10 Engaging Story-Based Spatial Books For Preschoolers

Last Updated on October 6, 2023 by Editorial Team

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Spatial skills make an individual learn and interact with objects around them. Understanding what’s up, down and directions may be examples of these attributes. Being a significant personality attribute, cultivating these at a tender age may help.  

Activities are often the preferred way of developing skills but a set of interesting books may make up a noteworthy source to satisfy the investigative mindset of little ones. These spatial books come with gripping narratives with an emphasis on directions, angles, and shapes, assisting the little learners to learn practically about spatial inferences. 

Several books are available to assist readers spatially, and a few of them are worth reading for their visual attire and engagement. That being the case, here we suggest a list of 10 curated books that may be helpful for young ones to master spatial abilities. 

Can books be beneficial in enhancing spatial awareness skills in preschoolers?

While books often aid in the development of academic skills, the central point behind book reading is oftentimes to ameliorate learning and visualizing abilities. Some appropriate books may assist the readers to feel the spatial depth with them. Below are a few areas in which books assist in enhancing spatial skills in preschoolers.

  1. Spatial terms can establish relationships in books. Spatial language is a useful technique for spatial learning. When the spatial connections are given names, little learners may learn faster. Preschoolers who read stories with more spatial vocabulary (such as triangular, huge, tall, or bent) may often score higher on spatial assessments than those who do not.
  1. Systematic learning: Books use a step-by-step approach to learning, and all information is presented in a sequential pattern. Ensuring organized resources may make their learning swifter; this way, the level of knowledge may enhance over time. 
  1. Better Visualization abilities: Visualization is the process of mentally representing a thing that is not physically there. It’s a powerful spatial reasoning and problem-solving skill. This skill may be taught to young children to help them think more spatially. When kids read books, they are easily able to Visualize.

Spatial awareness skills for preschoolers: How is this skill Pivotal?

If a trait is crucial, mastering it at an early age helps build a better personality. Consequently, areas like numbers, language, games, and discipline are taught at elementary levels. At the personal level, spatial awareness/skills play a crucial role for young learners in multiple ways. Here are some grounds to consider:

  • These attributes induce creativity at a tender age. Spatial awareness is often linked to the ability to form a proper image in mind about an entity. When this is grasped, there may be a huge scope of innovative approaches on several grounds apart from academics. An article[1] by Douglas Quenqua marks out that spatial skills aligned with visualization are often a sign of creativity. 
  • Ensures better use of Manipulatives. Spatial perception and activities with these resources are often interlinked.  Even though a problem and a manipulative are offered to the students, they may need to be able to employ them only with awareness of their 2D and 3D orientations. 
  • It often acts as a foundation of higher concepts. Students who can visually discern a multi-dimensional view of entities may make their way easy to learn STEM subjects. Say, an angle of intersection to a shape may be effortlessly grasped when the shape can be perceived from multiple proportions.
  • Can be taught along with physical education. With an enthusiasm for sports and games, little learners may need these skills.  To identify a ball or a toy at a distance obligates spatial skills, and it may be effortlessly taught as a part of physical education too.  Nikki Hollet[2] conducted research on these areas and found that apart from elementary physical education, these abilities may also be integrated into other subjects as well. 

Spatial books for preschoolers- Our recommendations 

 Below are some of the best spatial books for preschoolers that they will enjoy reading. These books may help in developing spatial skills among children.

1. Up down around by Katherine Ayers

Up down around by Katherine Ayers

Up, Down, and Around is a picture book by Katherine Ayers and Nadine Bernard Westcott that demonstrates how plants grow in different ways. This book has a lot of spatial references to engage the reader. A few instances include seeds dropping into the soil, butterflies flying in certain directions, or the dimensions of the tunnel. 

The picture and narrations may also be considered admirable making it a good spatial pick of books.. The colorful visuals aid in the introduction of prepositions; these grow in size in perspective to convey direction — toward the earth, sky, or around. When reading aloud, youngsters may easily indulge in it since the prepositions (up, down, and around) are repeated.

2. Shrinking Mouse by Pat Hutchins

Shrinking mouse by Pat Hutchins

This novel is based on animal characters of a Fox, Rabbit, Squirrel, and Mouse. Here, their friend owl grows smaller and smaller as he flies away from them, and they come to a conclusion to rationally deduce that he is shrinking. 

The animals start off in chase one by one, and the same thing happens each time — they grow larger when they return. With facile language, even young learners looking for spatial improvement may opt for it as it may teach them about teamwork, event sequencing, and how objects seem from a distance as well since they have very similar perspectives on things. 

3. We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt by Marcia Vaughan

 We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt by Marcia Vaughan

This Halloween classic is a spin-off of the classic “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” tale. Children embark on a ghost quest that brings them to a variety of terrifying locations, including an eerie swamp and a dark cave. 

It’s often intriguing to read, but it’s much more entertaining to act out the ghost chase and the frantic sprint back to safety. Children, like the bear hunter, come across barriers and must determine whether to travel over, under, through, or any of a variety of alternative routes to reach their target. 

4. Big Bug by Henry Cole 

Big Bug by Henry Cole 

Cole has taken the notion of scale and transformed it into a captivating novel that will enchant youngsters as well as parents and instructors who are trying to teach it to young children. The luscious watercolors convey the splendor of nature while simultaneously demonstrating basic analogies. 

The sparse wording is employed to great effect throughout, showing the individual peculiarities of the objects in our environment. Cole begins with a single ladybug and progresses to the big, brilliant blue sky before returning to the smaller scale of a single ladybug crawling on a napping dog’s nose. On both the title page and the endpapers, the sense of size is effectively conveyed.

Picking out the things that appear in various drawings as they shrink or grow in size from page to page will be a fun activity for kids. It’s a fantastic book for grasping the concepts of size and perspective through distance.

5. In Between Things by Priscilla Tey

 In between things by Priscilla Tey

Tey’s aesthetics in this book are eccentric, inventive, and disciplined: she uses powerful forms and transparent colors and imbues even inanimate objects with personality and comedy. The author teaches readers that there is a world of the in-between style of amazement right in front of them. Fascinatingly, all these insights are taught indoors in the house of a cat and a dog. 

This book is especially suitable for “in-between” picture book audiences. Accordingly, little learners who may like visual cues can go through this simplified narration. A fun, unique search-and-find game for young cartographers who are mapping out their environments and learning new ways to look at and understand the people, places, and objects they come across.

6. Over, Under, and Through by Tana Hoban

 Over, Under, and Through by Tana Hoban

This is a simple and maybe admirable book; While this book is simple, it may be a worthy choice as it allows young children to study those crucial positional terms. Not just those three terms, but a slew of more like alongside, below, on, in, and many others may stipulate kids to hear and investigate the items related to one another.

Mentors may look into combining this with activity and have the kids talk about it. There are a total of twelve themes, as well as some unexpected discoveries for the young youngster. Tana Hoban has crafted an intriguing and provocative journey into the numerous ways of seeing. The photographs’ content is suitable for a young child’s learning needs. Children are able to understand the prepositions and develop an idea of directions.

7. Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch by Mary Peterson  

Piggies in the pumpkin patch by Mary Peterson  

Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch is a humorous tale about a couple of pigs having a good time in the Pumpkin Patch. The book includes a large number of positional terms as well as charming drawings to help your pupils understand the meaning of various prepositions. 

The little ones may turn masters of positional notions in no time if you use phrases like across, into, and behind. What makes this book a spatial preference is the unusual route that the two tiny pigs take to get back to the pumpkin garden. The hurdles come from multiple directions, creating a scope for readers to get spatial inferences on every level. 

8. Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney

 Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney

Maps may be an eminent application of spatial awareness, and teaching it at an early age may be a fair idea. This book ensures directional awareness by introducing the concept of maps to little learners with an easy-to-read structure. 

This book has multiple layers to help the pupil build spatial sense. To start with, simple concepts like the room of the reader, home, and town are discussed. Later the narration inclines toward the reader’s position on the world map. A few insights like where in the world they live and how they fit effortlessly in a large globe ensure a realistic spatial experience for pupils. 

9. A Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle

A secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle

This book is woven around the story of a little boy who starts an expedition for a treasure hunt to find his birthday surprise. This journey has multiple levels like a dark cave and tuner. This picture-based narrative makes it easy for little learners to grasp the scenario. 

The narrations in the book and its levels often cover pattern recognition, shapes, map reading, and directional relationships in the surroundings.  Implicitly learning these as a part of the story, readers may ensure to improve spatial abilities. This book has been recommended by a few eminent institutes like MathThroughStories and Publishers Weekly too. 

10. Elephants Aloft by Kathi Appelt

Elephants Aloft by Kathi Appelt

In this book, Elephants Aloft tells the story of Rama and Raja, two elephants that go by hot air balloon to see their aunt Rwanda. They traverse seas, pass across mountains, and pass behind waterfalls. 

The narrative turns spatial with colorful graphics and interesting language, with a strong emphasis on prepositions. Each balloon trip has a preposition attached to it, such as “under” a waterfall or “above” a metropolis, which mentors may highlight to the little readers. Because the images are so detailed, there’s a lot to talk about with young readers on each page, thereby ensuring better engagement.


Spatial awareness is a fundamental skill that allows youngsters to comprehend and relate to their surroundings correctly. The more kids become aware of items in relation to space, the better their cognitive and interpersonal abilities will develop.

These books are an excellent source for children to develop spatial skills. Children will enjoy reading through their visualization and imagination and, at the same time, gain knowledge. Try these books for your little ones to improve their spatial awareness and develop the habit of reading books from preschool itself.


  1. Quenqua, D. (2013, July 16). Study finds spatial skill is early sign of creativity. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/16/us/study-finds-early-signs-of-creativity-in-adults.html
  2. Hollett, N., Sluder, J. B., Taunton, S., & Howard-Shaughnessy, C. (2016). Teaching body and spatial awareness in elementary physical education using integration of core content subjects. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 87(7), 31-35.

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