A child snuggled on your lap listening to the rise and fall of your voice as you read We’re Going On a Bear Hunt or The Very Hungry Caterpillar evokes the most precious memories you have about your little ones. There are so many wonderful books for kids to share with kids.
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 one of these books will trigger that memory when they are older.
The list is a mix of classics and newer books that will someday be classics. 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.
Books that Require Us to Sing and Chant
1 Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton- You’ll see some more Boynton books on this list too!
2 Old MacDonald Had a Farm and Other Favorite Children’s Songs by Tiger Tails- We read this so many times the cover fell off
3 Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
4 Hickory Dickory Dock by Tiger Tails- a nice collection of beginning nursery rhymes
5 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
6 That’s Not My Panda by Fiona Watt or any other of the many That’s Not My… books published by Usborne- a great touch-and-feel series
7 Peek-a-Who? by Nina Laden
8 Tickle, Tickle by Helen Oxenbury
9 My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk
10 Global Babies– little ones love the photographs
11 Toes, Ears, & Nose by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Karen Katz- Once your little one starts to grab the flaps, you will want to put it away for a bit. Our copy ended up with no flaps.
12 Where is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz- see note above
13 Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
14 Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
15 The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
16 Dr. Seuss’s ABC An Amazing Alphabet Book! by Dr. Seuss
17 Open the Barn Door by Christopher Santoro
18 Time for Bed by Mem Fox
19 Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
20 Black & White by Tana 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.
21 Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
22 The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
23 Cars Go by Steve Light
24 Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills
26 Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Ratham
27 Jamberry by Bruce Degen
28 Bee Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park
29 Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
30 Otis by Loren Long
31 The Little Dump Truck by Margery Cuyler
32 Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
33 Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
34 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
35 The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
36 Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins
37 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
38 Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh
39 Mr. Cookie Baker by Monica Wellington
40 The Three Bears by Byron Barton
41 The Three Little Pigsby Patricia Seibert
42 The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt
43 Clifford by Norman Bridwell
44 If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
45 The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri
46 We’re Going on a Bear Huntby Helen Oxenbury
47 Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
48 Each Peach Pear Plumby Allan and Janet Ahlberg
49 Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
50 Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
51 The Napping House by Audrey Wood
52 Even Firefighters Go to the Potty by Wendy Wax
53 Yummy, Yucky by Leslie Patricelli
54 Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman
55 Click, Clack, Surprise! by Doreen Cronin
56 Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins
57 Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
58 Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
59 Cars, Trucks, and Things that Go by Richard Scarry- for older toddlers and easily bridges to the preschool crowd and beyond
*For more books that toddlers will love, check out this post.—>New Board 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.
60 Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
61 Elephant & Piggie by Mo Willems
62 Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
63 Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
64 Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
65 The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
66The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
67 Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie DePaola
68 Stick Man by Julia Donaldson- it’s our favorite book by Donaldson
69 Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
70 Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
71 The Kissing Handby Audrey Penn
72 The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch
73 Fireman Small by Herbert Yee Wong
74 The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
75 The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
76 Snowmen at Work by the Buehners
77 Curious George by H.A. Rey
78 Owen by Kevin Henkes
79Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson
80 Corduroy by Don Freeman
81 Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
82 Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
83 Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann
84 Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
85 The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
86The Mittenby Jan Brett
87 Nuts to You! by Lois Ehlert
88 Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
89Stone Soupby Marcia Brown
90 The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
91 The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone
92 One Day in the Eucalyptus Tree, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom
93 They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel- a super clever book
94 Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
96 The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
97 Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
*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.
98 Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
99 A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
100 James Herriot’s Treasury for Children by James Herriot- not really a chapter book but rather of collection of stories
*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.
Would you like a handy little reference sheet that you can take to the library, hang on the refrigerator, or share with families?
Download a FREE copy of the list below. I’ve included a color and black & white version.
To get the downloadable list, click this link below. It will then be emailed to you.