Recommended: 5 Star Children's Books

My father took all six kids to the library every two weeks, and each of us emerged with a tall stack of books. My mother- in-law is a librarian who has a reading room named after her. So of course the library has been a big part of my children's lives.

Photo: Crushed Red Pepper

But when my first child was a toddler, I found our weekly library trips a trying experience. His mission was to have me read as many books as he could sit through, after which, re-energized, he would race around creating havoc. Finding the time to sift through the books on the shelf so I could find some to take home was always a challenge.

By my second child, I finally stumbled on the strategy of going to the library prepared with a list of the authors we liked. Then I simply had to skim the B's, for instance, and grab everything I could find by Barklem, Barrett, Barton, Bemelmans, Brown, or Burton. I undoubtedly missed a lot of good books, and I still took every opportunity to browse unfamiliar authors, but at least I knew we'd have something satisfying to read that week.

The question, of course, is where do you get the list? Browsing lists of the best children's books or friends' bookshelves will give you some good ideas. And below are some lists, broken down by age, to get you started. You can take these lists with you on your next library visit by clicking on the link below each title which takes you to a printable pdf. You can also click on the images below to go to Amazon and read reviews from other parents.

My deepest apologies to all the wonderful authors whose books I've overlooked here. If there's a book you'd highly recommend, I'd be grateful if you'd drop me a note with the author and title.

PLEASE NOTE: There are three other children's book lists on this website with fantastic books that belong on every child's bookshelf; don't forget to check them out as well:

Books to Help Children Develop Emotional Intelligence »
Books about the new baby for Big Sibs »
Books to Help You Explain Death to Children »


Download PDF List:

Picture Books Picture Books (51 KB)

There are huge numbers of wonderful picture books, too many to list, but here is a small sampling of time tested authors so you can locate them easily. I've picked just one book to represent each author, but consider these a recommendation that you check out the author's other books as well.

Please note: These books are Amazon links with photos of the books. If you are not seeing them on your page, it may be that your browser is not picking them up. Please try a different browser. And don't forget that most of these books are available used on amazon for a huge savings over the new price.


Download PDF List:

Early Readers Early Readers (46 KB)

Beginning readers love series books with recognizable characters.

Simple Chapter Series: Marc Brown’s Arthur series, Lillian Hoban’s Arthur series.


Download PDF List:

Middle Readers Middle Readers (46 KB)

The simplest way to get your middle reader to take on a new book is to begin reading it to her. When you have to get up to answer the phone or start dinner, she'll almost certainly keep reading.


Download PDF List of Authors:

Advancing Readers Advancing Readers (49 KB)

Harder chapter books and series for the advancing reader (and always good family read-alouds).


Download PDF List of Authors:

Advanced Readers Advanced Readers (47 KB)

Recommended Resources:


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