100 Books All Kids Should Read

According to Reading is Fundamental, a non-profit organization designed to help promote literacy, children develop both their language and listening skills from hearing words, which is a compelling reason for parents to read to their children and encourage them to read on their own. Since there are millions of books out there to choose from, we’ve selected 100 of the best that all kids should read. Pick up a few and start reading with your child today!

Board Books

Board books are the perfect way for young children to begin associating pictures with certain words. Read these 20 board books to your little ones.

  • Goodnight Moon. No Time for Flashcards recommends this simple story for toddlers.
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This book by Eric Carle ranked number one on the top board books for toddlers from Goodreads.
  • Dr. Seuss’s ABC. This classic book by Dr. Seuss helps kids learn the alphabet and is guaranteed to be a favorite. It also made the list of top board books of all time on The Good Stuff Guide.
  • Barnyard Dance! Sandra Boynton wrote this clever book that’s entertaining for both parents and children, says Five Heart Home.
  • Trains Go. Kids will enjoy hearing and looking at this book about trains and the sounds they make; it’s recommended by New York Times and written by Steve Light.
  • Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. A classic rhyme put into board book form by Eileen Christelow, this book made the must-have list from School Library Journal.
  • The Owl and the Pussycat. Edward Lear and Jan Brett have created many books, but this poem turned book is one of the best, says Squidoo.
  • Pat the Bunny. This book is a hit with the smaller set because they’re able to touch the pages and feel the different textures, explains Baby Parenting.
  • Spot the Dot. David Carter is the author to this colorful book, which Scholastic says is perfect because it’s visually stimulating.
  • Color. Alexander Girard created this book filled with colors and patterns that will catch a child’s interest, says Design Mom.
  • Olivia. Yahoo Voices recommends checking out this fun book about a pig named Olivia that acts like a human.
  • Go, Dog. Go! This book by P.D. Eastman is part of the Dr. Seuss collection for young readers and is a funny story about dogs acting like people. Christian Science Monitor calls this book a top pick because it’s not only fun to read, but also educational.
  • Seek and Slide. Skinny Scoop comments that the flaps in this book are a big draw for her child and she loves that the book teaches about animals.
  • Guess How Much I Love You. Texas Type A Mom suggests this delightful book about a parent’s love for her children.
  • Press Here. This interactive book by Herve Tullet gives young children something to do on every page, explains Hands on as We Grow.
  • Spot Bakes a Cake. Eric Hill wrote this book for his own child and included flaps kids can lift to explore different life experiences. The Guardian recommends this book as one that should be read again and again.
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Written by Bill Martin and Eric Carle, this story is sure to entertain young children with its rhymes, says Delightful Children’s Books.
  • I Love My Mommy Because… is an enchanting book written by Laurel Porter-Gaylord that examines the similarities between mothers and babies in the human world and in the animal kingdom. Views from the ‘Ville included this book in her top 15 list.
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Well-known and beloved author Beatrix Potter wrote this delightful book about a mischievous little bunny and the trouble he gets in. Best Books for Kids includes this classic book as a must own board book.
  • Millie Moo. This board book has elements that kids can touch throughout the book and comes highly recommended by The Jenny Evolution.

 

Preschool

Preschool children love picture books, which are a good way to reinforce the concept that letters form words. Check out these 20 titles to read to your child today.

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. While you could just rent the movie, Parenting highly recommends that you read the book to your preschooler.
  • Where the Wild Things Are. This book by Maurice Sendak, which just celebrated its 50th birthday, was the inspiration for both a movie and an opera and is a must-read for preschoolers, says Parents.
  • Corduroy. Corduroy is a bear who has many adventures, and the book that covers those adventures made the top preschool picks from Teachers First.
  • The Adventures of Max and Pinky, Best Buds. Maxwell Eaton III wrote this book about the friendship between a boy and his pig. Great School includes this book in their list of favorite books for preschoolers.
  • Frog and Toad are Friends. This silly book about friendship is entertaining for both children and adults, according to The Art of Simple.
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster! Ed Emberly wrote this creative, useful book to help empower children to banish the things that scare them. Little Hearts Books highly recommends this book.
  • Amelia Bedelia. Peggy Parish wrote this entertaining book about the mishaps that happen to Amelia because she takes things a little too literally, explains Parent Dish.
  • Being Bella: Discovering How to be Proud of Your Best. This is an important book to share with children who think they have to be perfect, advises PBS.
  • Charley Harper’s ABCs. Early Word urges parents to read this book by Gloria Fowler to their preschoolers to help them learn the alphabet.
  • What’s Up Duck? A Book of Opposites. Spaceships and Laser Beams recommends this book by Tad Hills for preschool boys to help them learn about opposites.
  • Katie and the Magic Umbrella-A Story Adventure. Kristine Kahanek uses this book to explain weather in a way that helps children learn that they don’t need to be afraid of it, and She Knows included it in a top five preschool books list.
  • I am Too Absolutely Small for School. Your kids will love Charlie and Lola in this book where Charlie convinces a fearful Lola that she is big enough to go to school. Children’s Books recommends this book for preschoolers getting ready to start kindergarten.
  • Chrysanthemum. Kevin Henkes wrote this thoughtful book to help kids embrace their uniqueness and learn to fit in at school, explains Babble.
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. You can help your preschooler learn his alphabet while reading this colorful book of rhymes by Bill Martin Jr., says The Deliberate Mom.
  • Cookies Week. Teach your child about the days of the week with this fun feline filled book by Cindy Ward that Education recommends.
  • Whose Chick are You? Popular children’s author Nancy Tafuri wrote this book that’s sure to teach your kids animal sounds in no time. Waddlee-Ah-Chaa recommends all of her books.
  • Extra Yarn. Mac Barnett penned this book about Annabelle who finds a box of yarn and starts to create things that will change her town, explains Bright Horizons.
  • Diary of a Spider. Thousand Oaks Library recommends this book about the life of a spider and how she learns that there are many skills that she will need before she grows up.
  • Madeline. Ludwig Bemelmans may have written this book back in 1939, but the story will still enchant little girls as they look at the pictures of Paris, says Grandparents.
  • The Day the Crayons Quit. This silly book is about crayons being fed up with their lot in life and wanting changes. It comes recommended by Examiner.

 

Elementary School

It’s recommended that parents read to their children for at least 10 to 20 minutes every night, and that you let your children see you reading for pleasure, too. These 20 titles will give you a place to start when it comes to reading to primary students.

  • Benny and Penny in the Toy Breaker. Geoffrey Hayes wrote this book about a brother and sister who have to protect their toys from a rambunctious cousin who tends to break things. The Association for Library Service to Children recommends this book and many others for early readers.
  • Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute. This funny book by Jarrett J. Krosoczka is about a lunch lady who’s a super hero by night. Story Snoops recommends this entertaining book collection for young readers.
  • Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice, The Hidden Past. Jon Scieszka wrote this book about the Star Wars characters and Education World recommends it for boys that may not love reading yet.
  • Charlotte’s Web. You can’t beat this classic tale by E.B. White about Charlotte the spider and her friends. Grasping for Objectivity includes this book in a list of the best read aloud books for elementary aged kids.
  • Magic Treehouse: Hour of the Olympics. Children’s Literature recommends these skinny chapter books for young readers.
  • Dealing with Dragons. Conversation Pieces Learning suggests this fantasy book about a princess and a dragon for elementary school students.
  • The Hobbit. Geared toward older elementary children, this unique book by J.R. R. Tolkien is about the adventures of Bilbo Baggins. Abe Books ranks this among the top books not to be missed.
  • Button Up! Wrinkled Rhymes. This hilarious book by Alice Schertle is told from the point of view of clothes worn by animals. The story tops Oprah’s book list for children ages 6 to 9.
  • Alice in Wonderland. A classic by Lewis Carroll, this is a must-read for elementary students. Independent highly recommends this book for all children.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid. This book by Jeff Kinney took off like a rocket and has led to an entire book series and movies. It’s recommended by Standard, is filled with cartoon drawings and is simple to read for elementary aged kids.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia. This popular book that follows four children into the world of Narnia ranked high on a poll done by Tes Connect that asked teachers which books were their favorite.
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Teachers and Families have come up with a list of books that early elementary school students would enjoy reading and hearing read to them.
  • Flat Stanley. Jeff Brown wrote this book about a character who wakes up to find that he is now flat. The book describes his adventures and is recommended by Book Trust.
  • Babymouse: Queen of the World. This series by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm is about the adventures of a mouse and has been suggested by Kids Need to Read.
  • The Boxcar Children. Gertrude Chandler Warner started writing these books about the Alden children, who lost their parents and ended up living in a boxcar until they were found by their grandfather, in the 1940’s.The series is suggested by East Baton Rouge Parish School System.
  • The Chocolate Touch. Newport News Public Schools recommends this book where the main character John Midas turns everything he touches to chocolate.
  • Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery. This humorous tale by James Howe is about a dog and a cat that jump to conclusions about the new family pet. Teacher Vision suggests this book for 3rd to 5th graders.
  • The Tale of Despereaux. Despereaux is the main character and he is a mouse. Bright Hub Education includes this book on a fourth grade reading list.
  • Ollie Solves a Messy Mystery. Homeschool Rewards deems this book about a possum family as appropriate for early elementary aged children.
  • Nancy Drew. Mobile Christian recommends this mystery series for incoming third graders.

 

Middle School

By the time kids reach middle school they’ve usually decided that they either love reading or they hate it. However, there’s a book out there for everyone! Check out these 20 books that touch on life lessons while still being enjoyable to read.

  • Mystery of the Cupboard. Pearson recommends this book by Lynne Reid Banks, which is a sequel to Indian in the Cupboard.
  • First Daughter: Extreme America Makeover. Mitali Perkins wrote this book about a teenage girl whose father is running for president. Since she was adopted from Pakistan, the people on the campaign think she should look more American. Avon recommends this book for young teens.
  • Little Women. Louisa May Alcott tells the story about four young girls and their life during the 1800’s. Kinkaid suggests this classic novel for seventh graders.
  • Wonderstruck. Middle schoolers will love reading about Ben and Rose, who are both trying to find the thing that they feel is missing from their life, says Pragmatic Mom.
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Parkway Middle School suggests this story about a sixth grader who wears a finger puppet of Yoda for incoming sixth graders.
  • Wringer. For a serious look at bullying and peer pressure, this is a must-read for middles schoolers, says We Are Teachers.
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Ann Brashares wrote this book about four friends who share a pair of jeans to stay connected all summer. Groton Public Library suggests it for middle schoolers.
  • Insurgent. This is the second book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Read about the challenges Tris faces in this book, which comes recommended by the Young Adult Library Services Association.
  • Mary Poppins. Encourage your middle schooler to read the book as written by P.L. Travers, suggests Book Aunt.
  • The City of Ember. Lina and Doon buck the system to find a new way for their people to live. Berkley Public Library included their adventure on a list of books appropriate for sixth graders.
  • The Infinity Ring. James Dashner spins a tale of time travel that Recipe Boy recommends for middle school boys.
  • I Funny: A Middle School Story. Written by best-selling author James Patterson, this humorous story is told by Jamie Grimm, who’s in a wheelchair and struggles through middle school while finding the humor in it all. Tales Told Tall says it’s a good read for middle school boys.
  • Eragon. Eragon is a dragon rider, but he doesn’t know it yet. Cass Middle School ranked it in their top 10 books, so follow along as Eragon discovers his destiny.
  • Wild Boy. This is a true story told by Mary Losure about a boy who was found wandering in the woods. Books in the Middle recommends this story.
  • Killer Pizza. What middle schooler doesn’t love pizza? Librarian’s Quest suggests this book about a pizza parlor that is really a front for monster killers.
  • A Wrinkle in Time. Time is the one thing that cannot be changed, but Meg’s father is trying to. This book by Madeleine L’Engle is one of three books about Meg and comes recommended by Flashlight Worthy Books.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This classic by Mark Twain is perfect for middle schoolers, says Perfection Learning.
  • Pop. The book by Gordon Korman is about boys who play sports. It also is specifically recommended for boys who don’t like to read, explains Teach Hub.
  • The False Prince. The False Prince is the first of three books that follows four boys from an orphanage who are purchased by a rich man. Their story comes highly recommended by Library Book Site, which lists it in its top 10 young adult books.
  • Twerp. This story is set in the late 60’s and examines bullying and peer pressure, which still run rampant today. Reading Bug Blog recommends this to all the middle schoolers that loved the Wimpy Kid series.

 

Chapter Books

Starting chapter books can be an exciting milestone for a young reader. Take a look at these chapter books and see which ones might spark the interest of your child.

  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Flavorwire lists this well-known book by Judy Blume as a must read.
  • Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley is a red-haired orphan who was brought to a house known as Green Gables. This is the first book in a series about Anne and is a must read according to Feels Like Home.
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles. The author, Holly Black, writes this amazing story about elves, goblins, dwarves and trolls in such a way that will have your children believing that they may actually exist. Sarah Jane Studios includes this in a list of chapter books that are appropriate to read aloud to children ages 3 to 8.
  • Clementine. Clementine gets into trouble, but only because her heart often gets her into messes. Common Sense Media likes this book as a read aloud for young children.
  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School. This funny book is about a school that was built with each room on top of each other up to 30 stories high. Weird things happen at this school and My Mommy Style thinks that parents will enjoy it as much as the kids do.
  • Chasing Vermeer. iTeach and iLearn highly recommends this book and describes it as “the DaVinci Code for the tween set”. Kids will learn about the famous painter Vermeer while trying to solve the mystery.
  • The Unwanteds. Lisa McMann wrote this magical book about Alex of Quill. In Quill all of the 13 year olds are classified as ‘wanted, ‘necessary’ or ‘unwanted’.  Alex’s twin was marked as a ‘wanted’ while he was marked ‘unwanted’ and shipped off to die. Mommy Lessons 101 explains that her sixth grader loved this book.
  • Half Magic. Abby the Librarian lists this among her top 100 chapter books of all time. The book is about kids who find a magic coin that grants only half of wishes, which causes some trouble.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Peter Brunn wrote this article for the Developmental Studies Center and recommends this book as a way to get your child thinking in a new way. The author, Roald Dahl, wrote this book about Charlie finding a golden ticket and what he learns about people along the way.
  • The Giver. Lois Lowry wrote about a perfect world where there is no war and no fear of pain, but when you turn 12 you are assigned your role for life. Jonas is assigned to be trained by The Giver. This novel is a classic recommended by Chapter Book Chat.
  • Treasure Island. Jim Hawkins finds a map to Treasure Island in this book by Robert Louis Stevenson. The novel is a best seller and comes highly suggested by 100 Books Every Child Should Read Before Growing Up.
  • The Little House on the Prairie Books. While there are nine books in this series, it’s impossible to pick just one to include on this list. Laura Ingalls Wilder tells about her life and about the challenges that she faced on the frontier, and Parenting Squad recommends the series.
  • The Adventures of Captain Underpants. This book isn’t going to win any literary awards, but it’s a fun read for kids that are reluctant to pick up a book. Time to Play Mag lists this book as a best seller.
  • Animal Superstars. A non-fiction book by National Geographic, this chapter book is all about real animals that can do amazing things like surf or ride a motorcycle.
  • Thimble Summer. Elizabeth Enright is the author of this sweet book about a young girl living in Wisconsin during the 1930’s. Women Living Well explains how important reading with your children is and offers up some favorite chapter books to read aloud.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This book is the first in a series about Harry Potter, a boy who finds out that he is a wizard and will be going to wizarding school. J.K. Rowling wrote these enchanting books that come recommended by Children’s Book Guide.
  • Old Yeller. Fred Gipson wrote this book in 1956, but the book is a timeless tale of a boy and his dog. Best Moms TV recommends this book as one of her top five books for boys.
  • Holes. This book by Louis Sachar is a must read according to Young Adult books for Old Adults
  • Liar, Liar. Kevin is a talented liar who ends up telling so many lies that he finally has to tell the truth to get himself out of the mess he has created. Lehigh Valley Live highly recommends this book by Gary Paulsen.
  • Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door. Bad men come after Alex and he will need his talking dog and his sharp toothed friend to beat them. Playful Learning highly recommends this book for reading aloud with your kids. 
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