Best Books for a 5-Year-Old Getting Ready to Read

The best books for a 5-year-old
Best Books for a 5-Year-Old Getting Ready to Read 47

Your pre-schooler is quickly learning to the basics of reading. What books are good for 5-year-olds developing early reading skills? Storys need to keep their interest enough to be read over and over as repetition is key to success. So we’ve come up with a list of the best books for a 5-year-old.

Having raised 5 kids through this particular age, we are well-equipped to give suggestions for children with all kinds of book preferences. We’ve got suggestions for interactive picture books, books about starting school, and so many more suggestions to help you raise little readers.

Below, you’ll find lots of great stories divided by category. Many of the books for 5-year-olds have links to book lists with even more recommendations, so be sure to poke around.

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Table of Contents

Counting Books for 5-year-olds

place value

Place Value by David A. Adler

This book does such a good job of teaching children about place values. It breaks it down for little ones in an easy-to-understand manner that is perfect for beginning mathematicians!

pete the cat

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean

Pete the Cat is back with his cool coat and his 4 groovy buttons. That is until he loses one and only has 3. As the story progresses, your child will count in reverse and learn subtraction at the same time. It’s the perfect preschool book to introduce math concepts.


Countablock by Christopher Franceschelli

Because the words in this story are mostly sight words and kids are learning to recognize numbers up to 100, this makes a great first book for early readers.

Alphabet Books for 5-year-olds


Animalia by Graeme Base

In 10 years, I don’t think I have ever found everything on ANY page in this book. The illustrations are completely amazing, creative, and mesmerizing as well. This is the alphabet book that I can read with all my kids (including my 16-year-old).

Why I Love This Book: This is one of the best alliteration books I have ever read and the fact that it is also a mystery makes it a wonderful pick for the whole family.
Appriporate For Ages: 4+
Find this Book In: Alliteration Books / Alphabet Books / Animals Books /

Once Upon an Alphabet

Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers is just the most brilliant writer and illustrator. This collection of short stories for each letter is a lovely item for any library and is one of our favorite alphabet books. 


LMNO Peas by Keith Baker

This delightful book showcases each letter of the alphabet in a story about peas and all the jobs they can have. Told through rhyme, your little one will eagerly hunt for the peas matching the described jobs.

There are so many clever illustrations that this book is one you will want to explore over and over again.

Why We Love This Book: We love any book that has a great rhyming scheme but this one is hilarious with adorable illustrations to match.
Appropriate for Ages: 2-5
Find this book in Alphabet Books / Gender Neutral Baby Books / Food Books for Children

For more books like these, check out our list of 22 Alphabet Books

Food Books for 5-year-olds

lady pancake

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk 

My kids think it is hysterical to see Lady Pancake try to beat Sir French Toast to the last drop of syrup as they navigate the perils of the refrigerator. The message about sharing is particularly important especially if you are in the in the midst of the sibling rivalry phase.

Why We Love This Book: We love adorable books with important messages.
Appropriate for Ages: 2-6
Find this book in Books for a 5-Year-Old / Children’s Books About Food

the pigeon finds a hot dog

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems

Mo Willems is a must-know author if you have preschoolers. He writes the best books for 4-year-olds! His pigeon series is particularly funny. In this story, the pigeon finds a hot dog but a clever bird outwits him into sharing!
Why I Love This Book: Pigeon is hilarious and his antics are so ridiculous that even younger readers will recognize his silliness. This is the perfect book to keep kids interactive when reading the book. It is also a great tool to teach appropriate social behavior because Pigeon is so silly.
Appropriate for Ages: 3+
Find This Book In: Books for 5-year-olds/ Kids Food Books

Dragon Loves Tacos

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Both the original story and the sequel feature taco-eating dragons who can’t stand spicy salsa! The whimsical illustrations are childlike and the stories are just plain silly! Your child will be giggling when they see the dragons burn down the house after eating spicy tacos.

Why We Love This Book: This book is adorable and hilarious. It is one we do not mind reading on repeat.
Appropriate for Ages: 2-5
Find this book in Books for a 5-year-old / Kids Books About Food

Books Set at Daycare for a 5-year-old

The King of Kindergarten

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

After his parents call him the King of Kindergarten, a young boy experiences his first day of school in his new “kingdom.”

Sharing, learning, and the joy of making new friends are all explored in his sweet tale. This adorable pick from first day of school books it so uplifting.

Miss Bindergarten and other alphabet books

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate

Using the letters of the alphabet, we meet each kid in the class as they get ready for school.

We see Miss Bindergarten get ready for school by cleaning, organizing, and decorating her classroom. If you are looking for first day of school books for kindergarten, this is a really cute choice.

Schools First Day of School

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

This clever tale is written about School as he witnesses children and teachers using his facilities for the very first time.

He is a little nervous as some say they don’t want to be there, but he starts to learn what the children learn and laugh at the jokes they tell. We absolutely love this first day of school book and the lovely twist.

Color Books for 5-year-olds

pocket full of colors

Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire by Amy Guglielmo

The pictures in this book are captivating, the colors are brilliant but, the best part is that it is true.  Based on the story of Mary Blair, this story tells how one woman broke the mold and created “It’s a Small World”.

I Don't Draw, I color and more feelings books

I Don’t Draw, I COLOR!  by Adam Lehrhaupt

This is a lovely book that explores creativity as opposed to artistry.  I love how the child in this book can express feelings and emotions with colors.  

Why We Love This Book: Often, it is so difficult for children to express themselves verbally and I love how this book gives another way to do this.  
Appropriate for ages 4-8
Find this book in: Books about colors / Books about Feelings / Books for 5-year-olds

the day the crayons quit

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

The classic color story that launched a series! The Day the Crayons Quit is about overworked crayons that decide to go on strike. Each color airs its grievances to Duncan, who just wants to color! Can Duncan find a solution to make his crayons happy?

For more books like these, check out our list of books about colors for preschoolers!

Season and Nature Books for a 5-year-old

Our Seasons

Our Seasons by Sue Lowell Gallion

I’m a sucker for any kind of book that turns into something else. Our seasons opens up to create a 3D globe depicting the world during Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall.

This gorgeous book will enthrall your child.

Over and Under the pong

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner

This delightful story is about a mom and child who are canoeing over the pond. When the child asks about what is under the pond, the story explores the ecosystem and all its little miracles. It’s the perfect book for a 5-year-old nature lover.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowy Day is a Caldecott Winner for a reason. This classic story depicts a boy exploring his city neighborhood after a snowstorm. It’s the perfect book for a 5-year-old when it’s snowing outside.

Rhyming Books for 5-Year-Olds

if i built a car by chris van dusen

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen

When it comes to books for 5-year-olds, this is a must.

This book will spark your child’s imagination as Jack imagines what his dad’s car could do if it were not so boring and bland. Ask your child what their dream car looks like.


The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

This book is another classic in our house. Mouse proves that a little bit of brain is all you need when faced with a whole lot of muscle. We adore this rhyming wonder.
Why I Love This Book: Not only is this book written in rhyme, but it is funny as well. It also has a very strong message about brains vs. brawn as well as bullying.
Appropriate for Ages: 3-7
Find This Book In: 31 Great Rhyming Books For Your Emerging Reader / Best Books for a 4-Year-Old to Develop Pre-Reading Skills / Animal Children’s Books / Best Books for a 5-Year-Old Getting Ready to Read

Iggy peck

Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beatty

I love Iggy Peck and all his friends. They are smart, funny, and independent thinkers. Not only does this book put a spotlight on being yourself but, the rhymes and vocabulary are nothing short of spectacular.

Animal Books for a 5-year-old

Mercy Watson and morebooks for a 6-year-old

Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo

My youngest son’s favorite early reader series revolved around a pig named Mercy Watson. We have every book about this charming pig being raised as a child in the Watson home.

There is also a spin-off series about her neighbors on Deckawoo Drive. These are the perfect books for a 5-year-old!


Fraidy Zoo by Thyra Heder

This is one of the cutest picture books in my collection. A little girl is afraid of something at the zoo, but can’t remember what. So her family dresses up as different animals in A-to-Z order to help her overcome her fear.

There is so much to look at throughout this story, this is a book for a 5-year-old to enjoy again and again.

giraffes cant dance

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

Gerald is a giraffe who wants to dance but things that is can’t. Thanks to a friend who encourages him, Gerald finds a way to embrace his differences.

Why I Love It: I absolutely love this book about following your heart and being true to yourself. The bonus of rhyming makes this book that much more special. This is one of the children’s books about being different that I was happy to read over and over.
Appropriate For Ages: 2-4
Find This Book In: Animal Books / Books for a 4-Year-Old / Rhyming Books

For more books like these, check out our list of Zoo Books, Shark Books, and Octopus Books for kids.

Classic Books for 5-year-olds


Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illus. by Marc Simont

This beginning reader kids mystery book series is wonderful for emerging readers. It’s all about kid detective, Nate, who solves mysteries for his friends and neighbors!

Mother Bruce and more books for a 4-year-old

Mother Bruce by Ryan Higgins

Mother Bruce is the first in a fantastic series about a grumpy bear who becomes the adoptive mom of 4 young geese. He tries to get rid of them but soon realizes they are part of his family.

The rest of the series continues the story of Bruce, his geese children, and the inhabitants of the forest. Just wait until your children read about the meddlesome mice in future books!

Why I Love It: Bruce is so grumpy, I cannot help but laugh at him. No matter how grumpy he gets, he is also a great parent to the geese.
Appropriate for Ages: 2-5
Find This Book In: Animal Books for Kids / Educational Books for a 3-Year-Old

The Napping House

The Napping House by AudreyWood

The illustrations and repetition in this book make it one of my favorite books with prepositions for toddlers.

Everyone in the napping house piles onto the one bed to sleep. The rhythm and repetition make it easy for your toddler to “read” the book with you. This is one of my favorite read-aloud books and is a delightful bedtime story.

Why We Love This Book: The repetition and rhythm of the story are great scaffolding for children who are learning to put two words together
Appropriate for Ages: 2-5
Find this book in Educational Books for 2-Year-Olds / Best Books for a 3-Year-Old: Create a Love of Reading

Books for a 5-year-old’s Motor Development

Shake my sillies out and more books for 5-year-olds

Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi

Raffi’s classic song is put into picture book form in this charming book for 5-year-olds. It’s the perfect story to help with motor development as your child dances along to the words within.

Jabari Jumps

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

While this might not be a motor skill book for 5-year-olds exactly, it might be the book you need to get your kiddo working on an important motor skill – swimming!

Both Jackie and I made sure our kids were in swim lessons by the time they were in preschool. This story shows Jabari, who just passed his swim test, working up the courage to jump from the diving board. A perfect story for beginning swimmers.

From Head to Toe

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

This book has Eric Carle’s classic pictures while giving your child the chance to clap, stomp and move around while imitating the animals in this book. Not only can your toddler learn about the animals, but they can move around as well.

Books About Love for 5-year-olds

If I had a little Dream

If I Had a Little Dream by Nina Laden

I discovered this jewel of a book last year I cried like a baby the first time I read it and it has become my go-to book selection for any newborn regardless of gender. But it’s a great one for older kids too.

The story is a wonderful look at the world and how it nurtures us. It’s a pick for the best baby books because it is a keepsake you’ll cherish forever.

Love Matt De La Pena

Love by Matt De La Pena

This sweet, gorgeously illustrated tale showcases the different kinds of love. It highlights how love stays with you and makes you stronger.

I also loved that it pointed out the different actions people take to show their love without saying words. I get teary-eyed every time I read this story.

Love Monster and other Valentine's Day Books for Toddlers

Love Monster by Rachel Bright

Everyone needs love and everyone should be loved for exactly who they are.  Monster goes out on a mission to find just that in this book.

Love Monster is a great book for a 5-year-old monster fan.

Interactive Books for a 5-year-old

wreck this picture book

Wreck This Picture Book by Keri Smith

Based on the popular, Wreck This Journal, this picture book is designed for little kids! With prompts on each page to make creative changes to the picture book, this is a perfect travel activity book for 5-year-olds.

This interactive book for kids is designed to make children use all their senses while reading the book. They are encouraged to smell, touch, and fold the pages.

Appropriate for Ages 5-8
Find this book in Books for 5-year-olds.

press here

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

When it comes to interactive books for kids, Hervé Tullet is the king! In Press Here and his other books, kids push, tap, shake, and interact with the pages. This is a book for a 5-year-old to read again and again.

Tickle Monster and more monster books for kids

Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett

This baby monster book is a wonderfully interactive picture book for kids. As you read it, it instructs you where to tickle your child!

When you read this book to your little one, you get to tickle and they get to laugh.  After all, laughter and books should go together.

Sold individually or as a kit, we recommend the kit for the fun tickle monster gloves. Put on the gloves and tickle along with the tickle monsters. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers alike love this one. Be warned – it’s not great for bedtime because it can get kids in quite a goofy mood.

Appropriate for Ages 2-5
Important note: Some children love being tickled while others do not. Take cues from your child.

Family Books for 5-year-olds

a family is a family is a family

A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary

This is a wonderful story about all the different kinds of families that exist. For a class project, the teacher asks everyone to talk about their families and what makes them special.

There is someone raised by a grandmother, someone with two dads, and so on. Such a wonderful story highlighting non-traditional families.

the big bed

The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan

At some point in any parent’s life, their child will try to convince them that they NEED to sleep in mom & dad’s bed. This hysterical story takes it a step further as the child attempts to kick daddy out of bed…permanently. Everyone in my family loved this story and it’s a frequent bedtime request. Bunmi Laditan is the author behind the famed Honest Toddler account. 

Between Us and Abuela

Between Us and Abuela by Mitali Perkins

The border wall has been in the news for a long time now for political reasons. But this book is not political. It’s about an American family making its way to the border wall to see their Abuela on the other side. A heartwarming story about how nothing comes between family, this is a book to be read at every age level.

Creativity Books for a 5-year-old


Chalk by Bill Thompson

Three children discover a magical bag of chalk on a rainy day. As they begin to draw, magic happens and their creations come to life. This wordless picture book for a 5-year-old will delight adults too. It’s the perfect playground book for a lovely day.

Not a

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

The bunny in this book can find amazing things to do with a box. When you read this book with your child, not only will inspire creativity but you will allow them to think “outside the box” literally and figuratively.

After you finish reading it, try setting up a creation station with boxes, paper towel rolls, scraps of paper, tinfoil, googly eyes, and more. This educational book for 5-year-olds is a winner!

Beautiful oops and other imagination books for 3-year-olds

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg

A good imagination book inspires creativity but also teaches a lesson. The lesson in this book? It’s OK to make mistakes.

Beautiful Oops is a 3-D book that shows a mistake, and then how the artist turns it into a masterpiece.

It’s a great book to reference when talking to your children about mistakes and how to fix them.

Feelings Books for 5-year-olds

wemberly worried

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

Wemberly worries all the time, but she is especially worried about school. This story tackles the difficult topic of children with anxiety.

This was particularly helpful for my oldest child who has some anxiety in day-to-day situations but a lot of anxiety in new situations. He could relate to Wemberly and her feelings which opened a nice discussion for us.

the rabbit listened

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

This is one of my favorite books for 5-year-olds. I gift it all the time. When Taylor is sad, every animal tries to help by offering different advice from shouting to crying but they don’t make the sadness go away. But the rabbit sits there and listens. What a lesson for kindness, empathy, and dealing with emotions!

Niko Draws a Feeling

Niko Draws a Feeling by Robert Raczka

There are so many wonderful things about this book.  Nico loves to draw but he doesn’t draw like other kids do.  He draws what he feels inside.  If only we could all express ourselves this way. My kindergartener loved it so much that he asked me to read it to his class.

Why We Love This Book: This wordless picture book allows children to explore bullying in their own voice.
Appropriate for ages 5-9
Find this book in: Books for a 4-year-old / Feelings books

Did you find any books for a 5-year-old to add to your home library? For more options check out our list of books for 4-year-olds or early readers with our book suggestions for 6-year-olds.

Want books for 5-year-olds books for a beginning reader? We created this list of educational books with tips for your emerging reader!

Road Map for Reading Readiness

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