Best Books For A 5 Year Old

We love good books for kids around here! There are books all over the house, piled high. And picture books top the list of some of our favorites. A great picture book is just as fun for older kids and adults as it is for children. The read alouds listed below are some of our favorites for young children (but I’m sure you’ll enjoy them too!). You’ll find picture books, short stories (which are a great first step for chapter books), and even recommendations for poetry.

Favorite Books for Kindergarten Kids

The books below are divided into 3 sections – picture books, favorite authors, short stories & chapter books, and poetry for kids. Let me know about your favorite read alouds for kindergarten!

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Favorite Picture Books:

10 Minutes till Bedtime

At 1 Hoppin Place, there’s so much to do before bedtime, and only ten minutes to do it in!

With the help of his hamster’s ten-minute bedtime tour, our main character gets everything done that he must. This is a great way of introducing little ones to nightly routines!

The Adventures of Taxi Dog

This wonderful story revolves around Maxi, a homeless dog who lives in New York City. He has always fended for himself until he’s picked up by Jim, a kind taxi driver.

Together, they see all the wonders that New York has to offer! This is a wonderful book with beautiful illustrations, ideal for encouraging an exploring spirit.

Another Celebrated Dancing Bear

Max is a celebrated bear who dances in the Moscow circus. He’s saddened to learn that his friend, Boris, is unfulfilled in his hospital job where he regularly encounters grouchy lions and teasing monkeys.

Max resolves that Boris will have a new career that is fulfilling and joyous – thus, Max teaching Boris to dance. This is a wonderful book to teach little ones about the power of friendship.

Aunt Minnie and the Twister

In a charming, heart-warming tale that encapsulates life on a small farm, we see Aunt Minnie as she deals with the ramifications of a twister coming to her farm and turning everything upside down.

This is a wonderful story to teach kids about the power of perseverance and setting things back to being as they should be.

Blueberries for Sal

A lovely story about a mother and child who are picking blueberries to can for the winter.

During the picking, the little one wanders off to find a mother bear who’s doing the exact same thing with her little one, who has also just wandered off. Will each mother go home with the correct child? A great book for kids who love simple, expressive illustrations.

Brave Irene

Brave Irene is the daughter of a seamstress who’s currently under the weather, so she can’t possibly deliver the ball gown she’s made for a ball that very evening! Irene offers herself up for the task, and determinedly makes her way to the ball through a potent snowstorm, fighting against her enemy 9the wicked wing) every step of the way.

A great book to show the power of perseverance and determination.

Catastrophe Cat

A sweet little cat demonstrates just how he got his name: Catastrophe. As it turns out the name is particularly appropriate, and we see just why that is over the course of some telling tales and beautiful illustrations.

This is a great book for kids that are fond of a particularly silly story, as well as some beautiful artwork.

Curious George series

Curious George has been a regular fixture of childrens’ bookshelves for an awfully long time now, and you can find out precisely why in this collection of his delightful escapades.

This is a great book for any kids that love to hear tales of mischievous little ones not so different from themselves!

Doctor De Soto

Doctor de Soto is an extremely skilled mouse dentist. So skilled, in fact, that his patients never feel any pain! In this book, we see the clever doctor figure out a way to ensure that the fox he is treating won’t eat him after the dental work is done.

A great book for any kids scared of the dentist, and especially for any kids that love clever protagonists.

Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa

Everyone’s favorite mouse dentist makes his way to Africa, where he is to see an elephant who has an unbearable toothache.

This book is a sequel to ‘Doctor de Soto, and equally as good for any little ones who aren’t big fans of the dentist.

Everybody Bakes Bread

In this lovely sequel to the book ‘everybody cooks rice’, young Carrie is sent on a mission by her mother – she must search the neighborhood for a three-handed rolling pin.

While she’s on her way, she discovers that although her neighbors are from a number of different countries, they all enjoy the smells and tastes of homemade bread. This is a great book to teach about inclusivity and diversity.

Everybody Cooks Rice

In this lovely and delightfully multi-cultural picture book, Carrie must go from one house to another to find her brother, who is left for dinner at their house.

On her journey through her neighborhood, she finds that each family is from a different country and that they all make different rice dishes which are lovely in their own ways. This is a great book to teach about diversity and a little bit of cooking, too.

The Five Chinese Brothers

This book tells the story of five clever brothers, each of which has a unique and incredibly impressive extraordinary ability.

This classic picture book has been in print for almost eighty years, which might make it ideal for rekindling some old memories of your own while creating some new ones with your child.

The Great Fuzz Frenzy

In a one-of-a-kind event, a group of prairie dogs is startled out of their peaceful ways by a tennis ball that rolls down into their hole.

They discover that the fuzz on the ball can be used for any number of things, and become greedy, hoarding the fuzz for their own uses. After settling their differences and recovering a friend who was taken from their hole, they re-learn the value of community.

Harold and the Purple Crayon series

This heartwarming story features our main character, Harold, going out for a moonlit walk with an oversized purple crayon.

Using the crayon, he draws upon the sky until he finds himself walking through any number of wonderful places. This is a great story to teach little ones about just how far your imagination can take you!

Here Come the Aliens!

This book is full of light-hearted, funny illustrations ideal for any number of kids that like to giggle along during storytime.

The book is all about aliens that might come to earth to conquer the planet! However, it all turns out to be okay when the child turns a page and discovered a mirror showing them earth’s secret weapon!

A House is a House for Me

This wonderfully sweet story is all about how different people and animals live in a wide assortment of different houses.

Throughout the pages, we see some houses that are familiar, such as a dog kennel, and others that are less familiar, such as a pea pod. This is a lovely book about finding a home wherever you may be.

How to Make an Apple pie and see the World

This book includes a simple recipe for apple pie along with its beautifully illustrated story about where ingredients come from when the grocery store is closed.

The main character travels all over the world in a story that effortlessly teaches kids about where their food comes from.

If you give a Mouse a Cookie

This book follows the adventures of a small mouse that comes and knocks on the front door. He asks for a cookie and, upon receiving it, asks for a glass of milk to have with it.

Upon receiving that, he asks to see himself in a mirror, and the cycle repeats itself. Kids will enjoy trying to guess what the mouse will ask for next in this fun book.

I Stink!

This silly story is all about a garbage truck who loves to travel throughout his city and eat up all of the garbage that he can find.

He loves every stinky second of it, making this book ideal for any kids that love to read a book and then shout ‘ew!’

Ira Sleeps Over

This sweet story is about a boy who’s deeply excited to spend the night at his friend’s house until his sister raises a big question – should he take his teddy bear?

This book depicts a number of common childhood qualms with empathy and humor, just how you’d want it to! This book is ideal for any little ones that might be nervous in the run-up to a sleepover.

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?

In this book that’s deeply reminiscent of the story of the hungry caterpillar, we hear all about the things that a bear wears throughout the day.

The book creatively tells about all the things that the bear does in a day, and how he ends up wearing a few of those things. This book is a wonderfully soothing tale ideal for little ones to read before bed.

Koala Lou

Koala Lou’s mother becomes very busy, such that she forgets to tell koala lou just how much she loves her! After that, Koala Lour enters the Bush Olympics, intending to win and even and her mother’s love at the same time.

A heartfelt tale about love, ideal for reading to your little one when you want to show them just how much you love them.

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

This lovely book about apologies and why they’re important follows the story of Lilly, a cheerful mouse who loves everything! She brings her purple purse and movie star sunglasses to school only to have them confiscated.

When she draws a mean picture of her teacher, she unexpectedly receives her possessions back with a kind note. At that point, she realizes she needs to apologize, and speaks to her teacher.

Little Critter books

The little critter books are a wonderful way for little ones to learn how to navigate their way around the world that they’re living in.

With a huge number of books out there, each with a specific problem to help with, you’re sure to find a great one or two for your little one.

Madeline series

Madeline is one of the most loved fictional characters ever created, and you can celebrate all of her adventures at once with this collected edition.

This wonderful book features some delightfully heartfelt stories as well as whimsical and beautiful illustrations of Paris.

Make way for Ducklings

This sweet book tells the story of how eight ducklings and their mother navigate their way across Boston to get to the perfect pond for them.

This is a great story to help little ones learn about traffic safety, and see some cute images at the same time.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

This classic story is an ever-popular one that has been entertaining families for more than sixty years!

This story and any others by the same author all honor a simple way of life and celebrate heroes who endure through determination and by adapting to change. A great message for any little one!

Miss Nelson is Missing!

A back-to-school classic used by many parents all over the world, this relevant story tells the tale of some children that behave particularly poorly.

They don’t respect their good-natured teacher Miss Nelson but begin to regret their ways after the substitute teacher appears on the scene. The beautiful illustrations are funny and timeless in this classic storybook.

Miss Rumphius

The story of this wonderful book is one of Alice Rumphius, who wants to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world a little more beautiful.

The story has resonated with generations of kids now, so you’re sure to enjoy its timeless message of finding the beauty around us.

Mrs. McNosh Hangs up Her Wash

Every Monday, Mrs. McNosh does her washing. She brings out a barrel to wash things in before hanging them on the line to dry.

As the book continues, Mrs. McNosh produces increasingly bizarre things, making the book a certain favorite for anyone who loves a silly story.

Music, Music for Everyone

The main character of the story, Rosa, organizes all her friends into the Oak Street Band, as she needs to earn money because of her Grandma’s illness.

In this lovely story, the community wins out, creating lovely memories for everyone involved. A great story to teach kids the importance of working hard for important things.

The Pumpkin Runner

This lovely story has a powerful message about skills developing in the most unlikely of spots. The book tells the tale of a man who preferred to run to work rather than ride a horse or drive a car.

When he enters into a running race, people are dismissive. When he pulls into the lead, however, they’re blown away!

The Rag Coat

This story has a heartfelt and timeless message of love and friendship that is framed beautifully against the beauty of Appalachia in gorgeous paintings.

The book tells the story of a resourceful mountain girl’s special coat, and how much it means to her.

Regards to the Man in the Moon

The kids at school are making fun of Louie because his father’s a junkman. When he tells his father, he learns that the so-called junk out there can take you out of this world with a little imagination!

In a beautifully illustrated tale, Louie builds the Imagination I and blasts off! A lovely tale for any little ones who love to be creative.

Rhinos for Lunch and Elephants for Supper!

This is a lovely, whimsical folk tale about bravery from the Maasai people of East Africa. When a mysterious and ferocious-sounding monster takes up residence in the hare’s den, all the animals are petrified!

Of them all, only a tiny frog is brave and clever enough to unmask the bully. A spellbinding story about the strength within us all.

The Seven Chinese Sisters

This classic Chinese folk tale tells the story of seven Chinese sisters who all lived together, and each had a wonderful talent.

When the youngest sister is abducted by a dragon, her loving sisters race to save her and use their skills collaboratively to achieve success. A great story to teach a timeless lesson about teamwork.

The Seven Silly Eaters

This silly story twists into a nice birthday story as the book progresses. We take a look inside a topsy-turvy house where the children want only unique drinks, including milk, lemonade, and applesauce!

Each new addition to the household brings a new beverage, making this book a great story for little ones who love to be silly.

Snip Snap! What’s That?

This story is a wonderfully heartfelt message of the way that a group of kids deals with having a crocodile in the house.

On top of those foibles, it teaches an important message of how to deal with monsters that might lurk in the dark – an important read for any kids who are a little scared of the dark!

Somewhere in the World right Now

This beautifully and daintily illustrated book teaches little ones some important lessons about geography. We follow a child as they’re getting ready for bed, and we hear about how even though the main character is in their pajamas, there are some people getting up and ready for school!

A lovely book with an interesting theme for inquisitive young minds.

Stone Soup

This story has long been adored the world over, and it’s easy to see why. A group of clever soldiers outwits some greedy townspeople with the creation of a new soup with a special ingredient – a pebble from the pocket of a soldier.

This is a great story for kids that love to see people cleverly solving a whole host of problems.

Suki’s Kimono

This is the heartfelt tale of Suki, a young girl who dances to her own drumbeat. In so doing, she teaches everyone around her the important lesson of what makes diversity great!

Her favorite possession is her kimono, which was a gift from her obachan which holds important memories from the previous summer. When she wears the kimono to school, she eagerly tells her classmates the tale of the previous summer – to an exciting reception!

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Sylvester’s very lucky when he finds a magic pebble that can make his dreams come true. When a lion jumps out at him, he’s forced to make a wish that has unintended consequences!

As the story progresses, we see Sylvester get reunited with his loving family along with a series of beautiful illustrations. This story is a great one to let kids know all about the power of perseverance.

The Wolf’s Chicken Stew

One day, a wolf has a deep-seated craving for chicken stew! He finds the perfect chicken and decides that he must fatten her up before using her for his dinner.

He goes home and prepares a banquet of food for Mrs. Chicken only to get a big surprise when he goes to see her later on! This is a great story for any kids that love to help out in the kitchen.

Who took the Farmer’s Hat?

On one fateful day, the farmer’s hat got blown away by the wind! As it was his favorite hat, he decided to go out and look for it everywhere.

Neither Squirrel, Mouse, nor Duck had seen the hat, but they had seen some pretty strange things. A delightfully whimsical story about not giving up!

First Short stories and Chapter books:

My Father’s Dragon (series)

In this group of tales that have delighted kids and parents alike for generations, we hear all about Elmer Elevator and his flying baby dragon!

This is a great book for little ones who love dragons and might be on the cusp of moving to chapter books. Easy to read and enjoy, this trilogy is a must-have for any little one.

The Random House Book of Fairy Tales

A lovely book that collects a number of classic fairytales complete with their own moral core.

Featuring classics such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Snow White, this book has it all! The beautiful tome is also illustrated with some beautiful, relaxing imagery, ideal for bedtime.

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

This is a completely collected edition of all of Herriot’s adored children’s stories. There’s a whole host of fantastic stories in this book, complete with Moses the Kitten, Only One Woof, and Bonny’s Big Day!

This book is ideal for a quick read with children of all ages, and will surely last for a long time.

Favorite Poetry Read-Alouds:

A Child’s Garden of Verses

This is a beautiful book that collects a number of pieces all written by master poet and storyteller Robert Louis Stevenson. In this collection of sixty-six stories, we’re treated to wonderful tales of sailing boats down rivers and finding foreign lands within his own imagination.

The wonderful tales are accompanied by beautiful illustrations from the extremely talented Tasha Tudor, making the book perfect for a shelf. This is a lovely book for any little ones with a love of poetry!

Random House Book of Poetry for Children

This is a large book with some upbeat, lively poetry ideal for little ones. The book has a little bit from almost every poet that’s ever written for children over the course of the last several decades!

On top of that, the book has some beautifully detailed illustrations that any kids are sure to love. Another great book for kids that love to rhyme!

Now we are Six

This is a lovely storybook featuring all the tales you remember of Christopher Robin and, of course, Winnie-the-Pooh. The enchanting tales and verses are packed with gentle humor and rhythms ideal for forming a love of the written word in your little one.

This is a great collection for any parent with an enduring love of Winnie-the-Pooh to share with their child.

When we were very Young

Another lovely celebration of childhood through Pooh, A. A. Milne’s collection of poems have been touching the hearts of readers for more than ninety years!

The verses sing with a lovely innocence and a playful rhythm, making any kid that loves to rhyme jump with joy! We’d recommend this book to any little ones who love poetry and want to explore it a little more.