Books for Kids

young reader-2

There are thousands of great picture books for young children. We acknowledge that our recommendations are but a few of the many that we could list. We share some of our favorites, the books that we use every year with our class. All of these books are near and dear to our hearts. Please feel free to share your favorites in the Comments section. (Note: If we do not list the illustrator, that is because the author also illustrated the book.)

Classic Stories

Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

All of James Marshall’s versions of the classic fairy tales. (His take on Goldilocks is hilarious.)

The Frog Prince Continued by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Steve Johnson

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, drawings by Robert Lawson

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug, and other books by Eric Carle

        Abiyoyo (based on a South African Lullaby and Folk Story), Text by Pete Seeger, illus. by Michael Hayes

Note: Pete Seeger, the much-acclaimed folk singer and activist, reads and sings Abiyoyo on Reading Rainbow

Emotion-her wayBooks about Feelings

When Sophie Gets Angry…really, Really Angry by Molly Bang

When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really Really Hurt by Molly Bang

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban

Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson

Sheila Rae, the Brave by Kevin Henkes

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester

Ella the Elegant Elephant by Carmela and Steven D’Amico (a book about teasing)

How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

         Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli, illus. by Paul Yalowitz

Books about Perfectionism:

Regina’s Big Mistake by Marissa Moss

Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

The OK Book, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld (also, see other books by these authors)

Books about Friendships/Socialization/Families

    Check out these 35 books that teach empathy in children.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, illus. by Patrick Benson

Farfallina and Marcel by Holly Keller

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Frienboth want to put in puzzledship, told by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, and Dr. Paula Kahumbu, photography by Peter Greste

Thunder Cake, Chicken Sunday, The Keeping Quilt, and other books by Patricia Polacco

How Leo Learned to be King by Marcus Pfister

        Abuela by Arthur Dorros, illus. by Elisa Kleven (in English and Spanish, a fanciful tale about a girl and her grandmother)

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illus. by JohnSchoenherr

 Books about Personal and Social Identity and Culture

Parents often ask us how to address their children’s comments or questions about differences that they notice between other people and themselves. This may be about appearance, abilities, language, behaviors, family, etc. Often, too, the parents want to know what books we would recommend for their child that reflect their own identity or that help them understand differences. Here are just a few that we have read in our classroom.

Children Just Like Me, by Barnabas & Anabel Kindersley (in association with United Nations Children’s Fund)

People, by Peter Spier (described as “a picture book for all ages,” it would appeal to older preschoolers and young elementary, looking alongside an adult)

Loving Me, by Debby Slier (a board book for little ones with photos of Native American children and their families)

Elizabeti’s Doll, by Stephanie Stuve Bodeen, illus. by Christy Hale (a young girl in Africa uses a rock as her doll, to mimic her mother caring for her baby)

Smelling Sunshine, by Constance Anderson

We Can Do It, and Brothers and Sisters, by Laura Dwight (children with varying abilities and disabilities)

Pancakes to Parathas: Breakfasts Around the World, by Alice B. McGinty, illus. by Tomoko Suzuki

Mrs. Katz and Tush, and Chicken Sunday, by Patricia Polacco

We also suggest that you take a look at the booklists (for all ages) on the website of Social Justice Books, a teaching for change project,  at:


Books about Math

The Table of Phinneas Fable, by Carole Greenes, Robert Balfanz, and Herbert P. Ginsburg (a book about shapes, that may inspire some cookie-baking)

Five Silly Fishermen by Roberta Edwards, illus. by Sylvie Wickstrom

One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes, illus. by Bonnie Mackain

Five Creatures by Emily Jenkins (similarities and differences in different combinations within the group of five)

        Zero is the Leaves on the Tree, by Betsy Franco, illus. by Shino Arihara

        1 + 1 = 5, by David LaRochelle, illus. by Brenda Sexton

Poetry Books and Alphabet Books   (there are hundreds; these are a few favorites)

You Be Good and I’ll Be Night, by Eve Merriam, illus. by Karen Lee Schmidt

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young edited by Jack Prelutsky, illus. by Marc Brown

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod by Eugene Field, illus. by Susan Jeffers

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together by Mary Ann Hoberman, illus. by Michael Emberley

Constructing a river Books about the Natural World

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illus. by John Schoenherr

Who is the World For? by Robert Ingpen

Books about the Human World

Me and My Family Tree, and Me on the Map, by Joan Sweeney, illus. by Annette Cable

Many Nations: An Alphabet of Native America by Joseph Bruchac, illus. by Robert F. Goetzl

Books about Music

Mole Music by David McPhail

Mama Don’t Allow by Thacher Hurd

Jazz Fly by Matthew Gollub (includes a CD)

Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss, illus. by Marjorie Priceman

Books about the Visual Artsflag painting closeup

Seen Art? by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

Willy’s Pictures by Anthony Browne

The Color Box by Dayle Ann Dodds, illus. by Giles Laroche

You Are My Work of Art by Sue DiCicceo [with art from museums around the world]

The Peaceable Kingdom by Ewa Zadrzynska, illus. by Tomek Oblinski, painting from The Brooklyn Museum

Mix It Up! by Hervé Tullet

My World of Color by Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Loretta Krupinski

         Dinner At Magritte’s by Michael Garland


Books that Feature “Out of the Box” Ideas and Illustrations

Books by Caldecott Medal-winner David Weisner: Tuesday; June 29, 1999; Flotsam

Books by Caldecott Medal-winner Chris Van Allsburg: Jumanji, Two Bad Ants, The Polar Express

         Press Here by Herve Tullet (a New York Times Bestseller)

What Do You Do With a Problem? and What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom

Could Be Worse by James Stevenson

The HatHedgie’s Surprise and other books by Jan Brett

Fortunately by Remy Charlip

A Stick Until …, by Constance Anderson (it is found and put to use as something else)

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont, illus. by David Catrow (a girl can’t resist painting everything in sight, herself included)

        How Martha Saved Her parents From Green Beans by David LaRochelle, illus. by Mark Fearing