This is a list of books that many, many kids I know, ages 5-8,, love.
Caveat: Most of these are based on interest, not reading level, and it would be difficult for anyone but a very gifted kindergartner to read these on her or his own (and that doesn’t add in comprehension while reading).
But! Never fear! The research (which I am totally not citing right now because I can’t find my binder o’ library magic) suggests that it does not matter whether your child reads by herself or is read to, reading skills improve REGARDLESS of whether the kid is the one reading…as long as you read for at least 20 minutes a day.
So! Go ahead and read to your kids, instead of having them read boring BOB books (which are fine…they’re just not fun). They will be just fine, and are more likely to become readers because they won’t see it as boring. Win for everyone!
All links are to Amazon, but I ain’t got no affiliate situation, so I suggest you get these from your local library, where things price out to the magical tune of SOCIALIST FREE DOLLARS.
Not only is Ivy and Bean illustrated by the amazing Internet rock star, Sophie Blackall, but the books are really well written and fun and funny and real. Even though I only have boys, they don’t mind reading about girls. Recommended for ages 5-7.
I admit to not loving Judy as much as I love Stink, because I think Judy’s a tiny bit of a brat, but all the kids I know like them both equally. The books are light and well-written and full of sibling rivalries. Recommended for ages 5-8.
Good for kids who like mysteries but who are too young for anything really dangerous or scary. There are a bazillion of them in the series. The pacing on these is generally excellent and it keeps kids very interested. Recommended for ages 6-9.
I think Jack and Annie are the perfect introductions to the wide fantasy world of time travel, even for kids who aren’t into fantasy yet (and hey, kids are too little and sweet and moldable to care about subgenres, hooray!). I do not know a kid who does not go nuts for these books. Recommended for ages 5 and up.
Oh, Fangone, Third Grade Barbarian, you’re just so fun. Great for kids who prefer comics (which any librarian worth her salt will tell you totally count as books). Recommended for ages 7-9.
I am a good mom because I hate these books but every child I know LOVES them, so there. Get them for your kid who likes comic strips. They’re dumb but WHATEVER. Recommended for ages 6-9.
I love the first half of this series way more than the second half, but like any good series, I’m going to keep reading because I want to know what happens. They’re about a weak boy who’s supposed to be the salvation of all humanity and dragons, like Harry Potter of the Middle Ages, with great illustrations and LOTS of laughs. Recommended for ages 7 and up.
The librarian at our local branch told me about Stone Rabbit when I was pulling my hair out looking for age-appropriate comic books. This totally fits the bill.
Kids told me about these books, so you know they’ve got to be great. They’re a fantasy series featuring animals, so any child that’s in love with animals best go read these. There’s also a Seekers series that is similar. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Clementine is sweet and hilarious and gets into too, too much trouble (on the first page) and never stops. There are four or five books in this series, and there hasn’t been a new one in too long, Ms. Pennypacker. I might like these books more than any kid I know. Recommended for ages 5 – 9.
Okay, I haven’t actually read any of these, but based on the rate of checkouts at the library, they’re great books.
Anything Roald Dahl
You know, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and Matilda. We started The Witches, but that was deemed “too scary,” so we’re waiting on that one. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
Okay, this is a little bit young, but the plus side of these books is that kids can read them themselves. AND they’re hilarious. Mo Willems is the new Dr. Seuss, and everything he writes is magic. Recommended for ages 3-6.
These books hold up from your childhood. Fun fun fun. Recommended for ages 5-8.
Captain Awesome is awesome. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
These books could also be called “heroin for first graders.” Yowza do kids (mostly girls, but not exclusively) love them. FAIRIES AND MAGIC AND RAINBOWS YEEHAW. Recommended for ages 5-7.
I will have a chapter book post for late elementary kids…some time later. Also, I’d be happy to keep adding to this list.
Please add more in the comments!