IB PYP Learner Profile Booklist – Early Years Collection

Maggie Hos-McGrane
3 min read
Timeless resource to unpack the attributes
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A question I often get asked when doing workshops or school visits is how to talk about the attributes of the learner profile in a way that is authentic to young children. For some schools, it is often a challenge to build a collective understanding of the learner profile attribute with parents and the wider community. Yet, it is our responsibility as teachers to ensure that students understand and demonstrate the learner profile attributes.

Of course, it is possible to notice these attributes in students as and when they occur. However, I have found that a more proactive and impactful approach is for teachers to use children’s literature as a provocation to talk about these attributes with their students.

My approach when creating this booklist

There are literally thousands of children’s books and many teachers can be overwhelmed by which books are the best ones to use.  

As I put together this list, (4 books for each learner profile) I carefully considered the balance between genders, humans, and animals. I also focussed on choosing books of authors from various countries in order to support the IB’s mission of promoting international-mindedness.

You will find that many of the books from this list are useful for more than one learner profile attribute. They’re also helpful while dealing with some of the concepts that are addressed in units of inquiry in the early years programme.

To increase accessibility of the resource, I also looked for books that are easily available with videos on YouTube. Some children respond really well to classroom read alouds by the teacher, while others may prefer more engaging forms like multimedia – the sounds and music that may accompany the stories when viewed as a video.

How you can use this booklist in your classroom

Since many early years children cannot yet read, the books have been chosen for their use as read alouds.  Read-alouds are important for early readers as they engage students in the reading process and help the development of vocabulary and comprehension.  Children who are read to frequently are usually keen to become readers themselves.

How to make your read-aloud sessions engaging:

  • When reading books aloud, think of this almost as a “performance”. Use different voices for different characters, add changes in your narration pace, volume, pitch, and tone.
  • Pause frequently and ask students questions to check for understanding.
  • Engage your class by asking them to predict what happens next, or ask them to comment about what they’re hearing. This will develop their listening and speaking skills, as well as help them connect what they’re hearing to their prior knowledge.

If you’re teaching remotely:

Since many early years children cannot yet read, the books have been chosen for their use as read alouds.  Read-alouds are important for early readers as they engage students in the reading process and help the development of vocabulary and comprehension.  Children who are read to frequently are usually keen to become readers themselves.

  • Record expressive read alouds using Toddle’s audio recording functionality. 
  • After the read aloud, pose a question to your students through the audio feature, asking students to record their answers. 
  • Students can send their responses to you through the audio recording feature on Toddle’s student app
  • Beyond asking for audio responses, you can also encourage the young learners to draw pictures and post them on Toddle to show you. Giving students opportunities to express themselves in diverse ways can help them reflect effectively!
  • It’s integral that parents support young learner in accessing these read alouds and recording their responses. As the teacher, you could share a schedule and accompanying set of expectations on how students need to share their responses.

Read alouds are a big part of developing a connection with your early years students. I hope the recommended reading is enjoyable for them and if they’re currently learning remotely, help them feel closer to you.


Lola’s family are from Dominica in the Caribbean, but are now living in The Bronx. When Lola’s teacher asks the class to draw a picture of their country, Lola becomes an inquirer to collect the memories of her family and neighbours
By Junot Diaz
The Snowy Day
This is the story of Peter, an African American boy, who explores his neighbourhood on a snowy day. He brings a snowball home, but is surprised to discover that it melts.
By Ezra Jack Keats
Mr. Archimedes’ Bath
Mr Archimedes is having a bath with lots of different animals. However every time they get into the bath it overflows. Tired of cleaning up the mess, Mr Archimedes decides to find out where the water comes from and who is responsible for it splashing over the side.
By Pamela Allen
Are You My Mother?
A baby bird hatches out of an egg but his mother has flown away looking for food. The baby bird searches for his mother by inquiring of each animal that he meets, “Are you my mother?” He also asks other objects such as a plane and a boat. Eventually the little bird and his mother are reunited.
By P. D. Eastman


Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type
Farmer Brown’s cows find a typewriter and start to type letters to the farmer asking for various requests such as electric blankets to keep them warm at night. When Farmer Brown refuses, they go on strike and soon more of the farm animals join in.
By Doreen Cronin
Hooway For Woodney Wat
Rodney Rat is teased at school because of his speech impediment, however when a new student joins that everyone is afraid of, Rodney is able to catch her out in a game of Simon Says and to save the whole class from the bully.
By Helen Lester
Same, Same But Different
Elliott and Kailash are penpals. One lives in America and one lives in India. They exchange letters and pictures and come to understand that they both have similar - but different - lives.
By Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
The Day The Crayons Quit
A boy receives letters from each of his crayons who complain they are either being used too much or not enough. He resolves the problem by making a drawing with all of them.
By Drew Daywalt


Ralf the sausage dog is a little dog who takes up a lot of space and is always getting in the way. One night the house catches on fire and Ralph stretches his body to save his sleeping family.
By Jean Jullien
Hugless Douglas
Baby bear Douglas wakes up one day in need of a hug. He tries hugging lots of things, and discovers that not a lot of creatures want to hug a bear. The book teaches children that if something goes wrong they need to tell an adult. Eventually Douglas gets a hug from his mother.
By David Melling
The Old Egg
All the birds except Duck have an egg. However Duck finds a beautiful egg of his own and he is delighted to adopt it. Despite the negativity from the other birds, Duck loves and cares for the egg. Everyone is in for a surprise when all the eggs hatch.
By Emily Gravett
The Lumberjack’s Beard
Jim the lumberjack spends his days chopping down trees. Unfortunately these trees are the homes of various animals, so Jim gives them a home in his beard while he replants the forest. Jim takes responsibility for his actions and makes amends for the problems he has created.
By Duncan Beedie


Ramon loves to draw, but his older brother’s remarks about his art discourage Ramon. Luckily his little sister shows him that there is more to being creative than getting things right.
By Peter H. Reynolds
The message of this book is that more is not always better. A magpie, known for hoarding, collects so many objects in his nest that it crashes to the ground. What becomes more meaningful than possessions, is the friendship of the mice who rescue the bird.
By By I. C. Springman
Little Pea
Little Pea is a small yellow-green pea who enjoys life playing with his friends but he does not like to eat candy. However he needs to eat five pieces in order to get his favourite dessert of spinach. This is a story about picky eaters with a twist.
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The Way I Feel
This book contains vivid images and simple rhymes so that children will connect words with emotions. They learn that feelings are not good or bad, but are a normal part of life.
By Janan Cain

Open minded

Feathers And Fools
Two flocks of birds did not respect each other’s differences and ended up going to war until there were no birds left. Luckily two eggs remained, and when the baby swan and baby peacock hatched out they realised how similar they were and became friends.
By Mem Fox
Stellaluna, a young fruit-bat, falls into a nest of baby sparrows and has to learn how to behave like a bird in order to be accepted. When she later meets other bats she understands why she feels so different. Stellaluna shares her experiences with her sparrow friends, and has to rescue them because they cannot fly at night. After this they decide that while they are different, they are still friends and family.
By Janell Cannon
Sky Color
Marisol is asked by her teacher to paint a mural for the school library. However Marisol cannot find any blue paint, and she wonders how she can paint the sky. Looking out of the window at sunset helps her understand the the sky isn’t always blue.
By Peter H. Reynolds
Only One You
This book is about how everyone is unique and has special gifts that can be used for good. It contains a parent’s advice about being true to you and using your strengths in the big, wide world.
By Linda Kranz


The Name Jar
After moving from Korea, Unhei is teased because the students cannot pronounce her name. Her kind classmates put names into a jar to help her to choose a new name, though in the end she chooses her own and teaches the students how to pronounce it.
By Yangsook Choi
Whoops! But It Wasn’t Me
Charlie has worked hard to make a rocket ship out of recycled materials and he asks Lola not to touch it, but when Lola is on her own she ends up breaking it. When Charlie finds out, Lola first of all denies any wrongdoing and blames her imaginary friend. Eventually she owns up and says sorry. Charlie is happy she told the truth.
By Lauren Child
The Grizzy Bear Who Lost His Grrrrr!
For several years, Fred has won the Best Bear in the Wood award. However the arrival of a new bear, Boris, and the loss of Fred’s champion GRRRRR put his title in jeopardy. Eventually Boris admits he has stolen the roar because he was lonely
By Rob Biddulph
Ruby Bridges Goes To School: My True Story
This is the true story of Ruby Bridges who became the first African-American to attend an all-white school in New Orleans.
By Ruby Bridges

Risk takers

Reading Between The Lions
This is a rhyming story about Lionel who is being bullied by Picky Pete. Lionel has two stone lions in his garden who given him advice about now showing bullies the you are scared and how to stand up for himself and to confront the bully
By Gillian Swordy
Giraffes Can’t Dance
A picture book about being yourself and dancing to your own tune. Gerald the giraffe wants to take part in the jungle dance, but the other animals laugh at him. Encouraged by a friendly cricket, Gerald is inspired to find the rhythm inside him and learns that it is OK to be different.
By Giles Andreae
Swimmy is a black fish living in a school of red fish. After his family are eaten by a tuna fish, Swimmy swims through the ocean to find another school of fish. These fish are afraid of being eaten if they play in the sea so Swimmy comes up with a plan to keep everyone safe.
By Leo Lionni
You Can Do It, Bert!
This is a story about facing our fears of the unknown and taking a leap of faith. Bert is frightened of jumping for the first time. He heads to the edge of the branch, but keeps putting of making the big leap. Eventually, encouraged by his friends, he steps off the branch.
By Ole Könnecke


This is a story about a pair of chopsticks who do everything together, yet have to find out how to discover the world on their own after one of them gets injured and has to recover. They learn that it can be fun to do things on your own or with another group of friends.
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Belching Hill
This is a retelling of a traditional Japanese folktale. An old woman lives at the top of Belching Hill, but one day a rice dumpling falls from her hand into a cavern full of ogres. They demand that she cooks for them, and she must think of a way to safely escape back to her house.
By Morse Hamilton
The Marvellous Moon Map
Mouse sets off to find the moon using his homemade Marvellous Moon Map. His friend Bear wants to be more organised and plan the trip. Mouse ends up lost in the woods and discovers he needs more than a map to find his way, but Bear finds a way to save the day.
By Teresa Heapy
What Should I Make?
When Neeraj’s mother is making chapatis she gives him some dough to play with. Neeraj turns his little ball of dough into a snake, a mouse, a cat and a lion as he uses his imagination to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary.
By Nandini Nayar


Here We Are
This is a young child’s guidebook to the natural and man-made features of Earth. The picture book is about the mountains, oceans, sky, stars and planets, animals and people. There is no story, though the book inspires tolerance and respect.
By Oliver Jeffers
Dog Loves Books
Dog loves books so much that he opens his own bookshop. He doesn’t have many customers but he reads the books and his imagination is full of friends and fun. When customers come to his shop, he always knows just which books to recommend.
By Louise Yates
When Ling Sung goes to school he discovers that there are many things his classmates can do that he cannot yet do - but there is on thing he can do that nobody else can - he can use chopsticks.
By Bernard Ashley
Heckedy Peg
In this classic children’s story a mother goes to market leaving her seven children at home. Shortly afterwards the witch Heckedy Peg comes by and turns them into food. When the mother returns she has to use her knowledge of each child to guess which food each child is in order to save them.
By Audrey Wood


Tiger, Tiger, Is It True?
The little tiger feels sad and that his world is falling apart, but a wise turtle asks him four questions and he comes to realise that his problems are caused by his thoughts. He learns that when he questions his thoughts that life can be wonderful again.
By Byron Katie and Hans Wilhelm
Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry
Martha the otter refuses to apologise, but she comes to realise that there are consequences associated with both positive and negative behaviour.
By Samantha Berger
The Cocky Who Cried Dingo
This Australian version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf features a cockatoo who plays jokes on his fellow birds. One day he comes face to face with a dingo and no-one believes his cry for help prompting him to learn a valuable lesson.
By Yvonne Morrison
The Thankful Book
Children and animals reflect on what they are grateful for: family, friends and kindness. The book prompts young children to think about the basic, everyday things in life that they can be thankful for.
By Todd Parr

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Maggie Hos-McGrane
Maggie Hos-McGrane
Maggie has been an educator for over 30 years, 25 of these in international schools in Europe and Asia. She has taught students from age 3 to 18 in the IB PYP, MYP and DP programmes. Maggie has presented at international conferences including ISTE, Learning2, ECIS, AASSA and EARCOS, in Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America. She is passionate about the power of coaching to transform teaching and learning in schools. Maggie is a Google Innovator and has published several books about digital citizenship and technology integration as well as a recent book about coaching your colleagues in school. Maggie’s blog, Tech Transformation, has been read by over a million educators worldwide. In 2012 Maggie was recognized as one of the 365 heroes of education by Anthony Salcito, the Vice-President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft.
Disclaimer - This resource has been produced independently of and not endorsed by the IB. Toddle’s resources seek to encourage sharing of perspectives and innovative ideas for classroom teaching & learning. They are not intended to be replacements for official IB guides and publications. Views and opinions expressed by the authors of these resources are personal and should not be construed as official guidance by the IB. Please seek assistance from your school’s IB coordinator and/or refer to official IB documents before implementing ideas and strategies shared within these resources in your classroom.