So, admittedly, we’re not super into St. Patrick’s Day as a family. We try to wear green, and we’ll happily attend a St. Patrick’s Day Party if invited, but all in all, we put lots more energy into other holidays. So, though I do have a few favorite St. Patrick’s Day books (of course!), I haven’t spent nearly as much time searching for this holiday’s best books as I have for other holidays. But, every year I get lots of requests for St. Patrick’s books, so here you go!
Our Current Favorite St. Patrick’s Day Books
*** As always, most links below are Amazon Affiliate links. Your purchase price stays the same, but I get a tiny bit of money back, allowing me to buy more books to share with you! And, as always, age ranges given are recommendations by the publisher. I’ve noted if I have different opinions, but you know your child best!
The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow by Sean Callahan, illustrated by Nancy Cote — This has been BY FAR the most popular and re-read St. Patrick’s Day and rainbow book (it’s actually got factual information about rainbows, too, and the leprechaun is named Roy G. Biv) in our house for the past week. I’m not totally sure what it is about it, but my older daughter grabs it every afternoon, and any time I’m sitting to read to the younger one, she asks for the “story about the girl and the man with a beard.” So… I’ll just say this book, about a girl, a leprechaun, a missing rainbow, and a St. Patrick’s Day parade, hits a chord with young ones! Ages 4-8, though you can definitely go younger and the science tidbits at the end could lead to neat experiments with the older crowd.
St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons — If you need an accessible non-fiction book for preschoolers, Gibbons is a good go-to to have in mind. She’s written about basketball, penguins, vegetables, St. Patrick’s Day, and just about everything in between. Gibbons begins this book by introducing readers to St. Patrick when he was a boy and telling about his life, and she wraps it up with how the holiday is celebrated, both in Ireland and around the world. Ages 4-8, though definitely short enough to be accessible for younger readers.
St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Jan Brett — In general, you can’t go wrong with anything Eve Bunting has written (some of my favorites include One Green Apple, Night Tree, A Turkey for Thanksgiving, and Smoky Night), nor anything Jan Brett has illustrated (potentially best known for The Mitten, but she’s written and illustrated many wonderful stories). This book may be worth grabbing simply because of this author/illustrator combo… If that doesn’t sell you, then know that this is an endearing story about a young boy (the smallest in his family), who is too small to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and the perseverance he shows to prove everyone wrong. Also know that these illustrations are quite different from works you may recognize from Brett. Ages 4 and up.
The Story of the Leprechaun by Katherine Tegen, illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert — Many children know legends about pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, and many children then understand that somehow leprechauns are associated with said pots of gold, that humans can’t ever get to the ends of rainbows, and that leprechauns are impossible to catch. Tegen whimsically ties all of this together in an endearing and entertaining story about an early interaction between a miserly leprechaun and a greedy human. Ages 4-8.
Fiona’s Lace by Patricia Polacco — Admittedly, this one isn’t about St. Patrick’s Day. But, it is the true story of Polacco’s relatives who immigrated from Ireland to Chicago in the mid to late 19th century. The story starts in lush, green Ireland, with two sisters learning the story of how their mother left a trail of lace for their father to find her when they first met. We see hardship hit the family and the emotions behind the decision to move to America. We feel the realities of immigrant, servant life in America. And all of this comes to a head when the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 breaks out… Polacco masterfully tells her family’s stories through her books, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Ages 4-8.
The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards, illustrated by Henry Cole — A new addition to this list in 2020, this one might be my favorite on here! Based on a classic Irish folktale, The Leprechaun’s Gold is the story of two men, one young and one old, both hoping to win the title of finest harpist in all of Ireland. Upon realizing that Old Pat is indeed the better harpist, Young Tom tries to sabotage Old Pat… Rather than respond in kind, Old Pat shows nothing but kindness to others, including a magical leprechaun who rewards Old Pat appropriately for his selfless ways. It’s got folklore, it’s got leprechauns, it’s got kindness trumphant over evil — there’s just so much to love! Ages 4-8.
That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully — Yes, I’ve got another Eve Bunting book on here! According to a quick internet search, she has even a few more St. Patrick’s Day books that we don’t have on our shelf… Emily Arnold McCully is also delightful (check out Mirette on the High Wire and Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story to start, if you don’t know her books)! So, just as above, I had to check this out based on this duo. This is such a fun book about leprechauns, mischief, and rainbows! Bunting also includes an “About Leprechauns” page at the back of the book. Ages 5-8, but enjoyed by our 3.5-year-old too.
Fin M’Coul: The Giant of Knockmany Hill by Tomie De Paola — Fin M’Coul is an honest, hard-working giant who lives with his wife, Oonagh, on top of Knockmany Hill in Ireland. And his life is indeed good, until a mean giant, Cucullin, makes his rounds closer and closer to Fin. Fin isn’t scared of much, but he is terrified of Cucullin, who is strong and swift enough to flatten a thunderbolt into a pancake. Over time, Cucullin has in fact given every giant in Ireland a good beating. Every giant, that is, except dear Fin. When Fin hears that Cucullin is coming close, he races home to Oonagh in fear… But he needn’t worry, because Oonagh is far more clever than Cucullin is strong! De Paola has wonderfully illustrated and retold this classic Irish tale. Ages 5-8.
O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott — Are you looking for another book with a strong woman to save the day (see Fin M’Coul above)? Then look no further than O’Sullivan Stew! When the king’s men take the local witch’s horse in place of a tax payment, Kate O’Sullivan tries to round up the villagers to help, but to no avail… No one wants to help the witch, who they believe isn’t really one of them. Kate keeps dreaming and planning of how to get the horse back, eventually coming up with a plan with which her brothers and father agree to help. Kate’s cleverness, creativity, and ability to think on her feet win the day, and we’re left with powerful reminders that “everyone is one of us” and “It’s so easy for folks to say how much they care, but who among us ever shows it?” Ages 5-9, though this one can be long and more complicated to follow, so stick with the older end of that range.
Leprechaun in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osborne and the companion Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Leprechauns and Irish Folklore by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce — If you’ve followed us for any period of time, you know my girls have a deep, deep love for the Magic Tree House audiobooks read by Osborne (we’ve listened to them via both Audible and Libro.fm, and you can get 8 books for 1 credit on both platforms!). Lately, we’ve been listened to specific books for different holidays or themes, such as Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve and A Good Night for Ghosts for Halloween and Christmas in Camelot during the Christmas season. Though we’ve listened to this one before, I may use Leprechaun in Late Winter as a family read-aloud this March! Ages 7-10.
I also managed to whip up some of these green muffins (hooray for sneaking some spinach in!) this week and froze a bunch, so we may eat those on St. Patrick’s Day. If not, we might start the day with green pancakes, which my girls also LOVE (once again, sneaking some more spinach in!).
Healthy, Easy Green Pancakes
2 large ripe bananas
2 tsp melted coconut oil
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)
2 cups oats
1 tsp baking sode
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
heavy pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2-4 large handfuls of spinach
Add ingredients to high-speed blender and mix until smooth. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes (it will get puffy). If batter is too thick or thin, add more milk or oats as needed. Pour onto heated griddle and cook each side for about 2 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
What are your favorite St. Patrick’s Day books or traditions to share with little ones?
If you liked this, be sure to check out our favorite color and rainbow books to round out your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations!