16 Action-Packed Martial Arts Books for Kids

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At our town’s elementary school, the owner of a local dojo comes to give all first graders a two-day introduction to karate, and it’s a major highlight of the year. (It’s also an amazing marketing move.) Not only are martial arts exciting, they are a fantastic way for kids to learn focus and discipline, and to build physical strength. Martial arts books for kids give young readers the chance to make connections and build background knowledge about this high-interest topic. Check out these top picks for kids, from the littlest white belts to the fiercest black belts!

(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)

Martial Arts Picture Books for Kids

1. My First Karate Class by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (PreK-1)

Book cover for My First Karate Class as an example of

This informational book has an easy-reader section for kids to try reading themselves, as well as a portion to read with an adult, including a how-to section. It’d make a great mentor text for informational writing in K or 1, too.

Buy it: My First Karate Class at Amazon

2. Karate Kids by Holly Sterling (PreK-1)

Book cover for Karate Kids as an example of martial arts books fo rkids

Here’s the perfect martial arts book for kids who take karate classes or are interested in starting. Maya and her friends head to the dojo for their Saturday karate class. They all help each other succeed. It’s got excellent themes for class discussion about courage to try new things, perseverance, and encouraging others.

Buy it: Karate Kids at Amazon

3. Let’s Go to Taekwondo! A Story About Persistence, Bravery, and Breaking Boards by Aram Kim (PreK-2)

Book cover for Let's Go to Taekwondo as an example of martial arts books for kids

Yoomi tries to overcome her fears to earn her yellow belt in taekwondo. Her grandmother tries to learn to use the computer. How they encourage each other makes for a great class discussion. We love how this author’s work adds OwnVoices representation of Korean-American culture to classroom libraries.

Buy it: Let’s Go to Taekwondo! A Story About Persistence, Bravery, and Breaking Boards at Amazon

4. A Morning With Grandpa by Sylvia Liu (PreK-2)

Book cover for A Morning With Grandpa as an example of martial arts books for kids

Here’s a quieter martial arts book for kids that’s more about focus and harnessing good energy and less about ninja kicks. Mei Mei is curious when she finds her grandfather in the yard practicing tai chi. The intergenerational story is so sweet. The back matter teaches kids a bit more about both tai chi and yoga.

Buy it: A Morning With Grandpa at Amazon

5. Karate Kid by Rosanne L. Kurstedt (PreK-2)

Book cover for Karate Kid as an example of martial arts books for kids

In a fun play on words, this how-to manual uses goat kids to demonstrate basic karate stances and moves. Human kids will want to stand up and try these out as you read, for sure.

Buy it: Karate Kid at Amazon

6. The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz (PreK-2)

Book cover for The Three Ninja Pigs as an example of martial arts books for kids

This is one of our all-time favorite fractured fairy tales. It’s a fun choice if you want martial arts books for kids about multiple sports. When they decide they’ve had enough of the wolf’s bullying, the first pig takes aikido, the second jujitsu, and the third karate. Watch out! Also check out Ninja Red Riding Hood and Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks.

Buy it: The Three Ninja Pigs at Amazon

7. The Karate Kid: The Classic Illustrated Storybook (Pop Classics) by Kim Smith (K-4)

Book cover for The Karate Kid: Classic Illustrated Storybook as an example of martial arts books for kids

“Wax on, wax off.” Introduce kids to the plot of the original movie in a streamlined picture book form. The illustrations are way better than your average movie adaptation, and the plot will get kids talking.

(If you’re a movie fan, you’ll probably smile at the rest of the Pop Classics titles, too.)

Buy it: The Karate Kid: The Classic Illustrated Storybook at Amazon

8. Karate Hour by Carol Nevius (PreK-3)

Book cover for Karate Hour as an example of martial arts books for kids

Live through one karate class, from the opening bow and stretching to intense skills practice. It’s a rhyming text, but it’s cool enough for older kids, too. The artsy close-up black-and-white illustrations could give students new inspo for illustrating their own personal narratives, too. The back matter has more information on the history of karate.

Buy it: Karate Hour at Amazon

9. The Grandmaster’s Daughter by Dan-ah Kim (K-3)

Book cover for The Grandmaster's Daughter

Sunny is a young tae kwon do black belt in this OwnVoices title. She’s the daughter of a grandmaster of a dojang in the mountains of Korea. If you’re looking for a martial arts book for kids to discuss using skills appropriately (not for, say, recess or hallway fighting), the imagery in this book might help. The young students work together to protect each other from imaginary animals awakened from the mountains.

Buy it: The Grandmaster’s Daughter at Amazon

10. The Rise (and Falls) of Jackie Chan by Kristen Mai Giang (Grades 1-4)

Book cover for The Rise (and Falls) of Jackie Chan

Martial arts were a key aspect of Jackie Chan’s training to become a Chinese opera performer and, later, an iconic movie stuntman. This is a unique addition to your picture book biography collection. Or use it as a mentor text for a biography unit.

Buy it: The Rise (and Falls) of Jackie Chan at Amazon

Martial Arts Chapter Books for Kids

11. Bunjitsu Bunny series by John Himmelman (PreK-1)

Book cover for Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny Book 1 as an example of martial arts books for kids

Book cover for Bunjitsu Bunny Book 4 as an example of martial arts books for kids

These easy illustrated chapter books work for read-alouds or independent reads. Isabel is “Bunjitsu Bunny,” the best martial artist in her school. She’s also kind and graceful. These books work well for a character study.

Buy it: Bunjitsu Bunny at Amazon

12. Ninjas and Samurai (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker) by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce (Grades 2-4)

Ninjas and Samurai Magic Treehouse Fact Tracker

Night of the Ninjas has always been one of the most popular Magic Tree House Books in our classrooms. This companion edition teaches more about Samurai and their training, which included jujitsu. It also dives into the history of real ninjas, which will fascinate ninja-obsessed kiddos.

Buy it: Ninjas and Samurai (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker) at Amazon

13. Who Was Bruce Lee? By Jim Gigliotti and Who HQ (2-5)

Book cover for Who Was Bruce Le

Bruce Lee introduced kung fu, and martial arts in general, to millions of TV viewers when he starred on The Green Hornet in the late 1960s. Pass kids this readable biography to introduce them to a real-life superhero.

Buy it: Who Was Bruce Lee? at Amazon

14. & 15. Ninja Kid: From Nerd to Ninja! and Ninja Kid 2: Flying Ninja! by Anh Do (Grades 2-4)

Book cover for Ninja Kid Book 1

Book cover for Ninja Kid Bok 2

Nelson is decidedly uncool—until he wakes up on his 10th birthday as a ninja. These are quick, funny, over-the-top reads for kids who like ninja and martial arts action.

Buy it: Ninja Kid: From Nerd to Ninja! at Amazon

Buy it: Ninja Kid 2: Flying Ninja! at Amazon

16. The Five Ancestors series by Jeff Stone

Book cover for The Tiger, Book 1 of The Five Ancestors series

Book cover for The Crane, Book 4 of The Five Ancestors series

If you’re looking for chapter-book-length martial arts books for kids, this action-packed series about 12-year-old Fu and his “temple brothers” is a great choice. The five characters must come to terms with their pasts—and animalistic influences—when forced to leave the temple where they’ve grown up and trained in kung fu.

Buy it: The Five Ancestors series at Amazon

Which martial arts books for kids do you love to share in your classroom? Let us know in the comments!

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