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.
Plus, right here at the top you might want to check out this list of brand new children’s books that have just been published this summer of 2021.
Table of Contents
If you want to skip ahead to just the section you’re most interested in, these links will get you there instantly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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!
Inspire your budding scientists with these 20 science picture books for little learners.
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!
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.
Kick off the summer or add to your weather unit with these 25 children’s books about the sun.
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.
Find Halloween books for preschoolers among these ten favorites.
These 10 children’s books about snow explore the fun and wonder of winter’s white stuff.
We love these wonderful winter books for preschoolers, and think you will too!
This list of Gingerbread man books is arranged in pairs so that you can easily find choices to compare and contrast.
You’ll find holiday books to read to preschoolers the whole season long with this big list!
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.