Vaccines are an important part of protecting ourselves and the community around us from contagious infections. Since vaccines are given with a needle, kids often wonder, “Will the shot hurt?” and “Why should I get shots?” Thankfully, books can answer kids’ questions about getting shots! Whether your child is getting their first shot or their tenth, reading books about vaccines can help them emotionally, cognitively, and physically. Here are 10 great children’s books about vaccines that you can read as a family.
Children’s books about vaccines and getting shots
These picture books are a great starting point for introducing vaccines and some diseases they prevent.
Vaccines: Learn about the Science of Immunity and How Vaccines Keep Us Healthy!
- Authors: Cara Florance, PhD and Jon Florance, MD
Don’t be fooled by the cute “Baby Medical School” label! This board book uses real scientific terms about vaccines and the immune system. While it’s sturdy enough to read to babies, it’s also a great human body book for toddlers and big kids. Cartoon illustrations lighten the mood and simplify the complex topic of immunology for young learners.
A Vaccine is Like a Memory: Rhyming Science Picture Book
- Author: Rajani LaRocca, MD
- Illustrator: Kathleen Marcotte
It’s true: a vaccine is like a memory, helping your body remember certain viruses and bacteria so that your immune system can fight off bad infections. This picture book is filled with kid-friendly explanations and cute illustrations about how vaccines work.
The Secret Life of Viruses: Incredible Science Facts about Germs, Vaccines, and What You Can Do to Stay Healthy
- Author / Illustrator: Mariona Tolosa Sisteré
In this vibrant picture book, kids learn that viruses are everywhere. Through cartoon illustrations and conversational sentences, the book explains what viruses are, how they spread, how vaccines work, why pandemics happen (such as COVID-19), and more.
Picture books for kids afraid of vaccines and getting shots
Is your child worried about getting vaccines? Stories can help kids process their emotions and overcome their fears.
Sofia and the Shot: Picture Book About Vaccines
- Author: Sarah Wilson PNP
- Illustrator: QBN Studios
In this fictional tale, Sofia is a 5-year-old girl who has a dream about running away from the doctor’s office, only to find herself on an adventure with her pet cat, Mr. Whiskers. Mr. Whiskers takes her on a journey to teach her about the history and purpose of vaccines and is very reassuring. When Sofia wakes up, she understands the importance of getting vaccinated, and she feels ready to get the shot!
How Do Vaccines Work? A STEM Book about the Science Behind Immunizations for Kids
- Author: Katrina Liu
- Illustrator: Heru Setiawan
If your child is scared of shots, the “How Do Vaccines Work” story can validate and ease their fears. It breaks down the concept of the immune system and vaccines in simple terms. It also introduces human body science words like antigens, antibodies, and white blood cells.
When a Shot Meant a Lot: A Story for Kids About the COVID-19 Vaccine
- Author: B.B. Knolls PhD
- Illustrator: Ray Anne Shea
Through playful rhyme, this picture book reflects on life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thoughtful questions cover topics like missing loved ones and common childhood worries about getting shots, which can prompt further discussion at home.
Children’s books about doctors and vaccines in history
Why were vaccines invented? These history-inspired books give a peek at the history of vaccines and important public health scientists like Dr. Jonas Salk.
Vaccines Change the World (Science in Action Book)
- Author: Gillian King-Cargile
- Illustrator: Sandie Sonke
This nonfiction middle-grade book is perfect for kids who are ready for interesting details about science and history! It explains how vaccines were first created to cure dangerous diseases and how they were able to save countless lives around the world.
The Polio Pioneer: Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine
- Author: Linda Elovitz Marshal
- Illustrator: Lisa Anchin
Paired with beautiful, realistic illustrations, this picture book takes us back in time to World War II when Dr. Salk was devastated to see people unable to walk. He became very passionate about wanting to help prevent other people from polio complications. Thanks to his polio vaccine invention and widespread immunization, the disease has been eradicated from most parts of the world.
A Shot in the Arm! Big Ideas that Changed the World Graphic Novel
- Author / Illustrator: Don Brown
This graphic novel about vaccines is perfect for older children in elementary school and middle school. With lively comic-style images and dialogue, kids can learn about the history of vaccinations against smallpox, measles, polio, rabies, cholera, influenza, and COVID-19. Leaders such as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Louis Pasteur, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, and Edward Jenner are also featured.