9 Picture Books About Trains

This post was written in partnership with Day Out With Thomas

There’s just something about trains that kids love. The sound, the speed, the colors; they all work together to draw in little ones.

Day Out With Thomas Indiana

No train is more loved by young children than Thomas the Tank Engine. That’s why every year, we make the trip to the Whitewater Valley Railroad in Connersville, Indiana to spend a day with Thomas and his friends. Day Out With Thomas has become a family tradition!

Day Out With Thomas Indiana

Day Out With Thomas is returning to Connersville for the for Day Out with Thomas: The Friendship Tour 2017 on June 16, 17, 18, and 23, 24 & 25. If you’ve never taken your children, you definitely need to make the trip. It’s a day full of fun that my boys look forward to every summer!

What can you expect at Day Out With Thomas?

Day Out With Thomas Indiana

  • A 25 minute round-trip train ride
  • A chance to meet Sir Topham Hatt
  • Live entertainment
  • Thomas-themed activities
  • A HUGE gift shop

Tickets start at $20 for children 2 and older, and can be purchased online. It is advised to arrive an hour ahead of departure time to park, pick up tickets and board Thomas The Tank.  Of course, feel to arrive earlier and stay later to enjoy all the Day out with Thomas activities!

Want to win tickets to Day Out With Thomas at Whitewater Valley Railroad in Connersville, Indiana on Sunday, June 25 at 3:00pm? Click here to jump to the Giveaway

We love to get ready for Day Out With Thomas by reading some of our favorite train books. I highly recommend checking some of these out before you take your ride!

9 Picture Books About Trains

Amazon links are referral links. 

Thomas and Friends Storytime Collection by Rev. W. Awdry — There are lots of books about Thomas and his friends, but I like this collection because it combines several great ones into one volume. This is a great bedtime choice for little fans of Thomas, and is the perfect thing to read before heading to a Day Out With Thomas ride!

Locomotive by Brian Floca — This gorgeous Caldecott Medal book takes a look at the history of trains. Kids will love looking at the beautiful illustrations, and the descriptive writing makes the reader feel like they are right there riding the rails. This is an excellent read aloud that children will want to hear over and over.

Steam, Smoke, and SteelBack in Time With Trains by Patrick O’Brien — Climb aboard a modern day train, and then take a trip back in time to learn about how rail travel has evolved over the years. This book is a fun read for younger kids, but also has enough interesting facts to hold the attention of school-aged children.

Two Little Trains by Margaret Wise Brown — The author of Goodnight, Moon shares a sweet story about two little trains that puff and chug as they head west. This is the perfect train book for preschoolers, who will love the rhythm and repetition.

The Little Train by Lois Lenski — Originally published in the 1940s, this book has a beautiful retro style. Follow Mr. Small as he travels to and from Tinytown, picking up passengers and cargo along the way. Readers will get a basic introduction to how trains work.

The Little Engine That Could by Wally Piper — In my opinion, every child should have a copy of this classic. This timeless story of believing in yourself teaches a positive lesson, and the vintage-style illustrations are as engaging now as they were when this story was first published. Make sure this book is in your library!

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker — This train book has become a modern classic! The Dream Train races along the track, filling up with fun and funny items that are sure to guarantee sweet dreams. This is the perfect bedtime book for little train-lovers.

Freight Train by Donald Crews — This bright and bold book teaches colors as it follows a train speeding along the track. I remember reading this book with my mom as a child, and it became a favorite with my own children and many classes of students.

Trains Don’t Sleep by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum — This rhyming story follows a train through various environments. You may get sleepy on your train “trip,” but trains never do — trains don’t sleep, so you can! This book also includes an illustrated glossary.


I’m giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to Day Out With Thomas in Connersville for Sunday, June 25 at 3:00pm. Fill out the form below to enter! And here’s another chance to win from Indy With Kids!

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Crystal is an activist, feminist, and mom of three. She loves reading, crochet, and enjoying her family and friends. She lives with her family in Indianapolis.

One thought on “9 Picture Books About Trains

  1. Hi Crystal – I know I’m coming to this post years later than you wrote it, but I have a question you seem like you might be well equipped to answer. I have a 5-year-old brother who’s OBSESSED with trains. We’ve got a 30-year age gap (!), and though we both have the same father, he’s a white boy and I’m a mixed-race transgender adult who grew up as a girl. There are privileges I see him take for granted that I want to gently push back on in the limited ways available to me. I am trying and trying to find him books about trains that feature women in them, and having a very hard time! My concern is that the railroad is such a historically male-dominated industry that even when he’s watching train documentaries or flipping through nonfiction books, everyone he’s seeing is male, and most of the people are white. (I’ve found great train books with characters of color, but those are generally about men and boys, and the few stories about women in the railroad are mostly adult reference books dealing with WWII.) Even the trains in Thomas the Tank Engine are almost all meant to be male. I am concerned about some of the dismissive things he says about girls and women, especially so young, and I’d love to find books that feature strong and clever female characters that he’ll actually read and enjoy… and right now, that means they have to be about trains too. Any ideas?? I know that mailing the kid a stack of picture books can’t make up for what he is and isn’t learning at home but his parents are busy and doing their best, and I just want to help! Thanks very much in advance.

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