These books are loosely ordered from youngest to oldest children. Click here to read about how I choose books.  Please note that I choose books that are beautiful, intelligent, and meaningful.  Sometimes, I go for a book that is only 2 of the 3 but most of the books listed here are all of the above. Note that books for zero- to six-year-olds are focused on reality, showing real people or animals doing things that are normal or natural for them. At this age, children are still learning the difference between reality and fantasy.


Have You Seen My Cat? by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

I Love You as Much by Laura Krauss Melmed

I Will Hold You Till You Sleep by Linda Zuckerman

Cats Sleep Anywhere by Eleanor Farjeon

Bigger by Daniel Kirk

Mama Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse

Will You Carry Me? by Heleen van Rossum

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Jake Baked the Cake by B.G. Hennessy

Anniranni and Mollymishi the Wild-Haired Doll by C. Drew Lamm

Nature’s Paintbox: A Seasonal Gallery of Art and Verse by Patricia Thomas

Where Wild Babies Sleep by Ann Purmell

4 Years+:

There are No Polar Bears Here! by Catherine Simpson

Many Nations: An Alphabet of Native America by Joseph Bruchac

Children Just Like Me by UNICEF

The Hat by Jan Brett

A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss

A Second is a Hiccup: A Child’s Book of Time by Hazel Hutchins

And Here’s To YOU! by David Elliott

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss

The Last Snow of Winter by Tony Johnston

A Lion in the Meadow by Margaret Mahy (A wonderful story for children just at the time when they are figuring out what is true and what is fantasy. May not be in print – may be able to buy used online.)

Henry and Mudge books by Cynthia Rylant

5 Years+:

Our World: The Children of Oakland by Marianne Thomas

Cody Chants by Linda Jackson Iwamoto

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The Present’s Presents by Teresa de Grosbois (A fun book showing a family’s journey from a consumerist lifestyle to having Lively illustrations and cheerfully written.)

The Heart in the Bottle, Oliver Jeffers (A lovely story about the loss of a grandparent, shutting down to protect your heart, and then healing.)

A Tree is Growing by Arthur Dorros

Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Craig and Isabella Hatkoff

Fancy Nancy books, by Jane O’Connor

4-7 Years: Rose’s Garden, Peter H. Reynolds
5-10 Years: The Curious Garden, Peter Brown (Both charming books about reclaiming pieces of a big city for gardens and flowers, one with a girl who is the main character, and the the second with a boy for the main character.)
11-12 Years: Planet Watch: The Young Person’s Guide to Protecting Our World (An information-packed book full of clear environmental actions for the school-aged child.)
ABC Faeries Book
5-10 Years: Listen to the Wind, Greg Mortenson and Susan L. Roth
11-17 Years: Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (Children’s and teen versions of the story of Greg Mortenson, who got lost on his way down from attempting to climb K2 and has ended up building over 130 schools – and counting – in Pakistan and Afghanistan’s most remote areas.)

5 Years+: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (Is this too obvious? We read this aloud – some chapters over and over again – about 6 times when my daughter was between the ages of 5 and 7.)

5 Years+: Winnie the Pooh books (Also too obvious? There are lots of dumbed-down, rewritten versions of these classics, but I recommend getting the real thing and waiting until your child is old enough to understand.)

7 Years+: The Secret Garden This old classic is really a beautiful read, and very relevant today.

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