The best books for kindergartners are those that foster a love of reading—books that tickle the funny bone, touch the heart, and keep young readers coming back for more. The list below includes stories children can read on their own and read-alouds the whole family can share.
Early Readers and Picture Books
- Mo Willem’s “Elephant and Piggie” beginning reader series is witty, intelligent, and well-crafted. Many of the books in the series have received the Geisel Award, which honors distinguished beginning reader books.
- “Old Hat,” written and illustrated by Emily Gravett. Harbet loves his old knitted hat, but he discards it to keep up with the latest trends. Poor Harbet! Every hat he tries is already out of fashion. Finally, he discovers that being himself is a lot more fun. Kindergartners will giggle at Harbet’s antics, and they’ll appreciate the story’s theme of independence and self-acceptance.
- The “Frog and Toad” (Arnold Lobel) and “Little Bear” (Else Holmelund Minarik/Maurice Sendak) books are timelessly appealing with their gentle, humorous tales of friendship and family.
- “Trio The Tale of a Three-Legged Cat” by Andrea Wisnewski. Trio, the three-legged cat, doesn’t know he’s different. He pounces, sneaks, and jumps with the farm cats. He digs holes, takes dust baths, and eats bugs with the chickens. But when he climbs into a nest, he discovers a special surprise in this winning tale of finding strengths and celebrating differences.
Books to Share
- There’s a good reason why “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams has been a classic for almost 70 years: beautiful prose, descriptive narrative, and a poignant story of friendship.
- The “Mercy Watson” series by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen introduces Mercy Watson, beloved “porcine wonder” and her human family. Brilliantly hilarious characters and outlandish situations.
- “The Yin-Yang Sisters and the Dragon Frightful,” written by Nancy Tupper Ling; illustrated by Andrea Offermann. Two sisters, one village, and a big problem: a dragon! But together, Mei and Wei use their individual strengths—courage, perseverance, curiosity, and intelligence—to transform the dragon from frightful to delightful.
- “Make a Wish, Henry Bear,” written and illustrated by Liam Francis Walsh. On Henry’s birthday, he wishes that his parents were more fun. Be careful what you wish for, Henry! Now his parents feed him nothing but chocolate cake, keep him up all night, and get him into trouble with his teacher!
Looking for more recommended children’s books for kindergartners? Check out these suggested books for young readers.
Editor’s Note: This post was first published in 2015, but has since been updated.
More on Reading With Children
- Parenting Webinar: Reading Aloud to Children
- Read more posts about Kindergarten, posts about reading, writing & language and posts about children’s books from the Family Room bloggers.