Books for grade K kindergarten children aged 5-6

Books for grade K. This list of recommended reading books for kindergartners has been compiled by teachers and school librarians for elementary school children aged 5-6. There is a range of inspirational and engaging books for emerging and more confident readers, including picture books, nursery rhymes, books to share, and books suitable for first independent reading. There are also books to promote discussion, thought, imagination, writing ideas, and provide an impetus for creative art. This list of kindergarten reading recommendations includes titles by Janet Squires, Matt de la Peña, Emily Tetri, Akiko Miyakoshi, and Mary Ann Hoberman.

Books for Kindergarteners

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Books for Grade K (Kindergarten) – our recommendations

Chez Bob by Bob Shea

Meet Bob, the alligator with a devious plan to lure birds to dine in at a restaurant that’s located on the end of his nose. But Bob reconsiders his dastardly plan in this charming and funny picture book story that teaches younger readers about the importance of building friendships.

Humorous | Friendship

Chez Bob by Bob Shea

Oh No, the Aunts Are Here by Adam Rex

When a horde of strange aunts descend on a young girl’s home, chaos ensues. This hugely funny story, brought to life by Lian Cho’s illustrations, celebrates the eccentricities and oddness of family reunions, making it a perfect story for all the family to read and share.

Family | Humorous

Oh No, the Aunts Are Here by Adam Rex

A Boy Named Isamu by James Yang

This inspiring picture book explores the childhood of Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi. With lyrical prose and an unusual second-person narration, the book shows young readers Isamu’s perspective on the world, his connection to nature, and how he enjoys peace and quiet. It’s a thought-provoking book to read and discuss with kindergarten classes.

Adventure | Diverse

A Boy Named Isamu by James Yang

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Penelope is really looking forward to starting school and meeting her new classmates. That is, she’s really looking forward to eating them because she’s a T-Rex dinosaur. Soon, however, the tables are turned in this compelling and fun book for children aged 3-5.

School story

We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol

A multi-award-winning picture book that will both amuse and entrance. All Granny wants to do is to be allowed to finish knitting sweaters for her large family – but she keeps being interrupted. To find peace, she leaves home. Her travels take her as far as the moon – meeting goats, bears and aliens along the way. Will she ever finish her knitting?

Classic

Leave Me Alone! illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

A delightful non-fiction resource book for the classroom or at home. Learn all about water in its many forms, discover all the words used to describe water features, and link them to the illustrations. The simple text explains the entire water cycle and demonstrates why water is so important to us all.

Narrative nonfiction

Hey, Water! By Antoinette Portis

I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty

A clever moral tale about a young frog who finds it difficult to see the good in how things are and instead yearns to be something else. His father, however, is adept at grounding him in reality. A great book for parents to read with their children, or for teachers to read and discuss with a class.

Animal story

I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty

The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

A charming story – based on an Aesop fable – about friendship and loyalty in which a mouse rescues a trapped lion after the lion decides not to eat him. Stunning artwork helps to convey the scale and magnificence of the lion and its Serengeti surroundings.

Fable

The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Ten on a Twig by Lo Cole

A wonderful counting story – full of repetition – that is ideal for less confident readers to share with adults and read aloud. The inventive and vibrant artwork could provide a great starting point for bulletin boards and classroom displays.

Picture book

Ten on a Twig by Lo Cole

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang

Jim’s friends have lots of helpful suggestions to try and make him feel happier. But the more they try to help, the grumpier Jim becomes until he has a meltdown. With sparkling and funny artwork throughout, this is a useful story to help younger children discuss empathy. Norman the gorilla is fabulous.

Picture book

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

An award-winning and beautifully illustrated book that teaches children to think positively, believe in themselves, and embrace diversity in the world. It is a great book to spark questions and conversations in kindergarten.

Diverse

I Am Enough by Grace Byers - great book for grade k

What Color Is Night? by Grant Snider

An imaginative picture book with dream-like nightscapes to capture the imagination of Kindergarten readers. A beautiful book for reading at bedtime.

Bedtime story

What Color Is Night? by Grant Snider

Locomotive by Brian Floca

An evocative and thrilling picture book full of onomatopoeic words to thrust the reader into the sights, sound, and atmosphere of railroads and locomotives. A fantastic book for children who are interested in machines.

STEM | Picture book

Locomotive by Brian Floca

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

A funny story that helps kindergarten-aged children understand that it’s not always the loudest person who has the best ideas. When a gang of four friends tries to catch a bird, they fail spectacularly, until they listen to the quiet observant member of the group.

Humor

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires

The traditional Gingerbread Man fairy tale is morphed into a Wild West setting with cacti, cattle, and coyotes. Yeehaw! A wonderful, fun, and immersive rhyming story that uses clever repetition and catchy language.

Modern fairy tale

The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Jerome doesn’t collect trading cards, coins, or stamps – instead, he collects words. Short words, long words, complicated words, and unusual words make up his collection – as well as words that can change and words that persuade. A highly original picture book that is perfect for developing a child’s imagination and interest in language.

Picture book

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies

A charming and poetic picture book story following the life of one loggerhead turtle as she completes a migration of thousands of miles over three decades. Enlightening, uplifting, and beautifully illustrated, this story is ideal to read and share with younger children.

Animal story

One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies

The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat

An enchanting story that follows an imaginary friend who sets out on a long journey to try and find a child to adopt him. Inventive and original, this is a great picture book to help spark creative writing and narrative storytelling ideas.

Picture book

The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat - perfect grade k text

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

When CJ and his grandma travel to and from church every Sunday, he sees places that are very different from where he lives. An atmospheric picture book story that introduces kindergarten children to a diverse range of neighborhoods, people, and backgrounds – sensitively and thoughtfully.

Classic

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman

A stereotype-busting story that shows children that they can be whatever they want to be – whether it is playing baseball, trying on different colored clothes, or liking unicorns. A good book to provoke discussion and help children develop a sense of empathy and acceptance.

Diverse

Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman

Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri

Tiger has a monster that lives under the bed. But this is no ordinary monster – each night it scares away any nightmares so Tiger can get some sleep. But one day there’s a nightmare too big to scare away. Will Tiger and Monster be able to summon enough courage to overcome the nightmare? An ultimately uplifting and inspiring bedtime story.

Bedtime story

Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri

The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi

An atmospheric picture book that’s full of awe and wonder. A young bunny wonders what goes on in the world of night and embarks on an imaginative journey. A great book to spark story ideas in kindergarten classes.

Animal story

The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman

When a busy mother has seven children who each want something different to eat all sorts of chaos ensues in funny rhyming verse. A great story to sensitively suggest to children that fussy eating has downsides.

Classic

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

Ramon loves to draw, but when one insensitive comment by his older brother threatens to destroy his confidence, his sister Marisol opens his eyes to see problems and obstacles in a new light—an inspirational book, and one that is ideal to read to reluctant and unsure children.

Family

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

As the zookeeper says goodnight to each animal at bedtime, someone or something very furry and very naughty is following him, with a set of keys. A riotously funny bedtime story with lots of clever visual cues and wordplay repetition.

Classic

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker

In this colorful picture book for emerging readers, each car on the train is boarded by a different animal, and each animal fills the car with more and more unlikely and amusing luggage and cargo. A great story to encourage children in grade K to read independently.

Rhyming

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Goodnight Already! by Jory John

When all exhausted Bear wants to do is go to sleep after a long day, his over-enthusiastic neighbor, Duck won’t stop trying to talk to him. A very funny picture book that helps teach children to respect boundaries and be careful not to annoy others.

Bedtime story

Goodnight Already! by Jory John - ideal grade k bedtime story

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

A visually engaging story that teaches young readers to overcome fears and realize goals. When Jabari thinks he’s ready to jump off the diving board, suddenly doubts begin to form. Fortunately, his father is on hand to inspire courage.

Diverse

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

When a girl walking home from school and a lost wolf cub get caught in a white-out, they both help each other to find the way back home. The lyrical storytelling and atmospheric artwork will inspire children to imagine the situation for themselves.

Animal story

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Elizabeth Hammill

A wonderful collection of beautifully illustrated traditional nursery rhymes, collected from a diverse range of cultures around the world. A great classroom resource for kindergarten.

Nursery rhymes

Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Elizabeth Hammill

The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca

An award-winning and inspirational story, telling the life of Dr. Patricia Bath who achieved her life’s dreams despite her difficult start in life. Fighting injustices, her determination, and courage shine through in this illustrated biography written in rhyme.

Biography

The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick

When WW1 vet Harry Colebourn helps rescue a young bear, he decides to name her after his hometown – Winnipeg. The story follows Winnie’s amazing journey around the world to London Zoo which later inspired the famous book Winnie-the-Pooh. An enthralling read.

Narrative nonfiction

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick


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About Tom Tolkien

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Tom Tolkien is an highly qualified and highly experienced teacher and children's literature expert (Honors Degree and Postgraduate PGCE QTS) who has spent over 25 years developing award winning literacy and ELA training resources for K-12 schools in the United States and worldwide. His areas of expertise are children's and YA books, literacy instruction, reading recommendations, and school improvement. Twitter | Linkedin

This booklist was last updated on February 12th, 2024 and first published on October 30th, 2020.