A child snuggled on your lap listening to the rise and fall of your voice as you read Goodnight Moon or The Very Hungry Caterpillar evokes the most precious memories you have with your little ones. There are so many wonderful books for kids to share with children.
In fact, there are some books that I think no child should miss hearing during those beginning years. So, I’ve compiled a list of 101 books to read to kids before kindergarten.
I know that your kids will have life-long memories of being read to by a loved one and chances are that one of these books will trigger that same memory when they are older.
The list is a mix of classics and newer books that will someday be classics. I recently updated this list to add new favorites and to help you begin building a diverse library.
Normally, on Growing Book by Book, I share a little about each book. Since this list is so long, I’m going to just list the books this time.
The purpose of this list is to get little ones “hooked” on books!
101 Books to Read to Kids Before Kindergarten
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Not to Be Missed Books for Babies
One of the main goals of reading with babies is so that they can soak up our voices and listen to our language. Another big reason to read to babies is that it is a wonderful and nurturing bonding experience between reader and baby.
All the books in this section are board books which means that they have heavy pages that babies will have a hard time tearing.
- Ten Tiny Babies by Katz
- I Love You, Sun I Love You Moon by Pandell
- Indestructibles: Let’s Go Outside! by Pixton- a great series of books that are washable, chew-proof, and tear-proof
- Five Little Ducks Nursery Songs by Busby- a wonderful collection of nursery rhymes and songs
- Goodnight Moon by Wise Brown
- That’s Not My Zebra by Watt or any other of the many That’s Not My… books published by Usborne- a great touch-and-feel series
- May We Have Enough to Share by Van Camp
- Tickle, Tickle by Oxenbury
- Where is the Duck? by Arrhenius
- Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children- little ones love photographs of babies
- I Love Me (Wonderful Me) by Grover
- Tummy Time Friends by Brisson
- Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Fox
- Huggy Kissy by Patricelli
- Up Cat Down Cat by Light
- Peek-a-Who? by Laden
- Open the Barn Doorby Santoro
- Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Cabrera
- Dear Zooby Campbell
- Black & White by Hoban
*For tips on reading with baby, check out this post.—>Reading With Baby
Don’t Miss Books for Toddlers
Here you will find a mixture of board books and hardcover/paperback books. These books are highly engaging with is important for little ones on the move.
- Blue Hat, Green Hat by Boynton
- Rosa Loves Cars by Spanyol
- Nest by Hurley
- So Much by Cooke
- Little Blue Truck by Schertle
- Chomp Goes the Alligator by Van Fleet
- Alphablock by Franceschell
- Bee Bim Bop by Park
- Lola at the Library by McQuinn
- Otis by Long
- The Last Marshmallow by Lin
- Grandma’s Tiny House by Brown-Wood
- Let’s Find Momo by Knapp
- Go Baby! Go Dog! by Vittur Kennedy
- Freight Train by Crews
- Hello, World Dinosaurs! by McDonald
- In My Garden by Musgrave
- The Wheels on the Bus by Williamson
- The Three Bears by Barton
- Huff & Puff by Rueda
- The Gingerbread Man by Schmidt
- Jump! By Matsuoka
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Numeroff
- The Busy Little Squirrel by Tafuri
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Martin Jr.
- Mail Duck by Sirotich
- Making Tracks City by Hall
- Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke
- Giraffes Can’t Dance by Andreae
- Guess Which Hand by Wilhelm
- Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions
- Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Car by Dopriak
- Little Owl by Teckentrup
- Say Hello! by Isadora
- Let’s Play Monsters by Peck
- Bear Snores On by Wilson
- Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Duskey Rinker
- Tinyville Town I’m a Firefighter by Briggs
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Carle
*For more books that toddlers will love, check out this post.—>Ultimate List of Books for Toddlers
Not to Be Missed Books for Preschoolers
This list includes books that will have preschoolers begging to be read over and over. There are also books that deal with new situations that preschoolers face such as starting school, managing big emotions, and learning about their world.
- The King of Kindergarten by Barnes- Use our Book Dive to go with this book.
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Willems
- What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?by Jenkins
- Blueberries for Sal by McCloskey
- Please, Mr. Panda by Antony
- The Gruffalo by Donaldson
- Float by Miyares- wordless book with lots of storytelling opportunities
- Raindrops Roll by Pulley Sayre
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Johnson
- Jabari Jumps by Cornwall
- Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors
by Greenfield Thong
- The Paperbag Princess by Munsch
- Frog on a Log? by Gray- great for building phonological awareness
- Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Brisson
- The Snowy Day by Keats
- Under My Hijab by Khan
- Friday Night Wrestlefest by Fox
- Lilly & Friends: A Picture Book Treasury by Henkes- a collection of favorite Henkes stories
- Tap the Magic Tree by Matheson
- Corduroy by Freeman
- Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Litwin
- When We are Kind by Gray Smith
- Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away by Medina- Use our Book Dive to go with this title.
- The Little Red Fort by Maier- Use our Book Dive to go with this title.
- The Book With No Pictures by Novak
- The Mitten by Brett
- Eating the Alphabet by Ehlert
- Llama Llama Red Pajama by Dewdney
- Ada Twist, Scientist by Beaty
- The New Small Personby Child
- Hey, Water! by Portis
- One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Bernstrom
- They All Saw a Cat by Wenzel
- Mother Bruce by Higgins
- You Matter by Robinson
- It’s OK to Be Different by Parr
- Saturday by Oge Mora
- Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Thomas- great for building phonological awareness
*For more preschool book recommendations, check out this list.—>The Ultimate List of Preschool Books
Not to Miss First Chapter Read-Aloud Books
Around age 4, kids are eager to listen to chapter books. You have to find the right books though. Here are a few to start with on this leg of the reading journey.
- Winnie-the-Pooh by Milne
- Zoey & Sassafras Dragons and Marshmallows by Citro (series)
- Mercy Watson to the Rescue by DiCamillo (series)
*For more books that make great first chapter book read-alouds, check out these lists.
Number 101 is for you to fill in on the list. It’s that one book when you close your eyes and think back to being snuggled up on someone’s lap, you vividly remember. That book is a must-read with your kids. What book is it? I’d love to know. Share the title in the comments.
Printable List of 100 Books To Read Before Kindergarten
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Reading aloud is the biggest literacy gift and boost we can give to our children. This list is a jumping-off point for you to help children fall in love with reading, build vocabulary, and discover the world of books.
This post first appeared on Growing Book by Book on 10/3/16 and has been revised several times.