The 15 Best Books for Preschoolers list is complete! I loved discovering so many amazing books for toddlers when my son was younger, and now we’re onto the big leagues! Ok, still kind of the little leagues. I mean, it’s pre-school.
Reading to your children has so many benefits. Although many parents worry about when their child will learn to read independently, there’s generally little to be concerned about.
Most kids will read when they’re ready, and in the meantime, parents can expose their kids to wonderful children’s books.
Good fiction can help a child work through many anxieties and fears, and can help him make sense of the confusing world of grown-ups. When children have an “aha” moment from a book – connecting a story to their own life – it’s immensely rewarding.
The list of best books for preschoolers is subjective, or course. But here are some of our very favorites. Enjoy!
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The final list of the 15 Best Books for Preschoolers is a mix of classics, bestsellers, and lesser known but highly regarded books appropriate for preschoolers. If you have a favorite that’s not here, please let me know in the comments! And now, onto the books…
There’s a reason why this book is a bestseller. What’s not to love about a pint-sized architect who builds towers out of diapers and glue? I’ll give you a minute…..Yes that’s right, “there’s nothing better” is the correct answer. If you said “Margaritas on the beach” I would have to give you partial credit.
My pre-schooler absolutely loves this book, and so do I. My favorite line? “There are worse things to do when you’re in grade two than to spend your time building a dream.”
This Caldecott Medal Winner by Maurice Sendak is a classic tale of adventure. It gives it’s full attention to both the magic of childhood wonder and the mischievous, even primal side of youth. And under the wildness there is a sweetness that reminds us all that sometimes we just want to be back home.
Each of my kids has gotten this book as a gift, and I promise you, it is a total winner. The illustrations are beautiful, and it will thrill your child to no end to find their very own name appear during the big finale.
“But I have a girl!” You might be saying. Remain calm. This is a customizable book. You can get one for your girl.
Ok, so there are a LOT of animals that I don’t let drive my vehicles, not just pigeons. You make your own decisions here about what livestock you feel comfortable with.
This is a clever little book, and as a bonus Mo Willems’ drawings are a riot. This one’s great for getting your pre-schooler to participate in the story.
A teddy bear comes alive at night in a department store. What’s not to like about that? This is a sweet classic about friendship and accepting people (fine, bears) for who they are.
This book is based (VERY loosely I presume) on a true story about a ship full of circus animals who get shipwrecked off the coast of Maine. *A monkey ends up wearing ladies underwear on one particularly delightful page. I assume that scene holds steadfastly true to real life events, because you just can’t make that stuff up! (Actually you probably can). Fact, fiction, or somewhere in between: This book is a total delight!
7. The Gruffalo
As long as your child is not terrified of the Gruffalo (It’s a gamble! Roll the dice!) this is a good bet. It asks a higher level of comprehension from your child, but even if they don’t totally “get” the nuances here, the rhythmic language is a crowd pleaser.
I almost feel like there’s no need to talk this one up. I mean, it’s about a bunch of dragons with weak stomaches who gorge themselves at a party. Who can’t relate to that?? The whole time you’re reading it you’re like, YES DRAGONS, I GET YOU.
This #1 New York Times Bestseller has it all: irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text. This book is a hit with truck enthusiasts big and small.
This book doesn’t try to sugarcoat the fact that sometimes life, well….sucks. The result is a gem of a book; by acknowledging the reality that some days are hard, it gives kids the gift of feeling understood in a way that wouldn’t be possible were things to be wrapped up in a bow. This one’s a classic.
Ferdinand is the world’s most peaceful–and–beloved little bull. While all of the other bulls snort, leap, and butt their heads, Ferdinand is content to just sit and smell the flowers under his favorite tree. He probably wouldn’t do very well in gym class, but that’s not the point. This book has an old fashioned sweetness to it that’s hard to resist.
12. Magic Tree House
This series is great if you have an early reader who wants to dive into chapter books on their own. It’s also great to read aloud to your pre-schooler if you’re ready to begin introducing some slightly older material. It’s like Babysitters Club meets Harry Potter, but with less angst. My 5 year old son loves it! I recommend buying several of the books in a group (i.e. Magic Tree House Collection Books 1-8) because you can get through a book in only a few nights, and in my experience there is high enthusiasm to continue on to the next book – always a good sign!
Ok this is one of my absolute favorites ever. Poor Gerald can’t dance and he’s super embarrassed about it at the annual Jungle Dance, which while set in the wild is basically a middle school cafeteria. When Gerald eventually finds his own rhythm you can’t help but cheer him on. We’ve all been there, Gerald.
This book is a delight! It’s whimsical and creative and not in the least bit practical, but that’s fine. You’re not buying this kid’s car you guys, you can find something with better mileage. And I mean, who wouldn’t want a car that doubles as a gigantic entertainment center for the whole family? Answer: Subaru dealerships.
I vividly recall loving this book in elementary school, and I’ve found that it’s a hit with my pre-schooler as well. He, like myself, enjoys the idea of being hit in the head with dinner. Also, the illustrations are superb.
What would you add to Best Books for Preschoolers list? Leave a comment, I may expand on the list as more suggestions come along!
If you’re looking for book suggestions for a 5 or 6 year old, the best books for Kindergarten list is comprehensive, with 100 of the best picture books of all time!
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