Growing Reader

The 50 Best Books for
5- and 6-Year-Olds

by Melissa Taylor

There’s so much happening with 5- and 6-year-olds. They’re learning to tie their shoes, practicing cutting out shapes with scissors, some are even ready to ride a bike. There’s a big continuum of development at these ages, and that applies to children’s reading development, too. Some kids are not yet ready to read, while others are reading independently. And that’s as it should be, according to both developmental and literacy experts.

No matter where your child is on this developmental continuum, here you’ll discover the best books to encourage their love of reading. Each book has been carefully selected by our group of experts.

Since we also think that finding books in a series is like discovering buried treasure, we’ve put asterisks next to the titles that are part of a larger series.

So whether your 5- or 6-year-old is building their reading foundation with picture books or reading chapter books on their own, here are our go-to books to entice, entertain, and educate.

Heading out to your local library or bookstore? You can download the full version of the list here.


The 50 Best Books for 5- and 6-Year-Olds


Learn more about the experts behind this reading list.

Get the printable version of the list.

Explore our 50 Best series to get great recommendations for other ages.


  • Karen Kinard Walsh

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Beth Coughlin

    Is there a way to get these into a printable list? I work in a library and would like to be able to easily share it with my patrons.

    • AshleyDeHaye

      There is a link for a printable version at the bottom of the list.

      • Beth Coughlin

        Thanks, I didn’t see that.

  • Kelly Bennett

    A nice selection Melissa! I especially appreciate you including reasons. I hope, you’ll lend your support to Jumpstart’s efforts to help every child succeed by signing up to #ReadfortheRecord with Jumpstart and Not Norman, A Goldfish Story, on Oct. 22, 2015! Here’s the link:

  • Donna Farrer

    This is a great list, I think I could snag a few off here and my kids will be thrilled. We are in the learning stage at our house, reading Don’t Stick Sticks Up Your Nose! Don’t Stuff Stuff In Your Ears!. It’s by Jerald Altman MD, who is a ear, nose and throat specialist so he has seen it all I am sure. But the kids love to read this one, so as long as they are “getting it” then I’ll keep reading it!

  • Lisa Moore

    Just looked over the list and realized my oldest grandson has read most of these books. I read to my children starting when they were babies and they are passing along the love to read to their children.