The best children’s books set in Boston, according to readers

We asked for your favorite picture books featuring the city. You answered.

Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe

From the T to Fenway to the Public Garden, there’s a multitude of sights around Boston for young readers to take in through the pages of picture books.

We recently asked readers to share their favorite kids book that featured the city, and the responses singled out seven titles. Some respondents offered reads that were cherished in their own childhood, while other book titles are favorites of the kids they know. 

Below, check out the picture books readers say are the best set in and around Boston. 

“On The Loose In Boston” by Sage Stossel (2009)

Ten people wrote in recommending this picture book, which features rhymes and colorful illustrations with a set up like “Where’s Waldo?” Readers are challenged to find the animals set free from the Franklin Park Zoo, roaming across the city in the detailed paintings.

Here’s what some readers said of the book: 

“Hours and hours of fun!” — Anil, Newton Upper Falls

“My grandchildren love animals— and they continue to love searching for the animals and finding out about Boston. Great book for kids!” 

“We brought it to a friend’s son in London a few years ago. He immediately knew to search for the animals. It intuitively connected to his intelligence and imagination. He loved the book.”

“I frequently give it as a gift, and kids love it. Grown ups like it too.”

“The kids love finding the animals throughout the city,” — Michael, Boston 

“Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey (1941)

Five readers called out this classic, which tells the story of Mrs. Mallard shepherding her eight ducklings through the streets of the city to their new home in the Public Gardens. 


Here’s what some readers shared about the book: 

“Growing up in Belmont and going into Boston Common to ride the Swan Boats was a major highlight of my childhood. Reading this book as a child and seeing the statues in the Common later in life, brings back wonderful memories.”

“My father proposed to my mother at the duck pond, and we call ourselves a ‘family of ducks’ because of it.”

“This is the sweetest, most beautiful little treasure of a book. I loved it as a kid (I’m 57 now), and every kid I give it now loves it just as much. It never loses its appeal, even in this digital, video game-playing, high-tech world. Hands down the best Boston based book. Its appeal is timeless,” — Liz, Arlington

“Lost!” by David McPhail (1990)

Two readers said this story, about a small boy who befriends a lost bear while on his way to school, was their favorite book set in Boston. 

“T-Ride” by Sage Stossel (2021)

Two people recommended this title, which gives readers a brightly illustrated ride on the T. 

“We love Stossel’s colorful illustrations and how the stories weave specific references to Boston landmarks (and T lines) into kid-friendly and engaging stories,” wrote one reader. 

“Rescue and Jessica” by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes (2018)

Two readers picked this story, written by Marathon bombing survivors Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes about Kensky’s real-life bond with her service dog, as the best book set in the city. Illustrated by Scott Magoon, the book tells the story of a young girl adjusting to life as an amputee with the help and support of her service dog.

“Zachary’s Ball” by Matt Tavares (2000)

This story about a boy named Zachary visiting Fenway Park for the first time — and the adventures he has after his father catches a foul ball — was recommended by one reader. 


“The kids from my second grade class love this one and often borrow it!” they wrote of the story. 

“The Boston Balloonies” by Ed Shankman (2008)

Balloon creatures give kids a tour of Boston — from Beacon Hill to Fenway — in this story told in rhymes recommended by a reader. 

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