Books for toddlers through tweens that both you and your kids will enjoy!
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When I was a couple of days old, my mom started reading to me as she was reading to my older brother. Evidently it stuck because I’ve loved to read my entire literate life. One summer my mom and I literally read through all the books of interest to us at a local library branch and had to switch to a different branch.
I wanted to instill that love of reading in my own children as well. We started reading to my oldest every night from the time she was an infant and followed right along with that when our son was born just over three years later. I have children’s books memorized from reading them time and time again. We read at bedtime and any time throughout the day our littles wanted to. Even now that our daughter is 9 and son is 6, we still read a book together at bedtime.
For almost a decade now, I’ve gotten to know children’s books inside and out. We’ve found some favorite ones — books I will hang onto even as my children outgrow them. They’ve been such a part of our life.
I wanted to compile a list of our favorites. When I mentioned this to my daughter, she couldn’t wait to weigh in and gave me a whole list of books she has loved and currently loves. I’ve got something for all ages from itty-bitties up through 5th grade!
I Love you Through and Through
(For only a couple of dollars more, you can get this book with an adorable plush bear!)
Each Peach Pear Plum (This book is neat because the kids love the rhyming words when they are really small and then are able to find the hidden characters as they get a bit older.)
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Coco books by Sloane Tannen — Our favorite one, “C is for Coco,” is best bought used these days. We also recommend “Where is Coco Going,” “Coco All Year Round” and “Coco Counts.”
Fancy Nancy series — We can’t pick a favorite one of this series. We enjoyed all the ones we read — probably because my daughter had the same red curls as Fancy Nancy and really loved seeing a character that looked like her. And this series gets bonus points for effortlessly introducing new vocabulary words and French words!)
Pinkalicious series — We loved all of these as well, especially the first one, titled “Pinkalicious” and also “Tickled Pink.” (And my son enjoyed these as much as my daughter did!)
Go, Dog. Go! — Similar to Dr. Seuss books, “Go, Dog. Go!” is great fun for younger ages and then works well for early readers, too, which is nice.
The Jesus Storybook Bible — I put this one in preschool because that’s the age we started reading it to our kids, but we still love it now. I’d say it definitely goes through at least early elementary. I can tell you that this so well done that nearly every time I read a story from it to my kiddos, I get something out of it, too! I can’t recommend “The Jesus Storybook Bible” enough!
Llama Llama Red Pajama series
Early elementary favorites
Many of our favorites in this age range are series of books. While they are series and usually have the same characters in them, the story lines do not continue from one book to the next. They don’t have to be read in order.
Stella Batts series — especially “Broken Birthday”
A to Z Mystery series — especially “Haunted Hotel” and “Kidnapped King”
Owl Diaries series — especially “Eva See a Ghost” and “Eva and Baby Mo”
Ella Diaries series — especially “Ballet Backflip”
Nancy Clancy series — This is the same Nancy from the “Fancy Nancy” series, just a bit older. My daughter liked having more Nancy books to read as she got older!
Mr. Putter and Tabby series — We love the adventures of the elderly Mr. Putter and his cat, Tabby! One of our favorites is “Mr. Putter and Tabby Take the Train.”
Fudge — I love these books and Judy Blume!
If you want just one, go for Superfudge.
Geronimo Stilton series — There are so many different series within this series even, covering different time periods. There are so many books we haven’t read them all, but we’ve really enjoyed the ones we have read, especially “The Mouse Island Marathon.”
Upper elementary favorites
The majority of these are chapter books. Some of the storylines do continue from one book to the next and are best read in order. If that is the case, I have noted it. Otherwise, they don’t have to be read in a certain order.
American Girl: Grace (needs to be read in order) — Each year the doll-maker releases fiction books about its Girl of the Year. We haven’t read all of them, but we’ve really enjoyed the ones we have read. The Grace series was such a family favorite that we bought the DVD as well!
American Girl: Innerstar University series — especially “A Girl’s Best Friend”
Goddess Girls series — especially “Pallas the Pal”
American Girl Smart Girl’s Guides (nonfiction) — American Girl has a series of nonfiction books that cover all sorts of topics. “The Care and Keeping of You, 1” is great for younger girls to cover information growing girls need about their bodies. There is a second version for older girls. Since my daughter is 9, we haven’t read it, yet, but I plan to when she is older because the first one was so terrific. There’s a slew of other books as well addressing topics like worry, friendships, drama, boys, money, manners and even cooking in an age-appropriate and effective way. (NOTE: I would recommend reading these books together the first time through to answer questions and have great conversations.)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series (needs to be read in order)
Or just start with the book that begins it all and upon which the movie is based:
Harry Potter series (needs to be read in order) — The Harry Potter books are actually free as part of subscribing to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans. (I’ve been member for two years and love it!)
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is the first one.
Dear Dumb Diary series (suggested to be read in order but not necessary)
“Let’s Pretend this Never Happened” is the first one.
Anne of Green Gables series (needs to be read in order)
“Anne of Green Gables” is the first one.
A Wrinkle in Time quintet (needs to be read in order) — I love these books!
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