It is so important to read books to your kids, no matter what age they are! Some of my favorite memories growing up are of my dad reading chapter books out loud to me before I could handle them on my own.
Reading books out loud to your kids allows you to experience a story together ~ and any story is way more fun with two. Plus, you can get creative with voices, accents, and pacing. Trust me, you'll be just as invested in the story as your kiddo before you know it;).
So we put together a master list of the best books to read your kids at different ages.
As your kids get older, they might not want you to read out loud to them anymore, but these book recommendations are still top-notch. You might even want to read some yourself!
Best Books for Newborns to Age 4:
Snuggle up with a blanket, lean back in your rocking chair, and read these adorable stories to your babe as they drift off to sleep:
This book is perfect for newborns and little babies. Teach your baby barnyard animals, pets, and zoo animals with unique textures to feel on each page. Your sweet babe will love feeling a fuzzy duck's belly, soft puppy ears, and rubbery pig skin!
Why we love it: Baby Touch and Feel Books are interactive so your baby is engaged while you read to them, without making them overstimulated.
This book is simply precious. Maybe you remember reading this beloved story about a bunny and his dad when you were little, but either way, your sweet babe will love this touching board book.
Why we love it: Guess How Much I Love You teaches kids what unconditional love looks like through visuals they can understand!
The art in this book is so fantastic! Explore the animals of the wild west with your baby by flipping through the pages of this fun, imaginative book.
Why we love it: Designed with unique, simplistic art and written with repetition, your baby will love the familiar feel of this fun picture book.
This was one of my all-time favorites growing up! Something about watching a hungry caterpillar eat random pieces of food makes cheese, pears, and lollipops look so delicious. This one is just fun for both you and your kiddo!
Why we love it: The Very Hungry Caterpillar isn't a baby staple for no reason. You'll enjoy reading it just as much as your baby. Plus, the fun colors will hold your baby's attention, and they'll cherish it for years.
This story is so fun and cute! With adorable art and a message every kid needs to hear, it'll quickly become one of you and your baby's favorites.
Why we love it: this story teaches kids that it's okay to be different, stand out, and be uniquely amazing!
This board book is great for babies and little toddlers! With instructions on each page on how to interact with the book, your baby will stay engaged throughout the whole story.
Why we love it: This board book takes a fresh approach to reading stories with your kids, and you'll both have a blast following the instructions on each page.
This book is just a classic! I always loved the soft, familiar illustrations. And come on, it's just fun watching a teddy bear explore an empty store at night.
Why we love it: This adorable story teaches kids they can be loved and find friendship just the way they are ~ something even us adults need to hear every once in a while.
This board book is a great staple to teach your baby their first 100 words! Ranging from every day objects with illustrations to zoo animals, this book pairs bright colors with words to teach your baby their first words.
Why we love it: First 100 Words combines educational content with engaging illustrations ~ your babe will love it.
How could I not include The Rainbow Fish?! This story is adorable and teaches kids important values, all in a short, sweet story.
Why we love it: The Rainbow Fish teaches kids the importance of selflessness and sharing through a beautiful story. They also have several versions (including a water-proof one if you want to read it during bath time!)
Best Books for Kids Ages 2-5:
This is when reading books out loud to your kids gets really fun. Start sharing your childhood favorites and make it a family event ~ your kids will love it.
I looooved this book as a kid! You can't go wrong with Dr. Suess, and this story has a way of teaching kids how to rhyme and be creative in funny ways. A must-read.
Why we love it: This fun story will teach your kids to have fun with how they rhyme their words and communicate. Want to smile while you read your kids a story? Read this one:)
My little sister loved this book so much when she was little, we read it every day for like... years. So I still have the entire story memorized. And I can happily say I'm not tired of it yet. You won't regret getting any one of Sandra Boynton's board books!
Why we love it: This story is goofy, fun, and includes a song at the end! Spice it up and make your kiddo laugh by singing it really loud (if you have a terrible voice, it'll be even funnier;)
Whenever I sing the alphabet, I still think of the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz at the end of this story for the letter Z, so I'd say this book accomplished its mission, at least in my life. This book is a classic you'll want to bless your kiddo with, too.
Why we love it: Dr. Suess makes learning the alphabet goofy, fun, and hilarious. Your kid will love learning with this book, and you might get a good laugh yourself.
This story is so fun, and it ignites your child's imagination like no other! With engaging art and a message you'll love, your kid will love this story. I know I did!
Why we love it: This book will teach your kids how to harness their imagination ~ which will grow even bigger after reading this story!
This book is hilarious! With characters bearing exaggerated expressions, your kids will have a good laugh when you read this story to them. Throw in a few sound effects, and this will quickly become their favorite.
Why we love it: The Napping House is a great before-bedtime story, and with a few goofy noises your kids will be laughing hysterically.
This hilarious story (written by B. J. Novak, one of the writers of The Office) will have both you and your kids rolling on the ground laughing before bedtime. You won't want to miss out on a story like this.
Why we love it: The Book With No Pictures is funny to read for both you and your kids (which is always important!)
Berenstain Bears Books (Go To The Doctor, The Truth, and The Sitter to name a few)
Who didn't have Berenstain Bears books in their house growing up? Your kids will love these stories just as much as you did, and they'll learn powerful lessons at the same time. Win-win!
Why we love it: What's there not to love about the Berenstain Bears? Your kids will learn important lessons on health, honesty, confidence, and morality through stories about everyday situations your kiddo will encounter.
This book is creative and hilarious! Made up of letters from each color of crayon to the little boy who uses them, both you and your child will have a good laugh over this creative little story.
Why we love it: The Day The Crayons Quit is creative, colorful, and funny for both you and your kids. Want to be entertained while you read bedtime stories? This is the book for you.
Best Books for Kids Ages 5-8:
Now you can start reading chapter books! Some of my favorite memories as a kid are of my dad reading chapter books to me before I could handle them on my own. This is such a fun stage.
Okay, disclaimer: this is actually my book! But I still think it's perfect for kids ages 8-12:). Far Below Human Eyes is a fun story about a 2-inch-tall boy named Harold who has to catch his very own dragonfly to ride. But as things don't go as planned, Harold learns: what's often most important lies far below human eyes...
Why we love it: I may be biased, but Far Below Human Eyes is a great story for a wide range of ages, so you can read it to the whole fam (I've heard everyone from 4 year olds to full grown adults love it!). Plus, I wrote it when I was 12, so you can be confident it's told from a genuine tween perspective:)
I read these books on my own, but they are great ones to read out loud with your kids as well. The art is original and funny, and the story will have you chuckling yourself. You won't regret reading this classic series!
Why we love it: You may have watched the How To Train Your Dragon movies, but you're missing out if you don't read the books. They teach important lessons and are entertaining for both you and your kiddo to read!
This book will make you cry reading it to your kids! It tells a beautiful story and teaches selfless love and important values to your kids. This was one of my all-time favorites both growing up and reading to kids.
Why we love it: This story will get you in your feels, trust me. Plus, it teaches your kids what matters most!
This is a classic you just can't miss out on with your kids. It's nostalgic and fun to read out loud, and reminds both you and your kids that sometimes the simple things in life are full of the most joy.
Why we love it: Both the books, movies, and shows blend together so well, so once you're finished reading these fantastic books, you can watch Winnie The Pooh with your kids and not worry about it straying too much from the story.
I grew up loving this book, but it's not as common as Winnie the Pooh or How To Train Your Dragon. It's an adorable story about a mouse with a lot of courage, and it taught me wonderful things about confidence and sacrifice. You won't want to miss out!
Why we love it: The Tale of Despereaux is a story you'll enjoy just as much as your kids. If you're looking for a casual read, this one is perfect.
I couldn't leave out the comic books! Calvin and Hobbes is (in my humble opinion) one of the best comic books out there. You'll laugh just as hard as your kids;) Read a few panels before bed and you'll have a blast.
Why we love it: The stories are broken up in separate chunks, so making story time before bed quick is a breeze. Plus, you'll enjoy them just as much as your kids.
This story is super unique! It's technically a chapter book, but most of the pages are full of art, so the text is easy to read. With so many pictures, it's fun to read out loud to your kids.
Why we love it: Hugo Cabret is a fun story that will give your kids a glimpse into the past, while keeping them captivated with lots of pictures and a gripping mystery.
Best Books for Kids Ages 8-12:
Your kids might start wanting to read on their own at this point, but celebrate if they do! You've instilled in them a love for reading, and giving them good books will only fan the flame.
I had to include this classic on our list. My dad read this series out loud to me when I was a kid, and it's one of my favorite stories to this day. You'll learn just as much as your kids about morals, sacrifice, and courage when you read this story.
Why we love it: The Chronicles of Narnia is a powerful story you'll enjoy reading just as much as your kids will love hearing it. If you read them as a kid, it'll be fun to revisit the story and enjoy it all over again!
The story is a fantastic history lesson that will teach your kids so much about the late 1800's! With a story that's interesting and captivating, your kids will learn a ton reading this classic.
Why we love it: This story blends history with a story your kids will be on the edge of their seats to finish. Nothing makes history more captivating than when it's told with style.
This was one of my favorites growing up! The ending had my mind reeling as a kid, and the story kept me super captivated. This one is great to read with your kids!
Why we love it: Detectives In Togas appeals to kids across a wide range of ages, so you can read it to your whole family and even enjoy it yourself:)
Okay, Harry Potter might be for kids, but I'm still a Potterhead through and through, and I don't think I'll ever outgrow it. There's a reason it's the highest selling book series in history.
Why we love it: Harry Potter is a great story to read out loud to your kids because it's a story you'll both enjoy. But even if your kids want to read it on their own, you can be confident they'll learn important values through a captivating story.
I have great memories reading this book series as a kid! It's a little bit suspenseful, a little bit mysterious, and a whole lot creative. Your kids will love it.
Why we love it: The story idea in Elsewhere of a girl stepping into an entirely new world through the pictures in her house in fun and refreshing, almost like a modern take on Narnia. It's a great book to read in October!
At this point, your kids are all grown up and reading what they want, when they want. But ~ you can still suggest some incredible books for them to read. Here are a few of my favorites throughout the years:
What's the answer to life, the universe, and everything? You'll have to read this book to find out (hint: it's definitely not what you think it is). Grab your towel (iykyk) and read this book alongside your teen to enjoy a hilarious story together.
Why we love it: This hilarious story is a series of galaxy-crossing epic stories your teen will love. If you're looking for a light-hearted, funny read, this is perfect.
A classic! Of course, if your teen is an avid reader, I'd suggest Lord of the Rings, but The Hobbit is a good place to start (it's a little shorter and easier to read). Watch the movie with them afterwards for a family movie night!
Why we love it: What's there not to love about Bilbo Baggins? This book is great for individual reading, family story time, or rereading for the umpteenth time. Read Golem's riddles together and try to figure them out as a family!
I loved this book series during my early teen years. Brandon Mull does a fantastic job of weaving a story together that's suspenseful, imaginative, and exciting! If your teen loves a good fantasy page-turner, grab this one.
Why we love it: Fablehaven comes in a series of 5 books, so once your teen is hooked they'll be busy for a while;)
This fun story is great for the preteen/teen who enjoys a story with a little quirkiness to it! I love this book, and it's a series so you can keep reading if you really love it!
Why we love it: This fun story is a series and a TV show now (although I haven't seen it), so if you love the story you can always get more of it.
This Kindle story is fantastic. Not only is the story fun and hilarious, but in the Kindle version you can watch pictures that come to life in short clips so you can really visualize what's happening in the story. If it sounds childish, trust me: grown adults will think this story is delightful.
Why we love it: Off To Be The Wizard is best enjoyed on Kindle, which follows you wherever your device goes! Plus, the graphics are incredible. It's like reading and watching a movie all at once.
Eragon is a fantasy classic written by a teen boy! If you want to inspire your teen, give them this dragon-riding series to prove young people can build amazing things, too.
Why we love it: Eragon is definitely thicker than most young adult novels, but if your teen is a fan of dragons, they'll love this story.
If your teen is more into the western vibe, they'll love this story! Holes is a classic with a major plot twist at the end, and if you haven't read it yourself, you'll want to read it with them.
Why we love it: Holes is not only a famously incredible story, but the movie does a great job of depicting the book. Plus, they make onions and canned peaches look delicious (you'll have to read it if you don't know what I'm talking about).
Really any one of Agatha Christie's books won't disappoint, but this one is a classic and it's one of my favorites out of her collection. If your teen is a huge mystery fan, I'd check out And Then There Were None by Christie as well (it's the best one she has).
Why we love it: You'll never see the ending coming! And the movie is great to watch as a family. Read this story together and take guesses on who you think the murderer is. Whoever wins gets to pick what you're having for dinner tomorrow night!
Stories are one of the greatest gifts you could give to your children, and reading them together is quality time you'll cherish for years.
Not only will you get to watch your sweet kiddos grow with the stories they read, but you'll fall in love with each book just as much as they do;).
So grab a book, cozy up with your favorite blanket, and dive into a great story today. Happy reading!