A List of the Best Books for 5 Year Olds to Read Before Starting Kindergarten

July 29, 2020

A List of the Best Books for 5 Year Olds to Read Before Kindergarten

Is your child prepared for starting kindergarten? Help them get ready by reading the books on this list of the best books for 5 year olds.

Long before they can sound out words on a page, children fall in love with language and stories when adults read to them aloud.

This can spark a lifelong passion for books. This can change their life. Reading comprehension and written communication are necessary skills in adulthood. That’s why it’s important to instill a love of books in children at an early age.

Here are some of the best books for 5-year-olds to consider for your home library.

Kindergarten is a pivotal year for children. It shapes their emotional, cognitive, and social skills. It also lays the foundation for their educational success.

Since early literacy is important, it’s best to prepare them for kindergarten as best you can. Start encouraging the development of their reading and language skills today.

Children’s Classics

There are many wonderful children’s books that have remained classics for decades, passed down from generation to generation. Think back to some of your favorite books as a kid. Do any of them hold up today? Consider sharing these beloved and timeless titles with your own child.

One of the most cherished children’s books of all time, published in the mid-1980s, is “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” With rhythmic text, this circular tale is perfect for beginning readers.

And you can’t forget the beautiful board books from acclaimed author and illustrator Eric Carle. Among his more popular titles are “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “The Grouchy Ladybug” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”

Also, keep in mind the classic board book “Goodnight Moon,” which tugs at the heartstrings and is perfect for families. And "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" is another beloved title still read today, as is the iconic story of Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are."

Well-Loved Series

Green Eggs And Ham By Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss’s Beginner Book Collection features many of his classic titles: “The Cat in the Hat,” “One Fish Two Fish,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “Hop on Pop,” and “Fox in Socks.” Dr. Seuss’s zany stories will likely spark any child’s imagination, creativity, and urge to explore the world around them.

Curious George books are another treasured series full of adventure and whimsy. This curious little monkey always tries so hard to be good but still finds himself in the most peculiar predicaments.

Everyone also loves the Pete the Cat series and the fun adventures he experiences. This bestselling series encourages children to actively engage in the books, inspires them to sound out words as they go along, and helps develop their early love of reading and stories.

Elephant and Piggie is another great series for early readers. This set of humorous, contemporary titles include “There is a Bird on Your Head!” and “I Am Invited to a Party!”

The How Do Dinosaurs series is another fun collection where our prehistoric pals appeal to young readers through rhyming language and silly stories, and always end with a lesson on how polite dinosaurs should behave.

And of course, we can't forget the classic stuffed, overall-wearing bear character named Corduroy, who remains popular more than 60 years since his first book was released and has inspired a series of titles.

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Books About Kindergarten

Kindergarten Here I Come Book

Kindergarten might seem scary for any 5-year-old, even if they love learning and are excited to start school. One way to assuage their fears is by sharing books about other kids who are starting kindergarten, just like them. There are plenty of great titles on this topic to choose from.

The uplifting “Kindergarten, Here I Come!” is a cute picture book. It paints an accurate picture of what your child's first year in school might look like.

In “First Day Jitters," Julie Danneberg explores the anxiety of first-time students. This illustrated paperback shares the story of Sarah Jane Hartwell who is about to start a new school and is convinced it will be awful. By the end of the book, she, of course, gets over her nerves and makes an easy transition into her new classroom.

In “The Pigeon Has to Go to School,” Pigeon argues that he’s too smart to go to school and already knows everything. By the end of the book, he learns to love school.

Meanwhile, “The King of Kindergarten” is the tale of a confident and enthusiastic little boy who can’t wait for his first day of kindergarten to start, and “Planet Kindergarten” is an imaginative book that prepares children for the strange, new world that is school.

Books About Our Furry (and Feathered and Scaled) Friends

Born In the Wild Baby Mammals And Their Parents

Picture books about pets and other animals are popular with children of all ages, particularly the kindergarten age range. Who doesn’t love a book of dog adventures or a heartwarming tale about some inspiring animals?

The precious family favorite “Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and Their Parents” is a must-read for animal lovers. This beautifully illustrated title looks at baby mammals and their families, noting how they’re different and also how they’re alike.

The spirited “An Ambush of Tigers: A Wild Gathering of Collective Nouns” is a wild romp of a read for youngsters. It uses animals and puns to teach your child about language.

There’s also a board book edition of the best-selling “Giraffes Can’t Dance,” which shares the story of Gerald the Giraffe who wants nothing more than to learn how to dance. This inspirational story boasts colorful illustrations and light, rhythmic language.

You'll also want to pick up the silly “Moo, Baa, La La La!” which teaches children about the sounds their favorite animals make. This book is lots of fun for preschoolers as well as their families.

Shape Their View of the World

We're Different We're The Same Book Sesame Street

It’s not always an easy world that we live in and there are a lot of wonderful titles available that help children understand the world around them and the beauty of diversity in an age-appropriate way.

The powerful “Antiracist Baby” is a board book from Ibram X. Kendi, the National Book Award-winning author of the adult titles “Stamped from the Beginning” and “How to Be an Antiracist.” His book for families helps parents have difficult conversations with little ones by using playful text to introduce the concept of antiracism.

As usual, Jim Henson’s Sesame Street is a great place to turn for a lesson on diversity. In the classic picture book “We’re Different, We’re the Same” the Muppets show young readers that the world is a more interesting place when you surround yourself with people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

Children will also love “The Cat Man of Aleppo,” the true story of Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, who cared for Aleppo’s abandoned cats during the Syrian Civil War.” And inspired by Indigenous people, “We Are Water Protectors,” is a beautifully written picture book. It also serves as a love letter to the world's water systems and inspires water conservation at an early age.

Meanwhile, the colorful picture book “Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights” by Rob Sanders uses powerful, lyrical writing to teach children about standing up for what’s right. Additional titles to add to your home library include “Rosie Revere, Engineer,” for ages 5 through 8, which celebrates pursuing your passions and dreams, and “Stick and Stone,” which highlights the power of friendship. Also, “Be Kind” is a thoughtful picture book that teaches children kindness and civility.

There are a lot of wonderful books with great messages for children to absorb.

Educational Tools

National Geographic’s Little Kids First Big Book of the World

As your child begins acquiring basic skills across a range of topics and subjects in kindergarten, there are many fun titles to help with the learning process.

“National Geographic’s Little Kids First Big Book of the World” is a charming reference book that introduces kids to the world beyond what they know. This encyclopedic title with more than 100 colorful photographs explores everything from language to weather to capital cities of other countries. It’s part of a series of similar titles on various topics from space to oceans and everything in between.

The silly “Animalicious: A Quirky ABC Book” is a great book for teaching the alphabet. Designed for students from pre-school through first grade, it uses fun, fictional animals like Anonymouse and Incredibull to introduce letters. If you're looking for another wonderful title to add to your arsenal of ABC books, check out “Z is for Moose."

“Anno’s Counting Book” uses beautiful watercolor landscapes at various times of the day and during different seasons to teach children numbers and counting.

The classic “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” and its companion book, “Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3,” both use poetry to stimulate your child's mind as they tackle learning the alphabet and numbers.

For five-year-olds learning colors as well as creativity, “The Day the Crayons Quit” is a must-read title. In this amusing tale, Duncan – who just wants to color – finds his crayons are fed up with their old jobs and he must convince them to get back to work.

Meanwhile, “Tangled: A Story About Shapes,” is a clever take on learning shapes. In this title, the neighborhood shapes visit their local playground and get tangled while climbing on the jungle gym. They must figure out how their different shapes can work together to break free of their entanglement.

Get Lost in a Book

The Gruffalo Book

There are plenty of reasons to pick up a book, but sometimes it’s all about getting lost in a good story. Here are some entertaining titles that are sure to pique your child’s interest.

Adam Rubin's hilarious “Dragons Love Tacos" regales the joys of friendship and snacks. It was so popular it inspired a sequel, called, naturally, “Dragons Love Tacos 2,” and Rubin has authored equally beloved books including “Secret Pizza Party,” “Robo-sauce,” “Those Darn Squirrels,” and “El Chupacabras," which all belong on the shelves of any book-loving kindergartener.

In “There’s a Bear in My Chair” poor Mouse does everything he can to get that annoying Bear out of his favorite chair.

Jim the chimpanzee slowly melts down as his friends try to get him out of his bad mood in “Grumpy Monkey.”

In “The Gruffalo,” an imaginative and ingenious mouse invents a fictitious beast – The Gruffalo – to keep the other animals in the woods from eating him. Then, during his journey, he stumbles upon the very creature he created.

Meanwhile, in “Scribble Stones” a stone dreams of becoming more than just a paperweight. During his mission to break free and follow his dreams, he meets Scribble and Splatter and they join forces to create something great for the world.

The Best Books for 5-Year-Olds? Customizable Books

Petventures Personalized Pet Book

Consider surprising the young reader in your life with a customizable book. Personalized books make wonderful gifts for children of all ages. Think about how much fun it would be for a child to receive a book where they and their friends and loved ones are the stars of the show.

There are many services available that will publish a personalized storybook for your little one. The story is often based on the information you provide them. You just need to share their favorite hobbies and interests with the publisher.

Some personalized titles might be educational, such as an alphabet book based on some of your child's favorite things from A to Z. Other books might send them on a fictional adventure or help them overcome a personal struggle, while some personalized books are designed to create a meaningful holiday experience for your family.

You can even have animal-themed storybooks starring your family pet created. Since young readers often love animals, these might top the list of best books for 5-year-olds.

These personalized tales featuring Fido and Fluffy will make for treasured keepsakes even as your child grows older. Learn more about how we can help you create a personalized children's book featuring your family's pet on a fun adventure. It's a tale that's sure to keep your child reading for years to come.

Written by Petventures

Petventures was created by a group of dog and cat lovers in New York and San Francisco, inspired by our amazing pets. While we occasionally growl and hiss at each other over the respective merits of our feline and canine companions, we are united by our love of art, storytelling and goofy critters.

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