For a list of books specifically for kindergarten-age children, check out: 1st Graders Suggest Top Books for Kindergarteners

Ages 4-8

Across the Alley

by Richard Michelson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Two young boys—one African-American, the other Jewish—forge a friendship and share their love of baseball and playing the violin in an era when racial differences keep people apart.

Adèle & Simon

by Barbara McClintock

Adele tells her little brother, Simon, not to lose anything on the way home from school. This books is set in Paris in the early 20th century, and the siblings stop at various sites and landmarks along the way. Of course, Simon leaves something behind at each one.

The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County

by Janice N. Harrington, illustrated by Shelley Jackson

A little girl just can’t stop herself from chasing chickens on her family’s farm.

For You Are a Kenyan Child

by Kelly Cunnane, illustrated by Ana Juan

A young boy’s day in a Kenyan village.

The Giant and the Beanstalk

by Diane Stanley

Otto, a gentle and polite giant, follows Jack down the beanstalk to rescue his beloved pet chicken. Otto keeps running into Jacks from other fairy tales until he finds the one he’s looking for.

Max’s Words

by Kate Banks, illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Max’s big brothers collect stamps and coins. Max wants to collect something, too. He collects words, cutting them out of newspapers and magazines and writing them down. He and his brothers arrange the words to create a story.

Mr. George Baker

by Amy Hest, illustrated by Jon J. Muth

A 1st grade boy and a 100-year-old man learn to read at the same time.

Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything

by Lenore Look, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

In this sequel to Ruby Lu, Brave and True, 2nd grader Ruby Lu is assigned to help her deaf cousin from China acclimate to school. She takes her role so seriously that she neglects her own work and has to go to summer school.

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Stories To Read Together

by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Michel Emberley

This collection of 13 two-page rhyming stories is written for children and adults to enjoy loud together.

Ages 9-12

The following selections are terrific to read aloud a chapter at a time to younger children. Older children (and their parents!) will enjoy reading these books on their own.

A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeleine L’Engle

The story of Meg, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin’s search through the universe for Meg’s father. The 1963 Newbery Medal winner.

Charlotte’s Web

by E.B. White

The classic story about Wilbur the pig and his spider friend, Charlotte, who saves his life. A 1953 Newbery Honor book.


by Jacqueline Woodson

Sixth-grader Frannie learns about the barriers that separate people when a new boy arrives in her class. A 2008 Newbery Honor book.

James and the Giant Peach

by Roald Dahl

Young James escapes his two horrible aunts and finds friendship and adventure inside a giant peach.

Johnny Tremain

by Esther Forbes

The story of a young apprentice silversmith in Boston in the period leading up to the Revolutionary War. The 1944 Newbery Medal winner.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

by Kate DiCamillo

A vain and selfish china rabbit learns the value of love.

My Side of the Mountain

by Jean Craighead George

The story of a boy who leaves home to spend a year living alone in the forest. A 1960 Newbery Honor book.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

by Mildred D. Taylor

The story centers on the 9-year-old daughter of an African-American family living amid poverty and racism in the Deep South during the 1930s. The 1977 Newbery Medal winner.

Sarah, Plain and Tall

by Patricia MacLachlan

A warm and moving story set in the 19th century about a Midwestern widower who advertises for a mother for his two young children. Sarah arrives from Maine to live with the family. The 1986 Newbery Medal winner.

The Wind in the Willows

by Kenneth Grahame

The adventures of Mole, Rat, Toad, and their woodland friends.