The Best Books for Preschool and Kindergarten: Our Favorite Read Alouds by Theme

Teachers and parents love a good book list! Whether you’re looking for the best read aloud books to go with a particular teaching unit, or simply want to browse by theme, this list of lists has you covered.

Every single book on every single list has at least a short description, and often specific recommendations too – so you won’t have to just guess which books are the best fit for your read-aloud.

I think you’re pretty sure to find something that fits your needs… I added up the books on all these lists, and there are over 350 titles so far!

I’ve focused mainly on picture books (a.k.a. storybooks), but you’ll also find some kids’ nonfiction mixed in too. I’ve sorted these preschool and kindergarten book lists into groups so you can easily find what you need.

Table of Contents

If you want to skip to the section you’re most interested in, these links will get you there instantly.

Year-Round Book Lists

Spring Book Lists

Summer Book Lists

Fall Book Lists

Winter Book Lists

What Do the Best Read Aloud Books Have in Common?

As I’ve compiled these preschool and kindergarten book lists over the years, I’ve reviewed plenty of disappointing titles that didn’t make the cut. I also found some amazing choices that I adore.

Here are some of the qualities I look for in the perfect children’s book:

  • Standout writing – I like an interesting premise, but if the writing isn’t strong, you’re going to lose your read aloud audience. Some books have captivating word choice, and others have perfect rhythm. Some have beautiful sensory and figurative language, while others are elegantly simple. The common theme among the best read aloud books is that the writer fades into the background and the story stands tall on its own.
  • Ear Pleasing – For reading aloud, the words should sound good too. The pacing feels right, and the words don’t roll awkwardly off your tongue.
  • High-quality illustrations – during story time, preschoolers and kindergartners should be able to follow the story visually, and ideally also be able to spot additional details in the illustrations. I think this increases engagement and adds interesting layers to a book. I also think this helps lay a foundation for reading comprehension later on.
  • Diverse range of characters – I try to make sure that across each list you’ll find characters representing many different backgrounds and experiences. I think children should be able to see themselves in some stories, and broaden their worldview with others.

I try not to limit my lists to bestselling picture books. You’ll find those too, of course, but you’ll also find some wonderful gems that I’ve enjoyed unearthing for you.

Year-Round Themes

These book lists are ones you’ll want to dip into all year long. Some are useful at multiple times per year. For instance, you might want to bring up the Friendship book list at both back-to-school time and around Valentine’s Day.

childrens books about names

Learn about names and about treating everyone with respect with the titles on this list of Children’s Books About Names for Your Classroom.

picture books about dogs book cover collage and title

Dog lovers as well as children fearful of dogs will find some great choices on this list of kids books about dogs.

This great big list of construction books for preschoolers is organized into concept books, two levels of picture books, and nonfiction books.

Find a story that’s perfect for teaching story sequencing with this helpful book list.

books about colors

This assortment of books about colors will help you teach the names of colors to young preschoolers as well as help you teach kindergarteners to read color name sight words.

children's books about the months of the year

(cue the music): January, February, March, and April… these are all fun books about the months of the year.

There are so many wonderful children’s books about friendship. Find your favorite on this huge list of stories that teach the meaning and importance of making and keeping friends.

For children worried about taking tests, these kids’ books about test anxiety could help ease some fears.

Gather together some of these books for teaching your next weather unit. Each of these titles covers a variety of weather all in one book.

Lots of little kids are fearful of thunderstorms. Reassure them with one of these lovely children’s books about storms.

I put together this book list related to solar eclipses back in 2017 when we had a solar eclipse in the U.S. Some of these are still fun to read any time. Our next American solar eclipse will be on April 8, 2024.

If you want to focus on one other planet in our solar system, Mars is a captivating choice for kids. Immerse them in these children’s books about Mars, and watch as they dream of our future in space travel. After all, we’ll be putting humans on the red planet in their lifetime!

Inspiring science picture books - an annotated list of high quality fiction and narrative nonfiction stories on a wide range of science topics.

Inspire your budding scientists with these 20 science picture books for little learners.

This assortment of children’s books about the moon is out of this world!

Teach children about how things work on farms with these fun farm books for kids.

space books for little kids title and cover collage

Get ready to blast off to learning with these Space Books for Little Kids, including board books for toddlers, picture books, and some engaging nonfiction choices for bigger kids.

Seasonal Book Lists

Freshen up your shelves each season with some of the books on each of these lists. …and check back from time to time because I clearly need to add some more!


25 books about caterpillars & butterflies

Find some new favorite books about butterflies and caterpillars from this big but well-organized list.

Get ready for April 22nd with this huge list of Earth Day Books for Kids. It includes choices for kids ages 3-12 on a variety of interesting environmental topics.

Celebrate all kinds of mothers with this list of 12 charming Mother’s Day books for preschoolers.

Find your favorite Father’s Day books for preschoolers on this list for school, home, and even dad’s lap!


Kick off the summer or add to your weather unit with these 25 children’s books about the sun.

The Best Books about Ocean Animals

From whales to jellyfish, sea turtles to starfish, this list of the best books about ocean animals gives you lots of inspiration and guidance.


Back to school books for teacher to read aloud at the beginning of the school year

Here’s a list of back to school books especially for teachers to read aloud to their class at the beginning of the school year.

Have fun reading about the big yellow bus with these fun books about riding the school bus.

collage of Halloween books for preschoolers

Find Halloween books for preschoolers among these ten favorites.

Find some great November read alouds with themes such as sharing, gratitude, harvest, friendship, and of course Thanksgiving.


children's books about snow

These 10 children’s books about snow explore the fun and wonder of winter’s white stuff.

winter books for preschoolers

We love these wonderful winter books for preschoolers, and think you will too!

gingerbread man books title collage

This list of Gingerbread man books is arranged in pairs so that you can easily find choices to compare and contrast.

These preschool holiday books include brand new titles as well as favorite classics

You’ll find holiday books to read to preschoolers the whole season long with this big list!

25 Magical Books About Santa Claus cover collage

Get into the Christmas spirit with these magical, lovable books about Santa Claus.

kids books about penguins

You’ll be happy with these fascinating children’s books about penguins!

polar bear book collage and title

Head North with us as we read the best fiction and nonfiction books about polar bears.

hibernation books for preschoolers pin

Little kids are interested in learning about where animals go in the winter. These hibernation books are just right for preschoolers.

That’s all for now. I’ll be continuing to research and write new book lists, so you can pin or save this post and check back occasionally for updates on the best children’s books by theme.

Happy Reading,


All in one place book lists for preschool & kindergarten

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