Children, Books, and Learning About Organizing

Animated girl holding a book. Children, books, and learning about organizing.
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

School is back in session, the perfect time for some new books! If you have young people in your life, why not introduce them to some books that can kickstart their learning about organizing? Books can be the perfect way to “bring up” a topic without instructing, lecturing, or nagging.

Here are some books you might want to bring into your life.

[Note: I am not being compensated to promote any of these books, nor am I receiving compensation if you buy one.]

Picture Books for Little Listeners

Clean-Up Time (Board Book), By Elizabeth Verdick, Illustrated by Marieka Heinlen

Toddlers will look forward to clean-up time with this simple rhyming book that encourages them to chant along as they tidy up. Young children learn to work together to put items in their place, make a neater space, keep a smile on their face—and make room for more fun. Delightful illustrations enhance the text. An award-winning author/illustrator team offers a fresh look at the times and transitions all toddlers face daily, giving young children the tools to handle routines with confidence and cooperation.

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How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? (Board Book), By Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

Come along for some BIG fun as your favorite dinosaurs learn to pick up and put away their toys. How do dinosaurs clean their rooms? With trash cans and dusters and brooms! Now Jane Yolen’s playful, read-aloud text and Mark Teague’s hilarious illustrations show your own little dinosaurs just how fun and easy it can be. Brimming with the same infectious humor as the other HOW DO DINOSAURS tales, this new board book is a perfect companion to the immensely popular picture books and a great baby gift as well.

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Just a Mess, By Mercer Mayer

Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter has made quite the mess in this classic, funny, and heartwarming book. Whether he’s shoving junk under the bed, cramming toys in the closet, or overstuffing drawers with clothes, both parents and children alike will relate to this beloved story. A perfect way to teach kids about picking up after themselves!

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Kiki & Jax: The Life-changing Magic of Friendship, By Marie Kondo, co-written and illustrated by Salina Yoon

Kiki and Jax are best friends, but they couldn’t be more different. The one thing they always agree on is how much fun they have together. But when things start to get in the way, can they make space for what has always sparked joy—each other?

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The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room, By Stan & Jan Berenstain

Come for a visit in Bear Country with this classic First Time Book® from Stan and Jan Berenstain. Mama and Papa are frustrated that Brother and Sister can’t seem to pick up after themselves. Will the cubs ever learn to clean up their messes?

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Tidy Tessa, By Naeemah Ford Goldson, illustrated by Tayliyah Chatmon

Tidy Tessa is a fairy who follows a gust of wind to find children all over the world who need help navigating through their messy rooms. Join Tidy Tessa on a magical journey as she helps kids learn how to organize their things! Written by Certified Professional Organizer® Naeemah Ford Goldson, Tidy Tessa will have your children cleaning and organizing their rooms regularly. This book is especially helpful if you have kids who never know where to find their things. They will learn the basic steps of decluttering at a young age, which will assist in helping them lead more productive lives as they grow older.

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Benji’s Messy Room, By Diane N. Quintana and Jonda S. Beattie

Benji is a typical, active five-year-old little boy. He loves playing with all his toys in his room and sometimes creates a real mess! When his mother asks him to pick up his room, Benji is overwhelmed and doesn’t know how to begin. Benji’s mother helps him complete the job by breaking the project into small tasks that Benji is able to finish easily. Doing this teaches Benji how to get organized.

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Suzie’s Messy Room, By Diane N. Quintana and Jonda S. Beattie

Suzie is a typical, active five-year-old little girl. She loves playing with all her toys in her room and sometimes creates a real mess! When her mother asks her to pick up her room, Suzie is overwhelmed and doesn’t know how to begin. Suzie’s mother helps her complete the job by breaking the project into small tasks that Suzie is able to finish easily.

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Cameron’s Organized Day, By Kathleen Cowley, illustrated by Dwain Esper

From clothes to cereal and tools to bugs, Cameron discovers how much fun it is to sort and organize throughout the day, when he gets up in the morning and while visiting his grandparents. He learns about organizing by helping Mutsi find a special pair of earrings, helping Grampy organize his tools, and even collecting roly-polys, worms, and snails outside. 

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Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff, By Stacy C. Bauer, Illustrated by Rebecca Sinclair

Cami Kangaroo doesn’t think so! Cami loves stuff! Rocks, shells, feathers, toys…she loves it all. Stuff is great for collecting, sorting, and building. There’s only one problem: her room is so FILLED with stuff it’s nearly impossible to find anything!

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More , By I.C. Springman, illustrated by Brian Lies

Can a team of well-intentioned mice save their magpie friend from hoarding too much stuff? With breathtaking illustrations from the New York Times best-selling Brian Lies, this book about conservation wraps an important message in a beautiful package.

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Ophelia: Let’s Get Organized, By Vickie Dellaquila, illustrated by Kristine Purcell Sacco

Lucy was having trouble finding things in her room. She can’t find her soccer shoe and doesn’t want to be late again.
“I wish I could find my stuff!” Lucy sobbed. “I don’t know what to do!”

Ophelia the Organizer see’s Lucy’s problem, and is about to give her a surprise visit…

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Respect and Take Care of Things, By Cheri J. Meiners

Everything has a place. Things last longer when we take care of them. Respect, responsibility, and stewardship are concepts that even young children can relate to—because they have things they value. This book encourages children to pick up after themselves, put things back where they belong, and ask permission to use things that don’t belong to them. It also teaches simple environmental awareness: respecting and taking care of the earth. 

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I Can’t Find My Whatchamacallit!!, By Julia Cook, illustrated by Michelle Hazelwood Hyde

Cletus and Bocephus are cousins, yet they are nothing alike. Extremely creative Cletus can’t find anything in his room. He is constantly losing things and is very disorganized and messy. Bocephus, on the other hand, is the most organized, uptight person on the planet. If Bocephus ever misplaces anything… he totally freaks out! After Cletus mom refuses to let him play with Bocephus until his room is cleaned, Bocephus steps in to help out his disorganized cousin.

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For Early Readers

Fancy Nancy Too Many Tutus, By Jane O’Connor, Illustrations based on the art of Robin Preiss Glasser (I Can Read, Level 1)

Fancy Nancy’s closet is bulging (that’s a fancy way of saying it won’t close). Nancy’s mom thinks she should give away some of her tutus—but Nancy knows a fancy girl can never have too many tutus! But when Ms. Glass tells her class they will have a fancy swap-and-shop at school, will Nancy bring in some tutus to trade? And what happens when she finds the tutu of her dreams?

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Days with Frog and Toad – Tomorrow, By Arnold Lobel (I Can Read, Level 2)

Frog and Toad enjoy spending their days together. They fly kites, celebrate Toad’s birthday, and share the shivers when Frog tells a scary story. In the first of five stories in the book, Toad learns the value of doing things today, instead of putting things off until tomorrow.

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A Place for Everything, By Sean Covey, illustrated by Stacy Curtis (Ready-to-Read Level 2)

Jumper loves playing basketball, but when he wears the wrong shoes and can’t find anything in his messy room, he misses the game. Can he clean up his act so this doesn’t happen again?

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For Tweens and Teens

Stressy Jessy, By Carmel Shami, illustrated by Rami Bar-Segev

Join Jessy as he learns how to begin to feel calmer and embrace the peace and joy in his life! Watch as he learns to calm his anxious and uneasy thoughts distracting him from fun, friends, school, and even sleep! Follow along as Jessy’s mom helps him learn fun, unique, and helpful tools that teach him how to organize his thoughts, calm his mind, and bring peace to his life.

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How to do Homework Without Throwing Up, By Trevor Romain, illustrated by Steve Mark

Homework can be horrible! But homework isn’t going anywhere, and kids need to learn to do it—without throwing up. This updated classic provides specific tips for starting, doing, and finishing homework—and maybe even laughing while they learn. Kids will also learn how to make a homework schedule, when to do the hardest homework (first!), the benefits of doing homework, and more—serious suggestions delivered with wit and humor because laughter makes learning fun.

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See You Later, Procrastinator!, By Pamela Espeland & Elizabeth Verdick, illustrated by Steve Mark

Kids today are notorious for putting things off—it’s easy for homework and chores to take a backseat to playing video games, hanging out with friends, watching television, or surfing online. Full-color cartoons and kid-friendly text teach kids how to get motivated, stay motivated, and get things done.

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How to Do It Now Because It’s Not Going Away, By Leslie Josel

Teens are having to manage their time and attention now more than ever. Here is an expert guide to getting stuff done.

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Organizing From the Inside Out for Teens, By Julie Morgenstern with Jessi Morgenstern-Colon

Jessi Says…

What’s My Payoff?
My bedroom is my home base and keeping it organized is a must. If my room isn’t in solid condition, it’s difficult to keep the rest of my life on track. Here are some other reasons that motivate me to keep my room organized:
– My room is the only space on the entire planet that is solely mine.
– My organized room allows me to maximize my space and time.
– My room boosts my confidence.
– My room gives others (especially my mom!) confidence in me.
– Organizing my room allows me to do what I want, when I want.

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Where’s My Stuff?, By Samantha Moss with Lesley Martin

A comprehensive guide for young adults on how to organize schoolwork, lockers, bedrooms, and even schedules. Take a quiz to identify your organizing style and get great advice about making decisions, purging closets, and creating the perfect space to relax, work, and store belongings. With fun and useful illustrations, easy-to-follow charts, and ample doses of humor, Where’s My Stuff? is an incredible asset for anyone who wants to get it together and keep it together, for good. Newly updated for readers living in a digital world, this 2nd edition includes tips on managing online files and backups, digital planners, and more.

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Reading offers a fresh avenue for learning at all ages. What books would you add to this list?

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24 thoughts on “Children, Books, and Learning About Organizing”

  1. What an incredible collection! I had no idea there were this many organizing book options for kids. It’s nice to see Diane, Jonda, and Vickie represented here.

    Growing up, my two favorite ‘organizing-related’ books were “A Pile of Junk” by Miriam Schlein (1962) and another about shoes, but I don’t recall the name. At the time, I didn’t realize how much they influenced my thinking.

    1. I love that you have memories of books that influenced your thoughts on organizing. The authors had no idea what a “pillar” they inspired! So terrific!

    1. My children loved books, so it was a joy to put together. Some are old favorites, but there are many new ones – like yours! Thanks for all you and Diane do. 🙂

    1. The beauty of a book is it can just be something you read about, not a lecture. You can just read the book with the child and then walk away and let them think about it, right? Thanks for all you and Jonda have done!

    1. I agree that all of these skills should be taught in school. Many young people are quite well educated in sophisticated topics (e.g., advanced calculus), but struggle with the basics, such as planning, cooking, and personal finance.

    1. It was fun to research this one. I’m thankful for so many great books. We are huge book lovers in my family, and I find books get us thinking in ways that direct conversation often cannot.

  2. What a robust and splendid list. I knew many of these, including Jonda & Diane’s Suzie and Benjy books, Vickie’s Ophelia (which I just read last year), Leslie Josel’s book for students, and the one Julie Morgenstern wrote with her daughter. But I now have an overwhelming desire to read How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms?!

    Oddly enough, my favorite organizing-related book from childhood was a hardcoer called The Big Cleanup by Harvey Weiss. A mom gives two huge boxes to her son so he can clean up his room; one is for things to keep, the other for things to throw out. (No mention is made of donating!) The book is really more about the imagination of the boy, and the potential he sees in each of the items; in the end, the only thing he’s willing to toss is one of the boxes, and then realizes he can turn it into a puppet state. (Upcycling?) It’s more of a Walter Mitty kind of book for kids than a guide to organizing, but I’ve always kept it in mind to remind me that one man’s trash is another one’s treasure.

    Thanks for writing such a great post. I bet a lot of parents and kids will get joy from this!
    Julie Bestry recently posted…Paper Doll Says: Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut — Take Big LeapsMy Profile

    1. I’ve never heard of that book, but it is making me laugh. I have worked with some kids who might feel the same way that this boy did. Kids have such terrific imaginations that almost anything can be a toy. 🙂

  3. I love this post! I wish I had these books when my children were little. I could have used this help myself when I was a child. It’s a good suggestion for a baby gift also. Thanks for the insight.

    Dianne

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