Books About Leonardo da Vinci

An artist, an inventor, a scientist, an engineer . . . da Vinci is one of the most famous people in history! His life and his work still fascinate people today. The books on this list will give your children a glimpse into Leonardo da Vinci’s life and some of his most famous pieces of work. They’ll learn about his curiosity, his perseverance, and the inventions that put him centuries ahead of his time! We’ve included comic-style books for young learners and a few formal biographies for older kids. Let’s get started!

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I Am Leonardo da Vinci Brad Meltzer

This biography is written in first-person, so it’s like da Vinci is taking kids on a personal tour of his life! Much of the book focuses on how da Vinci followed his curiosity, kept asking questions, and never gave up on his ideas. The comic-style illustrations are sure to appeal to kids, and many of them feature speech bubbles alongside the characters to add an extra dimension to the story. Read this one with elementary kids.

Leonardo da Vinci: Extraordinary Machines David Hawcock

Open this book and you’ll see six 3D pop ups featuring some of da Vinci’s most inspiring inventions. Each spread is focused on one area of da Vinci’s exploration: warfare, flight, the knight, the lion, and so on. There are also fold out flaps on each spread that make the presence of this book even more massive! This is the perfect book for elementary kids who like hands-on learning

Leonardo da Vinci: The Genius Who Defined the Renaissance John Phillips

This detailed biography is ideal for upper elementary kids. It includes illustrations, photographs, and reproductions of da Vinci’s work. There’s also a timeline that runs near the bottom on each page. The information is engaging and gives children a true look into da Vinci’s life and work.

Magic Tree House: Monday with a Mad Genius Mary Pope Osborne

In this edition of the Magic Tree House, Jack and Annie travel back in time to the Renaissance. Throughout the adventure, children will learn about what life was like in the 16th century. They’ll also hear about da Vinci’s ideas, inventions, and art. The book does a fantastic job of intertwining magic and reality so kids never lose interest. Use this book as a read-aloud for early elementary children or give it to upper elementary children to read on their own.

The Renaissance Artists Diane C. Taylor

Use this book to introduce your children to five of the most famous Renaissance artists: Michelangelo, da Vinci, Titian, Botticelli, and Raphael. Children will read a biography on the artist and see reproductions of a few of their works. The timelines enable kids to connect the life and work of the artist with what else was happening in the world at that time. There are hands-on activities and reflection questions in every chapter, too. This book is best for upper elementary and middle school kids.

Who Was Leonardo da Vinci? Roberta Edwards

See a true picture of Leonardo da Vinci in this chapter book. It highlights da Vinci’s childhood and his art career, as well as the struggles and failures he experienced. The book also includes more than 100 black-and-white illustrations. It’s a to-the-point kind of biography, making it perfect for young, independent readers who have an interest in art and STEM.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Flying Machines Andrew Dewar

With the pre-cut paper pieces included in this book, kids can experience what it’s really like to fly one of da Vinci’s inventions! There are 13 replicas of da Vinci’s famous flying machines and a 64-page guide that tells you exactly how to put them together. The book also includes reprints from da Vinci’s notebooks and illustrations that explain why each invention works. Putting each model together takes a bit of patience, so we recommend this for upper elementary and middle school kids.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Flying Machines Andrew Dewar

This creative book imagines that humans are out of the picture and dinosaurs take their place starring in some of the most famous pieces of art! Illustrations insert dinosaurs into the artwork of da Vinci, Mary Cassatt, Grandma Moses, Andy Warhol, and others. The combination of art and dinosaurs works for kids, taking away any perceptions that the art might be stuffy or dull. Preschoolers and early elementary kids are sure to laugh out loud at this one!

The Story of Leonardo da Vinci Ciara O’Neal

This illustrated biography offers a wealth of fascinating facts about Leonardo da Vinci, all told in a conversational style that kids will enjoy. They’ll learn about the characteristics that made da Vinci such a unique scientist and artist. They’ll see his childhood, teenage years, and adult life. Plus, there are several breakout sections to reinforce what they’re reading. Things like vocabulary definitions, quizzes, and think tank challenges keep them engaged. Kids in third grade and higher can read this one on their own.

Rory & Lloyd Invent with Leonardo da Vinci A.J. Mueller

Twin brothers Rory and Lloyd use their time machine to travel to meet Leonardo da Vinci in this exciting book. The text combines a mix of fun and history as the brothers learn about da Vinci's inventions and art. They'll visit the Louvre and learn what life was like for Leonardo da Vinci. Read this one with elementary children.

Magic Tree House: The Knight At Dawn Mary Pope Osborne

In the second book of the Magic Tree House series, Jack and Annie travel back in time to the Middle Ages. Together, the siblings face adventure after adventure as they explore a castle and meet a real knight. Like the other books in this series, the chapters are short and easy to read. It’s a great pick for early elementary students who are ready to start chapter books and a great first read-aloud chapter book for younger children.

The Renaissance Thinkers Diane C. Taylor

Introduce your children to the greatest scientists and philosophers from the Renaissance with this book. They’ll get an in-depth look at the life and work of five influential people: Filippo Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, Copernicus, Thomas More, and Francis Bacon. Plus, there are instructions and guidance for several hands-on projects like building arches, arguing a legal case, and creating a Utopia. Several images, timelines, and maps make this a great learning resource for upper elementary and middle school kids.

Leonardo da Vinci in 30 Seconds Paul Harrison

In this book, quick blurbs of text sit alongside bright illustrations to teach children about da Vinci and his work. This book covers several topics from da Vinci’s life like his childhood, his art, his scientific studies, his inventions, and more. Each section is prefaced with a glossary so that kids can learn new vocabulary. There’s also a quick activity to do on each page. Take this book section by section with early elementary kids or encourage older children to read it on their own.

Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions You Can Build Yourself Maxine Anderson

You can bring the ideas of Leonardo da Vinci to life with the instructions in this book! Every project has diagrams, templates, and other helpful descriptions so that kids can take the lead on creating each invention. There’s also a considerable amount of information about da Vinci and his life in this book. It’s a great combination of hands-on learning and reading that will appeal to 9-14 year olds.

Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci Gene Barretta

This book takes an incredibly interesting approach to introducing da Vinci to children: it describes modern inventions and shows how da Vinci had the idea first! It’s informative without being too sciencey for early elementary children. Bright artwork keeps the book feeling light and fun. As a bonus, there’s mirror text in the book! This is the “secret code” da Vinci frequently used in his notebooks.

Leonardo da Vinci (Genius Series) Jane Kent

This biography provides a nice overview of da Vinci’s life and his diverse interests. It begins with his childhood in Italy, thoroughly describing his artistic background and training. From there, it goes in chronological order and follows his travels. The book frequently talks about da Vinci’s inspiration and motivation for his work. Elegant illustrations fill the pages and give this book a bit of a formal feel. Read it with upper elementary children.

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