Happy National Hat Day, one day late! National Hat Day takes place annually on January 15. I meant to write a post yesterday, but the day flew away from me like a hat in the wind. The good thing is, any day is a good day to read about hats!

There are many, many wonderful books about hats, especially picture books. Hats allow us to express ourselves in different ways, to play dress-up, and most importantly, have fun! Here are some of my favorite picture books about hats:

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Caps for SaleIn this classic tale, a peddler wanders through town wearing a number of different colored caps on his head, announcing “Caps for Sale! Caps for Sale!” One day, no one is buying any hats, so the peddler sits under a tree and takes a nap. When he wakes up, he finds that a group of monkeys have taken all his caps but one, and are wearing them in the tree. The peddler is angry, and shakes his finger at the monkeys, but the monkeys just shake their fingers back and say “Tsz, tsz, tsz.” The peddler tries everything he can to get the hats back, but all the monkeys do is imitate him. In a fit of rage, the peddler throws his cap on the ground. The monkeys do the same, and the peddler finally gets his hats back!

The humor and use of repetition draw children into the story, making this a fun read-aloud. The book also teaches colors and sequencing, and  can easily be “acted out” at home or school.

The Cat in the HatThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Who doesn’t love this silly story by one of the world’s best storytellers for children, Dr. Seuss?  The cat, with his tall red and white hat, makes a rainy day at home into a grand adventure. Read this book out loud, and do Cat in the Hat activities together. For some ideas, check out:

The Hat by Jan Brett

Beloved author/illustrator Jan Brett uses her popular character, Hedgie, as the main character in this story. A girThe Hatl named Lisa is hanging her clothes on the line when the wind blows one of her stockings away. Hedgie the Hedgehog finds the stocking and pokes his nose in. When he tries to pull it out, he finds that the stocking is stuck on his prickles! He is embarrassed, but defends his new hat to the hen, goose, cat, dog, pig, and horse, all of whom laugh at his appearance. Lisa finds Hedgie with the stocking on his head and tells him that “animals don’t wear clothing.” She returns to the clothesline and sees that the animals have taken all the clothes and are wearing them as hats.

Brett uses her typical technique of foreshadowing the coming events on the border of each page. This technique works well, as children like to predict what’s coming next. The illustrations perfectly capture this wintry story, making it a cozy read-aloud.

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

In this funny and clever book, a bear is missing his red hat, I Want My Hat Backand asks the animals he encounters, one by one, if they have seen it. They all insist they haven’t, including the rabbit. But the rabbit is lying, and the bear realizes later that he has seen the rabbit wearing his hat.  The bear goes back to retrieve his hat. A squirrel approaches the bear  and asks if he has seen the rabbit. The bear denies it. Klassen doesn’t come out and say “the bear ate the rabbit,” but it is implied through the illustrations and sparse text. Some children may be shocked or upset by this, but most will find it funny and get the joke without being told. The story is told entirely in dialogue, and some pages are wordless, yet there is much to be discovered in the book’s details. Though the book won the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award, it can be enjoyed just as much in a one-on-one setting. Check out the book’s follow up, This is Not My Hat, too!

Jennie’s Hat by Ezra Jack Keats

This lovely book tells the story of Jennie, who is excited to get a hat in the mail from her favorite aunt. When the hat arrives, Jennie is disappointed; instead of a big, flowery, beautiful hat, Jennie's Hather hat is very plain. She puts the hat under her bed, and tries putting other items on her head:  a basket, a lampshade, a flower-pot, a TV antenna, and a shiny pot, but none are satisfactory hats for Jennie. That afternoon she feeds the birds in the park, at the same place and time she feeds them each week. The next morning Jennie sees women wearing fancy, colorful hats as she peers out the window, and later at church, where she wears her own plain hat. As she leaves church, she notices the birds are following her. One by one, the birds drop items into her hat, which include red and violet flowers, a paper fan, pictures, and a pink valentine. Jennie’s hat is now the most beautiful she has ever seen! She and her mother wrap up the wonderful hat, where it can be kept and adored for a long time.

Ezra Jack Keats uses colorful collages to illustrate this sweet and joyous story. The birds and colorful flowered hats make this an ideal book for springtime. Children will want to find special items to decorate their own hats afterwards!

Still looking for more? Get ahead in your reading with these picture books about hats!

  • The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
  • Halloween Hats by Elizabeth Winthrop
  • A Hat for Minerva Louise by Janet Morgan Stoeke
  • The Hat by Tomi Ungerer
  • The Magic Hat by Mem Fox
  • Milo’s Hat Trick by Jon Agee
  • Which Hat is That? By Anna Grossnickle Hines


Until next time, Happy Reading!


the Singing Librarian