These 60+ preschool books contain the best stories for kids that will not only motivate, educate and encourage your child, they are also fun to read and explore.
Reading to kids from the very beginning is so important. Baby and toddler books provide the first window into the world and allow the opportunity to introduce a variety of topics and subjects. These preschool books and stories for kids will be cherished in your home or classroom. There are so many wonderful books that can introduce your child to important concepts before they even get to school. The books in this list are truly the best books to read preschoolers or children ages 2 years old to about 8 years old.
If you are looking for books for older children then check out the best children’s audio books or if you are looking for a specific theme then check out our favorite book lists. If you have a younger child, you might want to check out my TOP 5 toddler books and baby books here.
The stories for kids that we will be showcasing here are our favorite preschool books and for teachers, books to read to your preschoolers.
1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Follow a small and hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through the week and eventually becomes a butterfly. This colorful book reviews days of the week, different types of food and the life cycle of a butterfly. This is definitely one of our favorite Toddler books.
2. Press Here by Herve Tullet. This fun book encourages kids to interact with the book, transforming a simple dot by tapping the pages, turning the book and clapping their hands.
3. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. The illustrations by Clement Hurd are beautiful. This beloved bedtime story reviews all of the familiar items in a room, then says goodnight to each of them. The rhyming text sets the perfect tone for falling asleep. This is definitely one of my favorite stories for kids. Out of all the preschool books we have at home, something about this one sticks out. It just reminds me of feeling peaceful and calm.bout it
4. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems. The story starts with a bus driver asking the reader to watch over things for a minute, but tells him to not let the pigeon drive the bus. However, the pigeon shows up and does his best to convince the reader to let him do just that.
5. Little Blue Truck was written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Jim McElmurry. Join a friendly blue truck as he travels around and greets his animal friends. The story is full of fun truck and animal noises, while also teaching kids the importance of being friendly and kind to others.
6. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. This classic tale is full of bits of wisdom for the big things in life. These important lessons are shared in cheerful rhyming text and colorful illustrations.
7. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle. The rhyming text and colorful illustrations in this classic book introduce the reader to a variety of adorable animals. Each animal spies another bright animal in this fun story full of rhyme and repetition.
8. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. This vividly illustrated story follows the letters of the alphabet as they all try to meet at the top of the coconut tree. The rhyming text is a fun way to review the alphabet with little ones. One of the best things about Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and why it’s one of the best preschool books is because of all the extension activities. The alphabet song is fun, so bring it to life. Have children hold alphabet letters and move around the room while singing this song.
9. Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell. When a child writes to the zoo asking for a pet, the zoo obliges with a variety of animals. Kids will enjoy lifting the flaps to find out what animals have been sent.
10. Bear Snores On (The Bear Books) by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman. As a brown bear sleeps, a variety of animals sneak into his cave to hide from the cold. The bear continues to sleep as they warm up and start to party. The cheerful rhyming pattern and repeated refrain are great for reading aloud.
11. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper and illustrated by George and Doris Hauman. This beloved story follows a small train who tries her hardest to believe in herself and get over the mountain in front of her. Kids will love the little train and will be inspired by her message of persistence. I love stories for kids that include a moral or try to instill a special quality in children.
12. Corduroy by Don Freeman. Corduroy is an adorable little bear who lives in a store, waiting to be purchased by a child. He goes on a mission to find his missing button so he will be ready when the right child comes along.
13. The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and illustrated by Mike Smollin. Grover the friendly monster from Sesame Street stars in this interactive book. Page after page, he begs the reader to stop reading so they don’t see the monster at the end of the book. The ending is an adorable twist that kids will love. This book is one of the funniest stories for kids. My 4 year old laughs hysterically when we read this.
14. Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! by Dr. Seuss. This rhyming book is a creative stroll through the alphabet. The peppy rhymes are accompanied by fun illustrations in the classic Seuss style.
15. The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton. The adorable animal characters and peppy rhymes in this story make it a great choice for winding down at bedtime.
16. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. When the zookeeper says goodnight to the gorilla, he doesn’t notice him steal his keys. As he makes his way around the zoo saying goodnight to all the animals, the gorilla follows along. A funny book for reading before bed. This is one of those preschool books that has minimal words but beautiful illustrations.
17. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. When Max is sent to bed without supper, his imagination runs wild, taking him to a forest full of wild things. This book is a great reminder to let our imaginations run wild every once in a while.
18. Clifford The Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell. In this original story about everyone’s favorite red dog, the reader is introduced to Clifford and Emily Elizabeth. This is a great book for celebrating the things that make someone (or some dog) unique.
19. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. In this hilarious story about cause and effect, a little boy learns what happens if he gives the little mouse a cookie.
20. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. Gerald the giraffe just wants to dance, but he doesn’t move like the other animals. This inspirational story encourages kids to accept what makes them different and dance to their own drums.
21. Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. In this sweet rhyming story, the little llama decides that he isn’t ready to go to bed yet. He calls his mother, delays bedtime and ultimately throws a tantrum. The kind reminder of love from Mama Llama is one that all kids can benefit from hearing at bedtime. Llama llama is amongst our top 5 preschool books for kids. Anna Dewdney truly understands how a preschool child feels and Llama’s adventures really speak to a child.
22. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Even construction vehicles need to rest at night. This sweet rhyming bedtime book explores a variety of vehicles and trucks as they finish their work and settle in for the night.
23. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak. Chester Raccoon is nervous about his first day of school. His mother’s creative way to remind him of her enduring love is a sweet ritual that parents may be inspired to use with their own kids. This is one of those preschool books that would be a good read for the first day of school or leading up to your child’s first day of preschool.
24. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. With just one purple crayon, the imaginative little Harold creates a world full of adventure. This book is a great reminder of how important it is to stretch your imagination.
25. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko. When a dragon burns up her clothes and steals her prince, the brave princess dons a paper bag and goes on a mission to get him back. This tale of strength, bravery, intelligence and self esteem is a funny read full of great lessons.
26. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. This story follows Peter, a little boy who wakes up to see that snow has fallen overnight. His adventures in the snow capture the fun and beauty of the first snowfall.
27. Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert. This colorful book introduces kids to the process of creating a garden of vegetables and turning them into soup.
28. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Betsy Lewin. When the animals start typing up requests on an old typewriter, Farmer Brown finds himself at their beck and call. This funny story is sure to make kids laugh.
29. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Nowak. This hilarious book shows kids that books without pictures can be laugh out loud funny. With various text sizes and lots of silly nonsense, it’s sure to be a favorite.
30. Stone Soup by Heather Forest and illustrated by Susan Gaber. This story of teamwork and generosity follows two travelers who teach a village how to work together to create something wonderful when everyone gives a little bit.
31. Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola. When Strega Nona decides to go visit another village, she leaves Big Anthony in charge of her home, but warns him not to touch her magic pasta pot. Big Anthony can’t contain his curiosity and unleashes a wave of pasta on the unsuspecting village below.
32. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. This classic tale of generosity and giving introduces readers to a kind apple tree who gives everything it has to a little boy as he grows into an old man. This is definitely one of the classic stories for kids. It will stay with them long after they finish reading the book.
33. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon. When she is a baby bat, Stellaluna is separated from her mother after an attack from a predator. After landing in a bird nest, she starts to live life like the birds in her adopted family. The happy ending provides kids with important lessons about celebrating our differences and walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.
34. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sheila McGraw. This touching story follows a mother and son’s relationship as the boy grows up and they eventually switch roles. The sweet repeated refrain of love and affection is one that parents will want to share with their kids. In one of the most memorable preschool books, Love You Forever showcases that a mother’s love is forever.
35. I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and illustrated by Cyd Moore. This question and answer between a mother and son explores the depths of love that a parent feels for their child. The funny scenarios that the child dreams up will be entertaining for parents familiar with fielding bizarre questions.
36. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. In this classic tale of trying new things, the persistent Sam-I-Am tries to convince the main character to try green eggs and ham. The elaborate situations and fun rhymes make it a great read aloud. This was one of my favorite stories for kids when I was younger.
37. The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna. This sweet rhyming story introduces readers to the Pout-Pout fish, a constantly pouting fish who spreads gloom all around. When his friends try to cheer him up, he learns an important lesson about turning your frown upside down.
38. Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss. Join the titular Fox as he plays a variety of tongue twisting games with the exasperated Mr. Knox. Kids will love listening to parents tripping over their tongues while reading this one out loud. Dr Seuss makes the best preschool books. It’s rhyming words are always loved by kids.
39. You’re All Kinds of Wonderful by Nancy Tillman. This beautifully illustrated book teaches kids that we all have skills that make us unique and special, even if it takes us a while to figure out what they are.
40. Good People Everywhere was written by Lynea Gillen and illustrated by Kristina Swarner. There are many types of good people in the world, and this book shows kids the different ways that they can become one through their actions.
41. Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein. When Amelia smiles while skipping down the street, she sets off a chain reaction that travels around the world. This is a great book for teaching kids that the smallest act of kindness can make a large impact.
42. I Love You Because You’re You was written by Liza Baker and illustrated by David McPhail. In this lovely rhyming story, a mother shares how she loves her son in good times and in bad, no matter what he does. In one of the sweetest stories for kids, a child will know that they are so unique and so beautifully “you”.
43. The Family Book by Todd Parr. This colorful book shows that all families are different, but they all love each other.
44. The Mixed-Up Chameleon Board Book by Eric Carle. When a chameleon decides that he wants to be more like other animals, he continues changing parts of himself until he is completely mixed up. This story shares a great lesson on being yourself.
45. River Rose and the Magical Lullaby by Kelly Clarkson and illustrated by Laura Hughes. This fun story follows a little girl named River Rose and her dog Joplin as they take a magical bunch of balloons on a trip to the zoo in the middle of the night. The sweet lullaby that her mother sings to her is a nice addition to a bedtime routine.
46. ABC Yoga by Christiane Engel. This fun trip through the alphabet introduces kids to a variety of animals, as well as yoga poses based on them.
47. Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. This interactive book helps kids take control of their fears as they watch a monster grow with every turn of the page, and then make him disappear piece by piece.
48. The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. When Vashti is unsure how to start drawing, her teacher gives her an important lesson about getting unstuck and letting your creativity flow. The dot is one of my favorite Stories for kids because great things can happen, once you put pen to paper.
49. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz. Alexander’s day starts out bad, and gets worse from there. This ode to the bad days reminds us that some days seem like everything is going wrong, but tomorrow will be a better day.
50. Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg. This creative book shows how every small mistake can be turned into something beautiful. A unintentional fold of your paper can become an amazing penguin. A spill of paint on your paper can be turned into a multitude of things, like an elephant or a dog. I love when preschool books can show a child that accidents can be good things. As a child may not have the best fine motor skills or control of their pencil movements, accidents are bound to happen. Accidents CAN be good things. This book shows you how.
51. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson is a well loved tale internationally. It is about a clever mouse who walks through the forest and doesn’t want to get eaten. So he creates a scary monster called The Gruffalo. I do have to warn you though, that the american version is different from the international version. This does affect the flow of the book. I would order Julia Donaldson books from an overseas store. Add on the finger puppets to bring the story to life.
52. The Gruffalo’s Child By Julia Donaldson is the second book in The Gruffalo series. This time the book is told through the perspective of The Gruffalo.
53. Room On The Broom by Julia Donaldson – The witch and the cat go for a ride on their broomstick when a sudden gush of wind changes their path. This is a whimsical and delightful story that children love. Note that the international version is better than the american version. To get the international version locally, order the board book. It contains the original lines.
56. Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney. Anna Dewdney includes the right amount of text with her illustrations. “Strange new teacher. Strange new toys. Lots of kids and lots of noise. What would Llama like to do?” Llama llama begins his first day of school and he really misses his mama. This is the story of Llama Llama’s first day of school and how he learns that he can love school AND love his mama too!
59. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin – This is a funny book about dragons who love tacos, but what happens when the dragon gets spicy salsa? Then they are in some red-hot trouble!
60. Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book by Richard Scarry. Expand your child or students vocabulary with this book. From the airport to the grocery store take your child on a vocabulary adventure! All Richard Scarry’s books have been hits with my kids and they all contain gorgeous pictures with vocabulary words.
62. Leaf Man by Lois Elhert is a great book to share with your class this fall. The pictures showcase how leaves can form various animals and objects. You can then extend the book into a leaf craft activity. They can make leaf people and animals.
63. Not A Box by Antoinette Portis. Teach children to think “out of the box”. A box can be a mountain to a rocket ship, it can be anything as long as your imagination allows it.
I hope you enjoyed these special preschool books.
Stories For Kids
Here are some themed book lists:
- 20 Best Dinosaur Books for Kids
- 10 Best Read Aloud Books For Four-Year-Olds
- Best Baby Record Book and Baby Memory Books
- 20 Magnificent Superhero Books for Kids
- 20 Children’s Books about Transportation
- 5 MUST HAVE Books For Toddlers Ages 1-2
This blog post was written by Vicki and Nadia.