My first teaching job was in a Spanish-speaking kindergarten classroom. Kindergartners are the CUTEST! So, based on my experience in the classroom and with my own kids and readers of this blog, I know which kindergarten books make the best read alouds for teachers and parents!
These picture books and their reviews aren’t just entertaining but also offer learning opportunities for your kindergartners, 5 and 6-year-olds. These are a mix of recommendations of books that I’ve read aloud to my students, along with the newest published books up until November 2023.
it’s important to read aloud to your kindergartners several times during the day — to build brain development, language, and social skills; to share narrative and informational tests, to expand a child’s world, to spark curiosity, and to teach new concepts. You don’t have to read aloud at bedtime. Try reading to your kids or students at breakfast or any time throughout the day!
Top 10 Kindergarten Books to Read Aloud
- We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
- That Fruit Is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz
- Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
- Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
- The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma by Diane and Christyan Fox
- Pigeon Math by Asia Citro
- Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
- Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast by David Ezra Stein
- Unicorns Are the Worst by Alex Willan
- Pacho Nacho by Silvia Lopez
What about Early Reader Books for Kindergarten?
Kindergarten children are beginning to learn phonics and decoding so they can read. Find the best book recommendations for growing readers, including 100 early reader books and good decodable book series.
How old are kids in kindergarten?
If you’re wondering what age kindergarten children are in the United States, the answer is they must be five years old to start kindergarten and sometimes will be six years old.
Sometimes, parents choose to “red shirt” their children which means they wait one year before enrolling their child in kindergarten.
How do you know if your child is ready for kindergarten? Check this kindergarten readiness checklist.
I’ve made a free printable PDF of this book list. Sign up to get it emailed to you!
Kindergarten Books about the Kindergarten Classroom
This is the Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson, illustrations by Rafael López
The evocative, lyrical text with gorgeous, lush illustrations illuminates the awkwardness of a girl’s first days at school. She listens to other kids’ big stories of summer and feels like she doesn’t fit until…she finds out that maybe there she might have something in common with others after all.
The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Today, you’re the King of Kindergarten! Rich imagery filled with hyperbole and metaphor, plus captivating illustrations, create a festive atmosphere filled with exuberance and bravery. Kids love this day at kindergarten filled with the many happy possibilities, including storytime, recess, playing with new friends, and a kind teacher. This is one of the best award winning kindergarten books!
KINDergarten Where Kindness Matters Every Day by Vera Ahiyya, illustration by Joey Chou
Leo gets a letter from his new kindergarten teacher, Ms. Perry, but he’s still feeling unsure about school. When he goes to school, his teacher helps Leo and his classmates learn about kindness in action — like raising hands and saying nice words. During the school day, Ms. Perry reassures Leo and introduces him to new friends. At the end of the day, Leo and his classmates decorate those kindness pledges, and his classmates give Leo compliments about his kind behavior.
Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Itzy combines all the nursery rhyme spider stories and songs into one funny story about Itzy going to kindergarten. First, he chases a fly and accidentally scares a little girl eating curds and whey on a tuffet, only to get swallowed by an old lady (who also swallowed a lot of other crazy things!) When he’s coughed back up, he tries to build a web. As he does, it starts raining and he struggles to keep going up the waterspout. Hilarious, right?!
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
After a rough first day at school where this little dinosaur eats her classmates, Penelope’s dad explains while children might taste good, it’s not a good idea to eat them. But she does it again next day. It’s not until the class goldfish chomps on Penelope’s finger, and it HURTS that she realizes it’s not fun to be someone else’s snack! Penelope tries to remember this valuable lesson so she can make friends and playmates at school.
Kindergarten Books about Friendship
Good books for kindergarten students include books that help children with social skills. Picture books like the books on this list…
Speak Up, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, illustrated by David Catrow
Molly Lou Melon IS THE BEST! She’s responsible, loving, kind, tells the truth, and speaks up for what’s right, like stopping a classmate who teases a new student. The illustrations are absolutely perfect and filled with tons of nuanced details that add depth and humor to the story.
Turtle and Tortoise Are Not Friends by Mike Reiss, illustrated by Ashley Spires
If you like FUNNY picture books with a great lesson about friendship, this is a great kindergarten read aloud. The tortoise and turtle agree that since they’re different, they can’t be friends. It’s too bad because they’re in the same pen, and they each have interesting adventures. Many silly antics happen that will crack you up. Eventually, these stubborn creatures learn that both are in the turtle family…and six years later, they decide to be friends.
Jenny Mei Is Sad by Tracy Subisak
Narrated by Jenny Mei’s friend, we learn that Jenny Mei is sad, but she doesn’t always show it. Sometimes she smiles and sometimes she rips things, and sometimes she is quiet. And it’s ok. Her friend is always there for “fun and not-fun and everything in between.” This kindergarten book shows the importance of accepting a friend’s feelings and behaviors without judgment or trying to fix things.
How to Apologize by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Use this gentle, instructive guidebook to teach children about apologizing. It gives readers examples of what not to do (don’t make excuses) and what to do (be sincere). The examples show animals acting out apologies and, because most of them aren’t good apologies, end up being quite funny.
When Charley Met Emma by Amy Webb, illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard
Charley’s mom teaches him that “Different isn’t weird, sad, bad, or strange. Different is different. And different is OK!” But he hurts Emma’s feelings and fixes it with an apology. Emma helps Charley know that even though she’s a little “differenter” than he is, she’s a lot the same, too. This compassionate story shows the importance of accepting (physical) disabilities with kindness and openheartedness.
You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown
I love how hilarious this picture book is! Lucy is very enthusiastic about making friends with a forest critter. Her good intentions go awry, and soon Lucy is yelling at the forest animals — “Come back here and have fun with me” and “You WILL be my friend.” This isn’t a great way to make friends, either. Will Lucy ever make a friend?
That Fruit Is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz
This is a charming story about learning to share and the power of cooperation. You’ll crack up watching the elephants’ many failed attempts to get delicious-looking fruit off a tree while simultaneously watching a tiny group of mice work together to get the yummy fruit, too. Who do you think succeeds? The mice! When the elephants see what the mice have accomplished, they love the idea of teamwork and try again.
The More the Merrier by David Martin, illustrated by Raissa Figueroa
An exuberant celebration of each animal’s uniqueness as one after the other joins bear in dancing through the forest –in their own way. Moose galumphs, snake wiggles, deer leaps, owl flies. Rhythmic with repetition, this animal party is a delight to read aloud. As each animal is introduced they say something similar to this — “I like your beat. But I’m not like you. So I’ll just do what I can do.” What fun to celebrate individuality and dance together!
Kindergarten Books About Feelings
Younger children love read aloud time. Share these stories with young readers to help them learn about feelings and to normalize feeling all your feelings. One of the most important things for kindergarten children is to learn social emotional skills and self-regulation.
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Wemberly worries about many things, especially starting school. While this only touches on anxiety, it’s a reassuring story that sometimes things we worry about things turn out just fine.
The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
This growth mindset story reminds children that just because they can’t do something, it’s not forever — it’s just that they can’t do it YET. The magical yet means that you’ll start to see the possibilities in the future. Yet doesn’t mind mistakes or do-overs. With patience and an open mind to the magical yet, you can get where you want to be.
The Little Butterfly That Could by Ross Burach
A distressed butterfly gets lost from her migrating group. She talks with a whale about her fears and resistance. The whale encourages the reluctant butterfly to find its gumption and courage, kicking it out of his stomach and telling it to keep trying. It’s funny, emotional, and relatable — all narrated in dialogue bubbles. Kindergarteners will ADORE this cute little creature’s adventures and valuable life lessons.
Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang, illustrated by Max Lang
This is one of the best, most healthy emotional intelligence children’s books I’ve ever read about feeling your feelings. Jim Panzee wakes up, and nothing seems right. His jungle friends like Norman suggest that he might be grumpy. Yet Jim insists he’s NOT grumpy. As Jim stomps around, bunching his eyebrows, not swinging, he yells at the other animals that he is NOT grumpy. Later that day, Jim sits with Norman. “For now I need to be grumpy,” he explains finally. To which Norman responds, “It’s a wonderful day to be grumpy.”
Kevin the Unicorn: It’s Not All Rainbows by Jessica von Innerebner
A delightful book about feeling your REAL feelings, even if they are not happy ones! Kevin is supposed to have days filled with magical awesomeness. Except he isn’t. He tries to pretend he’s having a glittery and fantastic day but his day is filled with not-so-great things and a lot of pretending that he is happy. Until he can’t contain his emotions anymore and shouts out the truth, “Today is not awesome or fantastic and it’s definitely NOT sparkly.” Interestingly enough, he’s not the only one feeling that way. Once Kevin stops pretending, other unicorns admit that they’re not having perfect days either. And that’s okay!
I Forgive Alex A Simple Story About Understanding by Kerascoet
Wordless with beautiful illustrations, this story tells about the time at recess when Alex’s ball hit his classmate’s pictures, and they fell in a puddle. Everyone seems mad at Alex, but eventually, the boy to whom the drawings belonged, shakes Alex’s hand and forgives him.
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Curriculum-Related Kindergarten Books
Reading kindergarten books like these picture books will do double duty. The books teach concepts through their stories while also sharing entertaining stories that children love.
Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon
Stories are everywhere. In fact, Ralph’s teacher helps his classmates and him find story ideas in everyday things.
Fiona the Fruit Bat by Dan Riskin, illustrated by Rachel Qiuqi
Read this mesmerizing story of a young fruit bat who is ready to take her first flight–and doesn’t understand why she needs to listen. As Fiona explores the world, she begins to understand how echolocation helps her hear where she is. The illustrations go from dark to light, and the story models growth mindset.
The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma by Diane and Christyan Fox
Cat begins to read the story of the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” to Dog, but she doesn’t get far before Dog interrupts with his ever-so-interesting thoughts about what might happen next. Cat is not amused. .. Dog just can’t help himself, though. Your kids will love Dog and Cat — and their unique and different personalities. Even better, use this book to teach asking questions and writing a story.
The Donkey Egg by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Impressively educational while being funny, charming, and warmhearted! Fox tricks Bear into hatching a donkey egg for only $19.94. While Bear sits and sits on the so-called Donkey Egg, we learn helpful information about telling time. Read aloud this kindergarten book to introduce the passage of time and how to tell time.
Pigeon Math by Asia Citro, illustrated by Richard Watson
Addition and subtraction fun with birds!! An increasingly exasperated narrator is TRYING to tell the story about ten pigeons, but it’s not going well. Visual support, goofy humor, and plenty of kid appeal make this a 100% must-read-aloud illustrated book.
Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat
To celebrate the Raksha Bandham holiday, Bina makes bracelets for her brothers. First, she surveys her brothers’ preferences for colors. Then, she makes bracelets with their favorite colors in patterns by problem-solving. Gorgeous illustrations and likable main characters make this math story a fun way to learn about patterns.
How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills
Rocket is a dog who accidentally becomes a bird’s reading student when he’s nearby the bird’s “school.” Rocket isn’t interested in learning to read until he hears the bird read a story about an unlucky dog missing his favorite bone. Rocket learns the alphabet, letter sounds, and how to read words. Eventually, the bird must fly south for winter but will return for more reading.
Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman, illustrated by Andy Elkerton
Dragons are rude, they set things on fire, they break things, all in all, there are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t bring your dragon to the library. So, why not borrow books for your dragon to enjoy at home? Excellent rules for dragon owners!
Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller
Aria loves her hair but doesn’t love when people touch it. She hides in all sorts of fantastical places — a castle, outer space, underwater. Soon, Aria gets lonely and goes home. The next time someone touches her hair, she says, “Don’t touch my hair.” When people ask, Aria feels comfortable saying either no or yes. What a beautiful book to help children learn about respectful boundaries.
XO, Exoplanet by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Jorge Lacera
Get ready to laugh at this hysterical solar system story! When our solar system’s planets write a friendly letter to an exoplanet, their communication turns into a funny argument after the exoplanet tells our planets that THEY are the exoplanets. A visiting comet helps them see that both sides are right–depending on your perspective.
The Owl Who Asks Why by Michelle Garcia Andersen, illustrated by Ayesha L. Rubio Little
Owl has a lot of questions. The other owls laugh because Owl doesn’t ask “Who?” questions. The same thing happens to Little Wolf, who asks “When?” questions not “How?” questions. So both Little Owl and Little Wolf run away together. But they get lost and scared and ask a variety of questions including to help them find the way home. This is a wonderful celebration of being true to yourself, staying curious, and solving problems.
Too Many Pigs and One Big Bad Wolf by Davide Cali and Marianna Balducci
Clever, hilarious, and filled with so many juicy things like counting and storytelling with a demanding reader, this 2022 picture book begs for multiple readings. The narrator begins with a short, 2-sentence story about the three little pigs on the abacus that the wolf eats. Except, the reader demands a longer story. So the narrator tries again, adding more pigs to the abacus and more short stories. Count all the pigs and notice the pigs grouped by colors and numbers. Fantastic!
Dodos Are Not Extinct! They’re Just in Disguise by Paddy Donnelly
A playful introduction to extinct animals! Learn all about the dodo and other so-called extinct animals who are simply in disguise. Why are they in disguise? Because they’re so popular, of course! That means that the quagga wears striped pants or a brown sweater to blend in, the Smilodon grows a mustache to hide his tusks, and dinosaurs are everywhere.
Funny Kindergarten Books to Read Aloud
Kindergarteners love fun books like these. Reading books that are funny hooks kids on good books!
This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose, illustrated by Josh Shipley
Our narrator wants to tell you about squirrels with the help of Taco, a squirrel who loves tacos. Taco gets more irritated with the narrator when he hears the facts like “squirrels love to eat nuts, acorns, and even tree bark.” (He only agreed to be in the book because he thought there would be tacos!) This is a good nonfiction book with facts paired with hilarious commentary and a surprise ending.
This Is a Moose by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Hilarious! This is a moose. Who wants to be an astronaut? But the narrator gets more irked in this silly adventure with animals who want to do big things like be doctors and astronauts.
Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast by David Ezra Stein
The interrupting chicken series is the BEST! Read aloud this series of kindergarten books in any order. In this story, Little Red Chicken loves to modify the stories his dad reads aloud. This morning, Little Red Chicken adds cookies to the nursery rhymes. Eventually, Papa suggests that instead of cookies for breakfast, they have cake…a pancake. Entertaining, funny, and playful.
We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
Two turtles. One hat. What will they do? Klassen shows the friends together, one turtle’s internal struggling with wanting to sneak back for the hat and the other friend sharing a dream about them both having their own hats. Illustrations tell much of this story so pay close attention to this important sharing life lesson!
Unicorns Are the Worst by Alex Willan
Goblin is annoyed when unicorns move in next door — maybe even jealous. Because unicorns just frolic all day long and they get their own themed birthday party supplies! AND THERE’S SO MUCH GLITTER and so many tea parties…to which they don’t invite Goblin. Unicorns are really the worst! But Goblin’s opinion changes when the unicorns help him escape a dragon. Clearly, dragons are really the worst. Exceptional, inviting artwork!
Pacho Nacho by Silvia Lopez, illustrated by Pablo Pino
This hilarious story begs to be read aloud. It’s about a family that has two sons, the oldest son has a VERY long name that his parents insist everyone use, Pacho-Nacho-Nico-Tico-Melo-Felo-Kiko-Rico. This name appeases the family who suggested all the names, but when he falls into the river, it takes so long for his brother Juan to say his name and get help that the parents decide to shorten his name. Based on an old Japanese folktale, you’ll love the retelling set in Mexico interspersed with Spanish words.
The Little Blue Bridge by Brenda Maier, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
Echoing the Three Billy Goats Gruff fairy tale, Ruby wants to cross the bridge and pick blueberries. But her brothers go without her because she’s too little. When the brothers try to cross, the log-guard Santiago says, “I’m the boss and you can’t cross…unless you give me a snack.” The boys tell Santiago to wait for the next sibling. Finally, Ruby builds her own bridge–and Santiago helps her with.