101 of the Best Books to Read to your Kids Before Kindergarten

by - Friday, October 23, 2020

My biggest bub just started kindergarten (and our baby is 6 months old), so I have been thinking a lot about what has worked for us these past 5 and a half years. We are trying to raise kids with minimal stuff, but I cannot resist books. They are a huge tool in my parenting, and I love to see my kids learn. Books have been a huge door for opening up conversations while my kids are little. 

I try to be really mindful about the books in our house. I am trying to make a collection that: 

-Includes a variety of voices, normalizes difference

-Doesn't center one race, gender, or body type

-Encourages kindness and growth (not the books that say Haha look how bad they are being)

- Starts good conversations

-Encourages creativity, learning, and outside play

-Is just fun to read!

I don't think any one book has to perfectly fit all criteria, but I am always keeping an eye out for balance. Your kid is supposed to read 5 books a day with you until kindergarten, so that gives a lot of opportunities, and I just want to raise three white boys to understand there are a lot of perspectives and voices out there worthy and interesting and nothing like theirs. Also, I don't want to only read Richard Scarry books, which are solidly terrible. 

I am not a librarian- just a mom and an art teacher, and the number of great books in the world is basically infinite, so tell me what I am egregiously missing. 

If you are looking for a great resource for finding books, I really love the concious kid. So many great ideas and books I never would have heard of otherwise. 

All of the links here are Amazon, so you can see the books I am talking about. Please consider buying from a local or small bookseller instead of them. I know in some areas, libraries have reopened for borrowing too. You have something more local- you just have to look! If you buy on Amazon, you can get them all secondhand- it's much better for the environment and might even save you money.  Just look at the buying options, and you can choose a better option. 

Our Top Ten

These are the books I love the most. It was really hard to choose (I really love all the books on this list), but these are ones my kids are usually excited to read with me, and they bring me joy to read with them. 

1. Beautiful Oops 

2. A Family is a Family is a Family

3. Tar Beach

4. We are Different, We are the Same

5. We are Water Protectors 

6. Elephant and Piggie (we love them all, but Waiting is not Easy is maybe my Favorite)

7. Here We Are

8. The Stinky Cheese Man

9. Jabari Jumps

10. All the World

 Baby Board Books

The baby mostly just wants to handle the book, but these are my favorite to look at while he does it. 

11. Each Peach Pear Plum

12.Sheep in a Jeep

13. Goose Needs a Hug

14. Pandas Love Pickles

15. Blue Hat, Green Hat

16. Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs

17. What a Wonderful World

18. Eating the Alphabet

19. Anti-Racist Baby

20. Thank You Bees

21. Bee Boy Buzz

22. Where's Baby's Belly Button?

23. Dear Zoo

24. Brown Bear, Brown Bear

25. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Kids to Look Up To

We all need role models, and these are some of my favorites. Yes, it's a lot of one series, but it is SO GOOD. 

26. Julian is a Mermaid

27. Ada Twist, Scientist

28. Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

29. Just Ask!

30. Rosie Revere, Engineer

31 Lola at the Library

32. Just Me and my Little Brother

Learning About Feelings

32. Ruby Finds a Worry

33. Layla's Happiness

34. Say Something

35. My Heart

36. Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes

37. Breathe Like a Bear

38. I am so Brave!

Fairy Tales, Fantasy, and Fables

39. Strega Nona

40. The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore

41. Home

42. Extra Yarn

43. The Paper Bag Princess

44. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel

45. Caps for Sale

46. Dave and Sam Dig a Hole'

47. Giraffes Can't Dance

48. Stone Soup

49. The Story of Ferdinand

History for Little Kids

50. If A Bus Could Talk

51. Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover

52. Let the Children March

53. I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark

54. Mae Among the Stars

Community, Family, and Friendship

55. Thank You. Omu!

56. Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

57. Strictly No Elephants

58. Narwhal and Jelly

59. Lost and Found

60. Tacky the Penguin

61. Fish is Fish

62. Giraffe Problems

63. Last Stop on Market Street

64. Kitchen Dance

65. Bee Bim Bop

66. We are Grateful; Otsaliheliga

67. Lovely

Silly Books

66. Dragons Love Tacos

67. The Book with No Pictures

68. The Monster at the End of This Book

69. Pigeon Wants a Puppy

70. Pete's a Pizza

71. Good Night, Gorilla

72. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Nature and Climate

Books about the environment are very important to me, and I want my kids to have a strong sense about Climate Change. I made this book list for my best eco-books for kids

73. A Stone Sat Still

74. The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth

75. Human Footprint

76. The Lorax

77. Summer Birds 

78. The Magic Schoolbus

Art Books

79. Henri's Scissors

80. My Museum

81 &82. The Dot and Ish

83. Frida Kahlo and her Animalitos

84. The Noisy Paint Box 

85. Dream Something Big

86. Mix it Up

87. How to Be an Explorer of the World

88. Magic Trash: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art

89. Decomposition Books

90. Life Doesn't Frighten Me


91. The Longest Day

92. Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

93. Tree: A Peek Through Picture Book

Learning Books

94. America's Test Kitchen Cookbook for Kids

95. The Big Book of Bugs (and More)

96. How Things Work

97. Anything National Geographic

98. Kitchen Science Lab for Kids

99. The Fifty States

Christian Books

100. When God Made You

101. The Jesus Storybook Bible (we also like Children of God storybook Bible)

Ok, these are our favorites- what are yours? Remember, you can find almost any book for borrowing at a library, secondhand, or at a local bookstore! 

101 of the Best Books to Read to your Kids Before Kindergarten

Want more ideas for raising kids in an eco-friendly way? Check out this page for tons of ideas! 

You May Also Like



Get Our Latest Posts Via Email - It's Free

Enter your email address: