In a previous blog post, we explained that reading makes up an important part of your child’s cognitive, emotional, and social development. Reading also fosters improved communication and logical thinking skills. It boosts concentration and overall IQ. Finally, it stimulates imagination and teaches tolerance.
These things probably all sound wonderful to you—and they should. But how can you promote the love of reading if your child thinks of it as homework or a chore? Simple. You choose stories that your child will love.
Below, we’ve given you a list of beloved stories that any child can enjoy. Find your child’s age group, then select the book you think he or she would enjoy most.
Your preschoolers or young kindergartners may enjoy the following.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Author: Bill Martin
Illustrator: Eric Carle
This picture book combines playful rhymes with bright, simple illustrations. It will delight any small child.
The Cat in the Hat
Author and Illustrator: Dr. Seuss
No list of children’s books would be complete without Dr. Seuss. Read any of his works to your child, delighting in the fun rhymes and imaginative illustrations.
Author: Margaret Brown
Illustrator: Clement Hurd
This book follows a little bunny who says goodnight to all the things nearby. The soothing rhythm in this book will make it a favorite bedtime story.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Author and Illustrator: Beatrix Potter
The antics of naughty Peter Rabbit will not only entertain your child, but teach a lesson about the importance of obedience.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Author and Illustrator: Eric Carle
Like Eric Carle’s other work on this list, this book features bright illustrations. You’ll both be delighted by the caterpillar that eats tangible holes through the paper. Children also get to learn about a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly.
Where the Wild Things Are
Author and Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
You may have seen the film associated with this story. It follows Max through his magical journey to a faraway land where fantastical creatures live in a forest.
When your child’s reading skills advance, choose longer books with more involved plots.
The Giving Tree
Author and Illustrator: Shel Silverstein
This book offers your child an introductory look into philosophy and social responsibility. It recounts the story of a tree who loved a young boy and gave to him selflessly throughout the years of his life.
The Little Prince
Author and Illustrator: Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A pilot in the desert meets a young prince who fell to Earth from an asteroid. The little prince meets many characters along the way, including a fox, and they all teach him valuable lessons. This tale will also teach your child about philosophy and social responsibility.
Author: Astrid Lindgren
Illustrator: Michael Chesworth
Pippi Longstocking creates quite a stir when she becomes Tommy and Annika’s new neighbor. She has crazy red pigtails, a horse on her porch, an overgrown garden, and no parents around to oversee her comings and goings.
Some children can move on to chapter books before this point, but if they haven’t already, they should start with the books below.
Author: E.B. White
Illustrator: Garth Williams
Children love the story of Wilbur the pig, who overcomes his bleak future with the help of a spider, Charlotte. Instead of becoming Christmas dinner, he becomes a beloved and fantastical icon.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Introduce your child to one of the most important pieces of our cultural zeitgeist with the first installment of this beloved series.
The Magic Tree House Series
Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Two children, Jack and Annie, use a magic tree house to free a powerful sorceress, become Master Librarians, and save four ancient stories. They go to many fantastical and historical lands in the process.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Author: Lemony Snicket
Join the three Baudelaire orphans as they try to find out what happened to their parents and escape the clutches of the evil Count Olaf.
The Tale of Despereaux
Author: Kate DiCamillo
A small mouse shouldn’t want to become a knight, but Despereaux does. Let your child accompany him on his adventures as he saves the kingdom and rescues a princess.
By the time your children enter fifth and sixth grade, they can move to more advanced reading.
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Every child who loves fantasy and magic will enjoy The Hobbit. This story will take your child on a journey with Bilbo Baggins, a small hobbit creature who overcomes impossible odds as he helps a group of dwarves reclaim their kingdom.
Author: Louisa May Alcott
This 1868 classic has delighted readers of all ages since its publication. It follows the story of four sisters who explore family ties, dreams, and growing up.
A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeline L’Engle
If your child hasn’t experienced science fiction yet, A Wrinkle in Time provides a safe, imaginative foray into this new genre. Meg Murray and her friends meet some extraterrestrial strangers who take her on a secretive journey to find her father, who went missing while doing top secret work for the government.
Help your child foster a love of reading by introducing him or her to these books. You’ll build a lasting relationship and create a lot of joy along the way.