invisible dinosaur, but she can’t find him anywhere! She gave him a bath and now he’s impossible to see. Playful illustrations make use of mixed media and negative space to “show” us the dinosaur–and a visual twist at the end helps the girl find him, too. A sweet, short story that children will thoroughly enjoy listening to.
The Dinosaur Expert written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Kimmy goes with her class to the museum and is so excited to share what she knows about fossils. And she knows a lot! Then another student tells her that girls can’t be scientists, and she loses her confidence. With the help of her kind and perceptive teacher, Mr. Tiffin, and a display about paleontologist Zulma Brandoni de Gasparini, Kimmy finds her voice again and the courage to share her knowledge. End matter introduces readers to more women paleontologists. A satisfying read that follows Kimmy’s emotional journey while providing an affirming ending.
Dinovember Read Alouds: Just the Facts
Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones written by Sara Levin and illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth
This accessible, informative book compares the bone structures of humans and dinosaurs, then goes on to imagine what it would be like if people had some dinosaur “extras.” Labeled skeleton diagrams throughout add comprehensibility and make comparing and contrasting easy to do. With the introduction of each special dinosaur bone, readers are invited to guess what dinosaur it’s from and then are given an explanation of what purpose the bones served. A fun, interactive read!
Dinosaur Lady written by Linda Skeers and illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns
This biography shares the life of Mary Anning, who first searched for “curiosities” with her father in the cliffs near her home in Lyme Regis, England in the beginning of the 19th century. She continued hunting fossils and making scientific discoveries throughout her entire life despite the barriers for women at the time. There are many, many biographies about Anning available, but my favorite thing about this one is that it does an excellent job of describing her biggest achievements and their impact on paleontology, while also giving us an understanding of just how driven and brilliant she was.
Dinosaur Feathers written and illustrated by Dennis Nolan
With gorgeous illustrations and fun rhyming text, this book digs into the link between dinosaurs and birds. While the book is full of lots of tongue-twisting dinosaur names, pronunciation help is provided! Back matter provides more facts about each creature that appears in the book, as well as an evolutionary Tree of Life diagram that shows how life on Earth branched out over time. An engaging, informative read!
Here We Go Digging for Dinosaur Bones written by Susan Lendroth and illustrated by Bob Kolar
This book comes with two levels of text: the simple, repetitive text that can be sung to “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”, and the more in-depth factual information on each page. Both cover the details of the work of paleontologists: excavating fossils, studying them, and putting them on display. An easy-to-understand book that invites musical interaction for littles and still goes deeper for curious older kids.
A Dinosaur Named Ruth: How Ruth Mason Discovered Fossils in Her Own Backyard written by Julia Lyon and illustrated by Alexandra Bye
With bright and beautiful illustrations, this biography tells the story of Ruth Mason, who found thousands of fossils on her family’s ranch in South Dakota throughout her life. Though she continually sent letters to scientists to come see what she had found, her invitations were met with rejection for decades. Finally, when she was in her eighties, fossil hunter Rick Brooks accepted, and was astounded by what Ruth already knew: the land was a treasure trove. Excellent for linking to discussions about perseverance and belief in yourself, this book is an inspiring read.
Jack Horner, Dinosaur Hunter! written by Sophia M. Gholz and illustrated by David Shephard
Written in a style reminiscent of graphic novels, this book follows the life of Jack Horner: paleontologist, technical advisor for Jurassic Park, and independent thinker. Despite a fierce interest and talent for paleontology, Horner never fully completed a college degree due to the challenges of undiagnosed dyslexia. This didn’t stop him from pursuing a life studying dinosaurs, hunting for their bones, and theorizing about them. A great representation of neurodiversity and overcoming obstacles to do what you love.
A Little Bit of Dinosaur written by Elleen Hutcheson and Darcy Pattison and illustrated by John Joven
Taking a different angle on how modern humans can connect with prehistoric dinosaurs, this book is great fun to read! It follows the journey of a calcium atom from a dinosaur toe bone to a child’s cheese sandwich–and beyond. Each step is described with simple yet scientific language, and Joven’s illustrations add a wonderful touch of humor. The first of a three-book series (the others follow a carbon atom and a nitrogen atom, respectively), this is sure to become a favorite read aloud.
Who Would Win: Ultimate Dinosaur Rumble written by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Rob Bolster
In this 2019 installment from the hugely popular Who Would Win series, 16 dinosaurs battle each other for the title of dino champion. Packed with facts and great examples of text features, this title focuses on the battles through energetic descriptive text that kids will love. A great read to draw in audience participation as kids debate who they think will be victorious and why, Pallotta’s books never disappoint.
The Ultimate Book of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures written by Sandra Laboucarie, illustrated by Benjamin Bécue
While not ideal for reading with a large group, or placing in a library collection, this book is perfect for reading together at home with your young dinosaur enthusiast. Chock full of pop-ups, pull tabs, and flaps, each page contains a ton of information to explore. Friendly, colorful illustrations go along with well-organized text that dives into topics such as “Creatures of the Sea” and “Searching for Dinosaurs”. The section on the extinction of dinosaurs is particularly well done. Children will love interacting with this detailed, delightful book!
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