Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

15 Must-Read Children’s Books

Reading is a wonderful way to stimulate your children’s minds, teach them great lessons, open up new worlds, and give them a life-long interest in learning.

If your children are young, reading aloud also provides a great opportunity to spend quality time together — plus, if you get most of your books free, reading is an incredibly frugal pastime!

We love books at our house. We don’t have a lot of children’s toys, but oh do we enjoy books!

Our children never tire of being read to. And since I’m often asked for children’s book recommendations, I’ve compiled 15 of my all-time favorite read-alouds below. These are books that we’ve read over and over and over again. Many of them might already be on your own shelves, but I hope you’ll discover a few new ones, too.

1. Goodnight Moon

This is one of family’s most-read books. In fact, I’m pretty sure every single one of us have this entire book memorized by heart. We can also can tell you every little detail on every square inch of every page. But that’s perfectly okay, because it’s such a great classic book.


2. The Seven Silly Eaters

This book was sent to our family by a blog reader and it has become one of the most-requested read-alouds by our girls. It’s a fun — and sometimes a bit over-the-top — book about life in a bustling household.


3. Because I Love You

If I had to pick a favorite book from all the children’s books we own, I’m pretty sure this book would be it. It’s a beautiful story of God’s love for us — even when we were yet sinners. It touches me every time I read it to the girls and opens up lots of opportunities for me to explain truths about God.


4. The Bear That Heard Crying

This is a true and fascinating story from 1783. A 3-year-old girl gets lost in the woods and is saved by a bear — yes, I said a bear. The girls are always in awe and ask dozens of questions when we read this one.


5. The Story of Ferdinand

The children never tire of this story and it always produces a plethora of questions on bull-fighting, bees, and everything in-between.


6. Keep the Lights Burning Abbie

Kathrynne loves this story and so do I. It’s a beautiful tale of a girl who shows great responsibility and determination to stick to her commitments — in spite of great difficulty.


7. Caps for Sale

Despite how many times we’ve read this book, it never ceases to capture the girls’ complete attention. They find it fascinating. Plus, it offers lots of opportunities for us to discuss entrepreneurialism and how “way back when” people really had to get creative when it came to earning a living.


8. Bless the Lord: The 103rd Psalm

With absolutely gorgeous and detailed artwork, this book contains the rich phrases of the Psalm 103. If your children are anything like mine, they will want to spend a great deal of time just studying the pictures.


9. The Gingerbread Boy

This story always captures the girl’s attention and keeps it the entire time. While it’s not a realistic story, it’s still a fun book to read — and the pictures are enjoyable, too. It’s also a great way to teach your children about the fact that some people can pretend to like you or have your best interests in mind, when really, they are out to hurt you.


10. The Cow Who Fell in the Canal

This book is such a fun read! The pictures are colorful, the story line is engaging and it also opens up opportunities to introduce your children to how different people in different countries live.


11. Any and All Books By Lois Lenski

Hand’s down, Lois Lenski is one of our very favorite children’s authors — it’s simply impossible for me to narrow down our favorites to just one or two of her books. I grew up on her books and have been delighted to share them with my children, as well.


12. The Jesus Storybook Bible

We’ve searched high and low for quality children’s Bible story books — ones that are accurate, doctrinally sound, and not filled with nonsense and fluff are hard to find. I apprehensively ordered The Jesus Storybook Bible based upon the strong recommendations of friends I trust. It has since become our most treasured read-aloud. The girls would pick this over any other book any day.


13. Curious George Books

No book list is complete without mentioning the Curious George books. I first introduced the girls to them when I was pregnant with Silas and very sick with morning-noon-and-night sickness. The girls would ask me to re-read the Curious George books again and again. And to this day, it’s not changed! Anytime I ask them to go pick out books to read, you can be sure there will be at least one Curious George title in the mix.


14. Little House on the Prairie

We’ve already read through The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set, but we also love the My First Little House books, as well. We’ve had so many great discussions on how blessed we are to live with so many modern conveniences and how important it is to have a strong work ethic — all thanks to the Little House books.


15. Little Jewel Books

I highly recommend the Little Jewel books, especially for younger children. They are fun to read and full of great character lessons that even very small children can understand and apply.


A Few More Honorable Mentions

I had trouble narrowing our list of favorite books down to 15, so here are a few more we really enjoy:

One resource I’ve used extensively to find quality books to read-aloud to my children is the Hand That Rocks the Cradle: 400 Classic Books for Children. It has excellent reviews and book summaries, as well as dividing up all the books by three different reading levels.

What are your favorite children’s books?

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • The Giving Tree is one of my favorite books. 🙂 Goodnight Moon is a classic–love that one, too!

  • Here is my blog post on our top 20 favorite books! 🙂 I love Crystal Bowman, please check out her books if you haven’t ever seen or read them! 🙂

  • Mary says:

    Great books on your list! We also have loved the Frog and Toad series. Such sweet friends.

  • Susan says:

    I am an elementary school librarian and although the ones mentioned here are wonderful and true classics, I wanted to mention a few of the newer ones. Just from 2011: A Ball For Daisy; Blackout; Me, Jane; Grandpa Green (all Caldecott winner or honor books); The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse; Blue Chicken; Perfect Square; Brother Sun, Sister Moon.
    Also, not as new but just as good, the Bear books by Karma Wilson (and also The Cow Loves Cookies and Frog in the Bog), How Rocket Learned to Read, all the David Wiesner books; all the David Shannon books (especially No, David!) all the Cynthia Rylant books (I always cry at Silver Packages), all the Tomie De Paola books, all the “If you Give A …” books by Laura Numeroff, all the Rosemary Wells books. Too many to list!

  • cheryl says:

    Is the Jesus Storybook appropriate for a 6 year old?

    • Angel says:

      My oldest is 6 years and requests listening to the CDs.

    • Naomi says:

      We read the Jesus Storybook Bible to our 2 and 3 yo. For full disclosure I should add that we have trained them to listen to stories since birth though, so it depends on the child’s attention span and taste for listening to stories. We have read some of the stories to our 2 and 3 yo Sunday school class and they can often follow along, though some of them don’t have the attention spans of our children.

      Even if you simplify the wording though, children will love it bc the pictures are beautiful!

      Honestly, I feel that children can handle a lot more than we give them credit for – so go ahead and try it out. You may be surprised!

    • Joanna says:

      We use it with my almost 6 year old for bedtime every night. Each of the stories is 3-4 pages long with colorful illustrations. I love the fact that it focuses on God loving us from the very beginning. It shows throughout the book that even though we sinned and there were natural consequences for that sin (pain, death, etc.) that God had a plan to rescue us.

    • Mother Lydia says:

      Yes. We got it for my son at 3.5 years old and sometimes we have to read a story over 2 nights. But he comprehends fine.

    • cheryl says:

      Thank you all. I am ordering this for Easter for my Granddaughter today. She is 6, loves to read and lives 8 hours from me so I’ve been looking for a good story bible for her. Thanks again.

  • We’ve read most of those books. It’s so fun hearing my preteens and teenagers read to my 2 year old books that I read to them and point out their favorite parts. They really do remember all the hours you spend reading to them. Such a great investment of your time.

    For the last year or so we’ve listened to The 39 Clues series in the car. It’s such a fun (although not christian) series but I think the audio is better than the book.

  • Lacey Wilcox says:

    LOVE that you included the Jesus Storybook Bible. I don’t think there is a single book we’ve read that has opened our eyes to the truth of the Gospel more than this one. Definitely a MUST have for any family!

  • April says:

    Charlottes Web!

  • One of our favorites has become “I Must Have Bobo!” I randomly picked it up at a used book sale and we fell in love with it. (What’s not to love about a book featuring a cat named Earl?) I wrote a little review of the book here:

  • Tonya says:

    Max Lucado’s You Are Special. I love, love, love it. The Monster at the End of this Book was a favorite for both my husband and me. It’s so fun!

    My children have never had one book that we had to read over and over again.

    I think the Jesus Storybook is going to find its way here at Easter.

  • Naomi says:

    Adding to the list w/ some of our family favorites

    Winnie the Pooh, Corduroy, anything by Beatrix Potter but especially Peter Rabbit, Dr. Seuss, the ‘classic’ Golden Books series (Saggy Baggy Elephant, Rolly Polly Puppy, Scuffy the Tugboat, etc)….and that’s only to name a few!

  • Jen Leach says:

    We’ve read almost all of the books on that list over the years. I would add Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, as it is a favorite right now, and Pete’s A Pizza for our four year old. We love books so much at our house that our shelves are overflowing. There is just nothing better than curling up and reading a good book! Enjoying books is the best gift we can give our children after teaching them about the Lord. Thanks for the list of wonderful stories! I think we need to reread a few of these today.

  • Jody says:

    I love “A Mother for Choco.” It’s about a little bird who is adopted by a bear and has a great message about being a family even though you might not look alike. I read it to my daughter’s 2nd grade class after a boy told her that I wasn’t her “real” mom….

  • Laurie says:

    Two of my very favorite children’s books are 11-year-old author Maddie Blank’s book “Running Free” (available at Amazon, a chapter book) and “God Gave Us You” by Lisa Tawn Bergren.

  • melissa says:

    Any suggestions for beginning chapter books for my daughter? She/we don’t like the ones with witchcraft and spells or other scary themes. I’m just looking for a nice series on animals or something innocent like that. She’s at a level 2 probably… can handle 6-8 sentences per page. Thanks!

    • Laurie G says:

      Has she read the Little Bear series or Frog and Toad? Those are both good for beginners. My son read through both when he was starting out. They are nice stories. We don’t do scary either.

      • melissa says:

        No. We’re just getting into this stage so I’m not really familiar with what’s out there. Thanks for those suggestions! I’ll look into those.

    • Annie says:

      My 6 year old daughter loves the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park about a lively girl and her adventures in kindergarten and first grade. We’ve read them numerous times. She also loves The Littles series by John Peterson about a tiny family that lives in the walls of a normal family’s house. Although we usually read together, she can read them fine on her own.

  • martha chew says:

    There is a book called “I’ll love you forever” This is a great book

  • Kim says:

    THe Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn was my oldest sons favorite book & my 5 year old loves it the most also.
    Its especially a great book for kids entering school.
    It is about the cutest racoon Chester and being afraid to start school and being away from his mother.
    The illustrations are also beautiful.

  • Beth says:

    Favorites… the list is long but here are a few… The Giving Tree and any other Shel Silverstein book, Dr. Seuss books especially the Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight?, Charlotte’s Web, Frog and Toad books/stories. Books are my weakness and I generally have to stay away from retail book stores or I might go broke!!! The library, yard sales, hand me downs and used book stores save me/us!!!! 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    Love your list. A few recent favorites of our almost 3 year old and 18 month old. A Sick Day for Amos McGee. (We had to purchase this after checking it out from the library at least 12 times!) Polly Dunbar’s Tilly and Friends books. Stars (can’t think of the author) is a great evening alternative to Goodnight Moon or I Took the Moon for a Walk. And, let’s not forget the classics: Anything by Virginia Lee Burton-The Little House is an absolute favorite and Corduroy.

  • Anna says:

    I’m glad I am not the only mom who has read Little House to my little girls. My oldest just turned 5 years old, and we’ve read Through On The Banks of Plum Creek. I’ve put them down for a while, since by the time By The Shores of Silver Lake takes place, Laura is so much older and my 3 and 2 year old seemed really bored.

  • Shelly says:

    My daughter really liked James Herriot’s Treasury for Children by James Herriot. It is a chapter book but I started reading it to her when she was 6 and we really enjoyed it. We also read most the books you mentioned and my son who is almost six really enjoys the little house books. I will have to include some of the books here for my son that we have not read yet. Also the Winnie the Pooh books by A.A. Milne my son just loves these too.

  • I love the Llama Llama books! They’re so fun to read.

    My son is also fascinated by the books by Ali Mitgutsch. They’re all about how things are made, like From Sand To Glass, From Cotton To Pants, or From Clay To Bricks. He’s 4 and really into trucks and factories and stuff.

    He’s also all about Curious George. I think he can relate to that trouble making monkey!

  • B says:

    thank you so much for posting this list and all the comments! i’ve ordered many from your list, so grateful because we love books here too. another one to add to the list is “My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts” by susan hunt, we’ve been reading it daily at breakfast. it has a bible verse, a short story, and questions to ask at the end. we also like the “help me be good” series by joy berry – good moral value short stories on everything from lying, tattling, selfishness, etc. excellent to read to the preschool age.

  • Laura McGarity says:

    One of my favorite books for its encouraging message, awesome rhymes, and wonderful illustration is IGGY PECK ARCHITECT. Very different from standard children’s books but I read it over and over. I love that Iggy (the main character) learns that it is okay to be different and passionate about something!

  • Shannon says:

    Current favorites in our house:
    Go to Sleep, My Love and On the Night You Were Born
    Noah and the Mighty Ark published by Zonderkids

  • Sarah says:

    Blueberries for Sal was one of those books I bought for my son because of my fond childhood memories of this book. Just as sweet as I remember. My son practically has book memorized.

  • Stephanie says:

    We always loved “Watch out! Big Bro’s coming! ” by Jez Alborough. It’s hilarious!! My daughter is 9 and my son is almost 16, and we’ll still read this every once in a while and it never fails to crack us up! We also love “Bob”, a very cute and funny story about a rooster trying to find his “crow” by Tracey Campbell Pearson. And last, “Don’t Fidget a Feather!”, a hilarious story about a gander and a duck trying to avoid being a fox’s dinner.

  • Dawn says:

    Three favorites of our is “You Are Special,” by Max Lucado and “I Love You, Stinky Face,” by Lisa McCourt and “The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything,” by Megan Llyod. My kids want to read them over and over.

  • Zan says:

    My dad went to school with the author of the bear book. 🙂

  • Kim says:

    I was looking into the Jesus Storybook Bible on Amazon because our Pastor recommended it. I read the bad reviews and it did concern me a bit, then I read the pages that were available to read online and I was concerned about the Adam and Eve story where it basically implied that Eve sinned because she thought God didn’t love her and then it said all men would think that God didn’t love them, or something to that effect. First of all, not sure where the author came up with that, second of all, I am worried that would plant the thought in my daughter’s head that there is even a chance that God couldn’t love her. What is your experience with that portion of the book?

  • Amber says:

    I was so excited to see “Farming with Father” on your list! I happened to be Christmas shopping at a local Amish store here in Northern Indiana. We live on a farm, so my 3 kids relate to the book. I love the old-time, vintage look and wording of the book.

  • That is an awesome list! We are currently working our way through the little house books and I still have the books I read from when I was a kid! So fun to pass on those traditions.

  • Rachel says:

    I’m a children’s librarian, so I have too many favorites to list. Some of the books I like from the last decade or so are “Tough Chicks” by Cece Meng, “I Love You, Stinky Face” by Lisa McCourt, “Bringing Down the Moon” by Jonathan Emmett, and everything by Mo Willems and Sandra Boynton.

  • Claire says:

    “Just Like Mama” by Beverly Lewis is a beautiful picture book set on an Amish farm, where 10 year old Susie wants to be just like her mother. Her mother wisely points her to Jesus!.

  • flutemom says:

    Click, Clack, Moo- Cows that Type was a favorite at our house. Also, quite a few of the Dr Seuss books- Mulberry Street, Cat in the Hat, ABC’s…..

  • Juanita says:

    Why people still use to read news papers when in this technological globe everything is
    existing on net?

  • Nicky Squido says:

    Great List. I was looking for children books for the must reading book list for my students. And I go through your blog via Google. You have maintained your blog very well with the nice information in it. I really like your way of writing and list of children books. Thanks for this amazing blog.

  • Cathy Parr says:

    I absolutely love anything by Patricia Polocko. Also, as a little girl, I had a book about a garden by Kate Greenaway. I remember how I loved the poems and the pictures. The dresses the girls wore were so pretty. I haven’t seen that book in years. I was also a fan of about any book in our school library that smelled musty. The mustier the smell, the better the story. I would also advise every mom read the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series.

  • April says:

    Reading is a good thing. Throughout toddlerhood and preschool, your child is learning critical language and enunciation skills. Early reading for toddlers has been linked to a better grasp of the fundamentals of language as they approach school age. Thanks for sharing these 15 must read books.

  • ginger padilla says:

    Hi! I have been reading with my 6 yr old grandson practically since birth, and he started reading at around 3 y.o. I just wanted to mention Mo Willems books about “Elephant & Piggie”, which he just loved/loves (still)! there are many in the series. I heard that the newest one, “The Thank You Book” is the last one he will write, which made my grandson kinda sad. He also liked Willems “Pigeon” books and “Snufflebunny” books.

  • Llama Llama Red Pajama is becoming one of my favorite read aloud books. I love the rhyming in it!

  • Mary Ellen says:

    Who is the author for The Little Jewel Books? I know this is an old post, but the link is not pulling up those books. Thanks!

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *