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100 Must Read Children's Books For Beginning Readers

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100 Must Read Children's Books For Beginning Readers

(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

(This article was originally published 8/07/14  and updated 7/20/19)

What are the best Must Read Children’s Books For Beginning Readers?

With little kids like mine, it’s hard to know what children’s books to put in their library – which ones will captivate their wild imaginations in a reading nook and reflect their zany toddler spirit? And what books will appeal to both a rambunctious 3-year-old and a 5-year old who is starting to read on her own? 

It turns out there’s more overlap than I thought. As my daughter becomes an independent reader, she’s returning to the “baby books” she knows and loves because she can master them independently.

So with all this in mind, I’ve rounded up 100 Must Read Children’s Books For Beginning Readers that can grow with your child. From first picture books to the first “I read it myself” moments, we’ve chosen the books whose illustrations will delight little kids and whose words will fascinate bigger kids.

The recommendations on this list come from parent friends, other bloggers, and our readers. They’ve even been field-tested by the very discerning readers who live in my house.

Did we leave your favorites off our list? Let us your recommendations on social media.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

1. A Chair For My Mother | Vera B. Williams

2. A Color of His Own | Leo Lionni

3. Abuela | Arthur Dorros & Elisa Kleven

4. Are You My Mother | P.D. Eastman

5. Baby Be Kind | Jane Cowen-Fletcher

6. Baby Happy Baby Sad | Leslie Patricelli

7. Bear books (series) | Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman

8. Big Red Barn | Margaret Wise Brown & Felicia Bond

9. Blackboard Bear | Martha Alexander

10. Blueberries for Sal | Robert McCloskey

11. Blueberry Girl | Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess

12. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? | Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle

13. Busy, Busy Town | Richard Scarry

14. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom | Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault & Lois Ehlert

15. Click, Clack, Moo | Doreen Cronin & Betsy Lewin

16. Corduroy | Don Freeman

17. Don’t Move the Muffin Tins | Bev Bos

18. Each Peach Pear Plum | Allan Ahlberg & Janet Ahlberg

19. Elephant and Piggie books (series) | Mo Willems

20. Eloise Wilkin Stories | Eloise Wilkin

21. Fancy Nancy (series) | Jane O’Connor

22. Five Little Monkeys (series) | Eileen Christelow

23. Five Minutes’ Peace | Jill Murphy

24. Full, Full, Full of Love | Trish Cooke

25. Go, Dog. Go! | P.D. Eastman

26. Good Night, Gorilla | Peggy Rathmann

27. Goodnight Moon | Margaret Wise Brown & Clement Hurd

28. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site | Sherri Duskey Rinker & Tom Lichtenheld

29. Green Eggs and Ham | Dr. Seuss

30. Guess How Much I Love You | Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram

31. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb | Al Perkins & Eric Gurney

32. Harold and the Purple Crayon | Crockett Johnson

33. Hush! A Thai Lullaby | Minfong Ho

34. I Am a Bunny | Ole Risom & Richard Scarry

35. I Am A Puppy | Ole Risom & Jan Pfloog

36. I Love My Daddy | Sebastien Braun

37. I Love You Through And Through | Bernadette Rossetti Shustak & Caroline Jayne Church

38. I Want My Hat Back | Jon Klassen

39. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (series) | Laura Joffe Numeroff & Felicia Bond

40. Iggy Peck, Architect | Andrea Beaty & David Roberts

41. It’s a Dog’s Life | Susan E. Goodman, David Slonim

42. Jamberry | Bruce Degen

43. Jazz Baby | Lisa Wheeler & R. Gregory Christie

44. Kitten’s First Full Moon | Kevin Henkes

45. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale | Mo Willems

46. Lilly books (series) | Kevin Henkes

47. Little Blue and Little Yellow | Leo Lionni

48. Little Blue Truck | Alice Schertle & Jill McElmurry

49. Little Critter (series) | Mercer Mayer

50. Little One’s Bedtime | Suzi Moore

51. Little Pea/Little Hoot/Little Oink | Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Jen Corace

52. Llama Llama books (series) | Anne Dewdney

53. Lola books (series) | Anna McQuinn & Rosalind Beardshaw

54. Mama, Do You Love Me? | Barbara M. Joosse & Barbara Lavallee

55. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: Things About Me | Jenny Slate & Dean Fleischer-Camp

56. Moo, Baa, La La La! | Sandra Boynton

57. Moose Tracks! | Karma Wilson & Jack E. Davis

58. Mr. Men and Little Miss (series) | Roger Hargreaves

59. No Fits, Nilson! | Zachariah O’Hora

60. Nobody Listens to Andrew | Elizabeth Guilfoile & Mary Stevens

61. Nuts to You! | Lois Ehlert

62. Oh, Baby! Go, Baby! | Dr. Seuss

63. Olivia books (series) | Ian Falconer & Dame Edna

64. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish | Dr. Seuss

65. Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me | Eric Carle

66. Pat the Bunny | Dorothy Kunhardt

67. Peek-A-Who? | Nina Laden

68. Pete the Cat (series) | Eric Litwin & James Dean

69. Press Here | Herve Tullet

70. Raindrop, Plop! | Wendy Cheyette Lewison & Pam Paparone

71. Room on the Broom | Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

72. Round is a Tortilla | Roseanne Greenfield Thong & John Parra

73. Rumble in the Jungle | Giles Andreae & David Wojtowycz

74. Sam and the Lucky Monkey | Karen Chinn & Cornelius Van Wright

75. Sheep books (series) | Nancy E. Shaw & Margot Apple

76. Sleepyhead | Karma Wilson & John Segal

77. So Much! | Trish Cooke & Helen Oxenbury

78. Stuck | Oliver Jeffers

79. The Big Orange Splot | Daniel Manus Pinkwater

80. The Cat in the Hat | Dr. Seuss

81. The Day the Crayons Quit | Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers

82. The Dot | Peter H. Reynolds

83. The Foot Book | Dr. Seuss

84. The Giving Tree | Shel Silverstein

85. The Gruffalo | Julia Donaldson

86. The Gumdrop Tree | Elizabeth Spurr & Julia Gorton

87. The Jolly Postman | Allan Ahlberg & Janet Ahlberg

88. The Kissing Hand | Audrey Penn, Ruth E. Harper & Nancy M. Leak

89. The Little Engine That Could | Watty Piper

90. The Poky Little Puppy | Janette Sebring Lowrey & Gustaf Tenggren

91. The Pout-Pout Fish | Deborah Diesen & Dan Hanna

92. The Snowy Day | Ezra Jack Keats

93. The Tiger Who Came to Tea | Judith Kerr

94. The Very Hungry Caterpillar | Eric Carle

95. Toes, Ears & Nose! | Marion Dane Bauer & Karen Katz

96. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt | Helen Oxenbury & Michael Rosen

97. Where the Wild Things Are | Maurice Sendak

98. Who Hoo Are You | Kate Endle

99. Wild About Books | Judy Sierra & Marc Brown

100. Yummy Yucky | Leslie Patricelli

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Agnes Hsu is a mom of three and has been inspiring parents and kids to get creative with easy activities and family friendly recipes for over 10 years. She shares her love for creative play and kids food to her 2MM+ followers online. Agnes' commitment to playful learning and kindness has not only raised funds for charity but also earned features in prestigious nationwide publications.