Must Own Mardi Gras Books for Kids
Some of these titles may be found at local bookstores :: Garden District Book Shop, Octavia Books, Tubby & Coo’s and Blue Cypress Books. If you wish to shop online, Amazon affiliate links are embedded below.
Mardi Gras Reading for Kids
It’s February and the parades will be starting soon! This could be your family’s first, fourth, or fortieth Mardi Gras, but no matter how new or seasoned you might be, there’s always more to learn about this celebration.
Every New Orleans child needs a Mardi Gras book on their shelf. As with any event or topic, a book can heighten anticipation, deepen understanding, and offer new perspectives. The titles I’ve highlighted below are ones I’ve selected for my charter school network’s Mardi Gras reading event.
The Mardi Gras experience in a story
- Mimi’s First Mardi Gras – from beignets on Mardi Gras morning to costumes and parades, experience Mardi Gras Day with Mimi and her parents.
- Jenny Giraffe’s Mardi Gras Ride – Jenny the giraffe experiences her first Mardi Gras and prepares to ride on a float; luckily she has friends to help her get ready.
- On Mardi Gras Day – from dawn to dusk, encountering Mardi Gras Indians to reenacting parades in the backyard on Mardi Gras afternoon, see Mardi Gras day through the eyes of a New Orleans’ child.
- The Red Feather – “In New Orleans that morning, the air smelled sweet. I saw a red feather as I walked down the street.” Told in rhyme, vivid brushstrokes, and creative font, this story introduces you to the Mardi Gras Indians on Mardi Gras day.
- Mardi Gras in the Country – for older children, go back in time and spend Mardi Gras day on Maw-Maw Badeaux’s front porch as masked riders pass.
- Mardi Gras and Carnival – learn about the history, traditions, food, parades, and music of Mardi Gras – with lots of photographs to draw your child in.
- Mardi Gras: A City’s Masked Parade – with one-page chapters and a focus on New Orleans, your child will learn the basics of the history and players in a New Orleans Mardi Gras.
- A Mardi Gras Dictionary – this is not just one word per letter, but a real dictionary of Mardi Gras staples: from Ash Wednesday to doubloons, grandstands to ladders, queens to “Throw Me Something, Mister!”, this is a nice broad overview of Mardi Gras.
- Mardi Gras in New Orleans – a children’s book that takes you on a journey throughout the Carnival season.
- 12 Days of Mardi Gras – a Mardi Gras themed book for early readers and counters.
- The Amazing Adventure of Mardi Gras Bead Dog – the story about the Haydel’s Mardi Gras bead dog. (yes this price is outrageous, posting so you can identify the title).
- Gaston Goes to Mardi Gras – Gaston the gator takes readers on an adventurous tour of Mardi Gras.
- Dinosaur Mardi Gras – these dinosaurs get down at Mardi Gras while stomping and chomping to the beat.
- The King Cake Baby – the little plastic Mardi Gras baby escapes from a king cake! Where will he go?
- Beads on Trees – a trip down memory lane of the sights and sounds of Mardi Gras.
- Happy Mardi Gras – a book celebrating Mardi Gras and it’s history.
- The Little Purple Mardi Gras Bead – a journey of a purple bead whose wish is to be caught by someone special.
- Bruno and Frida Go to Mardi Gras – brother and sister French Bulldogs who live in the French Quarter celebrate Fat Tuesday.
- Randolph Solves the Mardi Gras Mystery – a Mardi Gras mystery about Randolph and his dog friends and how they save Mardi Gras.
- New Orleans Mother Goose – rhyme down the bayou with the New Orleans Mother Goose.
- Delphine Denise and the Mardi Gras Prize – This joyful picture book, inspired by the author’s own experience celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans as a child, explores the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the holiday.
- The ABCs of New Orleans – An alphabet rhyming book written to highlight some of the city’s best features, through a child’s eyes.
- The Little Bead Tree – In New Orleans, a little oak tree asks Grand Oak why it is so small in comparison. The Grand Oak replies that the young one is special and will one day everyone will see. As the seasons change and the tree grows, the young tree continues to ask why it isn’t as big, or as full of leaves, or strong and study. With a gentle voice the Grand Oak encourages and guides the small oak to have patience, stay grounded, and have trust in the future. When that future arrives, the Grand Oak celebrates the little trees uniqueness in this inspiring tale that encourages us to nurture the young and guide them towards their own unique nature.
Who Got the Baby in the King Cake? – Believed to have originated in twelfth-century France, the king cake tradition is an homage to the wise men (three kings). In New Orleans, as in Europe, a charm or plastic baby is hidden inside the cake and whoever finds the treasure is crowned king or queen for the day. The unofficial regent is also expected to host the next king cake party–or at least provide the cake! So, of course, everyone asks “Who got the baby in the king cake?” Downing’s hand-cut colorful collage illustrations accompany her original song in this joyous story designed to entertain and educate kids of all ages.
- The Little Float That Could – If only you believe in yourself, you can do anything! That’s the lesson this little float learns in the New Orleans based adaptation of Watty Piper’s classic tale, The Little Engine That Could. The Little Float wants to be a part of the big parade this year. To get to New Orleans, the float will have to cross a really tall bridge. It will take some persuading to make it across and onto the parade route! What will give the float the confidence to get across and entertain all the costumed children waiting to see the parade?
- And for a little bit of lagniappe, check out the Praline Lady. It’s a fun must have for your child’s bookshelf! You can purchase it here.
Check out your local library’s Mardi Gras collection (don’t forget that library card holders can place an online book request!) or visit your neighborhood book store to get your child ready for Mardi Gras 2022! Mardi Gras is BACK!
What is your favorite Mardi Gras book for your family?
Another few great ones are “Happy Mardi Gras” abd “The Adventures of Mardi Gras Bead Dog” by Cornell Landry.
Andrew also loves Harry Taylor, Who Dat Dog. 🙂
Who Got the Baby in the King Cake (Johnette Downing)
The Little Float that Could (Yvonne Perett)