180 Great books for Toddlers, Children and Teens

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

Need reading ideas for you and your students or children? Wanting books to up your student’s reading motivation? Enjoy 18 lists of the top ten books for each category. Bedtime Stories, ABC books, learning to read books, picture books, poetry books, beginner chapter books, young adult novels and even some nonfiction! Happy Reading!


Check out my 2020 reading program once you've picked a book!



1. Bedtime Stories


If You Were My Bunny by Kate McMullan

This is a book with sweet little songs that a parent can sing to their child. The songs could just be read as a poem or you can look up the tunes online. A very peaceful way for a parent and child to end the day.


Go to Sleep Little Groundhog By Patricia Jensen

The little groundhog doesn’t want to go to sleep, he tries to get advice from all the other animals about how to fall asleep...will he EVER go to bed?


Good Night Gorilla By Peggy Rathmann

The pictures in this story make it fun even for toddlers just learning to talk. The Zookeeper says good night to all the animals, but doesn't notice the Gorilla opening each cage. All the animals follow the zookeeper to his house and kids love the page when the zookeeper realizes what has happened!


Good Night Already By Jory John

As soon as on character gets tired the other is wide awake! A great way for kids to learn about making connections to the text...if you have two little ones who like to keep each other up at night.


I’ll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

This is a wonderful story to show the patterns of love created within family. The mother's love for her boy is unchanging despite him growing up, then he passes that love back to her and to his own child.


How to Catch a Star by Olver Jeffers

Ever looked longingly at the night sky and wished you could pick a star and keep its light right with you through the night? Enjoy an imaginative tale of a boy who wishes to catch a star.


Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier

This may seem like a strange pick for a bedtime story, but it's the perfect length for a quick, but interactive parent to child story time. It also ends with the ending of many stories, so for kids who always want one more book before bed, it's a great way to read lots of “books" while really just reading one.


The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

Chris Van Allsburg does a wonderful job telling stories through illustrations. This book is just many lost pictures found in an old house that are supposed to prompt the reader to imagine the story. A great book for storytelling as a bedtime story.


I Need my Monster By Amanda Noll

Is your child scared of monsters in their closet or under their bed? This book has a fun take on monsters and just how important it is to this little boy that HIS monster helps him stay in bed!


The Dark By Lemony Snicket

What is it about the dark that keeps us on edge? Even as an adult, you may find yourself checking behind the shower curtain before a middle of the night bathroom break, or hurrying up the stairs after putting a load of laundry in the basement. Most adults can relate to little Leo in the story who interacts with the personified Dark in this story ...and through his bravery, he makes a new friend...maybe the dark isn't so bad after all?



2-ABC Books


A My Name is Alice by Jane Bayer

Fun alliteration and continuation from one letter to the next.


A is for Zebra By Mark Shulman

The focus letter is at the end of the word instead of the beginning of the word.


Q us for Duck By Mary Elting and Michael Folsom

As you read the book, you determine why each word represents that letter.


ABC by Dr. Suess

Fun alliteration in traditional Dr. Suess style.


Ashanti to Zulu by Margaret Musgrove

The book uses African words to represent letters of the alphabet and is good for older children.


The Hand Alphabet by Laura Rankin

Sign Language books to teach kids the alphabet in writing and sign language.


The Z was Zapped By Chris Van Allsburg

An alphabet book written as a play with 26 different acts.


Anamilia By Graeme Base

An alphabet book that contains a poem and many illustrations for each letter.


Antics by Cathi Hepworth

Really creative words for each letter of the alphabet. A great alphabet for older kids


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom By by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

This book is great for teaching lowercase and uppercase letters.




3-Wordless Picture Books


Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson

This wordless ABC book shows letters in everyday events and uses photos to show the world in a different way.


Flora and Her Feathered Friends (three books the Peacocks, the Flamingo and the Penguin) by Molly Idle

Enjoy the flaps and pop-outs as young Molly mimics the movements of these beautiful birds.


Frog Goes to Dinner by Mercer Mayer

Find out what happens when a frog sneaks into dinner in a boys pocket.


Sector 7 by David Wiesner

Join this boy and his new cloud friend as you see the factory where clouds are made.


Flotsam by David Wiesner

Ever had a beach day and regretted not having an underwater camera? The pictures from this underwater camera will leave you entranced and eager for more!


Tuesday by David Wiesner

A group of frogs are able to enjoy flying lily pads for a night...what mischief might they encounter and who will see it?


Mirror by Jeannie Baker

This book has two sets of pages that open out from the middle. The pictures show families from two very different places who share commonalities...an excellent commentary on culture, with beautiful picture representation.


Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Beautiful black and white pictures of a night campout brought to color through the light of a boy’s flashlight.


Inside Outside by Lizi Boyd

Window picture book that shows the wonderful activities children do in the many seasons of the year.


Chalk by Bill Thomas

Beautiful story of a magical bag of chalk. Enjoy this artistic interpretation of children’s imagination.



4-Learning to Read Book Series


Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons By Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox and Elaine Burner

This book does a wonderful job of breaking down the steps of sounding out words and understanding phonics rules. A wonderful place to start with a student who needs to begin to learn to read.


Bob Books by Bob Lynn Maslen

Book sets focused on teaching specific reading skills with a foundation in phonics.

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

These books are very engaging for young readers with a basic understanding of phonics and sight words.


Pete the Cat by James Dean and Eric Litwin

Kids love Pete the Cat! I like these books for the practice with the silent e, the characterization of Pete (the books are very relatable to kids, but he is so nice to his mom and his friends), and it introduces more difficult words, but assists kids through the context of pictures.


Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems

These books are all about the dialog! Kids love them as read alouds. I like to be one character and let the students be the other. The personalities of these characters is bursting through every word they say!


Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold

A boy who finds a pet fly and a fly that calls the boy by his name (Buzz). The unlikely friends have many fun and exciting experiences together.


No David by David Shannon

These books are very relatable to kids. A great way to talk about family interactions and why consequences are important. Kids always can make connections to these books.


Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr.

The pictures in these stories really captivate the students. The repetition solidifies sight words and the rhythm makes it enjoyable even for toddlers.


Llama Llama by Anna Dewdney

The rhyme in these books is amazing and the relatable situations can be a great way to talk about social and emotional issues facing students.


I Can Read Books

There are so many books through the I Can Read Books rating system. If you are finding your student or child is lacking motivation I would highly suggest looking through some of these books and finding ones that relate to their interests.



5-Beginner Read Picture Books


Milk and Cookies by Frank Asch

Sometimes it can be scary to sleep in a new place...but things aren’t always what they seem. Enjoy a story about a boy who visits his grandpa and fights a dragon in the basement...well, sort of!


Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett

This is a great read aloud for the pictures. Sam and Dave dig hoping to find something Spectacular. The whole book you see them digging around diamonds, but they never find them! The kids are always so excited when they see the diamonds and I like to point out that sometimes we miss “diamonds” in our search for the spectacular. Great way to teach new vocabulary words!


Good News Bad News by Jeff Mack

This is a story of a picnic gone wrong. The rat always sees the glass half empty and the rabbit sees it half full. Wonderful way to talk about how attitude affects outcome!


I want my hat back! By Jon Klassen

Another wonderful story for reading aloud to young children because the pictures allow the reader to know more than the characters. The bear spends the whole book looking for his hat...did you spot it before the bear did?


Madeline by Ludwig Bemelman

The pictures bring this story to life. I find children enjoy the story a lot more when I make the connection for them about being sick and helping others when they are sick.


Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

There are multiple versions of this story. Will the cows and farmer ever come to a consensus? What will those farm animals do next?!


Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

It can be fun to be wild for a little while...but we all long to be back in the comfort of our home with the people that we love!


I Don’t Want to be a Frog by Dev Petty

This little frog would like to be ANYTHING else...but then he discovers being a frog might not be so bad after all….


! by Amy Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

Wonderful book for teaching reading expressions and punctuation. The characters are all punctuation marks and the personification helps teach just how important each mark is in writing!


The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak

This is my ABSOLUTE favorite read aloud book! Kids love it! There are no pictures ...but so many silly words the kids will be laughing and engaged through the whole story.