We love books in this house. I have been a big reader my entire life and I have been so delighted to find my youngest daughter shares my love of books.
She is 4 years old and absolutely loves the library, the bookstore, and we often find her up past bedtime flipping through stacks and stacks of books in bed.
I have a 6 year old too that I have always read a lot of books too- she enjoys reading but not as much as her little sister. So I thought I would put together a list of 25 of our favorites. There is a mixture of books that will appeal to both girls and boys and I am hopeful that your little ones love these as much as we have.
This list is a great resource if you are looking for gifts for little ones– I love to give out books as part of a little gift basket or even as a baby shower gift.
So it was tough to narrow down but here are 25 that we reach for over and over on the bookshelf (in no particular order):
1. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. This is one of those books that really deserves a spot in every library. My little girl loves this book in part because it is easy to remember so she can “read” it to me. I didn’t buy this book for a long time because the cover didn’t really appeal to me but I am so glad we finally did. It is a favorite for us :).
2. Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. All of the Llama Llama books are on our bookshelf. I could have easily included them all here but Llama Llama Red Pajama is a great place to start about a little llama that is scared of the dark. These books just flow and they are so sweet and have great messages- there is one about going to school, how to handle bullies, learning to share, angry with Mama, sick with Mama and one about handling the chaos of the holiday season.
3. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker. I have to confess my girls don’t love this one. They are more into Princesses so this one hasn’t appealed to them quite as much. This is an adorable book though and if you have little ones that love cars and trucks and watching construction sites- this will probably be on regular rotation in your house. You can also get Steam Train, Dream Train by the same author and there is a little stuffed forklift that would be so cute to give along with this book. Check it all out here.
4. The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. This book is newer and it has won about a zillion prizes and such for children’s literature. It is a great book about learning to use all the crayons in the box for a full and colorful life. Both of my kids were completely engrossed by this book. I found it to be a teensy bit long but one I wouldn’t hesitate to buy because I know the kids wouldn’t get tired of it. Weeks after we read this one my 6 year old was coloring and said- Mom I really need to find orange because I want to make my sunshine yellow and orange. (You’ll get it once you read the book- but the message seems to have stuck with her.) This would be a fun one to tuck in with art supplies as a gift!
5. Corduroy by Don Freeman. Oh this is such a lovely book! It is the story of a little bear waiting in a shop for a child to bring him home. Corduroy is missing a button so most children overlook him for other things. He goes on a hunt after hours in the shop to try and find his missing button– such a classic!
6. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. Oh I love this one too. This is a great one for a baby shower gift along with a cute little stuffed bunny.
7. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault. This is a fun book and my preschooler in particular likes this one because of the vibrant colors, silly rhyming and she can pick out all the letters of the alphabet.
8. The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. Oh goodness does Pooh just take you back to your childhood or what? This is a great read aloud to add to your collection and really is there anyone wiser then Pooh bear? So many little gems in these stories that really make you sit back and think. As an added bonus I get to hear my little girl say “Windy the Pooh!” when I pull this off the shelf which always melts my heart ;).
9. Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis. We like the adventures of Ladybug Girl as well. She is a spirited little girl that goes on lots of adventures with her trusty sidekick, Bingo the dog. These are great stories for little girls or you might grab the Bumblebee Boy books to read to your little guys. I love the illustrations of Bingo the most in these books and they are a fun way to take a little bit of a break from the standard Princess stuff if your little girls are usually drawn to those books. (And no I am not putting down Princess books- we own one million of them- but diversity is always nice.)
10. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. This book has been a classic for over 25 years. It is a cute story of a little family that goes on an adventure to find bears and in the end realize that safe and sound at home might be the best place of all. Our preschool plays the little song that goes with this story and my 4 year old absolutely loves it.
11. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Goodness this is a timeless class. It is hard to pick just one Shel Silverstein book but this one has such a great message about having a giving heart… we love this book :).
12. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss. You really can’t pick just one book from Dr Seuss but this is a great place to start. These books are all so silly and fun and imaginative and so unlike anything else you will read.
13. Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin. These books are crazy and fun. Get ready to sing silly songs along with Pete on his adventures. There are tons of stories to choose from including baseball, a Christmas book, Pete on the bus, Pete and his Groovy buttons and more… One of the songs in the Pete Saves Christmas is “although I am small, at Christmas we give so I’ll give it my all!” So these are really cute and catchy stories. I tell my littles although you are small you can give it your all! frequently.
14. How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague. There are several of these books and again they are very cute ones. In this book we follow little dinosaurs at bedtime and learn how a dinosaur should behave. These books have really fun rhymes and great illustrations.
15. Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse by Rebecca Janni. Again this is a really fun book probably geared more toward little girls. Nellie-Sue is a modern day cowgirl in desperate need of a horse. She does eventually get a horse (in the form of a bike)– this is a great one to get little ones that are just learning how to ride a bike. We actually had a Cowgirl birthday party last year and this book was part of the decorations.)
16. Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia. This is another fun one for littles that are obsessed with cars and trucks and construction sites. If you like this one there are a few others from the same author that are worth checking out.
17. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This is another classic that probably takes you back to your childhood. How can you resist these beautiful books?
18. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. This is a sweet story that will help children that might need a little extra bravery to do something new (like start school). This is also a great choice if you have a little one that might be away from home for a little while or separated from a loved one. Maybe grab this one to keep at Grandma’s house :).
19. Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin. This is such a cute little book about cows that go on strike on a farm. This one I enjoy because it is so silly and has fantastic illustrations. Plus how can you not smile when you say “Click Click Moo.”
20. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrae. This is a cute story of a little Giraffe that gets teased because he can’t dance. Eventually the Giraffe learns to dance to his own song. This one is absolutely perfect to give as a gift with one of the popular Sophie the Giraffe teethers.
And this list could really go on and on and on so please feel free to share some of your favorites in the comments below!
And if you are interested in some reading material of your own, check out this list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. So many amazing books!