Great Children’s Books that Feature Knitting

As I’ve have gotten older, I have become That Dreaded Aunt that Gives Books for Presents. The thing is, the kids I know get so. much. crap, for their birthdays and Christmas. So much plastic. So much that will be forgotten and discarded within weeks of unwrapping. It exhausts me, and makes me sad.

So, instead of adding to the great pile of toys, I opt to give books. I know books will never be opened with the excitement of a noisy, brightly colored plastic thing, but books don’t mind not being the star of the show. Books will patiently wait on the shelf, and, long after all the flashy gifts are gone, those books will beckon. Books will take them places and hopefully become their life-long friends.  Books are sneaky like that.

Here’s a short list of some of my favorite knitting, yarn and sheep related picture books for your consideration.


The The New Sweater: The Hueys, Book 1

“The Hueys are small and mischievous, unique compared to the world’s other creatures–but hardly unique to one another. You see, each Huey looks the same, thinks the same, and does the same exact things. So you can imagine the chaos when one of them has the idea of knitting a sweater! It seems like a good idea at the time–he is quite proud of it, in fact–but it does make him different from the others. So the rest of the Hueys, in turn, decide that they want to be different too! How? By knitting the exact same sweater, of course!”

Red Knit Cap Girl

A hand knit hat and the moon? You know I’m going to love it! Actually this book is so lovely it made me teary.

“Red Knit Cap Girl lives with her animal friends in an enchanted forest. There is so much to see and do, but more than anything Red Knit Cap Girl wishes she could talk to the Moon. Join Red Knit Cap Girl and her forest friends on a journey of curiosity, imagination, and joy as they search for a way to meet the Moon.”

Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters

This is a great book for knitters with a sense of humor.

“A fastidious fellow, Lester likes everything just so. So when Cousin Clara moves in and knits him truly dreadful sweaters as fast as he can surreptitiously dispose of them, Lester must think of a way to get rid of them for good — or be doomed to look like a clown forever.”

 Yetsa’s Sweater

This picture book captures what really goes into knitting a sweater, the love and the care and the intention. It’s just achingly lovely and so full of truth.

“On a fresh spring day, young Yetsa, her mother and her grandmother gather to prepare the sheep fleeces piled in Grandma’s yard. As they clean, wash and dry the fleece, laughter and hard work connect the three generations. Through Yetsa’s sensual experience of each task, the reader joins this family in an old but vibrant tradition: the creation of Cowichan sweaters. Each sweater is unique, and its design tells a story. In Yetsa’s Sweater, that story is one of love, welcome and pride in a job well done.”

Shall I Knit You a Hat?: A Christmas Yarn

“To protect his ears from the cold and snow, Mother Rabbit knits Little Rabbit a hat. He loves his hat so much, he and his mother make them for all of his friends.”


I have blogged about Woolbur before; it’s one of my favorite picture books of all time ever. It’s fun and sweet and the message is that being yourself is okay. Every child should have this book.

Knitting Nell

From Booklist: “Nell is a busy young knitter, but because she has a quiet voice and a hobby that doesn’t engender much excitement, she takes a back seat to her friends. Nell is not just knitting for herself; much of her knitting time is spent making scarves, blankets, and mittens for those in need. When the sweater that she enters in the county fair earns a blue ribbon and she gets a special medal for her good works, both Nell and her hobby become a lot more popular. Knitting may not seem a natural subject for a picture book, although more girls and boys are taking it up. However, Roth zeroes in on common kid traits such as shyness and a propensity to help others and wraps the knitting around them.”

Weaving the Rainbow

This one will be of particular interest to the weavers.

From School Library Journal: “In this satisfying picture book, a young woman raises sheep, shears them, cards and spins the wool, dyes the yarn, and weaves it at a loom. She is an artist who takes pleasure from and applies patience to each phase of her work. Lyon’s writing is lyrical, and the gentle pacing is calming. Terms like “yearling,” “skein,” “warp,” “weft,” “shuttle,” and “treadles” are understandable in context and bring richness to the text.”

Charlie Needs a Cloak

“A shepherd shears his sheep, cards and spins the wool, weaves and dyes the cloth, and sews a beautiful new red cloak.”

A New Coat for Anna

This book is sadly out of print but, if you are lucky, you can find a second hand copy. Although she has no money, Anna’s mother barters and trades with craftspeople to get a new coat for Anna. This book is a treasure.

The Goat in the Rug

This one is for the goat lovers!

“Geraldine is a goat, and Glenmae, a Navajo weaver. One day, Glenmae decides to weave Geraldine into a rug. First Geraldine is clipped. Then her wool is spun into fine, strong yarn. Finally, Glenmae weaves the wool on her loom. They reader learns, along with Geraldine, about the care and pride involved in the weaving of a Navajo rug — and about cooperation between friends.”
If you decided to purchase any of these books, please consider doing so via the links on the JMF site. Amazon gives us a small percentage of each sale that originates from this site and we will be donating that money to Heifer International this year, in the name of the readers of the Juniper Moon Farm blog. If you aren’t familiar with Heifer’s work, you can read about it here.
To date, we have earned enough money to purchase a sheep for a family in need, but I would love to donate a whole flock!
Besides doing amazing work the world over, I will be forever grateful to Heifer for bringing my BFF Kristin McCurry into my life. Kris and I met nearly 10 years ago at a Heifer Women’s Weekend and I can’t imagine my life without her. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in a Heifer workshop, I highly recommend you go. Heifer’s mission attracts amazing people and you are sure to meet lots of amazing women with similar interests.


  1. That was almost ten years ago, wasn’t it? Gee, I’m certain I have not aged ten years.

    • Susan

      November 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Neither of us have. The Fountain of Youth is located just outside Little Rock, apparently.

  2. I am SO SO excited to see Yetsa’s Sweater on this list! The author, Sylvia Olsen, is a friend of mine and her work on Cowichan sweaters is AMAZING – she has a (non-children’s) book on the history of Cowichan sweater knitting called “Working with Wool”, which I highly recommend.

    What a great post, I love it!

  3. I’m a book giver too–the cheap plastic s**t doesn’t even last the day usually. In my experience much of it is never played with even once after the big day. I love “Shall I Knit You a Hat,” it’s one of my favorites.

  4. I thought I was becoming “that Aunt” as well. When I showed up to the third Christmas in a row (in-laws) with books, I was delighted to overhear my 10 year old niece whisper to her 12 year old cousin “Yay, Aunt Kara brought books again!” The recipients might be happier about their books than you think.

  5. Another good knitting book is Warm As Wool. I taught my girls to knit after reading this book.

  6. What a lovely list. Here’s another book by a New Zealand author :-)

  7. Can I suggest an addition to your list? _Pelle’s New Suit_ by Elsa Beskow has a similar theme/ plot to the one you describe for the out-of-print _A New Coat for Anna_. Pelle is a little boy with a sheep whom he raises for its wool. Then he barters with his relatives and neighbors to turn the fleece of his dear sheep into a new blue suit. It’s a favorite of mine to give as a gift.

  8. Weaving the Rainbow is one of my all-time favorites! I wish I could buy the pictures to frame for my walls! SO So lovely!

  9. I’m all for giving books and this list is excellent

  10. Jane from Maryland

    November 11, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I also loved Extra Yarn by Ric Barnett and Ron Klassen. Features knitting and a fun story line. I love this list. It should go into the archives!

  11. My Mom bought me both A New Coat for Anna and Pella’s New Suit for Christmas last year. So happy to see this list. Another great post Susie!

  12. I, too, am turning into the auntie that gives books, but I tell myself that I’m the auntie who picks out AWESOME books unlike my own book-giving aunt, who, if memory serves, gifted my 11 year old self with Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography (to be fair, she also introduced me to Anne of Green Gables and Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising trilogy, so it wasn’t all bad).

    And luckily, most of the kids I buy books for LOVE books, so it’s a mutually rewarding relationship.

  13. Gah, hit submit too soon – I meant to also say thank you for the delightful suggestions of books to add to my list of gift possibilities!

  14. Don’t forget The Mitten! That was my favorite knitting related book growing up!

  15. Thank you for sharing these Susan! (For those of you who are wondering where she came up with this *amazingly* thorough list, Suzie majored in children’s literature in undergrad. Go figure.) “Shall I knit You A Hat?” is a personal favorite – I’ve read it to Lou countless times over the years. It’s too bad he’s getting to0 old for that reading level, but I’m thrilled he still wants me to read to him before bed. :)

  16. Books are absolutely the best gifts. I just spent two hours cleaning out the boy’s toy box post birthday, knowing full well I’ll be repeating the task after Christmas. A truck is a truck is a truck and the child can play with the same one for a year and be happy. But every book is a magically find and helps make the bedtime routine interesting for parent and child. Hurray for book givers!

  17. Thanks for such a treasure of amazing books for children. Yes, Yetsa’s Sweater is a wonderful and beautiful book for children – and for any grandmother who is a knitter as well.

  18. non-post related comment. Susan, I posted a comment on the ‘By Hand’ blog about the pasta recipe in the more recent post, using a mixer. The recipe says 3 eggs and the picture shows 4 yolks. I posted it on 11/7. Do you know the correct # of eggs? I didn’t look to see if the recipe was different from the hand made recipe, but really don’t know enough about cooking to know if the # of eggs would be different in hand vs. machine pasta. Thanks!!

    • Susan

      November 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Hey Fran. I’m sorry about that. Ignore the picture- I should have mentioned that the picture was for a larger batch. :)

  19. I like to give kids books about cheap plastic crap. Does that count?

  20. Don’t know why this list of books has prompted me to ask how your milk cow is doing, but it has. Are you milking? Making cheese? I have a cheese in the press right now. Monterey Jack.

    • Susan

      November 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      Ashley, Luna is great! We aren’t milking anymore and Emily weaned Stella last week, so it’s time to re-breed our girl. Expect a newsy post about AI soon.

  21. Carolyn made it to Wovember!! JMF is getting a good bit of press over there!

  22. Thank you so much for all the book recommendations! While having kids is still a few years away for my partner and I, I’ve always got my eyes open for sweet kids’ books (especially if there are sheep or honey bees involved). I’ll definitely order through your links and contribute to Heifer when I eventually buy some. :-) Thanks again!


  23. Leslie from California

    November 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    THANK YOU! I love the list of books. I’m also the crazy aunt who gifts with books! I love books and love to read. My first reading experience when I choose to pick up a book on my own and read was Old Yeller, I was probably around 8 or 9 yo. I will share this list with a friend of mine who takes time with a local orphanage and has recently done a book drive for the kids!

  24. I probably don’t need to tell you that I have always been That Aunt who gives books. Christmas, birthdays, baby showers — they’re my go-to gift. I’m a librarian for a reason. 😉

    You simply MUST add the delightful book “Extra Yarn” to your list — it’s the one I’m giving all my young friends these days.

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