Do your kids love historic tales of heroes and daring outlaws fighting against tyranny? This list of Robin Hood books will fuel their passion for stories of heroism and the rise of the common man in the face of injustice. Just like my list of King Arthur books, this collection of stories features traditional recitations of the Robin Hood legend, as well as fantastical reimaginings and creative retellings.
Find Robin Hood picture books, early chapter books, middle grade novels and a few YA books so kids of all ages can polish off their virtual archery skills and head out to the Sherwood Forest of their imagination! (Note: this post contains affiliate links that may earn commission.)
Robin Hood Picture Books
These Robin Hood retellings will be best enjoyed by kids ages 5 and up. But younger Sherwood fans may still want to sit and listen in.
The Adventures of Robin Hood
by Marcia Williams
This is a really fun version because the story is told comic book style. Long horizontal panels fill the oversized pages. Each episode from the Robin Hood legend completes a chapter and the book (unlike many other kids versions of Robin Hood) ends with Robin’s death (told in an age appropriate manner) and his request that he be buried when his arrow falls.
Robin Hood and The Golden Arrow
by Robert D. San Souci
As you might guess from the title, this picture book focuses on the episode in which Robin Hood disguises himself for an archery contest. The Sheriff of Nottingham has designed the contest as a way to expose and capture the outlaw but of course, it doesn’t work, as we all know. San Souci’s recounting of the tale is engaging, though void of frills but it is E.B. Lewis’s illustrations which really make this a book worth picking up.
Robin of Sherwood
by Michael Morpurgo
Morpugo frames the Robin Hood story as a story within a story. He begins with a 12 year old boy finds several artifacts and then starts dreaming of Robin Hood. This is a very long picture book, told in eleven chapters, and is best enjoyed as a read aloud. The illustrations are quite wonderful and capture the high adventure of the tale.
Early Chapter Robin Hood Retellings
For kids ages 7-10 who are attracted to the Merry Men and company, put these books in their hands for an independent reading experience.
by Annie Ingle
There’s not much to say about this edition. It’s a perfectly acceptable short adaptation of Howard Pyle’s classic book and is a good fit for young readers just trying out chapter books. Due to its short length, many traditional episodes of the legend are missing, like the introduction of some Merry Men, but that gap can easily be filled with other books. It ends with the knighting of Robin Hood by King Richard.
by Monica Furlong
Furlong retells the Robin Hood legend from the point of view of a young mute orphan. Dummy, as he is called, runs away from his cruel master. He meets the band of outlaws in Sherwood Forest. He discovers the outlaws are not as fearsome as he was led to believe and they care for him while he searches for the truth of his past.
Robin Hood Middle Grade Books
This category of books is best enjoyed by readers ages 8 and up.
Robin Hood, the One Who Looked Good in Green
by Wendy Mass
Kids who love their legend retellings with a science fiction twist will enjoy giving this book a try. This is the fourth book in the Twice Upon a Time series. Robin the troublemaker lives in an isolated outpost in space, while Marian lives a pampered life on Earth, although she is always trying to escape her circumstances. A fun mix of classic legend and futuristic tech.
Will in Scarlet
by Matthew Cody
Will’s father is a lord fighting off in the Holy Lands with King Richard. When Will comes into conflict with Sir Guy of Gisborne, he escapes into the forest where he meets up with a rather ragtag and dissolute group of “merry men.” The Robin Hood character is not yet the heroic leader he is in the classic tale, but he is clearly still good at his core. This is a great story, which is completely different than any of the classic episodes of Robin Hood.
by Kathryn Lasky
Matty has an almost otherworldly relationship with falcons. She is able to communicate with the birds as if she was one of them. After her home is attacked by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, Matty and her friend, Flynn, become a sort of Robin Hood/Maid Marian duo. Matty’s ability to communicate with the birds transforms into an ability to have an out of body experience which acts as an overly-convenient Deus Ex Machina. However, even though as an adult reader of the tale I rolled my eyes, I don’t think it is an impediment to a middle grade reader’s enjoyment of the book.
League of Archers
by Eva Howard
Ellie is a novice nun who takes it upon herself to help feed the poor by hunting in the woods at night. But one night she is witness to the death of Robin Hood and discovers that one of the nuns is Maid Marian. The local evil Baron uses Ellie as a scapegoat by naming her as Robin’s killer, which turns the villagers against her. Now, she and her new gang of friends make it their mission to prove who the real killer is.
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
by Howard Pyle
Here at last is the classic children’s collection of Robin Hood adventures by the same author who wrote tales of King Arthur for kids. The archaic language means that many kids may be put off, so if you want to tackle this tome, do it as a read aloud and prepare for a lot of explanation. However, it is easy to find abridged versions and adaptations for those who wish for a more modern read. Still, an rollicking adventure for die-hard fans.
YA Robin Hood Adaptations
I’m only highlighting two young adult Robin Hood adaptations, here, although I came across many more!
The Outlaws of Sherwood
by Robin McKinley
My son really enjoyed McKinley’s version, and I’m not surprised, given her popularity as a writer of modern adaptations of folk lore and fairy tales. I particularly appreciated McKinley’s elevation of the role of women in the story. In fact, Maid Marian is the winner of the archery contest, not Robin! An excellent version!
Full disclosure: I haven’t yet read this YA version of Robin Hood, but as I’ve heard good things about it, I wanted to include it in this book list anyway. Scarlet has two secrets. She is a thief and although everyone knows her as a boy, she is is hiding her true identity. Only Robin Hood and his gang know the truth. Now Guy of Gisbourne is set on exposing the group of outlaws and Scarlet is in danger. This is the first book in a trilogy.
More books to love: