The best books for Kindergarten have a unique ability to delight young readers. The very best of these books can also do something greater – they can relay important truths about the world, and inspire our kids to be more confident in themselves.
Great books can help set our kids on a path to becoming life-long readers, and more aware citizens of the world.
From their earliest years, children are shaped by the stories they’re exposed to. The best books for toddlers and the best books for preschoolers have already begun to shape the readers, and people, our kids will become, and these books for 5 and 6 years olds continue them on their journey.
When kids learn to read on their own varies greatly from child to child, but regardless of when a child learns to read independently, all young kids benefit from a rich literary life that starts with smart, engaging texts.
For many kids, elementary school is when reading really begins to take center stage. Luckily, kindergarteners are a fantastic audience for literature. 5 and 6 year olds have an emerging ability to read and process more complex story lines, as well as to apply what they read to their own lives.
The amount of good children’s literature available is astounding once you start digging – it’s no wonder you may have found yourself asking what books 5 and 6 year olds should read! There is a ton out there, and it can be hard to narrow it down.
As a parent, you have a great opportunity to seek out high quality, moving books that will resonate with your child.
In rounding up the best books for Kindergarten-aged kids, I went for a mix of classic books for 5 and 6 year olds, as well as plenty of highly acclaimed newer titles.
This list is made up of shorter picture books, although keep in mind that age 5 is also a great age to begin to read longer form classics out loud to your child (think “Charlotte’s Webb” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”).
The “100 Best” list was compiled with feedback from parents and early educators on their top recommended books for Kindergarten, as well as on my own research and experiences as a parent. Enjoy!
The Best Books for Kindergarteners
1. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena (Author) and Christian Robinson (Illustrator)
2. Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty (Author) and David Roberts (Illustrator)
3. What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobu Yamada (Author) and Mae Besom (Illustrator)
4. The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman (Author) and Marla Frazee (Illustrator)
5. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett (Author) and Ronald Barrett (Illustrator)
6. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (Author) and Patrice Barton (Illustrator)
7. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson (Author) and Rafael Lopez (Illustrator)
8. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (Author) and David Roberts (Illustrator)
9. If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
10. The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
11. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (Author) and Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)
12. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
13. I Am Enough by Grace Byers (Author) and Keturah A. Bobo (Illustrator)
14. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (Author), and Ray Cruz (Illustrator)
15. She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton (Author) and Alexandra Boiger (Illustrator)
16. The Miss Nelson Collection by Harry Allard & James Marshall (Authors)
17. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst (Author) and Geoff Stevenson (Illustrator)
18. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (Author) and Daniel Salmieri (Illustrator)
19. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
20. The Toad and Frog Collection by Arnold Lobel
21. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae (Author) and Guy Parker-Rees (Illustrator)
22. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
23. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
24. The New Small Person by Lauren Child
25. The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
26. The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi
27. Flotsam by David Wiesner
28. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
29. Counting with Barefoot Critters by Teagan White
30. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
31. But No Elephants by Jerry Smath
32. NO, David! by David Shannon
33. Sometimes I’m Bombaloo by Rachel Vail (Author) and Yumi Heo (Illustrator)
34. The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
35. Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud (Author) and David Messing (Illustrator)
36. They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
37. The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes (Author) and Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Illustrator)
38. Penguin Problems by Jory Joh (Author) and Lane Smith (Illustrator)
39. I Don’t Want to be a Frog by Dev Petty (Author) and Mike Boldt (Illustrator)
40. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
41. McDuff Moves In by Rosemary Wells (Author) and Susan Jeffers (Illustrator)
42. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
43. Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beaty (Author) and David Roberts (Illustrator)
44. The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers
45. Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
46. Paul Meets Bernadette by Rosy Lamb
47. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (Author) and Ruth Harper (Illustrator)
48. The Snowy Nap by Jan Brett
49. Maybe by Kobi Yamada (Author) and Gabriella Barouch (Illustrator)
50. Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman (Author) and Eda Kaban (Illustrator)
51. George and Martha by James Marshall
52. The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack (Author) and Kurt Wiese (Illustrator)
53. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
54. The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright (Author) and Jim Field (Illustrator)
55. The Dot by Peter Reynolds
56. Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (Author) and Peter Brown (Illustrator)
57. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
58. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson (Author) and Axel Scheffler (Illustrator)
59. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
60. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
61. Supertato by Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet
62. I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont (Author) and David Catrow (Illustrator)
63. My Kite is Stuck! and Other Stories by Salina Yoon
64. Be Brave, Little Penguin by Giles Andreae (Author) and Guy Parker-Rees (Illustrator)
65. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (Author) and Michael Martchenko (Illustrator)
66. Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann (Author, Illustrator) and Elizabeth Kann (Author)
67. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
68. The Most Magnificent Thing by Amy Spires
69. The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach
70. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
71. Earth! by Stacy McAnulty (Author) and David Litchfield (Illustrator)
72. The Octicorn by Kevin Diller & Justin Lowe (Authors) and Binny Talib (Illustrator)
73. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
74. This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
75. Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller (Author) and Jen Hill (Illustrator)
76. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett (Author) and Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
77. Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima
78. Enemy Pie by Derek Munson (Author) and Tara Calahan King (Illustrator)
79. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
80. What Should Danny Do? (The Power to Choose Series) by Adir Levy & Ganit Levy (Authors) and Mat Sadler (Illustrator)
81. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood (Author) and Don Wood (Author, Illustrator)
82. Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli
83. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (Author) and Helen Oxenbury (Illustrator)
84. The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss (Author) and Crockett Johnson (Illustrator)
85. Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
86. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
87. Waiting by Kevin Henkes
88. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett (Author) and Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
89. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue (Author) and Pamela Zagarenski (Illustrator)
90. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (Author) and John Schoenherr (Illustrator)
91. Nonni’s Moon by Julia Inserro (Author) and Lucy Smith (Illustrator)
92. Waiting is Not Easy! by Mo Willems
93. Flo by Kyo Maclear (Author) and Jay Fleck (Illustrator)
94. The Teacher’s Pet by Anica Mrose Rissi (Author) and Zachariah OHora (Illustrator)
95. Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
96. Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas
97. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
98. Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
99. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold (Author) and Suzanne Kaufman (Illustrator)
100. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack
I hope you enjoyed the list, and found some new titles to check out!
The best books for Kindergarten list – like any “best of” list – is of course subjective. If you have a favorite that didn’t make the cut, please let me know in the comments. I’m continuously looking to expand our home library, too!
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