I adore almost all children’s books, and thank goodness for that since I am a mom of four kids. But there’s one genre — the ABC book — that makes my eyes glaze over. Hey, you can only read “A is for apple” so many times.

Over the years, however, I’ve found some really cool and modern takes on the typical ABC books for kids that (gasp) even I sometimes choose when it’s my turn to pick a book to read to my kids.

If your child is learning their letters — or even if they’re already reading chapter books — these ABC books will be a fun addition to your library. Really.

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Related: The hipster ABC matching tile game, for parents who value reading proficiency and irony.

Modern ABC books for kids: ABC Pasta by Juana Medina

ABC Pasta by Juana Medina
It had me at pasta, but the charming sketches of “basil balancing ballerinas” and an “orzo orchestra” sealed the deal.

Modern ABC books for kids: Ah-ha to Zig-zag by Maira Kalman

Ah-ha to Zig-Zag by Maira Kalman
This book is both artistic and humorous, as it explores objects from the Smithsonian Design Museum, with a fun, creative challenge for kids at the end.

Modern ABC books for kids: An Alphabet in Bloom by Nathalie Trovato

An Alphabet in Bloom by Nathalie Trovato
This book doesn’t include any letters. Instead, you have to recognize that the page for S shows a shovel, a spider, a snail, and some seeds, and so on. My kids have so much fun searching for the clues.

Modern ABC books for Kids: DIY ABC by Eleonora Marton

DIY ABC by Eleonora Marton
You won’t get away with just reading this book because every page asks you to get creative to complete the illustration. For kids who are close to mastering their letters, this interactive book is perfect.

Related: Star Wars alphabet and counting posters: Learn ABCs and 123s, you will.

Modern ABC books for kids: ABC Yoga by Christiane Engel

ABC Yoga by Christiane Engle
Get out the yoga mats before you read this book. Poses for every letter will keep you busy for at least 30 minutes. (Also, her ABC Love is brand new, and the world could always use a little more love, right?)

Modern ABC books for kids: Daytime Visions by Isol

Daytime Visions by Isol
Every bit of this unexpected, imaginative book is magical and leaves me wanting to know more of the story. And my kids are happy to suggest what that story might be. Yes, it’s a little artsy and obscure, but I love that my kids have to think just a bit about which word connects to the special letter.


Modern ABC books for kids: Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky

Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky
It isn’t, actually. But the impatient Moose in this very funny book thinks it, and every other letter of the alphabet, is for him. Kids who know better will find this one really silly in a good way.

Modern ABC books for kids: Alphablock by Christopher Franceschielli

Alphablock by Christopher Franceschielli
This big, chunky board book has die-cut letters your kids can trace with their fingers as they flip through the pages. It’s been around for a few years, but it’s still one of my kids’ favorites.

Modern ABC books for kids: Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters by Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers never disappoints, and the wicked sense of humor throughout this book usually has our kids (and us) giggling. As you can see from the letter V’s page, his humor is a little dark so it might be best for elementary-aged kids, and not your littlest guys.

Modern ABC books for kids: An Artist's Alphabet by Norman Messenger

An Artist’s Alphabet by Norman Messenger
This book (also shown at the very top) is so gorgeous, I almost want to take it apart and frame the pages for my kids’ rooms. Watching them trace the letters with their fingers once they discover them in the works of art is so sweet. (Can you see the capital R?)

Z is for Zora Neale Hurston in Rad American Women A-Z

RAD American Women A to Z by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl
While this one isn’t for kids just learning to read, we’re making these short bios of important American women — from Carol Burnett to Queen Bessie Coleman — required reading for all our tweens and teens, girls and boys.