We all understand the importance of reading aloud to our children from infancy: cognitive and language development, increased attention span, vast vocabulary, emotional intelligence…
The best way to do it? Start reading to your kids ASAP.
To make it easy, we’ve compiled the best books for kids so you don’t have to read about reading anymore. You can skip the research and go directly to reading to your kids.
All of these books support positivity, empathy and kindness. This list contains books without any negative connotations, inappropriate subject matter or questionable messaging so that you can feel confident picking up any of these and reading it to your young child’s impressionable mind!
All of these books are from Amazon, they all have a 4+ rating and most are available through Prime!
We start with board books for babies and toddlers, and then move on to books for preschoolers & kindergartners, so if you have kids in the older age bracket, feel free to skip the first few.
Here we go –
Editor’s Note: Also check out our gift guides!
Board Books for Babies & Toddlers
A tiny board book version but with all the same action. Get in touch with your sillier self and your child will be begging for more! An innocent Grover is trying to convince you, the reader, not to keep turning pages with a “love yourself” message as the sweet ending.
This is a “panel” book, so the pages aren’t as thick as a regular board book, but it’s definitely a good rhyming Christmas counting story for young kids and the last page lights up. (My six year old still loves this book)!
A fun, silly story about a family’s walk in the woods with much repetition for toddlers. Your kid will LOVE if you act it out as you’re reading too: stomping, splashing, running and hiding is sure to entertain them as you read!
For the artistic family! This board book is peaceful, emotional and beautifully illustrated. The rhyme is melodic and there are not too many words involved. Great for discussions on emotions as kids get a little older.
If your child loves trucks, tractors or things with motors, this might be the bed time story you need. It’s melodic and has a nice flow, so it’s enough to keep a toddler’s or preschooler’s interest while still guiding them towards sleep.
Some toddlers, like mine, are squirmy and won’t sit down to read a book with me. This is the one where he WILL! Because of the snappy buttons (they pop back and forth), he loves poking as I count and read. It’s like an introduction to fidgets and reading all-in-one.
There are only a few words in this book, and half of them are “Mama!” Mama is trying to teach baby new words, but baby just keeps calling for Mama. It’s cute with nice images, but don’t expect a story line.
Books for Preschoolers & Kindergartners
Consider this the preschooler’s introduction to “choose your own adventure” books with Darla having to endure the consequences of her own good or bad actions! There are 8 different stories within that will spark many great follow-up questions from parents to discuss with young kids.
Danny is the original character for this author’s “choose your own story” adventures. Danny has 9 different stories in this book and lots of opportunity to develop (or not!) some social and emotion skills.
Science, empathy, art and perception all rolled into the most artistically complex yet simple book you’ll ever read to your child. Amazing imagery and a great platform for talking about how people and animals actually see.
The Bat Books are big, beautiful and fabulous in their rhymes. The pictures are great for small details and discussions and the story is fun with many opportunities for expanding your child’s vocabulary.
My now six year old can read these on his own, but we started reading these together when he was five. The stories are so much fun and the ending is always a pleasant, positive surprise and they are some of the only books that actually have him laughing aloud. All 25 of Piggie and Gerald’s books are in this set! If you’re not sure if your child will love them all, check out this volume instead:
If you don’t want all 25 books, this is a great way to get 5 of those titles in one bigger book to try out! It’s also a great way to enjoy Piggie and Gerald without having that many hardback books around. Here is Volume 2 and Volume 3 if this first book was a hit for your family.
A true classic as long as you’re okay with a bit of magic, fantasy and faeries. This edition is as close to the original from 100 years ago as you can get, and the story is very touching. A great conversation starter on love and loveys if your child has one!
Everyone looks different on the outside, but on the inside we’re quite alike. This book brings in great diversity while simultaneously promoting the teaching of body parts. Great for celebrating our differences in a positive way.
I just bought this for my 6 year old, and it would be wonderful for ages 3-10 in my opinion. These are mindfulness/focus/calming 1 minute exercises that my hyper son loves to do before we start homeschooling each day. Let’s be honest…it helps me calm down too!
The most purchased book for graduations and life events! A classic that subtly teaches our children that sometimes we get lost, but we can always get out of the rut and keep moving forward. A great life-lesson book for any age.
Amazing (tastefully Photo-shopped) photographs guide this story about a Norwegian girl named Anja that is trying to become one of Santa’s elves. It’s whimsical and embodies the essence of Christmastime.
Let’s get outside with the books! Think of this as a fun field guide for anywhere outdoors: bugs, birds, treasure hunts, art projects, games, checklists and stickers make this a must-have book for when your little one needs a new environment to explore.
Jan Brett has a distinct artistic style in her books, and Cozy does not disappoint! Follow the lonely musk ox through winter as he helps others and finds his way back to his family. Lots of hidden gems in this book, too!
This book is great for any age (including us adults). It’s a big, simple book but the message is very powerful. If you want to help put empathy and kindness into words for your kids, this simple story starts that conversation beautifully.
Shel Silverstein is The Child’s Poet in my opinion. Talk about provoking imagination, deep thoughts, good laughs and lots of quesitons, this book of poetry for kids will keep you entertained for years.
Do you have an engineer kid who loves to invent crazy machines with random objects around the house? Just me? Well, my little one loves reading about this fantastical car designed by this kid. Such a delight for creative and imaginative minds!
You get 6 books in this set! This is the ultimate easy, fun read for kids and beginning readers. These books are purely entertaining and yes, your child may want to eat buttered toast when you’re done reading 🙂
Disclaimer: This book is allegorically very Christian. It is a lovely story that promotes respect, love, kindness and seeing the specialiness within oneself even if the outside world doesn’t see it; a story that teaches us all to feel good within our own selves!
If you like The Office, this is a wonderful book for fans with kids. The overall message is to encourage kids to ask for help when needed, but it is also filled with many easter eggs for fans of the TV show.
For the toddler that loves to color, this is a good start for both letters and number recognition while enjoying art & coloring. The pages are simple in design–like only a giant letter on one page–and thick enough for my one year old to scribble strongly without shredding apart the pages.
So you need a keyboard or piano for this to be of value. You tape the colorful dots to your piano keys and then start the book at the beginning to teach your child to play the piano! If you’re interested in music instruction but don’t want to branch out to hire a teacher, this may be a great way to spark interest in your child.
Also check out our gift guides!